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Today we talk Harvard vs adtech, FCC record fine, Amazon vs Google and digital wellbeing. Let's go!

Harvard’s take on the GDPR

The GDPR and privacy scandal with Facebook and Cambridge Analytica are still on many people’s minds, including Doc Searls, who blogs on a Harvard site.

He brings up an interesting point, which is that the GDPR will pop the adtech bubble. And that’s because "tracking people without their knowledge, approval or COURT ORDER is just flat-out wrong".

That’s an impactful way of putting it, we think court order is a bit much…

The article is long, so we’ll put our take on the most relevant points for affiliates.

Doc: Adtech is built to undermine the brand value of all the media it uses, because it cares about eyeballs more than media, and it causes negative associations with brands. Consider this: perhaps a $ trillion or more has been spent on adtech, and not one brand known to the world has been made by it.

WTAFF Crew: Well, that’s quite a black or white view of it. Brands today use all channels, including digital ones powered by adtech. Unfortunately, we cannot go back in time and forbid well known brands from the past from engaging in adtech powered advertising activities to see if they would still be top brands today without it.

Doc: Adtech spies on people and violates their privacy. By design. Never mind that you and your browser or app are anonymized. The ads are still for your eyeballs, and correlations can be made.

WTAFF Crew: Is it spying if it’s an algorithm making decisions about which ads to serve without any person being involved? Seems like a sensationalist way to put it. What about devices with fingerprint readers, face recognition and the likes? Those are fine?

Doc: Adtech incentivizes publications to prioritize "content generation" over journalism.

WTAFF Crew: True. The biggest clickbait websites today are the well known publications that the average person relies on for their daily news. The focus is on traffic numbers not on the truth. The previous point is quite a clickbait-ey claim too, isn’t it?

Doc: Adtech is full of fraud and a vector for malware

WTAFF Crew: True. And the US dollar is the most counterfeited currency, used most for illegal activities out of all currencies. See how that argument doesn’t make sense? Something being imperfect doesn’t mean it should be dismissed. We hope for less fraud in advertising and there’s a lot of money invested in this pursuit.

Doc: Compared to advertising, adtech is ugly.

WTAFF Crew: Sounds more like hate for advertising that doesn’t appeal to 90% or more of the population. Adtech creates highly engaging campaigns for the people right for the product. If your product resonantes with only 5% of the population, it shouldn’t exist? Isn’t that quite the statement against small businesses?

Overall, anyone in affiliate marketing will be mostly against the premise, we think. But if you are deeply involved in adtech, the post is almost a mandatory read, so you see the perspective of people you advertise too.

Maybe some things are getting too creepy, and we have to find a better way.

Templates to write headlines like Cambridge Analytica

On the 25th of April we’ve mentioned this post from Sebastian Weinhold in the Purple Knowledge Lab Group about how to write copy like the now defunct, Cambridge Analytica.

Sebastian added more in the comments, giving a big list of templates for headlines.

Here are a few samples:

Here is a Method That is Helping [world class example] to [blank] - Social proof
What Your [blank] Won’t Tell You And How It Can Save You [blank] - Threat
You Don’t Have to Be [something challenging] to be [desired result] - Gain

Check out the post, adjust the copy for your products and splittest!

YouTube looking to curb your cat video binges on its platform
Our previous articles in today’s newsletter show that there is a shift in the online marketing industry to value user experience more.

YouTube is aware of that as well and is implementing new features "to improve digital wellbeing for all its users". The features include:

Time watched profile - gives a better understanding how you spend your time on YouTube
Take a break reminder
Scheduled notification digest - only receive one combined notification instead of multiple daily push notifications
Disable notification sounds and vibrations - default on between 10pm and 8am

Early tests show that when sound and vibration is disabled between 10pm and 8am there's a reduction in both notification opt-outs and unsubscriptions.

This probably won’t have a big negative effect on YouTube’s advertising business - it might even be positive because people will engage with more ads, even if they watch less of them.
Russian election ads - easier to navigate

It’s not very surprising that Congress released the election ads in a super tough and annoying way to navigate - the hearings with Zuck showed they have plenty to learn about how the Internet works.

2 page PDFs that you have to download is probably the worst format we can think of.

This gallery by Michael Ojeda solves it. You can see all the ads in a familiar format, split by which quarter they were ran in. And you don’t have to download them either!

Amazon stops giving Google money, at least for Shopping Ads Inc. has stopped buying a popular type of Google ad, according to people familiar with the decision.

The move deepens the rift between the technology titans and signals Amazon’s growing ambition in the digital advertising market.

After Amazon pulled some Google hardware from its e-commerce shelves, Google retaliated by blocking YouTube from Amazon’s streaming devices last year.

Talk about a big boy fight!

Losing Amazon is a rare setback for Google’s Shopping ads, which have been a massive financial success.

Amazon largely bought PLAs for items like office supplies, furniture and athletic apparel. "They were probably spending $50 million a year, but it might be higher than that".

Some ad buyers interpreted Amazon’s move as a sign the company is accelerating its own digital ad offerings.

The company has the potential to challenge the digital marketing duopoly of Google and Facebook, although it has expanded slowly so far.

The Onion’s article about Bezos has never been more real than now - "Hire well, value customers, and realize someday I will utterly crush you"

Who are you betting on? Google, Amazon, Facebook or a fourth outsider?

Cool tech, (funny) business, lifestyle and all the other things affiliates like to chat about while sipping cocktails by the pool.
Later this year, new UK legislation will require visitors to adult websites to prove that they’re over the legal age of 18 - and not just by clicking a button claiming they are over 18.

With 40-percent of Brits not holding a credit card and 1.6 million working adults lacking access to mainstream banking, the "porn pass" got implemented.

Here’s how it’ll work: you’ll go to your local newsagents and, along with the usual basket of bread and milk, you’ll ask for a "porn pass."

Porn passes will cost around £10 (roughly $14) and will make it possible to access adult websites without revealing any details about yourself.

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