How ad tech underpins the internet | FT


Ad tech is the business model
that underpins the internet. Most websites and apps
may be free to use, but they make money by
displaying digital advertising targeted specifically at you. An entire industry has grown up
around auctioning and targeting online adverts as
accurately as possible using data collected
about each and every user. Whenever you visit a
website, your computer can send out personal data to
thousands of ad tech companies. They take the information and
use it to bid for the adverts that you see when
the page loads. It takes milliseconds. Billions of bid requests are
made each week in the UK alone. Europe’s entire digital
ad market hit 55.1bn euros in 2018. But Europe’s new privacy law,
the General Data Protection Regulation, has put the
industry under a spotlight because of the troves of
personal data it trades. And not just between the
website and an advertiser, but between
advertising companies that are building
profiles of us. A damning report from the
UK data protection regulator found that the ad tech
industry was breaking the law by illegally collecting
and bartering in special category data which
requires our explicit consent. The regulator has given the
ad tech industry six months to clean up its practices. That deadline expires
in December 2019. The industry must decide. Can it legally continue to
auction off our personal data, or must it change its ways
to be more transparent and to minimise how
much data it collects?

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3 thoughts on “How ad tech underpins the internet | FT

  1. The "internet" is a system of hardware. Does "Ad Tech" really underpin it ? Maybe you mean the World Wide Web ? But that is far more than just the commercial aspect of it, and anyway, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, described as the inventor of the World Wide Web, would be very unhappy with that concept. Or do you mean that the "Ad Tech business model" underpins "online commerce" ? Whatever the ICO decides by the end of the year, we as consumers have had enough of our web pages being saturated with advertising. Even when we try to avoid the advertising, disgruntled messages appear, telling us that we must NOT try to do this… The truth is that things have reached a point where the advertising industry has destroyed the very "online commerce" that it nowadays relies upon to survive. Let's go back on real advertising in leaflets, flyers, newspaper and on local radio – and real shops in our high streets ! Who needs "online commerce" and "Ad Tech" to build "profiles" of everyone ? This bogus industry has no long-term future of any significance…

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