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Stupid Media Watch: Idiocy Delayed


By Ken Magill

I have never been more disappointed with a press conference than I was in the one held by the Direct Marketing Association last week in which it unveiled its report on the economic benefits of data-driven marketing.

Having received an advance on the report, I knew as I dialed into the press conference they were going to announce that the data-driven marketing economy added $156 billion in revenue to the American economy and created more than 675,000 American jobs in 2012.

I already knew they were unveiling the study in a bid to hold off needlessly stifling regulation.

So I didn’t dial in to hear what the DMA had to say. I dialed in to hear the questions other reporters would ask.

Surely, I thought, at least one of them will ask an ignorant, combative question and I’ll get a stupid-media-watch column out of it.

After all, I launched the stupid-media-watch column years ago knowing I’d get a never-ending supply of material for it. So many reporters and columnists are so offensively stupid when it comes to addressable marketing even though their livelihoods depend on it.

Surely, I thought, the New York Times’ agenda-driven hack Natasha Singer would be at the press briefing, or at least on the phone. And, yes, I am aware that me calling anyone an agenda-driven hack is the height of irony.

To my utter despair, all of the questions seemed to be aimed at simply gathering information,

“Shit,” I thought. “What the hell am I going to write about now?”

For the first time, the non-marketing media had failed me.

Or so I thought.

I should have known all I had to do was wait.

One Google news search on “Direct Marketing Association” a day later and lo and behold the heavens opened and angels wept.

A column on by Dan Tynan delivered on the stupidity in friggin’ spades.

According to Tynan, marketing-data usage should be regulated because beef is.

No, really. He wrote that. Check it out:

“There is actually no evidence that giving us more control over our data – and make no mistake, it is our data – in any way harms the data driven marketing economy, or that it will raise prices, stifle innovation, or cost jobs. None, nada, zip,” Tynan wrote.

“If regulation does kill industries, why is there a fast food restaurant on every corner? Why isn’t Mickey D’s clamoring for the right to use pink slime instead of animal flesh in its Big Macs?” he continued.

“Because McDonald’s knows it needs consumers to trust that its products won’t make them sick. Those regulations actually help the fast food industry, just as they did the meat packing and pharmaceutical industries in the previous century.

“Now the data industry needs to develop some trust. Consumers need to be confident that their data won’t be used against them or make them ‘sick.’”

First, some regulations certainly do kill or at least severely cripple some industries—prospecting via telemarketing for one. Not that I lamented its downfall. But to imply regulation doesn’t have costs is beyond silly. Even the best regulations have costs. It’s difficult to think of one that doesn’t.

Moreover, Tynan never says from what harm any new regulation of marketing data should protect us.

That would be because there is no data-driven-marketing version of tuberculosis.

The best Tynan can come up with is behaviorally targeted ads are creepy—to him, anyway.

And just for the hell of it, let’s check’s privacy policy:

“The Publisher has contracted with DoubleClick to serve all advertising on our Website itself and through its e-mail newsletters and other products. When DoubleClick is serving ads, it recognizes certain types of non-personally identifiable information, such as a user's IP address, browser version or type, operating system, service provider and time zone. DoubleClick also uses cookies to note the general content of the sites that users visit over time in order to serve ads on this site and other sites.

[Emphasis mine]

That, folks, is behaviorally targeted advertising. If is going to publish Tynan’s mindless garbage, they should live by it.


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Terms: Feel free to be as big a jerk as you want, but don't attack anyone other than me personally. And don't criticize people or companies other than me anonymously. Got something crappy to say? Say it under your real name. Anonymous potshots and personal attacks aimed at me, however, are fine.

Posted by: El Guapo
Date: 2013-10-22 18:55:15

Don't you know that if the government doesn't stick it's richard in everything it's not effective? More government regulations for everything. It's not like they're going to get into regulating your desire or lack of desire for healthcare, after all. Maybe Tynan realizes that if the government regulates direct marketing, it will be able to see whether or not you order acai berry smoothie mix, then eventually declare you unfit for a liver transplant because you already had a shot at a healthy lifestyle?