Advertising Targeting – or creepy harassment?

Here’s a thoughful observations from YieldBuild after attending the the OMMA conference.    The issue is whether you can do too much targeting of your advertising and scare folks away by being “creepy”.

Although we’ve only begun to scratch this surface I suspect that it’ll be dependent a lot more on the individual than on the targeting mechanism.   For example I don’t really mind Google “reading my titles” and offering relevant ads to me as I read my email, though for some this is clearly a major invasion of privacy.   (What?  You didn’t realize Google is reading all your titles and possible your content, though I’d guess they dont’t do that for liability reasons alone)

Spamming down?

Wired is reporting that according to Google the total amount of email spam is going down.  (Thanks to Metroknow for the tip) .

This should be great news for many but it doesn’t really jive with my personal experience. My Google gmail spam box now gets on the order of a spam email every *minute*, 24/7 -(I need to check but I think I’m in the neighborhood of a thousand per day or close to it).   I get another several hundred per day that pass the filter, though I thin, this is partly the challenge of having some old email addresses that I don’t want to close down.   Generally, the older the address the more spam lists it winds up on.   I’m even having some issues at my Godaddy server with SMTP relays of the swirl of daily spam messages.

Update thought inspired by FG’s comment below:

I is possible that filtering has reached a point of diminishing return because at the level of tens of millions of emails the cost to send them is no longer trivial.

I’m guessing at these numbers: Let’s assume Google and other filters can kill off 9990 out of 10000 spams initially sent, and users then ignore 9 out of the remaining 10. Thus the spammer must send 10,000 to get one read. If the action on that one is 1 in 100 then it is going to take 100 x 10,000 = a million spam notes to get a single sale. At that level the bandwidth and time are no longer trivial costs, though they are still small.


Email as the new Social Network

The New York Times is summarizing some interesting plans from Google and Yahoo to turn their email systems into forms of social networking.    This idea could have a lot of potential, as the Yahoo’s Brad Garlinghouse points out in the article that Yahoo has a lot of information about an individual’s social relationships – for example who they email regularly – and this info is simply begging to be mined to help users navigate their increasingly complex online worlds.