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Privacy Legislation Update: Part 3

boucherThe wait is over, but not the debate. Today, U.S. Representatives Rick Boucher (VA-09), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, and Cliff Stearns, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee, released a discussion draft of legislation to assure the privacy of information about individuals both on the Internet and offline.

Congress may never pass a law, but for now at least, it appears our collective industry efforts to educate House Engergy and Commerce Committee members has paid off. I was especially relieved to read this paragraph about a “carve-out” for ad networks, which speaks directly to the huge educational efforts put forth by the IAB, NAI and several competitors and colleagues alike over the past year:

The bill creates an exception to the opt-in consent requirement for third-party information sharing by applying opt-out consent to the sharing of an individual’s information with a third-party ad network if there is a clear, easy-to-find link to a webpage for the ad network that allows a person to edit his or her profile, and if he chooses, to opt out of having a profile, provided that the ad network does not share the individual’s information with anyone else.

Consumer privacy groups are not satisfied with the fact that the legislation, as currently drafted, would rely heavily on consumers privacy policies. Yet, it would require companies to allow consumers a higher degree of control over the collection and use of their data. This requirement would be burdensome to advertsing companies, but in the long run may yield higher performance for advertisers and a more relevant experience for consumers. 

So it appears the online advertising industry dodged a bullet for now, but there is much more education and debate to unfold in the months ahead.

Click here to read an executive summary of the draft.

Click here for the full text of the bill.

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Marketing Evolution in Los Angeles

onlyinla2Preparing for an interview yesterday with a prominent Los Angeles business journal, I didn’t have to walk more than five feet from my office to get some great insight on the evolution of marketing in Los Angeles, reminding me once again what an amazing and experienced team of digital media professionals I get the pleasure of working with each day. The reporter was interested in my thoughts about why LA has increasingly become a hub for marketing companies in recent years, and my colleagues Matt Boyd and Brian Stone had plenty to add to my understanding of the topic. Thanks guys!

The short answer is that LA has always been a hub for marketing activity because it’s a major media market and home to the largest and most diverse creative community in the world. Digging a bit deeper, at least from a digital perspective, in the mid 9os, smaller agencies were building out online advertising expertise that today is now dominated by large agencies like OMD, Initiative, Carat, Starcom and Mediavest — in many cases as a result of acquiring those smaller, more specialized shops.

Another reason marketing has  found success here in recent years is that the Internet is no longer the exclusive domain of technologists, as was the case for the Silicon Valley during the dot-com boom years. The tools are now fully in the hands of creative and media professionals all over the world. Also, unlike the financial and tech focus of San Francisco, LA is home to some fairly recession proof industries, including entertainment, games and (at least compared to domestic manufacturers) some innovative foreign automotive brands. 

Another thing LA has going for it is a thriving marketing community which frequently circles its wagons around the popular thinkLA organization. The Los Angeles Advertising Agencies Association, the Ad Club of Los Angeles and the Magazine Representatives Association merged to create thinkLA in 2006. Since then, it has successfully brought us together as an industry and I’m particularly impressed by its “Only in LA” campaign to promote Los Angeles as a center for creative thinking and innovation in marketing and media.

We’ll see how much of these thoughts make their way into an article and I will report back when it’s published next month.

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The Importance of Downtime

dsc_0819bOf what value is a good work ethic if it is not held in balance with a healthy lifestyle, quality relationships and putting family first? While I’m far from reaching such a balance, it doesn’t mean I don’t strive for it. I was reminded of the importance of downtime during our family vacation to Eau Claire, Wisconsin last week. It was one of the few times in my career I’ve taken 10 consecutive days off and the vacation served its purpose. Being [mostly] unplugged and away from the daily routine, made me more grateful than ever for family and close friends.

The highlight of our trip was distant cousins hitting it off as though they lived next door, followed closely by spending time with my sister and experiencing firsthand how she and her family live. Water skiing, a nighttime thunderstorm and seeing Night Ranger perform at the Northern Wisconsin State Fair were my personal highlights.

But a more salient point that stuck with me was something Don Grainger said as we sat on Lesley’s front porch. As he relayed a story about someone who taught him the importance of leaving one’s work at work, I was reminded of people  I’ve known who appear to do that well, and more importantly how much I need to get into that good habit because ultimately it’s better for business and better for life. 

That includes turning off the computer at a reasonable time and getting enough sleep, so with that I will take my own advice and head off to bed!

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ValueClick Media Update

main_photoI have been looking for the appropriate context in which to post something about ValueClick Media. After all, it’s where I spend most of my waking hours and devote nearly all of my professional energy and expertise. After sending off our quarterly newsletter for advertisers, The Point, earlier today, it occurred to me that there is some great information about the best of what’s going on in our business today that the four readers of this blog might enjoy (yes, including you, Mom!).  From a positioning update from our GM Bill Todd, to insights on how to maximize performance from one of our product managers, Adolfo Cortes (and everything in between), this is a good snapshot of what we’re communicating to our advertiser clients and just a few of the reasons I’m excited about working with the impressive group of online advertising professionals that make up the ValueClick Media team.

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Yerba Buena Fundraiser

 
As I tinker with my new blog, I have received the sum total of two comments (both of which I tagged as SPAM), leaving me to wonder if a tree falls in the forest whether it makes a sound? Eventually, I trust someone will read my blog. I know I can at least count on my mom and my social media coach KurtyD.  Until WOTW is ready for prime time, this post is an example of something going on in my life that I would be compelled to share with thousands of followers if I had them.
 
When my son entered kindergarten, I dove headfirst into the Yerba Buena Elementary School Parent Faculty Association by volunteering to chair its publicity committee. Although the job mainly consists of supplying the local paper with photos of the kids doing interesting things and calendar of events listings for book fairs and the annual Halloween carnival, the 40th Anniversary Festival and Fundraiser next weekend is much more important.
 
As public education has suffered severe funding cutbacks, I have learned firsthand the increasing pressure being put on parents to pick up the shortfall. In addition to being asked for a $300 booster payment at the beginning of the year, there are countless fundraisers throughout the year and teachers routinely ask for donations for specific items. The pains of public education can be felt everywhere — and we live in a good district! I can’t imagine what issues parents in the poorest parts of Los Angeles and elsewhere must be dealing with.
 
What I do know, is that Yerba Buena must make up a huge budget shortfall each year to pay for music, sports, computer and education programs. And next weekend we’re hosting an auction fundraiser in conjunction with the school’s 40th anniversary celebration. It’s going to be a great evening full of music, fun and games like Jell-O relay and Hotwheels races, hula hoop competitions and dancing to music from the past four decades. After a live auction we’ll be watching classic cartoons like The Jetsons, Flintstones and Scooby-Doo under the stars. Should be fun!
 
While all of the festivities are geared for YB families and alumni, a wider swath of our community can help by participating in the online auction, which is now open. Come one come all to our family festival next weekend, but more importantly, please bid on some of these items and pass this information along to anyone you know who would care, especially residents of the Conejo Valley.
 

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