Can Ad Targeting Work Without A Better Internet?
I noticed quite a few really smart people at the latest South by Southwest interactive (SXSWi) conference expressed their discontent with the overall quality of the Internet. That's aside from the World Wide Web Inventor Tim Berners-Lee, who during a keynote said that "The reason the Internet sucks today is because we haven't fixed it yet. … We messed up."
During another session, David Weinberger, co-director of the Harvard Library Innovation Lab, and the author of numerous works on people and technology, said something very similar: "The United States Internet infrastructure is totally fucked up. There's a lot of conversation to be had [about the subject], but that's where it starts."
Weinberger delivered one of the SXSW keynotes in 2003, and for reasons unknown, hasn't been back since, "Our culture has a picture of how knowledge works, which is essentially false: start with facts and build on top," he said.
Data doesn't lie, according to many, but what if the facts related to targeting ads are incorrect? I need to make it clear that Weinberger wasn't talking about ad targeting, but rather the accuracy of information on the Web.
The biggest problem is, "we have been willing to give up accuracy" in some data because it often corrects itself through other complementary data, such as comments in posts. Is the data reliable? Can it establish authority, or should we consider the source's credibility? He defined credibility as "should you believe this" vs. authority defined as "a belief in something because of the credibility of that source."
There's so much on the Web today that's not entirely true. Do we start with accuracy to gain credibility? What do you think?