Giving Thanks To Our Broken Industry

It is Thanksgiving this week, and it is customary to share what you’re thankful for. So here goes:

I am thankful that Joseph Jaffe and myself got it right when we predicted in late 2013 that the zero-paid media model (using the "marketing real estate" you control, including your social media) would become the winning marketing model. Not sure I am happy with the best-practice case that President-elect Trump has gifted us with -- but in the end, I’d rather be right then wrong.

I am grateful for Russian hackers, as how else would we have discovered that my Nest thermostat, Smart Keypad door locks and Samsung refrigerator are all potential security threats that can influence the outcome of an election. Plus, all email accounts are apparently hackable, so I am thankful to know that I simply don’t have to worry about my passwords anymore and can continue using “password” as my universal password.

I am thankful for the industry I am in, as it creates opportunities for people who are entrepreneurial and creative — but is equally open to people who want to defraud, scheme and steal. We have a choice in our equal-opportunity industry to do it right or do it wrong, and I am grateful for that.



I am grateful that we now have real and fake news and that misinformation is no longer discriminated against and is now treated equal to real information. Fake news is winning elections, and costing marketers real customers.

I am grateful that ill-informed consumers and (fake) news sites now help me determine if my household’s brand of toilet paper or chewing gum is socialist, fascist, racist or Communist. I am grateful that the Apple and Android app stores and Amazon are now full of politically motivated reviews based on these findings.

Choice is hard and I am grateful that the Internet, no matter how wrong, can help me to make (mis)informed choices. Besides, Mark Zuckerberg says 99% of Facebook content is authentic, so it’s all good.

I am grateful that data is no longer the ivory tower it once was. Data is now proven to be wrong most of the time (election polls) or full of mistakes (any Facebook measurement). And if you don’t like the data, there is some fake news out there that will prove the data plain wrong (global warming).

I am grateful that there is an organization called the Online Trust Alliance. I had never heard of it, and don’t think it has had much success to date, judging by the crisis we face in the advertising and news business. But we should be thankful we at least have an alliance with that name, and that it issued a report called “Vision for Trustworthy Advertising.” "It's almost like no one wants to change anything because change could mean disenfranchising some business models," said Craig Spiezle, president of the Online Trust Alliance. "If publishers cannot monetize ads what does that mean for the content we rely on?" This is where I want to scream “duuuuuuh” — but that does not help anybody.

Luckily we monetized the hell out of fake news, misinformed consumers and did fraudulent ad placement before the Online Trust Alliance stepped up! And that is something I am sure many are grateful for this year, from our president-elect to Mark Zuckerberg to all of these fake news sites. Happy Thanksgiving!

4 comments about "Giving Thanks To Our Broken Industry".
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  1. Ari Rosenberg from Performance Pricing Holdings, LLC, November 21, 2016 at 1:33 p.m.

    well played my fellow contributor, well played -- not sure you read today by apparently Sylvestor Stallone died today -- I saw the headline in an ad on Yahoo so it must be true :) -- keep fighting the good fight Maarten we'll get there.


  2. Maarten Albarda from Flock Associates (USA), November 21, 2016 at 2:36 p.m.

    WARNING: (and this is not fake, but based on personal experience) DO NOT click on the fake news sites. Apparently many come riddled with FAKE ransomware pop-ups. Even thought the pop-up will say your computer is infected and that restarting won't help, just restart your computer. If you have a good anti-virus program nothing will happen, just the annoyance of having to restart your computer.

  3. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, November 21, 2016 at 3:56 p.m.

    Yes, we are just human animals who have evolved from the amoeba, but at least they know who their true selves. Read it on the internet....well, at least half of that statement.

  4. Madelon Smith from Online Trust Alliance (OTA), November 22, 2016 at 11:25 a.m.

    Always love the pieces you contribute! We try to do what we can, even when we are just a voice crying in the wilderness...

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