To celebrate its half a century of publication, New York has been releasing features focused on stories that made New York, well, New York. In the process, the magazine is also reminding readers why it’s a staple among city dwellers.
These stories have run the gamut from the hyper-local — a peek into the origins of the Park Slope Food Coop, to the universal — the story of King Tut arriving at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the late 1970s and creating the museum blockbuster show in the process.
Last week’s feature explored the advent of programmatic advertising and the creation of Right Media in a story called “How to Succeed in Advertising (and Transform the Internet While You’re At It).”
The piece, while offering a rich history of the players involved in the early formation of companies, like Right Media and Double Click, also contextualizes their rise and fall. (In the case of Right Media, which was shuttered by Yahoo in 2015, as well as the larger impact on today’s culture.)
As the story’s intro states: “We have programmatic advertising to thank for the internet’s wealth — and privacy problems. And we have Right Media to thank for programmatic ads.”
The modern ramifications of the seemingly quaint origin stories found in the piece — Jonah and Noah Goodhart founding a newsletter called Colonize after Jonah realized there was a market for customers thirsty for internet deals; the first banner ads on Wired’s website called HotWired.com; the emergence of new, exciting ad networks slowly disrupting industries — resonate today.
This year alone has seen the introduction of the GDPR in the E.U. and the Cambridge Analytica scandal, both of which have revolved around the mining and protection of individual’s privacy.
Further, the publishing industry continues to hemorrhage as it attempts to find ways to sustain revenue streams as Facebook, Google—owner of DoubleClick and Amazon — continue to gobble up advertising dollars. Incidentally, following the introduction of the GDPR, Google is going stronger than ever.
The story’s slow burn reveal of the details of the early days of programmatic advertising is compelling. The details aren’t immediately connected to what’s gone right and very wrong by 2018, making those connections all the more interesting.