My latest MediaPost column attracted the ire of none other than Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). So incensed with my accusation that many publishers abuse consumer privacy, he resorted to ad hominem attacks, going so far as to accuse me of "conning my readers." Sadly, ignoring his bluster, Mr. Rothenberg is just doing his job.
Rationing has been made a dirty word in the healthcare debate. But appropriate and successful rationing has been in effect for years in the publishing world, only we haven't expressed it that way. Most of the commentary on the New York Times announcement about its so-called "metered service" set for launch in 2011 has been focused on the need to have readers pay for content online "like they do offline." Observers have all focused on whether "enough" readers will pay. But that's only half the story.
It has come time for someone to finally call B.S. There have been countless articles and endless claims by publishers trumpeting self-regulation as the best means for dealing with consumer privacy. Publishers claim they're in the best position to protect their users. And they are completely full of crap.<
From the mailbox: Our agency mail room was a bit more busy this year than last year delivering vendors' gifts -- but ouch, my stomach still hurts from eating too many Harry & David gift towers. If I see another foil-embossed holiday card, I may lose it. Why is it that publishers have to send such lame gifts? Give me something I can use like an iTunes Giftcard. Or why can't they just make a contribution to charity? Give it to someone else who can really use something special for the holiday season. I know I seem ungrateful here, but …
So many predictions find their way into the public airwaves at this time. It's obviously a natural time for forecasting, but I also think it's because prognosticators are as insecure as anyone else, and feel a need to prove their own value, especially at the beginning of a calendar year. So pardon my need to be human as I share this intuitive sense about the long-term future of a business sector that currently dominates our space and headlines: the Web portals.