Viewability has been an increasingly hot topic. Advertisers are clamoring for increased viewability levels; companies are scrambling to develop technologies that improve viewability; trade organizations are hard at work setting new viewability guidelines. While I agree that viewability is important, I feel that this is a misplaced concern for a number of reasons.
The advice I have dispensed in this column to premium publishers these past 10 years has been fulfilling for me to give -- and generally ignored. That's not surprising. What I do find perplexing is how so many people in this business of premium publishing ignore their own guts.
Several years ago, when people really cared about Windows vs. Mac OS, I heard a joke that went something like this: "If cars were designed by Microsoft, we would constantly have to stop to reboot them." Today, I am compelled to make a different joke: "If our highways were designed by advertisers, billboards would jump in the middle of the highway whenever we tried to drive by."
Market forces are funny things. They travel in the direction they want to travel, no matter how much they are told not to. Despite trying to reverse the direction of these market forces, they have not veered from their original flight plan. As a result, the turbulence they create is causing the premium publishing industry to crash and burn.