Saturday, April 11, 2020

Verizon's new email ad tool is ROI focussed

The service is part of Verizon’s suite of email and web advertising properties, which includes AOL and Yahoo, and well-known programmer David Heinemeier Hansson (the inventor of the Ruby on Rails web application framework) called out Verizon on Twitter today for what Hansson calls an “Orwellian” ad placement tool.
(It should be noted Hansson is helping develop a privacy-focused email client called Hey through his company Basecamp, of which he is the co-founder and chief technology officer alongside chief exec Jason Fried.)
Verizon Introduces Smartphone Plan Designed for Kids | PCMag

View Time Optimization is a play on the popular email marketing tool Send Time Optimization. That tool is not exclusively used by Verizon but by Mailchimp and countless other email marketing firms as well. It uses existing data gathered about an email user through their interactions with tracking pixels and other invasive yet near-universally used ad tech to know the best time to target you with an ad, which comes in the form of a new email that shows right up at the top of your inbox. 
Verizon’s version of this, however, goes one step further and tracks people in their AOL or Yahoo email client to send the ad out “when users are actively engaging with their inbox.” If it shows up right then, apparently, the data shows someone is more likely to open the message.
Gmail and other popular services, aggressively tracks its users, collects and stores their data, and then sells access to the inbox and the contents of people’s messages to advertisers. That’s because these products are, by and large, free, and the companies that make them earn money by amassing large user bases of largely apathetic consumers and then monetizing that user base via ads. 

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