ICO Cookie Monster Strikes Tomorrow

Friday, May 25th, 2012

May 25, 2012

On May 26, 2011, a new web privacy law came into effect in the United Kingdom (UK). The UK was first of the 27 European Union (EU) states to bring their laws in line with the directive intended to protect the privacy of individuals within the EU. With an understanding that there is work to be done and technical issues to resolve, the UK Government extended a one-year grace period for web sites to comply with the new regulations.

Well, the time as come! Effective tomorrow, the grace period is over and the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) will be authorized to impose fines of up to £500,000 — heavy!. In theory, all web sites that serve UK visitors would be subject to this legislation. In reality however, it will be very hard to pursue a case against companies with no legal presence in the EU.

While a few organizations may be looking to leverage web server locations as a scapegoat, it is the location of the legal entities that the enforcement agencies will be focused on– the web host locations won’t matter. There are many types of cookies and forms of consent, so the rules can get pretty complicated. So before you decide to cuddle with the cookie monster, consider that he can complicate your life and confine your business. For example, the legislation does not require consent for cookies to be used in situations defined as ‘strictly necessary’ — but what does that mean? As currently clarified, if a user has placed an order online, then it’s implied by the user’s initial request that permission be granted without further consent to interfere with the transaction. This is just one example of an exemption to the consent requirement, and there are likely to be many more as the battle continues. Very few precedents have been set, so it will be interesting to watch the progression in Europe — and to compare and contrast with the ‘Do Not Track’ agendas in the United States.

To further complicate the legislative implications, take a peek at the definition of “Consent” as noted in the Open letter on the UK implementation of Article 5(3) of the e-Privacy Directive on cookies: “Consent” is defined in the Data Protection Directive as “any freely given specific and informed indication of his wishes.” Note that there are no time constraints associated with this definition, and no specification that the consent must be “prior consent”. Therefore, it is possible that consent may be given after or during processing.

While a few of us may start to feel better about our online privacy, and I’d expect virtually none from the online marketing communities, this legislation has negative implications. The efforts required to acquire informed consent on the use of cookies are likely to be costly for web site owners and businesses. Non-compliant web site owners will have an advantage as well, because their users will not be faced with questions that interfere with their browsing and buying activities.

Is the EU agenda overkill? Why can’t we just rely on innovative solutions that work with our browsers, like Ghostery for instance, to give us better insight and control?

To learn more about online behavioral advertising using cookies, take a look at the video below from Christina Tsuei at The Wall Street Journal. This was created back in 2010, but still very relevant and helpful for understanding how cookies work.

MagnaGlobal predicts digital advertising to grow 18.7% in 2011

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

MagnaGlobal logoAccording to MagnaGlobal‘s “US Media Advertising Revenue Forecast” (as reported by DM news), “Revenue from awareness-driven mass media advertising will grow 10.8% in 2011. Revenue from national digital advertising will grow 18.7% in 2011, driven by strong growth in display, online video and mobile budgets, according to the firm.”

The growth picture for direct media is not so bright:

“Direct media, which the firm defined as Internet Yellow Pages, paid search, lead generation, print directories and direct mail, will perform more poorly than mass media for a second consecutive year. However, direct media advertising revenue will ultimately grow at a greater pace than mass media advertising revenue in the long term, the firm said. Direct media advertising revenue will grow 3.9% by 2016, compared with the 3.7% growth in mass media advertising revenue in that time.”

Direct mail, once again surprises the analysts because it bucks the trend of other traditional media and continues to grow: “Direct mail did a lot better than we thought,” said Feldman. “It will grow each year within the next five years. But compared to electronic media, direct mail and directories are at a disadvantage.”

Saving Direct Mail — One Video at a Time

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

It's a fact. The mailing lists you choose will determine the success of your marketing campaign. There are more than 60,000 active postal lists, email lists, and insert media programs on the market today. NextMark is helping you find them, one video at a time.

NextMark technology makes it easier to find better lists, and get marketing services providers connected online.

RMI and Millard First To Add Video To Data Cards

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

RMI Direct Marketing was well-prepared for NextMark's latest software release (version 6.12) enabling video marketing for mailing lists. As of this morning, a NextMark list search revealed that RMI had posted a total of 90 videos to their data cards. Included in the mix were list management presentations exclusively for non-profit list brokers and mailers, and a nice pitch from Richard Leary regarding statistical modeling on the Guideposts Associates Masterfile. Check it out below:

RMI's Chief Executive Officer, Martin Stein was among tfirst to comment on this innovation.

"The data card has always served the list community as a one dimensional marketing tool – a basic template of segments, selections and pricing. NextMark's introduction of videos offers a new vehicle for data managers to capture the attention of list brokers and mailers in a personalized fashion for today's digital world. This type of forward thinking is a boon to our industry, and RMI is honored to be a part of such ground breaking innovation."

Anthony DiNino, Millard Group also responded to the opportunity with the posting of an informative video that promotes the unique attributes of the Time Life Package Insert Program. Check it out below:

For the full story, check out today's press release titled "NextMark Enables Video Marketing For Mailing Lists". The DMNews article is also good and it points to the ROI associated with leveraging video technology for lists. I wonder what we'll see next?

Remix culture

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Chris' recent blog on Chocolate Rain reminded me of new cultural phenomenon that Larry Lessig calls the Remix Culture. You may chide Tay Zonday and Chocolate Rain for it's amateur production relative to broadcast standard, but you have to respect its 33 million views. And you also have to respect it for the remix attention it has received including John Mayer's version, Weezer's references in Pork n Beans, and one of my personal favorites, Chad Vader. Chad, as you might guess, is a remix of Darth Vader.  So, Chad Vader's version of Chocolate Rain is a double-derivative remix:

What does this mean for you and your business? People love to remix. For example, it didn't stop with Chad Vader. You may have also heard about the Cookie Monster's version from Michael Scott on 'The Office'.

Is there a way for you to allow your customers to interact with and remix your products and services? Larry Lessig might give you some ideas.

Marketing Freeconomics and The Chocolate Rainmaker

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

Don't be discouraged if your 2009 marketing budget has been cut – there's still hope! Take a look at the success of the Chocolate Rainmaker, Tay Zonday. This baritone claims no formal musical training, and uses a cheap clamp on light with a fluorescent bulb as his signature hardware for on-line video production. His YouTube video "Chocolate Rain" has been viewed 33 million times, voted one of the best according to the Washington Post, and got him multiple appearances on national television. Check out the original version below:

Don't think for a minute that the opportunities of this current on-line video age do not apply to direct marketers. The rise of direct marketing freeconomics is a maturing concept, and NextMark is embracing it. Why not you?

We're looking to enable list managers to post video content on data cards as a free service in late Q1 2009. Traffic continues to soar on free mailing list search portals now that word is out that they can be used to gather market intelligence in addition to list research. List managers can embrace direct marketing freeconomics, and become rainmakers for list and data sales, by posting quality content about their files in direct marketing forums and blogs. A simple URL applied to a data card is all you need to promote your list title no cost. Here's an example:

Check out the list popularity index (LPI) on the data card for The Swiss Colony Catalog Food and Gift Buyers mailing list. Now that's not only an impressive statistic, but valuable information for list brokers. Take a look at the hightly correlated lists section and you'll see Godiva Chocolatier. Maybe it's time to start thinking 'Outside The Box of Chocolates'?

Videos by List Management companies

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

After blogging yesterday on the increasing importance of video in business, I was curious to see if any mailing list management companies had videos on YouTube. My research did not reveal much other than some cheesy videos from MLM opportunity seekers.

That's great news for legitimate companies seeking a competitive advantage! It's a wide open domain and you can win "mind-share" and market in a very inexpensive way.

But you think it's too hard? If a college kid can do a mailing list video out of his dorm room, you can create videos, too!

A good example of one company that's moving into this frontier is RMI Direct Marketing. They posted a video to promote their Nutrition Action Healthletter Subscribers mailing list:

This entertaining video not only helps to promote the list but also solidifies the relationship with their client. I think list management companies would be well-served by following RMI's example.

Online video watching jumps 34% in 2008

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

According to a January 5, 2009 comScore report, "U.S. Internet users viewed 12.7 billion online videos during [November 2008], representing an increase of 34 percent versus year ago." This shows the increasing importance of online video. If you are not already looking at this for your business, you should start now.

Need more proof? Here's an interview with Bruce Clay by WebProNews where he says "if you don't have video and your competition does, you'll lose":

This interview also provides an excellent perspective on the state of search engine marketing in 2009.