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Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

Their own technology

Garrett Sloane for AdAge:

Apple News will let top media partners use their own technology to fill the ad space in their content, becoming more of an extension of the publishers’ own websites than the walled-off island it is now, the people said.

At first I thought those that were linking to this have this wrong. But, the way it is written it appears that Apple is going to allow publishers to embed their own ad technology within their content to allow them to sell their ads within content that appears in the Apple News app.

I cannot believe Apple would allow this. This is a leak, of course, so the details are thin. But I can see it only going a few ways.

In one scenario, the leak is wrong (or poorly written) and Apple will allow publishers to use their own technology (meaning Apple’s) to sell ads. So, they can use Apple’s own ad platform to sell the ad inventory found within their own content within the app. This totally makes sense.

In another scenario, the leak is somewhat right in that Apple will allow publishers to use their own technology (meaning the publisher’s) to sell ads but with a ton of restrictions. This wouldn’t be ideal but I’m sure publishers would appreciate having a lot more control. Apple has stated multiple times how they are committed to privacy so they cannot allow the same tracking scripts in use on today’s web within their app. And, I can’t imagine they’d want to rely on outside dependencies – like the myriad of ad platform infrastructures – that could diminish the responsiveness of their app.

In the last scenario, the leak is 100% correct and Apple News will become a cesspool.

Since I use Apple News every single day, multiple times per day, I hope it is the first scenario.

/via Daring Fireball.

Chrome ad blocking

Sridhar Ramaswamy:

We believe online ads should be better. That’s why we joined the Coalition for Better Ads, an industry group dedicated to improving online ads. The group’s recently announced Better Ads Standards provide clear, public, data-driven guidance for how the industry can improve ads for consumers, and today I’d like to share how we plan to support it.

To that end, they are going to pre-install an ad-blocker in Chrome based on the Coalitions blacklist of annoying ads.

Chrome has always focused on giving you the best possible experience browsing the web. For example, it prevents pop-ups in new tabs based on the fact that they are annoying. In dialogue with the Coalition and other industry groups, we plan to have Chrome stop showing ads (including those owned or served by Google) on websites that are not compliant with the Better Ads Standards starting in early 2018.

Annoying is subjective. But I’m glad they’re doing something.

While they’re at it, it’d be cool if they added newsletter modal blocking too. We don’t see pop-up windows that much anymore (partly due to most modern browsers automatically blocking them by default). Nowadays we see pop-up “modals” for things like newsletter sign ups for a 10% discount. I think those are annoying and should be blocked too. Though we don’t see Chrome (or any other browser) blocking them by default yet.

I don’t understand attention hostile advertising. I work at a marketing and advertising company and I still don’t like these tactics. It isn’t a sustainable method. Imagine if newspapers in the 1800s could overlay the entire front-page of their papers with a guy fishing a Miller Lite out of a cooler? Print newspapers would have never made it as long as they did. Attention hostile advertising is a short-sighted approach. We need to think of ad units that are longterm, sustainable, and valuable to both customer and advertiser.

Attending Small Agency Idea Lab (SAIL) in Walt Disney World, Florida

Last week I attended SAIL, Second Wind’s Small Agency Idea Lab, at the Boardwalk Resort in Walt Disney World, Florida. This is the first marketing and advertising agency event that I’ve been to (usually attending technology or internet related events) and I really enjoyed myself and learned a lot.

SAIL is pitched as a lab and at times it really felt like one. The attendees were engaged, asked questions, provided answers, and steered the conversations and presentations as much as the presenters did.

Being that I was representing Condron Media for this event I did my best to jot down a myriad of notes and bring back what I thought was applicable for our business. I figured I’d take a moment during this week’s Homebrew Website Club to share a few of those notes so that perhaps you can benefit too.

  • “the only thing to continue will be the pace of change” – Brian Olson of inQuest said this during his presentation and it reverberated through the entirety of the two-day event. Most business sectors have already, or are in the process of, coming to grips with this fact already – change, or die. My boss, Phil Condron, laid that out great during our rebrand.
  • Profit sharing as a strategy – This is nothing new, in any industry, but the way Ross Toohey of 2e Creative and his CFO created a program that helps their team do their best work and service the customer better was inspiring.
  • workamajig – I’ve been online since 1994 and I had never heard of workamajig before I attended SAIL. I’ve used tons of project management software so I plan on looking into it and seeing if it may be right for our team or not.
  • Using IP to generate revenue – I tell this same concept to every single company I advise. I call it “sawdust”. Which I believe was inspired by Jason Fried in 2009. Turn your sawdust into revenue. Sharon Toerek ran a great presentation to show the myriad of ways that creative agencies can do this.

There were many other takeaways from SAIL that I plan on expounding on in future posts.

I get asked sometimes if the fees associated with these types of events are worth it. Yes. Without question. I am a strong advocate of attending as many events as you possible can. If you only come away with one tool, one contact, one new idea, one new process – nearly any price tag is worth it.

Plus, in this case, I managed to get a little bit of sun in March.

Attending Cropped! a rebranding competition

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Last night I attended an event created by AAF NEPA to help a non-profit organization rebrand. The idea was simple; create a few teams of branding professionals from local agencies and have them compete to create the best ideas and solutions to rebranding a local non-profit company.

I’ll leave the details of the competition to the event page itself. But I thought I’d take a second to discuss how rebrands are about problem solving and how this event demonstrated that perfectly.

Branding is an exercise in getting a company’s culture, message, and purpose demonstrated and communicated through every single thing the company does. I know it has been said a million times but it worth reiterating that branding is not a logo. Branding permeates a company’s activities from the way they answer the phone to how easy it is to unsubscribe to their monthly email newsletters. I was happy to see that everyone at Cropped! knew exactly what branding was.

Rebranding, on the other hand, is about solving problems. When a company decides it needs to rebrand itself there are generally reasons for doing so. Perhaps the overall aesthetic of the company feels dated or, as was the case with the EOTC (the non-profit that was part of this competition), the company’s purpose was being mis-communicated through it’s brand messaging.

This is when the company’s honesty about itself really needs to shine. What do people really think we are? How do they feel when they interact with our products or services or employees? Why do they think that? Why do they feel that? And so on.

I thought it was excellent that the competition began immediately by acknowledging the weaknesses of the EOTC’s current brand and laid them all out in front of the contestants so that they could begin to break them down and work through them one-by-one. That’s when the solutions to these issues became clearer and clearer. Certain colors were off-limits, specific branding icons weren’t to be used. This helps the teams to avoid the same traps that the previous EOTC brand team (if there was one) fell into.

Overall it was a cool event in a cool space and well worth getting out in the cold windy evening for. The THINK Center, where the event was held, was a great space in downtown Wilkes-Barre. If you have a chance to attend an event here it is worth checking it out for the gear alone.