The opening session at an Omniture Summit is a mix of pep rally, vision and celebration. Today’s event did not disappoint. To start the show, VP and GM of Omniture, Brad Rencher, tossed out some interesting stats about the audience. The one that struck me was that 40% of total online ad spend was represented by the companies in the room. That’s a pretty big number. So, it was not surprising that a big part of the “vision” aspect of the session was all about online advertising and the potential value offered to online advertisers by the January, 2011 acquisition of Demdex.
Online advertising is where the money is…$109 billion by 2013 according to IDC… and Adobe Omniture is placing itself squarely in the middle of trying to enable both advertisers and publishers do a better job of targeting ads. Demdex is a platform that allows you to aggregate all information you can get your hands on about online visitors. It’s like a CRM system, but allows you to put data in from external sources, such as Demdex’s data partners Acxiom, Datalogix, Exelate and TargusInfo. It’s a pretty powerful concept, no doubt. Vivek Shah, CEO of Ziff Davis, went into a surprisingly detailed description of how they’ve created BuyerBase, a targeted platform focused on 40 million tech buyers, with the Demdex technology.
Well, as one of the opening session speakers quipped, “the Omniture Summit is like Woodstock for geeks”…Or something to that effect. So if all of this talk about how to use data for online advertising gets folks feeling as heady as the contraband passed around at Woodstock, is there also a parallel to the “brown acid” warning in the form of privacy? Demdex seems like just the type of company that the FTC was talking about in its Privacy Report.
Demdex claims that it is a good citizen when it comes to providing consumers with a view into all the data that is collected about them and be able to opt out. This is accomplished through the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) opt out program. According to Politico, FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz was questioning this effort, "We commend industry's effort to get a broad group of industry leaders on board. However, the effectiveness of this effort will depend on how, and the extent to which, the opt-out is actually implemented and enforced - all of which is yet to be seen. We also urge industry to make sure that the opt-out is easy for consumers to find, use, and understand."
If visitors don’t accept third party cookies, they won’t be tracked by Demdex. However, the issue for Adobe Omniture is to both make sure they provide clear and effective options into opt out so it provides Demdex customers with both powerful marketing and something that isn’t going to get regulated out of existence. Maybe this will be covered in next year’s Summit opening session…probably not as exciting as today, but certainly something that will make all potentially interested purchasers be able to rest more easily.