Privacy, Google Changes Start the Year – Spotlight 194

10 Second Takeaway: 2017 will be a year filled with change as we wrote before the holidays. We’ll start with big phone companies filing motions to take away consumer privacy protections. And over at Google, the first big change of the year occurs tomorrow when penalties roll out for websites that use an ad to block a website’s content. The worst offender might be business magazine Forbes which always sends users to an advertising page before display content. Don’t get caught. Talk with us if you need to understand how this affects your organization.


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The trade group representing Comcast, Charter, and Cox filed a 29 page petition last week with the government requesting the withdrawal of “privacy and security rule” reported Brian Fung in The Washington Post.

The rules protested by the companies protect your Internet history, your email and other private information. Without these rules in place, the company providing your service can sell information about what you do online on an individual level to data brokers who then sell it to all kind of users.

We’re marketers. We love big data. We love highly targeted campaigns. But even those of us who love data think think that this is an abhorrent idea, and an unconscionable breach of trust and the privacy you should be able to expect from your service provider. We urge you to learn what is going on and let your elected officials know that you do not want this information shared. 

This is serious. They want to sell all of your email content, every search you make, and all the websites you visit–complete with date and time stamps, and personally identifying information.

More About This:  Start with ProPublica’s great article, “Facebook Doesn’t Tell Users Everything It Really Knows About Them“.

ProPublica talks about a “tool” in the article. You don’t need the tool to see Facebook’s ad settings. Go directly to Facebook’s Ad Settings at this link. You will need to log in to your Facebook account because this link is on Facebook and contains your personal information.


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The first big search initiative of 2017 rolls out this week. An “interstitial”–which is usually advertising content that obscures a web page or app’s content–will be considered intrusive and create a “search penalty” for that page. You can read the original Google announcement here.

Other Search News You Need To Know Now
  • We’ve been sharing information about the future of voice-based search. Bill Slawski reports that Google is scurrying to patent its voice search technology.Slawski’s always meticulous research shows that Google is thinking hard about the vocal stress on pronouns used when you’re searching. 

Our Take: Your organization is going to have to have a mobile-only strategy now. Simply making your desktop website properly display on a mobile phone isn’t going to be good enough. It’s really not good enough now and will soon be unacceptable. Remember to keep the user’s experience top of mind while still trying to achieve your organization’s goals. Those two concepts are tough to balance, but it is critical that they have equal parts in your organization’s online presence.

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