Let’s write an obituary for ad-based death sites; Amazon Go Go Go, accelerating store-based advertising technologies

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Programmatic grave robbers

Caity Weaver, editor of the New York Times Magazine, shined a light on a crude and morbid practice of the open web – death-related news as an online advertising funnel.

Weaver paid $900 to publish an obituary for his mother in his local newspaper. Which, because it was funny and well-written, was picked up by local news and aggregator sites, including the New York Post. The thing is, now these sites are profiting directly from this obituary, including original photographs taken by his father.

Some websites even include donation links which seem to be part of the wishes of the family – with language like “planting trees to honor his memory” – but which in fact are only earning a commission from the site (if they are not outright fraudulent).

Aggregator sites and programmatic death mills, as you might call them, have gain territory scraping funeral home sites, the web, and social media for news of deaths, just to create landing pages with names, copy-and-paste obituaries…and a barrage of ad units.

These sites evade brand safety tags (obituary language is soft, not graphic) and invalid traffic detection because they get legitimate organic search traffic; Often the first thing people do when they hear tragic news is Google a name.

Crossing the Amazon

Amazon wants to apply its e-commerce data to in-person purchases.

Imagine if a marketer knew a shopper was going so far as to pick up their product…before putting it back on the shelf. Or, if they bought a product online after seeing it in store. With a new product called Store Analytics, Amazon is sharing in-store performance data on brands’ products in Amazon Fresh stores and other stores with Amazon Go self-checkout technology.

Amazon uses a mix of AI, cameras and sensors throughout the store to determine how often items are pulled from the shelf and how many have been purchased, in addition to helping customers avoid the checkout line .

With better visibility into product performance in stores (where the vast majority of CPG and beverage revenue is still made), brands can assign and optimize channels such as DOOH, CTV, and web programmatic based on a metric that matters to this business. Amazon can also tell brands if and how often their product was picked up and later purchased from Amazon.com, Tech Crunch reports.

But a lot of data is involved in closing this attribution loop, which Amazon says is completely anonymized.

“The data brands receive about shoppers will never include [their] photos and videos, individual data or session details”, blog post bed.

Smart as a fox

Mozilla’s Firefox browser has released a user control to remove URL tracking parameters.

Tracking parameters indicate how affiliate links, advertisements, newsletters, online audience platforms, etc., tell where a user is coming from and why.

Go from WSJ.com to the Technology section and the URL ends with the tag: “?mod=nav_top_section” (the URL tracking parameter text usually follows a question mark). In this case, the parameter internally signifies that the reader has accessed the section directly via the home page. Facebook loves tracking parameters because it’s credited with sending users to news articles or shopping sites.

Cory Underwood, analytics engineer at data services consultancy Search Discovery, cited Facebook, Marketo, HubSpot, Vero, Drip and Olytics (each a social platform or analytics technology provider) are among the companies that, at a minimum, will be “negatively affected” on attribution.

Paul Bannister, Chief Strategy Officer of CafeMedia, and others speculate whether Firefox will remove Google settings, since Mozilla’s main revenue is a Google search license agreement. (Google might respond by sending checks to “Mozilla.org” and expecting them to find out.)

DuckDuckGo got a bang recently because it removes tracking parameters except for Microsoft and Linkedin…and has a search agreement with Microsoft search engine Bing.

But wait, there’s more!

The iPhone at 15: A look at how the Apple device transformed a generation. [WSJ]

Facebook groups are being redesigned to look like Discord. [The Verge]

More than half of advertisers will increase their CTV ad spend over the next 12 months. [B+C]

Snapchat is experimenting with a subscription service, Snapchat+. [Axios]

Surviving the winter of mobile marketing: the flight to quality. [Mobile Dev Memo]

Royal Bank of Canada and Enthusiast Gaming are working on a campaign targeting career opportunities in the marketing industry. [MediaPost]

You are engaged!

Google Commerce leader Bill Ready joins Pinterest as CEO. [tweet]

TV monetization platform Viamedia promotes two executives to SVP. [blog]

Audit agency BPA Worldwide appoints new CEO. [MediaPost]

Firework is bringing in former TikTok executive Meg Siegel as the brand’s vice president of marketing. [release]

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