Tag Archives: Criteo

Middle of the seesaw

To be honest, I am not sure where to stand, even now, as we see ‘Google starts appeal against £2bn shopping fine‘ (at https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-51462397), I am personally still in the mindset that there is something wrong here. 

We can give the critique that my view is too much towards Google, and that is fine, I would accept that. Yet the part where we see 

  • In 2017, €2.4bn over shopping results.
  • In 2018, €4.3bn fine over claims it used Android software to unfairly promote its own apps.
  • In 2019, €1.5bn fine for blocking adverts from rival search engines.

Feels like it is part of a much bigger problem. I believe that some people are trying to stage the setting that some things are forced upon companies and I do not mean in the view of sharing. I personally do not believe that it is as simple as Anti-Trust. It feels like a more ‘social mindset’ that some things must be shared, but why?

The BBC also gives us: “Margrethe Vestager, who has taken a tough stance on the Silicon Valley tech firms and what she sees as their monopolistic grip on the digital landscape” this might feel like the truth, yet I personally feel that this was in the making for a long time, Adobe was on that page from the start. I believe that as the digital landscape was slowly pushed into a behemoth by Macromedia, who also acquired Coldfusion a change came to exist, for reference, at that time Microsoft remained a bungling starter holding onto Frontpage, an optional solution for amateurs, but there was already a strong view that this was a professional field. that stage was clearly shown by Adobe as it grew its company by 400% in revenue over a decade, its share value rose by almost 1,000% and its workforce tripled. There was a clear digital landscape, and one where Google was able to axe a niche into, the others were flaccid and remained of the existing state of mind that others must provide. Yet in all this Social media was ignored for far too long and the value of social media was often ignored until it was a decade too late. 

For example, I offered the idea that it would be great to be in the middle of serviced websites where we had the marketing in hands, my bosses basically called me crazy, that it had no functioning foundation, that it was not part of the mission statement and that I had to get back to work, I still have the email somewhere. This was 4 years before Facebook!

I admit that my idea was nothing as grandiose as Facebook, it was considered on other foundations an I saw the missing parts, but no one bit and now that I know better on the level of bullet point managers I am confronted with and their lack of marketing I now know better and my 5G solutions are closed to all but Huawei and Google, innovation is what drives my value and only those two deliver.

But I digress, the Digital Landscape was coming to be, and as we realise that this includes “websites, email, social networks, mobile devices (tablets, iphones, smartphones), videos (YouTube), etc. These tools help businesses sell their products or services” we can clearly see that Microsoft, Amazon and others stayed asleep at the wheel.
some might have thought that it was a joke when Larry Page and Sergey Brin offered the email service on April 1st 2004, yet i believe that they were ahead of many (including me) on how far the digital landscape would go, I reckon that not even Apple saw the massive growth, perhaps that Jobs fellow did, but he was only around until 2011 when it really kicked off. IBM, Microsoft and others stayed asleep thinking that they could barge in at a later stage, as I see it, IBM chose AI and quantum computing thinking that they can have the other niche no one was ready for. 

When we consider that we saw ‘Google faces antitrust investigation by 50 US states and territories‘ 6 months ago and not 5 years ago we see part of the bigger picture, of course they could have left it all to China, was that the idea? When we get “Regulators are growing more concerned about company’s impact on smaller companies striving to compete in Google’s markets” we will see the ignoring stage, when it mattered smaller places would not act, as Google acted it became much larger than anyone thought, even merely two years ago we were al confronted with ‘companies’ letting Google technology do all the work and they get all the credit and coin, why should Google comply? Striving to compete with Google is no longer a real option and anyone thinking that is nuts beyond belief. The only places that can hold a candle are the ones with innovative ideas and in an US economy founded on the principle of iteration no one keeps alive, but they are all of the mind that franchising and iteration is the path to wealth, it is not, only the innovative survive and that is being seen in larger ways by both Google and Huawei. Those who come into the field without innovation is out of options, it is basically the vagrant going to the cook demanding part of the pie the cook made as they are hungry, yet the vagrant has no rights to demand anything. 

And as we are given (read: fed) the excuse of “Alphabet, has a market value of more than $820bn and controls so many facets of the internet that it’s fairly impossible to surf the web for long without running into at least one of its services. Google’s dominance in online search and advertising enables it to target millions of consumers for their personal data” we can give others the state where Microsoft did its acts to take out Netscape, how did that end? It ended in United States v. Microsoft Corp.. In all,  we see that in the end (no matter how they got there) that the DOJ announced on September 6, 2001 that it was no longer seeking to break up Microsoft and would instead seek a lesser antitrust penalty.

As such, in the end Microsoft did not have to break up hardware and software, they merely had to adopt non-Microsoft solutions, yet how did that end? How many data failures and zero day breaches did its consumer base face? According to R. Cringely (a group of journalists and writers with a column in InfoWorld) we get “the settlement gave Microsoft “a special antitrust immunity to license Windows and other ‘platform software’ under contractual terms that destroy freedom of competition.”” (source: Webcitation.org). 

Yet all this is merely a stage setting, it seems that as governments realised the importance of data and the eagerness of people giving it away to corporations started to sting, you see corporations can be anywhere, even in US hostile lands and China too. That is the larger stage and Google as it deals in data is free of all attachments, as governments cannot oversee this they buckle and the larger stage is set. 

From my point of view, Google stepped in places where no one was willing to go, it was for some too much effort and as that landscape shaped only google remains, so why should they hand over what they have built? 

It is Reuters that give is the first part of it all (at ) here we see: “EU regulators said this penalty was for Google’s favoring its own price comparison shopping service to the disadvantage of smaller European rivals“, yet what it does not give us is that its ‘smaller rivals’ are all using Google services in the first place, and Google has the patent for 30 years, so why share? This is a party for innovators, non-innovators are not welcome!

Then we get “Google’s search service acts as a de-facto kingmaker. If you are not found, the rest cannot follow“, which is optionally strange, because anyone can join Google, anyone can set up camp and anyone can advertise themselves. I am not stupid, I know whatthey mean, but whe it mattered they could not be bothered, no they lack the data, exaytes of data and they cannot compete, they limited their own actions and they all want to be head honcho right now, no actual investment required.

In addition when it comes to Browsers, Wired gives us “I spent the summer and beyond using Bing instead of Google for search. It’s a whole new world, but not always for the better“, I personally cannot stand Bing, I found it to have issues (not going into that at present), so as we are ‘not found’ we consider the Page rank that Stanford created for Google (or google bought it), when we consider when that happened, when was it reengineered and by whom? And when we got to the second part “Google began selling advertisements associated with search keywords“, that was TWO DECADES AGO! As such, who was innovative enough to try and improve it with their own system? As I see it no one, so as no one was interested, why does there need to be an antitrust case? As such we see the Google strategy of buying companies and acquiring knowledge, places like Microsoft and IBM no longer mattered, they went their own way, even (optionally) better, Microsoft decided to Surf-Ace to the finish, I merely think, let them be them.

We are so eager to finalise the needs for competition law and antitrust law, but has anyone considered the stupidity of the iteration impact? If not, consider why 5G is in hands of Huawei, they became the innovators and whilst we are given the stage of court case after court case on the acts of Huawei, consider why they are so advanced in 5G, is it because they were smarter, or because the others became flaccid and lazy? I believe that both are at play here and in this, all the anti-Google sentiment is merely stopping innovators whilst iterators merely want to be rich whilst not doing their part, why should we accommodate for that?

so when we see (source: Vox) “United States antitrust officials have ordered the country’s top tech companies to hand over a decade’s worth of information on their acquisitions of competitor firms, in a move aimed at determining how giants like Amazon and Facebook have used acquisitions to become so dominant” who does it actually serve? is it really about ‘how giants like Amazon and Facebook have used acquisitions to become so dominant‘, or is it about the denial of innovation? Is it about adding to the surface of a larger entity that governments do not even comprehend, let alone understand? They have figured out that IP and data are the currency of the future, they merely need to be included, the old nightmare where corporations are in charge and politicians are not is optionally coming to fruition and they are actually becoming scared of that, the nerd the minimised at school as they were nerds is setting the tone of the future, the Dominant Arrogant player beng it sales person or politician is being outwitted by the nerd and service minded person, times are changing and these people claim that they want to comprehend, but in earnest, I believe that they are merely considering that the gig is up, iteration always leads there, their seeming ignorance is evidence of that.

Yet in all that, this is basically still emotional and not evidence driven, so let’s get on with that. The foundation of all Common Law Competition Law is set to “The Competition and Consumer Act prohibits two persons, acting in concert, from hindering or preventing a third person trading with a fourth person, where the purpose or likely effect of the conduct is to cause a substantial lessening of competition in any market in which the fourth person is involved“, yet in this, I personally am stating that it hinders innovation, the situation never took into proper account of the state of innovators versus iterators, the iterator needs the innovator to slow down and the foundation of Competition Law allows for this, when we see ‘preventing a third person trading with a fourth person‘, in this the iterator merely brings his or her arrogance and (optional) lack of comprehension to the table and claims that they are being stopped from competing, whilst their evidence of equality is seemingly lacking (as I personally see it). 

In this the Columbia Law School is (at least partially) on my side as I found “Scholars and policymakers have long thought that concentrated market power and monopolies produce more innovation than competition. Consider that patent law—which is the primary body of law aimed at creating incentives for innovation—was traditionally thought to conflict with antitrust law. Known as the “the patent-antitrust paradox,” it was often said that antitrust is designed to prevent monopolies and other exclusionary practices while the patent system does the opposite, granting exclusionary rights and market power in the form of patents. Given this framework, it makes sense that scholars, courts, and government agencies have only recently considered antitrust and patent laws to be complementary policies for encouraging innovation.” it gives the foundation and when you consider that iterators are the foundation of hindrance to innovators, you see how competition law aids them. In the old days (my earlier example) Microsoft and Netscape that was a stage where both parties were on the same technology and comprehension level. Microsoft merely had the edge of bundling its browser with the OS and got the advantage there, Netscape did not have that edge, but was an equal in every other way. 

Another name is Gregory Day, who gives us: “a greater number of antitrust lawsuits filed by private parties—which are the most common type of antitrust action—impedes innovation. Second, the different types of antitrust actions initiated by the government tend to affect innovation in profoundly different ways. Merger challenges (under the Clayton Act) promote innovation while restraint of trade and monopolization claims (under sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act) suppress innovative markets. Even more interesting, these effects become stronger after the antitrust agencies explicitly made promoting innovation a part of their joint policies” yet I believe that iterators have a lot more to gain by driving that part and I see that there is actually a lack of people looking into that matter, who are the people behind the antitrust cases? Most people in government tend to remain unaware until much later in the process, so someone ‘alerts’ them to what I personally see as a  ‘a fictive danger’. In this I wonder who the needed partner in prosecution was and what their needs were. I believe that iterators are a larger problem than anyone ever considered.

In the case of Google, Amazon and Facebook, we see innovators driving technology and the others have absolutely nothing to offer, they are bound to try and slow these three down as they are trying to catch up. 

Ian Murray wrote in 2018 (CEI.ORG), “Yet there is no such thing as a dominant market position unless it is guaranteed by government. AOL, Borders, Blockbuster, Sears, Kodak, and many other firms once considered dominant in their markets have fallen as the result of competition, without any antitrust action” and that is a truth, yet it does not give that the iterators merely want innovators to slow down, so that they can catch up and the law allows for this, more importantly, as the lack of innovations were not driven over the last decade, South Korea became a PC behemoth, and China now rules in 5G Telecom land. All are clear stages of iterators being the problem and not a solution, even worse they are hindring actual innovation to take shape, real innovation, not what is marketed as such.

As such, governments are trying to get some social setting in place by balancing the seesaw whilst standing at the axial point, it is a first signal that this is a place where innovators are lost and in that are you even surprised that a lot of engineers will only take calls from Google or Huawei (Elon Musk being an optional third in the carbon neutral drive)? 

It gets to be even worse (soon enough), now that Google is taking the cookie out of the equation, we get to see ‘Move marks a watershed moment for the digital ad industry to reinvent itself‘, this is basically the other side of the privacy coin, even as google complied, others will complain and as Google innovates the internet to find another way to seek cookie technology, we will suddenly see every advertisement goof with no knowledge of systems cry ‘foul!’ and as we are given “Criteo, which built a retargeting empire around cookies, saw its stock tumble following Google’s announcement. Others such as LiveRamp and Oracle-owned businesses BlueKai and Datalogix, as well as nearly all data management platforms, now face the challenge of rethinking their business” (source: AdAge) we will see more players hurdling themselves over Competition Law and optionallytowards antitrust cases because these players used someones technology to get a few coins (which is not a bad thing, but to all good things come an end).

And I am not against these changes, the issue is not how it will be reinvented, it is how some will seek the option to slow the actual innovators down because they had no original idea (as I personally see it). Yet we must also establish that Google did not make it any easier and they have their own case ORACLE AMERICA, INC. v. GOOGLE INC. to thank for.

That verdict was set to “With respect to Google’s cross-appeal, we affirm the district court’s decisions: (1) granting Oracle’s motion for JMOL as to the eight decompiled Java files that Google copied into Android; and (2) denying Google’s motion for JMOL with respect to the rangeCheck function. Accordingly, we affirm-in-part, reverse-in-part, and remand for further proceedings.” in this situation, for me “The jury found that Google infringed Oracle’s  copyrights in the 37 Java packages and a specific computer routine called “rangeCheck,” but returned a noninfringement verdict as to eight decompiled security files. The jury  deadlocked on Google’s fair use defense.“, as I see it in that situation Oracle had been the innovator and for its use Google was merely an iterator (if it ain’t baroque, don’t fix it).

Basically one man’s innovator is another man’s iterator, which tends to hold up in almost any technology field. Yet this time around, the price is a hell of a lot higher, close to half a dozen iterators ended up giving an almost complete technology surge to China (5G), which is as I personally see it. They were asleep at the wheel and now the US administration is trying to find a way around it, like they will just like ORACLE AMERICA, INC. v. GOOGLE INC.  more likely than not come up short.

And one of these days, governments will figure out that the middle of the seesaw is not the safe place to be, it might be the least safe place to be. As the population on each end changes, the slow reaction in the middle merely ends up having the opposite and accelerating effect, a few governments will learn that lesson the hard way. I believe that picking two players on one (or either side) side is the safest course of action, the question for me remains will they bite?

 

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The time is now

Yesterday, an article in the BBC made me aware of a few items. Now, I was aware to a larger degree of most items, yet I kept it in the second drawer of the third desk of my brain, it was something I took for accepted and then shrug it off, so what changed? Nothing actually changed, but the article seems good enough to take a few items on view.

The article (at https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-51115315) gives us “Google has announced a timeline for implementing new privacy standards that will limit third-party use of a digital tool known as cookies“, now this is nothing new, it was always going to happen, yet we also see: “analysts say the move gives Google more control over the digital ad market where it is already a major player.  To make advertising more personal web browsers collect small bits of information that allow them to create a profile of the users likes and online habits“, the question becomes, is that actually true? And when we see “This presents a core problem from a competition perspective. It is yet another example of Google diminishing ad rivals’ access to data for the stated purpose of protecting users’ privacy“, a quote from Dina Srinivasan, a lawyer focused on competition issues is not really that truthful, is it? Apple made a similar move in 2017 and when we go back in time, we see Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, Microsoft Edge, and Opera. Most will have forgotten Netscape who became defunct in 2003, and basically stopped making a blip 2 years before that. We seemingly forgot about the exploitative market that Microsoft had in those days with Internet Explorer and all the crap it added to our HTML files (as did Word when we saved as an HTML file), in those days data in files was still an issue because there was a limit to what we could safe when we were not rich. Chrome was the first to keep our files clean, or at least lacking a lot of rubbish. Netscape was however on a different route, an employee of Netscape Communications, which was developing an e-commerce application for MCI. MCI did not want its servers to have to retain partial transaction states which was a killer for storage, as such they asked the people at Netscape to find a way to store partial options and methods of transactions where it mattered the most, at the side of the buyer, Cookies provided a solution to the problem of reliably implementing a virtual shopping cart, Google found a new way of using that idea and used cookies in the far reaching solution it currently has, they innovated, others merely took on board someone else’s solution and not they are all crying foul. Perhaps when these people had taken the time to innovate, they would have the choice, and the option of two years seems decent, so when I read “advertisers had hoped to have more time before it was implemented” is as I personally see a larger BS issue on timeframes and exploitation, if advertisers are in the now, they would be all about advanced implementation, yet they like their bonus and they seemingly do not like to spend money on investments to counter the timeline (an assumption from my side). 

Google’s director of Chrome engineering, Justin Schuh gives us “Users are demanding greater privacy – including transparency, choice and control over how their data is used – and it’s clear the web ecosystem needs to evolve to meet these increasing demands“, which seems slightly too political to my liking, but there we have it. Business Day gives us “But GDPR also made life harder for a cohort of second-tier adtech players trying to compete with the likes of Google and Facebook. The regulation’s provision to prevent data being shared wantonly with third parties seemed to give the tech giants an opportunity to tighten their control over user data” where we see that this was one of the foundations that led to the end of SizMek, some state that it was DSP Rocket Fuel that ended the heartbeat of SizMek, yet everyone ignores a simple truth, ‘an overcrowded ad tech market with independent vendors with an inability to face serious cost pressures to their pricing structures‘, they all arrogantly believed that THEIR solution was the real one and they all basically read cookies like the ones Google had distributed. You can all claim to have the magic potion that Asterix drinks, but when the truth comes out that he drinks Darjeeling tea from India, the playing field gets overcrowded and when the customer figures out what they get priced for the end is pretty much around the corner of the next door you face.

So as we are told “third-party ad sellers will need to go through Google to get information about internet users. But critics say that is an advantage that makes the market less fair and safe“, in my view my question becomes: ‘Which critics, names please!‘, the problem is that third party ad sellers have no rights, none at all, the rights should be with the owner of the computer, Google (Apple also) are setting (not by their own accord) that stage, Microsoft is using their Azure Cloud to counter the Cookie option on PC and Microsoft Console, but the hard sight is already there, the people who are unable, unwilling and cannot afford to set the stage still want their freebee and they are now starting to complain as they are made aware that their time has ended, even though this was the direction we saw in US politics and EU politics well over three years ago. The EU had their General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and everyone shrugged their shoulders stating that it would not happen that fast, yet that was three years ago and now the time has been set back to merely two years to go and the ad sellers are feeling the pinch of the cost they will actually face. Moreover, they are seeing the red lights of career ends. The Verge gave us “an industry that’s used to collecting and sharing data with little to no restriction, that means rewriting the rules of how ads are targeted online“, they gave us that on May 25th 2018, so 1.5 years ago, why is this now a problem? The people wanted this, ad soon it will be here, Google has not been sitting still updating their systems accordingly, and as such we see that the flaccid and non-concerned rest is now looking at a deadline a mere two years away. When we look to the larger field we see Criteo, LiveRamp, Trade Desk, Rubicon, and Telaria, all losing value as ad-tech providers, yet the opposite could also be true when they offer to the customer a value, a value where most ad-tech companies never bothered going. Yet the power of any ad-tech was never the cookie, that was for the most merely the revenue. They had 5 years to consider the power of ad-tech and they didn’t. The power of this is basically engagement. Facebook showed this year after year and now it is out on the larger field, those who engage will survive, the rest will end up on a dog eat dog football field and a few will survive but only as long as they push to the next hurdle and make it, if not they will end up on the obituary page (just like Netscape, however Netscape ended there for other reasons). 

I wonder if that is why Google is so adamant about its stadia? It would get a massive tier of small time developers creating engagement content to be released on mobiles. That i me merely speculating. 

Still the words of Dina Srinivasan are not entirely without merit, she gives the Facebook issue (at https://www.wsj.com/articles/yale-law-grads-hipster-antitrust-argument-against-facebook-findsmainstream-support-11575987274), and she makes a good case, yet the history of certain players need to be taken into account. Even as she was her own misgivings about the evolution of the digital advertising market, history had been clear, some of them basically did not bother, they wanted it handed to them for free and in the beginning they got away with it. And she made a point with “How could a company with Facebook Inc.’s checkered privacy record have obtained so much of its users’ personal data?“, yet equally we need to weigh this with the words of U.S. Attorney General William Barr. He gives us “he is “open to that argument” that consumer harm can exist through the use of personal data, even if a service is free. “I am inclined to think there is no free lunch. Something that is free is actually getting paid for one way or the other”“, which is what I have been saying on my blog for around 4 years, so happy to see people wake up in January 2020. So when I see “Ms. Srinivasan would prefer that Facebook be forced to change certain business practices, including how it tracks users when they are off the company’s platforms“, I wonder when they give account to the small truth that Facebook is a free service for a reason and they are no longer alone in this, you are going after the large players when they are in the largest danger by losing slices of that revenue pie to contenders elsewhere in the world (EU and China). 

Whatever you want to do is fine, but realise that it will put a large group of people in the streets without a job, I am not against them losing their job, but that revenue and that data will also flow in other directions and that is the one part that all players (with political support) are trying to counter as much as possible. I wonder if they will succeed. The weird part is that if this group had been properly taxed 3 out of the 5 major issues would also fall away and in that view a workable solution could be pivoted to.

 

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