Privacy concerns and what could be done by the mobile app & advertising industry

Mobile Apps, Advertising and Privacy in 2011 Consumer Privacy is going to be very important. This year there were major concerns raised by consumer groups with lawsuits and massive coverage by well known publications such as the WSJ about privacy issues related to advertising and tracking of consumer data through mobile applications.

Online advertising is behavioral users being tracked using cookies their profiles being generated with browsing and searching patterns. Data about the user is also being mined across the internet to create a in-depth profile, which happens to have too much of personal information. This information is being shared with prospective advertisers. The other concern was the sharing of mobile application data user including user location in mobile apps to third party ad networks. This information may include phone number and unique user ids identifying each user.

Consumer Privacy at Risk

As mobile devices are becoming more common and more ubiquitous, mobile apps and services such as search, advertising etc, get access to more and more consumer information.  Customer privacy is at risk and in both web and mobile applications. With the respect to the online advertising industry, the industry has started self regulation mechanism which we believe has had some effect in protecting consumer privacy, unfortunately FTC and consumer privacy advocates don’t seem to agree.

FTC’s Do Not Track

The Federal Trade Commission has proposed a universal “do not track” mechanism that would allow people to choose whether they want Internet companies to collect information on their browsing habits. The idea is that users would be able to choose to have their browser not to track them for advertising purposes. It is not clear whether this proposal includes mobile services and mobile advertising but we believe that this should serve as a wakeup call for mobile ad networks, app developers, advertiser, agencies and mobile ad networks.

Mobile App and Advertising Ecosystem

What could be done by the mobile apps and advertising ecosystem so that the consumers don’t feel spooked?.  There are various choices on the table

a) Self regulation with choices to the consumer to opt out is one great option that should be immediately initiated. This could be done with a common website or this could be offered as a choice in every application like the way browsers today have choices to reject cookies being saved.

b) Standards could be set where industry players agree to to limiting information collected, users tracked or the way information is shared or restrict the quantum of information being shared.

c) Key information must never be tracked or shared: Key identifying information about the user (ids, phone numbers etc) should be completely left untracked.  This could be a part of a standard or an adhoc initiative that could be immediately implemented.

Some of these steps may lead to some stifling of ad revenue dollars or tech companies may feel that innovation is being throttled but in long term this could have obvious benefits as more consumers would openly adopt newer services without the fear of being tracked.  This could also help the industry avoid expensive lawsuits.

Advertisements

Preview of the new ZestADZ Dashboard – feedback required

In the last few weeks, the engineering team has been very busy rolling out exciting and innovative new products which will be rolled out in early 2011.

This features include a dashboard that will help advertisers and publishers, get deeper insight into their campaigns or mobile site traffic more easily.

The new dashboard
The new dashboard brings in big new changes. Firstly, it starts the integration of ZestADZ analytics into ZestADZ as a single product.

The dashboard brings several key metrics available immediately after a publisher or an advertiser has logged into zestadz. These metrics provide a snapshot of activity within a few key time periods.

All charts contain actual data instead of it being an icon that can be reviewed by looking at it more closely. The actual numbers are also displayed below the charts.


Comparisons with previous days and with other campaigns or mobile sites / apps.
One of the key new features is that this dashboard allows us to quick comparisions with previous days. When you select today / yesterday / last 7 days / last 30 days, automatically the current selected data is compared with its previous unit. So for example, if you select last 30 days data, automatically the previous 30 days is compared with the selected 30 days and an icon is used to show whether it is performing better or worse than before.

With the sites / campaigns appearing side by side, you can also measure their own units with each other easily. All of this without any additional navigation or clicks.

Customization
The new dashboard allows users to customize the view and save it as their preference. So, the next time you log in, you will see chart, exactly the waNew title goes herey you wanted to see it.

Near real time data
We’re will be launching the dashboard with near real time data available (this should be available across the board including the XML APIs) or at best with a delay of 1 hour.

Feedback – We’d love to hear from you.
The new dashboard will be available in your consoles as a beta release in the next few days. But before that please do send us your feedback to engineering@zestadz.com. Let us know – what you like, what you dislike about the new dashboard and how we can improve it to suit your requirements.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

ZestADZ Engineering Team

Announcing ZestADZ Customer Support Center

ZestADZ announces the availability of a comprehensive help desk for its customers, available at the following URL http://zest.zendesk.com

When you encounter an issue, create a ticket by writing to support@zestadz.com or by visiting http://zest.zendesk.com. This ticket comes with a unique id so that we can track your issue until its closure.

You can also use the forums to interact with us or discuss your common queries with fellow publishers and advertisers. Our help desk personnel are available to serve you round the clock but we expect responses within a few business hours or at the latest next day.

We will even offer telephonic assistance if required so please do leave us your telephone number so that we can call you back.
We hope to improve the overall quality of service through the launch of the support centre.
Please send us your feedback at twitter (@zestadz) or via support@zestadz.com

ZestADZ Support