Advertisers Are Cranky Because Apple Protects Our Privacy

| Editorial

News flash: the traditional advertising industry and its clients are cranky about Apple's penchant for protecting its customers' privacy. After all, we, the people, exist merely to be marketed to, and Apple's refusal to slice and dice everything it knows about us is a major fly in the advertising ointment.

According to a fantastic piece from AdAge, both Apple and Amazon have developed a reputation for sitting on a huge hoard of customer data and having the temerity to be stingy with it. Because of this, both companies are bit players in the ad world, with ad revenues of US$257.8 million (Apple) and $614 million (Amazon).


Gimme Gimme Gimme!

Compare that to Google's $17 billion and Facebook's $3.2 billion, and remember that both companies love nothing more than to sell us to the highest bidder. There's a reason why Google is the king of online advertising.

What's making Madison Avenue cranky, however, is the quality of information both Apple and Amazon are sitting on. From the piece:

Apple knows names and addresses, geographic locations and app and music-purchase histories, and can show ad buyers that a group with specific characteristics also likes certain types of apps or music. However, its user tracking and ad targeting are not cookie-based, meaning agencies can't do automated buys via their cookie-centric trading desks, which allow them to mesh lots of data from different sources. Instead, they have to go to Apple, ask to reach a given audience and, well, trust Apple that it will deliver it.

And that's the rub with advertisers. They want to be able to consume us themselves, and they don't want to trust in Apple. Funny enough, that's one of the reasons why I am an Apple customer in the first place, and knowing that Amazon is also acting as a gatekeeper slightly thaws the cockles of my heart for that company, too.

For much of the last century, advertisers have had their way with us. Newspapers and magazines whored out our data unchecked for decades, and credit card companies used to know more about us than anyone.

At least until Google came along. Eric Schmidt once bragged that his company knows what we're thinking before we do, and the company has made an enormous fortune by parting that knowledge out to the highest bidder.

Apple and Amazon both are sticks in the mud, at least to those people who feel like they have the right to buy and sell our information at their pleasure. Apple, in particular, gives us the opportunity to directly pay for our products so that it doesn't have to then sell us to the highest bidder to keep the lights on.

I know I'm not alone in appreciating that.

Be sure and read the full AdAge piece for a lot more information.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Thank you Apple.

The advertisers are intruding ever more into our lives, and I for one am tired of it.

It’s why I refuse to get one of those “FlyBy” points cards.
I don’t want or need some advertiser knowing what I buy at the supermarket.


Is is not just a bit disingenuous to bash Google’s advertising business when this website derives its income from targeted cookie-based advertising including Google’s display ads?

Lee Dronick

I fully understand the need for free websites to advertise. I just wish that the website owners required the advertisers to be respectful of us, no popups that I have to close, put them inline or down a side column.

The MacObserver is one of my favorite hangouts. If I am shopping for something and there is an ad here for the product then I will click through.


I’m with Lee and furbies: thank you Apple and TMO for ad restraint.

Could Apple & Amazon be playing the long game, anticipating a consumer backlash against Google and Facebook? I avoid Google as much as I can, and I know others do too.

If privacy laws become common, could we, in 10 years time, be telling youngsters there used to be a big company named Google?


If, as you’ve said, Bryan, Google/Android’s only customers are the advertisers, & Google/Android’s users are only its product, then when someone says, “Google is your Friend”, I would therefore say, “No, Google is your Pimp - not our Friend - you are Google/Android’s whore, & the advertisers are Google/Android’s johns.”

John Dingler, artist

The California legislature was about to pass a so-called “opt in” bill but, after big money paid the Feds to pass the opposite law, and opt out, people get bombarded first, then they can navigate the labyrinthian system to find the right link to demand removal from that list.

This does not work and the US Congress wants it this way. It does not work because the ad. company complies, sure, but then sells your data to another company which sells it back as, you know,m a new list with your name on it.

Also, the ad company is thrilled when you make contact to complain because it confirms that a person is there rather than a dead email address.

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