Cambridge Analytica Shuts Down; Oath Reportedly Scans Email For Transaction Data

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End Of An Error

Cambridge Analytica has shut down. “The Company is immediately ceasing all operations and the boards have applied to appoint insolvency practitioners Crowe Clark Whitehill LLP to act as the independent administrator for Cambridge Analytica,” the company said in a statement. In a parting shot, Cambridge Analytica claimed it had been “vilified” for practices that are both legal and accepted within marketing and political advertising. Certainly, there’s truth to the notion that Cambridge Analytica’s ad-targeting capabilities were standard fare – read more about that idea here and here. But eventually, the company said, the continuous negative media coverage made it no longer viable for Cambridge Analytica to continue. Read the statement.

Paper Trail

Last year, Google said it would stop scanning Gmail users’ emails for targeting and attribution, but Oath is running with the strategy. “There’s a lot of sensitivity around Oath’s promotion of this kind of tactic, but they are pushing it hard as a capability they have,” one anonymous agency exec tells Garett Sloane at Ad Age. The Yahoo Mail redesign last month highlights shopping emails to help users track purchases, but also because those emails include valuable purchase information. Finding ways to access receipt data has turned into a lucrative niche for mobile apps and browser tools that scrape the web for coupons, say, or offer cash-back incentives for transaction data [AdExchanger has more on that]. It’s also why Amazon always links back to its own site instead of including a receipt in the text of a confirmation email. More.

Facebook Says AI

Facebook’s F8 conference hasn’t really focused on ad targeting for good reason (see: the first blurb). However, the company did open up about its artificial intelligence agenda, showing some applications around computer vision and natural language understanding. Facebook is going the route of Salesforce and IBM, developing AI tools for developers to use, rather than other enterprise tech companies, which embed AI into their own applications. Among Facebook’s many AI-related announcements is that in June, it will release the ResNext3D model – basically a deep learning model designed to understand what’s happening in video. Could that pave the way for contextual video ad targeting? Read more.

GDPR Looms

GDPR is coming and with it, publishers are going to be way more discerning about which vendors they work with, writes Seb Joseph of Digiday. GiveMeSport last year reduced its vendor list from 23 to five. “We didn’t have any idea who 92 percent [of those businesses] were,” said GiveMeSport GM Ryan Skeggs. Meanwhile, many fear Google will use GDPR to wrest control of data from publishers, which is why pubs like Schibsted and Axel Springer are rallying behind the IAB Europe and Tech Lab’s Consent Framework. Read on. And check out AdExchanger’s reporting on this topic here and here.

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