Andrew Yang Backs Consumer Data Payments; Former Google Ads Boss Founds Subscription Search Company

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Searching For Something?

Breaking into the search engine category is hard, borderline impossible. But one familiar name is taking a new approach. Sridhar Ramaswamy, Google’s former SVP of ads and commerce, co-founded a search engine called Neeva that doesn’t collect user data or sell ads. Instead, it will be a subscription service, at a price that hasn’t been set but will be less than $10 annually starting 2021, The New York Times reports. It may be long odds for a new subscription search engine, especially when the world at large considers it a free service. But Neeva’s leadership knows what it’s dealing with. Ramaswamy’s co-founder is Vivek Raghunathan, former VP of YouTube monetization. “We felt very strongly that there needed to be alternatives, alternative viewpoints and alternative business models,” Ramaswamy said.

Big Tech’s Peace Dividend?

Andrew Yang, former Democratic presidential primary candidate, launched a program called the Data Dividend Project on Monday. The goal is to create a coalition of people to demand payments from big tech companies that profit from personal data collection, and to push for legislation over data rights. Participants provide the email addresses they use online, and link with PayPal so eventually (theoretically) they could be paid for data consumption, The Verge reports. The DDP will focus on California for the first year, since the group needs the CCPA’s tougher enforcement. “We are completely outgunned by tech companies,” Yang said. “We’re just presented with these terms and conditions. No one ever reads them. You just click on them and hope for the best. And unfortunately, the best has not happened.”

No More Talk

Agencies have paid lip service to diversity. Now they’re sharing data to hold themselves accountable. IPG and Dentsu released US employment numbers breaking out the percentage of Black employees and people of color at their agencies; Publicis and Omnicom will do the same. IPG and WPP will disclose these numbers annually. Agencies have long resisted sharing diversity figures because they’re dismal, The Wall Street Journal reports. Just 2.6% of senior employees at IPG in 2019 identified as Black or African American. At Dentsu Aegis Network in the United States, that number is now at 1.8%. WPP, Dentsu and IPG are tying executive committee bonuses to diversity goals and broadening incentives across their agencies.

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