Apple vs Google and Adwords

Apple and Google have very different revenue models and these differences in their stance of embedded, online ads. Just to be clear the issues associated with ads can be argued on different levels (do producers deserve compensation, what information should consumers have to reveal, etc.). As one might expect, the positions taken may be argued on the level of consumer or production rights, but the positions taken also tend to align with the revenue models of the companies arguing for the services they provide.

So Apple makes it money on equipment and offers other services at very level cost to support the value of the equipment. Apple’s browser, Safari, might be considered one of the added services. Apple has modified Safari to offer information consumers protection against unwanted ads.

Google makes money off ads. Google tries to use an approach to ads and revenue generation for producers by the use of ads that are minimally obtrusive (at least the link ads are small and do not limit consumer attention to content. Google also argues that its ads are smart and offer opportunities that may be of interest to consumers. To offer smart ads, Google has to collect information about users. How and what information is sold to third parties is an important issue and one that is not perfectly clear to me.

Google is seeking a middle ground by attempting to address the problem of “third party” cookies. A third party cookie collects user information – information collected across sites. In a way, this is what Google does, but in a way I think is different. Google collections info from services such as your search history to inform the ads it displays when Google ads are used. Other services use cookies that reside within your browser and send back information to services other than the service/host that you happen to be using. As I understand the Google model, the idea is to delete third-party cookies after short periods of time. This supposedly allows immediate benefits to consumers, but not the long-term accumulation of information. Of course, this fits with Google’s general approach. If you are searching for new car dealers today, you might be interested when ads for local car dealerships show up when you view other web pages. There is little need to keep track of this information on you for 6 months.

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