Ad business startup Drawbridge snags iAd Marketplace exec to bolster user tracking services

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 2015
Former head of Apple's iAd Marketplaces Winston Crawford left the company earlier in July to take on the role of COO at Drawbridge, a startup that provides advertisers with granular cross-platform user engagement statistics.




According to The Wall Street Journal, Crawford will draw on his experience at Apple to help Drawbridge refine a capable of tracking a user's identity across multiple devices, including PCs, tablets, smartphones and the Web. Drawbridge sells its curated engagement data to advertisers looking to quantify the effectiveness of its ads over a diverse platform spectrum.

Drawbridge uses machine learning technology to sift through mountains of user-generated data with the goal of determining whether multiple devices belong to a single person. The technique relies on recognizing multiple unique hardware IDs passed along through the same network. Monitoring these IDs over time allows the system to estimate probabilities of device ownership, which Drawbridge says is now more than 80 percent accurate.

As noted by The Journal, Crawford's exit from Apple coincides with the company's public campaign against business models based on harvesting consumer data. Lead by chief executive Tim Cook, Apple has taken a hard line stance on sharing customer data with marketers, and minimizes exposure to those buying space on its iAd service. Currently, iAd targeting tools are limited to age, gender, rough location information and previous purchases.

"I don't believe they are interested in this capability because they have a strict policy around what they do with user data," Crawford said of iAd's backend. "iAd has great assets and great capabilities, but they are going to follow Apple's policy to the letter of the law."

Advertisers agree and have in the past criticized Apple's reluctance to give up customer data. Earlier this year, however, Apple loosened its grip somewhat and added iAd Workbench assets for targeting users via anonymized phone numbers and email.

Cook last year wrote an open letter to customers explaining the pitfalls of granting Internet services companies access to personal information. He has repeatedly decried tech's apparent privacy policy flaws, while touting Apple's opposing stance on the matter, in numerous interviews, speeches and public appearances.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Does Apple really need iAd? It seems weird that they're providing ad-blocking in iOS 9 at the same time they're offering a News app that will most likely be full of advertising that can't be blocked by users.
  • Reply 2 of 15
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,154member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post



    Does Apple really need iAd? It seems weird that they're providing ad-blocking in iOS 9 at the same time they're offering a News app that will most likely be full of advertising that can't be blocked by users.

     

    Uh, yes they do. I download ad-supported stuff sometimes, which will always exist, and I much prefer the ones with iAds rather than 3rd party ads which are always 1000X shittier and more intrusive. 

  • Reply 3 of 15
    rogifan wrote: »
    Does Apple really need iAd? It seems weird that they're providing ad-blocking in iOS 9 at the same time they're offering a News app that will most likely be full of advertising that can't be blocked by users.

    You ask a good question, and I'm not sure what the answer might be. However, given a choice of advertising to Apple's affluent customer base vs. the cheap-assed Android base, I think I'd advertise where the money is. Plus, iAd is geared toward a advertising in a more entertaining and friendly way rather then in-your-face ads that slow down the page load time (read today's Monday Note on that point).

    I don't think it's the number of ads iAds present, but in how optimized they are. If Apple Insider were to display only iAds, it would load in half the time. As it is now, this site fetches about 230 different bits of code from a goodly number of sites... not good for the user experience.
  • Reply 4 of 15
    jd mbajd mba Posts: 38member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post





    You ask a good question, and I'm not sure what the answer might be. However, given a choice of advertising to Apple's affluent customer base vs. the cheap-assed Android base, I think I'd advertise where the money is. Plus, iAd is geared toward a advertising in a more entertaining and friendly way rather then in-your-face ads that slow down the page load time (read today's Monday Note on that point).



    I don't think it's the number of ads iAds present, but in how optimized they are. If Apple Insider were to display only iAds, it would load in half the time. As it is now, this site fetches about 230 different bits of code from a goodly number of sites... not good for the user experience.

     

    God, it's so mindless when people personally attack other customers/users based on the products they use.  It goes both ways.

  • Reply 5 of 15
    jcraigjcraig Posts: 30member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post





    You ask a good question, and I'm not sure what the answer might be. However, given a choice of advertising to Apple's affluent customer base vs. the cheap-assed Android base, I think I'd advertise where the money is. Plus, iAd is geared toward a advertising in a more entertaining and friendly way rather then in-your-face ads that slow down the page load time (read today's Monday Note on that point).



    I don't think it's the number of ads iAds present, but in how optimized they are. If Apple Insider were to display only iAds, it would load in half the time. As it is now, this site fetches about 230 different bits of code from a goodly number of sites... not good for the user experience.



    It's amazing how much faster some of these pages load in Mobile Safari simply by disabling javascript. Of course in some instances you lose some site functionality, but lesser frustration and quicker load times is worth the trade-off IMO.

  • Reply 6 of 15
    evilutionevilution Posts: 1,360member
    Companies want to advertise on the Apple platforms. Surely it's better that the advertising experience is controlled by Apple so you get a better experience and control. You only have to look at previous advertising over the years on other platforms, it's the only thing that kept Flash being used.
  • Reply 7 of 15
    agramonteagramonte Posts: 345member

    that is called, jumping a sinking ship. iAd is a mess.

  • Reply 8 of 15
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,154member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by agramonte View Post

     

    that is called, jumping a sinking ship. iAd is a mess.


     

    The only thing that's a mess are you shitty, predictable, incessantly negative posts. Why not go post on a forum NOT dedicated to a company that you love to shit on? Why not register on a website dedicated to a company you don't a have a deep seated hatred towards? Your last 50 posts are nasty, intellectually dishonest piles of drivel, and half are literally "lol who is so fucking stupid to buy a $500 watch made in Taiwan". You have absolutely nothing of worth to contribute to this forum apart from your petty attacks on pretty much every single thing Apple does. Not a single positive comment, ever.

  • Reply 9 of 15
    djsherlydjsherly Posts: 1,020member
    slurpy wrote: »
    The only thing that's a mess are you shitty, predictable, incessantly negative posts. Why not go post on a forum NOT dedicated to a company that you love to shit on? Why not register on a website dedicated to a company you don't a have a deep seated hatred towards? Your last 50 posts are nasty, intellectually dishonest piles of drivel, and half are literally "lol who is so fucking stupid to buy a $500 watch made in Taiwan". You have absolutely nothing of worth to contribute to this forum apart from your petty attacks on pretty much every single thing Apple does. Not a single positive comment, ever.

    Or... Maybe iAds *is* a sinking ship. I've never seen one. Or an app with one. And I remember the less than enthusiastic reception it received when it unveiled. Can't discuss that here?
  • Reply 10 of 15
    customtbcustomtb Posts: 336member
    No one will want a walled off phone! Give those advertiser our entire history... Might as well throw in our credit card info too.
  • Reply 11 of 15
    badmonkbadmonk Posts: 796member
    jd mba wrote: »
    God, it's so mindless when people personally attack other customers/users based on the products they use.  It goes both ways.

    Actually MtM is right, though iOS only makes up 20% of mobile devices, the majority of web traffic and mobile internet purchases occur on iOS devices so the wealth is congregated on iOS.

    Android users (for what ever the reason) seems to be less engaged with their devices when it comes to the internet.
  • Reply 12 of 15
    anomeanome Posts: 1,279member
    "I don't believe they are interested in this capability because they have a strict policy around what they do with user data," Crawford said of iAd's backend. "iAd has great assets and great capabilities, but they are going to follow Apple's policy to the letter of the law."
    This seems to be the key point, and has been latched onto by some other news sites. He's leaving because Apple don't want to just hand over users' confidential data to the advertisers, and that's limiting what iAd can do.

    Personally, I'd be happy to live with less efficiently targeted ads if it means better privacy. And I'd be much happier if the head of iAds didn't see his job as handing over my data to anyone willing to pay for it.
  • Reply 13 of 15
    djsherlydjsherly Posts: 1,020member
    anome wrote: »
    This seems to be the key point, and has been latched onto by some other news sites. He's leaving because Apple don't want to just hand over users' confidential data to the advertisers, and that's limiting what iAd can do.

    Personally, I'd be happy to live with less efficiently targeted ads if it means better privacy. And I'd be much happier if the head of iAds didn't see his job as handing over my data to anyone willing to pay for it.
    Targeted ads are rubbish anyway. I bought a set of tyres for my car recently. Now all get is ads for tyres. I bought them already!
  • Reply 14 of 15
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,711member
    anome wrote: »
    This seems to be the key point, and has been latched onto by some other news sites. He's leaving because Apple don't want to just hand over users' confidential data to the advertisers, and that's limiting what iAd can do.

    Personally, I'd be happy to live with less efficiently targeted ads if it means better privacy. And I'd be much happier if the head of iAds didn't see his job as handing over my data to anyone willing to pay for it.
    Ads aren't the problem IMO. Every time you travel the web your privacy is compromised by data aggregators, companies whose entire business is built on gathering on-line social, shopping and website visit data and combining it with off-line shopping, credit, employment, health and financial, religious affiliation, and education information. Those files, identified by actual name, address and SS# are sold to insurers, car companies, credit providers, funeral homes, and other various and sundry marketers and institutions

    Cutting of targeted ads based on an anonymised profile does little to nothing to protect your personal privacy IMHO. It's simply a feel-good thing. Your personal information is still being collected and sold even if you never play on the internet or use any Google or Apple or Microsoft service.
  • Reply 15 of 15
    anomeanome Posts: 1,279member
    false
    gatorguy wrote: »
    Ads aren't the problem IMO. Every time you travel the web your privacy is compromised by data aggregators, companies whose entire business is built on gathering on-line social, shopping and website visit data and combining it with off-line shopping, credit, employment, health and financial, religious affiliation, and education information. Those files, identified by actual name, address and SS# are sold to insurers, car companies, credit providers, funeral homes, and other various and sundry marketers and institutions

    Cutting of targeted ads based on an anonymised profile does little to nothing to protect your personal privacy IMHO. It's simply a feel-good thing. Your personal information is still being collected and sold even if you never play on the internet or use any Google or Apple or Microsoft service.
    Not sure of your point here. I'd rather everyone have similar policy on privacy as Apple does (which is not limited to their approach to iAds). I mention it in relation to iAds, and the statement Crawford made about his departure, because that's what this article is about.

    In broader terms, I'd rather people weren't gathering this information on me without my explicit permission for any purpose. This one isn't OK because there are others.
Sign In or Register to comment.