The New York Times Phasing Out 3rd Party Ad Data

Linked on May 20, 2020

Sara Fischer, reporting for Axios:

The New York Times will no longer use 3rd-party data to target ads come 2021, executives tell Axios, and it is building out a proprietary first-party data platform.

Beginning in July, The Times will begin to offer clients 45 new proprietary first-party audience segments to target ads

This is great news and I hope others follow. It's going to be tough for them to pull away from the giant data providers, but I hope that publishers can do it. Third-party tracking and sharing of user data is gross and a privacy nightmare.

As an aside, I do happen to run a small independent publisher that is partially supported by sponsored ads at Air Mail. When I built the tech for Air Mail, I specifically and intentionally created a system that wouldn't allow any third-party tracking of ad data. We host and serve all of our ads in a first-party and private matter. Tracking clicks and impressions is standard practice for ad servers and ours does it entirely in the background as well. This allows our sponsors to check their numbers without compromising on one ounce of customer data from our readers. I created the type of system that I wouldn't mind using as a reader.

It's not that complicated if you design your ad systems with privacy in mind from the beginning. Here's hoping more of the publishing world catches on.