5. Contextual advertising is better for privacy and profit, says DuckDuckGo’s founder-CEO as he urges regulation
What it Is: In U.S. Senate testimony on March 3, the founder-CEO of the alternate search engine DuckDuckGo says contextual advertising works in a privacy environment and Congress should force an end behavioral targetting.
“If Congress forced the digital advertising industry to return to its roots in contextual advertising, that would allow companies to remain profitable, or even become more profitable — all without the unintended consequences of behavioral advertising,” DuckDuckGo’s Gabriel Weinberg testified.
Why it Matters: The Pennsylvania-based search engine says it doesn’t create profiles of its search users and only serves contextual rather than targetted advertising.
“And we are not alone,” Weinberg said in testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee. “For example, in response to GDPR, when the New York Times in Europe switched from behavioral advertising to contextual advertising, it reported an increase in revenue. And just last week, Business Insider reported the Washington Post was looking into making a similar change.”
Weinberg also told the senators that a Harris Poll found data privacy is the most pressing issue on Americans’ minds for two years in a row. He said well-drafted privacy legislation could spur more competition and innovation in digital advertising.
And/But: The privately held DuckDuckGo had substantially more than $25 million in revenues in 2018, Weinberg said. In December it purchased from Google the domain name “DUCK.COM” for an undisclosed sum. It’s map and address-related searches are powered by Apple Maps.
For more: https://duckduckgo.com/download/GDRP-CCPA-Hearing-Testimony_2019-03-12.pdf