This is the summary of an article by Ricardo Bilton. It talks about It talks about how Evidon looks at the opportunity amidst the chaos of online behavioral tracking, and develops Ghostery, an extension for browsers that helps users block web trackers as they browse online. Ghostery is surely a neat tool for those who are obsessed with privacy, but Evidon also sells the data to the companies that are blocked by the Ghostery users in the first place for profit; a clever business model indeed. Here’s the link to the original behavioral targeting article: Ghostery: A Web tracking blocker that actually helps the ad industry.
As the practice of behavioral tracking continues, different reactions are coming out from various groups. Online advertisers and marketers are constantly improving and developing tracking methods. On the other hand, governments are keen on regulating it, while Internet users are basically concerned about online privacy.
A Valuable Tool
Amidst all of these varying stances, Evidon, an advertising technology form, has come up with a new tool that seeks to take advantage of all the confusion. The company has developed Ghostery, which is a browser extension that enables online users to block trackers on the Web. To date, the extension has been downloaded four million times in the past year, indicating that numerous users are deeply concerned whenever they go online.
A Business Model
Still, even though Ghostery creates a sense of assurance for most users, it is a business after all. And what better way to do business than by selling their data to the companies that the tool is blocking? In other words, just as advertising networks are eager to gather information about Web users, they are also eager to know who or how many people actually block them. This kind of data can be supplied by Ghostery.
Hence, the business model of Evidon is clear: building up their database through those who use Ghostery, and then licensing information to advertising networks. In turn, these networks can utilize the data for their own purposes. According to Scott Meyer, the CEO of Evidon, their business model is “really nice,” when he was interviewed by VentureBeat.
Notably, data gathered via Ghostery benefits Evidon Encompass, which is a performance tool that helps site owners learn more about the web entities that are running on their Web pages. This is very important, since the more elements a page contains, the longer the time it takes to load. This could eventually lead to a decrease in visitors.
Leading the Industry
Another great thing about Evidon is that it is taking the lead in the advertising industry when it comes to self-regulation, especially since more and more ad networks are coming out. Every three months, in fact, 70 new trackers are added to the Ghostery database. Ironically, web trackers are actually proud to be added to the list because it means that they have “arrived” and wield a certain influence.
With regard to informing their users, Evidon manages a Frequently Asked Questions or FAQ mechanism, telling them how Ghostery works and its relationship to its parent company. After all, Meyer says that transparency is very important to them, and in fact it is the basis for their business model.
Indeed, Ghostery is a unique tool that thrives amidst all the reactions toward behavioral tracking. On the one hand, they are able to provide users with the privacy they need; at the same time, they are still able to gather data that could be relevant to online advertising networks.