Dangers Of Misleading Information In Real-Time World

An article posted on VentureBeat has caused a bit of a stir… The article covers mobile advertising startup Millennial Media and a graphic on the front page of its service DeckTrade which seemed to offer real-time information, “that gives the impression it is scrolling all the new ads being bid on within the marketplace. The counter … shows the bids, the click-through rate (CTR) and estimated cost per thousand impressions (CPM). The counter is moving rapidly”. The graphic has since been replaced by a still shot which reads “market simulation only”.

Paul Palmieri, president & CEO of Millennial Media, told MocoNews the company “posted this illustration on our page to simply show how our Marketplace works, not to mislead…Our Marketplace does operate differently than others so it is important to demonstrate it visually. Our Marketplace doesn’t simply take the highest bid, the auction actually operates on effective CPM”. The big issue here is transparency, something a lot of mobile advertising companies are quick to voice support for — but a great deal of extra care has to be taken to make things clear for a number of reasons. First, customers are less and less willing to believe something was a simple oversight… from subscription content services to SMS voting to roaming charges, companies acting in bad faith as well as legitimate players failing to provide clear information for whatever reason has created an environment of distrust, and that will make it all the more easier for customers to start distrusting the mobile advertising industry. Second, it is a relatively new industry, and therefore people are still getting to know the terms used and the basic way the industry operates, which makes confusion more likely. Even something as simple as “one billion page impressions/ads served” has people wondering exactly what is meant. The clearer companies are the less backlash they will get when there is a backlash against the industry…remember the love fest that was search advertising before click-fraud hit the news? No industry is immune to bad players.

Disclaimer: Millennial Media is a sponsor.