Time for Self-serve Ad Platforms to Circle the Wagons?

Today ADOTAS.com saw fit to let me weigh in on the security and liability implications of Google’s apparent $500 million settlement with the Justice Department.

I doubt the self-serve ad world is going to come crashing down under pressure from government lawsuits, but it should give everyone a reason to ponder the implications of taking money from sleazy advertisers. With money at risk, self-serve ad platforms, and the online advertising world in general, may be a bit more judicious in choosing their clients and passing on the shady ones.

I think overall, a purging of scammy advertisers would be good for online advertising. It would raise the overall image that online advertising has. Despite some people’s privacy concerns, online advertising still has a tremendous amount of untapped potential to efficiently target the right ads and offers to the right people at the right time in the right place, and so on and so forth (as opposed to television, which gushes a never-ending stream of irrelevant, tacky ads no matter what your individual buying habits are).

With a lower proportion of shady ads, you might also see people click on ads more often. Any market economist will tell you, there’s nothing like trust to grease the wheels of commerce, and a lack of trust to bring everything to a screeching halt. If retail banking were like the internet, you could never be very sure whether a bank branch was just a phony facade trying to sell you counterfeit Certificates of Deposit. But it’s not. Why? Because of strict government regulation and the threat of punishment if banks engage in criminal behavior.

I’m indifferent to the particular case against Google…I have no idea whether Google did anything wrong. But if government oversight makes it easier for my company to make a legitimate buck on the web, then I’m all for it.

Anyway, go and read the column here.