DMA Politically Direct

February 2007

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Dave Rinaldi

Consumers may be willing to accept "intelligent" advertising in exchange for free email privileges with extended storage capacity, but this service is not a great example of targeted opt-in marketing. While a user gives permission to Google to receive ads based upon their email content, the marketing is driven by Google's algorithms, not by the consumer. This throws out the recently hard-won paradigm where the consumer makes the decision on what they'd like to receive from marketers. Unfortunately, Google has chosen to help consumers regress 10 years by falling back to a mass advertising mindset, albeit, coupled with some advanced data mining techniques. On the surface, key word, content-driven advertising can make sense, but in this case, consumers have no true behavioral or emotional connection to the advertiser or incoming message other than by some predetermined rules. Google has created nothing more than a billboard inside of its participants' inboxes.

Privacy issues aside, G-mail is likely to create more noise in the marketing landscape that over time, will make it even more difficult for marketers to reach valuable consumers and customers. I'll stick to my premium-priced Earthlink, thank you.

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