When I first started using the Internet in those halcyon dial-up years sometime before Facebook but definitely after the ZX Spectrum there was a sense that you were making contact, dialling-in to some new badland that lacked any sense of responsibility, moral principal, restraint or outside control. That was the dream of the early libertine era where the Internet was just a mixed-bag of things in a virtual filing cabinet. I was at the time a student and told in no uncertain terms that it definitely contained nothing of value to quote as a reliable source in my university dissertations.
Unable to quote some dubious historians I instead learned how it all worked and how I could create a web presence for such things as Robot Wars robots and business software. That is more or less what I have been doing since although my work has moved into the world of Ad Tech and Operations here at Snack Media. There has always been an undercurrent of the old libertine attitudes that many still feel the Internet will always have – some romantic matrix-like quality and danger.
Since it’s inception it would be fair to say that some people have tried to tame the Internet whilst some other people have tried to burn those efforts down. It could also be said that like any era the Internet has not been immune to the usual flow of things, periods of creativity and periods of austerity, romanticism and classicism. Although there may be a sense that many websites look the same with similar templates and the wide adoption of best practices in coding and presentation I feel this emphasises the importance of quality content and imagination. The wow-factor flash website was a deception and distraction. We expect what we read to be engaging, researched and reference trusted sources.
We have entered a new era though over the past year or so, with such things as GDPR in Europe informing new no-nonsense cookie policies and T&Cs, Consent Management Platforms, SSL, Ads.txt, better ads standards, Ad Quality platforms, etc, etc. In advertising and commerce this can only be a good thing for everyone and digital advertising reacts like no other to new data and confidence in new technology. Some may say this is just a confidence trick and that there is a long way to go. Like any era, there is a time before that informed it and a time after that it will inform, we change things, measure and change things again. There is more to come for sure but the ecosystem has certainly been given a shot in the arm.
Was there some catalyst to the Internet being more trusted than before or has the Internet been lurching towards this outcome all along as the result of the need to secure the money-making potential and the technical possibilities? And is this a victory for quality content providers over fake news, privacy violations and general Cyber-interference. For me the somewhat verbose GDPR conversation got people thinking about the Internet and the protections we offer our users and their data, be them readers or buyers of our inventory.
Moving into 2019 Digital advertising remains the only growth advertising medium with advanced programmatic methods such as header bidding growing like no other paradigm. Buyers are getting that transparency and protection they want and that confidence is reflected in spend with sites that have embraced the ideals of the trusted web.
So do I trust the Internet more than I did? I certainly use it more than ever like everyone, I know when a website uses SSL that it will encode our digital transactions, I know that a network that uses an Ad Quality system will protect me from bad ads and when I look to reference websites in my writing, the question is just about how you do it rather than if the Internet is a trusted source.
I would love to know what you think about the levels of trust you have in content and tech on the internet and what you think needs to change.
Author: Matt Tait, Operations Manager at Snack Media
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