The Little Guys

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 1 min read

Ben Thompson (emphasis mine):

Amazon, meanwhile, is increasingly where shopping searches start, particularly for Prime customers, and the company’s ad business is exploding. Needless to say, Amazon doesn’t need to request special permission for IDFAs or to share emails with 3rd parties to finely target its ads: everything is self-contained, and to the extent the company advertises on platforms like Google, it can still keep information about customer interests and conversions to itself. That means that in the long run, independent merchants who wish to actually find their customers will have no choice but to be an Amazon third-party merchant instead of setting up an independent shop on a platform like Shopify.

In today's weekly article, Ben makes a compelling argument for how a crackdown in ad tracking the way Apple is doing it doesn't stop tracking, and if anything consolidates advertising power in the biggest players. In other words, while it feels like these enhanced privacy tools make us feel like we're going to stick it to Facebook, Google, and Amazon, they are in fact only giving those players more power.

As Ben points out in his article, and I agree with, there is a seedy nature to advertising, but his worry is that by doing something that make it feel like we're giving Facebook/Google/Amazon their just deserts, we're actually hurting small businesses who will have to choose between worse advertising options, or working with those same 3 companies to get in from of as many customers' eyeballs as before.

I'd love to read the counter argument, because I find this hard to argue with.