• Ad Startup Drawbridge Hires Apple Ad Executive to Help Track Users Across Devices

    Winston Crawford, the former head of Apple’s iAd Marketplaces recently left the company to take on the role of COO at Drawbridge, a startup that provides advertisers with granular cross-platform user engagement statistics. According to the folks at The Wall Street Journal, Crawford will draw on his experience at Apple to help Drawbridge refine the capability of tracking a user’s identity across multiple devices including PCs, tablets, smartphones and the Web. Currently Drawbridge sells its curated engagement data to advertisers looking to quantify the effectiveness of its ad over a diverse platform spectrum.

    Drawbridge uses machine learning technology to sort through a large number of user-generated data with the goal of determining whether multiple devices belong to a single person. The technique relies on recognizing multiple unique hardware IDs passed along through the same network. By monitoring these IDs over time, it allows the system to estimate probabilities of device ownership, which Drawbridge claims is more than 80% accurate.

    As noted by the folks over at The Wall Street Journal, Crawford’s exit from Apple also coincides with the company’s public campaign against business models based on harvesting consumer data. This whole initiative seems to be led by Apple CEO Tim Cook, where the company seems to have taken a hard line stance on sharing customer data with marketers and minimizes exposure to those buying space on its iAd service. As of right now, iAd targeting tools are limited to age, gender, rough location information and previous purchases. Crawford has the following to say regarding iAd’s backend:

    I don't believe they are interested in this capability because they have a strict policy around what they do with user data. iAd has great assets and great capabilities, but they are going to follow Apple's policy to the letter of the law.
    Many advertisers seem to agree with Crawford and have criticized Apple’s reluctance to give up customer data. That being said, earlier this year, Apple did loosen its grip somewhat and added iAd Workbench assets for targeting users via anonymized phone numbers and email. For those of you who didn’t know, last year Cook wrote an open letter to customers explaining the pitfalls of granting Internet services companies access to personal information. He continues to decry tech’s apparent privacy policy flaws while touting Apple’s opposing stance on the matter in all public places.

    Source: The Wall Street Journal via AppleInsider
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Ad Startup Drawbridge Hires Apple Ad Executive to Help Track Users Across Devices started by Akshay Masand View original post
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