And So It Begins….
Beware the Eye of Sauron
And so it begins….
by Joshua Lawton, CRO and Co-Founder of Abraxas Technology
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And so it begins…. For the past months, data nerds like me have been warning of the impact that GDPR and similar privacy regulations were going to have. We said that these laws were going to be enforced. That the trend towards governments cracking down on the obfuscation of consumers’ data was only going to gain momentum. In a previous article I wrote that the value of the data stores that have already been collected would begin to lose value. I even went so far as to state that there would be a slowdown in traditional digital ad spending which would benefit OOH owners. January 21, 2019 is the day that will one day make it into the history books as the day that regulators finally started going after all of those companies who are not in compliance with the data privacy regulations on the books and those that will be on the books. Sure, 50 million euros is a drop in the bucket for a company like Google. I doubt that Google’s balance sheet is even going to notice the missing 50 million euros. However, while Google might not even notice this fine (if it stays where it is), many companies would be seriously impaired by not just the loss of millions of dollars in fines, but also the loss of their ability to collect, aggregate, use, and sell data. This recent action by France serves as a warning to all of us in the business of collecting and using data for marketing and advertising. While I still have my doubts that a court in Texas would honor a fine by a French court on a Texas company doing business in Texas, there is always that chance. Plus if I was the owner of the company fined by France, I would hate to have that fine hanging over my head, because my wife loves Paris, and I would like to be able to bring her back without worrying that she’ll be off walking around the Louvre while I am lying in a Parisian prison. Although, I’m sure that the food in a French prison would be more delectable than most of the dives I eat at when I’m traveling on business. Now, I know what you are saying. “Josh, I own traditional billboards, how is any of this going to impact me?” It’s hard to say. Courts and regulators are like the Eye of Sauron, stay out of their site and they’ll never look at you, but do something to get their attention and their eyes will never leave you until they get you back in line. Maybe they go after you, the OOH operator, for creating what they consider to be a “natural person”. Maybe they go after the data company that is underpinning your sales arm. Maybe, you anger a politician by and that politician decides to get back at you. Either way, it disrupts your sleep and most importantly your revenue. So what are you to do to protect both your revenue and your sleep? Make sure whoever is trying to do business with you is GDPR compliant. Better yet, make them prove to you that they are GDPR compliant (there is a certification for that). If you have a large complex business, make sure to bring in professionals who can advise you and keep you clear of any data privacy violations. Proving ROI on advertising spends is important as ever to CMOs and advertisers. Data is what they are demanding and what you need to increase their spends. Just make sure that the data you are using and/or collecting doesn’t draw the Eye of Sauron down upon you. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me with questions at JLawton@abraxastechnology.com Joshua Lawton is the CRO and Co-Founder of Abraxas Technology and is a member of the Forbes Technology Council. Twitter at @alertingmainst Abraxas Technology on Twitter @Abraxas_Tech