Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


I'd like some of that advertising action

Several weeks back, I was listening to the Technometria podcast on “Personal Data Ecosystems,” and they talked a lot about putting the consumer in the center of various markets. I wrote this post then, and held off posting it in light of the tragic events in Japan.

One element of this is the “VRM” or “vendor relationship management” space, where we let people proxy for ads to us.

As I was listening, I realized, I’m in the market for another nice camera. And rather than doing more research, I would like to sell the right to advertise to me. There’s a huge ($59B?) advertising market. I am ready to buy, and if Fuji had shipped their #$^&%^ X100, I was about ready to buy it. But even before the earthquake, they were behind in production, and I’m ready to buy. So I could go do research, or the advertisers could advertise to me. But before they do, I want a piece of that $59B action.

I don’t want to start a blog. (Sorry, Nick!). I don’t want to sell personal information about me. I want another nice camera. How do I go about accepting ads into this market?

I’m willing, by the way, to share additional information about my criteria, but I figure that those have value to advertisers. Please send in your bids for the answers to specific questions. Please specify if your bids are for exclusive, private, or public answers. (Public answers prevent others from gathering exclusive market intelligence, and are thus a great strategic investment.)

So, dear readers, how do I get a piece of the action? How do I cash in on this micro-market?

If I get a highly actionable answer, I’ll share 25% of the proceeds of the advertising with whomever points me the right way.

5 comments on "I'd like some of that advertising action"

  • Tom says:

    Hi Adam,

    We’re not quite ready to submit a bid for your data, or to serve you targeted ads, but what you describe is very close to what we are planning on launching this spring. C’mon over to and sign up to get put on our list for a Beta invitation – we’ll begin trickling out the invites in a couple of months, starting with those who signed up first.

  • Chris says:


    If I were a camera vendor, I might want to buy the oppty to have you hear my pitch. But, how would I know you are sincere, and not simply feigning interest in order to be paid to listen?


  • I believe that, in a better world, we’d pay directly for everything that advertising currently pays for — such as news. Not only news would be better, but then reviews could be better too (we’re paying because we want good info); companies would want to make better products, and those $59B could be removed from their costs, thus also making everything cheaper.

    Of course, maybe I’m being too simple and not considering the chaos that ensues, but if we could put this big advertising budget to better use and make products cheaper while at the same time showing people they’re paying for everything that’s “free” – I think that’s good.

    But then, one of the goals of advertising is to sell things that people don’t know about, don’t know they need or don’t need at all, so there’s a limit to this direct advertising approach – it requires people who actually know what they want. Maybe companies think such people won’t change their opinions regardless of advertising – that is, you probably know better than what they could tell you. If that’s the case, do they actually care about you? Should they?

  • allan says:

    It seems that there are two things needed to make this market function: on the supplier’s side, you can build a reputation model to show that you are, in fact, likely to make a purchase, or have offered some likelihood of return from previous offers. On the demand side, you need a filtering mechanism to prevent overload and minimize consumer choice.

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