New York Times to Drop Third-Party Ad Targeting Data

In a win for user privacy, the New York Times will end its use of third-party ad targeting data, and will build its own first-party solution instead.

The distinction between “third party” and “first party” is important. That’s ad industry jargon for, “Information from networks that track users across multiple sites,” vs, “Stuff we get from users while they interact with us on our own websites and apps.”

The latter comes with a reasonable expectation of a relationship between the reader and the company running the website or app they’re using. The former does not.

Keep on eye on this. The Times can pull this off because of its rarified scale and resources. But if they turn a profit—possibly a larger one than when they were using third-party data, since there’s no middlemen to pay—I expect other publishers to experiment and follow suit. The Times isn’t the first, but their example is influential.

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