[Miscellany] Apple vs ad tracking industry, Online attention crisis, and eating out trends

I am getting the first part of my Covid-19 vaccine on Friday*. I heard that some people feel unwell a few hours later – so, I booked it for Friday morning, and cleared my diary for Friday afternoon and Saturday. I can’t stop marvelling at how quickly scientists have come up with a vaccine for this coronavirus!

  1. Apple vs ad tracking industry

This week, Apple is rolling out a new feature on its iPhones and iPads, which alerts device users when apps are collecting their data, and allows them to opt out of such data collection. 

I wrote about this for the Conversation. In the article entitled “Apple is starting a war over privacy with iOS 14 – publishers are naive if they think it will back down”.

I wrote about:

  • Why Facebook is fighting the move (online advertising represents 99% of Facebook’s revenues)
  • Which online publishers stand to lose from Apple’s move (namely: those that rely on clickbait or niche content); 
  • Why it is in Apple’s long-term interests to follow this path (competitor differentiation, insurance against privacy scandals, and consumer trust).

2. The limitations of targeted online ads

For an interesting discussion of the limitations of targeted only advertising, check this episode of Business Daily.

Includes reference to examples from companies such as Airbnb, Procter & Gamble, and eBay. The online advertising market is described as being overvalued, and primed for a crash, much like the subprime mortgage market in 2008.

3. (Not) Eating out

The easing of lockdown in England means that restaurants and pubs are now open for outdoor dining. It looks like people are not rushing to eat out, though.

According to numbers by OpenTable and reported by the Office for National Statistics, on Monday, 12th April, when pubs and restaurants were first allowed to reopen, seated reservations were at 79% of the level for the equivalent Monday in 2019. By Saturday, 17th, reservations were at 60% the level for the equivalent Saturday in 2019.

There is some variance across the country: on Saturday, 17th reservations in London were 44% of the level for the equivalent Saturday in 2019; but in Manchester that number was 85%.

I suppose that part of this sharp reduction in London is due to the lack of tourists. But is that the whole story?

*for a miscellany related to the Covid-19 vaccine check this previous post.

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