Aloodo at Linux Journal

Doc Searls writes, at Linux Journal, about the site's re-launch plans. Linux Journal is moving to an all-subscription model.

We believe the only cure is code that gives publishers ways to do exactly what readers want, which is not to bare their necks to adtech's fangs every time they visit a website.

We're doing that by reversing the way terms of use work. Instead of readers always agreeing to publishers' terms, publishers will agree to readers' terms.

The Linux audience tends to be early adopters of privacy tools, which means that brands need new kinds of metrics. When you're trying to reach niche early adopters such as the open source and devops audiences that Linux Journal serves, conventional adtech and martech aren't enough.

The readers of Linux Journal have overwhelmingly rejected web advertising. This is strange, because as a former editor there back when they had a print magazine, I recall that readers didn't have much of a problem with the print ads. We got the usual bragging that ads don't work on me, but print ads don't work the way that most people think they work anyway.

The Linux Journal ads got crappy when they went web-only. Instead of a sustainable revenue source, the ad game became a race to the bottom. And LJ almost lost that game.

The good news is that the game is changing because of hard work happening on the browser side. Every time a user turns on a privacy feature such as Firefox Tracking Protection, or installs a protection tool such as Better by ind.ie or EFF Privacy Badger, a little bit of problematic ad inventory goes away. When tracking protection tools keep ad money out of the nasty corners of the internet, legit sites can win. Here's how Aloodo plans to help LJ, and is available to help other sites too.

Measure the tracking-protected audience. Tracking protection is a powerful sign of a human audience. A legit site can report a tracking protection percentage for its audience, and any adtech intermediary who claims to offer advertisers the same audience, but delivers a suspiciously low tracking protection number, is clearly pushing a mismatched or bot-heavy audience and is going to have a harder time getting away with it. Showing prospective advertisers your tracking protection data lets you reveal the tarnish on the adtech "Holy Grail"—the promise of high-value eyeballs on crappy sites.

Tracking protection is hard to measure accurately, because there are many different kinds. What works for detecting AVG Crumble might not work to detect Privacy Badger. But now anyone with basic web metrics and JavaScript skills can do the measurement with the Aloodo un-tracking pixel and scripts.

Use data to sell brands on Flight to Quality. Real, high-quality sites have branding advantages over generic eyeball-buying, and adfraud is becoming a mainstream concern. The complex adtech that tracking protection protects against is also the place where fraud hides. (Adtech also tends to drag brands into Internet poo-flinging contests by attaching them to controversial sites, but that's another story.)

Higher-reputation publishers need more and better data to take to numbers-craving CMOs. Much of that data will have to come from the tracking-protected audience. When quality sites share tracking protection data with advertisers, that helps expose the adfraud that intermediaries have no incentive to track down.

We look forward to working with Linux Journal and the LJ readers.

Don Marti · #

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