Let’s also be clear about the myth, spread by the “interactive” (aka “relevant” and “interest-based”) advertising business, that the best online advertising is also the most targeted. That’s not the kind of advertising that made Madison Avenue, created nearly every brand you can name, and has sponsored publishers and other media for the duration. Instead it’s the goal of direct marketing, aka direct response marketing. Both of those labels are euphemistic re-brandings that the direct mail business gave itself after the world started calling it junk mail. Sure, much (or most) of the paid messages we see online are called advertising, and look like advertising; but as long as they want to get personal, they’re direct marketing.
Doc Searls Weblog · Dear @WashingtonPost: