Brentai wrote:First, the idea that companies should and can be expected to own their analytics: This is nice, but on the whole is as unworkable as asking consumers to secure their own IoT devices. Big Data is complex, resource-intensive, full of pitfalls and unfortunately currently riddled with charlatans. Not even the largest corporations can run their in-house analytics reliably; I know because I work for one of the largest corporations and 20% of my time is dealing with the in-house analytics platform creaking under the weight of unrestrained optimism.
I'll defer to your expertise on the complexity of the problem; I've never worked analytics on that scale.
I have to figure that the biggest media players (Disney, Comcast, AT&T/Time Warner, Viacom, CBS, Newscorp) do it in-house. Netflix certainly does. But I can see how it's a hard problem for something the size of the New York Times that's big enough to require serious analytics work but not big enough to afford it on the same scale that the major players can.
A lot of this feels like misplaced priorities, though. Univision spent somewhere around $200 million on a controlling stake in The Onion
, with the two major results of (1) ruining the AV Club and (2) deciding to sell it
. Tribune spent a nontrivial amount of money changing its name to Tronc and then changing it back to Tribune because Tronc is a stupid name. I don't know what kind of infrastructure and engineers they could have bought with that kind of money; maybe it still would have been wasted if that was where they'd put their resources. But I have a hard time imagining a scenario in which it would be a bigger waste than the stuff they actually
wasted that money on.
Being able to subcontract to a reliable and scalable third party is vital to most businesses.
Second, one of the largest of those subcontract services just admitted that their product is completely unreliable and thus worthless.
Not that this is a huge surprise, but it IS a stick against the already buzzing beehive of this industry.
And that's another thing: no, it's fucking not
a surprise. The extent to which the media have been hitching their wagons to Facebook is insane
Yes, Facebook presence is absolutely essential in that industry; that's inescapable. But there's a difference between having a Facebook profile where you post articles, advertise, and engage readership, and outsourcing your goddamn fundamental infrastructure to the "They 'trust me' -- dumb fucks" guy.
The appropriate way to treat Facebook is as a necessary evil. It should absolutely not be one of trust.
The same is true of Google, though at least I'd be a little
more surprised if Google carelessly torched its reputation as an analytics firm in exchange for short-term gain.
So perhaps the answer is "outsource it to a third party but have at least something
running on your own servers and somebody
auditing it in-house to make sure the numbers check out."
What does this all mean? What do we do about it? What CAN we do about it? Can we trust any of these services moving forward? Can we even trust our OWN STAFF? (In a lot of cases: No.)
Nothing in life is certain, but the steps required to encourage company loyalty are well-researched, well-documented, and antithetical to the way most major publicly-traded corporations currently function.
So yeah, kind of A Big Damned Thing here. REAL fun if you're an advertising provider (which is another 20% of my time). My crystal ball is frequently wrong about these big tidal shifts, so I'm just going to begin and end with "Fuck" and go drink fifths of rum until I forget why I'm doing it.
I don't know about big tidal shifts, but this is certainly one more thing that's bad news for Facebook.