Decoding Advertising In A Digital Age


Medium Premium Preview

The internet doesn’t understand the advertising business. Then again, neither do most advertisers. A Preview of a Medium Premium series from NewCo Shift.

One of the first Medium Premium series created in conjunction with noted authors and journalists, Which Half Is Wasted, by agency vet Rick Webb, explores the role of advertising in our society and economy, with a particular focus on digital advertising, which Webb argues presumes the migration of television brand dollars to the internet (a presumption that he declares false). In this exclusive series (membership is required, but Medium does have a “metered paywall’), Webb asks if we really understand the advertising business, and explores the effects the business has on what gets built online.

The first article in the series, which you can read here, states that society has thrown out the social contract that made advertising moral, as more and more advertising money is spent on online platforms like Facebook & Google, rather than supporting news gathering and content creation. It wasn’t long ago when advertising’s upside was that it allowed media creation to flourish.

Read the first article here: Which Half Is Wasted?

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The Best Of NewCo Shift — Week of September 26th


Here’s another week’s edition of NewCo Shift Weekly, a roundup of top NewCo Shift stories. Thank you for continuing reading and sharing these stories. Remember to follow us on Medium and social media to receive real time notifications from all our stories as they’re published. And let us know what you’re interested in us covering or pitch your own stories at Thanks for your support!

Lost Context: How Did We End Up Here?

Today marketers pour the majority of their budgets into the Google/Facebook duopoly — 70–85% of all digital advertising dollars go to the one or the other of them, and nearly all growth in digital marketing spend is attributable to them as well. But the real story is the complex, out of control nature of their ad platforms, which are now being hijacked by Russian actors and lord knows who else. How did we let that happen?

“Selective Constitutionalism”

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Why The F*ck Can’t We Fix “CRM”?


Dept. of Free Billion-Dollar Ideas

Please, let’s build the platform that finally connects business with its customers, at scale, in context, and with true value exchange.

No really. This is how they understand relationships with customers. POKE. MY. EYES OUT.

From time to time we all get great ideas, but then we do nothing about them. But this one has been running around my head for years, and recently, I’ve had this conversation with enough people that it seemed time to simply write it down — and hope releasing it into the universe might possibly help bring it to fruition in some way.

Because damn, we all need this thing to exist.

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Lost Context: How Did We End Up Here?


Facebook and Google’s advertising platforms are out of control. That used to be a good thing. Now…not so much.

Now that’s some damn precise audience targeting! From Buzzfeed.

Facebook and Google’s advertising infrastructure is one of humanity’s most marvelous creations. It’s also one of its most terrifying, because, in truth, pretty much no one really understands how it works. Not Mark Zuckerberg, not Larry Page, and certainly not Russian investigator Robert Mueller, although of the bunch, it seems Mueller is the most interested in changing that fact.

Pro Publica catches Facebook with its algorithmic pants down.
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The Best Of NewCo Shift — Week of September 11th


Here’s this week’s edition of NewCo Shift Weekly, a roundup of top NewCo Shift stories. Thank you for continuing reading and sharing these stories. Remember to follow us on Medium to receive real time notifications from all our stories as they’re published. And let us know what you’re interested in us covering or pitch your own stories at

What Can Be Pardoned?

After President Trump pardoned disgraced Arizona’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the action raised an interesting question about the limits of pardon power. This articles explores presidential pardons, and wonders if we will ever find out what was going on behind the closed doors of Trump Tower and the Mayflower Hotel.

The NonProfit Sector Must Move From Transaction to Collaboration

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It’s Time for Platforms to Come Clean On Political Advertising


Our Democracy Is At Stake

Facebook claims Russian actors spent a pittance during the election cycle. But we have no way to know how large the Russian operation — or any operation — truly was. That must change.


For decades now, tech companies have thrived in the role of Scrappy Startup Hell Bent on Changing the World. For these companies, the traditional rules of business were made to be broken, and “old school” thinking was simply damage to be routed around.

One such set of “traditional rules of business” have to do with transparency and accountability around political advertising. Our democracy is based on the idea that if someone is trying to influence our vote, we have a right to know who’s doing the influencing. Paid political speech is regulated speech, and for good reason. Imagine someone surreptitiously and continuously injecting false or misleading information into your daily media diet, with the goal of influencing your vote and inflaming your passions?

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What Did You *Think* They Do With Your Data?


Admit it, you know your data is how you pay for free services. And you’re cool with it. So let’s get the value exchange right.

Topping the charts on TechMeme yesterday is this story:

So as to be clear, what’s going on here is this: AccuWeather was sharing its users’ anonymized data with a third-party company for profit, even after those same users seemingly opted out of location-based data collection.

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What Has the Internet Done to Media?


This essay contains my thoughts, analysis, and supporting links about how Internet has been evolving over the past 20 years. These ideas have been driving me over the past decade to develop a set of improved technologies, practices and standards.

Let’s come together and fulfill the dream that was at the core of Internet: to unleash the potential of networked humanity. Please reach out to

1. Introduction

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Think You Know Verizon? Read This, Then Think Again


NewCo Shift Forum Dialogs, in Partnership with Work Market

Diego Scotti CMO, Verizon, gives us an earful on the Yahoo and AOL deals, challenging Google and Facebook, and how best to run a massive marketing organization

Diego Scotti commands one of the largest marketing spends in the world as CMO of Verizon. He joined us at NewCo Shift to discuss how Verizon, once merely a massive carrier brand, is shifting into overdrive, becoming not only a major content and advertising player (through its acquisitions of both AOL and Yahoo!), but also a pure technology brand (the jury is out on that one, but I’d not bet against them in the long run). Scotti is also an innovator in his approach to management — since taking over the helm of Verizon’s marketing machine, he’s forced his agencies into a diversity audit, created “Challenger Boards” that rip his marketing plans apart, and instituted new programs that address the fundamental “pipeline problem” in STEM education for minorities. Below is the full video interview and text, edited for clarity.

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Ads. Blocking and Tackling.


I did have other things to do tonight than write about advertising. Again. But g’damn, folks. Can we get our shit together?

I know Google thinks it is doing something about it. But that Chrome feature you call ad blocking? Well, OK, there’s some good in it — it even addresses the issue I’m on about right now, sort of*. But come on. It has no power unless you block ads in Facebook’s feed, amiright?!!! (Wink!)

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