Personally identifiable information

Online privacy: What's at stake

October 22, 2010: 1:09 PM ET

There are probably a set of policies that allow ad targeting to succeed while also letting users control what is associated with their real identities...the stakes are high.

By Chris Dixon, contributor

The New York Times

Image by Laughing Squid via Flickr

It is widely believed that a flourishing democracy requires an independent, diverse, and financially solvent press.  With print newspapers set to disappear in the next few years, the future of quality journalism is highly uncertain. This year, the online version of the New York Times will generate about $200M in revenue, a number that will need to approximately triple to support the current Times newsroom.

Most people who understand Internet economics believe that the best hope for online journalism is online advertising. Luckily, online advertising has significant room for improvement. Most of the revenue of the Times' online business is generated through display ads. The main metric used to price display ads is derived from the rate at which users click on the ads, a rate which today is dismally low.  Thus the Times could continue to support its current newsroom staff if display ads became even moderately effective. More

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