Esther Dyson penned an article for the Wall Street Journal in February. It is a great article, and you should read the whole thing if you are interested in this area, but there are two pieces in particular I wanted to pull out.
1) The current model of advertising is heading into a dangerous place:
This market will get more competitive, and users will be barraged by ads to which they will pay less and less attention. Call that public space, a world of billboards and cacophony. Even though the ads will be more “relevant” than ever, users will increasingly tune them out.
This plays to a couple of themes I have been discussing off and on for a while. Firstly users increasingly don’t see the ads on the page. Their eyes tune them out. Secondly we need something more radical than behavioural targeting – I suspect that the improvements of increased relevance will struggle to keep pace with the losses from people tuning ads out.
2) The answer to this problem lies in recasting our notion of privacy:
The discussion about privacy is changing as users take control over their own online data. While they spread their Web presence, these users are not looking for privacy, but for recognition as individuals — whether by friends or vendors. This will eventually change the whole world of advertising.
All of which brings us back to VRM.