While the excitement and inevitable let-down over the unveiling of Apple’s iPad is running its course, it’s time for the next stage in the process: fear and worry. In a blog post, Interactive Bureau of Advertising head Randall Rothenberg is sounding the alarm that Apple’s tablet device represents the increasing “semi-privatization” of the internet. The iPad follows a line that includes social networks and tools like Facebook and Twitter, as well as other products and services like Amazon’s Kindle, Sony’s Playstation, Microsoft’s xBox, Boxee and Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX).
To one degree or another, the blogging, downloading and streaming services offered by these entities presents a “degree of openness” that can be raised or lowered depending on the whims of individual operators. Aside from that, the openness does not extend to advertisers who reach various audiences across all these devices. Online advertising depends on click-throughs, ad networks, analytics, search-engine optimization being standardized and connected, Rothenberg says, citing Forrester’s Josh Bernoff. With more devices having their own disconnected standards, online advertising will only become more splintered, since separate kinds of ads that conform to the unique properties of each system and device.
Rothenberg is particularly concerned about the iPad’s incompatibility with Adobe (NSDQ: ADBE) Flash, which is the basis of most display ad campaigns. While Bernoff shrugs and says this is the way of the world, Rothenberg does have some suggestions for reducing the walled-gardens that exist between the various systems.
He proposes a “supply chain détente” where the device marketers establish a single standard that will make it easy for advertisers to create seamless campaigns across all platforms. In the meantime, publishers can’t wait around for the gated communities to fall apart. Media companies have to ramp up their own individual marketing services programs to find other ways of drawing in ad revenue and supporting their businesses.