Krux Digital Releases 2010 Cross-Industry Study

Editor’s note: Reposted from the Krux Digital Blog

[On November 9], Krux Digital released the findings of its 2010 Krux Cross-Industry Study.  With this study, we have undertaken a comprehensive review of data collection activities across the industry, with attention to the phenomenon we have referred to as ‘data leakage’ in earlier industry commentary.

The Executive Summary, along with the study’s full findings, are available here.  We have also issued a press release announcing the the study’s publication, which can be viewed here or here.  Key findings include:

  • 31% of all data collection was enabled by parties other than the publisher, often without their control or consent
  • 55% of all companies collecting data on a Web site also brought in other companies to collect data as well
  • 27% of all collection was conducted by parties that are potentially competitive to publishers in media or data sales
  • 167 different companies were observed participating in active data collection across just fifty publisher sites, few of whom appeared to be doing so in the publishers’ interest or at their request
  • Data leakage via third party data collectors resulted in at least $850 million in lost revenue annually for the publishers within the study’s sample

As you might expect, our study has garnered interest in the press, and there is related news coverage — most notably in the WSJ.  This coverage explores industry data practices, features some of the Krux results, and highlights the risks faced by publishers from data skimming and theft.  While the Journal will certainly remain consistent with the clear, strong editorial voice they have established on these matters, we at Krux are simply excited to see such energetic discussion of this pressing concern.  The Journal article can be viewed here.  As the Journal notes:

Sites are also worried outsiders may gain access to sensitive information about their visitors, raising privacy alarms., jointly owned by Microsoft Corp. and NBC Universal, has intensified monitoring of software being installed on visitors’ computers. “The sheer volume of activity was greater than we thought,” said Kyoo Kim, vice president of sales for the company’s digital network. There were “a lot of things happening without our knowledge.”

Web publishers are starting to focus on the challenge of responsibly stewarding and managing consumer data.  They realize that they can’t monetize an asset over which they don’t assert full ownership and control, or that’s being leaked one speckle at a time.  At Krux, we’re committed to helping publishers with protection, then management, then monetization, in that order, and that’s the thrust of our platform module release cycle.    As our study demonstrates, the industry needs to attack data protection first.  It’s the right thing for publishers, consumers, marketers, regulators, and legislators.

We’re sharing our results in the interest of catalyzing and informing industry dialogue regarding the data privacy and data piracy risks we all face.  We invite you to explore the findings.  Feel free to follow up with any member of the Krux team if you have questions.