By Adam Paulisick, Chief Product Officer

“Good Data, Creator of a Bustling Programmatic Dynasty, Dies in Infancy”

Good Data (GD), who created a wave of investment in all forms of programmatic media targeting and measurement, died in early 2017 while among friends.

The death was known to existing data management platforms in 2016 but only fully realized by the masses of advertisers and agencies in early 2017.

GD, known to close friends as “first-party data,” came to the ad ecosystem as an immigrant from CRM and magazine marketers more than thirty years ago. As recently as 2013, AMEX and MasterCard released a new wave of data into the world. Other payments data survived to grow audience segments and measurement capabilities alike until its passing shortly before that of GD. GD’s funeral was rich with like-minded relatives born as recently as 2015. Adobe told stories of a friend gone too soon, one it knew as “second-party data.”

Others chimed in at the ceremony. “GD was an incredible source of light in an otherwise dark and modeled world,” a major brand manager commented. “When GD was first enabled, there were only small populations that could be reached with deterministic data. There was also massive confusion caused by third-party datasets being ferociously marketed to planners or being bought mostly by machine algorithms. First-party data saw through the modeled models and asked these questions: Where did you get this data? Can we really trust it? How fresh is the data? We’ll all miss GD.”

Although it would never call itself the only authority, Good Data clearly proved with evidence that the reaction to advertising can only be validated with actual sales or location behavior. But over-dependence on machine buying and selling from emerging platforms and untested inventory sources led to slowing adoption of Good Data and an outbreak of proxy datasets that had their merits but slowly and surely corrupted the minds of even the brightest advertisers or their agents.  

That outbreak continued, with some demand-side platforms becoming so desperate for Good Data that they themselves approached the root sources. For some time, retailers and other direct acquirers of data were under siege with promises of “I won’t build any other data products” or “your data will be kept in isolation” even though the usage of such data by definition makes it incredibly hard to limit if you can’t observe who the data is being applied against.

There was hope and a potential cure in Good Data but as 3rd party datasets could exist without any checks and balances or direct permission from the source, lawsuits and derivative products ran wild, the latter masked by claims of adhering to the once-pure Good Data ideals.  

And finally, as we all know, we are now left with only Good Data’s legacy. Along with other incredible advancements, GD went to the graveyard of short-term benefit before its rightful place as a sustaining capability could be set.


A note from the advertising family. This is a wakeup call for all data owners regarding the future of responsible advertising and marketing. You have a decision to make about your rightful place within the halls of profitable growth. Will you license your raw goods (data) for others to absorb and benefit from or will you stand tall and unified to make sure the most robust technology builds to your data but not with your data. In lieu of family contributions, please consider donating your data to a secure permissioned exchange that can help you monitor whether anyone is using it inappropriately and/or without your permission.