Re: @DougS Crocodile tears
if you are an advertiser and there is no competition in ad flinging. Do you look towards another medium?
If I am an advertiser (and as a small business owner, I suppose I would qualify) then I am ALWAYS looking at other mediums. Nobody smart puts all of their eggs in one basket.
A few years ago there weren't any targeted ads and advertisers still advertised. A few years before that there weren't any web ads at all and advertisers still advertised. The shape of the market changes and evolves all of the time.
However the Internet is not like past mediums. It changes quickly and radically, and whomever is on top can be on the bottom or completely gone in a matter of years. A kid in a dorm room can come up with an idea, put together a prototype in a few caffeine-fueled weeks or months, and for better or worse turn the entire market upside down.
It doesn't do you any good to try to predict the market because any prediction you make will be so wrong it isn't worth the effort -- so you just diversify and go with whatever is the "in" thing this week.
The only thing you can assume is going to be steady is the cost. Cost is driven by demand and not by technology or supply, because in internet advertising the supply is so elastic that it might as well be infinite. You and your competitors are going to have a budget, and if the budgets don't change then the spend remains the same, and thus the costs remain the same.
As the "ad flinger" market consolidates as an advertiser I don't really care. I know that if the price per ad goes up then I will place less ads, and so will my competition, thus the ratio of my ads to theirs will remain the same. If the costs exceed return, then another avenue will always present itself.
So, when google makes "privacy" changes like this it affects other ad-flingers, but it doesn't really affect the advertisers. If the ad-flinger market was a level playing field then it wouldn't matter but we all know that it isn't, but while the other ad-flingers cry foul remember that it was Google that pretty much INVENTED the category of targeted advertising and that as such they have been playing in Google's sandbox since the beginning and had to expect that things would change to their determent at some time or another.