So long, Pete Black, and Godspeed, we’ll miss you
Pete's retiring from BPA Worldwide. We'd like to wish him the best.
December 16, 2016
By the editors at Media Life
In a media world that never seems to slow down, to pause or press reset, and is swept over by wave after wave of change, you find lots of people with opinions, far fewer with perspective.
We are about to say good-bye to just such a person, a person with genuine perspective, and while he’s going off to a better life—a life pursuing his myriad hobbies from a Florida condo—we have to take note of how much we will miss him, even as we might envy his life in retirement.
This is Peter Black’s last day at BPA Worldwide, where for more years than we can remember he was their marketing chief—(proper title: Senior Vice President of Business Development)– and the guy who explained media measurement in all its forms to media buyers, sellers of media and pretty much anyone who expressed an interest.
We at Media Life got to know Pete in the early days of the internet, and our earliest days, when he befriended the magazine. Over the years he’s become a good friend, adviser, contributor, occasional advertiser, and someone we could always turn to with questions about media measurement. He made it all interesting.
But what we most celebrate about Pete–and the real reason for this good-bye note–is his deep, passionate and abiding belief in the integrity of the numbers.
Simply put, he believes that if a website claims 100,000 visitors a day, the number ought to be real and those visitors ought to be real.
And if they aren’t, shame on that site and but also shame on the media buyer and the agency that placed advertising there and shame on the advertiser for not demanding higher accountability of the agency.
To many reading this that might seem a naive notion, certainly these days.
At the least it would seem a minority opinion, judging by the mess the internet is in, and it begins but hardly ends with click fraud. Do we honestly trust any numbers or claims coming out of the digital space anymore?
To his great credit, Pete was way early in warning of the dire consequences of allowing these abuses to mushroom as they have.
He saw the great promise of the web. He saw that promise put at huge and senseless risk by such abuses. He got angry about it.
Back in 2014, he wrote a piece for Media Life titled On click fraud, where’s the anger? in which he pointed out just how rampant click fraud had become.
It’s gotten worse in the time since, now accounting for as much as 50 percent of all web advertising, costing advertisers billions each year.
But also in the time since we’ve seen a flood of people emerging who think the way Pete thinks, and they are coming together to find solutions to all these issues.
We think that’s wonderful. We applaud them. We’ve launched our own program, the Digital Media Transparency Initiative, to help media buyers and advertisers come up with practical solutions that they can share with one another.
We think 2017 will be the year a lot of this happens, and we are encouraged.
As Pete heads off to his Florida condo, leaving behind the Connecticut cold, we wish him the best and thank him for being such a terrific noodge about the integrity of numbers.
The numbers really do matter.
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