By: Ari Lewine | Ad Age
During the British colonial rule of India, the government was concerned about the growing number of venomous cobra snakes. In order to curb this threat, the government offered a bounty for every dead cobra. Naturally, the venomous snakes were killed in exchange for the reward. Over time, however, people started breeding cobras for the purpose of killing them to collect the reward. When the government caught on, the entire cobra program was scrapped. This, in turn, led the cobra breeders to set loose their now-worthless snakes. The only results of the whole exercise were a massive increase in the wild cobra population and an invaluable lesson in unintended consequences. A similar scenario is playing out in digital marketing with the emergence of viewability measurement.