There is a lot of bellyaching coming from certain corners of the online ad world these days. The doomsayers think a cookie ban will send ad targeting – and the ecoLumasystemventurescape as we know it – into the Dark Ages.

At #MPOMMA in Seattle, I reminisced about the days before cookie targeting. When VCs only backed eCommerce companies. “When behavioral” was a bad word, if not a twinkle in Omar Takawol’s eye. When targeting meant context, content, keywords, and good old-fashioned demo and psychographics. In fact, I remember a time before the internet, when, somehow, hundreds of billions of dollars were spent without any targeting or measurement, more sophisticated than 20,000 households with a box on their TV.

Actually, that last one still happens.

The cookie crumble will hurt small publishers and shake up the indirect media trading space (still a minority of digital media spend). Algorithms will be rebuilt. Companies will downsize. The funnel will shorten. There will be a flight to quality.

Tools already exist to build targeting profiles and proxies that will make up in simplicity, scalability, and privacy friendliness for what they lack in precision. DMPs, contextual targeters, and old-line measurement companies stand to benefit. For the first time in years, ad servers will have a chance to innovate and take back some of the margin (and the new-tech/cool-tech high ground) they’ve ceded to the alphabet soup of intermediaries over the past 10 years.

Attention Accipiter, @plan, ContextWeb, IndustryBrains: time for a reboot!