I don't adblock for privacy, security, or speed. Those are just nice-side effects. I adblock because I do not want to be manipulated into buying things I do not need.
I wonder what would happen if, as a society, we said, "enough, no more ads". Would it really be the capitalist apocalypse that the ad industry is trying to make us believe it would be?
Other users than you will be able to mix and match, too: better and more private ads on sites they don't support, with a revenue share to these users that they can spend on sites they do.
We aren't saying "only ads". We do see ads as a necessary funding model for much of the web today. I would love to see micropayments replace ads. Let's see what can be done.
Stuff I do pay for: educational content (books, courses etc), Spotify, Netflix.
You're obviously much more deeply invested in this and have done the maths. I am curious, what percentage of web users do you calculate will use the micro-payments, if it was a seamless perfectly executed experience? How much revenue do you think it will generate and will it be enough to disrupt web-ads?
I do the same thing, but I realized a while back there is a flaw in this model. It means the available creative works—which in turn effectively means the engine of culture—is determined almost entirely by people who are well-off enough to have the free time to do that.
I don't have "free" time. I paid for that time by buying a more expensive house close to where I work, spending less time shopping by not chasing the best deal, paying others to do home and car repairs, etc. etc. etc.
People who aren't as financially lucky as me don't have that opportunity. I'm not crazy about the idea of living in a world where those people don't get to participate in determining culture.
From where I sit, that's the problem ad-supported media has, not the other way around.
Look at TV before Netflix/iTunes/etc. came along. It was pretty much a crap-fest of lowest-common-denominator programming that was created based on who sold the most ads. It left out large sections of the population (minorities, women, LGBT, etc.) for the most part, relegating them to stereotypes, if they were mentioned at all. It also limited content that discussed topics that were unpleasant to the media gateways. (I've heard it said that NBC News wasn't allowed to discuss nuclear power at all because GE, which owns NBC, was in that business and didn't want any bad press from their own company.)
Now a television show on Netflix/HBO/etc. can discuss topics that it wants without having to worry about whether a sponsor might drop out, or they might offend someone, or because they didn't appeal enough to the mainstream.
Removing ads has freed media. The current system isn't perfect, but it's a hell of a lot better than 3 major networks pumping out sitcoms about white fat guys married to beautiful women.
You can bitch all you want about the poor state of journalism, but the institutions that are trying to maintain it in a market where no one wants to pay for it are struggling. People won't pay subscriptions (the majority), don't want ads, but still want all that content.
The startup/software development equivalent is open source but that only works for largely one group of people: well off white males.
I think that undermines your point: Netflix and iTunes are paid content channels. TV used to be freely broadcast over the airwaves (still is, but used to be too) and needed to earn money exclusively from advertising.
Netflix and iTunes were not the beginning of that trend. It started when cable TV came along, and began selling subscription access to content like HBO, Showtime, etc. which have no ads. The differentiator with Netflix and iTunes was the ability to stream TV over the Internet, and consequently pay for it without bundling it into cable, and paying for individual shows/movies a la carte.
It's also taken a while for Netflix and Amazon to begin offering their own premium content. HBO has been in operation since the 1970s, though to be fair its critical mass really began in 1999 with The Sopranos. Netflix introduced streaming TV in 2007 and received its first real primetime Emmy nominations for its own content in 2013 (House of Cards)
In 2015, HBO received 126 Primetime Emmy nominations (Game of Thrones), the most of any network, a spot HBO has held for 15 years in a row according to NYT. That year, Netflix received 34 nominations and the nascent Amazon Studios garnered 12 (Transparent).
You're describing the vast majority of the content on Netflix today.
Would you agree that there doesn't exist a similar or better way to obtain the highest quality programming? Netflix has a library (and interface) that many people have found sufficiently entertaining and edifying to the point that they'll drop all traditional content delivery platforms for it. It also doesn't have any ads beyond its contents' meta data like cover art, top casting, ui / categorization choices, etc.
In able to access the opposite of crap-fest content, let's call it quality content, how is a person to reasonably find it and then consume it? Affordably and conveniently with a minimum amount of time searching? Especially with the never-ending flood of content, much of it inspired by the need to sell or be famous? There's just not enough time in the day to hunt for quality content for many, many people.
It seems like Netflix is a better thing in comparison to what came before it, and ads are notably absent. What is the best version of content provision to the 7bil+, and why is it taking so long / so hard to implement?
Personally, seems like a clear win to me towards that system is to automate away the middleman. :)
No, cable or satllite both provide a greater breadth of highest quality programming. The cost and licensing terms are rough but it's a hell of a content offering
Further, it's not like ads have been some democratizing element for cultural creation. They pay a pittance for everyone but the large traffic generators. No one is quitting their job at Denny's to become a full time blogger paid by google adwords. The independent instagram/youtube/blogger "celebrities" all still keep full time jobs until they get enough sponsorship to pay the bills.
That's still true. Writing for the web is generally a low-paying job. It would be even lower if the media properties went out of business.
The word “amateur” used to be a positive thing, meaning that an amateur really had the time to get to know their field and weren’t distracted by the business side of things.
"Oh, look at this hedge, it was trimmed by professionals, they damaged every single branch."
"Hey, look at how they painted the door, there's paint over the hinges and even the lock is stuck with it. That's professional work."
"Oh, my basic tool that [big software editor] forces me to use leaks 1Gb memory per hour. That's professional software (developed by the nephew of the trainee)."
So basically, for me, "professional" refers to a work that was done with great efficiency, but time and money spent were the only metric of this efficiency. Quality, attention, precision, thought about the consequences, the future were not part of the parameters.
Despite the poor reputation of advertising in "art" circles, quite a few visual artists blurred the frontiers between the two. For craftsmen, it doesn't matter as long as they can use their skills to make something—and they need the money, too. I understand the bad rap advertising gets, especially online, and wonder why it is still seen as the dominant revenue model on the web. Still, I'd love to read cases of significant artists who used advertising to fund their art.
It's interesting that almost every reply to my comment assumes a binary viewpoint. I responded to a single sentence of the parent comment. I never claimed to be on the "opposing team" of the comment's author.
But, to answer your question, the reporting of the Watergate scandal comes to mind.
I can't see why those users couldn't publish through a network that charges for access but guarantees a high bar of quality (both content and browsing experience). Think of something like Medium, with opt-in micropayments... possibly even mix in a social element, so friends of the creator get free access.
We have, culturally, decided that art is worth very little, and this is the (inevitable? I don't know) result.
Also imho micro-payments won't solve that problem. It is a much deeper structural problem.
I'm not about to claim that it's in any way an ideal or better, but isn't this how 90% of the literature, and maybe more often art, that we know hold as sacred parts of history, were created?
I wonder how well a system like reddit gold would work for webpages - if an article was particularly fascinating or insightful or entertaining I could hit a button to give them a dollar or something else (maybe I set a budget of $20 at each month so I don't over or under-pay what I "think" I value media at). If enough people did this, wouldn't this start driving quality back up? Wouldn't it suddenly be transparent the value people see in an article in dollar terms? Who would make the first Million Dollar article?
Granted it never took off like it wanted to, but Patreon operates on a similar model and is absolutely booming right now. Several comic artists I'm aware of have been able to quit their jobs and go full-time on the strength of Patreon alone--A Ghost Story, for example. So it's definitely not true that micropayment services always fail.
Welcome to feminism. Women have done untold amounts of uncompensated labour throughout history. What is the value of all that?
Capitalism favours those whose labour has a high monetary value assigned to it. It leaves everybody else out in the cold. I find it extremely frustrating that those who have been shunted from column A into column B have resorted to crab mentality instead of becoming critics of capitalism.
Quality content that requires you to go to Afghanistan to actually understand and report the situation on the ground is not written by people who write as a hobby. In depth political analysis generally isn't either. That's because going to Afghanistan, or understanding the internal structure of politics are full time jobs.
Unless we find a way to pay people to do these jobs, we'll be eating the writings of people hired by those with money and vested interests. The PR agencies hired to sell us war, or political talking points.
"Unless we find a way to pay people to do these jobs, we'll be eating the writings of people hired by those with money and vested interests."
I suspect it may have been the point of your comment but that's exactly what we are already doing.
I have another example. The Irish Times (one of Ireland's leading broadsheet newspapers) bought myhome.ie for €50m euros in 2007. The Irish Times had a huge daily property section at the time and was profiting greatly, riding on the crest of the wave of the property bubble. They also received uncountable millions from the banks to advertise the ridiculous 110% mortgages etc within the pages of their daily paper. I'll let you guess how much content that was critical of the property boom was published within their pages and how long it took for them to do any investigative journalism into the fraudulent behaviour of the banks whose ad budgets were sustaining them.
Capitalism and the truth are not compatible. Too many vested interests everywhere. War journalists can't be critical because they will lose access. Everyone is tip-toeing about scared to set a foot wrong incase it dries up their income supply (or at least removes the circumstances which allows them to earn a living). We've hit saturation point and all this disruption through internet and automation is a godsend in the long run but will cause much suffering in the short term.
OK, so blog posts are of almost no value to you. But a bit of music and some TV shows, that's where the really productive, transformative stuff happens whose creators deserve a few bucks..
I generally find that I'm better off spending an hour researching books to purchase on a non-programming subject than I am spending that hour Googling for free content on that subject.
I have payed nothing to the people on youtube who shown me how to fold a shirt, do my hair, make pasta easily, chop food like a chef or whatever else I needed help with; granted those aren't writing per-say, but a decade ago I would have found that information in a blog.
I won't pay for writing, I will pay for a fact-checker, but so far that only seems necessary on highly-technical books.
Where are most of these ads? What "content" is making all that money?
You've seen it. 95% (or more) is nearly spam. Or actual spam in some way or another. It's all those listicles ("The 10 best X"), or these photo image traps (there was a name for them, the "You won't believe bla this celebrity something embarrassing mistake").
I didn't consent to buying that. And I most definitely will not spend my precious currency of attention on it.
Do we all recall the bad old days of blackhat SEO, linkfarms and all that crap? It's still going on but I call it the bad old days because it used to be you couldn't research stuff on the Internet without bumping into those things all the time.
Do we remember how a lot of these things worked? I've always had a morbid fascination for those things, some were such weird places. Initially it just started with endless algorithmically generated pages linking to pages in ways that exploited Google's classic PageRank algorithms. Google got wise to that, so the blackhat SEOs sprinkled in some content. Google got wiser, and at some point (this was still when About.com was a serious "competitor" to Wikipedia) there were actual humans churning out tiny "content" articles, 300 words, really about almost anything, just a few paragraphs, puke a few words on any topic you could possibly imagine and people would get a tiny pay for writing it and into another SEO-machine they went, extracted keywords linked to all the things and back to spam.
That's not the type of content industry we want to support, right? But THIS is what happened. Of course Google Ads got wise-ish to that as well, and over time this content-farming industry kept incrementing the content quality of their spam just enough until the listicles that nobody ever asked for are just barely good enough that the public will actually swallow it.
And that is what we have today, and there is no real economic incentive to get any better. Maybe a tiny bit better, but remember this trash grew organically from the economic incentives of spam. It's never going to grow into the awesome well-researched high quality articles everybody is furiously imagining when they talk about an ad-supported content web or micropayments or whatever.
It's a mistake.
Ads never really significantly supported high quality content publishers, most of the really great content on the Internet has always been on free websites. If you don't believe me it's because the ad-networks never linked you there or you never thought to look. The vast majority of these ad-networks, all what they ever gave us was spam and economic incentives for more spam. And micropayments are not going to be any different.
You're imagining growth the wrong way. The only thing that will grow is the spam, and it'll get a bit "better quality" if it makes more money maybe but there's no reason for it to grow until it reaches the actually good quality. You get a pretty mushroom growing from the fungus.
All of the higher quality content websites with nice chewy articles, that figured out a way to be financially supported by their audience, none of them do it with ads. It doesn't make them nearly enough money to account for the readers put off by it. And that's not an "oh eww! this otherwise-quality-article has an ad on it, I'll just go read something else", no that's of course silly. It's the image of the thing. Having a big, ugly, ad-network operated ad right next (or inside) your otherwise-quality-article diminishes the value of it. Having to cut up that article into multiple pages for no reason other than boosting pageviews, diminishes the value.
Write a great article, inject it with ads, becomes a mediocre article. If you don't believe me, imagine you found a cool programming tutorial on some topic you find interesting. The tutorial is split into multiple small pages, content making up less than 33% of the screen, and browsing back and forth between pages is slow because of all the 3rd party components and ubiquitous JS frameworks. Then imagine the same tutorial on one page, written in markdown, on github pages or whatever, and that's it. Value? To me it's an order of magnitude difference. So much difference that I've occasionally taken that content, copypasted and reformatted into a nice quiet format, strictly for personal use, as alternative to bookmarking. The value of the time it cost me to do that is actually worth several orders of magnitude more than what I would ever pay for an article.
Maybe the publisher doesn't even care, ultimately the writers do. Sure, from a rational economical financial free-marketable point of view it just makes business sense to trash high-quality articles with ads until the costs and benefits line up sufficiently that any more trashing would just be done out of sadistic glee. But writing is a creative process. It's not all about money. And if you keep that up, you're gonna kill the creativity regardless, because all you end up with is regurgitated contentfarm poop, the worst of both worlds, no actual quality content and a world of ads. I'm a creative person, I create content just for the heck of it. I never needed to rationalize why I hate ads. I know why they are bad and what happens when I let them near my creative processes.
Sorry this post got a bit long :-)
I don't know much about the technical reality of it, but I've thought that an effective micropayments system could be revolutionary, one of thhe most important innovations in tech:
1) It could be a way of financing an incredible amount of essential work that current funding models fail, because the payments are one-off and not worth the high trasaction costs (in fees and user time). Think of art (how do you pay for an amazing digital image) to music (pay for one song) to journalism (how do you pay for one article) to games to FOSS code to expert Q&A to much more. Financing these endeavors could lead to much more and much better.
2) It can solve much of the privacy problem, assuming the micropayments are cash-like and not tracked. I hope anonymity, which you mention in your comment, and all aspects of confidentiality are being designed and built in as core functions.
3) It could enable automated rights clearinghouses in many fields. Do you want to use part of that code/song/etc. in your work? No need to contact the rights holder and negotiate a contract, an impossibly high transaction cost for most, just use the micropayment system. Much of art in the digital age is, or should be, collage. As they say, 'good artists borrow, great artists steal'.
In my mind, it could be the most important IT innovation for culture, code, and many other aspects of society.
(key takeaway from that article: people are moving away from micropayments where they already exist (e.g. music) to subscription models. It doesn't work)
First, micropayments are less than a penny (the "micro" part). Anything 25 cents is just a payment.
Second, 25 cents means I can quickly bump into my monthly/yearly maximums and have to start cutting back on my reading each month and year end. I don't want to go each October-December without being able to read the web just because I overspent on marginal articles earlier in the year.
The model that will work (for me anyway) is one like Netflix. I pay essentially a yearly fee and can consume as much as I want. Bingeing, if you will, when I desire. But only if, again like Netflix, a significant portion of the web is included. If I have to pay for five or six subscriptions it's a no-go because it gets too expensive.
So even for things worth a quarter, a real micropayment system would be a boon.
Now, the problem with things like Blendle, the iTunes store, etc., is that even with my definition of micropayments, they're not that useful, because they lock you into that vendor: you have to have an account with them, and you basically have a "tab" with them (much like going to a bar) that you build up, and eventually get billed for and pay all at once, so that they don't get socked with giant fees. This, obviously, only favors large players: Apple can afford to sell you $1 movies and songs this way, because it keeps you coming back to their store, but this doesn't help sellers who want to sell stuff on their own, outside of some giant player like that (who of course takes a gigantic cut of the proceeds for selling on their store).
A real micropayment system would let buyers and sellers exchange pennies at a time, with extremely low fees. PayPal got us a little closer to this by letting small sellers easily establish an account and get money from buyers (using their credit cards), without having to pay huge fees for a traditional merchant account. But PayPal gets socked with the same fees from Visa/MC as everyone and passes them on, so you still have to pay the same $0.30+3% per transaction. A micropayment system would have to bypass Visa/MC altogether. We'll never have micropayments, or lower fees of any kind, as long as we're stuck with the Visa/MC cartel.
I would be willing to pay for a service that tracked each site I visited and billed me at the end of the month at a price-per-pageview comparable to CPM prices today.
EDIT: This is very distinct from asking me to pay 20 cents each time I want to open a particular page. The time I would spend considering whether to open a particular page or not isn't worth 20 cents, without regard to the fact that 20 cents/view is easily 100 times over the going rate for a page view.
I'm currently involved with a project called SatoshiPay (https://satoshipay.io/), which tries to solve just this headache by enabling micropayments (down to fractions of cents) from a Bitcoin wallet that's created automatically straight in the browser. Still early days, but I believe this could be a user-friendly solution to the micropayment problem.
Very happy to see the principal agent problem on the web stated so clearly. I've been calling it the tragedy of the commons in comments here and elsewhere. Thanks!
 And security and privacy, they're the basic minimum the world needs, right? Grandparent seems too quick to dismiss them.
I suspect it's also due to developers getting and using the latest hardware (i.e. top range Mac Book Pros) and as long as it works on their machine, with all bells and whistles, they don't care about any of their users with slower machines. Same with phones - older phones are out of date because the updated apps get bloated and bloated for them but are not bloated for the developers.
I hope we can push the Graphics team to enable hardware acceleration on Linux eventually, too. :)
I mean, authors would have to kiss the asses of the readers and try to be as friendly to their preconceptions as possible and make them feel like they are buddies.
Most donations are done based on emotions. So now we'd have distorted content, catering to the online hivemind even more than today.
> We have a micro payments channel to publishers, frictionless and anonymous, under construction, for folks who want no ads and who will pay.
That's in my opinion the interesting part. I would not maintain a browser for that reason, especially not for the .5% geeks that value that stuff. Directly supporting your favourite content creators would be an awesome thing. There already are micropayments providers like flattr or google contribute but they have different goals (flattr) or different approaches (google).
I'm just not sure if a for-profit organisation would be the right way to do this in web-land.
The ad-supported Internet is one of the few places where wealthy people and poor people are on equal footing, where children can still explore without parental permission, and adults can explore without constantly asking themselves "is this worth it?".
I imagine micropayments will be exactly the sort of problem people decry in Facebook's Free Basics, where large companies can afford to give access to their sites for free, while small website operators are forced to live in their walled garden or charge micropayments (and fade into obscurity).
I also think it's kind of weird how many people like the idea of micropayments for websites when we've seen firsthand what it did to gaming, and especially mobile gaming.
I too am hopeful for a better system that can replace advertising, but I don't think micropayments are that system.
Just wanted to throw my $0.02 out there. A browser company will obviously be the next google. Advertising makes no sense as a monetization strategy in any capacity. World wide web is an RSS feed and browsers currently only a feedparser not reader.
What new browser will solve
* crawlers are being banned and info is mich more protected.
* ads are being blocked more aggressively.
* corpus of sites too massive to provide relevent help as singular units.
* discovery biggest problem on internet again, sites like HN and reddit proof.
How browser makes money
Companies have websites that provide data, browser provides digested and concatenated info to user.
User pays search engine browser for data & processing which is paid to websites.
As good content and info become more fragmented this will be valuable.
* provides data directly (skips results returns info)
* privacy by design, user pays for their own crawl index (basically AWS for data.
* parse and rank data like pandora
1. User can get their own corpus and filter it (subset of master)
2. Websites and aggregators sell data to platform (indexed data sets, indexing tools, or a sub corpus)
3. Users can buy or subscribe to these on platform market.
4. User information, parse heuristics, corpus ranking, etc are sent to private db setup for user. Data is requested from browser ==> user processing ==> main corpus (if not cached/get balance of non cached items) <== fetched raw data returned then processed and indexed according to users needs/algorithims then data returned to user.
Entire ecosystem product. You could build this.
in particular discovery is terrible - its worst - much worse than the altavista days. People don't seem to realize that 99.9% of the people see 0.0..1% of the content, always the same content, for all.
a browser that block all ads, trackers, etc can indeed provide the user data for a fee, since the browser always has access to all the data. not sure how it would access its own crawl index though, ie where does the index comes from?
Right now, its google...
However, like googlebot, the browser will of course be the actual crawler. Page requests are cached at the databank level, then at the users partition.
The problem is that the web is an rss feed but sites (with valuable info) are blocking crawlers, except google. This creates informational asymmetry.
Since almost all search engines try to emulate page rank, we dont have diversified results, however all our search info is aggregated.
The browser wont "block" adds because it won't ever return websites. It will literally only return (how I imagine v1) to return html snippets and they can be iterated over rapidly.
Tracking won't matter. I haven't worked out exactly how to do it, but i think that you will own a piece of a corpus (essentially there is one corpus, but you have it sort of mirrored to your silo) you can make requests to the corpus to fetch data or to go out into the internet and get raw data. It is returned to your cache (and the global one) then your processing is done locally.
* browser is the feedreader, network and platform
* users sell bots and crawlers to users
* users sell sorted data sets to users
* users sell algorithims to users
* browser is a market maker
Storage so cheap processing power is so good a 20gb cache of data can sit locally. And you can fetch newer data or swap it out for other stuff. You also can store post-processed analytical data in the cloud
Site owners have to opt-in to the system obviously, if for no other reason than that they have to receive the payments somehow.
So what will you do if I selected ad-free browsing and am willing to pay but the site doesn't support your system? Refuse to load the page? Do not block ads and override my decision? Block all ads and override the site owners decision?
What I object to are invasive ad networks that try to track me all over the internet and build a comprehensive profile of my identity and online activities. As far as I'm concerned THAT is the problem browser companies need to be addressing.
I don't understand why Firefox/Apple/Microsoft haven't been pushing this angle. They could strike a blow against their rival Google, and for their users, in the same stroke.
To use micropayments, I'd need to fund via Bitcoin or another anonymous method. Even cash in the mail, I suppose. Also, I'd want to buy per article, but I wouldn't want to substantively interrupt the flow of browsing, or think very much about the amount. Ideally, I'd like to be quoted payment amounts that just won against bids by advertisers.
> better = more relevant to the things I might want.
In my mind advertising serves 3 roles:
1. informational - this product exists and costs X
2. branding - X is really good at design, Y cares about the environment
3. generate new market/demand - cigarettes are cool, diamonds are about love, you smell bad so you should use deodorant
Targeting is only really suited for #1. 2 & 3 are about social signaling and crafting a narrative about a product. For example, seeing an ad for the Economist would have stronger signaling ("this is for important people") if you saw it on your boss' screen - not your own. There's an article that goes into much more detail about this idea - but in my mind non-targeted advertising would be valuable if it was about brand-association and location (as in traditional media).
Edit: as an interesting side-note, click through rates are utterly meaningless for #2 and possibly #3. What matters is what the audience thinks and feels about the ad and the product/brand, not whether they buy it on the spot. Here, intrusive advertising destroys value by associating a brand with a negative experience (popups, rollovers, etc.)
Case in point - I connected to smh.com.au and since I have connected to it yesterday (only two times!) it has accessed 91 third party sites. 91! It's ridiculous.
PS: I am not the author, I like the idea, so I have a complete white list of sites in the webview.
Clay Shirky's got some good additions.
The solution I'm leaning strongly toward is a large-scale, preferably universal, content syndication / payment system. The big problem seems to be the getting there from here part (as usual), and some sort of super-aggregator (possibly Google, Amazon, Apple, or Facebook) might lead the way. Though I'm heartened that other minds superior to my own seem to find the same solution attractive: Phil Hunt (Pirate Party UK) and Richard M. Stallman (FSF/GNU).
My own, with some background:
Why information goods and markets are a poor match
This is an amazing option.
Interesting. I'm the opposite. I've yet to encounter an ad that has a hope in hell of manipulating me at all. I couldn't be more dismissive of them. And if I encounter one too often my dislike of the company starts to grow. "It's show time, and you've been coding like a beast..." really pissed me off. They're throwing garbage at me, they want my money, I want my money, I'm at war with them.
If you know what "just do it", "the happiest place on Earth", "think different", or "the world's most advanced operating system" refer to, you've already been manipulated. A lot of ads are just about making sure you have a particular brand in mind and you're keenly aware of that brand's existence. Then, when time comes around to actually buy something, you'll think back to that brand. There's a lot of sneaky group psychology in the advertising industry.
I know a good number of people who don't buy Nike products, don't own a Mac, and haven't been to any theme parks. For those people, whether or not they know the slogan doesn't matter: if you only drink water then 100 Coke vs Pepsi ads do nothing; if you run an obscure Linux distro you'll laugh at both the "think different" and "the world's most advanced operating system" ads; if you wear "the cheap black ones I think?" then the $90 Nikes won't get your dollar over the $40 New Balance shoes. I'm not saying that's the best way to live your life, but it certainly is one way to neatly sidestep the modern manipulation of ads.
Things may be more insidious than that though. You may not drink Coke or Pepsi, but maybe you have friends or family members that do? I've certainly known people who didn't like to go to certain restaurants because they didn't serve Coke. Maybe you've also gone along with this at sometime in the past. Or maybe you've had to buy gifts for friends of your children, and they've had pressure procure name-brand items?
I also happen to know what "get serious about social" refers to even though I've never seen an ad by them, nor have I ever been in a position which would make me a customer. There's nothing "sneaky" advertising techniques. They are well-known.
You're argument isn't shaky, its incomplete. How is this a bad thing? If my friend tells me "Intel makes good SSDs", I now have a brand and a reason to buy from them. Am I being "manipulated"? By your definition yes, I'm probably not going to buy a Samsung SSD, now knowing Intel is reliable. Is this bad? I don't know, I generally consider having information about a product I wish to purchase a good thing.
If you do I feel a great amount of sympathy for you. You must feel inundated.
Second, always always comparison-shop for things. Read the reviews, identify which specs are most important to you, seek out competitors, and compare prices. The Internet (and now mobile apps) makes this so easy these days.
I've never bought Nike or IBM, usually prefer local amusement parks or carnivals to Disneyland, and had to Google to realize that your last slogan applies to OS X (I think Xen when I hear "the world's most advanced operating system"). Consistently saved 80% of my income since I started working. I love ad-supported stuff, because it means other people pay for it rather than me.
Do you consider that I've been manipulated? More to the point, do you find anything unethical in this?
Honestly I just want all the advertising (be it physical (signage, billboards, smells, etc) or digital) to get out of my environment. It's almost always noise and it's ugly. There's no reason we couldn't build a hyper-connected system where if I'm looking for something, I can find it.
I want socks? Ok, how many sock stores are local? Ok, what are these made of and who is their supplier, and how does their supplier get their product? (I don't want to support sweat-shop labor or non-sustainability, especially if I'm buying socks.) How have other people found these socks to work?
I should be able to find what I need, which includes being able to understand how that product came to be (transparency). Products shouldn't find me. Ads are noise and we've got enough of that as it is. Would Nike, selling socks, be as successful when all is considered? I'd like to think humans care more for their home and, taking away all the psychological manipulation of ads, could begin to choose how to spend their money more intelligently. A man can dream...
EDIT: To me your question raises the problem we should solve, which advertising kinda solves damn poorly. Get people who need something in touch with the people who can provide that something, and make it transparent for both parties as much as possible.
1) Is it free speech to blow an airhorn on a continuous basis?
2) Is it free speech to spraypaint over a billboard?
The truth is, we as human being are constantly target of manipulation, always was, always will be. If not in the form of ads, then masqueraded in other more subtle forms. Would you rather know you're explicitly being subject of manipulation?
I'd rather avoid the manipulation altogether by people I don't know and they can fuck right off with their attempts to sell me something I don't need or am not interested in (all the while contributing to hidden negative externalities). I want to support (manipulate) and be supported by (manipulated by) people I love and know to share my values.
@oldmanjay in another response says this is contrary to free speech, imagines I must be a unhappy unless I'm a hermit, and doesn't mind that he'd be offending me with his noise if we were in the same room. Well guess what, I wouldn't have entered the room in the first place. That's the problem. You can't walk down the street without getting blasted in the retinas by all this damn noise. The fact that it happens on highways while people need to be focusing on the road is just insane. I live in NA.
You'd expect the directory to be filled with businesses that effectively advertise themselves.
(I can't think of any mongoose adverts.)
I actually quite like the Meerkats.
I'm pretty sure I know where "the happiest place on Earth" is but it'll be a cold day in hell before I visit.
Less manipulated, more just a basic cultural awareness, I'd say.
> If you know [random thing]... you've already been manipulated.
Choosing one brand over another when you want to buy beer is not nearly the same thing as being manipulated into buying beer when you don't actually want to.
(Disclosure--I do digital media for a living)
Case in point, I once had a vet clinic as a client. People were seeking out information on Google for certain pet symptoms that owners may not have realized warranted a vet visit, and we ran paid search ads against those terms. People were clicking them and then coming in to get their exam, and often getting in front of what could have been a much worse outcome for their pet.
Was that manipulative or helpful?
Point is, people like to paint with overly broad strokes when speaking about advertising. Make no mistake, the lengths to which publishers have gone over the past couple of years is disgusting. Would you be surprised to learn that many in the industry also hate this kind of crap? I'm not trying to make excuses or anything as there are definitely bad actors (among advertisers, networks and publishers), but there can be very legitimate and helpful uses for ads that also respect privacy and aren't in-your-face. Not all ads are sponsored content or autoplay video units.
It's amazing how many people think this is true.
Do you have data which is inconsistent with this?
And I think logingone or joosters were talking about the second, not the first.
An ad may make me aware of a product of which I had not previously been but it's not going to induce me to buy something in which I had no previous interest.
If I'm thinking of Widget Class X Brand A, an ad might make me aware of Brand B and I may eventually purchase the Brand B but I was going to purchase Widget Class X anyway.
If I had no interest in Widget Class Z, it doesn't matter how many ads I see for it, I'm still not going to buy it.
Many people fail to note that an advertisement often creates or reinforces your fear and sells you the solution to the newly created problem.
When you understand and come to terms with the fact that that's what pretty much all ads are doing, it becomes much simpler to view the ads only with disgust and avoid the brands they are peddling in future.
What piqued your interest to begin with?
Then, months or years later when you're on the market for something like Product-X, you absolutely do not even ever remember scanning your eyes over the ad, and yet your eyes are just simply drawn to the product, or when it is mentioned by word of mouth, there is some priming memory to be reinforced, and somehow you just happen to choose Product-X to purchase.
If advertisers really knew what they were doing there wouldn't be so much advertising spam. They are just blasting the speakers as loudly as they can and then tracking every little thing possible because they think they can optimize the pipeline somehow. There is no science behind any of it.
< http://ilab.usc.edu/publications/doc/Itti_Baldi06nips.pdf >
There are also many other kinds of psychological manipulation research. For example, this article from Gamasutra talks about techniques for monetization in games, and this is obviously applicable to many ad formats:
< http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/RaminShokrizade/20130626/1949... >
The idea of excessive ad repetition is not at all new: < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effective_frequency#Thomas_Smi... >.
Even just a cursory Google search for whatever popular advertising journals there are, then looking at what articles are in their current issues, turned up some pretty quantitative work on allocating to different media formats:
< http://www.journalofadvertisingresearch.com/content/55/4/443 >
Or this article on determining what cognitive factors are related to the avoidance of OTC drug ads:
< http://www.journalofadvertisingresearch.com/content/55/4/401 >
That one, in the introduction, also links to many other studies specifically about psychological factors contributing to negative ad reactions.
I'm really baffled that you think advertisers do not conduct extremely specific threads of research to determine whether they are getting their money's worth from a certain ad or not.
I don't consider any of this to be remotely like a conspiracy theory -- in fact I thought this was commonly understood to be obviously the case, and I'm very surprised to hear that you feel otherwise.
Reading the abstracts in order:
> The concept of surprise is central to sensory processing, adaptation,
learning, and attention. Yet, no widely-accepted mathematical theory
currently exists to quantitatively characterize surprise elicited by a stimulus
or event, for observers that range from single neurons to complex
natural or engineered systems. We describe a formal Bayesian definition
of surprise that is the only consistent formulation under minimal axiomatic
assumptions. Surprise quantifies how data affects a natural or artificial
observer, by measuring the difference between posterior and prior
beliefs of the observer. Using this framework we measure the extent to
which humans direct their gaze towards surprising items while watching
television and video games. We find that subjects are strongly attracted
towards surprising locations, with 72% of all human gaze shifts directed
towards locations more surprising than the average, a figure which rises
to 84% when considering only gaze targets simultaneously selected by
all subjects. The resulting theory of surprise is applicable across different
spatio-temporal scales, modalities, and levels of abstraction.
Nothing to do with priming. Novelty seeking is not priming and I would expect this result to be true given what I know about people in general and bits and pieces of evolutionary psychology. Do ads try to be novel? Sure. I guess that is one way to grab attention but I don't see any connection between that and long-term manipulation that you talk about.
> A coercive monetization model depends on the ability to “trick” a person into making a purchase with incomplete information, or by hiding that information such that while it is technically available, the brain of the consumer does not access that information. Hiding a purchase can be as simple as disguising the relationship between the action and the cost as I describe in my Systems of Control in F2P paper.
Again, tricking someone is not the same as priming them for the long term. This is the same stuff casinos do so catering to short-term heuristics and tricking a person hardly qualifies as what you laid out in your original comment.
> The current study applied a “mixture-amount modeling” statistical approach—used most often in biology, agriculture, and food science—to measure the impact of advertising effort and allocation across different media. The authors of the current paper believe advertisers can use the mixture-amount model to detect optimal advertising-mix allocation changes as a function of their total advertising effort. The researchers demonstrated the use of the model by analyzing Belgian magazine and television data on 34 advertising campaigns for beauty-care brands. The goal is to help advertisers maximize desirable outcomes for campaign recognition and brand interest.
Sounds interesting but is more about optimizing exposure than anything else. No claims about long term cognitive effects and rightfully so.
Anyway, my bafflement should not be surprising.
The rest of the reply is similar. Using ctrl-f to search for the word 'priming' in a source doesn't constitute an effort to see how it could be connected to priming.
The problem is, Advertisers don't earn their paychecks by being honest.
People hail the internet as a great way to find information -- if you type anything into the google search bar you're curious about, you either get wikipedia, which is clean and usually pretty great if incomplete, or clickbait ad-filled trash that gives you one sentence of content before you click "next", repeated 10 times downloading megabytes of data, tracking your habits, and grinding your machine to a halt, possibly infecting you with drive-by malware.
This feels to me like much needed incremental progress. Let's not give up on solving anything just because we can't fix everything we don't like all at once.
I clicked the HN link about ISIS fighter's salaries. Constant flash video playing in the other tab, CPU usage at 50%, obnoxious sounds pouring out of it. This should not be allowed to happen, we don't need to tolerate this kind of bad behavior on the part of websites. And even 'respectable' sites like newspapers do it.
See also: all sites and news organizations everywhere embracing terrible clickbait titles over traditional, informative ones.
A perfect example of this: I got a rash from poison oak exposure, and wanted to find out what the recommended treatment was. Seemingly a perfect use case for the internet. I was greeted with search results that are perfectly described by this sentence.
An excess of ad money is ruining the Web.
Hyperbolic to the extreme and rarely true.
It didn't impact the economy negatively. It makes the city way more pleasant to walk around.
This is specially annoying in "newspaper" sites, where content should be king (I mean, guys, you are already ton of money selling your printed version) and you are welcomed with a full page ad that is not related to the content nor my interests.
Not at all. Printed paper is definitely on the decline - just compare what's easier to do e.g. at a train or while drinking your morning coffee: holding a huge-ass 1 m² newspaper while the train is shaking and the crowd makes it impossible to stretch your arm, or, holding a notebook/tablet/phablet to read.
What I don't care for is the idea that one or two megacorps know everything about me. So I selectively use ad-block software to keep the Big Boys from overly tracking me.
I find your version of the future--in which ad networks are gone and content proviers stay around because they provide their services "just for giggles" or require micro+ payments--unpalatable.
I don't have anything against ads on webpages in general, but I really hate anything with sound/animation or focus-stealing like pop-up/interstitual/hiding/whatever. I don't block ads because I'm lazy, and because I think it's an acceptable payment model for content, but I just leave the page if the ads annoy me enough.
FWIW, the only ads I've actually purchased services/products from are when I'm actually searching for them and they come up as sponsored results or sidebar ads.
I mean, the web banners and billboards we see every day don't do a lot to actually sell products. But your friend telling you they really love a particular product helps a lot.
But in a society where a movement such as you've described was in motion, would both be equally as bad? Are both not manipulative in their own way?
Or, perhaps, you only get ads when requested. "I'm in the market for a new refrigerator. Please show me ads for refrigerators."
But still, I have a fundamental problem with how all advertising has a slant, and at least a hint of a lie or manipulation. I do not like being lied to or manipulated, but I don't know what the alternative would be.
Wouldn't it be nice if you could instantly have a high level analysis of every refrigerator available (new or used) in terms of its objective qualities? With scientific units of measurement and everything? How about information on how the parts were sourced and manufactured?
Unfortunately the majority of the world aren't even close to being in a position to have such standards, expect more, and have the education to evaluate the evidence. The power is in all the wrong places.
On the internet all we got is I'm guessing I'd like to see your content but not your ads based on extensive past experience. The internet, believe it or not, is too small and disorganized, no matter how big and indexed and tracked it seems. Sure, we are learning what domains mean useless clickbait, but its not smooth and I don't know its an offending site until I'm already offended.
The next step up from ad blocking is domain blocking. At the browser rendering level, once I've had enough, goodbye to all links pointing to salon, perhaps. That'll result in spam style domain name registration to clickbait from in 2020 vs email spam from in 2000, everything old is new again, sooner or later.
admittedly, ad is a legit monetization method. browsing a site with ads blocked is like pirating a software.
but some sites are doing it too much, for example, I often see ad blocker blocks 40 more ads on a single page. that's insane!
some commercials are super retarded, like those Geico ones!
there was a Geico commercial with a single line: "you can't unwatch this commercial because you have already watched it!" Man, I'd pay super hard to block it.
I don't understand what that means, and it makes me think you're babbling nonsense. If you mean a law should be passed, say that. If you mean something else, I honestly can't even guess what it is.
Then again, maybe it wouldn't make a difference. It would be an interesting experiment nevertheless.
That's an incredibly cynical way of looking at the situation. There is also the purpose of telling you about a product you can buy that might possibly be beneficial to your lifestyle. Through advertising you get to find out about that product faster, something especially important in these days of brisk innovation.
Here's the error.
Yes, they were products the target could have done without, but not something they can do without once they have the product.
Consider: The first iPhone. A device that opens possibilities to improve your life that never existed before. You could do without it, but once you have it you can't do without it.
I think you'd have appreciated an ad for the original iPhone if it eventually led to you buying one.
Like it or not, consumerism and capitalism go hand in hand. It has reduced global poverty and has made many of us in HN very comfortable. Advertising is bound hand and foot with this system. To deny this is to attack the very structure that we rely on.
( the above two paragraphs are possible satire )
Why is that OK but display ads are not? If all sites switched to native ads does that make it better?
So in 10 years, are you going to not visit any website because all the advertising will go native?
Most people are scared of the devil they know, but few are afraid of the devil they don't.
Not everything is about you. Some people are fine with seeing tasteful, non-intrusive ads to support content they really like (in my case, mostly smallish blogs and webcomics). By all means continue using the tools that serve your needs, and I'll do the same; but please stop acting like you're the only user who matters.
Do you get the impression that you, and people whose values are identical to your own, are their only potential customer?
I have no problem with ads, as long as they are not obnoxious and don't slow me down the site a lot. I accept the tradeoff. Some ads I actually like (such as an ad for a movie that seems interesting). It's not that rare for me to see an ad on YouTube that says "Skip Ad" and I watch it through till the end.
I don't even mind some targeting and tracking, I just wish I had more control over it. Amazon does it, to show me things that they think I am interested in based on what I have looked at. It's not bothersome to me when they get it right. Although I was never as big on shopping as some people, I don't tend to mind looking at things I might like to own.
Call it manipulation if you want....ok. I personally enjoy having a web that is mostly free, and don't begrudge people that try to make a living at producing content for me.
Many of the use-cases for ads have been replaced by search engines, marketplaces and aggregator sites. There's troves of information and access out there for a consumer to make informed purchasing choices.
If I need something, I can actively find it.
The use-case for ads is:
1. I don't need the thing
2. I am not aware of my need for thing
Advertisers probably claim (2) when almost certainly it's just (1)
Yes, these models can't yet support a creator by themselves, but the share has been getting better and there has been a quite noticeable effect on content.
It's just much better to browse the web with them blocked. I don't hate ads just what they do to my computer and phone.
So, I don't believe that I should buy things only when there is an existing "need". Just as is the case with science and technology.
I don't mind some ads, but some websites go overboard on ads and have more ads than content.
What really annoys me are pop-up ads or ads that launch a new web browser window.
Then there are ads that play some video and has someone talking in it.
Then there are free download sites but some of the download buttons are ads that download adware stuff. Only one download button is the correct one.
I can resist most ads, and I really cannot afford to buy things I see advertising for.
I use UBlock Origin because some sites started to detect Adblock and refuse to show content.
This Brave web browser is just the next in a line of ad blockers it is a web browser with an ad blocker built in.
Advertising has gotten out of control and I pity the person without some sort of ad blocker that doesn't know any better and clicks on ads to get tool bars and other stuff installed.
In order to combat ad blockers some sites have gone behind a paywall and need an account with a subscription to view content. Going back to the newspaper business model of subscribers and away from the free website paid for with ads.
Some advertising like Adsense are not so bad, I don't mind those ads so much because they are not annoying.
The ad problem won't go away, unless you're top tier brand your business rely on it. You may tame it but it's like weed, it comes back.
>I don't like ads at all (99.9% of the time not their target)
Just because you don't ever act on ads doesn't mean you aren't still a target.
I'm not sure I agree all ads are associated with capitalism. Propaganda is one example. There are also ads for awareness and for non-profits.
Also I have noticed that the best content that I like is typically ad free or at least doesn't have the buy-product-ads (e.g. PBS TV and NPR). This is the case with most media with the only exception being the Internet.
The only time I have issues with ads is when I'm ironically either trying to buy something or I have decided to go low brow and click on some sleazy news.. (its like the South Park episode on ads.. they trick me..).
It kind of would. Google, Facebook, Yahoo, etc. are all funded by selling ads. There's a few experiments with buying out ads, but when the current price is "free," any increase in price of these services to users is a huge increase in price with an expected equivalent decrease in users.
As a fellow AdBlock user, we have a huge problem to reconcile: the sites we use by and large don't exist without someone clicking on ads. The Categorical Imperative Adblock would block not only the ads, but the website delivering them as well.
Surely, though, "this project does not fit my use case" is not the same as "this is a bad project and you should feel bad"? There are people who adblock just for those reasons, and who would (or claim that they would) allow through ads, to support content creators, if those concerns were obviated.
Would it be on-demand research only?
Would you browse lists of new products [eg the Wirecutter's "Realist guide to CES"]?
I do both of these already, and I do have js disabled on most sites, and I think ads mis-align the incentives of publishers...
But I think that there are demographics that benefit from ad-supported [ie free] stuff more than I do.
It's happened to me on Facebook a couple times where there has been an advertisement for something that scratched an exact itch I didn't know there was a solution for.
Honestly, I think if you're against ads, you just aren't getting good ones.
For me, not being baited into buying stuff is a nice side effect.
I block ads because it's fun to see how badly Google, Apple, Microsoft, apps and websites want data about computer users.
It's a game (I would guess that's how they see it); one that forces the user to be vigilant about networking.
If advertisers don't like that then I'm not sure what I can say to assuage their concerns.
Tin foil hats are not going to save you, but a good judgement will.
So no ads for Greenpeace? Your favorite political party? Your favorite union? Your favorite website?
Nearly every newspaper website is already paywalled, and every time someone posts a story from those sites to HN all the comments are people complaining about the paywalls.
HN even added a special little link to let people skip around them, because why would we want to encourage people to pay for quality work they appreciate?
Imagine an online paper where, instead of just mimicking a real newspaper with story after story, a site that collects facts, history as it happens, and weaves them together to form a cohesive stream that a reader can explore in all kinds of innovative ways.
You can still have he said / she said news. Still make it dramatic, but allow the user to follow the protagonist, step back in time to see what else they have said, what brought them to this point in time. Or folly the ripples outwards, how did what was said affect others, how did it interact with other stories.
I want to do an online news startup one day. It will be one where everybody thinks I'm crazy when I start it.
This is very much what I've been thinking about. I also feel that news misses a lot of metadata and context most of the time and if parts of it are there it often feels ad hoc and is not easily computer readable. With the right tools professional journalists could become more like data curators, linking different sources of data together as they become available.
But they aren't "really" needed, as mere intermediaries.
Someone should startup a "newspaper" that doesn't bother with filler or ads or clickbait and just aggregates and handles subscription costs that funnel back to Reuters (or AP, or ...). I'd pay a little more for "The Intercept" and "Linux weekly news" in addition to the standard Reuters feed. Basically a pay version of the google reader / newsblur / rss ecological system.
I'm not seeing the newspapers as valuable intermediaries. They, and their clickbait headlines and ads, can just go away and nothing of value will be lost. We'll still have the sources of raw news.
Why is an advert for a film that you don't need to see, better than an advert for a product that you don't need to own?
Cinema prices has not changed since they introduced several minutes of advertisement for each movie.
Buss prices in my country has not gone down when they introduced advertisement on the inside. They are currently also considering to stop having advertisement (after a political party wanted to advertise a very controversial message), but there has not been any mention of an related increase in ticket price.
Sometimes, the market price is just the price that the market is willing to pay, rather than an exact balance between costs and revenue.
Every time someone rattles out a list of "annoyances" regarding ads, I wish that I could plead with them to consider that there's even bigger reasons.
Plenty of people try to sell the idea that ads let us have content "for free", and that all we have to tolerate is "a little annoyance".
It's insane. If companies are buying ad-space, it's because they expect to get more business in return. This means that someone out there is being influenced by said ads, so that if the content cost X to put up online (hosting, funding its creation), someone is paying X+(ad company overhead) for it.
If these costs are being borne evenly, then it's complete societal waste. We could pay X for the content, and not incur the overhead. If these costs are not borne evenly, and some people are paying for the consumption of more disciplined people, it's probably contributing to terrible cycles of poverty (ie: some kid spending money on fancy new shoes he doesn't need and can't afford is paying for a well-paid tech-users YouTube habits, because it preys on their lack of education). Either way it's terrible.
Advertising isn't free. Insofar it works, for some people, it's basically coercive via psychology and simulated peer pressure.
Because said site got popular, and diluted, would be my cynical guess. Your observation is spot on, though.
By your own admission, advertising has a poor signal-to-noise ratio. The mental cost of advertising (not to mention the economic cost) is very high. Why should we stick to a system with such a poor efficiency?
> I want to buy
There are other ways to do that. For example, the internet should make it very cheap to make information available to anybody that wants to buy something. Services like google shopping are very primitive attempts.
> making people aware
It's the "making" part that many of us find extremely unethical. Like everything else, consent is opt-in.
 If you don't believe there is a high cost, isolate yourself from ads for a month or two. Humans are very good at adapting, so it's easy become blind to how much energy and mental capacity are necessary to filter ads.
Yes, I thought it was ok, but she had to hire a babysitter and in the end, if I'd been asked prior, I would've said no, or asked for a better movie (like The Martian).
I have the feeling ads almost always sell you something you'd have been better off not buying anyway.
There are many times where I am glad I saw advertising: my favorite band is coming to town, a new product that will save me hours a day just got released, the shoes I have been looking for are being sold at 30% off.
I don't want to give up all of my privacy, but sometimes I don't mind finding a solution to something in my peripheral focus.
There are two lessons we can learn form "information by itself doesn't sell $WIDGET". One is that properly informed people don't actually want that product, and the product should be changed or replaced to meet their actual needs.
The alternative lesson - which is unfortunately very popular - is that if people that are properly informed won't buy the product, then they should be kept ignorant and scammed into buying it.
That's the problem.
> They ignore your pitch
Of course they do. An unprompted pitch is at best an annoyance and at worst some kind of scam. Why would you expect it to be well received after you wasted their time and energy?
> You never reach the state where there are "properly informed" people deciding not to buy your product.
Sure you do. It's why people pay for things like Consumer Reports - so they can get the information they need to decide if they should buy something. This isn't true in all cases, of course, but most people make informed purchasing decisions regularly.
Just note that they may disagree with you, even when you have the same facts. Situations and opinions are highly variable.
> things like Consumer Reports
This is, however, straying from my point, which was: just because people aren't informed about your particular product doesn't give make it ok to try to trick them into buying your product with manipulative advertising, and throwing your pitch at someone unsolicited is still (at best) rude.
Isn't it usually the opposite, though? The poor kid can access the sites for free, because the rich old guy is clicking on the ads and subsidizing the whole site. If there was a paywalled subscription, on the other hand, the kid would be SOL. I don't like web ads, but if anything they seem to be a progressive redistribution system to me.
Sure we could, but it's extremely clear that only hyper-specialized niches are willing to do that when someone else is providing similar content at no monetary cost to the end user. Like it or not, the market has spoken; they want content in exchange for ads, and are not willing to pay the content provider directly.
>Advertising isn't free. Insofar it works, for some people, it's basically coercive via psychology and simulated peer pressure.
I've bought ads before. I just wanted people to find out about my product. Short of a guerilla spam campaign, it's the only way to get exposure. I've since learned that so many people tune out ads that guerilla spam campaigns (formal spam campaigns are known as "PR") are really the only way to beat competitors.
You can say that they 'manipulated' me into going to their store, but that's only because it was in my own interest to do so in the first place.
If we put the bar for 'manipulation' low enough, it would seem that one shouldn't talk to anyone or get any information from anywhere, lest it change your mind in some way and thus manipulate you.
I firmly believe that the vast majority of ads out there are unarguably manipulative: feigning time-sensitivity to pressure people into purchasing, availing themselves of psychological tricks with color and attraction to retain eyeballs, purchasing praise and endorsements and passing it off as sincerity, etc.
So perhaps the real question should be what incentives we can create to tilt that ratio towards useful information and away from slimy things?
Any rare cases of honest discounts are statistically below threshold and can be safely dismissed - just threat all sales as a lie and you'll be almost safe, that's what marketers taught me.
At least with the yellow pages, we were able to close the book once done. With the web, it's anywhere, all the time and with machine learning to make it adjust in real time to your preferences.
I don't understand this argument.
How are ads "manipulating" you? They're just ads. They're not an argumentative authority figure with a gun.
The only reason to block ads is because of speed of user experience. The "manipulation" argument is the weakest reason to block ads.
In any case, you manipulate other people for your own personal benefit. Everyone does.
Just talking to people is "manipulation".
Pretty much everyone in this thread says they won't do payment, will block ads, and seemingly has a problem with people earning a living who aren't software developers or startup owners.
You might enjoy this read, which an MD friend of mine sent to me the other day:
I adblock precisely because of privacy, security, and speed.
And without ads of any kind, it probably would be a capitalist apocalypse. How would Apple sell the iPhone or Samsung sell the Galaxy phones without advertising? Word of mouth? That's a pretty slow way to get the word out. Relying on the press? That might work for really big players (and how is that different from advertising anyway?), but it won't work for smaller firms selling more niche products. What if you're shopping on Amazon and you buy product X, but product Y would go really well with it? Right now, Amazon will frequently show you "other customers who bought this product also bought product Y". But without advertising, you wouldn't see that, so you'd be stuck only buying the exact thing you're looking for, and never getting any suggestions. I actually like getting those suggestions; I do buy things like that from time to time, things I wouldn't have thought of otherwise.
Most adverts are trying to make you feel bad and that consuming their product will fill the hole they just made. Enough of these disgusting people.
You're taking advantage of content that was paid for with the attention of people besides yourself. This is no different than grazing on a green you don't maintain.
If you're so opposed to ads, don't read content. Don't pretend that anybody is forcing you to visit ad supported content.
At the very least, you should know by now that most major websites depend on advertising revenue. So I assume you won't click on any of them. I also assume you never use Google or Facebook.
Google makes no such statement towards me. I don't use Facebook. Though that has nothing to do with my thoughts on ads more-so than my dislike of Facebook.
If nobody visits a site because nobody wants to see the ads and the site is in the red, they'll still be going out of business if they do not switch business models. Given I don't care if they go out of business sooner or later - they can enjoy their time of declining consumer base before eventually shuttering their doors because they refused to find a sustainable business model. I'll do them the courtesy of not bleeding them out more quickly. Much like how I do not abuse "no questions asked, money back guarantees".
I do not indeed ever use Google or Facebook. As I said, I do not approve of their business model, nor do I wish to participate in it.
If they can't get people to pay for their content, maybe they should consider a line of work they can monetize without subjecting every single transaction to third-party skimming and engendering massive surveillance projects.
I'm entitled to survive off the art I'm creating after all. Everyone should be paying me for making art. Regardless if it is of good or poor quality. I made it - thus people should be paying me!
Does that argument sound absurd to you? It should.
If people aren't willing to pay you for your art (or "journalism" as is often the case) then guess what? You aren't entitled to their money. Stop making art/journalism and find a better career. If people really value your journalism (or simply "journalism at all") they'll pay for it to be around.
If nobody is paying - nobody gives a shit. Content creators don't get some free pass to do as they want and expect to get paid for it. If they aren't producing work worth paying for - guess what? That's their problem not anyone else's problem.
Figurative third person use of "your" and "you", for clarification of the usage.
If your business model fails without ads, I'd suggest you have no business model at all.