"Do you want to pay to have your advert shown to somebody who has no interest in your product?"
The same answer to both these questions is why why ad-personalization is "good" - and why TV, printing and all the rest are having their collective arse handed to them by on-line.
Now we can move onto discussions around fraud, ethics, leaking, micro-transactions and a million other things - but that study is clearly stupid.
For example most ads shown by Google Search are based on the search keywords, since that’s what most advertisers bid on and not a user profile. Google’s great advantage in this space is that a search shows clear intent, clear need.
I once worked on a platform for serving ads in mobile apps. The apps themselves can be pretty clear signals of intent. A weight loss app for example can serve ads for gym or diet-friendly restaurants with great success. Similarly for publications. I can imagine articles on politics don’t have valuable context, unless the elections are coming, however howto articles or articles on home and garden or various hobbies have great context.
Btw, I never click on ads. If personalization was meant to save costs you’d think these ads companies would have learned to not serve me any ads.
Truth of the matter is that personalization has less to do with cost savings and more to do with optimizing the message for better conversions. And that’s what I find unethical ... the use of personal data to personalize a message in order to make me buy a product that I normally don’t want to buy.
Thing is you don’t need personalization for this to work and it can be counterproductive. Because these ads are designed to make the customers remember the brand in the future, when they’ll need it and not to fulfill an immediate need.
Ads companies doing personalization try to paint their algorithms as having better conversions, however measuring the impact of brand advertising is really difficult due to the deferred effect and all you can do is to make educated guesses.
And for the labels in a supermarket for example, which is the vast majority of brand advertising, you don’t need any personalization.
Personalization is meant for the long tail. Like those shitty commercials on FB trying to sell you indestructible iPhone cases or shitty apps that help you exercise your brain. Or miracle cures to diabetes, if you were uninspired enough to join an FB group on such topics.
Such ads do not benefit just from being seen. If you don’t click on them, the opportunity for the advertiser is gone.
Not at all. This assumption that ads themselves are unavoidable is ludicrous.
>Now we can move onto discussions around fraud, ethics, leaking, micro-transactions and a million other things.
Enormous blunders of fraud and ethics out of sight unless we look directly at ads, targeted or not. And if you’re like most, you’ve got a banal understanding of how advertising and psychology game the limits of the sensual system.
As someone who spent most my life producing them, I must be honest: ads are the bane of our existence.
Ads have hollowed subsumed and proceeded to hollow art and culture.
They have wrecked our landscapes.
They have reformed our workforce into consumers and producers of something entirely foreign to our sustenance and enrichment.
They have malformed our conception of private and social responsibility.
They have rewritten the very rules of power!
Targetted ads are just a technological conclusion of an existing problem.
I'm more pragmatic.
I earn and spend money.
Given that I'm going to spend money, I'd like to spend it wisely.
That's why I might use amazon to check out the reviews for say a "sliding mitre saw" - I know some are better than others. I go to amazon as they have a load of reviews - and have all the sliding mitre saws, they don't care which one I buy - as long as I buy one.
So makes sense for amazon to know what I want to buy, know which is going to make me happiest, and just shove up a "here's a saw for £x, that has 4.7 from a thousand people".
The traditional advert wants to sell me something I don't need/want. The perfect modern advert tells me what I actually (probably) need - and removes the friction.
If I go to Amazon and search for mitre saws, I'll see mitre saws, and probably some ads for mitre saws. If I visited Amazon via an ad derived from a google search for "buy sliding mitre saw", they can direct me to the right page, and know my search term.
They do not need to know what sites I visited last week, how often, or where I go next, or where the device currently is. Amazon already has my address, anyone else will require it on order. Nor do they need to continue showing ads for mitre saws now I'm on Youtube watching a music video or reading a news site. 99 times of 100 retargeting is trying to sell me on something I just decided I don't want (maybe I just read and didn't like that product's specs in my brief ad-driven visit to the site), or I decided I got something more urgent or fun to do right now than buy mitre saws. If it's approaching someone's birthday retargeting gladly ruins the surprise if you share a house or device with anyone.
None of what you have described needs a continually growing personal profile made for me, across as many sites and niches as possible, in order to work nicely. Just context relevant ads - that's very different to personalisation.
In the end I didn't buy mine from Amazon - I picked up my maybe #2 option from a local wholesaler that had an offer on and gave me a discount if I picked up the saw and the compatible base. In this case I was just using amazon to confirm that the item was 'fine'
Now I didn't check in this case, but I am aware that other online merchants discount their stores based upon tracking - and who doesn't like a discount?
I like to think 'they' knew that I "goldcd wanted a decent saw for a mid-price" and were all undercutting each other to try to get me to enter by details.
In the end, your purchase is relying on so much effort to curtail price exploitation, and it misses the potentials for manipulation and misrepresentation. You feel like an independent player but a minimal systemic analysis shows you could just as likely be misled. Of course, the systems you depend on are designed to do exactly that, unless it somehow benefits them more to help you out. What are the chances? Well, it benefits them not to tell you that. Your confidence appears foolish, I am afraid.
Trust and aligned interests are out the window with these systems. We can do trmendously better to one another.
Which is quite different than the one that's best solution for your problem given the money you want to pay. This is the fundamental immorality of most ads; the place they disturb the voluntary exchange of value the free market should be all about.
I don't want a personal tail following everything I, and my family who periodically share devices, do over years in order to "infer" what's suitable to target me for. Ever.
I am more than happy to have ads on the page that are relevant to the page, or to the search terms I've just used. I would even whitelist them in my adblocking if they were served from a first party domain and were free of JS crap.
Ad personalisation is not good, unless I have requested it on that particular site. Which for some sites, I very well might, so long as it remained siloed. Which would require trust. Which rules out everyone currently in Adtech.
I feel absolutely no obligation to support a deeply flawed business model. That's why I block all ads now and forever, and do my utmost to block any online tracking. I will never whitelist a single ad, because advertising is nothing but lies, designed to steal my time, attention and money.
I do not support the "hidden payment" that advertising represents, because it is dishonest and the terms of the deal are opaque. I prefer content creators who are upfront about their funding needs and use services like Patreon or direct donations or merch sales.
No, he doesn't. He puts it up for free, and then expects a particular way of compensation. Anywhere else this kind of behaviour is considered antisocial, and is frowned upon; it's advertising industry that tries to perpetuate a lie that they have moral high ground here.
It's a deceptive practice. A fair one would be e.g. putting up a paywall. Companies prefer ads because they work better - in the same way that mugging people makes money faster than selling pretzels. Better doesn't automatically mean more ethical.
In every other scenario aside from online, I can decline to answer or decline the loyalty card etc. If I have attracted enough interest of the authorities to gain a real-life surveillance tail ads are the least of my worries. :)
My take is that there's a generation of people who've come later and just have complete cognitive-dissonance as to what pays for what they interact with.
"I use Facebook - but I've no idea why they're worth billions"
I've no doubt a correction is coming, and the winner should be whoever can ride this new wave.
Honestly, that's a bit like saying "if you don't want to be shot, you got bulletproof vests and bodyguards, that's your opt-out", in a world where everyone can just shoot guns randomly at each other, with very few to no repercussions.
Data driven / targeted advertisements are the worst of both worlds: doxxing people, and terrible results. Products after I've already bought them. Junk I'm not remotely interested in. Stuff I'm interested in, but won't touch, because humans are so far out of the loop that I can't trust anything about it.
I can't trust the quality, I can't trust whatever ecommerce site it's taking me to, I probably can't even trust my browser to render because of the threat of malware. No vetting, no accountability.
> “Do you want to be forced to watch an advert you have no interest in?”
> The same answer to both these questions is why why ad-personalization is "good"...
I don’t want to be forced to watch any ads. Personalization isn’t “good” because I get forced to watch something I’m more likely to be interested in buying. And just because I’m more likely to be interested doesn’t somehow make losing privacy okay. Ads don’t become more moral when they work.
> ...and why TV, printing and all the rest are having their collective arse handed to them by on-line
Personalized ads have nothing to do with why online is growing and why TV and print are shrinking. The web exploded precisely because of the amount of content you could get without any advertising at all. Ads and privacy concerns are now slowing the growth. TV and print are just dying because they’re nowhere near as convenient.
I wouldn't know until I watched it. As opposed to seeing an ad of something I recently bought.
Do you want to pay to have your advert shown to somebody who has no interest in your product?
How do we know that? Having no information about a given person is not equal to knowing that that person is not interested.
It's not that simple.
Or when I proposed. I worked out that a jewelry-maker usually just adds a fixed % to the costs to come up with the final price. I bought a 'modest' flawless diamond and then got my local jeweler to put it in a beautiful mount, for a fixed price.
6 f'in months over every page I looked at, being covered in diamonds. Each and every one of them wasting their money. Now in perfect data-mining-world, they'd have worked out I'd booked a wedding venue and a ring, so unlikely to need another ring.
...Actually, this gives me quite a good thought.
All the tracking we have, is "one-way" - and it's hard to correct the f'ups.
If we could maybe accept the tracking and learn to live with it, the trackers could be more upfront and ask us direct questions. Or at the very least have a "was this advert of interest to you" button.
A/B test it obviously - as most people will say no to everything, but I'd be on board.
Compared to being forced into watching something an AI-bubble mistakenly believes I’m interested in, for the 20th time, sure.
Also, not being tracked is pretty great.
Stop fucking snooping, even if it's just for ads. And stop working for companies that have zero morals on this.
In general, yes, because then I might learn something new about the world. I'm not a business owner, but I saw a few B2B untargeted ads during the Super Bowl. Now I know stuff like those companies exist.
It's like asking a school kid if they want to be forced to read a textbook, or if they would rather read something targeted to them specifically like a comic book.
Personal anecdote - I find targeted ads more boring and irritating than standard ads in the press - they are either predictable and therefore don't catch me off guard or they are just plain silly - data driven mistaken predictions.
I might even agree with you. But ad tech has lost the battle for trust so badly, they are now playing defensive on issues they probably thought safe.
Given your way, you'd have us in the therapy chair from A Clockwork Orange.
It's irrational to use any information obtained from an advertisement to make a purchasing decision, because the advertiser is incentivized to give you any information that will influence you to buy the product, regardless of whether it's true or useful. Consequently, it's in your best interest to ignore any advertisements you see.
If I see an ad for car insurance, it doesn't affect me, because I don't have a car. If I see an ad for mechanical keyboards, I might be influenced to buy one, even though it might not be the best-value option. So I'd rather see the car insurance ad.
Well, not really, because Geico ads make me want to jump off a tall building. But the point still stands.
I'm fully aware that writing at an abstract level and am personally a reluctant capitalist - but I detest waste.
To deep-dive into a really specific example. Today there is most likely a plane flying from your city with an empty seat, to a city you want to visit but can't afford, which has an empty hotel room.
Why would not offering you this itinerary for a price you could afford, not be a good thing to offer you before you watched your next youtube video?
Now the intrusive part of this is that it requires somebody to work out where you want to go, which airlines and hotels are hiding 'failure', and what "you can afford". Nobody really wants to share any of this - but as a theoretical, could make everybody a bit happier.
Advertising in practice does not converge to market efficiency; it overshoots and ultimately strip-mines people, by exploiting information asymmetry.
At the end it's behavioral modification.
until ads become opt in, i will opt out of 100% of ads wherever possible. i'll also always run Ad Nauseum and try to ruin advertiser's profit margins and quality of information wherever legally possible and within my means and convenience.
if i'm "forced" to see an ad, i can always use a different product or service instead. or i could simply do without altogether instead -- like with TV.
just to drive this point home, i want to make it clear that i'm putting my money where my mouth is. i refuse to invest in companies that use ad-based revenue as their business model or develops ad tech for others to use. and i'm not alone.
in fact, i don't know any people in tech -- or outside of tech -- who don't try to block ads as often as they can.
Some people are just going to hate all ads no matter what. I'd guess a much larger number (including me) would see them as a reasonable way to support web sites and services that they like, if those ads were to give them much better experience, and that mostly means more control. For one, I suggest that ads have a way you can express, with a couple clicks (and without leaving the page) one of the following:
- I already purchased this
- I already purchased a competing product
- I am not interested in this anymore
- I was never interested in this
- This ad is too creepy or personal or otherwise makes me uncomfortable
- this ad is obnoxious / distracting / ugly / disturbing
- I don't want this displayed because it might reveal something private to an onlooker (example: gift purchase for spouse)
- I'm not interested in this product but I might be interested in competing products
- I'm in the market for ______________ and I don't mind getting ads for them
- Thanks for the reminder, not now but maybe later
- Ads that track me really annoy me
Of course, in addition to collecting this information, it should act on it in a reasonable way. It would also be nice if it was accompanied by an option to pay a small, reasonable amount to remove ads.
For whatever reason, ad companies don't seem to want to do this sort of thing. It may take legislation, which I would certainly get behind.
I mean, there's a reason this infamous quote is still relevant today: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.”
The real issue is the ad-ecosystem is afraid (and rightly so if I may) that people might try to game the system and would rather not bother.
That and realising that out of your X thousands / millions monthly unique visitors, only a small percentage are an adequate audience will pelase neither the publisher nor the ad exchanges.
Sure you could fall back to branding adverts but those are usually of lesser value.
1) Less valuable and therefore bad for publishers.
2) Remove users from the pool available to those ad-tech providers and therefore is a big nono for them.
I could very well be wrong, so take it for what is worth.
This being said I'd like to highlight that there are 2 main concerns I have with completely killing the targeted ad industry, namely :
1) The big players will probably find workarounds and be able to sustain themselves, whereas the smaller players ( local news, niche website etc..) will probably get decimated or at the very least severely diminished.
2) A shift towards more sneaky advertising, something that isn't clearly identified as such. For all their issues, display advertising as it stands today tends to be pretty obvious. If you kill this segment, something else will fill the gap. It has already started and it might need to be heavily regulated (as the FTC did for those Instagram / Youtube folks promoting things).
I honestly believe that there's some room for improvements and it is in the best interest of the industry to get a grip and rein itself in. But the greed will prevail I'm afraid and therefore all those scandals might bring in (much needed tbh) regulations.
I'll bet that the sort of people who just keep insisting on untargeted ads probably aren't ones to bother with too much. So my hope is that if a system like I proposed gets adopted (possibly due to regulation) that the great majority of people would accept targeted ads as long as they "play nice" and are pretty transparent.
An altered perspective is the objective of propaganda and targeted advertising and radicalization. Their methods and objectives are the same: make someone believe what we want them to believe without their awareness of the effort.
This activity is underhanded and deceptive. It's neither persuasion nor debate, intentionally so.
Overton window is by definition a property of a group, not an individual.
The Overton window is the range of ideas tolerated in public discourse; restricting to an individual, it may be considered the range of ideas tolerated in one's private thoughts.
As usual many are too blinded by greed to realize this simple fact, focused on 'innovation' and profit but once you dehumanize your fellow citizens its the beginning of the end.
The tone of discussion on HN itself on these issues betrays the dehumanization and alienation from the general concerns of privacy, democracy and ethics.
I'm an industry insider and while yes, it's how I make money, I can't deny there are some creepy bits which should be a concern for all.
But unless someone comes up with a better revenue model, most of Internet is supported by the Ad money. Be it the big players such as Google or Facebook, or the many modest operations out there.
So we have to figure out a way to make it work, something that shouldn't be creepy but can still support the ecosystem.
Someone reading an auto site or watching a video, healthcare information, makeup guides or a million other things already provides nearly 99% of an advertisers profiling needs, and geolocation delivers finely grained control of delivery. No tracking and behavioral creepiness needed.
All the tracking betrays a certain unhealthy obsessiveness, a desire for control and second guessing and a false belief that knowing an individuals history, race, religion, sex, health data, political beliefs, purchasing history 'somehow' makes things more efficient. But this looks like pursuing an advertising chimera given it has never and will never be a 'neat' science and human behavior is complex. Why not just take the context and immediate interest, and show some basic respect for your fellow humans.
To be perfectly blunt, that's not my problem. Abolish ad money, let the sites that only exist because of ads die, let the enthusiast-driven sites survive.
I feel absolutely no obligation to support ad-funded businesses or individuals.
Create a subscription system or use Patreon (with perks for higher tiers), if you need to cover costs.
The internet did fine before corporate interests invaded. It'll do fine once we kick them to the curb again.
No need to track me across the internet and planet.
So you end up with highly valuable spots and then the rest which is at best barely enough to cover the costs of the publisher.
I'm not trying to blindly advocate for user targeted ads as the be all end all of online ads but the reality is that a huge swath of the publishers would probably disappear, consolidating the web even more.
Organizations should exclude people that have already purchased products from seeing ads for those products - but they almost unanimously do not.
If relevance is what people want, given the data google has about my transport habits, shouldn't I see zero car ads? Or, is perhaps that too creepy? Or maybe, google has no incentive to make advertisers pay less money on useless, irrelevant ads. Or, maybe the marketing manager who paid for the ads doesn't care to optimize their spend because the CMO doesn't care to - both of them want to say they're responsible for the largest budgets and BIGGEST audiences ever (which by the way is the reason TV ad campaigns are still so prevalent, they look good on resumes).
Do marketers have time to understand complex ML models with hundreds of variables? No. Biggest audience possible, please and thank you.
What people object to is the detailed, strange and onerous collection and dissemination of this data - eg, the location data controversy...
> Because we are lied to all the time, in ways so routine they are beneath conscious notice, even the most direct lies are losing their power to shock us.
-- Charles Eisenstein, https://charleseisenstein.org/essays/the-ubiquitous-matrix-o...
I take many things into account, but the judgement of those who aren't that active and hostile in their interaction, who just soak in it, is not one of those things. That many people do see a problem makes me think better of them, but it doesn't influence my opinion of the ad landscape, that's something between me and the ads.
a: are clearly based on personal information ("I just bought a washing machine, now I'm getting ads for washing machines."),
and b: are extremely irrelevant to then ("I already bought a washing machine, I don't need another.").
People don't want to pay if they don't have to, and most people don't care about targeted ads.
Don't show me ads on the brand of tampons I'm considering that you gleaned from a conversation you picked up from my Echo or Microphone.
Online ads are cross-site attacks directed against viewers/users. They are visual or textual hacks that strive to cause targeted users to take actions they might not otherwise take.
edit: speaking generally about online ad networks, real-time bidding providers, campaign aggregators, and so on.
This assumes all advertising is coercive.
If the site is an ad-block denier, I just add them to my blacklist and move on with my life.
I wonder how many HN readers, patrons, or sponsors earn big dollars inventing, implementing, or promoting the technology that makes people feel that online advertising as we know it is immoral.
“Do you want to see relevant ads?”
“Would you like to see ads for products you would never buy?”
Would you like to see ads deliberately selected to trigger an emotional response in you to help overcome your rational resistance to buying a product?
Do you think designing ads that take advantage of your emotions to sell garbage you don't need is moral?
Let represenatives and legislative assistants do the real research before passing some emotion based law so often
You can't build trust in technology when that same technology is grassing you out to every huckster who wants to pour junk into your eyeballs.
I don't work in advertising.
> the advertising industry has built a large surveillance apparatus in order to sell us thing we don't need. The whole selling things we don't need is already immoral -- but that's a general criticism against advertising and marketing; In this case we have something already dubious turned into a panopticon nightmare. As we grow closer to our technology, this technology is constantly spying on us to order to optimize selling us things we don't need.
That's all a bunch of cute stuff to say, but where's the nightmare? Thinks seem pretty good to me. Do you want to go back 50 years? 100? Which point in history was not a nightmare, to which you'd like to return?
The reason I'd argue that unsolicited advertising is immoral is because it's a means of enticing or perhaps even coercing people to buy things that they would not otherwise buy. It's an attempt to control customers to enrich the sellers and marketers.
In certain cases, where spending or consuming is actually harmful to the consumer, advertising is even worse. For example, let's say I have an eating disorder and can't resist buying a certain brand and flavor of ice cream. If ads are not targeted and I'm shown ads of, say, motorcycles, I can resist those and not buy them, but if I'm shown ads of my favorite ice cream I'll be tempted to buy it, overindulge, and harm my health. Gambling ads seen by gambling addicts, alcohol ads seen by alcoholics, and so on can similarly be harmful in financial, psychological, and social ways.
Solicited ads are more of a gray area, because at least the consumer would be looking to buy whatever it is that's being advertised, and they want to see ads. In that case, the best outcome is that the ads help the consumer make a more informed decision. But the reality of advertising is that ads are often misleading or outright lying, making emotional appeals, or trying to psychologically manipulate consumers in to buying the product or making positive associations with the brand. So even the case of solicited advertising is very problematic.
What does 'unsolicited' mean? Would you argue that human beings are ethically incapable of consenting to being advertised to? If not, what level of consent is required? Nobody forces you to use Google, Facebook, or watch television.
> In certain cases, where spending or consuming is actually harmful to the consumer, advertising is even worse. For example, let's say I have an eating disorder and can't resist buying a certain brand and flavor of ice cream. If ads are not targeted and I'm shown ads of, say, motorcycles, I can resist those and not buy them, but if I'm shown ads of my favorite ice cream I'll be tempted to buy it, overindulge, and harm my health. Gambling ads seen by gambling addicts, alcohol ads seen by alcoholics, and so on can similarly be harmful in financial, psychological, and social ways.
Sure, some kinds of advertising may be immoral. But I don't see much of an argument here for advertising in general being immoral. Often advertising is quite useful, in that it connects me with products I didn't know about that I might want. Is that kind of advertising immoral? Is it immoral when Dollar Shave Club advertises on podcasts to tell you how much you can save on razors by buying from them instead of the big companies? If so, who's being harmed?
In other words, ads create a demand that you didn't have before. You were perfectly content without the advertised product, so why do you consider it attractive after being exposed to an ad?
If it was something you actually needed in your life, you would either already own it, or you would know that you needed it, without ads.
Don't confuse "need" and "want".
Before shoes were invented, demand for them 'didn't exist'. But I assume you wear them, and would be averse to eliminating them from your life, because they make your life better.
> If it was something you actually needed in your life, you would either already own it, or you would know that you needed it, without ads.
Do you have a smart phone? How did you find out which smart phone was good? Did the idea for a smart phone emerge unaided into your consciousness, and then you set about asking every individual on earth whether there was a company that made such a device, and then lo and behold you discovered Apple? No. You didn't. You either saw an advertisement, or communicated with someone who did. That's how you found out about nearly every product you own.
I don't wear shoes because I see ads for them, I wear shoes to protect my feet from the elements and to lessen the impact from walking and running. The demand has been there as long as people have existed, because all people who ever existed have experienced foot pain and damage. It was not some novel need that people only realized because of advertisements.
Please note that I am not against personal recommendations and word of mouth, unless it is deliberately manipulative and/or directly financially motivated.
>"Do you have a smart phone? How did you find out which smart phone was good? Did the idea for a smart phone emerge unaided into your consciousness, and then you set about asking every individual on earth whether there was a company that made such a device, and then lo and behold you discovered Apple? No. You didn't. You either saw an advertisement, or communicated with someone who did. That's how you found out about nearly every product you own."
I do have a smartphone. I found out which model to buy through reading the spec sheets and independent reviews, and by asking friends about their phones and trying them out. As a result, I ended getting a phone that wasn't bogged down by shovelware and actually had the specs I needed, most notably a long battery life.
Did some of my friends buy their phones based on ads? Maybe, but now you're severely stretching the definition of ads influencing my purchases.
So no, I choose not to let advertising unduly affect my purchasing habits.
Of course, this all depends on your definition. If I sign up for a newsletter from a band, and they tell me they have a new album out, is that advertising? Unlike the unwanted advertising you see on billboards, in magazines and online, I explicitly opted in, and I can just as easily opt out again. So I don't consider it advertising, I consider that a subscription to a newsletter. Similarly I also don't consider a manufacturer's product page as advertising, since you have to make an active and deliberate choice to look up the information in question, it is not presented to you unasked and unwanted.
I do obviously have a problem with those examples if the information is misleading or otherwise flawed.
Yes, but someone had to invent them and then tell people about them. If you invent a new product that makes the world better in some substantial way...are you going to rely on word of mouth to get it to the public?
> I do have a smartphone. I found out which model to buy through reading the spec sheets and independent reviews, and by asking friends about their phones and trying them out. As a result, I ended getting a phone that wasn't bogged down by shovelware and actually had the specs I needed, most notably a long battery life.
Sure, I do the exact same thing. But how did you know you needed a smartphone? You presumably weren't born into the world with a specific thirst for a small rectangle with internet access. Maybe you were personal friends of Steve Jobs, but I certainly wasn't. I found out about it via ad campaigns. And then I researched it and chose the one I wanted.
Let's say tomorrow you invent a cure for cancer. Ok great, you've made it possible to substantially improve the world. But in order to actually realize those improvements, people need to know about your cure. Doctors need to be educated. Patients need to be informed. How are you going to accomplish that?
Good ideas spread naturally, they don't need unsolicited advertising.
So you specifically requested to every media outlet and person that you know, that they inform you if and when someone starts manufacturing small rectangles capable of computing and communicating wirelessly?
> Good ideas spread naturally, they don't need unsolicited advertising.
This is simply false. There are plenty of good ideas that don't spread even with advertising. If you actually believe this, it doesn't seem like you've actually given this very much thought at all.
I bought my first mobile phone because I needed to call people when not near a landline, and I chose a Nokia because that's what my parents had and recommended. I got my first smartphone at work, because they wanted us to have email and a web browser available on the go (I work at a major telco), they chose the specific model for me (and have done so for every one of my work phones since). I bought my first smartphone for similar reasons, which I chose because it was the next version of one I had at work. My current phone was chosen because it has longer battery life than the other phones I looked at, which I discovered by looking at spec sheets.
Advertising did not play into it, I had specific needs that I wanted to cover, and I sought out the information I needed to make an informed choice.
You seem to think that advertising is the primary (or only) source of information about new products and services, which is just blatantly false. I live my life as free from advertising as I can possibly make it. Will some ads inevitably sneak in, as paid-for articles or the like? Sure, but I do try to avoid them whenever possible, it is usually relatively easy to spot product placement or fluff pieces.
Everyone should try living without ads everywhere. It's rather nice. I don't care about buying stuff just because I've heard of it. I only buy things if I have specific needs that I need to cover, and I don't impulse buy anything.
> Everyone should try living without ads everywhere. It's rather nice. I don't care about buying stuff just because I've heard of it. I only buy things if I have specific needs that I need to cover, and I don't impulse buy anything.
I'm sure that I see similarly few ads to you. I use an adblocker. I don't watch television. But if a product is good enough, it will bubble up to me through the culture. However, even though i'm not directly viewing the advertisements, those advertisements are still necessary to bootstrap that bubbling process. Without advertising, it is extremely difficult for disruptive companies to get off the ground. Companies that create enormous amounts of value for lots of people.
You might say that this is only because the competing businesses are advertising, whereas that one isn't.
That's fair, but in that case, who will decide how trade is conducted, basically?
It will have to be your government that decides what kinds of shoes are available on store shelves.
Or else, how do you envision it? The shoe store owner gets a personal recommendation from another such owner about which shoes to get wholesale? Based on what factors? Where does that recursion end; how does the first shoe store owner decide what to bring in? How does the shoe factory decide what to make?
Is the shoe store allowed to have a billboard, and is that not advertisement?
> Maybe, but now you're severely stretching the definition of ads influencing my purchases.
A smartphone is made of countless parts which come from a market in which advertising plays a role. Companies making systems-on-a-chip (SoC-s) and other silicon advertise that they have such things available. They don't do so on TV in the middle of sitcoms and football games, of course.
Abolish capitalism, currency and wage labor.
Extreme? Maybe, but capitalism is to blame for our current extremely unsustainable exploitation of the Earth's resources.
The vast majority of hurt and suffering in the world is caused by capitalism.
The technology that results is nigh indispensable from the foundations of a panopticon.
Algorithms can end up exacerbating echo chambers, and reinforcing negative biases many people aren't comfortable with.
And it's just bloody creepy when you sit down and think about it.
That's just what I could think of off the top of my head.
"We've 'been the product' from the moment we weren't the sole funder of what we received"
Even when we were - "I've become a patron a fine artist, who's got excellent reviews for some Mona-whatsit thing" - he didn't go on to paint your wife ugly.
Or even more banal examples - emergency plumber will charge you a callout, same plumber in non-emergency situation will pop around that evening to give you a free quote. Same plumber, same effort - just a different transaction.
Taking advantage of emotions to trick people into buying things they don't want or need is immoral.
It seems to me that a much more persuasive case can be made that on the margin, some people flip between this product or that for meaningless reasons, but for the most part, advertising informs people of the existence of products that might improve their lives.