For example, everybody on the planet is now familiar with soft drinks. If anybody has never tasted Coke, it's not by accident. But Coke's ad budget is enormous. If all soft drink companies stopped advertising tomorrow, society would not be worse off. And we'd have billions of dollars  to spend on something useful.
Like the author, I won't work on ad tech. I don't like manipulation and I don't like waste, and most advertising is both.
 e.g., https://notesmatic.com/pepsico-advertising-and-marketing-bud... https://www.investopedia.com/articles/markets/081315/look-co...
Most ads isn't about manipulation, it's just about getting your attention and reminding you that this product exists.
Ads are the only way to reach her market. You could argue that search is a good one too (which is true), but sadly people have trouble paying to watch videos online, there's no way they would pay for a search engine. We are still not really high in the search result after a year of existence either and paying for ads is a good way to get people on the website (which I'm sure will help our position in search results).
EDIT: In case it's not clear, I don't believe she deserve to be higher than other escape room in the search result, we have actually almost no competition close to us and it's pretty much why she started that business. Simply that Google have no metric to know that her website has to be higher than another one, so clicks are needed to provide some.
She always asks people what they think of the experience once they are done and recently one even said that we are not visible enough. It's a pretty great feedback, we are lucky that's our main issue, but sadly ads are the only way to become visible to others.
Ads are almost amazing by allowing investment into market that people aren't ready to pay for but yet provide great entertainment, learning experience or a great service. Without ads, I probably wouldn't be the developper that I am today because the guy that did the great tutorial that create the passion in me wouldn't have time to works full time on them.
1. Education (let people know a company/product exists)
2. Manipulation (by various means)
From a moral point of view, the first effect is not bad. It actually helps people to make better decisions and extend their knowledge about available products and services.
However, the second effect is the harmful one. Since companies are trying to make money, they want as many people as possible to buy their products. So they start lying, leaving the negative aspects of their products out, use visual material that creates yearning contexts, present the information at a higher frequency than relevant and so on. So saying it is just about getting your attention is a huge understatement.
Simply put, the advertising industry tries to find human vulnerabilities on a daily basis. Sadly, not to inform and help protect us, but to exploit them. If advertising was actually about helping society, the spending would be more like a tax (independent from the effect), the visual appearance would be standardized and the process of presenting ads would be strictly controlled by a neutral entity. Furthermore, everybody would be allowed to not participate. Maybe the receivers of that valuable, educating information should even pay to have access to it.
And I am sure, at this point you are with me, that the majority of ads aren't about educating people but about placing information in their heads.
1) Take a day and for each ad you see note how much novel, useful information you receive from it.
2) For any ad that had significant novel, useful information, redesign it in a format that is optimized to be informative, with any manipulation subtracted. (E.g., imagine it written in the style of the best encyclopedia articles.)
Doing this makes it pretty clear that pure information is a very, very small portion of what's going on with advertising.
You're making a couple of mistakes here. One is imagining that in a world without ads, her experience would be the same as her not advertising. The other is that something that is bad for a given business is something that's bad for society. Both of these are at best unproven.
> Most ads isn't about manipulation
For every ad you see today, ask yourself how much useful new information you have gained from it. I've done that a few times and it's pretty close to zero. Note that the biggest spenders on ads are brands you've already heard of, suggesting that your theory needs some revision.
I can't really give financial, but believe me, after having to spend 30k$ more because of some problems, we only had about 6k$ to pay for 5k$ a month of expense. After a year, in a location surrounded by restaurants (more than a dozen), with quite a bit of event closeby, with quite a bit of people going around, the amount of people that found out about us outside of ads, is barely a handful.
After a full year, even while spending for ads, even if we can count on 1 hand the number of people that had a bad experience, we are still barely profitable and still, almost everyone only finds us with ads and not word of mouth. We still have a pretty big list of people that wait after our third room impatiently, I think there's not a day where there's not someone that mentions it.
The thing is, even if an escape room is fun, even if I think that anyone can enjoy them, sadly our public is a tiny fraction of the population and even if theses enthusiast talks about it to others, it just doesn't reach enough other enthusiast people.
> One is imagining that in a world without ads, her experience would be the same as her not advertising.
Then you would have to explain to me how she could reach people between 10 km to 300 km aways without ads in the first 6 months of existence.
> The other is that something that is bad for a given business is something that's bad for society.
Her business is great, people are all crazy about the experience, that's a few thousands of peoples that wouldn't have that experience that they enjoyed quite a bit, simply because they are too few in a huge market.
> For every ad you see today, ask yourself how much useful new information you have gained from it.
From the ads itself? More than 0. From the content that has been paid from it? More than thousands actually. I wouldn't have read your comment, simply because Hacker News is a place that advertize ycombinator startup.
> Note that the biggest spenders on ads are brands you've already heard of, suggesting that your theory needs some revision.
It's actually exactly what I'm talking about. You think about Coke regularly? I'm pretty sure you don't.
It's sad but in this world of so many choice, you need to keep reminding people you exist or else they may switch to another choice they may see more (doesn't even have to be ads related, could be just more people that consume it at that moment, could be a location that have a contract with that brand, etc..).
So both in a world where you are known or not, you need to remind people that you are a possibility to even be considered.
Even in the amazing marketing space that is a supermarket where you can extremly easily browse a good amount of choice, brands pay for the right of a specific shelf because that will sell more.
Imagine how much worse it is when you don't even have all the choices in front of you.
Many people seem unwilling to admit what they do is bullshit. Not judging that at all, virtually most jobs are bullshit, I've done far more useless things for big companies earning good money too. Yeah it offers entertainment value but were it to disappear humanity would not suffer for it.
I'm honestly amazed at the number of people who truly believe what they do offers value, long lasting, real value to society. Have quite a few friends in advertising/marketing and they've drunk the kool-aid thinking that because they bring in X amount for bigcorp their existence is justified and if they didn't someone else would. Without this delusion it's likely not an easy thing to live with.
You underestimate quite a bit the value of entertainment, but that's your right.
In my case, it was a single example for which I have information about and can talk about. The same will apply to anything which is niche. You can't constantly search for things that fix your problem, even if you know exactly what is required to fix it, and you can't be aware of everything that could fix your problem. Ads are the only ways for theses niches problem to be fixed.
If you think you can do it more efficiently than ads, go for it, you'll be amazingly rich.
I certainly don't, and if that's all it said on the door as I was walking to a restaurant, I certainly would not stop in.
Maybe the benefit of online advertising is simply making people who know what it is aware that there is one in their zip code. (Option awareness for the primed is a thing.)
Oh yeah definitely, that's something that we will need to do in our city because the concept is too new. We just don't have too much time and money to invest in that. We were going to do that recently in a festival, but we learned too late that it wasn't going to happen in an adjacent park ^^' like it always did in the past.
> Maybe the benefit of online advertising is simply making people who know what it is aware that there is one in their zip code.
Yeah that what ads does in our case. We hope that word of mouth will help show more people it's fun.
I guess also embedded in my comment was a question: what is an escape room business?
It appears to be a game?
How long does it take?
How much does it cost per encounter?
Can one do it with friends (like lazer-tag) or is it a single-person encounter?
How much space does the facility require to process how many customers per hour?
Of course, I don't have data to prove my statement, but I doubt you have any to prove yours either.
And without ads and that "great tutorial", maybe you'd be something of greater value to society rather than the "developer you are today". (Just saying that what-ifs are even less of a support for any thesis)
Note that the original article does not complain about informative ads, but about manipulative ones.
It’s funny because the title would suggest that “all ads are one of the worst things that happened to humanity”. So it’s a click bait headline = manipulative ad. Maybe without a different title nobody would read the article.
As I said in another comment, I am not a big fan of the analogy because it's unclear: you have to work backwards to reconfirm it.
I'm a pretty great value for my works actually. Could do more? I don't actually believe it. I learned what I'm doing since I was 8. There's no way anyone would have paid for theses learning experience for me except advertisers.
You could certainly argue that I could have a more fun childhood if I didn't dedicate so much of it to learning. That could certainly be true, but I still enjoyed quite a bit my childhood doing theses crazy projects.
> Note that the original article does not complain about informative ads, but about manipulative ones.
> Advertising Is a Cancer on Society
Sure he talk against manipulative ones, but he fight against the whole advertising industry.
Maybe I could have done better in something else, who knows, what I do know is more learning experience is ALWAYS better.
I've grew up on the free Internet resources without ads (banner ads just came to be). I've read free books on highly technical topics, on Mathematics...
I'm not arguing that at all. I was pretty specific saying that the one that provided my learning experience couldn't have done it full time.
There wouldn't be as many learning opportunities. I also consider that I can't expect others to do work for me for free, that's just wrong.
That is manipulation. If they weren't actively thinking about visiting one or actively looking for things to do and your advertising convinced them to do it then you've manipulated them into doing something the otherwise wouldn't have.
... which is exactly what our ads are doing. None of the targetting that we do is related to anything else than entertainment, or activities to do. I even had to black list plenty of keywords that triggered our ads, some for prostitution service even.
Believe me, if we weren't targetting like that, it would cost WAY TOO MUCH. I'm pretty happy right now with an average 4.95% of CTR for the past 2 weeks.
I don't understand how you could do that without being an advertisement. How can you make a few businesses pay a fee without being advantaged against a business that doesn't pay that fee.
You do bring an interesting idea, if it's a directory financed by the government, which is neutral and randomize results (or else we would see much more A* companies ;) ), that could works in a way.
It may become an administrative nightmare to manage though with categories and stuff.
If there were no free search engines, I can see people paying a few bucks a month for Google. Even more so if Google would then again make their results as useful to users as they once were.
A practical example: I'm incredibly price-sensitive wrt productivity applications because there are many great such applications available as open source. I'm much less price-sensitive when it comes to video games (e.g. I spent 300€ on Breath of the Wild since it required buying a Switch) because the selection of open source video games is very limited.
Sure, because the web was ad-funded from the early days. People have an irrationally strong preference for "free". Even though in this case "free" really means "paid for by people manipulating how you spend your money".
But I think it's implausible that if ads didn't happen the web would just be an empty wasteland. Up until the web existed, people paid for all sorts of information and informational services. And plenty of people still do. I spend maybe $1k/year on journalism.
Try searching for product reviews for example. It's almost impossible to find good, honest review sites via a search engine (they definitely exist though). Most are shopping sites or fake reviews that just list scraped product information.
Sure, but that would be available to the ones that can profit from it directly, not the mass population that would have an hard time seeing value created from it.
Instead they would expect word of mouth to be sufficent, and in a way they wouldn't be wrong in that world because in that world everything would depends from it. They just wouldn't have the luxury of having all theses others experience that depends on ads to exist, simply because ads wouldn't be there to allow them to exist.
I'd wager you're wrong, unless of course you are an ad executive which it doesn't sound like you are?
Maybe, maybe, most ads by dollar spent is about brand awareness.
But for sure, most ads by quantity are about manipulation.
We are sadly a tiny minority. I keep seeing people talking against Youtube Premium.
> There should at least be an option to pay for ad-free, tracking-free, service.
Agree completely, but the existence of ads isn't what stops that sadly.
People were happy to pay 10$ for something until there was the same thing for 5$ and theses peoples thus flock to the "5$" options. This is why we should stop the 5$ option because it hurt the 10$ one!
People that paid more, just did because they had no alternative to get that. In that amount, there was some that couldn't pay that and didn't, and maybe you don't know them, but they exist. The cheaper option still provide enough value, or else why would the one that paid more move to the cheaper one? It also allowed the one that couldn't afford the previous price, to afford it and get that value too.
It's even possible that it was in aggregate delivering more value in total when the people that wanted the 5$ options were paying 10$ for the one with more things in it, but is it ethically right to force them to pay 5$ more for something they don't care about? Isn't it one of the important point here in this discussion manipulating people to pay for something they didn't want?
> The existence of ads definitely stops that.
It thus doesn't stop that, it only show that people were forced to pay more for value they didn't care for.
The people that want more and can afford it are still there. Like you said, they are still happily paying for Bloomberg and WSJ.
Talking about that, I don't read theses newspaper, yet they are annoying me enough that I may pay for it one day just because I keep getting linked to their article on Hacker News. It's weird how the paying one is giving me worse experience than ads ever did in my case, but I still believe that option is needed.
There are tens of millions of Americans living in homelessness, shanty towns, and trailer parks. We need to build housing (apartments, homes) for them. No individual person can do that. We have to organize ourselves to tackle these kinds of problems cooperatively. However, our society insists that we allow the market to organize our activities.
The market is controlled by exchange, and people who can afford to exchange more than anyone else can control the market. The majority of our wealth is concentrated in the hands of a minority of people. Thus the market mostly organizes people to solve their concerns while paying no mind to people who cannot afford to engage with it.
Either you can fix the market (something arguably impossible to do) or you can use a different method of organizing humans into cooperative efforts.
Absolutely no benefit to future generations or my fellow man, and I'd assume the case to be true of most people. It isn't as if advertising has made me more callous or lazy.
Unless your point is that companies could be doing those things instead of spending ad dollars, but that is a ridiculous proposition because they'd be using it to make more capital in some other way
One function of advertising is demand generation. It makes people believe they need things they don't. The broad message of most ads is "spend more money to be successful/popular/happy". Is it really impossible to think that if people stopped getting told that all day long they'd focus less on spending/consumption and more on other things?
Since I bought the chair on Amazon, when I don't have an ad-blocker on, like on other people's computers, I can see Amazon showing me advertisements for other chairs. Why? They are trying to convince me, because I showed a willingness to buy chairs, that I need more chairs. There are all sorts of flashy listings showing off the neat gimmicks their chairs are capable of, all to convince customers like me that what we have isn't good enough.
They can't make money if they solved people's problems, so either they design things to break (like planned obsolescence) or they psychologically manipulate people into thinking they have problems they don't have and sell them the solution (InfoWars is this taken to the extreme).
There is a difference between putting information out there for people who want to find it and blasting information at them to get in someone's head and convince them they need to do something for your own benefit.
None of the ads we got say to anyone that they need it. No one thinks that they need it when they see it.
What the ads say is that we exist. When they look for entertainment, and the debate isn't about whether entertainment should or not exist, they see us in the search engine (which is ads financed). When they search for movie theater (which is not related to our business, so it's fair that Google doesn't show our business in the results), they see us.
Actually, it's not even possible trying to convince people that they need us, even if we would want to. We NEED to target people that want entertainment because that's already pretty expensive for us to do.
Nobody chooses to watch a TV or radio show that's all ads. Ads are the opposite of entertainment, otherwise we'd tune in Wednesday at 8 PM to watch our favorite ads.
Entertainment does not have to unproductive. People who play sports or do other recreational activities are working to maintain their physical health while having fun. There are games of all sorts you can play to help you improve life skills or even physical and mental abilities.
If your relaxation requires someone else's work, it is counter productive (think resort-type venues that need staff to operate). There are plenty of ways to relax and unwind that don't take away from other people's efforts. Visiting a nature park or a museum, for example. The work to maintain natural resources or to educate and inspire people is necessary beyond simply pleasing people.
If you cannot live efficiently, you will exhaust your available resources and your lifestyle will die out. Humans have put in a great amount of effort in the last few hundred years to make as many resources as possible available to use, but this only encouraged us to use more. If you want to see how to live life efficiently, look at present and past cultures that do. They seem to be plenty happy living on much less than the average person in the first world.
You don't exist to be happy, you exist to survive. What would we have accomplished as humans if after thousands of generations of working to build a world with more possibility if all that work is dashed by a bunch of greedy, selfish idiots who think pleasure is more important than the sustainability of human life?
Speak for yourself. You exist to survive apparently, and what a meager and sad existence that seems to me. Good thing there's no authority telling us why we exist and we're each free to decide for ourselves.
What would we have accomplished as humans if...
What would we have accomplished if we survive until eternity without being happy?
The world does not have infinite resources. We have to be careful how we use them
"All fun must be productive" doesn't follow from that.
You aren't. Everything you do, even doing nothing, has consequences that are beyond your control. Even worse, your actions have consequences not just for you but for others, even people who don't yet exist. We only exist today because generation after generation of the people that came before us have worked together to survive. You absolutely can choose to be a selfish idiot, but selfish idiots go extinct very quickly because they greedily consume the resources they depend on. There are also people who recognize the threat selfish idiots pose to themselves and others and may intervene to stop them from mucking things up not just for themselves but for others. Remember, you yourself took the effort and resources of the human race to get you where you are. Your life is on loan to you from the universe.
Just like the cells in your body, humans work together to make things more capable than themselves individually. Just like the cells in your body, humans are constantly replaced by a new generation that takes our place. If you want to live life as a cancer cell on the human race, you can expect it will react the same way we react to cancer in our own bodies.
This article is about this very problem. Advertisers are abusing the fact that our brains have not adapted to their schemes to trick people into spending their effort supporting not just the advertisers but the enterprises that advertise through them. They climb over the backs of their fellow man to selfishly guarantee their own survival, paying no mind to the consequences their actions bear for others and for the generations that follow us.
> What would we have accomplished if we survive until eternity without being happy?
Doing what we are here to do. Life exists because the universe had latent potential that unthinking matter could not release. The whole universe is working to exhaust its potential. Intelligent life is just another step in that process.
You also don't seem to get what happiness is. Happiness is not a state of ecstatic joy, it's a state of contentment, free of threats and concerns, when you can be at peace. Like all emotion and sensation, we have them because they were useful to our survival. Mental reward mechanisms don't exist because you can't be conscious without them, they exist because without them survival is more difficult. Happiness is always a temporary, illusory, and fleeting feeling. There will always be more mountains to climb, happiness just rewards us for getting to the next peak.
You can choose to live a willfully ignorant life and pretend to be confused just to feel better, or you can see what the world is telling you and listen to it.
Haha... yeah ok. I know better than to try to convince religious people that their irrational views are baseless. It never gets anywhere. But you snuck by my guard because your religion is somewhat non-traditional.
Let's go our separate ways, you believe whatever you want :)
Wikipedia has several articles about these phenomena (e.g., information theory, thermodynamics):
PBS Space Time has some great videos on the cosmological side of all this. Their video "Are You a Boltzmann Brain?" does a great job of explaining entropy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhy4Z_32kQo
Kurzgesagt has some entertaining videos on the subject, too:
* The Most Dangerous Stuff in the Universe - Strange Stars Explained: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_8yK2kmxoo
* The Most Efficient Way to Destroy the Universe – False Vacuum: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijFm6DxNVyI
Most of this is unnecessary for the subject of this thread, which is more about biology, ecology, and evolution than physics.
In the old days, if her product -in this case escape room- would be good, she'd get enough customers by word of mouth alone.
Maybe those products shouldn't exist, then. Just because someone has an idea or wants to sell yet another iteration on an existing product or service, doesn't mean they deserve to. Maybe advertising allows markets to be far more diverse and saturated than they should be?
Also, maybe advertising isn't as necessary as it once was in a world where search engines and online stores exist and you can literally see a product and its competition all listed in one place if you're looking for something.
I suppose a good way that could make word of mouth work is to create two experiences and recommend the other in an email afterwards.
Advertising has made the internet a bit shit, yes. But let's not pretend it has it's upsides because it really does. That's why people pay for it. Now I'll grant that old school banner ads aren't worth much and we'd probably be better off without them. Most of what they're funding is garbage, not independent bloggers like I'd want to be funding.
Disclaimer: Small Google Ads customer.
And they could ignore the ads, too, which most people probably will because it's not that common a thing to want to do. But at least word of mouth can be expected to be reasonably accurate. If this escape room were terrible, the word of mouth would be terrible, but the advertising for it would never reflect that.
>And an escape room experience isn't something you can easily bring people back for - you need to find new customers every single time.
Maybe that makes it a bad business model?
>Now I'll grant that old school banner ads aren't worth much and we'd probably be better off without them.
Maybe it is. But I'd argue having something is better than not having it.
But let's be honest, search ads are not the problem here, toxic banner ads across the web are.
I'm willing to pay for Mozilla Firefox and Duck Duck Go and Wikipedia. I'm not sure it should be paid in month or by amount of usage. The beauty of Wikipedia is that it is open source, same with Firefox. Not sure about DDG.
I've witnessed the Internet before Web 2.0. Yes I received Viagra spam on my mailbox as well. Amount bought thanks to all of that spam: zero. The marketeer does not care about any second in my life I wasted thanks to their spam. Neither do the assholes who hosted them. And still, that Internet functioned. Of course the bills for the IRC server and Usenet server need to be paid. Usenet access was just part of my monthly dial-up subscription though.
As far as I am concerned the invention of high quality (relatively) search engines and high quality (relatively) fact sources such as Wikipedia as well as high quality, honest reviewers could easily make up for advertising. How is such paid for? Donations and credit card.
If we were used to no advertising and paying for services, we'd be outraged by if there was advertising. Ironically, that way is more efficient. The ideal model for data is a Patreon/Kickstarter/Indiegogo-esque project where people are able to offer bounties. This way you could pick a journalist (who's self-employed) and pay them to write an article to research a subject. Such research could then save other people time and money. I mean, if only 100 people in the world pay 10 EUR each then you already got firepower to do some research already.
Advertising and 'free' (where you're the product) is a race to the bottom, and ultimately a product for the poor.
Podcast hosts are biased either way. Ads waste people's time while a subscription doesn't. The subscriber amount is inflated, and the quality of content is lower than it could be because of clickbait and other non-content.
One subscription-based model for news I'm looking forward to gaining adoption is essentially a Spotify for news, called Blendle. I also believe we focus too much on news, and not enough on in depth articles which is a model De Correspondent pursues.
Aka "influencers". Our children are growing up with YouTube idols who don't have integrity. It is even illegal here to focus on children with advertising (which these buggers do).
Soft drinks, insurance companies, investment advisors, pretty much all prepared foods, all over-the-counter drugs, shampoo, deodorant, desktop computers, etc, etc -- these are the sources of 95% of ads. Yet the difference among them is almost nonexistent.
The ads for these products don't inform the consumer; they exist only to push the brand into consumer consciousness, a necessary evil because otherwise your company's commodity won't survive competition with other companies's commodity products without fabricating mindshare via by constant repetition of media promotions.
Branded commodities exist at all because advertising has constructed a fantasy around them intended to give consumers a sense of identity, and ultimately, meaning in their lives. Buy this slightly tweaked commodity to become smarter or sexier.
Without ads, 95% of everything we guy will quickly drop by at least 50% to match that of the nameless generic commodity that it is.
Soft drinks / prepared food / shampoo / deodorant I never buy due to ads. Heck, I never buy soft drinks. I drink a beer once a week, usually a special one. I find it by looking around at the liquor store dept. of the grocery store. I have zero brand loyalty in this regard (the amount of choice is a fata morgana anyway). I have a sensitive skin as well, so I can't stand a lot of these deodorant / shampoo.
I go to the grocery store to buy my food. The only time I may differentiate is when something is on discount. Which, true, is advertising, but its a clear deal. I don't follow the "saving" deals where you need stamps or whatever because it creates artificial brand loyalty / expenses.
OTC drugs I only buy when I need them. I'd buy the cheapest of active substance. I don't give a rat about which brand. If its insured, I get the cheapest one automatically cause otherwise I can't get it back.
Insurance, water, electricity, I go with the cheapest I can find. No commercial is going to tell me about which one's the cheapest. Comparison websites will, and there are good ones. My favourite one is the national equivalent to US Consumer Reports. To which I'm also an active subscriber.
Quite frankly, all I get from your post is that advertising is pushing crap we don't need. Cause we don't need to buy the branded versions.
If you want an example of a website which is doing great yet doesn't advertise nor contain advertisements then you're currently visiting it.
You just need to know that removing a stump is generally possible. That fact itself can be advertised by a the guild of stump removers if it is obscure enough. "Tired of hitting your toe on the stump in your backyard? Ask you doctor for an eye check!"
We get clients from 5 m away to 300 km away. The product is great, on a few thousand client, only an handful weren't happy.
> she'd get enough customers by word of mouth alone.
Word of mouth works when there are enough people to listen to it that may be interested in the experience. I'm a fervent believer that anyone can enjoy it, but let be honest, not everyone believes that being locked somewhere is fun ;). Believe me, it's a complaint that we hear often from our client that they weren't able to convince people around them about how awesome escape rooms are.
There's actually money to be made in something that could allow people to find others people to do escape room together, it's something that I often see people asking for in escape room communities.
> There's actually money to be made in something that could allow people to find others people to do escape room together, it's something that I often see people asking for in escape room communities.
Especially something with a small community could use this exposure of word of mouth, or having a platform for their community. You could also be part of the things to do list with the local tourism bureau.
The problem is a lack of standardization/consensus on communication method. You could use Facebook for this, or Mastodon, or Discord, or Slack, or Discourse, or Subreddit, or ... someone with authority just has to pick one, make it half decent, spread it by word of mouth, and you're done. If you can find volunteers for this, great. Otherwise, escape rooms could make a non-profit for this to maintain it. Of course, an escape room in Poland can afford to pay less for membership than one in San Francisco.
I just don't buy the argument that all kinds of advertising for anything at any time are intrinsically evil and must be stamped out. Even in a post-scarcity utopia, writers, artists and other creators would very likely be promoting their creations in an effort to reach people who might not otherwise hear about them.
As soon as I got to play with AR (such as Google Glass) the first thing I will look into is filter out the shit I don'tn need.
Not that I disagree, but where do you draw the line? Sure, if Coke stopped advertising we'd have billions of dollars to spend on something "useful". On the other hand, if Coke stopped making soft drinks, we'd have billions of dollars to spend on something "useful" AND significantly decreased obesity.
If you are going to make the argument that having soft drinks improves life somehow, then that implies it's better for people to know about soft drinks, and how will they know? Advertising.
But, the health externalities associated with drinking such beverages should get priced in and be used to offset eventual health complications. This is not easy because no one likes taxes, but you get what you pay for.
And they're far from the only company burning energy, effort, time and knowledge to accomplish nothing but profits at the expense of virtually everything else touching them.
The other option is to let insurance companies monitor your diet, but that sounds quite a bit more dystopic...
Maybe we should ban them as well. All companies "burn" energy, effort, and time to produce profits, that's pretty much the goal of a company.
True. But would people enjoy it as much if it were priced accordingly to give the workers who made it a living wage? If they had to pay full non-subsidized prices for the corn sugar they use, and to give those workers a living wage as well? In other words, would people enjoy it as much if it was instead of a dollar a bottle, more like four dollars?
And don't even try and shift to a different company. It is not unreasonable to assume that there is ethical compromise involved in purchasing anything from a company Coke's size. Chiquita almost started a war so they could continue exploiting South Americans for cheap bananas.
I take issue with this "well there's no haaaarm" point because there very often IS harm. There is tons of harm if you follow the supply lines back to the developing world where western corporations exploit entire nations for the sake of cheap goods that then are consumed at a break neck pace in the West, far more than they should be, which then even harms THOSE people by making them overweight.
If your company could do actual good in the world by ceasing to exist, then I question why you need to exist in the first place. That's all I'm saying.
Yes you can get cheaper premiums by living healthy, but how far do you want to go? Are you going to let your insurance company log everything you eat and how many steps you walk every day? Seems much easier to just factor in the external cost of goods into their price.
For medical insurance, it seems they could at least do something like "if you send us evidence of healthy exercise/diet/weight, then we'll lower your premiums; otherwise you'll get a premium based on the estimated risk of the set of people who don't do this". (If the government doesn't forbid it. healthcare.gov says "They also can’t take your current health or medical history into account", which sounds like it might rule out some of that.)
1. It was probably a tax write off.
2. It was probably also both a community service project AND a reflection of lower expected insurance payout.
3. Maybe the straight-A students are correlated with insurance payers that would rather pay the repair known 1-off payment (or skip doing anything at all) vs the unknown recurring increase in insurance payments?
(Source: drove a dented-up pickup for over a year after a short romp along/into an orchard)
2. The lower expected payout is exactly what an insurance company is trying to determine, and they’re very good at doing that assuming they have lots of data.
3. Most vehicle insurance cost are liability related, meaning the damage their insured to others, and namely healthcare costs. A collision with another person or their property will not be fixed without the insurance company getting involved, and a reduction in those is what the insurance company is betting on.
Absolutely reasonable question. How about coffee? Soda-prohibiters usually ignore it, because, I guess, they like it themselves, or expect a huge backlash. However, it's a very common way of excessive sugar consumption world-wide.
You could buy reduced-sweetness soda I suppose, but I don't know where you're going to find that. Even the boutique brands are very sweet.
You can also buy artificially-sweetened soda, but lots of studies are now showing that crap isn't any healthier for you.
There's no option to just have less-sweet soda. It does not exist. (Unless perhaps you're counting the fact that artificially-sweetened drinks simply don't taste sweet to some people, but that's a different argument.)
Whether you want to believe it or not, it is very easy to control how much sugar you pour into your cup of coffee at work (and you don't have to put artificial sweetener in it either as the only alternative; you can simply not put anything in it). There's no such option with soda, because it's premade. I don't know why you're arguing about this, because it's a simple fact.
Not sure I see what do you mean by "artificial" here. Making extracts from stevia is not more artificial then from sugarcane. What is more (un)healthy is still matter of gathering data, but it doesn't make an argument in either case. The argument is that you are not obliged to buy soda, as you are not obliged to put sugar to your food, and drinks. As well you are not obliged to drink alcohol for which WHO says there's no safe dose - unlike sugar. And which if we stick to your reasoning should be prohibited in the first place. But wait... does it sound as if it was tried already?
I don't know why you're arguing about this, because it's a simple fact.
I don't know too, because I'm nor arguing about exactly that. I suggest you to look at my previous comment again, you probably glanced over it too quickly.
The whole thing started when someone compared soda to coffee and said coffee had sugar too, and I responded that you don't have to put sugar in it, or as much, since you're the one controlling the sugar addition. We're not talking about safe doses of sugar here, or the WHO, or whether you're obligated to drink anything besides water. We're just comparing the sugar in soda and coffee, that's all, and the simple and completely undebateable fact is that you can put a little bit of sugar in coffee, whereas there is absolutely no way for you to control the amount of sugar or other sweetener in your soda. (I guess you could try adding sugar to non-sugar soda, but you can't take out the artificial sweetener (or stevia, which just tastes bitter), and good luck getting sugar to actually go into solution while the soda is still cold.)
Finally, I don't drink soda at all, or coffee either, I'm just pointing out that the drinker is the one in control of the sweetener with most coffee, and this is simply not the case with soda.
That doesn't mean cake and cookies should be banned, nor should soda. It's nanny state nonsense, and one of the more steeply graded slippery slopes...
If you're really concerned for people's wellbeing, ensuring access to healthcare goes a lot further than denying people snacks..
As to why, clearly it was due to people wanting to eat pleasurable food.
Glad you phrased it that way, because a lot of the people who want me to pay a tax for eating a cookie probably aren't imagining themselves paying a tax for going Whitewater rafting, or for driving their car multiple times a day.
Interesting. That's not even sugar water. We're going to need some pretty elaborate regulations at this rate.
Are these people not aware of kidney stones and the associated pain?
In Finland we do (or did, it might have changed on 2017) tax sugar. Then they added artificial sweeteners and even mineral water under the tax because it’s ”fair” that way. Thus negating the original point.
I’ll eat the snacks I want.
I’ll pay for the healthcare I want and need.
You do what you need. And neither one of us is responsible for the other.
Now leave me be.
They will die without treatment. They can be saved, but not for free. What action, if any, do you recommend?
As for the rest, the doctors, nurses, and paramedics are now going to be required to do something that's against their training and likely their nature, by letting people die on the sidewalk out front. Do you suppose this policy will be workable in the long run?
Basically, if you're poor, you will get a public defender. Someone who is overworked, underpaid and probably won't give your case the appropriate time it needs to develop a valid defense..
Whereas if you have money, you can afford an attorney that can spend the appropriate time to create a robust defense.
that would be predicated on an honest and direct pricing scheme for healthcare. taxing soda may be a feel-good thing to do, but how can you say - with a straight face - how much dialysis treatment or 'beetus meds actually cost? The whole business model of healthcare is built on information hiding.
people would drink it, but far less.
Bootlegging is generally a short term response to diminished access. But soon after the controls arise, demand generally shifts elsewhere to less inconvenient alternatives.
I can think of no examples of continuing bootlegging in the US, aside from piracy of media, which is another kettle of fish.
Whether Eric Garner was bootlegging cigarettes or not - do you think it was worth it?
*depending on your definition of working fairly well
It’s the same consequences. Little Johnny with well connected parents and a judge who doesn’t want to ruin the life of someone “who could be his kid” gets off easy while they expel little Jerome who is just “going to turn out to be a thug anyway.”
It also hasn’t stopped kids from getting weed and cigarettes.
It's only through action that power manifests (and the inaction of others to oppose the use and abuse of that power).
That's bullshit. A government can't take away power from others by exercising the power it doesn't have yet.
> (like the people).
A democratic state cannot take away power from the people, the people cannot take away power from itself. And non-democratic states don't have a legitimate government anyway.
Just curious, what are some of your hobbies? Things you like to do in your spare time?
LOL, looks like some people can see where I'm going with this.
Meanwhile, why should my health insurance rates go up because Dr. Joshgel is into cave diving or parachuting or enjoys the occasional track day in his GT3?
Or because someone else leads a sedentary life playing video games? How about banning those? There's no valid science behind claims of an "epidemic" of soda-induced obesity, but if you're going to generalize the argument to include all common causes of obesity, I'd respond by pointing out that there's certainly no shortage of studies showing the harmful effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
Rest assured, after the Dr. Joshgels of the world have come for my soda, they WILL come after something you enjoy. Maybe your steak, maybe your beer, maybe your guns, maybe your Playstation or your sofa. The slippery slope argument is a logical fallacy, but these people aren't logical. They're too busy being right.
There's also huge taxes on alcohol and tobacco for instance.
There's also a lot of other stuff that is banned already or strongly regulated or taxed heavily. Recreational drugs, medicine, certain additives that turned out to be harmful. Or rules like having to buckle up in your car. A lot of nanny state stuff that saves people from themselves.
No, they don't, unless they are doing something their policies call out explicitly. Which is extremely rare.
Because unlike soda, the damage done by those products is unequivocally identifiable.
Maybe you're just not convinced about the actual harm that sugar and obesity causes. I won't be able to write a good summary of the research here and now,but there's a lot of evidence out there. It's more dangerous than many people would assume.
> that implies it's better for people to know about soft drinks, and how will they know? Advertising.
Are you really saying the only way you have ever known about a product is advertising? I honestly have trouble believing that, but if that's the case please consider that you're an outlier.
Me, I avoid ads vigorously and have for decades. I have no trouble learning about new products.
Economy is basically production vs consumption, money is just the grease to keep the cycle flowing, to follow the money isn't getting to the base cause of our problems.
No, it remains in corporate budgets, which, without all the marketing spend, can be shifted to better wages, charity work, capital investments, better wages, safety and health initiatives, better wages...
I think Aperocky observation that following the money doesn't get at the root of the problem is spot on.
A good example for me comes from SF's MUNI system. For decades, they had people whose job it was to track bus arrival times so that schedulers had good data to work from. Eventually, the buses all got computer+GPS devices so they could be tracked continuously. Should we have refused to enable those because of the job losses?
I say no. There's no point in having people doing something wasteful just to protect jobs. Where we find systemic waste, we should eliminate it and shift the people to doing something actually valuable. To say otherwise is a variant on the Broken Window Fallacy.
Bill Gates could pay 10000 people $10/hour to dig a hole and 10000 people $10/hour to fill the hole back with dirt. Obviously this money doesn't "vanish", but millions of hours are wasted (and the food and resources needed to power this work).
If I go around smashing windows, I will make money move faster. The people who install replacement windows will have more money to spend. It's not like the money magically vanishes! But it's still a terrible idea, because all this economic activity is based on systemic waste. It's the same for most advertising.
People choose to spend their hard-earned dollars on the products that provide the most utility. Companies spend their hard-earned dollars on the vehicles that allow them to sell the most product.
Coke is rich because society likes drinking Coca-Cola and pals.
Separately I think advertising will have to find new forms of expression that are less repulsive. I won't want to block ads if they are actually fun and interesting.
How many cities have the will to even attempt something like this? Maybe a handful.
I understand the irony of that page having multiple ads :P
If they try to interfere with that, I will try every route I can to ensure my personal freedom.
For phones you can do most of what you want with LineageOS and Xposed; for AR headsets I'm sure something similar can be done and it's just a matter of time before hackers get together and make freedom a reality.
On desktop, yes (not for much longer). But not on Android.
People don't have time to research every single choice in their lives. At some point you just go with brand trust. When I see Uncle Floyd's Cola and CocaCola, I just go with what I know. Advertising establishes brand trust.
Advertisement is a zero sum game.
The brand is signalling that they have convinced many people, or otherwise, they couldn't afford that ad. So I can trust in the choice of those people. But why should I trust the brand itself?
Or they just convinced a bunch of investors. See e.g. Uber.
This is a non-sequitur. Brands existed long before advertising, and regardless they aren't the only way to solve the problem of choosing what to buy.
If you really care about making things easier for purchasers, you'd be eager to eliminate advertising, which a) adds a great deal of confusion and distraction, and b) reduces the value of earned brands in favor of whomever can spend the most money.
Each individual actor is working in their best interest, but as a society it creates unimaginable amounts of waste.
But advertising is an easy way to make money fast, that is, if you're happy to sell people stuff they don't need at triple the commodity price. Or... you could turn your hand toward more constructive and lasting alternative endeavors like treating / defeating disease, cheaply desalinating sea water, or a zillion other ends that would do more than pry money out of the clueless hands of fools.
>The growth of advertising is fueled by the enormous waste it creates. In any somewhat saturated market - which, today, is most of them - any effort you spent on advertising serves primarily to counteract the combined advertising efforts of your competitors.
Small brained primate thought du jour; advertising shouldn't be an allowed business expense.
In other words, most users could easily afford it.
And yes, here is the current problem, the mindset of the people. Not willing to pay for services and rather get it for "free" and accept manipulation and time waste.
On the other hand, where services are adfree avaiable, like netflix, users indeed do pay. So I am positive that it is about to change.
One company that does exactly the same things? No.
Companies that do part of what Google does? Absolutely, duckduckgo for search, countless email services to replace gmail, openstreetmaps to replace gmaps, the list goes on.
I don't see the downside.
And no, we wouldn't have billions of dollars to spend on other things. The soft drink companies would have billions of dollars more profit. And fewer people would have jobs
The cost of drinks wouldn't go down. Basically the only thing that would change is we would lose a lot of free things, and fewer people would have money.
"From 2006 until 2018, Oettinger was the official sponsor of Rockets, a professional basketball club based in Gotha. The Rockets played as "Oettinger Rockets" in Germany's first distribution, the Basketball Bundesliga."
And yet capitalism is still lauded as the most efficient economic system...
In theory this works, in practice it doesn't. Nobody is quite sure about what the dichotomy is between the theory and actual results. Basically by allowing commercial interests to control the direction of capital you get useless areas of inn-efficiency like advertising. The weird thing is, these types of economies still thrive. However, when you restrict and redirect resources in a centrally controlled manner, the economies tend not to thrive.
Nobody really knows why. However there are hints as to why it works. Google, gmail, search, google docs, hangouts and google maps would not exist if it wasn't for advertising. Google and the services and technologies they provide to the world would not exist if they did not receive revenue from ads.
So lots of uneven distributions (anybody growing up in USSR will know what I mean), and lots of overhead.
A modern networked infrastructure could mitigate that. A general AI could solve it (but that has its own drawbacks, great if you like your paper clips though).
Markets in a sense create that distribution system organically, but they pay efficiency costs (comparing to a strictly optimal solution). One of those operational costs is advertising.
Market has its own deficiency/glut profile too -- instead of whole city lacking butter and drowning in socks, we have individual people lacking everything evenly and others having abundance.
It's like a sales tax more efficiently allocated towards google services rather than military.
The meta question is about how we decide what gets banned.
Of course, the packaging itself is technically advertising, but still.
The direct economic costs - health care costs, lost productivity caused by illness - are immense, and the soda and junk food industries make no contribution towards them.
There are also less direct personal and emotional costs, in the form of family/partner illness and sometimes death.
Some luxuries are similarly toxic, but as a "cheap" luxury sugar abuse affects a much larger demographic.
IMO the ad efforts that support these products are unconscionable, and there's no question the money would be better spent elsewhere.
A lot of HN users wish to "optimize" these facets of other people's lives through government regulation, but it's no less odious than going up to people in person and knocking their drink to the ground. It's not your choice.
It's absolutely and completely false to frame this as a government vs individual issue. It's actually corporate propaganda vs the individual.
No one who supports individual freedom has any business encouraging corporate propaganda, because it's the psychological equivalent of sugar - absolutely toxic to genuine free choice.
Big Tobacco has already discovered this strategy doesn't work in the long term. Big Pharma is catching up slowly. (Ask the Sacklers.)
Big Sugar is still lagging behind, but it's only a matter of time.
You know the one of the things the worse off in society enjoy doing? - drinking a soda. They need to know the health risks, yes, but taking that away/adding a sin tax makes their quality of life measurably worse even if their health would be slightly better off in the long run. You're either taking away some of the little enjoyment they have or more of their money and I don't think that's fair.
Wait, what? This exact same argument could be made for cigarettes or hard narcotics. This argument is a non-starter. Especially since advertising is targeted at this demographic to convince them that a sugar addiction makes them less miserable.
Lawmakers have slowly banned advertising for more and more obviously addictive and harmful things.
They just can't make headway against the most pervasive and least obviously harmful things.