eBay stopped online advertising and the traffic changed from paid links to unpaid links.
>The experiment continued for another eight weeks. What was the effect of pulling the ads? Almost none. For every dollar eBay spent on search advertising, they lost roughly 63 cents
It turns out that brand keyword advertising metrics are misleading, especially for established brands. Boycott gives opportunity for Unilever take a pause and run the experiment.
Nobody is saying that.
There is sickening commenting trend where people take maxim of every argument, then argue against that.
An advertiser dropping a major tech company today is refusing to be seen in all social contexts of one type, or all searches, etc.
If advertisers go ahead with this on a permanent basis it is a very interesting message, and I think we don't know so much about this since our past regulations were really based on outcomes with individuals and small companies as the victims of bad markets.
Additionally, the CPG model of ad buying doesn't make a lot of sense for eithe Google or Facebook, I'm not sure that this boycott makes much difference from a revenue perspective.
However, because Unilever are so huge, it probably does make a difference from a PR perspective, which is why we see lots of articles about this.
Facebook is a fat red X for young new markets who increasingly eschew it's tone-deaf cash cow platform for increasingly less commoditized alternatives. what once stood as a beacon of unity is now an increasingly ugly and divisive platform that's outlived its original purpose: predatory surveillance capitalism. Brands are in my opinion evolving, and using zuckerbergs increasing incompetence as an excuse to loose themselves from contracts.
I remember other websites providing similar functionality around the time Facebook appeared (not MySpace, Friendster, or any of those), including the ability to see who last visited your page: other members. You could then go visit their page. AFAIK, Facebook never had that. Instead it had "poke". If today you could see who is accessing your Facebook page, it would probably inhibit you from posting so much personal content. The entire design of today's Facebook is to dissuade you from activiely checking friends' or potential friends' pages on your own initiative. Instead Facebook wants to "feed" you content from other members (and advertisers). Default settings and behaviour discourage exploration and encourage relying on "suggestions" (by Facebook) instead. They even go so far as to ask for money to "promote" your page to others.
But I pretty much left Facebook when they introduced the News Feed — that’s when I realized they were after all of our privacy.
Sure, advertises commit their billion dollar adspent but Facebook can always claim their commited amount have been spent and populate the dashboards with realistic data.
The big brands do not base their ad expense on specific metrics like small businesses do. Once you are big enough to make billions, chasing matrics results limiting your market.
Infact, Facebook can hire a residential IP service provider like Luminati and use bots to click their advertiser's landing pages in name of malware checks and bill them and later when caught say "ohh we made an error" then even your CTR or landing page tracking metrics are going to fail.
I come from adtech, so I know what is possible in this space and what my smart colleagues are capable of doing.
Nobody should be trusting ad metrics from them
...what?! Do you have a source on that I can read? I thought my opinion of facebook couldn't go lower...
That, or they are realizing they aren't getting a good ROI on facebook ads and figure now is a good time to pull out.
This is why some companies worry so much about their ads appearing next to objectionable content. They're not trying to get you to go buy something: they're trying to get you to associate their brand with a certain lifestyle and identity.
If the context changes so those associations become negative, the value of that advertising can swing rapidly.
The fact that some people and some companies get upset about some things some of the time is actually a massive improvement over how it was in the 90's and earlier. A sea change.
Every time they get rid of the most egregious hosts and replace them with new ones. The new ones start out moderate, then inevitably drift to extremism. The advertisers have plausible deniability for half of their employees and customers. The other half don't care or are cheering Fox.
Mutual fund companies do something similar with underperforming funds. They cull the worst performers and the remainder make the whole fund family look good due to the magic of survivorship bias.
Facebook is obviously drastically different than Fox. That said, they are a large company and organizational inertia is very hard to overcome. Right now FB is optimized to promote quantity of engagement without regard to quality. Turning down the heat and promoting civility would result in fewer posts, which would mean fewer ad impressions. That's not happening.
It is worth considering, that a "link everyone to everyone, without any particular topic or purpose in mind" social network, is just a bad idea. Goodreads, LinkedIn, StackOverflow, they're none of them perfect, but they're all a lot better than Facebook. They also all have some purpose. I think Facebook may not be fixable. So long as it makes money, though, it will not go anywhere.
It also reminds me of a remark from Henry Paulson about a conversation with Barack Obama during the latter's campaign, which took place in the midst of the financial crisis. Paulson recalls (https://youtu.be/QozGSS7QY_U?t=2166):
He very nicely warned me: 'You better take care of the Republican candidate because if I start hearing populist anti-bailout rhetoric from him, I'm going to have to start talking that way'.
The fact I registered that nonchalant remark probably is telling of why I wasn't drawn to operate in politics where shape shifting is sine qua non.
Speaking of Facebook, you could see Joel Kaplan, Facebook's VP of Global Policy, also known as the guy sitting behind Zuckerberg in practically every hearing, in some shots.
EDIT: confusing quote edited as per https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23658571.
Paulson said about Obama: "He very nicely warned me, 'You better take care of the Republican candidate, because if I start hearing populist anti-bailout rhetoric from him, I'm going to have to start talking that way.'."
I.e. Paulson claims Obama said the sentence starting with "You better...".
And just reading this sentence makes me wonder what the context of why Obama said this.
What % of that was from companies that are now boycotting, including Unilever?
I have to imagine a company like Unilever was spending no small sum on Facebook ads.
This article has some more details about some large companies spending habits on FB ads, including this quote:
> The consumer products giant has spent more than $11.8 million in the U.S. this year on Facebook, according to marketing analytics firm Pathmatics.
This mattress company  was founded in 2015 and acquired for $1.1 billion in 2017. That’s an exit comparable to Instagram in speed and scale.
Why was Twitter included in this?
Have you ever been on Twitter? It's not exactly where you go to look for inspirations for best human behavior, compassion and inclusiveness.
I’d understand this argument for something like YouTube where most ads seem to be TV style and not trying to get me to click away to buy something immediately, but Facebook ads seem to always want me to go do something they can trivially track.
The ROI of that effect is typically real, noticeable and impossible to directly attribute.
They mean makers of Best Foods mayonnaise!
Somewhat interesting history as well, lever brothers before the merge bought products from Belgian colonised parts of Africa that used slave labour well into the 20th century and they knew it.
Even had a separate own company so they could use their own slaves and keep it nice and separate from the main company.
Twitter is a Hell where, instead of pushing a rock uphill forever, its denizen are stuck in eternal rush hour traffic such that everyone can read bite-sized chunks of everyone else's angry, rage-induced thoughts and some of these people actively ram into other cars just to make it more miserable/gain status.
> Given our Responsibility Framework and the polarized atmosphere in the U.S., we have decided that starting now through at least the end of the year, we will not run brand advertising in social media newsfeed platforms Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in the U.S.
> We will maintain our total planned media investment in the U.S. by shifting to other media.
Almost as good as MS saying they're removing update settings to 'prevent confusion.'
Edit: Apparently they are pulling out of Instagram as well. Maybe that didn't meet their ROI expectations?
That coupled with brand recognition and I'm surprised companies don't spend more than they do.
I'm surprised the platforms haven't rolled out scalable middleman services for this.
It was a surreal, over-crowded, confusing, fact-light, peer-pressure driven, mystical, big promises, metrics-resistant, yet bewilderingly optimistic market place.
In the past decade it's gotten much, much worse.
Compare the field in 2011  to now .
Then consider that there are people to whom all of this makes sense.
E.g., SEO wasn't included in 2011 but is in 2020.
SEO in 2011 certainly wasn't nascent, but it was a bit of a black art, and not an especially large sector.
I don't think there were (m)any that were offering exclusively SEO products -- from memory it was more of a bundled / add-on offering for other services.
People in glass houses...
If the United States tries to pass laws against those things, are you going to point out that the US had slavery 160 years ago? BMW made equipment for the Nazis.
Unilever the company that when it finally removed the hydrogenated vegetable oil decided to replace it with Palm Oil. Which, given the amount it uses (the world's largest consumer) has massively contributed to the destruction of the planet's remaining tropical rainforest.
Then we've got enormous amount of plastic pollution ...
So, is Unilever really attempting to occupy the moral high ground? Or is it just an attempt to sell more of it planet destroying sh*t to a particular demographic?
I might be getting my details crossed but remember reading all the major cigarette brands ended up seeing this as a long term win because of how much money it’d save them to not have to advertise through an expensive channel, knowing their competitors couldn’t either.
I’d imagine if enough major consumer brands all sort of agreed not to compete on Facebook ads, it might end up helping them all in the long run.
Of course prisoners dilemma and all...
- LSD microdosing
- intermittent fasting
- contrarian views to whatever the top comment is
I have always found it odd that an interest in privacy would coincide with an interest in tech.
Perhaps knowledge of tech makes you aware of how easily it can be (ab)used to track you and invade your privacy.
That makes a lot of sense from the business perspective. People who bought Bitcoin early have no need for Y Combinator funding now. :P
I do think one is worse than the other.
HN's more balanced and tolerant than most tech communities (including the StackExchange network and especially Twitter), but it still skews quite left. If I ever show an indecent amount (by Silicon Valley standards) of libertarian-contrarian tendencies, I get thrashed and downvoted to Hell. That said, I have learned some of the libertarian-contrarian (or, really, non-Progressive) land mines to avoid in HN discussions, and tend to get up-votes.
That said, this comment (third most upvoted comment under OP) is pretty typical of the soft authoritarianism prominent on HN. I have no particular love for Fox News or even Facebook (I kind of dislike them both and don't consume either), but what they do is kind of up to them and their viewers/users.
So, anyway, HN is left with a small-ish but dense pocket of libertarian-contrarians, the Valley is left of HN, Tech Twitter is left of the Valley.
This site, like most, is a liberal echo chamber.
Though I will say it's still a decent place to have a debate as long as you are fine with fighting 10v1 and going negative, which I am.
The most frustrating thing is the post limit you run into when you get flagged/negative karma. It's really annoying to be in a debate and not be able to reply. I abuse the edit feature to get around it, but that's limited.
Also the ability to only downvote with 500+ karma leads to group think. Only the high karma users with the popular opinions can downvote, and they certainly use it.
Just a hunch, but that might explain a lot of your negative karma.
A lot of people here enjoy civil, friendly debates people who they disagree with completely on a given topic, but "going negative" is a great way to send your karma down.
Stay away from negativity directed at others, use charity in your arguments, and above all, don't be sarcastic, and your karma will rise, regardless of the topic. And to be clear, I'm speaking from my own experience here and on other internet forums or mailing lists.
Most importantly to gain karma you need to choose the "correct" side, like you do. Ya'know, the Beto gun confiscation side.
If you go against the crowd you will be downvoted, period. That's no surprise, I'm just giving you guys insight what it's like outside the bubble. It's definitely not mainstream libertarian here.
Ok. That's an novel meaning of the phrase "going negative" to me, but you know what you meant.
> Most importantly to gain karma you need to choose the "correct" side, like you do. Ya'know, the Beto gun confiscation side.
You misread my comment  on that subject. I didn't take the pro gun-confiscation side in that comment. I addressed another comment about how the assault-weapon confiscation procedure would take place if they were in fact banned. Whether or not I support a ban on assault weapons (I do) was irrelevant to the comment. You might notice that I also argued that if a ban were put in place, that owners of those weapons must be given the opportunity to voluntarily turn in those weapons without the immediate threat of violence being used against them.
> It's definitely not mainstream libertarian here.
Sure. It more neoliberal (lower taxes, less social safety net) than the anarcho-capitalist or ethno-nationalist libertarianism that you might see elsewhere. But all those viewpoints are represented here, as are democratic socialist (like me), labor unionists, and other shades of the political left.
Outside of the ethno-nationalists, most of those viewpoints don't get downvoted unless they use personally offensive rhetoric (i.e demeaning particular demographics, advocating violence against the rich, contempt for the poor, etc).
A viewpoint that gets downvoted no-matter-what is ethno-nationalism. I'm OK with that, because I think we have plenty of documented history of ethno-nationalism to understand why it has no place in public discourse.
Yes I know what I meant because I wrote it, I'm telling you that you interpreted wrong.
> I didn't take the pro gun-confiscation side in that comment.
You didn't have to, you were defending the confiscation process. As another user pointed out to you, the government asking before forcing to take your guns is no different than a bank robber passing a note to the clerk with a threat written on it.
> It more neoliberal (lower taxes, less social safety net)
I don't ever see anyone on here advocating for less regulation and lower taxes. I mainly see marxists, socialists, and liberals.
> Outside of the ethno-nationalists, most of those viewpoints don't get downvoted unless they use personally offensive rhetoric
That's convenient and untrue. No, not all viewpoints that get downvoted are offensive unless you count them being offensive to the opposing political ideology.
I love discussing all topics on HN that I'm passionate and informed about, including politics.
When I do see political topics (which is often these days) and such a one sided view, I feel the need to voice the other side.
Me too, but I thank the slowdown-bot because slowdowning is generally a good idea in life. Forced to take time, you'll probably write a better response anyway. Knowing that you're slowdowned, you're forced to be more strategic in what you choose to respond to. It's a gift.
The slowdown for me is about 3 posts every 5 hours it seems. I'm not aware of the exact limits, do you know?
Posting 3 comments in half a day is not really testing the limits, there is plenty of chill time.