Tackling the Internet’s Central Villain: The Advertising Business

from NYTs

Pretend you are the lead detective on a hit new show, “CSI: Terrible Stuff on the Internet.” In the first episode, you set up one of those crazy walls plastered with headlines and headshots, looking for hidden connections between everything awful that’s been happening online recently.

There’s a lot of dark stuff. In one corner, you have the Russian campaign to influence the 2016 presidential election with digital propaganda. In another, a rash of repugnant videos on YouTube, with children being mock-abused, cartoon characters bizarrely committing suicide on the kids’ channel and a popular vlogger recording a body hanging from a tree.

Then there’s tech “addiction,” the rising worry that adults and kids are getting hooked on smartphones and social networks despite our best efforts to resist the constant desire for a fix. And all over the internet, general fakery abounds — there are millions of fake followers on Twitter and Facebook, fake rehab centers being touted on Google and even fake review sites to sell you a mattress.

So who is the central villain in this story, the driving force behind much of the chaos and disrepute online?

This isn’t that hard. You don’t need a crazy wall to figure it out, because the force to blame has been quietly shaping the contours of life online since just about the beginning of life online: It’s the advertising business, stupid.

And if you want to fix much of what ails the internet right now, the ad business would be the perfect perp to handcuff and restrain — and perhaps even reform.

Ads are the lifeblood of the internet, the source of funding for just about everything you read, watch and hear online. The digital ad business is in many ways a miracle machine — it corrals and transforms latent attention into real money that pays for many truly useful inventions, from search to instant translation to video hosting to global mapping.
But the online ad machine is also a vast, opaque and dizzyingly complex contraption with underappreciated capacity for misuse — one that collects and constantly profiles data about our behavior, creates incentives to monetize our most private desires and frequently unleashes loopholes that the shadiest of people are only too happy to exploit.

More here.

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21 Responses to Tackling the Internet’s Central Villain: The Advertising Business

  1. Alexis Candelora February 9, 2018 at 3:49 pm #

    Many people often overlook the immense influence advertising actually has on daily lives across the globe. Advertisements appear in every aspect of a person’s life. They can be found on television, the internet, billboards on the sides of streets, magazines, books, cereal boxes, and anywhere companies can squeeze them in. One of the most influential ad location is by far social media databases. Social Media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snap Chat are the perfect place to imbed ads and push them on a large, global audience. However, the growing amount of advertisements by various companies is cause for concern as it grows increasingly more difficult to regulate what is being shown to the general public. Regulation is incredibly important to prevent scams, deceit, violence, and illegal activities. These activities may revolve around issues such as deceitful health products or telemarketing scams. These concerns are only multiplied when involving child viewers. Children grow up exposed to everything placed in front of them and in modern day’s standards, this includes television and the internet as children are often free to scroll the endless bounds of YouTube videos, television channels, and platforms such as Netflix and other technical platforms. Thus, unregulated advertising can and will make its way to children who are then exposed and vulnerable to portrayal of products such as alcohol, tobacco, excessive violence, and much more. These exposures are involuntary and detrimental to protecting children from harmful and overly mature content. Additionally, modern advertising through social media and the internet can be invasive as advertisers often target by race and religion. Thus, proving advertising is undoubtedly invasive to privacy which it then uses to target specific audiences. While companies are making efforts to maintain and regulate advertising on their platforms and databases, the problem has gone on for so long and has become so massive, it’s hard to firmly grasp control. Furthermore, the development and techniques of advertising agencies are continually growing, making maintenance more difficult as companies will not be able to regulate until they have a solid understanding of the new technology advertisers use. Furthermore, the problem will only increase as platforms continue to allow advertising on their platforms in return for the incredible profit made. Thus, the problem is a seemingly never-ending cycle of trying to catch up to the development of the advertising business in order to regulate what is being portrayed to global viewers.

  2. Nicholas Marinelli February 9, 2018 at 5:45 pm #

    The online advertising business is one that is extremely lucrative, but yet controversial. Log on to your Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or YouTube accounts- what do you see? The screen is riddled with advertisements. But the clever part- it is all related to things you searched up that day, week, or month, something you read from The Wall Street Journal, or a post you “liked” last night before bed. Algorithms and data analysis compile all the information you click on when using the web and conform a magazine of ads for you- but instead of arriving at your front door with your Sunday newspaper, they are seen by your eyes at all times.
    Many people argue that the advertising online should be curtailed to a minimum, however that would be subject to violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. It can be argued that this may be similar to the Packer Corporation v. Utah case in 1932, however instead of billboards, it is computers- computers in this case relate to desktops, laptops, and smartphones. In the case, it was argued that billboards are seen as a matter of choice, but in the case of online advertising, you are bombarded with ads all over the screen. It is hard to argue that you do not have a choice to see these ads, since additions such as “Ad-Blocker”, which I have installed, exist.
    This is an interesting topic because most shopping is now done online, rather than in the retail brick and mortar stores. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, companies must include a technological shift to their stores, or else they will become obsolete; I even posted an article pertaining to online advertising on my LinkedIn and how important online traffic is (https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6316657875007602688).
    I have actually looked into starting my own social media marketing company and done research behind it. It is absolutely amazing- and scary- how people have access to search history, click rates, likes, interests, and so much more. People spend thousands of dollars to promote their businesses on Facebook advertising. I watch and read about Gary Vaynerchuck, who at the time I started watching him was not as popular as he is now, and he has taught me so much about the digital market and promoting on the internet. The advertising business can be invasive to a person surfing the web, but for those creating the wave, it is a lucrative and great business. I do not see a problem with the online advertising business because it is all things that interest you- obviously for consumer preference.
    When I create a company of mine, I will most likely invest heavily in online marketing and advertising, but of course keep it ethical. The idea of tapping into political emotions, schemes, or “pump and dumps” into companies is wholly unethical and this type of advertising should indeed be blocked on platforms. The tech-addiction of people will online become greater in the future and the convenience of online advertisements pay dividends for companies. From a business standpoint and someone seeking a Certificate in Big Data Analytics and a Major in Finance and IT, online advertisements are a necessity for a company to stay relevant in today’s market.

  3. Matt Henry February 9, 2018 at 6:02 pm #

    Although this article focuses on online advertising, the excerpt about tech addiction caught my attention. The compulsion for kids and adults to always be on their smartphones and computers has been a national concern for years. As technology enhances and smartphones get fancier, the worse this problem continues to get. The New York Times hyperlink states, “Companies that make money from your attention – that is, ad-supported apps like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube – now employ armies of people who work with supercomputers to hook you even more deeply into their services.” Consumers would benefit from companies being more ethical, but the drive to make a profit is too large to care about the average customer. Government intervention is unlikely in a situation like this which would limit what users can see in the internet. Many petitioners have reached out to Apple to research this phenomenon. Apple does not depend on tech addiction to profit and it has a lot of influence on other platforms. If Apple could limit how apps notify their consumers it would severely lesson the amount of time people spend looking at their screens. Looking out for consumers by encouraging more thoughtful use of their products is an incredible opportunity for Apple to change the industry even more.
    The ad machine is still so complex that even Apple could not end this negative trend completely. Online companies transform users’ attention into a profit so they would not be as eager to limit their ads. Scams and fake sites dominate the browsing universe and many times they seem so real. It is impossible to trust and reviews or pop up ads congratulating you for winning an iPhone. Ads fuel the internet and fund almost everything consumers do, so a restriction of this would be extremely hurtful to internet companies. It is unfortunate that these companies do not care at all how their tactics impact consumers. Tech addiction has a psychological effect on the brains of children and adults it should be talked about more in order to protect people. If the advertising company does not see this as a major issue then other entities must intervene to curb this problem once and for all.

  4. Adam Facella February 9, 2018 at 7:46 pm #

    Throughout the article, Manjoo brings up many ideas about advertising that I have never really thought about too deeply. What was surprising to me is the way that he begins his article by explaining how the average citizen today is addicted to their devices along with the social media which they are using on them. I think this is what causes the problems with the ads that are being used on the devices. Each device knows exactly what type of advertisement which should be displayed on the different platforms. This is very effective on selling products based on the searches of each individual, but also very scary. The fact that the companies know exactly who would be interested in the product is scary. But, these advertisement techniques have been used forever, in different ways. Each television channel has different ads depending on the time and who the average watcher will be. The commercials in the middle of the day will be very different than the commercials showed in the middle of the night based on the people who are typically watching at the time.

    Something that I never thought about is how much revenue is brought in from online ads, the company is getting paid every time you are forced to watch ads before YouTube videos or ads that pop-up before entering a website and being able to read an article. Even though the person is not actually doing anything with the ads, the company still is getting paid because of it being viewed. This is amazing because advertisers have all of the power over the consumer and the consumer is blinded to it. The majority of ads are subconscious, when reading an article, there may be ads on the side of the webpage that you think you are ignoring, but really you are subconsciously looking at the product and then may purchase the product in the future.

  5. Alan Josefsek February 9, 2018 at 9:42 pm #

    In my opinion, the advertising industry in justified in what it has been doing with the tech industry. I myself and the Chief Executive Officer of a marketing company specializing in virtual reality technology and using to market online to individuals. We are able to track consumer habits and we have the ability to purchase consumer data from massive databases from many different providers. You can literally input any parameters you would like. Do you want to find people between the ages of forty to fifty that purchase health and wellness products? One of the data providers will cover that. In fact, it goes a step further. Have you ever been on a website looking to purchase a product or perhaps even a vacation when you leave the site and come to find the advertisement on another non-commercial site such as Facebook? Well, that is called stalking. But on a more serious note, commercialized sites such as Amazon and Macys use things called cookies to track a user’s online habits. We use this data to strategically place advertisements on pages you visit. About forty percent of the time, the advertisement converts into a sale of that product. This may not sound like a large number however in the retail industry, this is a huge number. Another thing cookies can monitor is the online attrition rate of consumers. The attrition rate is the percentage of consumers that view your advertisement and do not convert to a sale. This number is super important to know. If you have watched shark tank, a common question the sharks ask is what the entrepreneur’s attrition rate is. More times than not, the entrepreneurs are unfamiliar with the number which costs them towards the end of the pitch. The online world of retail is a super competitive one; which means companies are willing to do whatever is necessary to win over a potential buyer of their product or service. One of the most interesting aspects of online advertising is the effectiveness of color. Color of advertisements play a massive role in attracting customers which may sound obvious, but many companies fail to differentiate themselves in this manner. Thus, while advertisements can be annoying on the internet, they do not hinder the overall mission for someone being of the web in the first place. I have gotten used to them and now my mission is to make them more interactive and fun for people of all generations and backgrounds.

  6. Alyssa Heagy February 9, 2018 at 9:53 pm #

    I agree that there is a lot of dark stuff out there on the internet and that is why there are filters. There are parental blocks and security locks for bad content on the internet parents don’t want their children to see. I think parents should view certain sites and content before allowing their children to view it. Especially when it comes to these bizarre cartoons committing suicide or rash repugnant videos, but certainly this is not the fault of advertising. Nor is advertising to be the blame for not being able to put your own phone down. Advertising is one of the main ways sites get funded and make money. They do cause online traffic to certain sites, but not forward graphic images or horrible images like the ones listed. Parents should have them blocked and security locked to prevent such occurrences.
    Advertisements do not cause an addiction to being online all the time or to being on their phones all the time. Being an Advertising major, advertisements target those online that fit a certain market and might like certain products online. Advertisements are connecting people to products and services. If anything, advertisements sometimes annoy online users to exit out of stuff because they don’t like advertisements, or to put down their phones because they are done seeing ads during stuff. Also, ad policies have tightened over the years. There are always those stories about consumers looking for a certain product online and then going back online and seeing ads about this product. This is just connecting business to consumer and there are settings on websites and privacy settings that can be done to prevent this from happening if it is really a huge problem.
    The issue with the Russian political influence should be further looked at and avoided and especially with the troll groups. The I.R.A. messages should have been avoided and looked at. Also, there are ways to block and report suspicious activity such as these. Advertisement as a whole should not be to blame. The blame should be on the conditions to post such content and allowing to be on their websites.

  7. Natalia Falana February 9, 2018 at 10:58 pm #

    People tend to like things for free more than freedom. Perhaps that seems counter intuitive, but a whole generation is now growing up with their baby pictures on social media, and their online movements tracked. Little snippets of those kids’ lives will be forever stored in servers, ready to be pieced together by advertisers. Parents are now even using Alexa, and other devices to communicate with their kids before they can even use a phone. There are even tips online to child proof your Alexa to avoid small mishaps like unwanted purchases. We pay for Facebook and Google with our privacy. We tend to sign user policy agreements that we’ve never read for the convenience of one click shopping and the necessity of the internet and mobile devices. The truth is that even though signing an Apple or Google agreement is technically a choice, there is no other option when it comes to many essential activities. Universities and workplaces all require internet access to do the most basic of tasks like send messages. At college it is impossible to do well without accessing information online, and yet the internet is not treated as a right, but rather as a choice and privilege. We have no choice but to let Google, Amazon, and other large corporations slowly seep into our lives until our information is their information.
    Advertising is in many ways an intimidating villain and simultaneously an innovative tool. What large companies do with our information to make a profit may seem unethical, but to many people signing away their privacy in exchange for free services is more logical and even fairer than other systems. If only those who can pay to use Facebook or Google are allowed on the platforms then it may create even more social inequality than already exists. Those with money would be able to access a world of information while those without money would find it harder to change your situation. In some regards, advertisers allow for more social mobility. Today, a person can go online and learn almost anything for free by going to websites like YouTube that run ads in exchange for content. Some people also make money by creating content and profiting directly from affiliate links. Even others will become brand ambassadors or own their own blogs and advertise in less formal ways. These informal types of advertising like blogs, reviews, and ambassadors casually embed products into the fabric of social media. Amazon reviews do not seem like advertisement, but sometimes people sometimes paid to write them. These subtle forms of advertising are often more natural and influential than explicit ads. They are also incredible ways to create a career without a formal education in a country where it is becoming harder to afford college. In many ways, online advertising needs to be more regulated so that crazy and inflammatory material is not automatically given a preference and personal information abuse has certain limits.

  8. Shakur Mckinney February 10, 2018 at 12:31 pm #

    For me this article was very intresting, being that I am a marketing and advertising major here at Rider University. I like how in depth the author went on the online advertising, business being that in my eyes at least, it will be the biggest form of advertising if it already isn’t in the near future. Overall though I think that online advertising and microtargeting is a good thing for companies and consumers alike. Of course there’s the bad that comes with it like when the author talked about how the Russians spent over 46,000 on Facebook ads before the 2016 election which undoubtedly played a role in influencing American politics. But just like everything in life, nothing is perfect; you have to accept the good with the bad. My take on the whole spectrum is that I think that online advertising and microtargeting is a new concept that consumers are learning about. Now i’m not sure how long companies have been doing it. But in the social world amongst consumers I can say that a lot of people are becoming more and more aware of microtargeting. In fact a couple of days ago I came across a tweet on twitter with about 10,000 retweets that read “when you just got done looking at a product online, and then you open instagram and see an ad for it” attached to the tweet was a meme of a girl that looked “frightened”. So even though people might not know exactly what’s happening to them, they are becoming more and more aware that some way somehow their likes and dislikes are being tracked, and they are in a way being taunted by the thing the things they like via some outside force. My point in bringing this up is not to necessarily to say its a bad thing, like i’ve stated earlier I do think that online advertising and microtargeting is great for consumers and business. I would love to be online searching for a nike shirt that I cant find in stores, and then boom an ad pops up from some retailer, saying that the shirt is on their website. That’s convenient for me it will me and many other consumers a lot of time. I brought up the fact that people know they’re being monitored and forcefed certain things because I feel like things like the Russians interfering with the election may begin to have less of an affect in the future. If people know agendas are being forced on the internet via ads, I feel like they will begin to hold less weight overtime. Take away using ads to promote a product or service for a moment. I believe as people begin to become more and more aware of the agendas that companies and countries have and how they are implementing them thru ads, in 2020 when a pro Trump ad pops up I think people will be a lot smarter and conditioned and will be able realize, that that ad is an agenda being pushed by a company or country, and won’t it sway their personal opinion or vote on who they think should be the next president. I believe online advertising and microtargeting is the future of the world, but I also believe overtime people will begin to notice when they are being force fed something in an attempt to sway their way of thinking, therefore making those types of ads ineffective.

  9. Antonio Macolino February 12, 2018 at 12:13 pm #

    Here in 2018, the Internet and advertising are one and the same. One simply cannot be without the other. It appears that absolutely everything on the internet is covered in advertisements. Some argue that this is a very good thing for multiple reasons. It connects people to products and helps small businesses they may have never heard about, it allows people to use the internet for free because the majority of revenue comes from ads, and it helps the economy and creates jobs. While all of these points seem very positive, the one glaring problem that needs to be faced is the fact that the advertising on the internet is starting to become out of control.
    Foreign powers such as Russia are starting to use advertising to influence elections. This occurred during the 2016 election as Russian hackers placed propaganda on social media sites such as Facebook. Another large problem is the amount of fake accounts on social media sites. Advertisers use fake accounts to post comments and likes in favor of their companies. This creates a false sense of reality and is misleading. One of the biggest problems though is the use of ridiculous videos just to earn advertising revenue. Videos that showcase a person’s body after they had just hanged themselves and videos of small children being terrorized by clowns are being posted just for the ad revenue.
    I believe that this is a really bad problem Advertising is enormous and is changing vastly everyday but there must be something internet companies and law enforcement officials can do to crack down on corrupt advertising practices. I believe showing videos of children being terrorized just to make money is ridiculous. It is up to the heads of websites such as Google and Facebook to hire people and companies to police whatever is advertised on their sites and to practice truthful, not misleading advertising. These malpractices in advertising are making the internet a very dangerous place. People do not know who to trust and are often being taken advantage of. Not to mentions all the hackers and illegitimate advertisements that are out there and work to steal people’s personal information and infect their computers with viruses.

  10. Steven Merunka February 12, 2018 at 4:45 pm #

    I do agree that the advertising business on the internet is a free for all and very hectic. the enormous increase of the internet requires companies to adapted in a way in which they can get their product across to a world who are to busy looking a screens and sometimes it may be unethical. However what stands out the most is the simple question: How are certain ads created and decided to be displayed while you are on a website? Well rather than pointing fingers at the ads themselves look at the source in which they are getting information.

    On February 12, 2018 an article published by The Telegraph has stated that a German court found the process in which Facebook sold their users browsing histories so companies can have a competitive edge in showing ads only to the target audience was given in an illegal manner. Federation’s litigation policy officer Heiko Dünkel spoke out after the victory “Facebook hides default settings that are not privacy-friendly in its privacy centre and does not provide sufficient information about this when users register.”

    Facebook twisted and bent the rules in their favor to gain a substantial amount of profit by selling histories to big corporation to promote items of their website. Which in hindsight would be fine and harmless. However on an ethics standpoint it feels like a breach in personal privacy and this sort of action needs to be displayed in plain sight and need to be clearly and coherently stated as to how companies are getting the sources of information to customize your web page to accommodate you with the use of relatable internet advertisements.

  11. Gabrielle Pietanza February 13, 2018 at 1:44 am #

    In this technological world of which we live in, advertising has been engraved in our lives. Many overlook the advertisements that appear on their internet browsers, in magazines, on billboards, the radio, television, social media, and basically in every other aspect of our lives. Advertisements housed on the internet specifically are the source of funding for everything we as a society use online. Although these entities are free to us in a monetary aspect they are not free. This is the 21st century and if you are not paying anything you are not the customer. The information we produce online is then compiled and sold to companies to use for advertising purposes among other things. This complex system collects and profiles data regarding our behavior of which are monetized and exploited.
    I, like most, frequently have advertisements which appear specifically chosen for me appear on my devices. That is due to the fact that they actually are. The information I insert in the internet, be it a browser, social media account, amazon, or any other platform is linked together in this complex web of the internet and shows me the information, products, and images the internet believes I want to see. These automatically custom advertisements that I see are vastly different from yours I would imagine as the computer and masters behind it try to predict what you and I want and will purchase before we even know it ourselves.
    However it does not stop there. Advertisements are only the beginning. Google and other search engines actually have the ability to choose what websites to show you after you search a topic in the search bar. The results that appear for me could possibly and usually are different for others. This can be based on geographic location and other websites visited among other things. These facts are scary yet the only other option is to not use the internet and in this day and age this task borders the impossible.
    Childhood is when we begin being exposed to advertisements. From the commercials between cartoons to the advertisements located on our favorite snacks and in the stores we frequently shop, we are told what toys we want to buy, what clothes we want to wear, and what to do to be cool and to fit in. This only escalates with time. As more information can be collected on us and we produce more of a digital profile, advertisements can be designed and targeted specifically to our trends and habits.
    Until we as a society come together to fight for our digital privacy, our information will continue to be collected, profiled, and sold to large advertisement companies who will use it to influence us to buy and use their products. Reform is necessary but will only occur when these large companies deem it necessary. We must strive to educate individuals of the lacks in their digital security and teach the youth not to believe everything they see online or in advertisements. Marketing can be ethical and we must distinguish the difference between the good and evil.

  12. Luke Nadolny February 16, 2018 at 12:07 pm #

    Marketing is the reason companies do as well as they do, there is no denying that. When in the right hand marketing can be used to sell your product, get your name out there, and establish yourself in a growing marketplace. in the wrong hands, marketing can be offensive, play to your bad emotions, and be ridiculously out of line. Certain advertisements can be a little too creative which can spark controversy and hate inside of us. Many political ads have been subject to this type of criticism, like one ad where a white man in a truck is trying to capture minority children, in an ad to promote Spanish voting. In candidacy ads, too many attacks on your opponent can make you seem obstinate and narrow minded and can turn people against you. A well placed advertisement can make you money, but a poor one will put you under fire for a long time.

    I want to just get this off my chest now before I go any further. In this article, after all the investigations and all of the decisions, the New York Times still believes Russia interfered with the presidential election. That is their main point in this article was to hammer home the fact that advertisements sent by Russian media sites persuaded Americans to vote for Trump. Apparently a professional new source cannot take a hint when it comes to facts, which annoys me the most when reading this article. While I talk about the potential risks you have as a marketer, they just use it as a way to make Donald Trump look bad, once again they fail, because it is so obvious in this article that they wrote this to convince people about Russia, now that is bad marketing.

    Now that that has been said, the biggest site where you find advertisements is on Youtube, where an ad will play before a video. This is a source of income for the channel that the ad is playing on, and is the way they receive their profit. However recently, the Youtube personality Logan Paul has had advertisements stop playing on his channel because of his recent actions in Japan, that is smart marketing and if Google kept ads on his page, that would have angered the Youtube community more than it already has. In marketing, you need to know when enough is enough for certain situations, and persistence in the wrong way can backfire on you and subject you to criticism. Marketing is a beautiful tool, but if used in the wrong way, it can be a ticking time bomb.

  13. Katie B February 16, 2018 at 7:42 pm #

    Advertising is a weird subject. People have no idea how much advertisers work on ads just to be remembered. There are thousands and thousands of ads that we see a day, and we will maybe only remember 3 at the end of the day. I don’t think advertisements are ruining the internet nor do I think they are the worst thing on the internet. We have gotten so used to getting to do what we want and getting it fast everyone thinks ads are an inconvenience. When you go on anything that you can attain for free there are going to be ads on it because that’s how certain things like apps and websites get money. However, if you want to get rid of ads on things like apps and websites, you have to pay a monthly fee. Ads are there to sell you things. More than half the population ignores them anyway unless they are in the way of doing something fast. For example, Youtube, you go to watch a video and there’s an ad at the beginning of the video and at the end. Now if you buy Youtube Red you get no ads. What people don’t understand is that those ads help pay the creators on youtube who upload the videos.
    Are we really that much in a rush that we cant watch a 30 second to a minute video on shampoo? I can understand if you are presenting a video and an ad at the beginning, that kind of brings the effect down. However, are we really bothered by them all? I feel close to this because I am studying to become an advertiser. Ads are in a constant fight to be remembered, and people think they are ruining the internet? Advertisements are everywhere outside the internet as well. Radio, TV, billboards, print ads, t-shirts, sponsors, cars, ect. I don’t think ads are ruining the internet. I think people have gotten used to everything being so fast, being interrupted with an ad is the worst thing to ever happen.

  14. Jon Cortes February 16, 2018 at 7:50 pm #

    Often when we browse the internet, we’ll usually see a pop-up ad for a new product or movie coming to the market. It’s because of these ads that companies are able to pay for and maintain their online presence. Many social media websites will use ads that are meant for a young adult demographic. These will includes pop-ups for sports, concerts, and fast food products. Over the course of the digital uprising, companies have taken advantage of the internet’s lack of advertising rules and regulations. There are commercials everytime someone wants to watch a new video on Youtube and often do not allow users to skip them. While most pop-up ads are on websites with no restrictions at all, the advertising industry still plays a large roll in the amount of profit the internet makes. Instant streaming websites like Hulu will have ads playing while customers are watching a TV show, and will allow them to skip them for a more expensive, premium package. Some consumers will say the best way to avoid ads online is to install an ad-blocking program that prevents them from opening up on different websites. However, this will not always work, as advertising agencies have found ways around this. These streaming websites won’t work unless the ad-block programs are disabled. It’s understandable that companies would want to make money anywhere possible, but the amount of ads found on the internet are enough to drive anyone off their browser. People’s addiction to the internet only helps provide more information to advertising agencies, who create ads to target user interest in their products and post them on websites with the highest amount of network traffic. A good amount of this traffic is just consumer mindlessly browsing the web for less than a few minutes at a time. When they stay on a page for an extended amount of time, that’s when companies start taking notes. Not only do users need to worry about these ad, but fake ones as well. Facebook’s home page contains countless fake advertisements that lure unsuspecting people on their websites and ask for their personal information so they can give them a free prize. Luckily, there are several different ways to tell the difference between a fake and real ad. Real ads won’t make you type in any unnecessary information to view their products. The other ones will tell you to type in a series of letters to prove that you are not a robot spying on them. Given the sheer amount of data on the internet, it’s not surprising that ad agencies will go out of their way to pay website to run their ads on their homepages. Thereby making it next to impossible to ignore while using the internet. Perhaps one day, advertising companies shall shift their focus towards a different social platform like video games or web camera applications.No matter how often users will voice their disapproval on ads online, companies will still allow them to run and present their products to the people.

  15. Sydney V February 18, 2018 at 5:56 pm #

    This article raises great points about how technology is helping people but hurting businesses. Reading this article, the first thing that came to mind was the multiple pop up ads users see when web surfing. This day in age I feel as if I see more advertisements online for businesses and things I’ve never heard about then ads for big household name brands. I think businesses are having a hard time keeping up with technology because it is difficult and expensive to try to hit their target market using the most popular form of social media while also sticking to basic channels of advertisement such as television or billboards. Technology is taking over people’s everyday lives and the average person spends hours a day on the internet, whether its online shopping, Netflix, Facebook, Instagram, etc. It can be hard for companies to keep up with the constant updating technology while also trying to grab the attention of people scrolling online.
    One major problem when trying to target younger generations could be the popularity of sites like Netflix, Amazon Prime video, and Hulu, where users can pay to watch free television shows and movies. Television has always been a major channel for advertisers and now that younger people can avoid the commercials and ads these companies are having trouble trying to find the right channel. Facebook and Instagram make it easy for companies to advertise while others like Snapchat may be costlier. I also have been seeing a lot of companies leaning more towards sponsorships and getting celebrities and influencers to use and advertise their products. That way they are able to pay that person and reach their hundreds of thousands of followers and fans. In conclusion, this article raises a lot of points that really shines a light on how much businesses are struggling because of the technology that is taking over society.

  16. Zachary Corby February 22, 2018 at 8:18 pm #

    The internet is a place that not many people understand and do not realize the dangers of being on it. It is an ever-changing place that can do a lot of harm to people if they do not manage it properly. Unlike a lot of other technology, it is impossible to manage what yourself and children are able to see. You are always one click away from being on a very inappropriate website, or from downloading a virus on to your computer. Despite its danger, the internet is becoming more and more addicting, and a mainstay in the lives of everyone. Social networking has made it so easy to stay in touch and keep tabs on people’s lives, that people cannot turn their heads because they fear on missing out. People have begun to interpret social media as a contest to show off what they are doing, and to try and gain as many followers as possible so that they look so popular. The evolution of the internet comes first circle when you see the intelligence that search engines have. Now within a seconds times you can google search key words or phrases and find out answers to question you may have, links to buy items, or virtually anything that you can imagine is just a search away. However, searching for something puts you one click away from going to a website whose cookies will be able to track your every move that you use with your computer. This article puts the majority of the blame for the unsafe internet on the advertising business and I would have to agree. Think of all the advertisements you see everyday when you are on the computer or your favorite social media app. Companies are paying a lot of money to try and shove their products in your face. Social media and the internet has provided a new outlet for advertising that may be more effective than any other common form. When people see advertisements in their social media feed they might not think much of them, and probably scroll right through them, but just getting the image into people’s heads will have them subconsciously think of them. When it comes to the advertisement business though, there is little control over what they can advertise. We see this in the news with the election and that Russia was buying ads to put on twitter and other platforms to try to sway people to vote for Donald Trump. Aside from that how many advertisements do you get to click on that say how you have won 1 million dollars, or a free vacation? Even though these are spam and certainly not true people are paying for them to pop up on your screen. The point of these advertisements are either specifically to infect your computer with a virus or to put a tracking device inside so that it can monitor your movements. There is also little regard for what advertisements pop up where. If a company is willing to pay enough money to put their ad on a social media platform or website, it will be displayed. This can create bidding wars for specific companies to get their products advertised over other companies. Politics also plays a part, because different causes can pay for their ads to be put up, and can also buy out websites and platforms so that the opposing views cannot have their sides advertised. The advertising business is especially dangerous because it has little regulation from the government. Since technology has exploded so fast the government is behind in regulation, which has allowed advertising to be sold to the highest bidder. The businesses, websites, and social media platforms do no really care whom they sell the advertisement to as long as they pay the most money. More has to be done by the government to review advertisements before they get posted and soon. The craziest thing is how effective the advertisements are becoming. I already mentioned how the images just stick in your head even if you scroll past them, which is called a gross impression. Yet, as technology grows companies are able to obtain more information about what products to advertise, and how to advertise them. Whether they get this data on you legally or illegally is another story, but they are able to see what you are clicking and searching, which helps make their advertisements much more effective. Advertising online is a very dangerous thing to consumers, but very good to businesses. Overall, the government needs to step up and begin to review and take down a lot of ads because they have a huge impact on consumers, and there is little that consumers can do to help themselves.

  17. Timothy Wiamer February 25, 2018 at 3:30 pm #

    When you’re browsing the Internet, you can notice the various ads that either pop-up or are on the side of the websites you are on. It’s funny because these ads, nine times out of ten, are related to something you have previously looked up on the Internet. This is not a coincidence. Ads fund just about everything you read, watch, or hear online. Facebook, Google, and YouTube are notorious for their ads. When logged into your Facebook account, there are so many ads that are displayed on your feed. When you are on websites searched through Google, the same thing happens. And when you are on YouTube, you have to wait for ads to finish playing before being able to watch many videos. If you’re lucky, there are options to “skip ad” but not all videos are eligible for this.

    Many people believe that the ad business needs to be reformed. As the article states: “The digital ad business is in many ways a miracle machine-it corrals and transforms latent attention into real money that pays for many truly useful inventions, from search to translation to video hosting to global mapping.” Internet users are constantly being profiled and data is being collected on our online behavior. Various systems are built to see what people are interested. This information is used to create advanced technologies that help feed the consumers ads that reflect their behavior. We are constantly being profiled, targeted, and persuaded. “Either you have a brilliant technology that permits micro targeting to exactly the people you want to influence at exactly the right time with exactly the right message- or you’re only reaching a small number of people and therefore it couldn’t be influential.” It is no wonder that similar things are happening in regards to campaigns and elections. This isn’t just happening in the United States. It is an international issue. Russia has invested millions of dollars on the digital ad business. The Honest Ads Act, which is a proposal to regulate online political ads, has gone nowhere in Congress.

    For businesses, the online ad phenomenon is a great thing. It allows for consumerism and business grow. For consumers, it’s an annoyance. With technology forever changing, who knows where the ad business will take us in a few years. What is known though, is that there needs to be some type of reform, despite how difficult it may be.

  18. Olivia Mason April 12, 2018 at 8:45 pm #

    Polarizing issues are generally the ones that get the most attention. Think about the most discussed issues in American politics today: gun laws vs rights, abortion, immigration; all these receive hours of time and space both on the news and in newspapers and all elicit extremely divisive responses. Similar to how the divisive topics and stories get more air time, divisive advertisements also receive more views and get people talking more about the subject of that ad. Really, advertisers are brilliant in the sense that they can get “free” advertising simply by publishing advertisements that generate conversations. Advertisers capitalize on this, particularly online which is where many of the problems with advertising stem from.
    Platforms like Facebook have a serious dilemma. Advertisers are more likely to pay more to put forth polarizing ads like those used by Russia in the 2016 presidential election as they garner more responses. Those who publish such polarizing ads (like Russia) generally do not have the most honest of intentions, which sets up the question of what these platforms should do in order to address the issue. These ads are a major source of income for the company, so of course they want to be able to continue to run them in order to make their company as profitable as possible, however what role do they owe to those using the service? There is an argument that could be made that these advertisers give the companies the funds to improve the free services given to users. However, these platforms also have a duty to users to thoroughly monitor what ads are available, the distributors of those ads, and what the purpose of those ads are.
    Furthermore, advertisers are cunning in that they are able to successfully make back their money by posting ads on websites like Instagram and Twitter. These platforms tend to have a younger demographic using them, thus they are more impulsive, and more likely to buy items that they see advertised to them. For example, around 2016 there was a company that put out an ad that the first 100 people who followed their account would receive a free bathing suit. However, there was a fine print that said you would be charged if you were not one of those people. Teenagers would be least likely to read the fine print and as a result thousands ended up charged. It is companies that advertise on platforms with the younger demographic that are doing the most for themselves, and leaving the consumer feeling scammed.
    Advertisers are capitalizing, and rightfully so, on every opportunity they have. For websites such as Facebook, polarizing ads get the most attention and can therefore cause the most change to a person’s opinion. On other websites like Twitter and Instagram, advertisers are tapping into the concept of impulsive buying with the knowledge that the consumers are young enough to fall into such acts. Ultimately, these social media platforms have decisions to make on how much they will let advertisers rule their sites, as well as how many, and what types of advertisements users will be protected from.

  19. Lucas Rodriguez April 20, 2018 at 8:03 pm #

    As you casually surf the cyber-web for product related merchandise or personal entertainment, you casually close out a few pop-ups ever so often. And before you know it, within weeks you may have viewed or closed out hundreds of them, thousands by the period of a month. You may not know it, but if you take a second to focus on the marketing strategies and displays which surround you, you may be shocked to find that the internet has been nothing but an atmospheric corporative manipulation battlefield, which in many scenarios are targeting your very private information. In our current societies, advertising is one of the main methods for individuals to receive revenue from their services or companies. For example, in terms of YouTube and the users whom attract the most demand in terms of their videos, advertising is what allows them to profit off of their services. There is an option that you could receive that allows you to monetize your videos which would basically implement ads within each post you have. With this, individuals are able to get paid for what they enjoy doing. In a more corporative sense, Facebook is known to implement ads as one of their primary forms of profit optimization. With the incessant spread of ads on their platform, advertisement accounts for almost 90 percent of total revenue, which equals over 10 billion dollars. With this increased in advertisements, companies are also starting to find more efficient ways to put more ads that consumers are actually interested with. This could be seen by Facebook’s recent “data leak”, a situation in which user information was being sold in order for companies to put more preferred ads in groups of individuals profile’s. To only further this controversy, Facebook had been thought to be part of the 2016 election run, within Trump’s administration. Daily, over 500 ads were being shifted in order to gain more popularity over a certain candidate. This had also been a strategy used to see where certain presidential candidates would go and speak, based on how certain locations of people reacted to each types of ads. In such regards, our current internet has become a vulnerable advertisement revenue powerhouse; an undertone that follows in our footsteps, like a leech sucking out our blood earned money. Even Google has started testing auto play ads that appear before you could scroll through your searches. And the “skip ad” feature has continued to be outsmarted from the under six second ads that more companies are beginning to implement. As many individuals most probably prefer video sources over written documents, another key feature to these advertising platforms is the complete use of video technology. Ad companies will pay way more to have the video played out rather than a picture or photo, because it grasps the viewers’ attention far more. The solutions to such concerns seem very scarce, as buying an ad blocker only invests into the marketing schemes, as each ad blocker usually downloads other services and requires various payments. And even as people have fewer ads presented to them, platforms continue to adopt more egregious methods of obtaining personal data information. With this increased age of technology the internet has become the means for primary communication, entertainment, and shopping, bound to the wilderness of the advertising creatures that lurk beneath your searches, hungry for profit.

  20. Zach Towlen September 21, 2018 at 3:17 pm #

    The internet, it was such a revolutionary technology for the world until people figured out how to make money off of it. Money has and always will be the ultimate source of greed, but now with the opportunity to make so much off of unregulated advertising on the web, this dilemma has taken off. It is unreal to look at Facebook or any social media sight’s earnings and see how much of it is generated through advertisement revenue. I really like what Mr. Rothenberg discussed when comparing the advertisement market to an unrelated stock market. It basically sums up this idea that any company can have an advertisement displayed without much regulation of what it says or who sees it. The election tampering is a prime example of how easy it is for ads to be made and put in front of people. Although, this is only a small issue, with larger ones hiding behind it.

    Online advertising is an industry that so many people are exposed to, but only a small group of them understand how it works and how companies are abusing the industry’s power. Long onto any of your accounts right now and what is the first thing you’ll see? One of the first few things your eyes are drawn to is an advertisement no matter if you went onto Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or even your fantasy football app. Each time you log onto any application or website, companies have the opportunity to give you a personalized advertisement, depending on what your interests are, your previous browsing history, and even your location. Data about yourself is all over the internet, companies are buying it, selling it and it is completely legal. Does anyone ever read the terms and conditions before clicking the box that says “Yes I Agree?” Probably not, and accepting the terms allows companies to sell your data without having any legal repercussions. Don’t get me wrong, the marketing/advertising issue is still a huge issue and so is the security of these websites. The overarching issue is data, it needs to be understood and needs to be taken care of or it is only going to get worse. Sooner or later, the government will be forced to step in and at that point, it is going to be to late.

  21. David Torres April 19, 2019 at 5:51 pm #

    In the world of business and entrepreneurship in recent years, advertising online has drastically improved sales for companies and businesses that chose to use them. I personally have some experience with Facebook ads as I started my own Shopify store a few months ago to advertise seasonal products to users on Facebook that would be most likely to buy. Throughout the lifespan of my online store, which was about 1 month, I acquired a lousy sale to just 1 customer. Considering the fact that starting up your own online business has an extremely low success rate, acquiring 1 sale was better than many others. However, in the article, “Tackling the Internet’s Central Villain: The Advertising Business” explains much of the bad of the internet and how we are gradually harming ourselves through the powerful use of not only the internet but also technology. There is a reason why we are labeled as ‘users’ of technology. Just like how a meth user needs his daily fix, we need our daily fix by wasting time browsing our phones and the internet. In addition to the advertising business on the internet being a central villain, there is much listed on the internet that the normal web does not allow us to see. This is because it is being advertised on the dark web. The dark web is known for containing everything illegal. Every illegal activity that you can think of, you can find on the dark web, such as the purchasing of illegal substances, firearms, and even hiring a hitman. It is a dark and scary place, and I believe is the real central villain of the internet because of the power and potential this place has for not only endangering people but destroying lives too. On the flipside, the technology addiction is also a problem that we must realize and begin to change because it may not be destroying lives, but it may be ruining your dreams and aspirations by holding you back in your school work, side hustle, and even your relationships with others. We must change our restrictive habits to get ahead of others that have not yet come to a realization of their addictions.

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