I confess, I use ad blockers. I block ads. I even had an ad or two on my website and still I use them. I can’t even say I’m anti-ads. I want sites to make money and the people providing them with content to get paid, but honestly, ads drag down web pages something awful. More and more reports are bearing that out.
The newest rainmaker at publishers: E-commerce editors
Publishers from Business Insider and Gawker to Hearst and BuzzFeed have not only added “commerce” to the revenue mix — it’s often little more than affiliate links — but they’ve hired out editorial staff that specializes in creating commerce-minded content. These new comm-tent creators need to be one part editor, one part salesperson.
Nothing makes us titter like people getting mad that they didn’t get enough likes on something. What will make us howl even quicker is people who think getting a lotta likes on something means anything either, or as a measure of their popularity! Then when we want uncontrollable belly laughter that might make us wet our pants we watch the big internet companies report on their “user” numbers.
What you’ll learn in this installment:
- Vanity metrics hurt & often kill dreams
- Your paying attention to all the wrong things
- Use this simple trick to see clearly
- We all hate math, hence the dashboard
- What they can’t or won’t tell you
- Why all analysts are liars
Dear Forbes, we are not giving you another chance, we unblocked you (or actually paused Adblock) previously and the results were disastrous. You will not fool us into a second chance. “Lengthen Your Healthspan” and improve your site by not promising things like “ad-light” experiences. That is not L.E.A.N or a D.E.A.L.
Facebook is eating the world
Here is a definite must-read for everyone. Pondering the long-term viability of publishing when they are no longer in control of the distribution channels. How you get to read or who gets to decide what you see?
Our news ecosystem has changed more dramatically in the past five years than perhaps at any time in the past five hundred. We are seeing huge leaps in technical capability—virtual reality, live video, artificially intelligent news bots, instant messaging, and chat apps. We are seeing massive changes in control, and finance, putting the future of our publishing ecosystem into the hands of a few, who now control the destiny of many.
Social media hasn’t just swallowed journalism, it has swallowed everything. It has swallowed political campaigns, banking systems, personal histories, the leisure industry, retail, even government and security. The phone in our pocket is our portal to the world.
Former Red Bull marketing boss launches manifesto for change
Can brands penetrate the wall that consumers are building to block their ads? Huib van Bockel, the former head of marketing for Red Bull and author of The Social Brand, says the answer is ‘no’. And they shouldn’t even try.
It may be a grim comparison but in those cases we are essentially in our little bunker trying to shield ourselves from the very ad messages we create, while bombarding others who haven’t got around yet to download the ad blockers. But they will. If there is one thing we know about the human race: it’s that when it gets targeted, when it feels attacked; it will defend itself, it will build a wall. And that is exactly what they are doing now.
+Note: This an honest assessment of the willful blindness that some marketers go through in order to try and circumvent the wave of blocking that is sweeping the industry.
So if you wanted to cast a vote against the attention economy, how would you do it?
There is no paid version of Facebook. Most websites don’t give you the option to pay them directly. Meaningful governmental regulation is unlikely. And the “attention economy” can’t fix itself: players in the ecosystem don’t even measure the things they’d need to measure in order to monetize our intentions rather than our attention. Ultimately, the ethical challenge of the attention economy is not one of individual actors but rather the system as a whole (a perspective Luciano Floridi has termed“infraethics”).
In reality, ad blockers are one of the few tools that we as users have if we want to push back against the perverse design logic that has cannibalized the soul of the Web.
+Note: The entire thing, and the comments are a great read!
Ad Blocking and The PR Ripple Effect
A careful examination of some of the largest stories circling around most technophile circles in the past couple of weeks reveals both cheers and jeers around the idea of ad blocking. It’s not that ad blocking is new — it’s been around for years, but it honestly hasn’t been all that exciting … until now.
Apple’s new content-blocking extensions available in the new iOS upgrade has pushed the technology back to the media surface faster than most publicists respond to a HARO query. The reason is because Apple has always had the ability to change technology landscapes, even at times with seemingly innocuous developments.
Apple vs. Google vs. Facebook & the slow death of the web
Those huge chunks — the ads! — are almost certainly the part you don’t want. What you want is the content, hot sticky content, snaking its way around your body and mainlining itself directly into your brain. Plug that RSS firehose straight into your optic nerve and surf surf surf ’til you die.
Unfortunately, the ads pay for all that content, an uneasy compromise between the real cost of media production and the prices consumers are willing to pay that has existed since the first human scratched the first antelope on a wall somewhere. Media has always compromised user experience for advertising: that’s why magazine stories are abruptly continued on page 96, and why 30-minute sitcoms are really just 22 minutes long. Media companies put advertising in the path of your attention, and those interruptions are a valuable product. Your attention is a valuable product.
+Commentary: YOUR ATTENTION is the product. Welcome to a post-consumerist information society that is built upon the architecture of social media, what will they do if content is suddenly not subsidized? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. This is a conversation we definitely want to have 🙂
Google’s ad penalties are more significant than Apple’s Ad-Blocker
“Highly unlikely” would probably be how you’d have responded a year ago to someone telling you two of the largest tech companies in the world — Apple and Google — would both try to fix mobile advertising by blocking ads, but that’s currently the case.
For instance, much has been made of a new feature allowing iPhone and iPad owners to block advertisements in Safari when iOS 9 debuts –with the rationale that it will enhance web browsing. But Google’s recent decision to start penalizing websites featuring app install ads –intrusive ad units that slow page load times and engulf the entire screen — might be a more significant way to improve the browsing experience.
+Note: Good read if you do any sort of display advertising!
Now, it’s reasonable for me to expect that the site requires a revenue stream. It’s reasonable to expect that there’ll be some way to monetise my presence there. But that’s it; that’s where the line is. In every other context in life, I get to choose whether to participate in the resulting transaction. With advertising, though, you’ve made the decision for me – in fact, several decisions: the means, format, and currency of exchange.
It’s the last one that’s particularly troubling. Without even giving me the chance to opt out, you’ve declared – as soon as I stepped in the door, and before I’ve looked around – that I owe you the currency of attention. Read More
Thanks! This page was ad supported. /snark
The Ethical Ad Blocker Chrome extension, developed by internet artist Darius Kazemi, will block any webpage that contains ads, replacing it with a crude text page telling users to check out a list of auto-generating websites and non-profit organizations that give stuff away for free. There’s nothing like a little blunt commentary hitting you over the head to make heads or tails of the contentious climate around ad-blocking.
“The conundrum at hand: users don’t want to see ads, but content providers can’t give away content for free,” writes Kazemi on the extension description. “The solution is simple: if a website has ads, the user simply should not be able to see it. This way, the user doesn’t experience ads, but they also don’t leech free content. Everybody wins!”
The idea of pushing ads at people who have made a deliberate choice not to see them might seem bizarre. But as a demo that’s young, male-skewing and tech-focused, they’re an attractive audience for certain advertisers. Ironically, in their extreme measures to reject the interest of advertisers, ad blockers are just making advertisers more interested. Think of it as the negging of The Ad Game.
“We have long anticipated that ad blocking would eventually reach a level where some brands would be unable to reach their audience,” said Sean Blanchfield, CEO of PageFair, which sells tech that circumvents ad blockers. “This is now happening, and agencies that represent video games brands (e.g., Xbox, Playstation, EA, Activision and Ubisoft) are beginning to actively seek a way to market to ad block users.”
Fifteen years ago, when I began writing about Permission Marketing, I pointed out that when ads are optional, it’s only anticipated, personal and relevant ones that will pay off.
And advertisers have had fifteen years to show self restraint. They’ve had the chance to not secretly track people, set cookies for their own benefit, insert popunders and popovers and poparounds, and mostly, deliver us ads we actually want to see.
Alas, it was probably too much to ask. And so, in the face of a relentless race to the bottom, users are taking control, using a sledgehammer to block them all.