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That’s a question I’ve asked myself more than a few times, and I’ll bet you have too. Danah Boyd also wants to know who actually clicks on internet adverts:
“A few years back, I asked this question to someone who worked in the world of web ads and I received a snarky (and condescending) answer: middle America.”
As sweeping a stereotype as it may be, it’s backed up by research done by AOL’s marketing people:
“Who are these “heavy clickers”? They are predominantly female, indexing at a rate almost double the male population. They are older. They are predominantly Midwesterners, with some concentrations in Mid-Atlantic States and in New England. What kinds of content do they like to view when they are on the Web? Not surprisingly, they look at sweepstakes far more than any other kind of content. Yes, these are the same people that tend to open direct mail and love to talk to telemarketers.”
Which leaves Ms Boyd asking questions about the ethics of advertising:
“I am not an advertiser and I’m not invested in making better ads. Instead, by raising this topic, I’m curious whether or not web marketing is capitalizing on a niche group and, if so, what the societal implications of this might be? If my hypothesis were true, what would it mean if marketing is profiting primarily off of those who are economically and socially struggling? How do we feel about this philosophically, ethically, and professionally? Would we feel proud of living off of a business model that targets the poor?”
It’s an interesting question – but I’m left wondering whether it’s really any different from the non-web ad industry. Hasn’t advertising always been designed to bamboozle the easily-led? But to extend Ms Boyd’s thoughts further, as the web moves inevitably towards being funded entirely by advertising, will it become the victim of its own success? [Via SmartMobs] [Image by Michale]
[tags]internet, advertising, marketing, demographics[/tags]
The ongoing efforts of the advertising industry to make it impossible to escape from promotional material for products that no one really needs continue apace, with the full weight of modern technology behind them.
Warren Ellis points us at a report about a billboard that uses a technique called “audio spotlighting” to beam sound directly into your head … the only redeeming feature of which is the thought of the fun that culture jammers will be able to have once they figure ways of hacking them. [Image by rick]
Of course, the real frontier of advertising is right here on our beloved intarwebs, and it appears that some ISPs are keen to have a piece of the pie that Google has baked for itself. So some of those ISPs are selling your clickstream data to a company called NebuAd to make it easier to target you with “appropriate” ads. Nothing like a captive data-set to boost accuracy, eh?
Not quite as cheeky as a Canadian ISP called Rogers, though, who’ve been plastering their own ad content on Google’s homepage. That’s probably going to backfire, but if you look at it as a proof-of-concept job, it’s plain to see that web ads aren’t going to get any less intrusive any time soon – can you say “digital turf-war”?
On the subject of Google, recent research suggests that Google’s PageRank algorithm is actually a pretty good model of the way the human mind determines the relative importance of related concepts, and may provide a new route forward for artificial intelligence. How ironic would it be for us to reach the Singularity only to discover that the omnibrain of the human species is essentially interested in selling us things …
[tags]advertising, marketing, Google, AI, technology[/tags]
Another new tool appears in the arsenal of marketers for their eternal crusade to make us buy overpriced crap we don’t need – the FogScreen projects imagery onto a vertical sheet of engineered water mist, effectively creating a billboard that can be walked through without physical harm. As someone who subscribes to the Bill Hicks philosophy on marketing [YouTube, very NSFW], I’m not looking forward to having to step through one of those for every few yards of street I walk down.
Talking of advertising, BoingBoing draws our attention to the exploits of Cayetano Ferrer, who produces billboards decorated with pictures of the things that the billboard hides with its bulk. Maybe he also shares the Hicks philosophy, and this is some way of deconstructing the advertising paradigm. Then again, he’s an artist – so he’s probably just trying to sell himself. Quelle paradox!
Tom Doyle’s “Art’s Appreciation” is a delightfully paranoid, anti-consumerist dystopia – so step inside, but please ignore the ads. 😉
[ IMPORTANT NOTICE: This story is NOT covered by the Creative Commons License that covers the majority of content on Futurismic; copyright remains with the author, and any redistribution is a breach thereof. Thanks. ]
by Tom Doyle
Arthur knew they were after him. He was smarter than they were, but they were everywhere. They were disguised, but he had learned to spot them. And he had his Voices to help him.
A smiling tourist flashed the crowd periodically with a digital camera. Arthur froze. “That looks like one of them.”
The Voice he called Welles replied, “Right again, Boss.”
Arthur put on his ad-blocking polarized glasses to guard his vision, but he could make out the ghost image that had been aimed at his optic nerve. A soft drink ad — Stim Cola. He looked away as he hurried past the tourist.
An attractive young woman dressed in army surplus played a love song on her keyboard. “Mahler, this song is evil.”
“I’ll block it, Boss.” Arthur heard a combination of Bach with white noise countermeasures against the pop ballad’s overtone subliminals for fashion wear. But he couldn’t get the tune of the love song out of his head — he had heard it before. Continue reading ART’S APPRECIATION by Tom Doyle