Allow me to get this consideration out of the way first. Advertising is malware. Wait! What? How is it possible to consider advertising as malware when advertising greases the wheels of commerce?
Consider a definition: “Malware has a malicious intent, acting against the interest of the computer user” ‘Malicious intent’ may seem like strong language, but let’s face facts– advertisers and advertising has a single purpose. To remove your money from you.
iSpy On iPhone
Yes, advertising makes the world go around. I get it. We need advertising at least as much as advertising needs us. Maybe it’s a symbiotic relationship. Hell, even Apple is involved in the advertising business? Those ads you see on free iPhone and iPad applications? Advertising from Apple.
So, what’s the problem? It’s just advertising, right? Not so fast. Advertising has changed and become far more dangerous than it was in decades and centuries past. Yesteryear advertising did not know much about those who viewed the ads. Today, thanks to the interwebs, advertisers can grab a complete personal dossier of our lives, spending habits, and online whereabouts.
A dossier is a collection of papers or other sources, containing detailed information about a particular person or subject.
Search for anything on Google, and the company– and advertisers– know what you searched for, what you clicked on, and which websites you visited afterwards. And, while you’re online and visiting various websites, Google, thanks to Google Analytics which most websites use to track visitors, gathers even more information.
All that information is compiled, sifted, filtered, queried, structured, and sold and bought to various advertising and promotional entities to fulfill one purpose.
That’s the very nature of advertising. Advertising on a highway road sign is designed to get you to visit a gasoline station, or hotel, or fast food joint. Advertising on TV is designed to make you feel good about a particular product or service. Online advertising is used to promote products and ideas.
Advertising is ubiquitous and is the primary ingredient in most commerce. Advertising is more than mere information. Advertising is designed to persuade, convince, and change perspectives.
How wrong is this quaint definition of advertising?
Advertising is a marketing communication that employs an openly sponsored, non-personal message to promote or sell a product, service or idea
Uh huh. “Non-personal message…” my ass. Google, Facebook, and online advertisers have far more information about us than we can imagine, and that means they have the ability to personalize advertisements to a nearly personal level.
Search for something arcane on Google. Do it more than three times. Hip boots. Knee brace. Wigs. Hate Trump. What you’ll get over the next few weeks will be obvious. Online ads that push hip boots, knee braces, wigs, and political information. You’re likely to get spam email with similar content.
Yes, advertising makes the world go round; it’s the grease of the wheels of commerce, but all too often online ads are more like malware and that isn’t good for anyone.