“Ethan Zuckerman worked for the webpage hosting site Tripod.com from 1994 to 1999, when it was struggling to develop a revenue model.,” James O’Toole reports for CNNMoney.

“‘Along the way,’ he writes in The Atlantic this week, ‘we ended up creating one of the most hated tools in the advertiser’s toolkit: the pop-up ad,'” O’Toole reports. “‘It was a way to associate an ad with a user’s page without putting it directly on the page, which advertisers worried would imply an association between their brand and the page’s content,’ Zuckerman wrote. ‘I’m sorry. Our intentions were good.'”

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Ethan Zuckerman writes for The Atlantic, “All of us have screwed up situations in our lives so badly that we’ve been forced to explain our actions by reminding everyone of our good intentions. It’s obvious now that what we did was a fiasco, so let me remind you that what we wanted to do was something brave and noble.”

“The fiasco I want to talk about is the World Wide Web, specifically, the advertising-supported, ‘free as in beer’ constellation of social networks, services, and content that represents so much of the present day web industry. I’ve been thinking of this world, one I’ve worked in for over 20 years, as a fiasco since reading a lecture by Maciej Cegłowski, delivered at the Beyond Tellerrand web design conference,” Zuckerman writes. “Cegłowski is an important and influential programmer and an enviably talented writer. His talk is a patient explanation of how we’ve ended up with surveillance as the default, if not sole, internet business model.”

“The talk is hilarious and insightful, and poignant precisely for the reasons Carlson’s story is,” Zuckerman writes. “The internet spies at us at every twist and turn not because Zuckerberg, Brin, and Page are scheming, sinister masterminds, but due to good intentions gone awry.”

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