Hats off to Web advertising – no, really

“It’s axiomatic that advertising on the Internet is at best a necessary evil,” Christopher Mims reports for The Wall Street Journal. “But what if everyone is wrong about ads? What if ads, in a fairly direct way, are responsible for much of what is magical, automated and ‘smart’ about our gadgets and the Internet today?”

“As I researched, I discovered the alumni of ad tech platforms are everywhere, launching startups and leading projects within established companies,” Mims reports. “What they all have in common is an unusual and broadly powerful toolkit that is being applied to everything from agricultural drones and cybersecurity to food safety and the improvement of hiring practices.”

Mims writes, “I’m not saying all this excuses some seriously egregious practices of the ad tech industry, but the importance of ad tech in the history of the Internet illustrates a larger principle, one also seen in the history of military technology: Just as the nuclear bomb became nuclear power, ad tech is continually having a swords-to-plowshares moment.”

Read more in the full article here.

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      1. Since this forum is read around the world, I would not want to specifically presume our politics are all that interesting, and our way is the correct way. However speaking specifically about the U.S., I agree that public discourse should be about liberty vs tyranny. The political parties do not differ in what our country is about but tend to argue the means to achieve our lives, in liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

        I propose all CEOs should run their position for no more than two 4 year contractual terms, and be elected by the employees of their companies. XD

        1. How does it work? You focus on producing great content that creates natural interest in your products or services. Your content doesn’t promote your brand directly, but it builds it by encouraging shares, attracting an audience, and becoming an authority on a variety of topics.

  1. Tough to make a comment on that cause it’s been so well covered by MDN’s comment on Friday, March 6, 2015 · 10:57 am under the heading: “Oracle extends its adware bundling to include Java for Macs”

    Don’t use Java and complain vociferously when developers require its use. If you’re forced to use Java, read all installation prompts thoroughly (best practice at all times, for all software anyway)!

    It’s quite interesting what happens when one takes MDN’s idea and does not use Java and attempts to give feedback to the MDN community on the excellent advice. I use the word attempt because for some reason my post just disappear like that, whooosh.

    You’d think I was pointing out something illegal immoral or unethical.

    Read it while you can, this post may not last long, or maybe I’ll get lucky and it will get past the very silent censor board.

  2. I know that MDN’s existence depends on the ads that intrude on our ability to read the site, and I completely understand that. For that reason, I have modified my HOSTS file with a comprehensive list of all add servers out there, which results in never getting any ads in my web browser.

    Obviously, that means that my own traffic to MDN robs them of my add impressions. Since I read MDN daily (for almost ten years now), I do my Mac purchases through MDN’s affiliate link, which allows them to get a small commission on that purchase. I’d like to think this commission makes up for the revenue lost on my ad blocking.

  3. Mdn.. Side bar ads are good… And actually sometimes informative..
    But those annoying popups that take over the screen.. Or trigger app store and intrupt the reading flow are nothing but supremely annoying .. I make a point of ignoring those advertisers, regardless of what they want to shove in my face.. Will never ever respond to those adds.. Those advertisers go directly on my black list !

  4. I live outside the US. I am quite happy with any opinion, (Apple-related or not) expressed by MDN management. For goodness’ sake, many people have struggled for decades to win the right to such liberties.

    As a non-American, perhaps some of you might like to hear my opinion on a side-issue: One reason why a percentage of the rest of the world has serious negative opinion about America — some Americans think, say and act as though America is the only place where things matter.

    It’s partly the fault of your news media. The last time I visited (long ago) I was impressed by the MacNeil=Lehrer Newshour. Most other news outlets would ignore the rest of the world (probably because so many interesting things were happening inside the US). But a hundred times a day, we can read some sort of statement that applies only to US readers, as though the rest of the world just does not matter. (MDN could help by giving times for relevant events in GMT)

    Time Magazine is as guilty as anyone else in this situation. EVery story is slanted towards US readers.

    How many web sites and advertisements give their contact telephone number but omitting what country they’re in. Please routinely start with the country code.

    Please stop saying “the government” unless you’ve already made it clear what country you’re in. The world is a big place, and Americans make up only 4% of the population.

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