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    What We Have Now Is Not Advertising rant nrempel.com
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    Advertising has always been about manipulating people into buying stuff they likely don’t need. It’s a bit coercive. In the days of mass media, advertisers used mass psychology to sell product to a mass audience. The media landscape has changed. With the arrival of personalized media, advertisers are going to try to build a psychological profile of the target (that means you and me) and use individual psychology to try and sell stuff that the target most likely doesn’t need. Same game, different techniques. The difference between this and advertising in the age of mass media is the sheer invasiveness and ubiquity that advertising now takes.

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      It has also been about announcing the availability of products and making innovations known outside eg. journals. Stuff people may need.

      I’m not defending modern advertising, or all old advertising, but the ads of old were a lot more understandable in how and what kinds of reactions they were trying to evoke. You could reason your way around an ad for cigarettes, but you can’t reason your way around invisible yet targeted ad networks.

      So this communist-Cuba approach to advertising is understandable, but calling it just another technique is a bit harsh and underestimates the audience.

      I’d even go so far as to say the inefficiency of classifieds and such are a self-regulatory system, which should not be removed lest more and more people do believe they need a new microwave oven every year.

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        “but calling it just another technique is a bit harsh and underestimates the audience.”

        I don’t know. They’d have done it in the past if they were allowed. They’ve usually been about whatever gets them the most dollars now or later. Tech and people’s habits finally let them do what they always dreamed of doing.

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          Sure, I suppose, maybe.

          Low-tech ads have not had highway billboard tracking or any of that stuff. So if Charles Babbage had constructed the ad networks of today for newspapers in the 1800s, the case could still be argued for a dumber way of handling the better minority of advertising.

          It is good that tech has also given us better ways of spreading information and reviews about products, just if we could keep the ad networks at bay.

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            It is good that tech has also given us better ways of spreading information and reviews about products, just if we could keep the ad networks at bay.

            This creates a new problem. Lets say we suddenly lived in a advertising free world. So, how would you find out about products … various intermediates. These intermediates are easy to pay off, as they are few in number and you STILL have to get your message to them. So instead of advertising to the masses, you advertise by putting your product announcement in the trunk of a new Telsa and sending a Telsa to each of the meaningful reviewers… cheaper and higher impact.

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        If anyone is interested in a more detailed history of the topic, I can recommend Curtis’ The Century of the Self. Even though it’s quite informative, it’s easy to follow along.

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        I adopt a simpler approach: I’m Ads-Adverse.

        The more you try to sell me something, the less I’m going to buy it.
        This came from realizing that useful products do not really need much marketing.

        I also learned to spot the manipulations of ads and joke about them, making people realize they do not need the products either.
        Finally I’m teaching my daughters to do the same, and it’s incredible how good they are at this!

        As for IoT my approach is even simpler: do not buy anything whose software I cannot recompile from sources and reinstall.

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          This came from realizing that useful products do not really need much marketing.

          But, they do need some. You have to be aware a product exists, outside of shifting power to an intermediary between you and the product – what do you consider acceptable?

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            Perhaps you are just refusing to see how you have been influenced by adverts.

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              It’s interesting that you say that. I try to consciously avoid paying attention to ads or seeing them at all. I don’t watch broadcast television, for example.

              But ads undeniably get in there anyway, and think about it: think of a fast food place. Think of a brand of toothpaste. Ads aren’t just about yelling at you to go buy a particular thing, they’re also about brand awareness. There are the really obvious ads like the Coke ads where they have people drinking coke and looking like they’re happy, but they’re quite transparent. What I really hate is the pervasive advertising of brands just so that you, when you think of a product, think of their brand. And that’s hard to stop, even if you’re consciously aware of it.

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                The trick indeed is not to forget the Ads.

                It’s to avoid the products you remember.
                It’s to effectively demage their brand by ridiculizing their campaigns.
                And to teach people (particularly children) to do the same (and trust me, they are great! :-D)

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                  I’m sometimes astonished by just how fantastic kids are at that sort of thing. They just don’t give a shit, if you’ll excuse my French.

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              There is no way to measure the number of times a billboard on the side of a highway has been looked at.

              Companies like Verizon Precision Marketing do exactly this: They monitor how many people walk or drive by (facing) a given billboard using radio data from mobile phones.

              It is not possible to estimate the percentage of people who glanced at a magazine ad and subsequently bought the product.

              Of course it is. You try a new publisher for three months and look at the sales uptick.

              You can estimate, sure, but it is an inexact science.

              Digital is in the same boat: An “impression” can be caused by your cat.

              I think we all know this though.

              The amount of personally identifiable information companies have about their customers is absolutely perverse.

              It’s also of very low-precision. So much so that a well-targeted ad actually gets into the news. If you don’t use an ad blocker, you can see the topics Oracle/BlueKai are monitoring at http://bluekai.com/registry and while there are some aggressive persona-based approaches to data, they’re only good in the statistical sense.

              Publishers will call [blocking ads] unethical…

              I know one gaming review site that sees 50% of their users with ad blockers. Their strategy? Double the ads. More clickbait. Reduce the quality year on year. But what can we do?

              It’s a dark path, but it’s difficult to get anything else out there.

              It is the publisher’s responsibility to develop a business model that is sustainable and ethical.

              Says the man who uses Google and Twitter trackers on his own content.

              Small publishers lack the ability to do this, so the “end game” is an “Internet” with Google, Facebook/Instagram, and Twitter. That’s it. I don’t want that Internet. I think it’s a horrible place.

              Something else to consider: Chrome, Firefox, node.js, and literally everything you think you like is funded by advertising either directly, or by “speakers” and “contributors” who work for companies that do advertising.

              Advertising has a long tail – the current state of digital marketing is a long way from sponsorship, but unless we too make suggestions on how publishers can get paid, they’ll just continue to taxi in the toilet as long as they can.

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                The personally identifiable information Facebook and Google have about me is certainly not low precision. Just because they don’t target me doesn’t mean that they don’t have the data. Facebook not allowing highly targeted ads anymore doesn’t mean that the data they could use to make those highly targeted ads has gone away.

                I have a lot more confidence that people would subscribe to things if they had good options to subscribe to than you do, I guess. People said for years that they’d stop torrenting if they could watch good movies on a paid subscription service, or if they could listen to music in decent quality with a subscription, and people said they were the exception if they were even telling the truth. But with the popularity of Spotify and Netflix and such, it’s proven to be true. I don’t know anyone that torrents most of the stuff like watch and listen to, and those that do still torrent things are downloading TV shows that aren’t on New Zealand Netflix, music that is blocked on New Zealand Spotify, etc. Old BBC TV shows that haven’t been on in years and aren’t even available on DVD. Not out of laziness or greed but because it’s literally impossible to get it any other way.

                Now sure, Spotify does have a free advertising-supported mode, but nobody wants frequent repetitive advertising while they’re listening to music so they pay the subscription fee. And Netflix is subscription-only. People are fine with subscribing to things. People would subscribe to news media again if they produced news media of decent quality. I’d subscribe to the newspaper again if half the pages weren’t advertisements and it stopped getting thinner every year. And I’d definitely subscribe to news websites if they weren’t all free, ignoring for a moment that the best quality news website in NZ by far is the Government-operated RadioNZ.co.nz, the rest essentially being tabloid junk.

                As for ‘literally everything you think you like is funded by advertising either directly [or indirectly]’, I certainly would not say I like Firefox, Chrome or node.js. There are non-advertisement-funded alternatives to most things, and if there aren’t, there could be. There’s no real reason that Firefox couldn’t be free but with a subscription if you want to have your tabs/settings/bookmarks/etc. synced between devices, except that it’s competing with browsers for which that isn’t true. But if they weren’t competing with ‘make everything we offer free so that competing with us is nigh-impossible’ Google it could become a viable model. Drew DeVault’s sr.ht plans to have a subscription model instead of the VC funding model of GitHub. Free software was completely fine for my purposes when it was all developed by volunteers because they enjoyed doing it. If anything it was better before the corporatisation of the Linux world.

                So I rather heftily reject the claim that everything I like is funded by advertising. In fact, the things funded by advertising tend to be crap designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator because numbers are more important than anything else in advertising.

                In theory the poor benefit from ad-funded services because they use them for free while richer people pay for the things being advertised, but in practice let’s be honest: Coke doesn’t advertise so it will appeal to rich educated people.

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                  Netflix absolutely advertises, and would not exist in its current form without previous successes with advertising.

                  So I rather heftily reject the claim that everything I like is funded by advertising.

                  It is difficult to pull apart your argument. I think at the beginning you’re talking about hypersegmentation, and then later I believe you’re confusing sponsorship with advertising. You agree that Firefox and GitHub are funded by advertising – but do not believe they need to be, and yet:

                  the things funded by advertising tend to be crap designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator because numbers are more important than anything else in advertising.

                  I don’t understand how to approach this: What “numbers” are you talking about?

                  I suspect we’re talking past each other.

                  Coke doesn’t advertise so it will appeal to rich educated people.

                  Coca-Cola spends almost $4bn a year on marketing and advertising, and that includes literally everything they do from television to coupons.

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                    Netflix absolutely advertises, and would not exist in its current form without previous successes with advertising.

                    I’ve never seen an ad for Netflix anywhere. They’re popular because they are of high quality, have a broad range of programmes, and are cheap and don’t have ads.

                    It is difficult to pull apart your argument. I think at the beginning you’re talking about hypersegmentation, and then later I believe you’re confusing sponsorship with advertising. You agree that Firefox and GitHub are funded by advertising – but do not believe they need to be, and yet:

                    What? What are you even talking about? I’m talking about advertising. Firefox and GitHub are funded by advertising and VC respectively, and neither are necessary.

                    I don’t understand how to approach this: What “numbers” are you talking about?

                    The number of people looking at the advertisements is all that advertisers care about.

                    Coca-Cola spends almost $4bn a year on marketing and advertising, and that includes literally everything they do from television to coupons.

                    To appeal to the kind of people that drink coke i.e. poor and uneducated people.

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                      To appeal to the kind of people that drink coke i.e. poor and uneducated people.

                      I live in an area (Mid-South) where people’s economic class varies incredibly. I can tell you poor people buy way less Coca-Cola than everyone else in my area since its strong brand and deals with retailers keeps its prices super high. They usually drink stuff like Sam’s Cola, Big K, cheap juices, and so on with Coca-Cola more sparingly. It’s working-class and up that drink Coca-Cola because it’s advertising and existing customer base pulled them into a substance that’s highly addictive. Then, many are basically junkies. Drugs work on all classes. Most that I see drink it are well-educated, too, that like its taste, mental high, and were introduced to it by parents or friends like the lower class people.

                      So, that claim is just bullshit through and through in this area. Probably most areas as anyone studying marketing, esp of addictive products, knows they target the emotional rather than rational aspects of the brain. Most people aren’t doing careful analysis of what they drink. They buy it for irrational reasons then continue drinking it for irrational reasons. But they like that product for those reasons. And advertisers play on those thinking patterns and/or impulses.

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                        Netflix absolutely advertises, and would not exist in its current form without previous successes with advertising.

                        I’ve never seen an ad for Netflix anywhere.

                        https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/313753/netflix-spent-more-than-1b-on-advertising.html

                        Or did you actually believe that because you have never seen an ad that it somehow means that Netflix doesn’t advertise?

                        They’re popular because they are of high quality, have a broad range of programmes, and are cheap and don’t have ads.

                        My understanding is that they broke into the Blockbuster “monopoly” with a combination of a shorter supply chain and aggressive advertising.

                        Why exactly do you think they would have been in a position to launch their “high quality broad range of programmes” online service against a number of incumbents without advertising?

                        Or are you imagining some fantasy world where there is no advertising and everyone is on equal footing because of that?

                        If so, I’m not interested in that conversation because it’s pointless: We’ve had advertising longer than we’ve had the printing press.

                        The number of people looking at the advertisements is all that advertisers care about.

                        That’s not true.

                        Advertisers represent a wide range of interests from brand awareness to some action (direct response, sales uplift, etc). Incentive marketers are often interested more in the response than in their own brand (since the respondent is unlikely to recognise it). Content marketers are interested in shifting discussion points and trending (especially in news). And so on.

                        To appeal to the kind of people that drink coke i.e. poor and uneducated people.

                        Why exactly do you think Coke doesn’t market to any demographic except “poor and uneducated people?”

                        It is difficult to pull apart your argument.

                        What? What are you even talking about?

                        I’m trying to understand your blathering and you’re not making it easy.

                        Can you restate your point more carefully and succinctly? It’s all over the place.

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                          Or did you actually believe that because you have never seen an ad that it somehow means that Netflix doesn’t advertise?

                          If Netflix advertised in New Zealand I would be fairly likely to have seen it advertising in New Zealand. New Zealand’s media landscape is pretty small: there aren’t a huge number of TV channels or newspapers, there aren’t a lot of different places to advertise, and I live in one of our biggest cities. They might advertise, but even if they do, it’s small enough that I haven’t noticed, and I absolutely still keep to my claim that their popularity here is due to quality and price, not advertising. They didn’t need advertising to become popular. You never do if your product is any good.

                          Or are you imagining some fantasy world where there is no advertising and everyone is on equal footing because of that?

                          That’s a much more ideal world than the one we’re living in now. Certainly advertising should be made illegal, it’s psychologically manipulative. Advertising tobacco is illegally pretty much everywhere, alcohol advertising is pretty restricted, and advertising medicine is illegal everywhere that isn’t the US and NZ as far as I’m aware. It would be great to extend that to a blanket ban on advertising.

                          If so, I’m not interested in that conversation because it’s pointless: We’ve had advertising longer than we’ve had the printing press.

                          Something being around for a long time doesn’t make it good or immune to being banned today. We had lead in petrol for a long time, we’ve had murder for a long time. It was fully expected and condoned for soldiers in war to rape and pillage wherever they went, until we decided as a society that wasn’t okay.

                          Why exactly do you think Coke doesn’t market to any demographic except “poor and uneducated people?”

                          I think that’s pretty obvious. They obviously aren’t going to say so, but it’s their entire brand.

                          I’m trying to understand your blathering and you’re not making it easy.

                          This forum is meant to be polite, so I’ll try to be polite in saying this. I’m not blathering, nor is my point ‘all over the place’. Your lack of understanding is more indicative of you than it is of me.

                          My point was extremely clear: the world doesn’t need advertising, and open source doesn’t need advertisement funding or corporate funding. You claimed, wrongly, that ‘everything you think you like is funded by advertising either directly or indirectly’. That’s simply wrong, on the face of it, for obvious reasons. Some are, a lot aren’t, clearly and obviously it’s not the case that literally all of them are. Of those that are, none of them need to be funded by advertising. That’s a pretty clear and simple point.

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                            If Netflix advertised in New Zealand I would be fairly likely to have seen it

                            Here’s a billboard in New Zealand paid for by Netflix. You’re welcome.

                            I absolutely still keep to my claim that their popularity here is due to quality and price, not advertising.

                            Netflix wouldn’t exist without advertising full stop, let alone in New Zealand, so I disagree, but why are you arguing about this?

                            Why exactly do you think Coke doesn’t market to any demographic except “poor and uneducated people?”

                            I think that’s pretty obvious. They obviously aren’t going to say so, but it’s their entire brand.

                            It’s not obvious to me (who has worked with Coca-Cola’s marketing team in the past), or the first three links on a Google search for Coca-Cola’s target market.

                            Coca-cola spends around 10% of their revenue on marketing. Spending almost $565m on marketing in the US alone, I find it very difficult to believe their only target market is “poor and uneducated people”.

                            To put that in perspective, Google spends around $350m in the US, and I don’t know anyone who believes that only “poor and uneducated people” use Google in the US…

                            If you have an interesting point, you should get to it: It’s certainly not obvious that Coke only market to “poor and uneducated people”, and more to the point: I don’t even believe that it’s true.

                            the world doesn’t need advertising, and open source doesn’t need advertisement funding or corporate funding.

                            Great.

                            How do we get there from here?

                            That can be an interesting discussion. Trying to pretend we’re not currently dependant on advertising to produce good products isn’t productive.

                            You claimed, wrongly, that ‘everything you think you like is funded by advertising either directly or indirectly’. That’s simply wrong

                            It may be morally wrong, but it’s not incorrect.

                            I’m happy to talk about the former with you, but you’re not equipped to discuss the latter.

                            This forum is meant to be polite, so I’ll try to be polite in saying this. I’m not blathering, nor is my point ‘all over the place’. Your lack of understanding is more indicative of you than it is of me.

                            After being here three days, do you think you should be telling people what this forum is “meant to be”?

                            Are you furthermore calling me stupid for not understanding what your point is?

                            If so, you can go back to reddit.

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                              being here three days

                              How long someone has been commenting is not the same as how long someone has been here. Not interested in continuing a conversation with someone so rude.

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                              I think that’s pretty obvious. They obviously aren’t going to say so, but it’s their entire brand.

                              Why learn anything when you already know everything?