How often does one agree with the legendary John C. Dvorak? Yes, that Dvorak. The same Dvorak who scoffed at the Mac’s mouse, and who derided the iPhone. He’s at it again, but this time Dvorak is on to something with a measure of historical accuracy and a modern day conclusion that is absolutely, positively correct.
Dvorak thinks the promise of interactive TV from back in the day has ruined online advertising today. Dvorak is kinda sorta mostly correct.
Remember Interactive TV? It was discussed for decades before finally coming to fruition in the early 1990s. It never got very far, thanks in part to the internet boom, but it has ruined advertising to this day.
Almost correct. Targeted advertising has been around for, well, at least since advertising began a few centuries ago. Interactive TV was supposed to be more accurate. The internet is worse. More accurate. And worse. Targeted advertising is here and it has become advertising at its worst.
It’s the idea that if you are contemplating buying a new ink-jet printer you’ll be served with an advertisement that appeals to all your sensibilities and brand prejudices within a split second of your desire, promising you the perfect deal for a printer on the spot. It’s irresistible and immediately actionable.
You see this all the time with Google searches, online advertising, especially with Facebook and Amazon ads. Search for a product and for weeks you’ll be bombarded with website advertising pushing that product. Even spam gets into the act. Search for rubber boots on Amazon and wait for the spam on rubber boots to hit your inbox.
Advertising executives swoon just thinking of this. It’s resulted in a creepy Orwellian environment where Google, Facebook, Amazon, and others have replaced Big Brother.
Such creepiness has become pervasive but not in-your-face visible to the average Joe Schmo who browses the interwebs and thinks Facebook is the internet. Almost every website you visit these days has cookies, cross-platform trackers, analytics trackers, and some even dump databases of information on your browser– so you can be easier to track while traversing the interwebs.
Anybody got a problem with bandwidth hogging trackers on every webpage?
I do. Dvorak, too. Such targeted advertising is everywhere today.
The justification for this is that people prefer to get advertisements that are personally meaningful, rather than endure shotgun blasts of random sales pitches for what is perceived as useless crap.
This is the norm but it has become far more pervasive than most internet dwellers realize.
Google figured out that if someone was searching for a pet cemetery, pickup trucks, or a resort destination that perhaps that would be a good opportunity to advertise pet cemeteries, trucks, and resorts. This revelation made Google filthy rich. But it was a little too simplistic for the sales team.
So, today, we have trackers galore– all behind the scenes, all downloading and capturing and sending information about you and your searches and your website habits to advertising and data collectors all over the world.
The internet and its original purpose as an information superhighway has become a cesspool, a toxic hell stew of malware in the form of advertising which lurks behind almost every website you visit.
Except NoodleMac, of course. Except for the other Villagers websites. No advertising trackers. No analytics trackers. Not even cookies.
Google spies on its users, goes through their email, saves searches, and adds spying devices via Nest technologies and Google Home. Public condemnation follows for these violations of privacy which are really elements of desperation as it sincerely looks for that holy grail.
Shouldn’t the holy grail be a peaceful internet without fear?