People Hate Ads

Times Square
There’s an article in today’s New York Times with the title, “The Advertising Industry Has a Problem: People Hate Ads.” It says, “the advertising industry faces an ‘existential need for change,’ according to a blunt report published on Monday by the research firm Forrester. Now the agencies must ‘disassemble what remains of their outmoded model’ or risk ‘falling further into irrelevance,’ the report concludes.”... Continue Reading →
To Google or To Amazon? Search is the Answer
According to eMarketer, the U.S. search ad market is expected to grow to $55.17 billion (up 18% YoY). Roughly 73 percent (approx. $40 billion) of that goes to Google. But Amazon is on fire. Its search business is growing fast and it is expected to reach almost 13 percent this year and nearly 16 percent... Continue Reading →
Facebook: Platform, Publisher, or Ministry of Truth?
Facebook is being pilloried for its unwillingness to remove a paid advertisement by President Trump’s reelection campaign after Facebook was notified by the Biden campaign that the ad contained false statements about Joe Biden and his son. On the surface, this seems simple, and Facebook’s decision not to remove the ad seems wrong. But there is much more to the story.... Continue Reading →
Google France
Online publishers in the EU were all excited about Article 15 of the EU’s copyright directive which allows the press to request money from platforms like Google and Facebook when copyrighted material appears on their respective sites. France transposed the EU’s copyright reforms into a national law that takes effect October 1st. There’s only one... Continue Reading →
At a dinner party the other night, a very accomplished business person told a story about how he and his wife were certain that their devices were listening to their conversations. “I was talking to my wife about a pair of designer shoes that she wanted to purchase, and not 10 minutes later while she was doing some online research for work, she saw an ad for that exact pair of shoes. She hadn’t searched for the shoes; the ad just appeared. Clearly, our computers or our phones are listening.” Some people nodded in agreement, and others began to chime in.... Continue Reading →

Alternatives to Facebook

Facebook Alternatives
Facebook has been under relentless attack since the Cambridge Analytica scandal in early 2018. Broadcasters and news publishers have declared open season on Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, and other senior executives at the company. And while not quite ubiquitous, #deletefacebook pops up every time there’s a story about data privacy. The EU has fined them, the US is trying to figure out how to regulate them, and the notion that free services should be absolutely free (as opposed to checking a box on a terms and conditions page that allows the free service to use your data as payment) is gaining traction. Whether or not Facebook deserves the scrutiny it is under is a great topic for another article. Today, I want to have a look at alternatives. If you don’t like Facebook, what might work for you? Is the time right for the reemergence of focused social networks? ... Continue Reading →

What MeToo Is Teaching AI

AI Bias
The coincidental emergence of the #MeToo hashtag and self-training, self-replicating AI systems got me thinking. How will a self-training AI system be biased when learning from the #MeToo hashtagged posts? And how would the advent of self-training AI affect the systems that control our news feeds and other curated content presented to us?... Continue Reading →