Last updated: August 15, 2014 - 11:23pm
[Commentary] I have come to believe that advertising is the original sin of the web. An ad supported web has at least four downsides as a default business model.
First, while advertising without surveillance is possible, it’s hard to imagine online advertising without surveillance.
Second, not only does advertising lead to surveillance through the “investor storytime” mechanism, it creates incentives to produce and share content that generates pageviews and mouse clicks, but little thoughtful engagement.
Third, the advertising model tends to centralize the web. Advertisers are desperate to reach large audiences as the reach of any individual channel shrinks.
Finally, even attempts to mitigate advertising’s downsides have consequences. To compensate us for our experience of continual surveillance, many websites promise personalization of content to match our interests and tastes. By giving platforms information on our interests, we are, of course, generating more ad targeting information.
[Zuckerman is director of the Center for Civic Media at MIT and principal research scientist at MIT’s Media Lab]
- NSA uses Google cookies to pinpoint targets for hacking
- Recap -- The Need for Privacy Protections: Is Industry Self-Regulation Adequate?
- Why Google Pays Apple $1 Billion a Year
- It's A Wonderful, Trackable Life
- Prepare to Pay More if You Don't Want Ads on Your New Kindle
- Privacy concerns? What Google now says it can do with your data.
- Silicon Valley must keep the spies out of its honey trap
- Tracking News via Cyberspace
- Strengthening community information experiments at MIT's Center for Civic Media
- How Much Should People Worry About the Loss of Online Privacy?
- Digital Transition: Is The Industry Ready?
- Surveillance in aisle three
- Microsoft puts 'Do Not Track' function in next browser
- End Times
- The Information Counter-Revolution