Advertising has been the villain for as long as I can remember. Even internet marketers found a way to criticise TV advertising because you couldn’t measure it.
He suggests that without it many issues we are seeing online today would disappear, giving two examples:
1. Russian trolls would not be able to hone their messaging as hey could not test its impact using advertising first.
Finally he suggests that the ad industry produces endless incentives for gaming the system that are only fixed after they appear.
It is an interesting proposition and certainly the world would be a different place without advertising. It would result in some very well known companies disappearing, including potentially the very publisher Farhad is writing for.
Overall though, it would be better in some ways and worse in others. It is difficult, maybe impossible, to get consensus on or even understand the full impact. I think it would limit innovation online for example. But there is one thing I am sure about. There will always be people looking to game a system. The system would just be different.
Actually, I could argue the true villain in both those examples is artificial intelligence as they are really about easier to use interfaces built on top of algorithms that make content faster to create and easier to target. Just this week, the creation of “deep fakes” became mainstream thanks to increasing awareness of software that allows you to change the face of someone in a video
But I am not arguing that either.
Rapid innovation is the true villain, as everyone rushes to adopt new approaches in a positive way, others rush to take advantage in, let’s say, less positive ways.
I don’t believe anyone would argue for a slowdown in innovation, though those affected by it might like to see it slowed down. In the end, as the innovation matures, regulations appear and there are less loop holes to exploit as the successful companies will be those that fixed the issues.