Friday, April 26, 2013
Where's Waldo? Or...can you spot the ad?
I also encourage you to ask the same thing of that "BlueTrooth" guy, by the way. But let's take a look at what Rollie has got goin' here. When I clicked on the link from one of my Twitter friends, the website took a full 15 seconds to load. I assumed it was due to a spike in traffic following an "all points bulletin" link-fest encouraged by the source. No biggie, I patiently (ha! Fifteen seconds is my limit!) waited as the page loaded. My first impression was "Great! No cumbersome ads!" and I watched the embedded video. Jon Stewart at his finest, doesn't get much better than that. As an afterthought I read the brief intro from Rollie, a witty one at that. And then I see the bold Facebook and Twitter tabs, along with a couple more by his image, along with even more choices at the bottom of the screen (I apologize for the abbreviated screen snip, but it's not really necessary for the point).
The point being, I realized I am really looking at one big ad for Rollie's Facebook and Twitter feed. Obviously, nothing wrong with that, but awareness is important in everything we do on the internet. The internet began as an educational "tool". It was once a mysterious and "fabled" entity in the 80's, often described as the "ultimate electronic bulletin board system" (commonly referred to as "BBS"). But it has evolved into the ultimate market of commerce, selling everything from ant farms to personal web browsing data. I decided I would try a little test and I reloaded the web page. To my surprise, it took the same excruciatingly long 15 seconds which indicates a few cookies might be busy. I'm not saying we should outlaw analytics, but I am saying your browser offers clues regarding which data-mining programs are active. Again, it's about awareness. So where is the ad? It's the entire page. And it's not an ad selling Comedy Central, it just might be selling you.