It is time for we the people, to rise up against the Internet revolution’s disregard for privacy and lust for advertising. The Internet is a wonderful creation of human ingenuity. It connects us together and makes the world a little smaller, bringing together the human race as one. Facebook’s success is a testament to the desire of human beings to be and/or stay connected. Twitter is a lesson in voyeurism, allowing us to confirm that we are normal.
However, the Internet has a growing force of Evil that must be stopped; advertising. While advertising has been around “forever”, it has never been this focused or intrusive. The secret, is the middlemen crave as much information about us as possible in order to demand the highest price for ad placements. Name, address, phone, number, likes, dislikes, moods, emails, searches, posts, IMs, texts, places you go, people you see, worries, whereabouts, past purchases, wish lists, etc. are being stored on massive data warehouses where it is analyzed by sophisticated algorithms all in the name of ads.
While Google is the biggest of these middlemen, Facebook is rapidly becoming even stronger. Why? Well, Google learned from Yahoo that services (Mail, IM, etc.) simply do not generate enough revenue; advertising does. They have parlayed this one idea into a $135 Billion company. However, there is a limit to what Google can collect with their current services. That’s why they need to expand beyond the web to OSs such as Android and Chrome OS.
Meanwhile, millions of Facebook users willingly give up their personal information everyday. This allows Facebook to understand the pulse of the nation and world long before the polls can be tabulated. Your “friends” create intricate relationships on many levels that can be analyzed to detect patterns and buying criteria. Every link, every quiz, every note, every piece of flair, says something about you. The more they know, the more valuable the ads. I venture to say that Facebook has a chance to become bigger than Google; now that’s saying something.
Why is this so bad? It’s actually scary on two fronts. One, there is no way to opt-out of the system. In fact, it has become systemic; click-through agreements anyone? Where is the line? When do things get deleted? Are we being profiled? What if I don’t want my emails read by a computer? I don’t want my phone conversations scanned?
Two, I worry that the model is giving us the rope to hang ourselves. We are trading services for information and information for advertising. However, are we giving up too much of ourselves for the sake of free? Are we creating goods? Is the end result a few billionaires and some millionaires or an engine for economic growth?
In-the-end, Internet advertising is not going anywhere. In fact, the traditional media advertising giants are aggressively moving into this arena. The great IP convergence of Phone (VOIP), Internet, IPTV, Mobile Phone and Data, Games, and more, combined with the death of newspapers, magazines, and traditional television have made this a necessity. It is time for us to demand limits, transparency, and accountability for this new order of services for advertising.
Never forget the power we, the People, have because while they control the services and advertising, we control the power to say no. Without us the services will shutter and the advertising revenue will dry up leaving a wasteland of electronic trash.