Advertising on the web as we know it has gone through good times and bad times. Now it may be going through end times. Privacy concerns, security breaches, and perhaps even government regulations will drive changes.
Advertising on the web as we know it has gone through good times and bad times. Now it may be going through end times. Privacy concerns, security breaches, and perhaps even government regulations will drive changes.The core of the problem lies with the way that big ad networks are run. Sites want to run ads that are in big networks such as DoubleClick (now owned by Google) or Google AdWords so that they can take advantage of the largest possible market. Advertisers can place ads on those networks, and the network algorithms will fine-tune the exposure to maximize the clicks across thousands of different sites.
On the surface, large markets like this appear to be efficient for both advertisers and publishers, but they have significant drawbacks. Fraud is a particular problem. The ad networks are so big that it's easy to hide all sorts of seedy practices. Advertisers can't be sure that the clicks they were charged for were from real potential customers, or just from a competitor trying to drain their ad budget. The whole process isn't very transparent, so it's not even clear that ads were truly displayed when the ad networks say they are. They're just numbers in a report, unaudited by any trustworthy party.
Web sites need to find a way to finance their operations; advertising is still a useful model for that. However, the specific ways we're doing that today, via dangerous script tags served by untrustworthy ad networks, has to change if advertising is going to continue to be successful.
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Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of September 18, 2016. We'll be talking with the InformationWeek.com editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."