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April 22, 2009

Advertising and the Information Age

(#5 in a series of 5 including Lamar, Billboards, Advertising and Supply & Demand, Advertising and Propaganda, and Advertising and the Information Age.)

In the beginning there as the ArpaNet, driven by defense research. Next came the Internet. Next came the Web (which is a subset of the internet). The Web (let's call it Web 0.0) was initially driven by (legitimate) academic researchers and enthusiastic hobbyists, and also by early-adopting pornographers and gamblers.

The Web grew, along with the ubiquity of web access and high-speed connections. Web 1.0 was driven by (legit) retail business and (non-legit) pornographers, gamblers, and IP thieves (hello BitTorrent!).

Now we're beginning to see Web 2.0 - just as the sage said, it's everywhere, it's just not distributed evenly - and Web 2.0 is driven by: (legit) retail business and advertising and the same firmly entrenched non-legit activities.

advertising ageFor the sake of discussion, if you'd accept that the (legit) web is currently driven by retail business and advertising, then advertising has a pretty big role in the Web.

The web was supposed to replace Old Media (newspapers, magazines, television). Let's look at the role of advertising in Old Media: newspapers (check!), magazines (check!), television (check!) Advertising has Old Media all sewn up.

In the Information Age, the web (new media) was supposed to be different but now advertising is what makes the web go 'round. To the extent that the blogosphere drives revenue, it's ad-based. What makes the DrudgeReport possible? Advertising.

And here's the pop quiz: please guess the word that completes this sentence.
Google is a
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Press here to see the answer.
 Information Age

advertisingGoogle sells advertising. Newspapers use stories and pictures to get you to look at the ads; Google uses search results to get you to look at the ads. And Google, being much more clever than William Randolph Hearst, targets the ads that you see to what you're looking for. Google search? Ads. Google Mail? Ads.

Android consumer monitoriPhone consumer monitorGoogle's getting better every day. Why did Google develop the Android phone? For information that lets them sell more effective Advertising. Their competition is the iPhone. Both the Android phone and the iPhone will know where you are, what you search on, where you park, where you eat, and where you shop. They are in their own way devices that monitor, track, and record consumer behavior. It's an advertiser's fantasy come true. In true style, you pay for the device that monitors your consumer behavior and lets them sell to you.

Advertising and the Information AgeThat's what the App Store is all about. The phone gets to see everything you're doing. What a sweet business plan - outside geeks develop Apps, customers interact with them, and Apple/Google gets to watch the message traffic. If you use Google Latitude to track your posse, Google gets to know who your friends are, and where you eat and shop when you get together.

Advertising is driving Web 2.0 and social media. Advertising is bigger than Google, bigger than Microsoft, and they've sewn up the web. I'd almost rather have the gamblers in charge.

Advertising is propaganda.
Advertising drives Web 2.0

If I understood syllogism I could probably do something with those two lines, but I'm not that clever so I'll have to settle for an enthymeme.


C. Briem said...

never forget... bitnet, bulletin boards and panix

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