Thursday, October 29, 2015

open letter to internet advertisers

dear internet advertisers,

internet advertising, for some reason, is a big topic these days.

i love the internet. i love to read on it, chat on it, play games on it, shop on it.

and advertising on the internet is big business.

and so is adblocking.

look, you NEED advertising to pay the bills, or else people consuming content need to pay for it. some sites give you a choice. some sites try to play both sides of that, though, and if you pay them for ad-free content, they try to give you ads.

no, no, no.

you get what you pay for.

and advertisers? if you are paying for spurious botnet fake eyeballs on your ads, how is that helping anybody but the brokers of fake views?

so ok, advertisers. let's talk about my consumption of advertising and how maybe you can develop a model that will work for you and not be obnoxious.

i'm not opposed to ads. they keep the lights on at my favorite content providers. i do not like cheesy no-escape ads for dubious products, or ads that are offensive to me.

here's the thing: if the ad is for a product i am interested in, i will happily watch it all the way to the end, and not just the five seconds i have to wait to escape. if the ad is compelling or beautiful in some way, i will watch it simply because it's interesting, even if i have no intention of buying this product. if your ad is interesting enough, i will click right to your website.

and that's what you want, right?

you don't really want to annoy me and have me make a mental note to skip every ad for every product you make, ever, and not buy anything of yours just because your behavior is annoying? you probably don't even want to make me sit through thirty seconds of ad time for, say a pickup truck i'm never going to buy (i've never owned a car that wasn't a subaru wagon, and i don't really need to watch subaru ads, either, because i'm already buying subarus.) i don't care about shampoo (have you seen my hair?), and i find weight-loss product ads downright offensive.

i would like you to consider my attempts to escape your ad to be a declaration that this ad does not interest me. if you make it hard for me to close your ad, i assume that you and your product are not just bad company and bad product, but that your business practices are probably fraudulent as well.

so here's what i want: i want the ability to look at the ad or not. i actually do read and sometimes click sidebar ads and banner ads that don't stand between me and content. it helps me find goods and services i actually need and want.

failing that, i don't mind a popup that asks me to watch a few seconds of that ad before i close it or not. if i don't want to see the latest action movie (i have not seen a movie in theaters in YEARS, nor do i buy or rent movies, and rarely do i watch them on tv), i'm not really your target audience anyway and i don't need to keep seeing that trailer.

you might, i don't know, use your awesome data collection to discover which products and kinds of ads i am REALLY NOT INTERESTED IN and maybe don't try to ram those into my eyeballs.

also, if your ad is interesting and i didn't mind seeing it the first four or five times i watched it, at some point my attention is taxed and i don't want to keep seeing it anymore.

i also do not mind if i answer a couple of questions about products because clearly a marketing firm is paying some of your bills. i don't mind telling you which brands off that (short) list i've heard of or have a favorable impression of in order to support content i want to see.

i do not mind at all allowing you to make contact with me at my convenience about stuff i might buy.

in short, instead of finding ways to force me to consume your commercial messages, i would like you to do your jobs better. you have the data collection going already. i am an actual money-paying, ad-watching consumer. when you give me that chance to say "no, thank you, this ad does not interest me", you earn goodwill from me and you gain valuable information about how you should better target your advertising.

so how 'bout it? let me have control over what i want to see. i promise to keep buying stuff.


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