Advertising models are ripe for disruption. There is a worrying trend in digital companies whose revenue is generated primarily through advertising, ad spamming. The culprits? You know who I’m talking about, the Facebook’s and Google’s of this world.
In a recent search I did, not a single organic result appeared above the fold:
This kind of ad spamming has become progressively worse over the years for google and other similar businesses. There was a time when ads and organic results were clearly separated:
Google and other search engines have employed clever design tactics over the years which have made it harder for users to distinguish between advertising and organic searches. This has been noted by the FTC and other bodies in the past. The irony is quite clear here, because Google’s business depends entirely on it’s user base uh well.. using it’s service. The fundamental driving force of a search engine is to provide access to valuable content which is free from intrusive ad spamming.
Here are a few more examples of popular networks which are falling prey to aggressive advertising.
Less posts from Facebook friends and more advertising:
Less interesting answers from users around the world and more advertising link spam away from the quora site:
My assumption on all of this is that digital business which have an advertising model such as the ones above, have inevitably hit a brick wall in terms of their organic growth and reach, and since many of these companies are publicly traded there is consistent pressure to provide bigger returns, which eventually result in dodgy tactics to bring in revenue. This of course results in a worsening user experience.
The good news is that there are a few cryptocurrency projects out there tackling these issues. The immediate 2 that come to mind are Nebulas and Basic Attention Token. I won’t be covering these in detail here but briefly Nebulas are creating a decentralized search framework while BAT are creating a framework for digital advertising which rewards users, publishers and advertisers alike by cutting out the middleman.
Blockchain based solutions make the most sense for the problems listed in this article and while they are highly experimental and in early stages of development I feel pretty confident we are witnessing a dramatic shift to the new players in this industry.