Bad Ads Broke The Internet: Part 2

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We already know there’s too much “content” on the internet, marketing or otherwise. There is however, a way to escape: Pay for what you consume.

Subscriptions aren’t new. Print media has been doing it for years. Portions of which paid for the paper, the ink, and the postage. Now the delivery vehicle is effectively built (the web), there’s no ink/paper (just servers), so it’s “free”.

But, the subscription model hasn’t taken off online. The underpinning of the web is that everything is free. And at the core of the punk-rock-DIY-ethos, I relish the lowering of those barriers to entry.

That said, you don’t have to be an economics professor to see the effects of this daisy chain. Enter: The Race To The Bottom. The machine must be fed. Cookies, cookies, cookies.

Music, the darling of the sharing economy in the digital age has the most obvious solution — Buy your songs, buy CDs, buy vinyl, or cassettes (which are making a comeback) and guess what? You can avoid all ads.

Important side note: Apple did a brilliant job creating audiophile componentry for people who are not audiophiles (sound quality of mp3’s aside) with the iPod. The person who owned 800 CDs in 2001 (raises hand) loved the idea of a large, portable, digital repository for their music. Remember carrying those zippered cd sleeves in your car? Ugh.

So, those fans and actual buyers of music got an iPod, but so did the person who owned 25 CDs and was predominantly a casual, non-committed radio listener. Bravo, Apple. You created your own demand for another business with a new, shiny object. Albeit, a cool, game-changing new, shiny object, for sure.

Second side note (to provide some equilibrium to the newly priced $.99 song): Major record labels had been gouging consumers for a long time ($15.99 + cd’s). Artists then, as now, were still on the short end of that P&L, so my hard earned lunch money wasn’t actually going to them anyway. Therefore, the punk ethos inside us rejoiced that music was less expensive, more available. Proletarians unite! Punks not dead!

Big picture: Bad ads are important to us, too. Good agencies don’t wake up in the morning thinking about how to make the X in a pop up harder to find. Good clients don’t either. Sometimes the world gets one of these, sometimes it gets both.

If bad ad avoidance is important to you, open your wallet, buy your media. Install an ad blocker, they work well. Also, consider the media you’re consuming, Harper’s will likely provide a different ad buffett than Fox News, where the “Belly Fat Flab” ads would likely find a much stronger CTR.

If you need to select the right agency, look at their work, their clients, test them with the “Belly Fat Flab” ad. If they’d club a baby seal to make a buck maybe it’s not a fit for your timbre of your brand.


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