Why do contextual ads fail


Companies whose business models don't depend on algorithmic filtering shamelessly exploit anxiety about companies that do rely on algorithmic filtering.

AppleApple CEO Tim Cook told Charlie Rose: "Our business is not based on having information about you. You're not our product.... If [other companies] are making money mainly by collecting gobs of personal data, I think you have a right to be worried." Alles zu Apple auf CIO.de

A newish social network called Ello has a "manifesto" that reads in part: "Every post you share, every friend you make, and every link you follow is tracked, recorded, and converted into data. Advertisers buy your data so they can show you more ads. You are the product that's bought and sold."

"You're the product." I'll admit that I've used that line myself. But I've come to believe that it's pretty clearly a misleading and unsophisticated view.

With contextual advertising, you're not the product. Advertisers don't own you. They usually don't even get to know who you are. The companies selling the advertising theoretically (and algorithmically) display ads to you if you meet the advertiser's criteria.

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