Gilad Edelman asks an important question at Wired: Why don’t we just ban targeted advertising?

The solution to our privacy problems, suggested Hansson, was actually quite simple. If companies couldn’t use our data to target ads, they would have no reason to gobble it up in the first place, and no opportunity to do mischief with it later. From that fact flowed a straightforward fix: “Ban the right of companies to use personal data for advertising targeting.”

Instead of, or in addition to, banning or restricting targeted advertising, I think we should go a step further and restrict data collection, which is what these companies use for these ads in the first place. When any startup without a track record can enter the business of collecting and selling our personal information, that’s a problem.

Check It Out: Should We Ban Targeted Advertising?

2 Comments Add a comment

  1. Lee Dronick

    Just ban javascript associated with ads, web pages would probably load faster. And no floating and popup ads, pissing me off with them will not get me to click through.

  2. ChrisLaarman

    1) A few years ago, it struck me that people do appreciate to have others remember personal preferences (like what you want in your coffee), but don’t appreciate preferences stored in a cookie. And probably last year someone strongly pleaded for privacy – as he said to do on Facebook. (I do understand privacy concerns, which is why I’m not on Facebook.)

    2) I have an advertising profile with Google. For the very reason that I prefer targeted advertising to marketing that is likely not to match my interests. If a vendor considers his offer in my interest (or, more likely, if some algorithm matches them), then we may establish some first phase of mutual interest. I’m likely to subscribe to his mailing list. Unfortunately, many vendors seem to cast their marketing efforts (and expenses) to the wind.

    3) Even vendors who seem to record every keystroke may do remarkable things. Amazon may well understand what i’m looking for, but then e-mail me suggestions that they won’t ship to me. (I’m in the Netherlands, and I have suggested Amazon.de to filter such suggestions out.) And the leading Dutch supermarket chain keeps reminding me to buy things with them “as usual”, even though I would have entered their loyalty program if I would be a returning customer. (Well, the corona crisis has suspended much supermarket marketing here.)

    4) Oh, yes, this selling of data. It does seem offensive. But then, on second thoughts, I do appreciate it. I believe Google (to a greater extent) that it isn’t interested in /having/ my very data, but just in having a /profile to match/ marketing efforts by others against. Well, let marketeers pay Google a “small” amount to have me in their selection (or not), and don’t have every business (or charity) in the world collect my data, just for circumvening buying them. It would amount to putting the cart before the horse.

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