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Links and articles about technology, design, and sociology. Written by Rian van der Merwe.

Fewer ads for a better world

In The Banner Blindness Cure: How Fewer Ads Can Equal More Revenue Dave Zinman points out something all readers know already, and publishers will hopefully take note of:

It’s no wonder, looking at these stats, that banner blindness is such a glaring issue. Talk about losing sight of the forest for the trees: We’re so busy looking after our bottom line, we’re not paying attention to the user experience. We hit our visitors over the heads with ads like sledgehammers, then wonder why our ads aren’t “performing.” It’s absurd. Clearly, we’re doing it wrong. […]

Wouldn’t a publisher be far better off serving fewer ads, and taking top dollar for one or two premium placements? With highly relevant ads that aren’t forced to compete against several other ads on the page, odds of interaction and possible conversion are tremendously improved. And when ads perform better, publishers, advertisers and consumers win.

Somewhat related, here’s what’s happening over on the far end of the creepiness scale:

The odds are that access to you — or at least the online you — is being bought and sold in less than the blink of an eye. On the Web, powerful algorithms are sizing you up, based on myriad data points: what you Google, the sites you visit, the ads you click. Then, in real time, the chance to show you an ad is auctioned to the highest bidder.

Not that you’d know it. These days in the hyperkinetic world of digital advertising, all of this happens automatically, and imperceptibly, to most consumers.

If I may use a John Gruberism: Gross.