In the latest issue of Galaxy Brain, Charlie Warzel’s newsletter about technology and culture, Gizmodo’s Shoshana Wodinsky is explaining bad ads. As Charlie says in his opener, “most everything bad about the internet… has at least a little bit to do with this ecosystem”, so trying to understand it better is probably in all our interests.
The Q&A is pretty long, but the generally depressing TLDR is a description of an industry riddled with unnecessary complexity and fraud. Early on, Shoshana says:
When you talk to people who work in adtech candidly, almost all of them know that the field is rampant with fraud and abuse and really just grifters. I don’t think it would be as complex if it weren’t trying to hide a lot of that fraud.
However, the conversation ends with an optimism based on the fact that if enough people start to speak up, the lawmakers will listen. Fingers crossed our next story is an example of that in action.
We talked about The Wall Street Journal’s Facebook Files in this week’s episode and acknowledged many times that Facebook controversies are nothing new. In his Platformer newsletter, Casey Newton rightly says most Facebook scandals come and go. But, for him, this one feels different to the scandals of the past because this one has been led by Facebook’s own workforce.
Whatever you think of the BBC’s Tim Davie, he’s right to be expressing concern that the furore over Jess Bramar’s hiring could impact the corporations’ ability to hire people with a diverse range of opinions. “I want to make sure we’re hiring for a broad church of individuals and what characterises them is their ability to leave their politics at the door.”
A report from WARC and leading US radio and podcast producer iHeartmedia highlights the discrepancy between audio listening and marketing spend. Consumers spend 31% of their media time with audio, yet brands allocate just 8.8% of their media budget on audio. A quarter of brands are missing from audio entirely. Come on marketing people, get it sorted.
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