Summary: Here is a look behind the curtain at the advertising that supports the internet. The coding and software that controls the advertising controls much of what we see.
The internet — the information superhighway — has become a major source of information for most Americans. Those that control it, control us. Sometimes that control is deliberate — as social media corporations use their power to make money and further the political goals of their senior executives.
Sometimes that control is indirect. Such as advertisers preferences in the kinds of content they use. Software analyzes the content — seldom an unbiased process.
To see how this process works, this is how content on the FM website is classified for advertisers. These are codes devised by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) to categorized keywords (their version 1 categories). Software of Integral Ad Science scans a website and produces this display. These codes make us look like an ISIS-run slasher festival.
No surprise, the FM website’s advertising revenue has crashed. It used to cover the basic cost of running the website. It was $3 in December. That is no longer worth the inconvenience of ads to readers, so I turned the ads off — keeping only the links to Amazon books.
Advertising money shapes the entertainment we watch and the news that shapes our thinking. The codes and systems that to apply these codes to internet content wield real power.
Do you know how these systems work?
Post your explanation in the comments.
For More Information
Look at the right sidebar to see the range of subjects covered on the FM website. At the top is the “subscribe” box. Especially note the search box, the categories dropdown menu, and the tag cloud. News about themes followed here is posted on Facebook and on Twitter.
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Here are a few posts about the FM website project.
- Why do you read us? Here’s why we write.
- Politifact tells us about American politics and science. We should pay attention. — My 15 minutes with the pretend fat-checkers.
- Lessons learned from the FM website project after 14 years and 4,000 posts.
- Join the Fabius Maximus website to see into our strange futures.