I’d love your feedback on the following idea, whose aim is to alter the incentive structure around digital advertising, and thus help restore sanity in our digital experiences.
Description of Issue:
As we are all aware, advertisers currently pay tech companies to develop attention-grabbing (social) media platforms, because ads convert some percentage of the people they are shown to into paying customers. Currently, advertisers assume that their ads have one of two outcomes: either they cause conversion / increased interest / increased brand awareness or they are ignored. From an advertiser’s point of view, these effects are respectively positive or neutral.
What this means is that though AdBlockers render digital ads ineffective, they don’t send the message to advertisers that their efforts may be harming them more than helping them.
Imagine people signing an anti-digital-ad campaign pledge: people who sign commit to heavily resisting or not buying products from any company for which they see a digital ad. A browser extension could be created to automatically keep track of which companies an individual will “blocklist”, such a blocklist could then be downloaded to a person’s phone via a paired mobile app. When a person goes shopping, either physically or digitally, the mobile app surfaces the list of companies that the user is attempting to avoid. (Maybe version 2.0 recommends alternative products that address the same concern).
This would be most effective, I think, if organized by region, as advertisers tend to select location as an important parameter when designing ad campaigns. If 10% of the internet browsing citizens, say, the city of Oakland were to commit to such a pledge, it would suddenly behoove advertisers to spend their money elsewhere.
Lastly, the Electronic Frontier Foundation is one group that could be approached to help out with the development of the aforementioned digital tools. Perhaps the Mozilla foundation is another.
So what do you say? If the tools and this pledge existed, would you be willing to give it a go? What problems do you foresee?