This is a phenomenal article on several levels, but most notably because it pulls back the curtain on the ridiculous amount of function-slowing, battery-draining and mostly secret information being pushed at your device all the time. Superb research and reporting, bravo.
Unfortunately, this mobile ad scam is also only one chunk of the iceberg that is the massive hoax of online advertising, one of the Big Lies too many in the industry live in denial over (American muckraker Upton Sinclair: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”)
One big story that didn’t get enough play this year — because it’s in no one’s interest but the consumer for it to be big news — is that Google admitted close to 60% of online advertising isn’t even seen. Fortune recently delivered an exposé that revealed “half of all online ads are never seen by a human being, huge amounts of traffic and clicks come from bot networks, and fraud is rampant.”
The internet, despite all the complaints about surveillance and tracking, etc., still pretty much remains a Wild West, and people who know the terrain can easily sucker the suckers. And I’m not just talking consumers; look how Facebook and Google hijack publishers’ content, with barely a peep from the abused.
The whole thing is getting increasingly crazy as the people who understand digital take advantage of those who don’t. “It is a blessing and a curse to live in a dying age,” a guy said to me earlier this year. And that’s where we are right now, caught in the midst of transition from the industrial age to the digital age, with the customary cast of progressive-minded heroes, entrenched old-school villains and countless faceless victims.