Advertising makes the world go ’round. Without advertising, much of the entertainment and information we view, reader, or listen to would come with a price tag. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing, given the amount of fake news and sensationalist ‘yellow journalism‘ that exists in the world today.
Yellow journalism and the yellow press are American terms for journalism and associated newspapers that present little or no legitimate well-researched news while instead using eye-catching headlines for increased sales. Techniques may include exaggerations of news events, scandal-mongering, or sensationalism. By extension, the term yellow journalism is used today as a pejorative to decry any journalism that treats news in an unprofessional or unethical fashion.
With few exceptions, the information we take in comes with a price. Advertising for so-called free information– broadcast television, magazines, newspapers, radio, and websites come to mind. Paid information exists, too– subscriptions, website paywalls, applications, et al– but is less prevalent.
Open up Safari or Firefox or Chrome, visit a few websites, and quickly you become enmeshed in the world of advertising, both overt and covert. Overt? The ads you see on websites. Covert, all the tracking that goes on in the background which takes personal information from you so advertisers can better influence and manipulate you.
That brings me to browsers. Most are free but there is a price to be paid.
Free browsers sound nice, but at the end of the day, something’s got to pay the bills.
Google’s Chrome is free but Google does more user tracking than Facebook. Safari is free, but Apple gets around $3-billion a year from Google to keep the search engine giant as Safari’s default.
See? There is a price to be paid.
What about Mozilla’s very fast and more secure Firefox? I’ve been using it as my default browser on Mac, iPhone, and iPad for a few months. How does Mozilla make money? Google may help pay a few bills thanks to Google as the default search engine. But now Mozilla has an agreement with Pocket to put sponsored links among suggested readings. This is nothing new.
Visit just a few of the more popular technology and Apple-oriented websites and you will see a growing list of sponsored advertising in various forms. Such content may appear as a Deal page, whereby the website gets a cut if you buy the featured product. Others include sponsored content whereby the product seller paid the website to display an article or review which is an advertisement in disguise.
Such paid content is a scourge on the internet and further diminishes content credibility at a time when fake news and sensationalist headlines have run amok.
This is not going to end well.