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SNS: The Death of Ads

SNS: The Death of Ads


In This Issue
Week of 12/2/2019
Vol. 24 Issue 36

The Death of Ads

  • Real Fraud, Fake Customers
  • Real Ads, Fake Sites
  • Real Money, Fake Results
  • Summary

Quotes of the Week

Takeout Window

  • The Car Industry Pivot
  • Watching Amex
  • Our Favorite Googlers


  • The INVNT/IP Digest


When Google was founded, advertising was not in its business model. In fact, it didn’t have a business model.

When Facebook was founded, etc.

When Twitter, etc.

When Amazon was founded, advertising was not in its business model —

Real Fraud, Fake Customers

The amount of money being spent on online advertising today is countable: it’s in the area of $107B in the US alone. The amount of money being stolen or just completely wasted? It’s at least in the $16B-$30B range for 2019, but we’ll note at the outset: no one knows the exact number.

To be clear: in today’s automated system of online ad placements, programmatically controlled through digital bids and auctions, there is, according to the most technically advanced advertisers, absolutely no way to determine how much of their ad spend is never seen by a real human customer.

This is a far cry from the meme that online ads are so specifically targeted that vendors can virtually sell on a per-person basis, profiling down to gender, age, town, car type, political party, drugs bought, and books read.

In fact, the return on funds invested (ROI) in online ads is so poor today that companies are returning to the “carpet bombing” ad days of the 1960s, moving ad dollars back into TV and other mass media.

What will this mean for Google, Facebook, Twitter, and all of the thousands of thousands of websites that get their primary revenues from online advertising? It means they’re facing a day of reckoning that no one seems quite aware of yet.


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