Online Advertising Hazards

It comes as no surprise that the current model of online advertising is increasingly becoming worse and worse for the daily consumer. As news broke about Facebook and the Cambridge Analytical Scandal, people became even more reluctant when it comes to sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. 

 Many potential hazards come to mind when thinking about the sale of our data. Not necessarily knowing what its purpose is and if it’s going to be used for you or against you. One hazard that has been int he media a lot recently is the Russian bots used to influence the election. The spread of fake news is a tremendous risk when it comes to change votes in the upcoming 2020 election, possibly. Data from the article “Can marketers Repair Social Media’s Crisis of Trust” supports the idea that the majority of the globe is in fear of fake news being used as a weapon, whether this is false information or false news articles. The US and Mexico are at the higher end of the scale of 71-75% of people in the US experience this fear and 76-80% in Mexico. 

 Another significant hazard that we neglect to realize is that we are sometimes offering our data on a silver platter without even knowing it. A common reason for this is because many people, including myself, fail even to read the first sentence of terms of service. Although marketers are not afraid to stash as many cookies as possible within their sites to track your data for marketing purposes, this is not the most helpful of ways to resist yourself becoming another little bit in their mass of marketing data. According to an article in Times Magazine, if people read each of the terms of service they come across, it would take about 76 hours a year. A better route to this growing problem is to strengthen your password and remove any names or dates that are common to you, such as your mother’s maiden or your first dog. 

 I believe the level of hazard in the current model of digital marketing is about a four on a scale of 1-5. I do agree that it is a growing issue, and it could potentially be a hazardous tool had it come into the wrong hands. But, I do believe it is more so an annoyance than a command anger people share. I think people’s current attitudes are the annoyance of continually having ads pop up for things they search for one of Google or having information about a place, product, service, or even another person being brought up advertisement an ad once having a conversation surrounding that topic earlier that day or in the week. As I see these ads pop up in my own life, I feel more annoyed and confused than I do worried and scared. As time goes on and we do not continue to put pressure on networks like Facebook and other data goldmines to become more transparent with whom they are selling data, the purpose, etc. We need to work on more regulations when it comes to the use of big data and develops ways to simplify the topic, so it is easier for every user to understand what they’re being subjected to. A lot of users, not the internet, are not tech-savvy enough to understand the technical jargon used by marketers and developers, so they do not know what rights they are signing away. 

 If I could write a small code of ethics for online digital marketers, it would include:

  • Include a short bulleted/bold list of necessary permissions you are giving the site by completing the signup process. 
  • Require password requirements (do not allow users to use any personal data used while creating their profile such as their name, email, last name, birthday, etc.) 
  • Provide quality content and occasional offers. Build a strong relationship with your clients and develop yourself as an authority and gain more credibly as the article mentioned. You want to gain their trust and have you be top of mind. Demonstrate that it is not all about the sale for you, but you care about their experience/ safety/ privacy. 
  • Include privacy policy and terms of service at the bottom of each of your webpages. This builds credibility and is easily accessible wherever they are within your website. 
  • Start the conversation mention on your website tips to protect their data and privacy, starting the conversation with creating more credibility. 
  • Offer a statement of transparency. Above the links to the terms of service and privacy policy include a few sentences of your goal to obtain transparency with your clients. If they have any questions regarding the use of their data or personal information, they can reach out via phone or email.
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