It isn’t adveristing itself. It’s the way it’s too often done.
I almost never click on an ad, for three reasons. First is that I almost never find what I’m looking for. Second is that I don’t want to waste the advertiser’s money on a bad click-through. Third is that I’m tired of looking at so much waste of pixels, rods, cones, cycles and patience.
Example: about two minutes ago I wanted to find what the sales tax is for Cambrige, MA. So I looked up sales tax cambridge, ma. At the top of the results was this sponsored link:
|Massachusetts sales tax
SalesTax.com Get Current Sales Tax Rules & Rates for Specific Addresses & Zip Codes!
The first few “organic” (non-advertising) search results below that didn’t look promising, so I decided to take my chances on the ad.
Wasted my time. Salestax.com redirects to a tax.cchgroup.com page that’s headed by “CorpSystem® Sales Tax Solutions, Compliance without a burden”, plus piles of sales jive about CCH group products and “solutions,” but nothing obvious about what I’m interested in: the advertised “Rates for specific addresses & zip codes”.
I’m not going to waste more time digging into this, or looking for other examples of the same, because my point is made: this is baiting and switching, and just one of the ways that — for you and me — online advertising sucks and fails so often that it rounds to all the time.
It’s also one more reason why I believe the advertising bubble is due to burst. There’s a limit to how much abuse, misleading and general wrong-ness we’ll put up with. This has been tested for the duration, but at some point the failures become intolerable.
And those failures are not just of performance on the sell side.
What we need is for demand to find supply, not just for supply to “drive” demand. We are not cattle and we don’t like being herded, even if it’s by friendly chutes like Google’s. This was true before online advertising went nuts, and it will be true after the chutes get trampled.