Follow

Google and Facebook are *advertising* businesses.

Apple is not *as* bad because they have a different business model: planned-obsolescence.

@lightweight @wolftune Ads are annoying, but is advertising inherently bad?

TV, radio and magazines have always been supported by advertisement, I don't see why the web shouldn't, especially when nobody can figure out an alternative economic model that would work for most websites.

@codewiz @lightweight

Ads are far more than annoying. Name any ill in our modern world that wasn't an issue thousands of years ago, and I can probably tie it to *dependency* on advertising (especially when you consider that political campaigns are driven by ads).

@wolftune @lightweight @snowdrift Very good reading, and mostly agreeable.

Yet, I still suspect that my favorite niche websites out there wouldn't survive solely on these alternative funding models, and I say this even though I personally subscribe to a ton of websites, including one newspaper and three Japanese language learning sites.

@wolftune @lightweight I know ads are annoying, that's why we have uBlock Origin 😂

@codewiz @lightweight

Yes, and Google is updating Chrome and Chromium to make uBlock Origin stop working

@wolftune @lightweight Yeah, I heard the news and I hope it doesn't happen... but if it does happen, users still have the freedom to fork Chromium or switch to Firefox. Which I would certainly do.

@codewiz @lightweight

> alternative economic model that would work for most websites

I'm working on one @snowdrift
well, I dunno about "most websites" but maybe.

Anyway, there's a zero-sum competition here for attention. Ads drive attention and take attention. If my competitors pay for ads that show up at the top of a search, I have to pay more to get there and compete to get people to MY website. Ads *cost* websites as much or more than they *fund* them!

@wolftune @lightweight @snowdrift Well, but it's not the same websites though: toyota.com buys ads and pays them with revenue from car sales, while, say, lwn.net and phoronix.com use the ads income to finance daily Linux news.

Both these sites also ask users to subscribe (which I do), but won't you agree that they might have to scale down their operations if they were forced to survive solely on subscription revenue?

@codewiz @lightweight @snowdrift

In a world without all the harms advertising supports, all the people who struggle to keep LWN going could be better off and not need as much direct income.

If Apple/Microsoft/Google ads disappeared, it would be easier to get GNU messages to people's attention. If LWN had 100× audience size, they could have at least 5× subscribers.

Snowdrift.coop and crowdmatching aims to increase the portion of readers who donate too.

I'm not pushing unilateral disarmament

@codewiz @lightweight

Incidentally, I thought my original post was saying the everyone-knows-this about ads and the main point was to give an honest and critical frame to Apple, who are usually described as "a hardware company" primarily which doesn't highlight what's wrong with them.

@codewiz @lightweight (not that planned-obsolescence is all that's wrong with Apple, but it's their primary business model, with the walled-garden cut-of-the-app-market being secondary)

@wolftune @codewiz @lightweight If I may barge in, I don't think it's planned-obsolescence: all Android manufacturers are much, much worse in that respect. Apple is primarily a luxury goods company. Status. Premium. Exclusivity. Huge margins. Like Cartier or Louis Vuitton.

@wolftune @codewiz @lightweight Privacy as a luxury feature: we can afford to pay good money for an iPhone. Let the Android proles pay with their private data.

@Tryphon @codewiz @lightweight

Privacy as a luxury feature might be interesting to talk about, but it's like saying nice public parks are a luxury of wealthy gentrified neighborhoods. It's true trivially, but it is a complete misunderstanding of *why* anyone wants privacy or nice parks.

@Tryphon @wolftune @codewiz yes, of course, but more insidious than those to whom you compare them, because their monoculture is designed to get you to continuously sink more into artificially scarce goods that only work within their walled garden. You essentially lose it all if you give up their platform. That's why they're a $trillion corporation. Always staggers me that people think it's worth the price and the many manufactured limitations.

@lightweight @wolftune @codewiz You are right, it's a turbocharged extractive business model, "better" than anything LVMH could dream of.

I may surprise you, but given the alternative, I do think it's worth the price. The minute there is a Linux phone and tablet I will switch and it will be painful and costly, as intended by Apple.

@Tryphon @codewiz @lightweight I've seen that argument, but I don't buy it. I think most Apple customers (I was once one) really are not *wanting* exclusivity and status symbols. There's some of that, but really Apple makes good quality products, if only they would be designed for longer-term use and supported for longer…

I simply think it's actually a misjudgment to think the status / luxury symbol is the primary focus for Apple. It's just a side issue.

@wolftune @lightweight @snowdrift Would you be more favorable to advertisement if we were to outlaw the most negative forms of it ?

For instance, many countries restrict advertisement of addictive substances and gambling. The US, UK and other common law countries prohibited provably false advertisement... but deceptive and psychologically manipulative advertisement is still fine.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_ad

@codewiz @lightweight @snowdrift

I support reasonable regulations on ads. And yes, blocking the advertising of some of the worst things is good. But it's sorta like my quip elsewhere in this thread about social-investing.

Yes, we should ban marketing of prescription medication directly to consumers. But that's just a start.

I do find far more sympathy with arguments that maybe bans and regulations won't work or will have unintended consequences. I don't sympathize as much with "ads are fine"

@wolftune @lightweight @snowdrift
Yesterday at the combini I saw "protein pasta", which is nothing but regular pasta because wheat contains protein.

Intentionally taking advantage of consumers' naivety is morally equivalent to false advertisement, but it can't be punished as easily 😞

@codewiz No. Any paid advertising contaminates all marketing. Imagine a world where you knew every exposure to a brand was earned, not bought, from those providing the exposure. The business of learning information would suddenly be a lot more simple, as bribery-motivated endorsements wouldn't be the norm. @wolftune @lightweight

@codewiz I don't think regulation is the way to go, even - I think it's more important we stop facilitating advertising with various grants and government purchasing of it. I'm concerned banning negative advertising, beyond provably false advertising, could be a political or social tool; imagine fb going "ads about other social media make us look bad, so should be banned." our governments aren't always bright, they might do it. @wolftune @lightweight

@codewiz @wolftune I'm pretty sure that a world without ads wouldn't be a worse place.

@lightweight @wolftune Has any jurisdiction ever outlawed ads completely? Would be interesting to see how it would reshape the economy... Some jobs would certainly disappear, but perhaps others would take their place.

@codewiz @lightweight

I didn't say whether outlawing ads would work (it's not politically possible). I just said ads are bad.

Also, jobs aren't an end in themselves. If jobs that produce zero or negative value disappear, that's good and there's no need to replace them. There's more to do in the world than people to do it. Not all of that is a "job" per se. See (Bullshit Jobs by David Graeber)

Anyway, Sao Paulo outlawed *outdoor* ads, and it was great in every way.

@codewiz
Capitalism is, by definition, exploitation. It's only moral defense is to make everyone else equally culpable, so that they become complicit in the defense. That brings us "right to work" laws and the principle of "caveat emptor," but there's no equivalent victim blaming or double speak for those situations where your relationship to the transaction is that of being the product
@lightweight @wolftune

@codewiz @lightweight @wolftune
I've run games and paid the bills with free will donations. Centralized media is promoted to concentrate costs, create barriers to competition, and collect rent on the consequences. Peer 2 peer technologies share costs directly and federation allows communities to share the expense. Approaches with inadequate trials include microtransactions and straight up socialism

@yaaps @codewiz @wolftune I usually refer to corporations as "engines of inequity" because that's essentially what they are.

@lightweight
"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country." - Thomas Jefferson

In case you see someone under the impression that "corporations are a threat to democracy" is a recent (2011) idea

@lightweight @yaaps @codewiz I focus on corporations as organized-supply-side. And that isn't inherently bad, but it explains inequities. The *power* of the supply side is due to its organizing. The demand side is divided individuals. Power comes from organizing and solidarity. Imagine corporations trying to keep their power if all the individual humans had to work without the organized solidarity of a corporation…

I'm not anti-power, I want the organized power to serve public interest.

@wolftune
In order for the relationship to be non-coercive, you need equal power (at least approximately so) on both sides of the transaction. My contention that workers owning the means of production and consumers owning the means of distribution is an optimal approach to achieve this is based on observation of publishing industries and the relationships of indie authors and game developers to current distribution channels

@wolftune
Problem is that the power is generally in line with the organizer's demands, and people are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals who can easily be led astray "for their own good."
@lightweight @yaaps @codewiz

@vik
@wolftune
That's a common outcome of organizing against something. Organizing *for* a thing can be intellectually engaging and has a better life expectancy

Also don't judge the working class for the education capitalism gave them or by the standards a privileged education may have given you. Everyone is capable of and deserving of self realization. You don't know what people are actually like until they've had that opportunity

@yaaps
My point being that there's a difference between a person and people.
@wolftune

@vik
@wolftune
Nuance is hard in this medium 👍

Top down leadership depends on group dynamics like that. When nominal leftists do the same thing, they get the same results. Driving people is like driving cattle; it's physically and mentally exhausting. It doesn't make sense if you care about the herd, but plenty if there's a slaughter house at the end

Flocking behavior is a better model for healthy group action and more respectful of individual autonomy

@codewiz @wolftune @lightweight i have issues with advertising for various reasons,

but the primary reason on the web is different to the primary reason in magazines, tv, etc.

in tv or newspapers, the same advertisement is delivered to everyone. it might be positioned so that say the sex clinic ad is near the article about some celibrity skinny dipping, but thats just strategy, in my eyes.

ads can be unethical and problematic, but thats down to capitalism more than the ads themselves.

the ads do not hinder the user's ability to access the other content. they do not make the content inaccessible for some users, based on the users' own choices. any user with a tv will see the ads, and then the program will continue. anyone reading the paper will see an ad, then the article will continue overleaf.

on a website, ads are flashy. they may popup. they use movement to distract users from the content (far worse than bright colors in magazine ads). they leech processing power, which can make computer usage difficult for people who choose not to spend their money on a faster computer. and they are targetted to an individual, which should not be done without consent.

some websites which i respect have adverts. these adverts are static. they are an image or body of text that the website owner has put onto the website after someone has paid them. theyre just extra content on the website. i like these ads. not necessarily because i like ads, but because these ads got past my ad blocker. and i respect respectful ads.

kinda rambled a bit there, but essentially no ads are not inherently bad and are probably a necessary evil, but advertising networks are a piece of shit.

@lightweight uh, but, but they all qualify for the socially-responsible investing criteria (not making cigarettes or weapons or selling fossil-fuels)! Just like those other responsible corporations Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase…

@wolftune thank you for also highlighting that those three companies are at their core damaging to the environment.

@wolftune planned obsolescence is not *that* bad; but enslaving your users by locking them up into a walled garden is

@bugaevc Yes, walled-gardens that sabotage software-freedom are arguably worse than planned-obsolescence. But planned-obsolescence is Apple's *main* business model, and the sabotage of software freedom is actually a side business that *helps* their obsolescence control.

@wolftune of course, there's nothing wrong with a business model based on selling devices & services. Whether Apple's business model is good and whether what they're doing is good are different questions; I'm arguing that a positive answer to the former doesn't mean that "Apple is not as bad".

@bugaevc I know it wouldn't always work in text here and didn't want to overplay the hyperbole/sarcasm.

The initial "not as bad" was a send-up of the people who would say "Apple is not as bad because they are a hardware company"

And my post was "Apple is not as bad because they are a ~~hardware~~ planned-obsolescence company" FTFY intention

@wolftune I tend to think the environmental issues with e-waste bear further examination in your analysis

@celesteh agreed, hence that planned-obsolescence might in fact be worse than walled-gardens. It's underappreciated how damaging it is, environmentally and even culturally.

Sign in to participate in the conversation
social.coop

social.coop is a cooperatively-run corner of the Fediverse. The instance is democratically governed by its members, who generally share an interest in the co-op model, but topics of discussion range widely.

If you are interested in joining our community, please review our Bylaws and Code of Conduct. If you agree with them, you may apply for membership on our instance via this link

Our instance is supported by sliding scale contributions of $1-10/mo made via Open Collective. You must have an active Open Collective account to apply for membership; you may set one up here