Advertisers can now purchase your browser history, should you be worried?


Robert Naylor, Contributing Writer

If you have not heard yet, a bill was recently passed allowing for advertisement companies to purchase individual’s browser history. Why has this not received that much flak from the internet? Simple, because while they are indeed invading your private browser history, they are doing so to fine-tune their target demographics for future advertisement. If you did not read my article about the pull of advertisements from YouTube, you might be a little confused about my stance regarding this newly passed law.

The widespread advertisement pull from YouTube has left many “YouTubers” worried about the future of their ambitious internet careers. Once a goldmine for the average YouTuber, we are now beginning to see this wealth of advertisement revenue vastly dwindle. Many YouTubers, most notably Ethan Klein of h3h3 Productions, have spoken out about this issue and their concerns regarding their futures in the YouTube universe. In my opinion, this newly implemented law can help the “YouTube drought.”

A huge problem with YouTube currently is the widespread uploading that occurs on the website. It is practically impossible for YouTube and Google (the parent company) to sift through the vast ranges of uploading seen on the website. This is why the Wall Street Journal pointed out how some racist or anti-Semitic videos are still left to be monetized, understandably frustrating advertisement corporations. How can this new law help with this issue? If advertisers can invest into pools of viewers, and locate where a large portion of Americans are investing their viewership time, perhaps we can see a new investment into YouTube advertisement.

Additionally, I find it quite humorous that corporations are investing their time and money into this strategy, because the dark side of my humor comes to think that these companies are going to regret what they invest into. According to an article by the Huffington Post, porn websites get more visitors than Netflix, Amazon, and Twitter every single month, combined. To think that advertisers are going to have to trudge through the dark tendencies of Americans actually feels like a form of poetic justice.

Further on, I question how this is so different from the already implemented Patriot Act “spying” that has been performed on us for over a decade. With cellular devices having cameras that can be accessed at any point, to the more nuanced Google Home and Alexa, our privacy has long been out of our grasp. The way I see it, this is just the world’s way of stepping into the future; call it “neo-consumerism” if you will. If I get ads which are more in tune to what I believe in, then the trickle-down-economics of such strategies will become vastly more efficient.

Some ads miss the mark for a large portion of Americans, and this effort will allow ad companies to waste less capital in their formulation. For example, the “Make Love Not Walls” campaign by the clothing company Diesel, frustrates me to the point where I would never consider buying the brand. I am a big supporter of building the wall, and if advertisers knew that before-hand, maybe I would see a different commercial casted by Diesel which would better align with my views. This in turn would make the company much more efficient in their advertisement efforts, therefore allowing for the company to perform better in the long-run. In conclusion, it is my hope that these measures will not be used outside of advertising.

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