What if there was no advertising? | George Nimeh | TEDxVienna



I can still remember my first time it was a 1994 and I was 27 years old that was the first time I ever clicked on a banner ad on the Internet but actually it's not true see the thing is I don't remember most of the advertising I see on the Internet let alone do i click on much and I bet that that's probably the same thing for a lot of you and I think that's a problem it's a problem because if we want to keep the internet full of valuable interesting entertaining and fun stuff to do we need to find a way for people to get paid enough for them to make a living from it today other than Google Facebook Apple Amazon and a few of the newbies that are out there like Netflix or Ober or or Airbnb you know apart from those folks for the most part the business model of the Internet is broken does anybody know what that is that's the first banner ad that was ever on the Internet it was a website called hot-wired now it's called Wired magazine and it was in October of 1994 it's 21 years ago and along with that ad they ran a bunch of others and a few from an agency called organic online which I joined a couple years after that so somehow some of this is my fault and so kind of on behalf of the internet the advertising agencies the programmatic marketers those guys with the pop-ups and all that stuff I'd like to say we're sorry you know the thing is it's it's pretty bad right but the thing we didn't really plan it this way it was an experiment 21 years ago we just tried to figure something out we thought hey let's give this a try but somehow it's stuck it became the thing that we need to do it's the way we fund the Internet today right that the point is there's about the same percentage right it's about the same thing right getting hit by lightning and clicking on a banner what was the last time you purposefully did this thing well these are facts is fact that is that is the world's where we're in this is it so I grew up in Rochester in upstate New York that's where Kodak is from you might have heard of them there that little photography company that had the patents for digital photography and sat on them for about 20 years and are currently being disrupted out of business it's a sad tale but I kind of learned disruption firsthand that way so I guess so somehow for me it's a it's a good thing but I thought it'd be interesting to look at a couple of other companies to see if the past can teach us something about the present in the future this is Wikipedia in 1874 all right look how far it's come from from way back then to today this is the iPad in 1955 and as a little side note when people tell you that being digital is antisocial because you're all head down refer them to this thing it's human behavior it has nothing to do with digital technology it's just the way we way we are right this is whatsapp in 1944 and if they were eating the notes it would be snapchat that's my best joke of the day this is the New York Times in 1996 when I was working there this is the advertising that was on the the New York Times in that time right – little banner ads this is the New York Times in 1990 in 2014 it could be 1994 it may as well be as 2014 that's the advertising that was on the New York Times at that time one big banner ad kind of reminds you of this right so where we are it's where we are it's terrifying to me it's hilarious but it's terrifying there are 200 million people a month using an ad blocker today worldwide 200 million it's not a there's nothing subtle about this number it's 200 million people going No thank you I don't want this stuff how many how many people here use an ad blocker yeah you're not shy hey that's my point this is my point you don't want it's going at 41% a year in Austria 25% of the quality media websites standard presa etc career where I had worked 25 percent a quarter of our traffic has ad blockers installed on more technical websites or youth web sites that number climbs over 30 35 40 % that's 40% of your business that just disappears in the advertising and marketing business we like to you know we kind of look at ad blocker akin to the same way of the rules of Fight Club the first rule of ad blocker is you do not talk about ad blocker the second rule of ad blocker is you do not talk about ad blocker but I mean it's pretty easy right why not why wouldn't you if the more people learn about this stuff the more they want to use it because what they get in return is normally crap right so this is me hi chick Sammy hi try to pronounce that five times fast I studied him in graduate school he's a TED speaker you should look him up just not now he gave a great talk on on flow and happiness and this idea of flow is a state that you get in when you're in the zone where you're feeling like you know that things are going your way and the internet you you can feel that way when you're involved in something that you like when you're watching a video that you love or reading an article or doing something funny and advertising today gets in your way pop-up ads unskipable video ads these things that block the flow is counterintuitive to the idea of having a memorable and pleasurable experience online and that's a fundamental problem with the business that they're in now people hate this stuff and they hate the fact that advertising costs the money if you're on mobile with a fixed contract it costs you money to download people's advertisements and it also costs you time to things that we're kind of hard-pressed for these days in Germany in Austria we have a heightened sense of personal data and data protection and that gets in the way and promotes this idea of why one should use an ad blocker I mean the these are the only cookies third party cookies especially I think people really want as opposed to being tracked across the internet from 60,000 sources that they have no idea who's doing it and and mobile Mobile will be huge right it's it's it's it's sixty percent of the traffic in the United States 6040 desktop 6040 mobile to desktop in Europe and in Austria it's about 50/50 and it's growing and at the moment I can't think of a single decent business model other than some of what Facebook is doing with their little advertising but normal banner ads on mobile suck right what when you click on them normally it's an accident all right how many of you have accidentally clicked on a mobile ad with your thumb right you're like back back back back back right we have invented an accidental business model and it's not sustainable it's not sustainable people talk about the digital revolution I think it's an apocalypse I think we've created an environment that's unsustainable and something needs to change and so it got me thinking if they turn the music up you might even hear it what if there was no advertising wouldn't it be nice turn that up a little be nice so you're outdoors it doesn't get your way anymore you look right through it doesn't get me way you're off for a stroll you don't get bombarded the spaces are empty the architecture shines through and things are just fine white spaces your days are clear everything is just fine Times Square transformed right it becomes beautiful the New York Times an easy place to hang out no more advertising bothering you the guard the Washington Post the same thing websites that have more advertising than content suddenly become usable again and you too without free rolls or without advertising wouldn't that be nice I wouldn't that be great somebody sent me this link to de presa here in Austria I couldn't figure out where the content was I was the chief digital officer at career until September 1st of this year I resigned to try to be a little bit better and do this with you to your today um but even where I was working this is the home page of that website now where are we what have we become armin wolf would yeah the same thing I'm sure he thinks the same way but if we get rid of it if we get rid of it all what really happens this is snowfall from the New York Times have any of you seen it it won the Pulitzer Prize a few years ago it's a brilliant piece of work it told the story of a skiing accident a tragedy actually but in a way that no one had ever really seen before videos interviews infographics a beautiful beautiful piece of work this is the NSA decoded on the Guardian but have you seen this it was such an approachable piece of work again videos infographics interviews with people text images an incredible amount of work went into making an incredibly complex story something very approachable and for me it was it was a fantastic thing it got me closer to this issue it brought me an understanding what would happen if the advertising is gone what happens to the social networks that we all rely on most of whom are ad funded today what happens what happens to the fun stuff what happens to the cats and the the night shows that we like what happens to even the fun stuff if we can't find a way of paying for it if we can't fund the Internet in a way that makes enough money for people who do it but then doesn't piss you all off too much so what if Austria could help solve that problem it got me thinking in somewhere around 400 BC Plato said those who tell the stories rural society and it took a couple thousand years but in the 21st century we seem to have figure that out here in Austria case in point Felix Baumgartner I had the pleasure of working for Red Bulls for a few years of my life and I discovered that in Austria there's a company that figured out that telling stories was much more fun than doing advertising works millions of people enjoyed this story told by a brand or Chris Davenport an off-piste skier who I worked with as a 16 part video series about what it's like to be in Alaska or in South America and be on piste he dumped me out of a helicopter once in order to take a couple of pictures into an interview it's another talk and another time or even a career we worked on telling stories across platforms in a different way that didn't do advertising but that put storytelling and content in the middle of the argument so there's ways to do it you just have to look but what can you do what if what if you could help fix this right what happens if the next time you went to Wikipedia and saw a jimmy wales mug on the ton on the on the internet and jimmy was asking you for five euros what would happen if you gave wikipedia five euros next time they'd run fun drives of a year they need it our kids use it I use it you all probably use it on a daily basis what if we gave them five euros what if mariya pop over on brain pickings for example anybody know brain pickings here another one to jot down right great great stuff it's it's it's inspiring its daily it's a lot of work and it's funded by donations now people reaching out and saying if you love what I do please help us do it and I think that's a much better way it's one of the better ways of doing this or their standard for example that has this idea of fair use where you can get rid of the ads if you're willing to pay for stuff and if you're not willing to pay for stuff they say please let us show you the ads it's kind of a fair arrangement certainly better than some of the stuff that's going on today and in your corporate lives if any of you have the ability I like to kind of look at it like the iceberg 10% is the part that you see it's the tip of the iceberg what would happen if 10% of your budgets if you found a way of clawing that back and telling stories that meant something to people instead of putting advertising in front of and being more authentic and saying things that people would want to hear as opposed to just being posters in some places something to think about it's you know doctors scientists an astronaut an over 90 year old woman who I think everyone wants to be their grandmother I I am standing on a geek you know I'm standing on the shoulders of giants today and as the son of another Syrian immigrant it's been an honor a pleasure and a bit of a dream to be with you here today thank you




Comments
  1. How would we get introduced to new products and services that are trying to get out into the market, and the product could be very beneficial to society?

  2. I loathe advertising. It wastes my time. Let's recognize nothing is really free, and we pay for content with repetitious, bandwidth hogging, obnoxious advertising. There has to be a better way.

  3. advertisement are like modern day cave painting. Sure, they are useful but after wards their just useless junk to be looked at.

  4. An advertising hack moaning about how advertising is so pervasive and invasive? Absurd to call this very illuminating….

  5. I think this would be better if he spent less time talking about the sorry state of advertising on the Web and more time talking about alternative forms of revenue.

  6. There's a reason youtube red has no ads. You're paying to become the customer, not the part-customer part-product hybrid you are as a free user, force-fed ads on the videos you watch. While I agree that paying for services you find to be either useful or of good quality or both, it's never the easy thing to do, like some people in here taking it all for granted.

    A free internet is not Free.

  7. Well, what I'd like is advertising that doesn't track me from site to site and by a plethora of trackers. I'm fine with ads that are ~10-15 seconds on youtube and unskippable, but more than that and it gets obtrusive, especially on mobile. Also, one idea I've been pondering is ads targetting a website's audience, instead of the audience individually. Say, you go to ifixit and get ads based around tools to fix things instead of concert tickets you were looking for earlier.

    I am okay with advertising, I just want less tracking, less targetting, and more courtesy with ads. 🙂 Perhaps that IS asking too much :/

  8. If people aren't clicking on banner adds it's not because of the advertisement it's because the product isn't your thing. Nothing to do with the advertising itself. The reason I don't click on makeup adds is because I'm a guy not because the advertising was bad. Ted x with more bullshit

  9. Ads is one of the most dangerous cancer of the society. Not just that is bad looking or anything but it is taking our free will from us by telling us how to act and what to do.
    Donation is a way better business model but then all non-essential for humanity business would be down in a couple of months (maybe for the best actually)

  10. I will do whatever it takes to avoid ads.
    "Oh there will be nothing if there are no ads."
    Fine, I'll live with that.

  11. Adapt or die. I will never pay for any news service. nor will I waste a significant amount of my time watching unskippable ads on youtube.

  12. Apologies: I'm coming into this discussion very late; I just now saw the video. I enjoyed this video and wish the presentation could have been longer. As crazy as it might sound, I feel sometimes advertising has a way of melting into popular culture, for me at least—kind of like how you might reference a funny memorable moment from a TV show or film. I'm not necessarily against advertising, but I oppose what it has done to our landscapes and Internet "experience." I feel most reasonable people can be understanding of basic Internet advertising. But it's the ads that completely hijack your browser that make people crazy. Ads that fade out your current screen only to display one humongous, full-screen ad, or a mandatory 15-second commercial before I can see a three-minute video on YouTube. I could go on and on. Lol.

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