Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Digital Indecency

I imagined the web as a platform that would allow everyone, everywhere
to share information, access opportunities, and collaborate.

— Tim Berners-Lee

Starfleet General Order 1, you'll recall, was the
Prime Directive: all personnel should refrain from interfering with the natural development of communities.

Marketers, by cravenly ignoring the web's Prime Directive—to help users share and collaborate—are destroying the medium, says Kirk Chayfitz this month in Chief Content Officer.

Marketers "have failed to see that digital requires a creative approach that is diametrically opposed to the blunt-instrument sales messages of traditional ads," he writes.

As a result, users are demonstrating their "exponentially growing disgust with an industry that has admitted showing little or no regard for people's needs and desires."

They're blocking ads.

Chayfitz prescribes these six rules for restoring "digital decency" to web advertising:

Take responsibility. Marketers must stop blaming agencies; they write the checks.

Do no harm. Ads shouldn't fan users' frustrations. Keep data loads light, don't block content, and don't distract with needless video and animation.

Bust silos. Integrate all digital advertising under one officer.

White-list the sites you want to support. Don't fund fraudsters, charlatans and extremists by running ads on their sites.

Audit. Put the right to audit ad buys in your contracts with agencies. Insist on accountability.

Be useful. Provide users valuable experiences, not repetitive sales pitches. "The dream of digital was always to democratize communication and help make a better world," Chayfitz writes. "Take that to heart."

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