media

Is there ever a day that mattresses are not on sale?

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The prospect of data-driven ads, linked to expressed preferences by identifiable people, proved in this past decade to be irresistible. From 2010 through 2019, revenue for Facebook has gone from just under $2 billion to $66.5 billion per year, almost all from advertising. Google’s revenue rose from just under $25 billion in 2010 to just over $155 billion in 2019. Neither company’s growth seems in danger of abating.

The damage to a healthy public sphere has been devastating. All that ad money now going to Facebook and Google once found its way to, say, Conde Nast, News Corporation, the Sydney Morning Herald, NBC, the Washington Post, El País, or the Buffalo Evening News. In 2019, more ad revenue flowed to targeted digital ads in the U.S. than radio, television, cable, magazine, and newspaper ads combined for the first time. It won’t be the last time. Not coincidentally, journalists are losing their jobs at a rate not seen since the Great Recession.

Meanwhile, there is growing concern that this sort of precise ad targeting might not work as well as advertisers have assumed. Right now my Facebook page has ads for some products I would not possibly ever desire.

{ Slate | Continue reading | Thanks Tim }

related { Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says his company is developing a set of laws to regulate facial recognition technology that it plans to share with federal lawmakers. }

how many oysters does it take to get horny

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Yeast consumes the sugar in the grapes and converts it to ethanol, carbon dioxide, and heat. Different varieties of grapes and strains of yeasts produce different styles of wine.

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[We] discovered at least 450 websites in a network of local and business news organizations, each distributing thousands of algorithmically generated articles and a smaller number of reported stories. Of the 450 sites we discovered, at least 189 were set up as local news networks across ten states within the last twelve months by an organization called Metric Media. […]

Titles like the East Michigan News, Hickory Sun, and Grand Canyon Times have appeared on the web ahead of the 2020 election. These networks of sites can be used in a variety of ways: as ‘stage setting’ for events, focusing attention on issues such as voter fraud and energy pricing, providing the appearance of neutrality for partisan issues, or to gather data from users that can then be used for political targeting. […]

Some of these mysterious, partisan local news sites publish physical newspapers and many have minimal social media presence. At first, they do not  appear to be owned by the same network or organization, but a number of clues suggest that they are intimately linked. Our analysis demonstrates the links between the networks by identifying shared markers, such as unique analytics tokens, server IP addresses, and even shared design templates and bylines on articles. Further, the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service for many of these websites—but not all—suggest they are part of Locality Labs, LLC. 

{ Columbia Journalism Review | Continue reading }

still { Martin Kersels, Pink Constellation, 2001 }

experience each individual color in its endless combinations with all other colors

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Urgency Reader is a quick assembling of texts, risograph printed in Pawtucket, RI, and bound as a book at the last minute to launch at the Odds and Ends Art Book Fair at Yale University Art Gallery on December 6, 2019. […] Inspired by Omnibus News #1 (1969), Assembling (1970–87), and other assembling publications, Urgency Reader is an experiment in publishing as a gesture of call and response: the quick circulation of a charged collection of texts—in some cases raw, in-progress, or sketchy—to a small but deeply engaged audience. […] The order of the texts as they appear in the book was determined by chance by assigning a series of random integers from random.org to the alphabetical list of contributors.

{ Paul Soulellis | Continue reading + Download }

In 1969 three Germans, Thomas Niggl, Christian D’Orville and Heimrad Prem, issued a call for submissions for a periodical in which interested individuals were invited to submit up to 2 pages of art works in an edition of 1500 copies each. Contributors were responsible for the cost of reproducing their own submissions, and all works would be accepted with no editing or censorship. Published the same year under the title Omnibus News, the periodical was comprised of 192 submissions (384 pages) sequenced alphabetically in an A4 format and in an edition of 1500.

{ Arte Contemporanea | Continue reading }

photos { Tania Franco Klein | Adrià Cañameras }

Are we someone else when we lie?

[Google CEO] Eric Schmidt continued: “Our business is highly measurable. We know that if you spend X dollars on ads, you’ll get Y dollars in revenues.” At Google, Schmidt maintained, you pay only for what works.

Karmazin was horrified. He was an old fashioned advertising man, and where he came from, a Super Bowl ad cost three million dollars. Why? Because that’s how much it cost. What does it yield? Who knows. […]

In 2018, more than $273bn dollars was spent on digital ads globally, according to research firm eMarketer. Most of those ads were purchased from two companies: Google ($116bn in 2018) and Facebook ($54.5bn in 2018). […]

Picture this. Luigi’s Pizzeria hires three teenagers to hand out coupons to passersby. After a few weeks of flyering, one of the three turns out to be a marketing genius. Customers keep showing up with coupons distributed by this particular kid. The other two can’t make any sense of it: how does he do it? When they ask him, he explains: “I stand in the waiting area of the pizzeria.” […] Economists refer to this as a “selection effect.” It is crucial for advertisers to distinguish such a selection effect (people see your ad, but were already going to click, buy, register, or download) from the advertising effect (people see your ad, and that’s why they start clicking, buying, registering, downloading). […]

The online marketing world has the same strategy as Luigi’s Pizzeria and the flyer-handling teens. The benchmarks that advertising companies use – intended to measure the number of clicks, sales and downloads that occur after an ad is viewed – are fundamentally misleading. None of these benchmarks distinguish between the selection effect (clicks, purchases and downloads that are happening anyway) and the advertising effect (clicks, purchases and downloads that would not have happened without ads).

It gets worse: the brightest minds of this generation are creating algorithms which only increase the effects of selection. Consider the following: if Amazon buys clicks from Facebook and Google, the advertising platforms’ algorithms will seek out Amazon clickers. And who is most likely to click on Amazon? Presumably Amazon’s regular customers. In that case the algorithms are generating clicks, but not necessarily extra clicks.

{ The Correspondent | Continue reading }

a jungle of love and debts and jangled through a jumble of life in doubts

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{ Overnight, Gem Spa was transformed into SchitiBank | more | ThanksTim }

‘Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.’ –George Bernard Shaw

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Faces in general and attractive faces, in particular, are frequently used in marketing, advertising, and packaging design. However, few studies have examined the effects of attractive faces on people’s choice behavior.

The present research examines whether attractive (vs. unattractive) faces increase individuals’ inclination to choose either healthy or unhealthy foods. […]

exposure to attractive (vs. unattractive) opposite‐sex faces increased choice likelihood of unhealthy foods.

{ Psychology & Marketing | Continue reading }

offset lithograph / vinyl cover { Damien Hirst, Kate Moss — Use Money Cheat Death, 2009 | The record is a one-sided, white vinyl disc with a mainly monotonous beeping interrupted by what is purported to be Kate Moss’ voice in telephone call mode for about 30 seconds, then more beeping and finally Damien Hirst himself telling us that it’s okay for artists to earn money. }

A skiddleebebop, we rock, scooby doo, and guess what, America, we love you

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The Many Reasons to Run for President When You Probably Don’t Stand a Chance

• There are book deals and TV contracts and maybe a cabinet position if your side wins.
• Recent history suggests there is almost no downside to giving it a shot.

{ NY Times | full story }

stills { One Got Fat, 1963 | bicycle safety film }

I’ll show you how to sneak up on the roof of the drugstore

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[I]t is getting harder to target gamers via traditional advertising techniques, because an increasing number of consumers spend more of their digital days behind paywalls, where there is often no advertising. These are also typically the most engaged and most-spending audiences.

To win some of the attention back, games companies must target gamers behind paywalls, be it through product placement or original content on video streaming services or podcasts and playlists on music services.

{ MIDIA | Continue reading }

Fuck your white horse and a carriage

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Advertising is ubiquitous in modern life. Yet might it be harmful to the happiness of nations? This paper blends longitudinal data on advertising with large-scale surveys on citizens’ well-being. The analysis uses information on approximately 1 million randomly sampled European citizens across 27 nations over 3 decades. We show that increases in national advertising expenditure are followed by significant declines in levels of life satisfaction.

{ University of Warwick | PDF }

photo { Joel Meyerowitz, New York City, 1968 }

‘It is only as an aesthetic phenomenon that life and existence are eternally justified.’ —Nietzsche

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Given that the fictional narratives found in novels, movies, and television shows enjoy wide public consumption, memorably convey information, minimize counter-arguing, and often emphasize politically-relevant themes, we argue that greater scholarly attention must be paid to theorizing and measuring how fiction affects political attitudes.

We argue for a genre-based approach for studying fiction effects, and apply it to the popular dystopian genre.

Results across three experiments are striking: we find consistent evidence that dystopian narratives enhance the willingness to justify radical—especially violent—forms of political action. […]

Our research not only reinforces past work showing that people often fail to distinguish between fact and fiction in learning about the world, but also illustrates that the lessons of fiction may not be what they seem. […] Rather than creating political cynicism in readers and viewers or showing them that girls can be powerful too—both lessons that are at this point probably amply supplied by the American news media and lived experience—dystopian fiction seems to be teaching them a more subtle and perhaps more concerning message: that violence and illegal activities may be both legitimate and necessary to pursue justice. Dystopian fiction appears to subtly expand the political imagination of viewers and readers to encompass a range of scenarios outside the normal realm of democratic politics, and what people then consider reasonable and thinkable appears to expand accordingly.

These results should also highlight the peril for political scientists in assuming that fiction is just entertainment. The stories we tell ourselves have profound implications for how we think about political ethics and political possibilities, and as scholars of politics, we can and should do more to map out the effects of politically-inflected fiction and entertainment.

{ Cambridge Core | Continue reading }

still { Harriet Andersson in Ingmar Bergman’s Summer with Monika, 1953 }

that bomb shit burning, we smoking

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{ Caper magazine, May 1959 | Enlarge }