Internet advertisers face setbacks, users rejoice

By Stepha Poulin and By Stepha Poulin

IOS 11 is coming out this week– and for once (in my humble opinion) it has a useful new feature. However, advertisers are worried the update will completely ruin the advertising model currently in use.

The new update will stop targeted advertisements from following users from webpage-to-webpage while using Apple’s Safari. The feature has been dubbed “intelligent tracking prevention.”

Targeted ads are unsettling. I know my internet history is being stored or tracked all the time, but targeted ads are a reminder of how our data can be put into use. For example, I always get ads for the college I used to attend.

It’s even more unsettling when you mention a product or show to a friend, and then an ad for the said product appears. I could conspire about it for ages, but rather than putting on my tinfoil hat, I’ll present a more likely explanation.

What we experience is most likely the “Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon.” This term describes instances when we learn about a new concept or idea, and we notice it coming up in conversation constantly. With the internet, it’s much easier for the phenomenon to take effect, especially due to ad algorithms.

The phenomenon can be seen as a synchronicity with an underlying meaning, but I doubt God is sending me a sign to buy leggings or a shirt that says “Daddy” in Barbie font.

Apple’s new update may combat the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon. However, according to an article in The Guardian, six advertising firms have already contacted Apple with concerns about the update.

While I understand companies are trying to make a profit, I fail to understand why the update upsets them. Advertising has been around for decades, and prior to the onset of the internet we still had ads. I find it hard to believe Apple’s update will be a huge inconvenience for advertisers.

If a product or company has to rely on algorithms and data mining to get their product out there, then maybe they should create something with a wider appeal.

Also, there is a lack of precedent for the way the internet economy works. The internet is relatively new, so these companies should expect this new market to be changing. It’s up to them to keep up with the times.

Mobile browsers make it so easy to click on unwanted ads. Ads have also become harder to spot and targeted ads can disguise themselves as news articles or games.

So, when IOS 11 releases this week, we’ll see just how well the new feature works. Hopefully I’ll stop getting fake virus notifications from the seedy websites I visit…