[Reminder to daily readers – we are posting once a week during the summer]
Six months from now, this will be a hot topic. Once again, you will have read it here first.
Over the past many months, dozens of companies have amassed millions upon millions of dollars in venture capital, building out technology to “automate” and “optimize” the trafficking of advertisements to Internet users.
Some recent examples:
Jut weeks ago, a company called Rocket Fuel raised $50 million.
“Rocket Fuel provides artificial intelligence advertising solutions [sic] that allow marketers to power their advertising across display, video, mobile, and social media.” (Don’t worry – we don’t know what that means, either.)
Last Fall, some companies that traffic video ads raised some serious cash. Within weeks of each other, YuMe raised $12 million, BrightRoll received $30 million, and Tremor Video picked up a cool $37 million.
And in March, RadiumOne mugged investors for a reported $50 million. Excerpts from the related MediaPost story:
“RadiumOne promises better results by mining the social graph to target ads more precisely than traditional online ad networks…After segmenting people with similar interests into ‘social clusters,’ it uses a proprietary algorithm to model lookalikes of these groups and retarget them in real-time around the Web.” (Don’t worry – we don’t know what that means, either.)
In a cruel twist, a technology paradox if you will, these ongoing digital advancements have just about destroyed the user experience. We now have the slowest loading websites. Ever.
Go to Forbes, Huffington Post, MSNBC, or Mashable, for example. Count “1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, etc.” while your browser loads the page. Watch the bottom bar on your screen as several strange url addresses load in (“downloading such-and-such url,” “waiting for such-and-such url,” etc.)
It’s like watching the beginning of a TV drama, where the credits keep rolling across the screen, finally getting to “Directed By” just seconds before the first commercial break.
Keep counting, as you stab at your cursor, trying unsuccessfully to scroll down the page, until the site gives you back cursor control. Finally, count until the page hops back to the top on its own, even though you have somehow managed to scroll halfway down the site.
Website page load times used to be measured in fractions of a second. Nowadays, users are bullied, as long as TEN SECONDS, so that the newly rich tech companies can:
- Serve us site content
- Authenticate us
- Cookie us
- Serve us ad content
- “Location” us
- Match us
- Segment us
- “Retarget” us
- Pixel us
- Recookie us
- Serve us more ad content (“on the fly”)
- Count us
- Track us