Last week, I did a search on Amazon, looking for the correct spelling of an author’s name. I didn’t want to buy his book, nonetheless for several succeeding days, I was dogged by promos whenever I surfed the web. I wasn’t intrigued. I felt assaulted.
What I didn’t know was the cost of these promos. As Felix Salmon points out in The Guardian, commercials are “voracious eaters of bandwith, which means they can radically slow the speed of our internet connections.” (“How ads smother the web,” The Week, July 31, 2015, pg. 34) Now that I know, I’m forced to ask, “Who gives promoters the right to bombard me with videos before I can see what I want to see?” The web isn’t free, after all. Unlike commercial television, I pay for my connection. For that, I should be allowed to travel where I choose without interruption. Nor am I a commodity to which other commodities must be sold. But try to convince Wall Street of that.
This notion of limitless commercial expansion is absurd, particularly as there are those who predict the end of global growth is near. Noah Smith of BlombergView.com (The Week, July 31, 2015 pg. 34) suggests China will be the last country to leap into industrialization on a large scale. The remaining third world countries will be shut out because manufacturing is on a decline. (Ibid pg. 34.) Technology has disrupted industrial development, creating cheap goods without an army of workers. (Ibid pg.34) With the number of workers diminished, few will be left to buy goods and economic growth, as we know it, will reach an end point.
I might happy to see commercials fade, but that would be short-sighted. Like the canary in the coal mine, the decline of commercials signals a sick economy, as it did from 2008-2010. For better or worse, pop up adds, like the abundance of fruit flies in a banana warehouse, are a sign that times are good.
I accept the bitter with the sweet. Speaking “sweet,” where did I see that ad for a 4-tiered German chocolate cake?