AP Story on Advertiser Responsibility for Adware

Michael Gormley of the Associated Press has finally released his story on advertiser responsibility for adware (I interviewed with him almost a month ago). The article does a good job recapping the issues. I have a lot more to say on this topic; I’ve written an op-ed piece that I am hoping to publish in the near future. Stay tuned.

In the interim, this article illustrates the witchhunt process being used by the zealots. When “caught” advertising on adware, many advertisers will turn tail–the textbook response to unwanted PR. But advertisers aren’t all that excited about preemptively avoiding advertising on adware for a simple reason–advertising on adware is, in the words of Verizon’s spokesperson, “effective.”

If the zealots have their way, they will find a way to change the legal environment (or obfuscate the issue to make it sufficiently impossible to tell what the law is) to make advertisers feel some of their angst. However, the fact that many advertisers aren’t just folding in the face of zealousness should not be ignored. There’s real value being created by the advertising–not just for advertisers, but for consumers and society at large. We should not allow misdirected zeal to moot this value.