Advertising Sucks

Advertising is Almost Always Irrelevant

Dave Kinnear1-On Leadership

Advertising Sucks!

Advertising Sucks

I try hard to find differing views on topics of interest to mitigate confirmation bias as much as possible. Still, it’s a good feeling to have someone like Jeff Jarvis agree with me on a hot topic such as advertising! Over on his Buzz Machine blog post, Advertising Sucks, he goes to great lengths to explain why advertising is almost always irrelevant.

What Mr. Jarvis adds is that we are not going to fix the many ills of advertising with the newest fad, native ads, because consumers are smart enough to figure that out. Chartbeat has learned that users will scroll a web page with legitimately useful content 71% of the time, but will only do so 24% of the time with cleverly disguised native ads instead of honestly helpful content. Which draws him to the conclusion that users are smarter than the advertisers and media folks think they are — which means ads are an insult to the user’s intelligence. Needless to say, and of no surprise to those who frequent this blog, I heartily agree.

Be Found

For years now, I have been advocating the solution that advertising must pretty much stop, and businesses must work toward being found rather than pushing information on an uncaring and increasingly hostile public. According to International Business Times, nearly 150 million Internet users browse the web using one of the many ad-block software, a growth of 70% in the last year.

I look at this as more evidence that the business models of “yesterday” are broken. Since we aren’t “going back” to the good old days, then in so many ways, including advertising, it will be easier to scrap our business model entirely and start over with a clean sheet of paper. To be clear, I’m not advocating making revolutionary changes overnight but instead laying out the plan to implement evolutionary changes to our business models in an orderly fashion. The goal, nonetheless, is to replace the old ways of doing business.

Between a significant shift in the consuming public’s intolerance of sales and advertising and the increased effectiveness of technology to eliminate some jobs while creating fewer new jobs, we have little choice but to rethink our business models and our country’s economic model. There is no avoiding the onslaught.


I still have burning questions: What are you doing about being found? Are you shifting your advertising dollars to creating truly non-advertising native content useful for those finding you? How will your business model be forced to change if there is little or no effectiveness in advertising your products and services? Will you try and fight users blocking ads, or will you take the hint?

[Lightly edited in 9/2020 for our new website.]