Questionable content, possibly linked

Tag: ads

AdEx Ad Purchasing Results

As part of my hyperreality investigations, I recently tested out a decentralized crypto-based ad network called AdEx.

One interesting element is you top up your account with DAI ahead of time, rather than wait to be billed (read: screwed) by Google Ads at the end of the month (if you’re not vigilant about your spend). Another interesting element is there appears to be no moderation or ad review & approval process. Which might be good or bad, depending on where you stand.

There are a number of drawbacks though. I won’t do a full assessment here, but it appears all ads are image-based. If there’s a text ad option, I didn’t see it. Then there are quite a lot of settings, etc. that are not entirely clear what they are. Same for content category names. When you choose where your ads will be placed, you pick from categories like “Politics” (straightforward-ish), but then there are categories like “Irregular Content” or “Deceptive / Phishing” which… I’m not sure about.

Then, of course, there are ETH network fees, which I guess I was foolishly not expecting, because I think the site advertised “no hidden fees,” iirc. So despite putting about $20 USD into DAI, and starting with an ad buy of 5 DAI against one image-based ad unit, I had to pay a fee of 14.50 DAI on top of that to activate it.

Which, okay, it’s an experiment. But the initial estimate of impressions for 5 DAI was 10K impressions. Instead, I ended up with a little under 3K. And for all that, only netted 22 clicks. Okay, maybe my ad sucked. Probably. But it looks like the sites it ran also pretty much sucked, upon my manually checking them:

These appear to be almost all entirely spam sites. Do they get legit visitors? Maybe? It’s basically impossible to tell. Granted, this was an experiment, but it doesn’t exactly fill me with hope and excitement about the possibility of using alternative crypto ad exchanges over something like Google Ads.

Question: profiteering from fake news

I don’t remember seeing it addressed in any committee hearings, but perhaps it was. Has anyone answered how much money Google has made as a result of AdSense ads placed on fake news sites? Would be really interesting to see an analysis on that…

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