Monday, September 21, 2015

And Now a Word From Our Sponsors

I am an old-fashioned girl and was brought up in the age of television and radio -- and eventually the Internet. As a child the words, "And now a word from our sponsors,: was my chance to go to the bathroom, get a snack, or talk (quietly if my parents were in bed late Friday night while we watched chiller). That was when the commercials came on. Sponsors paid to have their products showcased on TV -- and radio in the days of the soap operas when soap operas were sponsored by soap companies, but they warned you first. Some people sat through the commercials and considered buying whatever was advertised and some talked or socialized until the program came back on. Out of a half-hour show, losing 2 minutes was not such an ordeal. That was in the good old days.

Advertising has gone high tech now, turning into the online version of Minority Report where everything one does on the computer is tagged, clocked, and ads shuffled into your online viewing on virtually every site you visit. On YouTube the ads are shuffled in among videos that might pertain to your search or are similar to what you're already watching. On Google they come in first before your search results and populate the sidebar to the right. Virtually every site, especially entertainment, newspaper, and magazine sites slow your feed with popup windows and ads that cannot be skipped until you are at least 5 seconds into the advertisement. Even on YouTube users monetize their videos with ads in tiny windows that pop up and must be shut down while they cover whatever you're watching or are of the variety that require you to wait at least 5 seconds before you can shut them down. On virtually every site the pages are littered and clogged and slow down scrolling with ads, ads, ads.

I don't know about you, but I'm getting tired of being hammered, pelted, and inconvenienced by the advertising business encroaching on every single bit of my private territory. Ad blockers only work sometimes and become cumbersome to allow certain sites to show their popups. Programs are either Trojan horses with embedded advertisements or come with ads built in and clinging to the code like barnacle explosions to slow down your computer and gum up the works all to sell you something, anything, everything. I paid for a cleaner to get rid of the code, but they're there everywhere. I've invested in a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to mask my online presence and prevent more of the same. Nothing really works. The advertisers will find a way and it's no longer as simple as getting up to go to the bathroom or get a snack, not in today's world where commercials on a half hour show are up to 10 minutes out of every 30. I want my anonymity back.

I want not to have to search a page where I'm reading the text to find out why my ears are being seared with a loud and intrusive video playing somewhere on the page that started up a few seconds after I landed on the page. I gave up my television for two reasons: one to not have to watch a show riddled with commercials and two to avoid the insipid content of reality TV that bears no resemblance to reality outside the idiot box. Is it any wonder that people are going to whatever methods necessary to avoid being sold something every 5 minutes?

It's costing me a lot to avoid the commercials and nowhere I go can I avoid the popup videos, popup advertisers, popup pages that leech onto my browser or having to wade through the advertisements before I can get to the content I was searching for in the first place. I want out of the constantly streaming ad stream and pages that don't take forever to load because of all the ads, commercials, spam, junk, and crap that tag along for the ride.

And it doesn't stop there. Buy a product and before you've had time to open the package when it arrives and try it out for a few days the seller is bugging you with emails and by phone several times a day to ask how you rate their product. I delete most of them from my email inbox, and he more persistent ones I write in their ratings comment box just what I think of their practices. As people keep reminding me, the Internet is forever -- and so are my digital not so neat and clean footprints. Footprints I'd rather being making on the sellers'/advertisers' backs wearing the equivalent of a bed of nails on my feet with very sharp daggerlike nails. Leave me alone. Stop bothering me. Stop begging me to validate you. Stop. Stop. STOP!

If I continue to buy your product that is the usual sign of someone who is pleased with the product. If something is wrong, I'll let everyone know. If you do good, really good, I'll compliment you, but not every single day to every product I buy. No one has that kind of time.

I want the simple world back when advertisers were confined to the newspapers, magazines, television, and radio where I can easily avoid them and not on every single page I visit online. No one needs that much validation and no one needs to buy everything they see. It makes me want to hop an Indian spaceship and travel to Mars -- except they'd find me there and jack into my hypersleep capsule and feed their content directly into my mind. Enough already.

That is all. Disperse.

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