John Naughton: Bad news for online advertisers – you’ve been ’ad | John Naughton

Precision marketing through digital and social media aims to open our hearts and wallets. If only

There is, alas, no such thing as a free lunch. The trouble with digital technology, though, is that for a long time it encouraged us to believe that this law of nature had been suspended. Take email as an example. In the old days, if you wanted to send a friend a postcard saying: “Just thinking of you”, you had to find a postcard and a pen, write the message, find a stamp and walk to a postbox. Two days later – if you were lucky – your card reached its destination. But with email you just type the message, press “send” and in an instant it is delivered to your friend’s inbox, sometimes at the other end of the world. No stamp, no expense, no hassle.

It turns out that the advertising industry is beginning to smell a rat in this hi-tech nirvana

Related: Robert Mercer: the big data billionaire waging war on mainstream media

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