Over the course of the last 15 years I’ve learned a lot of tricks to keep spammers from getting my email, and spyware from getting installed. I do my best to create informative posts like these on this blog, but not everyone has access to it, and some don’t even realize how much they have put themselves at risk, and don’t consider it to be that big of a deal.
In my post about Improving Commercials, I take the position that commercials are useful to some extent, but have room to be improved. The other side of that coin are the commercials that are not useful: the ones that would be considered SPAM and SPYWARE-inducing if they were in email format.
I’ve seen the movie “Love & Other Drugs” – I know this is people’s livelihood to get the new drugs on the doctor’s shelf to give to patients, especially if it’s better, has fewer side-effects, or costs less. I get it. However, I don’t need it. I don’t even need to know about it.
Asking people to treat their doctors as legalized drug dealers is one thing. Blatantly lying to people about what your service does is completely different. There is no software out there that will “double your speed”, there is no software that “fixes registry errors”, and there is no software that can “remove popups” that aren’t already removed by your browser.
All of these issues have real solutions, but they do not involve installing 3rd-party software.
Cable companies should allow user-feedback on the advertisers they sell spots to, or at least have some sort of ethics-in-advertising guidelines before letting someone come on. I know they can do this – I’ve seen the local broadcaster preempt national HD commercials with local SD commercials (And I hate it by the way – if it’s an HD channel, only HD commercials should be aired).
There should be a button on the remote that allows the viewer to mark this commercial as SPAM, False Advertisement, or (if you want to get granular) Irrelevant.
I realize this leaves the door wide open for every commercial to be marked as SPAM by some viewers, but the cross-sectional results of which commercials were marked as SPAM by *a majority* of viewers would have more value than the “dirty” data from abuse. And then commercials could be tailored to the household receiving them so that the ad-expense is actually worth the cost for the advertisers (and the ad-revenue can be increased due to the increased relevancy the cable company’s system can offer).
Seems like a win-win from my view. Customers don’t have to see SPAM commercials, and can vote-down false-advertisements, and potentially vote up relevant ads. Cable Companies can generate more ad-revenue from advertisers who would likely do better as a result of only broadcasting to interested customers.