The Web at Risk

September 21, 2019

In early July 2019, Barry Adams spoke at the Nottingham Digital Summit. He held a lecture entitled “We Have Ruined The Web.” Instead of lambasting about the damage done, Adams proffered a solution to repair the Web. Hallam Internet shares Adams’s solution in the article, “We Have Ruined The Web! Let’s Try To Save It – Barry Adams, Polemic Digital – Nottingham Digital Summit.”

Instead of a feel good TED Talk, Adams runs down a short history of the World Wide Web and how key word rich anchor text with spammy links polluted digital marketing. The basic way to appear in the top of search results was to have a lot of links back linking to your Web site. Links are still important in SEO, but 84% of them are trash. Adams also claims that carousels and dark design patterns on Web sites are running the Web.

Marketers spend a lot of money on ads, but most of that money is wasted. The problem is marketers do not know which parts of their advertising budgets are wasted. Costs for mobile advertising are skyrocketing. Google is also shaping how accelerated mobile pages (AMP) rank and their loading speeds. Here is a hint: stay away from JavaScript.

“AMP means you have to play by Google’s rules, so people have mixed feelings about this, because while it can increase your page speeds, the web is essentially being shaped into what Google wants.Google has become a surveillance mechanism – it knows everything you do on the internet, from what you’re searching, to the sites you’ve visited, and what you’ve liked.

Hawthorne effect – as internet users, we know everything we do is being watched. This psychological effect makes us change our behavior because we know we’re being watched – we may even alter our behavior subconsciously. One of the worst offenders is Facebook – messages, likes… everything is being monitored, and has the potential to be leaked at any moment in time. However, if we act quickly, there’s a potential to save this – treat your customers as if they are precious, not just a commodity. Everything we do as marketers, we should do with customers at the front of our minds.”

Adams advocates for ethical design in Web sites that promote the human side of the Internet. Bots bad, humans good.

Adams touts bringing the humans back in advertising and Web pages. The human side, however, is still there, but it is covered up by bots and desire to make money. Is it time to say, “Farewell, open Internet”?

Whitney Grace, September 21, 2019


One Response to “The Web at Risk”

  1. kumar on September 23rd, 2019 3:09 am
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