Sunday, April 8, 2012

Click Out

Facebook is free to its gazillion users.  But it is not really free.  They get paid when you look and click on the ads that are placed there.  The ads are not random, they are based on your location and personal liking and clicking history, and is some cases the likes of your friends.  That is why Facebook (and Google) make zillions of dollars, their ads are relevant to the person looking at them.  Ad buyers pay per click.

At my old job I told my boss that ad for our business kept coming up in the the margin of my Gmail.  He asked me not to click them because those clicks cost the school a few dollars.  A few dollars.   

This blog has ads, I get paid a few cents when a reader clicks on one and even more when they hang out there or fill out a form.

So look to the right (no pun intended).  These are the ads I saw the other day.  The bottom two are from races,  It makes sense that someone would pay me to see them.

But I am more interested in the ads on top.  The first is for a book called The Obama Hate Machine by Bill Press.  Here is the Amazon description.
In Toxic Talk, Bill Press exposed the ways in which the extreme right-wing media has done an end run around the American voting populace by exerting a disproportionate control over open political debate. In The Obama Hate Machine, Press returns to show how the Right has taken rhetoric to slanderous new levels in attacking the nation’s forty-fourth president.
But presidents have always been attacked like this, right? Wrong. As the author shows, while presidents and presidential candidates routinely have been subject to personal attacks, the outright disdain Obama’s extremist opponents have for the facts has inspired an insidious brand of character assassination unique in contemporary politics.
Obama was born in Kenya . . . Obama sympathizes with Muslim terrorists . . . Obama is a communist who wants to institute death panels and touch off class warfare…The extent to which these unfounded assertions have taken hold in the American mindset shows just how ruthless, destructive, and all-powerful the right-wing machine—hijacked by extremists in the media and fueled by corporate coffers—has become. The author reveals how corporate interests such as the infamous Koch Brothers continue to steer political coverage away from fact-based dialogue into the realm of hysteria. Bill Press also observes this phenomenon is not limited to the airwaves and provides an “I Hate Obama Book Club” list, calling out the scores of anti-Obama tomes—and even some from the Left—that have helped drag politics even deeper into the mud. 
In his characteristic on-the-mark arguments sure to appeal to anyone on the Left or in the Center, Press shows how the peculiar nature of Obama-hating subverts issue-driven debate and threatens not only the outcome of the 2012 election but the future of the American democratic system.
The second ad for for Freedom Works, which is Dick Armey's fake grassroots organization that is really a lobbying group for his corporate clients.

ThinkProgress reported last week that corporate lobbyists are helping to orchestrate the anti-Obama tea party protests. These lobbying-run front groups, along with promotion help from Fox News, are organizing the tea parties by calling right-wing activists and asking them to organize. They are also coordinating conference calls among activists, writing press releases, providing sign ideas, building websites supporting the protests, and distributing talking points so that the protesters can stay on message.
Today, FreedomWork’s Adam Brandon responded to the criticism that its efforts to organize these anti-Obama protests are ‘astroturf,’ saying that the organization’s work in coordinating and planning the events would be akin to “MoveOn’s model.” However, MoveOn is not run by corporate lobbyists and is funded by actual grassroots activists. On the other hand, the leader of FreedomWorks, Dick Armey, who is ranked as one of DC’s top “hired guns,” is a corporate lobbyist with a history of directing FreedomWorks to support the goals of his lobbying clients. For example:
– Armey’s FreedomWorks is actively organizing against health care reform. Indeed, Armey’s lobbying firm represents pharmaceutical companies, such as Bristol-Myers Squibb, that oppose comparative effectiveness research in the health reform plan because such a program may cut into revenue for branded drugs.
– Armey’s lobbying firm represents the trade group for the life insurance industry. Indeed, FreedomWorks mobilizes its members for deregulated life insurance reform.
– Currently, FreedomWorks is focusing their energy activism on supporting the status quo reliance on fossil fuels. In addition to working for various domesticoil companies with a vested interest in opposing change, Armey’s lobbying firm represents Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the UAE, on energy related issues such as maintaining the U.S.-UAE relationship where “U.S companies have played major roles in the development of UAE energy resources, which represent about 10 percent of global oil reserves.”
– In 2006, Armey’s lobbying firm represented the Senado de Republica (Mexican Senate) on “enhancing U.S.-Mexico relations,” and specifically onimmigration policy. Curiously, during the same period, Armey’s Freedom Works stood out as one of the few right wing organizations to boldly support comprehensive immigration reform.
Last year, the Wall Street Journal exposed FreedomWorks for building “amateur-looking” websites to promote the lobbying interests of Armey.
FreedomWorks represents a top-down, corporate-friendly approach that has been the norm for conservative organizations for years. As Obama prepares to push to close corporate tax loopholes, reform health care, and transition to a clean energy economy, we can expect more corporate lobbyists to create astroturf protests to oppose change.
So which ad do I click?  I might click the ad for the book once, but when I see a Facebook ad for FreedomWorks I click it like a mouse in a Pavlovian experiment who wants more heroin. Because FreedomWorks pays for that click.  I get to make an anti donation to FreedomWorks.  I can suck money away from FreedomWorks and their ilk and keep Facebook fat.

And by the way, do you see the ads on the bottom of this blog.  They are there for you.  They have been generated based on your personal history. You will probably find a product of service that you might like.  So please, on your way out of this blog, clickout on an ad.  I don't cost you nothing.

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