Spurgeon, Christina L. (2016) Online advertising. In Internet Histories: Pioneering Internet Technologies: International Perspectives. Routledge (Taylor & Francis), New York. (In Press)
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This chapter seeks to serve as a provocation to media, communication and cultural studies to pay greater attention to the influence of advertising in accounting for internet history. It applies an institutional perspective to the development of advertising-funded online media and business models. It argues that a raft of new advertising sub-disciplines and textual practices are evidence of a general expansion of advertising. Shifts in the balance of social power afforded by the internet, between media, advertising intermediaries and two distinct groups of internet end users – advertisers and consumers – are considered. This analysis shows how, in North American and European contexts in particular, the enduring challenge of advertising avoidance and other expressions of consumer ‘misbehaviour’ shape the co-evolution of commercial media and advertising industries. The chapter also traces crucial changes in the social contract between commercial media and their users that were also set in motion with the commercialisation of the internet. Online commercial media users now concede personal information as well as attention in exchange for communication affordances and access to ‘free’, often user-generated, content.
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