Sometimes, I can be a bad parent. I let my nearly four-year-old watch How It’s Made episodes to relax. Between us, we refer to it as Boring and she will ask me “can I please watch Boring?”. I happily oblige and she is content watching how potato salad, garden hoes, or apple juice are made. The guise of it being educational calms me down.
Of course, YouTube isn’t a charity. They need to make money and do so through serving ads. What YouTube doesn’t know is when I’m watching or when I’m showing things to my daughter. The relaxation might be shattered when she’s shown an ad for a horror film or something not meant to be targeting her (being that I caught ad for Slender Man, maybe it *was* targeting her…).
Digging into this, I found the settings for ads on YouTube and found all the ways I’m targeted:
I guess, kudos? There are a couple of people who use YouTube while logged in as me and these ad choices seemed like a weird hybrid of all of us.
It was nice to have this transparency but why was I trusting YouTube on what is appropriate content for ads in the first place? Ultimately, I’m feeling more and more that the advertising supported model is broken. Facebook is seeing what happens when things run amok.
Community supported (Wikipedia), user supported (Patreon), or premium (Amazon Prime Music vs Amazon Music) are likely how we will engage with content more often over the next few years. Where advertising will exist, it will need to create much more value for us to engage with it, providing things like assessments and more entertainment.
Running horror movie ads for kids because of some algorithm for paid views isn’t going to hold for long.