The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our by Tim Wu

By Tim Wu

Consciousness service provider: an industrial-scale harvester of human cognizance. a company whose enterprise version is the mass catch of recognition for resale to advertisers.
In approximately each second of our waking lives, we are facing a barrage of ads enticements, branding efforts, backed social media, ads and different efforts to reap our recognition. during the last century, few occasions or areas have remained uncultivated through the "attention merchants," contributing to the distracted, unfocused tenor of our occasions. Tim Wu argues that this isn't easily the byproduct of modern innovations however the consequence of greater than a century's development and growth within the industries that feed on human recognition. From the pre-Madison street start of advertisements to TV's golden age to our current age of appreciably individualized offerings, the company version of "attention retailers" has continually been an analogous. He describes the revolts that experience risen opposed to those relentless makes an attempt to persuade our intake, from the handheld remote control to FDA rules to Apple's ad-blocking OS. yet he makes transparent that focus retailers develop ever-new heads, and their technique of harvesting our consciousness have given upward thrust to the defining industries of our time, altering our nature--cognitive, social, and otherwise--in methods incredible even a new release in the past.

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Some schools plaster ads across student lockers and hallway floors. One board in Florida cut a deal to put the McDonald’s logo on its report cards (good grades qualified you for a free Happy Meal). In recent years, many have installed large screens in their hallways that pair school announcements with commercials. ” What is perhaps most shocking about the introduction of advertising into public schools is just how uncontroversial and indeed logical it has seemed to those involved. The deals are seen as a win-win, yielding money that it would be almost irresponsible to refuse.

8 Offering new consolations and strange gods of their own, the commercial rivals for human attention must surely figure into this decline. Attention, after all, is ultimately a zero-sum game. But let us not get too far ahead of the story. If you’d attended the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, you might have spotted him. Far from the Ferris wheel and main concourses, Clark Stanley stood before his booth in an elaborate cowboy outfit, a beaded leather jacket with a colorful bandana, his hair worn long with a prominent goatee and mustache.

At that price, he felt sure he could capture a much larger audience than his 6-cent rivals. But what made the prospect risky, potentially even suicidal, was that Day would then be selling his paper at a loss. What Day was contemplating was a break with the traditional strategy for making profit: selling at a price higher than the cost of production. He would instead rely on a different but historically significant business model: reselling the attention of his audience, or advertising. What Day understood—more firmly, more clearly than anyone before him—was that while his readers may have thought themselves his customers, they were in fact his product.

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