Search and Advertising

Economists are interested in how the design of ad auctions affects search engine revenues, and how access to the Internet – and thus to search engines – affects retail prices and possibly leads to higher prices for certain consumers.

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How to Hide Your Digital Trail in Plain Sight

New York University’s Helen Nissenbaum and Finn Brunton spoke with Passcode about their new book, Obfuscation: A User’s Guide for Privacy and Protest.

Helen Nissenbaum
Source: Christian Science Monitor
November 16, 2015

Google Showed Women Ads for Lower-Paying Jobs

"...there is nothing stopping an employer from discriminating on the basis of personal network. Increasingly, algorithmic means of decision-making provide new mechanisms through which this may occur." — danah boyd, Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research

danah boyd
Source: Fusion
July 8, 2015

In Its Antitrust Debacle, Was Google's Real Victim You?

"The real question is relevance. Don’t cry for Foundem just because it shows up further down in Google search results than Google Shopping. Cry for Google users who had a harder time finding what they wanted because they had to wade through less relevant search results." — James Grimmelmann, Professor of Law, University of Maryland

James Grimmelmann
Source: Wired
April 20, 2015

CIOs Have to Learn the New Math of Analytics

This article discusses how today's data-driven business runs on algorithms, and points to how these formulas can stir up unintentional legal and ethical trouble. University of Maryland law professor Frank Pasquale is quoted.

Frank Pasquale
Source: CIO
February 25, 2015

How an Algorithm Is Taught to Be Prejudiced

University of Maryland law professor Frank Pasquale is interviewed about his new book, The Black Box Society: The Secret Algorithms That Control Money and Information. Professor Pasquale discusses a growing concern that algorithms used in computer programs (search engines are a prime example) are learning stereotypes, and therefore abetting data discrimination.

Frank Pasquale
Source: National Public Radio’s Marketplace
February 3, 2015

The Information Google Doesn't Want You to Organize

"Hiding ads while analyzing data takes advantage of a key deficit users have around internet services: users only perceive profiling if they receive ads." — Chris Hoofnagle, Director of Privacy Programs, Berkeley Center for Law & Technology

Chris Hoofnagle
Source: USA Today
September 4, 2014

Don’t Force Google to ‘Forget’

"How an individual’s reputation is protected online is too important and subtle a policy matter to be legislated by a high court, which is institutionally mismatched to the evolving intricacies of the online world." — Jonathan Zittrain, Professor, Harvard University

Jonathan Zittrain
Source: The New York Times
May 14, 2014

Native Ads Aren’t as Clear as Outlets Think

Advertisers approach publishers and say, “I want you to run a story that is compatible with my product. It doesn’t have to promote my product, but it has to puff it up in some ways. That’s a complete opposite mental model.”  — Chris Hoofnagle, Director, Berkeley Center for Law & Technology

Chris Hoofnagle
Source: Columbia Journalism Review
December 5, 2013

Is Ad Avoidance a Problem?

"The argument is pretty simple: if you destroy the advertising revenue that content depends on, we’ll end up in a cultural wasteland, or, worse, a culture plagued by advertising that masquerades as content. But things are more complex than they may at first appear." — Tim Wu, Professor, Columbia University

Tim Wu
Source: The New Yorker
October 23, 2013

Is This the Grossest Advertising Strategy of All Time?

"Advertisers can only reach people at their most vulnerable if they can reach them practically anytime. The woman who (apparently, research suggests) feels bad about herself in the morning can receive a text right then and there from a company offering a 'beauty' product." — Ryan Calo, Professor, University of Washington

M. Ryan Calo
Source: The Atlantic
October 3, 2013
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TAP Blog

KidVid in Context

Berkeley privacy law professor Chris Hoofnagle shares the history of the FTC’s “KidVid” campaign to rein in advertising to children; and he outlines the relevance of the campaign today, forty years after its inception.

Chris Hoofnagle

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Fact Sheets

Search Engines, Advertising, and Auctions

Search engines – such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, and a variety of other smaller search engines – help users find what they are looking for online by finding web pages that match user-entered keywords. Search engines are free to users, but typically earn revenue through paid advertising.

Featured Article

How Does the Use of Trademarks by Third-Party Sellers Affect Online Search?

This paper examines the effects of trademark use in advertisements by third-party resellers.

By: Lesley Chiou, Catherine Tucker