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Using Ad Clicks to Protest Corporations

Posted in activism, social media by lynn on November 21, 2008

Grassroots organizers have been attacking big corporation by using their ads against them. Have you ever seen an ad for a makeup product that has been tested on animals? There’s no way you would ever buy or support that company, so clicking on that banner ad would probably never cross your mind. Now, activists and organizers have been actively seeking out these banners by searching for specific keywords to find them so they can click on them and NOT buy their products, resulting in a loss in ad revenue for the business. Once they are at the website of the company, they then go to the Contact page to send them an e-mail explaining why they are protesting.

When doing a search to see exactly which organizations were doing this type of protest, information could not be found. This may be because of the anonymity that organizers wish to keep so they are not held accountable for costing these businesses money.
politech.wordpress.comThe purpose of the action is to cost businesses money by clicking on ads with no intent to purchase their project. This costs the company money and also tells them that people are boycotting the purchase of their product for certain reasons.

The tactic sounds great in theory, but just like in most cases, most things are in favor of big business. There was an instance where Google was sued due to click fraud and ended up refunding the businesses that were affected.

This would be a fairly easy tactic for any organizer and can be used for many different issues

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3 Responses

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  1. John Doerr said, on December 22, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    It is one thing to boycott a company and not buy their products, but actually costing the company money crosses an ethical line. Clicking on ads you don’t like is called click fraud because it is fraud. The money the company spends on those ads is money that could have triggered a sale that could help fund an employee’s food or health care. Activism is good until you start hurting or stealing from people. Then, you’re as bad as (or worse than) the company you’re protesting.

  2. Mark said, on December 22, 2008 at 10:46 pm

    This is a stupid way to protest. The company being protested has no idea its a protest and just thinks that people accidentally clicked their ad.

  3. tzugidan said, on December 24, 2008 at 10:48 am

    If you’ve ever heard of click farms, like Click Monkeys (google it) click fraud is illegal in the U.S., and can result in a conviction. Click Farms are foreign entities that pay people to click paid ads off of Google, Yahoo, MSN, and other major search engines using anonymous proxy servers.

    When you click a paid ad, the advertiser uses that part of its budget, but your next click won’t be charged as the search engines recognize your IP address. However, using anonymous servers results in a new click each time…

    Not only are companies like Click Monkeys culpable, those that hire them (often US companies) are guilty as well. Unfortunately US courts have no jurisdiction in say…Honduras, to compel them to reveal their clients.

    Using guerrilla tactics like this is unethical, and someday with Googles leverage, the US may be able to reach out to foreign governments to try to stem the tide of these companies popping up, but until technology advances to be able to recognize these servers and block them, it’s going to be difficult for marketers to be sure they’re getting the most for their ad dollars…

    Which is why SEO is so important… focusing on SEO not only alleviates your marketing budget, it ensures you that all important organic #1 ranking…like my blog for positive economic news.

    Google “positive economic news” or “good economic news” and my blog is #1 Worldwide…why? I’m not telling here, that’s for sure.

    Happy Holidays!

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