Paul Byrne

In early March 1992, 60 business people gathered at the Four Season’s Racquet Club in Kelowna to display their personalities for the cover of Okanagan Life’s Progress issue. This was a hybrid magazine created by Okanagan Life and Okanagan Business to celebrate the people, stories and faces behind the great business community that powered the local economy of the day. Perhaps Progress was the first Facebook?

progress-92_optIn 1992 the Okanagan was benefitting from free market growth or, as it was known, the boom years. These Cover Men and Cover Women were the giants, the superstars and the Titans of the local economy. Perhaps you see a friend or neighbour? One thing’s for sure—all 60 put their best face forward.

Notice that nobody is texting, Yelping or Flickring? No cat videos? Have you StumbledUpon one of them Snap-Chatting, Googling, hogging their space or MySpace for that matter? No! Digg deeper and you’ll see these LinkedIn businesses Tweet great respect, shout Yahoo and show great Bing for one another. No blogging or Technorati crappy here. This is simply a great cover of 60 interesting souls who are focused, attentive and, best of all, in the moment.

Exceptional value with local media

The 1992 issue of Progress probably registered 300,000 to 400,000 readers—real readers who were influenced to buy local products and services. The 2016 version you are reading will register over half a million total readers. Newspapers, radio stations, TV stations and other local media have served the Okanagan in good and honest ways also.

The most corrupt place on Earth

Did you know that thousands of journalists, business leaders, politicians, lawyers and judges agree that Wall Street is the most corrupt place on Earth? Bernie Sanders is running for president of the United States on the platform that Wall Street is rigged and he has pledged to break up the big banks. Feel the Bern!

Digital media, unfortunately, is Wall Street’s newest baby. Years ago when Wall Street realized that digital advertising was actually a poor advertising platform, they did what Wall Street does best?—?they lied. First, they created bots that mimic human behavior so well the clicks and page views seem like real people on the ROI reports, graphs and charts. Then they doubled-down with a media blitz claiming that digital media is so star-spangled-spectacular, that digital advertisers could walk on water and that all traditional media would die a slow and painful death.

Tom Foremski of the Silicon Valley Watcher sees it this way: “Advertising fraud, where large brands buy cheap traffic that is not seen by anyone but provides audience numbers that look good, is costing the media industry billions of dollars in annual losses. Some estimates are as low as $6 billion a year by the advertising trade association to as high as $18 billion by the Wall Street Journal. This money would have gone to media companies. The media industry thinks of it as an advertising industry problem. Ad budgets are not cut but newsroom jobs continue to be lost. At $6 billion—the lowest estimate—it would pay for a lot of newsroom jobs. Ad fraud is rife and no one is charged or arrested. The media industry is having trouble enough surviving on the low ad revenues. You would think it would be up in arms over this daylight robbery. It shows again, how little the media industry understands the new economy.”

Covert partners

Suppose your best friend jumped into your car on a sunny Okanagan afternoon and yelled—drive! You blast away and a few blocks later, he informs you he’s just robbed a bank and is happy you saved him from the RCMP. Wall Street invites many partners to join them this way, and many do. Many have.

The bots that pose as real people are there for one reason—to deceive. The digital web has become so toxic that only 5% to 25% of digital ads are seen by a human. The rest are bogus. The pretty graphs and charts complete the illusion. Advertisers are being fleeced but feel like they’re in a marketing fairy tale.

Three rational and emotional points

1 – Ad blocking is on the rise with some 24% of all computers using ad blocking software. No one’s fault here, it’s just that technology giveth and technology can taketh away. Estimates predict that nearly all computers will have some ad blockers installed by 2019.

2 – Broken defaults, bot traffic and straight-up fraud are creating pretty graphs and charts, but the reality is most online ads are not seen by real people. This bot problem has infected the entire web, making all digital advertising corrupt and fraudulent.

3 – Monopolies are anti-small business. They are like vampire squids that suck the lifeblood out of small communities. Google is a world monopoly. Instead of an Okanagan search engine or a Canadian search engine, we’re forced to use Google, which owns 95% of search in Canada. Apple, Facebook and Twitter are also monopolies and should be broken up as our laws call for.

The real giants, supestars and Titans shop local. That, my friends, is Progress.

John Paul Byrne

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