Subprime Attention Crisis

Advertising and the Time Bomb at the Heart of the Internet

Subprime Attention Crisis (2020, FSG Originals)

paperback, 176 pages

English language

Published Oct. 13, 2020 by FSG Originals.


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4 stars (2 reviews)

From FSGO x Logic: a revealing examination of digital advertising and the internet's precarious foundation

In Subprime Attention Crisis, Tim Hwang investigates the way big tech financializes attention. In the process, he shows us how digital advertising--the beating heart of the internet--is at risk of collapsing, and that its potential demise bears an uncanny resemblance to the housing crisis of 2008.

From the unreliability of advertising numbers and the unregulated automation of advertising bidding wars, to the simple fact that online ads mostly fail to work, Hwang demonstrates that while consumers' attention has never been more prized, the true value of that attention itself--much like subprime mortgages--is wildly misrepresented. And if online advertising goes belly-up, the internet--and its free services--will suddenly be accessible only to those who can afford it.

Deeply researched, convincing, and alarming, Subprime Attention Crisis will change the way you look at the internet, and its …

2 editions

direct analogy to 2008

4 stars

References other worries about online advertising (the ways it shapes what tools get built and how we interact with each other), but very focused on the ways ad tech resembles the 2008 financial crisis: systemically entwined with how internet services and media are funded; opaque automated derivatives trading of supposed value (our attention), in a market of perverse bubble-inflating incentives; and is our attention online actually worth so much more than previous advertising (targeted!) or is it subprime and full of fraud and disinterest?

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rated it

4 stars