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Why your CPU poses the greatest threat to online advertising

Understanding why requires an awareness of what advertising means not just for advertisers or customers, but for content creators too.

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Advertising has been with us since the earliest days of the internet. Only the briefest adfree net existed between the invention of the world wide web in 1989, to the emergence of the first banner advert in 1994. Ads have been a feature of the internet ever since. Now offers and promotions jump out from the corner of every page, hogging up valuable screen space and resources.

With online adverts now ubiquitous it seems hard to imagine that anything could challenge the hegemony of the sector or significantly diminish the market. Ad blockers may be pushing adoption rates of around 30%, but they only offer a mitigation strategy for users, not an existential challenge. Now, a far more fundamental threat to the sector has arrived in the form of the CPU inside your computer. Understanding why requires an awareness of what advertising means not just for advertisers or customers, but for content creators too.

Ads and Content Creators

As much as online advertising can be a nuisance for users advertising currently serves a useful purpose beyond corporate needs and driving consumerism. Advertising furnishes content creators with a means of monetizing their content and a way to support their ongoing work. The vast bulk of online creators and publishers are only capable of continuing their efforts thanks to the financial support of advertisers.

For considerable time advertising revenues have been the only gig in town and creators had nowhere else to turn. Now Gather is proposing a new means of monetization, and one which rewards both the creators and consumers of online content alike. Gather-enabled sites invite their visitors to lend CPU’s spare processing power to the Gather cloud computing network. For users who agree, the spare capacity of their CPU is leveraged to generate rewards for both the creator and the user.

When excess CPU power is used in combination with hundreds or thousands of others across the network, the cloud computing potential of Gather becomes significant. Publishers can monetize without ads while the businesses who purchase cloud computing services gain access to cheap and reliable processing power. This processing power would otherwise have gone wasted and unused. If the promise of Gather can be fulfilled, it offers a potentially more equitable solution for all parties and what is promised to be a fairer system for all.

For the Gather to have any success, however, it will need to persuade sites to ditch advertising in favor of their cloud computing solution. Here the company seems to be demonstrating some promise. 200 companies are already participating in Gather’s network, including one $4 billion dollar mega-corporation.

The Threat

Advertising doesn’t have a great reputation among internet users, especially following the Cambridge Analytica scandal of 2018 – but it will not be users alone that will make or break the future of online advertising. In Gather’s case, the company operates without collecting users’ data and prioritizes consumer privacy. While uncommon, Gather is setting the precedent for how companies should interact with data with consumers in mind.

In order to supplement or take significant market share from the sector, any alternative will have to win over publishers and content creators too. Gather has developed a solution that rewards multiple stakeholders in a concept that may prove to have mileage. If the company can gain significant traction in the market and onboard ever greater numbers of publishers and content creators, it will prove beyond doubt that the greatest challenge to online advertising has been lurking inside our computers all along.

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