Measuring Online Advertising Transparency in Singapore: An Investigation of Threats to Users
53 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2013
Date Written: October 2, 2013
Recent studies have highlighted the role that internet advertising plays in supporting the revenue of rogue websites (Taplin, 2013). Certainly, such advertising generates enormous profit margins for operators of these websites, and present an ongoing threat to the viability of Singapore’s creative industries. However, a recent study by Watters (2013) investigated the harms to users from viewing the increasingly “high risk” nature of advertising being hosted on these sites.
An analysis of advertising transparency was undertaken using the methodology developed by Watters (2013). A total of 5,000 webpages representing ten pages sampled from Google’s ad transparency report were downloaded in Singapore, and each ad banner categorised as being High Risk or Mainstream, where each page was verified as being in breach of Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) for movies and TV shows. 10% of ads were Mainstream, 90% were High Risk. The prevalence of Mainstream ads being served to Singaporeans is one order of magnitude greater than similar advertising being shown to Australians. The policy implications of this result and future research directions, including methodology enhancements, are discussed.
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