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Ads can be annoying, it’s no secret.

Browsing your favorite corners of the internet can turn into a mildly infuriating experience when the pages are littered with boring, repetitive ads.

To make matters worse, many of these ads are completely irrelevant and even spammy. It’s one thing being bombarded with ads for products you want, quite another when they’re items you simply don’t care about.

It’s hard to get around. Big platforms like Google and Facebook have a lot of power when it comes to ads, and their revenue is growing all the time.

Using these services comes with a price, and the price is that endless stream of ads one comes across on the internet.

But what if it didn’t have to be that way? What if advertisers could work more closely with users and content publishers to make the experience more pleasant for customers and more profitable for themselves?

It could be possible, but it would require a big overhaul of the current system and a new way of sharing data.

First, let’s check out why ads are so annoying now.

Why are ads so annoying?

Digital advertising is all about data. In the U.S. alone, spending on data is forecast to reach $11.4 billion in 2018, with advertising a big driver for this.

Advertising companies are supposed to use your personal data to target you with the ads. In effect, this would result in you seeing ads for products you actually want to buy. Unfortunately, data sharing is a messy area and it doesn’t always go according to plan.

Many companies buy and sell user data, in the form of email lists for example, and the result is users are mixed up and incorrectly targeted. Hence the heaps of irrelevant ads.

Advertisers also find it hard to directly target their customers. Publishers, who produce the content that generates traffic, rarely have a close relationship with advertisers as there aren’t enough platforms that allow this.

The result is that advertisers are

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