A response to the letter Umair Haque writes about advertising.

First, I disagree with the idea that there is remediation in the advertising value chain. The players may be changing, but the number of them isn’t increasing. 

In the Mad Men days:

Advertiser > Creative Agency > Media Purchasing Agency > Publisher


Advertiser > Agency > Google(Publisher)/Ad Exchange/Facebook(Publisher) > Publisher 

In some circumstances the value chain is shorter. When an agency buys SEM ads, they are only three parties.

In both the old world and the new world, agencies bought information on reach to inform media purchasing decisions. Today that is the same, although there are likely many more vendors.

Second, with respect to the issue of bad offers, scammy advertising has been a problem on every form of media. Each time the head of the Medusa is cropped in one media, these advertisers move to the next. 

At Google, we had these problems on AdWords and AdSense. Now they’re on Facebook. At some point soon, they will be on mobile. 

Lastly, I think your claim that there is no innovation in advertising is just plain wrong. Advertising has never been more targeted, more measurable or more effective at reaching customers. It is also more widespread. 

Many industries were ad supported before the web: newspapers, television, radio. Those were all “noble” industries. The web is changing advertising and much for the better.