COMS 4995: Internet Technology, Economics and Policy (Fall 2017) - HW1
The assignment is due on Thursday, October 5, 5 pm EDT, via
- Payments: As an alternative to paying for content via
advertising, consider what it would take to allow for a no-ad, fee-based
version of web sites and apps in the United States. Estimate how much
it would cost a consumer each month to replace advertising revenues for
Facebook, Google, and the New York Times.
- Anonymous browsing: Document the type of ads shown (e.g.,
travel, men's clothing, Internet services) on a news
page for three of the top
50 news sites with and without Firefox anonymous browsing, with
tracking protection either enabled or disabled. You can use screen
shots, but a simple description ("video ad for Volvo") will do.
- Tracking cookies: We discussed tracking cookies that follow
you after you visit certain web sites. By experiment, determine whether
car manufacturers, financial services companies or ecommerce sites
employ tracking on Facebook and on a general-interest newspaper site.
You may not find any, so it is sufficient to document your
- How many ads: Consulting the revised July 2017 IAB guide
for ads, tally the ad types displayed and whether they use native
ads (called "paid posts", "sponsored content" or similar), Google
Text Ads or other advertisement types listed in the IAB document.
Summarize your tally for ten web different ad-supported web
sites, chosen from one category and sub-category of popular sites. Thus, pick an
Alexa category and sub-category and then consult the front page for each
of the ten most popular sites. Some categories, such as shopping, may
not carry advertising (except for their own products), so they may not
be suitable for this comparison. We will then "crowd source" statistics
across categories from your data.
- Internet usage - money or education?: Internet usage in the
US strongly depends on income, education and rural vs. urban. However,
the three factors are closely correlated - households with higher
educational attainment generally have a higher income. Also, households
in urban areas have, on average, a higher income than those in rural
areas and may also differ in education. Using data from the Census and
the Pew Research
Center, compare Internet usage for the three variables (rural/urban,
post-highschool education, income, e.g., in three bands). If you have
taken statistics, you can create a prediction function and show how well
your function explains the data (r-squared). If not, choose two
variables to keep constant and see how the third changes the