[re-search] Google and Advertising article

Richard Graham rg284 at exeter.ac.uk
Wed Jan 3 18:29:54 CET 2018

Dear colleagues,

Happy new year to all. I recently published the following article: "Google
and advertising: digital capitalism in the context of Post-Fordism, the
reification of language, and the rise of fake news"

I'm sharing it here as it may be of interest to some of you. The URL and
abstract are copied below:



Google’s dominance over the web allows it to dictate various norms and
practices that regulate the state of contemporary capitalism online. The
way in which Google operates as a company and generates revenue is often
sidelined in academic discussions regarding the cultural implications of
how its search engine functions. Almost 90% of Google’s revenue is derived
from advertising, despite Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s original academic
paper regarding Google in which they argue that advertising produces mixed
motives that make it an unfeasible way to fund search engines. This article
outlines how Google’s model of advertising reflects and encourages wider
changes in capitalism as it shifts from its twentieth-century Fordist
incarnation to contemporary Post-Fordist arrangements of labour. In doing
so, this article analyses Google’s two main advertising systems, AdWords
and AdSense, and proposes that these financial models have significant
effects upon online discourse. In discussing AdWords, this article details
some of the tensions between the local and the global that develop when
tracing flows of information and capital, specifically highlighting
Google’s impact on the decline of online language diversity. In outlining
AdSense, this article demonstrates how Google’s hegemonic control
prescribes which parts of the web can be monetised and which remain
unprofitable. In particular, in drawing from existing studies, evidence is
provided that Google’s AdSense programme, along with Google’s relationship
with Facebook, incentivised the rise of fake news in the 2016 US
presidential election. This work builds on existing scholarship to
demonstrate that Google’s economic influence has varied and far-reaching
effects in a number of contexts and is relevant to scholars in a range of
disciplines. As such, this article is intended as a discursive introduction
to the topic and does not require specific disciplinary background
knowledge. In doing so, this article does not attempt to provide the final
word on Google’s relationship to digital capitalism, but rather,
demonstrate the profitability of a Post-Fordist perspective, in order to
enable a wider engagement with the issues identified.

All the best,


Richard Graham
AHRC Doctoral Fellow in English (Digital Humanities)
University of Exeter

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