‘What’s in a Spotify Name?’ and 5 Other Stories You Should Read

Here’s what you missed while you spent the week forgetting to prepare for winter storm Jonas…

Wired: The Creator of JavaScript Wants to Upend the Ad Industry With a New Browser

Selected by Jordan Teicher, senior editor

What the hell are we going to do with intrusive ads? They’re still just hanging around. Sure, the pop-up epidemic has gotten better, but that’s mostly just been replaced by programmatic banner ads that follow us around the Internet. You look at new Nikes for one minute and then that pair of shoes shadows you for the rest of the week.

I’m sure many of us fantasize about an ad-free Internet experience. Brave, backed by Javascript creator and former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich, is going after that fantasy, vying to create a new browser that will change the ad industry for good.

Conceptually, the plan is pretty cool: block bad ads and stop advertisers from accessing your personal data. In practice, however, it’s not quite as altruistic. As Klint Finley puts it for Wired, Brave “blocks ads and replaces them with, well, other ads.”

Eich promises that these new ads will be good, and he hopes to restructure the revenue model for publishers in a way that gives them both more money and more control over what ends up on their sites. This all sounds good, but after you read this article, you’ll learn that the future of ad-free browsing is a bit more complicated than that.

BuzzFeed: The Guilt Trip As A User Interface Element

Selected by Dillon Baker, associate editor

If you don’t read every installment of this weekly round-up, I have something to tell you: We’re hurt. We put a lot of time and thought into this. I mean, it’s okay, we understand you’re busy, but you really can’t take a few minutes out of your Friday? Guys ?.

Wasn’t that fun? Don’t you love being guilt tripped? Who thought this strategy would make anyone like their brand? Even if you guilt trip a few people into signing up for your newsletter, is it really worthwhile to send them an annoying email they never really wanted in the first place? This is a dumb practice, and it needs to die.

I’ll close by quoting Katie Notopoulos’ spot-on kicker:

We already feel like shit when we’re on the Internet half the time. Please don’t design these things to make us feel more ashamed than we already are.

The Wall Street Journal: Outside Voices: Davos’ Importance to Marketers Grows In Turbulent Times

Selected by Amanda Weatherhead, distribution manager

This is the magical week when A-listers like Leo and Emma Watson, swathed in down jackets, hobnob with diplomats and the most powerful CEOs in the Swiss Alps. But this year, one group is gate-crashing that party: marketers. They’re pouring into this year’s World Economic Forum in droves. Is Davos primed to become the next SXSW?

Brands are realizing that in order to grow business, marketing initiatives should be inextricably linked to social causes. P&G’s “Like a Girl” proved that socially conscious campaigns can have lucrative results. And by bringing fresh perspectives, marketers may just be right group to address significant social and economic issues.

Medium: The Easiest Way to Lose 125 Pounds Is to Gain 175 Pounds

Selected by Joe Lazauskas, editor-in-chief

Here’s a story that has nothing to do with media and marketing but is absolutely worthy of a long read. Bill Barnwell is the best football writer on earth. I don’t think I’ve missed a single thing he’s written since he joined Grantland five years ago (after Grantland’s shuttering, he stayed on at ESPN). I never would have guessed the torture that food addiction was causing him.

This is an incredible, personal article of struggle and triumph from a writer who had never before inserted himself into a story. And it’s wonderful, the kind of tale that will give you motivation for your own struggles, even if they don’t have to do with food.

On a side note: This is why Medium is awesome. A talented writer can just write something that he probably wouldn’t pitch to a traditional outlet—and certainly never write for ESPN—and impact thousands of people as a result.

The Atlantic: The Most Powerful Images of 2015

Selected by Erin Nelson, marketing editor

It’s almost February, so I’m late to the game, but The Atlantic‘s compilation of top images from 2015 is one of those rare pieces that reminds us of the variety in the human experience. The slideshow takes you around the world in less than four minutes—to the battlegrounds of Syria, the U.S. Supreme Court, the streets of Pakistan, and the lines of refugees outside of Germany.

It also captures moments of joy, achievement, duty, and suffering from an individual perspective—universal emotions regardless of where the image was snapped. As a viewer, I feel a sense of humility, connection, and hope. As an editor, it reminds me of my daily responsibility: to create content that makes us feel something.

The Awl: What’s in a Spotify Name?

Selected by Jess Black, customer marketing manager

(Alternate title: “Finally Someone Makes a Case for Naming Your Band ‘Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head’ or ‘Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin'”.)

Hark ye bandnamers of yore, SEO hacks will save you no more, if your name is even remotely similar to another band, you’ll automatically be categorized together. You can’t fake originality on the Internet.


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