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Written by award winning technologist and entrepreneur, Matt Hrushka, The Ad War reveals the inner workings of Online Advertising and exposes a growing conflict between advertising networks and their own consumers. Learn how the demand for relevance has led the industry into a perilous struggle with privacy and control that could ultimately change the way we use the internet.

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About the Book

What is "Big Brother" marketing?

Understand the information thats collected behind the scenes on consumer's browsing history and its part in targeted advertising.

The conflict with consumers

Uncover the different tactics advertisers have used to try to get consumer's attention and how they continue to fight back.

Why the industry has to change

Look beneath the surface and discover the detrimental effects unethical advertising is having on both publishers and consumers.

The consequences of inaction

Learn how the issues around privacy and control will ultimately force current advertisers to make drastic changes or risk becoming irrelevant.

Sample pages from 'The Ad War'

Get a sneak peek of the first few chapters as Matt takes you through important topics like why advertising is beneficial, and why we should care about fixing a broken model in an industry that most of us love to hate.

The Need for Information

Imagine a world where advertising didn’t exist. There would be no TV commercials to interrupt our “Walking Dead” marathons, no tacky billboards cluttering the streets and no banner ads covering our favorite sites and apps. Pretty great, right? The world may be a very different place, but it wouldn’t be a better one. Underneath the layer of annoying crap that advertising pushes out in a given day, there are ads that provide numerous benefits to all of us that would be sorely missed if they were to disappear. The fact is, advertising is essential to a modern world, we just don’t realize it.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that most of us regard advertising as a necessary evil. We know that brands want to show off their products and the best places to do that are the places we frequent the most: TV shows, social networks, dating sites. However, all of these are sustained by or made better by money from ads.

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The Benefits of Advertising

Right now is, by far, the best time there has ever been for advertising. Brands are able to get their message out to an unmatched number of people. Those of us that see these ads are exposed to more products and services than ever, and companies who can make that connection have the ability to do very well.

Having said that, it should come as no surprise that digital advertising has been the fastest growing of any category and is, right now, the clear favorite. It’s where brands choose to spend the majority of their marketing money to the tune of about $43 billion last year, and that’s just in the United States alone.

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The Broken Model

Calling a profitable, multi-billion dollar industry “broken” is a little tough without having people think you’re nuts. I think we’ve already established that digital advertising makes money and brands are selling a lot of products. So what else is there?

In my previous years working with different technology companies, I have been asked by friends and businesses for help in evaluating their products and teams. While I’ve had a blast being exposed to new, cool things, sometimes it can be rough. It's not the best feeling in the world to be shown a beautiful mansion, and then have to tell the owner that they have termites. Big ones. Digital advertising may look good on the outside, but there are some serious flaws in the foundation that make this massive industry a ticking time bomb unless they’re corrected. And, for some, these flaws may be impossible to fix.

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The Ad War

One of the most insane ironies in digital advertising is the fact that, instead of bringing brands and consumers together, ad networks and the marketers that use these networks have created an almost adversarial relationship with us since day one.

I’m not saying it was malicious. Like many other things, it came out of necessity. We began to ignore ads because they weren't relevant to us. But instead of trying to fix the relevance problem from the start, they went to war with us and it’s shaped the way we see the internet today.

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Choose a chapter

  • Chapter 1

    - The Need for Information
  • Chapter 2

    - The Benefits of Advertising
  • Chapter 3

    - The Broken Model
  • Chapter 5

    - The Ad War

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Praise from Readers

Dave Martin, Digital Marketing Veteran

Matt takes a very human look at the digital advertising business. He frames real issues and presents real solutions in a digestible and entertaining format. As a digital media professional, I highly recommend that you add this to your reading list.

Skip Reed, Founder and CEO, dp

This book is both provocative and extremely timely. And Matt doesn’t hate advertising. He loves it. His book is about saving advertising from itself. It’s also extremely educational and lays out all the different types of digital media in a detailed way. Matt has a gift for distilling the complex into the simple. It’s a must read for any CMO, Brand Manager or anyone in the industry we both love and want to be more consumer centric.

Matt Hrushka, Technologist & Author


Matt Hrushka is an international award-winning technologist, author and entrepreneur whose past work in advertising includes notable brands such as Coke, Nestle and Sony. He has a proven record of developing successful, large scale projects and solutions for Fortune 100 companies and bringing startup companies to sale including MySpace where he played a key role in backend development as one of the original members.

Matt currently splits his time on projects between the east and west coast where he provides assistance and guidance to various startups as an advisor and board member. He also owns a consulting firm that specializes in assisting venture capital firms and private investors with startup investments and acquisitions.