Adland, a website focused on the advertising industry and archiving Internet commercials, has now been made available on the dark web.
Adland is the first among the advertisement news organizations to have become accessible as a hidden service on Tor network.
This enables individuals to read Adland within the dark web with their privacy intact.
There will be neither network surveillance of any kind, nor traffic analysis. Reports show that news organization Propublica is also available on the dark web.
Dark web refers to the encrypted network existing between Tor servers as well as their clients.
Regular search engines are also incapable of indexing sites on the dark web.
Adland, founded in 1996 by Ask Dabitch Wappling, started off as a passion project for pairing up plagiarized ads under the name Badland, collecting ad campaigns and display rantings on recent happenings in the advertisement industry.
Over the years, Adland has grown into a database-driven service for great and not-so-great ads as well as advertising industry editorials.
The website provides advertisement news, critical comments on advertisements as well as the advertising industry, and contains archives of ads/ad campaigns, focused on television advertisements.
In addition, the website hosts banned/censored advertisements. Adland has a Twitter followership of nearly 150,000.
The largest commercials archive in the world, has a collection of Super Bowl commercials that have been released over the last forty years. Badland was rebranded in 2000 as Adland.
The site followed a subscription model in the initial stages. Later on, the site adopted the ad-supported revenue model.
Now, it is operating as a donation supported site.
In 2008, Adland defended as well as hosted the copies of ads (which used Olympic Games iconography) that the Swedish Red Cross Youth produced to draw attention to the allegations of human rights violations by the military in Nepal during the Summer Olympics held in Beijing.
In February 2011, Google Adsense banned Adland after a Sloggi lingerie advertisement picture was included by Ask Wappling in one of her posts on sexist advertising.
Adland was banned because Google considered the use of the picture in the post to be inappropriate.
According to Wappling, the ban was a case of “American puritanism.”
Adland was reinstated, only to be banned again in 2012 because of controversy over hosting ads from a campaign carried out by another lingerie brand.
Though Adland was reinstated again, it was banned once for all in December 2012 by Google.
This time the controversy was over the PETA ads that were used in a post which criticized the advertisement of the animal rights group.
Adland has received many reviews over the years. Some of the key ones are as follows:
Writing for FastCompany, Jena McGregor said in 2005 that the group blog approach of Adland provides more diverse insights from registered users.
In 2012, Adland was included in the list of the 22 advertising blogs that were considered to be most influential.
Tim Nudd wrote in 2012, after Adweek interviewed Wappling, that the website covers the advertising industry in a humorous style and great deal of improvisation.
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