How free ads work in Alabama
Alabama has seen a boom in advertisers seeking to target the state’s population with ads.
The state’s new advertising laws, which are meant to encourage people to opt in, have been controversial.
Free online ads will not be able to be offered until January 1, 2018.
That’s after the state has set a goal to eliminate its reliance on free advertising, which currently reaches 85% of the population.
“There is no reason for anyone to choose to opt out of advertising,” state Senator Bill Cagle told Al Jazeera.
“We’re talking about a $3bn industry, and that’s how we are going to fight back.”
The state has spent $5.7m on advertising to date, mostly on television, radio and online, according to an analysis by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO).
It’s now targeting around $15m on free online ads in the state, according the report.
State Representative Jodie Taylor, a Republican, told Al-Jazeera that the new law would not have gone into effect without the state and Congress.
“This bill is very important,” she said.
“It is a great example of how the state can get this done.”
In February 2018, the state began accepting applications for ads through the Alabama Interactive Advertising Agency, a partnership between the state government and a number of advertisers.
It has since expanded to other states, including Tennessee, where the bill is now before the legislature.
“This bill will allow Alabama to compete with other states in online advertising,” Representative Taylor said.