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Will "Do Not Track" Kill the Free Internet? 260

Posted by samzenpus
from the pay-to-play dept.
jfruh writes "Dan Tynan is a privacy blogger and longtime proponent of the use of browser plug-ins and other technologies that block advertisers from tracking your web browsing habits. He's also a professional tech writer who makes his living writing articles for free, ad-supported sites. But he doesn't feel those two facts are in conflict, and points out that users pay good money to ISPs for those 'free' sites."
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Will "Do Not Track" Kill the Free Internet?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 13, 2012 @02:10PM (#39021745)

    No, and this won't either. Some users will use it, but most probably won't, either because they don't care or they don't know.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 13, 2012 @02:16PM (#39021869)

      I don't RTFA, but the point alluded to in TFS is a very important one I think people lose sight of.
      Everybody pays for their own Internet access. There's no reason I should pay for yours.
      If your reasons for having me read your webpage don't justify your costs, you're doing it wrong.
      Adding some advertising on top of the reason I want to be there isn't going to work.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ByOhTek (1181381)

        WTF?

        SO, people publishing things on the internet should do it out of charity and the good of their hearts? They should put huge amounts of work in to provide you with information/news/services, for the warm squishy feeling it provides them.

        In some cases, that works, in most, not so much, they need some kind of financial compensation to keep their sites up.

        That being said, as someone put it, not everyone will use adblockers. Also, as not state, some people will only use them to block the more intrusive/offen

        • by jythie (914043)
          Well, there is 'should' (which I disagree with) and 'could' (which is, of course, an option).

          In the OP's rather apocalyptic take on things, there seems to be the idea that if content providers can not run ads, then they can not provide content, so he kinda denies the 'could' part.

          I suspect that if 'do not track' became so common that it actually effected ad dollars to any measurable degree (which I doubt unless FF/Chrome/IE all bundle it by default), we would probably see a rise of people providing conten
          • Well, the best way out of sponsor supported content creation is either micro payments or just removing the economic factor and doing it for the thrills (which in part has helped a lot of the FOSS world and the Internet). So content creation has the options to continue without selling tracking data.
            But content isn't the problem, the problem is free services.

            People don't like to pay for something they have grown accustomed to have for free. So even if they knew the about "do not track" feature they probably w

            • I'm generally in favor of Micropayments on the order of pennies per article. $3 will buy you a week's reading. Currently I don't trust the processors - I would want a double-encryption system so that my general Credit Card doesn't get hacked. Something like a prepaid gift card then buys the credits.

              Then it needs to be either "Rich man plan" "Every article you read costs 3 cents" or "Poor Man Plan" "Do you want to spend 3 cents to read this".

              Paypal is scary and no one else has gained traction.

          • by icebike (68054) * on Monday February 13, 2012 @03:44PM (#39023349)

            I suspect that if 'do not track' became so common that it actually effected ad dollars to any measurable degree (which I doubt unless FF/Chrome/IE all bundle it by default), we would probably see a rise of people providing content for other reasons, reasons that do not require ad-type dollars

            Wait, weren't ads present and effective in the past, prior to tracking?

            I mean, if you went to a site about computers, they carried ads from computer manufacturers, etc.
            The audience was already "targeted" by the mere fact that they arrived on that particular site. They selected themselves, and the ads were timely and focused.

            Now with tracking, if search for bicycles, and for the next few days you get bicycle ads on sites dealing with Smartphones, Baseball, Rose Bushes. ?!??
            This detracts from every web site's focus. I'm looking for a Catcher's mitt and they want to sell me a bike?

            And all it does is rub it in your face that you are being tracked. It sure doesn't endear me to that particular bicycle company.

            "Do not track" might even prove to earn more money for the advertisers, because the various web sites will (probably) fall back on focused advertising.

            • Wait, weren't ads present and effective in the past, prior to tracking?

              Someone mod this guy up. Television, radio, print magazines and free papers as well as traditional websites have been doing well for years without the need to invade people's privacy in order to aggressively target advertising.

            • by Culture20 (968837) on Monday February 13, 2012 @05:41PM (#39024965)

              Wait, weren't ads present and effective in the past, prior to tracking?

              I mean, if you went to a site about computers, they carried ads from computer manufacturers, etc. The audience was already "targeted" by the mere fact that they arrived on that particular site. They selected themselves, and the ads were timely and focused.

              Now with tracking, if search for bicycles, and for the next few days you get bicycle ads on sites dealing with Smartphones, Baseball, Rose Bushes. ?!?? This detracts from every web site's focus. I'm looking for a Catcher's mitt and they want to sell me a bike?

              And all it does is rub it in your face that you are being tracked. It sure doesn't endear me to that particular bicycle company.

              As with a lot of things, let's take this into meat-space to see if it's okay:

              Chain store salesman: "Hello! I recognize you from this morning's sales briefing! Jim, right? I heard you bought a tub of salsa yesterday. Here for some antacids?"
              Jim: "Go away and leave me alone."
              "Sure thing pal!" *over walkie talkie* "Attention Sales staff. Jim is not looking for antacids. Must be anti-diarrheal. Someone bring some to the front STAT."
              "&#$ you. I'm leaving."
              "Your prerogative! Have a great day!" *dials a phone number* "Hi, Quik-e-mart? We just had an unsatisfied customer leave. Name's Jim. He's wearing blue jeans and a red shirt. Brown hair. Brown eyes. Yeah, that Jim. Well, I bet he's headed your way. He probably wants anti-diarrheal medicine, although the camera eye-focus heat-map suggests he was looking a lot at Cindy's cleavage. Maybe he wants milk. Got anyone you've pissed off?"

            • by rtb61 (674572)

              Do you know the real reason why adds are targeted at people and not at content?

              Well marketing companies do not really market to people buying products and services they market to people selling products and services. So in a big PR move they started going on about being able to target adds at people. Now quite correctly that means aligning adds with content, right add at the right time but this is very expensive, content has to be reviewed and valued for very add placement.

              So the cheap automated soluti

              • by icebike (68054) *

                The far more beneficial align adds to content is very expensive and required skilled people for both the company selling advertising space and the company buying advertising space

                This is what Google Ad-Words is all about.
                It figures out the content of a page with no human ever looking at anything. Then is slips in appropriate ads.
                This has been going on for a long time. Ad words keeps the ads on the page targeted at the page content, with no human intervention.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by poetmatt (793785)

          If you put something on the net, you're already paying for it.

          If you want people to pay for access - whether asinine, contrived, or legitimate - require them to pay for access.

          If you try to make money off people by putting ads on the site, you have zero right to bitch about people saying "no thanks" to those ads. If that's a problem? find a way to make money. It's 2012. If you aren't giving people a reason to want to support your site, then you don't deserve to be on the net.

          I will use adblockers on every

        • Nobody takes seriously ads because 95% of the products advertised this way are junk or are advertised in such a way that comes to undermine the operation of your computer (flash ads on loop, for example). Why, for all that is holy, I would accept an ad "scan your PC NOW!!!"?

          They want people to accept ads? Stop advertise malwares, scams, junkware and maybe people will begin to accept ads.
          • by omnichad (1198475) on Monday February 13, 2012 @03:36PM (#39023245) Homepage

            Think about your IQ for a moment. Then realize that half the people in the world have an IQ below 100. They make plenty of money on those ads.

          • by peragrin (659227)

            Just remember 95% of all advertising is designed to fail. Advertising has a lower success rate than weathermen(people)

            a 5% return for advertising is considered a major success. The reason? because it is most likely 5% that wouldn't have come to you before.

            Scammers and advertisers both operate on the principal for out of every million people you are bound to find 1,000 suckers to give you their money.

        • by AK Marc (707885) on Monday February 13, 2012 @04:14PM (#39023725)

          SO, people publishing things on the internet should do it out of charity and the good of their hearts?

          People selling magazines have long since learned that some people watch the Super Bowl for the commercials. Magazine articles are fluff to justify the ads. People buy the magazines, in some cases, just for the ads. For some, Vogue, Cosmo, Motor Trend, the ads and the content are indistinguishable.

          If they are wanting an audience, they need to make sure they keep the audience. Some have figured it out. Others, like you, seem to insinuate that there is some "duty" to look at adds as an exchange for the service provided. The same arguments used when trying to ban commercial skippers for TV recorders.

      • by Ihmhi (1206036) <i_have_mental_health_issues@yahoo.com> on Monday February 13, 2012 @03:51PM (#39023459)

        Yeah, and one of the features they touted when cable TV first came out was that it was completely commercial free. How did that work out for us again?

    • Or it is too much of a hassle.

      If you use adBlock to get rid of the abusive adds that is great, it is basically making a point that those adds are slowing things down for me. However if you are going to go overboard and use Add Block to keep your browsing ad free you are going to be spending a fair amount of time just blocking adds in that process you will be looking at the adds before you block them.

      However the adage is I pay for my internet connection so all the content should be free isn't really that go
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        However if you are going to go overboard and use Add Block to keep your browsing ad free you are going to be spending a fair amount of time just blocking adds in that process you will be looking at the adds before you block them.

        I think perhaps you don't have a clear understanding of how adblock plus works.

        It blocks ads. That's what it does. You don't have to right-click every single advertisement on every single page individually and tell it to block. It just. blocks. ads. Was there an ad on that webpa

      • by KiloByte (825081)

        If you use adBlock to get rid of the abusive adds that is great, it is basically making a point that those adds are slowing things down for me. [slashdot.org]
        Note that most of the slowing comes from junk you DON'T see (assuming you have FlashBlock, of course). Removing tracking gives you more speed-wise than removing actual ads.

        This is by the way one of reasons Chrome is so much slower than Firefox (with both being properly configured, with all crap allowed Chrome may have an edge).

    • by pscottdv (676889)

      I know all about ad blocking and I don't bother with it. When the ads are blocked, I don't see them. When the aren't blocked, I don't really see them either. Slashdot gave me the option to turn off advertisementing years ago as a reward for my contribution, I guess, but I haven't bothered to do it because I hardly notice them.

  • Doesn't Block Ads (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aladrin (926209) on Monday February 13, 2012 @02:13PM (#39021787)

    This doesn't block ads, it just protects people's privacy from being abused by them. The companies will still be able to show ads. For targetted ads, they'll have to use the same techniques they use for TV and print media, and those things haven't died yet.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 13, 2012 @02:20PM (#39021921)

      No, it *tells* the company to please don't track me. Next i'm writing a plugin that tell's the IRS to please don't tax me.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 13, 2012 @02:28PM (#39022099)

      Not sure where you've been the last decade or so but print media is dying. As for TV, there's a few major differences. First off, even with the current, greatly expanded channel lineups on cable, a given TV channel has a much larger audience than most websites. 250 channels is nothing compared to a few billion websites. Second, cable TV channels get paid by the cable providers that carry them. Obviously, nobody wants this concept getting carried over to the Internet, where your choice of ISPs determines what websites you can view. And finally, there's a big difference in the ratio of content to advertisements on TV versus the internet. As much as we complain about obnoxious flash ads and the like, it's pretty rare to see a website where made up of more than 25% advertisements. And if you saw one, you probably wouldn't be very inclined to go back. Yet the typical TV show has about 8 minutes worth of advertisements for 22 minutes of content. And then they shove more ads on top of the content (those stupid banners for other shows that run in the corner of the screen) and even more ads into the content (product placement).

      I would disagree with the statement that Do Not Track would kill the Free Internet, but it's foolish to think it wouldn't dramatically alter the landscape. The simple fact is, non targeted advertising is worth less money, so websites will have to make that up somewhere. Some sites might go pay, others might just put in more ads, others might cut content or go bankrupt. And maybe, if we're lucky, some will come up with alternative business plans that people hate less, but everyone does need to remember what was once common sense, prior to the arrival of the internet: there's no such thing as a free lunch.

    • Yup the internet will be as alive and healthy as newspapers... Actually maybe not quite that healthy, potty training animals on an ipad gets expensive, also dosn't pad fragile items when moving, or make very good craft projects, that's 80% of the use of newspapers for people under the age of 65. That being said if it isn't made default on anything, there will be little difference, very few internet users actually use ad-blocks despite ease and availability. As far as the value of tracking, honestly if you a
      • by Aladrin (926209)

        I actually like targeted ads, too. But there are those who don't, and my preferences shouldn't override their privacy. In fact, I like to know about new things, so long as they don't annoy me with the process.

        But it should also be noted that targeted ads existed before tracking cookies. A gamer-oriented forum should be targeting gamers, and it did. No big surprise there. The new targeted ads target the person directly, based on their history. I'm not even sure that's better! If I'm on a gaming forum,

    • by icebike (68054) *

      This doesn't block ads, it just protects people's privacy from being abused by them. The companies will still be able to show ads. For targetted ads, they'll have to use the same techniques they use for TV and print media, and those things haven't died yet.

      Actually for targeted ads, they can use the same techniques used before tracking was common. (Guys, it only been a few years since tracking was used in any meaningful way).

      Prior to tracking being very common, when you visited sites about any given topic, you would see ads related to that topic.
      Now you see ads for things you looked up on the web last week.

      If you turn off tracking, (to the extent it would be honored by either Google or the web sites), the sites usually revert to focused ads.

      I've taken to usi

  • by similar_name (1164087) on Monday February 13, 2012 @02:13PM (#39021791)
    Just because a site can't track you doesn't mean they can't advertise to you. The content of the page you are viewing should provide enough context to provide an appropriate ad. Will it be less relevant to you? Possibly, but TV stations don't need to know everybody's individual viewing habits to know that Comedy Central should have ads aimed at young males while Lifetime shows ads for women.
    • by Penguinisto (415985) on Monday February 13, 2012 @02:28PM (#39022105) Journal

      True, and it's not like they can't get a rough geographical location from your IP address to add to the relevance. They can also add server-side data for regular/frequent visitors if the site has multiple topics, so as to fine-tune which topic is the most relevant.

    • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday February 13, 2012 @02:35PM (#39022217) Homepage Journal

      If a site wants to track me all they need to do is offer me a compelling feature that requires that I sign in. Many sites are allowed to track me while I use their site, including Amazon, DealExtreme, Microsoft (hey, I still use Windows, I need their site) and so on. I have google analytics blocked because I don't want to be tracked across unrelated sites, though.

      On the other hand, nobody who can not offer me a compelling reason to form an actual business relationship with me should be tracking me, and if their business model can't sustain that, then the world will be a better place if they go out of business.

      • If a site wants to track me all they need to do is offer me a compelling feature that requires that I sign in.

        Be careful, that sort of thing can lead to websites deliberately suckifying their non-logged in version.

        For example, a few years ago IMDB dumbed down the way people can read their discussion forums. If you don't log in, all you can do is see the posts linearly. Log in and now you can see them in other formats, like threaded. The exact same URL for threaded mode goes to linear mode if you don't log in. It used to be that anyone could read the discussions in threaded mode, but IMDB arbitrarily took that

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          If a site wants to track me all they need to do is offer me a compelling feature that requires that I sign in.

          Be careful, that sort of thing can lead to websites deliberately suckifying their non-logged in version.

          Oh yes, I've seen other examples besides yours [readers see parent] but that's fairly inevitable anyway, isn't it? And anyway, sites that do too much of that will vanish, because not everyone wants to register to see every little part of a site, people will forget passwords and decide it's not worth the trouble to recover them, and so on.

          • The darwinism works as long as facebook or another of its ilk becomes the single-sign-on of choice, then it becomes a lot easier for average people to always get the "logged in" experience.

    • by Anrego (830717) *

      I actually thing this will be better.. much better.

      There once was a time, when a company would see a website, think "hey, a lot of my potential customers probably use this site", then contact and arrange advertising. I think this worked better than the current algorithms with all their user data.

      More importantly, users of that site would see the same hand-targetted ads, for days or weeks on end. Ads are more effective in my opinion over time. The few web ads I've actually gone for have been ads that I saw o

    • by Tharsman (1364603)

      Ads can remain relevant for sites where demographic data is redundant. For instance, if you are looking at a Video Game Review site for mobile apps, it's a no-brainer what kind of reader is there.

      With TV it's similar and to a point unfortunate. We tend to have too many generic TV shows that are obviously designed to cater to a very specific audience. The reason is precisely because they need to target specific demographics so they can sell ads for that demographic.

      The problem is with websites that cover bas

    • by brainzach (2032950) on Monday February 13, 2012 @02:51PM (#39022563)

      What percentage of ads on TV are relevant to you?

      On TV, shows can get away with multiple commercials back to back, so there is a greater chance of an advertisement being relevant. With online video, viewers will tolerate much fewer commercials so it is more critical to make sure that they are relevant.

  • by ScentCone (795499) on Monday February 13, 2012 @02:17PM (#39021881)

    and points out that users pay good money to ISPs for those 'free' sites

    Could he possibly have pointed out anything less informed, causality-related, and meaningful in the context of the topic at hand? Unless he's suggesting the introduction of some insanely complex madness that involves your local ISP somehow distributing part of their operational revenue to the owners of web sites that their clients visit, what the hell is he talking about? I thought the "I pay for internet access, so anything I can find a way to grab online for free is really paid for" meme was limited to 12 year olds using Napster for the first time back in the days when people could almost play that dumb and pretend to mean it.

  • What is the flag? (Score:2, Interesting)

    I log into my Slashdot account today and notice flags on each post (bottom right, near the social networking icons). Any clue what this is about? Is Slashdot suddenly going to allow us to censor posts? I won't jump to conclusions yet, but this is the typical use of flags in a forum.

    • I log into my Slashdot account today and notice flags on each post (bottom right, near the social networking icons). Any clue what this is about? Is Slashdot suddenly going to allow us to censor posts? I won't jump to conclusions yet, but this is the typical use of flags in a forum.

      If you click the flag a text box appears with the word Report filled in. I think this a new system to flag spam.

    • Re:What is the flag? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Soulskill (1459) Works for Slashdot on Monday February 13, 2012 @04:07PM (#39023649) Homepage

      Hitting the flag icon will bring that comment to the editors' attention. Nothing is automated. (For example, several comments in this thread were flagged.) When we look at it, we'll downmod it if it's spam, or something like the racist copypastas.

      It's basically just an avenue for people without mod points to get the worst comments downmodded more quickly.

  • scare tactics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RichMan (8097) on Monday February 13, 2012 @02:21PM (#39021945)

    Some people make a lot of money from ads. The net was here and functioning perfectly with lots of people. Then the advertisers showed up to make money. The people making money want to scare people into thinking it will all go away if they lose the money making machine. It will work just fine.

    The net was meant to be a collaborative medium. It was not meant to fuel profit into someones pocket as a distribution system. The net will function just fine if it is not leveraged into a money making distribution system.

  • Internet was much more free in the early stages, and ads were much more prominent then. By then, this array and wealth of tracking mechanisms and options werent even there. When something came to your site, you assumed that it was a visitor.

  • Doesn't mater (Score:5, Informative)

    by na1led (1030470) on Monday February 13, 2012 @02:21PM (#39021951)
    The ISP will track your every move. The private browsing option is just in case your Wife finds out where you've been on the Internet.
  • let it die (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AntEater (16627) on Monday February 13, 2012 @02:21PM (#39021961) Homepage

    If tracking is the only way the "free" internet can survive then it deserves to die. I think you'd find the creativity of people will work around such a limitation.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Monday February 13, 2012 @02:22PM (#39021987) Homepage

    The parties who get on the internet to conduct legitimate business and to share information and to collaborate will continue doing so JUST FINE.

    To parallel a little... badly... did the "Do Not Call" registry kill collections and telemarketing activities? Nope.

    • by rgbrenner (317308)

      Are you sure about that? How many people will cancel their net connections when facebook, google, and other ad supported sites shutdown. People aren't going to pay for a connection that's only useful for buying things from amazon.. and when they don't have that connection, they will never buy from amazon.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Are you sure about that? How many people will cancel their net connections when facebook, google, and other ad supported sites shutdown.

        Mu.

        You have to log in to use Facebook, and by its nature facebook tracks your activities because that's what it's for, and since the users deliberately create the information used to track them facebook won't have to change its behavior at all. Google tracks many users because they log in because they want google to save their settings, among other reasons, and as history is a key part of google's functionality, they won't have to change either.

        Any good examples for us?

    • by timeOday (582209)

      To parallel a little... badly... did the "Do Not Call" registry kill collections and telemarketing activities? Nope.

      Really? Have you forgotten what a nuisance telemarketing used to be before "Do Not Call"? From what I can tell it was very effective.

  • Do Not Track might kill the free internet if sites had any intention of not tracking users. They don't. Whatever you do, they'll try to track you and market that info to advertisers.
  • ... where the primary purpose is user habit tracking. Perhaps for a get-as-much-users-as-possible web site with no real content that has no other purpose than to attract ad clicks it is important to target different ads to different users.

    But all cases I can think of where REAL websites have REAL content, it is trivial to display ads that are aligned with the content of the site. If I look at science fiction movies at a movie web site, they just have to show me other science fiction movies. If I look at car

  • In a word? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eternaldoctorwho (2563923) on Monday February 13, 2012 @02:24PM (#39022017)
    No. Whenever a headline on Slashdot asks a question, the answer is No.
  • by JeanCroix (99825) on Monday February 13, 2012 @02:27PM (#39022075) Journal

    Just like VCRs and DVRs were supposed to have killed 'free' television programming...

    Just as AdBlock was supposed to have already killed 'free' internet...

    Next up: the shills shouting how using such tools "breaks the implied social contract" of viewing free content.

    • Just like VCRs and DVRs were supposed to have killed 'free' television programming...
      Just as AdBlock was supposed to have already killed 'free' internet...

      And just as Linux was supposed to have killed FreeBSD.

      Er, hang on...

  • The 'Internet', like everything, is not a set system.. it 'evolves'.. This is like saying 'will DHTML kill the internet'? 'Will the end of Flash(tm) kill the internet'?

    No. none of that will kill the internet.. It might cause some people to rethink their revenue models for their websites, etc.. but the internet will go on.

    • Pray tell any good revenue generating models for a content based site business on the Internet? Don't even say paywall, that has never worked and likely never will. Not only do most Internet users refuse to support content behind a paywall, their are entire groups of free information fundamentalists who actively devote their lives to bringing down paywalls and companies that host them.

      Just saying "Evolve or die" is intellectually lazy. It would be akin to saying that long distance space travel will occur

  • Due to some bug on my Linksys WRT120N wireless router, having the DNT header in your HTTP requests screws up basic-auth and there's no way I can log in.

    The problem is that the DNT flag (at least in Firefox) is not only enabled in "Options" -> "Privacy" -> "Tell websites I do not want to be tracked", but may be also enabled by AdBlock itself with this hacky rule I found in the EasyPrivacy filters list: *$donottrack,image,~image

    Not sure what web server is running on the router, but I'm having this head

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Not sure what web server is running on the router, but I'm having this header disabled for now...

      doesn't affect my linksys or buffalo routers running tomato. P.S. your router sucks and it was deceptively marketed by Cisco.

  • "points out that users pay good money to ISPs for those 'free' sites.""
    Since when is paying the ISP equivalent to paying a website for its free content?
    He does realise the these ISPs do not give a royalty of these funds to all free sites, right?

    Just because I pay my taxes does not mean that I am in my rights to steal stuff.

  • "I don’t give a damn about how CNN or AMC or MSNBC make their money, their business models, who pays how much to whom for what, yadda yadda; all I care about is what my cable bill costs each month."

    Of course you give a damn, Dan, you are a writer in the entertainment and news industry, and it's your job to give a damn. That's why you have now written not one, but two articles on the topic. Duuh.

    And since you can't even figure that out for your own case, maybe assuming that consumers don't care where

  • by Animats (122034) on Monday February 13, 2012 @02:39PM (#39022305) Homepage

    Suppose commercial web tracking was absolutely prohibited unless you were explicitly using a single company's site. Third party ads could not be personalized. What would the Web look like?

    Many of the useful sites on the Internet are actual stores, from Amazon to Grainger to Digi-Key. Their revenue doesn't come from advertising. It comes from selling real stuff. They'd barely notice. There are major paid services like Netflix. They provide a service for money. No problem there.

    Google was profitable before they had ad personalization. Search ads don't need to be "personalized" - the user tells you what they're looking for, so it's straightforward to present relevant ads. Running a search engine isn't that expensive. AltaVista was a demo for DEC Alpha computers, not a business. Cuil was a flop, but demonstrated that you could do a search engine for about $25 million. Blekko and DuckDuckGo are funded at about that level.

    The only business that desperately needs the anal-probe level of intrusive personal monitoring is Facebook.

    • The Internet is more than just a giant shopping mall with a search engine.

      People also rely on the Internet to provide them with news, information and entertainment, which is primarily funded by advertising. Without this money, fewer people can make a living off the Internet which result in significantly less quality content.

  • Sure, Do Not track could mess up the ad hits statistics. There will have to be some alternative method of ensuring that each hit comes from a unique user. But I think that the advertisers will come up with new methods of counting hits.

    I'd be happy with some sort of proxy system, where a trusted intermediary would handle the cookies (or whatever) and forward a unique but untraceable token to legit ad sites to track counts. If the ad interests me and I visit the site, odds are I'll identify myself. But minin

  • I don't see a problem here. Do Not Track requires websites to implement it and users to turn it on. Even if it becomes default in browsers, every website on the Internet has to be changed to use it. I don't see that happening overnight. Sure, browser vendors could block sites not using it, but I don't think that can happen either. It just takes a few big holdouts like Facebook or google to keep it from becoming a reality.

    I don't even like the implementation right now. I want to be able to turn it on,

  • by maple_shaft (1046302) on Monday February 13, 2012 @02:50PM (#39022541)

    In more than anyway imaginable, advertisements and targeted advertisements helped to fund and thus build the internet as we know it today. Taking targeted ads out as a possible revenue stream will lead to a string of bankruptcies and site shutdowns across the Internet. It will stifle new innovation and content that can't get adequate funding.

    Startups will struggle and fail too. Ultimately, the only content generators that will matter at that point will be hobbyists who spend their own time and money to partake in the internet just to be noticed.

    I don't think people truly realize how much money will dry up without targeted advertising.

    • I don't think people truly realize how much money will dry up without targeted advertising.

      Necessity is the mother of invention. If all that stuff is worthwhile, then someone will come up with a way to make it work.

      For years I've been saying that advertising has destroyed any chance of getting a functional micro-payment system in widespread use. For all intents and purposes, targeted ads are micro-payments, the only part missing is where we pay with money rather than our privacy.

      If targeted ads go away, maybe we'll get a system in its place that makes it feasible to pay fractional pennies to we

    • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

      In more than anyway imaginable, advertisements and targeted advertisements helped to fund and thus build the internet as we know it today. Taking targeted ads out as a possible revenue stream will lead to a string of bankruptcies and site shutdowns across the Internet. It will stifle new innovation and content that can't get adequate funding.

      Of course, television and cable seem to get along quite fine with non-targeted advertising.

    • by ankhank (756164) *

      So what can targeted ads do that good search indexing and online catalogs and reviews can't do?
      They're for pushing stuff to people -- so they'll see stuff that they didn't decide to go look for or a search engine didn't show them from its own search results.
      How much value is there -- and who gets that value -- from doing targeted ads -- more than the value of providing on request good opt-in advertising?
      Tell us what it's worth?

  • The full list (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Monday February 13, 2012 @02:57PM (#39022663) Journal

    Adhere
    Demandbase
    Dynamic Logic
    Facebook Connect
    Facebook Social Plugins
    Google +1
    Google Analytics
    Google FriendConnect
    ShareThis
    Twitter Button

    I have ghostery installed,a plugin for all browsers that blocks not ads themselves so much as all these trackers.

    This particular site isn't even that bad, mostly all the social crap that tends to get everywhere like the scum it is. But there are worse sites.

    Do I mind being tracked? Not really no... the main reason I installed ghostery was to get rid of all those annoying scripts that make the net just a little bit slower with each and everyone of them.

    But what about the free content I consume? Once the internet was a non-profit area and frankly I think it was better for it. Using google becomes more and more a pain as companies that try to sell something I don't want outrank information sites. I feel like I finally got rid of the deluge of paper ads on my doormat everyday and now it insteads gets delivered by the truck load through the wires in my home. I do not have an answer as to how sites like Slashdot would survive without advertising but frankly, I don't care. The internet would adapt, go back to privately run sites on private funds for the hell of it and only post articles that are intresting, not just to attract the most eyeballs.

    Advertisers keep pushing the limits and users are pushing back. If one day we users push back so hard that advertisers starve to dead (preverably a miserable and painful one) then... MISSION FUCKING ACCOMPLISHED!

  • I don't know about you, but I pay around $20 a month for my internet. I also pay for hosting on the websites I host. What is this "free internet" you speak of?

    Oh you mean all those people who manage to convince other people to pay extra for internet delivered services, or to put pixels on their virtual real estate? Well tbh we can all do without that self-inflating self-promoting bullshit industry called "advertising", and nothing of value would be lost.

  • All the websites will just put Facebook 'like' buttons on their pages and since everyone already allows Facebook to ram their privacy up their pooper tracking will continue.

    Hang on, that's already happened on Slashdot. Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
    • by Skapare (16644)

      I'm not on Facebook, you insensitive clod.

      • Doesn't mean they're not tracking you to build their models for advertising. They just don't have a name to go with your data. I've never been to Facebook.com on this PC but firefox has a facebook.com cookie.
  • I liked the internet better before it was a huge corporate gang-bang, so I'd be fine to go back to the way it was when only nerds used it. I'm sure I'm in a tiny minority though.
  • I think "Do Not Track" will only stop (or slow down) the war of escalation between advertisers. With Do Not Track, Google et al can sell 'more targeted ads' to advertisers that are willing to pay more for that level of targeting. If we assume that the average user/consumer is only going to click on some maximum number of ads per day then the advertising business on the internet is basically a zero-sum game (which I think is pretty close to true at this point). So if we continue to allow tracking, those a

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