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The Case For Targeted Ads 290

Posted by samzenpus
from the sell-it-to-me dept.
Nofsck Ingcloo writes "CNet has published a guest column by Eric Wheeler warning the world of the evil consequences of Do Not Track. In it he makes strong (I would claim exaggerated) arguments in favor of targeted advertising. He claims the threat of political action on Do Not Track should, 'strike fear into the hearts of every company that does business online....' He speaks of compromising a $300 billion industry, which I read as being the industry composed of online advertisers and all their clients. He clearly thinks the trade off between freedom from snooping and free access to web content always favors free access. He concludes his arguments by saying, 'Taken as a whole, the potentially dire impact of Do Not Track is clear: the end of the free internet and a crippling blow to the technology industry.' He then goes on to advocate contacting legislators and the FTC in opposition to Do Not Track."
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The Case For Targeted Ads

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  • Isn't it Voluntary? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ThatsMyNick (2004126) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @07:04PM (#41405789)

    Isn't Do Not Track voluntary? The advertiser can choose not follow it, right? If so, what is all the fuss about?

    • Surely you aren't suggesting that the government should just allow consumers to speak ill of advertisers and other members of the better sort?

      Clearly the horrors of 'do not track' are so great that we must have a law to forbid people from even expressing such a destructive preference.(Now, um, never you mind that I said that targeted advertising was awesome, and thus would theoretically be popular and simply outcompete DNT, that was, um, different for some reason! Targeted advertising is exciting and ought

    • by b4dc0d3r (1268512) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @07:22PM (#41405963)

      It is currently voluntary. A lot of people are pushing for it to be mandatory, which would practically chop Google's business plan off at the hips. Right now they read your mail (not the employees, but the servers), they track your searches, and if you have Android they know a lot more about you than you think. Do not track being mandatory would turn off a lot of their data gathering. And they are an advertising sales company, no matter what other products they bring to consumers. Just as with FaceBook, you are the product and your eyeballs are being sold to advertisers.

      Microsoft intends to turn DNT on by default for IE 10, and even if you don't go with Windows 8 you might get some updates for Win7, if not actually IE 10, that set DNT accordingly. Now a huge browser market, including most people people who don't know what DNT is, nor do they care, will have it disabled by default. This pits Microsoft against Google in a huge way.

      Aside from all of the other fallout that will happen by making it not just a standard, but a fine-inducing requirement, it will be essentially unenforceable in that it will be hard to prove tracking versus proper context-based targeted adverts. Pointless unenforceable laws/regulations that depend on politicians pretending to support their constituents on the small things so they can screw voters on the big things are not the way to a better internet. But that's what we're going to get when politicians get involved.

      The fuss isn't about right now, it's about looking down the road and seeing oncoming traffic. A smart person would at least pull over, and assess whether a U-turn is in order, or getting off the road, or if maybe staying the course is in fact appropriate.

      • by jonsmirl (114798) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @07:36PM (#41406117) Homepage

        The way to combat this is for every website that detects the DNT header to simply respond with a page saying how to turn it off or download a different browser. How quickly we all forget what it was like to be constantly bombarded with ads for products you cannnot use or cannot be purchased in your locale.

        • How quickly we all forget what it was like to be constantly bombarded with ads for products you cannnot use or cannot be purchased in your locale.

          I forget what it was like to be constantly bombarded with ads [adblockplus.org], thank goodness. Since I ignore any ads I do see -- I never click -- they might as well be for products I cannot use.

      • "It is currently voluntary. A lot of people are pushing for it to be mandatory, which would practically chop Google's business plan off at the hips."

        No, they aren't. They aren't trying to make anything "mandatory". What they're pushing for, is to make it all opt-in only.

        People will still have a choice. They only difference is, it will be truly voluntary, as opposed to the way it is now, which is not so much voluntary but sneaky.

        YOU, and other Slashdotters, may be aware of how much you are tracked, but believe me, the vast majority of people do not.

        • To the advertisers I say, "Cry me a river!" Ads are one thing, but the privacy intrusion is what frosts me. I fear the overall trend is that privacy will erode further and further though, so this is a losing battle.
          • "I fear the overall trend is that privacy will erode further and further though, so this is a losing battle."

            It's not a lost cause. The solution is actually quite simple. Making tracking opt-in only, and imposing harsh penalties for violations, can easily solve the problem.

            • The solution is actually quite simple. Making tracking opt-in only, and imposing harsh penalties for violations, can easily solve the problem.

              Other have pointed out, that if you run a tech website then display tech ads. If you run a site about cats, post ads for cat food. There's *no need* for cookies following users around. Just display ads that are germane to what your site is about.

              I was hating cookies back in the 90s. I understand the need for sites to make money. All this information we call the internet doesn't come free. Can we have a little restraint though please? Your idea of putting government in charge of advertising has only one f

      • Microsoft intends to turn DNT on by default for IE 10, and even if you don't go with Windows 8 you might get some updates for Win7, if not actually IE 10, that set DNT accordingly. Now a huge browser market, including most people people who don't know what DNT is, nor do they care, will have it disabled by default. This pits Microsoft against Google in a huge way.

        Sort of relates to this internal Microsoft memo that was leaked.

        Halloween Document XII.

        Recorded by //REDACTED//, as dictated by Steve Ballmer,

    • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @07:37PM (#41406123)
      ABP is mandatory; DNT is just a distracting waste of time predicated on bad ideas about what Internet advertising should be (and for that matter, what the Internet itself should be). We solved the invasive web advertisement problem long ago with ABP, just like we solved the email / Usenet spam problem with spam filtering.

      The first paragraph of TFA should be enough to know how uninformed the writer's opinion is: he pushes the idea that anonymous data is being collected, despite all the work that has shown how that data can be de-anonymized (especially when several "anonymous" databases are combined).
      • by guises (2423402)
        NoScript is mandatory, to stop bad behavior, I also use Ghostery and FlashBlock. AdBlockPlus is detrimental though. I suppose if you're the sort of person who only goes to websites without advertising then you could justify the use of AdBlockPlus, since those sites pay for themselves by other means, but of course if those were the only sites that you were going to then you wouldn't need it...

        The argument against spam goes like this: person A maintains an email server that person B uses to send spam. Perso
        • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @09:00PM (#41406693)

          The argument against spam goes like this: person A maintains an email server that person B uses to send spam. Person A shoulders the cost while person B receives the benefits, this is widely acknowledged as a bad thing.

          No, the argument against spam is that (in the absence of filtering) it overwhelms users' inboxes with unsolicited and unwanted messages and makes it exceedingly difficult for email / Usenet / SMS / etc. to be useful. Remember the days of writing your email address like this: email example com? That is not what the administrators or owners of mail servers were doing; that was what users did, to avoid spam in their inbox as long as possible.

          Visiting an ad supported website goes like this: person A maintains a web server that person B uses to retrieve content. Person A shoulders the cost but offsets this with advertising money, person B receives the (non-monetary) benefits.

          The other day, my mother was trying to read The New Yorker online, but a hover ad kept covering the article -- and there was no clear way to get rid of it. She now uses ABP, because otherwise, some websites would be unusable. That is exactly the same situation as email and Usenet spam, except that this time, it is so overwhelmingly profitable that the people doing it can appear to be "legitimate" (OK, I'll be fair: they usually advertise real products, which adds some amount of legitimacy).

          You know whose resources are wasted with advertising on the web? Users', that's whose; CPU cycles, RAM, screen time and space, and so forth. What benefit are users getting? Targeted ads they did not want to begin with? When people need to buy things, they actually do benefit from advertising, but of a much different kind: classifieds like Craigslist, shopping search engines (what, you think that is not a form of advertising?), etc. It is not surprising that Amazon makes so much money in advertising -- not because they track users, but because when people need something, they use Amazon's search engine to find what they need.

          Advertising is very important to the web as it exists right now

          If that is true (and frankly, I think the web would be fine if everyone used ABP), then it is time to make a better system, perhaps one that is more distributed so that popular online publications are not so costly to operate.

          What I'm saying is, and I'm trying to put it politely, people as a whole should be aspiring to a higher level of ethics than douchebag spammers.

          I agree, but I am not greedy.

          • Remember the days of writing your email address like this: email example com?

            That should read: email [at] example [dot] com

          • it is time to make a better system, perhaps one that is more distributed so that popular online publications are not so costly to operate.

            Various companies offer cloud delivery networks to make delivery more distributed. But not all the costs of running a web site are related to delivery (that is, bandwidth). Some are related to creating the works displayed on the site. How do you recommend making it less costly to pay a site's writers without discouraging them from becoming the site's writers in the first place?

          • by guises (2423402)

            No, the argument against spam is that (in the absence of filtering) it overwhelms users' inboxes with unsolicited and unwanted messages and makes it exceedingly difficult for email / Usenet / SMS / etc. to be useful.

            That's not right, that isn't why people are so dead-set against spam. Consider different methods of distributing targeted advertising, they can be lumped into two groups: spam, fax ads, and telemarketing calls to your cell phone in the one group, junk mail and telemarketing to a landline in the other group. The first group is banned or restricted by law, the second group is unrestricted (at least prior to the Do Not Call Registry). All of them waste a person's time, the difference between them is that the f

      • by Tom (822)

        ABP is mandatory; DNT is just a distracting waste of time predicated on bad ideas about what Internet advertising should be (and for that matter, what the Internet itself should be). We solved the invasive web advertisement problem long ago with ABP, just like we solved the email / Usenet spam problem with spam filtering.

        Is the portal to your parallel universe still open?

        Spam still makes up the majority of E-Mail traffic. That you don't see it does not mean the problem has disappeared.

        ABP has not made a dent in advertisement, because almost nobody uses it. Remember that we aren't the average Internet user. According to the Mozilla AddOns page, ABP has 14 mio. users. There are about 2.4 billion Internet users. So 0.6% of the Internet users use ABP. And I'm being generous there because most of those 14 mio. will also own a sm

    • When someone follows you, that's called "Stalking." And an un-invited person is refered to as an "ass."
    • by 1u3hr (530656)

      Isn't Do Not Track voluntary? The advertiser can choose not follow it, right? If so, what is all the fuss about?/quote> That's the situation now, free for all.

      He's afraid the FTC will make it mandatory, so advertisers can't simply track regardless. Also that browser makers are making DNT the default.

  • Two words: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Quakeulf (2650167) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @07:05PM (#41405799)
    Fuck. You.
    • But unless you stop deleting cookies, TEH INtARNeTS AS WE DONE KNoW IT GOES BOOM!

    • Fuck. You.

      I'm trying to figure out why swearing is considered insightful... but I got nothin'.

      • You post history provides zero evidence that you are actually swearing-averse, so I conclude you must be an advertiser.

        • You post history provides zero evidence that you are actually swearing-averse, so I conclude you must be an advertiser.

          For a limited time only, my bullshit is 20% off regular price...

  • Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @07:05PM (#41405805)

    So what? It could be a three hundred quintillion dollar industry. It doesn't change the ethics, morals, or the fact that most people don't want it. Advertising has been shoved down people's throats. It's been put in places where it was promised not to appear. It eats away at our culture, it deadens people's nerves, and it saturates everything it comes in contact with. It is a plague -- and it needs reform. It is an industry without regulation, without controls, and with an insatiable appetite.

    And not a one of them are for reasonable controls. It was only recently, and after fighting tooth and nail, that we even got them to stop screwing with the volume on our TVs. Fuck them -- when they learn to be responsible, then maybe I'll learn to give a damn whether they get thrown under a bus or not. But probably not.

    • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ColdWetDog (752185) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @07:11PM (#41405851) Homepage

      It's the money. All the way down.

      Pretty impressive diatribe by an advertising executive. He probably eats the Wheaties box for breakfast.

    • Actually, the larger the valuation for the industry, the worse it is, since the size of the industry is what gives you an idea of how much is being bled off from sectors that wouldn't be better off if set on fire.

      • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

        by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @07:28PM (#41406029)

        Actually, the larger the valuation for the industry, the worse it is, since the size of the industry is what gives you an idea of how much is being bled off from sectors that wouldn't be better off if set on fire.

        Hey, I'm not saying advertising doesn't have its place. I'm not even saying companies shouldn't be allowed to spend as much as they want on it. I happen to believe in freedom of speech, even speech I disagree with. But I also have the right to ignore others' speech, or to respond with speech of my own. Legislating away that choice is wrong -- and that's what this guy is advocating. Well, fuck him. His position isn't just unethical, it's unamerican. Nobody has a right to shove their own beliefs down other people's throats and that statement doesn't change because money is involved, even a lot of money.

        If people hang a "no soliciting" sign on the door of their home or business, it should be respected. In many jurisdictions, there's a penalty if you don't. If you add your phone number to the "do not call" list, that also has to be respected. It's even required by law in cases where the other party is owed money. The right to free speech doesn't include the right to be heard: I can walk away. That doesn't change just because the speech is digital instead.

        • Sure, we should nationally publish the public schedule of one Mr. Eric Wheeler, get a little money from a mysterious donor to "Make It Okay", then we should flood him every waking moment of his life with about 7 people per minute offering him stuff. 'Oh, I'm sorry, you said you liked advertising. I'm sorry if you think that doesn't apply to you." But no, it's always built in with little cute loopholes to the Powers That Be, like an I Am An Executive setting.

    • by Seumas (6865)

      I'll just never get the point of any of it and I'll never understand why people would rather get something for free than pay a little and get ads.

      First, when someone says "hey, shut up, you can't complain about it because it's free". Bullshit. Charge me a buck a month or something. If you're a worthwhile service, my sanity and reducing the visual clutter of everything is worth a buck to me. Give me the damn *choice* to decide what is more important to me. Let me decide if I want to be the product or if I wa

      • by rgbrenner (317308)

        Charge me a buck a month or something.

        In fantasy land, this would work. They might only earn $1 off your visits for a year.. but if you had to pay, the bill would be more like $50/year.. because 49 other people would have refused to pay anything.

        Of course, then you would say, $50/year is outrageous, and you're not going to pay

        So in REALITY, the site would have 0 customers, and would be shutdown.

        So the question is.. if you don't like the ads on the site.. WHY DO YOU GO THERE?

        WHY are you here on slashdot for example? And I noticed you chose not t

        • by nbauman (624611)

          I sympathize with the advertising industry, and the companies like Google that have done so many kewl things with the money they made out of Internet ads.

          But the Internet killed off the newspaper and magazine business, where I used to work. At one time, newspapers in every city would hire a lot of reporters to spend a lot of time following the issues and informing their readers what was going on. Now they've been laying off their reporters, they're down to skeleton crews, and some of the great newspapers we

        • So the question is.. if you don't like the ads on the site.. WHY DO YOU GO THERE?

          The content of the website might be more valuable than avoiding ads. They might be blocking said ads.

        • by c0lo (1497653)

          Of course, then you would say, $50/year is outrageous, and you're not going to pay

          So in REALITY, the site would have 0 customers, and would be shutdown

          Really? I'm paying $50/year subscription to Orson Scott Cards e-zine [intergalac...neshow.com]. I'm doing it for a second year already, and... yes... it is still there, haven't been shutdown.

          How's that as the single counterexample necessary to show the falsity of your statement?

    • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @07:29PM (#41406039) Journal

      "There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary to the public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute nor common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back."
      Life-Line by Robert A. Heinlein, 1939

      If you cannot innovate; legislate.

      • If you cannot innovate; legislate.

        A lot of businesses consider legislation to be innovative. Some of them are in the news right now for suing their competitors to keep their products out of the marketplace. Others are being sued or investigated by various governments for anticompetitive practices that consist of making their product incompatible with a competitors', and then using the law to keep them from reverse engineering compatibility back in.

        A large number of lawyers is now as important as a large number of engineers these days; That

    • It could be a three hundred quintillion dollar industry.

      Whoa! That's almost the entire derivatives market.

    • This isn't specifiically about internet advertising, but it is relevant. Last week I paid $20 to see a movie at my local cinema. I also paid another $15 for stale popcorn and watery soda.

      I then had to sit through what they had the audacity to call a "pre-show programme" which consisted of (I timed it) 3 previews totalling about 6 minutes together and close to 15 minutes of advertising.

      This shit is in my face, wasting my time and adding no value. Based on the prices I'm paying at the box-office it's al
    • People don't want targeted ads? That's completely made up. Maybe a tiny subclass of people don't, but people at large do. Why do you think they work so well? If you're a guy, haven't you complained about TV ads for tampons?

      Face it - ads are a part of life, and if you're going to have to see them anyway, they may as well be for things you'd be interested in. I'll take ads for video games, car products, and electronics over random ONE WEIRD TIP FOR WHITENING YOUR TEETH shit any day.

      Looking at it another way,

      • by KiloByte (825081)

        I do not want targetted ads. For two reasons: targetted, and ads.

        You say "ads are a part of life" -- so is pollution and diseases. Proponents of pollution say "but it allows the industry to produce cheaper goods this way", proponents of diseases would want to ensure steady income for pharma companies.

    • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Zadaz (950521) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @09:02PM (#41406703)

      The thing I I do want it. I would love it if I was only shown ads which were for things that I was truly interested in. It would be wonderful if ads were a product discovery service.

      Except they're not. There's not enough margin in that and that's not how advertisers want to reach me.

      Take for example and of the music streaming services. Pandora, Spotify, Last.fm, etc. They know exactly what music you like to listen to. So it should be a slam-dunk to target ads to you for stuff you're interested in. Sell you the album you're listening to, sell you tickets to a local show of any of your favorite artists. Hell, alert you some TV show, movie, or game that uses your favorite music in the soundtrack.

      But no. You get adverts for songs, artists, and genres that you've explicitly told you never want to hear again. The service that can have surprisingly good accuracy when suggesting new music and artists is quite literally tone deaf when suggesting ads.

      The only explanation is that the record labels are dumping so much money to promote X that they buy up all the available slots, whether its appropriate or not. They still think we're listening to the radio and are not an infinitely fragmented audience, so they throw money at it to keep the little guy out. The little guy who would most benefit targeted ads. And the streaming services let them do this, even though it's a disservice to their listeners because the listeners aren't their customers, the record companies are, and they're already on thin ice with them to begin with. So they'll do what it takes to keep them happy.

      Now that's just streaming music, but the same factors apply in other areas where targeted ads could work if the players had any interest in playing that game.

    • by readin (838620)
      My favorite part of living in a foreign country was not being able to understand the ads. I missing being able to go for days on end without having my intelligence insulted, without having products crassly attached to my fond emotions and memories, without having to constantly deaden my reactions to the constant mental assault.
  • by rgbrenner (317308) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @07:09PM (#41405837)

    Do Not Track is not a problem.. because it will never seriously be implemented. It's just a request, and it will be ignored by every advertising company there is.

    1) it's a $300 billion industry
    2) targeted ads are more effective.
    so 3) if your ad company implements DNT, you will be less effective, and your clients will go where their ads (and $) are more effective -- which is where DNT is not implemented.

    No one is going to give up billions (or their jobs) to implement DNT.. any ad company that does will be out-competed by their competitors and die.

    And NO consumer is going to pay to have DNT. If consumers REALLY cared about targeted ads, they wouldn't happily post every details of their lives on facebook.

    • Which is why others use proxies, noscript, ghostery, and other blockers to both obscure our addresses, and confound these jerks. Trust DNT? Not really.

      But it's painful for the big data analysis engines, the advertisers, and the data whores. And if it's a bit painful for Uncle Sam, sorry about that, but get out of my biz.

      Remember that you're playing with the business models of corporations that believe they have every right to know all things about your, for their purposes, not yours.

      • by rgbrenner (317308)

        Which is why a very small percent others use proxies, noscript, ghostery, and other blockers

        FTFY

        1% use blockers.. 1% opt-out (by not using the site), and 98% are busy posting what they ate for breakfast on facebook.

        • There is much truth in this. This is why I try and educate people.

        • That's why ABP etc. should be included by default in browsers. If users actually want advertising, let them disable ad blockers and opt in.
          • That's why ABP etc. should be included by default in browsers.

            If that were to become the case, more sites would say "turn off ABP or enter your credit card number".

            • No they would not; they would host ads in a way that is more difficult for ABP to detect, the most obvious being serving the ads from their own web servers. Telling users to do something technical is a guaranteed way to get most them to lose interest in your site, and unlike the advertisers, a website that only gets 1% of its users to stick around is a website that will ultimately fail.
    • If consumers REALLY cared about targeted ads, they wouldn't happily post every details of their lives on facebook.

      Most people have no idea about what Facebook is collecting about that, which is part of the problem. Even highly educated people are shocked to learn about this:

      http://www.switched.com/2009/09/21/gaydar-experiment-uses-facebook-to-find-your-sexual-orientatio/ [switched.com]

      It is the responsibility of browser makers to provide for user security. We cannot stop people from giving their information away voluntarily; we can include ABP or similar software in all browsers, and thus remove the incentive to create inv

  • There may be a middle ground. I think most people against tracking don't want all of their private information collected. Things like looking up what that bump means or some other personal problem. Instead you could have a system like Pandora. A thumbs up and thumbs down. If you are on a website and an ad for hemorrhoid cream shows up you can click on the thumbs down so in the future it doesn't display ads like that.

    I'm always looking up crap on Amazon I'd never buy because I'm curious to read the reviews.

  • Excellent (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @07:14PM (#41405889) Homepage
    All this screaming means that we're on the right track.
  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @07:16PM (#41405923)

    Just another shill for the investor class, bemoaning the fact that there are still things that can't be bought and sold.

  • by logicassasin (318009) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @07:23PM (#41405977)

    Are you logged into Google or any other search/email service right now? Then the data collected is most definitely not anonymous. Your search and surfing data is being collected and can be tied to you, or at least your online identity.

    • Take a supposedly "anonymous" database, and chances are you will be able to compute the identity of each person whose information is recorded in that database. This is even more true when you take several "anonymous" databases in combination, and it is a certainty when you combine "anonymous" data with not-anonymous data.

      When someone defends invasive advertising by claiming that the data is anonymized, you know they are either uninformed or lying.
  • "the online industry's highly successful self-regulatory privacy practices"

    Right, which is why all junk mails are opt-in and all unsubscribe requests are honored quickly.

    "Online advertising has been one of the few unqualified success stories in our economy in recent years"

    Yes, pop-up ads, and then the new pop-up ads designed to defeat my wanting to avoid them, have been an "unqualified success". Ditto for hovering crap, garishly flashing crap, and automatically starting embedded video and audio.

    All that ha

  • He is right, if we have Do Not Track legislation the economy is going to crash just like after recordable tapes destroyed the film industry and Napster eliminated all musicians.

  • ... do what television advertisers do and display ads based on the typical demographic based on the subject matter?

  • golden rule (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slashmydots (2189826) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @07:42PM (#41406163)
    Don't forget the golden rule of business! It applies to advertising as well. It is: "If customers hate your product, fuck you, I hope you go out of business."
    Sorry, web advertising. There's always Valpak, lol.
    • by rgbrenner (317308)

      You're a customer of the advertising agency? or the sites displaying ads? really? How much did you pay them last year?

      Their REAL customers... you know -- the companies that buy ads.. they love targeted ads because they are effective, and they love companies that implement them like Google.

      So more like -- fuck you free website visitor.. because our customers (THE ADVERTISERS) love our product (AD SPACE)

  • It's extremely unlikely this $300 B number represents all the targeted advertising companies and all their clients. There are very few companies that don't do some form of targeted advertising. If you were to add up the revenue of all the companies that use targeted advertising, it'd be tens of trillions of dollars.

  • This is the same thing we heard from the credit bureaus when the fair credit reporting act was enacted. The same thing we heard from many industries with the EPA & clean water acts.

    For most things there is an upside and a downside. If most of the country doesn't think your upside out weighs your downside, then sucks to be you.

    (BTW and off topic) If Apple really wanted to stick it to Google, then what they'd need to do is push for legislation similar to the FCRA only applied to online tracking.

  • It always amazes me how such an educated group of individuals as exists on /. always makes such irrational statements evertime an article like this comes around.

    Full Disclosure: I've been in digital media for several years and am currently a fairly high-level individual on the more technical analytics/strategy side of things at a top digital media agency.

    Now, despite my background, I want to preface this by saying that since I was very young, I've always been very paranoid about my privacy, and still remain

    • by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @08:41PM (#41406589) Homepage Journal
      You know how to code, but I doubt you know how these systems actually work, what they actually collect, or how that data is actually used in the real world

      I am one of those people who DO know how they work and what data they collect. I spent plenty of time engineering them and the subsequent delegations of production. They are just as evil as you can imagine, only more so. You may feel that you are a single point of consumer data, but your behavior changes and your habits along with them. They know this and see this, and if they can tell you are willing to spend more money, your new PC from XCompany is $39 more expensive.

      Your post is misleading, and on purpose. It may be well articulated, but the Devil is in the details
    • by TCM (130219)

      I want to preface this by saying that since I was very young, I've always been very paranoid about my privacy, and still remain paranoid to this day. I used to react to these sorts of things by spewing vitriol without knowing enough technical details to truly be qualified to comment. I would venture that is the case for the vast majority of people here.

      So you were "one of us" but very young. But now you've matured and see the "real" story. Rrrright.

      The reality is, you guys are in the minority, and despite a

    • Says the man with a fucking ad in his sig.
  • We had the internet long before people like him were trying to massively profit by any means necessary, no matter how low.

  • if he is right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by binarstu (720435) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @08:00PM (#41406325)
    Just imagine what would happen if "do not track" were incredibly successful, and as this guy predicts, the "bottom drops out" of the online advertising industry, forcing "free" sites like Facebook to turn to subscription-based models to pay for themselves.

    We would find out really quickly what people actually care about on the Web. My guess is that for many advertising-supported sites, Facebook included, we'd see that user loyalty is a mile wide and an inch deep. Most current users would be unwilling to have to pay to continue using the service, in my opinion. Most people don't care about paying for a service with their privacy, but make even a small dent in their wallet, and they will suddenly care very much.
  • by devphaeton (695736) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @08:17PM (#41406453)

    He speaks of compromising a $300 billion industry

    Just because there is some 'industry' where some arbitrarily large amount of money is exchanged, it doesn't mean it has any right to exist at all.

    This is different, but about as justifiable as the "too big to fail" arguments of yore.

  • He would call down the wrath of god on EVERY ad company.

    Save us jebus

  • Yes, because the radio, television, magazine, and newspaper industries were unable to survive without targeted advertising...

    (Yes, many of those are dying now, but it's not because targeted advertising is infinitely better in every way. Programs that block/hide ads are more likely to be a threat to ad revenue than limiting targeting. Good old fashioned "People on a site about cats probably will respond to ads for cat food" logic ought to be good enough to sustain the sites. And, if there isn't a way to gene

  • Fucm this asshole, fuck his wife, fuck his children, fuck his grandchildren.

    Gloves are off, and will cost several billion to put back on. Deal with it, or leave.

  • by Animats (122034) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @08:52PM (#41406653) Homepage

    Netflix and Amazon don't need tracking of casual browsers, because they have real customers. They have, legitimately, information about what you knowingly bought from them. Businesses that have real sites that sell real stuff don't really need to track browsers, just customers. Even Facebook doesn't need tracking of casual browsers, since, while they're intrusive, you clearly sign up with and log into Facebook. Google doesn't really need personalization; they were profitable just putting up ads that were relevant to the current search.

    So, really, it's the junk sites that need this. Those with Google AdSense junk ads. Most entertainment sites. Slashdot. Crap like that. Getting rid of tracking would hurt them. We might lose some of them. No big loss.

  • Have they not considered a user specified, targeted add strategy? As compensation to a company for providing a service/website, have users specify at least a few categories of products they might be be interested. They will only be shown ads from those categories. That makes ads more pertinent to the user, which is a good thing for the user, and makes an advertisers ads more effective, which is a good thing for advertisers. The only downside is that you have to tell companies what broad interests you ha
  • There are many illegal activities that move a lot of money. This is not a reason why we would not want to fight them.
  • If an advertiser could know when I was in the market for a product or service, I would welcome their ads, if they were limited to the product or service I was researching

    The problem with today's targeted ads is that they are stupid

    Example: I fly RC helicopters, serious, high-end RC helicopters. The stupid robots see this, and send me ads for cheap, toy helicopters

    I would welcome targeted advertising if it was even close to the things I am interested in

  • by chrismcb (983081) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:32PM (#41407201) Homepage
    He is probably correct. The lack of targeted marketed has spelled the end of television.
  • They are worth billions, if not trillions of dollars. We need to protect their business model......
  • by drew30319 (828970) on Friday September 21, 2012 @12:03AM (#41407563) Homepage Journal
    The author is CEO of 33across.com. And . . . here's their opt-out link: http://optout.33across.com/api/optout/ [33across.com]

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