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Advertising Privacy

Ad Tracking: Is Anything Being Done? 303

Posted by samzenpus
from the don't-track-me-bro dept.
bsk_cw (1202181) writes "The W3C's Tracking Protection Working Group has been trying to come up with a way to make targeted ads acceptable to users and useful to advertisers — and so far, hasn't gotten very far. Computerworld's Robert Mitchell has interviewed people on all sides of the issue — consumer privacy advocates, vendors of ad-blocking tools, advertisers and website publishers — to try to unravel the issues and see if any solution is possible at all."
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Ad Tracking: Is Anything Being Done?

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  • by invictusvoyd (3546069) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @05:35AM (#46647179)
    Use noscript , disable cookies. If your tin foil hat is too thick , Tor it out.
    • by rudy_wayne (414635) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @06:26AM (#46647355)

      Use noscript , disable cookies. If your tin foil hat is too thick , Tor it out.

      The problem with Noscript is that things have changed. You used to be able to block Javascript and most websites worked well enough to still be usable. Today, more and more websites are designed in a such a way that disabling Javascript breaks them completely -- you literally get nothing but a blank page.

      • by invictusvoyd (3546069) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @06:38AM (#46647403)

        Today, more and more websites are designed in a such a way that disabling Javascript breaks them completely -- you literally get nothing but a blank page.

        IMHO these websites are examples of bad design . Good design should fall back to plain html/css with ideally, minimum loss of functionality

        • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @07:01AM (#46647471)

          IMHO these websites are examples of bad design . Good design should fall back to plain html/css with ideally, minimum loss of functionality

          Yeah, but then you wouldn't have to whitelist the JavaScript to see the content and get all the advertisements too.

          Working as intended.

          • by nabsltd (1313397) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @09:44AM (#46648579)

            IMHO these websites are examples of bad design . Good design should fall back to plain html/css with ideally, minimum loss of functionality

            Yeah, but then you wouldn't have to whitelist the JavaScript to see the content and get all the advertisements too. Working as intended.

            Most sites don't serve their own ads, so I can generally allow the site itself without getting ads. And, since NoScript has a "temporarily enable..." choice, I do that and only permanently enable sites that I use regularly.

            For example, I allow slashdot.com and fsdn.com, but googleadservices.com, google-analytics.com, rpxnow.com, and doubleclick.net (which are all included into the /. pages) are all set to "untrusted".

        • Today, more and more websites are designed in a such a way that disabling Javascript breaks them completely -- you literally get nothing but a blank page.

          IMHO these websites are examples of bad design . Good design should fall back to plain html/css with ideally, minimum loss of functionality

          Thank you Captain Obvious.

          Yes, it is bad design. But it is bad design done deliberately.

        • De-facto reality (Score:5, Insightful)

          by sjbe (173966) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @08:29AM (#46647875)

          IMHO these websites are examples of bad design .

          While that is true, in practical terms it is irrelevant. Websites are now designed with little/no graceful degradation. That is simply the situation as it is, for better or worse. Websites are not designed to gracefully fall back and probably won't ever be designed that way going forward. There is insufficient economic incentive for commercial ventures to be bothered so it isn't likely to happen. Few people turn off Javascript and those that do are probably not of commercial interest so why design for them? Very annoying but I don't see any reasonably likely chance that it will change either.

        • by Tom (822)

          That's a nice dream and I've pursued it myself for over a decade. However, these days, to give users something like the functionality they've come to expect, you absolutely do need javascript.

          Doesn't mean your page should be white without. I agree that is bad design. But "minimum loss of functionalty" for any site more complex and interactive than a blog that's basically "loss of most functionality".

        • Today, more and more websites are designed in a such a way that disabling Javascript breaks them completely -- you literally get nothing but a blank page.

          IMHO these websites are examples of bad design . Good design should fall back to plain html/css with ideally, minimum loss of functionality

          Kiss all the AJAX goodby if you do, though. You'll be refreshing entire web pages every time you turn around.

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        Then do not go to those websites, no reason to use a website that was built by some kid that does not understand basics of webdesign. It's like the 00's and the stupid 100% flash sites that were a bane of the internet. Built by noobs that had no training at all in webdesign.

        • Then do not go to those websites, no reason to use a website that was built by some kid that does not understand basics of webdesign.

          Good luck with that. It isn't "kids" designing these websites and they know exactly what they are doing. It's commercial ventures who know that very few people turn off javascript and those that do are probably not likely to be customers anyway.

      • Noscript and many similar tools allow selective blocking of JS based on domain... 99.9% of ads are served from dedicated domains so you just block them and the main site is unaffected.
      • by PopeRatzo (965947)

        Today, more and more websites are designed in a such a way that disabling Javascript breaks them completely

        You would be surprised at how easy it is to avoid those websites.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Today, more and more websites are designed in a such a way that disabling Javascript breaks them completely -- you literally get nothing but a blank page.

        Yes, I often click through from G+ to a news article and get a blank page. Then I go back and complain about it to whoever shared it, and I sometimes google for another article on the same subject. And nothing of value was lost. An outlet which doesn't care enough to figure out HTML surely will not care enough to develop useful news.

    • by zarlino (985890)

      No, just disable third-party cookies. Then you can whitelist the few legitimate "third-party" domains that use cookies to log you in.

    • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @07:36AM (#46647609)

      Use noscript , disable cookies. If your tin foil hat is too thick , Tor it out.

      With modern marketing software, none of that matters. Tor makes a little trouble for them, but you're still passing enough information to be uniquely identifiable. You have to understand that Tor hides your identity... but it doesn't hide your habits. The marketing people don't care WHO you are, they just need group the data they collect on you into sets. So they assign you an ID and every time you visit a site thats monitored with their software, they log it under that ID. Tor is protecting your identity, but again, your habits reveal that you're the same person that logged in 3hrs ago and looked at that vacuum cleaner ad. Then, they setup some contest or something, get you to fill out a form on a completely unrelated site, and viola your ID is linked to your name and number. The softwares offered to companies as a SASS, and as such, you plug it into your site to collect data... but the vendor has thousands of customers... and so the vendor collects data from all those customers and makes it available to all of those customers. As a result they know far more about you than any individual site does.

      I administer some applications that interface with such software and yes, it's horrifically invasive. I think our only saving grace is that this is used for marketing and sales, and they haven't really found a way to monetize the ridiculous amount of detail they have on you. Basically I have access to the data, and have to display it for sales people. But what use is most of that data to the sales folks? It's just too much data to make a lot of sense of. So I rank sites and keywords by time spent viewing them based on products we have. So if you call in and talk to one of our sales people they will know you have a lot of interest in product X and maybe competitors product Y... so they know what to talk up and talk down. I could, if I wanted to, tell the sales guy your political leanings, if you're gay, what medical ailments you might have... but what would the point of that be? It's not really used for anything horrible on our end... and that's party because it's just not all that useful, and also because people like me at the controls of such things have a moral center and refuse to reveal creative ways to use the data to the marketing folks. But the time is coming... There are smart people out there that will figure this stuff out and have no moral objections to it. I think the really invasive stuff out there now is either used by the government and political parties (even scarier) and by companys that are keeping their methods as trade secrets. But eventually the advanced analytics used to make sense of the data will be offered as a SASS just like the collection software is now.

      There is no way to stop this that I can think of, and federal laws will simply move the software out of the country. Even with the strictest laws you can think of, all that will happen is the corporate entities in the US will outsource their sales divisions to Asia to avoid the law.

      • by PopeRatzo (965947)

        The marketing people don't care WHO you are, they just need group the data they collect on you into sets.

        That's not as true as it once was. Marketers now want to track you, not just your habits. They want identifiable eyeballs.

        There are companies that market to particular credit scores, for example. That only helps them if they can close the sale.

        As an increasing amount of economic activity occurs in the upper strata, and targeted marketing becomes more prevalent, it will be interesting to see how the 1

      • by MrL0G1C (867445)

        I administer some applications that interface with such software and

        Do these apps still work with ghostery and deleting cookies on exit? Why wait for the gov't to do something?

  • Basics (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 03, 2014 @05:37AM (#46647185)

    The basic problem is that most of the time it works to the detriment of the person viewing the ad.

    Captcha: florid, once again unrelated to the topic

  • solution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tom (822) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @05:38AM (#46647187) Homepage Journal

    to try to unravel the issues and see if any solution is possible at all.

    Right, because an interview with the wolves on the one hand, and the sheep on the other, is sure to discover some kind of compromise on the topic of what's for dinner.

    Advertisers are parasites, and the only reason they will ever give in to anything is if we threaten them with extinction otherwise. AdBlockers and other defenses caused them to cave in a tiny bit and begin talk about "acceptable advertisement". Don't ever get deluded into thinking they'd give even an inch by themselves.

    Solution? Yes, shoot them. That's a solution. Everything else is just a delay in their fight to cover every second of your live and every inch of your attention with their shit.

    • i love your exaggeration, but am also wondering how a solution could possibly be found.

      Users & advertisers just have opposite wishes. I don't see any middle ground. They are convinced that we want to see ads that are relevant to us, no we don't, if we want to know what could be interesting for us, we'll talk to our peers, we don't need you to try and data mine it for us, especially since no one trusts you anymore!

      Btw, i'm wondering, is there a browser/plugin that nicely separates cookies across websites

      • One big problem with advertisements as it stands now, is that they are served from different servers than the content is being served from. This allows advertising networks to collect information about your browsing habits (through e.g., cookies, http referer header, fingerprinting, etc.) Ad blockers make this close to impossible, but they are not prevalent enough to be of a big threat to advertisers.

        One solution would be to install ad-blockers in web-browsers by default (starting with e.g., firefox).

        Of cou

        • A comparison could be drawn to how the rise of ad-skipping DVRs and on-demand subscription services lead to an increased use of product placement.

        • by Tom (822)

          So this is not a solution against ads per se, but at least it will keep advertisers from snooping browsing behavior.

          No it won't. The ads served will be served from a small script that collects the stats and sends it to the advertisers anyways. All it would do is make adding ads to your website more troublesome (which is a good thing, but not a solution to the underlying problem).

        • So this is not a solution against ads per se, but at least it will keep advertisers from snooping browsing behavior.

          Either

          the website host (www.cuteandfluffy.com) will host the ad injection software themselves but the ad injection software will phone home to www.uglyandspikey.com with all the information that cuteandfluffy have collected

          - or -

          The cuteandfluffy will provide a URL inside the cuteandfluffy.com domain which forwards requests to a script hosted by uglyandspikey.com

          In both cases, the ad resour

          • This assumes that the administrator for www.cuteandfluffy.com is a dumb*ss that just installs and runs any code offered by ad networks without thinking.
            If I were an administrator, I would expect and require the use of clean APIs for showing ads.

            But of course, the ad networks can still make their APIs such that the user can still be tracked. However, this approach would soon expose the dirty practices of ad networks (google included).

            • Or the ad network requires "limited session information" as part of it's own terms and conditions. Then cuteandfluffy has to accept the terms or find another ad network which pays as well.
      • Re:solution (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Tom (822) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @07:06AM (#46647489) Homepage Journal

        i love your exaggeration, but am also wondering how a solution could possibly be found.

        Not in this culture. We need to get back to a culture where you willingly pay what things are worth. Sadly, as a producer it's hard to get money from people these days because they are so used to everything being "free".

        What I'd like to see is a seperation between advertisement and product information. You know, if I make something new, I do have a need to let people know about it. And people want to know about new things.

        Can these be brought together with a different model?

        • Re:solution (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Gaygirlie (1657131) <gaygirlie&hotmail,com> on Thursday April 03, 2014 @07:26AM (#46647569) Homepage

          Not in this culture. We need to get back to a culture where you willingly pay what things are worth.

          It's not that simple as that. If all websites moved away from advertisement-/user-tracking-based income generation to just blocking everything out until you pay a subscription fee then a lot of all the information on the Internet would instantly be locked away from children, the poor, 3rd-world residents and so on. Free (as in gratis) access to information is enormously beneficial on the global scale and I certainly do not wish for us to move away from that.

        • I'm not sure if i agree to this. There is some truth in that of course, it's just that people are enjoying too many things at once than they can pay for reasonably. I also enjoy a lot of thing i don't wish to pay for (and thus don't), and that's indeed not so nice of me. But the things i really care about, those that interest me the most, do get a lot of money from me.
          We're in a culture where suddenly it's possible to experience just about everything for free if you want to. And that leads to a lot of peopl

        • by MrL0G1C (867445)

          Because you can't have advertising without tracking?

          I don't mind adverts, I don't like being stalked by psychopathic corporations.

          Billboards, TV, radio and newspaper ads don't track people (yet) but advertisers still use them.

          • by Tom (822)

            Because you can't have advertising without tracking?

            Because advertisement even without tracking is psychological warfare on one of your most limited resources: Attention.

            We barely notice anymore, the same way that people in Syria go grocery shopping despite a war going on around them - because life has to go on and it becomes normal over time.

            • by MrL0G1C (867445)

              I don't mind them having a little of my time. It's the earth and health-destroying, false dream selling greed worshiping evil bullshit that I hate.

      • Self-destructing cookies is a good addon. (For Firefox.) It deletes cookies made by a tab when you close that tab, and can be set to save the cookies for each site as desired.
      • Actually, I do want to see ads that are relevant to me. Although "relevant" doesn't mean that I go to the Times of India website and the page ads are for the automobile dealer down the street. But I get my information in a multitude of ways, and while peers may be what makes for the ultimate buying decision, they may not always be the first place I find out about stuff.

        Cookies are already separated across websites. The problem is that the typical web page is often assembled from a multitude of sites, as you

    • by Chrisq (894406)

      Advertisers are parasites, and the only reason they will ever give in to anything is if we threaten them with extinction otherwise.

      I'm sort of playing devil's advocate here because I hate pop-up ads, but you could put up a pretty strong argument that people accessing free (advertising supported) sites with adblock are the parasites.

      I don't know what the solution is. i wouldn't mind seeing a few unobtrusive adverts, particularly if they are relevant - but turn off adblock and you often get those annoying pop-up adverts that tell lies like "you computer is infected, click OK to quarantine the virus", or ones where hitting the close icon

      • by Tom (822)

        I'm sort of playing devil's advocate here because I hate pop-up ads, but you could put up a pretty strong argument that people accessing free (advertising supported) sites with adblock are the parasites.

        I would argue they are the victims. Willing victims, mind you. However, economically speaking, they are the product that the producer (the "free" service) sells to its customers (advertisers).

        • Re:solution (Score:4, Interesting)

          by wierd_w (1375923) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @07:59AM (#46647705)

          Yes and no.

          This is a quality over quantity, and price valuation problem.

          Advert company wants: Enormous quantity of inexpensive advert impressions for products they have exclusive contracts to advertise for, and comprehensive metrics about those impressions.

          Content Producer wants: Enough operating capital to make a steady profit while producing engaging content that users like,

          End User wants: Engaging content from the content producer.

          The content producer sells the end user's eyeballs to the advertising company.

          The advertising company pays the content producer for those eyeballs.

          The user gets content paid for by the resale of their eyeballs.

          Here's the rub:

          All three parties seek to maximize their goals. This exchange only works when there is equity in the exchange. As any one party starts to leverage advantage, the arrangement becomes unstable.

          Scenario 1:
          Content provider demands too much money from advertisers for ad placements.

          Advertisers cut off the producer, or, (if the advertiser cannot find other producers) goes out of business as they stop making profits. Producer stops making content as the money dries up, user stops getting content. All parties fail.

          Scenario 2:
          Advertising company pays too little for adverts. (current reality)

          Content producers have to oversell the eyeballs viewing their content, resulting in end users going elsewhere to get that content, (Piracy, other sites, other networks, et al.) and to find technological measures to sanitize the content if alternative channels cannot be secured. Content producers do not get paid enough by the advert stream, stop producing content, advert company stops getting eyeballs, user stops getting content. All parties fail.

          Scenario 3:

          Users simply won't watch the adverts, period.

          Users simply refuse any and all adverts. Content producers cannot secure a revenue stream from advert companies, and have to charge for content directly. This limits the available form and expression of the content to what end user is willing to directly pay for. This stifles the creativity of the producer, limits the variety of content consumed by the end user, and kills advertiser completely, reducing the ability to spread awareness of new products and offerings. All parties fail.

          The ONLY WAY, and I mean THE ONLY WAY that advert supported services *CAN* work in the long term, is if there is across the board equity.

          Advertisers *MUST* pay what the advert impression is REALLY worth.

          Content producers MUST provide quality content with emphasis on content, not advertisement.

          End users MUST watch the advertisements.

          The problem, is that NONE of these actors are acting equitably, starting with the advertisers.

          The advertisers found that they could leverage more profit by using mass-tracking analytics to evaluate how best to make payouts, to maximize their profit margins, pretending that this was in some fashion sustainable, creating an unreasonable stockholder expectation which they now must uphold. This is a technological advance that upset the equity.

          Advertisers now pay less to the content producers.

          To make up for the loss, content producers have to display more ads, further degrading the quality of the impressions received, and degrading the prices paid out, thanks to the analytics.

          The end user says "Fuck that shit, I am going to block your BS adverts! They cover the whole damned screen!", and installs adblocking software.

          The advert company screams to the content producer that the quality of their impressions has reached all time lows, and that they wont pay enough to keep the site running.

          The content producer says that end users are blocking the adverts, resulting in a reduction in the number of unique impressions.

          End user blames the content producer, saying they are now consuming a solid diet of advertisements if they dont use the adblock software.

          The content producer blames the advertiser, saying they arent paying enough to keep the content in production.

          Problem: Advertiser does not pay enough to sustain equity, by seeking to maximize its own profits in an unsustainable fashion.

          • Equilibrium (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 03, 2014 @10:15AM (#46648889)

            Sounds like the problem here is advertisers refusing to acknowledge the existence of Nash Equilibrium and operating under the assumption that they can just force their way in whatever way they feel like. The fact of the matter is that a lot of the blocking behavior by web users is the direct consequence of abusive marketing and the failure of the marketers to understand that is leading them to engage in shadier and shadier methods of marketing.

            I don't necessarily mind ads, but I'm not interested in getting infected by them, having flash ads crash my browser or obscure content and I'm certainly not interested in that intellitext bullshit that makes browsing a real headache. And let's not forget about those stupid ads that load late and then cause the entire page to shift or are set to autoplay when I open a page.

      • I wouldn't mind seeing a few unobtrusive adverts, particularly if they are relevant - but turn off adblock and you often get those annoying pop-up adverts that tell lies like "you computer is infected, click OK to quarantine the virus", or ones where hitting the close icon on the window launches a pop-up or download.

        And that's the *REAL* problem.

        We've lived with ads our entire lives. Radio, television, newspapers, magazines, etc. And it was annoying but not too terrible. But now, everything is dominated by assholes who are committed to making advertising as offensive, intrusive and dishonest as possible.

        That's why CPM rates for Internet ads are so low --- everyone knows that they are nothing but shit and scams that nobody would ever click on except accidentally.

        • Exactly. I'm not against advertising, but it seems that advertisers are once again engaged in a loudness war. For a good while, online ads were pretty decent: small banners with relevant information. But it's getting worse again; animated (bouncing) ads, auto-playing movies, roll over sound effects, anything to grab your attention. Interstitials and pop-ups are back in a big way. And that's without even getting started on the "goods" being advertised.

          And besides the fact hat ad tracking is an invasi
      • Re:solution (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Gaygirlie (1657131) <gaygirlie&hotmail,com> on Thursday April 03, 2014 @07:30AM (#46647589) Homepage

        I'm sort of playing devil's advocate here because I hate pop-up ads, but you could put up a pretty strong argument that people accessing free (advertising supported) sites with adblock are the parasites.

        Personally, there are two big reasons for why I block ads: 1) they're way too often enormously annoying, selling all the things I couldn't care less about and they make it hard to actually concentrate on the content I am on the website for in the first place. 2) they're one of the most popular ways of spreading malware on the Internet. Probably the most popular, in fact. I just do not trust ads. The websites I visit are generally more-or-less trustworthy, but the ads may come from anywhere in the world and from any sort of unscrupulous bastards. I just am not willing to compromise my security for a small amount of monetary benefit for the website-owner.

        • > selling all the things I couldn't care less about and they make it hard to actually concentrate on the content I am on the website for in the first place.

          Agreed. I much prefer RELEVANT ads. These days, I often see ads that are precisely the type of thing I would buy, and like that. I buy a lot of refurb enterprise storage. If you offer me a great deal on a 16 port 3ware card, that's a lot more useful to me (and the advertiser) than some random ad.

          > 2) they're one of the most popular ways of sprea

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        I'm sort of playing devil's advocate here because I hate pop-up ads, but you could put up a pretty strong argument that people accessing free (advertising supported) sites with adblock are the parasites.

        Sure, if you hadn't been here (the web) before commercial sites full of advertising, you might come to that conclusion.

    • You have them. Fuck ads. All of them. Always. Forever.

    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      Are you aware that your signature contains advertising and, by your own standards, you should shoot yourself?
      Or is that particular link to a commercial product somehow not advertising?

  • Here's a thought (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @05:41AM (#46647195)

    a way to make targeted ads acceptable to users

    That's like trying to come up with a way to make waterboarding more enjoyable...

    Advertising, be it on television, newspapers, the internet or roadsign billboards, feels like mind rape to me.

    I'm middle-aged and I remember more ads from my youth than stuff I learned at school. Ads for products that don't even exist anymore, but I can't get rid of the stupid ads in my head. Why do advertisers give themselves the right to pollute people's memory long-term with their shit?

    • by Zontar The Mindless (9002) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {ofni.hsifcitsalp}> on Thursday April 03, 2014 @05:50AM (#46647219)

      Why do advertisers give themselves the right to pollute people's memory long-term with their shit?

      They don't see it as a "right" but rather their purpose.

      • It's what Hollywood and music labels are good at too.
        Essentially, the US has turned into one big propaganda machine.

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by Sique (173459)

      Why do advertisers give themselves the right to pollute people's memory long-term with their shit?

      With the same right you reserve for you the right to pollute people's memory long-term with your opinion. Advertisement is just the spread of an opinion, that it might be sensible/enjoyable/cool to buy a certain product or brand. You might disagree with the opinion (rightfully so), but in general, the advertiser has the right to spread it, and if some media agree to carry his opinion (even if they are paid to), it's their right.

      Yes, you don't have the means or the money to spread your opinion as far and w

      • With the same right you reserve for you the right to pollute people's memory long-term with your opinion.

        There's a major difference: if you don't want to read my opinion, you're free not to. Advertisement is ubiquitous and inescapable. You can't opt out. Therefore it's brainwashing.

        Also, if you read what I write, it won't stay with you for the next 40 years. Ads on the other hand are carefully crafted to act as memes that grab onto your mind and won't let go.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Advertisement is just the spread of an opinion, that it might be sensible/enjoyable/cool to buy a certain product or brand.

        Just another reason why corporations should not be entitled to protected speech, only people. People can make comments about corporations, but then they will be held accountable for them. Unlike corporations.

    • I just had a great idea, Sesame Street should be interrupted by ads for various tidbits kids should learn and never forget...

    • Well, basically, they pay through the nose to do it.

      Take have manufacturer X who want to sell product Y, and media company Z who want you to watch their shitty TV programs. Company Z has no money at all to make any TV shows because nobody pays a subscription to a media service with no content, so they go looking for some money to make new shows. In comes X, trying to increase exposure for product Y, thinking "Hey, we'll give you money to make some shows if you show our super slide-show of Product Y in betw
    • by Tom (822)

      Advertising, be it on television, newspapers, the internet or roadsign billboards, feels like mind rape to me.

      It doesn't just feel like it. Advertisement is a bane of our society, and a form of mental abuse. It's basically the same as bullying, just for-profit.

      I understand that there's a need to let people know about your product or service - I own a small company, so I'm on that side as well. But I'd much rather have product information than advertisement. Give me a place where people interested in X can learn about X, and people who make X can talk about it. Where "X" can be specific or general - from "computer g

  • by Petr Kočmíd (3424257) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @05:45AM (#46647209)
    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-... [mozilla.org] It just works. Together with old AdBlock, no more tracking of me anywhere.
    • by Tom (822)

      This is a fantastic plugin, but it needs subscribable lists like AdBlock Edge has.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @05:47AM (#46647211) Homepage

    I will open my door to these advertisers if they will give me the keys and alarm codes to their homes and promise not to prosecute me if I misbehave.

    Sounds fair to me.

    After all, that's what these people are asking from everyone else. It takes a real psychopath to want to do to other people what they would never want done to them.

    • It takes a real psychopath to want to do to other people what they would never want done to them.

      Why are you picking on psychopaths? This sounds like pretty much everybody.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Then get a new one.

    If you can't find a way to fund what you're doing with ads then do something else.

    • That's a tough thing to ask, as most websites are primarily funded with advertisements.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Then most websites have a broken business model because they're being funded not because of what they offer or have but because of something incidental that happens.

        How many people now brag about not watching TV? And what is the primary source of funds for TV? Advertising.
        How many people now brag about not reading or needing newspapers? And what is the primary source of funds for newspapers? Advertising.

        What's the pattern here?

        Business models that depend on advertising are fundamentally flawed because they

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Opportunist (166417)

      And if your business model depends on sniffing through my surfing habits and otherwise invading my privacy, don't bother finding a new business model.

      Just go and die.

    • by clickety6 (141178)

      And if your business model depends on ad revenue. Then get a new one. If you can't find a way to fund what you're doing with ads then do something else.

      You don't find it just a teensy bit ironic that you're posting this on Slashdot?

  • You have (at least) two sides with irreconcilable goals, so attacking the problem as a technological one, rather than a matter of power (with money sitting in the wings) seems like a category error(unless you count rounding up all the advertisers and rendering them into biodiesel as a 'technical solution', I'll give you that.).

    If your goal is either to track somebody no matter what they think about the idea; that is a technological problem (cookies, then flash cookies, then various sorts of browser finge
    • If users don't want annoying ads, instead serve ads that aren't annoying.

      If you don't to be tracked from site to site, the ads you see on Slashdot could be based on which stories you read on Slashdot, and based on the comments you post. No cross-site tracking, if that's what users want.

      Key to this is something else users want - a ton of free content. You don't want to pay $29.95 / month for Slashdot. You want Slashdot, and you want it for free. Advertisers are willing to help pay the bills to keep Slashdo

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @06:30AM (#46647371)

    And cleaning that up will take a LOT of effort and a LOT of goodwill.

    Ad companies poisoned that well, I dare say for good. After years and decades of more and more (in both quality and quantity) obnoxious, irritating and outright rude in-your-face ads, more and more people were pushed to the point where they went and did something against them. We went and installed ad blockers.

    In other words: We found a solution for our problem. Us not watching your ads is not our problem. You, dear ad companies, poisoned your well. You went onto our nerves with increasingly invasive ads. YOU, and ONLY YOU find a way out of that problem.

    And if not, well, so be it. Nobody here really sheds a tear if you go bankrupt.

  • You want to know how to make ads acceptable?

    Permanent incognito/private browsing mode + Adblock + Ghostery + click-to-play + DNT (yeah, you all ignore it anyway) + a vanilla user agent. Make them the default for every browser.

    Marketers take heed: Ads no longer server the purpose they once did. Every time you manage to sneak a clever ad past my technical defenses, you piss me off about your product/company/campaign.

    You want to get my to buy Pepsi? Advertise for Coke. Simple as that.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 03, 2014 @06:44AM (#46647427)

    advertisements do not have the intended effect on me anymore. Quite the opposite in fact.

    The guy that shouts over the teevee that i should buy a pickup truck? He is virtually guaranteeing that i will NEVER buy a pickup truck.

    I have never eaten at a Red Robin and I never will. Why? Because I once saw a commercial for Red Robin that i found particularly distasteful. Any time i go to a store, before walking in, if i can remember any particularly virulent ads, i turn around & go somewhere else. Mastercard may be priceless to you, but to me its a lame meme that stopped being funny in 1997.

    Eventually i had to quit watching teevee altogether... there were so few places left that i could still shop at.

    So when i block your ads, i'm doing you and your client a favor. Do NOT try to stop me from blocking your ads.

    • by Z00L00K (682162)

      I think that parent essentially do tell what many of us feel.

      I can accept that sports events at the beginning have a short infomercial that "This event is sponsored by ACME inc" (Wiley.E.Coyote) or whatever and that I may see that logo in various places, but when someone shouts my head off for something I don't want then it's time to flush the loo.

    • There are several companies that are on my blacklist because of ads. Sometimes because the ad was extremely bad to begin with. Other times, the ad wasn't too bad, but they ran it 50,000 times until I puked when seeing/hearing anything remotely similar to that ad.

  • by wierd_w (1375923) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @06:58AM (#46647461)

    The problem is simple.

    The user wants the CONTENT to have focus, as that is what they go there to get.

    The advertisers want the ADVERTISEMENTS to have focus, so they have "Impact."

    That is why advertisements are obnoxious, obtrusive, cover 80 to 90% of the display, hoover around, make blaring noises, flash rapidly enough to induce epileptic seizures in those vulnerable, and overall make users reach for adblock software.

    The solution? Advertisers need to pay more for less obtrusive ads.

    If a site can get enough revenue to operate on just a simple hyperlinking rotating image banner, they wont need full page flash plague competing with their content.

    But advertisers want eyeballs. ALL of the user's eyeballs. If advertisers had their way, people would spend 80 to 90% of their time watching adverts-- both on the internet and on television.

    Allowing advertisements to become ubiquitous to the point of requiring brain bleach to control is NOT the answer, and only further increases the "Need" to inject yet more adverts to secure a workable revenue stream for the site/channel operators. Basically, they are saturating the market for adverts, and the price paid out per advert served drops. To make up for that, they have to display more adverts. Works GREAT for advertising companies, but is poison for content producers. It has a double-edge, in that as the percentage of time spent viewing adverts goes up, the number of viewers watching the site goes down.

    It should not be any bit at all hard to determine where the two trends meet, especially with the INSANE amounts of analytics going on with advert tracking, and page viewing.

    The problem is that the advert companies dont want to pay what the adverts are actually worth, and are driving the price paid per impression into the ground, while making a killing doing so. Users dont want to actually pay a fee to use the internet's various webpage services, which have traditionally always been free. (with a few exceptions.)

    The real solution is to keep content as the primary focus, put a fucking ball gag and super glue in the mouths of the advertisers, and cut off the flow of gravy by refusing to plaster wall to wall adverts all over the internet, thus making the internet advert real-estate space a premium commodity, commanding a high price through encouraging scarcity.

    Users would easily handle a 30% advert (max), 70% content (min) mix. They will walk away from, or start using adblock to circumvent anything above where the curves meet.

    This isnt hard.

  • by SternisheFan (2529412) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @07:59AM (#46647701)
    ... is to sell us shit that we do not need. If we 'needed' something, we would find a way to get it.

    Advertisers try to sell 'happiness', trying to convince us that if we buy their product (car, soda or laundry detergent), we will be happy. It's all a con job.

    I lost interest in internet ads back when they started inserting 'flashing strobe lights' to get my attention, totally annoying! The ad people haven't gotten any better at not annoying me since.

    • by jader3rd (2222716)

      ... is to sell us shit that we do not need. If we 'needed' something, we would find a way to get it.

      It's possible that wants sell better than needs.

      • ... is to sell us shit that we do not need. If we 'needed' something, we would find a way to get it.

        It's possible that wants sell better than needs.

        Well, I've learned to seperate my 'needs' from my 'wants'. While I may want that flashy $60,000 car, what I 'need' is just a decent reliable car. So instead of going into hock and having to make large monthly payments for the car I want, I got a used 99 Ford Taurus from off of Craigslist for $1300. Threw a new tire on it, replaced the fuel pump, and it has served me well for almost a year now, and I'm damned happy with it. I don't think I'd be so happy with a new car with all the latest bells and whistles i

  • by Trax3001BBS (2368736) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @08:05AM (#46647749) Homepage Journal

    Google has gotten around it with google.com/analytics it used to be googleanalytics.com
    It's the site that sends you your pre-selected ads on a mobile device as defined by where you've been, and who pays them.

  • After 20+ years of your ads online, stop already!

    If we want your product we will buy it, otherwise leave me the fuck alone.
  • Internet Explorer has a feature called Tracking Protection which allows you to disable third party content on websites. It lists out all third party elements that you frequently see and allows you to disable them. That way you can block Facebook from all websites, which aren't Facebook.
  • Sure, the current poles of 'no ads' and 'fully personalized targeted ads' are not compatible. That's why we have negotiations. And there is plenty of middle ground. It is just a question of how targeted we are willing to allow to support the free services we all love to use online. For example, an electronics site might feature ads targeted to electronics hobbyists. Is that so bad? Somewhat targeted at least. And it doesn't require any tracking. I know this isn't exactly the sort of thing we are talking abo

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