Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Privacy Advertising The Internet Technology

Coming Soon, Web Ads Tailored To Your Zip+4 185

On the heels of Apple's intention to collect and sell detailed location data comes word that Juniper is putting together technology that will allow any ISP to present you to advertisers by your Zip+4. An anonymous reader sends this snip from Wired: "Your Internet service provider knows where you live, and soon, it will have a way to sell your zip code to advertisers so they can target ads by neighborhood. If your local pizza joint wants to find you, they will have a new way to do that. National advertisers will be able to market directly to neighborhoods with like characteristics across the whole country using demographic data they've been gathering for decades. ... Juniper Networks, which sells routers to ISPs, plans to start selling them add-on technology from digital marketer Feeva that affixes a tag inside the HTTP header, consisting of each user's 'zip+4' — a nine-digit zipcode that offers more accuracy than five-digit codes. Juniper hopes to sell the software to ISPs starting this summer, having announced a partnership with Feeva earlier this year."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Coming Soon, Web Ads Tailored To Your Zip+4

Comments Filter:
  • Why not? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by haqrboi ( 1263144 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @08:21AM (#32663524)
    They're going to show us ads no matter what, at least this gives a chance they might be a little more relevant.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)


      I'm tired of getting those ads in the lower right hand corner of those girls that say, "I'm hot for you!" or "I'm ready to have sex." only to see that they're several towns over. I want the sluts in my local area!

      • Re:Why not? (Score:4, Funny)

        by Shakrai ( 717556 ) * on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @09:57AM (#32664440) Journal

        Ah, you beat me to it.

        It's amusing to see how Adult Friend Finder and similar services compute your city based on IP address. There's a small hamlet about 50 miles from where I live called Tunnel []. I think a grand total of 50 people live there. If the AFF ads are any indication it would seem that 49 of them are extremely attractive women who are looking for a good time. It's my dream to move there one of these days.... ;)

        • Oh sure, you may think you'll benefit... but what do we do when our female relatives start showing up in ads at our favorite pron site? "Oh, look at the boobs on that... Aunt Jane?!?!"
    • Re:Why not? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @08:29AM (#32663616)
      Why should we be giving up on privacy for the benefit of marketing companies? If I need to find local business, I look at a directory of local businesses, so what do I gain by having advertisements thrown in my face?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by erroneus ( 253617 )

        They will not stop pushing. They will not stop moving forward until we all start pushing back.

        I push back as much as I can. Adblock+NoScript is only the beginning but a damned good start. But that's just what individuals can do and most will not. So in addition to that, people have to start complaining to law makers and government agencies about it. I mean sure, you can identify people responsible for the excessive advertising and place roadkill on their doorstep with a note about "stop flooding me wit

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by imakemusic ( 1164993 )

          place road-kill on their doorstep with a note about "stop flooding me with advertising"

          ...and then place two the next day with a sign saying "SPECIAL TWO-FOR-ONE OFFER!"

        • Re:Why not? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @09:29AM (#32664102)
          As a letter:

          "Dear Business Owner,

          I noticed that you have started to advertise through my ISPs Zip+4 locality based advertising system. Unfortunately, I believe that this system is intrusive and an infringement not only on my right to privacy and anonymity, but also encroaches on the data allowance I pay for which is already prohibitively capped by my ISP.

          Thanks to the government allowing the ISP a monopoly of the "last mile" of the connection, I cannot switch my ISP to one not offering this intrusive advertising scheme. I can, however, refuse to offer my business to those who make use of it.


          A lost customer."
          • by kent_eh ( 543303 )
            Oh, sure. Today i don't have mod points.
            I will take a copy of your letter, however.
            • I will take a copy of your letter, however.

              Here, I'll make that copy for you:

              "Dear Business Owner,

              I noticed that you have started to advertise through my ISPs Zip+4 locality based advertising system. Unfortunately, I believe that this system is intrusive and an infringement not only on my right to privacy and anonymity, but also encroaches on the data allowance I pay for which is already prohibitively capped by my ISP.

              Thanks to the government allowing the ISP a monopoly of the "last mile" of the connection, I cannot switch my ISP to one not offering

      • Why should we be giving up on privacy for the benefit of marketing companies?

        Wrong question. You don't have a say in this. The right question is :"Why should private companies give up the chance to make extra money for the benefit of your privacy?".

        The only real answer is: "Regulation."

      • Why should we be giving up on privacy for the benefit of marketing companies?

        This is what the market is all about. The exchange of items of value and each side trying to get the most for the least.

        The final decision on if you do is made when you purchase their service. You just have to decide on what has more value to you.

    • Why not?

      Because, presumably, you'd not opt in? As far as I know, if any company want to send you electronic adverts, you have to have opted in first - possibly when you signed the contract - or you must certainly be presented with the chance to opt out. At least that is how it works in UK, where this sort of scheme will no doubt be introduced too.

    • Re:Why not? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by characterZer0 ( 138196 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @09:10AM (#32663866)

      We are going to block ads no matter what, so why do we care how relevant they are?

    • While I agree; we will be innundated with ads regardless, better that they be locally relevant to promote local businesss. I do however take issue with the ISP selling any of my information without my consent. We're it truely an opt in (with the ability opt out) procedure than I wouldnt really take issue to this.
    • What web ads? I haven't looked at a web ad in years. Except when I use IE, which I have done about 3 times over the last 5 years.
    • And it's easy to do that already: Just install a browser with HTML5's geolocation support, and enable it, click "yes" when something wants to know where you are.

      Contrast that with your ISP injecting a header into your HTTP traffic, which should be considered a violation of Net Neutrality.

      • by Tacvek ( 948259 )

        Yes. Injecting a header can have all sorts of negative consequences.

        My feelings on networks is that if I present a packet with a valid IP address corresponding to a computer accepting packets:

        • the packet should arrive there in a reasonable timeframe unless:
          • I have explicitly requested some kind of filtering which matches this packet
          • The administrator of the other computer has requested some kind of filtering matching this packet
          • or there is no route between my computer and the target computer (implying an in
  • by jamesh ( 87723 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @08:21AM (#32663534)

    Almost every web page I visit seems to know where I live down to the town or suburb. I think we slipped down this slope a long time ago.

    IPv6 might wipe that database clean effectively, but it won't take long to repopulate.

    • This is worse (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AltairDusk ( 1757788 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @08:23AM (#32663562)
      I for one am not happy about my ISP who I pay to provide me with internet access and who I expect to protect my privacy doling out my information to advertisers. Advertisers figuring it out with the help of third parties is one thing, I can't hold the ISP responsible for that but this is simply unacceptable.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by dziban303 ( 540095 )

        I seem to have a big problem with telemarketers. A big problem, like 10-15 calls a day. I changed my phone number and relaxed in the week of silence. Then I had to update my Cox billing information, and they got the new number. Not even two hours later, the telemarketers started calling again.

        My point is, your ISP has (probably) been selling you down the river since you signed up, as has pretty much everyone else you've given personal information to. Magazine subscriptions, any number of websites, your ban

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Shakrai ( 717556 ) *

          Then I had to update my Cox billing information, and they got the new number.

          You didn't have to give them your phone number, you decided to give them your phone number. Whose fault is that? AFAIK there's no law requiring you to provide the cable company with an accurate phone number. They might get pissed off if you don't but who cares? They won't terminate your service over the issue.

          I can count on one hand how many outfits have my phone number and physical address. I even managed to get NYS to print my PO Box on my drivers license so I don't have to worry about every idiot t

        • I used to use fake numbers for all businesses since they send any important communications in the mail anyway (sorry if it was your number!). Now that Google Voice is open to new members (in the USA at least) it would be a good idea to create a dedicated account for everyone who has no need to know your number, and send all calls to voice-mail. Of course you need another GV for your actual number, which you never disclose (unfortunately you will still get direct calls for the previous owner, idiots repeated
      • Actually "unacceptable"? I mean, I take it you are now in the process of cancelling this service...right?

  • by Jurily ( 900488 ) <jurily@g m a i l . com> on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @08:22AM (#32663538)

    Too bad I use Adblock.

  • Awesome (Score:5, Funny)

    by NoZart ( 961808 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @08:22AM (#32663542)

    So the fake hot lesbians who want to hump me are now directly on my block? BRB, ringing on random doors holding a printout of some adult friend finder banner....

    • I predict two things:

      - A black eye by the fourth house.
      - A sense of severe disappointment regarding the aesthetics of your neighbours.
  • Seriously, guys. You already f'ed up DNS beyond recognition, now you want to break http, too? Someone at Juniper needs to kick the marketers out of the engineering department.

    • Seriously...they're essentially putting your home address in the http headers. This can't possibly be legal can it??
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by eiMichael ( 1526385 )
        Now if the MAFIAA just ran a torrent index they could just send out settlement letters to everyone with that zip+4!
  • HTTPS ... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Skapare ( 16644 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @08:23AM (#32663550) Homepage

    ... FTW. Let's see them munge the headers with that.

  • SSL (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Aladrin ( 926209 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @08:23AM (#32663554)

    Even more reason to use SSL for every site. Not like I needed another.

    • Re:SSL (Score:5, Informative)

      by Lachlan Hunt ( 1021263 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @08:40AM (#32663676) Homepage

      SSL won't help guard against this at all. If you visit a site that embeds an advertisement, the ad provider still obtains your IP address, and they can still query participating ISPs for the postal code of the user at that address.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by rjstanford ( 69735 )

        That's very different than getting that information, "for free", with every request for an ad image. Adding the latency to query the ISP for the information before returning the ad would make the image load too slowly, and adding the API traffic would be pretty expensive in terms of open socket connections.

      • by eth1 ( 94901 )

        And its not like you can use SSL with a site that doesn't support it. And the decisions to support SSL and whether make use of the tech to serve ads would both be made by the site.

        Even sites that do use SSL might not for the ad content (at the risk of making those "some content not encrypted" warnings pop up constantly)

    • by thijsh ( 910751 )
      Should be easy if browser-developers play ball and get rid of the stupid warning when a certificate is self-signed...
  • No (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DarkKnightRadick ( 268025 ) <> on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @08:23AM (#32663556) Homepage Journal

    I do not want this. Go away with your ever more intrusive advertising. GO AWAY!

    • Better targeted != more intrusive.

      In fact, better targeted may mean *less* intrusive, as you would theoretically see higher conversion rates, and so less need to blast people in the face in order to get their attention.

      • by kent_eh ( 543303 )

        Better targeted != more intrusive.

        In fact, better targeted may mean *less* intrusive, as you would theoretically see higher conversion rates, and so less need to blast people in the face in order to get their attention.

        Or, in their ever-increasing need for more More MORE profits, they will keep increasing the amount of advertising that is piled on us until we revolt violently, or become quivering masses of apathy.
        Seriously, what modern business thinks beyond increasing the next quarters profits? They will keep being increasingly mercenary until they implode under their own greed.

    • by Minwee ( 522556 )

      Go away with your ever more intrusive advertising. GO AWAY!

      I think you misunderstand how the market works. If you don't like the service which you are purchasing, then you are the one who can go away. Either find another ISP or move to a country with decent broadband coverage and find another one there.

  • Aside from the fact that this is already being done (maybe not to zip+4 level). Ads for things where I live aren't as relevant to me as ads from my purchasing and surfing history. The restaurants around where I live suck, I have to drive a bit of a distance to get to the few local things I find useful. So in that regard, pure location info isn't going to be a particularly good hit for me. If advertisers knew my shopping patterns, they'd do a lot better job, and it's just a matter of time until they do.


  • by bleh-of-the-huns ( 17740 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @08:27AM (#32663592)

    While I may or may not be able to block said targeted advertising, I can guaranty that I will explicitly boycott any companies that use such services like this to target me. I do the same thing with telemarketers and those people who leave door tags on my door. If I want something, I will go find it.

    • If you have to have advertising, why not have advertising that is relevant?

      • I tend to agree with you on this point. While I don't like the ISP narrowing down my location by zip+4 in particular, more relevant ads would actually be a good thing for several reasons.

        1. Targeted ads cost more than broadcast ads, so less are needed to achieve $x income. This makes having a website more viable with less ads. If your favorite website is covered in too many ads, go to some other website instead.

        2. Ads that are relevant might actually interest me. If my local Dominos is having a $9 Lar

      • by swilver ( 617741 )

        ...and location makes it relevant? I guess these people donot know me very well.

      • It goes a little beyond just targeting advertising, it is a slippery slope, what next, injecting not just your zip, but your entire address into every packet, and handing that info over to whomever wants to pay for it.

        Well guess what, regardless of what info you are getting from me, they are using that info for a profit, and what am I getting out of it, you can bet they are not going to drop their prices in any way from the additional revenue they are generating by selling this data.

        No, the data and informa

  • by rainmayun ( 842754 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @08:44AM (#32663698)

    This should be easily handled with a browser plugin.

    For those of you saying "browse more with SSL", this is primarily going to benefit site owners with more targeted ads, who will know it doesn't work with SSL.

    For those of you saying "use Adblock", that won't stop site owners from using this information for other purposes. Some sites will already have this information, particularly if you do e-commerce with them. But others may not. Do you really want to know where you live?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This should be easily handled with a browser plugin.

      Except not, if this is really handled at the ISP level, then anything done by the client is pointless, you are being MITM'd, and the party you are connecting to WANTS you to be, your screwed!

      This is like if the mailman inspected every letter from your mailbox and 'helpfully' added return addresses to all your letters.

  • re: Just go away (Score:5, Insightful)

    by King_TJ ( 85913 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @08:44AM (#32663700) Journal

    You can yell all you want for the advertisers to "just go away", but the problem is, the collective "we" that use the Internet DEMANDED that monster, with our insistence on free services everywhere.

    I don't like the ad banners a bit, but I also realize I'm grown used to the idea of visiting my choice of tech or news sites without paying monthly subscription fees. I use several free email sites, and I've got a places that host my photo collections for free and keep backups of 2GB or so of my files for free. I've got some (again free) software on my iPad that lets me send and receive unlimited SMS messages over it, using a new local phone number they assigned me. Google is willing to assign me yet another free local phone number to handle voice mail services for me, au gratis. Need a quick translation of some text from one language to another, or maybe just a conversion between units of measure? Free sites out there give you those features too. Plenty of other message forums let you share info on your favorite hobby or cheat codes and walkthroughs for your favorite games. The list goes on and on. Do you REALLY think all these things should just be done out the kindess of people's hearts, despite the ongoing expense of hosting them?

    • by professorguy ( 1108737 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @08:55AM (#32663768)
      I've been on the internet since 1984. Back then, there was all kinds of discussion and many, many 'services' and info. And guess how it all got there? Why, what do you know? It was done out of the kindness of people's hearts.

      Then about 1988, the marketers showed up. It's been downhill ever since.

      So can humans do things for each other just to be nice? Yes, as long as those humans don't include marketing assholes.
  • In a galaxy far away, even... Obligatory XKCD []
  • Adblock. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by the_raptor ( 652941 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @08:49AM (#32663722)

    So location specific ads that I still won't see because I have Adblock?

    I wonder when the advertising industry will figure out the current amount of advertising has well exceeded the point of diminishing returns and is making consumers go out of there way to get rid of it.

  • by Ice Tiger ( 10883 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @08:50AM (#32663740)

    Someone has to pay the bills for running a 'free' site and that is generally advertising.

    If that advertising is localised and potentially more relevant for me then I don't mind 'paying' this price. This is why even though I have the option I don't disable advertising on Slashdot.

    • by kellyb9 ( 954229 )
      Where does it end though? Now they'll know your zip code information, what next - name, bank accounts, ssn, children's names, pet's names, etc. Not to sound alarmist, but I, for one, don't want every site that I accidently stumble into to have my zip code information. Of course - given my luck, I'm with Comcast (don't have much of a choice), and I guarantee they'll be the first. Mostly because they hate their customers.
    • By contrast, I not only disable advertising on Slashdot, I remove the sidebar. Otherwise it is basically unusuable on my EEE 701.

      I am not patient enough to browse the web on my 701 without AdBlock.

      Frankly I don't want everyone and their mom sniffing up my ass anyway. On Firefox I use CS Lite and on Chrome Dev there is now good cookie control. Some sites are sending you off to get cookie'd by about seven different people, facebook and are the worst offenders I visit regularly. Ads are another way o

      • And yes, I can live without ad-supported sites. If they all vanished tomorrow, they would be replaced in short order. That includes Slashdot.

        So would you pay for access via subscription?

        • So would you pay for access via subscription?

          I would pay for Slashdot today, right now, if moderation were unfucked. I will never pay otherwise. As far as I can tell I am in no danger of having to put out any money.

    • Responding backward to your post because I think the more important point I wanted to speak to was made first in your post.

      If that advertising is localised and potentially more relevant for me then I don't mind 'paying' this price. This is why even though I have the option I don't disable advertising on Slashdot.

      I agree, and I also have not disabled advertising on Slashdot. I don't mind advertising. I don't even mind things like Google ads and all the information they've collected about me being used to

  • Here we go (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ph0rk ( 118461 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @08:56AM (#32663782)
    As Anderton walks in the door, gets his new eyes scanned, and we hear a voice say:

    STORE VOICE: Hello, Mr. Yakamoto! Welcome back to the Gap.
    STORE VOICE: How'd those assorted tank tops work out for you?
    STORE VOICE: Come on in and see how good you look in one of our new Winter sweaters.
  • Does the use of Zip+4 strike anyone as a little odd? After all, it allows for 1E+09 entities, and the population of the US is only around 3E+08. Sounds like a serial number to me.

    • Your calculations are off because there are only approximately 40,000 different zipcodes in the US and there areoften more than 10,000 people in a single zipcode (mine has 50,000). Zipcode+4 [] generally refers to a rather small number of people, but it can't be used as a serial number for individual by any means.

      A ZIP+4 code uses the basic five-digit code plus four additional digits to identify a geographic segment within the five-digit delivery area, such as a city block, a group of apartments

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Shag ( 3737 )

      Well, Zip+4 identifies buildings, or groups of buildings... not people. Your ZIP+4 might change over the course of your life - maybe even several times.

      My Zip+4 corresponds to the 4 houses on my driveway... but the post office sees ##A, ##B, ##C and ##D on my street and decides that these are clearly apartments in an apartment building. So sites that collect and distribute "public information" about me tend to start off by being completely wrong about my living arrangements.

  • I fail to see the business model behind this. They are selling a service to ISPs, which will do DPI, and add an HTTP header to traffic, most likely coming from the ISPs own database. (Only the ISP knows where its cables are terminated.) This is done for the benefit of third party advertisers, who, at least today, are not paying the ISP for the tracking info. I suppose that the info could be encrypted, with the key available to the ad providers who subscribe to a service, and the ISP get kickbacks, but o

  • That's stupid... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @09:16AM (#32663930)

    FTFA as an example of what it could be used for: "For instance, HBO could partner with an ISP to verify, at the network level, that a certain user subscribes to HBO, and so should be allowed to watch its programming for free on Hulu. Users might be annoyed that they can't use a username and password to watch the channel from a computer outside their homes, but content providers will appreciate the way this system can prevent users from sharing accounts."

    It would be bullsh*t if they did that. I watch Hulu BECAUSE I can't afford to subscribe to HBO. I participate in the Hulu "ad tailoring" and don't mind the ads they play because, again, I CAN'T AFFORD to have a cable bill AND a high speed internet bill. I know a lot of people are in the same situation. If they did institute that I'd probably read a lot more, that's for sure.

  • The vast majority of my zip are older than me, NRA members, die-hard Republicans, less computer-savvy than my 11yo daughter, and retired from factory work. They can blast ads for "Guns and Ammo" and the latest Ford F-150 all they want - I ain't buyin'.

  • Do not mess with my trousers!

  • Service goes one place, billing goes another. Guess which one they use when they sell their subscriber list? Yep. Billing. Which doesn't even happen to be in the same state.

    I don't think my ISP is competent enough to do targeted ads on the zip+4 for the service address when they've got a different address that gets them money.

  • Targeted ads are only the beginning. Soon, I expect ISP's will be selling your surfing habits as well. Here's where this person lives. Here are the websites they visit. Here are the terms they have searched this week. Here is what they have purchased online. Etc, etc.

    Everyone worries about the government having this kind of information. Meanwhile, businesses are quietly gathering this data, and will sell it to whoever wants it. All completely legal, and we are paying them to do it as well.

    • by swilver ( 617741 )

      I have about two dozen choices of ISP's where I live. Guess what happens when my current one even hints of doing this.

  • My mail box (the one by the road, in meatspace) is full of local ads for things I throw away, sometimes the amount of actual paper spam to real mail is 10:1. It's ALREADY bad. All the local grocery stores that know my address by my little card I scan in for discounts, and every little shop in town gives me paper crap.

    I drag a garbage can next to my mailbox and keep it there so I can sort faster.

    If this catches on, advertisers will stop targetting people with the paper spam (they pay for) without first deter

    • I see this as DROPPING the amount of paper that winds up in the round file.

      What, just like email was supposed to have us use less paper?

      The advertisers use every opportunity they can to crap ads everywhere. I doubt this would help reduce any other type of spam. They might even combine tracking a zip area's usage online with adapting their physical spam for that area.

  • Personally I'd prefer to see ads like these more than just the generic banner ads for god-knows-what. I think this would be a way for small businesses to really gain some advantage in the advertising market over the larger companies with massive budgets.

  • I've got a FEEVA (Score:2, Informative)

    by illumynite ( 239768 )

    And the only PRESCRIPTION, is more COWBELL

  • I hate adverts. If I am going to be annoyed by adverts it is better to be annoyed by adverts from people within punching range.

  • Proxy (Score:2, Informative)

    by Archwyrm ( 670653 )
    If this becomes a problem, I'll just route all my traffic through an ssh proxy on my VPS. Let them tailor their ads to the datacenter in Dallas. Not that I will be seeing them with AdBlock on anyway..
  • If it were truly used the way it should be, zip+4 ads could be actually useful - I try as much as I can to spend my money at local independent businesses, and being told about, say, a pizza place close by with online ordering would be informative. It would be like those ValPak coupons I get every so often, but (hopefully) more relevant.

    The problem is, it won't be used that way. It'll be used to try and convince me that there're local hotties hungry for my junk, just waiting for me to input my credit card nu

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.