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Think Tank's Website Rejects Browser Do-Not-Track Requests 362

alphadogg writes "The website for the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) now tells visitors it will not honor their browsers' do-not-track requests as a form of protest against the technology pushed by privacy groups and parts of the U.S. government. The tech-focused think tank on Friday implemented a new website feature that detects whether visitors have do-not-track features enabled in their browsers and tells them their request has been denied. 'Do Not Track is a detrimental policy that undermines the economic foundation of the Internet,' Daniel Castro, senior analyst at the ITIF wrote in a blog post. 'Advertising revenue supports most of the free content, services, and apps available on the Internet.'"
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Think Tank's Website Rejects Browser Do-Not-Track Requests

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  • Well damn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 30, 2012 @10:39AM (#41506023)

    Here I thought awesome people were responsible for most of the finest free offerings of the internet, turns out it was just penis enlargement all along.

  • That's fine (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 30, 2012 @10:41AM (#41506039)

    I'll just keep using AdBlock Plus, NoScript, etc. and they won't get me to see any ads at all. If on the other hand they respected my desire not to be tracked, I'd have given some simple unobtrusive ads a chance. They're only shooting themselves in the foot.

  • Aha! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 30, 2012 @10:42AM (#41506043)

    So they're afraid they aren't going to make all the money they have been making with advertisements.

    My take on this: go get a real job.

  • Yeah, well.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 30, 2012 @10:45AM (#41506065)

    Joke's on them. I run NoScript.

  • by bengoerz ( 581218 ) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @10:49AM (#41506087)
    It is possible to advertise online without tracking users. It may not be quite as profitable, but it served the Internet well in the early days.

    Besides, you don't need tracking to know that Slashdot's audience is full of nerds who will buy open their wallets to companies like ThinkGeek, NewEgg, etc.
  • Who noticed? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 30, 2012 @10:50AM (#41506099)

    Given that the message depends on JS, most people who set DNT are either incredibly naive, or block JS too.

  • by epyT-R ( 613989 ) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @10:51AM (#41506103)

    or how about pay for your own fucking bandwidth? I pay for mine.. You pay for yours. You don't have the right to throw up a pile of shit with ads and expect me to hobble my computer and experience to make you money. It's not cable tv.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 30, 2012 @10:51AM (#41506107)

    Do Not Track does not mean Do Not Advertise. It just means don't collect my personal data from every site I visit and form a profile of my habits.

    Honestly, from the way these people are talking you'd think advertising never worked in the past when it wasn't possible to do that.

  • Re:Well damn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @10:53AM (#41506115)

    Not any more. The same spirit that sysops built and maintained BBSes and the communities that formed around them in the 80s and 90s is what used to drive the web. That sense of fun, enjoyment, contribution, community, education. Where you paid for these things out of your pocket and put in the long hours setting everything up and keeping it running, because you enjoyed the experience and you enjoyed building something that people wanted to use.

    Today, every fucking two-bit mommy-blogger has to plaster ads all over their shitty little 5-hits-per-month blog, just to monetize every last possible fucking cent. Spend $5-$100/mo of your own money to fund your project/web-site/whatever? Crazy! Just throw up some ads so that your site looks like shit. And if you can't get rich doing it, fuck it and move on! It's not worth doing if you can't make five cents from it, even if the cost of making that nickel is molesting your site with obnoxious ads.

    I spent at least $25k over a period of a dozen years building and maintaining a community for about 100k people. I could have monetized it. I could have charged fees. Subscriptions. Or plastered it in ads. But I didn't. Zero ads. No fees. Even though my site allowed other people to make money and start businesses along the way. But I didn't. Why? Well, it never really even occurred to me. I did it because it was fun. Because I learned things from it. Because it was great to watch so many people form around something *I* did. And then to see it benefit their lives. To see people form friendships (even relationships) out of it. To see cons/gatherings form every year or two out of it. To see external sites around it spring up from other people.

    I could have made cash from it, but I didn't. I didn't need to. Not everything has to be done to get rich. Not every fucking inch and second of everything in life has to be done for a buck. And, frankly, fuck these guys for suggesting that it's the only way we get any content on the internet.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 30, 2012 @10:54AM (#41506117)

    Do Not Track essentially enables people who are concerned about privacy to support the web page owners by still being targets of advertising. To reject their request means "we don't want you looking at our ads" and pushes these people to simply use adblock. Mind that people who are already blocking ads have no use from DNT.

  • by bengoerz ( 581218 ) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @10:56AM (#41506125)
    It's ironic that Ghostery identifies 6 trackers on this very Slashdot page.
  • Bad TFA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mrsam ( 12205 ) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @10:58AM (#41506133) Homepage

    There was one crucial piece of information missing from TFA: exactly why would a non-insignificant fraction of the population in large would even care that this particular think-tank's piddly web site exists? It would be news if say, some major national bank's web site blocked visitors who've enabled the do-not-track header. That, I can understand, would be news. But...

    1) Who is ITIF, and

    2) Who cares about their web site?

    As soon as someone explains that, we can move ahead to the next step.

  • by Let's All Be Chinese ( 2654985 ) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @11:01AM (#41506145)

    The economic foundation of the internet has nothing to do with advertising. The current state of the world wide web does, but they're different things. For a supposedly technology-focused think-tank, I'd expect them to understand that difference.

    The economic foundation of the internet is the advantage gained from interconnecting networks. You care for your bit of network, yet have access to everyone else's too. In return you carry other networks' traffic just as they carry yours. As such, the internet's foundations are those of "being a cooperative".

    The world wide web, now, that's something different. It's the conceptual web made out of various parties' "content" linked together. Since it can be used to show pictures and text from elsewhere, advertising is easily added to many a page. Advertising is used to fund large parts of that, and it's an interesting exercise to imagine what the www would be like without the advertising income. There'd be many fewer websites, especially since many of them currently survive by the grace of advertising income, even exist for the sole purpose of attracting "clicks" to be sold to advertisers. Those would go away right quick.

    What would be left? Discuss.

  • Re:Well damn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SternisheFan ( 2529412 ) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @11:04AM (#41506165)
    Thank you for being such a moral person. The world and the internet itself needs more selfless types like yourself. It shouldn't always be about the money.
  • by iCEBaLM ( 34905 ) <icebalm&icebalm,com> on Sunday September 30, 2012 @11:07AM (#41506173)

    The internet is already paid for. Every home user and business pays their ISP, every small ISP pays their upstream, every large ISP pays to run their lines and to peer, etc.

    Advertising on the internet is a huge assumption. It is assumed that people will:

    1. See the ads.
    2. Click on them if they're interested.
    3. Buy product if they're interested.

    There is no obligation for anyone to do any of these. No contract, written, social, or otherwise, requires people to even see the ads, and as this failed business model dwindles, companies have started tracking users and harvesting information as a business model, simply because they can.

    Where do these overblown assholes get off telling us it's the Economic Foundation of the Internet?

  • Re:That's fine (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nursie ( 632944 ) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @11:10AM (#41506195)

    Indeed. I dont even mind if they detect that and block me. I'm not prepared to accept the implied contract to make my computer fetch ads over my connection. If they then want to drop their end it's fine.

    I usually let text-ads through because they're just easy to ignore.

  • by Golden_Rider ( 137548 ) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @11:11AM (#41506201)

    From the link:

    However, privacy advocates do not like this so they have been pushing for the creation and implementation of a Do Not Track standard. The problem is that if users are not tracked, then websites cannot deliver targeted advertising. Instead, websites would only be able to use non-targeted advertising which does not generate as much revenue.

    Well... yeah. That's the whole point.

    If your business idea needs the revenue from targeted advertising and the revenue from NON-targeted advertising would mean you'd have to close down, then your business idea is not good enough. It does NOT mean that everybody else has to endure being tracked so that you can make more money. Of course, you're free to prevent whoever you do not like from visiting your website. But your sense of entitlement ("we cannot have user privacy because *I* deserve more money!") is wrong.

    Not that I think those "do not track" settings ever will work, because they rely on the bad guys cooperating, and advertisers clearly have shown over the years that they will do ANYTHING to get around advertising restrictions. But the general idea (users should be able to decline targeted advertising) is good.

  • Re:Yeah, well.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bigbutt ( 65939 ) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @11:11AM (#41506203) Homepage Journal

    Joke's on them. I don't think I've ever been to their site.


  • This is one area where we are not given enough credit, but the Internet as we know is here thanks to Free Software.

    Sure, most people doesn't realize this, and of those that do, most won't accept it, but it's still the truth. What allowed the internet to grow so big? Do you think Google would exist if they had to pay an expensive Unix license for every machine they own? Sure, they might be able to afford it now, but they didn't years ago, and they would have never gotten this far. Even now it would be a huge hit on their wallet. Take the Internet as it exists right now. Remove GNU/Linux and *BSD, Bind, Apache, SSH, MySQL/PostgreSQL, PHP, Perl, Python, nginx, squid, rsync. I can go on and on. Now remove 90% of all web apps out there. Remove Wordpress, Joomla, and just about every other CMS. Now take the client side. Remove KHTML (And with that webkit, and therefore Safari and Chrome), remove Firefox. Remove Android. What are we left with? I think if you remove all Free Software from the Internet, aside from the fact that there would be no root DNS servers and most of the routers would be down, and what servers are still intact? I'm pretty sure even they relay on Free Software.

    So, Fuck off ITIF. It's not advertisement. Many people think content should be pay for, that content couldn't exist without advertisement, well,you are using the most advanced infrastructure ever created to create and serve your content, and the infrastructure was created for free. Certainly we can create some GPL'd cat pictures, porn and tech articles to replace your stupid content. Please go away.

    All the pro-advertisement self-entitled idiots are using trillions of dollars of infrastructure the community created for free, and they go "But our dong jokes are priceless. We need money!". Well fuck you.

  • by CrashNBrn ( 1143981 ) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @11:46AM (#41506381)
    That's not the main purpose of Advertising. Product Awareness is the KEY purpose of Advertising. And most people wont necessarily even realize it. When the time comes that you need to purchase product-type-x, unless you go with whatever is the cheapest, you are more likely to buy something by a Brand that you've seen before --- whether that was an Internet Ad or Television, Billboard, whatever.
  • by mounthood ( 993037 ) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @11:51AM (#41506417)

    Browsers need to fix tracking, like they did for popups and malware sites. Aggressive technical measures can bring tracking networks in line. Tracking networks pay popular websites to include their crap and then sell the data they collect. Make it a pain for websites that include 300 tracking networks and we'll be attacking the money.

    At the very least browsers should:
    * Lockdown the user-agent string
    * Force plugins (like flash) to either not have cookies (or storage), or let the browser control any tracking
    * Raise awareness by warning users when they are obviously being tracked
    * Limit the number of cookies generated by visiting a single web page -- don't let one page lead to 300 cookies from hundreds of domains

    Here's an idea: the browser won't download anything from any 3rd party domain, unless the primary website asserts responsibility for the 3rd party domain (either in source or headers). No website would want to take responsibility for an advertising network, much less a tracking network. Advertisers would be under enormous scrutiny to not track people, because their clients would be the ones getting sued.

    Here's another idea: Mozilla runs it's own adblock-style blocking list. Companies would have to convince Mozilla they're not tracking people, and possible sign legal agreements to enforce it. Mozilla could simply block any site they don't think is acting honorably. If they collected info on 0 byte images they'd know most of the worst players right away.

    Another idea: browsers could auto-change identities every 10 minutes; like switching to a new profile. If cookies from active tabs were saved it would eliminate 80% of the problems without the user having to do anything.

  • Re:Well damn (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mumblestheclown ( 569987 ) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @12:02PM (#41506477)

    And because you didn't make cash and turn it into a going concern. It will dry up and go away just as soon as you lose interest. Let me ask you... Do you also reject street cleaning in your home town? Or are you out there every morning with a broom in the same spirit? Why should the Internet be any different? If somebody wants to try to make money, let them. And if somebody's annoying ads allow them to keep their blog going, then by all means that better than less information and less voice. High horse, get off of it.

  • Re:Well damn (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bmo ( 77928 ) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @12:18PM (#41506575)

    And because you didn't make cash and turn it into a going concern. It will dry up and go away just as soon as you lose interest.

    And this is bad, how?

    YOUR high horse, get off it.


  • Re:Well damn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 30, 2012 @12:58PM (#41506863)

    I will attempt to speak to the relevant portions of what appears to be your argument: Tracking and advertising are not the same thing. If I listen to the radio (traditional broadcast radio) I hear advertisements, but the radio station is not enabled to sell the information regarding the ads I have heard and found enticing. If they want to do that they have to employ some specific techniques that require both my consent and compliance. This caveat has not prevented radio stations from profiting via advertisement. Due to the idiosyncrasies of the internet the ability to sell information regarding the advertising likely to prove effective upon me does not require my consent or compliance. I reject the position that requiring my consent impedes the creation or distribution of content or the ability of said content creators or providers to profit via advertising. It does prevent data miners and brokers from profiting, but then they don't actually create content now do they?

  • Re:Well damn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuperCharlie ( 1068072 ) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @01:17PM (#41506983)
    I did the same thing with a BBS back in the day. Not quite as large, kudos on that, but still all out of my pocket, all for free, all with no ads. Your post hits the nail on the head. I wish it could be modded higher than 5 as *this* is not only whats wrong with the internet but the monitizing of everything. Great post.
  • by cratermoon ( 765155 ) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @01:24PM (#41507045) Homepage

    > that loss of revenue means that marginally some sites will close, some will stop offering advanced features, and fewer such new features will be offered?

    Guess what? That's called "capitalism". Can't make money or compete in the market? Out you go. Don't try to use the government or the legal system to force people to allow your marginal and failing revenue model to continue to be profitable.

  • Re:That's fine (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drooling-dog ( 189103 ) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @01:29PM (#41507079)

    what's the point of DNT? Just destroying the ad-funded free content sites.

    If you can't support your site without tracking your users across the web - an unethical practice, IMHO - then I'll hardly be mourning its destruction.

  • Re:That's fine (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cinder6 ( 894572 ) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @01:29PM (#41507087)

    DNT doesn't stop anyone from having ads on their sites.

  • Re:Well damn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jmerlin ( 1010641 ) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @01:37PM (#41507151)

    And, frankly, fuck these guys for suggesting that it's the only way we get any content on the internet.

    I agree. A "think tank" that can't think of a way to monetize content on the internet that doesn't invade peoples' privacy isn't much of a think tank, now is it?

  • Re:Well damn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 10101001 10101001 ( 732688 ) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @01:38PM (#41507161) Journal

    The world and the internet itself needs more selfless types like yourself. It shouldn't always be about the money.

    I wouldn't call the GP selfless. I don't say this because selfless is a dirty word or anything. However, it does seem to be considered a dirty word to point out the GP was pointing out, that not everything should be done for greed. It always causes a twinge of humor and sadness in my heart at how both pride [in one's work] and greed [in money] seem to be the foundation of the "Christian" nation of the US. Yet the obvious truth is it's not so black and while. It's not the choice of being selfish or selfless. There is a difference between putting a few, less obnoxious ads on a website that's heavily used to help fund it and layering on twenty ads on the 5 hits/month blog The only sad part, to me, is that the latter basically mandates ad blocking which hurts the former. That ITIF should basically flip the bird at DNT really misses a major point, I guess; it's not out of the question that in the future ad block software might give the option to only allow ads from those that *do* honor DNT. And if anything, that might well do more to "[support] most of the free content, services, and apps available on the Internet" than anything else.

  • Only one issue (Score:4, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @01:40PM (#41507183)
    It should be a prominent enable button. However, AdBlockPlus has the right idea: let the users decide if they want advertising, and let them decide if they want to allow tracking.

    It is telling, though, that when I install ABP on a less-technical user's computer, I hear no complaints -- nobody seems to miss all that advertising. Perhaps website operators should take a hint.
  • Re:Well damn (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @01:51PM (#41507245) Homepage

    Not any more. The same spirit that sysops built and maintained BBSes and the communities that formed around them in the 80s and 90s is what used to drive the web. That sense of fun, enjoyment, contribution, community, education. Where you paid for these things out of your pocket and put in the long hours setting everything up and keeping it running, because you enjoyed the experience and you enjoyed building something that people wanted to use.

    Those same types of sites are still out there on the web.

    If you don't visit them, you shouldn't complain about the sites you DO visit.

  • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @01:54PM (#41507253)

    We don't deny the right for any site owner to do advertising

    Only to a certain limit of annoyance, beyond which we install ABP. We crossed that threshold over a decade ago, when all sorts of nasty tricks to avoid pop up blockers started to appear. My mother could not even read a New Yorker article, because some hover ad kept covering the text; I installed ABP for her, and the problem was solved.

    You see, the problem here is that unsolicited advertising annoys people, and it is a terrible way to monetize a product. ABP exists because unsolicited ads had become so annoying on the web, and because those ads were consuming more CPU time than the actual web page they were placed on.

    If we don't want to see the adds, we can stop going on the site

    Which only works if you are willing to cut yourself off from modern society. How do you check the weather? How do you look up the location of a store? This is the reality of life in the 21st century: to do common activities, you start up a web browser, and if you are not using ABP you will be bombarded with advertising.

    But what's not normal is tracking visitors across multiple sites and without their consent or knowledge

    Well, here's the thing: unsolicited advertising is not very profitable, so you can expect the most greedy, underhanded approaches to improving profits. That is part of the problem with using unsolicited advertising as a way to monetize the web, and this stems from the annoyance of seeing unsolicited ads.

    Basically, if your revenue model is based on exploiting people like they are a resource, you are doing the wrong thing, and eventually you are going to face rebellion. That online advertisers do not realize this is a testament to their general worldview: they do not see people, they only see wallets.

  • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @02:03PM (#41507303)

    Playing devil's advocate here: Tracking ads allow lesser and offbeat websites to exist.

    I doubt that is the case. Most of the offbeat websites I have seen have pretty low operating costs -- they are mostly run by volunteers, and their costs are mainly bandwidth and hosting. Not only that, but I see other, better solutions:

    1. Offbeat websites can focus on developing communities of users, who will want to buy merchandise with the website's brand. These users know that their website costs at least some money to operate, and those with money will be willing to buy the merchandise. If you spend $100/mo. on hosting, then you only really need to sell 10 t-shirts per month to cover those costs -- if you cannot get 600 people to buy t-shirts over the course of 5 years, you are doing something wrong.
    2. Users can be asked to donate a bit to cover operating costs. It is not asking much for a handful of users to make a small payment. If your website is small and obscure, you will not need to solicit donations on the scale of Wikipedia; 1000 users contributing a penny each month is not that much to ask for.
    3. If all else fails, if there is no reliable way to keep small websites running with tracking ads, then we need to make a new system that is less centralized than the web. Yes, I know, heaven forbid we ditch the wonderful HTTP protocol, but come on -- HTTP is not *that* great, and at this point I think we could do better. Let's revive P2P, and leave the web for things that really do require a client-server model (say, interacting with a central database; banking, shopping, etc.). We could even build it right into our browsers, so that we could have hyperlinks between the P2P network and the web.

    Yes, it sounds incredible, but users can participate in keeping their favorite websites running, and they can do so without being highly technical or extremely wealthy. The first thing we need to do is to stop treating users like an exploitable resource; the rest falls into place from there.

  • Re:Well damn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jythie ( 914043 ) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @02:23PM (#41507407)
    And I guess pre-advertising boom internet just didn't exist or must have really sucked or something.

    The loops one must go through when they want to justify why everyone should bend to the model they want...
  • Entitlement (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fox171171 ( 1425329 ) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @02:27PM (#41507417)
    I think you each have valid views, but the issue as I see it, isn't quite what either of your points are about.

    It's the sense of entitlement.

    Some folks seem to think that because they create content, or enable others to create content, on the internet, that they are entitled to make money.

    (Sounds like some people from the music industry.)

    You can try to make money, or don't try to make money. But if you are trying, and fail, don't blame anyone else, and don't bitch and moan that we're a bunch of no-gooders ruining your fun because we don't want you looking over our shoulders and following us around recording what we do.

    Not sure who decided the internet population is there to provide income. It's not.

    I'm pretty sure if I was standing following one of these people around all day in 'the real world' taking video and notes of everything they did, they would be pretty upset. And when I said "You have to let me, I am making money doing this," I doubt that would make them okay with it.

    At least in the real world, when someone is peeking in your windows, or reading over your shoulder, sooner or later you'll notice them, and possibly have them charged. Why is it different on the internet? Because most people can't see you snooping around, it's okay?
  • Not a bad example (Score:4, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @02:34PM (#41507449)
    You may joke about Slashdot editors, but actually, editing user-submitted articles is not necessarily something people need to be paid to do. Many scientific journals are edited by volunteers, and really, why shouldn't a website that people read for the user comments (like Slashdot) be run by volunteers? Users are already moderators on Slashdot, and we have metamoderation to help cope with the miscreants who manage to get mod points.
  • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @03:33PM (#41507801)

    Their users are already OK with ads being a tradeoff for free, good content.

    No, most users have no idea what is happening, nor that there is a way to stop it. That is one of the things that is being exploited: ignorance.

    Let's put it this way: nobody has ever complained about me installing ABP on their computer. I have received thanks from some people, who found that websites were easier to read without the advertisements. These are not people who agreed to a tradeoff; they never knew they were trading anything, they only knew that by paying for Internet service they were getting access to those websites.

    It's a great bargain,

    No, it's a trap. Bargains are things that people agree to, and no advertiser has actually asked for my agreement in being tracked. Bargains are not opt-out, they are opt-in. Craigslist is where you go for a bargain: you tell Craigslist what you want, and they show you advertising for it (and they don't need to track you around the web to figure out what ads to show you! Amazing!).

    at any time I can just turn off JavaScript to not see that ads

    This is not true. While keeping Javascript disabled helps with advertising, there are numerous websites that will not render at all without Javascript enabled, and some that create a hover ad and insist that you use Javascript to get rid of it -- thus making reading an article impossible without either enabling Javascript or installing ABP.

    The problem with online advertisers is that they do not actually care about whether or not you get a chance to read the page you were trying to read. In fact, they want you to leave that page by clicking on an advertisement. That is why popups became so popular: advertisers found a new way to annoy people, and they did not care about whether or not those people were actually being annoyed, as long as they were clicking on the ads. That is why browsers made popup blocking a default feature.

  • Re:Well damn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @03:43PM (#41507879)

    If somebody wants to try to make money

    Not when it is at my expense, without my permission, and without providing a clear benefit to me. Tracking my browsing habits without first asking me? Spinning my CPU, eating up my bandwidth (and if I am on a cell connection, that is expensive ), and preventing me from reading the articles I wanted to read? If that is how you make money, then I will install ABP and deny you your money.

  • Re:Well damn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by flaming error ( 1041742 ) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @03:48PM (#41507923) Journal

    Sidewalks are infrastructure too, doesn't mean everybody has to carry billboards or dress like a NASCAR driver.

    Not everything on the web has to be advertising and user tracking. Take them away, and perhaps many sites and businesses will be disrupted, and perhaps the web will change.

    But things change, get used to it.

  • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @05:02PM (#41508343)

    The first web was just mostly .edu site.

    Which lasted until there were a significant number of non-researchers connected to the Internet, at which point online stores started to appear as well.

    The second web was commercialized, with annoying ads (popup, autoplay, with sound, garish, etc.). Part of the reason they were seen as annoying is that they weren't anything you'd be interested in.

    No, the ads were annoying because they would slow computers down by eating CPU cycles, they would play music that people were not expected and which was not that good, they would open windows that people did not want or expect, and so forth. These are just as annoying whether or not you are interested in whatever product is being hawked.

    Say you've got a general-interest magazine, like Time. What ads are advertisers supposed to show you? For senior diseases? For Corvettes? Show anything, and it's bound to annoy major parts of the audience.

    That is the problem with unsolicited advertising: it annoys people. Always. Regardless of whether or not it is something people might actually be interested in. Targeted ads are not any less annoying than any other sort of unsolicited advertising. The only advertisements that do not annoy people are those which people actually seek out -- the sorts of ads that you get when you use Craigslist or Google Shopping.

    The current web has it about right: no popups, no autoplay, no sound.

    That is not because the advertisers suddenly realized that being annoying is bad, it is because browsers stopped letting them create those things. Now we have hover ads, flash ads, and other annoyances, and browser makers are not stopping advertisers anymore, because they are now in bed with them.

    You get shown the stuff that you've shown an interest in.

    ...and I do not click on it, because it is annoying, because I have no need for whatever is being advertised, and because when I visit a website, it is because I want to see what is on that website, not because I want to go shopping for something else. Which is why I used ABP, and which is why I fast forward through the previews on DVDs, and why I go to the bathroom when there are advertisements on TV. The only advertisements I do not ignore are those that I specifically request, because those are the only ones that are even remotely helpful for me.

    See, that is why advertisers were not content to advertise to adults. Adults ignore unsolicited ads. That is why advertisers started targeting children (who nag at their parents to buy what they see advertised to them) and teenagers (who can be tricked into thinking they are not giving in to advertisements; see e.g. MTV).

    And people that absolutely can't stand ads (for whatever reason), can still turn them off.

    No, people who do not want unsolicited advertisements (maybe I should save on keystrokes and just use the word "spam") cannot simply "turn them off" -- we need to install extra software (ad blocking software), disable Javascript, and take additional precautions to prevent shady companies from tracking us. Even after doing all that, advertisers still fight us; we are in a technological arms race with them, because they simply cannot take "no" for an answer. DNT was meant to give advertisers a way to show that they do actually respect our wishes; it seems that they do not, which is why we need to get back to pushing ABP, NoScript, Ghostery, Tor, and all the other defensive measures that we need just to keep our peace.

    The problem with your argument is that you are pushing for an opt-out system, one in which people have to be informed enough, patient enough, and technically capable enough to protect themselves from advertisers. What really need is an opt-in system, so that people who actually want unsolicited adver

  • Re:Well damn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday September 30, 2012 @05:37PM (#41508561) Journal

    Besides everyone is missing the elephant in the room which is we used to have sites with ads that worked just fine without tracking someone across 50 damned websites! You had a GIF or JPEG ad, if they clicked on it it took you to where the product in the pic was being sold and you got thrown a few cents for each time someone came referred from your site. Simple.

    Now these assholes want to be able to follow you across the entire web, know every single place you go and what you do because "God damn it we have to monetize every second of these sheeps lives!" well fuck them, if they can't make money with the old business model then let them sell t-shirts or whatever, its not our job to bend over backwards because dumbasses can't figure out how to make money.

    Its like the whole adblocking deal, I block everyone EXCEPT those that say "We promise not to be obnoxious and put flashing sound blasting shitpile ads on our site so please support us by not blocking" so you know what? I don't block those sites. but the absolute second they DO show me some obnoxious flashing speaker blasting ad? Their asses are blocked and all the pleas in the world won't change it.

    Respect is a two way street and if you don't respect me or my right not to be spied upon why the fuck should I respect you or give a shit about your desire to monetize everything I do. The web was here before you, it'll be here after you're gone, please go away and stop wasting space that could be taken up by people that are NOT douchebags, thanks.

  • Re:Well damn (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Compaqt ( 1758360 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @02:39AM (#41510933) Homepage

    Wow, contempt for the non-university masses, much?

    Anyway, I have two suggestions:

    1) If you liked the way the Internet was (an ivory tower of academia), you should drop the current Internet, and get on Internet2 [].

    2) There's more to the Internet than the World Wide Web. If you don't like the web, don't go there. Stay on Usenet and Gopher. Gopher [] has more servers than it used to, and you can access it via Lynx or Firefox addon. Or block domains.

    And please leave the no-pay, ad-supported Web to the rest of us.

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