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Ad Tracking: Is Anything Being Done? 303

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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  • 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.

  • 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.

"The pathology is to want control, not that you ever get it, because of course you never do." -- Gregory Bateson