Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

How the Social Tech Bubble Is Different

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the history-repeating dept.

Businesses 388

theodp writes "Tech bubbles happen, writes BW's Ashlee Vance, but we usually gain from the innovation left behind. But this one — driven by social networking — could leave us empty-handed. Math whiz Jeff Hammerbacher provides a good case study. One year out of Harvard, 23-year-old Hammerbacher arrived at Facebook, was given the lofty title of research scientist and put to work analyzing how people used the social networking service. Over the next two years, Hammerbacher assembled a team that built a new class of analytical technology, one which translated insights into people's relationships, tendencies, and desires into precision advertising and higher sales. But something gnawed at him. Hammerbacher looked around Silicon Valley at companies like his own, Google, and Twitter, and saw his peers wasting their talents. 'The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads,' he says. 'That sucks.' Silicon Valley historian Christophe Lecuyer agrees: 'It's clear that the new industry that is building around Internet advertising and these other services doesn't create that many jobs. The loss of manufacturing and design know-how is truly worrisome.'"

cancel ×

388 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Yeah, This Time It's Different (2, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850062)

Every time is different, right? Isn't that what they always tell us??

Re:Yeah, This Time It's Different (5, Insightful)

Surt (22457) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850120)

Yes, but to be clear, they are saying that this one is not only going to bust, it is going to be worse because there is less fundamental real value.

Re:Yeah, This Time It's Different (4, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850138)

My fear is that Silicon Valley has become more like Hollywood," says Glenn Kelman, chief executive officer of online real estate brokerage Redfin, who has been a software executive for 20 years. "An entertainment-oriented, hit-driven business that doesn't fundamentally increase American competitiveness

Movies. Microcode. Pizza Delivery.

Re:Yeah, This Time It's Different (1, Funny)

elysiuan (762931) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850184)

Do your tires have contact patches the size of a fat lady's thighs?

Re:Yeah, This Time It's Different (0)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850242)

Do your tires have contact patches the size of a fat lady's thighs?

Kirstie Alley needs work too, even if it is just her thighs modeling for contact patches.

Re:Yeah, This Time It's Different (2)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850284)

People already complain about how their bimbo boxes are more plastic than metal now.

Re:Yeah, This Time It's Different (1)

jovetoo (629494) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850450)

He just has Reason

Re:Yeah, This Time It's Different (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850282)

At least the internet ad-clicking business should be able to implode relatively neatly into a pile of its own worthlessness, rather than blowing up outward and taking a nontrivial chunk of the real economy with it, like our last adventure in letting smart people produce nonsense for money. Plus, Facebook doesn't quite enjoy Goldman-Sachs levels of regulatory capture, so we might even avoid paying the people who fucked it up. Progress!

Amen. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35850076)

"The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads" - Has there ever been a brief description that describes so well the technological time we live in? Hammerbacher should write a book or two.

Re:Amen. (0)

meatron (1718302) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850144)

Just what I wanted to say... Amen!

Re:Amen. (4, Insightful)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850168)

And the easily annoyed minds are finding ways to turn the ads off.

Re:Amen. (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850508)

usually I find getting some mates together, doing a search on google for a good bulk supplier, clicking on their add, phoning them up, making a deal...

Failing that skips.

Re:Amen. (5, Insightful)

Surt (22457) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850172)

The best minds of his generation are not, in fact, thinking about how to make people click ads. He's just so far from that tier that he doesn't even know a single person in it.

Re:Amen. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35850228)

The best minds of his generation are not, in fact, thinking about how to make people click ads. He's just so far from that tier that he doesn't even know a single person in it.

The only way to survive a job where one has to study the clicking of ads (with the intend to get more clicks), is by thinking that one must be among the finest minds of this generation.

Re:Amen. (4, Funny)

lennier (44736) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850452)

The best minds of his generation are not, in fact, thinking about how to make people click ads.

Of course not. They're thinking about how to make robots click ads and take the people completely out of the loop.

Re:Amen. (4, Insightful)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850196)

Or a poem. You know...

"I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by Facebook, intellectually starving hysterical,

dragging themselves through the focus groups at dawn looking for a fiscal algorithm,

angelheaded codesters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry cache in the motherboard of night,

who wealth and splendid raiment and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of luxury flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating more..."

Re:Amen. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35850278)

Best post I've seen in years.

Re:Amen. (1)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850344)

Awesome.

Re:Amen. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35850418)

yup [wikipedia.org]

Re:Amen. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35850296)

Anonymous Coward Likes this

Re:Amen. (4, Insightful)

mcover (1653873) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850304)

"The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads" - Has there ever been a brief description that describes so well the technological time we live in? Hammerbacher should write a book or two.

His statement might be flawed: Maybe so that many bright minds of our generation work for these companies, but these companies don't just "make people click ads". It might be at their business's core, however, they provide services which many of us embrace while they last and it helps us be more productive (exceptions exist), which in turn contributes to the overall achievements we will see in the following years. That is only that. Many of these companies also have people in employment who work, full time, on open-source software, do research and publish academic papers, etc. If ads fund these, by all means, go ahead. His argument can be somewhat justified if the business's ONLY operations surround "making people click ads".

Re:Amen. (2, Interesting)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850414)

"The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads" - Has there ever been a brief description that describes so well the technological time we live in? Hammerbacher should write a book or two.

His statement might be flawed: Maybe so that many bright minds of our generation work for these companies, but these companies don't just "make people click ads". It might be at their business's core, however, they provide services which many of us embrace while they last and it helps us be more productive (exceptions exist), which in turn contributes to the overall achievements we will see in the following years.

That is only that. Many of these companies also have people in employment who work, full time, on open-source software, do research and publish academic papers, etc. If ads fund these, by all means, go ahead.

His argument can be somewhat justified if the business's ONLY operations surround "making people click ads".

I personally took it to mean that someone else noticed one fact about Facebook: they aren't doing anything now that wasn't technologically possible ten years ago. The Flash games might be a bit more complex than ten years ago but that's about all. No real innovation has taken place. They haven't invented anything of significance. They aren't facing problems of scale that weren't already tackled by the likes of Microsoft and Yahoo and Google.

Facebook is a database backend (and those have been around a long time now), some JavaScript (available since 1995), some HTML (circa 1991), and Flash (1996). What have they invented? They're just another advertiser with nothing technically interesting to offer.

Re:Amen. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35850330)

"The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads" - Has there ever been a brief description that describes so well the technological time we live in? Hammerbacher should write a book or two.

This is the description of what gave us Google's services, amongst other things. To claim that they have not provided value and progress is very narrow minded in my view. Just think of how Google have changed access to information possible. And that is directly coming because of smart people "thinking about how to make people click ads".

Silicon Valley is a loss (1, Troll)

mozumder (178398) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850396)

"The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads"

And yet, the best minds in Silicon Valley have NOTHING on what New York media minds have been doing for a long time, who are a lot smarter than Silicon Valley.

Why would an advertiser pay to place their ads next to some image of a college kids throw-up when they can place an ad next to an image of Karlie Kloss in Vogue magazine or with Ryan Seacrest on American Idol? And, they'll pay $150/CPM instead of the $1 CPM that google gets.

Marketing is not a tech problem. It is a creative problem. You can't solve marketing through technology. You need creative production to win ad dollars.

Google the largest Internet ad company, gets only $30 billion a year in revenue. The next largest company, Yahoo, gets about 6 billion.

Meanwhile, News Corp, just one of the many media companies, gets about $32 billion in revenue by themselves.

Silicon Valley should just GIVE UP on any form of business model that attempts to derive money from ad sales. Let the media professionals in New York handle that business.

Go back to making hardware.

Re:Silicon Valley is a loss (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850488)

You can't solve marketing through technology.

I'm not so sure. Guillotine, machine gun, gas chamber are all forms of technology aren't they?

Re:Amen. (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850422)

Has there ever been a brief description that describes so well the technological time we live in?

Considering how poor of a description that is, I would say that the answer would have to be "yes." The best minds of our generation are tasked with determining strategies for financial companies (a non-trivial problem), or they are in research labs in either private industry or universities. Some are working on getting people to click on advertisements, but it is by no means the be-all and end-all of jobs that attract skilled mathematics and computer science graduates.

well no shit. (4, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850078)

Manufacturing is dirty and nasty and you don't ever want to do it. It's for the dummies. It's buggywhips.

That's what's pounded into the heads of everyone going through school that scores above 100 on IQ. As Mike Rowe said at TED, there's a war on work that's been going on for 40 years.

--
BMO

Re:well no shit. (5, Informative)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850102)

To follow up, here's the video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRVdiHu1VCc [youtube.com]

--
BMO

The was the best fucking career video EVAR! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35850292)

Especially about the part about NOT following your passions. "Follow your dreams and go broke." Love it.

Every millionaire I know didn't follow their passions: they followed the money.

I know a welder that spent 8 years as an apprentice. He does incredibly intricate welding: tooling, ultra fine shit, gun smithing (his passion): $100K+ with no college works 40 hour weeks.

Re:well no shit. (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850132)

Manufacturing is dirty and nasty and you don't ever want to do it. It's for the dummies. It's buggywhips.

That's what's pounded into the heads of everyone going through school that scores above 100 on IQ. As Mike Rowe said at TED, there's a war on work that's been going on for 40 years.

--
BMO

Longer than that. Was it the Book of Common Prayer that refers to "Dark Satanic Mills?"

Re:well no shit. (2)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850188)

No. But in those days manufacturing was very dangerous and paid very badly. Much like it is now in countries that don't have any inconvenient laws requiring factory owners to treat their staff like human beings.

Re:well no shit. (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850302)

paid very badly

Paid a heck of a lot better than migrant farm worker, miner, sailor, or pretty much anything else at their level of educational and economic sophistication. Its very telling that manufacturing, in general, rarely if ever had to rely on prison labor or slavery, unlike, say, agriculture.

As in all fields, there is a range of pay and working conditions. At one side, the guys just above the level of sweeping with brooms, whom get paid just a little more than a typical broom pusher... And at the other end of pay and working conditions, there are the aerospace tool and die machinists, the millwrights, the CNC repair technicians... And upward mobility was generally much more available than today.

Re:well no shit. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35850484)

At one side, the guys just above the level of sweeping with brooms, whom get paid [...]

In that italicized subordinate clause, the relative pronoun is in the subjective case. For that reason, it should be "who". The word "whom" is appropriate in the objective case only, such as "with whom" where "with" is the preposition and "whom" is the relative pronoun which is the object of the preposition.

I mention that because of the irony of your sig. Otherwise, trying to use a word like "whom" to show sophistication tends to backfire when you do it incorrectly. I admit that at first I was inclined to make fun of you but then decided I could produce a more constructive response.

Re:well no shit. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35850176)

40 years?

The war on work has been going on since the Pleistocene.

Its perfectly natural.

Everyone and every animal tries to get the most food out of the least work.
You are welcome to donate 10 hours of hard labor for each evening meal if you want.

But until you show up on my lawn with your own mower and garden tools at 9am, and work all day for a burger and fries, it seems a little bit disingenuous to suggest there is anything wrong with a war on work.

Re:well no shit. (0)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850216)

>he didn't watch the video so he has no idea what I'm talking about.

Go watch the video.

--
BMO

Re:well no shit. (1)

turgid (580780) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850238)

The war on work has been going on since the Pleistocene.

Yes, I used to love playing with that stuff too when I was a kid.

It doesn't have to be, you know? (0)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850206)

There's a sleeping back factory that cranks out 2 million + bags/yr with 120 employees (including the sales staff, CEO, accountants, etc). It's only because human life is so cheap and worthless that manufacturing is hell.

Now, if we can just figure out what to do with all those people we don't need to manufacture stuff anymore... I guess die in the streets will do, so far it seems to be what the USA is moving towards...

Re:well no shit. (4, Insightful)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850222)

While you may be right about the psychological issues, they are overlaid by more distinctly practical ones. I can start a moderately large website with nothing but good ideas and $100 worth of hosting; a musical prodigy (or a tone-deaf teenager) can be heard by millions of people simply with a webcam, a mic, and a YouTube account.

If I have a brilliant manufacturing idea I have little choice other than to lay down thousands on machinery and materials, and since I don't have said thousands lying around, that means I need investment, which means aversion to risk, which means killing many of the radical ideas that might really be something special. It's not always the case, and rapid prototyping/on-demand manufacturing is helping, but there are still orders of magnitude between the start-up costs of an 'information' business compared to a physical one (assuming that you've got the skills in the field yourself, rather than needing to buy them in from outside).

It's why we're seeing billionaires coming from nowhere in the tech field - near-zero barrier to entry means the market decides (for better or worse) fairly directly on the products that survive. In manufacturing, the gatekeepers with the capital have their say long before the consumer does.

Re:well no shit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35850250)

The war on work has been waged from the day energy first drove life.

Re:well no shit. (3, Interesting)

mbkennel (97636) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850280)

"Manufacturing is dirty and nasty and you don't ever want to do it. It's for the dummies. It's buggywhips.

That's what's pounded into the heads of everyone going through school that scores above 100 on IQ. "

Not exactly.

It's more like, You Will Never Get a Job in Manufacturing Unless You Are Chinese So Just Freaking Get Over It.

And the executives running the enterprises---and their financiers---demand that they make it so.

Real world example. An MIT professor invented a pretty cool new technology for better lithium-ion batteries. He wanted to set up a company and manufacture them in the USA and started doing so. When he needed more money he went to the VC's---they demanded that he close down the US factory and re-open it in China before he gets any money. He did.

BTW, the professor was ethnically Chinese from Taiwan.

Re:well no shit. (1)

npsimons (32752) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850384)

Manufacturing is dirty and nasty and you don't ever want to do it. It's for the dummies. It's buggywhips.

That's what's pounded into the heads of everyone going through school that scores above 100 on IQ. As Mike Rowe said at TED, there's a war on work that's been going on for 40 years.

If your job can be done by a robot, expect it to. Not that I have anything against hard work, or even working with your hands. I think far too many people don't realize the pleasure in crafting something, working hard on it, and having something to be proud of afterwords. But it's also not really reasonable to expect people to be robots and stand at an assembly line doing repetitive tasks all day; it's degrading.

That being said, I realize that there some jobs, that in the grand scheme of things, don't matter. Or worse, they detract from what does matter. This, I think, is the major failure of thinking when justifying CEO pay; without workers, a CEO is worthless. Without a CEO, workers can still produce useful things; just look at any co-op. Marketing, sales, advertising and even financial jobs are in a similar position as management, and could learn something from IT and tech support: their job is to support the real producers, the people who actually *make* things.

Re:well no shit. (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850466)

But coops don't scale to the level of producing cars, or computers. They're great for situations in which a small number of people work together to share expenses (professional groups come about because it's advantageous to share office space, Internet service, secretaries, etc., among several people), but they'll never build the Golden Gate Bridge. The workers may be the ones who build it, the engineers may design it and make it safe, but it's the CEO who makes sure that it can be done at a profit. CEOs are often paid too much, but a good one is worth every penny.

Re:well no shit. (1)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850458)

Manufacturing is dirty and nasty and you don't ever want to do it. It's for the dummies. It's buggywhips.

Not quite. Wrong metaphor. Buggy whips are the product that is no longer in demand because of a technological shift that renders that product relatively useless and thus, without a market. Manufacturing is the business of making products for which their is a demand. The only thing that's changed is that we've allowed the people own the factories to profit more by moving them to wherever labor is cheap. Nevertheless, that change is having a profound effect, literally destroying the middle class in the U.S., which was, of course, built on manufacturing.

Stick with what you know (2)

MM-tng (585125) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850080)

Most American companies are about the marketing anyway. Fast food, candy bars, cars. Lots of fancy colors. Sell as much crap with a fancy wrapper. Don't see what got lost, maybe we are better off :)

consumer products are price constrained (4, Insightful)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850106)

Unless you can manufacture the candy and soda efficiently, no amount of marketing is going to save your ass.

Re:consumer products are price constrained (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35850134)

Nonsense, look at Apple and see how well they've done.

Re:consumer products are price constrained (4, Insightful)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850170)

I just went to an event yesterday sponsored by Monster Energy. I imagine the profit margins on a $5 can of non-carbonated pop is *at least* 500%.

There is a *LOT* of room for manufacturing inefficiency in such a product. But the marketing which produced literally thousands of people paying money to wear a hat or sweater emblazoned with your logo is by far the greater accomplishment than the product.

It's a product that tastes like shit, is grossly over priced and really only exists because of its successful marketing campaign and lifestyle association.

Re:consumer products are price constrained (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35850366)

It's a product that tastes like shit

Nope

is grossly over priced

Meh same price as a bottle of beer but it actually makes me feel good

only exists because of its successful marketing campaign and lifestyle association

Or because it makes you feel good.

Re:consumer products are price constrained (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35850374)

I just went to an event yesterday sponsored by Monster Energy.

Ew, stay away from me.

Disturbing Trend? (4, Interesting)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850082)

A deliberate move.

Concentrate power and wealth for very few, at the cost of all the others... Then? Castigate the losers in this scheme as stupid or non- adaptable.

This is the new America. It's the perfect cesspit for breeding Zuckerbergs.

Re:Disturbing Trend? (1)

cosm (1072588) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850142)

No kidding, I am considering changing majors from my current STEM track to a TsD, or a Doctorate of Turdshinology.

Who's to blame for all the advertisement? (4, Interesting)

Raffix (1875856) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850088)

I use two facebook accounts; one polished and clean for my parents and family, and one for my friends that has very little personal information(for instance i only use initials and dont link to my employer or even my city. I never spent a dime on any apps or services on facebook and I never will. The sad thing isn't the folks at facebook, google or twitter trying to get us to click on ads or buy fake gold for some facebook game, it's the ones of us that do click or buy fake gold. Website advertisement would not exist if it didn't work. This article warms me up and gives me hope that once all the baby boomers will be retired ... the IT workers and advertisement gurus of our generation might finally embrace better values than the ones brought on by capitalism.

Re:Who's to blame for all the advertisement? (1)

halo_2_rocks (805685) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850152)

I agree. I have a fake facebook page too and DO NOT put any real information about myself out on the web. All the information about the user is completely untrue so I don't understand what good this new industry does for advertisers? nor how it creates one new job based on the viewing habits of a fake user?

Re:Who's to blame for all the advertisement? (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850390)

I agree. I have a fake facebook page too and DO NOT put any real information about myself out on the web. All the information about the user is completely untrue

That's what you think. Facebook has their hooks into thousands of big name websites such that even when you "log out" of facebook, they still track you at many of the other websites you use. Facebook is then able to cross-reference all of that external traffic, including "private" information you've given to those other sites like your shipping address and the name on your credit card with your "fake" facebook account.

Install the ghostery add-on for firefox and watch as it reports each time you load a page from a "facebook partner" (as well as tons of other trackers), you'll be stunned at just how far facebook has proliferated in the background.

Re:Who's to blame for all the advertisement? (5, Interesting)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850224)

I use two facebook accounts; one polished and clean for my parents and family, and one for my friends...

I have *ONE* Facebook page because I've long ago decided that my parents know who I am, and I don't care to work for people I have to lie to.

Re:Who's to blame for all the advertisement? (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850364)

I have one facebook page.

I'm choosy who I let connect to it.

I don't friend work or family. Ever. And it's sure as hell not world-readable.

--
BMO

The loss of manufacturing jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35850092)

has been happening for many years. America has already migrated to a service economy. All we do is sell shit to each other. Many tech jobs have left as well.

Fuck Facebook, Google, Twitter and the rest. They provide nearly nothing of value that wasn't available before they showed up. They are simply flytraps for your eyeballs. I assure you they will be forgotten in a decade. Remember AOL? Neither does anyone else.

Re:The loss of manufacturing jobs (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850126)

AOL has a huge ad on the 101 suggesting you join them for a great career. I laughed out loud.

Re:The loss of manufacturing jobs (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850306)

Hey, be nice.

Working at AOL(not that I do), is like having a Social Security account that works in reverse: Instead of paying for the retirements of increasingly helpless confused old people, increasingly helpless confused old people pay you, a tidy sum a month, for a service they are no longer using; but do not understand.

Gnawing out your own soul is fairly painful during the first week or two; but after that it starts to get easier.

Re:The loss of manufacturing jobs (1)

Tim the Gecko (745081) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850428)

AOL's billboard on Highway 101 [techcrunch.com] doesn't even promise a great career. Apparently you just have to join them before your boss does. Therefore even a vague estimate of "when hell freezes over" should be good enough to set your timetable for moving there.

It's NEVER different. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35850096)

Ever.

Groupon, which e-mails coupons to people, may be the fastest-growing company of all time. Its revenue could hit $4 billion this year, up from $750 million last year, and the startup has reached a valuation of $25 billion. Its technological legacy is cute e-mail.

Groupon is going to crash and burn like you've never seen.

1. Barriers to entry are pretty much zero and as such, competitors are cropping faster than ever.

2. The merchants are disillusioned with them: all they get are the people looking for deals and no repeat business and in the meantime, the business they get form Groupon hardly makes any money and most of the time, it's at a loss.

HPs, Oracles, SUN, the Slashdot hated Microsoft all created products - not easily duplicated services that are basically advertising which is what this whole new bubble is. That's all. No new technology. No new "paradigm" like the Internet was - just using bits and bytes instead of paper.

I will enjoy this show immensely!

Pay attention to Internet ads? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35850108)

Well maybe the "greatest minds" of our time have noticed that we have stopped paying attention to their marketing years ago. The saturation point of information vs sales has peaked like spam to legitimate mail on the Internet. I would hope to think that the average consumer should realize the Internet is to the point of cars have been for years, little difference between production years, just over bearing marketing and empty promises.....

So? Advertising is new? (4, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850116)

Yes, this guy is in advertising. He is the b-ark but for some reason, he figured it out. Well? Advertising has been around for a long time and has always about getting people to buy more widgets they don't need. There really is no difference between the guy who came up with Soaps to sell soap and the guy who invented the monkey gif ad.

If this guy hates his job, there are plenty others. It is hardly as if the whole world is just working for facebook.

If ANYTHING, this guys attitude "my job is just selling ads, therefor the entire world is about selling ads" is the problem. No, the whole world is NOT you. Don't throw a hissy fit because you found out you work in advertising. Oh and the guy in the example? Now runs a data analysis company. Gosh, he was so upset about this job selling advertising he went into data mining. Two guesses what he mines for.

But there are still countless companies doing real work, just as they have been doing while advertising agencies have been around.

Just accept, most of us lead utterly meaningless lives. The b-ark better be really big.

Re:So? Advertising is new? (5, Insightful)

geek (5680) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850208)

Advertising has alway existed, but it's never existed on this scale. We're seeing a type of advertising now that dwarfs even the insane propoganda put out during rival governments during war time. You can't go anywhere, do anything without ads everywhere. In movies, buses, signs, TV, radio. Hell even my place of employment covers the walls with ads for products because they get kick backs from the vendors. I walk down a hallway every day with coca cola and apple plastered over the walls.

To say it's always existed is like saying viruses always existed while everyone around you is dying of AIDS. At no other time in history have we been so over come with bullshit. That is the point.

Re:So? Advertising is new? (1)

Warlord88 (1065794) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850470)

> comparing advertising with fatal virus like AIDS > saying advertising is bullshit Nice comeback there. Replace the words about "advertising" with "buildings" and you get a free anti-construction rant.

Re:So? Advertising is new? (1)

cosm (1072588) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850322)

karma whoring, had to look up b-ark [geoffwilkins.net] , good analogy btw

If I was a pundit (4, Funny)

cosm (1072588) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850118)

Fox & Friends: "Mr Cosm, how would you describe the modern American economy?"
Cosm: "Well, we have primarily shifted to a PTE based model."
Fox's Token Blond: "What's that? Is that like China?"
Cosm: "Polished Turd Economics, you should be quite familiar with it by now."
Snide Male Co-Host: "You mean like the democrats?"
Cosm: "...well..kind of...that would make the Republicans unpolished..."
Blond: "[winces] Hey now....We'll be back folks after this commercial break."
commercial fade-in: "The new iPad 4G from....fades off..."

No easy answers (5, Insightful)

spike_gran (219938) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850122)

I think the real question from TFA is if we all do pointless crap like market analysis, marketing, branding, and search engine optimization like the guy in the article, are we going to someday have a future where these skills can no longer be converted into food and shelter through the magic of the market.

For a while now, I've been wondering what the purpose of the USA economy is.

There are the basics, of course. I work so that I can have food, water, clothing, shelter, free time, fun. But it is through the magic of the world economy that I get those things by writing software specifications and unit tests. The economy somehow figures out how many lines of code I need to write to buy a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk.

I suppose I don't worry too much about the fact that most of the work we do is of dubious importantance, so long as it is still convertible into food and shelter. But there is a tipping point somewhere. If everyone in the USA worked making click-through ads, we'd reach a point where no amount of work could be converted to food and shelter.

Re:No easy answers (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35850318)

I think the real question from TFA is if we all do pointless crap like market analysis, marketing, branding, and search engine optimization like the guy in the article, are we going to someday have a future where these skills can no longer be converted into food and shelter through the magic of the market.

For a while now, I've been wondering what the purpose of the USA economy is.

There are the basics, of course. I work so that I can have food, water, clothing, shelter, free time, fun. But it is through the magic of the world economy that I get those things by writing software specifications and unit tests. The economy somehow figures out how many lines of code I need to write to buy a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk.

I suppose I don't worry too much about the fact that most of the work we do is of dubious importantance, so long as it is still convertible into food and shelter. But there is a tipping point somewhere. If everyone in the USA worked making click-through ads, we'd reach a point where no amount of work could be converted to food and shelter.

If you reach the point where a large enough quantity of people is working on things you consider of dubious importance, the value of said things will plummet. If everybody was working on click-through ads, bread and butter would be expensive, but ads would become really cheap and all of a sudden the silicon valley will be converted into one gigantic bakery.

Re:No easy answers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35850354)

"If everyone in the USA worked making click-through ads, we'd reach a point where no amount of work could be converted to food and shelter."

This will never happen, because the more people who manufacture click-through ads the lower their value becomes relative to the price of food and shelter. Lower click-through add programmer salaries will encourage people to get real jobs.

That's the theory anyway.

Re:No easy answers (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850462)

You make me want to return to subsistence farming ASAP. Know anybody who has a couple milk cows and some chickens for sale?

The best minds? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35850128)

Actually the *best* minds knew better than to take those jobs in the first place. They are working places like Pixar creating beauty or in startups creating gene therapies or researching that revolutionary new power source we all need.

Re:The best minds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35850392)

That does not say they are the best minds. They are the most WORTHWHILE minds, which there is a difference. You can have the best mind and waste it as a Financial Analyist at Goldman Schs or you can be average but discover a cure for cancer. Which one is worthwhile?

There is worth while technology coming out of this (5, Insightful)

i_ate_god (899684) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850130)

AI and natural language processing certainly benefit from this, and the technology invented goes beyond just ad placements (even if it's the primary motive).

Not only that, but innovation has taken place just to handle the sheer volume of data created by the "social web".

the technology and resources to predict trends is something that has come out of this whole social thing, and since this kind of information can be compiled and analyzed by just about anyone, just about anyone can capitalize on that information in many ways that don't involve specifically targeted web ads.

and yet still.. (1)

sstamps (39313) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850158)

They (including "math whiz" Mr Hammerbacher, apparently) have no clue about those who want no part of their little world. Go figure.

The thing the so-called "whiz" kids are missing is that Google et al are trying to market to people without creating a giant scam network where people are bullied/peer-pressured by their sucker friends into revealing to the rest of the world everything they shouldn't.

Sure, you can analyze and target people more directly once they've told you everything there is to know about their lives, including their relationships, tendencies, and desires.

Without all that, you have to figure it out the hard way; the way that his so-called "peers" are "wasting their talents" on.

Durrrr.

Past Generations Were Even Worse (2)

Toy G (533867) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850166)

"The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads,"

... whereas the best minds of the previous generation were thinking about how to make people put money into insurance policies and the stock market. Look how well that turned out. And, surprise, many of those same yuppies were the hungry children of the generation who worked in manufacturing; their fathers themselves told them to study and stay the hell out of that wretched, inhumane sector.

If anything, the current "social" bubble is giving us unprecedented insight in sociological behaviour at mass scale. We are leaving behind the world where "sociology scientists" could only run limited and poorly-defined experiments over their own student population; now "social companies" like Facebook have at their disposal an incredible amount of relevant, up-to-date, *exact*, aggregated data. The field will never be the same.

Re:Past Generations Were Even Worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35850266)

... and all this "incredible amount of relevant, up-to-date, *exact*, aggregated data" is eventually used to find out, how to make people click ads.

Isn't it obvious? (2)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850204)

You now have a large amount of people using the same services, who are giving you a ton of personal information. They're not going to pay for this service.

How else are you going to make your money? Its just asking to be advertised.

It bothers me, too. (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850210)

Hammerbacher looked around Silicon Valley at companies like his own, Google, and Twitter, and saw his peers wasting their talents. 'The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads,' he says. 'That sucks.'

I know. It irks me that computing has become a branch of the advertising industry. Each new generation of computer technology produces less significant applications. New CS graduates want to work for Google or Facebook, (or worse, Zynga or Groupon) not iRobot or Autodesk.

Better advertising technology doesn't lead anywhere. Yes, there's progress on classifier systems, but that technology came from robotics. It's inherently a zero-sum game. There are only so many ad dollars out there to chase.

Gibson... (1)

misfit815 (875442) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850212)

...wrote in Pattern Recognition in 2002 that "far more creativity these days goes into the marketing of products than the products themselves." I'm a software developer for what is basically a marketing company, and I heartily agree.

It is not only about making people click on ads (2)

olegalexandrov (534138) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850218)

Google, for example, is doing a lot of things except making people click on ads.

* Intelligent search, this one day will progress into natural language understanding and even AI * Image recognition, this one day may help robots understand their surroundings * Voice recognition, again, useful * How to efficiently manage massive data centers, great for creating future infrastructure

Even clicking on ads, requires sophisticated AI techniques which are useful in many other areas

Whining we have heard before ... (0)

redelm (54142) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850254)

When man entered the industrial age 100+ years ago, there was no shortage of whining how bad the factories were, how people needed to be close to the land, and serious doubts on how everyone would get fed if so many were off in the factories and not in the fields where they belong.

Recently, people are whining about the slow transition away from manufacturing, how it weakens the nation, increases imports, etc. Again, irrelevant iff the replacement activities are sufficiently productive.

Now comes this egghead saying marketing has no value. If he really thought that way, he should have been an electrical engineer. Or a farmer. While the value of sophisticated marketing knowledge and targetting might not appear to be useful, financially it is, which is a pretty good sign. Basically, he has found ways to let people know what they might like to buy. Saves them shopping (but not due-diligence). Unless you consider all people to be weak-willed automatons.

I'm sure there were people who thought we should remain hunter-gatherers and not take up herding and agriculture.

I was going to post (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35850256)

I was going to post about how greed and the collapse of the middle class in the US has caused all of this, how intervention and care could have stopped it, how greed, particularly on the part of the political right in concert with greedy corporate interests have shaped this outcome. But I won't. What their greed has created will come to destroy them. Its been posted on /. for a long time now. There is no converting these people. They need to fall hard, and no amount of reasoning will fix them. They are like Adolph Hitler at the end of World War 2; in the bunker, scared, dangerous, not giving a damn about all the damage they caused, and utterly deaf to the collapse all around them. In the end, they bite on the capsule, proclaim their loyalty to Machiavelli and Ayn Rand, and swallow hard.

What about investment banking? (4, Funny)

Knytefall (7348) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850258)

It's tragic how our era's finest mathematical and technical minds are working on social networking. It's not right that they're wasting themselves trying to figure out how to monetize people sending pet photos to each other!

Why just a few short years ago people in that field were really doing great things for the world--like repurposing the Black-Scholes theorem to create increasingly complicated derivative financial instruments. Those instruments powered a revolution that brought prosperity to everyone.

If we can't get our best and brightest to go back to investment banks and get to work on developing new financial instruments, I don't know what will happen to our fine nation.

Re:What about investment banking? (1)

mbkennel (97636) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850300)

I think that banking is actually a little more honorable than click ads.

Re:What about investment banking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35850340)

And what do you do, great sir, to speak so condescendingly on the two professions?

Re:What about investment banking? (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850472)

You have a banker as a sugar daddy, don't you?

Re:What about investment banking? (1)

aralin (107264) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850426)

The world seems to naturally progress toward more connectedness. Gestures, speech, storytelling, painting, writting, travel, mail, shipping, telegraph, telephone, internet. There are more and denser connections between people and places. It seems only natural that the brightest minds are involved in this phenomena, helping our world to evolve into a higher state of self-awareness.

BAM! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35850312)

"'The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads,' he says."

I heard there was a generation where the best minds were thinking about how to build a nuclear bomb.

If you have a STEM degree from Harvard or UCB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35850314)

you can always go to law school and specialize in Intellectual Property Law.

*ducks*

Social networks are not innovative. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35850316)

Social networks are not really innovative. They are businesses idea of innovative. An example from another industry: pharmaceutical companies try to convince us that adding an antacid or a time release component to a drug is innovative. They extend their patents on drugs that way

In the minds of MBAs this is innovative high tech, but the reality is that no new drugs were created.

In the same sense social networks did not create anything new, they just moved things around a bit.

.

No time... (1)

Fuzzums (250400) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850348)

Probably a very interesting article, but I have no time to read it.
I've got to feed my cows and plant some roses.

The Best Minds... (1)

JackSpratts (660957) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850356)

are using Ad-Block. Or soon will be.

HOSTS files are Superior to AdBlock (or DNS) alone (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35850424)

"Ever since I've installed a host file (http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm) to redirect advertisers to my loopback, I haven't had any malware, spyware, or adware issues. I first started using the host file 5 years ago." - by TestedDoughnut (1324447) on Monday December 13, @12:18AM (#34532122)

FROM http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1907528&cid=34532122 [slashdot.org]

Now?

20++ ADVANTAGES OF HOSTS FILES OVER DNS SERVERS &/or ADBLOCK ALONE for added layered security:

1.) HOSTS files are useable for all these purposes because they are present on all Operating Systems that have a BSD based IP stack (even ANDROID) and do adblocking for ANY webbrowser, email program, etc. (any webbound program).

2.) Bad news: ADBLOCK CAN BE DETECTED FOR: See here on that note -> http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2010/03/why-ad-blocking-is-devastating-to-the-sites-you-love.ars [arstechnica.com]

HOSTS files are NOT BLOCKABLE by websites, as was tried on users by ARSTECHNICA (and it worked, proving HOSTS files are a better solution for this because they cannot be blocked & detected for, in that manner), to that websites' users' dismay:

PERTINENT QUOTE/EXCERPT FROM ARSTECHNICA THEMSELVES:

----

An experiment gone wrong - By Ken Fisher | Last updated March 6, 2010 11:11 AM

http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2010/03/why-ad-blocking-is-devastating-to-the-sites-you-love.ars [arstechnica.com]

"Starting late Friday afternoon we conducted a 12 hour experiment to see if it would be possible to simply make content disappear for visitors who were using a very popular ad blocking tool. Technologically, it was a success in that it worked. Ad blockers, and only ad blockers, couldn't see our content."

and

"Our experiment is over, and we're glad we did it because it led to us learning that we needed to communicate our point of view every once in a while. Sure, some people told us we deserved to die in a fire. But that's the Internet!"

Thus, as you can see? Well - THAT all "went over like a lead balloon" with their users in other words, because Arstechnica was forced to change it back to the old way where ADBLOCK still could work to do its job (REDDIT however, has not, for example). However/Again - this is proof that HOSTS files can still do the job, blocking potentially malscripted ads (or ads in general because they slow you down) vs. adblockers like ADBLOCK!

----

3.) Adblock doesn't protect email programs external to FF, Hosts files do. THIS IS GOOD VS. SPAM MAIL or MAILS THAT BEAR MALICIOUS SCRIPT, or, THAT POINT TO MALICIOUS SCRIPT VIA URLS etc.

4.) Adblock won't get you to your favorite sites if a DNS server goes down or is DNS-poisoned, hosts will (this leads to points 4-7 next below).

5.) Adblock doesn't allow you to hardcode in your favorite websites into it so you don't make DNS server calls and so you can avoid tracking by DNS request logs, hosts do (DNS servers are also being abused by the Chinese lately and by the Kaminsky flaw -> http://www.networkworld.com/news/2008/082908-kaminsky-flaw-prompts-dns-server.html [networkworld.com] for years now). Hosts protect against those problems via hardcodes of your fav sites (you should verify against the TLD that does nothing but cache IPAddress-to-domainname/hostname resolutions via NSLOOKUP, PINGS, &/or WHOIS though, regularly, so you have the correct IP & it's current)).

6.) HOSTS files protect you vs. DNS-poisoning &/or the Kaminsky flaw in DNS servers, and allow you to get to sites reliably vs. things like the Chinese are doing to DNS -> http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/11/29/1755230/Chinese-DNS-Tampering-a-Real-Threat-To-Outsiders [slashdot.org]

7.) HOSTS files will allow you to get to sites you like, via hardcoding your favs into a HOSTS file, FAR faster than DNS servers can by FAR (by saving the roundtrip inquiry time to a DNS server & back to you).

8.) AdBlock doesn't let you block out known bad sites or servers that are known to be maliciously scripted, hosts can and many reputable lists for this exist:

GOOD INFORMATION ON MALWARE BEHAVIOR LISTING BOTNET C&C SERVERS + MORE (AS WELL AS REMOVAL LISTS FOR HOSTS):

http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm [mvps.org]
http://someonewhocares.org/hosts/ [someonewhocares.org]
http://hostsfile.org/hosts.html [hostsfile.org]
http://hostsfile.mine.nu/downloads/ [hostsfile.mine.nu]
http://hosts-file.net/?s=Download [hosts-file.net]
https://zeustracker.abuse.ch/monitor.php?filter=online [abuse.ch]
https://spyeyetracker.abuse.ch/monitor.php [abuse.ch]
http://ddanchev.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]
http://www.malware.com.br/lists.shtml [malware.com.br]
http://www.stopbadware.org/ [stopbadware.org]
Spybot "Search & Destroy" IMMUNIZE feature (fortifies HOSTS files with KNOWN bad servers blocked)

And yes: Even SLASHDOT &/or The Register help!

(Via articles on security (when the source articles they use are "detailed" that is, & list the servers/sites involved in attempting to bushwhack others online that is... not ALL do!)).

2 examples thereof in the past I have used, & noted it there, are/were:

http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1898692&cid=34473398 [slashdot.org]
http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1896216&cid=34458500 [slashdot.org]

9.) AdBlock & DNS servers are programs, and subject to bugs programs can get. Hosts files are merely a filter and not a program, thus not subject to bugs of the nature just discussed.

10.) Hosts files don't eat up CPU cycles like AdBlock does while it parses a webpages' content, nor as much as a DNS server does while it runs. HOSTS file are merely a FILTER for the kernel mode/PnP TCP/IP subsystem, which runs FAR FASTER & MORE EFFICIENTY than any ring 3/rpl3/usermode app can.

11.) HOSTS files are EASILY user controlled, obtained (for reliable ones -> http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm [mvps.org] ) & edited too, via texteditors like Windows notepad.exe or Linux nano (etc.)

12.) With Adblock you had better be able to code javascript to play with its code. With hosts you don't even need source to control it (edit, update, delete, insert of new entries via a text editor).

13.) Hosts files are easily secured via using MAC/ACL &/or Read-Only attributes applied.

14.) Custom HOSTS files also speed you up, unlike anonymous proxy servers systems variations (like TOR, or other "highly anonymous" proxy server list servers typically do, in the severe speed hit they often have a cost in) either via "hardcoding" your fav. sites into your hosts file (avoids DNS servers, totally) OR blocking out adbanners - see this below for evidence of that:

US Military Blocks Websites To Free Up Bandwidth:

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/03/16/0416238/US-Military-Blocks-Websites-To-Free-Up-Bandwidth [slashdot.org]

(Yes, even the US Military used this type of technique... because IT WORKS! Most of what they blocked? Ad banners ala doubleclick etc.)

ADBANNERS SLOW DOWN THE WEB: -> http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/11/30/166218 [slashdot.org]

and people do NOT LIKE ads on the web:

PEOPLE DISLIKE ADBANNERS: http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/08/04/02/0058247.shtml [slashdot.org]

15.) HOSTS files usage lets you avoid being charged on some ISP/BSP's (OR phone providers) "pay as you use" policy http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/12/08/2012243/FCC-Approving-Pay-As-You-Go-Internet-Plans [slashdot.org] , because you are using less bandwidth (& go faster doing so no less) by NOT hauling in adbanner content and processing it (which can lead to infestation by malware/malicious script, in & of itself -> http://apcmag.com/microsoft_apologises_for_serving_malware.htm [apcmag.com] ).

16.) If/when ISP/BSP's decide to go to -> FCC Approving Pay-As-You-Go Internet Plans: http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/12/08/2012243/FCC-Approving-Pay-As-You-Go-Internet-Plans [slashdot.org] your internet bill will go DOWN if you use a HOSTS file for blocking adbanners as well as maliciously scripted hacker/cracker malware maker sites too (after all - it's your money & time online downloading adbanner content & processing it)

Plus, your adbanner content? Well, it may also be hijacked with malicious code too mind you:

---

Ad networks owned by Google, Microsoft serve malware:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/12/13/doubleclick_msn_malware_attacks/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Attacks Targeting Classified Ad Sites Surge:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/02/02/1433210/Attacks-Targeting-Classified-Ad-Sites-Surge [slashdot.org]

---

Hackers Respond To Help Wanted Ads With Malware:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/01/20/0228258/Hackers-Respond-To-Help-Wanted-Ads-With-Malware [slashdot.org]

---

Hackers Use Banner Ads on Major Sites to Hijack Your PC:

http://www.wired.com/techbiz/media/news/2007/11/doubleclick [wired.com]

---

Ruskie gang hijacks Microsoft network to push penis pills:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/10/12/microsoft_ips_hijacked/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Major ISPs Injecting Ads, Vulnerabilities Into Web:

http://it.slashdot.org/it/08/04/19/2148215.shtml [slashdot.org]

---

Users Know Advertisers Watch Them, and Hate It:

http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/08/04/02/0058247.shtml [slashdot.org]

---

Two Major Ad Networks Found Serving Malware:

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/10/12/13/0128249/Two-Major-Ad-Networks-Found-Serving-Malware [slashdot.org]

---

ADBANNERS SLOW DOWN THE WEB:

http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/11/30/166218 [slashdot.org]

---

THE NEXT AD YOU CLICK MAY BE A VIRUS:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/09/06/15/2056219/The-Next-Ad-You-Click-May-Be-a-Virus [slashdot.org]

---

NY TIMES INFECTED WITH MALWARE ADBANNER:

http://news.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/09/13/2346229 [slashdot.org]

---

MICROSOFT HIT BY MALWARES IN ADBANNERS:

http://apcmag.com/microsoft_apologises_for_serving_malware.htm [apcmag.com]

---

ISP's INJECTING ADS AND ERRORS INTO THE WEB: -> http://it.slashdot.org/it/08/04/19/2148215.shtml [slashdot.org]

---

ADOBE FLASH ADS INJECTING MALWARE INTO THE NET: http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/08/20/0029220&from=rss [slashdot.org]

---

London Stock Exchange Web Site Serving Malware:

http://www.securityweek.com/london-stock-exchange-web-site-serving-malware [securityweek.com]

---

Spotify splattered with malware-tainted ads:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/03/25/spotify_malvertisement_attack/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

As my list "multiple evidences thereof" as to adbanners & viruses + the fact they slow you down & cost you more (from reputable & reliable sources no less)).

17.) Per point #16, a way to save some money: ANDROID phones can also use the HOSTS FILE TO KEEP DOWN BILLABLE TIME ONLINE, vs. adbanners or malware such as this:

---

Infected Androids Run Up Big Texting Bills:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/03/01/0041203/Infected-Androids-Run-Up-Big-Texting-Bills [slashdot.org]

---

It's easily done too, via the ADB dev. tool, & mounting ANDROID OS' system mountpoint for system/etc as READ + WRITE/ADMIN-ROOT PERMISSIONS, then copying your new custom HOSTS over the old one using ADB PULL/ADB PUSH to do so (otherwise ANDROID complains of "this file cannot be overwritten on production models of this Operating System", or something very along those lines - this way gets you around that annoyance along with you possibly having to clear some space there yourself if you packed it with things!).

18.) Adblock blocks ads in only 1-2 browser family, but not all (Disclaimer: Opera now has an AdBlock addon (now that Opera has addons above widgets), but I am not certain the same people make it as they do for FF or Chrome etc.).

19.) Even WIKILEAKS "favors" blacklists (because they work, and HOSTS can be a blacklist vs. known BAD sites/servers/domain-host names):

---

PERTINENT QUOTE/EXCERPT (from -> http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/12/16/wikileaks_mirror_malware_warning_row/ [theregister.co.uk] )

"we are in favour of 'Blacklists', be it for mail servers or websites, they have to be compiled with care... Fortunately, more responsible blacklists, like stopbadware.org (which protects the Firefox browser)...

---

20.) AND, LASTLY? SINCE MALWARE GENERALLY HAS TO OPERATE ON WHAT YOU YOURSELF CAN DO (running as limited class/least privlege user, hopefully, OR even as ADMIN/ROOT/SUPERUSER)? HOSTS "LOCK IN" malware too, vs. communicating "back to mama" for orders (provided they have name servers + C&C botnet servers listed in them, blocked off in your HOSTS that is) - you might think they use a hardcoded IP, which IS possible, but generally they do not & RECYCLE domain/host names they own (such as has been seen with the RBN (Russian Business Network) lately though it was considered "dead", other malwares are using its domains/hostnames now, & this? This stops that cold, too - Bonus!)...

Still - It's a GOOD idea to layer in the usage of BOTH browser addons for security like adblock, &/or NoScript (especially this one, as it covers what HOSTS files can't in javascript which is the main deliverer of MOST attacks online & SECUNIA.COM can verify this for anyone really by looking @ the past few years of attacks nowadays), for the concept of "layered security"....

It's just that HOSTS files offer you a LOT MORE gains than Adblock does alone (as hosts do things adblock just plain cannot & on more programs, for more speed, security, and "stealth" to a degree even), and it corrects problems in DNS (as shown above via hardcodes of your favorite sites into your HOSTS file, and more (such as avoiding DNS request logs)).

ALSO - Some more notes on DNS servers & their problems, very recent + ongoing ones:

BIND vs. what the Chinese are doing to DNS lately? See here:

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/11/29/1755230/Chinese-DNS-Tampering-a-Real-Threat-To-Outsiders [slashdot.org]

---

SECUNIA HIT BY DNS REDIRECTION HACK THIS WEEK:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/11/26/secunia_back_from_dns_hack/ [theregister.co.uk]

(Yes, even "security pros" are helpless vs. DNS problems in code bugs OR redirect DNS poisoning issues, & they can only try to "set the DNS record straight" & then, they still have to wait for corrected DNS info. to propogate across all subordinate DNS servers too - lagtime in which folks DO get "abused" in mind you!)

---

DNS vs. the "Kaminsky DNS flaw", here (and even MORE problems in DNS than just that):

http://www.scmagazineus.com/new-bind-9-dns-flaw-is-worse-than-kaminskys/article/140872/ [scmagazineus.com]

(Seems others are saying that some NEW "Bind9 flaw" is worse than the Kaminsky flaw ALONE, up there, mind you... probably corrected (hopefully), but it shows yet again, DNS hassles (DNS redirect/DNS poisoning) being exploited!)

---

Moxie Marlinspike's found others (0 hack) as well...

Nope... "layered security" truly IS the "way to go" - hacker/cracker types know it, & they do NOT want the rest of us knowing it too!...

(So until DNSSEC takes "widespread adoption"? HOSTS are your answer vs. such types of attack, because the 1st thing your system refers to, by default, IS your HOSTS file (over say, DNS server usage). There are decent DNS servers though, such as OpenDNS, ScrubIT, or even GOOGLE DNS, & because I cannot "cache the entire internet" in a HOSTS file? I opt to use those, because I have to (& OpenDNS has been noted to "fix immediately", per the Kaminsky flaw, in fact... just as a sort of reference to how WELL they are maintained really!)

---

DNS provider decked by DDoS dastards:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/11/16/ddos_on_dns_firm/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Ten Percent of DNS Servers Still Vulnerable: (so much for "conscientious patching", eh? Many DNS providers weren't patching when they had to!)

http://it.slashdot.org/it/05/08/04/1525235.shtml?tid=172&tid=95&tid=218 [slashdot.org]

---

DDoS Attacks Via DNS Recursion:

http://it.slashdot.org/it/06/03/16/1658209.shtml [slashdot.org]

---

DNS ROOT SERVERS ATTACKED:

http://it.slashdot.org/it/07/02/06/2238225.shtml [slashdot.org]

---

TimeWarner DNS Hijacking:

http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/07/23/2140208 [slashdot.org]

---

DNS Re-Binding Attacks:

http://crypto.stanford.edu/dns/ [stanford.edu]

---

DNS Server Survey Reveals Mixed Security Picture:

http://it.slashdot.org/it/07/11/21/0315239.shtml [slashdot.org]

---

Photobucket's DNS records hijacked by Turkish hacking group:

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/security/title/1285 [zdnet.com]

---

Halvar figured out super-secret DNS vulnerability:

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/security/has-halvar-figured-out-super-secret-dns-vulnerability/1520 [zdnet.com]

---

BIND Still Susceptible To DNS Cache Poisoning:

http://tech.slashdot.org/tech/08/08/09/123222.shtml [slashdot.org]

---

DNS Poisoning Hits One of China's Biggest ISPs:

http://it.slashdot.org/it/08/08/21/2343250.shtml [slashdot.org]

---

Then, there is also the words of respected security expert, Mr. Oliver Day, from SECUNIA.COM to "top that all off" as well:

A RETURN TO THE KILLFILE:

http://www.securityfocus.com/columnists/491 [securityfocus.com]

Some "PERTINENT QUOTES/EXCERPTS" to back up my points with (for starters):

---

"The host file on my day-to-day laptop is now over 16,000 lines long. Accessing the Internet -- particularly browsing the Web -- is actually faster now."

Speed, and security, is the gain... others like Mr. Day note it as well!

---

"From what I have seen in my research, major efforts to share lists of unwanted hosts began gaining serious momentum earlier this decade. The most popular appear to have started as a means to block advertising and as a way to avoid being tracked by sites that use cookies to gather data on the user across Web properties. More recently, projects like Spybot Search and Destroy offer lists of known malicious servers to add a layer of defense against trojans and other forms of malware."

Per my points exactly, no less... & guess who was posting about HOSTS files a 14++ yrs. or more back & Mr. Day was reading & now using? Yours truly (& this is one of the later ones, from 2001 http://www.furtherleft.net/computer.htm [furtherleft.net] (but the example HOSTS file with my initials in it is FAR older, circa 1998 or so) or thereabouts, and referred to later by a pal of mine who moderates NTCompatible.com (where I posted on HOSTS for YEARS (1997 onwards)) -> http://www.ntcompatible.com/thread28597-1.html [ntcompatible.com] !

---

"Shared host files could be beneficial for other groups as well. Human rights groups have sought after block resistant technologies for quite some time. The GoDaddy debacle with NMap creator Fyodor (corrected) showed a particularly vicious blocking mechanism using DNS registrars. Once a registrar pulls a website from its records, the world ceases to have an effective way to find it. Shared host files could provide a DNS-proof method of reaching sites, not to mention removing an additional vector of detection if anyone were trying to monitor the use of subversive sites. One of the known weaknesses of the Tor system, for example, is direct DNS requests by applications not configured to route such requests through Tor's network."

There you go: AND, it also works vs. the "KAMINSKY DNS FLAW" & DNS poisoning/redirect attacks, for redirectable weaknesses in DNS servers (non DNSSEC type, & set into recursive mode especially) and also in the TOR system as well (that lends itself to anonymous proxy usage weaknesses I noted above also) and, you'll get to sites you want to, even IF a DNS registrar drops said websites from its tables as shown here Beating Censorship By Routing Around DNS -> http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/12/09/1840246/Beating-Censorship-By-Routing-Around-DNS [slashdot.org] & even DNSBL also (DNS Block Lists) -> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNSBL [wikipedia.org] as well - DOUBLE-BONUS!

APK

P.S.=> SOME MINOR "CAVEATS/CATCH-22's" - things to be aware of for "layered security" + HOSTS file performance - easily overcome, or not a problem at all:

A.) HOSTS files don't function under PROXY SERVERS (except for Proximitron, which has a filter that allows it) - Which is *the "WHY"* of why I state in my "P.S." section below to use both AdBlock type browser addon methods (or even built-in block lists browsers have such as Opera's URLFILTER.INI file, & FireFox has such as list as does IE also) in combination with HOSTS, for the best in "layered security" (alongside .pac files + custom cascading style sheets that can filter off various tags such as scripts or ads etc.) - but proxies, especially "HIGHLY ANONYMOUS" types, generally slow you down to a CRAWL online (& personally, I cannot see using proxies "for the good" typically - as they allow "truly anonymous posting" & have bugs (such as TOR has been shown to have & be "bypassable/traceable" via its "onion routing" methods)).

B.) HOSTS files do NOT protect you vs. javascript (this only holds true IF you don't already have a bad site blocked out in your HOSTS file though, & the list of sites where you can obtain such lists to add to your HOSTS are above (& updated daily in many of them)).

C.) HOSTS files (relatively "largish ones") require you to turn off Windows' native "DNS local client cache service" (which has a problem in that it's designed with a non-redimensionable/resizeable list, array, or queue (DNS data loads into a C/C++ structure actually/afaik, which IS a form of array)) - mvps.org covers that in detail and how to easily do this in Windows (this is NOT a problem in Linux, & it's 1 thing I will give Linux over Windows, hands-down). Relatively "smallish" HOSTS files don't have this problem (mvps.org offers 2 types for this).

D.) HOSTS files, once read/loaded, once GET CACHED, for speed of access/re-access (@ system startup in older MS OS' like 2000, or, upon a users' 1st request that's "Webbound" via say, a webbrowser) gets read into either the DNS local caching client service (noted above), OR, if that's turned off? Into your local diskcache (like ANY file is), so it reads F A S T upon re-reads/subsequent reads (until it's changed in %WinDir%\system32\drivers\etc on Windows, which marks it "Dirty" & then it gets re-read + reloaded into the local diskcache again). This may cause a SMALL lag upon reload though, depending on the size of your HOSTS file.

E.) HOSTS files don't protect vs. BGP exploits - Sorry, once it's out of your hands/machine + past any interior network + routers you have, the packets you send are out there into the ISP/BSP's hands - they're "the Agents" holding all the keys to the doorways at that point (hosts are just a forcefield-filter (for lack of a better description) armor on what can come in mostly, & a bit of what can go out too (per point 18 above on "locking in malware")). Hosts work as a "I can't get burned if I can't go into the kitchen" protection, for you: Not your ISP/BSP. It doesn't extend to them... apk

Yeah right (2)

drsquare (530038) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850370)

What makes you think IT workers are the brightest minds? Because your company that gives you free pizza keeps telling you that?

"The best minds of my generation" (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850388)

I'm not so sure of that (though perhaps I'm being overly optimistic).

make people click ads (1)

tqk (413719) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850394)

'The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads,' he says. 'That sucks.'

No need to worry. We're not clicking on the ads. We do wonder why marketing types keep buying this !@#$ believing that we are.

actually.. (1)

pasv (755179) | more than 3 years ago | (#35850410)

No actually if we weren't clicking the ads they wouldn't be giving us said ads. Some dumbass is clicking it, that's why they put it up there. Anyway, I think this guy has a great point: so much brain has towards goals that don't push the world further but perhaps hold us back. Finally some good material on slashdot to think over.

looks to me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35850442)

like a bunch of nerds crying about their empty list of facebook friends. "brightest minds" in regards to the IT bunch is comical.

Social networking, the pastime of fools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35850480)

Facebook and other social networking sites produce
nothing of _tangible_ value. Anyone who has been paying
attention could reach this conclusion without needing to
consult the opinions of other people.

Making money alone is not enough. If you want to have a fulfilling life,
you will engage yourself in a vocation which improves the world in
a way that matters. This could ( for example ) be making better computers, designing the
battery which makes electric vehicles a practical reality, or creating a drug which
eases or removes human misery. In short, do something with your life that really does
make the world a better place as a result of your brief time on earth. In the end, the money
you made and the material things you accumulated will not be of any significance to you
as you prepare to leave this world. Do something that leaves a mark in the world, such that
those who come after you can say : "That was a good human being".

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?