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Really Targeted Advertising

timothy posted more than 13 years ago | from the who's-watching-who? dept.

Privacy 240

wiredog points to an LA Times article titled "The TV's Eye Is Set on You." The Times summarizes the story like this: "With cable technology that tracks viewers' habits, two neighbors watching the same show will see different commercials. Practice could begin next spring." The ends actually sounds pretty attractive to me (turn off those embarassing-product ads, please!), but the means (ongoing collection of data about each household) certainly don't.

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Wahoo! No more useless ads! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#157271)

If they figure out that I don't like any kind of advertisement, will they turn them off altogether?

Or, more likely, they'll put a surcharge on my cable bill! I can see the line item now:

Poor Consumer Surcharge ...............$33.05

Re:They've been watching for some time now... (1)

Have Blue (616) | more than 13 years ago | (#157276)

You are disqualified: The choice involving cowboyNeal makes sense :P

What they REALLY need (5)

Have Blue (616) | more than 13 years ago | (#157277)

An extra button on the remote: "Do not ever show me the current commercial again." I know I'd buy one.

Re:Ugh, tampons are not suitable for TV (2)

Don Negro (1069) | more than 13 years ago | (#157278)

What's up with the value judgment on menstration?

Do you think it's gross? Does it make you nervous?

It's just a part of being female, or are you part of the 'eve's curse' crowd, who see it as evidence of original sin?

When it's my turn to do the laundry, I stainstick my wife's panties and go on with my life. No big deal.

Don Negro

What century is this? (1)

Phil Wilkins (5921) | more than 13 years ago | (#157286)

Women, do you have a secret? Do you have a special visitor? Are the painters in at the moment? Feeling strangely averse to swimming? Are you riding your tiny bike?

Then shut the fuck up about it, because Jon here is a little uncomfortable with the concept of menstruation.

I don't completely hate this idea... (1)

Xunker (6905) | more than 13 years ago | (#157288)

I *almost* hate this idea, but not quite. As for me, I think it might have one vaild use:

Using this system, I (as a male) might be freed from watching commercial after commercial for femenine hygiene products!

This capability in itself might be enough to get me to give away any shred of privacy I had.
.

Re:They've been watching for some time now... (1)

sacherjj (7595) | more than 13 years ago | (#157289)

That just gave me shivers... :( Scarry.

I must be the last person in the US who found that you can live with only broadcast TV. If nothing is on, go ride a bike.

Simple! (2)

Luke (7869) | more than 13 years ago | (#157290)

Don't watch TV. It's like a direct link into your OWN HOME for advertisers.

Cable TV is worse because you're paying for the opportunity to be swamped with ads! Wonderful!

Big Brother (1)

Accumulator (9389) | more than 13 years ago | (#157291)

Reminds me of 1984. There, every party member has a TV home, which is constantly doing commercials for Big Brother (or something like that), and you can turn down the sound, but you can't turn off the TV. The TV is on 24 hours a day.

That is certainly not the life I want :( Though in 1984 they also have your kids spying on you, cameras all over the place, and always a big picture of Big Brother nearby, whose eyes are following you.

And, yes... If you don't behave properly, they don't shock your hand, they actually erases you. That mean they rewrite the history so it seems you've never excisted!

Well, it is not an impossible scenario. I think the society are becoming more and more like it than the otherway around. There are always people like us fighting against it, but many, many people don't mind (we actually have a program called Big Brother here, where the participants are living constantly watched by cameras for several months, and the worst part is that many people want to participate).

Re:actually... (1)

Accumulator (9389) | more than 13 years ago | (#157292)

Our TV is so old that the volume-button is trashed. And if you turn off the TV you have to tune in all the channels again. So if you want to see program a at 17, and program b at 21, you'll normally just let the TV pounder all that bad stuff in the meantime.

But luckily I don't watch much TV ;)

Re:Another win for technology (3)

PD (9577) | more than 13 years ago | (#157294)

You nailed down my exact reasons why marketing is annoying to me. The goal of marketing is to cause me to buy something that I normally wouldn't have by subverting my reasoning process. If the product was the best, and I required that product, then marketing wouldn't be needed because I would have chosen that product.

My dislike for marketing doesn't spill over into sales. Sales is essential for a couple reasons. First, salesmen can answer my questions, or run around like mad trying to answer my questions. They provide information to me that I can use to make my decision. Second, if I have technical support that is lousy, professional sales people are always a great point of contact. I just call them up, tell them that I am disappointed with my technical support. After I hang up, the sales person walks back to the tech support people and kicks their ass for me, because they want to sell to me in the future.

Who is modding this stuff UP?!?! (1)

SparkyUK (10333) | more than 13 years ago | (#157295)

I don't want to see adverts for tampons or other such things which a) mean nothing to me, and b) shouldn't be aired publicly anyway.

You have clearly never watched an ad for a feminine hygene product or for toilet-paper for that matter.

If you had, you would know that they are so obtuse as to be confusing. You really wouldn't know what they were advertising if it weren't for repeated use of the name.

I completely fail to see why adverts like this shouldn't be aired. Perhaps because it reminds you of one of the messier aspects of the human condition? Get a grip man.

from the inside..... (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 13 years ago | (#157296)

as an insider I can tell you that it is very cool, will only happen in markets that have cablemodems/digital cable working well, and we already collect a crapload of info on you already.

you think that Tvio can collect alot of info, the motorola digital boxes can collect 10X more information about the viewer. The next generation boxes have a 2 way link to the remote (Kinda like the DMX boxes have.) so you could even collect info such as if the remote is even pointing at the box (or is able to communicate to it) what serial number the remote is, and the battery condition in the remote. add an inertia sensor and we can measure how often you scratch yourself!

get used to having every part of your life recorded and scrutinized for advertising potential,and sale.. because there's BIG money in it.

BTW, I mentioned this over 5 months ago, and it's just now getting into slashdot?

Re:from the inside..... (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 13 years ago | (#157297)

Pretty much, if I decided to take the time to dump the logs, parse it with perl for your box number. 99.9% of the information is just dumped.
Example, the only information ever seen by a human is your pay-per-view and ONLY if you dont actually pay it and they have to call you... otherwise it's sent to billing and automatically billed at your rate (yes ppv is not $7.95 for everyone, it changes per negotiated rates per customer... I knew of a guy who got all PPV for $3.00 because he bought so many of them.)

the only item techs see is that box 544485584XXX is not responding, it's either unplugged or dead.

but I could get into the information, if I wanted to waste an afternoon, but then how do I connect the info without raiding the billing database? (they get grumpy about that).

not so bad really (1)

verch (12834) | more than 13 years ago | (#157298)

Advertising is more or less a fact of life, so I don't think targeting is necessarily such a bad thing. If I'm forced to sit through ads, I'd rather see ads for things I might actually be interested in instead of commercials about that 'unfresh feeling'.
What I would really like is to not see ads for things I've alrady bought. Nothing pisses me off more than watching ads for DirecTV on my DirecTV system.. Hello? Its like having printed ads for literacy - why bother?

Re:one problem... (1)

Quikah (14419) | more than 13 years ago | (#157302)

What is there to explain? You like porn. Best to find a girl who is fine with that then trying to hide it.

actually... (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 13 years ago | (#157306)

That's funny, but here in Toronto, Rogers Cable has been advertising the Playboy channel pretty heavily in the last few month as part of their "Digital Choice" Cable!

I can tell you one thing, though: since I bought my first TV w/remote 5 years ago, I've built up a quick-trigger finger on the "mute" button. I urge everyone else to do the same: it'll stop the torment of those friggin new "aren't we so cool" Microsoft Office XP ads!

Re:Another win for technology (1)

Macdude (23507) | more than 13 years ago | (#157310)

Whereas with websites targetted advertising is already realistic (just look at the adverts at the top of this page for instance) currently TV adverts must cater to the lowest common denominator, and this means we all have to sit through endless adverts for pet food, pop crap and "feminine hygene" products rather than adverts for products we might actually want.

BS ALERT

Ads on TV are targeted by show the same way banner ads are tageted by web site.

nielson numbers (1)

djinn87 (24245) | more than 13 years ago | (#157312)

does this mean an end to the days where 2,000 families in iowa determine what programming gets kept and what goes because of our culture's weird worship of nielson numbers?

Re:They've been watching for some time now... (1)

asland (26316) | more than 13 years ago | (#157313)

I just live without TV.

satellite (1)

sporty (27564) | more than 13 years ago | (#157315)

i wonder how they will get this working with dishnetwork/directv/et al.

---

Re:They've been watching for some time now... (1)

spectecjr (31235) | more than 13 years ago | (#157320)

I first realized they (i.e., Comcast Cablevision in MD) could do this when my wife had a phone conversation with one of their service reps that went something like:

[Rep]: Maam, please tune to channel 3
[Wife]: I am on 3
[Rep]: No...you're on 5

I returned the digital cable box the next day. (This was a year or so ago.)


Well, yeah... I mean, digital cable is really nothing more than multi-cast UDP packets, with authorization packets on a per-channel basis that pass the key you need to decode the signal. Your box asks for authorization from home base, and then you get the key back.

*shrugs*

Simon

Re:who's doing the watching? (1)

spectecjr (31235) | more than 13 years ago | (#157321)

So, while you're away camping for a week, your 16-year old brings his friends over and they watch the playboy channel. When you come back, how do you get rid of all the 'directed' pornography adds on your TV? "Fear not the path of truth for the lack of people walking it."

Well, one way would be to child-lock the Playboy channel...

Simon

Re:They've been watching for some time now... (1)

Unknown Poltroon (31628) | more than 13 years ago | (#157322)

I've got a tv tunercard in my pc. I wonder what they make of that?

Get savvy or buy crap you don't need... (5)

MadAhab (40080) | more than 13 years ago | (#157325)

I was going to object to this sort of practice, except that it occurred to me that I could care less how they try to target ads to me - I'm not going to be swayed by advertisements. Never have, never will. I doubt they'll even figure out much of a way to target me with things that interest me.

Which brings up a bigger question; after 100 years of modern advertising in America, why are so many still so gullible? It shocks me all the time.

I still think that targeted advertising is greatly misunderstood. The power of modern advertising is its vast scale - "As seen on TV". I don't think targeted ads are going to be much more effective. If your friend hasn't seen that ad where the woman farts in the car, chances are you won't talk about it over the water cooler. And, to really make targeted ads effective, you really have to understand your audience. That takes work, and means lots of extra effort to reach a smaller and smaller audience. The difficulty of that, which is great, may negate the increased effectiveness.

But what about a world where everyone is sophisticated enough to realize that Coke doesn't add life, that talking ducks don't solve your insurance needs, and that drinking Budweiser is unlikely to attract hordes of Bud-drinking hotties all wanting to meet you? Advertisers would be limited to conveying useful information (yes, "we can afford this expensive ad" is informative).

Here's a tip; don't be swayed by ads! If you buy a product you saw advertised, buy it because it's cheaper, or demonstrably better, or you have no choice. Change your product loyalties the second those things change. If you think "Nikes must be better than XYZ shoes because they are Nike" then you are still gullible. Now watch them twist in the wind trying to figure out how to get you to buy crap.

Boss of nothin. Big deal.
Son, go get daddy's hard plastic eyes.

Cool (1)

david@ecsd.com (45841) | more than 13 years ago | (#157328)

With any luck, they'll notice that I channel surf commericals and eliminate the wretched little buggers from my television programs completely.

Of course, then they'll probably figure out a way to override my picture in picture...

Re:My take (1)

Monte (48723) | more than 13 years ago | (#157329)

what in GOD'S NAME is that blue stuff?

Err, a euphemism? I suppose that using red stuff would be closer to the point, but which would you rather see while you're eating?

Re:And what happens if the Cable Co. messes up? (1)

Monte (48723) | more than 13 years ago | (#157330)

If I move into an apartment, the previous renter having watched an ungodly amount of pr0n, and the cable company forgets to flush their viewing habit records, am I going to get flooded with commercials for aphrodisiacs and french ticklers?

Based on the replies so far, this is vastly perferable to the average Slashdotter than the UNGODLY HORROR OF TAMPON COMMERCIALS!

Re:Finally! (2)

Monte (48723) | more than 13 years ago | (#157331)

I'm not going to buy any of the crap they're trying to sell.

Perhaps you really meant "I'm not going to change my buying habits based on a commercial", because unless you live in a cave I find it difficult to believe that you've never bought anything that you've seen a commercial for. I bet your electric company does commercials, are you off the grid in protest? :)

So, as long as they include a way to turn off all ads, I'll be happy.

The ads pay for the content. Turn off the ads, turn off the content, and everything becomes pay-per-view. Be careful what you wish for.

Re:My take (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 13 years ago | (#157332)

Yup :-) Sometime in Season VIII

Re:My take (2)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 13 years ago | (#157333)

From what I understand, for a few days every month, women like to pour blue liquid on things, play tennis and wear tight white jeans.

Re:My take (2)

British (51765) | more than 13 years ago | (#157335)

Didnt Kryten say that in Red Dwarf 7?

Ever wonder about this? (2)

TheTomcat (53158) | more than 13 years ago | (#157337)

I've been thinking about this for a while, it's kind of entertaining (and scary) to actually try to figure out what demographic the show you're watching is trying to sell to.

Sometimes, when I'm watching some show, and see lots of ads for said products (ie, tampax, whatever that new acne-fighting birth-control pill is called) I get to thinking -- is this show primarily watched by women?

Or when I see adds for Viagra/alternatives to the big V, I get to wondering how many younger guys are watching the same show.

What really throws me is when I'm watching late night TV, and there's an ad for some kids sing-a-long tape set or something.. weird stuff..

Anyway, this prolly seems offtopic, but, I too, won't mind seeing ads for products that I might actually buy.

Then again, the thing that really pisses me off about commercials isn't the 3 minute break from the "content" but the brainwashing frequency of the commercials. I HATE seeing the same ad for the same product (Destiny's Child - Survivor comes to mind) EVERY commercial break for 2 hours straight.. drives me nuts. Wonder if tightening the demographic on a user-by-user basis will ultimately increase the frequency of individual ads..

Re:Another win for technology (2)

Jason W (65940) | more than 13 years ago | (#157345)

Are you CRAZY?

I WANT to see commercials about tampons, I want to hear "Are you one of the millions of American males who would like increased sexual energy?" and "Not all women are satisfied with their bust size". I don't give a SHIT about any of those things, and I will never, ever buy them or anything related to them.

If all of a sudden the TV knows I'm a nerd, I get flooded with Computer Associate and Singular ads, not the mention the "This company just merged with another company, and their databases are compatible because they use" Mircosoft commercials. When I go to buy something, I want my judgement to be based on the product, not on the (subconcious, unavoidable) advertising.

I say keep the Viagra, Bowflex, and Rogaine commercials coming my way.

If you don't care it'll get worse (4)

taniwha (70410) | more than 13 years ago | (#157348)

Just you wait 'till they hook it all up together .... pretty soon they will notice you haven't bought toilet paper for a while and ALL the ads become ads for TP .... then you notice that you only see ads for the brands of TP that you DON'T buy ....

Re:Finally! (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 13 years ago | (#157350)

The ads pay for the content. Turn off the ads, turn off the content, and everything becomes pay-per-view. Be careful what you wish for.

Except we are talking about CATV, which one has to pay for. Thats what annoys me, especially about HBO..you're paying for it, but you STILL have ads. Although they are less prominate on HBO.

Re:This could actually be worthwhile... (1)

rkent (73434) | more than 13 years ago | (#157352)

Great idea. I myself would tell them "I really really like Jack in the Box and eat there all the time!"

For those outside of the southwestern US: Jack in the Box has the funniest ad campaigns ever. I flip channels to CATCH those ads, not miss them.

---

Gimme a break (2)

rkent (73434) | more than 13 years ago | (#157353)

With cable technology that tracks viewers' habits, two neighbors watching the same show will see different commercials.

By which you mean, "two neighbors watching the same show will change channels to AVOID different commercials." Yup, truly an advertising in-no-vation.

---

Re:Another win for technology (2)

selectspec (74651) | more than 13 years ago | (#157354)

I agree that I rather see ads that appeal to me as oppose to ads that just waste my time. However, the concern here is not that advertisers will be more effective. The concern surrounds basic privacy. The question has to be asked, what else will the cable companies do with the information. Will I begin to receive phone calls from the Sierra Club just because I watched an episode of Nature? Will my name be submitted to a massive database that could be accessible potentially by the public? "Sorry Pete, but you don't get the job. We're not interested in people who watch Cartoons all day." Worse, how about our kids. I don't want some company building up a profile on my kids. Targeting them with luring adds. Do you want your kid to watch a TV commericial that says, "Hey Danny, you should really buy this RasterBlasterX11. Your buddies Tommy and Rodney got one, so you better if you don't want them to think you are a loser." Will it be OK for the school to request your kid's lifelong TV viewing habits on the college admission application? If that information is public, what possible ethical objection could you have? Should your insurance company or bank have access to these records? Who owns the information? You or the cable company? Should you be allowed free access to it? I'd personally prefer anonimity.

But wait! Advertising is part of our culture... (5)

nlh (80031) | more than 13 years ago | (#157357)

Despite the benefits that targeting advertising brings (more stuff that's more relevant to you), I think we'd be missing out on what has really become an an important aspect of American culture (as lame as that sounds.)

Advertising is the medium through which many of our cultural "themes" get passed. Let's say you're an older guy (50+)...how would you feel, for example, if you never actually saw a Mountain Dew or MTV ad? Wouldn't you want to know what kids these days are up to?

I WANT to know what other people are buying -- I'm curious about "what's out there". When I was a teenager, how else would I have ever discovered what the hell this "douche" thing was if I didn't ask my girl friends what the "that not so fresh feeling" actually meant? :)

I remember a few months ago I went out to L.A. for the first time (I live in Boston) and I was AMAZED at the sheer number of 'Get Bigger Breasts' or 'Dr. blah-blah's Plastic Surgery Center' etc. ads that were on TV and the radio (and I'm not kidding.) It was a way for me to get a snapshot, as lame as it is, of what's important to some people out there.

That kind of information is important, and I'd feel significantly more out of touch without it.

Of course, there's always AdCritic. ;)

nlh

If it's gonna happen.... (2)

The Good Reverend (84440) | more than 13 years ago | (#157358)

Since all sorts of data collection happens anyway (grocery store cards, credit cards, direct and indirect marketing, profiles, etc.) I'd much rather have targeted advertising than not. While we do need to be very careful about what kind of information is shared, I really don't care that my grocery store knows I buy vegetarian foods, and I'd rather see ads for Morningstar Farms or Boca than for Foster Farms or Tyson.

The Good Reverend
I'm different, just like everybody else. [michris.com]

Privacy vs Convenience (2)

Bandman (86149) | more than 13 years ago | (#157362)

Maybe I'm all by myself on this one, but I don't mind targeted advertising. I realize that it can have some really bad results when used incorrectly, but so can nuclear power, and I support that too.

The convenience of being presented with ads that interest me outweigh the threat that someone will find out what shows I watch, and what times. I know it's alot more involved than that, but for me personally I think it's not a bad thing. I remember buying Computer Shopper back when it was 1/3 of a tree, and I didn't get it for the articles.

I agree it isn't a good thing for everyone, but from my view, it's not the big-brother-fear-inducing move that it might be viewed as. Save that fear for what deserves it.

Re:Another win for technology (1)

god_of_the_machine (90151) | more than 13 years ago | (#157366)

I don't want to see adverts for tampons or...

I bet that you will still be a target for tampon advertising (or other feminine products). I read once that sometimes they run ads at times they hope men will see them, in order to market to the men who will buy products for their significant others, but are completely brand-unaware (honey, while you're at the grocery store, can you pick me up some tampons?). It makes sense, even tho the market may be much smaller the advertising will work much better (from their perspective).

-rt-

Already Being Done (2)

zpengo (99887) | more than 13 years ago | (#157367)

Advertisers are already doing this to an extent by advertising on shows that they think their customers would probably watch. Targeted advertising is nothing new.

This degree of targeting is really no different from targeted internet advertising and the like. The end result is simply that we get advertising we might actually be interested in. Is that really a bad thing?

Unthinkable (2)

zpengo (99887) | more than 13 years ago | (#157368)

The world is heading in an unpleasant direction, and we have to do something to get it to stop before our entire lives are centered around advertising. It's disturbingly postmodern, and the problem is that it has been such a slow process that only a few have noticed it.

First it was the Internet. Cable TV comes next. Then public TV. Within a decade, billboards are going to be changing just for you as you drive down the street.

Targeted advertising is not the problem. The problem is having personal information about your work and personal life spread around the world on computers that any script kiddie with a few free minutes could get into. How long do you think it will be before this sort of information becomes seizeable and admissible into court?

Charmin knows you better than you think.

My take (2)

rosewood (99925) | more than 13 years ago | (#157369)

I too like the ends ... however, what kind of man can not sit through a tampax comercial? Is it really that bad? I still have the feeling that I will see a lot of car adds no matter what I do!

Re:My take (1)

the Man in Black (102634) | more than 13 years ago | (#157370)

My only problem with the Tampax ads (other than the obvious) is...what in GOD'S NAME is that blue stuff? Sheesh. Just plain disturbing.

--MiB

Re:Finally! (2)

friedo (112163) | more than 13 years ago | (#157376)

Ya know, I wouldn't really mind. If everything were on a pay-per-view basis, most content would be fairly cheap. Considering my television habits consist of watching The Simpsons, The West Wing, and South Park, I would be happy to shell out two hours worth of fees per week.

Perhaps if the couch potatoes had to pay for their laziness, they would be motivated to be more productive. :)

Re:Pretty soon... (2)

friedo (112163) | more than 13 years ago | (#157377)

Guess that would make "World's Most Shocking Videos Part XVII" a little more entertaining, eh?

one problem... (5)

13013dobbs (113910) | more than 13 years ago | (#157386)

How do you explain to your girlfriend the fact that you get a lot of pay-per-view porn ads?

kewl (1)

sckeener (137243) | more than 13 years ago | (#157394)

I'm so glad I live in America and not China.

I never want to worry about big brother.

We love ya Bill!

(When the first XP ad hits my TV screen, I'll be calling the cable company to force them to change my profile!)

are there going to be filler ads? (1)

sckeener (137243) | more than 13 years ago | (#157395)

Ok, from what limited knowledge I have, doesn't ads cost more where they are located in the comerical break? Like the first in the break cost the ad company more than the middle one because you've gone to the bathroom durring the middle of the comericals.

What if I my preferences don't rank high enough to warrant an expensive comerical?

Can the feature be suspended..... (1)

BiggestPOS (139071) | more than 13 years ago | (#157400)

If your parents come to visit? I can just see the look I'd get from my mother when my TV get bombarded with ads from Trojan...

This could actually be worthwhile... (3)

-=OmegaMan=- (151970) | more than 13 years ago | (#157404)

... if you could put in the facts that you

a) Already own a car and are not planning on purchasing another anytime soon.
b) Are not interested in getting your high school diploma through the mail.
c) Probably won't be purchasing any bras but wouldn't mind seeing more commercials for them.

If the level of advertisement stays the same (or, perhaps, decreases due to successful targeting), this will be great. Less ads for crap I don't want to buy, more ads for crap I do. :)

targeted advertising is beautiful--agreed (1)

neo-phyter (167886) | more than 13 years ago | (#157407)

Not only is the end nice because, in theory, you'll only have to sit through advertisments that are of interest to you, but the products you buy will likely be cheaper because companies won't have to charge you for distributing adds to people that aren't even interested--I can't wait. Allan

They've been watching for some time now... (5)

wodelltech (168047) | more than 13 years ago | (#157408)

I first realized they (i.e., Comcast Cablevision in MD) could do this when my wife had a phone conversation with one of their service reps that went something like:

[Rep]: Maam, please tune to channel 3
[Wife]: I am on 3
[Rep]: No...you're on 5

I returned the digital cable box the next day. (This was a year or so ago.)

Someday, in the future (4)

zombieking (177383) | more than 13 years ago | (#157413)

Eventually, companies hope to refine the technology to target different viewers in the same family.

Man: "....Ok, honey. Have fun."
(Wife leaves to go shopping.)
(PAUSE)
Cable Box: "PSST. Hey Buddy..."
Man: "???"
Cable Box: "PSST, Over Here.
Man: "Who Said That?!"
Cable Box: "It's me the cable box. Now that the wife is gone, we here at the cable company want to offer you low subscription rates to Playboy Magazine..."
Man: "HUH?!"

-----

Re:They've been watching for some time now... (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 13 years ago | (#157414)

I returned the digital cable box the next day. (This was a year or so ago.)

You know what scares me more than customer support being able to see what channel you're on? That there are people who will actually return a cable box because they're worried about customer support being able to see the channel.

You're not from Montana, are you?


--

Re:Use the web instead (1)

cvd6262 (180823) | more than 13 years ago | (#157415)

Agreed.

My wife and I moved into a new apartment which did not come with cable. I'm a bit too lazy to get on the roof to hook up the antenna, so we just use the TV for the VCR, and get all our news etc. from the Web.

The only thing I miss is the sports. I've spent too many hours at my in-laws over the last couple of months for the NHL playoffs, but I should be good now until Fall.

hygiene ads (1)

ichimunki (194887) | more than 13 years ago | (#157418)

Judging by the number of responses to this story expressing hopes that this will result in a serious drop in the number of tampon ads said "nerd" will have to view, I can only conclude that there is a sizable group on Slashdot who are way too uptight and probably need to turn off the TV altogether and go out in the world and meet a real woman at least once before they die. (apologies fo r the run-on sentence)

Menstruation is a sin (1)

Jon Erikson (198204) | more than 13 years ago | (#157420)

And if the liberals in the Supreme Court and government hadn't fought so hard against it, you'd have been taught these facts in school.

Quite simply put, menstruation is God's curse to womenkind because of Eve's actions in the Garden of Eden. If she hadn't have corrupted Adam, then we would still be living in Paradise.

Since that fateful day, women have been cursed to shed their life's blood each month, and no amount of liberal persuasion will be enough to "educate" true belivers otherwise.

When my wife sheds blood, she knows that it is her punishment as a women, and is properly ashamed of the flaws of her kind. Displaying it on TV as if it were something to be proud of is nothing more than a sign of Satan's ever present lies.

Another win for technology (2)

Jon Erikson (198204) | more than 13 years ago | (#157421)

Christ, I can't wait until the day when I get to see adverts that at least apply to me rather than "generic consumer X" who is the compound of a thousand flawed consumer surveys.

I don't want to see adverts for tampons or other such things which a) mean nothing to me, and b) shouldn't be aired publicly anyway.

Adverts are evil, but at least this way they'll be an evil I can perhaps use. Whereas with websites targetted advertising is already realistic (just look at the adverts at the top of this page for instance) currently TV adverts must cater to the lowest common denominator, and this means we all have to sit through endless adverts for pet food, pop crap and "feminine hygene" products rather than adverts for products we might actually want.

I'll gladly accept giving companies some info to avoid this kind of rubbish. And I believe I won't be alone in this view.

who's doing the watching? (1)

seirui (204980) | more than 13 years ago | (#157428)

So, while you're away camping for a week, your 16-year old brings his friends over and they watch the playboy channel. When you come back, how do you get rid of all the 'directed' pornography adds on your TV? "Fear not the path of truth for the lack of people walking it."

TiVo! (2)

sdo1 (213835) | more than 13 years ago | (#157429)

TiVo is my solution to every TV-related problem...

I just fast-forward through all the ads anyway. It's really only when I nod off while watching the tube that the commercials get played. Or on the odd time that I'm actually watching something live (not that often).

-S

Re:Already Being Done (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 13 years ago | (#157432)

I wonder about this sometimes. I remember when I was a kid, I was always annoyed how I had to sit through commercials for girls' toys like My Little Pony, and I was watching boys' cartoons like the Transformers and GI Joe.

Use the web instead (3)

BlowCat (216402) | more than 13 years ago | (#157434)

When I reinstalled Linux 2 months ago I decided not to reinstall gatos (TV software for ATI video cards). I live 2 months without TV and believe me, I don't miss it. All the news can be found on the web. I'm not using Junkbuster, but I'll install it if the ads become annoying. TV steals your time. It doesn't really entertain. And now it's going to track you. It's too much!

By the way, I have more time to code, to listen to the music, to talk to my friends. In fact, I'm having a date tomorrow - first time since April 2000!

Could work... (3)

briggsb (217215) | more than 13 years ago | (#157435)

...but I don't think it would help any of these ad campaigns [bbspot.com] .

Limiting Market (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 13 years ago | (#157438)

I always loved filling out little boxes on cards in magazines for free publications. I got so many cool catalogs, from which I actually bought quite a bit of stuff, because something I'd never seen before outside the usual advertising (which I was immune to.) Now it seems like the unanticipated action is narrowing markets by only showing people the ads the seller thinks would appeal to them. Can't do that, IMHO, as you eventually dull the target to your pitch and fail to stimulate them with a pitch for other product lines.

--
All your .sig are belong to us!

Re:Finally! (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 13 years ago | (#157439)

Could I interest you in a RonCo Combination Commercial Blocker - Turnip Twaddler - Wasabe Dispenser?

Only 60 easy monthly payments of $10.95, price break of 5% in quantities over 1,000. Order now, operators are sitting by.

--
All your .sig are belong to us!

Well... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 13 years ago | (#157440)

As a fellow dude, I would never soberly buy Bud Lite, but I like to watch some of their commercials (except any more with those stupid chameleons!)

--
All your .sig are belong to us!

And what happens if the Cable Co. messes up? (2)

Arethan (223197) | more than 13 years ago | (#157441)

If I move into an apartment, the previous renter having watched an ungodly amount of pr0n, and the cable company forgets to flush their viewing habit records, am I going to get flooded with commercials for aphrodisiacs and french ticklers? Seriously though. I used to work for a cable company not too long ago, and I don't see enough bandwidth available in those cables to send each user their own personalized 3 minute commercial break. Maybe reserve a few channels for demographic 'groups' but not individual users.

Hold on just a second... (2)

NineNine (235196) | more than 13 years ago | (#157450)

Is this the same Slashdot that rails against any online company trying to collect viewer data? Doubleclick is the great evil. But Cable can't do any wrong? Huh? Could somebody explain to me why online tracking is bad, and TV tracking is good?

Personally, I use rabbit ears (antenna) on my TV, so I really don't care. But it's yet another reason for me NOT to get cable TV.

Re:If you think that is creepy... (1)

ffsnjb (238634) | more than 13 years ago | (#157453)

At least WGBH doesn't suck ass like most PBS stations. Hell, IIRC, they fund This Old House and a ton of awesome programs.

Let's look at it this way... (2)

Bonker (243350) | more than 13 years ago | (#157457)

How would you feel if after spending a few hours downloading pr0n and mp3's from Usenet, you started getting adds for 'Hot Teen Slut Warehouse' and 'Columbia Record Club'?

Targeted advertising is cool so long as the companies doing so are targeting people they beleive are likely to watch their show, rather than targeting me based directly on what I watch.

dear god (1)

omega_rob (246153) | more than 13 years ago | (#157459)

I think the inevitable constant "wazzzzupppp" and "how are yoooooouuuuuuu doing?" that's going to happen at my place is going to drive me to drink, er, more.

robp

I don't watch the commercials... (1)

Lonath (249354) | more than 13 years ago | (#157461)

I tend to flip channels as soon as commercials come on. The only way they could make me watch commercials is to stream shows to me individually and to force me to watch 2 minutes of commercials for every 12 minutes of shows that I watch no matter what channel I try to change to. This is such a sick idea, I wish I had the money to patent it just so I could keep the dorks from using it on us.


who are we? (2)

yoha (249396) | more than 13 years ago | (#157462)

Here's one slippery slope of targetted advertising. The more varied our interests, the more varied the advertising. As underground or mainstream an audience is, that's the advertising they would recieve. This is until advertising is a mirror reflection of ourselves. Might one consequence be we don't like what we see? The flip side is we don't want others to see it either.

Re:Ugh, tampons are not suitable for TV (1)

Rasta Prefect (250915) | more than 13 years ago | (#157463)

You seem to have a rather insecure attitude towards something that is a natural bodily process. Why are tampon commercials any less acceptable to you than soap or shampoo atheletes foot?

funny (2)

hyrdra (260687) | more than 13 years ago | (#157468)

that the LA times site has two adds that pop-up when I clicked the story. And they're complaining about commerical advertisement?

Only if a similar policy could be adopted... (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 13 years ago | (#157470)

If something like this could be adopted to the web, banner advertising would be saved. All we need is an official standard, and advertisers could run ads that are relavent and useful to the consumer.

A good example of this is google's adwords. Those ads HAVE influenced many purchasing decisions of mine.

If you think that is creepy... (1)

DragonPup (302885) | more than 13 years ago | (#157474)

The former Cablevision of Massachusetts offices can CHANGE the channel rom the office. Although it can only change it to channel 2. But I guess it is their way of making you watch WGBH(local PBS)! :-)

-Henry

dumb idea (1)

regexp (302904) | more than 13 years ago | (#157476)

This is a dumb idea, and not just because of the privacy intrusion. How much can you really tell about a person by the fact that they watch 60 Minutes, Star Trek, and Boston Public every week, and Entertainment Tonight only occasionally? Advertisers and advertising purchasers wish targeted advertising would work, but its efficacy is questionable. Make the wrong assumptions about your audience, and you end up erroneously skipping potential customers. Add to that the enormous variation in individual behavior and preferences. Remember when advertising targeted in this way was supposed to the killer app of Internet marketing? It turned out that advertising based on content (e.g. advertising hosting companies on Slashdot) is still more popular than trying to target individuals based on their surfing habits.

Re:Simple! (2)

cavemanf16 (303184) | more than 13 years ago | (#157477)

This isn't that simple though. I personally don't watch much TV either. The problem is the masses who won't change, will continue to allow this data to be collected, and pretty soon the government and corp's know more about your 'personal profile' than you do. You could be labeled a mass-murderer/pedophile/bigot/white-supremacist/Ch ristian/muslim/etc. before you even reach the age of 15. Then you're imprisoned for your own, and everyone else's future 'protection'. That's not right.

Really disturbing trend. (1)

DysonSphere (307033) | more than 13 years ago | (#157478)

What's next? Targeting news stories, and shows? What kind of a person to I have to be in the eyes of the network to not get Oprah, and Jerry Springer? What if there was no election coverage or CSPAN for certain classes of people? Time to get rid of the Tee Vee methinks.

bye bye embarrsing ads (1)

fatgraham (307614) | more than 13 years ago | (#157479)

yay, no more black or flowery "wings" or "towels" as they seem to be now known.

(info collecting guy: dammit i need a girlfriend...)

Re:Already Being Done (2)

freeweed (309734) | more than 13 years ago | (#157481)

This degree of targeting is really no different from targeted internet advertising and the like. The end result is simply that we get advertising we might actually be interested in. Is that really a bad thing?

Not bad, exactly, but I must say the concept boggles my mind. How precisely do they expect to know what *I* like to purchase? I watch Friends, so I must be an airheaded blonde and will buy lots of hair dye?

Every time I hear the phrase 'targetted advertising' I'm reminded of people who think that just because I like the Doors, I'd also like Led Zepplin. Unfortunately, if it were anywhere CLOSE to that simple, we'd be a pretty homogenous society...

I still say retailers would have much more success just letting ME pick what I want. Trust me, Mr. Salesman. I'm perfectly capable of making my own decisions. I research things directly myself. Thanks to the internet, I no longer give a rat's ass just what brand of chewing gum 4 out of 5 dentists use. Oh wait, that'd mean I could use my own BRAIN - guess this won't work for society as a whole :)

Re:This is a GOOD THING!!! (1)

tb3 (313150) | more than 13 years ago | (#157482)

No, more importantly, no more Microsoft commericals! Those things really make me ill!

"What are we going to do tonight, Bill?"

Re:They've been watching for some time now... (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 13 years ago | (#157483)

This would be an excellent /. poll:

o I live without a big screen tv
o I live without cable tv
o I live without tv
o I live without radio
o I live without CowboyNeal

Sweet! (2)

BIGJIMSLATE (314762) | more than 13 years ago | (#157486)

Sweet! Now I'll get nothing but beer and porn ads while I watch Disney! You gotta admit how awesome that would be... :D

Enough is enough... (1)

isa-kuruption (317695) | more than 13 years ago | (#157488)

I've always been pretty "okay" with such activities, but this is getting rediculous.

My solution is TiVo! (Skip the commercials!!)

But seriously, I like watching the TV commercials for breast enhancements and those paid commercials for that stuff that removes hair from your body without shaving (I may try it on my bunghole!) And although I don't drink beer, I still like the Budweiser commercials. If I don't watch sports (which I really dont do often), does that mean I won't be able to share in the same commercials as my drunk friends? Are they going to force me to watch the Yankees game to see these commercials... and to just through in more commercials or advertisements in the middle of the game like "this instant reply is brought to you by...." or "this blade of grass is brought to you by Lawn Doctor..."? This is crap.

Advertising is there for a reason and honestly it helps everyone everyday find something they like, but now it's getting rediculous.


I think you need to flash your brain's firmware.

Re:TiVo! (1)

eruptfury (318516) | more than 13 years ago | (#157489)

I wonder what sort of "personality" a Tivo box would have? My freakish singled minded purpose is to watch this show...

Anything to hide? (1)

famazza (398147) | more than 13 years ago | (#157490)

I don't have anything to hide, I don't care to let a commercial system know all my habits. I'll care if there's someone spying on my preferences.

The point here is privacy. I don't know about others, but if it's for the best (like personalized ads, or personal security) I don't care to let systems and people know what I like to do.

To keep privacy we need warranties that it won't be used to others things (like spam) or seen by anybody.

To tell the truth, there already exists things like this. Everybody watches local ads in TV, the difference is that they don't track what you watch. (I like local ads)

I really hope that trackers have at least a minimum of ethics, and use this in a way that doesn't harm nobody privacy.


Don't worry. I'm too lonely [to|every]day

Re:Another win for technology (1)

Computer! (412422) | more than 13 years ago | (#157493)

IANOTVO (I am not a TV owner), but a lot of this misses the point of advertising, television or otherwise: branding. The fact that my mom knows what Microsoft is, even though she doesn't own a computer of any kind attests to this. Companies spend millions on branding, and "actionable" ads are a short-sighted solution. Seeing an ad for a Toyota when you're in the market for a new car might be good, but the only reason it'll get you to buy one is that you've been seeing Toyota ads since you were 4, way before you ever thought about buying a car. These ultra-targeted ads ignore branding for JIT marketing, and lose a lot of future customers. Also, seeing an ad for an outstanding product might make you want something you never thought you wanted.

Re:Finally! (1)

Invisible Agent (412805) | more than 13 years ago | (#157494)

No Intel Inside the computer you used to post this, eh? I'll bet you buy plenty of the stuff "they" are trying to sell. Either that or your self-sustaining commune has one hell of a homebrew computer club.

Invisible Agent

the pot calling the kettle black (2)

Magumbo (414471) | more than 13 years ago | (#157495)

turn off those embarassing-product ads, please!

No kidding, Timothy. I really don't want to drink anything called 'bawls'. Please remove the banner ads so we can all troll in peace.

--

Pretty soon... (4)

Dutchie (450420) | more than 13 years ago | (#157498)

You're going to have TV with an 'eye' that laserpinpoints your eyeball movements and makes sure that you're actually watching the ads by seeing if the laser reflects off of your retina. If you're not watching, an electrode that MUST be inserted in your arm in order to start up the TV will be sent a series of electric shocks until your eyeball is properly aligned again.
  • Imagination is more important than knowledge.

One solution (1)

captaincucumber (450913) | more than 13 years ago | (#157499)

same way I explain all the porn pamphlets and playboy subscription opportunities that come in the mail...

"I must be in their demographic, you know, male, 18-24 and all that..."

Finally! (1)

Johnny5000 (451029) | more than 13 years ago | (#157503)

I'm not going to buy any of the crap they're trying to sell.

So, as long as they include a way to turn off all ads, I'll be happy.

What are the odds on that?

J5000

Re:Finally! (1)

hyehye (451759) | more than 13 years ago | (#157504)

That's my take, basically. I don't mind commercials, I don't mind commercialism/consumerism, I don't mind capitalism. What I do mind is a push-button McSociety. But I don't watch tv much anyway, so it doesn't matter to me. As for the 'really targeted' advertising, I don't mind it either - I have no problem giving up my first name, general location, cable box serial number, and personality profile - if it means more great free history channel shows etc. Think about it.

What's so difficult? (1)

Violet Null (452694) | more than 13 years ago | (#157505)

Why don't the cable companies simply _ask_ the viewer if they want targeted ads or not? You could put a button on the cablebox: if it's pressed, then the cable company collects viewing information and starts showing appropriate ads. If it's not pressed, then they don't.

The people who don't mind targeted ads would get them, the people who don't, wouldn't.

(Of course, this would require the cable companies and advertisers to be honest, but it's still better than them just forcing targeted ads down your throat.)
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