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Student Project Could Kill Digital Ad Targeting

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the send-spike-...-spike-sent dept.

Advertising 177

An anonymous reader sends this quote from Ad Age: "[Rachel Law's] creation, called 'Vortex,' is a browser extension that's part game, part ad-targeting disrupter that helps people turn their user profiles and the browsing information into alternate fake identities that have nothing to do with reality. People who use the browser tool, which works with Firefox and Chrome, effectively confuse the technologies that categorize web audiences into likely running shoe buyers, in-market auto buyers, or moms interested in cooking and football. ... It's a bit like the ad blocker extensions of yore, except it scrambles information to trick ad targeters, all in service of an addictive game deemed 'Site Miner,' which allows players to fish for cookies visualized as sea creatures. Players can gobble up cookies Pac-Man style, creating a pool of profile information that has nothing to do with their actual web behavior. ... Vortex features a profile switcher that people can use and share to take on a new identity while browsing the web. 'It's a way of masking your identity across networks,' she said."

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Ads? But what ads? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195941)

My hosts refuses to tell me...

Re:Ads? But what ads? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44196027)

My hosts refuses to tell me...

Hosts?

What?! You're a self aware parasitic entity? Occupying multiple hosts?

What planet are you from?!

And most importantly, do you have a porn site?

I fully support this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44195949)

I support everything that destroys ads and marketing. Thank you for working in this direction!

Re:I fully support this! (1, Flamebait)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year ago | (#44196103)

Then you will not have as many websites.
Making and supporting a web site takes time and money.
To support a website you need to be able to do the following.
1. Have the site support or extend a product or service you are paying for. This is most corporate web sites. Their features are about the company and extras are there to keep you on it so you remember the name.
2. Some sort or grant (IE Begging for money). This will work as long as you have enough supporters.
3. Pay to use the service (Pay Wall). Your product really needs to be special enough for this.
4. Use some space to advertise.

I am not sure if you remembered how horrable adds were in the late 1990's early 2000. Adds and adds cluttering your system all about irrelevant stuff. Today for most reputable sites You have a couple adds, more or less about stuff you are interested in, they are not often a lot more subdued and out of the way. However because they are targeted towards your profile they are more useful and don't need to be so much in your face.

Re:I fully support this! (1, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about a year ago | (#44196165)

When there is high-quality content, supporters will keep it alive. Look at xkcd, not an ad on the site but yet it still remains updated and high-quality and free.

Yeah, we might lose some mediocrity, but high quality will remain.

Re:I fully support this! (3, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year ago | (#44196229)

Look at xkcd, not an ad on the site...

See this link?

You can get the Subways comic as a poster!

That's an ad. Them posters ain't free.

Not a bad ad, not an obnoxious ad, but still an ad.

Re:I fully support this! (4, Insightful)

Entropius (188861) | about a year ago | (#44196299)

It's different, IMO, since it's part of the site. It's the difference between going to a concert and the band selling CD's, and going to a concert and the band painting a Wal-Mart logo on the stage.

Re:I fully support this! (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year ago | (#44196499)

It's different, IMO, since it's part of the site. It's the difference between going to a concert and the band selling CD's, and going to a concert and the band painting a Wal-Mart logo on the stage.

More like the ticket takers selling attendance stats to Wal-Mart while handing out serialized flyers as people come in the door.

Re:I fully support this! (2)

meerling (1487879) | about a year ago | (#44197055)

The advertisers want to shove those ads down your throat in a rapid fire super sized orgy of marketing intrusion.
The reason why the ads aren't as bad now is because people rebelled and found ways to kick their asses off the websites.
Then the advertisers found ways around those first restrictions and plastered everyones faces again.
The users again found a way to deal with it.
This back and forth went on many times, and will probably continue for a long time to go.

The "not so bad" ads you see now are the result of this war. Some of the advertisers finally figured out that people do NOT want constant mega in your face advertisements, it just pisses them off to the point where they find a way to get rid of them. Because of that, the advertisers have accepted a reduction of intrusion to a level that will fall below many peoples threshold of bullshit they don't want to see such that they don't bother to take action.
It's like the difference between a fly buzzing in your face and landing on your nose, vs the one flying around down the hallway. Which one are you going to swat? Most people won't even bother with the one down the hall unless they are an obsessed fly killer, or they've finally gotten tired of the last 3 hours of faint buzzing.
The advertisers want to be the fly on your nose, but everybody kills those, so they have no choice but to move out of swatting range if they want to live.

Re:I fully support this! (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#44196883)

When there is high-quality content, supporters will keep it alive. Look at xkcd, not an ad on the site but yet it still remains updated and high-quality and free.
  Yeah, we might lose some mediocrity, but high quality will remain.

Your choice of what example you give of "High Quality" leaves me baffled. Of all the bazillion sites on the internet you chose a comic.

But looking past that.....

How do "supporters" keep something alive? What puts food on the owners table and shoes on his children's feet?

12 million hits per hour does nothing but put him further in debt to his hosting company.

If I want free content, I put up with some ads. If the Ads get too obnoxious the content is no longer worth the trouble and I leave.

Or maybe I read the site through RSS, depriving the site of all its revenue, my way of telling the site that their ads campaign is
too intensive and obnoxious.

Re:I fully support this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44196185)

I don't see how targeting makes Ads any less 'in your face.' That seems to be a result of people getting sick of flash/punch the monkey/sound/etc. An ad for Newegg could be just as irritating as an ad for rolex watches or cruise deals. It's more that ads from 201X are less irritating than ads from 200X in general.

Re:I fully support this! (1)

tqk (413719) | about a year ago | (#44197061)

It's more that ads from 201X are less irritating than ads from 200X in general.

Not at all true. Turn on a TV. Obnoxiously insipid and puerile, stars in their eyes twenty-somethings going gaga over shiny baubles they can't really begin to understand, and they want the latest version. Females futzing over cosmetics, shampoo, overpriced clothing, men extolling the virtues beer, of overpriced fuel guzzling hotrods, both of them falling for weight loss snakeoil, expensive and unnecessary pharmaceuticals, breast augmentation, hairloss treatments and cat toys. Halitosis, body odour, split ends, cracked fingernails, longer lashes ...

Ick. Holy !@#$%^& boring, and offensive! I hate sharing a planet with people like that, and you know what? Real people AREN'T like that, but "Madison Avenue" portrays us that way. The commercialized web is no better. I'm reminded of that, "We've already determined you're a whore. Now we're just haggling over price."

B-b-but where's my free stuff? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44196203)

Says the typical Slashtard.

Re:B-b-but where's my free stuff? (1)

tqk (413719) | about a year ago | (#44197237)

Says the typical Slashtard.

Says the typical shallow as a pane of glass webmonkey. Go play on Facebook.

Re:I fully support this! (2)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year ago | (#44196207)

Today for most reputable sites You have a couple adds, more or less about stuff you are interested in.

Let me FTFY:

Today for most reputable sites You have a couple adds, more or less about stuff you were interested in before buying it from a different site last month.

Re:I fully support this! (2)

Cenan (1892902) | about a year ago | (#44196625)

Right now, facebook
      wants me to save 15% on my vacation (no thanks),
      also offers to save me 40% on my vacation (are you fucking deaf?),
      has determined that i need a harness for falling protection (huh?),
      thinks that I would probably like a pulled pork burger (yuck!),
      and wants me to test my smarts on some trade school's website (something to do on my 40% off vacation?).

Targeted ads are a joke, and this from a company that probably has the best vantage point in the whole goddamn world to shove ads in my face.

Re:I fully support this! (5, Funny)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about a year ago | (#44196729)

I'm a military contractor.

I'm also a fitness instructor.

Due to my searches for weaponry, vegas trips, and yoga mats Adsense thinks I'm gay.

Re:I fully support this! (4, Funny)

JestersGrind (2549938) | about a year ago | (#44197103)

I'm confused. Are you saying that Adsense is spot on or way off?

Re:I fully support this! (5, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a year ago | (#44196357)

Then you will not have as many websites.

Only true insofar as quantity. Quality OTOH will likely improve, if you want the truth. Any site that relies (even in large part) on ad impressions for its survival is likely one that has starved itself to death a long time ago, is is barely straggling along.

there are far too many other ways of making income from a website (an internal store, premium content, even donations stand out as examples.)

Making and supporting a web site takes time and money.

So does any other worthwhile endeavor. Doesn't mean it has to have adverts, though.

I am not sure if you remembered how horrable adds were in the late 1990's early 2000.

I beg to differ - it's uglier today.

Turn off all your blockers/add-ins/extensions sometime, and go visit ZDNet or parts of CNET. They stand out as only a couple examples of how a company can jack in a shit-ton of intrusive dancing adverts (where even clicking on what looks like blank space will toss an advert at you). Also note that back in the late '90s you only had popups and cookies at worst (okay, they had Bonzi Buddy or whatever-the-hell-that-was, but that bullshit required your explicit collusion to install).

Today you have to contend with LSOs, stealth "toolbars" that slide in just because you updated Java and weren't paying attention, and other intrusive-as-fuck tracking techniques that slip right by most non-techies. Oh, and I won't even have to mention that now we get to put up with ISP collusion as a matter-of-course (ad-packed redirects for failed DNS lookups, anyone?)

Re:I fully support this! (2)

Cenan (1892902) | about a year ago | (#44196487)

Making and supporting a web site takes time and money.

Yes it does, and if you can't break even with it by asking for donations, you either accept that it's a hobby and you're not skilled enough to run it professionally, or your shove ads in people's faces. If we remove the latter option, I assert that the web will be a better place for it.

However, the main focus of the creator is the discrimination, that the information she is jumbling enables, like higher prices for certain groups of people. That we can sweep the legs from under advertisers too with her tool/game is just sweet, sweet payback for defacating in our beautiful playground.

Re:I fully support this! (4, Insightful)

shipofgold (911683) | about a year ago | (#44196325)

Why destroy all ads and marketing? We still need a mechanism that allows us to know what is available, and at what price.

What I want to destroy is the means for marketers to set prices of goods and services based on "targeted" information that seemingly have no relation to the product or service being purchased. I hate when people in Florida have are offered a product via a WWW site that costs more than the same exact product offered to someone in Massachusetts. It is even worse when you take a look at the picture on a global basis. I hate it when I pay $100 more for an airline seat than the guy sitting next to me. We both got the same exact service, but at wildly divergent prices.

Make a good product...sell it at a price point determined by supply and demand (which I am guessing won't fluctuate each minute) where a reasonable profit can be had, and be happy with it. Probably a little naive...

Re:I fully support this! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44196529)

"We still need a mechanism that allows us to know what is available, and at what price."

Yep. It's called "google", or if that doesn't work for you, there are various sites that specialize in comparing, reviewing and telling you were you can buy various products. Hey, it will even rank the various results by cost, if you like! Advertising is completely superfluous.

Re:I fully support this! (4, Insightful)

Captain Splendid (673276) | about a year ago | (#44196533)

Don't be an idiot. A proper capitalistic system where information is transparent and the consumer is given the tools and the latitude to make informed and cost effective decisions makes for shitty QE reports. And who's more important? Little old you or shareholders of $CORPORATION?

I'm Sparticus! (3, Informative)

Thud457 (234763) | about a year ago | (#44195987)

to paraphrase Tyler Durden:
You are not your cookie trail.

Re:I'm Sparticus! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44196195)

Please note: It's Spartacus.

Re:I'm Sparticus! (2)

Thud457 (234763) | about a year ago | (#44196243)

only the real Sparticus would know that. Or his mother.

Please help me, Obi Karma Whore! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44196305)

Please note: It's Spartacus.

WTF does that mean?

And the Gp?

Re:Please help me, Obi Karma Whore! (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#44196439)

Spartacus Load Letter?

Targeted ads are better than untargeted ads (2, Interesting)

marked23 (693822) | about a year ago | (#44196019)

I'm not sure why I should hate targeted ads. I actually see ads for things I'm interested in... instead of random stuff. The tracking, ad infinitum, has always been going on, will always be going on.

Re:Targeted ads are better than untargeted ads (5, Insightful)

mi (197448) | about a year ago | (#44196047)

Exactly my feelings. It is one thing to block the ads completely — they waste my bandwidth and RAM, slow down page-loading, and degrade my privacy. But if any ad makes it through anyway, I'd rather it be related to something I may be remotely interested in.

Re:Targeted ads are better than untargeted ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44196199)

Exactly my feelings. It is one thing to block the ads completely — they waste my bandwidth and RAM, slow down page-loading, and degrade my privacy. But if any ad makes it through anyway, I'd rather it be related to something I may be remotely interested in.

I don't.

See, I realize my human limitation that because of millions of years of evolution, I am suggestible. I can dispute it quite well, but there are times when I wonder why am I thinking about a product the way I am.

My weakness is tools - like DeWalt tools. I find when I'm in the market for a power tool, I am drawn to that sweet - pretty- lovely Bright yellow and black plastic power tool - "Built Tough! Guaranteed!" - Ooooooooooo.

With some folks, it's the illusion of "freedom" of owning and riding a Harley Davidson motorcycle. And for others, it's owning a Gucci something or another.

And then there's the illusion that the skinny, emaciated, fake boobed, Victoria Secret Model is the ultimate of female beauty.

I can and have been swayed and it really pisses me off when I discover - after the fact - that I have.

It's not easy. Even Buddhist Masters get sucked in - I've seen it.

TL;DR - So, I'd rather have tampon ads and homosexual porn marketed at me than something that I'm interested in.

I take that back, The Gay guys are in awesome shape - usually - and I'd feel pretty shitty seeing their ripped abs.

Re:Targeted ads are better than untargeted ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44196263)

I think the author is playing for the long game (when the ad frenzy slows down).

Re:Targeted ads are better than untargeted ads (3, Insightful)

KiloByte (825081) | about a year ago | (#44196603)

>quote>But if any ad makes it through anyway, I'd rather it be related to something I may be remotely interested in.

I'd rather spend time making sure it won't get through the next time.

Re:Targeted ads are better than untargeted ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44196875)

I'd rather spend time making sure it won't get through the next time.

I would rather just ignore it and not spend any time on dealing with it one way or another.

Re:Targeted ads are better than untargeted ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44196737)

But if any ad makes it through anyway, I'd rather it be related to something I may be remotely interested in.

Ah... so it doesn't bother you that someone may be looking over your shoulder and saying "hmm" upon seeing the ads targeted to you are for animated monster porn and penis enhancing dietary supplements? No, seriously, you really want true anonymity. You want privacy. You don't ever want to see a targeted advertisement.

Re:Targeted ads are better than untargeted ads (1)

dcollins (135727) | about a year ago | (#44197203)

"I want the brainwashing used against me to be highly effective."

Re:Targeted ads are better than untargeted ads (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44196113)

I agree completely, and I'm always amazed when people get so upset every time advertisers learn to target better. I can only guess it has something to do with lack of willpower. People know hey are susceptible to advertising and get mad because they know they are going to get "tricked" out of their money, or something like that.

Re:Targeted ads are better than untargeted ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44196761)

I agree completely, and I'm always amazed when people get so upset every time advertisers learn to target better. I can only guess it has something to do with lack of willpower. People know hey are susceptible to advertising and get mad because they know they are going to get "tricked" out of their money, or something like that.

Seeing ads for, say, women's health products, or Christian dating services, or retirement communities does me no harm and is sometimes amusing, in that it gives me a glimpse into [what marketers think] ladies or lonely religious people or old folks want.

I can't see why seeing ads for, say, video games, or computer hardware, or sci-fi books, would make my life any better. It's not as if I am not aware of these things, or how to find the ones I want.

Re:Targeted ads are better than untargeted ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44196831)

Yes of course it must be that people lack will-power, and of course it has nothing to do with getting a very tangible reminder that someone is keeping tabs on you.

Disclaimer: Sarcasm may be present in this post

Re:Targeted ads are better than untargeted ads (1)

Somebody Is Using My (985418) | about a year ago | (#44197171)

It's not the goal - targeted advertisements - that offends me; it is the method. I simply do not like the idea of there being a profile of me available to anyone who wants it. This is increasingly useful data to not only marketers, but insurance companies, employers, banks, governments, criminals, and other unsavory sorts. I'd like to believe I'm not being targeted by any of them right now, but who knows what the future holds? And there's no telling into whose hands it will fall, either due to loose ethics or looser security. Worse, they compile this data without offering me - the source - any real recourse as to how it is to be used; how long they can keep it, what they can do with it or who they can give it to. It's an unfair bargain, often made unwittingly and I'm not averse to sabotaging the advertisers efforts.

I love the idea behind this plugin.

Re:Targeted ads are better than untargeted ads (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | about a year ago | (#44196131)

IME, the targeted ads are only slightly better than the random stuff. Lately, I've been getting a lot of ads for stuff I recently bought. Obviously, I'm interested, but I've already bought the damn product!

Re:Targeted ads are better than untargeted ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44197115)

I bought a textbook for class through amazon. Now amazon keeps sending my emails about other similar books. How is this useful? I bought a sump pump after doing some online searching for a decent one. 3 months later, I'm still getting ads for sump pumps. It is ridiculous.

Re:Targeted ads are better than untargeted ads (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44196157)

Seriously, WTF people?

On top of that, all these extensions to block ads are going to end up backfiring in a huge way. When sites start to lose significant amounts of money, they're going to move to more and more annoying and integrated ads, until the ads become indistinguishable from the content itself. That's just making the web worse for everyone.

So block the annoying ads, let the non-annoying ones through, and don't destroy the internet.

Re:Targeted ads are better than untargeted ads (4, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#44196317)

When sites start to lose significant amounts of money, they're going to move to more and more annoying and integrated ads, until the ads become indistinguishable from the content itself..

I still won't see them, and if they hate their users that much then I probably won't care if they collapse.

Re:Targeted ads are better than untargeted ads (1)

Anonymice (1400397) | about a year ago | (#44196847)

Trying to cover operating costs whilst providing users a free service != hate.
If you don't want to pay for the content you consume, to complain when they try to make up costs some other way.

Bar pop-ups & intrusive flash ads, I see ad-blocking as unethical. Don't like the ads? Don't consume their content.

Re:Targeted ads are better than untargeted ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44196609)

I agree. People who use ad-supported media (like slashdot, for the most part) with ad-blockers turned on are just moochers and hypocrites. I don't use ad-blockers just out of principle. But ads that TRACK YOU are just creepy and I don't mind plugins like this to make the advertiser's jobs a little more difficult. What's more, the advertisers that track you are building a database, which we now know is likely to be feeding directly into government servers somewhere.

Re:Targeted ads are better than untargeted ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44197207)

Please tell me how to let only ads that are 'not-annoying, not loaded from a 3rd party site, and not tracking me' through and i'll do that immediately. Please tell me. I don't mind ads, i mind the tracking, the loading times, the memory usage and of course too big, too loud ads.

I very, very rarely buy anything based on ads. I bought a cd when i was like 10, i bought a wrapper from KFC once, because in the ad the guy was holding it with 2 hands, but then when i bought one, it was the size of a potato chip, so that sucked.

Since most products suck some way, i try to find a bit information about the product before buying, ads aren't information. It's not their right to know what sites i look at. I buy what i need and the product i think is best for me. If i've already bought a god damn drill, i don't need to see more drill ads.

Re:Targeted ads are better than untargeted ads (2)

Somebody Is Using My (985418) | about a year ago | (#44197293)

In response, let me counter with these three arguments:

1) This is not an attack against advertising; it is an attack against /targeted/ advertising. Seeing as how the marketing industry thrived for decades without this technology, I think that the lack will not hurt them significantly. Websites can still put up advertisement banners that have worth to the readership (based on the content of the website) rather than relying on targeting specific ads at people based on a profile.

2) Websites that use more obtrusive advertisements are going to sacrifice short-term gain for long-term readership. The tools to block the ads exist already and are amongst the most downloaded plugins already. Making ads even more annoying are going to simply drive visitors away.

3) And so what if some advertisement-supported websites disappear (even, , slashdot!). Corporate sites will continue to exist as opt-in advertisment platforms for specific products, retail sites will continue to exist to sell those goods, and there are millions of dedicated fans who will put up websites using their own time and money to fund it. Oh, we might lose these megalithic corporate-sites (like Facebook) but I honestly don't see that as much of a loss. Too much power has been invested in these companies already; I'd prefer a more fragmented, federated web than something dominated by three or four giant entities anyway.

Destroy the Internet, hah! It'll just make the Internet better.

Re:Targeted ads are better than untargeted ads (1)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#44196163)

Sometimes they're not just targeted but also tailored. Consider if the prices get jacked up if your browsing history suggests you have disposable income...

Re:Targeted ads are better than untargeted ads (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about a year ago | (#44196269)

bah, you're just imagining improbable scenarios... [wikipedia.org]

Define "better." (1)

Valdrax (32670) | about a year ago | (#44196211)

Untargeted ads are easier to ignore and thus less distracting. I don't want to train my eyes to look over towards the ad section of a webpage. I'd rather get in for the stuff I visited for and then get out. It's hard enough in this day of ever-present ads and neuromarketing to keep attention where I want it.

Plus, assuming targeted ads actually work as designed, I don't want to be encouraged to consume stuff I wouldn't have consumed without the ads. Studies have shown that we have a limited reservoir of restraint from impulsive behavior. The more this reservoir is "drained" by resisting temptation, the more likely you are to give in later. You can increase this reservoir with practice, but there are simply limits. I'd rather avoid temptation and save my money.

The one exception to this is search engines, where I want results relevant to what I'm searching on. But you don't need to build a profile for that. You just need to give me tools to more narrowly specify my search and build more intelligent responses to that.

The tracking, ad infinitum, has always been going on, will always be going on.

I'd rather not be defeatist about that. The primary motivation of tracking is to better sell you stuff. If I'm not interested in buying, then I'm definitely not interested in paying that extra cost in privacy for "service" I don't want.

Re:Targeted ads are NOT better than untargeted ads (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44196241)

I'll give you one reason: echo chamber. I don't particularly like seeing ads at all (yes, it's the price for "free" content); however, I like to broaden my perspective on the world. If I receive targeted ads for items that are of interest to me and a very small slice of society, I'm at terrible risk for mis-perceiving society at large. For example, I don't like (almost any) hip hop music. But I don't want to be denied the opportunity to be informed (via ads) that much of the rest of "western civilization" thinks it's great.

So yes, I want all my ads UN-targeted. If I need something unusual, I can bloody well find it for myself using The Google.

This doesn't even address the fact that the data accumulated to create targeted ads can (has, and will continue to be) misused for other purposes. For example,let's say your particular buying habits correlate with certain anti-social or unhealthy lifestyle choices, but that you don't have these particular negative attributes. A prospective employer or insurer might still use them to label you as a bad risk, and deny you a job or insurance policy.

Companies don't collect information about you for YOUR benefit.

Re:Targeted ads are better than untargeted ads (3, Interesting)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#44196293)

I'm not sure why I should hate targeted ads. I actually see ads for things I'm interested in... instead of random stuff.

Nice theory.

What actually happens is you only ever see ads for something you bought two years ago and have no intention of buying again. Either that or something you looked at once and thought "How can people be so stupid...?" then you spend the next six months seeing dancing adverts for it.

Re:Targeted ads are better than untargeted ads (2)

Lincolnshire Poacher (1205798) | about a year ago | (#44196401)

I'm not sure why I should hate targeted ads. I actually see ads for things I'm interested in... instead of random stuff

Because its all a form offensive psychological attack, in which the advertiser believes he can overpower you and often does. Why participate in that?

Targeted ads are just a refinement; like a 500 lb JDAM instead of a 2000 lb Mk83. It'll still destroy you just as well.

If you need a thing you'll go out and search for it. If you don't need it, don't subject yourself to psychological attack.

Re:Targeted ads are better than untargeted ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44196457)

Because "targeted ads" suck immensely and really only rarely seem to apply to me? I mean, why the hell do I only get ads for things AFTER I've purchased something?

Re:Targeted ads are better than untargeted ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44196531)

This is how I honestly feel about it.
I would rather see ads for things _I_ actually like as opposed to seeing some shit about alcohol or crappyMusic431.
No, I would rather see webhosting, or games, or computer parts, or electronics, or film / TV.

Why would I want to destroy targeted ads? OH NO THEY KNOW ME, SPOOKY.
Hey, guess what, there is at least 500+ people who have intricate knowledge of my life, including people I have never met.
I can't give any less of a shit if 1 more does.

There is only one legit concern which is mentioned in another child post to this, and that is when some sites increase prices a little.
So, if you do ever see an ad for something you like, check it with a proxy, any random proxy on the thousands of proxies on proxy list sites.
But even then, most likely the site is also probably less known anyway so check the sites validity with Web of Trust and other community-run sites that review shop sites, porn, music or whatever else it is you have come across.

After that, it really just comes down to this - people against targeted ads more than random ads are either:
some crazy tinfoilhat like person,
lies to everyone they know, including most likely their self.
So, slashdotters against Tads, which are you?
Or do you actually have any other reason, besides the section below that is.

But then there are just people against ads period. Must be a slow, lonely world in that room.
The only thing anyone should ever block are popups and plugin advertisers, and those with horribly abusive and distracting animation FPS on GIFs.
Sites have terrible ads? Tell them and say why they are terrible. Tell others to do the same.
If more people actually tell webmasters that their ad systems are shit and to go with those that aren't abusive, the world would be a far better place.

Re:Targeted ads are better than untargeted ads (1)

saihung (19097) | about a year ago | (#44196595)

If I do a search for a specific preamp somewhere, I see targeted ads for EXACTLY THAT PREAMP everywhere I browse. And even though I already bought it, I keep seeing those ads everywhere. It's annoying. And creepy.

Re:Targeted ads are better than untargeted ads (2)

vux984 (928602) | about a year ago | (#44196863)

I actually see ads for things I'm interested in...

The goal of advertising and marketing is to convince you to buy their product, convince you that you want to buy it. To implant a brand name so when you think of a product you think of them, or trigger an impulse purchase.

It is literally a form of brainwashing with the end result of separating you from your money.

Only a complete idiot would willing participate by making it easier for marketers to get inside their heads.

Re:Targeted ads are better than untargeted ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44196873)

I'm not sure why I should hate targeted ads. I actually see ads for things I'm interested in... instead of random stuff. The tracking, ad infinitum, has always been going on, will always be going on.

I got a DWI. When I mentioned it to a friend in email, Google started targeting me with ads based on that. I don't want DWI lawyer ads on my screen for a number of reasons. So, now when I mention it in email I have to use code words. Just a real example for you to consider.

Re:Targeted ads are better than untargeted ads (1)

marked23 (693822) | about a year ago | (#44196999)

Fair enough. I can see that being an annoyance. I did some research for my niece's wedding dress, and for a few days afterwards, I was targeted with wedding dress ads. But they went away soonafter.

Nice try but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44196061)

EULA's can be changed at will. As soon as this kid releases his code it will be relegated to "not allowed" in a EULA any company that has back room deals with anyone. Hopefully open source projects have not sold their souls yet to the Man.

Most likely it will be disallowed by the big guys before his code is published.

*sigh*

Re:Nice try but... (2)

NixieBunny (859050) | about a year ago | (#44196087)

Rachel is a she.

Re:Nice try but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44196653)

EULA's can be changed at will. As soon as this kid releases his code it will be relegated to "not allowed" in a EULA any company that has back room deals with anyone. Hopefully open source projects have not sold their souls yet to the Man.

Most likely it will be disallowed by the big guys before his code is published.

*sigh*

What are you talking about?

I don't ever sign an EULA to visit a web site - and my country has no law which makes the ToS of a website legally binding for all visitors.

On my machine, maybe 3 programs contain an EULA and I could easily (but not comfortably) replace them by something without an EULA.

Why worrying about open source selling out to the man: just fork it if they do.

Why are you posting on /. anyway?

It's a cookie mixer (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | about a year ago | (#44196069)

I'd thought of doing that as part of one of my browser add-ons, but it has problems. The general idea is that you send your cookies to a central site which sends them out to others to confuse tracking. As the article says, "The Vortex system will build a database of cookies gathered by players." So you've traded multiple limited data collection systems for one central one. There are a number of obvious ways that can backfire.

Just turn off third party cookies. Or run Abine's Do Not Track Me.

Re:It's a cookie mixer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44196233)

I'd thought of doing that as part of one of my browser add-ons, but it has problems. The general idea is that you send your cookies to a central site which sends them out to others to confuse tracking. As the article says, "The Vortex system will build a database of cookies gathered by players." So you've traded multiple limited data collection systems for one central one. There are a number of obvious ways that can backfire.

Just turn off third party cookies. Or run Abine's Do Not Track Me.

And guess how they'll, errr, monetize - yeah, monetize - that data....

Re:It's a cookie mixer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44196351)

I want a plugin that'll turn cookies being sent to all but the main URL that I'm visiting into "847345';drop table;" Little Cookie Tables I'd call it.

Re:It's a cookie mixer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44196469)

I don't think that command works without a table name. Although I suppose if the server would accept that, it would take "drop database" as well. Serious question, does the drop command accept wildcards?

Re:It's a cookie mixer (2)

WhatAreYouDoingHere (2458602) | about a year ago | (#44196559)

Serious question, does the drop command accept wildcards?

Nope [w3schools.com]

Re:It's a cookie mixer (2)

Drewdad (1738014) | about a year ago | (#44196385)

Just turn off third party cookies. Or run Abine's Do Not Track Me.

The problem with that is they may be able to profile you based on your having cookies disabled.

"This guy's a privacy freak, let's give him ads for browsing anonymously...."

Re:It's a cookie mixer (1)

slashkitty (21637) | about a year ago | (#44196429)

Sounds interesting in theory, but cookies are used all different sorts of ways. One the of more important is login and identification. If this game swaps login or other personalization cookies with another person you could loose your identity!

Re:It's a cookie mixer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44196435)

The general idea is that you send your cookies to a central site which sends them out to others to confuse tracking. As the article says, "The Vortex system will build a database of cookies gathered by players."

There are a number of obvious ways that can backfire.

The most obvious being that there will only be one profile: Porn Browser.

CAPTCHA = "inflate". That's what she said!

I despise tentacle porn... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44196089)

but my alternate identity can't get enough of it!

I don't get it (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about a year ago | (#44196109)

Why are they pestering the user to be involved in the process? Just do it and don't bother me.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44196127)

It's a student project, so it has to have some bling.

It's a good day (2)

Tifer (2644417) | about a year ago | (#44196141)

When ad filters are on the offensive.

Not available for download. (1)

blackicye (760472) | about a year ago | (#44196189)

Yeah I went looking for the plugin before reading the article. It's not available yet.

It's probably just a concept at the moment, and someone will probably code and release a plugin that does this or worse to advertisers before she releases hers in September.

Why? (0)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about a year ago | (#44196205)

This is a cool proof of concept, but it seems a bit unneeded, after all, doesn't everyone block ads? I mean, aside from on my phone (although adblocking is enabled on my browser) I never see an ad.

Re:Why? (2)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#44196225)

I don't think most people block ads, unless you restrict "people" to tech-savvy people.

On the other hand, most of the people who don't block ads will also not install this browser addon.

Re:Why? (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year ago | (#44196639)

I don't browse on my phone, only play some games or use other apps.

I see advertising when I happen to have wifi on (no mobile data) - and what I notice time and again is that the advertising is exclusively for other apps. No general products or brands are being advertised, only other apps, and those apps are either games or gambling related things.

Which makes me wonder: is it really me? Or is it geographically different? Or do general advertisers really shun the mobile in-app advertising realm?

Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44196257)

And I'll await the time one of these fake identities pulls up pr0n on Yahoo!

Enemy of the State (0)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year ago | (#44196277)

How long before the student who designed this project is labeled a terrorist?

And anything that blocks ads or tracking will be categorized as a "munition" and made illegal to possess or use?

This Sounds Awesome; Needs More Than Cookies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44196287)

Cookies have gone out of vogue with many ad trackers nowadays. Machine "fingerprinting" using as much info (such as OS, browser, amount of RAM, what fonts are installed, etc) as can be gathered with embedded scripting to identify individuals as they surf is what all the "intelligent marketing" firms are up to.

So....it's Fake-Block (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44196321)

George Michael (or George Maharis) would be proud

Human evolution could also work (5, Interesting)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year ago | (#44196333)

I would like to think in this day and age people are mature enough to ignore targeted ads.

Re:Human evolution could also work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44196549)

How can you resist clicking on this pair of tits?

Re:Human evolution could also work (2)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year ago | (#44196599)

If they ignore them, the ads are obviously irrelevant, and the targeting failed. If an ad is really relevant and useful for the user, they wouldn't be ignored.

Re:Human evolution could also work (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year ago | (#44196893)

Hence the problem is the users and not the ad companies. You can't keep blaming everyone else when you can't do something, if your weak your weak and deal with it, don't always cry for your mommy to come over and deal with it.

Re:Human evolution could also work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44197007)

TL;DR: Just start reading from the bottom upwards and stop as early as you wish.

But apparently, they're STILL stupid enough (I'm looking right at you) to just treat the symptoms and only the symptoms.

TFA's "solution" is as stupid as taking pain killers while *continuing to run against the wall, head first*.

And your reply is as stupid as recommending that instead one should just ignore the pain.

How about... I don't know... NOT BANGING YOUR HEAD AGAINST THE WALL IN THE FIRST PLACE??
Are you seriously both too lazy and too stupid to (not) do that?

We have an age-old solution against third party tracking cookies / beacons: GHOSTERY.

And for first party cookies: Generally disallow them for any site, except when you notice you actually need it for certain actually useful functionality. (Like state tracking.)

And finally: Why the hell are you entering personal information at a site where you don't absolutely need to.

So if you 1. absolutely need to enter personal information, 2. absolutely need first-party cookies (there's no such thing as a need for third party cookies, as it can all be handled on the server side), then just make sure you trust the site. Which includes making sure they don't use an ad-based "business model" (aka being fucking morons who don't have anything even valuable enough to ask a single cent for it).
Aka: Common. fucking. sense.

Conclusion: There is no problem. There is only complete and utter too-stupid-to-live stupidity. So wise up (at least above the level of common mold) or please put yourself out of your misery.

what it OUGHT to do... (3, Insightful)

swschrad (312009) | about a year ago | (#44196345)

is toss one site back to another, so they are tossing ads back and forth, making it look like all the hits are coming from other advertisers. I would suspect eventually the hosting sites will end up blocking themselves, and all will be well in the Twitterverse.

won't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44196391)

It's a step in the arms race for sure, but the advertisers are better-armed.

There is tonnes of unique data attached to your movements on the internet. One example would be the time on your computer, which is inaccurate by a fixed amount.

At least if you let them use cookies you have an idea of who is tracking you.

How much will they pay her to keep schtum? (1)

nickrjsmith (1407237) | about a year ago | (#44196411)

oops

Kill advertisements? (1)

tyrione (134248) | about a year ago | (#44196453)

Really? The bulk of advertisement revenue for profits is coming from the embedded world, not Web Browsing. More to the point, whether this person likes it or not they don't control the design models of WebKit, Blink, etc. This will not kill advertising.

We do it without cookies (1)

russbutton (675993) | about a year ago | (#44196517)

I recently joined an internet advertising startup whose claim to fame is that their technology works without cookies tracking individuals. It really is creepy how you look at something on Amazon and you start seeing Amazon ads for that item on other sites you visit.

We're profitable so at least THIS company isn't going to lay me off any time soon.

Advertisers are profiling the wrong thing. (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year ago | (#44196579)

I don't understand why advertisers are so eager to profile users. Really. Now with ABP I don't see many ads, largely because they're usually so obtrusive and irritating, but that's another story.

The advertiser's key mistake is that they try to target users. The only thing about a user they should target (to make ads useful) is geographic location. E.g. when I'm looking for restaurants, I'd be happy to see advertisements of restaurants near me. I'm looking for restaurants in Mongkok, show me ads of restaurants in Mongkok, not those in Central. Wasting my time.

Another thing: when reading /., I'm interested in IT related stuff. Show me IT related ads, and I may be interested in them. Don't show me football related ads just because I've been browsing a bunch of football sites before. Similarly, when browsing football sites, show me sports related ads, not IT related ads because I visit /. ten times daily.

Gender, age, etc - it all matters so much less. The web sites themselves tend to filter that out very much already, as many web sites target a very specific audience with an often quite narrow interest.

For example on /. you find males with high education, that are working in the IT field. On mylittlepony.com you find young girls that are in primary or maybe junior secondary school. On recipies.com you find desperate housewives. And if I, a fairly typical /. demographic, may visit mylittlepony.com then probably I'm looking for a present for my (imaginary) daughter, and may be very interested in promotions related to that toy. I'd be quite irritated to see the same IT related advertising I may call useful when placed on /..

As a side note: the original ads by Google tried to do just that: relevant ads, depending on the content of the page. Somehow though it never seemed to work well. I always get very relevant, and often useful, ads when doing searches - when I see those text ads in web pages they're often totally irrelevant. From my own campaigns I also got far higher click-through rates on the google.com main site, than on their "affiliate sites" or however they call it. As in >10 times higher rates.

Re:Advertisers are profiling the wrong thing. (1)

jader3rd (2222716) | about a year ago | (#44197215)

I don't understand why advertisers are so eager to profile users.

Well, that's what advertisers used to do, back in the days when it was a regular discussion about how companies can make money by advertising online. When some guys at MS pitched to Steve Ballmer that they should switch to targeted ads instead of content related banner ads he didn't buy it. Then Google came along and targeted the user. Companies started paying Google all of the money they could scrape together because of the noticeably higher ROI when advertising is targeting the user. That resulting in all of the internet advertising dollars going to solutions which target the user.

This kills ALL ads (& more)... apk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44196581)

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Targeted ads so off target (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44196601)

Business paying for targeted ads is a joke. My dog was browsing websites for a cat nip, to fish for cats. Ads started appearing for cat beds, food, meds. What a joke, the dog was looking for a snack and didn't have that much saved up to spend.

This kid deserves the medal of freedom (2)

davydagger (2566757) | about a year ago | (#44196779)

well done good sir, This guy reserves the medal of freedom.

I just wish (3, Insightful)

HalAtWork (926717) | about a year ago | (#44197087)

I just wish there was a plugin that would scramble this stuff automatically. Take each tab and generate a random browser string, garbage "clicked from" info, random cookies to scan, random history, etc. for every link I click.

Better targeted than random... (1)

Rational (1990) | about a year ago | (#44197455)

If I have to see ads at all, I'd sooner they be of stuff I may be interested in, to be honest.
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