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Longtime Linux Advocate Don Marti Tells Why Targeted Ads are Bad (Video 1 of 2)

Roblimo posted about 6 months ago | from the buy-buy-buy-spend-spend-spend dept.

Media 187

"Don Marti, says Wikipedia, "is a writer and advocate for free and open source software, writing for LinuxWorld and Linux Today." This is an obsolete description. Don has moved on and broadened his scope. He still thinks, he still writes, and what he writes is still worth reading even if it's not necessarily about Linux or Free Software. For instance, he wrote a piece titled Targeted Advertising Considered Harmful, and has written lots more at zgp.org that might interest you. But even just sticking to the ad biz, Don has had enough to say recently that we ended up breaking this video conversation into two parts, with one running today and the other one running tomorrow.

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187 comments

"This is an obsolete description." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45084471)

SOFIXIT

Re:"This is an obsolete description." (2)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 6 months ago | (#45084695)

SOFIXIT

You can try but I revert any change that doesn't come with an additional three references and was approved in the talk page prior to the edit.

Re:"This is an obsolete description." (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 6 months ago | (#45084793)

Guess what we have here. A reference! A publication officially saying that description is wrong.

More to the point (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 6 months ago | (#45084485)

Advertising Considered Harmful.

Re:More to the point (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 6 months ago | (#45084697)

That was missing the point.

The very important point that the article made: Targetted advertising considered harmful to advertisers.

Re:More to the point (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45084815)

No, if you read the article, he's saying the opposite, targeted advertising is harmful to consumers.

His central thesis is that advertising is valuable to consumers to help correct an information imbalance between the buyer and seller. The buyer needs to be able to separate the low-quality option from the high-quality option. Seeing that one company is willing to spend $50,000 on an ad in a national publication is a good indication that they're confident in their product to believe they can recoup that. If a company is willing to spend $3 on targeted ads, there's a better chance that they can recoup that before the word of mouth got around and people stopped buying.

Basically, the more expensive advertising is, the more it's only available to the contenders and not the pretenders. Targeted ads even the playing field and lose their value to buyers.

Re:More to the point (5, Insightful)

karuna (187401) | about 6 months ago | (#45085179)

The premise is wrong. Ads have very little informative value. They are mostly acting on human psychology. The more expensive ads are, the less informative they are. Pretenders are another issue. Lemons versus peaches. The solution to the problem can vary for different products.

Re:More to the point (5, Insightful)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 6 months ago | (#45085857)

no, targetted advertising is bad fort advertisers. (as well as the rest of us).

My case: I need a new pair of windscreen wipers, so I googled for them, found the kind I wanted and the shops that sold them. Placed my order and when they arrived, stuck them on my car.

So now, when I browse the web (without adblock, for some sites) guess what adverts I get... and guess how many additional pairs of windscreen wipers I'm likely to purchase. So those advertisers are paying good money to show me adverts that I will definitely not be interested in. Which is ironic as targeted adverts are supposed to do exactly the opposite.

There is another argument in that the targetting is too easily gamed. I look at the hungersite.com, and click whatever advert is on there. So now I get ads for womens clothing and telecoms products. None of which I bother to look at anyway, but still shows that the targetting is pointless.

Ad systems that work, work based on the demographic of the website visited. You gather info about the kind of user you have, and then sell ad space directly to advertisers that are likely to want to advertise to your users. So a technology site is not going to do well with adverts for baby products, but will do much better with adverts for computer hardware. Its the same model used for television - people who watch soaps will want adverts for household products, those who watch space documentaries .. something else. Advertisers who want to maximise their advertising budgets would do well to understand this.

Re:More to the point (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 6 months ago | (#45084737)

Yeah, he had a section of his writing that had a kinda sloppy counter-argument to this, but advertising and a true free market, according to neoliberals, are fundamentally contradictory.

Re:More to the point (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 6 months ago | (#45084817)

Advertising Considered Harmful.

No. Advertising is just fine. Ever submitted a resume for a job? Advertising. Ever held up a sign to protest something? Advertising. Ever posted something political to your Facebook? Advertising. Advertising is nothing more than heading out into the big blue room and yelling "Here I am! Over here! Look at me!" ... or if you're from the South, "y'all ain't gonna believe this shit. Hold my beer." Advertising is neither good nor evil, neither harmful nor beneficial. It's just an umbrella term for anything that tries to get another person's attention.

Advertising becomes harmful when it encourages people to do things they shouldn't be doing. For example; Casinoes. Ever notice they almost exclusively target the elderly? These are vulnerable adults who, due to age-related cognitive deterioration, don't have the best critical thinking skills and tend to be overly-trusting. They're easy to take advantage of. And most of the lever-pulling zombies they have on the floor really, really, should not be there. They're on fixed income and they're pissing money away to pull a lever like some lab rat. A cocaine habit would be cheaper for some of these poor bastards.

Advertising becomes harmful when it crosses lines of privacy and cultural norms to get that extra sale. Obama, please stop sending me e-mails. I also don't want v1agr@ for 'cheep', penis or breast enlargement pills, and the list goes on. This isn't just ineffectual advertising, but it results in loss of impact globally, creating a Red Queen race amongst advertisers.

Advertising also becomes harmful when there's too much of it. Something like 1/3rd of television is overt advertisement, more if you consider the pop-unders and animated shit they put across the screen while you're watching the show. And then there's paid product placement. All tallied, probably over half of TV content is advertising.

  And not just harmful to you or me, but also harmful to the advertiser! Having to jack the volume up to level 99 to try and capture the attention of your viewers because it's a veritable crap-flood for 5 minutes at a go, fed to you in 10-30 second screams out of your idiot box... is not improving your sales figures.

And that's just TV and print media. On the internet, advertising isn't just annoying or ineffectual -- the platforms for serving these ads all over the internet can be compromised to spread malware, viruses, and government-endorsed spyware to millions in mere moments.

My point here is that advertising itself isn't harmful; Particular advertising methods are. You can't get rid of advertising, and in fact, it has a valid use. Companies need ways of attracting new business. Targeted advertising, especially opt-in, is much better at doing that than previous methods. But as a society, we need to figure out a way to balance the legitimate business needs here with the equally legitimate privacy and quality of life concerns of the general population. A good balance between these things benefits all parties -- businesses and citizens alike.

But right now, it isn't balanced, and in fact is so out of balance it's toxic. But that does not mean advertising, as a concept, is harmful. So please be careful tossing off one-liners like this -- they rarely paint a complete picture, and encourage black and white thinking.

Re:More to the point (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 6 months ago | (#45085209)

Advertising is more than just informing someone. It's informing someone with the intent of getting them to give you money they would not have given you otherwise. What we, as good citizens and neighbors, should want is for everyone to make the best decisions based on the best information. The way people do that is to use non-biased information sources. There's no way that using biased information can lead to better decisions than non-biased information, so advertising is always harmful.

Re:More to the point (4, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 6 months ago | (#45085351)

Advertising is more than just informing someone. It's informing someone with the intent of getting them to give you money they would not have given you otherwise. What we, as good citizens and neighbors, should want is for everyone to make the best decisions based on the best information. The way people do that is to use non-biased information sources. There's no way that using biased information can lead to better decisions than non-biased information, so advertising is always harmful.

When you lose your job, please remember these words of wisdom, and submit no job applications, resumes, or talk to anyone about your skills and abilities.

Dude, black and white thinking -- you got a severe case of it. Please see a doctor.

Re:More to the point (2)

interval1066 (668936) | about 6 months ago | (#45085525)

When you lose your job, please remember these words of wisdom, and submit no job applications, resumes, or talk to anyone about your skills and abilities.

I completely understand your point, but I really think putting resume submission in the advertising column is a bit of a stretch. Ads are mostly unsolicited. I rarely go around shoving my resume into the hands of random pedestrians.

Re:More to the point (2)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 6 months ago | (#45085683)

I completely understand your point, but I really think putting resume submission in the advertising column is a bit of a stretch. Ads are mostly unsolicited. I rarely go around shoving my resume into the hands of random pedestrians.

Stay unemployed long enough, and you'll be holding up a sign that says "IT/Network Administrator. Will Compute For Food." Actually, I did that for a few days. While wearing a cardboard cutout of a computer monitor around my head, and the text was on another piece of cardboard made to look like a keyboard. Got several interviews out of that -- I guess some employers still like seeing initiative.

People need to square with the idea that advertising isn't evil; anymore than a screwdriver is. It's the person that's evil (or not). Now my creative advertising worked for me; Why should corporations not be afforded the same priviledge? It all comes down to moderation and limitation; There's some things we just shouldn't do. But that's where the discussion needs to be; Not making blanket statements and proclaiming ultimate good or evil. Leave that to the professional news casting of Fox News if you need a dose of "the sky is falling". I want reasonable debate from reasonable people.

Re:More to the point (2)

Hatta (162192) | about 6 months ago | (#45085705)

My resumes are honest, solicited, and submitted for positions where I believe I am the best candidate. You can't say that about advertisements. A data sheet is not an advertisement.

Re:More to the point (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 6 months ago | (#45085805)

Perhaps yours are, but I've certainly seen some fantasy work submitted. Equate those to annoying and false ads and yours to an ad for a cause you believe in.

Re:More to the point (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 6 months ago | (#45085855)

I disapprove of those too. People should make up their own minds on products and causes, based on the best available evidence from unbiased sources. Anything more biased or misleading than a datasheet is unethical.

Re:More to the point (1)

AJH16 (940784) | about 6 months ago | (#45085543)

The thing about advertising is it should never be your only resource. Targeted advertising is great if you use it purely to discover products. When I'm in the market for a new widgamajig and they notice that I'm looking for a widgamajig and start displaying ads for other types of widjamjigs, that is helpful to me because it shows more options that I might not have thought of.

It's kind of like letting the advertiser choose the keywords that match with their product and then having my keywords meet in the middle. It exposes me to more options and this is a good thing. If I'm dumb and decide not to research the things I see advertised, that isn't a problem that targeted or untargeted advertising is going to fix, it's a problem "not being a freaking retard" is going to fix.

Re:More to the point (2)

Hatta (162192) | about 6 months ago | (#45085775)

Targeted advertising is great if you use it purely to discover products.

You know what else is great for discovering products? Asking knowledgable people with no financial interest in my decision.

If I'm dumb

Advertising doesn't only affect the dumb. If you've seen an ad for something, even if you don't remember the ad consciously, you're still going to favor the familiar, even if you don't know you're doing it. It's insidious.

Re: More to the point (1)

AJH16 (940784) | about 6 months ago | (#45085977)

Not if you make informed decisions and sometimes new products are the best and as an early adopter other knowledgeable people aren't always there. Some of us are capable of making decisions on objective criteria.

Re:More to the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45085765)

Someone can still infer information from a biased source. For example, if I see an ad that runs during the Super Bowl, I can infer that the company spent $1m+ on it. Regardless of the veracity of what the claim, I can, at least, know that they're unlikely to be a fly-by-night company looking to turn a quick buck and then get out before the house of cards collapses.

And that's the central argument of the article. Targeted advertising, at best, obscures the meta data that we might use to make purchasing decisions. I can no longer tell the difference between someone with a $1m ad buy and someone with a $100 ad buy. At worst, if someone treats a targeted ad like a traditional ad, they're likely to assume that advertiser is far more established than they might be if the target is basically quite small.

Re:More to the point (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 6 months ago | (#45085969)

Regardless of the veracity of what the claim, I can, at least, know that they're unlikely to be a fly-by-night company looking to turn a quick buck and then get out before the house of cards collapses.

pets.com

Targeted advertising, at best, obscures the meta data that we might use to make purchasing decisions. I can no longer tell the difference between someone with a $1m ad buy and someone with a $100 ad buy.

As if there were some correlation between ad spending and good products? If there is a correlation, it's inverse. Anything they're spending on advertising has to be recouped from the customer. Either they're overcharging you to pay for the advertising, or they're cutting corners in quality to pay for the advertising.

Re:More to the point (2)

sqrt(2) (786011) | about 6 months ago | (#45085909)

Your definition for advertising is so broad as to be meaningless. Advertising can be more narrowly defined as corporate speech intended to persuade potential consumers into taking some sort of economic action, usually the purchasing of a product or service. The keyword there is persuade. They have no intention or incentive to be truthful, or to take the consumer's needs into account. Advertisers can and do use every trick and psychological hack available to sell products. It doesn't matter if the consumer really needs it. It doesn't matter if it's harmful. It doesn't matter if better alternatives exist. If some communication is giving you that information, it's not an ad, it's an informative communication usually by a third party (think Consumer Reports or Amazon product reviews).

Advertising is harmful because it is by its very nature deceptive, dishonest, and serves the needs of the advertiser, not the consumer.

Any kind of Internet ads are bad (1)

ruir (2709173) | about 6 months ago | (#45084489)

I use ad blocking, refuse to see any video at all that starts with ads, and even use filters for facebook and linked.in. Actually facebook and youtube are extremely annoying without filters in the browser.

Re:Any kind of Internet ads are bad (0)

mythosaz (572040) | about 6 months ago | (#45084693)

Well sure. You deserve the internet.

I'm sure someone will respond telling me that advertising is an outdated business model, doomed to fail like music CDs, but that doesn't change the sense of entitlement of people who can't be bothered to watch a 15-second ad before being served endless on demand video streaming by YouTube or mostly-free music by Pandora.

Re:Any kind of Internet ads are bad (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45084769)

Sense of entitlement? Is someone holding a gun to someone else's head and demanding that they stop using advertisements? Is someone saying that they absolutely deserve anything? No? Then there is no "sense of entitlement"; it's just a bunch of people deciding they don't like advertisements and not using websites where they can't get rid of them.

Re:Any kind of Internet ads are bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45085403)

Holding a gun to somebody's head and demanding they stop using advertisements is not the minimum bar for being entitled. Are you serious? This is like if you get a pizza delivery but then don't pay the delivery guy (not just tip, but not even paying the price), simply slam the door on him. Then somebody else calls you on it, and you freak out and point out that you didn't rob the pizza store at gunpoint, and he shouldn't have brought pizza around to everybody that called the pizza company.

When somebody gives you something on the condition that advertisements play, and you decide you'll just take it but not run the advertisements, that's entitlement.

You can make a better argument, eg. that you'd just go to the washroom whenever the ads played anyway so nothing is lost. There are counters to that one too. Etc. Don't stand there and be ridiculous.

Personally, I refuse to go to sites with annoying autoplay audio ads and that sort of disastrous nonsense. Those sites deserve to fail. You don't deserve to get their content anyway -- thinking you do is a sense of entitlement.

Re:Any kind of Internet ads are bad (2)

AlphaWoIf_HK (3042365) | about 6 months ago | (#45085837)

Holding a gun to somebody's head and demanding they stop using advertisements is not the minimum bar for being entitled. Are you serious?

Straw man. That's not what he said. Fact of the matter ism that guy implied that being disgusted by advertisements or not bothering to watch an advertisement makes you entitled, which is absolutely false.

When somebody gives you something on the condition that advertisements play, and you decide you'll just take it but not run the advertisements, that's entitlement.

Incorrect. That's using something because it's there, and then modifying/blocking certain data. That is not the same as feeling that you're entitled to anything, and to say it is is to demonstrate that you're just using the word "entitlement" as a meaningless buzzword.

You don't deserve to get their content anyway -- thinking you do is a sense of entitlement.

You're arguing with people that largely don't exist. No one truly believes that they're entitled to the ability to control what other people do with their own websites, and you probably know it, but you instead choose to argue with straw men.

Try reading the reply the AC replied to: "but that doesn't change the sense of entitlement of people who can't be bothered to watch a 15-second ad before being served endless on demand video streaming by YouTube or mostly-free music by Pandora." I guess you're entitled if you can't be bothered to watch ads. That is exactly what he said; read the comment yourself.

Re:Any kind of Internet ads are bad (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 6 months ago | (#45085895)

Try reading the reply the AC replied to: "but that doesn't change the sense of entitlement of people who can't be bothered to watch a 15-second ad before being served endless on demand video streaming by YouTube or mostly-free music by Pandora." I guess you're entitled if you can't be bothered to watch ads. That is exactly what he said; read the comment yourself.

It's not "exactly what I said."

I'll be clearer.

If you expect services like YouTube or Pandora for free, you've likely got an entitlement problem.

Re:Any kind of Internet ads are bad (0)

AlphaWoIf_HK (3042365) | about 6 months ago | (#45085935)

It's not "exactly what I said."

That was a direct quote.

If you expect services like YouTube or Pandora for free, you've likely got an entitlement problem.

I think the people who truly have such expectations are few in number, and since the one you replied to didn't say he deserves to access these websites, I'm not exactly sure why you replied to him in such a manner.

Re:Any kind of Internet ads are bad (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 6 months ago | (#45086001)

You summarized my position as "I guess you're entitled if you can't be bothered to watch ads" and followed that immediately with, "That's exactly what I said."

Someone reading your post could easily conclude that I said, "I guess you're entitled if you can't be bothered to watch ads" -- which wasn't what I said.

There's a sense of entitlement in this country - and getting shit for free on the internet is part of that sense of entitlement.

Re:Any kind of Internet ads are bad (4, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 6 months ago | (#45084921)

Meh, I don't care. I'd rather put actual money towards the ad-blocker teams if there was an adblock/ad arms race than face ads I don't want to see. I'd also stop using sites that had ads that intrude on my life.

What other people want me to see will never be a determining factor in what I choose to see in life. I don't care if high expense sites die in the process. I don't care if paywalls crop up for content with actual value. I don't care if its tragedy of the commons or not. I didn't sign a deal that said I had to be exposed to ads, so I won't(and I wouldn't sign such a deal).

Re:Any kind of Internet ads are bad (1)

ruir (2709173) | about 6 months ago | (#45084923)

I can't be bothered and I refuse to do it. Lets point it out I am not demanding they take them offline, I just vote my clicks, or rather the absence of them. If you want customers like me, devise a less intrusive way. And I don't really care what you think about it.

Re:Any kind of Internet ads are bad (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 6 months ago | (#45084991)

Well sure. You deserve the internet.

Myth: Busted
Several countries have added internet access to their constitutions as a basic human right [wikipedia.org]. Sorry if you don't live in one of those countries.

I'm sure someone will respond telling me that advertising is an outdated business model,

No. I don't think we will. We'll respond by telling you that you jumped the snark. Advertising isn't an outdated business model, it is essential to it. Nobody's arguing that. Well, nobody with more than a tenuous grip on the subject matter. Our concern is the toxic byproducts of excessive advertising, which include violations of privacy, computer security, and watering down of mass communication technologies like TV to the point they are so super-saturated in advertising as to be nearly unusable for the purpose of getting anything else, which in turn is caused largely by a massive power imbalance between private citizens and corporations -- our legislators are inaccessible, hidden behind a wall of money built by advertisers who are engaged in a Red Queen race with each other... with increases in advertising driving the response level and interest of their audience straight into the dirt.

Re:Any kind of Internet ads are bad (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 6 months ago | (#45085039)

Well sure. You deserve the internet.

Myth: Busted
Several countries have added internet access to their constitutions as a basic human right [wikipedia.org]. Sorry if you don't live in one of those countries.

Is part of that right to internet access the right to use YouTube without seeing an ad for Colgate Toothpaste or listen to Pandora without hearing a blurb for a Ford Fusion?

Re:Any kind of Internet ads are bad (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 6 months ago | (#45085105)

On the other hand, what specific duty is set out that I have to see an ad to visit the site?

Re:Any kind of Internet ads are bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45085311)

On the other hand, what specific duty is set out that I have to see an ad to visit the site?

None. But neither is it anyone else's duty to make and maintain that website for free.

Ad-blockers are the start of a tragedy of the commons that leads to one or both of:
1. increased DRM making it progressively more difficult to view content at all.
2. quality of content decreasing as it becomes decreasingly profitable to crate content for the web.

Re:Any kind of Internet ads are bad (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 6 months ago | (#45085441)

Ads are the start of the tragedy of the commons. No one benefits from the net presence of ads, but individuals benefit from their own ads.

Re:Any kind of Internet ads are bad (1)

ruir (2709173) | about 6 months ago | (#45085355)

You don't get it. Besides wasting my time, what specific duty is set out that I have to pay the bandwidth and the equipment to watch that advert?

Re:Any kind of Internet ads are bad (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 6 months ago | (#45085471)

I also get that. I just find my own personal exposure to the ad to be a greater expense than the capital costs.

Re:Any kind of Internet ads are bad (3, Insightful)

mythosaz (572040) | about 6 months ago | (#45085361)

Unless you've agreed to some sort of TOS, you don't have a specific obligation.

I'm apparently in the /. minority, but I still believe there's a tacit agreement to keep websites operational by at least giving their revenue model a chance. Right now, that model is mostly advertising.

I have the option of disabling ads here, but they're fairly unobtrusive (and generally well targeted since I'm "all-in" with Google), so I do the "right" thing and leave them on. I do similar by leaving the ads on at places like 2+2.

Does giving them a chance equate to clicking every banner, watching every video and donating to every request? For me. No. ...but that doesn't change the fact that I believe that we have a tacit agreement to not simply "steal" the bandwidth from sites we frequent because ad-blocking makes our lives easier.

As a result of this thinking, I try to pick good sites to suck bandwidth from.

YMMV.

Re:Any kind of Internet ads are bad (1, Insightful)

AlphaWoIf_HK (3042365) | about 6 months ago | (#45085865)

The funny thing with tacit agreements is... you can say they mean whatever you want them to mean, so no one with a brain cares if you believe they exist.

Re:Any kind of Internet ads are bad (2)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 6 months ago | (#45085155)

Is part of that right to internet access the right to use YouTube without seeing an ad for Colgate Toothpaste or listen to Pandora without hearing a blurb for a Ford Fusion?

Umm... they can try. Good luck getting past all the adblock in my browser though. And fun fact; Have you ever noticed that if you're willing to wait until a couple hours after a show has initially aired, the torrent sites light up like a big christmas tree with new torrents of that show... invariably with the advertising cut out? I salute these people; Truly, you are doing God's work there. I will gladly wait a day to watch my favorite shows; Cut away all the fat and leave just a lean, mean, content machine. Delicious.

All those people who can't wait or don't know how to download a torrent client and join the revolution... they deserve the advertising. Burn in advertising hell, you lazy peons. :3

Re:Any kind of Internet ads are bad (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 6 months ago | (#45085383)

Me me me me me me me me me me!

And as soon as everyone follows you, the shows you torrent will disappear.

Re:Any kind of Internet ads are bad (0)

AlphaWoIf_HK (3042365) | about 6 months ago | (#45085883)

I'd like to see that. I really would. Maybe then we'd starve them out enough that they wouldn't have enough money to bribe our 'representatives' so they could get freedom-violating laws passed.

Re:Any kind of Internet ads are bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45085031)

watch a 15-second ad before being served

Which is ok for a 10-50 min video.

But for a 10 second clip? Or the ones that cover the 10% of the video. And it seems to be the part I want to see every time... Yeah. It is when ads decided they can use my speaker that I instituted a rudimentary ad block on my system (using much more useful systems these days). Because those guys deserve to use my system as they see fit right? After all they are making the 3 billionth copy of it for me and that costs time and money.

It was when companies started delivering trojans thru the ads that i started giving it to everyone I know. I got tired of having to clean up computers that had been rooted because someone had visited a website and the ad network they chose for that site was a bit shady. Been nearly 2 years now and 0 support calls.

Re:Any kind of Internet ads are bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45085125)

sense of entitlement of people who can't be bothered to watch a 15-second ad before being served endless on demand video

Or the sense of entitlement by people who think that they should be rich just because they wrote a few lines of code to allow that streaming to happen. Because you know, these "providers" are doing a little better than just breaking even from other people's work, or other people's communication... Or the networks who think they are entitled to be paid forever for some fiber they laid down 20 years ago which has been more than paid for time and again but shh don't tell the customer that! Let's just pretend that internet communication is HARD and bandwidth is SCARCE and use part of our income to buy politicians who will stab any competitor before he's even born, so we can keep those prices jacked up.

I pay my monthly fees, I am entitled. The ad revenue model of internet is all about GREED, not actual connection. Believe it or not, the internet worked BEFORE people started making ads.

Re:Any kind of Internet ads are bad (2)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | about 6 months ago | (#45085433)

I think you missed the (early) Google business model. Ads shouldn't be annoying. They should be something that actually helps folks find what they're looking for. If ads show folks stuff that they're not looking for, then folks are perfectly morally right in shutting out those ads---screw the advertisers with their large bandwidth bills and starving families. I have no sympathy for corps that are intentionally trying to waste my time.

I've yet to see anyone complain about non-intrusive sometimes helpful ads (e.g. google adwords that show up when you search for something in google.com). Most ads aren't like that.

Re:Any kind of Internet ads are bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45085461)

I'm not saying I _deserve_ anything, but rather, HTTP is a pull protocol, you must individually request each asset. This gives me the technical capability to block advertisements. Why _wouldn't_ I block them? Because I feel sorry for the poor admins of a few sites I use? Boo fucking hoo.

Re:Any kind of Internet ads are bad (4, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | about 6 months ago | (#45085537)

Except, from DAY ONE the model on the web was that the server serves up the content, and the browser decides how to interpret/display that content.

Who is the more entitled one; The person who configures his local browser to display and interpret content in the manner which he chooses, or the content producer who specifically disregards this model and implements his own business in such a way as it relies on specific vagaries of specific browsers in specific configurations, and then whines when people choose local configurations which break his model?

Yes you linked an image on a third party server, is there an RFC somewhere which specifies that a web browser MUST parse all HTML content and MUST load any content referred to, regardless of source?

If so, I missed it. The ad blockers are using the WWW as designed. Anyone claiming that this situation should be different because reality is breaking their business model is the entitled one.

Re:Any kind of Internet ads are bad (0)

mythosaz (572040) | about 6 months ago | (#45085597)

Guy A builds website.
Guy A puts advertising on his website to support it and/or turn a profit from it.
Guy B wants to use the content on the website without viewing the ads, so does so by simple technological means.
Guy A is entitled.

Wut?!?

Re:Any kind of Internet ads are bad (3, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | about 6 months ago | (#45085871)

I see your problem. You are using a bad model to understand these interactions. One does not, usually, put ads on a website, one puts references in a website to other sites which serve ads. In the default configuration of most web browsers a browser does, connect to such sites and download their content...right along with the original site, and runs any and all scripts handed to it from all sites.

This is a default behaviour, and one Guy A has now based his attempt to turn a profit on.

Guy A is entitled when he starts bitching that people want to browse the web with nonstandard configurations that don't do what he expects and assumed all web browsers would do. It isn't Guy Bs fault that Guy A based his business model on unwarranted assumptions about Guy B's browser.

So yes, when Guy A complains about it, he is acting pretty entitled.

Re:Any kind of Internet ads are bad (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45086005)

You forgot several steps:

Guy A builds website.
Guy A puts advertising on his website to support it and/or turn a profit from it.
Guy B request ham (content)
Guy A send ham and spam (ads)
Guy B refuses the spam as it never was requested
Guy A cries that people are not eating his unrequested spam
Guy A is entitled.

This is just the way the internet was designed. You request content and if the server has the resources it sends that content to you. A designer can not expect people to view content they never requested in the first place.

Advertisers are the entitled ones. They want us to use our time, our bandwidth, our electricity to view crap we never requested. If they are not happy with that, then their site can die. I was on the Internet before the advertisers took control of it and it was a fine place. We don't need the advertising leeches. The internet works just fine without them.

Also, don't forget that the advertisers are responsible for a large amount of malware spreading. Advertisers lie, they are manipulative and they spread malware. As far as I am concerned they are the worst than lawyers. I have absolutely no sympathy for them.

Re:Any kind of Internet ads are bad (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | about 6 months ago | (#45085595)

I pay for Netflix, partially because it means that I get to be served "endless on demand video streaming" without seeing ads. There are other sites that, if given the chance, I'd pay to have ad-free. Seeing as that's not an option, I usually just avoid sites that get annoying enough to bother me. I'd have more sympathy for your viewpoint if it were possible to get the product that I want (an ad-free Youtube, for example) without becoming a product myself.

Re:Any kind of Internet ads are bad (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 6 months ago | (#45085649)

I'd at least consider paying for an ad-free YouTube, at least if I used it more. [I seek out the occasional song to play for someone, or watch the occasional device tear-down or home-improvement/repair video..] Pandora and its ilk pretty much all offer this. Many websites do as well.

Re:Any kind of Internet ads are bad (1)

DrStrangluv (1923412) | about 6 months ago | (#45085635)

I used to believe this, and then came Stack Overflow. One day I was reading an answer on SO, and it hit me: compare Stack Overflow, which is fully ad supported, with it's arch rival Experts Exchange, which though it has ads, is mainly subscription supported. Which would you rather use?

Re:Any kind of Internet ads are bad (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 6 months ago | (#45085811)

Actually both sites spend 80% of their time rules lawyering.

"This question isn't formatted right" "I should get the points" This question hasn't had its points awarded" "This is not a good question for stackoverflow because there is no one answer and people might disagree.." "Hey all you did was repeat my answer with an example..." ...

I'd pick which ever site was curated to remove that crap once the question was answered.

But Google is my friend! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45084497)

Why shouldn't I give them all my data. Chromebooks rule!

--Tuppe666

Ad revenue for phones tripled this year (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45084509)

Phones are going to turn into the next "cable television" where we pay for the privilege of being advertized to. Take a page from the gaming industry who violently protests against in-game advertising to catch a glimpse of how the ad war over phones will turn out. In the end, the casual market of apple zombies will condone advertizements while geeks and intelligent people will migrate towards ad free platforms.

Re:Ad revenue for phones tripled this year (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 6 months ago | (#45084605)

You mean those same iPhone users who pay to get apps without banners as opposed to the Android users who are too cheap to pay for apps so almost all their apps have ads in them?

Re:Ad revenue for phones tripled this year (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45084937)

You can't fight stupid with stupid.

Re:Ad revenue for phones tripled this year (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45084637)

In the end, the casual market of apple zombies will condone advertizements while geeks and intelligent people will migrate towards ad free platforms.

Intelligent people avoid using false dichotomies and teenybopper terms like "apple zombies".

Re:Ad revenue for phones tripled this year (1)

chromas (1085949) | about 6 months ago | (#45084663)

Take a page from the gaming industry who violently protests against in-game advertising

Just to be clear, did you type that with a straight face?

Re:Ad revenue for phones tripled this year (1)

intermodal (534361) | about 6 months ago | (#45084759)

Take a page from the gaming industry who violently protests against in-game advertising...

I see what you did there.

I know why (1)

DCFusor (1763438) | about 6 months ago | (#45084517)

First, they suck. I buy a camera, like it, don't return it, yet am then bombarded by ads from the vendor - for the same camera/accessories. WTF?
Two, I'm an inventor by trade. I get a lot of traction by seeing things I didn't expect/want and figuring out how to synthsize these found things into new inventions.
Targeted ads fail on both, horribly.

Target Ads Based On Browsing..."lagging indicator" (3, Insightful)

Webcommando (755831) | about 6 months ago | (#45084675)

First, they suck. I buy a camera, like it, don't return it, yet am then bombarded by ads from the vendor - .

I typically use blocking software on most sites, but not all. What I find is the ads are always too late to be useful.

As an example, I was looking at AutoTrader for a used car. Found one I liked, went to dealer, and purchased it. Now, weeks later I still get ads for vehicles. No problem; maybe they assume people search longer for a car. I'll buy that. Purchased flowers for my fiance and the next day I'm getting ads for flowers. Yes, I love her but I'm not buying flowers everyday.

Basically what I'm trying to say is that the ads lag behind what I'm in the market for. They aren't predictive (maybe Google does better when scanning your email) and thus don't add much value if you're already done with the purchase. Facebook seems a bit better because they link them to topics people are discussing in posts. I like to post about cool guitar gear I find so an ad for a discount at Guitar Center might be useful. However, that is rare too.

BTW, don't like ads anymore than anyone else.

Re:I know why (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45084891)

So you'd want the advertisers to know what you've purchased as well as why you've been searching for?

Let's Fight Back? (1)

conner_bw (120497) | about 6 months ago | (#45084529)

Quick, everyone post spam assassin false positives and goatse pictures in the comments section to change Sladshdot's ads targeting this story!

We can win this fight by bringing /. to it's first post glory days!

Why they're bad: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45084575)

Because they frequently are wrong and fairly embarrassing.
Facebook is still trying to sell my friend vaginal cream.
He doesn't have much use for that, and he's since made sure to sign out of his accounts before his wife uses the computer.

Re:Why they're bad: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45084661)

Because they frequently are wrong and fairly embarrassing.

Facebook is still trying to sell my friend vaginal cream.

He doesn't have much use for that, and he's since made sure to sign out of his accounts before his wife uses the computer.

Or, you don't know your friend as well as you think.

Re:Why they're bad: (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about 6 months ago | (#45085809)

Actually, facebook advertising is my absolute favourite. Admittedly, I don't see much advertising because my own security config (noscript+requestpolicy) blocks ads voraciously as a side effect of safe browsing.

That said, FB is great. what I like about them especially is the "Comment" link. Where else can you actually COMMENT on ads and see comments other people made? OMG its great, I don't even mind ads for things I dislike....in fact....

When I see an ad for something I dislike, i comment on it. I pan them, I tell them why I dislike their ad or their product and say whatever else makes me feel better. Then, they take that as my interest in those ads, and I get more of them! Which means more opportunities to comment and more satisfaction for me.

whether this really works for the advertisers, beats me, but I enjoy the hell out of FB ads.

He is spot on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45084641)

It appears that the add networks have a bit to little information on me. Every time after I make an online purchase, I get ads for similar products to just that one purchase, until it annoys so much that I clear the cookies. Finally installed Addblock Plus.

an odd conclusion (1)

craftycoder (1851452) | about 6 months ago | (#45084643)

"Trying to increase relevance by turning up the creepy level is likely to increase ad blocking, not reduce it."

The entire gloss magazine business is predicated on the observation that people like to look at well targeted advertising. I think the new media companies (Google, Facebook, etc) are just copying old media and are on the right track. I don't think people really care about privacy. They vote for Congressmen who support the PATRIOT Act. They send naked photos of themselves to casual lovers over SMS. They talk about midnight cravings on Facebook. People today are more than willing to give up their privacy for a little bit of attention. Nothing to see here, move along.

Re:an odd conclusion (1)

istartedi (132515) | about 6 months ago | (#45084841)

Ahhh yes, but it was *you* who picked up a copy of the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce publication. They didn't sniff your zip code from your IP address and put the ad next to your g-mail. The ad sends a message of "We are helping to fund this glossy thing that they stack up in boutiques. We drink white wine and eat little sandwiches with the editors. If you work with us, maybe we can do lunch some time". The g-mail placement sends a message of "we contracted out with yet another online advertising firm like everybody else is doing".

I think his conclusion is correct.

Re:an odd conclusion (1)

craftycoder (1851452) | about 6 months ago | (#45085159)

His thesis is compelling, no doubt. What about the signaling of the market capitalization of Facebook and Google though. Doesn't that signal at least as strongly as an ad in Vogue Magazine that they are on to a good idea with their targeted advertising?

Nothing New... (4, Interesting)

mythosaz (572040) | about 6 months ago | (#45084653)

Targeted ads have been around forever, but with less granularity. You don't advertise malt liquor in The New Yorker, and you don't advertise Tiffany in High Times. [Unless Tiffany started making bongs... ...did they... ...I digress.]

About a year ago, I took the plunge. I let Google see everything my Android sees and logged into Chrome.

Net result to me for giving up my privacy to big do-no-evil? Better service overall across the Google platform, with a minimal amount of what appears to be well tailored advertising for me. I'll let Google read my maps searches in exchange for being "politely notified" about a restaurant near my destination that has a 2-for-1 special that night.

I love 'em.

Also... Obligatory Futurama:

Leela: Didn't you have ads in the 21st century?"
Fry: Well sure, but not in our dreams. Only on TV and radio, and in magazines, and movies, and at ball games... and on buses and milk cartons and t-shirts, and bananas and written on the sky. But not in dreams, no siree.

There is more to life than buying things. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45085379)

I am saving money for a trip next year. There are many things that I want, but my meta desire is not to purchase things I don't need, regardless of how awesome the deal. (This is, or probably should be, the same goal of many Americans, for a variety of reasons).

Advertising, of course, does not recognize this. Advertising's goal is, almost invariably, to get me to spend money. Advertising does not care if I have to borrow the money at exorbitant interest rates. Advertising represents the lenders too!

So it is great that your phone is tuned in to your behaviors to the point that it can so deftly nudge money out of your bank account. If that it is what you want. In principal, I agree with the notion of having my perception of the world (electively) tailored to my interests and instincts. But not when it is narrowly tailored to take augment and exploit one thing only -- my spending habits.

Re:There is more to life than buying things. (1)

prestonmichaelh (773400) | about 6 months ago | (#45085467)

This argument seems backwards though, somewhat. I guess the underlying factor is self-control. If you have the control to only buy what you need, then having targeted ads can aid in saving money.

In the original example, finding a 2 for 1 deal at a nearby restaurant would save you 50%. If you aren't going to eat out or are eating out alone, then ignoring the ad shouldn't be a problem.

There are something I by regularly and actively seek out sales for. If, through targeted advertising, the sellers could let me know that product XYZ that I've been buying each month for the past year is on sale at store ABC this month, it would save me money and time.

Re:There is more to life than buying things. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45085795)

I guess the underlying factor is self-control.

If you don't realize that generations of research has been devoted to manipulating your sense of "want/need", you are unlikely to realize how thoroughly you have been compromised. Advertising is one of the games that you can only win if you refuse to play.

If you aren't going to eat out or are eating out alone, then ignoring the ad shouldn't be a problem.

It is still a problem insofar as I have to consume the ad to discern whether it is worth pursuing, which at minimum is a waste of my time. I don't see how this problem can be solved unless the advertising industry learns to perceive/respect the disinclination to buy things in principal.

Re:There is more to life than buying things. (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 6 months ago | (#45085853)

Well done targeted advertising brings me things that I might not have otherwise known about and might be interested in spending my money on. It's part of why I went "all in" with Google's services. Not only do I think I get back more from them in services than I give up in data*, but I believe most of the advertising I get from them is either (a) useful, or (b) easy to ignore.

I thank Google for telling me about a restaurant near the place it knows I'm likely driving to tonight. I thank Google for checking my inbox a few days before Valentines, noticing I don't have a confirmation email for flowers and showing me some 1-800-Flowers or ProFlowers or FTD ads.

[*They likely feel the same way -- that they're getting the good end of the deal, and maybe we're both right.]

That's PART of WHY I wrote this... apk (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45084665)

Adbanners've housed malscript - & Hosts do more w/ less (1 file) @ a faster level (ring 0) vs redundant browser addons (slowing up slower ring 3 browsers) via filtering 4 the IP stack (coded in C & load w/ OS + 1st net request resolver queried w\ 45++ yrs.of optimization):

---

APK Hosts File Engine 9.0++ 32/64-bit:

http://start64.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5851:apk-hosts-file-engine-64bit-version&catid=26:64bit-security-software&Itemid=74 [start64.com]

---

* "A fool makes things bigger + more complex: It takes a touch of genius & a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." - Einstein (& browser addons make things larger, slower, & more complex than needed - hosts don't!)

---

A.) Hosts do more than AdBlock ("souled-out" 2 Google/Crippled by default) + Ghostery (Advertiser owned) - "Foxes guard a henhouse", or Request Policy -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=4127345&cid=44701775 [slashdot.org]

B.) Hosts add reliability vs. downed DNS & protect vs redirected DNS + secure vs. known malicious domains too -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3985079&cid=44310431 [slashdot.org] w/ less added "moving parts" complexity + room 4 breakdown,

C.) Hosts files yield more speed (blocks ads & hardcodes fav sites - faster than remote DNS), security (vs. malicious domains serving mal-content + block spam/phish), reliability (vs. downed DNS or vs. Kaminsky vulnerable DNS, 99% = unpatched vs. it & worst @ ISP level + weak vs FastFlux + DynDNS botnets), & anonymity (vs. dns request logs + DNSBL's).

---

"Less is more" = GOOD engineering!

(Vs. slowing down SLOWER usermode browsers layering on MORE in addons which slow them down more: I work w/ what you have in kernelmode, via hosts - A tightly integrated PART of the IP stack itself)

APK

P.S.=> "The premise is, quite simple: Take something designed by nature & reprogram it to make it work FOR the body, rather than against it..." - Dr. Alice Krippen "I AM LEGEND"

...apk

I don't know about other people (2)

jonbryce (703250) | about 6 months ago | (#45084687)

But I find a lot of adverts are extremely badly targeted.

For example, "Thank you for buying a BCI 526Y ink cartridge. Are you interested in our amazing special offer of a Canon MX885 printer to put the thing in?".
Or, "Thank you for buying an SD card from us. Here is a list of digital cameras that we sell should you want something to put it in."
Both those are real life examples from Amazon.

Come on, how many people buy a random inkjet cartridge and then wonder what they are supposed to do with it. Maybe they could wait for a bit, then advertise the same inkjet cartridge, in case I might think of buying it from Staples instead. Or maybe I might want the Cyan cartridge at some point, or the BCI 525Bk one. But that's not what they do.

Then there's the ads that follow you round the internet. For example I have a look at a pair of shoes a particular shoe shop. Then I see adverts everywhere I go for that exact same pair of shoes that that exact same shoe shop. Stop stalking me. I know you sell those shoes. I know I didn't buy them. Maybe there is a reason why I didn't buy them. Just leave me alone.

Everything listed here describe why I block ads. (1)

intermodal (534361) | about 6 months ago | (#45084691)

I block ads for basically every reason listed in the article, including the so-called positives. I not only don't want to be tracked, but I also don't want to be marketed to. Period. If you cold-call me, you have a 100% chance of not selling to me. If you use banner ads, you have about a 99% chance of being blocked, and a 1% chance of me not wishing to buy your product specifically because you are part of the advertising system I hate (and because you're wasting my bandwidth). If you show up at my office unbidden, I will not buy your product unless ordered to by my boss.

That leaves television, and I watch very little that has actual commercial breaks. I pay Netflix $8 a month for that privilege. When I do take the time to watch something on normal television, I DVR it and skip the ads. Hell, I refuse to use Spotify because blocking the ads makes the site unusable.

Perhaps this is the backlash Mr. Marti noted. I've been blocking ads since my dialup days, and I simply don't see why anyone else would trust them either.

Re:Everything listed here describe why I block ads (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about 6 months ago | (#45084979)

This feels like a precise regurgitation of my own position, only I also feel that advertisement as a whole is a tragedy of the commons problem that sabotage GDP for the individual advertiser's benefit.

I guess that second statement calls for some explanation. There is a nominal way you'd prefer to spend your money. If ads work(and clearly they do) then they spend capital(and labor) to change a person's spending preference from what they'd nominally enjoy. Economically, that's a decrease in utility, and thus rent-seeking.

Re:Everything listed here describe why I block ads (1)

intermodal (534361) | about 6 months ago | (#45085191)

I would tend to agree with your statements here. Glad to find something we can agree on every once in a while! I have no desire to give people the opportunity to attempt to persuade me to part with my money. I'll part with my money when I want to part with my money, for what I actually want to spend it on, thanks.

But didn't we ask for it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45084715)

When ads started appears on t'Net there were complaint from people saying they were seeing products they didn't want, and it would make sense if the ads were tsargetted. So the rules got better, and now people complain that they don't want targetted adds until they're more targetted.

As bad as inappropriate advertisements? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45084757)

I know I see a lot of advertisements for products I don't need, and ones that just don't sell anything to me in terms I want, or come across as so false or spiteful that I want nothing to do with the company involved.

Enough with the Beards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45084777)

Why do the smart people need to wear outgrown beards and seem like social outcasts? It doesn't help the message at all. Marketing has it right in one regard: people pay attention to a message wrapped in a nice-looking package.

Argument Fail (4, Interesting)

dcollins (135727) | about 6 months ago | (#45084853)

The central part of the argument, referring to papers by Davis et. al., seems like batshit lunacy to me.

Davis et. al. ask the question, “Is advertising rational?” and come up with: “It is not so much the claims made by advertisers that are helpful, but the fact that they are willing to spend extravagant amounts of money on a product that is informative.”... what is a “screening mechanism” that will separate the sellers who believe their products to be of high quality from the deceptive sellers? The idea is to come up with some activity that is costly enough for low quality sellers that they won’t do it, but still affordable for high quality sellers. Advertising shows that a seller has the money to advertise (which they presumably got from customers, or from investors who thought the product was worth investing in), and believes that the product will earn enough repeat sales to justify the ad spending.

That's crazy talk. If that were true, advertising could just be a bunch of people burning money onscreen and saying "yeah, our stuff is so awesome we can do this with our spare cash". But what advertising really is (usually) is a bunch of scummy emotional ploys to make people feel deprived and needy of some product. Personally, I use any advertising I see as a signal of what not to buy: Banks, insurance, investment services, phones that advertise widely on TV always have the shittiest customer service (they must be so big they couldn't possibly care about me as a customer). As my friend says, "advertising is always a communication of the problems that company is trying to fix".

Advertising in general is just scummy shit to make people do what they don't want. Unfortunately Marti's argument falls apart by it being hinged on this insane "rational economy" assertion.

Re:Argument Fail (1)

epine (68316) | about 6 months ago | (#45085791)

Advertising in general is just scummy shit to make people do what they don't want. Unfortunately Marti's argument falls apart by it being hinged on this insane "rational economy" assertion.

Sorry, bucko there's no free lunch on thinking straight.

Actually burning money is déclassé. (So is failing to render basic Unicode.) However, conspicuous consumption [wikipedia.org] really works when done right. Thorstein Veblen, this is Mr Cecil Rhodes. You'll get along famously.

As far as Don Marti goes, it's an extremely well-written article about factors many people don't bother to consider. It's a heavy lunch as it now stands. But still, he leaves too much out. Sometimes you can't win.

The problem is that advertisers pursue mixed tactics. They burn money to burnish the brand silver, while also pushing your worst buttons, while moving mountains behind the scenes to obscure whatever direct quality signal the consumer might also observe.

In the rare case where a branding effort convinces me, I'll go to the corporate web site with a specific question about whether their product has a quality I regard as essential. It'll take me five minutes to even find the page that reveals this (or ten minutes of futility culminating in a boiling rage if the page doesn't even exist). Then I when I find the page, it might reveal what I wish to know or it might not. When it reveals what I wish to know, it might yet remain hard to determine exactly which models and which model years conform to my wishes.

When one steps back to do a NPV on the entire experience, the answer is "Why the fuck bother?"

My most recent horror-show experience involved procuring Nomacorc [nomacorc.com] for some homemade wine which I wish to cellar for up to five years (my cellar is set up for upright bottle storage, so natural cork is a no-fly zone).

Check out this exercise in burning money: NomaSense OxiSense video [nomacorc.com]. Labcoats, the musical, scored by John Williams. Notice the use of a thick French accent to extol product virtue, and the Swiss accent for the bean-counter spiff. This is a cool technology. I'm impressed, and not just in my shrivelled MTV reflex arc.

But mainly I just wanted to buy the best existing Nomcorc closure. Well, it took a long time on that horrid website to determine which of their product levels was best suited to my needs. Try it yourself.

Having figured this out, I started to call local wine supply retailers, and not a single one could tell me which expensively-branded Nomacorc they were actually purveying. Nomacorc (or their hapless distributor) ships out bags with no product markings, and neither do the individual corks have any such marking. If you bottle your fine Nebbiolo with a two-year cork by mistake, four years from now you can kiss your draino goodbye.

Eventually I found a hopeless geek such as myself who runs a brew-on-premise. I asked him which Nomacorc he sells. He launched into a tirade (without any prompting from me) "oh my god, I wasted of my life on their web site and putting through my order, but I did finally get a huge bail of corks suited to preserve wine for four plus years". I replied "thank you for saying that, I think we'll be friends for life".

As far as I'm concerned, the entire advertising industry can go stuff itself until the day comes when the supermarket informs me that I've selected a product that exceeds my personal guidelines for sodium or MSG or Monsanto extortion chemical, so I can reject it from my basket prior to paying. Until advertising is on-side with helping me enforce my better self (over my harried, impulsive fuckwit self) their business model will continue to circle the drain of preying on the weak, or the strong in weak moments.

self-correction: s/bail/bale (1)

epine (68316) | about 6 months ago | (#45085875)

I'm usually pretty good about that.

Here follows some anti-lameness fodder:

The origins of Unicode date to 1987, when Joe Becker from Xerox and Lee Collins and Mark Davis from Apple started investigating the practicalities of creating a universal character set. In August 1988, Joe Becker published a draft proposal for an "international/multilingual text character encoding system, tentatively called Unicode". Although the term "Unicode" had previously been used for other purposes, such as the name of a programming language developed for the UNIVAC in the late 1950s, and most notably a universal telegraphic phrase-book that was first published in 1889, Becker may not have been aware of these earlier usages, and he explained that "[t]he name 'Unicode' is intended to suggest a unique, unified, universal encoding".

Gifts and work (1)

YalithKBK (2886373) | about 6 months ago | (#45084889)

My favorite is always when I am shopping for gifts online. I look at many items (and possibly purchase a few) most of which, I have zero interest in for myself. However, because I happened to look at them, suddenly there are banner ads everywhere for items I want nothing to do with.

I also have this issue with work. I work for a biotech company and we order our products from a few usual lab supply sites. Sometimes I see banner ads for the same things. If I'm at work, ok, but I already have that information because I was just on that company's site earlier. If I'm at home and just happened to look at something (maybe from an e-mail) then biotech banner ads are plastered all over my personal computer for a week. Sorry folks, I'm not shopping for lab supplies at home.

A lot of targeted ads just don't work for the way I browse and it makes me laugh at them.

Targetted advertising is funny (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 6 months ago | (#45084983)

Most of the ads I still see are ads for things I already bought, because someone happened to notice me browsing a relevant product page or doing a web search... so ad an for just about anything else would have been far more effective.

For example, I just bought a new NAS, and noticed this morning that I was getting NAS ads. Totally fscking useless, other than to make money for whatever site is shoveling the ads in my direction.

Targeted advertising? (1)

wjcofkc (964165) | about 6 months ago | (#45085241)

I prefer seemingly random auto playing video ads with nice clear audio on Slashdot's front page to anything...

Easy Fix For Me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45085469)

I block all ads, no matter what site they are on. In addition, I disable HTTP(S) referrer, geo tags, web beacons, trackers, disable ability for websites to see my history, network prefetch, and more.

Advertising: there's only ever ONE sales pitch (2)

petes_PoV (912422) | about 6 months ago | (#45085549)

Forget the content of the advertisement, it doesn't matter.

The only buying decision that matters is the one where the advertising agency convinces their customer to buy the advertising they are proposing. What the ad tries to sell to the end user is completely irrelevant. By the time the ad gets onto the air, into print or on a website, the sale has already been made - the ad agency has got its money.

Whether advertising is direct, targetted, stuffed under your windscreen wiper, blocked by a program or on the front page of the NYT is just a technique used to sell the advertising - not the product. Once agencies find that one form of advertising no longer convinces the client to part with their cash, they'll find the next "new thing" and the whole world will move on.

Ads or Pay up. You decide (1)

xcfx (844022) | about 6 months ago | (#45085737)

You know, this just boils down to what do you hate the most -- targeted ads or paid web services. I honestly suspect its the latter. Would you pay for Gmail? Facebook? Twitter? I sure wouldn't.
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