Beta
×

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

Thank you!

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

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

When Opting Out of Ad Tracking Doesn't Opt You Out

Soulskill posted 1 year,11 days | from the out-damned-spot dept.

Privacy 193

jfruh writes "Privacy blogger Dan Tynan couldn't help but notice the ads targeting his web browsing for a plus-sized women's clothing store, not least because he's neither a woman nor plus-sized. But trying to figure out why those ads kept popping up in his browser led to some disturbing discoveries. He had opted out of targeted Google ads, and at first glance the ads seemed to come from Google — but digging deeper, he found that Google's DoubleClick was only the intermediary, which meant his opt-out didn't apply. And his opt-outs from other ad services seemed to have vanished."

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

Do no evil? (1)

landofcleve (1959610) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169105)

Do no evil?

Re:Do no evil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45169289)

Do no evil?

You really believed that?

Re:Do no evil? (4, Insightful)

g0bshiTe (596213) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169385)

It's only evil when you get caught.

Re:Do no evil? (1)

Valdrax (32670) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169819)

It's only evil when you get caught.

Yeah, and then the blame belongs to the person who tattled on you.

Re:Do no evil? (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169757)

Lots of people still do.

Re:Do no evil? (1)

ahabswhale (1189519) | 1 year,11 days | (#45170245)

How is Google evil when they're not the one serving up the ad? The ad is sourced from another company that has (hopefully) it's own opt-out options.

Ads are anti-capitalist (1)

i kan reed (749298) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169115)

I still haven't come up with a way to describe advertisement other than rent-seeking within the confines of a capitalist interpretation.

Re:Ads are anti-capitalist (1)

Fwipp (1473271) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169163)

Capitalism relies on people trying to make the best decision for themselves they can, based on what information they have.

How is trying to control the information people receive about your product anything but a logical and necessary outcome of capitalism?

Re:Ads are anti-capitalist (1)

i kan reed (749298) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169273)

Because the way you phrased it, the second sentence sounds like it's an attempt to dismantle the first. Capitalism relies on a thing that actors in the market try to limit and control?

How is that not a serious problem to you?

Re:Ads are anti-capitalist (4, Insightful)

Fwipp (1473271) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169369)

It is a serious problem to me. My point is that, in any capitalist society, you can expect advertisements to be present, and they will be as sleazy and manipulative as companies can get away with.

Re:Ads are anti-capitalist (0)

g0bshiTe (596213) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169407)

Socialism has advertisements as well, but I think they call it propaganda.

Re:Ads are anti-capitalist (4, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169473)

So far in this discussion, hat we're seeking, I think, isn't the wholesale replacement of capitalism, but finding a way to limit one of the more socially damaging behaviors it encourages.

It's possible to find free-market capitalism based on imperfect ideas, believe it to contain flaws, and still not find any of the alternatives inherently superior.

Re:Ads are anti-capitalist (3, Interesting)

Archangel Michael (180766) | 1 year,11 days | (#45170179)

You mean like requiring restaurants to provide calorie and other nutritional information for their menus? And warning labels on products, warning against idiots using them in idiotic ways? And any other sort of regulation that actually doesn't do anything other than make people feel good about protecting the idiots out there that don't actually (or can't actually) read the various things that are now regulated?

We are now at a point where there are so many regulations, that many times they are contradictory or duplicated or otherwise have become meaningless noise that people filter out anyway. AND removing these over regulations is impossible, so instead of solving any problems we are just building more of them into the system.

Too many times people say "There ought to be a law" and not enough people saying "why?"

Re:Ads are anti-capitalist (1)

mlts (1038732) | 1 year,11 days | (#45170281)

There is a lot of stuff that we an fix with technological solutions, and not with laws.

The ad intrusion problem is fairly easily dealt with by sandboxing and adblocking, and in worst case getting alternative sites up. When the lawmakers are called in, they are not going to represent the people. They are going to represent their customers (i.e. lobbyists who donate big at the campaign fundraisers.)

If we saw any laws about ads, it would be more laws like CETA making it an arrestible offense to view a website with adblocking.

Instead, a company can always run a clearinghouse. Pay a subscription fee to the clearinghouse, and websites get paid per user viewing. Since the clearinghouse's data and the website user data is separate [1], a user can be known to the clearinghouse, but anonymous to the client website, and the client website gets their microtransaction.

Maybe I'm naiive, but laws should be few, and mainly for mala in se type of stuff. Too much mala prohibitia and we end up with everyone being a lawbreaker, and nothing but contempt for all laws. There is a lot technology can do and do effectively that lawmaking will try and fail at.

[1]: The clearinghouse has a SLA, and also is inspected by third parties (the EU perhaps) to ensure that keeping data protected is actually done, not just lip service rendered.

Re:Ads are anti-capitalist (1)

i kan reed (749298) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169483)

Yes, what you can expect might be that. No contest, I'd just wish we had a bit more of a cultural impetus to resist allowing it.

Re:Ads are anti-capitalist (1)

Fwipp (1473271) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169663)

I would totally be on board with that. It's hard to mount cultural opposition to advertisments as they're so ubiquitous, even if they are misleading/wrong/awful. I also wouldn't mind seeing additional regulations on advertisements (especially regarding intentionally misleading statements), but I know the majority of slashdot is pretty opposed to "Free Speech" limitations like this.

Re:Ads are anti-capitalist (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45169381)

such a thing now now now's the time right now!

[POTTY VOMIT], [CHINESE CUMMINGS], [HAIRY STRETCH], [BLOND HAIRY FAPPING], [DISEASES WOMAN], [RACIST MAGIC THIGH], [SEX FUDGE BUTT], [PUBLIC HOMO BIMBO], [TRAGEDY OF THE COMMONS BANGED], [WRINKLED TESTES
                                                          PARADE], [FOUL PROSTITUTE XXX], [FAPS FAPPING GAY], [LATINA RANCID], [CHOKE DOUBLY FUCKED], [COCKS HOT], [CHINESE CREAMPIES], [PANTY BONED], [CREAMPIED FETID], [DISEASE-RIDDEN JOB], [FARTER MEXICAN], [NUDE
                                                          MOLESTERS
PROSTITUTE], [PENETRATE CHINESE], [NUDE EXTREME VOMIT], [UNDERWEAR ANAL], [ASSHOLE BEADS], [ASSHOLE SACK SHIT-FILLED], [INDIAN JIZZED], [RIDES BLOWJOB], [POTTIES DOOMSPHERE VIRGINS], [CUMSHOT FEMALES
                                                          MEXICAN], [NIGRO PENETRATION], [COCKYOLK LATINA HITLER], [PROSTITUTES CANADIAN], [CRUNCH PUBIC WHORE], [NUDE TOYS JIZZED], [SLUTTY ERECTION], [FEMALE FUDGE], [FEMALE PARADE SIMPSONS], [GIGABIT PUKE], [TRAGEDY
                                                          OF THE COMMONS
SEMEN-FILLED CARNEVIL], [COOCHIE FINGERING], [TIGHT BUSTY], [TOILET EATS NUDE], [TWIN SLUT], [TITTYBANG CUMMING CHERRY], [HERPES SEMEN-FILLED], [FECES-FILLED NAKED], [TORNADO HURRICANE], [REDHEAD BRUNETTES
                                                          ANUS], [MEN CLIT], [SLOPPY COWGIRL COCKPOLES], [BLOND FART METALHEAD], [TAMPONS COCKSUCKING], [STRADDLE CASUAL], [TRANSEXUAL EAT], [PUSSYHOLE DEEPTHROAT CERVIX], [DISEASED FARTER], [EATS ERECT FONDLES], [MILF
                                                          TICKLE

Re:Ads are anti-capitalist (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45169307)

Capitalism relies on people trying to make the best decision for themselves they can, based on what information they have.

That's not "capitalism" you're describing, that's the "free market".

Capitalism is the accumulation of wealth.

Re:Ads are anti-capitalist (1)

i kan reed (749298) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169391)

Come on. Free-market capitalism is the de facto way to refer to the economic system of allowing capital to be privately owned within the confines of a market for open exchange of goods and services, and is often shortened to "capitalism".

Even though "free market" and "capitalism" are distinct concepts, their practical applications have become so integrated your point is almost meaningless.

And your second definition is just incorrect.

Re:Ads are anti-capitalist (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45169593)

Capitalism is the free market. People (the market) are free to accumulate wealth or not as they wish. Accumulation and or creation of wealth is a merely consequence of capitalism.

Re:Ads are anti-capitalist (1)

Opportunist (166417) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169339)

Controlling the information people may receive is not really evoking memories of capitalism in me, ya know?

Re:Ads are anti-capitalist (2)

intermodal (534361) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169531)

I'm not sure you understand that your argument fundamentally ignores that the advertisers' attempts to circumvent people's wishes to not be tracked is fundamentally no less valid (and certainly on a morally higher ground) than their desire to target people for advertising.

Let's use an analogy. If the Jehovah's Witnesses followed everyone around and amassed records about everything we were doing to decide which doors to knock on, that would be equivalent to what we're seeing with today's targeted adverts.

Re:Ads are anti-capitalist (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169559)

Capitalism relies on people trying to make the best decision for themselves they can, based on what information they have.

How is trying to control the information people receive about your product anything but a logical and necessary outcome of capitalism?

Incorrect. Read all of Adam Smith's 7 books.

Capitalism is based on the concept that all market participants, including consumers have perfect information on all aspects of all trades.

Ignoring Do Not Track provides an advantage to only one market participant.

This is not Capitalism, it is Mercantalism, and Adam Smith was opposed to it.

Re:Ads are anti-capitalist (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169905)

Capitalism relies on people trying to make the best decision for themselves they can, based on what information they have.

How is trying to control the information people receive about your product anything but a logical and necessary outcome of capitalism?

Incorrect. Read all of Adam Smith's 7 books.

Capitalism is based on the concept that all market participants, including consumers have perfect information on all aspects of all trades.

Ignoring Do Not Track provides an advantage to only one market participant.

This is not Capitalism, it is Mercantalism, and Adam Smith was opposed to it.

and ad-blocking/spam filtering software is the counter to this employed in favor of the consumer that levels the field. they (the advertisers) can target those ads as much as they want but it won't matter if you can not see them.

Re:Ads are anti-capitalist (5, Interesting)

vux984 (928602) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169585)

How is trying to control the information people receive about your product anything but a logical and necessary outcome of capitalism?

Capitalism relies on people trying to make the best decision for themselves they can, based on what information they have.

The validity of that hypothesis rests on several assumptions:

That people are not coerced.
That people act under rational self interest.
That the competitive market itself will facilitate consumers getting the information they need to make decisions.

Advertising has achieved a level of sophistication that this is no longer entirely true. The information available is not reliable, and I cannot make informed buying decisions.

All that's left working in the customers favor is direct word of mouth, reputation systems (wherein I might trust a particular reviewer who has steered me well in the past), and government regulation (truth in advertising, labelling laws, etc... which some beleive are anti-capitalist, and everyone knows are largely co-opted and corrupted or just outright violated by the regulated industries).

Compared what the industries are prepared to expend "controlling" information; with what I have at my disposal to research something? I am at such a substantial disadvantage that I am frequently operating against my own self interest. And I'm in the minority just being truly aware of it.

For example, if I want to buy an X and I don't know much about X, and its not something my friends or family use then I'm pretty much helpless.

Word of mouth doesn't work if I don't know people I trust with an X.
I can't rely on a reviewer of X if I don't have any experience with that reviewer (and I know that many reviewers are shills, or just plain idiots)

I can't rely on review sites and such, I know in many cases the reviews are paid, the 'likes' and 'followers' and '+1' are corrupt or paid for, and full of idiots. And in the worst cases, the entire review site is 'fake' and hosted by the vendor.

I've learned to try and filter out what i need from newegg and amazon.com and other review sites -- but its cat and mouse, and the advertisers get cleverer, and my resources to combat them are not increasing proportionally. And for some products... I don't really know where to even start, and again I like to think I'm 'above average' at this 'game'.

It's sick really.

Re:Ads are anti-capitalist (1)

Fwipp (1473271) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169759)

Sorry, I didn't set my tone right in my original post. I meant to indicate that capitalism, by nature, incentivizes actors to erode the foundation that it relies upon to work. False (or fake) advertisements or reviews are simply one way that people with capital game the system against those without. They will actively seek to coerce you, feed you misinformation, and distort your perception of your own self-interest.

When you go shopping, each item that you look at, you are pitting (at most) a few minutes of your own time against months of work done by a marketing team. The idea that this scenario allows you to be a perfectly rational, informed, self-interested actor is laughable.

tl;dr I agree with practically every word you said up there.

Re:Ads are anti-capitalist (1)

diamondmagic (877411) | 1 year,11 days | (#45170015)

Economics makes no such claim that people act under "rational self interest" or that people are well informed. It's not even covered in an econ class one way or the other, you'll just never hear it. The laws of economics apply regardless.

What is covered is that they're making the best decision for themselves (decisions are subjective, so that goes by definition), and that there's no coercion. The side effects of coercion (including taxes) is a whole field of study.

Shocking... O_o (1)

SeaFox (739806) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169117)

An advertiser not respecting the wishes of a consumer to not be advertised to?
I'm very perplexed what type of individuals these are who run this business.

Re:Shocking... O_o (1)

Opportunist (166417) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169315)

The type that you should cleanse with fire. And then shoot, just to be sure.

Re:Shocking... O_o (1)

intermodal (534361) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169551)

They're basically like telemarketers, except you only get to hang up when they figuratively call if you already have your ad-blockers installed and the proper filters set up.

And the awesome thing is, when people advertise at me, they actually reduce if not eliminate the chance that I will even consider their product.

Re:Shocking... O_o (4, Insightful)

geminidomino (614729) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169687)

And this is why I figuratively (and literally) flip off any ass hat who comes in bitching about adblockers whenever they come up.

Malware, black-hats, etc.. are actively hostile to us, our privacy, and our systems' security, and we take steps to mitigate the threat they pose.

Advertisers have proven, time and again, that they belong in the same category, and do so overtly (they don't even try to pretend otherwise). IMNSHO, to not mitigate them borders on negligence.

And you believed "Don't be evil"? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45169131)

Fool

Professionalism... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45169139)

I have difficulty seeing the author as a professional when he uses words like "porcine" to describe an overweight woman. Is that really necessary in a professional publication?

Re:Professionalism... (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | 1 year,11 days | (#45170199)

He could have called her an "urban whore".

Nothing bad ever came from doing something like that.

opt-outs (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169149)

Opt-outs are a scam. They have been since the late 90s. Opting out just tells spammers that they hit a real e-mail address, and thus its value goes up. It also tells them one other important piece of information: You're willing to click on links that send you to random websites.

Anyone who tries to 'opt out' is an idiot, and anyone who suggests them as a solution to spam and advertising should be dragged into the street and stoned to death. There is only one solution: Get rid of all of it. The end. Stop your monetization of the web 2.0 synergizing cluster fuck of the internet... it survived just fine before you vultures descended on it. It will survive your demise as well.

Re:opt-outs (3, Informative)

guytoronto (956941) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169201)

You are overgeneralizing. Marketing emails from legitimate companies are often stopped by opting-out. The legitimate companies have more to lose by not following the rules.

Re:opt-outs (3, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169245)

You are overgeneralizing. Marketing emails from legitimate companies are often stopped by opting-out.

"Legitimate" companies like Google, who then sell your information to third parties? Because that's what this guy is talking about, and that's what they're doing. I don't know how much more "legitimate" of an example I can make.

The legitimate companies have more to lose by not following the rules.

Once you've opted out, they have no further reason to follow your imaginary rules. It's just data now; Data should be monetized. If you aren't interested in our products, then we will have to make money some other way... by selling your information to our competitors, maybe... hey, at least it's turning a frown upside-down, right?

Re:opt-outs (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169303)

The problem is that really reputable companies that actually care about their reputation are not really the ones that clog your inbox with ad crap. You might get a news letter or two every other month or a few select offers that actually apply to you instead of blanket carpet bombing of their entire customer base with whatever piddly crap they're hawking this time.

The companies that WOULD actually heed your opt-out are also the ones where you don't NEED an opt-out.

Re:opt-outs (3)

Mitreya (579078) | 1 year,11 days | (#45170207)

The companies that WOULD actually heed your opt-out are also the ones where you don't NEED an opt-out.

That's not at all true
Nowdays, EVERY business I ever did anything with decides that I really want to know about their promotions. A hotel in Spain and another one in NY (each of which I have visited once, years ago) tried to send me regular notes about their "specials"

I guess doing business once with them allows them to do so (no one asked me to opt-in), but opt-out really helped here.

Re:opt-outs (1)

phorm (591458) | 1 year,11 days | (#45170257)

I've worked at places that did "forums" etc that did mail-outs. They would actually be fairly respectful of opt-outs, one of the main reasons being that if they didn't they end up being greylisted/blacklisted with gmail, hotmail, etc and then suddenly a bunch of mail doesn't get out at all.

Obviously not going to work for viagra-spammers, but I don't see many of those with opt-outs. Then again I don't see much spam at all in my gmail etc (except, in the spam bin, but I almost never need to look there).

Re:opt-outs (2)

poetmatt (793785) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169323)

no. Opt out is a complete scam. You should be required to have express consent of opting in, before any tracking is done. any and all tracking is simply unauthorized and that is why I strongly recommend adblock or any other version of adblocking for every tech site (especially techreport), and basically the web itself.

Re:opt-outs (1)

Mashdar (876825) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169849)

Yes? Opting out works when you are dealing with a real company. I have opted out of a number of advertisment newsletters (Newegg, Amazon, etc.) and I don't get any of them... As GP said, real companies care about their image and don't spam the shit out of you.

Re:opt-outs (2)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | 1 year,11 days | (#45170101)

You're right - opting out of web based tracking is largely pointless. It works better in email, and only where it's a legitimate company. Email has been tamed through a combination of technological measures and laws. For example, the spam I receive to my 10 year old email address is way different to what I saw back in the day. I saw porn stuff, Viagra and companies selling more mainstream items. Bizarrely enough, Chinese construction companies cropped up a bit. These days it's mostly phishing attempts and Asian companies offering knock-offs. There are laws that come down heavily on legitimate companies who spam. I've worked in companies that manage customer data, and the rules are very strict. No unsolicited promotional contact, excepting customers who opt-in. No such luck for tracking on the web. Presumably they evade European data laws by not personally identifying the real person - just their browsing habits and approximate location. That's all advertisers need.

We need better legal protections and for browsers to help users anonymise themselves. The latter is difficult while the most common browsers are tied to the very people who benefit the most from tracking. It also doesn't help that people are so blasé when it comes to ejaculating personal data in exchange for the Bonzi Buddy or Facebook of the day.

Re:opt-outs (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45169427)

marketing mails from legitimate companies are opt-in.

Consider yesterdays spam mail:
5 copies of "Keep your lady happy every night" from taiwan
12 copies of X.W32.Sasfis.pak from various countries
0 emails from legitimate companies

Overgeneralizing? I think not. Most 'marketing' email is not legitimate.

Re:opt-outs (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45169705)

With font order, "supercookies", and other stuff, it is trivial to keep track of a person across websites, no matter how many "browser cleaner" utilities they run. Opt-outs just move the person across other analytic sites. They might opt out of site "A", but "B", "C", and "D", have just now opted the person in.

As an aside, The web 2.0 advertisers are pretty successful.

And they likely drive better cars than you have ever been in.

Re:opt-outs (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45170013)

Opt out schemes are only valid (or legally enforced) in the country in question. Therefore, US companies farm out the ads to chingchongland as a separate service selling US products and services. This is completely legal but obviously illegal when looking at the high level picture. The UK has a similar issue with don't fucking call me lists, that actually have severe penalties for infringers. What happened? All the UK tosser directors farmed out tele-spam overseas so the incoming number wasn't UK STD codes and circumvented the law of the land. The sicking thing is, the people calling are often not foreign but local and employed via the foreign shell company.

The only way to fix these issues is to not moan about the companies doing it, but to find out who runs them and persistently name them in every single fucking complaint letter, email and fax. Their public profiles will be rotten to the core, and incoming replacements might (probably not) think twice before being complete douche bags.

Re:opt-outs (1)

ahabswhale (1189519) | 1 year,11 days | (#45170271)

1) They can get your email address very easily regardless, and
2) what do you think pays for all this free shit on the internet? unicorn farts?

Just use adBlock (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45169151)

And solve the problem.

Re:Just use adBlock (5, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169295)

Yep, lots of people on the internet say "but what about the revenue of the sites you use." It ignores that there's never going to be a mutual respect there, no matter how much you respect the source.

Re:Just use adBlock (1)

linebackn (131821) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169689)

Yep, lots of people on the internet say "but what about the revenue of the sites you use."

If a site can't get by on its own merits then FUCK IT TO HELL.

Real good sites with real content can find some way to make money (such as selling t-shirts, subscriptions, or the occasional equivalent of a paid slashvertisment.). And if not, then just too freaking bad.

Do people realize that even in the real world, advertisers can't just do whatever they want? They can't throw branded rocks at your car while you are driving. They aren't allowed to put up billboard that may induce seizures. They can't tack sticky notes to you to see what branded rock you were interested in last.

Many communities have rules about what can be displayed where, and when. If the advertisers find some new way to be obnoxious then the community can fight back with new rules. Just the other day there was something on the local news about an area that was planning to prohibit stores from displaying large signs in their storefront windows.

So why should "cyberspace" be any different? If a browser has rules about what kind of content is allowed and where from, then who are advertisers to say differently?

Re:Just use adBlock (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45170107)

I don't care about the ad revenue. I want them to offer a product worth paying for. If they cannot do that I want them to go broke.

Re:Just use adBlock (1)

paulatz (744216) | 1 year,11 days | (#45170121)

I've been using adblock since ever, but it is not always available everywhere. I.e. on mobile devices it takes a minimum of technical expertise to set up ad blocking, either by rooting+app or changing browser. Furthermore, and even if I have not seen an ad in years, I've still checked the do not track box wherever I can; if it goes go up in the statistics maybe someone will get the message.

You mean to tell me you couldn't opt out of Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45169155)

You mean to tell me you couldn't opt out of Google ads?? This is surprising behaviour and we should all file complaints about it.

Adblock? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45169161)

It's 2013, why isn't he using adblock?

Adblock is your friend (1)

MarcAuslander (517215) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169165)

The cynic in me says that any request you make about your email address just makes that a more valuable address!

Ablock, on the other hand, seems to do the trick pretty well for many people. Adblock plus actually right now - but there is a growing controversy about it.

Jumping through hoops? (3, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169173)

I don't understand why the person writing this article would choose to jump through the advertiser's hoops to deal with this problem. Install Adblock and Ghostery or something similar and forget about it.

Seriously, did anyone expect this to work? (1)

icebike (68054) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169189)

Simply saying don't track me, while as the same time handing over enough identifying information to do precisely that is a silly expectation.

At best you might suppress some innocuous tracking by people who were already probably on the up and up, but big merchants
and big ad agencies are going to track everything they can find out about you from your browser and your location. Even if they have only a tiny ad on a site that you visit, you can rest assured that since that site wasn't the site you contacted, its not necessarily going to even see, or pay attention to do-not-track.

Not sure. But I am opting out of the new slashdot. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45169199)

I've seen beta.slashdot.org and was horrified. Once the "old" slashdot goes away, so will this nearly two-decade user.

Re:Not sure. But I am opting out of the new slashd (1)

i kan reed (749298) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169439)

Unfortunately for you, users of all kinds of sites express disdain for new layouts, which never end up killing the site like dissatisfied users claim. In this case the new design is extremely impractical, and slashdot has been on track for a collapse for a while now.

But it will go ahead, because of e-precedent for ignoring the naysayers regarding site-design.

Re: OMG Ponies (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45169543)

They'll figure it out when traffic drops by 90% over the next two weeks.

I still hope that the "beta" is an elaborate October-19th-fools joke.

Re:Not sure. But I am opting out of the new slashd (3, Informative)

wisnoskij (1206448) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169587)

Why would anyone think it was a good idea to turn a good looking, well working site, into something that looks like a blogspot blog?

Seems to need an ad blocker. (5, Insightful)

linebackn (131821) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169215)

Seriously, there are STILL people out there using browsers without ad blockers?! Are they also still using IE 6?

Hint: If you are using Windows 95 or NT 3.51 then SeaMonkey 1.1.19 and Adblock 0.5 or Adblock Plus 1.0.2 do a great job.

There is just no excuse.

Re:Seems to need an ad blocker. (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45169429)

Amusing anecdote: Slashdot is the reason I use an ad blocker. Ten years ago Slashdot ran an ad that used 100% of my CPU, so I downloaded Firefox and installed an ad blocker, and I haven't seen an ad here since.

Re:Seems to need an ad blocker. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45169437)

What if you use 3.1 still? My PC doesn't support 95.

Re:Seems to need an ad blocker. (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45169601)

You don't need to worry. You'll only see ads for Geocities and AOL.

Re:Seems to need an ad blocker. (2)

guises (2423402) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169489)

There is just no excuse.

Well... I can think of one excuse. Many websites that I like rely on advertising revenue. Some, like Slashdot, have an option to pay a bit of money instead of seeing ads, and that's nice enough when it's available, but I don't particularly want to keep track of a zillion subscriptions and not every site is large enough to have that sort of thing.

Given that the way this whole internet deal works is for me to send a request to some remote server and for them to send me what I ask for (at their expense), it certainly feels pretty unethical for me to block the only way they have to recoup that money.

I do use NoScript, which winds up blocking a good portion of ads, and I don't feel bad about that one, but fundamentally the problem with a visitor using AdBlock is the same as a spammer sending spam - not only are you doing something that may not be desired, but you're pushing all of the costs for this action onto the other person.

Re:Seems to need an ad blocker. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45169643)

Well... I can think of one excuse. Many websites that I like rely on advertising revenue.

And that's why adblock has a whitelist option so that you can whitelist the sites that don't display intrusive/abusive advertising. It even has a checkbox for "allow unobtrusive advertising" when selecting filters, which lets through things such as the google text based ads.

Now where's you're excuse?

Re:Seems to need an ad blocker. (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45169751)

It even has a checkbox for "allow unobtrusive advertising" when selecting filters

You mean the unobtrusive advertising whitelist that they sell? "Nice website you have there, would be sad if something would happen to it, wanna buy some insurance"...?

Re:Seems to need an ad blocker. (1)

linebackn (131821) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169887)

it certainly feels pretty unethical for me to block the only way they have to recoup that money.

Does it also feel unethical to have rules about companies not putting up billboards that can induce seizures? Or about where they can put them? Would you just sit there and take it if you woke up one morning and found 100 small advertising sign posts stuck in your yard?

Since there is no regulation on the internet, an adblocker is, in my opinion, a perfectly acceptable thing to for people to use.

If a sites like Slashdot can not get by with just the kinds of things that adblockers block, then that is to damn bad. They do not have a RIGHT to make money off of my visits. I would hope they would try other ways to make money first. But if it is in an annoying or intrusive way then I am out of here. (And if they go to that crappy beta design as-is then I am out of here anyway)

Re:Seems to need an ad blocker. (3, Insightful)

PhxBlue (562201) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169967)

I do use NoScript, which winds up blocking a good portion of ads, and I don't feel bad about that one, but fundamentally the problem with a visitor using AdBlock is the same as a spammer sending spam - not only are you doing something that may not be desired, but you're pushing all of the costs for this action onto the other person.

Then I guess it might behoove them to spend a bit less money by serving simpler ads. Say, something text-only? The reason AdBlock became so popular was because the advertisers got so obnoxious.

Re:Seems to need an ad blocker. (3)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | 1 year,11 days | (#45170041)

it certainly feels pretty unethical for me to block the only way they have to recoup that money.

Except it is not the only way they have to recoup that money. It is just the way they have chosen to try. There are other ways. Penny Arcade raised half a million on kickstarter to go ad-free for a year. They also sell merchandise. Linux Weekly News embargoes some articles for a week so that they are only available to subscribers. Phoronix has subscriptions for ad-free and single-page articles.

Bigger picture, advertisement based funding killed the development of micro-payment functionality. If advertising becomes less lucrative, we will see alternatives come about. By letting those ads through you aren't just helping to fund your favorite websites, you are also enabling an industry that has the potential to do real harm to society through misuse of all the profiling information they collect.

Re:Seems to need an ad blocker. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45170069)

What about the fact that our data individual doesn't have too much worth to a corporation, but in large groups of data helps them make millions if not billions. That's a pretty damn unbalanced trade if all we get from it is access to owner-user content. I'm fine with just seeing (not hearing) ads, what I'm not fine with is all the data mining they do as they pass through my PC or interrupting video when I watch it (play them at beginning and ending for immersion sake).

Re:Seems to need an ad blocker. (2)

s.petry (762400) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169493)

I'll see your Adblock and raise you a NoScript and block all cookies. Still imperfect, but it seems to work very well.

That said, there is something rather disturbing to point out. Why do people buy things from these people? If people did not purchase from shitty telemarketers, they would simply vanish (and I hope they eventually do). But enough people buy the trash to keep the shitty business practices in business. The same is true with targeted ads on web pages.

I honestly have no clue why anyone would purchase something based on an advertisement. I won't buy pants because they are in a magazine or displayed on a sign, I buy them because I go to the store and have a tangible moment with the pants. I can inspect quality, fit, colors. I do the same with nearly everything (music is an exception, but generally I can sample music ahead of time).

Some people out there have a very different way of thinking. Enough people to support the advertisers obviously.

Re:Seems to need an ad blocker. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45169817)

I just installed an ad blocker to my wlan router. Works great at blocking stuff on mobile too, both in browser and in-app advertisements. I can only recommend this.

Re:Seems to need an ad blocker. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45170037)

I ended up going two notches more:

Adblock, click-to-play on Chrome, NoScript on Firefox, and both in a SandboxIE VM.

At work, I didn't even want to bother with that, so on went CentOS in a VM and I use the Linux VM for my Web browsing.

Neither way is 100%, but from what I know, the main course for malware is drive-by downloads and browser exploits. Until the ad "services", and there are a lot of them actually zip their fly, I will always assume they are serving up dangerous stuff and block them, preferably at the router, but at least at the browser level.

Re:Seems to need an ad blocker. (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | 1 year,11 days | (#45170103)

I'll see your Adblock and raise you a NoScript and block all cookies. Still imperfect, but it seems to work very well.

Go all in with RequestPolicy. [requestpolicy.com]

It is like NoScript for all cross-site requests, not just javascript.

Install the beta of 1.0 direct from the website. It is stable and the GUI is better, I've been running it for months, just make sure you change the default from black-listing to white-listing.

Re:Seems to need an ad blocker. (1)

mlts (1038732) | 1 year,11 days | (#45170167)

I use different browsers for different tasks, as well as Sandboxie for additional separation (the sandboxes are stored on a different volume, so all writes are redirected there. I'm glad I did this since I have had some malware tried to do a "mkdir foo, cd foo" loop and getting rid of it was trivial compared to it happening on a needed disk volume -- a quick diskpart clean and reformat did the trick.

Nothing is certain security, but keeping the bank stuff stays in one browser, while my general stuff stays in another browser/sandbox has seemed to have done a good job for security. I might see about going another notch and browsing in a VM, but sandboxing is almost as secure and it doesn't slow things down as much.

Browser security still seems to be the weakest link these days, but it seems to be getting better. However, it would be nice if functionality to redirect all writes was in the OS, so one could use a disposable volume to protect against stuff trying to use all inodes or using hidden browser cookie-like functionality to continue to identify a user.

Re:Seems to need an ad blocker. (1)

Kozz (7764) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169875)

Seriously, there are STILL people out there using browsers without ad blockers?! Are they also still using IE 6?

Yes, there are. And no, using IE8 is still sufficient ...

There is only one thing an opt-out accomplishes (1)

Opportunist (166417) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169251)

Verifying that you're actually reading whatever crap they throw at you. In other words, you only make it more valuable for ad spammers.

All your privacy are belong to NSA or corporation (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169285)

All your privacy is belong to either the NSA or the Corporations, neither of which are ever mentioned in the US Constitution or the Bill of Rights.

By reading this, you have agreed to me running all your information through Facebook Stalker and writing a book about it, which I will sell to all your potential girlfriends and wives.

Thank you, Serf! ... oh, wait, I meant "Citizen".

Does this surprise anybody ? (5, Insightful)

aepervius (535155) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169299)

No , really ? I am not surprised. The ad industry torpedoed every instance of normal regulation and do not track, they are handling self regulation like robber barron, laughing all the way. There is only one option : the nuclear option, and it is adblocking. All of it. And if a web site does not want to show me anything because I block ads , well I can most probably live without that web site.

The big question is still unanswered. (4, Interesting)

steelfood (895457) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169413)

All this, and the big question still goes unanswered: Why is he getting targetted for plus-sized women's clothing? I mean, the behaviorial information causing him to be an ideal candidate for purchasing plus-sized women's clothing is coming from somewhere, no?

Re:The big question is still unanswered. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45169965)

All this, and the big question still goes unanswered: Why is he getting targetted for plus-sized women's clothing?

Because, why not! They know he need to sit back, relax, go crossdressing, its good clean fun! Everyone should do it! :)

Re:The big question is still unanswered. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45170119)

I mean, the behaviorial information causing him to be an ideal candidate for purchasing plus-sized women's clothing is coming from somewhere, no?

There is no reason to assume that whatever is funneling these ads to the author is working or even worth a damn if it is working. Advertisers don't necessarily know squat, and the people selling ad slots to them are not necessarily reputable or competent.

This is one of the annoying things about ad targeting: they invade your privacy and don't even give you useful advertising in return.

Re:The big question is still unanswered. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45170325)

All this, and the big question still goes unanswered: Why is he getting targetted for plus-sized women's clothing?

Because he opted out, so he's content profile #0. It was supposed to be NULL, but someone got sloppy and treated that as a zero.

And by an amazing coincidence, the combination on Bruce Schnieir's luggage (which contains several xxxl womens' dresses, if you must know) happens to be cfcd208495d565ef66e7dff9f98764da right now.

you don't have to be a plus-sized woman... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45169455)

Instead of a mysterious conspiracy, Dan Tynan, couldn't the reason simply be that you're into chubbies, and the good ad people thought it was relevant to your interests?

opting out just attracts attention (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45169509)

Opting out of anything just attracts further attention, because people generally are irredeemable scum. The very best way to avoid spam is not to email people. Ever.

If you successfully block tracking... (1)

Animats (122034) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169511)

I have Abine's Do Not Track, and have local Flash storage disabled. The major TV networks now send me the same commercial over and over while viewing the same show.

At least I know the block is working.

Ad tracking is fundamentally flawed (2)

Dusthead Jr. (937949) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169561)

Ad tracking a little flawed because it seems to be based on the idea you might want to purchase some that you type in a search bar. Going by my own search history 5%, maybe less, of my searches has anything to do with trying to buy something. Most of the time I'm just farting around doing what amounts mindless channel surfing. I imaging most people are generally the same, spending a small about of time researching products, and most of the time looking for everything else.

Use AdBlock (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45169765)

Block them for real without having to have the ad agency (Google) promising to do so.

Ad servers often used to distribute malware (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169777)

Really, companies that in this day and age don't block all ads with a filtering proxy, are running serious security risks. Not only do their employees risk getting viruses and malware through malicious ads, but their surfing behaviour whilst working is being recorded and sold to the highest bidder. It will be trivial for their competition to buy up their surfing stats and see what the competition is doing inside their offices.

Any web site relying on ads for a revenue will find the ads blocked at every possible location, especially when BYOD will start mandating the blocks to be put on home and portable devices as well. Either you run the ads from your own content platform, or they will get blocked. Serving ads for other websites as a business, or logging user data, will lose it's value in the coming years. Companies will figure out they will get shafted and infected if they don't block the traffic of these for their employees, both in the office and at home. It's back to selling ads on your own platform and running your own stats program if you want reliable statistics and income from banners in a few years from now.

Re:Ad servers often used to distribute malware (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45170073)

No they don't. The main players merely do context sensitve scans of the served page and return a div containing keyword / location based search matches.

You are talking complete and utter shit, unless you are openly claiming to surf illegal content sites.

Most sane sites generate plenty of page impression to draw nice income that covers costs. That's why there are placeholder pages on all the big boy sites for things that don't have content.

Don't trust them (5, Informative)

Dunge (922521) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169837)

Don't trust marketers to honor the "do not track", they never will. The solution is simple: Install AdBlock, Ghostery, Disconnect.me AND PeerBlock. Death to online tracking.

Re:Don't trust them (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45169917)

So you like the freeloading thing, don't you? Websites don't magically run themselves, they need a revenue stream.

At least W3C has seen the light on this with DRM in HTML. No ad viewing, no content viewing. Got it? Good.

Re:Don't trust them (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45170163)

As with all DRM, it will be circumvented. No dice.

Re:Don't trust them (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45170293)

Websites don't magically run themselves, they need a revenue stream.

Cool.

So where's my check from Slashdot for all the content I've provided for them in the manner of comments over the years?

Talk about freeloading.

Just deleted cookies? (1)

Lucky75 (1265142) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169869)

Isn't it possible that this guy just deleted his cookies? My browser is blocking 3rd party cookies, so I can't "opt out".

Re:Just deleted cookies? (1)

Lucky75 (1265142) | 1 year,11 days | (#45169881)

And didn't firefox recently change the default to "block 3rd party cookies"?

Europe almost had it right (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45170049)

But they went for cookies instead of evil trackers.

Sorry Europe, but your princess is in another castle..

Basic misunderstanding (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#45170175)

When I see things like this:

And even if you have opted out, these ads may still be dropping the same cookies on your hard drive to collect data about you for other reasons, like analyzing ad performance or determining your location.

it makes me think people simply don't understand computers. No ad or web page has ever "dropped cookies" on anyone's hard drive. Browsers do that.

In this case, it sounds like the guy has a browser that saves Just Whatever cookies are ever offered to it, and apparently long-term. How quaint. I didn't know anyone still used those kinds of browsers.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?