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The Man Responsible For Pop-Up Ads On Building a Better Web

samzenpus posted about a month ago | from the a-special-place-in-hell dept.

Advertising 135

An anonymous reader writes Above all, Ethan Zuckerman wants you to know that he is sorry. In the mid-1990s, Zuckerman was working as a designer and programmer for Tripod.com when he wrote the code for the first pop-up ad. He says: "At the end of the day, the business model that got us funded was advertising. The model that got us acquired was analyzing users’ personal homepages so we could better target ads to them. Along the way, we ended up creating one of the most hated tools in the advertiser’s toolkit: the pop-up ad. It was a way to associate an ad with a user’s page without putting it directly on the page, which advertisers worried would imply an association between their brand and the page’s content. Specifically, we came up with it when a major car company freaked out that they’d bought a banner ad on a page that celebrated anal sex. I wrote the code to launch the window and run an ad in it. I’m sorry. Our intentions were good."

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Not sure I believe him... (5, Insightful)

Travis Mansbridge (830557) | about a month ago | (#47676595)

As soon as the tools were added for a web page to open a new web-page, I'm sure pop-ups were "invented" simultaneously across numerous ad agencies.

Re:Not sure I believe him... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47676673)

Exactly. First to implement =/= Invent.

And their intentions were not "good", their intentions were to get funded, and later, to get acquired.

Re:Not sure I believe him... (1)

F.Ultra (1673484) | about a month ago | (#47677027)

Why is an intent to get funded not "good" ?

Re:Not sure I believe him... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47677933)

Do you know who also wanted to get funded?

Hitler.

Re:Not sure I believe him... (1)

Black LED (1957016) | about a month ago | (#47679253)

So do the Red Cross, NASA and cancer research centres.

Re:Not sure I believe him... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47679527)

And they do it without inventing pop-up ads. See the difference.

Re:Not sure I believe him... (1)

Black LED (1957016) | about a month ago | (#47680727)

Are you saying Hitler used pop-up ads then?

Re:Not sure I believe him... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47681201)

Hitler was not that evil.

Re:Not sure I believe him... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47679713)

Funding is a totally good thing. Just so you know, I also personally need funding, for my culturally important activities. And by "culturally important activities", I mean hookers and blow. Some herb, too, but mostly hookers and blow. 'cause it's traditional.

Re:Not sure I believe him... (1)

cbhacking (979169) | about a month ago | (#47680649)

Because money is not, in and of itself, good? Their intentions may not have been evil - turns out it's not a dichotomy after all - but for their intentions to be *good* they would need to have intended greater benefit than harm. It's possible they did, in fact, intend that - and were just really, stupidly naïve (does Slashcode present that correctly?) - but I am having a hard time seeing it. Getting other people to give you money is not an inherently good thing. Producing something of greater value than the cost to produce it and thus enriching society is good, I would argue, but I'm not sure that's what they did here and I'm not even sure that's what they intended. The pursuit of wealth does not inherently produce a net positive value to the world.

Re:Not sure I believe him... (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a month ago | (#47677039)

As soon as the tools were added for a web page to open a new web-page, I'm sure pop-ups were "invented" simultaneously across numerous ad agencies.

On the other hand, if somebody confesses to such a heinous crime it's probably worth at least giving their sincerity the benefit of the doubt...

This isn't like people fighting over a patent or the glory associated with some scientific discovery. This is a guy voluntarily admitting that he's guilty of a sin for which there will not, must not, and can not, be any forgiveness.

Re:Not sure I believe him... (1, Offtopic)

Immerman (2627577) | about a month ago | (#47677213)

I can confess to the holocaust, that doesn't mean the crime actually rests on my shoulders. Hell, I wasn't even born at the time.

Re:Not sure I believe him... (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a month ago | (#47678273)

Not all confessions are true; but the incentive to lie about having done good is obvious, while the incentive to lie about having done bad is less clear.

Re:Not sure I believe him... (2)

TWX (665546) | about a month ago | (#47677309)

Heh. The screenwriter that took L. Ron Hubbard's Battlefield Earth and turned it into a movie later apologized too; apparently he met a hot girl that turned out to be a scientologist and she convinced him to do the screenplay, and his libido obliged.

Re:Battlefield Earth (1)

DocSavage64109 (799754) | about a month ago | (#47678005)

What's wrong with Battlefield Earth? That movie is freaking hilarious. I am rather angry that they removed one of my favorite scenes from the DVD -- the one where they are debating if humans can fly and they drop a guy off a cliff to find out.

Re:Not sure I believe him... (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a month ago | (#47679765)

He made great improvements on the book.

Not sure I believe him... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47678215)

Yeah, seems a bit of a spurious claim. You could argue the developers who added the ability to open new windows to the browsers are more responsible (and put a lot more work it).

And what's the back-patting "I'm such a leet hacker" bit all about:

"Not only did I deploy what was probably the first popup, I wrote the javascript and the server-side Perl to launch it," Zuckerman told me in a follow-up. "I'm old."

It wouldn't of been much claim to fame if he hadn't written the javascript would it? "Yes, I FTP'd the first popup ad code to a web server (but someone else wrote it)"... He wrote a few lines of javascript with a "window.open" call. It's not exactly rocket science. And what's server side Perl got to do with 'inventing' the popup advert? The server side code has nothing to do with creating the popup, it could just as easily be a static html file.

If only he'd taken out a patent... (4, Insightful)

ConfusedVorlon (657247) | about a month ago | (#47676607)

A very expensive patent that was litigated aggressively...

Paving to the road to hell (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47676613)

[quote] Our intentions were good. [/quote]
FVO "good" meaning "to make money". Not unsurprising in the Capitalist America, but still a bit too easy.

Not that I care much, if not him someone else would've thought this one up. Pop-overs, pop-unders, pop-ins, insertions, insertions by your own ISP, unbidden playing of something VERY LOUD, possibly with video attached, what-have-you. There's something about advertising that invariably brings out the most obnoxious in the advertiser. Or even outright evil, like advertising toolbars and other malware.

It's what commerce does, it what it must do if it's effectively a religion to you.

Paving to the road to hell (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47676793)

Agreed. Advertiser's intentions are never good. Their intention is to manipulate people at a subconscious emotional level in order to get their money. "Good" is when you donate to charity, not when you manipulate people.

Re:Paving to the road to hell (1)

Nite_Hawk (1304) | about a month ago | (#47676881)

I disagree, though only to a limited extent. There is a legitimate net good that can be accomplished by connecting people who need goods and people who make goods. What form this takes has changed dramatically over the years, but it's important that people ultimately know where they can go to get something they want/need to improve their lives (be that medicine, food, entertainment, etc).

Having said this, I generally agree with you that advertising has numerous dark sides and often manipulation is involved. There is some spectrum where providing information turns into attempting to manipulate people's minds. You run into the same problem everywhere though including places like Wikipedia (which I think is a fantastic benefit for society), so it's not unique to advertising. I think the best you can do is try to teach people to understand when they are being manipulated and hopefully it will some day cease to be profitable enough for folks to continue doing (one can always hope).

Re:Paving to the road to hell (1)

TWX (665546) | about a month ago | (#47677369)

I look at it that nothing is free. We pay for what's "free" in other-than-currency means, but we still pay. Advertising and the subscriber's or reader's looking at it has been a way to pay for "free" newspapers for well over a hundred years. Attempting to adapt it to the world wide web model was no surprise.

And for those that want to argue that FOSS is truly free, anyone that has spent hours and hours of their time attempting to get something to work that would have worked out-of-the-box with a commercial solution definitely know the price of free software. We still pay it, mind you, but that price exists.

Re:Paving to the road to hell (1)

Deep Esophagus (686515) | about a month ago | (#47678833)

Advertising and the subscriber's or reader's looking at it has been a way to pay for "free" newspapers for well over a hundred years.

My kingdom for mod points.

I don't install AdBlock Plus, for exactly that reason. I accept the implied contract that I am getting "free" content in exchange for being willing to at least be aware that there are ads trying to get my attention.

Now having said that, pop-up ads and their ilk get blocked by NoScript and FlashBlock. I accept ads in the margins of online content, just as I accept ads in the margins of printed content; I accept (somewhat less cheerfully) inline ads that interrupt content just as I accept full-page ads and blow-in cards in the middle of magazine articles. I even accept 30-second ads before streaming content (although any longer than 15 seconds, I'll hit the "skip ad" button quickly). But anything that directly impedes my viewing experience; anything that wrests control of my computer from me... I will put a stop to that REAL fast.

So... it's all about balance between the content provider's need to buy groceries and our need to maintain control over our own computing environment. Block the intrusive ads, but allow the passive ones through -- or give up on having free content.

Re:Paving to the road to hell (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about a month ago | (#47677435)

> I think the best you can do is try to teach people to understand when they are being manipulated and hopefully it will some day cease to be profitable enough for folks to continue doing (one can always hope).

I can do you one better - we could ban ALL attempts at psychological manipulation in advertising, restricting ads to only strictly factual statements about the product. If that's a bit to vague for we could start with a set of concrete guidelines: No sexuality or sensuality of any form will be portrayed or implied in an ad. No social situations will be displayed or heard. No implications may be made that a product will increase your social status or other desirable qualities unless it is specifically being marketed to do so (and is thus vulnerable to false advertising charges). And I'm sure we could think of a few more, and would have to add still more as marketers found new buttons to push.

That would still allow advertisers to inform their audience of the availability of their product and whatever wonderful features it has. They just can't attempt to inspire any emotions other than "this is a wonderful product on it's own merits". You can show the car and its luxurious interior, you can list it's impressive specs, and demonstrate the surly growl of the engine. You just can't attempt to manipulate your audience into wanting it more than they're pre-inclined to do.

Re:Paving to the road to hell (1)

DavidHumus (725117) | about a month ago | (#47678663)

Not to troll, but the problem with restricting advertising is that you are restricting free speech. This is a legitimate concern: who makes the decisions and on what basis when you start down the path of "strictly factual"? It's not that simple. Any number of repressive governments across the globe have laws against publicizing "false" statements but these laws are clearly used to suppress anything they don't like.

Re:Paving to the road to hell (1)

Sentrion (964745) | about a month ago | (#47677463)

Nowadays even the charities have gone too far with some of the obnoxious lengths they go to in order to extract one more dollar from their donors. Shortly before my mother died she began sending large monetary gifts to a few of her favorite charities. She ended up getting non-stop calls all throughout the day and night from dozens of charities pleading for her to contribute. Some of them were sneaky, with recurring auto debit agreements buried in fine print. On the phone they were very pushy, fast talking, always closing, and quite presumptuous. Many calls went like this: "Hi, I'm [name] calling on behalf of [name]. We're calling to confirm your donation today to our fundraising campaign. Please confirm your credit card number for a monthly contribution of $120...". We heard this from organizations that she had never contributed to. Most of the call centers were privately contracted, for-profit fundraising companies, probably staff by ex Comcast and AOL CRS's. She was on the National Do Not Call list, but there was no DO NOT CALL list to keep the pestering charities away. The whole experience really turned me off. Since I have special needs kids who don't get any support from any charities or government agencies, my donations go directly into their Special Needs Trust. But if I were to support a charity, I would only do it absolutely anonymously.

Re:Paving to the road to hell (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about a month ago | (#47678703)

Really so Greenpeace, Amnesty International, Feed the Children, St. Jude Children's Hospital, and the United Way are all evil?
""Good" is when you donate to charity, not when you manipulate people"

Is it good to manipulate people to donate to your charity?

Re:Paving to the road to hell (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a month ago | (#47679799)

The United Way _is_ absolutely evil.

They do NOTHING. All they do is distribute the money they collect. And keep 70%+ for admin.

Also note the salary of the president of the United Way. There are many companies where you will simply never advance unless you allow them to take money from your check for the United Way. Big cheeses at these companies are rewarded with the no-show president of the United Way job (and million dollar salary) after they retire from their primary job.

In other words 'The United Way' IS EVIL.

It's even worse (1)

demon driver (1046738) | about a month ago | (#47676831)

You're factually right, of course, except for the religion part. Indeed, it's worse than religion, because you can always free yourself of religion, while on the other side and for the time being, capitalism is the one currently available world operating system, wherein the only thing keeping everything going (including the world itself) is profit – until the world finds another, better operating system.

The free market will fix it! (2)

penguinoid (724646) | about a month ago | (#47677307)

Not that I care much, if not him someone else would've thought this one up. Pop-overs, pop-unders, pop-ins, insertions, insertions by your own ISP, unbidden playing of something VERY LOUD, possibly with video attached, what-have-you. There's something about advertising that invariably brings out the most obnoxious in the advertiser. Or even outright evil, like advertising toolbars and other malware.

Don't worry, the free market will fix it!

Re:The free market will fix it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47678611)

Don't worry, the free market will fix it!

Sure and it will. Excessive pop-ups and auto-play videos and such are a signal from a web page to users: "Don't come here." I for one heed such signals.

The free market works slowly sometimes, but it does work. If people really are bothered by pop-ups, people will figure out how to avoid them.

The alternative is a government agency with the power to tell you what you can put on a web site and what you cannot. No. HELL NO.

*pitchfork and torch* (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47676621)

I am reminded of a User Friendly comic.

http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=20030712

Re:*pitchfork and torch* (1)

sirlark (1676276) | about a month ago | (#47676815)

I followed your link, and then clicked random comic, and got this... http://ars.userfriendly.org/ca... [userfriendly.org] Also, appropriate

Re:*pitchfork and torch* (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47677065)

This one is good too -> http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=20021026

Re:*pitchfork and torch* (1)

retchdog (1319261) | about a month ago | (#47677693)

User Friendly is never appropriate.

I heard you were dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47678685)

holy crap, TIL that User Friendly is still around.

Unintended Consequences? (5, Interesting)

BarbaraHudson (3785311) | about a month ago | (#47676625)

... which led to the pop-under, etc. On the bright side, this led to higher adoption rates for browsers that supported ad-blockers, noscript, etc. So if it weren't for this guy, Firefox would probably never have gained the traction it did, and the vast majority of people would be stuck on IE.

Re:Unintended Consequences? (3, Interesting)

bunratty (545641) | about a month ago | (#47676769)

I never thought of that as the reason that Firefox became popular (and why Mozilla was quickly becoming popular before that). Back then, Mozilla's built-in popup blocker blocked nearly all popups. IE didn't have any corresponding feature? That sure would be a compelling reason to switch browsers!

When I read the article, the thought I had was that I installed AdBlock Plus only to disable the popups that Firefox didn't block with its built-in blocker when popups evolved to get around it. Is there still not an ad blocker that blocks only the most annoying ads such as popups?

Re:Unintended Consequences? (1)

penguinoid (724646) | about a month ago | (#47677359)

When I read the article, the thought I had was that I installed AdBlock Plus only to disable the popups that Firefox didn't block with its built-in blocker when popups evolved to get around it. Is there still not an ad blocker that blocks only the most annoying ads such as popups?

AdBlock Plus has the option to block everything, or allow unobtrusive ads. Presumably the latter option will help convince people to tone down the spam while allowing ad revenue.

Re:Unintended Consequences? (1)

bunratty (545641) | about a month ago | (#47677685)

Ah, it took me a while to find it. Under Filter preferences... there's a checkbox for "Allow some non-intrusive advertising." It was already checked when I first found it -- the documentation says it's enabled by default. It doesn't seem to allow much advertising through, yet. Maybe if more advertisers read about the feature [adblockplus.org] and sign the Acceptible Ads Manifesto [acceptableads.org] that will change.

AdBlock = Inferior + 'Souled-Out'... apk (0)

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Re:Unintended Consequences? (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a month ago | (#47677465)

There were a wide selection of helpful pop-up blocking toolbars for IE.

AdBlock = Inferior + 'Souled-Out'... apk (0)

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2.) Ghostery (Advertiser owned) - "Fox guards henhouse"
3.) Request Policy -> http://yro.slashdot.org/commen... [slashdot.org]

B.) Hosts add reliability vs. downed/redirected dns (& overcome redirects on sites, /. beta as an example).

C.) Hosts secure vs. malicious domains too -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comme... [slashdot.org] w/ less added "moving parts" complexity/room 4 breakdown,

D.) Hosts files yield more:

1.) Speed (adblock & hardcodes fav sites - faster than remote dns)
2.) Security (vs. malicious domains serving malcontent + block spam/phish & trackers)
3.) Reliability (vs. downed or Kaminsky redirect vulnerable dns, 99% = unpatched vs. it & worst @ isp level + weak vs Fastflux + dynamic dns botnets)
4.) Anonymity (vs. dns request logs + dnsbl's).

---

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* Addons = more complex + slow browsers in message passing (use a few concurrently & see) & are nullified by native browser methods - It's how Clarityray is destroying Adblock.

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Re:Unintended Consequences? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47678565)

For me the killer feature was EXTENSIONS. Finally, being able to do that one little thing I always wanted to do but didn't have the skill to code.

earth shaking news,, hurry sundown gang of 85 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47676635)

keep us above the waste we plead? https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=wmd+weather+media fortunately no one is to blame? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2V3SNrkpp0

good intentions? (4, Insightful)

radja (58949) | about a month ago | (#47676639)

the intention was to show advertising to people. Steal their bandwidth and hide real content without getting approval. The intentions of advertising on the web were never good, they were evil. And all that because some companies want to line their pockets.

Re:good intentions? (3, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a month ago | (#47676663)

Not entirely evil. Thanks to those ad-funded companies like Tripod, many people were able to create websites that could not otherwise have afforded to do so. Web hosting was expensive back in those days, and even now it'll still cost you at least ten quid a month or so, which is a significant amount for some. Even today we continue to reap the benefits of advertising-based businesses for all manner of useful things - even though the ads themselves are so loathed that many users find ways to block them.

Re:good intentions? (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about a month ago | (#47676771)

hell i learned how to code on tripod (and geoshitties before that) as a teen it made sense, didnt cost my parents any money and i got to tinker.

Re:good intentions? (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a month ago | (#47677497)

Back in the day most people had free web space through their ISPs.

I'm with HostPresto for £1.60/month. Okay, I pay for a domain name on top, something like £10/year. PHP, databases, easy install control panel etc. Hosting is dirt cheap now. Google Sites is free too, and has no ads. Well, Google tracks visitors, but there are certainly no pop-ups or banners.

Tripod was always just shit I'm afraid. Noobs tricked into using an "easy" platform that spammed their visitors. At the very least, there were alternatives that didn't have pop-ups or animated GIF banners.

Re:good intentions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47678185)

I remember using Tripod, Geocities, and Angelfire. On all of them at one point or another you could pull off wrapping the <body> tag in a <comment></comment> and have an ad-free page as they just inserted their code immediately following the body.

Ahhh, standards non-compliance...

Re:good intentions? (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about a month ago | (#47677935)

Web hosting was expensive back in those days, and even now it'll still cost you at least ten quid a month or so.

Not true. All it cost, then or now, was a DSL-or-better Internet connection (that you wanted whether you had your own website or not)*, free account with a dynamic DNS service and electricity to keep your home computer running 24/7.

(* OK, I admit Tripod may have been useful in the dial-up era, but still...)

Wrong protocol for you, you want nntp (0)

raymorris (2726007) | about a month ago | (#47676913)

I think you took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up on http. If you want to pay cash to have discussions, you want to be on nntp newsgroups.
Here on the web, ads pay for the sites, such as this one, so you don't have to pay cash.

Re:Wrong protocol for you, you want nntp (0)

radja (58949) | about a month ago | (#47676965)

the site is paid for by putting ads among the content. Luckily, I have taken measures to prevent those ads stealing bandwidth. I have never consented to being shown ads, its purely between the site and the advertiser. The viewer is not part of the deal, so don't bother the viewer with ads, unless he asked for it.

Re:Wrong protocol for you, you want nntp (2)

F.Ultra (1673484) | about a month ago | (#47677051)

Well you asked for the site, and the site is funded by ads so in some sort of way you did ask for the ads.

Re:Wrong protocol for you, you want nntp (0)

radja (58949) | about a month ago | (#47677377)

I'm not responsible for the site's funding. I AM responsible for the bandwidth I pay for. I'm also responsible for how the site is rendered on my screen. I did not ask for ads, either implicitly or explicitly, and was never asked if I wanted to see ads. Advertising is also an attack vector, so blocking ads is also about my safety.

Just as much as you asked for News for nerds (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about a month ago | (#47678069)

You knew that at Slashdot.org, you'd find "news for nerds". You intentionally loaded Slashdot to get what is on Slashdot (news, discussion).
You knew that at Slashdot.org, you'd find ads. You intentionally loaded Slashdot to get what is on Slashdot (ads).

So yes, you did ask for the ads, just as much as you asked for the discussion - you intentionally requested a page that has those things.

If you want a discussion without ads, nntp or IRC is for you. You are welcome to pay Dejanews directly rather than paying Slashdot indirectly.
If you choose to come here, to a site with ads, knowing that the service provided to you is provided by ad revenue, don't bitch about receiving exactly what Slashdot offers - news and discussion financed by ads. If you don't want what Slashdot offers, don't come to Slashdot. Simple.

Re:Just as much as you asked for News for nerds (1)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | about a month ago | (#47678731)

You knew that at Slashdot.org, you'd find "news for nerds". You intentionally loaded Slashdot to get what is on Slashdot (news, discussion).
You knew that at Slashdot.org, you'd find ads. You intentionally loaded Slashdot to get what is on Slashdot (ads).

While you did know that you'd find ads, that doesn't imply that you "intentionally loaded Slashdot to get ... ads". You just wanted the news & discussion; the ads are an unwanted side effect, impurities in the data stream. You agreed to accept whatever the site sends you in response to your request, but that doesn't imply you have to display it, run embedded code, or follow the links. A good web-browser with plugins like Ad Block will help to refine the signal from the noise, simultaneously improving both load times and security.

Advertising.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47676643)

NEVER has good intentions. EVER

Your apology will never be enough to excuse what you wrought

Don't sweat it... (1)

MasseKid (1294554) | about a month ago | (#47676647)

Why sweat it? This was the obvious next step in advertising. If he hadn't of done it, someone else would have done it a few days/weeks/months later.

Don't sweat it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47676667)

"If I hadn't followed orders, someone else would have."

I come from a wealthy family which has done some fairly atrocious things serving horrible people, and got very rich in the process. That line has been used by them over and over.

You know what? If the best people refuse to do something - especially if they shout loudly about what they were asked to do - then it gets done badly, or not at all.

Makes sense (5, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a month ago | (#47676657)

We finally have it confirmed that pop-up ads are the result of anal sex. Makes sense to me.

Re:Makes sense (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47676787)

I don't think that's fair; anal sex can be enjoyable sometimes, pop up ads never are!

Wouldnt be the first time (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47676659)

Jewish guy claims he invented something that already existed.
but it does prove those Jews will do anything for money, ANYTHING

Re:Wouldnt be the first time (1)

F.Ultra (1673484) | about a month ago | (#47677061)

No it simply means that he is aiming for a position at Apple.

appreciate (1)

Cardoor (3488091) | about a month ago | (#47676671)

i appreciate the apology. i imagine steve buscemi crossing his name off a list with a crayon and then smearing lipstick all over his face.

And of course if you RTFA ... (1)

BarbaraHudson (3785311) | about a month ago | (#47676687)

... it's blocked by a pop-up.

Targeting algorithm wrong (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47676691)

Specifically, we came up with it when a major car company freaked out that they’d bought a banner ad on a page that celebrated anal sex.

The targeting algorithm was obviously wrong, this site should have had ads for Apple.

I was in marketing too... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47676713)

But I have to admit that if my intentions were ever good, I wasn't actually marketing anymore. I'm glad that he's apologetic, but let's not push the junk mail and pretend users wanted it.

I was in Marketing too... (5, Insightful)

Vitriol+Angst (458300) | about a month ago | (#47676719)

But I have to admit that if my intentions were ever good, I wasn't actually marketing anymore. I'm glad that he's apologetic, but he was in marketing. You don't swing a pitchfork in Hell and pretend you don't work there.

This technology sounds totally cool! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47676725)

This technology sounds totally cool. I'd like to see them use it to make pop-up ads on the shitty Slashdot Beta site. They could make pop-up ads to counter the user's extreme boredom as this user waits for the shitty Beta site's page and all its shitty JavaScript and CSS crap to initially load. Then they make pop-up ads on to record the exact back-button click when the person notices that it's the shitty Beta site rather than the Classic site, and the person's anger starts to grow. The pop-up ads would progressively cause the user's anger to turn into madness, and then finally utter and complete disappointment and despair once the shitty Beta site has finally loaded. The pop-up ads could also cause the formation and flow of the very first of many teardrops to cascade down this poor victim's cheeks as the user struggles in vain to read the stories' small text with poor contrast. The total anguish could be examined in excruciating detail, so the awful nature of the Slashdot Beta site could be truly comprehended.

Not PC, but I think I'm justified in saying (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47676767)

a major car company freaked out that they’d bought a banner ad on a page that celebrated anal sex. I wrote the code to launch the window and run an ad in it. I’m sorry

That was so gay!

Re:Not PC, but I think I'm justified in saying (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a month ago | (#47677265)

Only gay people have anal sex? I better tell my wife.

Re:Not PC, but I think I'm justified in saying (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a month ago | (#47679831)

You married her (and her strap-on).

Re:Not PC, but I think I'm justified in saying (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a month ago | (#47680609)

I knew she wasn't referring to my brain when she said I was always behind.

"Our Intentions were good." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47676799)

Ya, and the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Facebook (3, Funny)

Stele (9443) | about a month ago | (#47676803)

And then he went on to write Facebook. I'm not sure I like this guy.

Re:Facebook (1)

mmell (832646) | about a month ago | (#47677009)

You're thinking of Mark. Ethan went on to be an agent working for the IMF.

Re:Facebook (1)

Stele (9443) | about a month ago | (#47677331)

I should have a put a smiley.

Good intentions in marketing? (5, Insightful)

thegarbz (1787294) | about a month ago | (#47676819)

There are no such things as good intentions, at least not for users.

Marketing is about manipulating and about out-shouting the competition. This is not at all restricted to the internet. The obvious progression on the internet was stationary ads, animated ads, ads that pop up over content, ads that were indistinguishable from content, ads that bypassed adblockers, ads that started playing sound, ads that start playing videos, and now ads that pop up in the middle of videos.

We saw the same thing with TVs, ads in the ad breaks, louder ads in the ad breaks, longer ad breaks, ads popping up at the bottom of the screen during content, ads featured in content (not all actors like drinking Coke).

Oh and on billboards which were painted on the side of buildings, then free standing, then free standing with lots of lighting shining on them, and now a back lit video billboard which is blindingly bright at night.

Sorry buddy but you never had "good intentions".

Good intentions in marketing? (1)

BarbaraHudson (3785311) | about a month ago | (#47677137)

Look at the bright side of online ads. If you don't like something and want it changed, instead of uselessly complaining to the site owner, you can complain where it really hurts - the advertisers. Works in the real world all the time. Popups suck, no question about it, but a banner or sidebar, if it's paying for the site, I'm not going to complain. Noisy video ads, on the other hand ... can't close the tab fast enough.

Re:Good intentions in marketing? (1)

penguinoid (724646) | about a month ago | (#47677489)

It is theoretically possible to do marketing with good intentions -- there are people who would really benefit from a product but don't know about it. If you could target your ads to exactly those customers, well enough to make up for showing the ad to people who wouldn't benefit from it and especially not to people who would buy it and regret it, then it would be a net positive.

Of course you'd need to get a well-intentioned marketer working for a well-intentioned company who can tell the difference between a slacker and a well-intentioned marketer. So, it's basically impossible.

Re:Good intentions in marketing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47679977)

quote>Sorry buddy but you never had "good intentions".

I've had this discussion with ad people, telling them "just because you club baby seals for a living" and its legal, its not ok. If your living depends on smashing something(ones) face in and you can't see the evil, you are the evil. Hang on! that nice man from Windows is calling to tell me about the latest virus on my computer again. And fuck beta with a hot poker all to hell.

Oh, we believe you (1)

Greg Heller (3031971) | about a month ago | (#47676841)

At the end of the day -- you are still a worm Zuckerman

Sofia Lucifairy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47676849)

Sofia Koutsouveli Sofia Lucifairy lucifairy7@gmail.com

The road to hell... (1)

jsh1972 (1095519) | about a month ago | (#47676857)

... is paved with good intentions.

No they weren't (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | about a month ago | (#47676931)

The mere fact that they had purchased the ad on that particular page shows their intentions weren't good at all but strictly profit motivated. A "good" response would have been to remove the ad, not create a pop-up. On the other hand, the car company should have fired them.

Re:No they weren't (1)

F.Ultra (1673484) | about a month ago | (#47677089)

They? He worked for Tripod.com, they where a web hosting company. The car company bought ads to be shown on the sites that Tripod.com hosted. Removing that particular ad might have been a working solution but he just brought up the one case that made them rethink how they placed ads on their hosted sites, not that they _had_ to use popups due to this very car ad.

Who freaks who out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47677043)

Well maybe I did't want that car ad on my tripod page either, did they consider that?

It's easy. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a month ago | (#47677071)

First we hang you and your kind.

Then we'll work something out.

So what's the anal sex car? (1)

swb (14022) | about a month ago | (#47677499)

And is it the preferred brand of, well, drivers or passengers?

Re:So what's the anal sex car? (1)

Cardoor (3488091) | about a month ago | (#47677963)

is that anything like anal bum cover? i think that was a jeopardy category

Major car company ... (1)

PPH (736903) | about a month ago | (#47677523)

... freaked out about ads on anal sex site? Why? They didn't have a model equipped with heated seats?

Re:Major car company ... (1)

retchdog (1319261) | about a month ago | (#47677707)

i know, instead of pop-ups, they should have invented tailored advertising: https://www.google.com/search?... [google.com]

Re:Major car company ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47677741)

It must have been a car company run by people with Catholic persuasions.

Re:Major car company ... (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about a month ago | (#47678729)

A better question is who complained?
Was it, "I was looking this web page because.....

Re:Major car company ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47679707)

The marketing department of Tata Motors must have fun with context derived advertising. The sites exalting the virtues of motor boating surely always get a hit.

same biz model today (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about a month ago | (#47677815)

The model that got us acquired was analyzing users’ personal homepages so we could better target ads to them.

**of course**

that's the narrative for most tech companies that we see in the media being depicted as "successful"

that's the model and everyone knows it...this guy was a fool if he didn't see it (but i accept his apology!)

seriously, /. the above quotation explains quite a bit of conflict in tech today...it's about **incentives**

with the above business model, the incentives all go in the wrong direction: towards 'big brothering' a person as an internet profit model

we must end this notion forever!

The road to hell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47678351)

Is paved with good intentions.

confession (1)

CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) | about a month ago | (#47678939)

Bless ye my son. After your confession, write 10 quicksort algorithms and ye will be absolved of thy sins.
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