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Coming Soon to a Wireless Hotspot Near You: Ads

CowboyNeal posted more than 10 years ago | from the information-superhighway-billboards dept.

Wireless Networking 363

mindless4210 writes "A new generation of spam is born with the launch of FreeFi's new Wi-Fi advertising network. It is the first service of its kind, with intentions of delivering ad content to hotspots around the world starting in mid-Summer. FreeFi's President, Lawrence Laffer, says that the service displays a 'persistent set of ads adjacent to the user's browser without use of invasive advertising software or pop-up ads.' He also claims '[their] market research indicates that, except for pop-ups, people really don't mind ads.'" This seems like the kind of thing that would keep me from using "free" wireless access, but I've a feeling I'm in the minority.

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Ads... so what? (3, Insightful)

strictnein (318940) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041156)

This seems like the kind of thing that would keep me from using "free" wireless access, but I've a feeling I'm in the minority.

Good... stay off the free service and leave bandwidth for those of us who have the amazing innate ability to ignore ads. Hosting these free hotspots costs money (as does slashdot). They need to recoup their costs or they will go bye-bye. Who f'en cares if there's a little bit of your screen taken up with ads that will be easily ignored (at least by the majority of us not included in your minority)?

It's a good thing you run a website free of ads. Oh... wait... shoot. Now, why again do you have ads? Oh... that's right, to pay for shit.

Mod parent up (5, Funny)

jargoone (166102) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041177)

I was going to say this same thing, thanks for saving me the time.

In other news, television, magazines, radio stations, newspapers, taxi cabs, and sporting events may soon have to turn to advertising to help cover costs.

Re:Ads... so what? (5, Interesting)

crackshoe (751995) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041184)

I'd rather deal with ads (although i'm undecided about flash adds with cutesy soounds) to get free wireless access, although i've had some bad experiences with hotel's that offer free wireless - mostly that they periodically shunt you to a very slow loading, grpahics intensive splash page. Still... free with a catch is still free enough.

Re:Ads... so what? (2, Funny)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041406)

Noisy ads are a PITA. Especially at the campus computer lab I work in. The Dell boxen have built-in speakers that serve as a mono sound output, and IT hasn't gotten around to disabling them in BIOS. (You could disable sound with a ghost image, sure, but that screws over the people who use Sam & Tom, and other applications that are still useful with headphoens.)

Speaking of disruptive (or annoying) sounds...they're doing something in the elecrtonics lab upstairs that sounds like the warp core of the STTNG Enterprise.

Re:Ads... so what? (5, Insightful)

kallisti777 (46059) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041284)

Who f'en cares if there's a little bit of your screen taken up with ads that will be easily ignored?

Amen. I'm just waiting for the deluge of "How dare they!" posts to begin from people with Hotmail and Gmail accounts.

Somehow I doubt they'll see the irony.

Re:Ads... so what? (-1, Flamebait)

nightsweat (604367) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041309)

Yeah, and how about free e-mail? Don't put a spam filter on my account. I have the amazing innate ability to ignore ads. I'm sure I won't eventually be buried in ads.

Didn't NetZero try this and fail miserably? (5, Insightful)

kryonD (163018) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041313)

Granted high speed has more value to it than POTS dialup, but is this company really going to be able to compete? Several states are starting to consider WiFi as a viable public utility that they provide for "free" using the Tax Base. Benefit to the people is seamless wireless access without ads. Benefit to the state is reliable high speed access for public safety and services such as fire, police, EMS, etc.. Plus, once they ensure that everyone is online, they can begin reducing costs by allowing a great deal of government red tape to be handled electronically. (i.e. paying speeding tickets or applying for building permits)

Re:Didn't NetZero try this and fail miserably? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9041467)

While that's an interesting proposal (public wifi), do you have any evidence? AFAICT, even wired networking cannot be made into a public service for whatever reason...

Mirror , just in case (1, Interesting)

pigscanfly.ca (664381) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041397)

Just in case the server crashes and burns (like they usually do),I have put up a mirror.
The mirror of http://www.freefinet.com/ is at http://mirrorit.demonmoo.com/r_304/www.freefinet.c om/ [demonmoo.com]
The mirror of http://www.dailywireless.com/modules.php?name=News &file=article&sid=240 is at http://mirrorit.demonmoo.com/r_304/www.dailywirele ss.com/modules.php%3fname=News&amp%3bfile=article& amp%3bsid=240 [demonmoo.com]
The mirror of http://www.freefinet.com/id13.html is at http://mirrorit.demonmoo.com/r_304/www.freefinet.c om/id13.html [demonmoo.com]

Re:Ads... so what? (5, Insightful)

Cruciform (42896) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041408)

Agreed. Advertising makes the market go 'round. If it pays their bills, and allows them to offer the service, then more power to them.

As long as the ads don't pop-up or pop-under what I'm viewing, or blare out annoying audio soundbites, I don't mind them.

Unobtrusiveness is the key.

I've never had a ThinkGeek ad try to commandeer my attention through brute force, but they still get my clicks now and then. The same can't be said for the ads that come with full audio and video presentations. If I can't block them, I stop visiting the host site until they're gone, or if there is a readily available contact for the advertiser, let them know just how annoying it is.

There's no chance in hell I'll every buy a "Solo" cell phone after the endless waves of annoying ringtone ads that permeated local news sites, and those using geo-specific adware. But if I could get free wi-fi at a local coffee shop and see ads for local businesses letting me know what they have to offer, I wouldn't complain. Heck, I'd even fill out an "interests" questionnaire to generate an *anonymous* cookie if it meant that the served ads were relevant to me.

Advertising does not have to be the enemy. They just need to learn how to deal with their prospective audiences. And then small businesses can offer great things like free wi-fi without eating the overhead themselves.

Re:Ads... so what? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9041498)

Thinkgeek sells the most stupid shit, though. It's really sad how it caters to the retarded obsession 'geeks' have with caffiene. Honestly, you must be a real loser if you buy anything from there.

Re:Ads... so what? (1)

azav (469988) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041418)

I hate ads.

The response is simple.

Ad Filter.

Re:Ads... so what? (1)

scovetta (632629) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041420)

...the amazing innate ability to ignore ads

And once they know you're ignoring the, they'll make them flash pop-overs, etc until you're so angry you ALMOST won't use their service. Squeeze every last cent they can from you. Yay capitalism.

Re:Ads... so what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9041451)

Yay capitalism.

Go communism! Make everyone pay for the "free" wifi access, right?

Re:Ads... so what? (1)

French Mailman (773320) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041423)

Isn't there a possibility that this ad service will at some point become controversial, in the same way that some of the adware in Kazaa, or the Adwords in Google became controversial ? Imagine the guy sitting in a coffee shop, surfing on an airline's website for ticket reservations, and he gets an wifi advertisement for a competing airline while doing so...

Re:Ads... so what? (1)

Major_Small (720272) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041497)

Who f'en cares if there's a little bit of your screen taken up with ads that will be easily ignored (at least by the majority of us not included in your minority)?

I wouldn't mind a small, unobtrusive ad, but if you check out what they're planning, it would annoy me to no ends... the 'adjacent bar' they have a screenshot of looks like nothing more than a cleverly disguised pop-up...

Re:Ads... so what? (1)

Nurf (11774) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041503)

Good... stay off the free service and leave bandwidth for those of us who have the amazing innate ability to ignore ads.

Hm. It seems I do not have this ability. Any motion draws my eye. I feel obligated to absorb everything about me. Adverts are a cancer growing on my existence. I dispise them with all my soul, because I have to consciously ignore them, and it degrades the quality of my existence.

Not everyone is like you. Your "amazing innate ability" is not an ability everyone has, or wants. For the record, I like being interested in everything around me. I'm not going to change that just because of some social leeches.

It's a good thing you run a website free of ads. Oh... wait... shoot. Now, why again do you have ads? Oh... that's right, to pay for shit.

I am a paid slashdot subscriber, for the reasons I have cited above. I think that advertising is slowly losing ground as a way to inflict pain on people in the name of commerce. I live in the hope that it dies the ugly death it deserves (though I know my hope is very probably a dream).

Ah well.

Re:Ads... so what? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9041522)

Who f'en cares if there's a little bit of your screen taken up with ads that will be easily ignored...

If it causes less porn, we hate it.

fp! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9041158)

bah

Before the ads... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9041161)

comes the FP!

Sorry? (2)

Pingular (670773) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041162)

Any kind of popups are invasive.

I wonder.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9041165)

If I could rig my free hotspot AP to show Google ads...

heheh (3, Funny)

f13nd (555737) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041171)

reminds me of good 'ol /. with the ad-banner down the side

Go Anti-Spammers (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9041195)

Wifi is a medium which requires cooperation to work, so if enough people object to this, they can actually do something about the commercials. Drown the ads ... ... or just offer free access to your AP.

Past experience (4, Interesting)

pen (7191) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041201)

Isn't this the same exact thing that NetZero (and Juno and others) have tried in the past with dial-up? Are any of them still offering free access?

The difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9041216)

For each Netzero customer you need a phone line and a modem. With this, one AP with one net connection can serve many people.

Re:Past experience, but (5, Interesting)

millahtime (710421) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041242)

But, Netzero, Juno and others got themselves a customer base from offering free then converted to pay. They turned many of those customers to pay customers. Same thing could be applied here.

It's like drung dealing. First you get them addicted then you start charging.

Re:Past experience, but (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9041433)

It's like drung dealing.

Hmm, did you mean dung dealing? I thought monkeys were the only ones who did that. And, BTW, I don't really find dung dealing to be very appealing. There may be some weirdos out there who like it. But I don't think I'd get addicted to it.

That is, I might get addicted, nay, even willing to pay if the dung dealing was occurring to people whom I loathe. For example, Darl McBride. I'm sure lots of other people would too.

Re:Past experience (4, Informative)

morcego (260031) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041277)

At least in Brazil, there are many ad-based, free dialup ISPs. Many on business for more than 2 years, and doing well.

Re:Past experience (1)

Sirinus (625073) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041485)

Over here in england, I believe we too have a stable base of 'free' providers - they make their money from recieving a portion of the 1 penny a minute the telco charges us to use the phone line. Getting back on topic - employees, infastructure, bandwidth *all* cost money. So other than adverts, or straight up charging, how else can these companies('free' ISPs) stay in the black? I'd much rather have an ad supported, stable backup service/'free' wifi for out-and-about than have to plug in and dial up. ...but then, the next question is, can we trust that these companies arn't going to suddenly turn around and introduce a pay model?

Re:Past experience (3, Informative)

mekkab (133181) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041298)

NetZero still has a LIMITED free service. I used it for immediate dial-up access when my cablemodem went down.

Re:Past experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9041357)

ok dude, i dont mind you having a sig advertising your website. but if you HAVE TO advertise your website in your sig AT LEAST make sure that you fucking mysql connection is setup correctly in your php script. fucking moron

Re:Past experience (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9041468)

Funny IRC quotes about Slashdot:

SQL/DB Error -- [
  1. Error establishing a database connection!
  2. Are you sure you have the correct user/password?
  3. Are you sure that you have typed the correct hostname?
  4. Are you sure that the database server is running?
]

Fatal error: Call to undefined function: write_log() in /home/digdug/public_html/ez_sql.php on line 122

I love that quote! it rokz!!!1

what browser? (5, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041205)

This seems like the kind of thing that would keep me from using "free" wireless access, but I've a feeling I'm in the minority.

Yep, the majority of us will just find a way around it. I kinda doubt they'll be putting ads next to my lynx window.

Re:what browser? (1)

Mateito (746185) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041229)

You've already forgotten the "blink" tag?

Re:what browser? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9041297)

Or next to my Mail.app window, for that matter.

Re:what browser? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9041333)

"Look at me I'm so cool I use a browser that won't give me ads although it's a shame i'll never see a web page like they were meant to be seen...you know, with graphics."

Re:what browser? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9041343)

I'd like to see them get past my proxy filter.

In the end this is a flawed business model. Just think how much T-mobile is charging for wifi access. Do they really think they can make nearly as much with ad supported access? They must have some pretty dumb advertisers lined up. Either that, or they have some other form of income generation up their sleeves.

grtz

Hans [hansdekker.com]

Free with ads? No problem here. (5, Interesting)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041207)

Submitter: He also claims '[their] market research indicates that, except for pop-ups, people really don't mind ads.'"
CowboyNeil: This seems like the kind of thing that would keep me from using "free" wireless access, but I've a feeling I'm in the minority.

Actually, Mr. Cowboy, you just validated their business plan.

While the idea of free wireless Internet access is fun for the user, there's still the annoying fact that someone's paying for your bandwidth. Ideally, geeks like us would be more than happy to open their broadband connections to the world -- I would, if I could get broadband in rural east Texas.

Unfortunately, there aren't enough altruistic geeks per square mile to sustain that "business model". So someone has to pay the bill. Why not advertisers?

I run Opera [opera.com] , but I'm too cheap to pay for it. So I have a banner ad built into my browser. I even click it sometimes -- out of curiosity, or to send Opera some ad clicks. I'm willing to put up with advertising to get the product, and lucky for me, the model is working.

I hope ad-supported wireless access takes off. I wouldn't put my money in the companies, though... anyone remember Bluelight [bluelight.com] ?

Re:Free with ads? No problem here. (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041362)

I'm willing to put up with advertising to get the product, and lucky for me, the model is working.

I have to wonder sometimes how successful banners really are. I used to work at a TV station that had banners on it's web site, and the numbers were pretty dismal. Granted, maybe that's changed since then, but I'd love to see a study done as to the effectiveness of banner ads (I'm sure someone's already done one - I just don't know where to look for it).

Must be closed (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9041209)

The obvious problem with this, is that you'll need special software to be able to use it (so that the ads will be displayed). It will probably be Windows only, and you won't have acces\s to source code, so you won't know what you're really getting or have any idea if it's secure or not.

Maybe you can run it inside Vmware, and have your "real" OS route through the virtual machine. Or the crossover guys could make a hacked WINE just for running this client and network interface.

Re:Must be closed (5, Informative)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041326)

That's not necessarily true. They could set up the access point to run all connections through a proxy, or even run the wireless access point as a proxy, which basically would allow the computer to change web pages on the fly. So they could force all content to resize into a frame (or iframe, or table, or do any of a number of HTML tricks) on whatever portion of the screen they allocate for content, and then put the ad bar in. Or they could create a flash "float over" ad bar. Or they could do any of a number of things to modify the web page, without requiring the user to install any special software at all. Note this would even allow you to play games / whatever online, because it would only modify traffic going over port 80, and then only modify HTML.

Re:Must be closed (2)

doublem (118724) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041411)

You know, if that's the way tehy hadle it, and they don't burden us with annoying ads that jump around or make sound, I say go for it.

Re:Must be closed (1)

XMyth (266414) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041412)

So they'll be monitoring my traffic AND spamming me with ads?! BAH! PRIVACY PRIVACY PRIVACY!!!!

Re:Must be closed (1)

XMyth (266414) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041445)

pseudo /sarcasm tag got filtered out apparently....it's there though!

Re:Must be closed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9041448)

SSH boxatwork

route it over SSH, no more problems now :).

Re:Must be closed (2, Informative)

whovian (107062) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041488)

I get a hunch they already can do that. I mean, to get an IP address you lease your IP address in their redirecting your web browser's first request to their log-on site. That would be the simplest way to put in advertising. But of course as these things go, users end up having ads thrust upon them (google take exception).

Re:Must be closed (2, Insightful)

JFitzsimmons (764599) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041489)

But maybe I'm not running a browser... what about when I'm playing online games or using ssh?

Re:Must be closed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9041345)

What about BSD?

Re:Must be closed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9041375)

I don't want to start a holy war here, but what is the deal with you BSD fanatics? I've been sitting here at my freelance gig in front of a BSD box (a PIII 800 w/512 Megs of RAM) for about 20 minutes now while it attempts to copy a 17 Meg file from one folder on the hard drive to another folder. 20 minutes. At home, on my Pentium Pro 200 running NT 4, which by all standards should be a lot slower than this BSD box, the same operation would take about 2 minutes. If that.

In addition, during this file transfer, Netscape will not work. And everything else has ground to a halt. Even Emacs Lite is straining to keep up as I type this.

I won't bore you with the laundry list of other problems that I've encountered while working on various BSD machines, but suffice it to say there have been many, not the least of which is I've never seen a BSD box that has run faster than its Windows counterpart, despite the BSD machines faster chip architecture. My 486/66 with 8 megs of ram runs faster than this 800 mhz machine at times. From a productivity standpoint, I don't get how people can claim that BSD is a "superior" machine.

BSD addicts, flame me if you'd like, but I'd rather hear some intelligent reasons why anyone would choose to use a BSD over other faster, cheaper, more stable systems.

Re:Must be closed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9041499)

...because, uh, it's open source! And we all know that anything open source will be better than its closed source equivalent, even if the former is slower. Because open source is somehow intrinisically better.

Seriously, though, it sounds like there's something wrong with that machine's hardware. Could you put another OS (Windows?) on a different hard disk and try the same operation, and see if the same thing happens?

I haven't had your experiences with FreeBSD, other than to say that I thought the installer really sucked. It seemed about as fast as any Linux install I've tried.

Let's whine about it (3, Interesting)

Myrrh (53301) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041430)

It's cool, it's FREE, supported by nonintrusive ads on the side of your Web browser, and it's likely fast, too.

And all a significant portion of the Slashdot crowd can think to do is whine about it being "probably closed source" and "probably Windows" and you don't know if it's secure or not ... cry me a river.

You want to use it, cool. Don't do anything that you wouldn't want published in the NY Times. Do that stuff at home.

If you want your Open Source and your Linux and your guarantees that it's free, well, open up your own business and give away YOUR bandwidth.

And quit whining, dammit. Geesh. Use it or don't.

Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9041211)

Appears to be windows only?

No thanks. I don't have windows on this laptop any longer for a REASON, bubb.

Been there done that (3, Insightful)

MoneyT (548795) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041217)

And it failed too, remember free dialup? Free internet access for looking at ads. Where did they all go? Out of business.

Re:Been there done that (3, Insightful)

MysticalMatt517 (772389) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041303)

Ahem... [netzero.net] They offer a free account with ads and a paid account that's inexpensive with no ads. Seems like a pretty good business model.

Re:Been there done that (2, Insightful)

mconeone (765767) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041389)

Yes it was done and wasn't profitable. Does it change the fact that people used it and enjoyed it? All this says is that its not very wise to make free wireless in the first place. I disagree. I see the real benefit in this lies not in making existing wireless cheaper, but in expanding the reach of wireless by allowing it to be in places that would not normally be covered. Think waiting rooms and fast food restaurants. The business sees a benefit without cost, the user gets free wireless. And of course, if the ads get to you, you can go to a place that provides their own wireless access without ads.

Re:Been there done that (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041413)

"And it failed too, remember free dialup? Free internet access for looking at ads. Where did they all go? Out of business."

Actually, no, they coverted to $10/month internet and are still going.

It's pure capitalism (5, Insightful)

Jack Wagner (444727) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041218)

Lets face it, nobody wants to look at an ad, but companies blast them out for a reason. It's the seed that drives the revenue that makes the giant capitalist machine plod onward. You need look no further than the former communist Russia if you want a failed model for how to do commerce, why do you think they never had a spam problem in Russia???

Sure the ad system isn't the best but it's functional and beats having to wait in line for 45 minutes to buy a pack of $20 ciggarettes in a Socialist/Communist society.

You can't have your cake and eat it too I'm afraid.

But how does it work? (3, Insightful)

TooTallFourThinking (206334) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041226)

I kept looking for how it actual works but didn't see anything. Maybe I just don't have much Wi-Fi experience. Are the ads forced through the browser? Does a custom piece of software need to run first? I'm not quite sure how the ads are going to get onto my computer screen.

Re:But how does it work? (1, Insightful)

LilMikey (615759) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041304)

My best guess would be the free WiFi forces you through a proxy that'll insert the ads mid-stream. One major downside to that, apart from the actual advertising of course, is that it's often not perfect and may dork up the page. That's the only method I could imagine that wouldn't really piss people off or be more trouble than free WiFi is worth.

Re:But how does it work? (1)

jagilbertvt (447707) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041347)

my guess would be a transparent proxy via squid or similar package. Thus they can put a wrapper on anything you see.

Re:But how does it work? (1)

Depili (749436) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041349)

Thy will probably use a proxy to modify all the pages that you view to include a banner in a frame or something like that, quite easy to do.

Re:But how does it work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9041466)

You're not very smart. They come through the browser, since that's how you get to the internet. Duh.

Oh, this will play out as usual. (5, Insightful)

Sevn (12012) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041228)

Someone will write an application/patch/work-around that deactivates their ads without effecting the service. Those in the know will use it. Those not smart enough, or not clued in won't. This is how it always is. The application/patch/work-around will be brought up here of course. It always is.

Two words: duck tape (1)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041452)

> Someone will write an application/patch/work-around
> that deactivates their ads without effecting the service.

Look, all you have to do is put duck tape over the area where their annoying ads pop up. Sure you'll lose some screen space, but without all that distraction you'll actually get some work done. Duck tape rules!

Nice to have a free hotspot, but... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9041235)

...this guy is really named LARRY LAFFER?

ads: Horizontal or Vertical? (3, Interesting)

commo1 (709770) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041243)

This reminds me of an old points programme (emphasis on the "mme") that paid people to surf with ads on their machines..... Now: My poll question: What is more acceptable: Ads a) on top or below your surfing/working window or b) to the left or right? My vote is for the right side, as we normally read from left to right, and the ads are discarded by (my) brain as superflouous. Comments? Opinions?

BTW, I only ask this and entertain the notion because like it or not, ads are going to be a part of the hotspot experience.... why not do it right from the beginning?

Re:ads: Horizontal or Vertical? (1)

Sylver Dragon (445237) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041449)

I think the bottom would work best for me, mostly because I hate having to scroll left to right, and an add on the right ot left hand side would probably create the need to do so. If its on the top, then its right there where you are going to notice it constantly. If its on the bottom, it would seem, to me, to be less noticable. As it is, I think most of us are trained to scroll down for more information, whereas the right to left scroll is less ingrained.

No no no (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9041246)

I will not run foreign code on my computer and nobody else should either. This is just a stepping stone to security vulerabilities that we should be trying to squash, not needlessly encourage.

A computer should be a tight ship. Not a leaky dingy like Microsoft Windows. They have independently spawed a whole category of spyware and malware that's automatically downloaded and executed through the web browser. Need we say more?

adblock anyone? (1)

rsmith (90057) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041247)

I wonder how long it will take before someone develops a program that kills the ads or hides their windows?

Ads are a tax on intelligence (1)

bunhed (208100) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041252)

Would you like to super-size your Wifi today? It's free!

Am I the only one laughing? (1)

asalati (519111) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041253)

FreeFi's President, Lawrence Laffer...

Lawrence Laffer? Now don't tell me his nickname is Larry ...
Or am I the only one here remembering Al Lowe's character?

Re:Am I the only one laughing? (1)

DR SoB (749180) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041379)

Funny, I was thinking "Leisure Suit Larry", wasn't he Larry Laffer?

Not enough info (3, Interesting)

MysticalMatt517 (772389) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041254)

I think I could live with the ads if it was definately a free service. The thing that scares me about this is that eventually we'll start seeing services that make you pay AND cram ads down your throat. (see Cable TV)

Also, it depends on what kind of software they make you install to see the ads / access the network. I'm assuming that they'll have to use something because if it's just a proxy I think it would be to easy too defeat. If they make you install special software, is it going to be Windows only?

I don't have enough details to make judgment yet.

not ads (5, Interesting)

photoblur (552862) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041257)

I'd much rather the hotspot be funded by charging an extra $0.10 for coffee, or whatever the business may be. Actually, I just set up a WiFi hotspot for a local coffeehouse and the "free" WiFi has brought him enough extra business that he feels quite justified in not charging extra for the service.

WiFi should be a condiment, like catsup or salt or paper napkins...

Re:not ads (3, Insightful)

doublem (118724) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041438)

Good point.

The Wi-Fi is, in the classis sense, a "Loss Leader"

If $150 / mo for a business cable modem and $300 in one time setup hardware results in an extra $200 a months in business with no extra "tech support" issues from customers, then it's worth the investment.

Windows Only? (4, Interesting)

loginx (586174) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041258)

This will require software to be installed on the client's computer in order to display the ads besides the browser, I assume.

Does that mean that there is a 99.99% chance that this software won't install on linux (or Mac) and only windows laptops will be able to access those spots?

Isn't there a better way to do this that doesn't require software installation? like injecting HTML code for banner ads in the pages viewed by users on your network like free hosting companies were doing all the time back in the days?

Does that also mean that there will be no way to tell if there is malicious (or even vulnerable) code bundled with the software?

Re:Windows Only? (2, Insightful)

Therlin (126989) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041371)

Actually if you look at the screenshot in the article, it looks like it's simply a new browser window that is sent to the top of the screen while slightly reducing your main browser window. In other words, I believe that this will work with many browsers (but maybe not all).

And in other hot breaking market-research news... (4, Insightful)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041259)

...they've found that the reason people don't mind ads other than pop-ups is that they don't notice them.

Oops, so much for that business model.

Irrelevant ads (1)

toesate (652111) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041260)

He also claims '[their] market research indicates that, except for pop-ups, people really don't mind ads.'

I have a feeling that what people don't mind is context relevant ads.

I, for one, do not like ads that are irrelevant, even if they are along side the browser. Especially if the ads are animated, and loops endlessly.

What about you?

Lawrence Laffer (2, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041274)

"As of 2003, there were almost 10,000 Wi-Fi Hotspots in the U.S. alone" says Lawrence Laffer, President of FreeFi Networks.""

Laffer? Larry Laffer? Ditched the Leisure Suit for a business suit I see.

Re:Lawrence Laffer (1)

tobechar (678914) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041308)

To continue Laffer's quote...

"And we control almost none of them."

:)

What?! (2, Funny)

Huxley_Dunsany (659554) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041281)

...starting in mid-Summer. FreeFi's President, Lawrence Laffer, says that...

Lawrence Laffer? Larry Laffer?! Is this guy Leisure Suit Larry? No wonder he's trying to make more money from ads - he's still trying to get that hooker!

:-)

Huxley

Not Really Spam... (5, Interesting)

zokrath (593920) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041285)

If the free wireless internet access is funded via advertisements, then those ads are not spam. Television ads are not spam; spam is widespread and unsolicited advertisement.

This is not to say that advertising is not often irritating and intrusive, but beggars can not be browsers without being subjected to ads.

Of course, they could very well be monitoring and recording what you are doing online, above and beyond simple browsing information, in the name of 'targeted marketing'. But that is for the tin foil crowd to determine; I do not have a laptop, let alone use wireless access in public locations, so I am not too concerned about the privacy implications, 'First they came for the WiFiers' be damned.

No way this will last... (1, Insightful)

PoprocksCk (756380) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041287)

While this whole thing sounds just great on paper, I truly think it will suffer the exact same fate as NetZero --- placing ads simply does not bring in enough revenue to cover the costs of such a service and to break even, let alone to make a profit.

I'll bet that after a year or two, they'll start charging money, somehow.

Not free?? (1)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041290)

I looked at the site. It allows a location to be a fre or reduced cost hot spot. The service is free or a reduced cost to the location, but is the reduced cost passed one?

And like all other forms of computer advertising (1)

God Hates Liberals (693232) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041292)

The smart will block it, people who don't know better will tolerate it. What is the big fucking deal? And yes, author, you are in the minority. Too bad there's not a RELEVANCE TO MY LIFE threshold.

what about other protocols? (2, Interesting)

corris (154178) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041296)

last I tried, wifi supported other protocols like ftp, ssh, etc. are they going to block those and only allow http?

obviously they're injecting the adds into the http stream.

I'll just ssh to work and tunnel to my proxy server...

Remember that Sierra Game... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9041317)

Leisure Suit Larry - Wasn't his name Larry Laffer. (Larry / Lawrence)

I always wondered what happened to old Larry - thought he died of an STD or something. Turns out he's running a wireless hotspot startup. Who would have thunk it?

spoof these ads too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9041319)

Do you suppose you can block these ads by spoofing your local host table via:

http://pgl.yoyo.org/adservers/

?

PDAs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9041351)


Yeah, that ad thing'll work really well on my Clie UX50.

The PDA Nazi

Fine with me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9041377)

Just means that we all went from being "users of a free service who are not entitled to tech support/guaranteed bandwidth/troubleshooting/etc..." to customers who are.

Market Research by Kang and Kodos (2, Funny)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041401)

market research indicates that, except for pop-ups, people really don't mind ads.

Furthermore, market research* indicates that people really don't mind anal probes.

-kgj

*Market research conducted by Kang and Kodos [szilagyi.us] . All test subjects consented voluntarily to mind-control ray and anal probe. No human species were exterminated during this course of this research. Earth void where prohibited.

No problem at all (5, Informative)

DaHat (247651) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041437)

Long ago I took up updating my hosts file with data from http://pgl.yoyo.org/adservers/ which provides a list of known ad servers that you then point back to your local machine.

I decided to take this one step further and change the mapped to IP to be that of SCO, so that each time I come to Slashdot and don't see their ads, I instead see a small bit of the SCO homepage, what you might call a mini DoS

Handhelds (2, Insightful)

mongolian (768610) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041457)

So what is to happen to the use of handheld computers whose browsers are already hugely limited by screen size? I'd hate to have to use a computer on which literally half of the screen was consumed by advertisements. Still not too bad of a deal for laptop users though. But one would have to be on crack to tolerate that on a CE machine.

Irony (1)

HeghmoH (13204) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041465)

A site which used to be completely free, funded by ads, and is still mostly free and mostly funded by ads, and an editor of said site criticizing another free, ad-funded service because he doesn't like ads. I guess he's lucky not everybody has the same opinion, or else he'd have to find another job.

Larry Laffer? (2, Funny)

Natchswing (588534) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041484)

Wait, Larry Laffer [allowe.com] is choosing the ads for us? I hope they have a PG version.

Cowboy! (-1, Troll)

belgar (254293) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041491)

What the hell?!? Who kicked CowboyNeal and woke him up, dammit? The last six stories on the main page are all CB.

CB: [snxxnss] Wha? Huuxhnaa?
CB: [Postpostpostpostpostpost]
Collapses back on bed
CB: [snnnxnnss]

I don't see anything wrong with this... (2, Insightful)

NitroWolf (72977) | more than 10 years ago | (#9041517)

I don't see anything wrong with this at all... if there's a free hotspot somewhere, and the owner puts ads on it, it's not like you're forced to use it.

It's *FREE*...

If you don't like it, PAY for a hotspot that doesn't have ads. What's wrong with that?

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