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!

Behavioral Search & Advertising On Its Way?

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the its-not-hear-already? dept.

Google 186

cyberianpan writes "Imagine a world where advertisers would be able to predict your detailed behavior online. They would know when you are about to buy a song, a car, a present for your spouse — they would know virtually everything you are thinking. With the acquisition of DoubleClick, Google now has access to the cookies and subsequently browsing history of vast numbers of web users. It would be fair to say that greater than 85% of Internet users frequently come into contact with ads served by DoubleClick. Google could potentially have access to not only the majority of the world's search history but its browsing and e-commerce history as well. The company could know more about web surfers than they know about themselves."

cancel ×

186 comments

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

Advertising? What are these ads you speak of? (4, Funny)

Silverlancer (786390) | more than 7 years ago | (#18750757)

I have a bunch of extensions (Adblock Plus, CustomizeGoogle, Greasemonkey with Disable Text Ads, etc) and I don't think I've seen an ad, text or image, in weeks. What are these ads people speak of? ;)

Re:Advertising? What are these ads you speak of? (5, Informative)

cuantar (897695) | more than 7 years ago | (#18750807)

I'll add some links! Get Adblock Plus here: http://adblockplus.org/en/ [adblockplus.org] Get Filterset.G Updater here: http://www.pierceive.com/ [pierceive.com] With this pair of extensions, you won't ever see ads again, and the blacklist will update itself automagically.

Re:Advertising? What are these ads you speak of? (2, Informative)

beckerist (985855) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751083)

The Filterset.G updater, while nice (and updated!), I've found to be much slower than the Adblock Plus filtersets you can install straight from the plugin. Since Adblock had no such updater, it was a very nice additional feature, but it's memory footprint isn't worth the extra ~5 filters a month (IMO) for AB+.

Re:Advertising? What are these ads you speak of? (1)

Silverlancer (786390) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751143)

Agreed, I uninstalled it and noticed no real difference in terms of ads but it sped up Firefox quite a bit.

Re:Advertising? What are these ads you speak of? (1)

cuantar (897695) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751273)

Thanks for the tip; I'll experiment with that.

Re:Advertising? What are these ads you speak of? (2, Insightful)

user24 (854467) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751467)

funny, I block everything apart from google ads. not only do they *shock* sometimes look interesting, but it's also a nice way to thank the webmaster.

Re:Advertising? What are these ads you speak of? (1)

Silverlancer (786390) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751509)

Google has no way of knowing whether you blocked their ads or not, as the code is removed client-side.

Re:Advertising? What are these ads you speak of? (1)

user24 (854467) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751819)

yes, obviously. But why are you telling me this? I sometimes click google ads, either out of genuine interest or as a way of thanking the webmaster of the site running the ads for a good webpage. I don't see how your response was relvant?

Re:Advertising? What are these ads you speak of? (1)

xappax (876447) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751891)

Yes, but many ads pay only when they're clicked, and it's difficult to thank a webmaster by clicking an ad that your browser has scrubbed.

That said, webmasters who want a "tip" would, in my opinion, be much better to put a little paypal donation cup than a bunch of ads. Using advertisments to make money introduces conflicts of interest that can threaten the quality and integrity of the site.

Advertisments generate money based on the volume of visitors to the page, not their enjoyment or interest in the content. If you load up a page, you see the ads, regardless of whether the story was a life-changing insightful essay or a waste of the bandwidth it took to download it. This encourages webmasters to be sensational and attention grabbing, but not necessarily anything beyond that. Donations reward webmasters for high-quality content which is appreciated and valued by the audience, regardless if it gets the most hits or makes the front page of Slashdot.

It's true that donation-based sites often don't make as much money as if they used an ad-based structure, but if you're running a site where your primary interest is not creating good content but maximizing profit through advertising, in my mind you've no more integrity than the shmucks responsible for broadcast television, so why would I want to support your site anyway?

Re:Advertising? What are these ads you speak of? (1)

TechwoIf (1004763) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751785)

"Filterset.G Updater" is outdated and is no longer recommended by many. Use adblockplus with the two built-in self updating lists. "EasyList" and "EasyElement".

Re:Advertising? What are these ads you speak of? (1)

cuantar (897695) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751987)

I switched a moment ago after looking it up in response to your comment. Thanks. :)

Re:Advertising? What are these ads you speak of? (2, Informative)

Beetle B. (516615) | more than 7 years ago | (#18752057)

You guys are missing the point.

AdBlock blocks ads. It does not block cookies. Doubleclick is still tracking you unless you refuse to allow their cookies. To handle that aspect, use CookieSafe. NoScript would perhaps also increase privacy (I've seen doubleclick scripts on sites).

Re:Advertising? What are these ads you speak of? (2, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 7 years ago | (#18752103)

Meh, just have your browser ask about all cookies. Is it annoying at first? Sure. But a) once you've confirmed/denied the cookies for your common sites, you don't have to worry about them again, and b) it gives you some insight into how many frickin' cookies websites try to plant in your browser.

Re:Advertising? What are these ads you speak of? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18750905)

Ads by Goooooogle
First Post Scripts
First Posts are Fun, safe,
& Convenient. Find Other
Scripts too.

Bored with Your Life?
Fill in Our
Questionnaire
and Discover an
Interest Group in
Your Neighborhood

Re:Advertising? What are these ads you speak of? (1)

JordanL (886154) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751093)

I find it highly amusing that something so speculative got on /.

Does the article use any substantiation beyond Google buying DoubleClick, which they arguably would have done for the sole purpose of keeping the company out of Microsoft's hands?

Honestly, people are giving Google a hard time on this one. I will too, if they screw it up. But at this point, all I see is a defensive acquisition against a company that has stated the intent of putting them under when they only have ONE revenue stream.

Obligatory.... (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751345)

I find it highly amusing that something so speculative got on /.

You must be new here.*

Re:Advertising? What are these ads you speak of? (1)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751527)

You can also limit the lifetime of your cookies to end-of-session. Since Firefox can remember all of your login info and such, it's really not much of an inconvenience.

Can I just say NoScript? (1, Interesting)

Keeper Of Keys (928206) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751627)

It seems I can [noscript.net] .

99% of ads are javascript-based. You can always turn it on for trusted domains where you get some ajax-y benefit.

AdBlock is your friend. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18750765)

Block *.doubleclick.net and www.google-analytics.com
Gets rid of annoying slashdot ads too.

hmmmm, really? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18750785)

The company could know more about web surfers than they know about themselves

Could it tell me where I left my keys?

Re:hmmmm, really? (3, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#18750915)

Check behind the living room couch. Also, buy the new Timbaland album.

Re:hmmmm, really? (3, Funny)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751179)

Also, buy the new Timbaland album.

No wonder he's posting anonymously. :)

Re:hmmmm, really? (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751159)

I'm sorry, Dave. I can't do that...

Re:hmmmm, really? (1)

RealSurreal (620564) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751377)

No, but it could probably tell you that you can't find them because you went blind looking at online porn all day

Re:hmmmm, really? (1)

Jake73 (306340) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751567)

That they may be able to answer this may not be all that far-fetched.

Organizing the enormous amount of statistics that they have and associating them with behavior has been known to be accurate enough. That is, accurate enough to be revenue-producing when applied to large numbers of people and over enough time.

Considering that Las Vegas and other gambling communities have applied similar techniques to predict and channel human behavior, it's not surprising. It's really just a heuristic to predict the outcome of an incredibly complicated chemical reaction (our bodies).

Perhaps the illusion of free-will will eventually fade?

Google has been attempting this for awhile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18750787)

I am too lazy to search for all the links to prove my point, but I know Google is attempting to doing this, and last time I glanced at the ads, they still suck at it.

Except (4, Interesting)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 7 years ago | (#18750793)

What about people that do searches for their relatives? Or their pets? My dog has glaucoma. I'd be troubled greatly if my researching glaucoma medicines (dogs use the same medicine as people for this disease) caused any sort of reaction from anyone other than a pharmacy to offer me lower priced drops/pills. (Hey, check this guy out - he's researching glaucoma medicine and new cars - no cheap loans for him or insurance!!!!)

I'm doubly glad for adblock and *doubleclick* :)

Re:Except (1)

beckerist (985855) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751365)

"glaucoma medicine"

Is it, perchance, that people and animals use the same...herbal remedy?

Re:Except (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18751475)

In that case the police arrive at your door and give you a $200.00 fine for not licensing your Dog, and another $50.00 fine for trying to hide him and lie .
But I don't have a dog you cry!!
I'm sorry sir . the computer database says that you do have a dog , and its decision is final! ,We are not a computer only the police .

Re:Except (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18751691)

What _about_ people who do searches for other people? Bah. What about me doing searchers for me? I am not my browser history. The cookies I create by my adventures in the net are not the sum of what I am or seek. This is exactly what is wrong with targeted advertising. They think they can tell what I will want by what I've seen already.

I check out skydiving websites, but I have a fear of heights.
I like monster trucks, but I can't stand noisy machines.
I randomly browse movie selections to find something new and surprising, not so that they can "fix" the selection so that I can only see what they think I want to see.
I'm crazy for news of Linux anything even though I've never actually tried it.
I find cats fascinating, but I'd never get one.

I want to find out what I like by myself, not by being cordoned into a narrow niche of what the advertisers think I want. If all I end up seeing is what they show me, I'll never get to see anything I'll really like. Worse, I'll never know what I missed.

Re:Except (1)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 7 years ago | (#18752125)

Exactly. I've been known to research guns, gun laws, nunchuck laws (can you believe they're banned in my state?) and swords. I own none of these things, and probably will never buy one. If people were to look at what I look at and decide who I am by it they'd probably think I was violent person who plays violent games and wants to buy weapons, not a very safe thing.

This is what's wrong with targeted advertising, people often like to look/research things they'd never consider buying.

Here's what I say to the advertisers, what about research papers? If I start doing research on AIDS should insurance companies start upping my rates?

Re:Except (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18751699)

The concept is too simple
  Governments,insurance companies advertisers , those who try to discover hidden finances and property, licensing agencies etc, can use this data falsely and improperly ,
Why don't they verify it?

Because if they did ,they will look like fools for buying it and using it in the first place and accept it as fact

A thing about trying to apply mass marketing data to an individual, its often very very wrong,
Not the data itself that is fact but rather its mis-interpretation by fools !

Re:Except (0, Offtopic)

Mike1024 (184871) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751849)

What about people that do searches for their relatives? Or their pets?

My amazon recommendations have never been the same since I ordered "Freya the Friday Fairy" [amazon.co.uk] and "Hello Kitty Roller Rescue" [amazon.co.uk] for PA's "Child's play" [childsplaycharity.com] charity...

Re:Except (2, Funny)

Grashnak (1003791) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751871)

What about people that do searches for their relatives? Or their pets? My dog has glaucoma. I'd be troubled greatly if my researching glaucoma medicines (dogs use the same medicine as people for this disease) caused any sort of reaction from anyone other than a pharmacy to offer me lower priced drops/pills.
Just be glad you weren't searching for "incontinency" and "huge tits".

Adblock? (2, Funny)

Zaiff Urgulbunger (591514) | more than 7 years ago | (#18750799)

So if I use adblock [mozdev.org] to block say *.doubleclick.net/* , does that mean that I'm safe from the thought-thieves?

Re:Adblock? (1)

gsslay (807818) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751417)

*.doubleclick.net/*

The very first filter line of adblock on my computer. I wouldn't have a web-browser without it.

This is good news (4, Funny)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#18750811)

So instead of taking a year trekking round the world to "find themselves", people could just ask Google.

 

Re:This is good news (3, Funny)

TodMinuit (1026042) | more than 7 years ago | (#18750891)

Why, in my day, we asked the NSA and that's the way we'ds likes it!!!

Re:This is good news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18750971)

Why, in my day, we asked the NSA and that's the way we'ds likes it!!!
And we had to go there uphill both ways in heavy snow, even in July in Florida!

Re:This is good news (1)

Duncan3 (10537) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751265)

Nah, Google is a CIA house... so no NSA allowed.

Re:This is good news (2, Funny)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 7 years ago | (#18750897)

Yes, but did Google have to buy doubleclick for this functionality? Didn't google maps help people find themselves before?

Re:This is good news (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 7 years ago | (#18750967)

Will they predict when I'll be broke from buying all their crap?

"I see that you're buried in credit card debt. Click here for homeless shelter listings."

DoubleClick? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18750831)

Good gods, they're in the "scum of the earth" category to my routers. I've had both their DNS and their IP ranges filtered for a long time. The entire site hasn't exchanged a packet with them in YEARS.

Re:DoubleClick? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18751935)

An Ides?
If these DNS ranges are blocked, , do I also block some content or do I have that wrong?

What are the downsides and upsides to Blocking them?

And? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18750859)

Is this bad? Now instead of being spammed about stuff that i give squat about, i would get spammed with offers that i would bossibly want to buy. Does it matter that they know much about me? In a dictatorship? yes. here? no.

If you are worried that someone would see info about you, remenber that strength lies in numbers. The have insanely accurate information on every person in the western world, what are the odds that they would look you up?

Re:And? (1)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 7 years ago | (#18750995)

Exactly, this is not a bad thing. Actually, being solicited by people offering you something you might want! To hell with it I want to go back to mindless viagra ads and other such meaningless tripe. Time sensitive and informative advertising be damned.

Re:And? (4, Insightful)

Lockejaw (955650) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751051)

Now instead of being spammed about stuff that i give squat about, i would get spammed with offers that i would bossibly want to buy.
In some ways the targeted ads are nice. I like having Amazon's recommendations, and I've done Google searches just for the ads. On the other hand, I like to be able to get away from it. With both of these, if I switch to something that doesn't include their cookies (like a different browser, or shopping in meatspace), I can get away from their targeted ads.
It's kind of odd that by going out into the world, where the merchant can see my face, I'm more anonymous than I would be shopping online.

Re:And? (1)

Mockylock (1087585) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751079)

All they would find out about with me is: 1. I watch porn. 2. I'm in Debt. 3. I supposedly want to start a bank account with an African investor. 4. I must have a need for erectile dysfunction drugs. 5. I watch porn.

Detailed Behavior??? (1)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 7 years ago | (#18750865)

Google->pr0n

Whew!!!! (2, Funny)

poadshaw (1056186) | more than 7 years ago | (#18750881)

Good thing I use http://www.msn.com/ [msn.com]

*puke*

Only the ignorant ones (1)

RetroGeek (206522) | more than 7 years ago | (#18750899)

The company could know more about web surfers than they know about themselves."

One the surfers who do not block these things.

What with AdBlock, selective blocking of cookies etc, my surfing habits are just about invisible. Only by tracking the IP address could anyone read my habits. But then, I am behind a NAT with many other people, so this is hardly reliable.

So what will happen (and probaly already has) is that the people who do not know any better will form the basis of what "surfers" do.

Much like a few people determine the TV ratings and so the really good shows go away. You know, the shows that require some modicum of intelligence to understand and appreciate.

Your sig (2, Funny)

CelticWhisper (601755) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751091)

I am a programmer. I am paid to produce syntax not grammar. Deal with it.

Then how can you possibly be pro-grammar?

Sorry, sorry, I couldn't resist. Oh god, not the cabbage again. *ducks*

Re:Only the ignorant ones (4, Funny)

owlnation (858981) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751255)

So what will happen (and probaly already has) is that the people who do not know any better will form the basis of what "surfers" do.
As the previous poster says, it's pretty much only Joe Sixpack and The Sheeple that are going to get tracked. Hands up any slashdotter that's not using adblock and flashblock etc on their home system. (Those with hands raised please leave your geek id cards on the table on your way out.)

Predicting what Sheeple will do is easy. They eat (to excess - then diet), have sex, breed, like cars or fashion, watch sports as if they were the Circus Maximus, believe News Corps propaganda is "news", feed on the RIAA's outpourings like SOMA, drink, veg out in front of American Idol, and are far more interested in Britney and Parisite than politics or anything that actually matters. You don't really need any new technology to predict the interests of these kinds of "surfers" - it's pretty much basic animal instincts all the way. When McDonalds produces Soylent Green, they'll eat it and like it, even in the unlikely event that they know what it is.

Sheeple - it's life Jim, but not as we /.ers know it.

(As an aside, if no-one's yet formed a band called "Joe Sixpack and the Sheeple", can I suggest that someone does.)

The answer is 42 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18750941)

Imagine when at birth, they will be able to predict your whole life.

Now that I think of it, they will be able to predict it on conception.

34

Re:The answer is 42 (0, Troll)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751621)

And then the pro-life folks could start playing Rush Limbaugh's show next to the womb :)

It'll be easier to shop for others (5, Funny)

Turbowaffle (1079577) | more than 7 years ago | (#18750955)

Maybe soon Google checkout will know when it's my wife's birthday, and tell me "No no, don't get her that, get her this instead" when I add something to the cart.

Re:It'll be easier to shop for others (1)

HolyCrapSCOsux (700114) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751967)

I'd pay for that service!

"For $4.99 a month we will track all your significant other's purchases and browsing habits looking at not what they buy, but what they look at the most and DON'T buy. Then at your request we can give you suggestion on what they would most likely want for their birthday, anniversary, etc."

Venture capitalists can form a single line at my front door. I accept cash, cashier's checks and money orders.

Re:It'll be easier to shop for others (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#18752047)

Maybe soon Google checkout will know when it's my wife's birthday, and tell me "No no, don't get her that, get her this instead" when I add something to the cart.

This is marked as "funny" but realistically this is one of the biggest benefits of such a system. Right now people have Amazon wishlists and wedding registries, but it is one short step from that to an integrated system where items you look at and buy online are combined with user reviews to make it easy for others to pick gifts you probably will like. Now here are some big privacy issues here. If your grandmother goes to buy you a birthday gift and Google recommends "baking erotic cakes for dummies" because you spend a lot of time baking and looking at porn, well some people might take issue with that.

On the other hand, globally available, wishlists with public and private tags and that allow you to comparison shop just might be the way of the future. I already use Amazon to help track books I'd like, but don't have time to read right now, as well as music and other misc items. I already go look at my brother's wishlist when christmas rolls around. All it really takes is for someone with more access to online shopping and integration with a personal organizer and we're there. Google may well have both. Maybe it won't tell you right away that your wife would prefer some other thing, but I can easily see Google looking in your calendar, seeing your wife's impending birthday, and tailoring ads to you that says something like, "you wife's birthday is coming up and she's been window shopping for erotic cake cookbooks for the last 6 months, why not buy her this one?"

They know more than me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18750981)

Ok then if they know so much maybe they can give me a website where they sell life-size anime plush dolls? And no, Teddy-Babes.com doesn't count, they look creepy and seem to be from the Muppet Show.

Re:They know more than me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18751399)

j list?

Re:They know more than me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18751721)

Nope, nothing even remotely similar on J-List. And even if Teddy-Babes.com took custom jobs, they are way too expensive. I want a cuddling doll not a sex doll.

cookies? (1)

dAzED1 (33635) | more than 7 years ago | (#18750991)

who the fark lets those things stick around long enough to have useful data? Isn't just accepted practice to do cookie maintenance every few weeks?

Except of course, now google can pair up my google ID with those doubleclick cookies I keep deleting...

Re:cookies? (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751175)

Isn't just accepted practice to do cookie maintenance every few weeks?


Weeks? How about every day? Close Firefox, BAM!, all data gone.

That said, my position allows me to see the files and such on peoples machines (remotely) and let me tell you, I've seen cookies on machines that are years old. Up to three years in some cases.

Then again, companies are going apeshit over people deleting cookies [nytimes.com] because they can't accurately track you and are making a concerted effort to convince people to not delete cookies.

Sorry bubs, I tell everyone I deal with, "Delete your cookies when you're done surfing about. It helps keep the spyware at bay." Amazing how gullible people can be.

Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18751013)

What's this bullshit? Typical bunch of made up statistics and vague assumptions.

Hmm..... (3, Funny)

Mockylock (1087585) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751021)

So they know about the endless hours of porn I watch? Hopefully not the midget porn though, right? I mean.. I was discreet about that. There weren't any ads I clicked on or anything.

Well, now I know my secret is safe.

Oh wait.

Re:Hmm..... (2, Funny)

Remus Shepherd (32833) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751443)

So they know about the endless hours of porn I watch?

Why else would they be constantly emailing you porn spam?

Re:Hmm..... (1)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751463)

If you watch porn for "endless hours", you're probably not doing it right...

Re:Hmm..... (1)

Mockylock (1087585) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751943)

I know... it's so wrong.

but it feels so right.

Geez, ever heard of commas? (3, Funny)

sean.peters (568334) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751023)

If you believe this is impossible then you would be wrong as there are a few companies who have access to enough Internet data to make this privacy lover's nightmare a reality and believe it or not a relatively new science called behavioral targeting is taking the online advertising world by storm.

Holy crap, I think we need to undertake an emergency mission to airdrop some punctuation into this guy's office. That sentence was just about incomprehensible.

TrackMeNot (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18751025)

TrackMeNot [mozilla.org] is a Firefox extension that protects against search data profiling by issuing randomized queries to popular search-engines with fake data.

If you want to read my mind by analyzing my search queries, I hope you're prepared to sift through a mountain of noise.

Re:TrackMeNot (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751429)

I don't know why exactly, but I think that is funny as hell. If only enough people use it, this new technology might one day decide that most Intarweb users are latent school teachers and like pink ponies and colorfully planted flowerbeds when they are not trying to raise money to supply more bricks for the addition to their local church.

Re:TrackMeNot (1)

I(rispee_I(reme (310391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751809)

Security through obscurity through wasted bandwidth, I say.

Since they claim to only analyze data in the aggregate, I doubt your "mountain of noise" makes much of a difference anyway.

Nice knowin' ya, Google (4, Insightful)

CelticWhisper (601755) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751037)

Long-time Firefox/Adblock user here with something of an itchy trigger finger where Adblock is concerned. I've gone as far as completely gutting graphic-intensive web layouts via Adblock just to get pages to load quicker (Gradients on Slashdot? I see no gradients...) and every graphical ad, sponsor/partner link, or anything else commercial-looking I see usually gets the Adblock Special.

Well, for a long time I was willing to leave Google's text ads alone on the grounds of them being unobtrusive and generally not degrading my browsing experience. They stayed well enough out of the way that it wasn't worth it to me to block them for the minimal improvement I'd see in my load times and the minimal reduction I'd see in corporate crap sullying the pages I'm trying to read. Add to that the fact that the Google text ads were easily enough identified at a glance that they were always instantly recognizable and avoidable and there was never any compelling reason for me to risk harming a few non-profit websites I enjoy by screwing them out of ad revenue.

No more. Visual presence isn't the only factor to consider when determining which ads get the death sentence, though it has long (and for many, I suspect) been the most significant. Google's ads may not be visually offensive, but if they start down the road of Big Brothering me, no PC I touch will ever display a Google ad again. I know Google is a favorite of geeks everywhere, and those who know me know I'm a big fan of a lot of their products, but this rampant near-delirious compulsion to track everyone everywhere for the purpose of shoving marketing in their faces has got to stop. If I want to buy something online, I will seek it out myself, god dammit. This "the ads are relevant, you might find something you like" smacks of "it's for your own good" far too much for my liking.

Developers of technologies like Adblock and BugMeNot are heroes of the common man's internet and should be lauded as such. I think Greasemonkey likely falls in the same category, though I admit to not yet having used it due to a lack of knowledge of Javascript. Any tool to enhance and enforce control over one's own system is unequivocally, incontestably a good thing and I have a feeling we'll need more and more of them to counteract and undermine the efforts of commercial interests who want to sleaze their way to more ad impressions and massively pervasive marketing. Hmm, there's a fun acronym^W canonical abbreviation to accompany MMORPG. MPM. 's got a ring to it.

Re:Nice knowin' ya, Google (2, Insightful)

Emporer of Ice Cream (442086) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751339)

So, what's the business model for all this great online stuff we like so much, if not ads? Really, for all the people who hate ads so much and feel they are vile, you do realize that it's either pay for content, or view ad-supported content, right?

Seriously - what's the end game if more and more people start blocking ads?

I can give you a hint: if the ration of ad blockers starts to rise, publishers will have to get inventive to recoup advertising revenue to support their operations. That means more annoying interstitials, more advertorials and more advertising masquerading as content.

It costs lots of money to run popular sites, and despite what I'm sure a legion of folks are going to say, people simply do not pay for content online in large enough numbers.

Re:Nice knowin' ya, Google (2, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751559)

...for the purpose of shoving marketing in their faces has got to stop.

Just out of curiosity, what is it that you think allows sites like Slashdot to even exist? Do you really think that the vast majority of the decent content on the web would be available to (even after you've stripped it down to your liking) if the people that labor to produce what you're looking for had no ability to attract revenue from advertisers? Do you really want to have to subscribe to thousands of web sites? Do you want them to be subsidized with my tax dollars? Should the people who run them operate at a financial loss and only survive on un-announced, invisible patronage and sponsorship? Ads that are in fact more relevent to a given audience are far more effective for everyone involved - the publisher (whose work you seem to value, whether or not you value their ability to provide it to you for the long haul because you want to consume it without it being paid for), the advertisors (who are willing to write a check to the people producing the content you're looking for), and you: the person who seeks out and consumes the content made available by the fact that all of the people involved in creating and presenting it to you can actually eat and have a roof over their heads because advertising works, and subscription models only barely do.

Sites that are completely saturated with cheesy ads fade away for a reason - they're desparate to start with, and they alienate their audience as they're dying off and grasping at straws. Sites that know who their audience is, and which strike deals with advertisors that know they've got a more useful message to send to the right people, are able to show you LESS advertising. The ones that know that, and are smart about it, will thrive - and it does take the sort of technology being discussed here to allow the site to earn their keep without committing suicide through the use of context-less, over-placed, low-earning ads.

yet another good reason to go off the grid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18751053)

privacy (see also: less need) generated by the creators' newclear power initiative/mandate? now that's a behavioral concept.

better days ahead?

from previous post: many demand corepirate nazi execrable stop abusing US

we the peepoles?

how is it allowed? just like corn passing through a bird's butt eye gas.

all they (the felonious nazi execrable) want is... everything. at what cost to US?

for many of US, the only way out is up.

don't forget, for each of the creators' innocents harmed (in any way) there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/US as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile will not be available after the big flash occurs.

'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi life0cidal glowbull warmongering execrable.

some of US should consider ourselves very fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate.

it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc....

as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis.

concern about the course of events that will occur should the corepirate nazi life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order.

'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

Am I the only one... (4, Insightful)

Darkon (206829) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751055)

...who has never, ever, since they first got online bought a single damn thing via clicking an ad on a web site?

Re:Am I the only one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18751449)

Yes, that's why we worship you as a hero. You are unique and special.

Re:Am I the only one... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751457)

No. Most of the adds I click are ads that I think are stupid, as it injects noise into the statistics that the person actually paying for the ad gets, and tends to reward the website that I see it on.

Please, who started this cookies=bad thing? (3, Insightful)

user24 (854467) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751115)

"Google now has access to the cookies and subsequently browsing history of vast numbers of web users"
no it doesn't, the cookies reside on MY computer, and I purge my cookies every time I close the browser.

and what's wrong with cookies? nothing! sure, doubleclick can link the IDs together to form a *partial* internet history, but they can do that with my IP address/userAgent combo. I'm sure my adblocker*/useragent/ip forms a fairly unique signature. What does this give google that they didn't have before? As far as I can see, it just buys them a whopping chunk of target audience, but the data? they could have got that themselves, and cheaper.

* by which I mean, have the parent page try to load a bunch of commonly-but-not-by-default blocked images/url/paths. If there are 300 people sharing my IP, it's not likely that they all block the same paths nor that they all use the same version of the same browser. Thus we can generate a fairly unique signature for users behind shared IPs, without having to use cookies. I'm sure there's other info like screen resolution/colour depthat could be added to give greater accuracy. anyway, my point is/was that the cookies are basically useless, it's the target market that google wanted.

Re:Please, who started this cookies=bad thing? (1)

Sporkinum (655143) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751409)

"Google now has access to the cookies and subsequently browsing history of vast numbers of web users"
no it doesn't, the cookies reside on MY computer, and I purge my cookies every time I close the browser.


I think the key phrase there is "history of vast numbers of web users". Most people just don't block anything. Nerds on Slashdot do. We are a statistical blip as far as they are concerned.

It's all good (3, Informative)

jeevesbond (1066726) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751121)

All this shouldn't be too difficult to work around. Google watching my every move? Nope: I use Scroogle [scroogle.org] ! Then there's Tor [eff.org] , it's a bit slow sometimes, but if you don't like it run your own Tor server and help the network speed up. :) There are also all the other ad/cookie blockers mentioned by others here.

The only possibility worrying me is our government overlords demanding people give up the right to use this software in the name of anti-terrorism/anti-paedophilia. Until that time people have a choice whether they're anonymous online, which is good. The people who don't know how to remain anonymous can either read up or pay one of us IT chaps to tell them.

useless ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18751445)

If anything, that should stop all Linux and Mac users from seeing those useless Microsoft and Dell ads.

revenue science (1)

wheatking (608436) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751491)

Revenue Science [www.revenuescience.com] has been doing this quite well over the past few years... cross-correlating across the various customers they have, fairly accurate behavioral targeting is now possible... and no, i dont work for them, i just find myself deleting more cookies from them now.

Cookie based pricing (1)

Cedric Tsui (890887) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751513)

Imagine if a site KNEW that you just LOVED deals, so they'd mark down that 8-bit tie just when you strolled by the site. Or, maybe the site KNOWS that you just pissed off your wife and increases the prices of flowers knowing that you're going to buy anyways.

So much for... (1)

TheDarkener (198348) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751517)

"Don't be evil"?

The Plan (1)

Eil (82413) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751529)

Dear Google,

Do No Evil. (Please?)

Signed,
Every Web User

Real title: Corporate Advertising Fantasies (5, Insightful)

cubic6 (650758) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751609)

This article seems very speculative, if not pure fantasy. It assumes Google will somehow turn your search history and ad-clicking history into some kind of predictive model of your brain. The author doesn't really seem to understand any of the technology involved, he repeatedly claims that since Google now owns DoubleClick, they have (legal) access to ALL of your cookies and browsing history. Most of the statistics he quotes are totally useless, for example:

Fayyad (Yahoo R&D VP) proudly says he can predict with 75% certainty which of the 300,000 monthly visitors to Yahoo! Autos will purchase a new car within the next three months.

In other words, 3 out of 4 times, he can predict which of the people visiting an automobile price/review site will buy a car in the next three months. Considering that most people wouldn't go to Yahoo Autos unless they had some interest in buying a car, it's not really rocket science to track users and decide which are the "serious" ones and which are just window-shopping. The whole article is filled with speculation that once Google has access to similar data, they'll be able to accurately predict everything we do online, but what the author fails to deliver on is how they'll be able to make the jump from predicting click-through rates on ads to full behavioral models everyone who surfs the web.

Also, the article feels like it's written by a 5th grade English student with a thesaurus. Run-on sentences galore, wild trips of imagination that aren't supported by the article's sources, and a pathetic lack of proper punctuation besides the occasional period. He even uses a smiley face at the end.

RE: Fake cookies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18751657)

What if someone were to create fake cookies and bust the curve so to speak? If eBay can be spoofed, cookies should be chump change.

AdFaker (1)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751685)

This gives me an idea. Rather than a traditional ad blocker, someone should create an AdFaker. While you're away from the computer, it will periodically search and surf on various topics to throw GooClick off your track. You could choose from different profiles to convince them you're planning a bank heist, traveling to Madagascar, or whatever you like.

There wouldn't be much practical benefit, but it would be fun to see what ads you could get to appear!

In the name of... (1)

Chris whatever (980992) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751709)

All this in the name of pure friendship and endless devotion from Google!!!!

I did not know i had to live in a commune while surfing the web.

People should boycott all websites that needs cookies in order to display information, the fact that a website absolutely needs cookie should, in itself be illegal, we , as consumers should have the right to block cookies and not be subjected to a warning "This requires cookies".

Yeah sure, there is the option to block all cookies but it also blocks you from a lot of websites, you can also clear the cache and delete all cookies after ending a browser session but the point is to not have to be subject while surfing.

let's see how they fare if a large group of people start surfing elsewhere where FREE and ANONYMOUSLY means something.

Pragmatically speaking (1)

br0d (765028) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751731)

Since we know ads are not going to go away, I'm all for more targeted advertising. There is the worry that really good advertising might undermine one's self control and contribute to greater consumer debt, but that's really a self-discipline issue. I hate being advertised to, probably more so than anyone, but more so, I hate being encouraged to buy something completely irrelevant to me like I might see in some local commercial with terrible audio trying to sell me a Chevrolet Jimmy during a hockey game. Really, intelligent ads would be better for everyone because the industry would be more efficient, get more sales for less exposure, and so have to waste less money and create less annoyance. Of course, greed would probably dominate and the amount of advertisement would remain the same, people would just get poorer and have more crap in their attics...but for those with self-control I think their lives would actually end up being enriched and improved by smart ads. Still, no ads would be the preference...but this is a whore of a world, and there is currently no ferry to another one.

This data miner is tired of them grandstanding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18751791)

IAADM (I am a data miner) -- my rant on this and similar items of corporate grandstanding about what they're capable of.

http://texact.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

Google has way more information on you than Double (1)

lake2112 (748837) | more than 7 years ago | (#18751969)

Google is in the business of collecting exceptional amounts of personally identifiable information. You use a gmail account? That tracks email content ads that are served to you. It also allows google to track every search YOU do when you are logged in and using google. Google checkout? Tracks where you purchase stuff. Doubleclick uses cookies on your computer and what for? Frequency capping which makes sure you dont see the same ad 200 times, and creative rotation to allow you to see a series of particular ads in sequence. Plus the most they track of you is an IP address. Google sounds a lot worse to me.

How will they differentiate? (1)

baomike (143457) | more than 7 years ago | (#18752071)

People who use NAT for internal networks are going to come up with some strange profiles.
Cookies you say: that disappear when you close the browser?
People behind the NAT not always using the same browser/OS?

the meld of X-box on line + slackware/opera + XP/firefox/opera + W2000/opera is going to look like a
profile a marketer could sell anything to.

Amazon has enough trouble trying to sell me X-box stuff, I don't use an X-box.

The solution is whitelisting enabled by default (2, Interesting)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 7 years ago | (#18752089)

I whitelist all cookies. Basically, all cookies except those on my list are deleted every time I close my browser. I do this with the aid of the CookieButton Firefox extension.

This needs to be set as the default behaviour in browsers. Add a button which lets the user decide to keep data from a particular site. Put it over as "let me stay logged in to this site after closing Firefox/IE".

Of course, they still have my IP address, or would if I didn't block *doubleclick*. However, thanks to mass adoption of NAT an IP address is hardly very useful for identifying a single person, as legal courts are staring to realise.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?