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Ads With Your Name On Them

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the are-you-creeped-out-yet dept.

Privacy 153

eldavojohn writes "The NYTimes is running an interesting blog piece on the answers Microsoft, AOL, Yahoo, & Google gave to the question: Can they show you an ad with your name on it? The results: 'Microsoft says it could use only a person's first name [which it doesn't consider personal information]. AOL and Yahoo could use a full name but only on their sites, not the other sites on which they place ads. Google isn't sure; it probably could, but it doesn't know the names of most of its users.' Now whether or not they would use this information is a different story. AOL has no plans to, Yahoo is open to it, and Microsoft has implemented a technological barrier preventing it (despite behavioral and demographic data being served to the ad companies). Although Google might use name information at some point, they don't now do so; nor do they use behavioral or demographic data."

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153 comments

As a Dumb Moderator (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22722312)

As a dumb slashdot moderator, I uppose this.

I just don't want my retarded children to see an ad that says, "Hey Douchebag McGee, how about a book on logic? If you read it you wouldn't be such a dumbass."

Re:As a Dumb Moderator (0, Offtopic)

shentino (1139071) | more than 6 years ago | (#22723730)

Oh come on moderator, that was funny!

Mobil card (5, Interesting)

Intron (870560) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722324)

Exxxxxon/Mobil gas pumps used to put your name up when you used your credit card to buy gas. Not for any reason, just because they could. I felt it was intrusive, since anybody at a neighboring pump now knows my name, but kind of a minor annoyance.

Re:Mobil card ms are NUTS... (-1, Offtopic)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722546)

How can ms claim a person's GIVEN name is NOT personal? Sound's like they've got too much duroquinone in their brains. The NERVE of them to assert a thing.

As for "I felt it was intrusive, since anybody at a neighboring pump now knows my name, but kind of a minor annoyance.", imagine people who shop safeway.

After a shopper's membership card is scanned, and the goods are bagged and the customer is ready to go, the drone cashier will usually pipe (pretty much for ALL in earshot to hear), "Thank you, Mr/Mrs/Ms (last name)".

THAT bugs the SHIT out of me. So, I would interrupt them -- as they say "Thank you" -- with "NO LAST NAME/DON'T SAY MY LAST NAME."

Women or anyone who might be targets of stalkers should especially take great offence to this. Why? Well, some asshole/creeper could follow a mark to their car, then note the license plate. Then the creeper can proceed to obtain more information by following the person and getting their address. Next, rummage any accessible mailbox or driveway mail or deliveries and note th presumed name.

Safeway could someday become "Dangerway". It's ONE thing for someone giving public speeches to be known by all. It's entirely another when a shopper is stripped of anonymity without their prior consent. So, now, i use a valid Safeway card with a borked name, and I ONLY use cash so as to not commingle my real and shopper names.

Re:Mobil card ms are NUTS... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22722600)

Bill sucks ass and Steve is a monkey boy.

[Sorry, "Bill" and "Steve". It's not personal. They are just some first names.]

Re:Mobil card ms are NUTS... (5, Insightful)

Your.Master (1088569) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722750)

How can ms claim a person's GIVEN name is NOT personal? Sound's like they've got too much duroquinone in their brains. The NERVE of them to assert a thing.
This is the problem with secondary sources, they make the slightest change in wording and people interpret it so differently.

Microsoft does not say that your first name is not personal information. Their policy prevents the spread of personally identifiable information, which they define as information which could be used by theirselves or others to connect data (including your first name) to you, the individual. Now, using your first name might be a little dodgy in that you might be the only person in the world with the same first name. But generally speaking, you cannot match a person to their data with only first names.

Re:Mobil card ms are NUTS... (2, Insightful)

tupshin (5777) | more than 6 years ago | (#22723506)

Speaking as (probably) the only person in the world to have my first name, I am compelled to consider it personally identifiable information.

-Tupshin

Re:Mobil card ms are NUTS... (2, Informative)

GigG (887839) | more than 6 years ago | (#22723546)

Is this you?

Tupshin Harper

Director of Engineering

San Francisco Bay Area
First hit for the first name Tupshin.

Re:Mobil card ms are NUTS... (3, Funny)

leonmergen (807379) | more than 6 years ago | (#22723954)

Guess not anymore [jobscore.com] :-) So much for privacy on the internet.. :-)

Re:Mobil card ms are NUTS... (1)

tubapro12 (896596) | more than 6 years ago | (#22723830)

I guess your parents weren't thinking about information security back in 197*.

Re:Mobil card ms are NUTS... (3, Insightful)

Mox-Dragon (87528) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722788)

Women or anyone who might be targets of stalkers should especially take great offence to this. Why? Well, some asshole/creeper could follow a mark to their car, then note the license plate. Then the creeper can proceed to obtain more information by following the person and getting their address. Next, rummage any accessible mailbox or driveway mail or deliveries and note th presumed name.

Yeah, but it seems like this is the sort of thing that won't be influenced by somebody hearing your last name in a store. I mean, if they're going through your trash, they're probably going to find some piece of mail with your last name on it.

Safeway could someday become "Dangerway".

Really?

So, now, i use a valid Safeway card with a borked name, and I ONLY use cash so as to not commingle my real and shopper names.

Really?

Re:Mobil card ms are NUTS... (1)

roguetrick (1147853) | more than 6 years ago | (#22723086)

I was going to note that, but then I figured "This guy HAS to be putting us on." How could anyone write that much and NOT think of the obvious?

Re:Mobil card ms are NUTS... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22722790)

the same way that you using david in your /. does not reveal anything about you. and that is because no one can say "david" ALWAYS means this particular person.

also your claim that safeway could be "dangerway" is entirely unfounded.

rummage any accessible mailbox or driveway mail or deliveries and note th presumed name.
what did safeway give out that the asshole/creeper could not get from the name on the mail? and he doesn't even have to make any serious effort for rummaging.

liking to be anonymous while shopping, I cannot argue on that since it is a personal preference. other than that your comment is full of FUD.

Re:Mobil card ms are NUTS... (0, Offtopic)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#22723072)

Well, the creeper might, after following the mark, find out the hailed name differs from the address. Could be the mark lives in a household of someone else, or just stopped there first, or is married but under a different name than the other spouse.

This isn't Mayberry RFD, or Hazel, or Green Acres. This is AMERIKA of the info age. Some entities respect privacy, and some don't. Those who don't put the "k" in America.

Out of sheer respect, stores should simply use anonymous honorifics: "Thank you so much, sir. I hope you shop with us again. By the way, just a head's up: next week we have a promo/price reduction..." Empower and please the customer THAT way. Other than stroking egos of a few minor customers, the only good that could come out of blurting out people's names is if two long-lost relatives found each other because tho they have different paper names, they both know of changed names and now voila! They reunite. And, that is so rare an event as to not justify blurting out people's names.

Blurting names also confirms the name of a mark who conscientiously and carefully LIED to her follower about her name, only to be f*scked over by her emerging stalker.

THAT's why it matters. We don't have the luxury of knowing who is our freak and our stalker.

Re:Mobil card ms are NUTS... (2, Funny)

FLEB (312391) | more than 6 years ago | (#22723306)

Those who don't put the "k" in America.

I disagree. I'd say that the "k" in America is much more likely to be put there by someone who isn't really concerned-- or able-- to violate privacy by culling personal information. Look at their lack of data accuracy, for instance. Anyone with any sort of purpose, be it nefarious or otherwise, would at least be able to spell-check their way through "America". Do you think these type of people could even pronounce your name correctly?

Blurting names also confirms the name of a mark who conscientiously and carefully LIED to her follower about her name, only to be f*scked over by her emerging stalker.

This is why honesty is the best policy. That, or a unified and vigilant front of deception. Oh-- and avoiding wildly improbable scenarios. That too.

Re:Mobil card ms are NUTS... (2, Insightful)

xdotx (966421) | more than 6 years ago | (#22723108)

Merriam-Webster defines Paranoia as: "a tendency on the part of an individual or group toward excessive or irrational suspiciousness and distrustfulness of others."

Maybe give that some thought?

Re:Mobil card ms are NUTS... (3, Funny)

FLEB (312391) | more than 6 years ago | (#22723334)

Yeah, but they're both dead. See where that gets you?

Re:Mobil card ms are NUTS... (-1, Offtopic)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#22723478)

Who is the cretinous asshole running around with the "off-topic" wand? Dumbass, this thread WAS on topic. Someone opened a line about gas pumps running names on the display, tied in with ads in other forms of purchase activities.

Where the f*ck are the on-duty moderators who should be slaying/disciplining the off-topic creds of those who overly slam-dunk and piss off people like me with irritating commentary. This isn't "Kiss-Slash-Dick", it's "Give your OPINION". "Off-topic", when abused, is slightly below a form of retribution for inability to outright CENSOR someone's comment off the site.

For some, the regrettable thing is that they cannot separate their identity nor machine history from their search/logon activity and they are tracked by cookie crumbs. Gas pumps, credit cards, redeemable shopper rewards points... ALL of this is in some way connected.

Off-topic my ass. Must be a ms or a dangerway-fanboy?

Slashdot needs a complaint metric to deal with overly-endowed moderators. "IF you feel your comment was unjustifiably slain/assailed/moderated, check why, and random readers will be invited to review your comments. If you've been abused, the moderator will be punished. If you wrongly/falsely complain, you will lose for 5 days the permission to submit...." (SOME site (might have even been slash) years ago did something like this...)

Re:Mobil card ms are NUTS... (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 6 years ago | (#22723674)

Er, we do have metamoderation ya know...

Re:Mobil card ms are NUTS... (0, Offtopic)

Deaney (1014409) | more than 6 years ago | (#22723690)

If I had mod points now I would definitely mod you Off-Topic.

Re:Mobil card ms are NUTS... (2, Insightful)

McFadden (809368) | more than 6 years ago | (#22723840)

After a shopper's membership card is scanned, and the goods are bagged and the customer is ready to go, the drone cashier will usually pipe (pretty much for ALL in earshot to hear), "Thank you, Mr/Mrs/Ms (last name)". THAT bugs the SHIT out of me. So, I would interrupt them -- as they say "Thank you" -- with "NO LAST NAME/DON'T SAY MY LAST NAME."

Safeway could someday become "Dangerway"....
Overreaction much? One wonders how you manage to step outside your house each day without the protection of your tinfoil hat. Personally I don't give a fuck if someone addresses me by my first, last or any name. Why? Because it's my name. That's why I have it.

There's a lot to be said for just living life without the need to have a panic attack about every possible bad thing that could (but almost certainly won't) happen to you. Getting riled up about people using my name, isn't something I feel the need to raise my blood pressure over. Good luck with your next medical.

Amazon has already done this... (4, Interesting)

nebaz (453974) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722326)

Several years ago I was surfing some non-amazon related site, and there was an add at the bottom from amazon, with my name on it (presumably a amazon hosted ad that looked at my cookie information). Really freaked me out. I haven't seen anything like this for a while though.

Re:Amazon has already done this... (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722348)

Amazon still does it. I saw it happen last week.

Re:Amazon has already done this... (1)

Verteiron (224042) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722386)

That was my first thought as well, although I think I've only seen my name on the Amazon "Donate to this site" buttons that some people use alongside Paypal.

Re:Amazon has already done this... (5, Funny)

misleb (129952) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722494)

First time I saw "personals" ads on a web page that seemed to know what city I lived in, I kinda freaked.

"Meet sexy singles in [your town]." And then it shows some "example" profiles of some women who are most likely just models. Then I look closer and I think "Oh my God, I've slept with these women! How did they know?" Then I realized that they just got my location from my IP and that I've slept with pretty much all the attractive women around here so it didn't really matter which ones they chose.

Good news is that it reminded me to go get tested for STDs.

Re:Amazon has already done this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22722590)

Scott?? That you man?

Re:Amazon has already done this... (3, Funny)

internetcommie (945194) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722716)

When I'm on the internet at work my IP address is one registered to my company's parent company in a different state, not even close to my actual location. So I see all these ads telling me what great deals I can get on real estate, insurance, and bachelor's degrees in this other little town I have never even been to.
I get a certain perverted kind of pleasure from that!

Re:Amazon has already done this... (1, Funny)

Oktober Sunset (838224) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722834)

First time I saw "personals" ads on a web page that seemed to know what city I lived in, I kinda freaked.

"Meet sexy singles in [your town]." And then it shows some "example" profiles of some women who are most likely just models. Then I look closer and I think "Oh my God, I've slept with these women! How did they know?" Then I realized that they just got my location from my IP and that I've slept with pretty much all the slutty women around here so it didn't really matter which ones they chose.

Good news is that it reminded me to go get tested for STDs.

There, fixed that for ya.

Re:Amazon has already done this... (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 6 years ago | (#22723386)

Nice work of fiction. How do I know? The URL.

Re:Amazon has already done this... (2, Funny)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722506)

Yeah, I get those Amazon ads all the time and am surprised that no one among the author, interviewees, NYT editor, /. editor and submitter saw this topic and immediately thought "Amazon!"

Anyway, while it freaked me out too the first (and still kind of does) it's not like they know anything that any other retailer with cookies doesn't know. It seems like unnecessarily off-putting advertising though.

Re:Amazon has already done this... (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 6 years ago | (#22723596)

Well the add technically worked. The whole idea of using your name is to draw your attention to the add as you are already subconsciously keyed to look out for and be aware of the use of your name.

Now the big catch with this is, it shifts it from being a passive add to more like being a door to door salesperson, someone that specifically invades your personal private space, which is of course why you react to it as being invasive. So if you have a positive relationship already established with the company it is fine (but makes spending money on advertising somewhat pointless as you have already be sold) but if you have a neutral or poor relationship it will generate negative feelings and drive you away, or worse draw you to the seller in a hostile combative way (no point in marketing to that person ever again you are just wasting your money).

So this is all really about justifying why they are keeping all those personal records and maintaining the illusion to the sellers that your private information is really worth renting or buying. That whole marketing shtick is already starting to lose it's bite as sellers are realising there is now value in addwords or the like, and that adds really need to be passive, not too intrusive and leave a subconscious mark rather than being a conscious intrusion. Adds should blend in with the content on the page, still be distinct but not be intrusive.

Re:Amazon has already done this... (1)

mikeinwa (1237758) | more than 6 years ago | (#22723702)

That's actually very common and easy. Cookies are pretty much just text files, and many aren't even encrypted. There's a lot of personal information floating in them.

Sounds scary (5, Insightful)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722346)

But the real problem isn't that they can *show* who you are, it's that they *know* who you are.

Showing it would just be disclosing our already existing vulnerability.

Re:Sounds scary (3, Funny)

XaXXon (202882) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722406)

Exactly. That's why they're not going to do this. They don't want you knowing that they know who you are. Unless of course they know you know they know who you are.

Re:Sounds scary (5, Interesting)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 6 years ago | (#22723020)

A couple of my credit card companies did this (call me by name when they answered the phone) for a while. It REALLY bugged me. Not that they knew my name, but that they assumed that my work phone number, used by a whole room full of people, was always me calling.

They stopped. I asked why, and they said it really creeped their customers out.

Re:Sounds scary (3, Informative)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 6 years ago | (#22723304)

Also, answering with the person's name eliminates an identity confirmation opportunity. Hell, I expect the place where I order pizza delivery to know my name and associate my phone number from Caller ID to my name automatically, but I'd like them to take notice if someone else orders a pizza from my phone and the names don't match.

Not that if someone broke into my home or faked the CLID to order pizza wouldn't know my name, or that they'd even care. But leave the opportunity for a stupid criminal to be stupid:

The phone rang. He stopped the tape and answered it, then almost dropped the phone like an electric eel as he realized what he was doing. Hardly daring to breathe, he held the telephone to his ear.

"Rule One in housebreaking," said a voice. "Never answer the telephone when you're in the middle of a job. Who are you supposed to be, for heaven's sake?"

Richard froze. It was a moment or two before he could find where he had put his voice.

"Who is this?" he demanded at last in a whisper.

"Rule Two," continued the voice. "Preparation. Bring the right tools. Bring gloves. Try to have the faintest glimmering of an idea of what you're about before you start dangling from window ledges in the middle of the night.

"Rule Three. Never forget Rule Two."

"Who is this?" exclaimed Richard again.

The voice was unperturbed. "Neighborhood Watch," it said. "If you just look out of the back window you'll see..."

Trailing the phone, Richard hurried over to the window and looked out. A distant flash startled him.

"Rule Four. Never stand where you can be photographed.

"Rule Five... Are you listening to me, MacDuff?"

"What? Yes..." said Richard in bewilderment. "How do you know me?"

"Rule Five. Never admit to your name."

Richard stood silent, breathing hard.

"I run a little course," said the voice, "if you're interested..."

Richard said nothing.

"You're learning," continued the voice, "slowly, but you're learning. If you were learning fast you would have put the phone down by now, of course. But you're curious - and incompetent - and so you don't. I don't run a course for novice burglars as it happens, tempting though the idea is. I'm sure there would be grants available. If we have to have them they may as well be trained.

Re:Sounds scary (1)

Elyscape (882517) | more than 6 years ago | (#22723818)

What's that quote from? It looks fascinating.

Re:Sounds scary (2, Insightful)

FLEB (312391) | more than 6 years ago | (#22723370)

Bingo. Although I don't think there's a solidly backable one-way-or-the-other legal or ethical stance on this (realistically, it's not much of a "privacy violation" at all), I just can't see it being an effective method of advertising. It just creeps a person out when someone they don't know jumps in and starts acting like an old chum, especially when it's clear that they know nothing about you except your name off a list.

Re:Sounds scary (1)

WK2 (1072560) | more than 6 years ago | (#22723212)

I do know they know who I am. Even if they know I know they know (which they should), they should know that creeping people out is not a good marketing plan. One of the reasons I feel good about blocking advertisements with adblock plus is behavior like this (though not this behavior specifically).

Re:Sounds scary (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722466)

yes that's assuming that they have any clue. unless it absolutely positively cannot possibly be avoided [paying bills for one] why link anything about you to an online profile????? I really don't know how people can enter their actual information and be utterly shocked that it is possible to serve ads with your name on it... what they don't know can't be used.

It's unintentional (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22722556)

unless it absolutely positively cannot possibly be avoided [paying bills for one] why link anything about you to an online profile?????

You log in to your Yahoo mail. Your Yahoo mail uses your real name because you don't want to confuse recipients. Yahoo search uses the name from your Yahoo mail to identify you. Either through cookies or by matching your IP address.

Google does this more obviously. Log in to your Gmail account. Now go to google.com, and do a search. Top right of your screen in bold letters is your email address.

Re:It's unintentional (1)

Gyga (873992) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722598)

Use POP3 and don't log into the web based version.

Re:Sounds scary (2, Interesting)

Hoplite3 (671379) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722482)

Exactly. If they put up an ad with my name on it, it would freak me out. I wouldn't exactly be racing to buy stuff.

If the advertiser reveals how well he knows me, he's making me uncomfortable. It's like some stranger knocking on your door an inquiring about the health of your child. It sounds like a threat, or at least establishes an asymmetric relationship (they know more about you than you do about them).

Coming Soon ... (5, Insightful)

daveime (1253762) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722350)

Well now that the EU have approved the Google / Doubleclick merger, expect ads VERY soon with your name on them ... and possibly a lot more.

Re:Coming Soon ... (2, Insightful)

daveime (1253762) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722442)

I've gone from 0 offtopic to -1 troll in a matter of minutes ?

I know I'm new here, but can someone explain how a comment about the Google / Doubleclick merger could possibly be offtopic, when the topic is about whether Google (and others) would serve ads with your personal details on them ???

As for troll ? Erm, well ...

Do you just get a handful of mod points and play pin the tail on the donkey with them ?

Re:Coming Soon ... (1)

SoCalChris (573049) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722972)

you just get a handful of mod points and play pin the tail on the donkey with them


That's the best overview of slashdot's moderation system that I've seen in a while. Taco should update the faqs with it.

Re:Coming Soon ... (1)

Kemanorel (127835) | more than 6 years ago | (#22723124)

I have one mod point left and can't decide whether to give it to you or the GP. Funny for you, Underrated (or Funny or Insightful) for the GP. Excellent comments both. Admittedly, both could get Offtopic as well, but, for that matter, so is this. ;-)

Bravo to both of you.

Re:Coming Soon ... (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 6 years ago | (#22723622)

Actually, neither.

If you post in an article, you can't mod any posts, and any mod points you already spent are cancelled and forfeited.

Shoulda kept your trap shut if you wanted to mod anyone.

Cheers (3, Insightful)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722356)

A. Let's go ahead and tag it "sometimesyouwanttogowhereeverybodyknowsyourname"

B. Google certainly can show me my name in the ad. Certainly it knows which gmail account I use, and the name on that. It also knows what billing name I used for my Google Checkout purchases. Similar ways of identifying users apply to the other companies. What worries me, is seeing my name on an ad served by somebody I did NOT share my name with.

Re:Cheers (1)

EMeta (860558) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722486)

Dude, tags need some finite length. "cheers" is enough for me.

It's the end of an era! (2, Funny)

Kamineko (851857) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722362)

Will slashdot implement a form of this as a replacement for the CowbowNeal option?

Re:It's the end of an era! (2, Funny)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722628)

Blasphemy!

Attention, Kdawson (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22722364)

Kdawson
We have an offer you simply cannot refuse! Kdawson, if you will just submit your name to us, we can use your real name in our ads instead of this silly Slashdot nick for just a one-time fee of $59.95! Get our your checkbook or credit card and call or visit our website today!

Huh? (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 6 years ago | (#22723664)

I don't remember changing my user name to Kdawson...

Where everybody knows your $name (1, Redundant)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722372)

This reminds me of the old BBS days. Someone would figure out the BBS code for displaying variables, and start posting messages with stupid things like "If your name is on this list, you will be banned: Joe, Frank123, [$name], ...".

The computer doesn't know your name. It echoes a variable.

Re:Where everybody knows your $name (1)

FLEB (312391) | more than 6 years ago | (#22723432)

That reminds me of the (not-as-old) IRC days. Our local ISP gave you the full name of the account-holder by Fingering the email address (that or the individual IP/DNS address-- which makes more sense, come to think about it), and we'd get people all edgy by running a reverse-lookup and rattling off all their personal info on IRC.

(Hey, a lot of people were dumb, 15, and on the Internet once. Don't look so smug.)

Urg, no thanks. (1)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722378)

I could see some sort of username/nickname, but not my personal name. My personal name, even only my first, would be creepy and I'd probably have to start supplying false names for it. However, I would crack-up with laughter everytime I read an ad like "Dr. Eggman, click here to stop your pest problems today!"

Re:Urg, no thanks. (1)

FLEB (312391) | more than 6 years ago | (#22723468)

I don't know how common it is, but I personally maintain a rather complete mental separation between my online and offline names-- I've used FLEB openly and most everywhere for the last 10-15 years, so it's about as descriptive as anyone else's real name (not to mention that it's easily correlated to my real name with a couple Google searches), so it's not like I'm hiding anything or trying to stay anonymous, but I still get edgy about people who converse with real names online (there're a couple forums I frequent that tend toward that), as well as people calling me my screen-name in real life.

Shot in the dark (1)

Eudial (590661) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722382)

Or, they could simply take shots in the dark against the most common names.

Worth a try.

John Smith: This is a message directed for you, and only you. Yes -you-, John Smith. Buy my snake oil! It cures everything, even *that* special problem. Only $99.

Not quite "Minority Report" (1)

jtev (133871) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722384)

Since I got modded down for an earlier overlord comment (Though, it's not like I'm hurting for Karma) I'll just say that this could be very much like in the movie mentioned in the subject of this post. On the other hand, It's not like it's a real suprise that advertisers get to know you, and, I'm not sure I'd be too upset by it. I mean, when Yahoo mail greets me by first name, I don't get worked up by it, nor when several other services do it. And this would just be a logical extention.

ads with your name on them (1)

barroomhero (1199353) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722390)

Thats just annoying, not to mention most people I know go buy a nick name anyway.

Re:ads with your name on them (2, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722540)

I don't think that annoying is quite the right word.

Excellent vector for phishing, perhaps. Great way to devalue a person's name; almost assuredly. Great opportunity to figure out which sites are handing over my person all information; definitely.

If this sort of thing does happen, I'm going to start using a different handle for each site that I join, and then refuse to do business with whichever sites are providing my information to the sort of sleaze that would use my personal information to address me via the net. These sorts of initiatives are creepy at best, and at worst a serious security risk.

This sort of thing is exactly why I don't allow third party cookies, and restrict most cookies to per session use only. Refuse to allow random flash ads while I'm browsing and completely ban third party scripts unless I absolutely have to, in which case I allow them on a per session basis as needed.

Really, what this all amounts to is a tremendous invasion of privacy and a lack of proper information being provided to the end users to decide what information that we're willing to hand over for access to a site.

Re:ads with your name on them (2, Funny)

mshannon78660 (1030880) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722586)

Thats just annoying, not to mention most people I know go buy a nick name anyway.

Really? Most people I know just select one for free. Your friends must have more money than mine...

Re:ads with your name on them (3, Funny)

aca_broj_1 (1034904) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722618)

Tell your friends I'll sell them the same brand nicknames for 35% off retail price. I also offer an extended warranty for $29.99.

Re:ads with your name on them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22723914)

I do better. I can sell them the nicknames for half of the price and they will receive the nicknames on a personalized e-mail with their first names on it!

Minority Report Please dear god NOOOOOO (3, Funny)

infonography (566403) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722400)

Granted, I was very un-hopeful when that flick came out, on the one hand, Philip K. Dick, on the other three (and both legs and much of the torso) was Tom Cruise. Still the personalized ads bit was there. Funny how they offered him pink clothing.

Roflmao

Re:Minority Report Please dear god NOOOOOO (1, Offtopic)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722844)

Granted, I was very un-hopeful when that flick came out, on the one hand, Philip K. Dick, on the other three (and both legs and much of the torso) was Tom Cruise. Still the personalized ads bit was there. Funny how they offered him pink clothing.

And the sad part that it was the screenplay that ruined it not Tom Cruise. I mean really, this isn't oooh his pants changed colour, or his gun should have been in the drawer and suddenly its with him type stuff... there were pivotal problems with the entire fundamental premise to the movie... right down to fucking up what the 'minority report' itself was.

Really could they have made a movie that missed the point more?

I can't wait for Hollywood to do a blockbuster movie based on the short story "the cold equations" and somehow have everyone live.

Alright ... so I'm offtopic... I admit it. But its my karma.

You have NO rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22722408)


Remember: You are in the United Gulags of America [whitehouse.org] .

As seen on Google... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22722420)

Welcome back to Google, Rob Malda. Would you like to search for vomiting dwarf homosexual porn again today?

Ben Dover, You May Have Already Won! (1)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722426)

Click Here To Claim Your Valuable Prize!

Screw them... (3, Insightful)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722428)

I don't care if they have ads (that I can't see) addressing me with names that aren't mine.

I do however, care about those people who are less technologically capable, and less privacy conscious being tricked into clicking on ads because they think it is from a friend or whatever (when reading emails especially).

Just because I rarely give out my real name on the web, doesn't mean that there are people who use their real name for everything and don't mind giving it to everyone.

And that's the problem. This won't matter for most people on Slashdot, but it will matter to at least minority of people. And the people with knowledge should promote that knowledge, we should fight against this sort of thing.

(Actually, I suspect that there are a number of people who would get rather angry being addressed by their name when looking at ads. Imagine your TV saying "Hey Joe, I've got a great new beer for you to taste!" or "Hey Joe, I've got a great new computer bit", most people I know would get angry at that. Meh, now I'm starting to ramble.)

I work for an ad agency. (4, Interesting)

verbalcontract (909922) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722464)

And I've written text-based ads for Google, MSN, Yahoo, etc.

But I can't imagine anyone would want to purchase a product based on an ad with their name on it. "Hey Morley! Buy some laundry detergent!" I'd get freaked out, and I'd forever associate that creepy feeling with the product. And I'd never buy it.

I imagine most people would feel the same way. And I imagine most copywriters -- who are less like the oily marketeers you're thinking of -- would feel the same.

I say, if some oily marketeer wants to use this feature -- and it is only at most my first name -- he deserves to scare off his customers.

Newest targeted ad (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722496)

"Hi, Cro! I have some V!aGra for you for only $9.95. And for an extra $4.99, I'll throw in some hygine products for Mrs. Magnon"

Snail Mail does it all the time. (3, Informative)

Marc_Hawke (130338) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722516)

I imagine a crafted ad would be quite effective (although misleading). We've all gotten the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes where they call us by name and say we won. Remember back to the first time, and you can know what it would be like to have that happen online.

One time on the news site forum I frequent they did that. The news posting/headline used a little trick to display who you were logged in as. Everyone assumed that the story was actually about them. The forums were chaos until everyone figured it out, and through-out the day new people would hurriedly make a comment and then get modded 'redundant' by everyone else.

Even though it was a simple echo of your login-name and not some great technical trick, it was effective enough to give everyone a bit of a startle.

Re:Snail Mail does it all the time. (2, Funny)

Itninja (937614) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722656)

I love those becasue my first name is legally C. (it's a long story). I love getting junk mail addressed to C.

"Act now! You could get a check made out to C. today!"

Re:Snail Mail does it all the time. (1)

FLEB (312391) | more than 6 years ago | (#22723526)

I get plenty of junk mail addressed to "Rudy Fleminger, Master of All He Surveys", and "Destroyer of Worlds, Creator of Design", after signing onto something or other with those "company names". Mostly American Express business credit offers.

I personally liked "Rudy Fleminger: NEVER EAT THIS!", but those tapered off pretty quickly.

Re:Snail Mail does it all the time. (1)

Blkdeath (530393) | more than 6 years ago | (#22723838)

I love those becasue my first name is legally C. (it's a long story). I love getting junk mail addressed to C.

I've had a few customers with legal first names that are only a single letter and I'm curious to know what's the story behind that? I have a suspicion, but I'd like to hear it more direct before I open my fool mouth. :)

I was passed a file for a customer whose legal first name was 'T' and there was a bit of awkwardness in the beginning because I didn't quite know what to call her and Mrs. Long Last Name I'd Probably Mispronounce didn't seem appropriate.

"Act now! You could get a check made out to C. today!"

Ugh. I don't have such a first name but those mailings drive me up the wall. "Pay to the order of: My Full Name."

They are often in the form of "pre-qualification" (note: not pre-approvals) for loans of varying amounts and I can imagine there are fumb ducks out there who'll follow instructions and go to the office to get instructions on how to deposit the money into their bank accounts.

FWIW, the company sending them out, Wells Fargo Financial Retail Services, used to handle the accounts for Future Shop around here but lost out to HSBC. So as soon as my 0% finance term is paid to completion I'll be cancelling the card and in every way possible formally revoking their permission to contact me and/or 'soft' query my credit bureau.

Topically, no, it's not "advertisements" in the strictest sense, but the creepiness factor, followed by the annoyed factor alone is enough to show how I'd feel if random web pages started using my personal information, name or otherwise, in adverts.

Re:Snail Mail does it all the time. (1)

T-Bone-T (1048702) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722774)

I haven't gotten anything like that, but I have gotten marketing letters addressed to and greeting Informed Consumer and things like that. It is really retarded.

Wait, I'm adblocking those ads... (1)

abqaussie (1250734) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722518)

So they can run an advertisement that I don't see that has my name on it? When ads are outlawed, only outlaws will have ads. It's madness I tell you. Madness.

Re:Wait, I'm adblocking those ads... (1)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 6 years ago | (#22723376)

When ads are outlawed, only outlaws will have ads. It's madness I tell you. Madness.
Madness??
THIS
IS
DOUBLECLICK!!!

(ducks)

What no "minorityreport" tags? (2, Interesting)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722570)

I already am slightly unnerved when ads for dating sites and such already know where I am, and that doesn't even require a cookie generally.

Well, they know your ISP (3, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722722)

Which in my case screwed it up since with my old ISP it used to be correct, but not with my new one. Apparently I live in some small village, not the city.

And yes, it makes a difference, these ads are HORRIBEL and anyone with a brain will know that they are ALL scams, how come there are only attractive women near you?

But the naming of your home town makes it seems more legit. It is afterall how confidence tricksters work, by finding stuff out that you somehow let them know but using it in the right way to make you believe they really know you.

Sure! (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722588)

As soon as they pay me for the use of my name.

We take our names seriously here at the Desperation compound. Why just the other day my brothers, Utter and Six-Degrees-Of, were talking about hunting down some of those there mappers for using their email addresses. But then they had to chase away from revenooers and got all distracted like.

MSN Explorer (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722638)

I remember the early ISP days of MSN and their portal package 'MSN Explorer'. Whenever you would log in it would play an audio file of a woman gently saying 'good morning', 'good evening', etc. After I had registered and used it for a few days, it started adding my name to the end of the greeting (i.e. good afternoon Tim). It was creepy to say the least. Of course, I immeadiately change my profile to show my first name as Dick. The software then obediently started calling me a dick several times a day (which, at 23, I thought was hilarious). And this wasn't some hawkingesque robovoice either; it was an actual recorded human voice.

Re:MSN Explorer (1)

Warll (1211492) | more than 6 years ago | (#22723106)

(which, at 23, I thought was hilarious).
I find the fact that you claimed to have stopped at "Dick" unlikely.

Re:MSN Explorer (1)

Spacejock (727523) | more than 6 years ago | (#22723296)

OT, but I remember the first time the game 'Black and White' whispered my name in a ghostly voice. It scared the bejeesus out of me, and I can still remember the way my hackles went up. Cute trick though.

I can see it now... (1)

boourns (1180959) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722668)

Hey, (subject_name_here)! Come on in to McDonald's, conveniently located in (subject_hometown_here)!

Hell freezes over (1)

ShatteredArm (1123533) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722728)

Did anybody ever think we would ever live to see a list of several entities, and be able to say that Microsoft is being the least evil?

Poor Nick-Names (1)

San-LC (1104027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722744)

I feel bad for anyone with a funny name or nick-name getting targeted with these ads: "Has anyone ever said, 'Let's help Jack off this bench?' Perhaps you have Osteoporosis." "Have you ever wanted to feel bigger, Dick? Hair transplants are the way to go!" "Google ads reach over 100,000,000 people a day. Can you service that many people, Hore?"

Now that MS bought aQuantive (1, Troll)

riskeetee (1039912) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722900)

Your first name isn't personal information. Your address is available on a map, so that's public information too. Heck, your SSN is given to you by the government, so that's not technically yours either! Wait until your GPS-enabled cell phone buzzes when you walk into a McDonalds: "Say, Bob, are you sure you want to eat here? Your cholesterol is 224. Subway is just around the corner. Mention this ad and you'll get 10% off!"

what are these ads you speak of? (2, Funny)

stokessd (89903) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722920)

they could be doing it now for all I know. Between adblock, flashblock, and spam filtering I don't see many ads at all. Actually with the DVR at home ads anywhere are a rarity in my life. Maybe they should advertise during the superbowl...

Sheldon

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

Mox-Dragon (87528) | more than 6 years ago | (#22723180)

I'd love to see my name on an ad during the superbowl.

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

sexconker (1179573) | more than 6 years ago | (#22723458)

I believe the recent super bowl had plans to name known sexual offenders in a few ads, but they decided not to air them.

Bank site ads (1)

HeronBlademaster (1079477) | more than 6 years ago | (#22722970)

Ads (for the bank's services) on my bank's website say my name. Obviously my bank is allowed to have my name, but I think it's kind of annoying. I don't particularly want google ads or anything else not as trustworthy as my bank to have my name.

Pseudonyms are fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22723118)

I get frequent re-finance offers for a post-office box that is fraudulently rented in my Second Life avatar name.

Os this an ad for AOL? (1)

TheSkyIsPurple (901118) | more than 6 years ago | (#22723224)

Seriously, if AOL can actually identify its users, you think advertisers would run to another site? nah... holy grail

Where are they pulling the info from? (1)

Robber Baron (112304) | more than 6 years ago | (#22723616)

Where are they pulling the info from? Are they, for example, using the "name" I enter when prompted to while installing Windoze?

"Type your full name and press enter"

OK...y-o-u-r...f-u-l-l...n-a-m-e...

Ok... but how? (1)

stuckwithme247 (1254774) | more than 6 years ago | (#22723624)

I don't mine seeing my name in an ad, it's not going to make me any more inclined to click on it. The only issue I see here is how are they going to get my name to begin with? Does anyone even know of a method of acquiring an account holders name from an IP addresses? The only thing like that I have seen just tells you the ISP. Wouldn't the ISP have to disclose this information?

The Evil Scale as an economic indicator (2, Insightful)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 6 years ago | (#22723800)

It's interesting that the Evil Scale on this issue is now

1 (Least Evil): Microsoft (implements tech. barriers)
2 : AOL (no barriers, no plans)
3 : Yahoo (no barriers, shows interest)
4 (Most Evil): Google (no barriers, no comment, lots of extra available data)

If we assume that companies think Evil is a negative for business, this suggests that Google and Yahoo are getting complacent, while Microsoft is working pretty hard again to woo customers and improve its market position.

As usual, spam is way ahead (1)

Atario (673917) | more than 6 years ago | (#22723906)

You know it's true, ${FIRSTNAME}.
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