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Researchers Outline Spammers' Business Ecosystem

rel4x Used to mail a long time ago (14 comments)

...looks like not much has changed. Scamming was constant there, so you stuck with the people you knew.
The very first thing you do is exchange a small list of well known people you've done business with - your references. When one matches up between your list and their list you contact them and ask how the experience went. If it was good, you move forward and don't change until you have a damn good reason to.

It's not like there's a Yelp for spammer services, or even a normal review site. Everything is word of mouth.

about 6 months ago
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Milwaukee City Council Proposal Would Pave Way For Uber, Lyft

rel4x Re:Dear Timothy (76 comments)

The drivers are vetted by positive reviews and insanely difficult minimums...and it works fantastically. I'm aware there's theoretically an introductory period where bad people can slip through(not sure what Uber does on their own) but I've never met a bad one...while I've rarely met a traditional cab driver I'd put against an average Uber.

about 7 months ago
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FTC Drops the Hammer On Maker of Location-Sharing Flashlight App

rel4x Redundant and weird. (187 comments)

Part of my job involves inspecting outbound network connections from android apps. Practically every ad network is sending your coordinates or location anyways. It seems a bit weird the FTC cared that the app was doing the same when it already had ads on it...

1 year,11 days
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Google, Facebook Upset By Ad-Injecting Apps

rel4x Re:Said it before and I'll say it again ... (282 comments)

What users don't get is that the more people use adblock, the more marketers will have to extract every last penny they can out of the users they can. That means dirtier, high ROI ads, pop-ups, etc. Most users aren't going to install adblock no matter what they do.

First of all, ad views don't make money; clickthroughs make money.

I'm well aware. Though it's worth noting what you say is mostly true for text ads/hybrid ads, and some banner companies like Google, while others(pop-ups), most other large display ad networks stay with CPMs and media buys.

That said: "Dirtier" ads also make more money for the advertiser. Animated weight loss, pop-ups, biz-opp, etc. That's what I meant and that's what will become more common if adblock ever becomes the norm. The methods they use are dirtier as well, but that's more a symptom of less scrupulous companies advertising. Right now many ad networks restrict these niches and products from advertising.

And I may be in a minority (though probably not), but I'm usually not interested in any of the products or services advertised and don't trust the sales pitch of an online ad regardless.

Second, if advertisers create more intrusive ads (which didn't work so well when they did), that's just too bad. I will either avoid the ad, or else avoid the site promoting the ad. The only thing that forcing an ad on my display would accomplish is to make me not want to look at your site, and therefore be extremely unlikely to recommend your site to someone else who might actually click on an ad. If I want to learn about a product or service, I'll do the research on my own, and ads will never be a factor. I am not an early adopter, I do not make impulse purchases, and I am not your target demographic.

People who either don't know how or choose not to block ads will have to decide for themselves whether they want to patronize a site that tolerates or facilitates intrusive advertisements.

It's not about you. It's about math and the thousands of others who WILL buy. There's always a population that won't buy and another with their credit card numbers tattooed on their foreheads. What you doesn't matter as long as they keep doing what they do.

about 3 years ago
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Google, Facebook Upset By Ad-Injecting Apps

rel4x Re:Said it before and I'll say it again ... (282 comments)

Well pop-up windows are pretty much out because all the major browsers now block them by default. I've seen a few in-page pop-ups but those are probablly pretty easy for an ad-blocker to detect.

They just make you click on something first. Using the onclick action bypasses every major popup blocker I'm aware of.

about 3 years ago
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Google, Facebook Upset By Ad-Injecting Apps

rel4x Re:Said it before and I'll say it again ... (282 comments)

It's not that I want to hide the ads. What I want is to hide the annoyance of the ads. Keep the ads subtle and out of the flow of what I'm on a site for, and I won't want to block them.

What the marketers don't understand is that the more annoying they get, the less eyeballs they receive because of more and more people use ad-ons like Adblock to avoid the annoyance. All they seem to understand is the lazy approach. Be loud! Be garish! Be anything but smart and honest!

What users don't get is that the more people use adblock, the more marketers will have to extract every last penny they can out of the users they can. That means dirtier, high ROI ads, pop-ups, etc. Most users aren't going to install adblock no matter what they do.
The other end of it is that marketers in general are confident that they can overcome adblock if it ever becomes popular to the point where it's a problem. Adblock only works by recognizing the domain hosting the image/scripts or common path names.
Toss that banner add on the cloud, or have it hosted locally by the site owners(in a non-"banners" or "ads" subdirectory) and for the most part you've got it beat. Advertisers haven't adapted because there's not a big enough incentive to. But if push ever comes to shove, they'll win.
Imagining that AdBlock provides(or could provide) enough incentive to make anyone even think about cleaning up advertising is nothing but wishful thinking.

about 3 years ago
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OpenLeaks Founder 'Crippled' WikiLeaks

rel4x Re:Bitter from competition? (278 comments)

The fact that Wkileaks is making a big deal of the stolen stash of documents suggest they are NOT in this to provide information, but rather to further a specific agenda.

Forget for a moment about the irony of bickering over "ownership" of stolen documents. The fact that Wikileaks still HAS a copy of those documents means they weren't harmed.

They are in this to provide information, but part of their self-given task is also to get the information as much coverage as possible. Controlling the flow of information is part of this in their eyes.

As their relationship with their formal partners(Guardian, NYTimes, etc) deteriorate, the leaks have been released differently. Instead of trying to create the news, they latch onto existing stories and ride on their coat tails. In Egypt for example: News about Mohamed ElBaradei and Egypt would have been ignored had it been in the original dump of releases. But by releasing the information as Egypt starts to get international attention, the information ends up showing up in a huge variety of articles on the topic. The information spreads without being the cause of the news. It compliments it instead.

more than 3 years ago
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NSA Considers Its Networks Compromised

rel4x Re:Which is the sane thing to assume (239 comments)

Well what I think the poster was getting at is the idea that, if you're closing off all insecure ports on all your machines themselves, then firewalls shouldn't really being doing anything anyway. It's not an either-or proposition, is it? Either you have a firewall or you have unpatched computers running with all ports open?

Except that you generally don't "close off insecure ports". You're not disabling them, you're just setting them to "not open yet". A large part of the point behind a firewall is to make sure nefarious programs can't open the ports without your knowledge.

about 4 years ago
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HTML5 vs. Flash — the Case For Flash

rel4x Re:lolwut? (510 comments)

Have you ever used Grooveshark?
It's in Flash and pretty gorgeous/easy to use. In fact, a lot of the functionality I really like in it like right click menus with unique options when you're about to play a song is only possible because of Flash. It takes a little bit to load, but there's a fair amount of functionality given for it, and afterwards it runs relatively fast.

more than 4 years ago
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Ars Technica Inveighs Against Ad Blocking

rel4x Re:My thoughts (1051 comments)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't internet ads generate their revenue through the amount of clicks they incur? I know Google's ads do this. By using adblock, what I'm saying is: I'm never going to be clicking on any of the ads on your website. If I didn't use it, I still wouldn't be clicking on any ads on your website and they will also annoy me. It's most likely that the people using ad blocking don't care about the ads you display and won't be clicking on them anyway.

Small text ads are generally pay per click, large banners are generally pay per 1000 views.

more than 4 years ago
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Facebook Rewrites PHP Runtime For Speed

rel4x Re:is this being used now? (295 comments)

Facebook has a few problems. Overuse of ajax combined with this absolutely bizarre habit of including dynamic javascript at random points in the script. These lead to slower runtimes, especially with older browsers where (upon encountering a JS file) they completely stop doing everything else to execute it.

more than 4 years ago
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Obama Appointee Sunstein Favors Infiltrating Online Groups

rel4x Re:Why fear terrorists... (689 comments)

-We are being spied on all the time.
-They lied to us to get us into Afghanistan.
...just like in Vietnam -We have consistently overthrown governments in foreign countries.
-We've had orders that involved killing US citizens make it remarkably high up the ladder.


I agree with the examples you chose, but our government hasn't exactly given us a multitude of reasons to trust them

more than 4 years ago
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Court Unfriendly To FCC's Internet Slap At Comcast

rel4x Re:Forgery perhaps (215 comments)

The United States Postal Service is a government agency. That's why punishments for interfering with mail are so harsh. The letters/mailboxes and whatnot are their property until you take possession of it. (Yes, the post office owns EVERY mailbox) Your ISP/file/website/torrent has nothing to do with the government. Big difference.

more than 4 years ago
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Would You Use a Free Netbook From Google?

rel4x Re:Not possible (435 comments)

Except that Google gets much more than $2.00 CPM on searches. MUCH more.
Checking some quick numbers from campaigns I have access to show it's actually in the double digits in some pretty low-intensity/cheap vertical.

I guess we'd have to know what percent of searches trigger an ad to get anything conclusive though.

about 5 years ago
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FBI Investigates Liberator of Court Records

rel4x Re:Money (445 comments)

We're living la vida bureaucracy. Oh yeah, it also costs a lot to tap all our phones.

more than 5 years ago
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Americans Don't Want Targeted Ads

rel4x Re:66% say they don't want it, but... (404 comments)

Agreed. I'll bet if you polled the same people they'd say they hate seeing weight loss/dating/bizop ads everywhere.

But the fact is that those are the things that you can advertise to based on the general demographic of a large site. Without more specific information....yeah.

more than 5 years ago
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Porn Surfing Rampant at US Science Foundation

rel4x Re:bad idea... (504 comments)

I used to work for a semi-private company/gov org doing tech support for police and fire fighters back when the MSBlast worm hit. While going around to police cars and fire stations cleaning the infections, we found out they were infected with a lot more. Why? Because they looked at a LOT of porn. Seriously. Firefighters have a porn archive like you wouldn't believe. And a virus archive to match.

more than 5 years ago
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The Fresca Rebellion

rel4x Re: healthcare choices (776 comments)

There's a difference between what the government has the ability to do, and what is a right. Technically they could all give us free cheeseburger tuesdays, but that doesn't mean(with current legislation) you have a right to a free cheeseburger every Tuesday.

more than 5 years ago
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Wikipedia Approaches Its Limits

rel4x Re:It's their own fault (564 comments)

I disagree. I'm not an editor there, but I frequently read the talk pages(I find them more interesting and more telling than the main pages sometimes).
The top editors quite obviously revert edits from "lesser" users for no reason other than disagreement with POV, or just pride in what they initially wrote. Wikipedia at this point has so many rules that someone who spends a lot of time on Wikipedia can almost entirely control articles with them.
If you don't have an encyclopedic knowledge of these rules(even though many are selectively enforced) you really have no control over the article. It's quite similar to the idea that police have so many laws at their disposal that they can nearly always find something wrong with your driving/car if they really want to give you a ticket(such as slight overhangs of the license plate frame)

One glaring example I remember is Bristol Palin. Someone managed to get her article removed(though she was obviously notable), redirected it a section about Sarah Palin's family, then changed the the anchor so that the place it was redirecting to had nothing to do with her. Could it be an accident? Yeah. But there's a lot of similar examples.
Also, despite the number of articles with built in criticism sections, large corporations and political figures will often remove the criticism section entirely, or move it to a separate article. Why? Because those locations get a fraction of the traffic.
Wikipedia ranks too well in the search engines for special interest groups and PR/reputation management companies to ignore. Slowly but surely, they've been building up influence and sockpuppet accounts. And Wikipedia has changed a lot as a result.

Obviously I can't cite any of this, so I understand if you guys take it with a grain of salt. But it's been something I've been seeing for quite awhile now, and I'm quite confident it's happening.

more than 5 years ago
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Expedition To Explore an Alaska-Sized Plastic "Island"

rel4x Sealand #2! (325 comments)

Gentlemen, grab the closest hairdryer. The time has come to melt the plastic, and make our own nation!

more than 5 years ago

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