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posted by cmn32480 on Monday October 26 2015, @06:12AM   Printer-friendly
from the if-they-had-only-listened-before dept.

Marketoonist ran a story about marketers saying, "Oops, our bad."

The Interactive Advertising Bureau issued a remarkable mea culpa last week about the state of online advertising. In response to the rise of ad-blocking software, IAB VP Scott Cunningham said digital advertisers should take responsibility for annoying people and driving them to use ad blockers:

"We messed up. As technologists, tasked with delivering content and services to users, we lost track of the user experience....

"We build advertising technology to optimize publishers' yield of marketing budgets that had eroded after the last recession. Looking back now, our scraping of dimes may have cost us dollars in consumer loyalty...

"The consumer is demanding these actions, challenging us to do better, and we must respond."

Nod to pipedot for running this story.


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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Adamsjas on Monday October 26 2015, @06:27AM

    by Adamsjas (4507) on Monday October 26 2015, @06:27AM (#254548)

    Quote: "The consumer is demanding these actions, challenging us to do better, and we must respond."

    No, the consumer isn't challenging you do to anything except GO AWAY and stop stalking us. The consumer explicitly does not want you to do better. We never agreed to the tracking, the cross site scripting, video ads, auto playing ads. We barely tolerated static image ads.

    Who in their right mind is going to remove ad blockers just because these guys ask for another chance?

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  • (Score: 2) by That_Dude on Monday October 26 2015, @06:39AM

    by That_Dude (2503) on Monday October 26 2015, @06:39AM (#254552)

    Ditto!

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 26 2015, @08:49AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 26 2015, @08:49AM (#254586)

    Who in their right mind is going to remove ad blockers just because these guys ask for another chance?

    Nope, the advertisers aren't expecting that. The about face is just to soften the outcry when they *buy up* all the ad blockers and make them useless.

    • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Monday October 26 2015, @01:15PM

      by Grishnakh (2831) on Monday October 26 2015, @01:15PM (#254643)

      You're going to have to explain exactly how that would work. What prevents more people from making ad blockers, or forking existing ones?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 26 2015, @06:09PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 26 2015, @06:09PM (#254797)

        fear of ninja lawyers

        • (Score: 2, Informative) by Bogsnoticus on Tuesday October 27 2015, @02:33AM

          by Bogsnoticus (3982) on Tuesday October 27 2015, @02:33AM (#254990)

          Ninja lawyers? Don't make me laugh.

          They don't stand a chance against a BOFH and his cattle-prod.*

          *Not forgetting the roll of carpet, bag of quicklime, and shovel.

          --
          Genius by birth. Evil by choice.
    • (Score: 3, Funny) by iWantToKeepAnon on Monday October 26 2015, @06:46PM

      by iWantToKeepAnon (686) Subscriber Badge on Monday October 26 2015, @06:46PM (#254823) Homepage Journal
      They're going to buy my phone's hosts file?
      --
      "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." -- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
      • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Monday October 26 2015, @07:33PM

        by HiThere (866) on Monday October 26 2015, @07:33PM (#254839) Journal

        Unless you want to block everything you don't already know, that won't help. You need a greylist, and greylists are a lot more difficult than either whitelists or blacklists. And in particular, they already work around blacklists, by periodically changing numbers. (I'm being a bit vague here, because precision would be misleading. This is true for phone numbers, TCP addresses, *ETC.*. It's not limited to those categories.)

        --
        Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by iWantToKeepAnon on Tuesday October 27 2015, @03:04PM

          by iWantToKeepAnon (686) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 27 2015, @03:04PM (#255120) Homepage Journal
          You're right of course, a hosts file is only partially useful and needs constant updating (thankfully there are those invested enough to do that already). But it was the easiest-effective thing for my phone. On my computer I use palemoon w/ all the addons. The major failing of a hosts file is when a site hosts their own ads b/c a host file can't block based on a partial url. But the nice thing is, all the big ad providers like to host their own images and videos so blocking entire domains is still useful. They could get around this by making sites host the files, but then they loose information and traceability. That's what I call a win-win for us! :))
          --
          "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." -- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by TheRaven on Monday October 26 2015, @09:38AM

    by TheRaven (270) on Monday October 26 2015, @09:38AM (#254598) Journal

    I don't quite agree. Advertising can serve a valuable purpose. There are basically there kinds of advert:

    1. You have a problem. A product exists that can solve (or, at least, help address) this problem. The advert makes you aware of the product and how to find out more about it.
    2. You have an idea of the kind of thing that you want to buy. The advert makes you aware of a product of this type that you might not have been aware of.
    3. You don't need anything. The advert tries to use psychological techniques to persuade you to buy something, or to convince you that the next time you want a specific kind of thing that you should go for a certain brand.

    In the last few decades, the advertising industry has concentrated entirely on category three. I'd be very happy to have all of these classed as assault with a dangerous weapon, as they're damaging to both individuals and society, and any executive that knowingly uses them put in prison. I'd also be very happy to have more of the ones in the first two categories.

    I stopped believing Google's 'Don't be evil' motto when they replaced their simple, informative, relevant, text ads that were usually in the second category (sometimes in the first) with a full-on attempt to build detailed psychological profiles of every individual to use producing adverts in category three.

    --
    sudo mod me up
    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by fido_dogstoyevsky on Monday October 26 2015, @10:11AM

      Advertising can serve a valuable purpose. There are basically there kinds of advert:

              You have a problem. A product exists that can solve (or, at least, help address) this problem. The advert makes you aware of the product and how to find out more about it.
              You have an idea of the kind of thing that you want to buy. The advert makes you aware of a product of this type that you might not have been aware of.
              You don't need anything. The advert tries to use psychological techniques to persuade you to buy something, or to convince you that the next time you want a specific kind of thing that you should go for a certain brand.
      ...
        I'd also be very happy to have more of the ones in the first two categories.

      Actually, what's needed for the first two is something like an interweb trades directory - somewhere to go when you particularly NEED to look at ads. Then there is no reason for any other advertising at all.

      --
      It's NOT a conspiracy... it's a plot.
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by TheRaven on Monday October 26 2015, @11:58AM

        by TheRaven (270) on Monday October 26 2015, @11:58AM (#254627) Journal
        That's all that's needed for the second kind. It's not all that's needed for the first kind, where you would just live with the problem not knowing that there's something that can solve it. That's where I feel that advertising could be the most valuable, though it's very rare to find an advert in that category.
        --
        sudo mod me up
        • (Score: 2) by NickFortune on Monday October 26 2015, @12:16PM

          by NickFortune (3267) on Monday October 26 2015, @12:16PM (#254630)

          I suppose I could see that if you weren't aware that you had a problem in the first place. If you were, you'd presumably make the occasional attempt to find a solution, and some sort of directory site would then be adequate.

          Of course if you didn't know you had a problem ... well making people "aware" of problems that they didn't know they had and then selling them solutions, that puts us back in category three territory.

          That said, I remember the days when advertising was a single silent, static banner across the top of a web site. Didn't get in the way of the content, was easily ignored and often looked interesting. I used to click on those from time to time. I don't think advertising is necessarily evil. I just don't trust advertisers not to abuse my hospitality if I let them on to my computer again.

          • (Score: 2) by Joe Desertrat on Monday October 26 2015, @04:54PM

            by Joe Desertrat (2454) on Monday October 26 2015, @04:54PM (#254757)

            That said, I remember the days when advertising was a single silent, static banner across the top of a web site. Didn't get in the way of the content, was easily ignored and often looked interesting. I used to click on those from time to time.

            They eventually made those a problem by whisking you away from the sites you were visiting and making it so that hitting the back button on your browser would not take you back to the original page. That and the pop-ups they started using as well. There were manual pop-up blockers (RIP Surf In Peace!) but when Firefox and tabbed browsing came along it was a revelation.

          • (Score: 1) by SDRefugee on Monday October 26 2015, @06:22PM

            by SDRefugee (4477) on Monday October 26 2015, @06:22PM (#254807)

            Like the endless fucking drug ads on tv... Where they spend nearly the whole commercial rattling off side-effects that would make anybody EXTREMELY leery of using the fucking drug, then a perky voice says "Ask YOUR doctor if zippydodah is RIGHT for YOU!!".... Serious annoying.. And EVERYBODY knows annoying your potential customer is the correct way to sell your product... <sarcasm>

            --
            America should be proud of Edward Snowden, the hero, whether they know it or not..
      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 26 2015, @05:16PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 26 2015, @05:16PM (#254767)

        Actually, what's needed for the first two is something like an interweb trades directory - somewhere to go when you particularly NEED to look at ads.

        Exactly. A dead-tree computer magazine I like has both ads on the text pages, and a separate ads-only section. I've never bought anything from the ads on text pages. But I've explicitly gone to the ads-only pages to look for things.

        When I'm reading texts, I'm reading texts. I don't want the ads, and they are only an annoyance (fortunately easy ignored for printed text). When I'm considering buying something, I'm not going to hunt for ads in the text section. I'm going to open the dedicated section.

        I have no idea of how typical I am, but I can tell for sure that as far as I am concerned, the money paid for ads on text pages were wasted, but the money for ads on the dedicated pages was not.

        • (Score: 1) by tftp on Monday October 26 2015, @10:23PM

          by tftp (806) on Monday October 26 2015, @10:23PM (#254901) Homepage

          A dead-tree computer magazine I like has both ads on the text pages, and a separate ads-only section. I've never bought anything from the ads on text pages. But I've explicitly gone to the ads-only pages to look for things.

          As some on SN may be aware, I am one of those people who hate ads. However this does not apply to ads-only pages. I receive QST, for example (one of the two dead-tree magazines that I subscribe to,) and it has ad pages. Quite often I like to look through those, to learn what's new is up there. The keyest difference here is that those ads are not interfering with me reading an entirely unrelated article. They are read in a completely different configuration of mind, on my own terms, when I am curious about new products.

          In other words, ads on demand are fine. They are useful, as they allow manufacturers to explain what they have. There is time and place for everything. There is time for silence during a brain surgery, and there is time for loud music during a large, wild party. Just don't mix them up. If I want to see ads about bicycle headlights, I want to search for them and be given a collection like Google Images. I don't want to see ads about bicycle headlights when I read an article about glueballs, or about serialization of a class.

      • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Monday October 26 2015, @06:06PM

        by tangomargarine (667) on Monday October 26 2015, @06:06PM (#254793)

        Sounds like a nice idea, but assuming that the listing site charged each company a fee to get listed (what else are they gonna do to make money? run ads? ;), it would inevitably devolve into a "first among equals" SEO problem where the companies with deeper pockets pay extra to sort them to the top of the list.

        And companies would still run ads the traditional way anyway. The listing site is just an extra place to advertise.

        --
        "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
        • (Score: 1) by tftp on Monday October 26 2015, @11:40PM

          by tftp (806) on Monday October 26 2015, @11:40PM (#254932) Homepage

          it would inevitably devolve into a "first among equals" SEO problem where the companies with deeper pockets pay extra to sort them to the top of the list.

          This has no effect on a savvy customer who reads the entire list before deciding what to buy. This is also convenient enough for a customer who has to buy something right away, no matter if it is the best or the cheapest. In other words, the order of ads in the ad listing does not bother the customer.

          And companies would still run ads the traditional way anyway.

          And they will be blocked by everyone, now that the official listing removes the last reason for advertising within someone else's materials.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by VLM on Monday October 26 2015, @12:18PM

      by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Monday October 26 2015, @12:18PM (#254631)

      There is a slight monetary problem. Say the corporations have billions they could spend on ads. And the population in general is in a permanent economic decline, so you're not going to build sales organically, only by scavenging a larger slice of a permanently shrinking pie. This is the consumer situation in a nutshell.

      So for consumer sales you have to convince the CEO that the ratios of ad bucks to sales and the long term effect of too many ad bucks chasing too few revenue dollars are unsustainable. I'm not sure that's necessarily true. Look at something like $1000 tennis shoes and $5000 car rims vs poor people. It seems the way of the future, that eventually we'll all have no money while being bombarded with ads trying to convince us to spend money we don't have. Its a higher level economic system failure, you can't exclusively fix just the advertising sector, or rephrased I can't think of a way to fix the ad sector that wouldn't change everything else.

      On the non-consumer side #1 is engineering whitepapers which are always kinda slimy, and #2 is the stereotypical engineering component online parametric search. The problem is #1 and #2 are incredibly cheap, and 99% of the budget is for #3. I'm kinda speechless about how to spend #3 levels of money on #1 and #2 ad outputs. You could replace pdf files of amplifier transistor spec sheets with online videos of taylor swift bouncing around while lipsyncing as someone reads the spec sheet for her. Or parametric searches of bypass capacitors could include not just the usual max voltage, capacitance, ESR, and self resonance freq but also thumbnails of pr0n, perhaps taylor swift pr0n, to stay on track.

      A lot of the problem at both scales is ratios. So at a high enough level money is allocated into local minima and local maxima based on $ revenue vs $ ad spend, for example. They're very local, local min and local max, and almost never global minmax results, but what is a risk adverse extremely short term thinker of a CEO supposed to do? You can't ask them to "do the right thing" because the purpose of a bureaucracy is specifically to filter people with morals, ethics, or independent thinking skills out before they get to the top. Its going to require a major system reboot to fix things.

      Maybe after the upcoming web 2.0 crash. The unicorns are already dying. Looks like another down leg in the great recession coming up too. Historically that kind of thing flushes out a lot of malinvestment.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by jdavidb on Monday October 26 2015, @01:02PM

      by jdavidb (5690) on Monday October 26 2015, @01:02PM (#254640) Homepage Journal
      I agree advertising can serve a valuable purpose, and I am still going to ruthlessly block ads.
      --
      ⓋⒶ☮✝🕊 Secession is the right of all sentient beings
    • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Monday October 26 2015, @01:43PM

      by Hairyfeet (75) <bassbeast1968NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday October 26 2015, @01:43PM (#254654) Journal

      Except if you do any online shopping the first two really aren't needed anymore as the places you shop can take care of the rather easily and simply. Look at the Amazon recommendations, or the Newegg and Tiger flyers,Amazon for instance was able to see from my purchases I'm working on building a little music studio in my new place and so under recommendations I was shown when they had sales on things I could use like patch cords and mikes, and Newegg and Tiger have both seen that I use a lot of flash drives and hard drives so I get flyers when they have sales on those, thus making it easy to know when they have a deal on something I can actually use.

      But lets be honest, the advertisers frankly SUCK ASS when it comes to all 3, even their so called "targeted advertising" is pathetic and wrong. When the big stink over targeted ads came up I decided to see how well it worked so I took a system I was planning to wipe and let it run ads then went to look at the prices for a netbook...what happened? I got tons of ads for TVs and jackets and other shit that didn't have squat to do with what I was looking for, by the time they actually started showing me netbooks? It was a month AFTER I had stopped looking at netbooks because I had already found and bought one* and had moved on to looking at the usual parts I need for the shop, hard drives and flash drives...so what did they show me? Tablets! Talk about a pointless waste, all they ended up showing me was either shit I had looked at over a month ago and no longer gave a shit about or things I had never looked for and gave not a single fuck about.

      * - Ended up with an Asus EEE with the AMD APU, one of the best laptop purchases I ever bought, still works great after 5 years, still gets over 3 and a half hours on the original battery and its powerful enough I use it as an HTPC when I don't need it for service calls, great little unit. Got it from Amazon who was showing me nothing but netbooks under recommendations within 15 minutes of me looking, now THAT is adverts that works.

      --
      ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Hairyfeet on Monday October 26 2015, @01:28PM

    by Hairyfeet (75) <bassbeast1968NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday October 26 2015, @01:28PM (#254649) Journal

    Not to mention as I told Jim Sterling when they had him railing against ABP on the Escapist "Are you gonna pay for the damages your ads cost the users when you show malware ads? Gonna pay to watch their accounts, the clean ups? No? Then you have no right to complain when people protect themselves against your malware by blocking your ads".

    I can honestly think of no comparison where somebody makes their money from risking causing damage to others and then actually bitch when people try to protect themselves, it'd be like a pickpocket bitching that people that have wallets with chains. If you block ads? The rate of infection drops so long antivirus honestly isn't really needed, in fact I cannot remember the last time I saw a PC at the shop that was infected by anything other than malvertising, nothing else comes even close.

    --
    ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
    • (Score: 1) by Francis on Tuesday October 27 2015, @02:27AM

      by Francis (5544) on Tuesday October 27 2015, @02:27AM (#254989)

      That's the thing, I generally ignore ads without needing a blocker. I use a blocker because they've become a security nightmare, intentionally slow the loading of pages and sometimes prevent the page from loading at all.

      The fact that I no longer see the ads is just gravy.

      • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Tuesday October 27 2015, @04:47AM

        by Hairyfeet (75) <bassbeast1968NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday October 27 2015, @04:47AM (#255003) Journal

        And as I told the Escapist (which got me banned BTW, but they ended up having to lock the thread as others took up the cause, which made me happy) if they simply followed the ABP "best practices" so they were put on the ABP whitelist? Then users wouldn't have to worry about infections from their site as to get on the ABP whitelist? Its like a "how to" on insuring malvertisements won't get through. But of course that would mean they couldn't take a check from anybody that walks through the door, they would actually have to give a shit about their users and not abuse them for their own profits.

        So i hand out ABP in every default install, and the rate of infection? So low as to not even be worth mentioning, because the vast majority by a HUGE amount of infections can all be traced back to malvertisements. And sorry but I won't shed a tear for douchebags that care more about their profits than spreading harm to their users going broke.

        --
        ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
  • (Score: 2) by Hyperturtle on Monday October 26 2015, @05:07PM

    by Hyperturtle (2824) on Monday October 26 2015, @05:07PM (#254761)

    That comment wasn't aimed at you. The "challenging us to do better" was a comment to their shareholders or VC or sugar daddies, who apparently do not mind funding such evil. I guess cola executives don't mind seeing their ads full screen if they paid for it. Maybe it gives them a subtle high to see how their product is on the internet!

    I mean... as a totally random example, one that I also used among family and friends and asked if they actually did this: who really goes to coca cola's website? for what purpose? (none of the people I asked ever went there, but assumed the site existed and probably had coke related flash games or video ads of attractive people drinking coke in fun settings. No reason to go there, so no one did).

    I can't even imagine what the point could be for Coke's website besides preventing someone from redirecting it to a website like Pepsi (perhaps it exists to prevent a redirect to Royal Crown and so on--its cola all the way down) suggesting you can lose weight via dieting and not drinking empty calories. Because that would be wrong, just like filling a site with misleading medical details that avoids the elephant in the room -- if your room stinks of elephant shit, and you have a trunk, big ears, and make a lot of unnecessary noise in autoplaying advertisements, you're the elephant so stop shitting in the room. Rooms like that I don't go to, like coca cola's website, because you can smell that stink without going into the room. Don't cry to me that you reek of elephant shit. Even circus elephants are trained, and ones in the wild know better than to roll in their mess. So why don't these big companies? Oh wait, they are using their marketing to try to change the narrative that sugary soft drinks is bad. They've evolved into something worse!

    You have to be pretty evil or pretty stupid to believe any of that (but a good and intelligent person if you believe me, right??)

      I can only imagine that they cut off their noses in spite of their faces and also plugged up their face to prevent from smelling anything shitty. But that's pretty unrealistic so I think marketing executives are engaging in a mental dissonance in that they want to believe they are providing value because if everyone refused their services they would have to get a new job. They likely really believe they are doing the right thing as a positive for everyone, if only they would listen to the message! Why do they hate Corporate America, because as people, us Corporate Americans have feelings too!

    Anyone remember the show Newhart? Where Bob Newhart retired and opened a bed and breakfast hotel (he had a show in the 70s, also called Newhart...), and had regular people hanging out there or working there. The waitress/maid Steph (cynical/sarcastic big haired 80s blonde on the show acting as a foil of sorts to stupid visitors) was married to a marketing executive who truly had NO SKILLS and couldn't even pick his nails if he was in danger of getting dirt under them. (It must have been a plot device that she was married to him, or, he was rich being a marketing executive) He got fired after people at work started poking around to see what he actually did, and it only amounted to his attending meetings and agreeing with upper management and expensing trips to places and stadiums and stuff. He did nothing, he didn't even make the ads let alone watch them. He truly had no idea how any of it worked or even what the products they sold did. He wasn't looking at ads, that is what the little people did! When cornered he couldn't even think of something of value he did but he had been doing his job his entire life, and he didn't even know what it was when his job depended on it.

    He was fired. Soon, at the unemployment office, a homeless man that typed at 20wpm with a high error rate was accepted for a position he applied for because that person had more professional skills. Truly a low in his illustrious career of marketing--he couldn't even market himself.

    I think that the show depicted the typical marketing executive pretty well -- at least, as far as I have come to see them. Maybe they do something, but it isn't obvious what it is or what makes it valuable to me as a consumer or end user.

    So, when they are trying harder, they aren't trying harder for our favor. They are trying harder to keep from having to learn how to type.

  • (Score: 1) by Francis on Tuesday October 27 2015, @02:22AM

    by Francis (5544) on Tuesday October 27 2015, @02:22AM (#254982)

    Nobody, but I tend to not bother with adblockers for the first few days after a new install. Then I get so fed up with the bullshit that I install the best adblockers I can find.

    That being said, there's a ton of new computer users that wouldn't have blockers at all if their techie friend didn't install it for them. Those are the people that would be affected first by the advertisers obtaining morals and some restraint.