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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 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.

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  • (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>

          --
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    • (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.

    --
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