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Google, Facebook Upset By Ad-Injecting Apps

Soulskill posted about 3 years ago | from the turnabout-is-highly-irritating dept.

The Internet 282

An anonymous reader writes "Emily Steel at the Wall Street Journal writes about an unexpected twist for Google and Facebook, two companies that make their money selling ads next to content created by others. New companies like Sambreel Holdings are writing slick browser interfaces for popular sites like Facebook or Google and supporting themselves by injecting their own ads into the mix. Naturally, the original ad sellers aren't so happy about other ad sellers inserting themselves farther down the chain. Are we in the middle of an ad war where every company tries to inject their ads over the others? Will only the last 'ad supported' software in the chain win?"

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Said it before and I'll say it again ... (5, Informative)

amalek (615708) | about 3 years ago | (#38316278)

Adblock, como te amo.

Re:Said it before and I'll say it again ... (5, Insightful)

InsightIn140Bytes (2522112) | about 3 years ago | (#38316362)

Adblock only works because it's not widely used. If everyone would use it, then advertising networks would have to come up with better ways to deliver ads without possibility to block them. It's already done on sites that are for geeks, like Slashdot. /. has ads, yes, but they also sell advertising spots on Ask Slashdot section and polls. By advertising Adblock (ironic, isn't it?) you're only giving webmasters and sites more reason to come up with hidden advertisements and things that really integrate into site. Google is already doing it on YouTube - they put some required components behind ad servers, so if you block video ads then the videos will stop working completely.

Re:Said it before and I'll say it again ... (5, Insightful)

H3lldr0p (40304) | about 3 years ago | (#38316548)

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!

Re:Said it before and I'll say it again ... (5, Interesting)

rel4x (783238) | about 3 years ago | (#38316738)

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.

Re:Said it before and I'll say it again ... (2)

InsightIn140Bytes (2522112) | about 3 years ago | (#38316874)

And not only will it move banners to the site and same domain, there will be large increase in normal links used for advertising, hidden inside text or the content you want to read. It will only make advertisements more sneakier and you can't block those unless you want to block all normal links, up to a point where the actual content will be made with those ads in mind. Users with Adblock still have it good, but the more people they try to get to use it will just mean that the faster they will be unable to block any ads.

Re:Said it before and I'll say it again ... (2)

petermgreen (876956) | about 3 years ago | (#38316982)

pop-ups, etc

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.

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.

That is CURRENTLY how they work. but if the advertisers change their tactics then the ad-blockers likely will as well.

Re:Said it before and I'll say it again ... (1)

magsk (1316183) | about 3 years ago | (#38316758)

I agree 100%. I use adblock on lots of sites, but the places I dont use and actually enjoy the ads because of their relevance and low key-ness, is google search and gmail. The ads are data driven and so many times they are right what I am looking for. Other sites just post ads for nutritional supplements when im reading an article about space exploration or might have an ad for a laptop, what do I care about those when reading an about space. Now if they advertised an imax showing near me about space or a telescope maybe i would make use of the ad.

Re:Said it before and I'll say it again ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38317114)

I couldn't agree more. Every time I click a link to read a bit more about an interesting news headline, or the like, and I'm taken to a page with a click-through ad, I just close that page and move on. I actually angers me when I have jump through a hoop or am forced to watch an ad on something that has absolutely nothing to do with anything I'm interested in, just to see what's behind it.

One would think that the marketing "experts" understand this and would new and creative ways to show us ads that are relavant and non-obstructive.

Re:Said it before and I'll say it again ... (4, Insightful)

masternerdguy (2468142) | about 3 years ago | (#38316592)

I have this cool idea for a plugin that lets 8086 assembly be embedded directly into web pages, maybe the advertisers could use that?

Re:Said it before and I'll say it again ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38316898)

Boy, thats a genius and new idea. Did you forget to engage your brain before you started typing?

Re:Said it before and I'll say it again ... (1)

M0j0_j0j0 (1250800) | about 3 years ago | (#38317064)

Ask Slashdot is an Ad!! i feel so dirty , im going to wash my self till oblivion.

Re:Said it before and I'll say it again ... (2)

allo (1728082) | about 3 years ago | (#38317130)

you cannot win this war. Its like the virus scanners. no virus scanner really knows the most recent virus. so no website will be able to provide ads in a way that cannot be blocked.
with adblock you can block articles marked as sponsored on slashdot, if you want to.

and forcing ads like the advertisers want them (colorful and blinking) to the users against adblockers needs javascript, which can easily be blocked with noscript (which should be a builtin for firefox).

of course, the site can choose to provide the content only via javascript. but i would bet then we get plugins to selectivly run parts of the javascript and other parts not.

Re:Said it before and I'll say it again ... (1, Informative)

Lisias (447563) | about 3 years ago | (#38316400)

Adblock, como te amo.

In plain English, for all the non-Portuguese readers:

Adblock, I love you so.

(Me too, by the way)

Re:Said it before and I'll say it again ... (1)

poena.dare (306891) | about 3 years ago | (#38316434)

3 hosts.txt

Re:Said it before and I'll say it again ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38316500)

Slashdot hates love.

Re:Said it before and I'll say it again ... (0)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about 3 years ago | (#38316854)

Oh, that make much more sense, I was thinking "Adblock, come to me" and felt I was missing the punchline.

Re:Said it before and I'll say it again ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38316438)

Buy the non-ad version douche-bag.

Re:Said it before and I'll say it again ... (5, Funny)

Toe, The (545098) | about 3 years ago | (#38316470)

Why would you want to remove ads? Genuine Rolex watches for only $99! [spamcop.net] They are what support the development of (Refinance today! [slashdot.org] ) new applications for your benefit. Just like you can benefit from a bigger penis! [wikipedia.org] I don't find it (THIS IS NOT ANNOYING! [wikimedia.org] ) annoying at all.

Re:Said it before and I'll say it again ... (5, Funny)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about 3 years ago | (#38316570)

My favorite is still one email I got
"Don't you deserve an Authentic Replica Rolex?"

No, sir. I deserve better.

Re:Said it before and I'll say it again ... (1, Funny)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about 3 years ago | (#38316604)

Fuck Rolex.

I gots me a Breitling. :)

Re:Said it before and I'll say it again ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38316816)

...and you're still a pretentious twit.

Re:Said it before and I'll say it again ... (1)

Toe, The (545098) | about 3 years ago | (#38316666)

But do you not deserve a Fake Genuine Rolex?

Re:Said it before and I'll say it again ... (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about 3 years ago | (#38316736)

no get a http://www.christopherward.co.uk/ [christopherward.co.uk] same movement but your not paying for the brand.

Re:Said it before and I'll say it again ... (1)

rjstanford (69735) | about 3 years ago | (#38316886)

So... none of the reliability combined with none of the status?

Re:Said it before and I'll say it again ... (0)

taoareyou (2468090) | about 3 years ago | (#38316956)

I didn't realize that people still wear watches. Anytime someone wants to know the time, they look at their cell.

Re:Said it before and I'll say it again ... (5, Informative)

bonch (38532) | about 3 years ago | (#38316498)

Google doesn't like AdBlock either. Chrome doesn't support the blocking of ads before they're downloaded, even though WebKit supports that functionality (and it's used in the Safari version of ABP). The author of ABP has implemented workarounds for some ad types, but it's still an arbitrary limitation in Chrome--a browser from a multi-billion dollar web advertising company with a vested interest in having you download their ads so that they count as "views."

Re:Said it before and I'll say it again ... (3, Informative)

InsightIn140Bytes (2522112) | about 3 years ago | (#38316528)

And don't forget Google Analytics. Since you can't actually block the request, it will hit it and Google gains more and more data about everyone. In other browsers you can actually deny the whole request so it doesn't work.

Re:Said it before and I'll say it again ... (3, Informative)

DJRumpy (1345787) | about 3 years ago | (#38316672)

Ghostery [ghostery.com] works well for that sort of thing.

It should achieve the effect you are looking for in preemptively blocking the content before it hits your browser.

Supports most major browsers too.

Re:Said it before and I'll say it again ... (1)

EdIII (1114411) | about 3 years ago | (#38316748)

Yes you can block it. Regardless of browser used.

It's called a hosts file. That will stop *any* attempt to load an external include on a page by resolving the redirected domain to localhost.

Only way around that would be a local include of Google's javascript, which greatly limits their ability for a common code base, but would make it at least run. That would be a one-trick pony. Just read the javascript, or if obscured, watch the connections and then add it to the hosts file as well.

It's just layers. I use Chrome, Adblock, and a large updated hosts file. You want more? Set up a transparent proxy for the internal network too :D

A new browser interface for a website? (1, Insightful)

sohmc (595388) | about 3 years ago | (#38316318)

Why is this necessary? Both already have native apps on mobile devices. Users can browse with IE, Firefox, Chrome, etc. What does the browser do that a normal browser doesn't?

Re:A new browser interface for a website? (0)

MichaelKristopeit346 (1968126) | about 3 years ago | (#38316432)

the new browser injects ads to replace existing ads... like the summary said about the article entirely about ad injection...

you're an idiot.

Re:A new browser interface for a website? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 3 years ago | (#38316446)

It's the Facebook app for your computer!!11!!

To be fair, lots of these sites could probably use a interface makeover. If a company wasn't lazy and just displayed the content straight from the browser they could potentially add something useful.

Re:A new browser interface for a website? (1)

Mithent (2515236) | about 3 years ago | (#38316460)

Unfortunately, everyone has now been trained that they need "an app for that". Even if the "app" just contains a browser window. There are a huge number of mobile apps which just duplicate functionality easily available on websites, but users will install the app if it means they get to where they want to go quicker. (I imagine that the majority of people have no idea how to add bookmarks to their home screen, so they'll go looking for a ready-made solution.)

Re:A new browser interface for a website? (1)

Yetihehe (971185) | about 3 years ago | (#38316586)

Been there, done that even yesterday. Why? Because apple push notifications work only with native apps. If not this, I would use "bookmark" app (if you add some magic metadata to page, webpage can behave almost like native application on iphone).

Re:A new browser interface for a website? (1)

InsightIn140Bytes (2522112) | about 3 years ago | (#38316600)

Well, apps allow for notifications and interface that can be loaded in the background while you browse the site. But largest part are the notifications and actual windows for chats, along with data or FB wall directly visible on your home screen. It makes for nicer experience because while now a days website interfaces are good, they still can't really beat native application.

Re:A new browser interface for a website? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38316792)

Unfortunately, everyone has now been trained that they need "an app for that".

Yes, they're trained. Like dogs. They don't evaluate their own needs and seek their own best-fit solutions like proper human beings. They're sheeple.

Yeah, sheeple. I see the way some of you react strongly to that term, like you can't stand it. You don't react that way to ordinary insults. You react to it because a) you're reactionary and don't have the grace to overlook the use of a word you wouldn't use yourself, so you launch ad-hominems against the one using it and b) you know it's true and you don't want to be reminded.

Corporations just LOVE sheeple. It means people thoughtlessly do things in large patterns (trends) that can be led, manipulated, and predicted. Marketing works best on people who need to be told what they want and accept this as normal. Real individuals might not fit the statistical pattern and won't line up in droves for the latest sale. Governments just LOVE sheeple too. They are easy to frighten and beg to be protected from whatever the big scary of the day is: Communism, drugs, terrorism, whatever.

You know who doesn't love sheeple? People who want to live and let live who aren't looking for ways to exploit and have power over the masses. People like that see the masses of sheeple as the single biggest threat to the kind of society they would rather live in, one based on freedom (political and social) and merit and respect for the individual. People like that are rounding errors when it comes to voting both at the polls and with one's wallet.

Re:A new browser interface for a website? (1)

alostpacket (1972110) | about 3 years ago | (#38316540)

It's not, it's not even very common either. This is the WSJ regurgitating an annual article about injustice and scams on the "interwebs." The /. crowd knows better but this article is like one of those "they almost cured cancer this year" types: It happens every year. The story never changes and the profit of Facebook and Google are hardly affected by this.

In fact, several years ago The NY Times even brought a case against some spam-adware company that would install a toolbar or somehow modded the browser and launched popups to competing sites. IIRC The NY Times lost the court case, and there was a bit of the Streisand effect, but ultimately people dont use this kinda crap, and it all just went away in the end. The funniest part is how the WSJ journalist spins it as a "new unexpected side-effect." Welcome to the internet, lady :)

Re:A new browser interface for a website? (2)

maxdread (1769548) | about 3 years ago | (#38316606)

Well it isn't necessary.

Essentially this company created several adware-like plugins that allow users to do trivial things such as add a background image on facebook, in return the plugin injects ad's onto the site. It isn't a new browser, it's more akin to a greasemonkey script.

Oblig XKCD (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38316328)

Have you met... (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | about 3 years ago | (#38316338)

Have you met Kettle? No?

Pot this is Kettle. Kettle, meet Pot.

Re:Have you met... (1)

maxdread (1769548) | about 3 years ago | (#38316634)

But does Google actually forcibly inject ads into sites that didn't sign up for them? I'm not sure there is much of a parallel here between what this company is doing and Google/Facebook.

appification (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38316342)

This will only lead to more 'appification'. bad news.

Finally some sanity (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38316346)

I would like to see some sanity return to the internet. Don't get me wrong, I love the wild west internet - geocities, altavista, angelfire style.

However, it's time that random-ass websites popping up for everything from drawing stick men to planning your dessert, start dying. Can we see some *real* innovation that isn't just hoping for a quick payoff through ad-views and user-grabs? I mean, it's disappointing to see top CS grads come out to make stupid little Iphone games instead of making the next great search algorithm, the next great Half Life game, the next great Unreal engine, etc etc. Please... let some sanity return to the web. And yes, I come from one of the Si valley schools (I'll let you decide which onesssssss) and its really sad to see top CS talent (ie my peers, younger and older) churning out websites in the hopes of making a quick buck.

Please let the sanity return so we can continue to progress forward. Our top talent cannot be wasted trying to flip websites for a quick buck. Peace.

Re:Finally some sanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38316722)

> next great search algorithm, the next great Half Life game, the next great Unreal engine, etc etc.

Those things take skill to make. Thus, 99% of CS grads will not be able to do that. The teeming masses of clueless CS grads still need to make a living somehow.

Live by the sword, die by the sword (4, Insightful)

cornicefire (610241) | about 3 years ago | (#38316358)

The irony is killing me. Google is so happy to frame other people's content with their own ads. It's going to be funny to see them spin up some kind of tortuous distinction between their advertisements and the ones that the Sambreel uses.

Re:Live by the sword, die by the sword (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38316630)

As a webmaster I am not happy that Google sometimes shows its users my pages before they visit. So get the info they want and don't visit my site for real and get the ad I serve.

Re:Live by the sword, die by the sword (2, Insightful)

sexconker (1179573) | about 3 years ago | (#38316760)

As a webmaster I am not happy that Google sometimes shows its users my pages before they visit. So get the info they want and don't visit my site for real and get the ad I serve.

As a webmaster, I would never subject visitors to my site to advertisements of any sort.

Re:Live by the sword, die by the sword (2)

tomhudson (43916) | about 3 years ago | (#38316846)

Anyone who calls themselves a webmaster deserves to die die die! You're a big part of the problem.

Re:Live by the sword, die by the sword (2)

aix tom (902140) | about 3 years ago | (#38316960)

So change your robots.txt so that Google doesn't index your site. Problem solved.

Re:Live by the sword, die by the sword (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38316636)

And other people are happy for them to do so since they add value for both users and site owners.

Sambreel may add value for users, but not for site owners, and it's their "content" being framed (if you count a fair-use excerpt as "content").

Re:Live by the sword, die by the sword (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38316652)

Frame other people's content with their own ads? You chose whether to do that. What Sambreel does is simply taking somebody else's work and than putting advertising for their own benefit...

Re:Live by the sword, die by the sword (1)

DJRumpy (1345787) | about 3 years ago | (#38316680)

Not to nitpick, but isn't that exactly what Google is doing?

Frame other people's content with their own ads? You chose whether to do that. What Sambreel does is simply taking somebody else's work and than putting advertising for their own benefit...

Re:Live by the sword, die by the sword (1)

amalek (615708) | about 3 years ago | (#38316682)

Definitely.

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38316378)

If I'm going to go out of my way to install software that modifies ads, I'll install software that modifies them into oblivion.

We already have those. They're called adblockers. Of course there will be that same subset of stupid users that get duped into installing toolbars. Those users will probably end up installing this. If it's done right, they won't even know it. The spammers might be realizing that intrusive pop-up installers aren't the way to go. If they can replace a legitimate display ad with something of comparable (or perhaps even lower) intrusiveness then they have a winner. To reiterate though, they only win with people that are stupid enough to allow crap to install on their machines.

Ah, capitalism (2, Interesting)

kqs (1038910) | about 3 years ago | (#38316380)

It's a triumph of capitalism. Insert yourself as a parasite, move revenue from those doing the actual work towards yourself. And the obligatory "well, it's okay since the marks^Wusers agreed to it in an unreadable EULA."

Best of all, the complaints go to the web sites you're stealing from, not to yourself. Brilliant!

Not capitalism but con-artist (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 3 years ago | (#38316782)

Whatever Economic system you have you will have people who will break the laws or bend them to their most extreme to get the most of of doing the least.

Now what you stated isn't the triumph of capitalism. Con-artist and doing the bare minimum to get "free money" can only get so far. If you want a triumph of capitalism you need a good long term plan. Where you can keep your customers and they want to stay with you.

Now we will hear about these big companies who are making tones of money and consumers are hating them like banks... However if you look at their books they are usually start scamming a few years ago and now it is going back to bite them.
 

"Will only the last ad in the chain win?" (4, Interesting)

green1 (322787) | about 3 years ago | (#38316394)

The summary asks "Will only the last 'ad supported' software in the chain win?"
We could only wish! Unfortunately what usually happens is that each step simply adds more ads. Rarely do they remove existing ones to do that. As a result, you simply end up with more and more ads.

I'm at a point now where I am so fed up with ads in general, that I am ruthless in my ad blocking. I run adblock, and flashblock, and I run adfree on both my cell phone and my tablet. Additionally I run my own DNS server that is used by my computers, as well as my cell phone and tablet, and any time I see an ad on any device I do my best to track down where it came from and block the domain.
And it's not just the web either, I don't have commercial TV service because I can't stand the ads. Many of the networks have their shows available right on their websites, for free and without the long commercial breaks either!

Had advertisers kept things reasonable, I might have never resorted to such measures, but as it is, I'm fed up enough to just block everything.

It's not (so much) the ads... (5, Insightful)

Peter Simpson (112887) | about 3 years ago | (#38316494)

...but the absolute *crap* they advertise. Honestly, I do *not* want to look up my former high school classmates, I do *not* need a credit card with a lower rate and I do *not* want to see [random actress] nude! Perhaps if they were to advertise something I actually wanted...but then, they wouldn't ned to advertise as much, would they?

Re:It's not (so much) the ads... (5, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 3 years ago | (#38316662)

THIS!

Facebook is terrible for for. The have have hundreds of millions of people browsing their site everyday, and it's filled to ads for scammers, porn, dubious websites and other junk. They could make a serious amount of money if they would just only take serious advertisers. You don't see ads for fake Rolex watches on NBC, but you do on Facebook, even though Facebook has a much bigger audience. They need a real advertising department that goes after big companies getting real advertisements for legitimate products. If the ads were for real products, people would be much more likely to click on them, and advertisers would pay much more for the ads. Right now, no serious company will advertise on Facebook because they don't want their product showing up next to ads for Russian Brides and get rich quick schemes.

Re:It's not (so much) the ads... (1)

rabidmuskrat (1070962) | about 3 years ago | (#38316802)

They do actually make an attempt at showing you ads they think you want to see. They frequently know a surprising amount about you by the time the ad hits your eyes. There are a whole bunch though that are just displayed to about everyone everywhere though. Those ones tend to be the most annoying.

Re:"Will only the last ad in the chain win?" (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 3 years ago | (#38316584)

I didn't have to get "fed up", I blocked everything I could as soon as I could.

If I want something, I seek out advertisers. If I don't, I block 'em all.

Accountability? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38316396)

Why is the web the only media where its acceptable for the actual ad materials to come from a completely different source than the content? Who should bear the cost when someone's infected to hell 3rd party ad server screws up someone's PC with malware? I've repeatedly seen machines infected with really bad stuff from ads on CNN.com, who do I bill/sue for the cost to clean them up?

Re:Accountability? (1)

green1 (322787) | about 3 years ago | (#38316480)

The person who was either:
a) stupid enough to click on an ad (ANY ad, we don't want to encourage that)
b) stupid enough to run a machine without the latest patches to prevent something they didn't even click on from running arbitrary code on their machine.

So in short, you bill the end user.

Re:Accountability? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 3 years ago | (#38316488)

Does your TV not have the manufacturer's name written on it? Do you not see commercials during movies or non-network TV shows?

Re:Accountability? (1)

bonch (38532) | about 3 years ago | (#38316520)

Why is the web the only media where its acceptable for the actual ad materials to come from a completely different source than the content?

You want everyone to host the ads themselves? And how would advertisers verify how many views they're getting?

Re:Accountability? (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about 3 years ago | (#38316788)

Why is the web the only media where its acceptable for the actual ad materials to come from a completely different source than the content?

You want everyone to host the ads themselves? And how would advertisers verify how many views they're getting?

Yes. Who gives a shit?

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38316820)

The advertiser sends them a box which they use to serve the ads from their own domain. It would be more expensive, but properly setup it would be tougher to block.

Re:Accountability? (1)

anyGould (1295481) | about 3 years ago | (#38316724)

Replacing ads is commonplace up here in Canada. CRTC (Canada's FCC-equivalent) says that if American Channel A is showing the Simpsons at the same time Canadian Channel B, the cable company is required to substitute the Canadian ads over the US ones (even on the US channel).

Among other things, it means we never see the Super Bowl ads.

And I can't count the number of times I've seen station ID logos stacked on top of each other in the corner. (Protip to broadcasters: three translucent logos on top of each other = unreadable mess and no-one wins.)

All is fair in Love, War and Advertising (1)

_0x783czar (2516522) | about 3 years ago | (#38316408)

I could see them getting pretty heated over this, I mean this has to do with the entire business model of their companies, of course they'll get heated and defensive over it. I just hope that an Ad I like wins. Nations have fought war over Drugs, Spices, Women Why not Ads?

Google should know (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38316512)

From the article...

"A Google spokesman said "applications that are installed without clear disclosure, that are hard to remove and that modify users' experiences in unexpected ways are bad for users and the Web as a whole."

Google has made a living out of "applications that are installed without clear disclosure".

Re:Google should know (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38316818)

Please explain or give examples. I have seen no Google app with no clear disclosure. Even more, I think it is just the other way round.

Easy solution (1)

apdyck (1010443) | about 3 years ago | (#38316516)

Google and Facebook simply have to add some terms of service to their API. By changing the TOS to include a restriction on ads they will have the legal right to force these companies out of business for violating the terms of using their APIs. I believe that we will see this change happen very quickly!

Re:Easy solution (1)

tomhudson (43916) | about 3 years ago | (#38316614)

Google and Facebook simply have to add some terms of service to their API. By changing the TOS to include a restriction on ads they will have the legal right to force these companies out of business for violating the terms of using their APIs. I believe that we will see this change happen very quickly!

Won't work, because it's the end user who downloads the applications that customize the look and insert the ads. So, it's the end user who would be in violation of any ToS. As the article notes, there is NO contractual relationship between Facebook or Google and the company doing this.

If (to take an example) Facebook were to buy a clue, they would notice that people want what this company is offering (customizable backgrounds, etc) and offer it themselves - problem solved, AND you're giving the customer what they want.

Of course, it's easier to whine. Stupid Facebook! Bad Facebook!

Re:Easy solution (1)

apdyck (1010443) | about 3 years ago | (#38316810)

You are forgetting the fact that in order to display the ads in the first place the third party application must access the facebook/google API to retrieve content. By adding a line in the TOS for the API that reads something like this:
...access to this API used in conjunction with any third party advertising network or advertisers is strictly prohibited...
Then the owner of the API can go after the maker of the infringing software in court and easily win.

Re:Easy solution (1)

tomhudson (43916) | about 3 years ago | (#38316922)

Please, if you're not going to RTFA, or even RTFS, please at least RTFP (or at least the first line of it) before replying. The third-party browser is being run by the facebook user, not the 3rd party.

Any violation of the ToS is by the facebook user. Suing your customers because they want features you don't want to give them is a great way to go out of business.

Re:Easy solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38316688)

Their terms of service is between the domains and the adNetworks.

This third-pary app / toolbar / browser is probably not part of the contract and can do what ever it wants unless its breaking a law of some sort

I don't want to see a law restricting what executables you installed on your computer can do to manipulate ads. (We asked government to fix it and they outlawed ad blockers. Internet Anti-AdWare Act aka ad blockers are illegal)

Interstitials (3, Insightful)

TheSpoom (715771) | about 3 years ago | (#38316524)

If Adblock becomes common, interstitials are going to win. They are the only form of ad that could be coded such that they cannot be blocked (e.g. make the interstitial send a message to the site at the beginning and end of the ad, and/or require the user to enter some content from the ad before the site sends the actual content of the website to the user).

If they win, adding more ads will only make the user not want to use your interface since it means a further delay until the website's content can be viewed.

Re:Interstitials (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 3 years ago | (#38316612)

Is there a practical way to make interstitials invisible instead of blocking them?

I don't care if adverts run, I just don't want to see them.

Re:Interstitials (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38316778)

> I don't care if adverts run, I just don't want to see them.

You may not, but I and a bunch of other people do. There's already too much tracking of our every move on the internet. Some of us remember the days BEFORE ads began to infest the internet, and we want that internet back. If it means giving up CNN and whatever on the net? Fine, let them die.

Re:Interstitials (1)

gewalker (57809) | about 3 years ago | (#38316840)

If you write your own proxy server, you could modify the z level of content from known interstitials, maybe you could derive it from proximodo [sourceforge.net] or privoxy [sourceforge.net] . This would have the advantage of being unnoticed by the intersticials since you are still pulling the content,

Re:Interstitials (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 3 years ago | (#38316868)

Is there a practical way to make interstitials invisible instead of blocking them?

I don't care if adverts run, I just don't want to see them.

Unplug the computer.

This is funny (1)

CloneRanger (122623) | about 3 years ago | (#38316526)

If you try to download Adobe Acrobat Reader, Google toolbar is injected into the download with no way to stop it. It installs before acrobat - I guess so you can't cancel it. If you download the Adobe Flash Player, Google Chrome is injected into the download and you cannot stop it. Uninstalling brings up an app asking why you uninstalled Google's product. Is it fair to play both sides of having your product injected without consent and then cry foul in another area of competition? (Admittedly this may be Adobe's decision alone, but Google probably knows it.)

Re:This is funny (2)

PCM2 (4486) | about 3 years ago | (#38316704)

If you try to download Adobe Acrobat Reader, Google toolbar is injected into the download with no way to stop it. It installs before acrobat - I guess so you can't cancel it. If you download the Adobe Flash Player, Google Chrome is injected into the download and you cannot stop it.

Ummm... are you being serious? Because:

A.) I've never seen any of the behaviors you describe;
B.) Chrome doesn't use the standalone Flash Player, it has its own, internal Flash Player, so the two downloads are totally incongruous;
C.) Google Toolbar for Firefox has been discontinued, so the utility of that plugin seems limited.

Re:This is funny (1)

jasen666 (88727) | about 3 years ago | (#38316814)

I just installed both of these on a PC the other day... there's a rather obvious checkbox above where you hit "install" to prevent the toolbar or Chrome from being installed along with Reader or Flash.
Still an annoying opt-out that probably catches people who aren't paying attention (like yourself perhaps?), but hardly a forced, unpreventable install.

Cable Operators (5, Interesting)

geekboybt (866398) | about 3 years ago | (#38316564)

Is this not what the cable operators already do? If they sell a local ad, they simply dub over the national ad of their choice and call it a day. How is this any different?

Re:Cable Operators (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38316626)

More so with DPI [wikipedia.org] .

If they haven't already, it's coming.

Re:Cable Operators (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38316718)

Not at all, some advertising time is designated for local use and your OTA station, cable, etc. will insert commercials there.

Re:Cable Operators (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38316744)

Is this not what the cable operators already do? If they sell a local ad, they simply dub over the national ad of their choice and call it a day. How is this any different?

There is a contract between the national network and the cable operator. Part of the price the cable operator pays the national network for the content is determined by the number of ads the national network can show and how many the cable operator can show.

Personally, I just block them all.

Re:Cable Operators (2)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 3 years ago | (#38316862)

Is this not what the cable operators already do?

Yes.

If they sell a local ad, they simply dub over the national ad of their choice and call it a day. How is this any different?

The spot where they dubbed it in was put there so the local ad could be inserted in. In other words: it's designed that way.

Re:Cable Operators (1)

geekboybt (866398) | about 3 years ago | (#38316938)

Interesting. So is there some sort of agreement, where the network says that they can dub over certain ads? I've noticed that the dub isn't quite perfect sometimes, and you'll catch the beginning/end of a network ad which is then replaced with a (obviously lower quality) local ad.

Yo Dawg! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38316588)

I herd u like Ads, so we put an Ad in your Ad, so you can Ad while you Ad!

Enough is enough! (3, Insightful)

slumberheart (1423685) | about 3 years ago | (#38316658)

This whole business about making money just by slipping an ad in front of an eyeball is stupid, and I wish it would stop altogether.

Brought to you by Carl's Jr

Bwa ha ha. (1)

anyGould (1295481) | about 3 years ago | (#38316674)

I don't think Google or Facebook have a legal leg to stand on, for starters - if I change my software to change the presentation of the data you've sent me, that's my perogative. If you can't stop me from using AdBlock, you certainly can't stop me from using AddAds.

Also, the logical question here would be - what are these add-ons doing that people want so much that they're willing to accept even more ads for? And perhaps the big players should simply take half an hour and add the code to let you put snowflakes or whatever on your page and cut them out of the loop.

Finally - ad-supported companies bitching about ad-supported companies stealing their cheese amuses me to absolutely no end. Watching Facebook warn users about privacy dangers is worth the price of admission, right there.

What goes around comes around: 1998 (4, Interesting)

jtara (133429) | about 3 years ago | (#38316698)

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/1998/04/13/240866/index.htm [cnn.com]

I designed the client software architecture for the above. It was an "interesting" experience. My favorite "death march" project ever! ;) I got to meet David Bois...

The client was a wrapper around IE or Firefox, and attached a "PowerBar" to the top of the browser window. Due to the legal issues with EDS, they never got to dealing with any potential legal issues involving consumer privacy or publisher rights.

While I had some misgivings initially about working on this project, I found Dale very receptive about protecting consumer privacy. There were safeguards to insure that advertisers could only gain access to aggregate data, and this was a stated goal. And he went along 100% with my ideas about insuring that uploaded data was as transparent as possible - passed in the clear so that users could examine it and see just what was being sent, with only a small opaque digital signature. (Which still worried me. *I* knew there was nothing hidden in the signature, but how could the user prove it?)

Re:What goes around comes around: 1998 (3, Interesting)

jtara (133429) | about 3 years ago | (#38316978)

A brief summary of PowerAgent:

http://www.thefreelibrary.com/PowerAgent+Introduces+First+Internet+'Infomediary'+to+Empower+and...-a019639599 [thefreelibrary.com]

What I called PowerBar above actually was called PowerFrames. I'd forgotten about the interstitials.... (PowerPages).

This was around the same time that Google first incorporated.

The client software worked reasonably well, given the state of embeddable browser controls at the time. Allegedly, there were serious issues with the back-end, and EDS insisted on taking that over.

I haven't really followed this area since. Has the question ever been settled as to whether software that inserts ads into content retrieved from the web violating the publisher's rights, or just acting as an agent of the user? I mean, it's legal to cut-apart a newspaper page, and paste it back together into a collage any way you want, right? (Assuming it is just for your own enjoyment...)

http://www.thefreelibrary.com/EDS+Provides+PowerAgent+With+Internet+Services+to+Support+One-To-One...-a019656177 [thefreelibrary.com]

How long before ISPs do this? (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 3 years ago | (#38316772)

Eventually, ISPs will do this. Networks do this with the advertisements in Times Square during New Years. The ads you see on one network are different from the ones in another network. It also happens when you watch sports - the same model of the stadium that adds the line of scrimmage into a football game is used to change the ads.

Eventually, ISPs will get in on this, if they haven't already.

Re:How long before ISPs do this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#38317090)

My ISP reserves the right to do this in their Terms Of Service. Needless to say, I am planning on switching ISPs.

https://www.uniserve.com/about/terms-of-service/ [uniserve.com] Section 28 v, though they have renumbered the sections without changing the "last updated" line at least once.

Nothing new. (1)

GuB-42 (2483988) | about 3 years ago | (#38316926)

This is nothing new. There are craploads of search engines that are just google with more ads., spyware extensions that "improve" user experience (like Comet Cursor) and hijacking malware.

The likes of Google and Facebook found the solution long ago : don't do crap. Their sites are good enough to make such extensions undesirable.

Ad decluttering through selective ad blocking (3, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | about 3 years ago | (#38317022)

I'm approaching this from the other end. I'm working on a browser-add on which limits the number of ads that appear on a page. The user sets the limit, and we trim out ads accordingly. The ads with lower SiteTruth ratings [sitetruth.com] are deleted first.

This puts the user in control of the ad experience. The problem with on-line advertising today is that there are too many ads per page. This isn't good for advertisers or users.

I am amazed at how ads are funding the internet (5, Interesting)

Pausanias (681077) | about 3 years ago | (#38317058)

I am perpetually amazed at the amount of money companies spend on advertising. It's staggering---enough to support all of Google, Facebook, you name it.

Did companies always spend this much money? Does it work? Why don't more people block it? AdBlock has been around for almost a decade now and it didn't cut into this pie at all. It's just still geeks like us using it.

I don't know what's more amazing, this, or the resistance of most computer users to tweak or modify their browser setup in any way shape or form unless they absolutely have to.

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