The guy who wrote the code for the first pop-up ad apologizes

  • Interesting article though, you should read it and then come here and discuss it so I can call you an idiot.

  • LOL:

    "What we wanted to do was to build a tool that made it easy for everyone, everywhere to share knowledge,"

    This is an amazingly stupid thing to be interested in:

    "Stalder is interested in the idea that users are working for Facebook, generating content that the company profits from without getting compensated. "

    I suspect these businesses have figured out that good content makes them more money:

    "Some new media empires are so attached to advertising metrics that they are giving writers days off from “traffic whoring” duty to allow them to produce content that has greater social and informational value."

    This is creative, but seems limited:

    "Each user of the service pays a one-time fee, which rises a fraction of a cent with each new user."

    I like that they gave the positive side of advertising, but I don't really have a problem with the guy who wrote the popup ads. Blame the browser guy who came up with that feature, which was just begging to be abused.

    The surveillance discussion was kind of interesting. I think that your previous analytics work comes under this. What's you take on that issue?

    I only request some creativity when you call me an idiot.

  • mod

    I started in on the article. After about two minutes, I noticed how long it is and I decided: Fuck it. I don't have time to read this 💩.

  • @blakeyrat said:

    then come here and discuss it so I can call you an idiot

    Ooh, ooh, do me first!

  • Too long!

    Can we please get TLDR? Pretty please?

  • @boomzilla said:

    The surveillance discussion was kind of interesting. I think that your previous analytics work comes under this. What's you take on that issue?

    Well, first of all, I don't think targeting is the same thing as surveillance. Obviously the author of that article disagrees, but I don't know how detached he is from the current industry... in his previous job at Tripod, he was in a position where he could practice surveillance. (Much like Google can now with Gmail.) Most internet advertisers do not have that option.

    We had basic profiles with no PII (personally identifiable information-- i.e. anything you can use to say "this data belongs to this exact person".) That was enforced by the ad network, there was no way for us to de-anonymize it.

    Even on projects where we installed our tracking software for a particular site for a particular client, it was our policy to always remove PII from the data or, ideally, not capture it in the first place. Our goal was to improve the usability of web forms and funnels, not to track individuals. We didn't need PII to perform our job, so we didn't gather it. And we usually didn't even join ad network data to ours (even though it was technically possible-- we had one or two clients request this, IIRC), not that the ad network data was any less anonymous than ours.

    I've never done any analytics work I'd consider "surveillance". And in any case, I haven't even been in that industry for a solid year now.

  • I should also add that as far as web analytics goes, 99.99999% of that is within a single domain only. The only way web analytics could count as surveillance is if your single domain contains just assloads of data about the user, think Google (again) or Facebook.

    The only people who track you across sites are ad exchanges, and the only ad networks that have a big enough reach to be able to meaningfully track a person are Atlas (owned by Facebook) and DoubleClick (owned by Google)-- I'm using their legacy names here, I think they've both been renamed recently. And both of those ad exchanges anonymize data by default.

    It's very rare, although again not technically impossible, to link web analytics data with data from third-party ad network cookies. Typically, if I'm company A, the only data I can get from that is what ads I ran on what sites that linked to users who visited my page. Which is, basically, ad performance data and nothing more-- sure I can possibly make a trend saying "most of my users come from sites about goat fucking", but it's also likely that my ads are running more often on goat fucking sites than sheep fucking sites.

    Now the exchange itself has a lot more data on you, and it's used to construct targeting profiles. But targeting profiles can't be used to uniquely identify a person, and typically they're full of bullshit anyway. (Like a "guess" as to whether a particular cookie is a male or female user, the accuracy on that is abysmal, but they still sell it because dumb advertisers think it works.) What does DoubleClick and Atlas know about me? Well they probably can deduce I like video games. They can probably guess I'm male, but then again I visit DeviantArt and Pinterest which very well could flag me as female. They could probably guess I'm from the Pacific Northwest, although my laptop recently traveled to the other side of the country so that might have confused it. That's... that's about it.

    And end result of all of this is, I think anybody who's worried about being "tracked" by ads is 1) a paranoid, and 2) pretty ignorant of how ad exchanges and the Internet advertising industry works.

    That all said, the article from Zuckerman still makes a valid point about how poor-paying ads are, and how there are potentially much better models out there waiting to be discovered.

    But I also think he's more than a little detached from the current industry practices.

  • @blakeyrat said:

    And in any case, I haven't even been in that industry for a solid year now.

    Thanks. I've never been involved other than as someone who looks at ads, so it's a more interesting perspective than what I have.

  • Your article on this shit is way more interesting. No need for tl;dr.

  • @blakeyrat said:

    there are potentially much better models out there waiting to be discovered.

    I'm not so sure about this, though. Somebody has to pay something in the end. Marketing is just a way of shifting that burden around. Saying "oh you don't have to pay to see this website, but let us convince you to pay for this penis enlargement procedure instead."

  • Maybe there's a better model, maybe there ain't. You can't deny his point that currently, high transaction fees are really what's standing in the way of a lot of alternative models even being tried, much less being successful.

    If the minimum viable payment is in the range of $2.50 rather than $0.10, that really, really limits the options out there. Imagine being able to toss an icon on the page, like "hey, toss me a nickel" and the viewer clicks it and the nickel is transferred.

    IIRC VISA was actually working on something like that, not sure what happened to it. Probably killed by executives.

  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @blakeyrat said:

    so I can call you an idiot

    Why don't we just cut out the middleman?

  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    Wow, this is quite an interesting thread. I find myself in the same boat as @boomzilla, I've only ever been on the audience side of this.

    Kudos @blakeyrat, nice topic.

  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @Keith said:

    Ooh, ooh, do me first!

    That's what she said.

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