At my startup Confiant , we block bad ads in stream on behalf of publishers. Cedato aka Algovid aka TLVMedia is one of our prime targets, we block millions of their ad impressions daily.
They are essentially buying cheap display ad placements to resell them as fake video preroll ad placements. They sell on video exchanges like AOL's AdapTV and others. To maximize their yield, they resend ad requests in a loop to multiple parties every few seconds until an ad clears, leading to this massive network load.
We're on a mission to drive them out of business (and we're hiring ;) )
(edit forgot link)
With very few exceptions, especially in the consumer space, you won't need advertising if you actually need something. You'll search it out or your friends will tell you what to buy.
Advertising serves as a way for the capitalist class to exert veto power over other aspects of society by yanking funding at opportune moments (see the current Google snafu or Bill O'Reilly's departure from FOX (which was an example of this power being used for good indirectly via public pressure)). It also allows for shows of dominance, strength, and to move fucking product by creating an awareness moat vs your competitors. This means that people often already know they want to buy something, but they'll pick you instead of the other one which is fundamentally different from advertising performing a public service.
Businesses often make more rational decisions because they can assign someone to do research (like you did of your own volition) who will make comparisons and think about it.
Imagine the same process happening for shampoo. I'm sure there are some people that want "the best" shampoo, but most of the products are going to be nearly interchangeable and the marketing will try focus on various kinds of manipulation to dig that moat. These manipulations aren't what most people think of, like a sex symbol hypnotizing you. Instead they work to increase brand familiarity, social proof, and provide a life style narrative you can tell yourself and show off to other people with.
The capital hiding behind these campaigns funds newspapers, television, radio, and civic centers. It acts as a filter on the public discourse. If you're interested, look up Manufacturing Consent for more information.
Here's a clip from a documentary based on the book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTBWfkE7BXU
Even consumers love ads.
Did you know that they even pay money because they want ads? Those 900 pages of Vogue that they buy every September, do you think they're filled with articles? Because they're about 870 pages of fashion ads. People specifically buy them because of the advertising.
And did you know Sunday papers are a thing, filled with coupons, that are basically ads?
Sorry, but advertising serves a purpose that consumers actually pay money for.
Scam-like advertisement that use browser exploits to track you is not one of them. None would pay for that service, which is a good indication about which from of advertisement is wanted and which isn't.
I wish we had that in more fields. Would provide huge value, but it's a hard problem. But i suppose if with the right incentives(banning advertising ?), we could do it.
The other source of info for EE's is education and PR, some of it probably pretty unbiased(at distributors sites), due to incentives.
As for ads ? they exist, but they seem to play a relatively small role, and probably nothing major will change if they stopped existing.
Plus, it's extremely tedious to collate and filter all of the properties needed to make them work. Ebay and Amazon barely do it at all. Newegg and McMaster Carr do OK. Only EE components seem to be demonstrate the ideal parametric filter systems that negate the need for advertising.
But I'm still a sucker for buying Linear Tech or TI components before, say, Maxim or Toshiba because even if the parametric search say that both options fit my requirements, the former seem to be better documented and more user-friendly than the latter. That's the kind of advertising you only get through years of writing expensive and high-quality technical papers and producing high-quality parts, and I suppose there will always be value in advertising that fact (or suggesting that fact, regardless of whether it's true for other advertisers) to less experienced engineers.
Hah, reducing your BOM cost isn't a major factor in your decision making? ;)
for example, for microcontrollers:
One example of advertising that I think is acceptable are the ads on the slatestarcodex.com sidebar, which are manually placed there by the author and targeted directly at the niche he writes in. If a computer could achieve the same precision when choosing what ads to run, and based its choices on the publication rather than the user, I think it would also be acceptable to me.
Would you find such ads equally unpalatable?
When I want to buy something I go to a shop and being there I still don't want ads. I want accurate specs, relevant statistics, maybe pictures and honest reviews. Sometimes I could use a guide, when it's not my domain.
I never stopped in the middle of something to say "I'd so watch an ad right now".
Leaving aside the assumption that somebody has to pay just because you did something, selling my visual comfort for how much? a tenth of a cent? shows me how much you value your readers.
You can't have high quality content and not pay for it - with ads or otherwise.
If you want ad-free, keep your credit card ready every time you open your browser
I'm not necessarily speaking in favor of ads. I'm just pointing out the shallow analysis which characterizes these companies as greedy or bereft of common decency who want to shove ads down your throat. It's a really unfortunate and ill-considered narrative
Making money is hard but his way of doing it is nothing to admire.
I'm hopeful we can smooth this experience quite a bit. In the near future, we have (as the current best extant example) in-browser Apple Pay backed by an HSM (either the touch bar or an Apple Watch). Presumably other vendors could implement something similar since at least the payment part isn't proprietary.
In the slightly more distant future, we could improve efficiency/privacy/reliability by using Bitcoin micropayment channels instead of credit cards, but same idea.
Any decision we make is the result of a lot of stuff influencing our behaviours, and the border between researching information on a product and being targeted by an ad for this product is not really black and white.
If I had to chose, I'd rather be influenced by logical arguments than by a nude person taking a shower. Which only says so much about my personal values and is not really a good thing per se ^^
No, people research to make informed decisions.
If I invest two minutes of research into each ad, I get 10 hours of research, every day. Obviously, it's not practical for me to actually research ads.
Thus, to deal with the raging torrent of imagery being ejaculated at my face by advertising companies, I must fall back to some kind of heuristic. I have two immediate choices: I can assume ads are truthful, or I can assume they are lying.
I know /some/ ads are lying, because I see obvious bullshit like acai berry ads on a semi-regular basis. So if I'm not willing to invest 10 hours a day of research, it's best /for me/ to just assume that all ads are lying to me, and chose more focused research methods when I feel I need them.
Now, if that very simple heuristic wasn't working for me I might be pressed to spend some time making a more complex, less binary heuristic. However, the simple reality is that this heuristic /is/ working for me. It's working very well.
If the advertising industry had standards, and required products to prove out their value before being advertised, then this would not be a problem, and they would actually be performing a valuable service to society. Unfortunately, they will shill for anyone with money, and do so at such scale that the best results-for-effort approach is to ignore the entire content source.
For example, whenever I need a new product, be it anything from a spoon to a car seat for a child, I’ll check Stiftung Warentest for full tests of that category.
I’ll take the top 2 or 3, enter them on idealo or preispiraten or günstiger.de or hardwareschotte, and then I’ll take the cheapest of those.
At no point in this purchasing process come ads into play, and I get the best results.
For me, that example actually serves as an extra argument against ads.
I bought a piano course from Udemy because of advertising on FB (and then spent an additional £150 on a keyboard). I'm really enjoying it. Please tell me what a horrible human being I am.
In fact, in my post I explicitly assumed that nobody was made responsible for the task, exactly because I assume the poster is not incompetent.
The idea we couldn't find good products without advertising seems pretty moot with internet search available. The greater problem is seeing through the advertising to assess the product - there's a lot of things like market segmentation based only on different packaging (more wasteful, 'oppulent'). The Capitalist notion of value optimisation might work with false representation and coercion removed from the equation.
That said, I think there should be restrictions put on the methods that advertisers are allowed to use. What currently happens in online advertising hurts everybody, including those who rely on ad funded business models.
Another issue is aonymity. In a world without advertising, you'd have to pay for everything directly. Making anonymous payments is extremely difficult and easily outlawed entirely.
You're voluntarily consuming ad-based content, no one's forcing you. If you don't like their ad-supported content, shouldn't you use only content which paid for in different ways? Why should anyone be restricted in their actions because of your opinions?
Because the rights and protections under the law that advertisers rely on only exist because of my opinion and the opinion of other citizens.
Without the law, the concept of private property would be largely undefined. Corporations would not exist. There would be no limited liability, no chapter 11, no enforceable contracts, no trademarks, no patents, no copyrights, no courts, no police, nothing of the sort.
If we want to enjoy the protection that the rule of law affords us, we will have to accept that there needs to be some sort of social process that determines what our laws should be. It's a negotiation.
And no, using ad-supported services is not voluntary in any realistic sense of the word. There are many essential necessities of modern life that are ad-supported and have no real alternatives.
Also, voluntary is a rather ill defined term when it comes to things that most people cannot even know or understand.
I have seen this sentiment a lot on HN as a counter to libertarian arguments, but really it's a straw man. The argument you are making is essentially: as a society we make rules, therefore we can enact rule x. Whereas the libertarian argument is (phrased in the vernacular of your counter-argument): society should only have rules which protect private property and prevent aggression.
> And no, using ad-supported services is not voluntary in any realistic sense of the word. There are many essential necessities of modern life that are ad-supported and have no real alternatives.
So? Just because person A depends upon the services of person B doesn't mean that person A can make outlandish demands on the way person B provides said services. Let A and B negotiate and determine the most agreeable terms for their cooperative exchange, sure. Alternatively, A can choose to deal with person C instead.
No, I was responding to this very general question by thecrazyone: "Why should anyone be restricted in their actions because of your opinions?".
I was interpreting this question in the sense in which libertarians are often framing it: "What gives society the right to get involved in voluntary agreements between individuals?"
So I was merely explaining my reasoning on why society has a legitimate role to play and why my opinion as a citizen counts for something.
Once that is out of the way, we can go on arguing about what specific rules are good or bad.
And on that point I have one key disagreement with some libertarians. I do not accept the absolute priority of private property over all other interests and freedoms that people value.
I find this primacy extremely contradictory given that there can never be a level playing field and libertarians keep arguing against levelling the playing field where that would be possible to some degree (inheritance tax)
I also question whether private property is sufficiently well defined or definable without taking into account other considerations of what it means to be human.
>Just because person A depends upon the services of person B doesn't mean that person A can make outlandish demands on the way person B provides said services.
I don't know what outlandish demands you are talking about.
> I also question whether private property is sufficiently well defined or definable without taking into account other considerations of what it means to be human.
I'm sure we could have a very interesting discussion on these objections but I'd hate to go completely off topic. But I'll easily bite :)
> I don't know what outlandish demands you are talking about.
In the context of the thread, clearly the outlandish demand would be regulating the advertising that B uses in providing A a service.
>In the context of the thread, clearly the outlandish demand would be regulating the advertising that B uses in providing A a service.
I don't want to regulate against annoying ads either. That's not what I'm talking about at all because this is something consumers can see with their own eyes, install an ad-blocker or stop using the service where there are alternatives.
But some of the things that ad networks are doing behind the scenes are so unexpected, complex or even malicious that consumers cannot be expected to understand them or to have voluntarily agreed to them. That's an area where I think something should be done.
We already have a lot of rules on the legality of contracts, on transparency, on duty of care, on liability for damage, etc. Not all of these rules have caught up to digital services yet.
Why should we be restricted in our actions in order to allow product placement in every cultural artefact, advertising on your museum ticket, carefully placed concession stands in "free" public spaces, etc., etc.?
So, advertising models based on clickthroughs definitely haven't worked on me. (Admittedly uBlock has reduced my exposure somewhat)
But the magazine style "increase awareness of product and hope that leads to eventual interest and purchase" probably works as well on me as anyone else.
We almost always instinctively are attracted to the familiar, so just seeing a product before makes us value it higher, even if it's intrinsic value is less. That hard-wired instinct is hard to control.
If I see an advert for Coca Cola, it doesn't make me want a Coke. I hate Coke and I understand that it is not at all good for me.
No amount of advertising is going to make me buy one. Simply being aware of the brand in this case seems pointless, because I'm doing nothing with it.
In other cases advertisements will merely lead me to avoid that brand or company out of spite, because I hated their advert (as I do most adverts).
I loathe Pepsi Max ads. I like Coke Zero add. But I never buy Coke, I only ever buy Pepsi Max.
From my perspective, I've found various things via advertising that I would have never come across by other means.
A lot of people argue that "you'll just search for what you want" except I'm tired of searching for "shirt" and then scrolling for days looking for something that may work. Every once in a while I'm hit with a really good ad, and I'll click it, and maybe even buy.
If you want to make a fair comparison, that should be compared to all the things you didn't find because useless ads took up your time and mental space.
Also, whether or not you found something through an ad is not the point; one isn't not going to convince a smoker to quit smoking by trying to convince them that nicotine doesn't make them feel good - it's the other shit about it that is bad.
In the case of advertising, there's a lot of cynical manipulation going on. The nagging factor in children's advertising comes to mind as one really evil example:
I've been TV- and ad-free since 2001 (yes, yes, I know: the "how do you know someone doesn't watch TV? They'll tell you"-smugness curse strikes again). In my case it was accidental however: I was living in a student appartment with no access to TV and Internet for over a year, having only books to read and rented movies to watch. Even when forced upon you you start noticing the difference pretty quickly, and wondering how you ever was capable of considering this normal. Nowadays ads just feel invasive, like strangers shouting at me on the street claiming they want to have a conversation while really they just want to get into my pockets.
> Nowadays ads just feel invasive, like strangers shouting at me on the street claiming they want to have a conversation while really they just want to get into my pockets.
I understand your point here. But to clarify, if I were to add up the seconds/minutes of time I lose to ads over the course of a month (for example), I don't think I'd spend that regained time on product hunting. My point was less "I save so much time via ads" but more "I don't want to shop." I view it as a time saver (at the expense of perhaps finding "the perfect item") rather than as purely a nuisance. That said, I definitely prefer content without ads.
This might seem harsh, but no one is weighing the benefits of your existence to decide whether you live or die. You own yourself and you can sustain yourself hence you exist. Similarly, advertisers exist because they can sustain themselves, they are not coercing you into viewing / using content laden with ads. You're voluntarily consuming content which has ads. If you don't like it don't use ad-laden products
This is a complete non-sequitur. Plenty of things that are not public services are regulated or even forbidden. In fact, most of the things that are regulated or forbidden are, and the decision to do so is always based on "weighing benefits/downsides of it."
> This might seem harsh, but no one is weighing the benefits of your existence to decide whether you live or die.
Actually, yes we do, it's called criminal law. It is used to lock up (or in some barbaric nations, end the lives of) people whose "benefits of existing" within society have been found wanting. For humans we just happen default to assuming innocents until proven otherwise.
And whether or not something can exist on its own has no connection to whether or not it should, except in regards to how hard it is to get rid of.
> You're voluntarily consuming content which has ads. If you don't like it don't use ad-laden products
No, I'm not. The society that exists around me as a whole is not my choice, at best I can poke and prod at it and hope if enough people push into the same direction something changes. Until alternate payment systems like Patreon came along there simply was no way of being both a full member of said society without being confronted (or actively blocking) ads.
Many places have made that decision.
Why would you save mental space for non-adverised products? Are you supposed to be a product researcher? Is that your job? Is time not valuable for you? Because efficient people buy the first thing they recall, for crap that doesn't matter.
> I've been TV- and ad-free since 2001 (yes, yes, I know: the "how do you know someone doesn't watch TV? They'll tell you"-smugness curse strikes again)
How many newspapers and magazines have you bought that contained ads?
Because your complaint is about user-experience, not advertising.
And yes, the anti-advertising smugness is the worst. Everybody advertises, always have, always will. I mean, you had Roman gladiators in ancient times that were sponsored by brands.
So many implicit assumptions and premises I hardly know where to begin...
You're equating "spends a big budget on branding" with "quality", which is a ridiculous fallacy.
Yes, my time is valuable. So buying something that is sub-par for the job is a terrible investment of time and money. The idea that I need an advertisement to help decide which product to buy when I can compare products in the store (both physically or on-line) is also ridiculous.
Plus, the most efficient thing is to not buy crap that doesn't matter in the first place. And I'm a lot better at deciding what matters to me since invasive ads are out of my life.
> How many newspapers and magazines have you bought that contained ads? Because your complaint is about user-experience, not advertising.
First: no it's not. Ads are not equal across media. The amount of manipulation possible through moving pictures and sound is vastly worse than it is through paper advertisement. And for the record: almost none, I barely read the news, and when I do it's on-line, and the few magazines I read are imported so they target people from another country.
> And yes, the anti-advertising smugness is the worst. Everybody advertises, always have, always will. I mean, you had Roman gladiators in ancient times that were sponsored by brands.
This is starting to sound like That One Guy At The Party who gets uncomfortable because one other guest is a vegetarian, and then tries to prove the vegetarian friend is a hypocrite.
I did a parallel with my software business. You can have an exceptional software, but you can't stay frozen waiting your customers to find out you. Be very good is not enough on a world too much information.
But, I think the traditional ad industry is not sustainable. Nobody wants to see intrusive ads, I believe content marketing and organically ads (I don't know if this term really exists), like in sports, are the best for the long run.
That, without the lies and coercion from other companies this place would be doing well, based on its relevant outputs rather than on its [lack of] glossy advertising.
That's a very simplified description of consumption. You make it sound like we only buy stuff we're in immediate need of and therefore actively search for.
Have a government run product listing. Think Amazon reviews, Yelp & Companies house. But with government ID to verify reviewers and harsh police enforcement against fake reviews or miss-leading product descriptions. Make it clear there will be prison time for systematic abuse.
We're at a point where this is technologically trivial & the first country to do it properly will get a big advantage over any that doesn't follow suit quickly.
Any person or company offering a product or service can create an account & list their product (with a price & links to where to buy it). Anyone who's bought the product / service can create a review. Throw in some sensible rules about major product changes requiring listings to be updated.
But what about the advertising industry? Fund a massive nudge campaign to improve citizen behaviour. Tail the funding off over a few years, this is really just welfare for all the anti-workers to give them time to switch into doing something economically productive.
I typically use adverts to help me decide what to buy, but the adverts count as negative points towards the product, because I feel that if a product needs to rely on persuasion techniques, or to bombard my eyeballs all the time (especially if they're preroll-type adverts rather than passive banners) or if they're beside spammy adverts, then the product is likely crap anyway or the company are.
Blame all the spam for this attitude, and all the obtrusive crap that is shown to me against my will each day (it seems that almost no matter where I look, online or physical world, I'm bombarded with someones shitty adverts)
These sorts of attitudes seem odd. What products do thses people buy, since pretty much everything being sold in the west is advertised in some way? It seems like the sort of think someone would say as a sort of virtue signalling, but I can't believe its a policy anyone could stick to.
I also perhaps should have said web adverts. I don't much pay attention to TV/radio/magazine/newspaper/billboard adverts, so I imagine I buy many products advertised there.
I'm also not saying I don't buy any products that are advertised or that adverts don't work on me, but rather that:
1) If I'm looking for a product, I'll search and read reviews and such, but if I see advertisements, it counts as a negative point. I may still buy the item if it doesn't have enough other negative points.
2) If I see the same irritating advert multiple times, I'll make a mental note to never buy it. A number of youtube preroll adverts have had this effect.
Its just a signal though and probably a weaker one than I like to think, but in general, the spammy scummy misleading or annoying adverts are the ones that stick in my mind and then I make a mental note not to buy those things.
Most of my online shopping is "I want X, so I'll check the usual online stores that sell X". If I see adverts for these things, I always feel a bit like they're trying to influence me (because they are!) or mislead me (because _some_ are) and I feel like its not in my interest to buy what the adverts tell me. Of course, that doesn't mean I won't buy it, if I determine its really the best X, but I'll consider other stuff first.
Similarly, I consciously don't click on sponsored links and other such things, if I notice that this is what they are, because I feel like they're trying to trick me into visiting them because they make money from it, not because its a benefit to me.
(my offline shopping is mostly groceries, most clothes and other household things. For these I just browse my local shops and buy what I like -- no outside-of-store advertising plays a part here and in-store advertisement I typically ignore).
But.. yeah, to each their own :)
Having read about the psychology of these things, I suspect you are more influenced than you would like. Even simple stuff like putting a more expensive product at the right height, and arranged in pleasing rows of identical objects, while the cheaper products are lower or higher (so difficult to get to) and in smaller quantities (so less of the pleasing identical objects effect) etc.
There are books on supermarket psychology, and I recall a good BBC documentary also, but can't think of any names right now, sorry.
For example, if a smaller local bakery competing with a larger and more popular local bakery starts to make birthday cakes but they didn’t before — how does anyone in the community find out about it since people that buy birthday cakes typically go to the incumbent because they have no idea that the smaller bakery is starting to make great birthday cakes as well? It’s going to take a lot of time before that smaller bakery starts selling some cakes because nobody will know to go there for that purpose.
Advertising is precisely the tool that allows new market entrants to compete with the status quo. As another example how does anyone learn that they can run Windows on their Mac without Apple having advertised that fact? Tech writers? How do they find out? PR? PR is advertising too you know, a different kind, but it is still a paid effort to create market awareness of some product or service.
As far as “searching it out” — let’s take searching on Google or Bing as an example — the top organic results are the result of years of SEO; a new incumbent would be buried on page 20 for perhaps years which means that company will die waiting for word of mouth to start to happen. Meanwhile some big competitor with the budget for the extensive content marketing maintains their market leading position because there is literally no way for the new company to ever be discovered.
Advertising is critical if we are to have competition. If we want nothing but Soviet style companies, then sure, eliminate advertising. Good luck ever launching a new product or trying to disrupt anything especially in spaces where virility isn’t possible. A new, more effective adult diaper for instance — who’s going to run out and tell all their friends about that? How much does word of mouth influence a decision as to what car to buy? There’s some influence certainly, but my family of five has different needs than my single neighbor. So word of mouth isn’t so effective when discussing the finer points of 7 seat vehicles. So I search blogs? Ok, so what providers a blogger to review vehicles? Page views? For what? Bloggers will charge for subscriptions to read their content? Good luck with that. Micro payments could be a solution, but a company would still need to let the blogger know there is even a new car to review right? Or are the bloggers camped outside of dealerships waiting for unannounced new models to arrive?
PR is advertising, albeit a more indirect form and PR is very expensive.
My point; eliminating ads is bad for innovation and bad for companies who want to enter new markets.
Also, we don't need to weigh the pros and cons of advertising as long as all actions are voluntary.
Why is it somebody else's business to make the world suit your tastes, you need to put effort for it, either by paying or creating such a product in the world, not by imposing it on others with regulations
Typically anyone that bothers to select a thing for purchase will examine all the features and attributes that they consider important, but often overlook the negated aspects that only come from familiarity with the product.
It's the same issue with every anti-fraud vendor and the new hyped blockchain nonsense. Until buyers and agencies vote with their dollars, nothing will change.
People don't want to pay for "free" content, and "free" software. So instead they pay with malware, insane data charges, markups to pay for ads, markups to pay for dealing with fraud, the indefinite privacy tax of their data, markups extracted from monopoly positions, and much more.
The problem is people don't see all of these exorbitant fees, but they see that dollar in their wallet.
The internet has increased efficiency and lowered prices but this also has an effect of amplifying any misaligned incentives - so now agencies which are bonused on clicks will deliver cheap clicks, whether it's actually producing sales or not.
Not sure what's your concern here
That's my concern, as stated in my original comment describing why this situation exists and why companies working on purely technical anti-fraud measures will accomplish much of nothing.
Isn't it wonderful that they could improve the human standard of living to the measurement of billions of dollars? Everyone who makes a profit in a free market system did so by improving the lives of their fellow human beings, else no exchange would ever take place.
But I really don't get the "little accountability" comment. Accountable to who?
> incentives that drive bad intrusive ads that break privacy and extract data at all costs.
This is where things get hairy. In historical times privacy is only a secondary right which stems from one's primary right to property. Nowadays, people are erroneously trying to elevate privacy to be viewed as a primary right and that has very dangerous implications which undermine the primary right of property. (I believe many of the advocates know this and are purposefully using privacy as a means to undermined property rights).
Programmatic digital advertising today is full of fraud and terrible ad experiences because buyers of such advertising and the entire supply chain is too complex, has no direct accountability to sales or business results, is incentivized by localized myopic metrics and lacks any governmental regulation or consequences at all.
> Ad fraud almost always means the ad buyer being defrauded by buying digital advertising that is not executed according to contract terms, if at all
If this is what you mean by fraud, why do you say there are no consequences for the violation of the contract? The ad buyer can seek recourse through a civil suit. Additionally the ad buyer can switch to a different advertisement provider.
Civil suits will cost more time and money than it would be worth. Also the supply chain is comprised of people who move between companies and buy from friends and whoever they like the most. Combine that with lack of government enforcement and the easy of forming a new company with a clean reputation and there are no consequences.
Note: I'm not supporting viruses and malware, here in my argument
> We're on a mission to drive them out of business
But if you succeed, won't you go out of business? It's like antivirus vendors: if there were no malware, there'd be no need for AV software. How do you remain ethical? If you win, will you close up shop?
edited for clarity
I find it incredibly interesting that the evolutionary-arms-race of ads and viruses versus blockers is mimicking the development of actual genetic evolution.
There's that XKCD comic that mentions if you want to look at 20 years of code evolution, look the source for the google homepage. Now imagine what your genetic code looks like after 800 million years.
I don't have any insight or education to back me up here, but I believe that even if we were to re-engineer the internet from the ground up we'd still get an evolutionary arms race, simply because a space with potential to exploit a system will always exist.
They are stalling for time in every allowed way to get more bids.
A standard tactic for company like theirs is to send duplicate lots for a single impression, and reload the ad few times per second once they get overriding bids even if one of lots was already sold.
Can you explain this further? Who is getting defrauded here?
Preroll ads are valuable because people are mostly paying attention. eg you went to youtube to watch X, and they show you 15 seconds of swiffer beforehand.
The problem is there aren't enough preroll ad slots available to satisfy demand.
Therefore, companies invent them. One thing I know people are doing is this: film a video every day. Talk about who cares. It could be upcoming movies; the tv show with dragons; whatever. Buy an ad slot. Play your video. Put a preroll or interstitial ad in your video. Tada! You just turned dirt cheap ad inventory into expensive video ad inventory. Of course, if the viewer leaves the page too fast, you lose the money you spent. So this is an arbitrage play.
The problem with manufacturing video ad inventory is that almost all the manufactured stuff is either (1) off onto the side, or (2) not gating something that a viewer wants to see. And hence, they don't receive attention.
Legit video advertisers and publishers are all unhappy about this, because this shitty faked inventory drops the value of the real thing, ie preroll ads in main content that the user wishes to see.
Oh, and publishers get very unhappy because (1) many of them are ok with picture ads but not at all okay with autoplay video ads; (2) if they're going to put autoplay videos on their page and take the hit for (rationally) pissed off users, the pub wants to pocket that $5-$25cpm rather than get paid for still picture ads and let some arbitrager steal the difference.
Personal anecdote time.
Preroll ads are the main force for me behind installing the adblocker. I just can not stand something that manipulates my flow. I call it televication of the Internet. It is unbearable.
If for some reason I am not able to block them then I just do not watch them and I am not listening to them (I look elsewhere, say a lalala mantra in your mind).
I also taught my family to do so.
So advertisers actually loose in the long term.
They are certainly one of the most annoying classes of ads, which is why I was exceptionally annoyed when Amazon put one before a Prime video I was watching a few days ago.
Granted it was for an Amazon product, but any sort of ad in a paid service is _extremely_ annoying.
So the cinema has to somehow make money – and that is with ads and food.
I've started using a similar strategy on YouTube in order to selectively "protest" against bad ads.
Whenever I stumble upon a long unskippable ad or a short very aggressive ad (loud and/or offensive), I mute the video and start reading comments for a while, or I alt+tab to a different video, etc. Sometimes I leave the page if the video (or uploader) is not worth the hassle.
In my mind this can lead to 3 different scenarios:
* Google notices this behavior and decides to enforce heavier regulation on ads (they already killed >30s unskippable ads this year).
* Google notices this behavior and tries to fight it (e.g. by pausing the ad if the volume is not low enough, the Spotify way). In the browser this leads to an arms race that Google can't win. In the worst case I would go back to avoiding all advertising using adblock and/or alternative financing if available (YouTube RED, patreon, etc.)
* Google doesn't react, bad ads lose so much value that most uploaders stop using them. They don't want to alienate their viewers for so little benefit.
We need many people to apply this strategy for this to work. However in the short term content creators still get paid, and I get the personal satisfaction of screwing over bad advertisers.
The funny thing is that they also pause videos when changing app/tab (not only ads), because background playback is a YouTube RED "feature".
I would understand if YouTube RED was available in more than 5 countries. They have been artificially depriving their users of a basic feature for years and for nothing.
In the meantime I simply avoid watching long YouTube videos on my phone, and use NewPipe to listen to podcasts hosted on youtube (which means no ad revenue...).
Ah yes, the realization that all the spy-economy-supported content provides vanishingly little value to your life, and that if they managed to actually lock things down so you couldn't block ads it'd harm you not at all to simply stop looking at their stuff. A liberating state of mind.
If ad-blocker-blocking gets too good, I could ditch it at an infinitesimal cost to my quality of life. My alternatives are many and could last a few lifetimes even if no new content of any kind were produced at all. News, even? A news habit is of about as much practical value as a soap opera habit. I could drop this stuff like that. No problem. Go ahead and somehow permanently break my adblocker or wall off a large part of the web behind custom protocols and DRM. Bye bye.
[EDIT] the "realization" I meant in my earlier post was that, on examination, one may find that desire to watch/hear/read most ad-supported media is so low that not only is it not a need, it's barely even a want.
Also, ads in YouTube — the content creator enables that so they can get paid.
That way they can pay for the good service they provide without needing advertisers.
Publisher gets paid on a $1 CPM basis while Cedato gets paid $5-10 CPM and pockets the difference.
Advertiser thinks they paid for quality video content preroll but it's actually a tiny rectangle normally used for "display" ads.
Audience is infuriated. Think about what happens on a 4G mobile plan now that VPAID has been fully migrated from Flash to JS...
Adblockers are here.
However I don't think it's a given that it will be prompted by Google, or will continue to be the case.
Google is an advertising company. Android, does not make money through licensing. It makes money by being a vehicle for advertising. Apple on the other hand, make money through selling products. Advertising (on the web) shouldn't make much difference to them, and helps put pressure on the competing platform as well as Adblocking being a potentially valuable feature to help sell their products.
And you can't switch the default browser so it only helps in 30 % of the cases (when you are not inside Facebook/Twitter/etc and when you are not clicking a link that opens the default browser)
* Firefox Focus
to name but three.
If I don't get upvoted enough for a reply,I keep a spam account at no.good.email.names.left.16534 a t gmail
We could piece together what happened sometimes after the fact, but not reliably.
And that's just diagnosing a bug, now imagine if you were trying to find some malicious JS.
VPAID 3.0 (or is it 4.0?) has some proposals to fix this. It makes fraud analysis a first class citizen of the spec, sort of like companion ads. This allows them to be downloaded separately, as well as cached.
WebExtensions APIs are inspired by the existing Google Chrome extension APIs, and are supported by Opera, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge. 
On the other hand the Edge version seems to no longer be very actively maintained, but the original repository still links to the Edge repository for installation.
"What am I missing?"
Many ads are served after real-time auction: whilst your browser is loading and rendering the page, an auction is going between advertisers for the ad spot(s) on the page. The auction happens quickly, but it adds latency. Adding a reverse proxy would add further latency, and would remove the ability for ad networks to properly target ads (e.g. using cookies) and account for impressions.
On the web, there are multiple publishers, served by multiple ad networks and multiple exchanges (and it's turtles all the way down)
Nowadays, bidding on the web happens through the OpenRTB protocol.
That said, I think IAB's efforts to make auction priced advertising available to people who don't use Google's ad network is commendable.
I'd actually like for my ad blocker to download all ads and pretend to download the ad, and give the impression of an impression. That way someone would have made a bid for that impression.
Otherwise what will happen is that as ad blocking use becomes more and more widespread, the ad viewers become fewer but more profitable (Ironically perhaps more profitable on average than the original set of viewers, because adblock users weren't likely to click in the first place).
If ad blocking is to be a way of killing online advertising in its current form, and not just improving the browser experience (and this is what I think should be the goal) then it needs to cheat the ad networks, they can't just pretend the request never happened.
Not usually. Stalling for time in every allowed way to get more bids is something usual
OTOH I suspect ad blockers would adapt quickly... it's not clear it would be worth the investment to set up.
Assuming that the advertising site would just have a proxy that tunnelled everything to the ad server, would the ad server not get the exact same traffic?
Do you mean that the problem is that the site showing the ads could easily fake more client traffic to the ad server?
Yes, that's what I mean by "unable to verify"; If the site is honest, everyone would be just as happy, but there is already so much fraud, even with (relatively) trustworthy Google and Facebook, that everyone wants some ability to verify; If all the traffic goes only through the site, that ability is lost.
> Assuming that the advertising site would just have a proxy that tunnelled everything to the ad server, would the ad server not get the exact same traffic?
Not exactly - the wide-sense-cookies that allow the ad server to track users across different web sites would not be. Fingerprinting would still work subject to advertisers trusting the proxy.
 including flash objects, etags, localstorage, etc, see https://samy.pl/evercookie/ for a 7-year-old discussion.
I only use mine for email. I have an A record but that just results in a 'No page found' page hosted by my DNS provider. Without the A record my email would still work but browsing to k45j.com would give a 'This site can’t be reached' the same way encona.com
I'm just going to sip from my delicious cup of Niscafe coffee, the best around, while I write this review of the Nvodua graphics card.
Next page impression
I'm just going to dab my brow with the silky smooth Kloonix napkin, the best around, while I write this review of the Nvodua graphics card.
Advertisers and publishers are generally in favor of it, consumers don't care, watchdogs are toothless.
Render content & ads on a single canvas?
> Any website that has too many ads to disable manually, or is in some way embedded with critical parts of the website is simply not worth my time.
Using https with CDNs is basically a very funny large scale practical joke.
Is it just me, or is this approach not very useful? I'll google for a certain product, do a little bit of research and then buy what I finally picked. Then I'm stuck with seeing ads for similar products for the forseeable future. Ads for a product I already bought and no longer have an interest in.
I think ads would actually do better if they're just targeted to the demographic that fits the page I'm currently looking at without being personalized.
There's a gap: Getting search/retargeting interest information is almost instant, but finding out you've purchased is hard and takes time.
However it's effective enough: Retargeting boosts most verticals by as much as 3-5x, and where that one click pays $1 the ads cost about $3 per thousand to display them.
Why hasn't anyone responded to that?
Would love to help build the tech if someone could deal with the business.
Isn't that what AMP is?
You mean native advertising?