Just to be clear: you want that. Whatever lies you tell yourself to get to sleep at night, no one outside your parasitic industry wants this. I, for one, absolutely 100% do not want you to target and measure me robustly across devices.
The talk is about an aspect of the change that technology and digitalization bring to our society, and how we deal with that. Language is a key factor in change, and the talk is focussed on that.
I highly recommend watching it.
Well yeah, they said 'we ... want'. How much clearer do you think they could have stated that? They never said you or anyone else wanted it.
You can't have ads without tracking.
You see, even when they get presented with rules, they try to work around them.
It's like a robber saying: We want to develop victim-friendly ways to steal you.
It's easier to sleep at night knowing there is a roof over your head.
I feel like this needs some additional specification/limitation to make it a believable statement. The only good employer in the ads/data selling business?
Remember that the GAFA only have offices in a very few locations worldwide. Can't work for them if they are not here.
I left Criteo a handful of years ago and I can easily admit the work conditions were really nice, and the skill level among the team quite high.
I can also say there are other companies with comparable perks and technology level (or maybe the code level of Criteo has very considerably increased, but looking at what's open sourced, like cuttle, it doesn't seem like it), like some founded by former criteo employees (or c level dudes, since JB Rudelle is creating a new tech company with Romain Niccoli)
Your answer sounds to me like a false dichotomy argument.
It's not mutually exclusive: 100% paid content vs instrusive and obnoxious tracking. However Content publishers are desperately trying to increase revenue and these ad-tech companies provide a means to do so.
Creating is a natural activity that we enjoy doing.
If they where I'd be happy to pay.
Nobody wants their privacy invaded, but they do want cheaper products. In theory better targeted ads allow a company to spend it's advertising budget more effectively. Selling more products for the same amount of ad cost should allow for cheaper products.
I'm sure some companies will not pass on the savings, but I believe economic theory says the market as a whole should.
If the savings are enough, some people may be willing to give up some of their privacy in the name of cheaper products.
How much more do companies make? Is all this invasive tracking really necessary in order to keep websites like Google and Facebook free? Is it worth saving 10% (or whatever) on some product?
Unfortunately the decision is forced upon everyone by advertisers with little thought to allowing for an informed choice (or any choice really).
But we don't know how much online advertising lowers prices. Would be interesting for an economist to study.
For all we know, online ads could have no effect. And what about ads intended to generate demand instead of address current demand? Maybe online ads are tricking us to by more of what we don't want (Yay, another subscription box).
If the difference in effectiveness is enough to make Google, etc unprofitable than maybe there is an argument to be made that it is necessary.
If it means they make 10% less profit, people would probably prefer privacy."
Possibly in aggregate, but they almost certainly have an effect for individual advertisers. No company is going to cut their advertising if their competitors aren't going to make the same cuts.
But it would be very cool.
Imagine if all browsers suddenly shipped perfect ad blockers. Many sites would die off; but I suspect a number of micropayment platforms would quickly spring up in their place. The result might not be as diverse, but it would be interesting.
 A perfect ad blocker would have to do the impossible, i.e. identify sponsor segments of YouTube clips, slice out native advertising, and somehow kill off all promotional consideration. I.e. absolutely impossible and probably not desirable.
I still don't see why customers want this. I would rather a company struggle to spend its ad budget effectively, and then conclude that it could better spend its resources investing in making a better product (or its employees, or its infrastructure, ..).
I don't have an econ background, so feel free to clear up what's wrong here.
If the goal on the social level is to get valuable information to potential customers, then it would follow we should get rid of most tracking and most advertising. Most of it is disinformation and deception that buries lower-budget information in the stream of messages from those with the biggest pockets.
Advertising needs to be expensive enough that it is always dominated by quality of product and reputation spread by word-of-mouth, as this puts the power in the hands of consumers. This is critical for the healthy functioning of markets, because advertising distorts the natural expression of demand.
The current hype-fueled cryptocurrency craze is the apotheosis of advertising dominating product.
Ah, but this is not what the discussion is all about, is it? "Telling potential customers about their product" can be done with a static hypertext page, it does not require infesting the entire Internet with tracking parasites to profile every individual. And your "incremental dollar" can be spent on SEO to improve the visibility of your page.
Moreover, in this scenario where the entire market is now able to spend their advertising budget "more effectively", there are many possible outcomes besides more products being sold for the same ad cost. The market-wide increase in "ad effectiveness" may effectively cancel itself out. Ad spend may remain the same, but with more budget allocated to speculative ad strategies. Or the savings may be funneled back into product to further differentiate it from competitors.
This. At least in the US, consumers are pretty much spent out. In that situation, advertising does not increase economic activity. It just moves it around. This is an argument for not allowing advertising and marketing as a deductible business expense, an idea that's been floated in Congress a few times.
Historically, advertising was a small part of product cost. Today, in many industries from movies to drugs, it dominates. This runs up prices for everyone. There's an economic argument for limiting advertising spend.
Advertising spend as a share of GDP hasn't changed much at all on average over the last century:
And some say it has even declined in recent years:
The strange thing is that it doesn't feel like that at all. Advertising has become obnoxious to such a degree that it renders many sites entirely unresponsive on some devices (like my aging iPad). I have stopped visiting some sites or reduced the number of visits dramatically.
The advertising industry and indeed the publishing sector itself is clearly on a suicide mission. Someone needs to save them from themselves.
Although there's some portion of apathy, the vast majority of people are ignorant or even misinformed. You can't conclude from the actions of an ignorant person that they don't care about the thing they don't know about / don't understand.
Most people do understand that the loyalty-cards are not necessarily the only way to get discounts or even that they are actually discounted (in the absence of those cards, prices would be set differently overall).
There are certainly stores we may legitimately feel more trusting of than others.
Anyway, lots of people really appreciate a store like Trader Joe's that just has reasonable prices across the board, never does any sort of discount promotions and never tracks anyone — even if the customers never explicitly thought through that aspect of the experience, they still experience it and feel differently than they do with the other tracking-focused stores.
On a side note: I learned recently that sales and such at most grocers are actually driven by the brands themselves. The reason Trader Joe's is free of all that is because they sell relatively little that is of the big-marketing-budget style branded products…
With advertising, it's a lose-lose proposition. In exchange for being tracked everywhere, we get shown pictures of things we don't want. Who would opt into that?
Stuff like this comes about organically. No one held a big meeting and decided the internet would be funded by privacy invading ads. The ad ecosystem just shifted that way over time due to competition.
Before there was internet, companies already spent all their marketing dollars on stupid TV and radio ads.
If viewing lingerie ads meant I could get my alcohol half price, I might start accepting them.
(If we could make advertising less effective, we could have better products ... maybe because spending more on advertising wouldn't work as well as spending more on engineering or QA. But overall spending/cost is a bit orthogonal.)
If the ad companies are making less money; it doesn't suggest that the ad cost is going up
And ofcourse you don't even realize but ads is one of the best ways for underprivileged to get on to internet.
More search ad revenue allows Google to invest more in search. Better search could benefit content creators by giving them more and better targeted users. Users benefit from better search because they are able to find the content they are looking for faster.
I'm sure that Google is already investing the amount they need to in search to make it as profitable as possible.
It seems that more search ad revenue allows Google to bank roll the rest of the Google/Alphabet behemoth on projects unrelated to search, but within its mission to "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful" ie. to know everything about everything, which I'm sure tracking plays a role in.
and that's become an abusive relationship where they are being de facto censored by google because of advertisers being skittish. You have more sponsored content showing up because it's a lot easier than relying on google and their amazing algorithms to not screw you over.
I am pretty sure there are tons of things Google/Facebook/Amazon/etc. can improve but not having any data about user isn't definitely one of those approaches.
IBM and Sun might be crying though.
SUN sadly has kicked the bucket and his picture is on the table with the punchbowl.
If Facebook wants to target ads on their site based on information I have entered in my pubic profile I am okay with that. If Google wants to target ads based on keywords related to what I am searching for at the time I am okay with that. It's when you start tracking across time and across sites and inferring things I may not to have public that I think it gets invasive.
Google and Facebook know they are being invasive. They specifically don't allow advertising on things that might trigger people and make them realize how invasive they are being. For example, you can't start retargeting people who searched for information on erectile disfunction with ads for Viagra. People would rightfully get upset about that level invasiveness. Instead of not being invasive, they just don't allow the things that would trigger people. If people in general were made to realize how creepy all the tracking is, laws would require advertisers to change.
Given the option I would prefer that not being invasive be the default. If that makes things slightly more expensive, so be it.
In 99, Yahoo bought GeoCities for three billion dollars. Some of it was the dotcom bubble, but there were plenty of massive companies, and this was when most people did not have an internet connection.
Anecdotally, I've been seeing more and more success getting friends to switch over to DDG. This feels like early mass-adoption. It's rather exciting.
This is perhaps the most insidious thing that Google et al have achieved: making so many believe that they and the online ads they peddle are essential for anything. The world will continue to exist without both.
This debate isn't about whether ads exist, it's about whether or not they should be allowed to hoard massive amounts of data and track every online action in order to ads that might sometimes be slightly more relevant.
Whereas when I spend money with Apple, AFAICT it's a simple, "give us some money, and we'll give you software, a service, or a physical object that we and you hope will solve a problem for you. Then we're done." Sure, Apple costs extra, but I'm willing to pay extra as long as our transactions stay the way they are.
 Bing's also ran version of search advertising being a minor blip of an exception.
I agree that their main business model is probably ‘just’ software licenses, which is good I'd say, but they don't clearly align their incentives with their users. They dabble in other markets to see what they can get, and for me that muddies the waters a bit.
smartscreen does exactly what it says on the tin. That data's not used for anything but malicious website detection. It's first line of defense against phishing in a lot of orgs.
(systemwide Ad ID mirrors the feature on Apple and Android products. check the windows API for exactly what you get out of this. It's probably less than you think)
Cloud-based is getting inserted into everything because users don't upgrade. We had to push an Office 2007 patch recently. 2007. It'd have its first crush by now.
Disregarding the ability for the above to be stolen (and that'd be impressive, MSIT is top-tier), your personal data is being used for exactly the purpose we say it's being used for. While your personal incentives may not align, our business incentives are "get you on the cloud, get your software working well, get easy data transfer between MS products, make sure you're patched and updated, take your money for this". It's not a secret. It's not a conspiracy. It's time-limited software licensing and cloud services.
There's a huge chasm between "we don't collect your data, period" and "we collect your data but have internal controls in place to prevent using it in certain ways for now."
Apple's Spotlight Suggestions and Ad ID are real things, and IMO are mistakes. (Ad ID is not yet not yet on the Mac, thank goodness!)
You can't really compare at least this to Apple, as Safari does exactly the same thing.
> cloud-based Cortana
As opposed to cloud-based Siri?
Source? I thought Safari downloaded the Google Safe Browsing database (using the "Update API" described at https://developers.google.com/safe-browsing/v4/#update-api-v...) to do client-side checks.
It's frustrating that Apple does not let users disable iCloud tabs without also disabling bookmarks and the reading list (which I am fine with being synced on US servers).
Workaround: Toggle mobile Safari into private browsing mode and use apps for everything that needs a login, use private browsing mode most of the time on macOS :/
This is not evidence of a lack of E2E. Your browser can be an "end", with a key derived from your login.
Much of the details of iCloud's security is not a secret, and can be found in the iOS Security PDF:
From both the PDF and the KB article, I don't see any indication that iCloud tabs are E2E encrypted? I'd love to be wrong :)
sadly now Windows is an ad platform with a mediocre OS attached to it
The engineering behind the problem is insanely complex, even for tech-inclined people to grasp, and the engineering solution that was used was brilliant, and now is going in the garbage to suit the complaints of 0.1% of engineers who agreed with it but thought Apple should've been more up front about it, and legions of tech commentators who don't even remotely understand any of the actual solution but just ran clickbait headlines about "Apple slowing your phone INTENTIONALLY!" totally omitting the fact that it was beneficial to the user experience and to the long term viability of the device, and not only that, but REVERSED ITSELF if you had the battery replaced, even if it was by a third party dealer.
Sorry to rant, this just makes me so angry.
LET THE DOWNVOTES RAIN IN! I'm not going to apologize for it, this whole thing was blown massively out of proportion, by possibly well meaning but ignorant people who do not have a GLINT of understanding of the tech involved, many of whom shouldn't be allowed to program a DVR, let alone design smartphones.
Battery are physical object with physical limitations. They will have diminished peak capacity and peak voltage over time.
These batteries are in pretty much any other smartphone.
Apple has since apologized for it and you can be reasonably sure it won't happen again. Even so, the damage done to you is known and contained, where as with others, only God knows.
Apple has not apologized for the solution itself, and will continue to slow devices if necessary to protect them from unsafe battery operations on dying batteries.
This is excellent IMO, because it combines technical competence (device at 15% battery must operate until 0%, no matter what the cost to performance) with communication competence (should have posted KB article, added phone UX, we’re sorry, here’s a $50 apology discount). I wish more companies would follow this approach.
Big part of the reason I switched to iPhone.
The proof is that the iPhone is barely differentiated from other smartphone hardware now, and it's still a far superior device.
Waiting for Microsoft to move next
I won't hold my breath.
People who make content worth something to me should get that money honestly, not baiting me onto the site to get ad revenue and subtly lowering my quality of living and happiness.
Nobody deserves ad revenue.
But then again when you know the recent stories like Firefox+Cliqz... it doesn't really leave questions open...
I agree that setting default options that respect privacy is good, but I also feel Mozilla has struck the balance between "best customer experience and a revenue stream", plus "informing the customer so they can make decisions".
My impression is that those who don't care about privacy have already switched to Chrome long ago, and see little reason to go back. And from those who do care, an increasing number (including me) is considering leaving FireFox due decreased trust in Mozilla's self-proclaimed privacy standing. I do wonder which target audience will be left to use FireFox after all then.
Those with FF installed it 10y ago when it was sexy, and stuck with it because they are resistant to change.
Probably the fact that Google pays them billions of dollars.
Isn't that over? Their default search engine is Yahoo now, IIRC.
Though, Google getting hit and Google making internet specs, I don't have any doubt they'll add something there to track.
Apple would prefer that everything be conducted in apps on mobile where they can take a 30% cut of initial sale and IAP revenue and not on the open web where most of these ads take place.
Apple has shown, through multiple product releases, that it cares deeply about the privacy of users in a way that other companies have not.
Those releases are a clear counter-point to the notion that Apple is only doing this to drive people towards the App Store.
It's just a thing people say is true and people accept as true because … reasons.
The idea is that Apple's efforts to protect user privacy online are motivated by a selfish business case towards incentivizing people away from the web.
/u/michaelbuckbee wasn't "reminding us why Apple was behaving" this way, as he has absolutely no insight or insider knowledge as to the motivations of the team who developed and deployed this feature.
So I can't fault the strategy here. Clearly, Apple is always on its own side, even when it appears to be doing something great for its customers. Whether it did this or not, it would still be reaping 30% from the Apple App Store, where the "leave me alone" versus "pay me" arms race is markedly less obvious to the median user.
The same rationale Apple uses for patching the Web to be more usable could also be used by a jailbreaker who bypasses in-app purchases or advertisements. It should probably expect advertisers to fight back to protect their business just as fiercely as Apple guards its App Store revenue.
And that's my point.
This is a thing people say, sans evidence, that is then excepted as a gospel truth because it makes some amount of
"evil businesses are always evil" sense.
"The Company posted quarterly revenue of $45.4 billion and quarterly earnings per diluted share of $1.67. These results compare to revenue of $42.4 billion and earnings per diluted share of $1.42 in the year-ago quarter....
"Apple’s board of directors has declared a cash dividend of $0.63 per share of the Company’s common stock. The dividend is payable on August 17, 2017 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on August 14, 2017...."
Apple is on its own side, and it is winning. It occasionally allies itself with users, and they mutually benefit from the arrangement. The users, of course, do not release quarterly reports on how happy they are, and don't break that down by any particular company, so we can't compare to see who benefits more.
But Apple also--more rarely--does something hostile to users. I would cite as an example the removal of TRRS connectors from newer iPhones. Clearly, in that, Apple was squarely on its own side, and users that didn't like the change could use a dongle or sod off.
That is not evidence of malevolence on Apple's part, nor specifically that the inclusion of anti-tracking technology has malicious business-case intent.
But I’m happy with this as I think Apple’s goals are more in alignment with my own as a user. I don’t expect Apple to support me altruistically, but currently their model of charging a lot for hardware so user data across the web is not necessary for them is one that allows for high levels of user privacy.
If it benefits me (increased privacy), I support it. I reward good behavior.
1 - https://developer.apple.com/app-store/app-analytics/
Except that Apple having a monopoly on the interactions means they would extract monopolistic rents from the value chain, which will be paid, yep, by you.
Apple wants to kill the open web, and charge everyone 30% or topline to access their "users". The best way to do it is to hit the web on the pocket: ad revenues.
So your argument makes no sense. The only consistent way I can see this is that Apple genuinely dislikes user tracking, and blocked it on the App Store first because that’s where they had the most control and responsibility, and then did it on the web when they had the tech.
Such a nonsense saying. Apple doesn't want to "kill the open web"—indeed they have large investments in it—they are just unwilling to prioritize it over the better experience of the OS or to forgo privacy.
Enough with this FUD nonsense.
For me, not collecting data warrants trust, not whatever mental gymnastics involving "collecting data, but". If that data is vital for companies or applications beyond a certain scale, then I don't trust companies or applications beyond a certain scale, and would prefer to see them all pruned by consumers using their brains to vote with their wallets. Some behemoths so desperately want a world in which they're vital, to me that's a world doomed to die in important ways. That's not aimed at Apple, but among tech companies, they don't even make my list of considerations for top N thousand I like or trust. Not to mention companies and organizations in general.
But more importantly it's not like I have to chose whom of a bunch of shady fucks I trust most. If I don't trust any of them, that's fine with me, too.
As for business, I like the people at my local bakery. I trust them with bread, I guess, and I know when they smile they mean it. Those people have stature to me, and the bigger a company is, the more pervasive marketing is in it, the more it resembles a lot of tiny people playing big person. I don't trust that, and I laugh when those then put out marketing to make themselves seem 0.1% as cool as random individual people are to me, to whom the thought of being cool doesn't even occur. True, Apple might be less of a POS than its direct siblings, but that's still a rounding error in the grand scheme of things. I'd say we'll outright settle for one or several of them and the precedents they set at our own peril.
Sorry for the rant, please don't take this as some sort of violent disagreement with you, I was really just ranting. But it does sicken me how far we fell.
Remember, Apple loses out on credit card processing frees from their '30%' and phones are several hundred dollars.
I strongly doubt that. Even in the worst case scenario - all $1 charges and Stripe's "you charge a card every six weeks" 2.9% + $0.30/transaction fee - they'd be just about breaking even... and Apple's certainly big enough to get some volume discounts.
There is zero evidence that this is a priority for them or their long term business model. Their focus is on selling you hardware and making sure you're happy enough with their hardware that you're willing to pay a premium for it. Everything else is gravy or in support of that central goal.
No-Tracking and privacy are two of the major value adds they have over their competitors. If they're going to forego things that their competitors get through privacy invasion, it makes perfect sense to turn that weakness into a strength.
I'm fairly certain they don't consider it "strictly optional bonus income".
Or they just want to sell more phones, which makes Apple way more money than any conversion of web traffic to in-app purchases this privacy stance could bring. Or—shocker—their management wants to make a device they themselves enjoy using?
All these suppositions have the same amount of evidence: practically zero.
This whole "Apple doesn't care about the App Store revenues" argument doesn't stand up to scrutiny. Most companies are going to care about a revenue stream of that size that is also very much a non-negligible percentage of company revenue.
Apple is not necessarily good, but 1000 times more trustworthy when it comes to user privacy.
Google is the cult leader of sucking every little details off its users because it genuinely believes it has the right to do so, nay, it has the moral obligation to do so for the good of all humanity.
What the ad networks want, though, is pervasive, persistent, personally identifiable cross-domain tracking across the entire WWW. Obnoxious and unskippable autoplaying videos. Obnoxious, garish popups. 1/5 of the on screen real estate to be advertising often only loosely related to the content, more often than not totally disinteresting to the reader, and potentially serving up malware via their active content.
No. Apple is doing the right thing, and the networks brought it on themselves. I have ZERO sympathy, and anyone who relies on their parasitic behaviour to exist doesn't really offer any value worth paying for anyway. I bet content becomes meaningful enough to be worth paying for, as the rest will die.
What advertisers want is a real, credible KPI.
When it's television, and you can show evidence that 2m people watch this program, so sponsoring gets you 2m of your target audience (or whatever you want to argue).
With online, there are few web pages that get 2m people to read them in a day... and surely there's some effect from all those other sites out there. Some of them are even niche, so they might be a hard audience to get...
Ad networks offer "all those other sites", and since you can't verify that the 50 people who went to that web page aren't included in the 20 people who read that other web page without "cross-domain tracking" you can't piggy-back on that argument being made in Television.
Then you've got the second-screen phenomenon: Few people had two televisions in the same room, but almost everyone has at least two screens. Did I get this part of my target audience on their phone or on the desktop. Choices are, buy everyone twice (halving the advertising budget), or be a little more efficient: Ad networks know what they'd prefer, so they want that tracking to personally identify you now. These ad networks are the ones convincing advertisers they need a super mega cookie to track everything.
And so on.
There's also distrust between ad networks, advertisers, and users. So even if they collect all this deep information, you can't trust the other group to be telling you the truth to the other group.
I would love a scenario where I get personalized matches for my needs even if that means me handing over more info. Podcasts seem to be the only place where they're a) big enough to get direct sponsorship but b) small enough that the sponsors are still relevant...and they're using the same techniques as traditional media like TV/radio.
The thing that counts most is knowing who visits their website, what they do and how they do it. The website itself is almost an afterthought.
It's come to the point where basic functions like a contact form simply don't work when you have adblock or Disconnect running.
It's not something ad networks can fix. Once active content is blocked on the client, it's game over. Your content simply doesn't work, and we'll to your competitor with the working site for what we need.
TL;DR they want effective attribution, not to wreck your browsing experience.
Those other things mean that the next big data hack/leak won't be your SSN & DOB, but your SSN, DOB, and porn preference.
Look, let's not get drastic. Obviously the first step is to whine about it, and behave as if the user's respect for privacy is tantamount to theft. Ooh, maybe try getting some laws passed criminalising ad blocking! (I am not sure whether that is implausibly ridiculous or a simple description of facts.)
Advertising has diminishing returns, when you decrease the efficiency of advertising, you decrease the spending.
Another way to think about it: line up every marginal $ you could possibly spend in ads, and sort it by efficiency from max to min. Find the point where efficiency = 100% (spending $1 more generates $0 marginal profit).
As a company, you'd buy all the ads until that point.
When you lower the efficiency of the ads, the intersection moves, lowering the marginal returns, and resulting in lower ad spending.
"Won't someone PLEASE think of the children!!!!"
There are already non-ad-supported funding alternatives for small creators (like Patreon). Maybe the loss of an ad-supported web would finally create sufficient interest in development of micropayment and microfunding services to help the rest.
Edit: and maybe we can finally rid the web of clickbait and Taboola-style garbage content.
Ads work because you're trading something that is worth more to the publisher than to you.
Let's imagine a utility currency called bananas.
A piece of your attention is worth 0 bananas to you. But it is worth 10 bananas to a publisher.
The cost of creating and serving you a piece of content is 5 bananas to the publisher, and the value of it to you is 2 bananas.
If there were no ads, you'd be willing to pay 2 bananas to the publisher, which would not cover the cost. Therefore, the publisher and content creators would go out of business. You wouldn't be willing to pay the full cost (5 bananas), because the content isn't worth that much to you.
You: 0 bananas
Publisher: 0 bananas
By seeing the ad, you generate 10 bananas of value to the publisher and content creator, while you get 2 bananas of value by receiving the content.
You: 2 bananas
Publisher: 10 bananas
Direct funding will never fully replace ad revenue.
Consider all of the modern content industries that aren't primarily ad supported - movies, music, AAA video games, books. In this context the ad-supported nature of web content looks like an aberration, not an ideal to strive for.
Might be for you, but for those people who are out of jobs, and those who will lose access to content might think differently.
Anil Dash had a good thread about this recently, and he puts it much better than I:
But these days I get most of my content from podcasts. Their ads are more relevant, less intrusive and I can press a button on my headphones or in my car to do a 30 second skip. But usually I'll listen to an ad read by a new sponsor.
It's a win-win. The cpm's for podcast are much better than for the web or even YouTube.
If your content is so shitty that nobody would pay to view it, then it's worthless.
I'm fine with that. Let the media get its money by providing content that I like and want to pay for instead of by trying to game social media clicks.
Most of the "content" online is the reading equivalent of junk-food anyway.
Besides, there is a version of an ad supported economy that is actually respectful towards your users. You just do sponsored posts and unobtrusive banners. That's fine for small time outfits.
The big barrier with paying for content isn't that I can't part with the change to read an article that piques my interest. It's that I don't want to hand over payment information to any random website. Both for security reasons and because it's a giant hassle. Fix that problem and you're good.
Whenever they want to advertise a YC business, they can just pin a story to the front page for a few hours. It's smart, subtle, seamlessly non-intrusive, and one of the better advertising experiences (relative to other ad-delivery systems), in my opinion.
If you haven't noticed, you need to tune your detector a bit closer to the noise floor.
Currently invasive advertising is better payed. However, there is no reason to believe that prices will stay the same if all advertisers are forced to satisfy some reasonable privacy standards. That is what is being suggested, not abolishing all forms of advertisement.
Sustained interaction and user satisfaction require more thought process than just slapping a clickbait title on something. In reality, clickbait titles work all too well.
Will we lose some good businesses and content creators? Most definitely, but the good (and lucky) ones will adapt and it sets a MUCH better model for future creators.
Well, paywalls lots of places. There'll be less incentive for clickfarming sites, and some-to-many-to-all of the big sites will probably go for-pay, but lots of smaller sites will still provide content because people like to communicate with the world.
It doesn't sound like a bad thing to me—especially if we're being told that the trade-off is paying for content, versus giving up rights to our privacy.
How many would be willing to pay for a simple non-js HTML that’s just plain content?
They're not going to overlook that additional source of income just because you pay them, just like print newspapers didn't keep ads out of subscribers' newspapers.
Talk about a lose-lose situation.
All in all, I don't think much will be lost. We have such an abundance of content, from stories to music, graphics and movies, that we would need lifetimes to enjoy it.
The advertising industry is not the benefactor that you're trying to paint them as, just a bunch of people trying to make a buck by exploiting others in a legal way. And soon, some of those ways will not be legal any more.
Most "free content" is paid by ads. Most hosting is paid by ads. Most online services are paid by ads. Do you ever use WhatsApp? Gone. Google Maps? Gone. Oh, that Guardian article we're discussing right now? Gone.
> The advertising industry is not the benefactor that you're trying to paint them as
Who talked about benefactors? They're just a business like any other. I hate ads, but I know that they fund a lot of the content and services I use.
I fail to see why internet ads being more like TV, radio, and print ads means that free services would go away. Rough geographic and interest-based targeting would still be possible, just like it is in those media.
With a web site, the more people that visit it, the more it costs for hosting and bandwidth.
Websites having a higher marginal cost for each new audience member compared to TV and radio might have an affect on how effective ads have to be to pay for the content. I could see web ads needing to be more effective than radio or TV ads because of that marginal cost.
 well, sort of. If a show is popular, actors on the show might be able to negotiate higher pay, for example.
Internet ads have drawn much of the money (disproportionately to their audience draw) from those other sources because they are more valuable because of better targeting and tracking. Reducing that reduces the value of internet ads, which reduces the level ofmserviced they will support; ones that are currently marginal will fail, and ones that are currently more solid will become marginal.
Fine! iMessage and Telegram doesn’t show any adds to me so they go nowhere. If telegram tomorrow says to me - 10$ a year or ads, I gladly pay. Google Maps? Screw this burp of evil anyway, Apple Maps and Here We Go maps are go nowhere any time soon. Guardian? Well, I have adblocker enabled anyway and donate 10$ when I happen to read something well written.
I had an experience recently. One of podcasters that I’m listening to created website and started to treat his podcast more seriously. Also he created a Patreon account with clearly defined goals. I went and had my Patreon account created as soon as I had seen his and now I’m doing a monthly contribution. That guy went to 4K$ in two days.
Why I’m saying this? Well, because all other subscriptions that I have doesn’t provide _that_ value for me so if they all are gone tomorrow, I won’t even notice that.
So, if being free is the only reason people use something to kill time that means that th thing has no value for them ang can and should go away.
I have never disabled my Adblock at Forbes and never payed for anything paywalled. I simply didn’t read those articles and I don’t feel like I’ve lost much.
I think it actually for the best if many of tools/services/publishers will go away and people will have more incentive to actually pay for things if they consider th m valuable. And if people are not ready to give a way a cup of coffee for monthly subscription then well.... nobody needs that service then.
I was really happy about WhatsApp at first, that it is a payed service - 30$ a year or something and then Facebook bought it...
Some people can pay cash for products, others can't and will happily exchange their attention for the service.
You proposal boils down to "rich people like me will be fine, screw the rest".
That sounds strange for me, it like buying a Bentley and complaining that insurance is too expensive.
On that Thinkpad thing, I have multiple questions, just because you're trying to induce emotional response here: does your mom uses Adblock? Did you install it for her? Why can't you buy a subscription for her if you care so much? Do you really want you mom trade her and probably other relatives personal data for access to some shady newspaper with dubious quality of journalism?
No, I'm talking about the entire ad-funded internet. Including, for example, the very Guardian article we're discussing.
So yep, you're suggesting that tszyn's mom should not access content she can't pay for directly.
You forget that most people isn't as rich as you or most HN readers.
You vastly underestimate how much content is created for free. Have you heard of Wikipedia? Do you realize how many people do not choose to monetize their creations?
>You forget that most people isn't as rich as you or most HN readers.
This problem was solved before the internet with libraries. If you can't afford a newspaper article you get it from the library. The same could be accomplished with an online library with daily limited access or subsidized unlimited access for the poor.
Poor people are not good for showing ads to anyway. As ad networks get more and more invasive they will be able to discriminate and refuse to pay the guardian for a view from your mom because there is no expected value there.
Oh, yes, been an editor there for the past 10 years.
Now what % of the content on the internet do you think is created and delivered in a completely ad-free paywall-free way?
Still, there continue to exist gratis, ad-free services. If you want to avoid that your mom is taken advantage of, point her to those.
I would also recommend installing an ad-blocker, but let's be honest, she already has one, doesn't she?
Signal is gratis and ad-free and so is Telegram AFAIK.
Your line of argumentation that the advertising industry is a blessing for the poor is simply embarrassing. They're taking advantage of the ignorance of the majority.
You also keep repeating that people are exchanging their attention for products when that's clearly false. They are exchanging potentially damaging personal information which is stored forever and that can be given away to anyone.
That's a very crappy deal, but most people are clueless about what's happening.
Any financial interests related to the ad industry that you'd like to disclose? For someone that hates ads you seem to be their biggest defender.
Nope, I use LINE, which is monetized by sticker packs
> Google Maps?
Nope, I use a local mapping service, which while it has a monthly fee is far better
> Oh, that Guardian article we're discussing right now?
I'd be happy to pay for a Spotify/Netflix-style subscription to journalistic content, but the newspapers are still busy fighting each other rather than their own obsolescence so I don't see that happening.
That resembles what I remember reading for a decade+ about the print-to-digital newspaper transition: online ads command lower rates than print ads. Which is really mysterious, if online ads backed with persistent tracking and targeting are truly more effective.
Do you think someone who trades their compact car in for a truck will spend less on gasoline because it's not as efficient?
Advertising was massive before the Internet, it's massive now, and it will be massive even if we prevent them from inferring life threatening secrets like sexual preferences for better targeted ads.
Please explain to me how a $1 ad which generated $0.01 in marginal profit, but now generates -$0.01 in marginal profit will continue to be funded. I'd love to know.
That's stupidly cheap, and much more easily available than trying to get your content online in the 90s without being at a university or corporation that could act as a patron of your online activity.
But continuing on from the patronage angle, Amazon etc are already doing massive things even without external compute customers, so their economies of scale for providing servers & bandwidth are already in place.
There was a lots of video on the web before YT. Video was better before YT, you actually had to put some effort into it. Now YT is cheap, shitty, my-first-VFX projects as far as the eye can see.
My wife sometimes watches a video then leaves the "next video" running in the background while she does other stuff. Often it's people talking about movies in clickbait-titled videos. Their primary skill seems to be talking for several minutes without actually saying anything, and avoiding the video title's topic for as long as possible. It's kind of impressive, but does nothing to enrich anyone's life and drowns out better content with worse SEO.
I'm pretty happy with the content on YouTube - lots of fun tech stuff like EEVBlog, Techmoan, bigclive, the 8-bit guy etc that would never happen on regular TV. A lot of them seem to make half their living from Patreon though.
Just because that doesn't appeal to your taste doesn't mean that it is bad. Stop judging what other people like to watch.
You argument is essentially "people who make videos that I don't like should be pushed out".
How does taste render the observations of an individual invalid? Are you so genius that you can make such ...judgments... yourself? But I can't judge because I have tastes???
Here's the difference: I'm not judging. I don't believe in a "quality bar". I'm not judging which content should be created, sponsored or paid for.
Let people create and publish content, and let people vote with their clicks, eyes and wallets.
But you, no, you think that only content that passes your quality bar should be funded.
Don't like content or ads? Don't watch/view them. Nobody is forcing you to. But you want to force others not to view them.
I hate ads, but they pay for a lot of the content and services I use, and I'd rather view them than pay for them.
Don't like them? Don't use those services and content. Your call.
You keep putting words in people's mouths all over this thread. It doesn't make for interesting conversation.
This is clearly a sensitive subject for you, but please engage people in an honest manner.
Yeah, I remember that too. What is your point?
Or just people with money should be allowed to have access to content?
That is the case for pretty much everything non-digital and schools and education as well and thus an entirely reasonable position to take. You might then argue that libraries should be expanded, but that is a separate issue.
Also, just like with adblock plus none of these features forbid advertising as such. Advertisement which are "acceptable" and non-privacy invasive are completely unaffected and I am very much in favor of enforcing some reasonable consumer protection bith technologically and by law.
I feel like you're overstating. Yes, only the richest of people, those who can afford to purchase a newspaper, should be able to read the news. For those poor people, maybe there's some organization, like a public library that could invest in things that are seen as a public good? Or organizations wishing to facilitate people passing time, like barber shops, coffee shops, or waiting rooms, would buy them and leave them strewn about as bait for those poorer customers.
Personally, I really wish microtransactions were more of a thing starting in the late-90s. I feel like Patreon and others have tried to fill that void. I think it's a false choice between every byte of data behind a paywall and advertisers clawing for more information about every bowel movement in order to cover your screen with promotions.
Wait, what am I reading? Only people with money should have the right to access news and information?
Yes, it's true that they already have that through national television, cheap newspapers, book exchanges and donations, but if you want something done right, you need to do it yourself.
Nice ad hominem.
I hate ads, but I know that ads fund a lot of the services and content I consume online. I always have the option to now use those services or consume that content and avoid the ads.
Heck, half of HN's commenters would be unemployed if not for ads. Which might actually be a net win for society.
You're pulling basically the same narrow quote, ignoring the rest what others are contributing.
IRL microtransactions (nickels and quarters), fueled the vending machine and newspaper economy for the last century. It's a shame there's no digital equivalent because it's very difficult to make credit card transactions under $5 profitable.
Also, getting rid of user-tracking wouldn't get rid of Internet ads.
> Wait, are you actually defending that only rich people should have access to content?
I'm not sure how you got that out of the parent comment. It says "this is not a new problem, but it is a problem". A system that relentlessly tracks users and their habits is not the solution. If for no other reason than it sequesters poor people to parts of the web that track them, while rich people can afford to pay for content.
>>That is the case for pretty much everything non-digital and schools and education as well and thus an entirely reasonable position to take.
Please explain to me how "just people with money should be allowed to have access to content" being "an entirely reasonable position to take" doesn't fit into that?
I am arguing that though the position is reasonable, the ad industry as we know it is a piss poor answer. Poor people paying with their privacy is bad.
You do not argue in good faith.
Where I'm from there are unemployment and welfare systems in place so that people shouldn't be so poor they can't afford a basic lifestyle (which includes being able to participate in the public discourse - i.e. have access to media)
There would no longer be profit incentive to promote clickbait articles that just re-link to the original source, no more fake news sites being spread around social media, no more perverse incentives to get as many clicks as possible without providing any actual value of your own.
Bring it on! I want this future so much.
You know advertising is just another business model right? They have to give advertisers something they want in exchange for money. If they can't do that, they don't get money. It's a business.
Trading attention for content is a real business model. Just because you don't like doesn't make it any less real.
Not only that, the article we're discussing is ad-funded.
The reason you're reading it without paying for it is because it is ad-funded.
Nobody is propping up anything, let them do business.
Don't like the ads? Don't access those websites. Vote with your wallet and clicks.
Did you read TFA? Browser vendors that allow invasive tracking are propping up this model.
Not such a real business model after that. And it WILL happen, because ads are a nuisance and the browser market is competitive. You're fighting with gravity at this point.
Also, not everyone has enough money to pay for a service, the rest of 7B people of the world isn't as rich as hacker news readers.
And if you don't care about a service, why care if it goes away?
No, it wouldn't. It would only cover a small fraction of creators, and definitely not enough with money.
Your attention is worth far more than the cost of the content/service to the advertisers. And the service is worth to you far more than your attention.
It is a trade where value is generated to both sides: you provide your attention, which is worth almost nothing to you, and receive a service in return.
> And if you don't care about a service, why care if it goes away?
Caring and liking are different. I hate my ISP, but it would be even worse if it went away.
No, clicking on those ads doesn't cost anything for those few people. Now they'd actually have to pay for the content, and subsidize everyone else, which wouldn't happen, they'd just move to a paywalled model.
Ads generate cross-subsidization, subscriptions generate pay-walling.
It is like some devs that contrary to other professionals, don't want to pay for their tools.
That is a categorically different bargain than merely having something that competes with the content for their attention. Just because the viewer may be ignorant of it doesn't mean they aren't (implicitly) making it.
People rich enough to pay for things are essentially subsidizing everyone else in the ad model with an irritating ad middleman. Subsidizing is fine, but let's be explicit about it with a library instead and avoid these gross privacy invasions.
Lowering it would mean less revenue for content creators.
If they can get away with less tracking their ads will be less effective but revenue for the content creators will not be affected because it is ‘as low as they are willing to go’.
It does, it increases marginal advertising efficiency, which makes more ads economically viable, which then increases ad spending, and creator revenue.
If you accept that kind of argument you can justify just about anything.
Which is worth $0 (or close to it) for them.
People are willing to trade their attention for free services and content.
You don't get to decide that for other people.
I feel like that problem, like GDPR, should be read as: you have to ask permission, rather than you are not allowed to. I think retargeting, well done, is a great tool. I hate myself for forgetting to include tea towels in my last Amazon order. However, without a ‘Get out of my face’ option (and more generally better controls) those ads are incredibly hurtful and need to be gone. I personally would do shameful things to remove Taboola from my mobile browsers (embedded in social media apps).
Information is power, and such a database could be used for manipulation, blackmail, fraud, etc.
But if you think that's acceptable because it might help you remember to order tea towels, what can I say... thank goodness the EU GDPR is there to save your butt.
From experience, if the information is true, appropriate and sensical, the benefits are clear and valued by both parties. There is a problem when they are wrong and the user can’t provide feedback.
> such a database could be used for manipulation, blackmail, fraud
Which is why I refuse to keep private information about me accessible to a company whose security practices I don’t trust.
I’m not sure your condescension hits the mark.
The advertising industry will survive.
Ads are one of the top vectors for malware and have been for years. I have a right to not be tracked, my data sold for money (and I get no profit), and generally my privacy invaded. I don't allow it and have not since I was able to understand the threat and mitigate.
I run a Pi-hole on my home network and I also run one at work, as I work for a small business. Works like a charm. I also use uBlock Origin, Decentraleyes, Privacy Badger, No Coin and a couple of others on every machine I control. I disallow my browser from sharing data like fonts installed, visited history, etc. I disallow HTTP/S referrer, geo location, network prefetch, and more. I use a proxy server and sometimes a VPN. I prevent WebRTC from leaking my private address schema. What ads? I also run only unix-like operating systems running fully open source software.
You can even take advantage of a Pi-hole by passing your phones traffic through your home network even when you're away. Defense in depth to avoid the dreck.
Wow! A feature which doesn't block ads, in 15% of the browsers, is going to cut over 20% of this poor company's revenue.
As much as I dislike overbearing ads and marketing, a "free" web should enable enable monetization strategies I like as well as ones I don't like.
Could an opt-in ad network work?
Let's say you like the work of some content creator -- is there no ad network currently that you can go into, register preferences, allow/add the cookie (maybe download a browser plugin that inserts it for you on registered sites), and enable you to pay the content creator by way of watching an ad from time to time? Even something that did a monthly fee (like twitch) for just any kind of content? Surely this exists already and I just haven't heard of it yet -- the only thing similar I can think of is Flattr/Patreon.
Noscript or umatrix should protect you.
The better ads are, the more revenue they will generate for content creators.
Ad companies survived with basic magazine-style ads. The only reason they complain now is that they are being forced to shift from “absurd money grab” to “ordinary company profit” for the first time in years. And there are small violins everywhere playing for these whiners.
Or at least stop defending those practices, like a certain ucaetano does in this thread.
I'm looking into what can be done politically though. Talking on forums doesn't get very far...
If Safari is 15% of the browser market, how is this causing a 20% drop in revenue?
Same with Carbon ads. If all Internet advertising looked like that I wouldn't care at all.
It seems a lot of the tracking that is happening is in an effort for ad network companies to show their value. I'm hoping that eventually advertisers will realize that it isn't really worth their money to continue throwing money into the black hole that is internet ads.
Happy to see things are improving, it was a wild west for a while...
Was this number calculated by the same people that calculated that media and software companies loose billions due to piracy?
As soon as I cross some boundaries (city? county? not sure) there are TONS. And instead of ‘traditional’ billboards they are bright LED based ones that draw your attention and switch every 5-10s. It’s horrible.
The degree to which losing ads hurts content providers depends on how much ad revenue needs to be replaced by direct payments. If an average user sees ~3000 ads a month (just a guess) and the CPM is $10, sites will need to convince users to pay $30/month for what was previously "free". The lack of ads would reduce users' mobile bandwidth costs by up to 50% , which does free up money, but direct payments would probably weigh more heavily on the user's mind. So a lot of sites with perceived low value would lose their advertising revenue and not be able to replace it. On the other hand, if each user only generates $3 in ad revenue per month, the transition is a lot easier.
Premium content services that people already pay subscriptions for (magazines, Netflix, etc.) would do fine. Content services with insufficient quality or breadth of content to support a subscription model would either (a) give up, (b) continue as a hobby rather than a business, or (c) provide free content to build an audience with the hope of becoming a paid service in the future.
Yeah, I'm sure that reducing economic output and driving a lot of creators out of business reducing in increased unemployment and poverty will be a net win for everyone!
Wow, can't believe what I'm actually reading...
> But there has been an era before the internet and I was doing just fine then.
Ad companies take some percentage of revenue as a fee. If they're loosing out, then three other people are also loosing out:
* The advertiser, who no longer gets their ad in front of the right audience. Now they're stuck advertising their potentially excellent product to people who have no use/desire for it. Selling their product now costs more, and it might make an otherwise profitable product not work out.
* The content producer. The person who made that webpage/video/funny meme. They only did it for ad revenue. Now that revenue is reduced, they'll have to make do with a shittier camera or will have to get a side job.
* You. You now have to put up with more lower value ads. They tend to be less useful to you (you might think normal ads aren't useful, but these are even more annoying and even less useful). That on top of the shittier content and fewer worse products available to buy from the above two reasons.
Not if I block all ads :D
This news may be tragedy to the ad companies that profit off of blatant and forceful violation of users' privacy, but it is truly wonderful news worthy of celebration to the average web browser.
It sounds like you're saying that when users demand privacy, ad companies will punish them with more a obnoxious ad experience. Can you not see how this is literally an "abusive relationship" between the user and the advertisers?
Most only did it for revenue and ad revenue just happens to be the easiest for many.
I, for one, have never built a website for the ad money. I get my money through value-add services such as showing what I can do, by showing what I have done; providing software and services to other people so that they can also create their own things and provide help and input.
> You now have to put up with more lower value ads
No I don't; I use adblockers, like everyone I know. Everyone as in not just developers or tech weenies. Everyone as in normal people with social lives or claim they don't worry about privacy because they have nothing to hide. People don't want their bandwidth (precious bandwidth these days) wasted, they don't want their battery wasted, they don't want their privacy violated.
Let's build and promote platforms that empower content developers to get paid for their work through means other than advertisements. Patreon is a great example of that (and I wish I knew of other similar services).
Edit: I know one reason: the ad industry has to reinvent itself in order to sell. To provide useful ads to ‚endusers‘ is just a lie!