> In comparison, 79% of people who use Google’s Chrome browser allow advertisers to track their browsing habits on mobile devices through cookies.
Something to keep in mind the next time you see someone from Google complaining about how Apple won’t allow Google Chrome to run natively on the iPhone.
They just won't let them using any rendering engine but WebKit—and this restriction long predates Google's current level of draconian dominance in that sphere.
I don't believe the tracking settings are tied to the rendering engine, so I would be surprised if Chrome on iOS has settings that different to Chrome on macOS in that regard.
Apple forces Firefox/chrome to use their crippled engine but that has nothing to do with the parts that do the tracking.
For the record, Firefox has built-in anti tracker which is enabled by default and they do that on all platforms. And don't forgot the privacy enhancements Samsung added to their browser years ago.
I also think (I could be wrong) safari has access to a slightly different webkit engine than third party browsers.
It’s hard to believe that if Firefox ran natively on iOS, it would be more memory and energy efficient than WebKit: https://webkit.org/blog/8970/how-web-content-can-affect-powe...
In this case, it's especially complicated by the fact that iOS is the primary check on web standards meaning whatever Google chooses to implement. Mozilla isn't without influence but there's no incremental way to chip away at Apple's market-share the way they have with Google/Youtube.com pushing Chrome at Firefox users short of making Android phones far more competitive.
1. Say by requiring strong commitments to code quality and response time, which would allow e.g. Firefox and Chrome but not Adobe-level security commitments.
Further, Google has a competitive interest in eventually crippling their iOS rendering engine.Then again I don’t use desktop Crome so that could be my bias talking.
And this does not even begin to touch on Firefox.
The problem is a policy one, with Apple really liking their walled garden and veto rights to any design.
For sake of argument lets’s suppose Android Crome was a 90 and iOS Crome is currently a 70 due to the rendering engine. In theory they could replace the engine and hit say 85 given enough resources. But, they could also replace the engine hit 75 and blame iOS. Their still demonstrating an improvement and intentionally crippling it at the same time.
That said any such measurement is arbitrary. I personally like having a unified rendering engine because it’s less testing when developing mobile websites. There is no way to improve that situation by introducing a new engine.
But you have a very pro-apple and anti-google way of thinking here which I think misguided and does not actually benefit you. Even with those made up numbers chrome would improve from 70 to 75 which is by all means a win for the consumer (you!) but you are ready to dismiss it as it might be bad for Apple.
(For the record, I don't use chrome)
Anyway, I still test and find different issues with Crome on Android tablets, phones, and desktop due to significant market share and I would do that for iOS Crome. Sure, Chromes developer tools helps fixing some of these but I have had various CSS issues not replicate.
However, most companies don’t do this so adding more rendering engines with slight bugs seems to make things worse for consumers. There may be short term benefits, but long term it’s a net loss as many developers would only support a subset of iOS users.
Not only that but if WebKit has an exploit, all browsers have an exploit.
> I also think (I could be wrong) safari has access to a slightly different engine than third party browsers.
Correct, Chrome used to be based off WebKit's HTML rendering engine, which Google forked and created Blink instead. Firefox has their own engine (Gecko?) which is all being redone in Rust.
Firefox's anti-tracking protection doesn't block google analytics by default. They only block "third party" cookies - which in practice translates as: Google's competition.
The fox knows better than to bite the hand that feeds it.
Firefox docs and disconnect don't say anything about this
The above specifically shows you to make sure your site continues to function when Google Analytics is blocked by Firefox. I can't find any evidence that Firefox doesn't block Google Analytics.
"Cookie blocking" and GDPR is just Google abusing its monopoly position, nothing more.
Source: I work in adtech.
For customers that are using Google Analytics' Display Advertiser features, such as remarketing, a third-party DoubleClick cookie is used in addition to the other cookies described in this document for just these features. For more information about this cookie, visit the Google Advertising Privacy FAQ.
What Apple has done with the trackers is commendable, but the security argument when it comes to browsers is always in favour of allowing browsers with their own engines; which apple doesn't.
It's not dissimilar to the argument against Flash: yes it was insecure and unstable, but mostly it was a performance hog and a battery drain, which isn't great on mobile devices with limited battery life.
The reference does not back up your claim - Apple never disputed that there was an issue, and they had already fixed it when Project Zero published their report.
Not as much as it advertises itself as a torch bearer of Security & Privacy (or) Not as much its ardent proponents believe it to be.
It's not like cookie based targeting is very effective either. It's very difficult to get cookie based ad targeting right – you have to make significant investments into product, technical integrations and data buys. Given the fact that the cookies to which you are tying these investments can vanish at any time (and a large % do so regularly), it rarely makes business sense to make the right sort of investments. Instead most companies do the bare minimum and try to make a guess that is slightly better than a coin flip. I actually remember seeing a deck from a data company boasting how their gender data was ~ 60% accurate.
Why are we worried about this? Contextual targeting is far more effective. As an example, targeting an ad on Elle.com is more than 60% likely to reach women than an ad targeted based on cookie data.
Genuinely curious so would appreciate calm, non-aggressive responses. I'm wondering whether this is due to a generally poor understanding of cookie targeting effectiveness or if I'm missing something.
All of today's ad-tech is set up and developed for that purpose. Whether overtly or covertly, it is the singular purpose, because the case is so clear cut: We are distributing the share of the pie between companies and consumers.
It is therefore clear why people aware of basic economics consider agressive tracking and privacy violations hostile, because they ultimately are or will be.
I am not worried about actually showing ads that are personalized in some way. But as others have pointed out, cookies are not for that. You can target based on the site's content and you are probably showing me a much more relevant ad anyway.
I am worried that every offsite ressource and every ad is used to track me across hundreds or thousands of shady services that operate under zero regulation or control, the combination of which allows market actors to determine how much of my consumer surplus they can extract in every sense, and thus actively devaluing the internet for me, in excess of what happens in the real world!
And the responses of the ad industry lobby groups pretty much prove to me what they think about choice and what they expect to get from consumers.
At this stage, it is entirely rational and ethical to consider the entire ad industry as hostile.
As a group, with all side-effects, the notion of just "showing an interesting ad" simply does not exist anymore. At least for the collective industry. Any effort you took to track users, no matter how noble, will ultimately be hostile to me in the future.
That's not entirely true though. Better ad targeting increases the "size of the pie" by increasing the chances that a consumer will find something that's useful to them.
>At this stage, it is entirely rational and ethical to consider the entire ad industry as hostile.
At that point, why not consider the entire software industry as hostile? They're the ones that enable this, so clearly they are also the devil. Life is not this black and white. Ads do serve a useful purpose, to which degree cookie based ads do that, I'm unsure, but it would be very difficult to start a business without any kind of advertisement.
Most ads people see are not for novel products solving problems. The ads are just fighting for brand recognition and space in peoples brains. This parasitic and wasteful industry is squandering some of the brightest minds of several generations to dare. Ad cos are also wasting untold billions of dollars suffocating development of infrastructure and industries that increase quality of life.
The house of cards needs to come down.
That would only be possible if the online stores could perfectly discriminate users based on price. Which happens to some extent (booking flights is a popular example) but is difficult to pull off and also illegal in most countries. You are not allowed to make personal discounts for each customer for example. Better and stricter legislation to prevent these kinds of personalized discounts would be pretty straightforward to implement if it were a major concern.
It is a major concern. It is used in booking sites, and it will be used in other sites. We can not rely on regulation.
My point stands: User targeting is a threat and we, the users, are entirely justified in not liking it.
It is surprising. Couldn't find anything about it in a quick search. It would also make flea markets illegal, wouldn't it?
I think that some forms of price discrimination are forbidden (but still practiced). Women pay no entrace in clubs, young students pay less etc.
Beyond the legality of the issue, the point remains: Here, companies and consumers are strategically at odds.
It's like bargaining on a fair. A method to determine a price suitable for both sides - instead of charging every customer the same price.
And it's not (only) about how much money the customer has. A rich customer can still be price sensitive and would get a low price based on price discrimination.
Also, in my opinion, ads and tracking are (mostly) orthogonal concepts. A website can track or show ads or both or do nothing. Tracking is often used for ads but not exclusively so.
Should I pay 1.2x, 3x or 100x as much today, just because you know I desperately need the product/service today vs. yesterday?
What happens when I get (wrongly) classified as rich and now can't afford a normal life?
Should medication cost <som of your savings> if it is for life threatening issues? Should basic necessities cost more because my house burned down/got robbed/lost my luggage/whatever and you know I have money?
I'm not saying that I buy this line of reasoning, but there's the counter-argument.
I was arguing against people based discrimination, without any meaningful relevance on availability. Again, I think reasonable and reasonably qualified discounts are ok, but not increasing prices for the same product and service.
Aside from that, "charging the highest price the customer is still ok with" means to eliminate the consumer surplus. Which is bad for consumers, i.e. everyone.
And aren't prices supposed to be signals? How are customers supposed to compare the costs of each good if you don't tell them? All you tell them is how much they're willing to spend.
They already know that. But you (probably) don't. If you did, congratulations: you've solved the economic calculation problem. This should raise red flags.
I highly doubt that they would actually decrease the price. They maybe wouldnt increase it, but unlike the bargaining on a fair, the seller can not see that the prospective buyer is really struggling to make ends meet, and sell it at a loss to help them out.
I'm interested how this works. Car dealerships do this all the time in person. I wonder why they can do it, but websites can't.
My browser history is none of your business. That’s it.
I don’t take care if violating my privacy by stealing my browser history is less effective than the newest way of violating my privacy.
Doesn’t make it any better.
Your browser was made to handle cookie data. It is publicly known. If it bothers you, you can turn it off. I do not see what all this sort of huffing is about.
You're right that this is just how browsers and websites and the internet as a whole works, but what tech workers and tech companies are just recently discovering is that people don't actually like or trust how it works and aren't always willing to accept it. In Apple's case they can leverage that distrust to market their products.
 Today facial recognition and phone tracking means that you are 'sharing' that data with tracking companies, obviously.
You can literally buy that data. Either by targeting credit card transactions of people who shopped at a walmart via a broker or you can get more direct data (albeit probably more limited) from them directly here: https://www.walmartmedia.com.
Isn't that exactly what membership cards for stores are for? Isn't credit card data also sold in a similar way? I find the credit card one to be a much bigger problem.
That is not informed consent.
What you were doing was exploiting people by going beyond the scope of their knowledge of the world and rationalizing it by working backwards from "well, they must understand what's going on" to "they must like it or get something out of it."
Problem is that's not true.
The reality is, even today barely any of them likely have the faintest clue what you did to them.
If they knew they would likely be far less than thrilled.
~ another ex-adtech worker
Tell that to the likes of Amazon and Ebay. Their cookie-based advertising is extremely effective. They not only get to advertise things at you that they already know you like, they also learn about other things you like by knowing what websites and content you're viewing.
Why are we worried about this? Because megacorps learning everything about us isn't desirable. It only serves to intensify the advantage they have over individual sellers, and in doing so, lessening competition over many layers of business (all the way from manufacture to delivery).
I'll agree these things apply much less at smaller scale, but that's also why this is so important. Handing the biggest marketing advantage to the biggest players isn't good for anybody but them.
But these companies are few and far between. Most ad tech companies have nowhere near this quality of data or access to users.
if they do that it's very, very subtle. I get mostly product that I bought, with a handful of product that I saw recently, and zero original suggestions, even if I'm open to impulse buy, I am driven by new impulses, showing me something I haven't bought once is not going to tip me over as that decision was already rationalized.
In the adverts they show you what is most likely to convert today. Stuff you've been looking at recently. But every adview is another blob of data to profile you with for future recommendations.
We talk about Facebook knowing too much about us but they really only have a social handle on us. Amazon knows where we live, what we buy, how much money we have, when we're going on holiday, when we're pregnant, how many children we have, what pets we have, what cars we drive, what we like to watch, what we like to listen to, when we're home.
Every new B2C service they launch is another intrusion. Advertising is just one ring in a long chain. It gives them reach over everything you view online.
Third party cookies should've never existed.
> I fail to understand the fuss about cookie based targeting
> worked in ad tech for half a decade,
> It's not like cookie based targeting is very effective either
Then why's it being done? Because it doesn't work, or because it does?
> Instead most companies do the bare minimum and try to make a guess that is slightly better than a coin flip
Uh huh. From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_advertising
"In 2016, Internet advertising revenues in the United States surpassed those of cable television and broadcast television. In 2017, Internet advertising revenues in the United States totaled $83.0 billion, a 14% increase over the $72.50 billion in revenues in 2016"
That's the bare minimum. Right.
As to your question on why it's being done if it isn't effective, I believe there are two reasons for it:
1. A vast % of digital ad spend goes to a few companies that have personally identifiable information and very effective tracking. Google, FB. I did point of this exception in my comment. Frankly, these companies don't need to target you to be effective. They gather their richest data from your usage on their service.
2. As for the rest of ad tech: Media buyers at agencies tend to be fresh out of college grads. They don't fully grasp the capabilities/limitations of ad tech products, targeting effectiveness, etc. Agencies want to spend their digital budgets and not exclusively on FB, Google. They want to show that they're diversifying, innovating, etc. This IMO is how the rest of ad tech stays afloat.
That's not addressing the argument. Advertising follows eyeballs, so naturally it went online. There is no evidence that its effectiveness has increased however, despite all the claims about high ad tech.
If you're right, those who commission ads are idiots because they aren't doing the most basic cost/benefit analysis.
And this in an area where doing so is very easy (don't run the ad then do run the ad, then see the immediate and longer-term difference).
Also, from the same wiki link I gave
"The EU limitations restrict targeting by online advertisers; researchers have estimated online advertising effectiveness decreases on average by around 65% in Europe relative to the rest of the world."
Further, by "There is no evidence that its effectiveness has increased" are you saying no studies have been done, or studies have been done but show no such evidence? In the latter case please post a few links, thanks.
i should clarify i meant the effectiveness of ads overall, not just targetting. there is no doubt that online ads work, and that tracking ads perform better than display ads. However despite the shift to online ads, advertising spending overall is similar and it doesnt seem to have increased consumption. So i dont understand if the rise in online ad spending means anything (imho it's purely because online audience is bigger now).
Probably this. Adtech (ironically) do not advertise what they do. Most people read and think that e.g. google literally sells personal files on themselves.
What matters to ad campaigns is lift and not accuracy. What about conversion attribution? Don’t you need cookies for Amazon/etc to figure out what website led you to a purchase?
What the article lacks is a breakdown of who the ad buyers are. In particular, there’s probably a big difference between today’s Facebook vs display ad buyers (especially vs 5 years ago).
But there is so much more available today:
Contextual targeting is a bigg problem, and the fix will require a fundamental change. It is almost impossible to use technology to prevent contextual targeting in areas like email service and social media as long as the data is in clear text and available to the server. The current best bet is to use laws like GDPR but it is slow and not something a browser can dictate with a software update.
If I am on a tech site reading about disk drive failure rates, feed me an ad about an SSD sale. If I am reading about mountain climbing, show me ads about climbing equipment. Fine. But don't start following me around the web with adds about ascenders for the rest of the afternoon. Or travel insurance. Or ... It is none of your business what I browsed half an hour earlier.
Thank goodness at least one business (Apple) has enough customer focus left to try to address some of this nonsense. All the better that it helps them against some of their competitors. That just makes them more motivated. Bully for that. At least we are still the customers rather than the products with Apple.
I was just asking the question because I was genuinely curious whether there was technically a way to do so w/o cookie targeting. I have no interest in doing such targeting. I was interested in whether a HNer had a creative workaround.
I read a dispassionate rebuttal of your point. Calling the reply "too emotional" is not an okay tactic.
my orig response was an innocent, curious question while his was an impulsive rant/essay.
I'm not sure there is any stronger interpretation available here. You're baselessly speculating on gp's emotional state. That is the opposite of "assume good faith."
I actually agree with your point. I was just asking the question because I was genuinely curious whether there was technically a way to do so w/o cookie targeting. I have no interest in doing such targeting. I was interested in whether a HNer had a creative workaround.
There is still fingerprinting. If you take that away also then it gets trickier and fuzzier. But hey, if I can recognize you by the way how you walk then it should be even easier to do so by the way how you move the cursor or how you scroll. Or the time you usually visit my website. IP-address? Ping-times, animation delays.. And if somebody pays me good money I will find even more opportunities :-P
> What if I want to target women who recently bought Chanel perfume? How would I go about doing that unless I do video surveillance and face-recognition targeting?
Suppose a woman walked into a dress shop, and the clerk said, "We find that our $LINE line of dresses over there works really well with the Chanel perfume you just bought."
Do I have to explain why 1) people think it's creepy, and 2) why people think you don't have a right to do that?
Fortunately, at least in the EU that's illegal.
This is a great metric for privacy.
Lets say an average Android user is worth 100 value units, and you can get lots of uniquely identifying information about them, say 90% of the ideal amount of info, so their effective value to you is 90 value units each (90% of 100).
Uniquely identifiable Apple users info is potentially much more valuable, say 200 value units. However you can only get a very small amount of actionable information about them because they are so hard to track, due to Apple's security and privacy systems. So maybe you can only get 10% of the information you would ideally like to have about them. That makes their actionable value to you only 20 value units each (10% of 200).
This is simply bullshit. So-called “targeted” advertising is a giant scam pulled on non-technical marketers who don’t understand it at all and use “measurements” provided by the ad networks themselves.
Targeted ads don’t actually work in any meaningful sense:
(Disclosure: I work on ads at Google)
A 20-second googling produces one example: https://www.forbes.com/sites/toddhixon/2014/04/10/what-kind-...
Google around for more.
Let's say someone is trying to sell snowboards using ads. Previously they could target say "young male users who have previously browsed snow sports." Let's say the ad had a 5% conversion rate and they were willing to spend $100 per conversion (sale). This means they are willing to pay $5 per ad displayed. Now they can only target "all safari users" and their conversion rate is now 0.5% since not everyone likes snowboarding. They are still only willing to pay $100 per conversion, but now they are only willing to pay $0.50 per ad displayed since they need to display 10x as many ads per conversion. If the auction rate is >$0.50, they stop buying ads completely which decreases aggregate demand for ad slots.
The actual story is a little more nuanced: when you target an ad, you are usually bidding for users in an auction. You're generally willing to pay more for more specific filters because you're more confident of a higher response rate.
In ecosystems with a lot of data on every user, specific filters actually work, so you end up with higher bids on fewer users, which should drive the average spend per user up without necessarily driving total spend up. With less data, you have to use less specific filters, so you end up with lower bids on more users, which drives average spend per user down without necessarily driving total spend down.
* User X loves cola
Pepsi and Coke both bid more to serve their cola subscription services or whatever. Ad price goes up. Now add more data:
* User is a Coca Cola fanatic.
Even though this is the same user, the ad price goes down, because Pepsi doesn't want to bid.
Now add another Pepsi fanatic for symmetry, and you can see how "more data about users for better targetting" can in some cases reduce auction prices (while of course still increasing advertiser value.)
Your scenario just seems to single out one particular example where more information can reduce spending on one group, while increasing it on another.
Humans create audience segments, and it's in the interest of dataset producers to have each user be a part of the maximum number of members they can be to maximize monetisation.
Eventually there will be machine learning models involved (maybe there are already? I don't know ads.) Those models might move closer to "perfect targeting" where advertisers could compete less over certain users.
And no matter the incentives of the data providers, "increase customer value" is probably always a Nash equilibrium. If better targeting leads to less revenue, eventually you'll probably do it anyway.
If we can't tell which user is which, we know 50% of our views will lead to a conversion, so you and I will both spend $0.50 per view. The orange seller beats us and the price is $0.75 per user (assuming an old fashioned auction).
If we can tell which user's which, I can spend my $1 on the apple eater, and you can spend yours on the banana eater. Both of us will spend more than the orange seller, who is still only willing to spend $0.75 per view. The price rises to $1 per user.
Dollar per conversion is the constant, and the pile of converting users doesn't change. With less targeting, there's just more hay in the haystack. Dollars per viewer goes up as the number of viewers goes down.
The cost to the advertiser has stayed the same (or in reality, has probably gone down slightly, as it's likely fewer people are bidding on the impression) while the revenue per impression has overall gone up.
So a shoe company may pay a lot for a "male/18-35/basketball-fan/shoe-blog-reader". But Safari does not easily allow for that richness of data to be collected, so the price is low.
But with Safari's recent changes you can no longer target users on Safari where "non-empty cart"=true, because that relied on cookies and tracking which are no longer available.
On a per-impression basis advertisers are willing to pay (way, way) more if they know they are reaching someone who has already visited their site and been engaged enough to add-to-cart. There are plenty of other examples but abandoned-cart-retargeting is one of the most obvious ways advertisers can see good ROI on expensive ad impressions.
Maybe its because the data that can be collected about safari users isn't worth as much.
Exposure increases this value just by playing a numbers game; therefore, the larger the ad network, the more they can charge.
Targeting increases it more, by allowing companies to choose demographics more likely to be interested in their product, so again, they can charge more.
An interesting aside: While working as a mobile developer, I learned that many apps do not have an in-app-purchase to eliminate ads because it tanks the value of the in-app advertising. Why? Because the people most likely to drop $5 or $10 to not look at ads? They're the ones with the most expendable income, and therefore, users more likely to impulse purchase products advertised.
In other words: By allowing people willing to spend money to support the app, even if there is NO OTHER EVIDENCE they'd be interested in a product, decreases the value of your advertising.
Has anyone here actually had a meaningful increase in users and revenue by using targeted-ad services, that they couldn't achieve by more organic methods (e.g. posting on places like Reddit, word of mouth)?
Rather, the goal is to lock everyone else out from even possibly doing so.
For example: AdWords isn't about reaching new audiences, it's about staking a claim on an audience in perpetuity (as long as your budget allows). This is completely apparent from the pricing model.
Google's brilliance is that via the ubiquity of their search platform, they have effectively managed to leverage a property tax on attentional real estate. If you don't pay, someone else will move in and hopefully develop the attentional property further, raising the value Google can charge you for it until you're priced out and someone else comes along to hold onto it.
Here's one question though: If you're the established player in one field and don't really need the online ads other than for staking a claim, would it really influence your sales that much if a competitor takes over that space? Probably just a downturn in number of sales to new customers? (Who presumably haven't heard about the other players in the field and just go with the one that's shown to them in online search results?)
Okay, that's more than one question, but maybe you'd like to elaborate a bit.
Lets suppose CocaCola stopped advertising completely. No TV adds, no product placement, no billboards, nothing, but Pepsi and the other soft drinks companies kept up their rate of advertising or even increased it to fill the gap. The only time anyone ever saw the name Coke would be when they saw it on a shelf. It might take a while, but the outcome would be inevitable.
Or, when it was posted/mentioned by people who liked Coke.
Then again, with the influencers/celebrity culture, the landscape of digital advertising has changed. Hence, Instagram supposedly leads when it comes to organic conversions. Good news here is, those who don't want such ads can stay away from the platform (or) that influencer. Bad news is, it is resulting in creating hoards of gullible, programmable masses with little effort, who can be exploited for various nefarious activities which can have an effect even outside of those platforms.
Behavioral data using 3rd parties like Neustar / Lotame have more dubious results, but still rake in billions each year from ad buyers that fastidiously track their ROI.
Most online display works to reinforce messaging in other forms of media, or win over new audiences with sheer volume.
There's an entire cottage industry of marketers (especially affiliate marketers) who make a lot of money through targeted ads. Unlike big brands, they can't afford to throw money at branded campaigns; they have to see results. If they continue to patronize ads, it means that they are getting conversions.
(Submitted URL was https://www.theinformation.com/articles/apples-ad-targeting-...)
Adtech is for the establishment.
Re/Targeted ads require the decision to be made in milliseconds, including network transit time. They just don't have the time to fingerprint you on every request. They could do it once, but then they are back to the problem of having to set a cookie to keep track of you after that.
No, it takes a minute because it’s trying to load trackers in order to test your adblocker. Fingerprinting itself takes only a moment. Try TorZillaPrint: the results are instantaneous.
In practice, good content blockers (i.e. uBlock Origin) block most fingerprinting scripts. I don’t know whether Safari’s includes this.
If they're served on page-load when a user first visits a site, but I guess a significant minority are also requested+served in the middle of your newspaper article two minutes after page load, or in the middle of your Youtube video, or a refreshing sticky-footer ad, or just the next page loaded on a site.
Having to fingerprint every pageview also creates latency and still isn't that deterministic so everything will need to shift to probabilistic and contextual targeting. That's a hard change to make for most legacy networks.
IPv6 with probabilistic modeling comes pretty close though.
For example, if you update your browser or add a new plugin, you can look like a new person so it makes it harder to find a match. A cookie would not change through that event.
Enough people have the same fingerprint that it limits its effectiveness. Maybe you can only reliably identify 40% of your user base that way.
It is like using your IP address as an identifier. For some people it can be 100% accurate, but others switch networks or share an IP with multiple other people which limits its usefulness.
What ends up happening is that companies will correlate IP address with other fingerprint information to get a probabilistic match but that is complex and still has flaws.
you can be in California and using say an iPhoneX and it will tell you you're one in 500k. If you calculate the number of people with their iPhone set to English in the PST timezone (the only things there is to distinguish one iPhoneX from another) and then you divide that by the pantoptclick number you get it's claiming there are only 10-100 iPhoneXs in all of Seattle Metro Area, San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles Metro Area, and San Diego Metro Area combined. Clearly wrong
> Your browser fingerprint appears to be unique among the 251,543 tested in the past 45 days.
It only counts against those other people who visited panopticlick, and that in the last 45 days. That's explicitly stated, but hidden in the click-through for details section.
There are also things it can't detect, such as the existence of the Cookie Auto-Delete extension. So it thinks cookies are enabled and can be used for tracking, but in reality they get deleted whenever I close a tab (and links to new domains get opened in new tabs). Or user-agent randomization, which will make your fingerprint more unique but less useful for tracking.
It's a matter of months, maybe a couple of years.
When this happens, what is happening with Safari now will look like a minor issue.
It's what is happening with Safari (and the other browsers). First, knowledgeable users are empowered to make a decision, then, that decision is rolled out automatically to the masses. E.g., https.
Edit: To be clear, I am an Apple customer and it's mainly on privacy grounds. I just like to keep realistic expectations about their present and future behavior, instead of buying into Tim Cook's rhetoric of idealism.
Apple, for better or for worse, makes products based on what its executives personally want to use. That's not the only consideration, but it's unusually salient compared to other companies.
My guess is that Apple works to limit ad tracking because its executives personally do not want to be tracked.
I'm going to guess that their CEO, growing up gay in 1960s Alabama, has a strong connection with the human need for privacy.
iPod was a great product. But time has changed, and I would be cautious in extrapolating that experience to Apple today. I can't imagine Apple executives saying "We change the keyboard because we love typing".
The crappy MBP keyboard illustrates my point. I suspect that Apple neglected the Mac for a long time (in many ways) because its executives switched to using primarily iPads .
Also the newest generation comes with a usb-c to lightening port.
Connecting an iPhone to a Mac is a niche activity these days, and anyone who needs to do that surely understands what USB-A and USB-C are.
"So, the iphone charging cable will connect to USB-C?"
"What, are you crazy? Literally everything is USB-A."
Imagine the G4 cube, or the puck mouse, or the Motorola ROKR.
"It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest." - Adam Smith
I like this, and I am willing to spend a lot of money. Best I can do is probably let my wallet do the talking.
> Strategy Credit: An uncomplicated decision that makes a company look good relative to other companies who face much more significant trade-offs. For example, Android being open source
More here: https://stratechery.com/2013/strategy-credit/
Of course not - who said they were?
They all have products to sell to users so in that sense they all have to strive to make those users happy. Some business strategies use lock in to keep consumers but unless you want to wage that accusation against one of these three companies it seems like they should all be equally motivated by consumer happiness.
They are in many ways the most closed of all the big tech companies. Their flagship platform (in revenue terms), iOS, is the most closed general purpose computing platform in history. Overall it's second only to things like game consoles for being locked down to everyone including the owner.
They are also the platform and OS that offers the best privacy and security to the average user, and the only mainstream platform/OS actively pushing back in any way against surveillance capitalism.
Why is this? Three reasons I think, listed in order of importance:
(1) Economics: Apple's closed premium brand gives them pricing power, causing the majority of their revenue to come directly from their users. This makes it at least economically possible for Apple to prioritize their users' privacy and security at the expense of other potential secondhand sources of revenue. If you're playing in the bargain bin or worse are "free" then you must seek revenue elsewhere, and monetizing users via surveillance and other scummy methods is the easiest and most lucrative way to do that.
(2) Security: being unbelievably locked down is a double edged sword: it robs users of choice, but also robs malware and adware of attack vectors. Android is more open and as a result is a spyware disaster and seems to be getting worse. There's so much un-policed attack surface that Android's permissions don't really mean very much.
(3) Corporate DNA: Apple still has some DNA left over from the personal computing era back when PCs were about empowering users rather than monetizing them and the Internet was supposed to be about communication rather than manipulation. Apple still thinks it's making products for people, not productizing people.
> iOS, is the most closed general purpose computing platform
> in history. Overall it's second only to things like game
> consoles for being locked down to everyone including the
As for tracking: the current "privacy" push looks like a moral panic to me. I've yet to see any actual personal harm come to anyone as a result of cookie-based tracking. I have, on the other hand, seen billions of people benefit from the monetarily-free services that personalized ads enable. Whipping up an anti-cookie hysteria is making the internet worse for everyone but the big established giant companies.
I think that would be a nice return to the "old internet".
Also, it isn't clear to me that the larger sites you talk about would not recoup more value from their audiences and thus need to paywall less.
I have yet to see any harm from eating badly and not excercising for this young person, stop panicking and let them enjoy their double-upsized extra-bacon Monsterbuger.
This is what I believe is fair. Unfortunately we are seeing the difference between first-party cookies and third-party cookies gradually vanish. Publishers are already encouraged by ad tech companies to set up CNAME records so that a subdomain on a publisher site points to an ad-tech company domain.
If so, that could mean fewer iOS apps will get written.
If not, is that only on technical grounds (it may be easier to hide what data apps send out) or (also) because it is good for Apple if one has to write an iOS apps to better track users?
There are of course other ways to fingerprint the devices, but they will get your app removed from the App Store if you're using them for advertising. (If you're caught of course.)
Most people don’t even know about the tracking ID.
Edit: Apple ought to prioritize the privacy of users over “keeping advertisers happy.”
In Android, and with Google in general, you have to go through many different menus and hidden option in different places. And then, you can't really stop tracking either, because you'd need to also go to several of these "ad alliance" scam websites and try to disable tracking for hundreds of services. And of course, these websites never actually work for more than a couple of those.....
From my perspective, coming from Android, iOS is really good.
I am soo jaded by Google and Android that I just expect a company to try to obfusicate options and generally be hostile to my privacy.
I regret using Android for many years, especially since Google, while I wasn't lookin, quietly moved from innovative and user-friendly to literally user hostile.
That's an... interesting take on the situation.
The ads typically are paying for what the users are going to the website for. I don't like it, but most users seem to prefer visiting sites with ads over sites they have to pay directly for. I hate how intrusive and abusive many ads can be, block ads on many sites, pay to subscribe to some sites, and hope other models succeed someday, but have to acknowledge that ads do serve a purpose.
My point is indeed that people go to grocery stores to buy food, not to spend money. Doesn't mean cashiers aren't justified.
The desperation about monetising ads usually makes them crappy website creators. They would just fill pages with low quality articles propped up by SEO. I prefer the sources that don't earn money on advertising for quality of content.