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Google, I've had enough. How about a Compromise? (ninjasandrobots.com)
114 points by hawke 1052 days ago | 93 comments



I really, really don't buy the idea that I should feel bad for using adblock. The whole "ads can be a way to provide quality services, and adblock removes that revenue" is the marketer's equivalent to the {MP|RI}AA's "every pirate is a stolen sale".

The whole thing with the Internet is about desintermediation, and marketing departments are nothing but middle-men between producers and consumers. Even worse that they actually sell the idea that producers need to "build a brand". Zero actual value-add to the chain, but work to increase perceived and actual costs of the goods produced.

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I think this a good perspective. Advertising only has societal value when it helps connect people who want to buy something with services that want to sell it.

I can think of a couple other ways to get some sort of value from advertising. The first is using an ad to get someone to purchase something they otherwise wouldn't have. I suppose this creates societal value too, but in my opinion it mainly just benefits the advertisers. The second is to make "impressions" so that people remember your brand when they later choose (impulsively) to purchase something.

Since I don't participate in those two, I consider them pretty worthless. Showing someone like me an ad on a blog is worthless, because we have a zero percent click-through rate and a zero percent conversion rate. Showing ads on a search might actually be helpful if I'm searching for a product to buy.

Anyway, this leads me to two possible conclusions. Either we are in an advertising bubble where way more effort is put into ads than they're worth, or I just have no understanding/conception of the average Internet user's browsing and buying habits. After all, I guess enough people click on these things to make them profitable for the site, and enough of those actually buy something to make it profitable for the advertiser. So as a non-clicker, what do I know?

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I think you are right in your conclusion that you have no understanding/conception of how the average internet browser reacts to advertisements.

I was shocked to realize this about myself after talking to my ex's sister. She teaches kids in the BD class of a Chicago public school. She shared a story of her frustration trying to teach them about healthy eating. It went something like this:

"Can anyone give me an example of good or healthy food" Class Chorus: "Mcdonalds!" Carrie, taken aback: "Oh! and what makes McDonald's healthy" Class: "McDonalds makes you big and strong! You could play in the olympics"

That anecdote hit me at the same time I had been researching literacy, and it really struck me that different classes of people exist in our society who interpret symbolic content at different levels. You or I probably see a picture of an athlete on an McDonald's bag and our lip curls in contempt at the transparency of the lie. But to a different type of person with a different background, that representation is taken at face value.

It's really apparent when you see people make a living off other transparent advertising, "Teen Mom discovers weird old trick to remove belly fat." Ok, bullshit. You can't target lose weight etc, but that isn't a multinational with inefficient marketing, that's an individual identifying basic desires and exploiting certain segments of their market. And it works.

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Google 2011 revenues: $37.9 billion. 96% from AdWords.

So I'm guessing someone is clicking on online adverts.

Outside of a certain segment of the startup scene, where actually spending money on marketing is uncool and you have to get customers by being viral/freemium/whatever, there's a ton of businesses that drive traffic through non-sexy means like PPC.

Re: does "branding" add value? I think it does. Keep in mind the original brands, which involved adding a name to commodity products to show customers they were trustworthy. The value of branding is it lets consumers feel trust in what they're buying. You can go in any McDonalds in the world and know that the food will taste OK and won't give you food poisoning. The food is not awesome, either, but it goes to show that often people do value trustworthiness and consistency (ie, branding) over super high-quality.

(Admittedly there is less value in situations where, say, the branded cheese is exactly the same as the supermarket cheese, just in a different packet and twice the price.)

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I agree with you that the MPAA claim is silly. But in this case, you're actually consuming the product - using their bandwidth, their servers, etc, all of which costs money - and denying them the revenue they use to support that service. The argument with the MPAA concept is that you're not denying them a sale, nor are you increasing their cost of doing business, but here you're you're doing the latter.

Do you really believe that advertising (which is only part of what marketing departments do) is "zero value-add"? How do you learn about new products? How do you think the press who review products learn about them? How does a product become available for your to buy at Walgreens on the corner? All of that is "marketing"...

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That argument is false for a few reasons. With many online services, who's to say precisely what the product is. Aren't we (the users) the real product for a lot of large, free services (gmail, Facebook, etc.)? And for the bandwidth, I'm paying for that too. I pay an ISP every month to browser the internet. Shouldn't I be able to control what I use this bandwidth for? When I click on a link, I don't truly know what resources resolving that address will require; it only seems fair that smart consumers can decide to black/whitelist content that they don't want.

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I don't disagree that as a consumer you should have the right to choose what gets sent to you - but generally, if you're using a site, you're also consenting to its terms of service (which generally include accepting its ads.) As such, the product IS actually defined for you, and not up for you to define as you see fit. Using it outside of those terms is theft of service.

If you don't want accept those ads, fine, but from an ethical and legal standpoint you shouldn't be consuming its content or using its service, either. This whole "the users are the product" thing sounds great but it's an oversimplification; ultimately, it's the user's consumption of advertising that's the product for an ad-supported site; the user itself (ex ads) is often worthless or less than worthless.

You're making a deal with the provider of the site that you'll consume their product in exchange for also viewing the ads; if you don't like that bargain, don't accept it and don't consume the content.

The fact that you pay for your bandwidth, btw, has nothing to do with the fact that the site also pays for its bandwidth. Your ISP is not using part of what you pay to cover the bandwidth costs of the content provider.

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To take this line of reasoning a step further, you're not really acting in good faith if you view the ads without ever buying the products or services they advertise. The advertiser pays the provider of the site in the expectation of a reasonable conversion rate. If you don't want to buy a certain reasonable percentage of products advertised to you, fine, but from an ethical and legal standpoint you shouldn't be forcing them to waste their advertising budget on you. Doing so diminishes the advertiser's incentive to support the site whose content you're consuming.

Here are some terms of service for you. When you enter into any business venture, you accept the risk of it not succeeding. Wishful thinking notwithstanding, the consumer is under no obligation to indemnify you against it.

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Advertisers either pay for impressions (CPM) or clicks (CPC) or directly for conversions. They don't pay for conversion rates - if rates are too low, they might not buy CPC or CPM campaigns any more, but you can't generally get a refund for a CPM campaign because your conversion rate was too low (barring clickfraud.)

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It's like telling me I can't change channels during commercials when watching tv or listening to the radio. This doesn't seem reasonable.

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When you change channels, you're no longer consuming the content on that channel. It's closer to using a TiVo to skip the ads in a programming. I do it myself, but it's pretty obvious to me that if everyone did it, it wouldn't scale and they'd find some other way to create revenue like more product placements during the show (which is already happening) that's even more intrusive and obnoxious, because it's unlikely that providers or consumers are going to go a-la-carte.

(This is also why I liked paying for content on iTunes or Amazon - that seems like a more fair deal where I don't get both charged and ads (cable) and I don't have to mess around with using the TiVo to skip ads.)

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Is it legally agreed that connecting to a webserver and sending "GET /" and reading the reply is "agreeing to the terms of service"?

If the terms of service included a link to an audio advert, do I have to quiet other sound sources so I can hear the advert?

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If you're going to consume the editorial content of the site? The ethical and legal (if not practical) answer is yes. It's your obligation to understand and accept the terms of a service (not just a web site) before using it.

Is that impractical? Yes. But when I rent a car, I don't read the terms either, and they still apply. It's just a result of a world in which we undertake hundreds of "transactions" a day with business entities, all of which have to be governed by legal agreements.

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The thing is, if the product is actually valuable to me, I would spend more money on them that they could ever make from me through ads.

"But wait, what about freemium? Plenty of services remove the ads for paying customers", one might ask. The problem with it is that you now a have false sense of choice:

  1) Free product + ads
  2) Paid product and no ads.
There is a third alternative: free product, adblock, no ads.

Yes, marketing is much more than advertising. But I think that the "advertising" part is what everything else is based on, when it shouldn't. To take on your example, the "press who review products" is, most of the time, dependent on eyeballs to sell ads to. This model is so broken that you either have newspapers going bankrupt or Huffington Post-style blogs, with zero actual content.

If enough people started using adblock, perhaps we would get to a point where the current model would be unsustainable, which would producers to either:

  - Get rid of ad-based services and products, and start charging directly.
  - Improve their ads to make it more relevant to consumers.

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"There is a third alternative: free product, adblock, no ads."

By that logic, it's also possible to avoid high grocery bills by sticking some things in your pocket and not paying for them. Just because you can do something doesn't mean it's a scalable or ethical option.

Google's core breakthrough in advertising was to close the loop and push advertisers towards ads that are relevant to customers, where they know exactly how much they're earning per dollar they spend on ads. Ads have, actually, improved quite a bit over the past 10 years. The famous line was "half of ad spending is wasted, we just don't know which half" (paraphrased)... now they know which half.

To go back to the OP's subject - the reason why retargeting has grown so popular is that it WORKS LIKE A MOFO. Retargeted ads are usually an order of magnitude more relevant and are immensely cost effective in terms of spend versus conversions. The best indicator that someone's interested in buying a Ford? They visited the Ford site.

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If using adblock is unethical, so is torrenting TV shows; and I thought you agreed with me that the MPAA claim is bullshit.

Google is better than the alternatives, sure. It doesn't mean that it is any good. The ads I get on my cell phone are still awful, to the point of discouraging me to use it more.

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It's not contradictory to agree that the MPAA's "every pirate is a stolen sale" claim is bullshit, but still think that torrenting TV shows is unethical.

Some may believe that the ethical choice is just to not watch that TV show.

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> Some may believe that the ethical choice is just to not watch that TV show.

Here's my dilemma: I don't own a TV, I can't be bothered to even try to download, let alone watch. I tried with The Wire, it became a suffering labor to t trough it, no matter how interesting. Mad Men? Good luck. I have no time.

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> There is a third alternative: free product, adblock, no ads.

You're absolutely allowed to do this if you choose, but you should also be aware that it's harming the sites/app that you're obviously visiting. If a site has incredibly intrusive ads, I just choose not to visit it. Most sites I visit respect the user enough to not have crazy pop-over/roll-over ads; as a result, I don't use AdBlock extensions and they get their CPM $.

FYI, here's the Arstechnica article RE: Ars vs. AdBlock, for those interested: http://arstechnica.com/business/2010/03/why-ad-blocking-is-d...

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I addressed this in another comment. I have zero tolerance for ads, no matter how "un-intrusive" they are.

Also, it is a matter of signaling: I don't want to reward sites that have a business model reliant on ads. That would give them a very strong incentive to go to the lowest common denominator and just optimize all their work to increase page views.

Ten years ago, we used to complain about the state of "mainstream media" and thought that blogs would be our salvation. But instead of rewarding quality work of bloggers, we decided that it was okay to accept ads. When you get that, you get a popularity contest, and this is why we end up with crap like Techcrunch and Engadget and other AOL-owned "properties".

Ars provides the "premium" service, but what they offer for it? Full-text RSS? It is not worth $5/month. I will just adblock + readability the hell out of their articles.

To sum up: I don't want to hurt the sites, but I do want to hurt the business model. If the websites rely on this failed business model? I'm sorry, but it is just collateral.

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Dude, were you arsed to see what Ars offers for their $5/month? Because IN GIANT BOLD TYPE, they offer -- and I'm quoting -- "Ad free, premier page layouts."

http://arstechnica.com/subscriptions/

So, to summarize:

(1) You don't want to "reward" sites that have a business model reliant on ads

(2) you want their content anyway

(3) when they offer you a trade: pay us $5 and we won't show you ads, you ignore them

Conclusion: you're a cheap dick.

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Please read this http://ycombinator.com/newswelcome.html

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This is a ransom, not a business model...

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Ransom would be if Ars editors stormed your house and forced you to watch their ads. Business models don't get much more textbook than offering free and premium versions.

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We both looked at the same page. But what is the point of "premier page layouts" if my preferred means of consumption is the RSS feed?

Full-text RSS is the only thing that would interest me, but not $5/month worth of interest.

Conclusion: yo mama is fat.

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Conclusion: you don't actually intend to pay anything but somehow think freeloading should be respected. Quality content doesn't come for free: if you valued Ars' content either unobtrusive ads or $5/month are good options for ensuring that they'll be there next year.

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Really? They seemed to be doing just fine without my 5 bucks.

But let's put aside the whole Ars debate: which part of the "I want to hurt the business model" you guys haven't read? I will not support any site that relies on ads, even if there is the "freemium" alternative. I want ad-based anything to die, and to die fast.

Much like subsidized agriculture, any ad-based economy is inefficient and produces incredible unknown side-effects.

And I hate to have to keep justifying myself, but I put about $15/month on flattr. Whenever I see anyone using it with any remotely good content, I am more than happy to pay. I keep a subscription to Ubuntu One even though I barely use it. One of the features that I liked the most about github and disappeared: the link to pledgie.com. One of the YC companies that really got me excited, I participated some, but unfortunately didn't take off: micropledge.

I want to consume things of quality, but I don't see any quality coming from any business that is ad-based. If they want to see my money, first they need to get rid of ads and commit to excellence, not the other way around.

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The reason you keep having to justify yourself is because you're making contradictory claims: ”I don't see any quality coming from any business that is ad-based” but you obviously feel Ars' content is interesting enough that you “will just adblock + readability the hell out of their articles”. Only one of those statements can actually be true unless you're highly motivated to read articles without any quality.

It's really quite simple: if you want ads to become less popular you have to pay to support the creators: stop reading Ars or pay $5/mo to never see ads again. I'm assuming that you have no intentions of ever actually paying because you closed with an unintentionally hilarious example of entitlement: “If they want to see my money, first they need to get rid of ads and commit to excellence, not the other way around”. Despite reading enough of their content that you want RSS feeds you're still forced to change the rules yet again so they're supposed to work for free until you decide they've reached the $5/month level of excellence?

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You are mostly right. I am freeloading on Ars. But I don't see how my subscribing to them would make them abandon the ad-based subsidized access. They would just keep both models. If they announced they were getting rid of the ad-based model and just stick with regular subscriptions, I would subscribe in a second.

I know that my proposition is not perfect, and if I got my way I would be forcing my will onto other people (the ones who would be okay with ads in exchange of free access) but it's the best that I can come up with.

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It's technically possible for sites to not serve content to those who use adblock. I remember arstechnica.com did this once to make a point. I guess if this was widespread, it would turn into an arms race though.

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I'm pretty sure that washingtonpost.com does this now. This URL, for example: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-us-governments-ou... serves content if you have adblock plus turned off, but a registration page if you have it turned on.

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I have ABP and could view the article for a few times, then I tried again and I got the registration page. Disabling ABP didn't change that. I have a feeling it's based on how many times you've viewed their site rather than ad blockers.

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What makes you think that you're qualified to judge what's relevant to you?

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I hope you are joking.

I am me. I guess that is a pretty strong credential.

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If you just mentally ad-block, are you still denying them?

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It's your ethical duty to click!

Seriously though, my local weekly newspaper knows nothing about my habits, but offers ads 10x more relevant than Google, who has been tracking me for a decade.

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I'm sure your local newspaper offers tons of irrelevant ads as well (mine did once-upon-a-time). I suspect you've learned to pick out the relevant ones and skip the irrelevant ones - which is arguably the dead-tree newspaper equivalent of this proposal.

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But your local newspaper is not trying to provide relevant ads. They just take ads from whoever will pay them and put those in the paper. Or am I missing something, such as sarcasm. I am bad with that.

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Google is great at targeting with search based ads, but the site-based ads are awful. Google thinks I'm really into gold coins based on me clicking on some story on reddit several months ago.

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Working on a company where 80% of our revenue is because of advertising I disagree.

There are two main difference between the RIAA "every pirate is a stolen sale" and adblock.

1)When you "pirate" something it doesn't mean that you "pirate" everything, while if you install adblock you block the ads on every site.

2)When you "pirate" something it doesn't mean that what you have pirated would have been a legal purchase. But if you go to a website you would have gone there with or without ads. You can say that you won't have clicked on the ad or won't have purhcased anything. But almost 99% of our ads revenue is on impressions and not on click or conversion, so it doesn't really matter if you click or convert the ad.

But, right know, the number of people that use adblock are not that big of a deal (at least on our niche market) that you have to work on fighting it because, right know (for us), it is not worth it.

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marketing departments are nothing but middle-men between producers and consumers

This is kind of tangential to your point, but a good marketing department is a lot more than just advertising. The role of marketing can include getting an understanding of the market and helping to build the right thing.

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Ads are a monetization platform and you as an individual are not relevant, until most people start using AdBlock.

I do agree that the argument is very similar to piracy arguments told by MPAA/RIAA. When such a thing happens, the smartest thing for businesses is to adapt.

However, for the moment I like the Internet services and websites that I'm using, while I don't like the content or the prices or the restrictions promoted by the media industry. Which is why I'm being a good citizen and so I'm not installing AdBlock.

But this issue cuts both ways. AdBlock when used by a minority, is actually beneficial to websites. Because otherwise that minority would get really annoyed with a lot of them and losing those consumers is worse than not having conversions from them.

So that's another reason why I'm not using AdBlock, because websites that annoy me to the point that I can't take it anymore do not deserve my eyeballs, while those where the ads are promoted with taste do deserve my attention.

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I had no idea retargeting even was a thing, until one particular ad kept repeatedly showing up.

When my grandmother died last year we looked up the website for a cremation service to find their phone number. Then for the next week or so I kept seeing banner ads for the same cremation service all over the web, on completely unrelated sites.

I would expect to see a cremation service ad on an obituary page, maybe a local newspaper, etc. I would not expect to see it on, say, a tech blog or an Android user forum. And I could consistently refresh threads on that forum and keep seeing that particular ad from that same company. Maybe it was the nature of the service advertised and my frame of mind at the time I was seeing it, but I was really creeped out.

I cleared cookies and it stopped. At that point I realized that the advertiser was doing something in particular to tell Google that I visited their site and to start throwing ads at me elsewhere. I checked out the AdWords docs to see how they were doing this and figure out how to opt out.

I don't know how long this has been a service offered by Google. Up until that one instance I likely had countless ads retargeted at me, and I may have even clicked such ads. And it works great until one instance where I'm creeped the heck out and I push back.

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What makes this worse is that you'll get the same ad used across the entire page. If one wasn't enough, why not have another in the middle of a paragraph, and at the top of the page, and down the sidebar, and at the bottom, and above the comments?

Why not show me several retargeted ads? If I don't click one, I'm not going to click one of the other dozen copies on the page, so why not put something else relevant there?

As it stands, viewing a retargeted advert on an ad-heavy page is like being mithered by an annoying child. "Buy this buy this buy this buy this!"

(Curiously I appear to have opted out, but I still get this retargeting stuff.)

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Me too. We had considered using one of the sites for finding a babysitter, and I was haunted by their ads for months.

Of course, it replaced seeing EVE Online ads everywhere for years (literally).

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When it started happening to me I was more or less indifferent other than to think: "why are they showing me an endless stream of ads for things I'm already a customer of?". I have more disposable income, so show me something new ferchrissakes.

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That's another case I saw it. A year and a half ago I bought a cruise ticket from Holland America, and next thing I know I'm seeing Holland America ads across the internet.

At the time I thought they were just doing an ad blitz, because it was the time of year when people plan vacations for the summer ahead and might consider going on cruises. In hindsight it seems silly for them to spend money displaying ads to me, when I've already paid (a substantial sum of money) for their product.

It wasn't until the funeral service ads that I realized I was being targeted for having visited specific websites.

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Almost exactly the same thing happened to me. That's when I installed Adblock and Ghostery. (Hmm, I should install Ghostery in this browser, actually...)

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Google allows you to manage your ads preferences at:

http://www.google.com/ads/preferences/

Retargeting is basically disabled if one opts out there (for the web, search&gmail or both).

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Yep, totally useful if that's what you wanted. But like I mentioned in the article, I didn't want to turn off all re-targeting since some of those ads are relevant. Also to change your "preferences" you need a Google account, I have 100 of those :) I also don't want to manage categories of ads, I just didn't want to see specific vendors.

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I checked that link, and Google's profile of me is way off. Earth Sciences? Seriously? This is a comfort, since I figure letting the system run on bad information is just fine. It does suggest that Google isn't using some information it has on me. I'm sure it knows my birth year, but my browsing habits seem to suggest someone much younger. I must be 'immature.'

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It put my inferred age as 65+ years old, when I'm 29. I'm not sure what to make of that, other than google is much worse at this than I thought they were ^^

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Er, mine says I currently do not have an 'id' cookie. What's that mean? Am I untouchable or completely exposed?

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Well, they've got me sussed. With unsettling accuracy.

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On google ads (at least Display ads), there's this little triangle in the corner with plenty of opt-out options. More info here:

http://support.google.com/adsense/bin/static.py?hl=en&gl...

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Internet advertising is always at the forefront of the shadiest practices. I'm not about to constantly monitor it. Either the industry reforms or I have AdBlock on forever.

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So very much this. My time is worth more than you could possibly charge per impression/click when one of your shady ad networks gives me some form of malware.

Until ad network administrators take responsibility for what's being shown under their name, adblock stays on.

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It's funny that Hulu is supposed to have that "This ad isn't relevant" button to do exactly what he's describing (er, doing, I guess), but it doesn't seem to be effective for me at all.

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Depending on what I watch, I get only cars, cell phones, foundations, and of course 5-hour energy.

I've always thought that this is because they don't have any other advertisers for that particular show. Like "this ad is not relevant but it's the only one we have so we'll show it to you anyway".

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Pro-tip: look for the triangle in the top right of the ad. Usually clicking on it will provide an option for opting out, although it doesn't appear on all ads.

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Now, let's be serious. If we all block ads, whic is really trivial to do, then the web would cease to be an important medium, the quality of content found through the web would drop sharply and our lives would lose the enrichment that online advertising brings. It would just be terrible. Don't block ads. A kitten is tortured everytime you do.

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I think you have your tongue in cheek, but I'm going to bite because I have something to say even if you're not being serious ;-)

I'm an online publisher who has a significant percentage of income that comes via advertising and I think ad blocking is a good force for the Web. I don't use it, but I don't have a problem with those who do.

Ad blockers typically block poorly performing display advertising (the CTRs on banners nowadays is ridiculously low and the levels of recall have been shown to be abysmally low in studies) and text link advertising from the big networks.

Ad blockers typically do not block 'content marketing', videos on sites like YouTube, editorial mentions of products, references to products and services within content, adverts in podcasts, job ads (usually), sponsors in e-mail newsletters, and a whole myriad of other ways that smart advertisers and publishers are using.

It's about time we killed off mass market display advertising online. Why? Because it gives publishers an incentive to actually work to provide experiences that benefit both readers and advertisers and not sit on their fat asses collecting checks for doing sod all.

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I'm not sure I understand. Moving from obvious ads to "editorial mentions of products" and "references to products and services within content" is supposed to be an improvement of some sort? To me those seem like just about the sleaziest kind of advertising there is.

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As with many things, it depends on how it's done. If there's no disclosure and editorial keeps referring to certain products or companies without any implication of a relationship, that's just payola. Sadly, there are plenty of outlets and magazines that are suspected of or have been caught doing this.

Increasingly, though, reputable media organizations are doing collaborations with brands, such as with merchandise, pull outs, giveaways, or in clearly marked 'products we like' sections (essentially advertising as content - super popular in fashion and women's magazines). It's a rapidly spreading model in the magazine space in particular. Monocle magazine is one of the exemplary examples - http://www.reallypractical.com/2009/07/06/is-monocle-the-fut...

The big traffic/small CPM model is still too lucrative online for the bigger online publishers to spend too much time on the newer ideas, but the hands of other media have been forced by tumbling revenues and, in a funny twist, are becoming more progressive.

On quality, though, the readership will ultimately vote with their feet (or clicks) - outlets that fall into the payola trap will suffer audience drops and legal trouble, outlets that transparently entertain or inform their readership in conjunction with advertisers will thrive (as Monocle is).

Separate from pairing up with media outlets, many advertisers are now going 'direct' to audiences with content-driven campaigns (not just videos, but entire content sites). Digitally prodigious companies and startups have been doing this for ages with blogs and the like, but the approach is now becoming mainstream and being taken on by the big brands.

Ad blockers are next to useless on all of this but, IMHO, the end result is better. Outlets and brands have to start telling interesting stories and sharing interesting content, instead of tricking us into clicking graphics and becoming leads.

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Yeah, I remember that the Internet was completely useless until the corporate interests started throwing ad money into it, too.

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If you don't believe this is an important issue, then please consider the example of public television. The damage it has caused by denying income to advertisers has been immeasurable. Not to mention that the programs they show serve only to dull the minds of the population. Please do not block ads. My kitten thanks you for your anticipated cooperation.

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They don't have a right to make a living from a horrible business model!

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I understand this point and it is a good one. But do people really click on ads that much? I didn't even realise that they registered for people.

They must or it wouldn't be a profitable system. Strange.

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You might only need 1 in 10,000 ad views to result in a click to make money. It entirely depends upon what you're trying to get them to do/buy/sign up for on your site.

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That "Kudos" meter in the top right corner is inaccurate. I moused-over the black circle before I realized what it did, and it counted my "vote" anyway.

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I'll make sure to remember that you'd like to take away the praise and honor you bestowed upon me for my achievement. :)

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Don't ever make the mistake of looking up medical conditions you see on a show like House. You will forever be plagued by ads trying to address your condition!

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Hey, at least you get to pick your ads. :P Btw, a simple search for anything geeky gets me tons of dating ads. (i havent installed adblock on my Opera test-browser). Pics of smiling chicks may be preferred over ugly medical conditions.

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You should check out Collusion: http://www.makeuseof.com/dir/collusion-who-is-tracking-you/

Then install TrackerBlock: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/trackerblock/

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What's funny is you post the link to makeuseof.com which seems to be one of the worse offenders. For a direct link, http://collusion.toolness.org/

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Upboats for Collusion, I can't sleep anymore knowing 95% of the websites I visit are sending info to or from Facebook.

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Google only gives me ads for products I've already bought. I'm not sure which genius thought that kind of targeted advertising was a good idea.

Perhaps if I used gmail, so they could read my emails and see what I've bought already, I wouldn't have this problem. I'll pass on that idea though.

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Using gmail only makes it worse, as far as I can tell. I don't get the impression they pick your emails apart enough to distinguish between "bought this" and just "looking at this". I guess there's also the chance that, say, after buying a Frobnitz, you'll want to visit a Frobnitz-seller's website to buy accessories.

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I have another addon instead: ad-block in Google Chrome. No problems at all. Sometimes I need it disabled for work, so I also have 3rd party cookies disabled. This way even if I come to coca-cola site I will not see it everywhere :)

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I had this happen recently with airbnb.. I went to check out prices in a city, and decided youth hostels offered better value for the situation so left.

Virtually every single website i visited for a week was shoving airbnb in my face. Yes, i know you exist, i went there.

There has to be more complexity to the 'rule of 7' because i'm sure there must be better sales patterns than just shoving 7 ads in a row for the same thing at you. The same thing happens with comedy central's online shows.. every time the same ad-- it just makes me hate the product after the first few times.

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The author briefly picks on Hulu's advertising methods, but I have actually been fairly pleased with their AdTailor(?) service. I don't see female-targetted ads anymore, and there has been a definite increase in advertising for products/services I might be interested in. It does still seem like there are a disproportionate amount of Insurance ads shown, and I'm not sure if that's because Insurance Companies have more advertising dollars, or because I have limited the pool of potential ad "archetypes" to show by using the AdTailor.

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I can relate to his frustration re Hulu ads. Discovery Channel (here in Europe) advertises mostly for their own programs - often for the program you're actually watching. The remainder is for a handful of companies. Clueless about why they'd do that.

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Ah nice. I didn't realize they had this as I only use Hulu on my TV with a Roku.

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Last year I visited a site to do with laser eye surgery. I was then subjected to ads for laser eye surgery for 3 or 4 months, even after I had surgery and was definitely not going to be buying the service again.

This gave me an idea for how to prank a friend if they leave you alone with their computer for a short while. Just visit loads of sites for an embarrassing subject (maybe haemorrhoids, vaginal rash, penis enlargement, etc...) They will then be subjected to ads for that subject for months after, with no idea why :-)

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ESPN3 and NBC Sports online are SO bad at showing the same two commercials at every single break. I assume its because nobody wants to spend their money on ads only to have them shown online, but damn. I must've seen that "We just had a Journey moment there" ad a thousand times while watching college basketball this winter. It doesn't help that they have some annoying catchphrase that stands out or high-pitched sound/song to up its annoyance factor.

Something really, really needs to be done about this.

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Why do people even trust ads? Why would I pick a certain brand just because I see it over and over? Wouldnt someone intelligent just do 5 minutes of googling to find out which one is the best?

Not to mention that I think it grabs my attention from what Im trying to do and redirects it into me wanting to buy a product all of a sudden. No.

Proud Adblock user ever since it came.

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Companies are lucky if I use AdBlock, because my personal "Rule of 7" states that company adds I see more than 7 times make this company an automatic member of the "annoying company list" (Adds that blink or play sound (hear me coka cola?)) are immediate candidates.

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Every other ad I see on YouTube is from Native Instruments. No, actually, it's more than half of the ads. I'm getting very tired of it.

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Statics have shown that showing an ad every other day for a month is more effective than any more often.

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Aren't you just angry because your girlfriend keeps seeing that penile enlargement ad every time she uses your computer? It sure bothers me!

All kidding aside, I'd say that the minute you start paying for Google's search engine, email, docs and other services you are automatically entitled to them blocking ads from AdSense-powered sites. Until then I can't see how someone can complain given the value received. Fair trade.

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A couple of months ago, I searched for online stock brokerages and visited a couple of sites. For next few weeks, ALL is saw was online brokerage ads whichever site I went, from my home machine and laptop to my office machine. It was really irritating.

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I think this is why many people nowadays use ad blockers like AdBlock Plus, and tracking blockers like Ghostery.

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[deleted]

Are you also going to quit visiting every site that is subsidized by ad revenue?

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