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The Internet

Yahoo News Posts Advertisements as News 396

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the sinking-to-a-new-low dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Yahoo is now putting ad banners as news stories. This is highly misleading and is an awesome way to sell out." I don't really think Yahoo has been sold in in a few years, but this is a new level of yucky. No doubt it is a sign of things to come: the news is the ad. The ad is the news. It's one step worse then the bizarre advertising/news merge that was amazingly evident when Disney/ABC was doing with Monsters Inc while Time/Warner/AOL/CNN was hyping Harry Potter. Oh, in case they change it, basically they have a list of news stories, and one of them links simply to a page advertising (not surprisingly) X-10. The link isn't marked as an ad -- its simply one of the headlines in the news list. It's one thing to have more ads... it's another to simply disguise the ad as actual news. Update The ad was yanked. For those who missed it, there were a dozen news articles, but one was an advertisement. It was indistinguishable from the actual news.
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Yahoo News Posts Advertisements as News

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  • Are you sure? (Score:4, Redundant)

    by SnowDog_2112 (23900) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @03:57PM (#2819121) Homepage
    I noticed today that Yahoo started putting ads up that interrupt you -- i.e. you click a headline and an add page comes up, with a link to the real story -- forcing you to find the link and absorb the ad for a second.

    Is this all we're talking about, or is there something more "sinister" going on that I missed?
    • by FortKnox (169099) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @04:01PM (#2819168) Homepage Journal
      Or maybe just a mistake?

      I've been to yahoo news quite a bit, and occasionally, a link goes bad, but still triggers the ad.

      Taco should know this too. Slashdot goes down every once in a while (usually jsut a DB thing, but it happens). Yahoo is run by humors. To err is human...
    • I can't find it either.... and I have yet to see a response here from someone who has. Most just seem to be condemning Yahoo. Can ANYONE tell me which link it is from that US Economy page?
    • or is there something more "sinister" going on that I missed?

      Yes, there is! Yahoo is requiring you to click on all of the links with your Left Hand [m-w.com]!
    • I can't find any links directly to banner ads either. Perhaps the page which was supposed to come up just loaded it's ad banner and then stalled out, leaving a blank page with just a scantily clad woman and a suggestion that you can use the camera for 'all kinds of things'?
    • Re:Are you sure? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by alanjstr (131045)
      I agree. I see a brief summary, with a link for the full article [yahoo.com]. That, and a lot of other links. And there's a banner ad at the top. So what's the beef?
    • Nothing sinister here

      Using Mozilla 0.9.6 on Mac OS 10.0.4, and with Javascript enabled all I saw was a regualr financial news page. No popups, no popunders. A banner add for an X-10 camera at the top of the page. Various stories about the recession and budget surplus in the larger table cells, and links to other sites and clearly labled text ads in the smaller ones.

      Nothing sinister, or even as annoying as most other news sites nowadays.

      Question: Was this just crying wolf, or are they doing random tests of this? (Like I noticed most people report pop under ads, which I didn't get)

      • Yahoo has been using X10 pop-up ads for quite some time. In my experience, they seem to be triggered for when you leave the dailynews.yahoo.com site.

        The yahoo page linked to in this article contains links to news stories on external websites - so - if you follow a link - you're leaving dailynews.yahoo.com - so - you get the X10 pop-up ad.

        Why is this so strange? They've been doing this for at least 6 months.

    • Re:Are you sure? (Score:3, Informative)

      by yomahz (35486)
      It seems to be a random ad on the right column of the screen for a company called TechnoScout. It's a column of links with titles like:

      Space program research creates "smart bed" sleep surface

      Unique formulation combats oxygen deficiencies without chemicals

      But when you click on one of them, it just takes you to a page with product and ordering information. It's pretty obvious to me that it's a advertisement (especially since there's a note on top of it that reads 'Advertisement').
  • Am I the only one who didn't see the advertising link in question? I know there's this large banner on the right that says 'ADVERTISEMENT' at the top, but they've had that for months, and you'd have to be a moron to think they're putting it forward as real news...
    • I'm not seeing it either. If Yahoo really was that quick removing the offending link.

      For that matter, how do we know this wasn't just some webmaster's screwup, cutting-and-pasting in the wrong link?
      • Re:As A Bat (Score:5, Informative)

        by kilgore_47 (262118) <kilgore_47@ y a h o o . com> on Thursday January 10, 2002 @04:15PM (#2819346) Homepage Journal
        When I saw this on the /. front page, there wern't any comments yet. I immediately clicked the link to yahoo, and I could find no ads presented as news headlines. I'm quite certain yahoo couldn't have pulled it THAT fast.

        Half the headline links DO point to non-yahoo sites, though, and I wouldn't be surprised if one of those sites use those newfangled interrupting ads that make you wait 10 seconds or some crap before the actual page appears. I've seen ads like that break on more than one occasion, and I wouldn't be surprised if thats what caused the fuss.
        • The offending item in question is the section on the right hand of the page under 'Advertisement'. Sometimes it loads as a box of links that look like news. Sometimes it loads as something else that is obviously an ad. Reload the page a few times and you'll get it.
          • If that's it, I don't get the 'offending' part, then. It's a vertical banner space. Sometimes (usually) there is an annoying blinking banner, sometimes there is this ad from "Techno Scout" that has hyperlinks to product pages on technoscout.com

            Are we bitching about ads that are hyperlinks? I've seen this ad on a few other sites, not just Yahoo! and it doesn't seem that confusing or misleading to me. (Is anyone going to think "Workout technology that provides safe, easy-to-change resistance" is supposed to be a news item?)

            I was expecting to have one of the news item links pop up an x-10 ad. That would be wrong.
        • I can't find anything untoward either.

          So far this looks like a pretty shoddy post on /.'s part.

          There really should be some basic fact checking done before stories are posted. Commander Taco, you have some explaining to do.
    • Really he should check his sources (even when it includes himself) if he wants to be taken seriously in this business.

      Anyone see a retraction coming?
  • I scanned through the news articles and while an x10 ad (and boy, why does it have to be x10) popped up underneath the news article, I didn't see any articles merely being links to advertisements. What am I missing here?
    • by kiwimate (458274) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @04:10PM (#2819279) Journal
      I sent an e-mail to X10 a few days ago when I'd finally had enough. Complaining about the existence of the ads? No -- that's sure to fall in their category of "necessary evil", i.e. marketing dollars, and I knew that if I was to have any chance of not being deleted (vicariously through my e-mail), I'd better not trip down that lane.

      No, what I objected to was the content of the ads. Now, call me a prude if you must, but frankly I am turned off by a company who will insist on popping up ads which feature shots of cameras panning over scantily-clad females and lingering on the cleavage whilst accompanied by a tag line reading "see what you're missing" or "who knows what you'll see?". Okay, so I'm an adult -- what about those parents who (rightly or wrongly) wish to be able to have their children surf the Net through a supposedly safe medium such as Yahoo and not be inundated with sleazy ads?

      We all know that children aren't safe from the spammers or the mistyped domain names that have been pounced upon by the porn people; but they're up-front (yes, ha-ha, no pun intended) about their intentions. X10, on the other hand, is just being tacky, and overloading at least this particular consumer with their tackiness.

      By the way, I also pointed out to them that, for what it was worth, I am probably in one of their prized target demographics -- early 30s and technically astute with a reasonable amount of disposable cash.

      No reply from X10 customer service so far. There's a surprise.
      • Hating X10 ads doesn't make you a prude at all. I have no problem with images of scantily clad or nude women, or even with hard-core pornography. What worries me about the X10 ads is the implication (and don't tell me it isn't there) that they can and should be used for voyeurism. The combination of that suggestion with the ubiquitous nature of the ads is truly offensive.
        • What worries me about the X10 ads is the implication (and don't tell me it isn't there) that they can and should be used for voyeurism.

          You don't have anything to worry about. Their cameras are such pieces of shit that they can't be used for much of anything. Completely worthless in almost all lighting conditions. You wouldn't even be able to make out the face of the woman you were spying on, let alone any detail of her "mommy parts" ...
      • I was searching for information via www.hotbot.com, and in my search I put -sex -porn, which filtered the sexual adult content BUT the ad system the hotbot used still displayed ads for adult content that could easily be called "lude". I sent them an email with a nice complaint basically saying that there advertising for thing some explicitly doesn't want to see, and they should probably display something else.
        I ran the same search everyday, for a week, when it stopped doing that. They never did reply to my eMail. Imagine my surprise.
      • What I can't wait for is the day that some girl sues the pants off of X10.com when some guy she slept with sends pictures of their deed all over the net. It's pretty clear to me that they're selling the camera with the expressed intent of having the purchaser use it to capture voyeristic images without the consent of the person being photographed.

        -S
      • by Julius X (14690) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @04:34PM (#2819536) Homepage
        A simple browse through the X-10 Website will reveal this [x10.com] page, which details their advertising policies.

        They even allow you to run a cookie which will completely disable X-10 Ads. All you have to do is click here [x10.com] and it X-10 ads will never again appear for the next month or so, then just click on it again to reset the cookie.

        It isn't that hard folks....theres no need to bitch about it, just fix it!
        • by Mr. Slippery (47854) <tms@infamo u s . n et> on Thursday January 10, 2002 @04:55PM (#2819658) Homepage
          All you have to do is click here and it X-10 ads will never again appear for the next month or so, then just click on it again to reset the cookie.

          If all you have to do to get me to stop leaving burn bags of dog crap on your front porch is to ask me, does that make it ok for me to leave those shitbombs until you say otherwise? (With the understanding that I'm free to start up again in a months time unless you keep repeating your request?)

          Annoying and rude behavior is not ok even if the offendor agrees to cut it out when asked.

      • I agree that it's not just the act of delivering these ads that's so bothersome. While the X10 ads always bother me for the inconvenience of closing them, the content doesn't really bother me when I'm just at home surfing for entertainment ...

        ... but when I'm using the net at the office (semi-open concept cube farm) and the "scantily-clad females" etc. pop-up it really makes me reconsider using that particular site. Not always an option with the proliferation of the ads on financial news sites and other resources with unique content.

        I understand the need to make money and to employ "creative" techniques, but I think that Yahoo and others are running the risk of hurting their credibility with the key business user demographic by allowing racy pop-up/under ads that are inappropriate for most offices and that can slow down research efforts (and occasionally crash the browser or OS, especially when you've got multiple business aps open).

        On top of that, if the ads were any worse, I wouldn't be surprised if someone takes it even further in this crazy Politically Correct world of ours and sues an employee/er for harrassment just for walking by the screen! I've heard of dumber things happenning...
  • I can safely say that Yahoo isn't the first company to do this. Better yet, morning news shows are the worst. Weight loss, hot movies, fashion 'tips'... just thinly disguised product placement.

    Dear sirs, it is my sad duty to inform you that journalistic integrity is dead.

    Well, check out www.whatreallyhappened.com... there's still *some* left, I think. They're just alarmist, as opposed to corrupt.
    • My conspiracy theory of the day is that CNN also inserts subliminal advertising in their news coverage. During some of their special coverage, they have this undulating blue band across the bottom of the screen upon which titles appear. In the midst of the seemingly-random pattern of waves, I once saw a vague silhouette of the Warner Brothers logo appear. The person I was with at the time saw it too, after I pointed it out. It floated around for a few seconds, then disappeared. Has anyone else seen anything like this?
  • What is the deal here. I can only find a coloum clearly marked Advertising. This has been done by UK sites for a while by the way. I feel sorry for Yahoo as I thought they were quite cool earlier on but now has pretty much nothing but "milk toast" to offer.
  • I didn't see any (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Mark4ST (249650)
    I didn't see any. Can someone toss up a link to an actual ad? (I can't believe what I just asked for)
  • by jd142 (129673) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @04:01PM (#2819156) Homepage
    Press releases have been masquerading as news for a long time. I worked in a small office once where we sent out press releases saying that this person had sold so much insurance or that person had sold so many dollars worth of real estate. They were advertisements, pure and simple. But they were presented in the local paper as a real news story.

    The only difference is that in this case the ad is paid for and presented as news instead of being "free" for those places that write their own press releases.
  • I've been using My Yahoo for awhile now to get my news, but the corporate bias is pretty evident; stories always seem to have a twinge of flavor in favor of the dollar. Whenever I see 'evil cyberterrorist arrested' I typically hit slashdot to get the REAL story.

    The popups Yahoo uses are even getting past my disabled Javascript lately. If I have to deal with headlines as ads on top of bias and popups, well... bye!

    Does anybody know of a news portal type site which goes EASY on this sort of thing? Ads where they ought to be rather than ads all over the place, including in the news headlines themselves? Is there an acceptable 'mainstream' news outlet that's not as invasive as this?

  • by dreadpiratemark (450962) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @04:03PM (#2819185)
    How can anything that has the label "ADVERTISEMENT" (in all caps, to boot) above it be considered 'highly misleading'? It seems pretty clear to me....

    Okay, you don't have to like this type of advertisement and there can be thoughts about the 'psudo journalism' feel of it, but as long as it says that it's an add, how is it any different from the "Special Advertisement Section" that shows up periodically in Newsweek, Discover, Sports Illustrated, etc.? Just ignore it and continue reading what you want to read....

    -Mark
  • by supruzr (138432)
    I mean, why didn't they think of this sooner?

    "..so you see, Sir, we HIDE the ads randomly IN the news. Then when they click on a news headline, it really brings them to an AD!"

    "So...... basically we're going to lie?"

    "YES!!"

    "And what happens to the new story that is replaced by an ad?"

    "WHO CARES?!"

    "Good lord, Johnson, that's BRILLIANT! I knew I wouldn't regret hiring my ex-wife's cousin."
  • by levik (52444)
    Might this have been a simple mistake that Yahoo expediently corrected?

    It would be much trickier of them of course to have the ad links appear randomly, so that they're difficult to duplicate. That would be a pretty difficult thing to prove...

  • They're putting ads between letting you read articles and the like. It seems to happen randomly as far as I can tell and they're doing it on http://groups.yahoo.com/ too - that's where I first came across it. It's unpleasant to say the least, but not dishonest.
  • Its not Yahoo (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cr@ckwhore (165454) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @04:06PM (#2819241) Homepage
    I don't think the ads are from Yahoo... If you follow the news links, most go to external sites. Some of those external sites have pop-up ads, not yahoo. Simple.
  • by Zen Mastuh (456254) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @04:07PM (#2819244)

    I quit watching TV as a teen because I was tired of the brainwashing. These days if I'm visiting someone who has it on I will watch with them so as to not be a snob. Recently I caught a little bit of Good Morning America. I was amazed by how much of the show is blatant advertising for products. My friend said most other "information" shows on TV are the same way. Every outlet in our culture is being geared towards the Consumerist movement.

    So now the "News" sites on the Internet are doing the same thing. It's sad to see the progression of the Internet from a bastion of equal speech to yet another Consumerism-in-overdrive medium.

    If slashdot starts redirecting the "Reply" button to ad sites, I'll post all my karma-capped UIDs/passwords on a first-come, first-served basis. The advertisers will win, and so will the trolls.

    • Tell me about it . . .

      Just the other day, I was sitting on my couch watching the news on TV, and suddenly up pops a series of advertisements for various products! Nowhere on the TV screen did the disclaimer "this is an advertisement" appear, in fact the only warning of any kind was the news anchor saying " . . . back after these messages."

      Seriously, if we don't like it, we need to show our displeasure by not visiting the site (as if I needed another reason not to visit Yahoo.) Now if CNN starts publishing headlines like "4 out of 5 Terrorists Prefer Crest(TM)", then we are in trouble.
  • It's similar to when you visit something like moviepost and there is a link to Teen Sux and Fux and it's really a link to another pr0n portal site.

    I think the difference though is two-fold. Movie post stopped doing this. Picpost, it's sister site also started labeling these types of links as another 'Gallery'. Secondly, this is pr0n site and you expect some underhandedness.

    Yahoo[!] is a site that people expect some level of professionalism. I've gotten so many of our family members to use Yahoo as a portal because it's still somewhat lightweight, and easy to use. Yahoo also goes back a long way... to when I was 15 ['95-'96?] and I figured they weren't into this sort of thing.

    I guess I should point my family members [read: Newbies] to Google for more than searches... I hope their directory gets better.
  • I followed the link and the "news" stories are clearly marked as an advertisement. Perhaps not blazingly marked, but the section that they're all in has the word Advertisement over it. It is also on the right side of the page where there is typically a advertisement banner, so if you have decent location memory (read: consistent page design)for ad placements, it should be noticeable as such.

    It looks like all of the things in the "Technoscout" section are simply advertisements/product offerings displayed as news-like articles or press releases.

    None of the articles in the main sections had any advertisements mixed in with them.
  • As if half of the "technology" news on major sites isn't copied straight out of corporate press releases anyway. The story about "100x Compression" Slashdot featured a little while ago was from Reuters, but that doesn't mean it wasn't 99% marketing baloney.

    Not that blurring the line between news and advertising is a good thing, but I do sympathize with Yahoo's position. Money must be tight over there, and every ad they link to as "news" means less time paying writers to rewrite coporate advertising into "pseudo-news"!

  • The mixing of news features and advertising is nothing new, although I must say the New York Times Tolkein Archives "Sponsored Feature" [nytimes.com] is a much classier treatment than Yahoo's use of banners as news stories [yahoo.com] particularly in the way it handled two other movies, Monsters Inc and Harry Potter, which was worse than misleading -- it was ugly and devoid of interesting content.

    The nice thing about the NYT Sponsored Feature, by contrast, is that they have a great deal of good content in their archives, and presumably the sponsorship goes into getting the stuff off microfilm and out of file drawers and onto their web pages.

  • Don't forget that lots of portal companies depend on ad revenues to support their business. Yahoo gives an awful lot away, it stands to reason that they'd try everything they can to get some revenue coming in.

    This really isn't anything new, though. I regularly see advertisements (in particular on TechTV) that are done well enough that, if I'm not really paying attention at first, I have to do a double-take and look for the "Paid Advertisement" text to make sure it's not an actual show of some sort. Anything to expose those products to viewers' eyeballs.

    Really, though, who's surprised by this given the recent collapse of banner ad revenue on the web?

  • Not good news, or well-reported news, or objective news, but I didn't see any full page X10 ads either.

    That could have something to do with The Proxomition [proxomitron.org], though.

    --
  • by Da VinMan (7669)
    Ok, I dutifully followed the link. Here's the list of news stories on the page. Someone tell me which one is the stinker.

    News Stories
    - Santomero Sees Room for More Rate Cuts - Reuters (Jan 10, 2002)
    - Recession wiped out '02 surplus, report says - USA Today (Jan 10, 2002)
    - Last-Minute Shoppers Save Retailers - AP (Jan 10, 2002)
    - Recession top cause of deficit - USA Today (Jan 10, 2002)
    - Debts, recession make bankruptcies surge - Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Jan 10, 2002)
    - Rates Remain High. Blame Bush Budget or Big Expectations? - NY Times (registration req'd) (Jan 9, 2002)
    - New debt may stall recovery - Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Jan 9, 2002)
    - President keeps hammering on his tax-cut proposal - San Francisco Chronicle (Jan 8, 2002)
    - Fed Officials Differ on Rebound Timing - Reuters (Jan 8, 2002)
    - Recession's grip begins to loosen - Chicago Tribune (Jan 8, 2002)
    - Santomero: Data Provide Hope for Recovery - Reuters (Jan 8, 2002)
    - Factory Orders Down in November - Reuters (Jan 8, 2002)
    - Chain Store Sales Dip in Jan 5 Week - Reuters (Jan 8, 2002)
    - Factory Orders Drop 3.3 Percent - AP (Jan 8, 2002)
    - Bush Says He May Not Seek Balanced Budget This Year - NY Times (registration req'd) (Jan 8, 2002)
  • The news article says last updated at 2:05 PM, this was posted at 2:54 PM.
    This /. story is obviously incorrect now... at 3:00 EST... So does this mean that it was a goof on Yahoo's part? Does that mean that /. needs to appologize for criticizing Yahoo for selling out?
    I would just love to know what all is going on with this... a mistake (or two) were made.The mistake could have been somebody not checking up on the story before posting it, the webmaster on yahoo making a mistake, or us for believing it that Yahoo is above this and that they covered their tracks when they were caught.
  • This doesn't suprise me one bit. At the risk of repeating the tired old mantra, concentration of big media will lead to lapses in journalistic integrity driven by the bottom line. I noticed the following recently: MSNBC did a piece last week about how well the X-box was selling (depite the fact that the PS2 out sold it 2:1 during the holiday season). Disclaimer: I have a PS2. The piece was done by a reporter who gave his two sons (14 and 17 I think) a X-box and see if they liked it. Suprise: they did. Thumbs up for the X-box. No disclaimer at the end of the story that Microsoft owns X% of MSNBC. You have to be a smart cookie today to see through the bullsh*t.

    My 2 cents.
    • Well, not TOO much of a smart cookie to determine that MSNBC is partially owned by MS :P However, doing that is a signifigant lapse in journalistic integrity, and a magazine journalist doing it would probably get raked over the coals.
  • by JohnDenver (246743) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @04:12PM (#2819302) Homepage
    1. Click on link...
    2. Refresh page until right side banner shows Techno Scout with links below it...

    You may notice a single word disclaimer above the banner that says, "Advertisement"

    A reasonable person should easily be able to tell the difference...
    • by danec (8876)
      Here's a screen shot of the ad. Notice, it does say "advertisement" above the ad.

      screen shot [carlsoncarlson.com]
  • In an insidious trend, Yahoo and Slashdot began leveraging what is commonly known as the "Slashdot Effect" to generate revenue-producing pageviews on the popular directory service. An anonymous source, who we will call Cmdr Tapas commented; "It's really very easy - we post an inflammatory article about Yahoo on our service, our readers flock over there with torches and pitchforks, and Yahoo pockets the pageviews. Then I get a fat check sent to my home a month later."
  • My girlfriend used to work in the advertising department of a reasonably big website.

    They went out of their way to make their advertising and their news blend together to the point that it was tough to tell one from the other. Little advertising snippets complete with links would be written up as though they were headlines on the news page. When you clicked on the links, you either went through to the manufacturer, or you went to some rah-rah fluff an internal copy writer had sketched up.

    I was originally going to mention the site she worked at, but by the end of this post, I thought better. Never makes sense to burn any bridges...
    :-)
  • Oh, in case they change it...

    Are we sure they're really doing this? At least on the page I got when I clicked the link, I didn't see any such thing. Perhaps it was a *gasp* minor error or mistake. Like that never happens here at Slashdot... ;-P

  • Even though I did not see anything unusual at Yahoo. This sounds exactly like the ads in every computer magazine I subscribe to. There are multi page articles that look like news stories except in small print at the top of the page it says "Special advertising supplement" or other such crap.
  • by GreyyGuy (91753) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @04:14PM (#2819327)
    The only Ad links I see are on the right side of the page in an ad shaped box under text that clearly says ADVERTISEMENT.

    It think it's slimy of the advertiser, but I wouldn't blame Yahoo for it. I got caught by it once before, but since then mentally block it out.
  • Or does it not appear (at least to me) that the banner ad itself has been slashdotted. I can see the article just fine... but the banner just times out.

    I wish this would happen more often.
  • The following is from the MacQuarie dictionary. I found it quite amusing.

    yahoo
    noun 1. a rough, coarse or uncouth person. --interjection 2. an exclamation expressing enthusiasm or delight. --phrase 3. yahoo around, to act in a rough, loutish manner. [from Yahoo, one of a race of brutes having the form of human beings and embodying all the degrading passions of humanity, in Gulliver's Travels (1726) by Jonathan Swift]

    Number three seems to descibe their new business model to a tee.
  • The link doesn't seem to be there anymore. And I don't think Yahoo! would be stupid enough to do this . . . just about anyone would think twice about visiting Yahoo! News after being hoodwinked like that a few times.

    Not to mention that the first time I loaded the page, it actually had an X10 ad on it. Mixing up a legitimate news link with an ad link would be a trivial scripting error.

    Nothing to see here, folks.

  • One of the neat things I notice is that all of the links within the ad point through the Yahoo ad site (rd.yahoo.com). As a way of avoiding massive downloads of crap I don't care about, I routinely add these sites (can you say doubleclick?) to my hosts file. Now I guess I have to go through the annoyance of hand editing their URLs before I can view the articles.

    I wonder how long it will be before these types of redirects are moved onto the server side, with non-obvious redirects, to force you to click onto the ad site.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 10, 2002 @04:20PM (#2819405)
    If only Victoria's Secret did as much in your face advertising as X10. No one would mind pop up ads then.
  • by mrroot (543673) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @04:22PM (#2819426)
    Wow! What a great idea! Here are some more sure fire tips off the top of my head relating to advertisment revenue:

    Mix up the headlines, so when you click on a legitimate headline, it takes you to some random advertisement site instead, preferably one selling an x10 camera or helping you find your old classmates.

    If you want to make even more advertising revenue, try sending the user to 10 or so advertising sites, more sites = more $$$.

    Have advertisments that fly around the screen in front of what they are trying to do. They will be impressed by this technical feat.

    Use lots of blinking. Nevermind that someone will probably get a seizure and sue you, blinking lights make people want to buy things.

    Use really big animations and lots of them so the page will take a long time to load. Many people are impressed by lengthy download times.

    I'm sure there are many others.

    It sounds like Yahoo is well on their way to tricking users, er, generating more advertisment revenue.
  • by jafac (1449)
    This has been the case in news since. . . since forever.

    Pretty much any corporate "press release" is really an advertisement. isn't that about 90% of so-called "business news"?
  • lately? I'm so tired of the advertising blitz you get when you go to use a search engine these days. Especially the pop ups. Thank goodness for google.

    Ultimately these types of advertising tactics will not prevail, as people simply will use something else. And there will always be some new site waiting to take market share away from companies who do this.
  • Right click on any image... say ones produced by ads.x10.com -- or maybe us.a1.yimg.com -- or everyone's favorite ads.doubleclick.net... and then you're presented with a nice option to "Block Images From This Server". Thanks Mozilla [mozilla.org]!
  • I mean... there are sites that advertise nothing BUT X10. Those crappy little cameras must be selling like hotcakes, or they're getting that adspace dirt cheap. Is it just good marketing? I know the product sucks, so they can't be relying on the business of repeat customers. X10 makes some nice products, but that camera isn't one of them. Yet its the only thing they advertise.

    Maybe I should get into the business of selling garbage by advertising it via annoying ads. It certainly seems to be working well for X10. Hmmmm.

    -Restil
  • by M_Talon (135587) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @04:33PM (#2819526) Homepage
    I couldn't find a single ad amongst the links. I did get an X10 pop-under, but all the news links were completely legitimate. I'm betting on a script error that threw the ad to the main window instead of a popunder, but that's not my point.

    If you can't replicate a situation, it cannot be taken as fact. Since the link in question wasn't included, it's impossible to say what really happened. However, (prefaced with IANAL) this kind of "news" reporting treads dangerous ground, as you're saying something that's potentially defaming a corporation and there's no viable proof. Editors, be more careful next time. I don't want to see this site die in a cyberspace libel suit (or something similar).
  • Yahoo is putting up "interstitials" - ads between link and story. So what?
  • Well, I *finally* found it, after refreshing the page several times. Right in that banner ad-shaped box and underneath the text that said "Advertisement". Incidentally, the link was also underneath the box that said "Technoscout" (the online retailer). Yeah, I can see how Yahoo really tried to slip this one past me.
  • In other comments below, it looks like you're talking about the "TechnoScout" ad. This advertisement looks like news, but it's in the advertisement spot to the right side of Yahoo's information.

    I cannot, otherwise, find any references to this practice.

  • by Ron Bennett (14590) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @04:47PM (#2819581) Homepage
    Since Rob (cmdrtaco) is making such a big deal about Yahoo advertisements that are incidently clearly marked as advertisements, I wonder what his reaction will be when Slashdot itself begins much more aggressive advertising.

    For those who missed it, about two months ago Rob posted an article here explaining that Slashdot was seriously considering running large ads (kinda like CNet, etc) and possibly pop-ups, etc sometime in the first quarter of 2002 (ie. about now) too since standard banner ads aren't getting enough click-throughs.

    Oh boy, it's going to be interesting to see the backlash from readers here when the BIG ANNOYING Yahoo like ads showup here on Slashdot - then perhaps Rob's article was just a red herring to test the waters so to speak to test reader reaction to Yahoo like advertising so Slashdot can see how aggressive they can be with their own advertising. Enjoy the final days of relatively ad-free Slashdot...
  • Wow, ya know.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AnalogBoy (51094) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @04:48PM (#2819588) Journal
    I had a really long, thought out post typed out. But then slashdot went belly up. Not sure exactly what happened, but for a forum which kicks microsoft in the head each time they fubar, i find it quite ironic that at least once a day i come to find that 1: im not logged in, 2: i can't post anything, and 3: a few posts disappear into a black hole, from which they never return.

    Anyways.. to recap my post.. Advertising is not a sin to me - we've had to deal with misleading adverisiments in printed press for a long time. I think the group personality here lends itself to sensationalism way too easy. Me, i'd rather see 5 banner ads on CNN than have to pay for CNN. Its not 1992 anymore, and websites carry a LOT more data than before. The internet has become a part of our economy - not a novelty relegated to just a few fortunate souls in acadamia and dialup ISP patrons browsing websites served on T1's. This is the multimedia internet, and while you or I may or may not like the barrage of images and sounds, i'd be willing to bet Joe America uses it - or else it wouldnt exist. 'Tis the nature of capitalism.

    I've posted a proposed end-users bill of rights in my journal. I'd love to hear more thoughts about it. I asked slashdot about it, and, somehow, the entire post was marked as "Rejected" as soon as the submit page came back up. Interesting, eh?
    • Re:Wow, ya know.. (Score:3, Informative)

      by nlh (80031)
      Me, i'd rather see 5 banner ads on CNN than have to pay for CNN. Its not 1992 anymore, and websites carry a LOT more data than before. The internet has become a part of our economy

      Well, you make a good point here, but I have mixed feelings on this issue. Yes, advertisements are a necessary evil and I too would rather see 5 banner ads (and, perhaps, even pay attention to them on occasion) than pay for CNN, but the trend that Taco points out in the article - that of "sneaky" promotion-as-news - is what I'm more concerned about.

      In this case, we saw Yahoo slipping in links to unsuspecting users. In the CNN + ABC cases, we see a concerted effort by news organizations to promote products/movies/services by _artificially_ hyping them up. THAT's what I consider unacceptable: Harry Potter, while it may be a consumer phenom that merrit's some attention, is only given such phenom status when it gets (and keeps) front-page status on CNN for weeks on end.

      Just this morning, in fact, I forwarded this article [cnn.com] to a friend during a similar discussion. CNN is actually promoting Survivor's "lack of being cool anymore" as a TOP news story, right on the front page. Of course they included the time and station where people can catch the finale, but that was just as a service to their readers ... right?

      The worst example I can remember recently was this one [cnn.com], which was in the "top news" section on the front page when it was published -- basically a meanlingless and contentless article about a lead in the JonBenet case, but one that mentioned AOL and therefore got front-page CNN coverage. No other news organizations covered the story, for obvious reasons...(it wasn't newsworthy).

      While I understand that organizations need new and better ways to promote products, the trend for supposedly impartial news organizations to allow corporate promotions to taint story content is worrysome.

  • How did this article make it on Slashdot? Do the powers at be even research the submitted stories?

    This is nothing new. Yahoo's related stories links are in fact links to other websites. Those websites, some of them, have pop up ads that show up when you go there. It's not Yahoo's doing.

    As for a new story link that didn't show a story, only an ad, I couldn't find one.
  • Does anyone know if Yahoo! has ever been Slashdotted?

    I remember a few years back when a "hacker" performed a DOS attack on Yahoo which was moderately successful, but I'd like to know if it's ever been brought down by "innocent" traffic.
  • I am sure the same discussion happened in with paper-based media, long time ago. I seem to recall that a set of rules has been in effect (occasionally encoded in the law) that specifies that advertisments have to be somehow distingushable from the news reported by the paper itself.

    Naturally this is the high ideal, and almost no newspaper can live up to it 100%, but anyway, history shows that sometimes some guidelines can be established and even followed, by and large.

    The Web is different from paper media, of course, and different situations require different rules, but to me the it seems like we are repeating one old and well-known problem here, and could learn from the way it was solved in the past. Maybe some well informed slashdotter would care to fill in the details for all of us to learn from?

  • I work in the online news business and this is nothing new. I'd say most news stories are based on press releases, which in turn are a way for companies to advertise new products and services without actually paying for ad space. And in the slightly-more-insidious zone, there are stories called "advertisals" that are totally advertisements, reported on by the newspaper and looking just like independent reports that are paid for as a form of advertising.

    It's been done by the Times, done all the time by the Post, and for many papers is the most lucrative form of advertising. Every hear of a shopper?

    What you need to remember here is that newspapers are now, and have been for a while, simply vehicles for the advertisements that make the paper money. The nickle you pay covers most of the $.27 worth of paper you're buying and is just to elevate the paper above the sleazy shoppers and coupon mags in your imagination and justify a higher ad rate. When you lay out a newspaper, you lay the ads out first...content, stories and comics and columns, are just there to fill in the dead space. It's sort of cynical to think about it this way, and it's this sort of business that leads to a reluctance to make waves with articles or opinions, for fear of losing advertisers (and not readership, which isn't as important to the immediate business of the newspaper).
  • Nothing new here (Score:2, Informative)

    by Phanatic1a (413374)
    This is no different from multipage ad inserts that frequently crop up in Newsweek, Time, and a variety of other "news" publications. You'll see several pages near the center of the magazine, organized in the same columnar layout, the same style of headlines and photo captions, and sometimes even the same fonts as the rest of the magazine, but they'll be stories about the Horrors of an Unclean Bowl or the Heartbreak of Psoriasis or the like, instead of real news like Clinton's new three-breasted intern. And in small type, somewhere on each page, will be the word "ADVERTISEMENT," in order to allow the reader to differentiate it from all the "real" news on the rest of the rag's full-color pages.

    So this is nothing really new.
  • by foo fighter (151863) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @05:22PM (#2819867) Homepage
    . . .but definetely not new.

    Magazines and newspapers have adds like these all the time. Every so often I come across an interesting headline, but about three paragraphs I start to wonder. Sure enough, there's a tiny "advertisement" on the bottom of the page.

    Some of the slicker ads on tv could pass themselves of as regular tv. Anyone see the adds for blimpie sandwhiches which looked like CNN segments?

    Even on radio, at least locally, there are bits that sound like "man at the field" reports, but are in fact paid ads for a car dealer or grocer.

    Just my opinion here, but I thought the slashdot crowd was by definition smart enough to know when to call a spade a spade. Geeks and nerds are also supposed to be savy to pop culture, but the crowd here is so sensitive to ads as to be quite incredible. Please get a grip everyone.
  • Foxnews and Subway (Score:3, Informative)

    by Squeeze Truck (2971) <xmsho@yahoo.com> on Thursday January 10, 2002 @08:05PM (#2820839) Homepage
    This was about a year ago. Fox News did a "story" about the Subway Diet, and how Jared lost 200 pounds eating at Subway. This was about a week before the Subway commercials featuring Jared started airing on Fox.

    I think that was the day I stopped watching TV news for good.

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