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The Media The Almighty Buck The Internet

Commercials Come To The Net (After This Word) 1046

Posted by timothy
from the dial-up-users-will-just-love-this dept.
ctwxman writes "Say it isn't so. Full-motion commercials, when you go to click off a page, are coming to a website near you! The New York Times (standing in a bathtub with an electric iron required) reports: "Beginning tomorrow, more than a dozen Web sites, including MSN, ESPN, Lycos and iVillage, will run full-motion video commercials from Pepsi, AT&T, Honda, Vonage and Warner Brothers, in a six-week test that some analysts and online executives say could herald the start of a new era of Internet advertising." Unicast, the company responsible, says the ads will play regardless of pop-up blocking. "The only format that loads completely before it is allowed to play, the Full Screen Superstitial is guaranteed to play perfectly for every consumer, every time." I work in TV where commercials pay the freight. Is this so wrong on the net? It's not what we're used to, but maybe we're asking for more than is reasonable. I just don't know." I think I hear the whip swinging back, but harder ...
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Commercials Come To The Net (After This Word)

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  • Expensive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nermal6693 (622898) on Monday January 19, 2004 @06:30PM (#8026048)
    Some people, particluarly in smaller countries, pay for Internet by the MB. How much are these ads going to cost?!
    • Re:Expensive (Score:5, Interesting)

      by chunkwhite86 (593696) on Monday January 19, 2004 @06:36PM (#8026159)
      Some people, particluarly in smaller countries, pay for Internet by the MB. How much are these ads going to cost?!

      Very true. Advertising on unlimited broadband is merely a nuisance. Full video, multi-MB sized advertising on a metered low-speed connection should be a crime. Why should people have to *pay* to receive corporate advertising?

      That's like the high-school kids who pay Nike to be a walking billboard for the company. If I'm going to wear clothing that has large corporate logos, names, or slogans printed on it - they damn well better be paying *me* to do it.
      • Re:Expensive (Score:5, Informative)

        by blutrot (734054) on Monday January 19, 2004 @07:09PM (#8026581)
        According to Unicast, each advertisement is aprox

        15 seconds
        300k file size
        Full screen
        Plays between pages during consumer transition

        300KB/7KBps == 42+ seconds of *extra* download time, presuming the user is downloading at a full 56kbps. Just think, if every page has this ad technology, this is going to make for some very long browsing sessions for modem users. I don't know about the rest of you, but I never was able to reach a full 56kbps when I used to be on modem. It always dropped back down to 26kbps or a similar speed.

        Imho, it is advertising suicide. Then again, not every user knows there are alternatives to MSN, ESPN, etc...
      • Re:Expensive (Score:5, Insightful)

        by BoogieGod (115832) <kenfoldsfive&sbcglobal,net> on Monday January 19, 2004 @07:23PM (#8026724)
        Why should people have to *pay* to receive corporate advertising?


        apparently you've never heard of cable television.
        • by phaggood (690955) on Monday January 19, 2004 @07:43PM (#8026985) Homepage
          > apparently you've never heard of cable television. Or been to a Google-plex movie theatre recently, or purchased a Disney DVD with ff-disabled ads eating up, oh, the first 1/2 hour of the damned things (which is 1/2 the reason that, if i do buy a Disney movie, it's on cassette). Recently I was at the end of a AAA call when I locked my keys in the car and after she told me my service code the operator recited a commercial! I was standing in freezing cold weather trying to make out all of her words in the howling winds and I wasn't sure if she was finished, and after she repeated it I was floored that she was doing some advertising at the end of my cellphone call! What next? As you come to, the paramedic leans in close to you and says, "This defibrullation has been brought to you by...."
    • Re:Expensive (Score:5, Informative)

      by The Ancients (626689) on Monday January 19, 2004 @06:37PM (#8026188) Homepage
      Like here in New Zealand? Broadband is still a fairly rare beast, and when it is available, it's 20c per MB thank you very much. Looks like I now not only have to get up and do the 'ad-break' walkaround, I'm going to have to pay for the privilege...

      ..k

    • Re:Expensive (Score:5, Informative)

      by TheSpoom (715771) * <slashdot.uberm00@net> on Monday January 19, 2004 @07:41PM (#8026949) Homepage Journal
      From the people that brought you (and are still bringing you) Kazaa Lite comes Supertrick [accs-net.com], effectively a Hosts file used to redirect the servers that provide advertising to your loopback address. Also, if you're not already running a server, you can get eDexter [accs-net.com] to make any "blocked" into transparent GIFs that don't break the page. Should work pretty well for these background loading ads. :^)
  • Oh great... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Luigi30 (656867) on Monday January 19, 2004 @06:30PM (#8026060)
    How will this help people on modems? They'll sit at a blank page for 5 minutes before seeing a commercial then having the page load.
    • Re:Oh great... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by petabyte (238821) on Monday January 19, 2004 @06:33PM (#8026099)
      Yes, but I think the key thing the people creating these ads are miss is that they won't sit there. They'll click on off to some other space across this internet place. I'm on broadband but if an ad came up the took up the whole page, I'd hit stop, and then go someplace else.

      I think a lot of people would do that.
  • umm yeah.. no (Score:3, Interesting)

    by matth (22742) on Monday January 19, 2004 @06:31PM (#8026071) Homepage
    These will play for everyone everywhere no matter what? I'd really REALLY beg to differ... I'm fairly sure my Mozilla based Linux distro of choice will be just fine and dandy hiding from these things.. goodgrief.... man!
    • Well, you and your "Mozilla based Linux distro of choice" who really beg to differ will really see a "please upgrade your browser to see this page" notice...

      Since you/we are not the main audience, I think you/we will be left off by those sites...
    • Re:umm yeah.. no (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 19, 2004 @06:43PM (#8026265)
      Or if the ads still work, just use Lynx.
  • by 77Punker (673758) <[ude.tniophgih] [ta] [40rcneps]> on Monday January 19, 2004 @06:32PM (#8026079)
    Good thing Konquerer lacks compatibility with everything odd! I don't even get half the ads that are on web pages just through the browser's compatibilty problems, though important content almost always makes its way through.
  • by jcr (53032) <.jcr. .at. .mac.com.> on Monday January 19, 2004 @06:33PM (#8026100) Journal
    could herald the start of a new era of Internet advertising.

    Yeah, it could make millions of people get around to learning how to block ads..

    -jcr
    • by cK-Gunslinger (443452) on Monday January 19, 2004 @07:15PM (#8026651) Journal

      I like this quote from the guy from Pepsi

      "Yes, it's intrusive," he said. "But I think customers will like it, because it will be so far superior to anything they've seen online."

      To me, isn't that kinda like saying:

      "We are going to shove red-hot pokers up our customers' asses, but I think they will like it, because it will be far hotter than anything they've ever had up their asses."

    • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Monday January 19, 2004 @07:21PM (#8026714)
      I've been updating this list for a few years now [everythingisnt.com] and it works fairly well with very little to no blocking of legitimate content. Enjoy.

      Before I get flamed for "blocking ads," first off its my PC and I'll do as I please. Don't like it? Switch to a subscriber model. When Salon.com went pay I sure as heck forked over the money. I can't imagine doing that for msn.com or the other sites mentioned. If their content isn't worth it chances are they're going to subsidize their lack of worth with gimmicks like these.

      Secondly, text ads are far superior, convey real information, and the google method puts them in the context of the website itself, so you don't get car ads on a site about bicycles.
  • Hmmm... *Any* User? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Wanker (17907) * on Monday January 19, 2004 @06:33PM (#8026101)
    The ads sure don't display for me on Mozilla 1.4 with this handy click-to-play Flash hack [squarefree.com] I saw on another Slashdot posting. <sarcasm>Oh, darn.</sarcasm>
    • by Lumpy (12016)
      and internet junkbuster easily blocks the ad's.

      I silently installed internet junkbuster at work and redirected all the machine to that proxy about 2 years ago.

      corperate recently after a takeover made changes to our network and changed the proxy settings on everyone's machines without my knowlege (I'm the local IT guy) and then called me asking why out network useage spiked up by almost 24%. my response was to the new It operations manager on how the regional IT made changes to my machines without my know
  • by stephenisu (580105) on Monday January 19, 2004 @06:33PM (#8026102)
    now I just need a utility to send a nastygram to the admin of whatever domains do this. I am already getting yelled at for bandwidth issues with my ISP (distro torrents)
  • 10 minutes... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by doublebackslash (702979) <doublebackslash@gmail.com> on Monday January 19, 2004 @06:33PM (#8026103)
    10 minutes to discover how it works.
    1 hour to code the block.
    1 day to submit to mozilla.
    1 week till al bugs are out, and a patch is out and woring for windoze, linux, BSD, MAC, and maybey even DOS.
    Nothing to worry about.
  • Sure. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jwriney (16598) on Monday January 19, 2004 @06:34PM (#8026118) Homepage
    Full Screen Superstitial is guaranteed to play perfectly for every consumer, every time.

    Like those godawful, browser-filling Flash interstitials they already use? Those do a perfect job of grinding my poor little laptop (600mhz, but only 300 or so on batteries) to a halt as they load up. Not to mention, the volume levels are usually jacked up so if I'm using headphones, I'll get my eardrums popped.

    Dear web advertisers - I hate you, I hate you, I hate you.

    --riney
    p.s. I hate you.
  • by big tex (15917) <torsionality@@@gmail...com> on Monday January 19, 2004 @06:34PM (#8026123)
    From Unicast's site:
    "This format breaks-through the shackles imposed by pixel-constrained and technology-led units, giving creatives a full and blank canvas to work from and with" [unicast.com]

    Finally. Smooth CRT graphics. These people should get a Nobel or something.
  • Off-beat browsers (Score:5, Informative)

    by Carnildo (712617) on Monday January 19, 2004 @06:34PM (#8026126) Homepage Journal
    Unicast, the company responsible, says the ads will play regardless of pop-up blocking.

    The good news is that this requires Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player, so I don't even need to modify my ad filter to keep them from showing up!
  • Guaranteed? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ottffssent (18387) on Monday January 19, 2004 @06:34PM (#8026127)
    "...the Full Screen Superstitial is guaranteed to play perfectly for every consumer, every time."

    Oh, I doubt that. I doubt that very much. I have CSS2 on my side, after all. That, and I never go to MSN, ESPN, Lycos, or the rest anyway, and certainly won't now.

    And what's the guarantee? Free week's worth of ads every time someone hits your page with lynx? This guarantee business is baloney from so many points of view.
    • by Thuktun (221615)
      And what's the guarantee? Free week's worth of ads every time someone hits your page with lynx? This guarantee business is baloney from so many points of view.

      This type of guarantee is clearly more of a threat than a promise.
    • by Fruny (194844) on Monday January 19, 2004 @07:04PM (#8026535)
      You don't understand. They are really volunteering to come personally and tweak your linux installation until it works perfectly.

      Gone are the times when you would be replied "we don't support linux" - they guaranteed it.

  • by jgaynor (205453) <jon@@@gaynor...org> on Monday January 19, 2004 @06:34PM (#8026128) Homepage
    As was mentioned earlier today . . .

    My hosts file is already open and waiting to be editted. Lets see how "guaranteed" your advertising is then.
  • and now... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SpiffyMarc (590301) on Monday January 19, 2004 @06:35PM (#8026134)
    Beginning tomorrow, more than a dozen Web sites, including MSN, ESPN, Lycos and iVillage, will not be visited by people who read Slashdot.

    The rest of Internet users will call their ISPs and complain.

    Why is it that so many media companies have to start "wars" with consumers? Is biting the hand that feeds you a perfectly acceptable practice now? Instead of investing all this money into fighting the consumer thieves, they should work on new business models that don't "port" the old ones onto new technology.
  • Block flash (Score:5, Insightful)

    by caseih (160668) on Monday January 19, 2004 @06:37PM (#8026179)
    The mozilla "click-to-play flash" add-on will probably prevent this from running. If this doesn't use flash, then it would have to install some other player which the user could just cancel (no no such opportunity was presented, then that would be legally questionable). Of course such a player wouldn't even be available on unix, so we wouldn't even see it.

    Either way, ad blocking is here to stay and I highly doubt that these ads will remain unblocked for long. In fact I'm looking forward to them. It lets me practice my regular expression skills in privoxy!

    Sites that don't let me in without forcing me to see an ad I just don't need to go to. Why don't these people learn from google's plaintext advertising experience. You don't need large, obnoxious ads to get people to buy your stuff.
  • What the hell. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CGP314 (672613) <.ten.remlaPyrogerGniloC. .ta. .PGC.> on Monday January 19, 2004 @06:37PM (#8026191) Homepage
    Beginning tomorrow, more than a dozen Web sites, including MSN, ESPN, Lycos and iVillage, will run full-motion video commercials from Pepsi, AT&T, Honda, Vonage and Warner Brothers, in a six-week test that some analysts and online executives say could herald the start of a new era of Internet advertising.

    There is a revolt [slashdot.org] over popups. Who thinks this is a good time for full-motion commercials? What kind of reaction are they expecting from the public on this one?


    --
    In London? Need a Physics Tutor? [colingregorypalmer.net]

    American Weblog in London [colingregorypalmer.net]
  • by beatbox32 (325106) on Monday January 19, 2004 @06:37PM (#8026195) Homepage
    Jeez, next thing you know, these corporations will try to convince consumers to purchase a new DVR with a 'content-skipping' feature so we can enjoy all of their commercials without interruption. The future's so bright...
  • Flash Controls? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rikerag515 (647450) on Monday January 19, 2004 @06:38PM (#8026207)
    Don't get me wrong, Macromedia Flash is a great addition to delivering multimedia on the internet. We can use it for good, but quite often it can be used in an instrusive manner such as advertising.


    Perhaps someone out there will come up with a neat powertoy to better allow us control on what flash content is loading.Perhaps by blocking flash content on selected sites or something.


    It will be great to see such a tool, unless of course there is one already, which I'm simply not aware of.

  • by coolmacdude (640605) on Monday January 19, 2004 @06:39PM (#8026214) Homepage Journal
    I will refuse to visit any of these sites.

    If ESPN does it, I'll get my sports info from CBS Sportsline. If CNN does it, my default news page will be Fox, etc.

    If MSN does it, my default internet portal will be... oh wait I guess there's no problem there.
  • by Packets (8071) <stephen@thor[ ]id.au ['ne.' in gap]> on Monday January 19, 2004 @06:42PM (#8026261) Homepage
    I'm in .au, where its perfectly normal for business grade connections to be provided with a 19c/meg bandwidth charge, sometimes as low as 9c/meg. Excess charges on home ADSL connections vary from 1c/meg to 20c/meg. Many home connections are shaped after x gigabyte, for some major providers to as slow as 28kbit (yes, thats slower than a 56k modem on a bad line).

    To put that in perspective, for some people:
    1 full motion advertisement, weighing in at 5 megabytes would cost up to $1 AUD to download (.75USD == 1AUD at the moment).

    2 Advertisements would cost as much as an iTunes track.

    For, say, an optus cable user who's already used their allowance for the month (was 3 gig, now 6 gig, is going up to 12 gig thanks to some stiff .au pricewars at the moment) to download such an ad would take 41 minutes (assuming constant rate of 2,000 bytes/second).

    Yuck.
  • No Free Lunch (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RevMike (632002) <revMike@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Monday January 19, 2004 @06:42PM (#8026262) Journal

    Unfortunately for us, companies need revenue to provide content. That means at least one of 1) subscriptions, 2) advertising, 3) pay-as-you-go.

    Take the NY Times for instance. The same content that one needs to pay $6 a week for a subscription is available free on the web. Some of that cost is newsprint and delivery, but -over the long term- they need a way to make revenue from their product.

    Personally, I wouldn't mind a system where I would be charged $0.05 to read a particular article. I usually only read a few items each day.

    The other option that we, the community, have to maintain are user experience is to attempt to actively patronize advertisers who choose less intrusive means, and boycott those who choose intrusive advertising. If the least instrusive advertising is most effective, the more intrusive methods will be abandoned.

  • So...? (Score:5, Funny)

    by CGP314 (672613) <.ten.remlaPyrogerGniloC. .ta. .PGC.> on Monday January 19, 2004 @06:43PM (#8026266) Homepage
    "It's TV, without the television," said John Vail, director for digital media and marketing for Pepsi-Cola North America, a unit of PepsiCo.

    What the hell does Mr. Vail think TV is short for?"


    --
    In London? Need a Physics Tutor? [colingregorypalmer.net]

    American Weblog in London [colingregorypalmer.net]
  • by danielrendall (521737) on Monday January 19, 2004 @06:44PM (#8026285) Homepage Journal

    It's a six week test - presumably the companies want to get some feedback. If the ads annoy you, just e-mail their customer service department or wherever with a polite request that they stop using the ads. See where that gets us.

    According to the article, it will be possible to skip the ads by clicking on a button, and also they'll be designed to work with Windows Media Player. It would be interesting to see whether the pages in question function correctly in something lacking WMP (e.g. Konqueror) - if they don't because of sloppy JavaScript or whatever then that would be another trigger for a polite e-mail.

    I think it was Henry Ford who observed 'Half of the money I spend on advertising is wasted, the trouble is I don't know which half.' Our job must be to suggest that it's the half spent on ads which actively impede our enjoyment of the web.

    • by NewtonsLaw (409638) on Monday January 19, 2004 @08:05PM (#8027211)
      It's a six week test - presumably the companies want to get some feedback. If the ads annoy you, just e-mail their customer service department or wherever with a polite request that they stop using the ads. See where that gets us

      Well just make sure you don't use your spam-free email address when you complain because chances are that anyone who's arrogant enough to use up your bandwidth without permission also won't think twice about spamming you or adding your address to the spam lists (sorry -targeted email marketing lists) they sell their clients.
    • by MacDork (560499) on Monday January 19, 2004 @09:41PM (#8027960) Journal

      If the ads annoy you, just e-mail their customer service department or wherever with a polite request that they stop using the ads. See where that gets us.

      On their opt-in mailing list I would imagine. Here's an idea, post the links to the ads in a +5 insightful and get every /.er to download the files five or six times each. When their server self destructs under the load and their bandwidth bill arrives, they'll probably can the idea entirely. ;-)

  • Wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lord_Dweomer (648696) on Monday January 19, 2004 @06:47PM (#8026328) Homepage
    "I work in TV where commercials pay the freight. Is this so wrong on the net? It's not what we're used to, but maybe we're asking for more than is reasonable."

    I work in advertising/marketing. And yes, it IS so wrong on the net. Repeat after me, "THE NET IS NOT TV". We're not asking for anything unreasonable. The net was fine the way it was before, and now its broken, horribly, because of companies who want to clutter it with push content, and because of "ad agencies" (i use the term loosely) who create this kind of software that evades popup blockers.

    To all companies out there considering using this advertising method. Don't. If I block popups, it means I don't want to see your message. I don't care how much you think I want to see your bandwidth sucking ad, I don't.

    The reason advertisers want to turn the net into tv is so that you have no choice about what you see. With banner ads, most people just kind of tune that area of the website out. Popup blockers are the next step. So with every method you have of controlling your choice, that is one less venue for a company to deliver "an urgent, important message" to you.

    • "Sponsored by" (Score:5, Insightful)

      by b1t r0t (216468) on Monday January 19, 2004 @07:11PM (#8026602)
      Whatever happened to those two magic words, "sponsored by". What's so wrong with just getting your company's name up there, saying you paid to make this program possible, without blasting cheezy animations and audio at the viewer? It works pretty well for PBS. Why do the advertising flacks think that annoyance is required for advertising to work?

      And why do we need "YOUR COMPUTER IS BROADCASTING ITS IP ADDRESS" or "YOU HAVE ALREADY WON" or other similar forms of deceptive advertisers to pay for internet content anyhow?

  • Right!!!! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AntEater (16627) on Monday January 19, 2004 @06:48PM (#8026337) Homepage
    "the Full Screen Superstitial is guaranteed to play perfectly for every consumer, every time."

    A couple of things bother me about this concept:

    1. yet another attempt to hijack my cpu whether I like it or not. What I like about the web is that it is an interactive medium where I choose what I want to view. Anyone remember push technology? People still haven't figured out that you can't turn the web into another TV without destroying its value.

    2. Commercial content appears to have decreasing value on the web. I've found more and more over the years that I spend less time at some of the "big" sites and find more value in the content from smaller organizations.

    3. Um, somehow I doubt they've found a universal, cross-platform, vendor-neutral, browser agnostic, method of delivery. Unless it is plain old w3c html 3.2 I doubt it. We'll see how some of the more obscure browsers deal with it (Elinks, lynx, dillo, etc).

    4. I find it offensive to refer to the general public as "consumers". Maybe it's just me, but it reeks of a corporate world view where the only thing that is relevant is the exchange of goods and services and lets not forget where your place is in this relationship.

    5. Generally speaking, the first time I run into a "commercial" of this nature at a web site will be the last time I visit that site. My 56k home connection is strained enough as it is.

  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday January 19, 2004 @06:50PM (#8026358) Journal
    partner=GOOGLE [nytimes.com]
    "The new ad technology, from Unicast, an advertising company based in New York, invisibly loads the commercial while unwitting users read a Web page, then displays the ad across the entire browser area when users click to a new page"
    What a shitty idea. This is exactly like an exit pop-up (you know, those ones that only show up when you try to x out a page). Worse than that, is that they DL in the background, which will choke 56k modems. "The resulting ad is identical to TV, whether the user has a high- or low-speed connection."

    Bullshit. I have yet to see a decent video that can be downloaded by a 56k modem in the time it takes to read a page and be played fullscreen. I picked up a freebie program back in my 56k days and i still use it. No-Flash [geocities.jp] lets you disable java, flash, pictures, animations, videos and so on. This little program made such a huge difference (especially by killing animations) in my browsing experience. At the bottom of their page, they admit the google toolbar does pretty much the same stuff. Hopefully that means it'll stop those videos from downloading, not just from playing.

  • by diabelek (649505) on Monday January 19, 2004 @06:56PM (#8026441)
    Why are banners and ads able to be "forced" (term used loosely) to your PC while telemarketers and text messages from businesses aren't able to call you or send messages since it costs me money. My internet bandwidth is not unlimited so shouldn't it be right to say that ads are costing me money. I would agree that it is somewhat debatable since your visiting that site and so you are almost agreeing that you'll accept the ads. As an arguement to that, how do I know a site will pop up advertisements (ie to the extreme, porn)? Should a site notify you before it loads stating that "to view the site, you accept that advertisements will be displayed on your computer"? Where does customer/visitor accepted advertising start/end?

    Just some thoughts. Anyone have any thoughts on that rambling?
  • Wonderful! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Cytlid (95255) on Monday January 19, 2004 @06:56PM (#8026445)
    I work for an ISP, I can see getting *tons* of calls for this. "How do I stop these commercials?" ... "You can't if you run widows. You'll have to install Linux."

    Who said this wasn't the year of desktop Linux?
  • by jared_hanson (514797) on Monday January 19, 2004 @06:58PM (#8026465) Homepage Journal
    I'm at work, so I had a Windows box handy to check this out. I went to the Unicast site and loaded an example ad. Sure enough, it took up the whole screen.

    That, while being the selling factor for advertisers, will also be the downfall of the medium from a user's perspective. Full screen ads work fine on TV, because there is no concept of a window or multitasking.

    Users quite often have multiple windows open while surfing the web, either multiple browsers or multiple applications. I will quite often type in an address, hit enter, and then switch to a different window while the page loads. Or I will simply queue up a site knowing I'm going to need it in a minute as a reference when writing a document.

    I wouldn't mind these ads so much if they were full-window ads. Who is the advertiser to say that they have the right to become full screen, and become the focused application when I may be typing into a word processor or code editor?

    People typically watch TV and aren't concerned about getting things done. However, using a computer they usually have are trying to accomplish a task. Any form of advertising that gets in the way will not be tolerated.
  • by Malek the Damned (694215) <malek@NoSpam.nova-kaine.net.nz> on Monday January 19, 2004 @06:59PM (#8026473) Homepage
    The analogy between television and the 'net is spurious. Here in NZ at least, and most other countries of the world, TV is broadcast free to air. The Government supports it a little, but it's bread-and-butter is paid commercial advertising. Fair enough, I say, it's how they make enough money to stay in existance.

    The net, on the other hand, is a totally different kettle of fish. We _already_ pay to use the net. We pay a monthly access fee (in NZ, broadband pays by the Mb, too). We pay for our hosting space, and our domain registration. We pay excess bandwidth use if we have a popular site, or if we want extra mailboxes or services.

    Someone explain to me _WHY_ we now have to watch commercials as well??!
  • by KU_Fletch (678324) <bthomas1@noSpAM.ku.edu> on Monday January 19, 2004 @07:02PM (#8026505)
    Boss: Bad news gang. It turns out people and blocking and closing our popup ads. They're disabling Flash and Active-X because of our overlay ads. What are we going to do? Drone 1: Stop annoying them with those ads and go back to unobtrusive banners? Boss: You're Fired! Who's got a GOOD idea Drone 2: How about we hijak their entire monitor, makign sure they can't even begin to think about closing our ads? Bross: That's brilliant. Drone 2: Then we can kick them in the balls. Bross: Brilliant! Anything else Drone 2: Well, I have been kicking around this idea involving armies of parachuting advertising monkies... Bross: Great, leave a memo on my desk. I've got a tee time with Gates and Eisner at 2:30.
  • by flacco (324089) on Monday January 19, 2004 @07:08PM (#8026568)
    i've opted out of news sites that require registration.

    i've opted out of operating systems that tell me what i can and can't do with my computer.

    i've opted out of television unless i can get it without advertising (canceled my cable but the bastards just won't come and shut it off).

    i will certainly opt out of any site that requires me to be face-fucked by advertisers before accessing their content.

    the truth is, advertising-supported media will always cater to those kinds of people who are susceptible and receptive to advertising: in a word, imbeciles.

    i say: kill all the advertisers. content will then come from two sources: individuals and communities who are truly passionate about their subject matter, and those with content that is actually worth paying for. i favor this for web, tv, radio - all of it. i want to just pay for my fucking content and get it free of all the time-wasting, soul-destroying, mind-manipulating, insulting, humiliating shit that drips from the lobotomy scars in advertisers' foreheads.

    have i mentioned that i don't like advertising?

  • by Master of Transhuman (597628) on Monday January 19, 2004 @07:25PM (#8026737) Homepage
    Don't go to any site that uses this technology.

    It's coercive to run an ad deliberately intended to evade consumer ad-blocking software.

    Show your displeasure - do not go to these sites, send email to these sites telling them so, and send email to the ADVERTISERS telling them so.

    Enough people revolt, the companies paying for this crap will stop paying for it - simple business decision.

    These people need to be told that the Net is NOT one-way broadcasting.

  • by TitanBL (637189) <`moc.tenretni-natit' `ta' `nodnarb'> on Monday January 19, 2004 @07:29PM (#8026783)
    Both with Motion and the Unicast commercials, "advertisers can reach people during the day, when they typically don't watch television, and continue delivering that brand message in the same creative format," Mr. McDonough said, adding, "It's a wonderful way to surround the consumer."

    I am thinking that this BS is not going to go away. Advertising is in trouble (dont know about you, but I rarely see commercials since I got tivo). Television commercials, radio commercials, and print ads are becoming less effective every day - as people move to the internet for their entertaiment/information.

    They are losing their captive audience and are going to try as hard as they can to "surround" it again. Anyone think they will really discontinue such ads if people complain?

    It seems to me that the only way to prevent circumvention of these ads (without requiring user feedback "enter this code") would be to control which browser they use. IE only sites? Where is your Trusted Computing Certificate? Don't have one? Sorry, you are not "trusted", you can only surf the "unsecure" web.

    Release OS X for x86 - Linux Desktop Developers get your heads out of your ass and create something as functional and easy to use as Windows - time is of the essence!
  • by iamghetto (450099) on Monday January 19, 2004 @07:32PM (#8026840) Homepage
    If you check out the specs sheet of the "Superstitial" full screen ad format here: http://www.unicast.com/formats/htmlspecs_fs.asp?do cument=FullScreenSpecs%5F05277521%2Epdf [unicast.com]. At least the specs are reasonable.

    - All ads are essentially Flash movies with set limitations
    - max file size 600K
    - limit to 15 seconds max
    - *MUST include sound off button
    - *MUST include a skip commerical link
    - if no buttons are visible at any point during the commerical, clicking on the commerical itself will allow the user to "bail" from watching it.
    - embedded videos can be no larger than 320x240

    And all interactivity and motion/animation is done in flash, most using actionscript. It almost seems like a crime to pass this off as new technology, when it fact it just appears to be flash movies forced to run full screen.

    And no I don't agree with what they're doing, and I don't believe that I should have to pay with my own bandwidth to watch someone elses ads, but at least they're giving up the option in these ads to skip them... Which isn't much a silver lining but..???

    The most important thing is that when we see these commercials, we should not click on anything but the "skip" button. If we make sure the skip them all, I think our message will be heard loud and clear by advertisers.
  • by Jeremi (14640) on Monday January 19, 2004 @07:33PM (#8026851) Homepage
    ... is that anyone can set up an Internet site, whereas very few people have the ability to set up their own TV station. So let these guys make their sites as annoying as they want, it will only encourage alternative sites to spring up. One day, ESPN will wonder where all their viewers have gone, only to find they have migrated to opensports.net or somesuch.
  • by Mike Buddha (10734) on Monday January 19, 2004 @07:41PM (#8026956)
    Blocking http://*.unicast.com/* and http://*.enliven.com/* seems to take care of this new annoyance quite handily.
  • by maggard (5579) <michael@michaelmaggard.com> on Monday January 19, 2004 @07:43PM (#8026980) Homepage Journal
    • For those of us using MSIE for one reason or another I can't recommend strongly enough MyIE2 [myie2.com]. A free shell for MSIE it adds another 2MB but in that include features like tabs, mouse gestures, various sorts of filtering including by string and by domain, and yes, trivially enabling & disabling Flash. There are other similar products but IMHO this is the smoothest.

    • Next I'm betting the the Google Toolbar [google.com] will be revved pretty quickly to counter this, they'd be fools not to. Indeed I'm betting nearly every pop-up blocker will be jumping on these. FWIW I use Norton Internet Security Pro [symantec.com] and it's ad-filtering is pretty good once one undoes it's favored-partners exceptions.

    • Finally there will indeed be a rush to block the offending IP's, unless the advertisers get crafty and start making their adverts appear to come from the content IP's, then it'll be ugly everywhere. Hopefully things won't come to that and over the next few days we'll start seeing handy "filter these" notices.

    • And yes, there will be the flood of "Switch to Mozilla", "Use Linux" & "Use MacOS X & Safari" etc. postings. Thanks folks but most of us are well aware of those options and for one reason or another aren't taking advantage of 'em, or are but also using MSWin & MSIE too. Just deal with the fact that there are unenlightened or dissenting or locked-in folks and not be annoying proselytizers please. Oh, and MyIE2 is beta-ing [aab.spin.ee] Mozilla support for those wanting/needing to keep a foot in each camp.

  • by Yobgod Ababua (68687) on Monday January 19, 2004 @07:49PM (#8027039)
    "Is this so wrong on the net?"

    Yes. It is as wrong as if a TV commercial could prevent me from changing the channel, turning on the radio, or going to the bathroom while it was playing.

    A full-screen advertisement as herein described consumes my bandwidth without asking (potentially forcing me to pay more to my ISP), hijacks my entire computer interface (which usually does much more than just web browsing).

    I have little problem with net advertising in general, as long as it respects my control of my property. A website that requires you to click-through a page of advertising may be annoying if you are in a hurry, but is completely reasonable and up front. A website that silently loads a high-res movie in the background, then takes over your entire screen when you try to leave, is an abomination.
  • by AstroDrabb (534369) on Monday January 19, 2004 @07:59PM (#8027156)
    Download and install the latest version (1.6) of Mozilla or MozillaFirebird. Turn off pop-ups AND also go to the extensionroom [mozdev.org] and get the Adblock extensions. This will let you block ANY content on a regex. For example, put in *servedby* and wham, no more crap form servedby.XXX.com. If you get one of these commercial ads, just look at the host they come from and put it in your Adblock list and it will be no more.

    Just don't use crappy IE and you won't be exploited by this crap.

    Some good catch-alls for Adblock

    *servedby*
    */ad/*
    */ads/*
    *doubleclick.net*
  • TAANSTAFL (Score:3, Insightful)

    by blair1q (305137) on Monday January 19, 2004 @08:24PM (#8027383) Journal
    But it ain't already free. They're just being greedy and trying to make more money out of it.

    Pretty hypocritical, considering it wouldn't exist without a lot of donated tax-money research and net-hacker time.
  • by Sophrosyne (630428) on Monday January 19, 2004 @08:28PM (#8027418) Homepage

    The New York Times (standing in a bathtub with an electric iron required) reports:

    What does that mean, we all know that there is registration required for NYT, and even if you don't you'll find out pretty fast. This whole ripping on the new york times because you have to register is really lame and childish- almost as bad as the FIRST POST thing-- maybe I stand alone on this one, but it makes me not want to read the story after that lame ass joke.
  • by DynaSoar (714234) on Monday January 19, 2004 @09:07PM (#8027732) Journal
    ... in what my machine will be sending back to them as part of this process. After all, it does have to send something to tell them my browser is open and waiting for their wonderful content. There's got to be some kind of ACK packet or piece of cookie or something, right?

    Oh my golly, I certainly hope that these little ACK packets don't get all munged up and get some big ole MP3 or something accidently cat'ed to them. Why, that'd shove a whole bunch of useless junk up their widget while it's waiting patiently to feed me my commercials.

    The difference between TV and the net is, we always wanted to tell the TV off, but couldn't. We've been waiting for years for this, and now we can.
  • by Brandybuck (704397) on Monday January 19, 2004 @11:01PM (#8028475) Homepage Journal
    "The only format that loads completely before it is allowed to play, the Full Screen Superstitial is guaranteed to play perfectly for every consumer, every time."

    I've never heard of this format, but it must simply be awesome if it's universally supported by every browser on every operating system. Heck, I've even had MP3 audio files that wouldn't play, so it must simply be amazing if it's perfect.

    I'm using FreeBSD with Konqueror. And no plugins. Will this work for me? Or will I have to do all of the horribly complicated things to get the Flash plugin to work under Linux emulation mode? Maybe it uses Java. Does it use Java? If so, how can it play perfectly if I have Java disabled?

    Of course, I know the real answer. They're phrase "every consumer" means only those consumers running Windows, and possibly Mac. So what happens for the rest of us? Will these render these sites unusable, because there's no way to get past the requirement to view the advertisement? I'm thinking of all those sites that are completely and utterly inaccessible without flash.

    p.s. No, I'm not going to switch to Windows, Mac or Linux just to see some ads. No site is worth that much. Ditto for switching to anything else.

Do you suffer painful illumination? -- Isaac Newton, "Optics"

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