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Why Web 2.0 Will End Your Privacy 233

Posted by timothy
from the hot-local-girls-want-to-meet-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes "This is a pretty good insight into some of the dangers of social networking and website customisation -- marketing and loss of privacy. When marketeers know who your friends are and what you are all into, it makes their advertising a lot more effective. From the article: "Why are the companies worth so much money? Why is MySpace worth over half a billion dollars without a proper revenue model? Why is Digg allegedly pitched at over $20m (at the last count) without any idea of where money is going to be pulled from? The answer is - data. Information. Marketing. Every detail about you and me. That is where the money is."
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Why Web 2.0 Will End Your Privacy

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  • Cheeky... (Score:5, Funny)

    by toupsie (88295) on Monday June 05, 2006 @03:01PM (#15474379) Homepage
    An anonymous reader (Taco?) writes: Why is Digg allegedly pitched at over $20m (at the last count) without any idea of where money is going to be pulled from?

    Meeeoooowwwww!

  • IANAJ, but (Score:5, Insightful)

    by yagu (721525) * <yayagu@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Monday June 05, 2006 @03:02PM (#15474387) Journal

    I am not a journalist, but how do these guys get their credentials? Wil forwards an interesting thesis about the advent of loss of privacy as more people jump on the internet, but he forwards this under the aegis of Web 2.0.

    Give Wil credit, he actually tries to define Web 2.0, but it's probably the 10th definition I've seen. (For the record, my definition more typically aligns with the advent of more desktop-like and agile web/browser applications that start to look and feel like desktop.)

    However, I don't see the increased loss of privacy correlated much at all to Web 2.0, unless you just consider that, over time, people have less privacy, and that, over time, Web 2.0 continues to evolve (whatever that means). For example, Wil cites: "The one thing the Web 2.0 sites have in common is that they are furiously mining information about you and your buddies. What you like." Again, this has little to do with Web 2.0. That "Web 2.0" is the current buzzword is the only relationship to increased data-mining. Data-mining has been available, happening, and increasing in the internet domain for years.

    I think privacy has changed and evolved as a result of increased communications networks... Web 2.0 has little to do with that and is only a small part of it. As databases get larger, networks get faster, data-mining gets smarter, computer processors get faster, an end result is there is more data than ever about more people than ever in more places than ever.

    Whether that results in loss of privacy is an interesting debate, but in my opinion not an assumption/axiom. For example, the more data out there, the more it becomes environmental noise. Interesting perhaps at first, and maybe for longer to specially interested parties, but something we will adapt to. (As an aside, I do think there's a learning curve for young people and their interaction on sites like MySpace, they need to learn not to put voluntarily so much personal information out there as to make themselves vulnerable to predators, a lesson I think they're learning.

    Another result I find useful is that I get much more directly targeted advertising than ever before. It's nice now, no more tampax fliers in my mailbox, but it's handy to know Staples has a new SD 1G card available for my camera at less than $100.

    • Re:IANAJ, but (Score:3, Interesting)

      by falcon8080 (975701)
      I am not a journalist, but how do these guys get their credentials?

      Have you seen the white house press briefings? Thats the same question I ask mysef whenever I watch one. Everyone there is too scared about loosing their seat than asking a hard hitting question or two...
      • Re:IANAJ, but (Score:2, Offtopic)

        about loosing their seat

        Last time someone loosed their seat, it resulted in an impeachment. Better stick to more innocent things like running up a five hundred billion dollar deficit.
    • by IDontAgreeWithYou (829067) on Monday June 05, 2006 @03:19PM (#15474549)
      Another result I find useful is that I get much more directly targeted advertising than ever before. It's nice now, no more tampax fliers in my mailbox, but it's handy to know Staples has a new SD 1G card available for my camera at less than $100.

      You apparently forget where you are. On Slashdot, advertising of any kind is considered the worst oppression since the holocaust... Uh Oh... Godwin :(

    • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Monday June 05, 2006 @03:22PM (#15474571)
      Title: Why Web 2.0 will end your privacy

      Paragraph #1: MySpace, Digg, Flickr ... no real content.

      #2: One sentence stating what he believes. Then a lead in to ...

      #3: A "definition". No explanation that was promised in #2.

      #4: Back to Digg (see #1).

      #5: Back to MySpace (see #1).

      #6: Google has ads.

      #7: Back to MySpace, again (see #5 & #1)

      #8: Why does he belive that Gmail is anything near Outlook in functionality?

      #9: Yeah, "neat". Whatever.

      #10: Websites don't make money. Welcome to 1999. Don't forget to party.

      #11: Companies pay lots of money for popular websites ... even when those websites don't make money. Welcome to 1999 already!

      #12: YouTube. See #11 and #10.

      #13: Back to the top of the page. Again, they don't make money. 1999.

      #14: Why do companies want to pay so much money for websites that aren't making money? It's like it's 1999 all over again.

      #15: The companies paying the money want data.

      #16: Even he sees that it's 1999.

      #17: Well, it is 1999. But he'll call it "Web 2.0".

      #18: All those companies are compiling data on the the people who post pictures of their cats.

      #19: Yahoo! knows nothing about me except the news groups I subscribe to through them.

      #20: Companies will pay lots of money for "data" on "individuals" and "groups". Even if the "data" is "OMG!!1 U R A QT!!! UR cat is funee"

      #21: Web 2.0 has a "bubble" and it will burst. Yeah, whatever.

      #22: Free photo hosting.

      That's all there is. Toss in "Web 2.0" and name some popular sites and then claim that "privacy" is going away.

      Well, "privacy" does not really exist on the 'web and what you did have is vanishing ... but not because of MySpace. Because too many companies are posting your private data on the 'web and allowing anyone with the money to search through it.
      • 1999... wasn't that the year the Matrix is set in?
      • Well, "privacy" does not really exist on the 'web and what you did have is vanishing ... but not because of MySpace. Because too many companies are posting your private data on the 'web and allowing anyone with the money to search through it.

        That certainly puts a twist on the "Information wants to be free" slogan that the various freedom, oss, piracy and so on communities try to imprint on us.

        Turns out, not just mp3-s and movie rips want to be free. Your private info wants to be free too.

        Should we welcome D
    • Re:IANAJ, but (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Skreems (598317) on Monday June 05, 2006 @03:53PM (#15474802) Homepage
      Part of the definition of Web 2.0 is traditionally, "social networking, user-contributed content, etc". Building your sites not to run off YOUR content, but building it to run off user-submitted content, and user-created connections. I'd guess that's what the author is referencing. It's the more philosophical side of 2.0, separate from the technical details of asynchronous access and client-side functionality.
      • Part of the definition of Web 2.0 is traditionally, "social networking, user-contributed content, etc". Building your sites not to run off YOUR content, but building it to run off user-submitted content, and user-created connections.

        And back in 1999 ... slashdot.org was acquired by Andover.net

        http://slashdot.org/articles/99/06/29/137212.shtml [slashdot.org]

        And /. pretty well fits the "definition" of "social networking, user-contributed content, etc".

        So SEVEN YEARS AGO, this very site met the "Web 2.0" criteria that is

        • Please note I didn't say I approve of the Web 2.0 hype ;-)

          And yes, it's a very old concept that the sites that do best are those that use member input. There's simply no way to generate as much content as a dedicated user-base will, especially for cheap.
          • I didn't mean to say that you did. Sorry about that.

            I've just seen that "definition" in other posts and articles and since this is /. and all, I decided that it would make a good example.

            Yep, the websites that are the most popular are the ones where users can contribute/comment. And this works with newspapers and magazines as well. You're right that the users can find more content than any single site maintainer can. And it goes even further than that. The more people commenting, the more depth and variety
    • Re:IANAJ, but (Score:4, Insightful)

      by stunt_penguin (906223) on Monday June 05, 2006 @04:18PM (#15475006)
      "It's nice now, no more tampax fliers in my mailbox, but it's handy to know Staples has a new SD 1G card available for my camera at less than $100"

      And Amen to that - also, I wish this kind of selectiveness could be applied to TV. It might even assuage any eventual non-skipability of ads in mainstream players, something which makes me grind my teeth. If advertisers could show me one thirty second ad that actually interested me every, oh 15 mins or so, instead of shotgun-blasting me with Hair, Perfume, Nappy, Toilet Roll, Personal Finance, Cars, Personal Finance, Hair, Insurance, Personal Finance........... and instead hit me with ads for computer parts, movies, techie magazines, websites, jobs sites, games, furniture, design magazines, TVs and gadgets (and if it has to be personal grooming, at least make it male stuff).

      No more Shiela's Wwheels [sheilaswheels.com] ads for this male, 23, non-driver.

      They'd get me watching a lot more TV, they'd probably sell me more stuff (meh) in the long run, and everyone'd be happier (kinda).

      An added feature might be the ability to add your penis size and how long you can maintain an erecion to your personal profile. That'd save the spam companies a fuckload of bandwidth, and keep my inbox near empty.
      • Re:IANAJ, but (Score:3, Informative)

        by Phroggy (441) *
        You know what I want? I want a video Podcast of movie trailers. Not commentary, not extra crap, just the trailers. I want my computer to download them automatically as they are released, with new ones marked as unplayed and old ones deleted automatically (according to my preferences in my preferred Podcast client). Since I don't watch TV, I'm often completely unaware of new movies coming out, and I would see more movies if I could subscribe to a Podcast like this.

        (For any of you who are confused by the
    • Re:IANAJ, but (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mooncaine (778422)
      Yayago writes, "Whether that results in loss of privacy is an interesting debate, but in my opinion not an assumption/axiom. For example, the more data out there, the more it becomes environmental noise."

      That's an interesting insight. The point of collecting and selling the information is that the information is tied to *you*, the person who uses websites that sell the data about your preferences. If you're saying that more data about you contributes to noise, I don't see how that's possible unless you choo
    • Re:IANAJ, but (Score:3, Interesting)

      by JimBobJoe (2758)
      I do think there's a learning curve for young people and their interaction on sites like MySpace, they need to learn not to put voluntarily so much personal information out there as to make themselves vulnerable to predators, a lesson I think they're learning.

      But in the longrun, that seems to be the less important thing to learn. I'm much more concerned about people putting up pictures of themselves doing illicit activity (drinking underage, toking, et cetera) or pictures of them just plain looking foolish-
  • by PFI_Optix (936301) on Monday June 05, 2006 @03:02PM (#15474390) Journal
    Stories like this remind me of why I don't get involved in "social networking" and all that mess. The closest anyone can come to knowing anything about me is by tracking my book purchases, which are all IT-related. There is an alarming amount of information about us available to a lot of people right now, I don't understand why so many people are so quick to jump out there and put their entire lives on the internet.
    • by tddoog (900095) on Monday June 05, 2006 @03:14PM (#15474507)
      Obviously because they don't have anything to hide, unlike a terrorist.
    • by stlhawkeye (868951) on Monday June 05, 2006 @03:18PM (#15474536) Homepage Journal
      Because my life is actually interesting and consists of something besides IT-related books cluttering up a dusty bookshelf in an untidy basement apartment. It'd be selfish not to share it, especially when there are, obviously, so many people who desperately need to live vicariously through somebody else's life.

      All joking aside, I also don't "get" the social networking sites, and I avoid them. My blog is sufficient for my friends and family and follow my various goings-on. At the risk of sounding like a snob, I guess I don't see the point of hanging out in chat rooms and social networking sites when there's a ton of people all over the place you could be actually meeting and hanging out with. Then again, I met my wife through the personals, mostly because I rarely find the kind of women I'm interested in at your typical thirtysomething watering hole. I suppose in the end people want a safe and largely anonymous way to say, "hey, here's who I am," and hope to God that people like them. Dunno. I smell a senior thesis in all of this somewhere.

      • I have an account on myspace, and, although you are probably right about some people's reason for using the site, I don't use it that way. I use it to get in touch/keep in touch with friends who don't live near me anymore. Most of my friends whom I am in touch with seem to be using it in the same way. Nobody on my friends list is anybody I didn't already know personally. It's an easy way to see what someone is up to, and to keep in touch with them. Back before these sites, I would try to hang on to peo
      • > I guess I don't see the point of hanging out in chat rooms and social networking sites
        > when there's a ton of people all over the place you could be actually meeting and
        > hanging out with.

        The point would be to meet them and hang out with them, since you're less likely to stumble across someone in Kyrgyzstan or Milwaukee who just happens to have similar interests to yours without the assistance of the Interwebs.

        Same reason people go to trade shows and play pickup basketball, really.
      • I guess I don't see the point of hanging out in chat rooms and social networking sites when there's a ton of people all over the place you could be actually meeting and hanging out with

        It depends who you are. I'm on Facebook, because lots of my friends are on Facebook. These are people who I went to university with but are now spread out all over the UK and beyond - I do not have the ability to meet and hang out with them whenever I want. My website is indeed sufficient for my friends and family to follow

    • Some elderly women, recently widowed, will start buying lots of personal defense measures, burglar alarms and the like. Since U.S. culture doesn't have the same emphasis on the extended family as others, the grandmother doesn't have enough of a role from which they can derive a sense of importance; also, since they either predate or didn't participate in women's lib, they have no career accomplishments, students to mentor, etc. If they found their sense of importance through raising a family, they're way
    • I don't know...

      All this doesn't sound that bad to me... the original post said that, with this private info, marketing will get more effective.

      Scary, that... I mean, marketing doesn't work on me. I have no money to spend, for one. I don't watch TV. I block ads.
      Sure, send me some more effective marketing; it'll end up in the rubbish bin along with all the rest.

      I'm not afraid someone will abuse my private information; the other day I got a call from a telemarketer who informed me my phone number was publi

  • Oh noes! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Uhlek (71945) on Monday June 05, 2006 @03:03PM (#15474395)
    You mean that posting intimate details of my life on the web may be an affront to my privacy?

    Say it ain't so!!!
    • Re:Oh noes! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by paroneayea (642895) on Monday June 05, 2006 @03:15PM (#15474517) Homepage
      Fair enough about how obvious it is that people are losing their privacy. But I don't think that social networks give up *all* privacy... we're in bigger trouble with, say, AT&T handing over all our data to the NSA than we are with Web 2.0, because with Web 2.0 its at least a voluntary decision of what to hand over. That said, sure, there are some privacy issues, but I think there may in some ways be some worse things about Web 2.0 than just the privacy part. Why aren't too many people in the FOSS community bothered with this whole trend of "proprietary" web-based applications? Granted, in some areas it isn't such a problem as others, but aren't some of the principles the same?
      • Fair enough about how obvious it is that people are losing their privacy.

        No, they aren't losing their privacy. They're voluntarily giving it up. Thus, I fail to grasp these "privacy issues" of which you speak.
        • Re:Oh noes! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Skreems (598317) on Monday June 05, 2006 @03:55PM (#15474822) Homepage
          They're giving it up voluntarily, but most probably weren't anticipating that what they gave up would be used to target them for marketing, especially since it's going to happen after the company is bought out by a 3rd party. They were definitely irresponsible to just put their lives into this software, but the expectation at the time was not that some nameless corporation would be able to datamine their list of friends.
      • Re:Oh noes! (Score:2, Insightful)

        by novus ordo (843883)
        Just by using Amazon, for example, you are not only telling them what books you are buying. They know what books you plan on buying, what books you have bought after an x% reduction in price or free shipping, what books might interest you, how best to 'offer' books to you. I wouldn't say you are offering all that information voluntarily. The real danger is that they think all this information is theirs.
        • Re:Oh noes! (Score:2, Interesting)

          by ELProphet (909179)
          But it is their data. It was put on their servers by their programs while they observered your shopping habits. And with most advertisers, I honestly don't mind. I use Amazon because it pretty much does my shopping for me. It (seems) to know what I like, and it knows what other people like. User reviews are nice, suggestions are nice, and all in all, I don't do much more than type "Java Swing" into their search field to find the three best books on Java Swing.

          The same goes for YouTube, Google, MySpace, etc.
        • Actually, Amazon's personalization and recommendation system fundamentally sucks. Buy one book on Java and your recommendations fill up with them. Buy the latest album or book by a specific singer or author, and suddenly every album or book they ever sang or wrote shows up, no matter that you already own them. Buy a copy of LOTR, and apparently you also need every hardbound and paperback version ever published.

          What I'd really like there is a browser's "Clear History" command so I could zap it all at once, j
      • "Fair enough about how obvious it is that people are losing their privacy. But I don't think that social networks give up *all* privacy..."
        I just don't see it. Frankly people seem to have some strange idea of what is private.
        What books you buy? Just how private is that? The clerk at the store knows and always did. The books you read at the library? How long have they been tracking that? I remember getting notices that my books where over due. Buy anything with a credit card and that information has been tra
        • The answer it seems to me is MORE data not less. Example: if Amazon tracks the fact that all you ever buy is Puritan Poetry, then just to throw it off, order a bio of Hugh Hefner. You can always toss the book and now the bot is confused. Buy anything you can with cash. Always. if you MUST use a credit card to say: shop at the Apple Store, then make sure you buy all peripherals from Dell. Raise the chaos level as high as possible and the matrix will collapse under the weight of its own silliness
    • Funny MySpace story:

      A girl I work with mentioned she had a MySpace page so I decided to look it up when I got home (she wanted us to). Trying to find it I stumbled upon another girl's page that works in the same office. On her page she says that she is bi-sexual. I (like an idiot) repeated to someone that her page said she was "bi" and it got out everywhere. She was upset, I don't blame her. But if she wanted the world to know, they why can't I tell a few people? I explained to her that she should expect pe
  • by Coopjust (872796) on Monday June 05, 2006 @03:03PM (#15474400)
    I have to ask; how much is the data worth when a good part of the data is fake?

    I think that myspace is a cesspool, but everyone my age has one. I'll give you a hint: They aren't in their mid thirties earning 250k+ a year.

    No matter how much data you have, if it isn't true it;s worthless.
    • No matter how much data you have, if it isn't true it;s worthless.

      Rubbish. It's still worth whatever someone else is willing to pay for it. And as long as they don't know its worthless, that can be quite a lot. Perception is everything.

      And that's not even taking into account the continued refinement of data mining over time.
    • by VoidEngineer (633446) on Monday June 05, 2006 @03:47PM (#15474753)
      I have to ask; how much is the data worth when a good part of the data is fake?

      I think that myspace is a cesspool, but everyone my age has one. I'll give you a hint: They aren't in their mid thirties earning 250k+ a year.

      No matter how much data you have, if it isn't true it;s worthless.


      You seem to be stuck in some type of positivist thinking (at least you're not capitalizing the word 'true'); and possibly not all that familiar, actually, with data mining techniques. It would, perhaps, be a better statement to say that 'No matter how much data you have, if it isn't precise, it's worthless.' Precise, inaccurate, skewed data can reveal all sorts of patterns and relationships. Take, for instance, a scale that measures weight which is off by 10lbs. The data it tells you is not 'true', but you can certainly use it to measure if you've gained or lost weight.

      Similarly, it doesn't matter at all if people use fake names, fake addresses, or whatever. If teenagers consistently enter in fake data to these websites after midnight, while 30 somethings enter fake data during working hours, you can quite reasonably conclude that the teenager demographic has different sleeping patterns than the 30 something crowd.

      And lets not forget all of the statistical and mathematical tools you can use to filter out noise. From chi-square tests and standard deviations to fourier transforms and gaussian analysis... there are an endless supply of tools to filter out noise. (interesting philosophical question: is 'noise' considered true or false?)
    • Maybe you should ask these guys [aiip.org] whome are Information Brokers. I'm not kidding, it's a serious industry. In fact, no doubt there will be college courses in the future providing degrees on the topic.

      So yes, data is worth money depending on where, when, and whome you pan it from.
    • "I have to ask; how much is the data worth when a good part of the data is fake? I think that myspace is a cesspool, but everyone my age has one. I'll give you a hint: They aren't in their mid thirties earning 250k+ a year."

      What they enter in their details is *worthless* compared to things like "A high percentage of people in this social network clicked on this ad, so let's show this ad to the other people in this network more often". It's not the user-entered data, it's _how you use the system_ while you'
    • No matter how much data you have, if it isn't true it;s worthless.

      Who cares what their stated income is? When a company advertises its new widget mid-cost widget, that information is basically ignored.

      Besides, as other have already pointed out, there is a lot that can be learned by correlating data from various sources. Despite my best efforts to keep my life private from advertisers, somehow some company has associated my sister's name with my address. I know this because I get a lot of junk mail for h

  • that's easy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Clover_Kicker (20761) <clover_kicker@yahoo.com> on Monday June 05, 2006 @03:04PM (#15474406)
    > Why are the companies worth so much money? Why
    > is MySpace worth over half a billion dollars
    > without a proper revenue model?

    Because nobody learned a damn thing from the dot-bomb.
  • by MosesJones (55544) on Monday June 05, 2006 @03:04PM (#15474407) Homepage

    Last week the EU declared the information sharing of people of flights to be illegal because the US GOVERMENT couldn't guarentee the privacy of the information. What is becoming very clear is that in the privacy v terrorism war there will be more business friendly legislation in the US which makes such private information more readily available.

    Put it this way, can you imagine George W Bush NOT saying that My Space needs all this information to PROTECT its users from threats from crimial scary group X and to PREVENT My Space being used by terrorists to plan attacks....
    • I think you're putting too much faith in the EU. Granted they have better data protection than the US in some ways. However, if you read the stories regarding the EU decision, it is not over. The EU said the current legal justification would not work, and told the parties involved to try again. The US Ambassador has already stated that the US will work with the afflected parties to come up with an acceptable justificiation.
  • by Iron Condor (964856) on Monday June 05, 2006 @03:04PM (#15474413)

    As long as I'm going to be inundated with advertising, I see no reason to complain if it is at least advertising for stuff I actually care about. [shrug]

    • It depends how much you're affected by marketing. Would you rather see ads for things you would never buy in a million years, or for things that you were thinking about anyway? If I see ads for something I later purchase, how do I know whether I bought it because it really was the best choice, or because I really needed it? How do I know how much of my decision was the subconcious effect of the advertising? Personally, that freaks me out.
    • Advertising isn't there to help you get what you want. It's there to make you want what you don't have. Keep that in mind. It's not about helping you; it's about helping companies. If it was about helping you, it would be passive and designed to make you think instead of pushed in your face and designed to make you react.

      So, why put up with being manipulated, much less be more readily accepting of ads targetting specifically to push your buttons?

      I don't want advertisers knowing me. Social networking, B
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 05, 2006 @03:05PM (#15474418)
    Might we see the formation of groups who create false profiles with these sites, so as to distort any marketing analysis that might be done, in an attempt to protect privacy?

    For instance, they might write a blog as a 75-year-old goth who's into snowboarding and hip hop. Or as a 13-year-old girl who likes shuffleboard and orthopaedic shoe inserts. If done enough, it's possible that such profiles could significantly skew the data obtained from such sites. Marketing towards people who don't exist isn't exactly of much benefit.

    • At one point, I belive my MySpace profile said I was a 50-something-year-old, 6 feet, 300 lbs., pregnant, gay black man, and that I watched a lot of The Price is Right, and listened to mostly 80s club music. My picture was of Steve Urkel.
    • Not to discourage you, but as with anything that's very popular, your input doesn't make a big enough difference to matter... For example, if I gather a group of friends to vote for a single item on a slashdot poll, our votes will get drowned out by the trend of the masses. So if you wanted to mess up the data obtained from these sites, you would need a HUGE movement.
  • by Augusto (12068) on Monday June 05, 2006 @03:05PM (#15474419) Homepage
    Privacy has always been an issue with computers, specially since the first inception of a network protocol. There's really nothing new about website and webapps tracking usage, it's been done forever. Why do marketroids and "journalists" have to keep coming back to this overloaded "web 2.0" term?

    The internet doesn't have a version number, get over it people.
    • "Why do marketroids and "journalists" have to keep coming back to this overloaded "web 2.0" term?"

      I believe it was Al Gore who said, "In this post Web 1.0 Internets age, we have to defend ourselves from the information terrorists in the Axis of Evil: Microsoft Korea, Sonyistan, and SCOraq."

      Or something like that - information is kinda spotty these days, what with all of the fake information on the Web 2.0.
    • There aren't precise delineations between generations of video game consoles, either, but everyone and their mother calls this the seventh thereof. I would argue that the AJAX-enabled web should be called something more like 3.0, where CSS brought 2.0. Web 1.0 is the original HTML-and-images web, where presentation and content are linked, and the web was pull-technology-only. You requested a page, you got something. CSS [theoretically] separated content and presentation and is the first major change on the

      • Everyone and their mother? I don't think I've ever heard it called that, and I actually follow video games seomwhat, unlike my mother, wife, etc.

        If anything, I've heard the PS2/Gamecube/XBox referred to as second generation. Apparently up until the PS/Dreamcast days everyone was content to group their consoles by how many bits they were. I guess once we got to 64 that broke down...

        And not quite related, but AJAX is still 100% Pull.
    • The term Web 2.0 was coined because people started to notice a fundamental qualitative change in the nature of some of the newer web sites. (Although it should probably have been called Web 3.0, because the move from static to dynamic pages was an even bigger fundamental change.) So there was a legitimate need for the term.

      The problem is that the term has a somewhat nebulous definition. (Partly because it's a qualitative change.) And people (especially journalists) like buzzwords. So people now like to thro
  • by Mateo_LeFou (859634) on Monday June 05, 2006 @03:05PM (#15474420) Homepage
    Pervasive advertising, no matter how relevant to my needs, gets a little annoying, but on the whole I'd rather pretty-much see Dell ads over "Get the Facts" any day.
    • Advertising isn't bad when it's something you're interested in and not "click the monkey" in your face flash (love flashblock). I don't block Google's ads (love adblock) simply because they're not obtrusive. The only time an ad was so bad that I have never returned to the site was when I was visiting a so-called Linux Site [linuxtoday.com] and the entire right margin is a Microsoft ad. Talk about skewed advertising.
    • by bmajik (96670) <matt@mattevans.org> on Monday June 05, 2006 @04:01PM (#15474872) Homepage Journal
      I was going to ask the same question. A friend of mine works on adserving technology and i was giving him a bit of greif about how he slept at nite, and so on.

      He and I are both car junkies so he had a clever response. "If, when you saw ads, they were things like new products for your specific car, would you be as mad at them? I mean, if someone makes a new 9lb flywheel for your engine, and we show you that ad, will it be upsetting?"

      I had to concede - no. I currently spend my time trying to find what I want when it comes to go-fast parts for my cars.

      If I only ever saw ads for performance car parts for cars that I own, deals on new anime releases, and accessories for canon EOS cameras, i'd probably really enjoy advertising.

      My naive hope is that eventually, spam-style ads will go away due to market forces. People with legitimate products will understand that more effective ad techniques exist, and shit-peddlers will be marginalized, much luck the current crop of spammers have been.
  • by buddyglass (925859)

    I have no problem with effective, targeted marketing. Actually, I prefer it to ineffective, non-targeted marketing. I'm really into foosball, I'd rather see adds for foosball related stuff than for products I have absolutely no interest in.

    That said, what I do have a problem is invasive or disruptive marketing. Stuff that fills up my inbox. Stuff that obscures webpages I'm trying to view, and forces me to find a miniscule "X" in order to close the advertisement. You get the picture.

  • It's a bit funny (Score:5, Interesting)

    by From A Far Away Land (930780) on Monday June 05, 2006 @03:06PM (#15474430) Homepage Journal
    Anyone who is part of WAYN, HI5, MySpace, Digg, Slashdot [has friends and foes too you know], Stumbleupon, or has blogrolls, is really set up to be data mined rather completely. Either you have to not give a rat's patootie and do it anyway [like I do with some services], or you wear your foil hat and react with hostility to every "Hi :-)" email you get from a distant friend.

    If you have matured and realize you really don't NEED that SUV, or Sony laptop to have a high quality daily life, then targetted marketing won't matter. But if you're letting your 10 year old play on the Internet, you should really wonder what Mattel and Disney/ABC knows about your child by now.
  • by FellowConspirator (882908) on Monday June 05, 2006 @03:08PM (#15474453)
    Let's assume that Web2.0 had something to do with social networking for the sake of discussin the article...

    The thesis that advertising becomes "more effective" is without evidence. Advertisers might hope it is more effective, but historically, it's only proven to be more annoying (both by being more plentiful, and by making hopelessly silly demographic conclusions). I'm guessing that this sort of targeted advertising will go over like Jalapeno-flavored toilet paper.
    • The thesis that advertising becomes "more effective" is without evidence. Advertisers might hope it is more effective, but historically, it's only proven to be more annoying (both by being more plentiful, and by making hopelessly silly demographic conclusions). I'm guessing that this sort of targeted advertising will go over like Jalapeno-flavored toilet paper.

      I think the argument for it being more effective is fairly straightforward.

      First, let's split the commercial universe into a set of products for
      • The "effectiveness" of an ad is generally measured in number of units sold to the target demographic, not the ratio of sales to people viewing the ad. The ads don't become more effective if you can hit the target demographic specifically rather than target demographic + everyone else.

        The hope is that targetted advertising can increase the ratio between sales versus advertising costs. There's also an unfounded notion that it will also increase overall sales (putting an ad at on a bus stop will induce more co
  • by Ckwop (707653) * <Simon.Johnson@gmail.com> on Monday June 05, 2006 @03:08PM (#15474462) Homepage

    It's wrong to attach this issue exclusively to the technology called Web 2.0; whatever that term really means anyway - but that's another rant.

    The picture is much broader than that, the assault on our privacy is being conducted on many fronts and motivated by the same desire: To waste less money on marketing.

    Someone once said: "I know I'm wasting half my money on advertising. The problem is that I don't know which half that is"

    The Internet, it seems, is providing a solution to this conundrum. Suddenly, advertisers have the ability to only pay for advertising only when someone responds the advertising. This makes such adverts far more valuable than something that isn't interactive like a billboard or TV advertisement.

    But this is just the beginning. In the next few years, we will see the development of schemes where you pay for advertising only when you make a direct sale off the back of it. The scheme will track you from the moment you click, to the moment you get the confirmation e-mail. The problem with this is that in order to audit it properly you need to link that click through to a real person. And there-in lies the privacy problem.

    The solution to this problem is fairly easy: Just block all the advertising. People, like the owners of Slashdot might decry this solution because sites such as theirs might not be able to survive without this revenue. I put my money where my mouth was. I like Slashdot so I paid for it directly.

    Imagine how much higher the standard of Slashdot would be if all it's revenues came from subscribes. Suddenly, quality matters much more than page views. Remember, it took Digg to motivate Slashdot to change, because its cash cow was the advertsing and Digg was starting to threaten that. If we took out this source of revenue, the quality of the web would surely increase.

    Only the people who make lucid enough points to attract paying subscribers would be able to sustain a high traffic site. As a result, natural selection would weed out the trash and reward the good. A future without advertising is a future where the user comes first.

    Simon.

    • >But this is just the beginning. In the next few years, we will see the development of schemes where you pay for advertising only when you make a direct sale off the back of it. The scheme will track you from the moment you click, to the moment you get the confirmation e-mail.

      Yes, it's fairly well known among nerds that Google is trying the same learning curve that pron sites succesfully left behind them years ago. Same thing is happening all over again, to the point of probability that no more bets ar

  • by smooth wombat (796938) on Monday June 05, 2006 @03:09PM (#15474473) Homepage Journal
    If you don't participate in this stuff you can't lose your privacy. I don't contribute, visit or have an account on any of the stuff that is mentioned. Why? Don't care. I use the web in the way I want, not the way the advertisers think I should.

    Just as if you clear your cookies every time you're done surfing the marketers will always treat you as a new visitor even if you visit every day. In other words, the sites statistics are skewed and will burn money because of inflated figures.

    Yeah sure, most people don't care about privacy. Witness the reaction to people when you tell them that their phone messages might be recorded by the government or that the police can search their home without a warrant; "I have nothing to hide so what's the big deal?"

    Yet, amazingly, people are paranoid about identity theft. Um folks, just how do you think some of you lost your identity? Naw, it couldn't have been that long winded, detailed bio you posted on MySpace now could it? You know, the one where you posted your first and last name, your hometown, what school you went/go to, where you hang out and all the other useless cruft that people just have to know about you.

    While the author does have a point, data mining is the new wave in online transactions, if people don't participate the advertisers will just be burning money for little reward.

    Kind of like commercials. I don't watch/listen/read them so the money that is spent to get me to buy a product or service is wasted.

    Don't want to lose your privacy? Don't participate in things that could affect you in that way. It's that simple.
    • I think you are underestimating the lengths that advertisers will go to reach you. Not only them, but also the networks that make money off of them. Consider the various legislation for HDTV and radio and the restrictions on recording. One such scheme for HD radio is that you can only record in 30 minute chunks. That means you get all the advertising goodies and will have to filter it yourself. How about PVRs? You see no more PVRs being made where you can autoskip commercials. You can avoid them like the pl
      • Consider the various legislation for HDTV and radio and the restrictions on recording.

        That's why I use a vcr. I don't watch many programs on a regular basis but the ones I do sometimes overlap so I have to record. I just bought the vcr a year or so ago and it should last me close to 10 years. I have half a dozen tapes which keep getting reused so don't need to buy tapes for a while though if I really needed more I could always overwrite some of the dusty ones I have.

        When I need to skip commercia

      • Once they have control of the market, you will buy what they are selling because there is nobody else to buy from

        Then don't buy.
  • by tbradshaw (569563) on Monday June 05, 2006 @03:10PM (#15474475) Homepage
    This comment in the summary caught me, especially how it carried a negative/alarmist connotation: "advertising a lot more effective."

    I, for one, am really looking forward to "better" advertising. Advertising isn't a bad thing, it can be an informative help to find the projects/services I'm looking for. It's shitty advertising that just fires shotgun marketing in the dark hoping for a hit that sucks. I've actually clicked on a number of Google advertisements when searching for products/services, because they were relevant to what I was looking for and I wanted more information.

    It's the huge pop-over, pop-under, flashy, sound making (grraah!) advertisements trying to sell a 24 year old college student home owners insurance or pull me into a pyramid scheme that are the bane of internet existance. (yes, I use firefox, flashblock, etc to lower my exposure, but still.)

    If the information that I have voluntarily made public on social networks leads to advertisements for things that I'm actually interested in or even actively searching, I'm all for it. As long as I'm making all the information public myself, I'm not involuntarily losing any privacy either.

    It's kind of a bummer, I think, that all the horrible advertising through time has created so many people that just knee-jerk hate the stuff. Maybe in time with relevent advertisements they could turn that around so that they seem useful instead of annoying.
    • And another thing, about privacy. ***The things you do in public are not private.*** Saying that social networking is going to remove all privacy is stupid. Nothing done on a social networking site is private, it's all "in public".

      Saying that "social networking will end privacy" is just misleading. Other people (advertisers, bosses, relatives, whatever) knowing things about the things you do in public is normal and expected, this privacy degredation is a red herring.
    • Marketing works, even the stuff you hate. The problem is that these marketing companies are spending billions of dollars a year on researching and presenting new marketing techniques to sell you stuff you didn't know you needed. Then people have the smug arrogance to say, "Well, it doesn't effect me.". Really? Why then does the average American spend 103% of what they make? The truth is that marketing companies are very very good a getting you to think you need something and that somehow this company finall
  • This article is nonsense. Myspace and Digg don't represent the end of your privacy. The Government has already ended your privacy. (Apologies to non USA /.ers). Myspace and the like only post information you voluntarily divulge. You are not obliged to give up your info. The government, however, does not require your explicit permission.

  • Not just marketers (Score:4, Informative)

    by anaesthetica (596507) on Monday June 05, 2006 @03:12PM (#15474496) Homepage Journal
    What's worse is people who put too much information online, without realizing that the very same information can be used against them. For example, people like to put personal details on their user pages, whether they're on Slashdot, Flickr, MySpace, or Wikipedia. Unthinkingly, that very same information can be dug up by people and used to threaten your job or your personal life. Wikipedia keeps a record of every iteration of your user page, so that anyone can troll through the personal information you (idiotically) put on the internet. If you are editing an article that's also edited by someone with an agenda, they can dig up your personal information and send an email (or worse) to your employer. This is not unique to Wikipedia's history-versioning, as nearly any user page can be dug up through Google caches or the Internet Archive. If you use the same (or similar) username across multiple sites, someone with a malicious agenda can find out a whole lot about you. Just think of all the information and dumb things you've said on Slashdot, your blog, your Flickr page, your Last.fm/Audioscrobbler page, etc. etc.

    The problem is that these online communities work because of personal information: dynamically connecting people with similar interest and opinions is what Web 2.0 is all about (inasmuch as a buzzword can be "all about" something). If we can't trust that the information and content we put online can't be used against us, then Web 2.0 will eventually fail, once enough people get burned.
  • Ads, and more important, targetted ads, are a good way of profit of those companies. But that implies a privacy loss? The targetted ads on google mail were discussed in the past, same for google search, and there is no personal info going from google to the advertiser, just mix and matches inside google with the information to give relevant ads to the search/mail is being read. Is something that improves the ad value/visibility without harming privacy.

    IF MySpace, Digg, Flickr or whatever "web 2.0" company

  • FUD (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lord_Dweomer (648696) on Monday June 05, 2006 @03:16PM (#15474525) Homepage
    Time for my usual preface I give when I comment on advertising stories.....I'm an advertising executive, so while you may consider me biased, I also have a lot of insight into an industry that most people just make snap judgements about. And believe it or not, I'm actually a strong advocate of privacy in all forms.

    Do "Web 2.0" sites give marketers more information about users? Yes.

    Is this an invasion of your privacy? Absolutely not.

    You are WILLINGLY entering this data into these sites and if you read their privacy policies they clearly state how it will be used. Don't want to share this info about yourself? Don't use the site. There is no invasion going on here. They are not hiding spy cameras in your room watching what you do on the computer.

    Also, better targeted advertising != more advertising. Unfortunately, what happens is that many of these Web 2.0 sites rely on advertising revenue for their business model, thus why sites with large subscriber bases are worth a lot.

    Lots of eyeballs = $$$$

    So the owners of the sites then realize, "hmmm...I can make more money if I put more ads on the site!" and thus you have ad creep. However advertising that is more narrowly targeted is actually a good thing. Unless you have adblockers running, you WILL see ads on the internet, and rather than bitch and moan about how you want nothing to do with those sites that are being advertised, ads that are more highly targeted will have a better chance of showing something relevant to you that you might actually appreciate an ad for.

    And for those of you who claim advertising is useless and it never affects you....you are liars. Period. Next time you make ANY purchase, take a moment to think back to the last time you saw an ad for that product. If you can remember seeing an ad for it, then you were subconsciously influenced by that ad (even if it was by a tiny amount) and your brand awareness increased when you saw the ad. This isn't something that is debateable, it is a logical fact.

    Bottom line? If you don't want advertisers to show you more relevant ads, don't use Web 2.0 sites that collect and share this data. If you don't want more ads install an adblocker or blame the owners of the sites whose business models rely on advertising and thus fall victim to ad creep.

    • Re:FUD (Score:3, Interesting)

      by 0xABADC0DA (867955)
      Don't want to share this info about yourself? Don't use the site. There is no invasion going on here. They are not hiding spy cameras in your room watching what you do on the computer.

      That's a nice fantasy to rationalize your job, but the fact is that most people are completely unaware of what information is being recorded and when. For instance, cross-site elements are used to track usage among otherwise unrelated sites. Even when cache and cookies are flushed some companies still correlate your data by
  • Hear the sheeps? Can you hear it? The unmistakable sound of people pulling shit out of their ASSES. Marketing speak from the clueless boards of disinformation.
    Speaking as someone who runs a bunch of sites for a, my firm netting midrange xx,xxx usd this year based on about 2½ years work. This income is from my traffic. Not my super ideas, not my uber talent at coding, especially not my elite design skills. Especially not from me doing web2.0. However, the only requirement from my income is that I work
  • Just a question. Who will actually pay a lot of money for that data? And what do they think they'll be able to get from it?
  • Help! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by drspliff (652992) <harry.roberts@NOSPAM.midnight-labs.org> on Monday June 05, 2006 @03:19PM (#15474552)
    Help.. I'm trapped inside a Web 2.0 BUBBLE! And I can't get out!

    Perhaps why MySpace is worth half a billion dollars without any proper revenue model is because... oh lets be radical here.. perhaps because it's ALL HYPE?

    The problem is there is lots of room for advertisers to throw their money away and a lot of companies have been catching onto that for the past ~5 years.

    The problem with MySpace as their gleaming example is they'd somehow need to be able to re-coup $100 USD from every member (assuming there are ~5 million of them) via advertising, subscribed services etc. I see this as highly doubtful, and looking at examples only 6 or 7 years ago of businesses apparently worth in the range of 10 to 500 million of dollars, but with those estimations based entirely on hype, bullshit, naivety, or just an all-out view to make a quick buck while the newcomers are still gullable.

    Tell me when MySpace has a real business model that doesn't rely on click-happy 13 year olds or balding 40 year paedophiles who want to win an Xbox.
  • I think I'll stick to web 1.0
  • Duh!

    Apparently the objective of journalism is to state the obvious in such a way as to make oneself look intellectual.

    This kind of thing has been going on since the first web sites. You put up a personal web site, you link to the web sites of your friends, they link to theirs and so on. Nothing new here -- salesmen use this all the time when they ask clients for "the names of three friends who might be interested in our services." It's time consuming, but you write a robot script and pretty soon your

  • by mi (197448) on Monday June 05, 2006 @03:27PM (#15474605) Homepage

    When you buy a bottle of milk in a supermarket, you diminish your privacy by letting the retailer know, that you need a bottle of milk. When you hire a maid to clean up your flat, you let her know a lot about your dirty laundry (literally and otherwise). And when you buy a book at a bookstore (or a video), the proprietor could offer you another one on your next visit (like Amazon does).

    That's how it all begins — computers, WEB-2.0, and other technological advances simply enable us to trade even more privacy for convenience.

    When the choice is volunteer, that's perfectly Ok. At least, MySpace and others don't force you to reveal your real name on the site. If the solicitations get too much, all you need is to do is close the account. Government-imposed things, however, are much worse. EZ-Pass — increasingly mandated at toll plazas — is not anonymous at all.

    Sadly, nobody seems to care... The worst a marketeer can do to you is spam. Government has much bigger abuse potential.

  • Make friends with every random bozo on MySpace and completely destroy the quality of their demographic analysis.
    • With all the spammer accounts on there(offering their friending), that has already been done. There are thousands of myspace users leaving comments on profiles saying "hey, holla back!" not realizing they are talking to a nonexistant.
  • Good advertising (Score:4, Insightful)

    by booch (4157) <slashdot2010.craigbuchek@com> on Monday June 05, 2006 @03:33PM (#15474657) Homepage
    I would prefer to see advertising for products that interest me, as opposed to all the mindless drivel about things I would never buy. I mean, we're going to have advertising no matter what. Why not make it for stuff I might actually buy? That seems to be a win-win to me. I get to learn about stuff I can buy, and advertisers save money by targeting people who might actually buy their products and services.

    Perhaps there might be a problem when advertisers start targeting me for Viagra, or some other product for some embarrassing condition I have. But as many others have pointed out, social networking is built upon user-contributed data. So if I don't want to tell people I have ED, I don't see how the advertisers would be able to figure it out. If they went and got my address from my doctor, then I would be concerned.
  • OT: Stupid Companies (Score:2, Interesting)

    by moe.ron (953702)
    When I read articles like this, besides giving me a good chuckle, it makes me wonder. If big business is really going through all these lengths to find out more about all of us, are they really doing it to know who to target ads to? Is it really that hard to figure out who to show the life insurance ads to and who to show the ads for the new rock album to? If that is the case, I find it pretty sad. That's a problem Google figured out years ago.

    Conspiracy theories aside (I could cook up a few but I'm fres
  • When the Web 2.0 bubble bursts - when the massive buyouts are done, the millionaires are made and the sites we love today are in the hands of big business - the innovation will grind to a halt, and what's left will be the endless grinding of the marketeering machine.

    I find it interesting that ever since the tech bubble burst in 2000, that everyone thinks that everything else is a bubble. Web 2.0 is so young. Last time I checked, mom and pop day traders are not buying and selling Digg.com. I think it's a little premature and presumptive to think that web 2.0 is a bubble. I don't think it deserves that distinction yet. For comparison, Pets.com raised $175 million in an IPO Febuary 2000 and was bankrupt by the end of the year. These companies are being bought by media companies. It's not a bubble until the public gets involved.
  • The general public does not seem to value privacy as much as the techno geeks do. You just promise them 25 cents off a loaf of bread and they let you link their home address (how else can they mail you those 25 cents off coupons?) to a unique machine readable id, and flash it everytime they shop. And this id is linked to credit cards and they can track all their purchases from medicines to pasta sauce to cheese.

    The computers will alert the store, "Jane Q has stopped renewing her pills prescription, order

  • I don't think privacy is much of a concern to people like this:

    http://livedigital.com/content/321254/ [livedigital.com]
  • I hate being marketed at as much as the next one, but I do have to think something along the lines of "at least they won't be trying to sell me things I'll never want ever"... it's sad, but that would actually be better.
  • I can't locate the name right now, but there's an interesting short story featured in one of the
    earlier edition's of David G. Hartwell's _Year's Best SF_ series about this. People whom go out
    of the way to purchase materials for their hobbies in untrackable ways to avoid being targeted by
    marketers, and having it become a fad.
  • Web2.0 is nothing more than a grouping of dymanic technologies like DHTML, CSS and RSS, that stuff just makes life easier and information more conveniant for apps iother than web browsers to use as well as being more efficiant than static pages

    The problem is the same age old problem that dates back to when the mases got net access: the problem is stupid users giving too much fucking info to the wrong people!

    This story is flaimbait!

  • Why Web 2.0 (TM)®© Will End Your Privacy, Rights (etc)*.

    *Subject to all possible authorisations, positive credit references, thorough anti-terrorist screening, and a good reaming from the border guards at your favourite holiday destination, before you finally give up the notion of ever having a single original (and non-actionable) thought ever again.

    Personally, I preferred web 1.0, or just plain old freedom of thought and action.

  • it makes their advertising a lot more effective.

    And this is a bad thing? The amount of advertising rampant on the net is partially a problem due to the fact that it is untargeted and largely (percentage-wise) ineffective. Sure, 1% sales out of millions of viewers (and that is an optimistic number) is good in terms of sales, but effectiveness... no.

    Now if they increased their effectiveness, and managed to snake me into the proper categories:
    (for example, not necessarily applicable to myself)
    Geek
    20-30
  • Don't worry, it will be fixed in Web 3.0

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