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Non-banner Ads Coming to the Web 589

Masem writes "NYTimes has summary (CT:El Lamo free registration required) of how on-line advertizing is going to change in the near future. Banner ads have been found to be effectively ignored, so the next step is to visibly replace the content with ads for a brief period of time, as is currently done on radio and tv. The three methods described are pop up windows, redirect links that take you to an ad with the link to the final destination (aka "interstitials"), and a new technology that downloads the ad while you read the content, then displays the ad when you leave the page (aka "superstitials"). Unless you're running an ad blocker proxy, it's going to get really hard to ignore ads on the web soon."
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Non-banner Ads Coming to the Web

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  • Banner ads contribute to my page download times, which is significant because a lot of my Internet access is over a 28.8K modem. This extra time is important because many ISP's still have time-based connection charges. A 25K animated GIF can take a significant amount of time to download.

    The only ads I tolerate are the ones on Slashdot and the hunger site (http://www.thehungersite.com/). When you click a button that says "donate free food", you are taken to a page that displays between five and nine small, static banner ads. The advertisers on the hunger site pay for basic food to feed the hungry in poor countries. These ads load quickly and also seem to cache well.

  • Well, someone will just have to code a browser like Moz that can selectively disable javascript features like popups (that would be GREAT!), while allowing other features.
  • I am dumbfounded at how far some marketeers will apparently go to annoy their target audiences. If I bought a shirt, spilled coffee on it, then returned it the the store claiming "This shirt was stained when I bought it," then they'd happily take it back. I've seen stores take back some questionable items. The principle at work here is that it isn't worth pissing off future customers over what are effectively nickels and dimes to a large corporation.

    But with spam and web advertising this doesn't apply. Spammers creatively alter subject lines to get past filters. Now really, does this make sense? People who get annoyed by spam are filtering it out, so are they really going to be receptive to you getting around filters by adding a comma after each letter? Much web advertising is the same way. Trickery like preventing use of the Back button and popups that appear when you leave a site is *annoying*. This is doubly true for people with modems--the majority of surfers. Having your connection grind to a halt because some stupid Java application is popping up windows and grabbing images is the worst negatively publicity you can imagine.

    Okay, that's not true. Making modem users sit through animated ads before viewing a web page is even worse.
  • no coordination required.

  • by evanbd ( 210358 ) on Monday December 18, 2000 @08:00PM (#551446)
    I'll pay $25/yr for Slashdot if you'll turn off the ads. Make it an option. I pay that much for most magazines I get, and Slashdot is generally better. I hope the avertisers don't think my eyeballs are worth that much -- I've only clicked a couple of ThinkGeek ads in the last year, and have yet to buy from them. So turn off the ad, maybe add a few features, and charge me $25/yr. I'll pay, and won't even complain about the privacy problem -- and those that really care can just use a disposable credit card number. Anyone else willing to pay for your daily dose of slashdot? I want to see it as an *option* first; I'll also bet this crowd is more likely to pay than many. Show the world it can work. Maybe offer a $3 monthly also for new users, or whatever. Lemme know when I can send you my credit card number.
  • Well formed HTML - using HEIGHT and WIDTH properties to allow the rest of the page to load (of course, maybe they are already doing this, and it is just the ad server overload that is slowing the thing down?)...

    You are correct in your assessment though - I guess overall banner ads SUCK!

    Worldcom [worldcom.com] - Generation Duh!
  • More broadly, each of the companies I mentioned offered a service-for-a-fee model, found out that not enough people would pay for it, and switched to an advertising-based model. I think that is relevant, because it shows that they've found that an ad model is (or at least was at the time) more lucrative than a service-for-a-fee model.
    I'm going to make a guess here which is that you've completely misunderstood what I was asking for. Comparing the ad model to a subscription-only model makes sense if you think I'm advocating a subscription-only model. I am not. I am advocating a choice, whereby someone can pay to have adverts turned off.

    There is, to the best of my knowledge, no example of a company failing and having to switch to an ads-only model (or succeeding and not having to switch) that I know of.

    Would it be fair to characterise your understanding of what I originally wrote this way? If so, please reread it! Otherwise, please do explain why comparing a situation where a subscription-only company switches over to an ads-only model is relevent to understanding the potential success of an ads-or-subscription choice?

  • no matter what they do, they'll have to realize one fact.

    People put up with those annoying javascript popups because it gets them to compelling content. Pr0n.

    Until the other sites provide some equally compelling content, pushing annoyances like javascript popus on their users will only chase the users away.
  • by KMSelf ( 361 )

    I believe I may have seen something like this at MSNBC, a site which is notoriously hard to browse for users who've disabled cookies and blocked common ad sites such as Doubleclick. Recently I noticed that news URLs were being redirected through Doubleclick, apparently with an advertising payload attached (though this wasn't visible to me).

    The article speaks of an acceptance of advertisements on TV and radio by many. Speak for yourself -- I find broadcast media ads intrusive to the extreme, listening exclusively to NPR at home, and tolerating commercial radio only in short stretches while driving with my fingers dancing over the pre-sets. The analog another poster made to Bradbury's 451 is apt -- I find ubiquitous advertising to be annoying and offensive in the extreme -- I am not a 24/7/365 marketing opportunity, thakyouverymuch, and will take my business away from venues in which I'm treated as such (Safeway, you listening?).

    What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?

  • Except now ads will be actually part of the content, so it'll be a lot harder to filter them out...
    I expect this will soon be true for all media accessed through digital devices.

    Whenever consumers control programmable devices for displaying media, ads will get filtered. This is already happening with internet banner ads and the digital VCR's with 30 second fast forward buttons.

    The only way the advertisers can survive is to make the ads part of the content. Ads on TV and the web will disappear, but there will be constant product placement and explicit references to sponsors. TV shows will effectively be long advertisements for a variety of products, with witty dialog and plots added. News will be the same thing.

    Imagine: a "Friends" episode where they all agree to vote Democratic, except for some redneck loser in the coffee shop. A Simpsons episode where Lisa convinces Homer to drink Brand-X coffee "because the growers use ecologically sound practices - and it tastes better too!" Barney will start serving Bud instead of Fud. The CNN host will wear shirts with big GAP logos, and have a Folgers coffee mug on the desk. There will be Microsoft and Dell logos on the computer behind him. Web sites might end up being Flash only... and they will keep the format proprietary and protected by the DMCA so you can't reverse engineer it to filter the ads from the content.

    Oh yeah. What a great world that will be.

    Torrey Hoffman (Azog)
  • by Kenzo ( 202914 ) on Monday December 18, 2000 @07:05AM (#551466)
    Turn off Javascript
  • On the other hand, I haven't had much incentive to use proxies because I really don't find banner ads all that annoying. With this new scheme, I suspect that proxy use will skyrocket!

  • by johnburton ( 21870 ) <johnb@jbmail.com> on Monday December 18, 2000 @07:07AM (#551470) Homepage
    Just don't use those sites.

    I'm already much more likely to avoid sites that I know have large amounts of annoying advertising on them. This isn't a deliberate decision, just that those sites are not worth the effort.
    It will just make the sites less likely to be visited by the people they want to advertise to.
  • by john@iastate.edu ( 113202 ) on Monday December 18, 2000 @07:07AM (#551472) Homepage
    As in all things, the Porn industry leads the way. You'll find all of those in wide spread usage on porn sites.

  • www.pogo.com

  • A few issues comes to mind here. While I do agree that we should really consider what killing the banners does to sites like slashdot that are powered by advertising revenue, I have never been one to follow the herd when forced into a single option. I would be more then happy to support banner powered sites that I visit with the actual cash that the banner would provide if I had the option to. As it stands, I dont. Im told 'this is our revenue stream. Like it or dont visit' instead of being given the option to support them myself. This is a great application for some neat technologies that few people have been willing to adopt because of lack of need. I think it was ebucks [ebucks.com] or something, that many months ago was pushing internet money. I dont think they are seeing much use though because very few shops are using ebucks but still rely on checks or credit cards or whatever.

    So lets try this on for size

    Ad supported sites give me an option, I can use the free-to-me site plugged with banner ads and doubleclicks digital peeping tom software. The site remains free to me, albeit a little more obtrusive depending on the type of ads, and slashdot can still pay their OH.

    Or, I sign up for some digital cash site that I pay into every month. When I visit slashdot, Im treated to a bannerless page that debits my account the amount that would have been generated by the banner ads (BTW, those of you that are guessing at $.02 are being WAY optimistic, think tenths of pennies). Of course the security implications are there, but these are the same concerns that we have had for every online transaction. This would be a huge thing for companys like ecash, not because they would see usage, but because they would create mindshare. Digital money will go nowhere until it gets its own killer app. This just might be it. Jason www.cyborgworkshop.com ...and the geek shall inherit the earth...

  • Guess what guys...

    Being ad supported means having Ads!

    You can pay for net services by veiwing ads or you can pay for them out of your own wallet, but any net service that can't turn a profit is going to vanish.

  • So what if someone thought your post wasn't worth the high mod, get over it. Calling names at anyone who thinks differently just makes *you* look like a kid.

    Like I said it's a humor thing (i.e. Slashdot should cache mods for 30 minutes or something and then apply them) watching the social effect like that. I'm not karma whoring otherwise I wouldn't have posted my followup (which you replied to), however it's just fascinating!

  • Want to know the fastest way to sell me your product? Give me information about it
    To a degree this type of marketing already exists wihtout you realizing it -- and there's a risk of it existing to a much greater degree.

    Risk, you ask? Why yes, I answer. (okay, nobody asked, but I thought I'd expand anyway)

    Information and spin are just two sides of the same coin. Information is when you are empowered, spin is the same thing when the seller is empowered. Spin has much more appeal to sellers.

    In an effort to expand the power of spin, I expect an even greater insinuation of corporations into the media (and into each other). This is nothing new, of course, but I think it will come to reach new heights as the media becomes increasingly monopolized. Like the "news" magazine TV shows that have the "inside looks" at new movies. Like the Mindcraft study. Only more so. Everywhere.

    Of course, the skeptical few will still be able to figure it out. But while the masses are able to learn to ignore banner ads, spin is much harder to ignore because (when done well) you don't know it's there.

  • Re: DeCSS

    Not everyone wants to use it pirate DVD's

    Granted and I apologize if I conveyed that. I think it's more a thought process that some people have. It's like rolling paper : Lots of people use it for legitimate purposes, but that doesn't mean it isn't assumed that you're rolling a big joint.


  • This is exactly what I do (my list is pretty huge at this point)--and here's the code I wrote to return empty web pages. It's pretty simplistic, but it gets the job done:


    $PORT = 31337;

    use Socket;
    socket SOCKET, PF_INET, SOCK_STREAM, 6 or die "no socket: $!\n";
    bind SOCKET, sockaddr_in($PORT, inet_aton("")) or die "no bind: $!\n";
    listen SOCKET, 5;
    while (accept(CLIENT, SOCKET)) {
    $timeout = time()+2;
    $fd = "";
    vec($fd,fileno(CLIENT),1) = 1;
    1 while ((select(($x=$fd),undef,undef,1) != 1 || <CLIENT> !~ /^\s*$/)
    && time() < $timeout);
    select CLIENT;
    $| = 1;
    print "HTTP/1.0 200 Go away\015\012";
    print "Content-Type: text/html\015\012\015\012 ";
    close CLIENT;


  • You know when I was a bit younger I was a huge socialist. Here in Ontario I was a major fan of the NDP (a socialist party) and decried anything that "the man" did. I'm not saying that the perspective was juvenile, but rather that I'm not giving my perspective having grown up with the silver spoon because I most definitely didn't. (hehe...I have pictures of me having my bath in a big black barrell in my back yard when I was a kid)

    Having said that most proposed systems that people advocate couple their perfectly envisioned,hypothetical system versus capitalism with all of its warts and scabs. It should be obvious which is going to appear superior. If anyone brings up examples of applied socialism (BTW: Capitalistic greed is responsible for most of the technical advances that you're talking about) then they will immediately be decried by the socialists as poor examples that didn't work because XYZ and XYZ...but if the world followed THEIR example...

    It's a big world with nations all over the globe with varying systems and standards...yet where is the #1 area on the planet to live?

  • not viewing adverts is inconsiderate?? at least with TV I can choose to switch the channel when there's commercials, and there are rules governing those adverts. There is a maximum time for adverts on TV (I think 15 minutes for each hour), but I can still switch. on the web, I can't switch until the banner ads are gone, and their are no rules for those ads or the amount, but I can filter them. I don't force you to take down your ads, you don't force me to watch'em

  • After all, in other media, some analysts say, advertisements are routinely placed in the midst of programming, and for the most part consumers have come to accept the interruption.
    I listen to publicly-fund radio stations so I don't get ads. I bought cable so I can watch stuff with only a couple of breaks with 2 or 3 ads for other shows rather than 7 breaks of 10 ads for products I don't want, or services I don't need. I run an ad-filtering proxy (proxomitron). I do not "accept the interruption" that ads impose, in any media. I'm actively on the lookout for anything that will minimise my exposure to advertising.
  • There are a bunch of advertising killers for Linux. Some of them come as easy-to-install packages. Others are hackable scripts. Yet others are research projects and use various kinds of pattern recognition.

    Yes, none of them are as consumer oriented as the Windows product, but then Linux users aren't average consumers. That doesn't invalidate my original point.

    As for your suggestion that Windows applications are generally easier to install, that's pretty laughable. Windows installers require human interaction as a rule and perform very unpredictable changes to the system. RPM and other Linux package systems are much more efficient and easy to use.

  • You may not like advertising but if you're looking for someone else for info, entertain, or enlighten you then stick to the .edu domains (where you're still paying for it through taxes) or realize that people have to survive.
    The problem with advertisement is that it attempts to make the medium as inviable as advertiser-avoiders do. By becoming more and more obnoxious, they take value from the sites they advertise on. They attempt to reduce the pages to complete neutrality where they are as obnoxious and misleading as they are insightful and helpful. I blame advertising and attention-hoarding for most of the usability problems on the web. Users are constantly being directed, not being allowed to direct themselves.

    By avoiding ads, we're making the system inviable? So what? The system is not viable anyway. Advertising must always push the barrier between advertising and non-advertising, it must always encroach on real information, because people naturally (without even thinking of it) see advertising for what it mostly is: lies. Not always straight-out lies, but lies nonetheless. And so people filter it out. They will always filter it out, because the human mind is good at that. And so advertising is always on the edge of becoming useless. And so the advertisers push harder. This can only end in the destruction of the medium itself, or the destruction of the minds and will of the advertising victims. I'd rather see the medium destroyed.

    And I see no reason to apologize for that.

  • You never thought it would happen. But the answer to annoying pop-up windows and continually interrupting ads which switch you from page to page is Microsoft!

    Think about it. How many times have you opened a "Free Pr0n" link and had it spawn half a dozen other windows like "CmdrTaco Nude!" "Hemos getting nailed!" et al. only to have your system Blue Screen of Death with a Page Fault.

    Not even Joe Sixpack will stand for continual re-boots.

    Yes people, the future is here, better living and less commercialization through crappy software.

    "Microsoft: Where do you want to go today, Oh, I'm sorry, that page popped up two more windows and now I'm going to Page Fault. Enjoy our BSOD!"

  • Unfortunately, the rating system doesn't work as I intended it unless you have javascript turned on. I'd rather have the message there so lynx people know that there is a text only skin in existence. If you have javascript turned off in a browser that supports it, thems the breaks.
  • Perhaps it's just the accuracy of the response rates [for internet ad's] that's upsetting the advertisers. Unlike magazine ads or commercial television, they actually have an accurate indication of how many people showed an interest in response to the ad... And these numbers are very unpleasantly low, in their books.

    But, to be honest, I don't think I have ever bought anything as a result of a television or magazine advertisement in my life! I may have visited a store because of an advertised 'extreme sale' or somesuch, but only to browse and usually only to buy a loss-leader item and leave thereafter. [I am an extremely conscienctious consumer, dedicated to buying the best products at minimal cost.]

    man sig
  • Your argument that placing ads is bad for business is rendered null and void by you listing other companies who take this "bad" business route: NBC, A&E, etc, are not hurting because you don't like their ads, and the websites with ads won't either.


  • Don't people pay for cable TV too? And they have just as many ads as broadcast television, and just as stupid.

    That doesn't mean it's good. It only means that people can't do anything about it and are forced to put up with it.

    I don't deny you your right to watch ads if you want to. In fact, it's nice to be able to sift through ads -- when you want to -- to find something.

    But give me a Tivo. Or said differently, when people do have a choice not to watch ads, or a technological solution, they'll take it. Too bad Tivo's aren't so cheap as to be considered a common accessory to television. Wonder what will happen when technology makes it cheap enough to buy Tivo-type devices for, say $99?
  • So what happens when it is legislated that thou shalt not circumvent advertising?

    low-down, dirty, communist hackers.
  • This is going back to the early days of television, when the sponsor of a program had advertising included in the program.
  • I don't really disagree with most of your post, but I think we're talking about two different things. You're saying that banner ads are never going to work because the expectations are wrong (ie, not like magazine ads) and because they're poorly targeted. I'm talking about what will have to take place in order to get banner ads merely to the level of print ads, which can't be clicked at all (barring some demonic CueCat like device), and can only be targeted to general readership.

    However, I do disagree with your claim that ads don't work because the web is like a big phone book. Parts of the web are like a phone book - much of the rest is like a magazine, and ads in magazines seem to work just fine. My point wasn't that people will never respond to ads on the web, no matter how well targeted, polite, and well crafted they are. I suspect that people will respond to ads once they improve that far, although never to the "click-through" level advertisers seem to be looking for. And for even that gain, it'll be likely to take a new generation of display technology - and restraint on the part of advertisers - to get us there.

  • Works for me. However, don't complain when Andover realizes that they can afford some sort of bandwidth-intensive thing I haven't thought of for the paying customers, because the ads don't generate enough revenue for the non-payers to get so much of their precious bandwidth. It'll be a while, and by then maybe advertisers will have realised that slashdot-acceptable ads aren't worth much, so its a very real possibility.
  • P.S. Posting code in /. really sucks.

    I was just adjusting my user preferences (some AC has been acting up again), and I saw that you could adjust the posting preferences -- the format for your post. There was HTML Formatted, Plain Text, and "Code". (There were a few others, too.)

    I don't quite know what it does, perhaps you've already tried it. But I just wanted to point out that it does exist.

    BTW, I'm going to give the code a try. Thanks.

  • Instead of yelling at someone else to do it, why don't you take the time to do it yourself?

    Oh, you don't have the time either? Quit lecturing.

  • It costs money to keep up good web sites, especially dynamic sites like news sites. Either you are going to have payments per story, monthly subscriptions, or ads. The ads will get harder and harder to avoid. Redirects to ads served off a server near or the same as the content server are hard to block.
    Of course you can disable your browser. If you really hate graphical ads you can go to lynx and deal with text based ads. Do you really hate ads that much? If you watch TV or listen to the radio you are already dealing with ads. What makes the web different?
  • If it displeases the reader, and annoys them, they are less liely to use that site. Users like be more likely to stay at a site and come back to a site if it gives them a good experience. So I have a feeling that the first sites that do this will lose a lot of traffic to their competitors who dont do this and who have less intrusive adverts.

  • One idea better would to turn off those functions which do the popup windows for a given site.
    That way you can fine tune your preferances to a given site.
  • I agree that flipping text into banners or popups are a big lose. Instead, advertising networks should be moving into audio and video ads in streaming media. That's going to be the only (halfway) reasonable way to present in-context advertising.

    ...and eat up even MORE bandwidth that could be used for more productive things. I'm all for streaming audio/video - but not in ads. A/V on demand is a great concept - but I don't want to have to use up 2MB bandwidth to read 2k of text, because some company I'll never want to buy stuff from thinks their whizz-bang video clip will sucker me in - that's just ridiculous.

    I understand that these people need to be reimbursed - but I think micropayment is a MUCH better option than intrusive, high-bandwidth ads.

  • The answer to such nonsense is so obvious it's blinding: make the advertising relevant to the content.

    Yahoo does this to a degree, but not to the degree they need to. Every single ad has to be relevant to every single piece of content.

    I went to Yahoo and searched for "Eminem" and was rewarded with a banner ad for ink jet labels. Now see, that's wrong. About half of the searches I did turned up ads relevant to the content. That's good -- but not good enough. If I were in their shoes, and not beholden to the financial communities that they are surely beholden to, I would GIVE AWAY advertising until every single ad was relevant to the content. I find an asparagus wholesaler and give them ad space for searches for asparagus. It would increase the worth of the rest of Yahoo's ad space by more than double!

    Here on /. the ads are the one thing that is not editorially controlled, i.e., the Slashdot community has no say as to what ads appear up there. Now see, that's wrong. Sure we understand the reason for it, and since advertisers here probably desperately want to appeal to the /. community, /. ads are better than 99% of the ads out there. But we are here for the community, and since the ads are not a part of the community, there is a significant disconnect going on.

    Furthermore, interstitials and the like are part of the traditional media thinking -- again! -- that the web is like TV. Every single time they think like that, they fall flat on their faces.

    Lastly, the value of sponsorship has not been explored. In the olden days of the US, every mom and pop store had a sign that was half theirs, half Coca-cola's. Fifty years later, those signs are almost all gone but they're still a cultural icon. Similarly, Nike should be spending a million bucks to sponsor kids' soccer league web sites. They could give away hosting space and the web tools needed to make such sites look good.

  • The three methods described are pop up windows, [...] "interstitials", and [...] "superstitials".

    In a related press release, AOL (NYSE:AOL) today announced that all customers who visited their astrology forums would be automatically signed up for the superstitials.

    BTW, a here's a better link [nytimes.com] to the article, without the annoying popup window ad.

  • And they think TV ads aren't ignored? Bah! I ignore them all the time, including the money begging on (formerly non-commercial) public TV. The big difference here is that TV has totally saturated the mass market, and regular use of the Internet is still done mostly by the more intellectual, who don't succumb to these ads.

    TV is also different in the sense that you intend to "participate" without any control. It's fed to you in time sequence, and a chance to take a bathroom break, or grab another cold one, is appreciated. The web lets you do those things any time you want. A banner and a couple boxes here and there don't bother anyone as they are easy to ignore. Popups will be bad, but only until everyone figures out how to prevent them (it won't be all that long, either).

    Maybe it's time for sales people to realize they have to be kindler and gentler, or else it's just not going to work out for them. We will prevail.

  • The reason people mind having pop ups and other interactive stuff happen while they are browsing and interrupt their activities, but don't bat an eye when it happens on the radio or television is because a radio or television is not capable of doing anything but blindly pouring forth some streamed content from elsewhere. On the other hand, a computer is an active piece of hardware. It is in essence running a program that is basicly hostile to the individual user, even if for economic reasons it's necesary. Even users who don't understand at the technology level seem to have an instinctive grasp of the idea that the advertisement is _taking control away_ from the user, very much against the whole philosophy of the personal computer movement. Some program, set up by some nameless entity at the other end of a communication line, with some obvious ulterior motive is taking control of the user's own PC, which they payed damn good money for so they would have control of their own machine. How does that sit with the individual?
    I think that the way to handle this is just the way it's handled in print... Have you ever picked up a copy of the New York Times Magazine, the glossy insert they have on sundays, right? Okay, if you go look for the cover story which is usually about 10-12 pages long... Instead of being in one 12 page block, it's spread out in 1 or two page blocks, interspersed with the high-paying glossy two-page-spread ads for cars and expensive designer clothes, etc... If you want to follow the cover story from page to page, you have to thumb through multiple pages of ads, and to keep you from seeking to the correct page, the pages with ads are not numbered...
    Some sites already do this, they will have an article split up into several pages of html with larger than banner ads in between sections of text, and it works fine. It's just like reading a magazine. Anything more intrusive or active than what's done in print will perminantly scare off users.
  • In the article a Michael Tchong is quoted:

    "Rudely interrupted? Hey, we do that with radio, we do that with any serially served medium...It's accepted in other media because they grew up with it"

    That's as may be for other media, especially where the technology involved is an on button and a volume control. But we haven't "grown up with it" on the web. In fact, advertising is generally so un-intrusive that it's ignored by most people. There are a number of usability and technical issues to be dealt with before intersitals become popular, let alone the standard method of advertising on the internet.

    In the end it will come down to whether that kind of advertising becomes "accepted practice" like banner ads did. Some sites will try it, but unless big traffic sites (and I'm basically talking Yahoo and AOL here) start using them, so-called intersital advertising won't work.

  • If sites start putting in full ads before and after content, it should be pointed out that we're paying for the download of the ads. Might be fine if your on an unmetered system, but this still imposes an extra cost to the users.
    If they're going to try to use the TV metaphor here, then it should be pointed out that technically TV is free (just raise an antenna to get a signal), were as this strikes me more of the junk fax type thing.
  • by Auckerman ( 223266 ) on Monday December 18, 2000 @07:38AM (#551585)
    Here are some for Unix [junkbusters.com] based Operating Systems. Here is one for Macintosh [falken.net] that still runs in OS 9.
  • Hopefully I'm right, because I can't see how web users will accept advertizing if it becomes so obtrusive as replacing content or a forced popup on page exit.

    Sure advertizers may entice web sites to try these types of approaches if they pay enough, but I think the result will be people staying away in droves. There's enough choice of information sources on the web, that no-one has the monopoly power to force users to put up with crappy ad-laden web sites.
  • I use this at work, but IE needs the ability to add additional zones.

    I use Trusted for things like Slashdot, local sites from work, and other sites I need. If it doesn't match this, it falls into the Unknown zone which I have it prompt me for any JS/ActiveX stuff. That includes sites like CNN, NYT, etc... and that gets annoying when you read a lot of consecutive content on these sites, as you're prompted each time. I want the ability to add another zone, maybe "Untrusted" which I can add these sites to, and disable JS and stuff. Thus, sites that I visit often but don't want JS ever, it's an easy fix, while any new sites that I might encounter would get prompted.

    But to the problem at hand, disabling JS will only turn off pop-up windows. Interstitials are easily done with standard HTTP commands, and from the description, superstitials are done by standard HTML as well using a trick done by some online comic sites: have calls to all the graphics for the 'next' page at the bottom of the page, but force the size to 1x1. Then, when you click on a URL going out of the site, you go first to the ad page, which then loads all the graphics from cache. Only if you want to catch ANY way of leaving the page (eg 'back') will disabling JS defeat this.

  • The reason ads get ignored is they don't sell the things I am looking for. I don't give an ounce of care about iwon.com or pets.com or insert branding campaign here.

    The other reason ads get ignored is because they are one of a dozen on a website. To kiss a little Slashdot ass here, at least their one banner ad per page pertains to the content and is the only one. I will never ever begrudge someone from making an honest living and support ads on websites so long as the website isn't one big billboard.

    Why don't people click on banner ads? Because they have come to a website for the content and aren't interested in being sidetracked to a different site. If they are just surfing around, they might click on a banner ad but that also signifies they really aren't interested in making a purchase.

    When I am shopping on the internet, I already know the sites I am comfortable buying from. Ads are more about awareness which is almost impossible to calculate the efficiency of. Just because I didn't click on the banner ad doesn't mean it didn't have an impact on me. When I started to explore tools for a professional content site, I recalled a banner ad for eGrail as seen here on Slashdot. I didn't originally click on the banner ad but only know about it because of the banner ad.

    The same goes for many other banner ads I have seen.

    Know, with that being said, I guarantee any website that superimposes ads on content or forces the surfer to click through the ad space to get to the content will suffer a dramatic decrease in traffic. Even if the content is golden, anything that complicates the now very simple process of getting that content now, will deter visitors.

    The web is not TV. It is not a medium that gets fed to the people. Although it could be forced into that mold, it would be cutting off a significant portion of its potential. Because of that potential we must explore more passive ad placement, not more annoying ad placement.

  • You say, 'sure, people can just turn off their audio', but finally audio feedback is important from a computer so you can't turn it off without missing something.

    Whoa?? You mean all this time I've been missing content from ad-filled webpages?? No wonder I find no interest in returning to those sites! My /dev/audio is constantly playing Sibelius' symphonies -- you mean I might actually have been missing some audio adverts? God forbid that I use my soundcard for anything other than what the webmaster intended!!

  • It can filter out Javascript cued on opening/closing windows, remove pop-ups entirely, and reclaim space which would have been used by banner ads.

    Actually, squid can do some (all?) of these things. My former company used to use a squid proxy, and they'd configured it to automatically remove popups from a number of well known annoying sites (Tripod, GeoCities, etc.)

  • Aw, c'mon guy's...pop up windows are the best platform-independent version of 'whack a mole' out there. I've gotten good at nailing them before the script can execute the next window pop.
  • Not only do they not realize that we have more control over the web, but do to technology we are gaining more control over Television also (you can almost hear the media cartels blanching).

    Right now I will often video tape something, and do work, or play on the computer, just so I can zip through the comercials later, instead of being held captive by them. Alternatively I usually get a few pages read in whatever book I am reading, or I practice my flute, on the comercial breaks instead of watching them.

    If I get a Tivo (which I have been concidering more and more each day), then I will only need to set it to pause for lets say ten minutes, and then watch it in a 'tape delayed' fasion where I can fast forward through the advertisements.

    Right now TV advertisements have been getting more anoying and stupider with each passing year. The exceptions are usually sharp and funny, or at least considerable. How many people thought the Amazon.Com Acapella ad was cute the first time, but thats it? Now, how many would tune in the Snickers 'voting booth' ad that was a dead-on satire of both candidates and kept me laughing as much as Comedy Central's "InDecission 2000" election coverage?
  • by Bazman ( 4849 ) on Monday December 18, 2000 @07:42AM (#551608) Journal
    We're there already. But its not even a few lines of a song that people are singing.

    Its... "Wazzzzzzzzzzzzuuuuuuuuuup?"

  • by Lion-O ( 81320 ) on Monday December 18, 2000 @07:42AM (#551610)
    Nice story but this won't work. And this isn't speculating, its a mere fact. Dunno about the States but some time ago (I think last year) some company tried to oppose the monopoly of our phone company and offered cheaper phone rates but... Every 2 min. the conversation would be broken in order for no longer then 30 secs. of advertisment.

    These people believed that, due to the few available options, they would gain some marketshare. Well.. The truth is that people seem to dislike ads. and this whole concept turned out to be a failure. Remember; here we are only talking 2 parties; one big (expensive) monopoly and one (cheap) firm who finances a lot with ads.

    The Internet is a totally different story. When I go to Google [google.org] and search for something chances are that I get a "zillion" results (esp. with the more popular items which will function as a magnet for ads). In other words; much more competition. If one site would start this webspam and another won't then I think I know the outcome. So its either all or nothing, and I truly do not see that happening. Unless they completely band together but... on the Internet? I don't think so Tim ;-)

  • I would gladly pay 2 cents to read the article immediately via an efficient micropayment system. However, I will not waste 2 to 5 minutes signing up to read the article for free. My time is more valuable than that.
  • ... it's going to get really hard to ignore ads on the web soon.

    And really easy to stop visiting web sites that use obnoxious techniques for displaying ads. Once visitation metrics start plummeting, the ads causing this change in behavior will disappear.

    Why is the web different from radio or TV in this respect? Because audience behavior is so easily quantified.

  • Either that or they'll lobby for laws that make circumvention of adverts illegal...

    At least here in the good ol' United (Corporate) States of America...where the almighty dollar buys anything - even laws.

    (No...I'm not bitter or anything ;P )
  • by Genom ( 3868 ) on Monday December 18, 2000 @08:06AM (#551616)
    I think you're missing the point - which is that anythig that is a barrier to content, makes it more likely that said content won't be seen.

    Content is what keeps people coming back. It's what's made the 'Net so popular, and what has kept it going. It's what the 'Net was made to convey.

    Now - if you start sucking up bandwidth and time with super-obtrusive ads that can't be ignored - not only will bandwidth usage skyrocket (inflating 'net access costs along the way) but people WILL NOT feel obligated to buy your product. They'll be pissed that it took them another 1-5 minutes (depending on connection type) to access what they wanted to see.

    People keep saying that it's "just like TV" to do this - I hate to bust bubbles, but it isn't -- I can turn on the TV at 8:00 - watch until 8:10 - turn off the TV for 3.5 minutes (7 30 second ads) - turn it back on, and watch till 8:20 - lather, rinse, repeat - and avoid 90% of the ads (I realize that this isn't an EXACT schedule - I'm just using it as an example).

    I could also flip the channels as soon as an ad comes on, and watch something else for a couple of minutes (that's how we originally found Iron Chef ;) ) - and again, I've avoided the ads.

    What they're proposing for 'net ads are COMPLETELY different - they subvert focus from your browser window (in the case of popups) [TV analogy: I turn to Food Network, the TV goes to Ad Channel 4 instead, until I change the channel a SECOND time], keep you from closing your browser (in the case of on-exit scripts) [TV analogy: I turn my TV off, but it instead changes to Ad Channel 2 - I again try to turn it off, and it instead changes to Ad Channel 5, ad nauseum], or worse, force you to view the ad before seeing the content (in the case of "interstitials") [TV analogy: I turn my TV to the SciFi channel, and it instead turns to Ad Channel 8 for 2 minutes, then changes to my desired channel].

    The more barriers there are to the content, the more people who will simply get fed up with it and go elsewhere. I'm one of those people. Companies who use these forms of ads won't get my eyeballs. They'll get my anger and resentment.

    Of course, I can't simply bash the concept without offering an alternative. Micropayment CAN work - they just have to figure out a way to do it right. People wouldn't mind paying a TINY payment to download their mp3s or read commercial news articles.

    I won't lie - Free (speech) sites would always come first - but I definitely wouldn't mind a small payment for decent content.
  • iCab [www.icab.de] has filtering built into the browser. It can filter images baed on size, url, server, etc. It can filter ECMAscript (Javascript) on a site-by-site basis, and for each site can subfilter to disallow things like popups while allowing other things to occur.

  • adds a whole new meaning to the phrase ad nausium...
  • by lizrd ( 69275 ) <adamNO@SPAMbump.us> on Monday December 18, 2000 @08:07AM (#551619) Homepage
    But how would you advertise them?

    I'm not quite sure about that but I'm sure that someone will come up with a way to make a free, ad-based ad blocking service. Afterall this is the new economy, you don't have to make any sense to get funding.

  • From the article:

    [...] said Peter Petrusky, the director of new media at PricewaterhouseCoopers. But with some of these new ad formats, he said, "There's a level of intrusiveness that advertisers and publishers are going to have to manage."

    Spoken like a true marketing type. How about the level of intrusiveness as it relates to the marketees? Marketing as it exists today is like feeding a city's population by dropping 1,000,000 lbs. of food all over their houses. The smart marketers of the future that actually want to make money will find a way to help them to the grocery store.

  • Advertising is very tricky stuff, and it's easy to let the technicals get in the way of the underlying principles. The purpose of advertising is to help a business (or other interest) reach their intended market with information on why their goods or services will be of value to members of that market. For this to be effective, you have to:

    1. advertise where your market is
    2. advertise in a fashion which will get their attention
    3. be more likely to turn them toward your product/service than away from your product or service
    4. (hopefully) provide them with sufficient information to make an informed decision about your product or service

    Targeting an ad can be very difficult, and sometimes the placement of the ad can not only destroy the positive value of the ad -- it can make it negative. Examples that come to mind of unwise placements include beer commercials in the middle of a Mormon Christmas Special (not to say that non-Mormons wouldn't be watching it, but, still, you're hitting a market that's largely uninterested in your product -- a football game would be better), or ads for feminine hygiene products during the Super Bowl (which has happened).

    Different media have a different nature when used for advertising. Print media have the options of display ads distributed through the content of the magazine or newspaper, or classified ads that are less expensive, more dense, and easier to search if you're seeking a specific kind of product or service, all of which are easily ignored by a determined reader, yet which can be very effective at putting the information you need in the hands of your potential market. Radio and TV ads replace the content of the station which are broadcasting them, providing a higher chance of attention to a given ad than in print, but facing hard limits on how much advertising can be done on a specific station.

    The web is a different kind of place. It is inherently non-linear and unorganized (although it can be linearized in places, and is also organizable to some degree). Advertising models based in print have proven more applicable than radio/tv ads, because the web remains inherently a text/document based medium (albeit hypertext). Trying to ignore that nature isn't likely to prove all that effective -- in part, because of the technical work arounds which would inevitably pop up, and which are already being discussed around here.

    I think it'd be helpful if web advertisers reviewed exactly what they're trying to accomplish in their advertising, and get more realistic about what is likely to happen. Putting an ad on a popular site isn't necessarily going to result in a boatload of hits from people in your potential market. And hits don't always turn into sales by any kind of linear relationship (where more hits means necessarily more sales). Ultimately, you have to view each advertisement as an opportunity, and you'll have to have a way to determine whether the cost of that opportunity is justified by its yeild or not. Very basic stuff, but it seems to be missing in the "put up an ad and get rich" expectations people are having.

    The web is not inherently about business or business opportunities. It's about sharing information, some of which will be about business and products and services, and it's based in the idea of freedom for the web user. When people find that they can't get what they want on the web without having to go through advertising they don't wish to see, they will stop coming, and the value of the web will diminish. This is a goose laying golden eggs, friends -- let's please not kill it.

  • by crovira ( 10242 ) on Monday December 18, 2000 @07:48AM (#551645) Homepage
    No group in the history of mankind, (NOT the Wrestler,) has been as annoying, ineffective and as perversely pernicious as advertisers.

    Their most effective techniques come from "The Triumph of Will" and other Nazi propaganda films by Lenni Rifenstahl. Those didn't sell anything, they grabbed you by your emotions and wrung your brain out until you'd swallow anything, including justification for euthenasia and genocide.

    We REALLY have to improve search engines until their effectiveness can be demonstrated to be better than the noisy dross people are trying to full up our screens with. If the search engines are so desperate for revenue, and they are, why don't they try micro-payment adn set up an indexing service which would review pages and categorize them. I'd pay a nickel a search for the information I want and NOT what somebody wants to shove into my eyeballs.

    The Web is a terrible place to advertise but until you can show something more effective, you're going to have these morons selling inappropriate use of the 'net and the web to other morons who are just reiterating their desperate efforts to perperuate themselves. (And annoying the crap out us all. in the process)

    I stopped watching TV two years ago because I just couldn't be bothered to sit through 18 minutes of ads to be subjected to 42 minutes of product placement masquarading as content every hour.

    I don't visit sites that carry advertising beyond my tolerance level. I no longer go to AltaVista, AskJeeves and several other sites because they're just junk, noise and dross.
  • by bughunter ( 10093 ) <bughunter AT earthlink DOT net> on Monday December 18, 2000 @07:49AM (#551652) Journal
    Another point to consider:

    The story mentions a 12% clickthru rate on the TacoBell interstitial that ran for a while last year on some site or another. The story also mentions that Unicast requires a "close" button on every interstitial. Now imagine if you could "close" commercials and move right on to the remainder of your programming. Would you watch any commercials?

    I daresay that their 12% clickthru rate will drop to 0.12% with the combination of proxies and user intervention. Web users are not TV-watching couch potatoes, as they become experienced, they become more interactive, not less. And the more advertising interferes with their browsing, the more they will "interact" by finding a way to filter the annoyance.

    Heck, the remote control proved that was even true with couch potatoes. Advertizers had to force TV stations to synchronise their commercial breaks in order to guarantee revenue for the slots. And now there's Tivo...

    As information technology improves, there's going to come a point where the user has enough control to avoid the advertising he or she doesn't want to see. The only advertising a user will see is that which he or she has subscribed to. Therefore, advertisers would be smart if they started now figuring out how to make advertising that we want to see, instead of forcing interruptions upon us. You'll know we're there when an advertiser sues for the right to force their message upon some audience or another...

  • by Mr. Slippery ( 47854 ) <tmsNO@SPAMinfamous.net> on Monday December 18, 2000 @08:18AM (#551669) Homepage
    There seems to be a slashdot mentality that all advertising is inherently wrong, and it is moral to take any steps to nullify any advertising that you may see.
    It's not a /. mentality, but it's one I'd agree with. Gotta go with the late lamented Bill Hicks [billhicks.com] on this one [utexas.edu]:

    By the way if anyone here is in advertising or marketing... kill yourself.

    No, no, no it's just a little thought. I'm just trying to plant seeds. Maybe one day, they'll take root - I don't know. You try, you do what you can.

    Kill yourself.

    Seriously though, if you are, do.

    Aaah, no really, there's no rationalisation for what you do and you are Satan's little helpers.

    Okay - kill yourself - seriously. You are the ruiner of all things good, seriously. No this is not a joke, you're going, "there's going to be a joke coming," there's no fucking joke coming.

    You are Satan's spawn filling the world with bile and garbage. You are fucked and you are fucking us. Kill yourself. It's the only way to save your fucking soul, kill yourself.

    Planting seeds. I know all the marketing people are going, "he's doing a joke... there's no joke here whatsoever. Suck a tail-pipe, fucking hang yourself, borrow a gun from a Yank friend - I don't care how you do it. Rid the world of your evil fucking makinations. Machi... Whatever, you know what I mean.

    I know what all the marketing people are thinking right now too,

    "Oh, you know what Bill's doing, he's going for that anti-marketing dollar. That's a good market, he's very smart."

    Oh man, I am not doing that. You fucking evil scumbags!

    "Ooh, you know what Bill's doing now, he's going for the righteous indignation dollar. That's a big dollar. A lot of people are feeling that indignation. We've done research - huge market. He's doing a good thing."

    Godammit, I'm not doing that, you scum-bags!

    Quit putting a godamm dollar sign on every fucking thing on this planet!

    "Ooh, the anger dollar. Huge. Huge in times of recession. Giant market, Bill's very bright to do that."

    God, I'm just caught in a fucking web.

    "Ooh the trapped dollar, big dollar, huge dollar. Good market - look at our research. We see that many people feel trapped. If we play to that and then separate them into the trapped dollar..."

    How do you live like that? And I bet you sleep like fucking babies at night, don't you?"

    "What didya do today honey?"

    "Oh, we made ah, we made ah arsenic a childhood food now, goodnight." [snores] "Yeah we just said you know is your baby really too loud? You know," [snores] "Yeah, you know the mums will love it." [snores]

    Sleep like fucking children, don't ya, this is your world isn't it?

    Maybe 10% of advertizing is actualy useful and informative to customers...90% is all about psychological manipulation, using techniques no different than the propagandists of Stalin, Hitler, or a dozen third-world wannabes.
    I think that this is not correct. I think that advertising is fundamental to the way that the internet has grown during the previous few years
    I think you're making my argument for me. Bunch of greed-heads consuming bandwidth with shiny no-content sites designed to mesmerize the masses into continued consumption...never mind the psychological, social, or ecological costs, just keep those dollars moving. Feh.

    Tom Swiss | the infamous tms | http://www.infamous.net/

  • by infiniti99 ( 219973 ) <justin@affinix.com> on Monday December 18, 2000 @08:19AM (#551673) Homepage
    Are there any options in current web browsers that can disable things like "pop-ups" ? That shouldn't even be allowed. It's just not nice on your system. Maybe a Yes/No question? Now that we have some good open source browsers, we could always just hack it in if the developers never get around to it.

    [X] - Always ask before opening a popup

    "Question: This page is trying to open a new browser window, is this ok? [Yes,No,Always,Never]"

    Perhaps the "Always" and "Never" options would be on a per-domain basis.

    Just a thought.

  • I spoke with my employer about this a while back. He wanted to develop and market the technology to do the very thing described in this article. I told him it'd never fly, people would hate it, and I'd feel questionable about developing it. He said "It'll HAVE TO fly. Otherwise the Internet will collapse. There's not enough revenue in the current ad scheme.

    Possibly true. But the Internet grew up just fine w/o much commercial support. There are sites out there that exist w/o it, and would continue to exist w/o any prospect of commercial support. Despite the success it has brought and can bring many businesses, money is not the only motivation for putting stuff on the web.

    The point is lost on some people, but maybe that's OK. It seems likely that the non-commercial portion of the web will remain that way no matter what the current ad-fad is. Then the ad monstrosities can be avoided and people can start looking at real information and Twinkie experiments -- what the web is REALLY about!


  • by suwain_2 ( 260792 ) on Monday December 18, 2000 @08:22AM (#551694) Journal
    I got really ticked off with Netscape the other day, and I actually came up with a list of things I'd like to have in my next browser.

    • Mandatory Auto-forward delay: Many sites have a page that automatically forwards you elsewhere. This is all fine and dandy until you decide to hit "back" a few times. You go back, and are automatically re-forwarded. This annoys me unspeakably. (Yes, it is easy to "pull" on the Back button and get a drop-down list, but it's a pain to have to use the mouse.)
    • Right-click blocking: Occasionally a banner ad will really start to tick you off, especially if it keeps coming from the same domain or URL. I'd like to be able to right click on it and choose "Block this URL", or "Block this (sub)domain" Or maybe just "Don't load any image that is placed right here."
    • Right click: Advanced goto options: Occasionally you'll find someone who links to a non-existent page, such as an expired PHP/ASP page. I'd like to be able to right click and say "Go to this domain". Better yet, pop the complete URL up into the URL window, and allow the user to click on sections. Thus, for the URL http://www.whatever.domain.com/1/2/3/index.html, I could click on "/2", and everything before it would be selected. (This will save manually deleting characters.) It might sound dumb, but it can be unbelievably useful.
    • Stability:My ISP occasionally messes up their nameserver, and Netscape just locks up. My system load goes up to 100%, and I have to bring up a terminal and kill -9 it. I'd like it if it wouldn't get caught in an infinite loop so easily...
    • Firewall-like controls:I'd like to be able to tell Netscape/Mozilla to "block traffic from doubleclick.net", or whatever. I can do this if I mess with the firewall, but I'd rather leave it alone.
    • Ping/traceroute/nmap/whois/nslookup:I'm a curious person. When a host is slow, or when I'm particularly curious about where it is, I like to ping/traceroute it. I also like using register.com (whois lookups) to see who owns the domain (I've only recently discovered the UNIX "whois"). And I am simply *obsessed* with Netcraft's "What's that site running?" feature [netcraft.com], which will give you detailed info on a server's OS, IP Netblock owner, uptime... I belive it gets the OS through nmap, though I'm not too comfortable nmap'ing every site I go to... I'd just love a little window I can open that will get me all this information on anything.

      Sorry if I've rambled endlessly; the mention of preventing pop-ups reminded of the list I have here...

  • by scrytch ( 9198 ) <chuck@myrealbox.com> on Monday December 18, 2000 @07:56AM (#551699)
    How long will it take until Mozilla and other open-source browsers have automatic filtering built in?

    In the official source?

    Mozilla development is paid for by Netscape+AOL+Time/Warner

    Think about it.

  • I wrote the following [slashdot.org] on this. Basically said that the porn industry again leads the way.. You pay $30 or so a year (or even a month) for a block of web sites that subscribe to a given system. You could have themed setups, such as news organizations, geeky things (like slash, fresh meat, etc), general entetainment, etc. These organizations would compete for famed web sites, so web sites with a lot of fan fare would get to charge a lot of money for the access control providers, or cable blocks, whatever you want to call them. This undermines advertisements, but so does HBO nobody seems to fight them. A web site could still even have adds, but they just couldn't be obtrusive or real-estate stealing (as part of the agreement). Since this is something that would make web masters more happy than anyone else, I see it really only working as a consortium of web sites with tiered subscriptions. I'd gladly pay for garunteed uninterrupted slashdot viewing.. It already cuts deeply into my work time as it is.. If I had to spend an additional half hour on advertisements, there would be hell to pay (or worst case, the loss of my viewer ship). I suggested in my other article that advertisers should set up virtual malls with catchy themes such as the home shopping network (which actually seems more appropriate here). Things like price-watch work really well. Ironically, this could also be part of such a subscription service.. If people pay to use a shopping service, they'll be more likely to use it. There would be a consolidation of web sites, since those with high ratings would have more money, much like the TV industry. -Michael
  • by scotpurl ( 28825 ) on Monday December 18, 2000 @07:08AM (#551709)
    I hate pop-ups. I don't even look at what they are. If you can't have the navigation as part of the window, why bother?

    And while I'm on a rant, don't check what resolution I'm running at, then resize my browser. Maybe I don't want to run my browser maximized.

    Stop applying print and television metaphors to the web! It is a new medium. Break some ground! Do something interesting! Think out of your tiny little boxes! I don't want my browsing interrupted every three minutes for a one-minute advertisement, nor do I want only 21 minutes of content for every 30 minutes of air-time.
  • by Snowfox ( 34467 ) <(ten.xofwons) (ta) (xofwons)> on Monday December 18, 2000 @07:10AM (#551720) Homepage

    I like this product, and it's free for personal use, so I'll rant a minute:

    One of the best tools for removing web advertising is Webwasher [webwasher.com]. Unfortunately, it's a Windows-only program, however it can serve as a proxy server, so you can still serve your Linux box.

    Webwasher does some nice things which none of the 'nix tools yet do. It can filter out Javascript cued on opening/closing windows, remove pop-ups entirely, and reclaim space which would have been used by banner ads. It can even remove entire frames if it suspects that advertising was their only use. It also periodically updates its own block list if you allow it to.

    As a plus, if you have a bizarre Microsoft Proxy Server in your office that isn't configured in a Linux-friendly manner, this is an excellent way of helping yourself out.

  • by sachmet ( 10423 ) on Monday December 18, 2000 @07:10AM (#551724)
    like adult sites currently do, with popup windows if you try to leave one, etc? This could get ugly. And even then, ad proxies won't help all that much - you'll still have to go to, say, doubleclick's site to continue to the rest of the content. I was getting annoyed at Wired et al for putting articles on multiple pages... this doesn't bode well for those who try it first.

    That said, the biggest complaint that I have is that this invites dead links by the thousands to a web near you, as the ads get replaced and links to the rest of the content die. While we can't remove banner ads completely, destroying the ability to retrieve content is fundamentally against the spirit and character of the web.
  • by waldoj ( 8229 ) <waldo@jaquitMENCKENh.org minus author> on Monday December 18, 2000 @07:10AM (#551743) Homepage Journal
    That might be their prediction, but I don't see that happening from a content-provider's perspective. I know that on my sites (at least one of my sites gets 2M impressions/month, no small potatoes), I would never subject my users to that. Neither would Slashdot, Wired, Freshmeat, Salon, Macintouch, or any other sites in this vein, I daresay.

    The popularity of this format among some sites will not, I don't think, add up to web-wide interupptions. This is to say nothing of what I believe to be an inevitable consumer outcry; I know I'd refuse to sites that did any such thing. MSNBC.com pulled that on me once 2 years ago, and I (no kidding) haven't been back since.

  • by Jerf ( 17166 ) on Monday December 18, 2000 @07:11AM (#551748) Journal
    I'd like to write a patch for Mozilla that probably take me about 10 minutes to implement... but 10-20 hours to figure out how to implement correctly, which I don't have.

    Would somebody who knows Mozilla be interested in writing a patch that eliminates the window.onload and window.onclose events and whacking the window.open function? Yeah, it'll break a couple of pages... w00p. Ideally, it'd be a pref. For extra bonus points, only allow window.open when it's in a javascript link that I clicked on, since the rare site does actually use that.

    These simple measures would make the web a lot more pleasent to use.

    As an unrelated comment... does the web really have the "usability" reserves to pull stunts like this? A normal user might not actually close windows, but allow them to float to the back. How are 'normal' users going to feel when they wonder why their computer is so sluggish while browsing, so they close the browser, only to discover 40 windows frantically flashing advertising and "special offers" at them? How many people will be chased away by these policies?

    At least banners were more-or-less unobtrusive... of course, that's their main crime, isn't it? Not obtrusive enough. Sickening.

  • by Ergo2000 ( 203269 ) on Monday December 18, 2000 @08:34AM (#551782) Homepage

    While I don't like banner ads, popup ads, or even advertising on television or the radio, the people who provide the content that you rely on (for example I have no problem with the banner ad on Slashdot here. If I had some moral objection I simply WOULDN'T COME TO SLASHDOT. It would be moral theft to use Slashdot's hardware and programming without allowing them a chance at financial returns) have to make money (hell most of them are begging only to make enough to not go under next month...let alone the idea of profit). Even if it's Jim Bob running a moderately successful fanzine co-location or a high speed connection doesn't come for free, neither does the hardware that he's running it on, neither does the electricity that it's using, etc. You may not like advertising but if you're looking for someone else for info, entertain, or enlighten you then stick to the .edu domains (where you're still paying for it through taxes) or realize that people have to survive.

    It seems like an awful lot of people out there are of the mindset that they should be getting everything for nothing : The world owes them. Warez software while claiming that open source is the wave of the future, all the while giving pathetic excuses about how software companies make too much money anyways. Warez MP3z all the while talking about the evil music industry and how mainstream music sucks (What's that? Make your own music and provide it to the world for free? NO WAY MAN!). DeCSS DVD's while claiming that the evil movie empire makes crappy movies anyways (What's that? Make your own movies or actually watch independant "Free" movies? NO WAY MAN!).

    Capitalism is a funny and remarkable thing and it's very unfortunate that it is put into such a bad light (usually by ignorant youth who have neither the experience nor the wisdom to have the slightest idea what they're talking about, but they're looking for some anti-mainstream platform to try to differentiate themselves). Instead of chickens and wheat being traded back and forth we pass around dollars. You do something that I want : I pay you for it. I do something you want : You pay me for it. There is nothing evil about that system, and in fact it is remarkably fair and workable quite frequently. Advertisers sort of confused the situation by saying "We'll pay for the service you want hoping to get you to buy our service over our competitors". That's how NBC, ABC, CBS, etc. work. Advertisers are trying to apply the same fundamentals to the web but unfortunately technology is denying them the value that they are paying for (again they are paying for a service that YOU are using), so they're trying to change the model. Makes sense to me for the free world to continue to exist.

    Having said all that I really think a lot of the web will be reverting to a pay structure soon, and personally I'm looking forward to it. If I could pay a good, very high quality, good research technology paper $40 a year or whatever to have access to knowledgable articles that are up to date and frequently changed (there used to be lots of these but they're all finding that the advertiser supported model simply doesn't work on the web where there are so many cheats), I would do that in a minute. Of course a bunch of socialist, no-clue-what-they-talking about little fucks would undoubtably start ripping content and posting it somewhere else all the while talking about how the model doesn't work (which is akin to throwing firebombs into old age homes and saying that a non-police state just doesn't work). My company would pay $X a year to have corporate access to something like Deja news, or even something like Google. Again we realize that these things cost a lot of money to run, and they're providing us a great service, so if they need that model to survive then I would absolutely support them.

    Or at least that's my take no things. The irony is that like government services, it all costs you in the end. Advertisers have to recoup the cost in their products for the services that they paid for for you so it's all the same anyways. Alas.

  • by iElucidate ( 67873 ) on Monday December 18, 2000 @07:14AM (#551783) Homepage
    I want I want I want micropayments. I would gladly pay $0.02 to read the NYT article, if that is how much they are getting from an advertiser for showing those nasty giant banner ads on the sides. As it is it is easy to ignore banners, but that is no way to make money on the web. So the content providers obviously need money, I just hate the way they do it...Ah, well. Since most of us don't want to spend hundreds a month on web page viewing, ads will continue, I just with they weren't so evil. Salon.com gets it right -- they have a bunch of those stupid links in the story itself, eg "View these sites with SafeWeb" or "Backflip this page." I get the feeling that many more people will be turning off JavaScript now...
  • by heikkile ( 111814 ) on Monday December 18, 2000 @07:15AM (#551803) Homepage
    How long will it take until Mozilla and other open-source browsers have automatic filtering built in?

    I want at least
    A way to disable animations,
    A way to disable resizing, and
    A way to disable pop-up windows
    A way to disable any script when I exit the page

    All of this configurable in general, and specifically for each site!

  • by SirSlud ( 67381 ) on Monday December 18, 2000 @09:11AM (#551809) Homepage
    Very very simple point:

    Sites are kept alive by advertising. (slashdot included.)

    Advertisers will stop paying for banner ads.

    Advertising isn't going away.

    The suggestions made in this article may or may not work, but they miss the point:

    Advertisers have to find a way of making advertising /interesting/, and the advertising must offer value. A better model for advertising would be interactive-advertising whereby the advertiser offers a small service (sports scores to a cell phone, contest entries, etc) right from the banner (or whatever you want to call the advertising content space.)

    Anyhow, its not going away .. those people with 'content-for-free' demands are living in a dreamworld. We all work for companies, and our companies rely on advetising, in whatever form, to be able to print your paycheque, so you can browse the web in your spare time and check out sites that are kept in business by advertising ... etc, etc.

  • by MouseR ( 3264 ) on Monday December 18, 2000 @07:15AM (#551813) Homepage
    As in all things, the Porn industry leads the way. You'll find all of those in wide spread usage on porn sites.

    Yes, the porn industry makes ample use of wide spreads.

    Karma karma karma karma karmeleon: it comes and goes, it comes and goes.
  • by Todd Knarr ( 15451 ) on Monday December 18, 2000 @09:12AM (#551814) Homepage

    Not quite. The advertisers aren't trying to change the model, that's the problem. They're trying to change your behavior to force you into the old model they're used to. What they need to do is wise up and realize that people on the Web aren't looking for glitzy traditional advertisements, they're looking for information. Want to know the fastest way to sell me your product? Give me information about it, when I'm looking for that kind of product. Show me swimsuit-clad girls crawling all over a car when I'm looking for hard drives, I'm likely to file your company under 'clueless' and not do business with them. Show me the specs on your new hard drive, though, without making me wait through huge graphics and Flash animations, and you've likely just made a long-term customer out of me by demonstrating clue.

  • by nebby ( 11637 ) on Monday December 18, 2000 @08:38AM (#551815) Homepage
    I look through the forum here, and I can see a bunch of people who have obviously never run a professional website.

    This thing you call the Internet, while yes, originally came about because of hackers and geeks, thrives today not only because of them, but because of invested capital in companies based upon projected profits from advertising. This is the case with not just e-commerce sites but many sites that you probably use daily and take for granted that they exist.

    I'm so tired of people bitching about advertising on the internet. Yes, you can ignore it. You can turn off javascript, and outside banners, or whatever. That's fine and good, but it's also pretty damn inconsiderate when you realize that while it is an annoyance, it is what is driving the people (alot of the time) to keep the site running.

    I run a site [half-empty.org] that has a very promising future. I posted an article on k5 about it, and it was completely bashed because the site has banner ads. I was shocked at how naive everyone was about the magnitute of revenue ads generate and their purpose. Bandwidth isn't free. Hardware isn't free. My ad revenue doesn't even get mailed to me, it gets mailed to my provider since they're DONATING bandwidth since they have so much faith in my site and are LOSING money because of it.

    Once again, the geeks come out in droves and show me how spoiled they are. This Internet revolution is possible not only because of the software and design, but because of the money that's been dumped into it as well.
  • by Danse ( 1026 ) on Monday December 18, 2000 @08:38AM (#551817)

    The argument could be made that this kind of advertising is an unauthorized use of your computing resources.

    Until every site out there starts including a EULA stating that by entering their domain, you give your explicit permission for them to transmit and display ads in your browser. Blocking, or otherwise interfering with the transmission or display of such ads is illegal under the Digital Millenium Advertisers Revenue Protection Act, and is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000 per offense. Additionally, trafficking in programs designed to steal revenue from advertisers via blocking or otherwise interfering with the transmission or display of advertisements is illegal under section 12.4(b) of the DMARPA, and is punishable by up to 8 years in prison and fines of up to $75,000 per offense.

  • by mwalker ( 66677 ) on Monday December 18, 2000 @10:02AM (#551844) Homepage
    Has anyone wondered what will happen if ad-busting software becomes mainstream? Stuff like www.junkbusters.com [junkbusters.com]?

    Is it possible that we could see legislation that made "devices" that would disable web ads illegal? Like an EULA for a web page that specified that turning off ads constituted "circumvention", thereby making an ad proxy an "anti-circumvention device"?

    I haven't heard anything to this effect, but I'd sure love to know if anyone in the e-commerce business knows if steps are being taken to fight ad blocking software.

    Internet Explorer 5 for Windows will refuse to show many web pages if the banner ad's web site is redirected to localhost. Try it - set ad.doubleclick.net to on a window's box's hosts file, then try to load yahoo. you get a blank page.
  • by chompz ( 180011 ) on Monday December 18, 2000 @09:23AM (#551854)
    And if they want me to look at thier damn ads, I better be getting extra bandwidth provided by them for which to download these useless adds to my computer. Right now I push the hell outta my bandwidth. I turn off images in my browser to save bandwidth, why should an ad be there, I already pay to use the internet.
  • by FattMattP ( 86246 ) on Monday December 18, 2000 @11:08AM (#551862) Homepage
    I'd like to write a patch for Mozilla that probably take me about 10 minutes to implement...
    Well, here ya go: http://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=29346 [mozilla.org]

    It's marked help wanted so put your code where your mouth is and help us fix this issue.

  • by Phaid ( 938 ) on Monday December 18, 2000 @07:18AM (#551874) Homepage
    How long will it take AOL-TimeWarner to buy a Digital Millennium Advertising Revenue Protection Act to make filtering proxies illegal. After all, by using filtering proxies we're getting all this content without paying for it, denying hard working Shockwave artists of their hard-earned money...
  • by plover ( 150551 ) on Monday December 18, 2000 @07:18AM (#551879) Homepage Journal
    The Proxomitron [cjb.net] is far and away the best filtering proxy I've ever used so far. Easy configuration (for those of us who speak regexp, anyway), and a very very effective set of filters is included. You also can modify the filter set dynamically, and test before you accept.

    It kills: pop-ups, browser-resizing, web-bugs, cookies, and in general mucks around with the HTML just as much as you please.

    DISCLAIMER: I have no relationship to the Proxomitron other than that of a satisfied customer. It was even worth suffering through a Shonen Knife disc (don't ask.)


  • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) <qg@biodome.org> on Monday December 18, 2000 @07:19AM (#551888) Homepage Journal
    actually that's one of those truely unique ideas that you would think people would have thought of long ago. Believe it or not, most people still surf the web over *shudder* modems and if the NYT is any indication, it takes a while for the "second page" to load up. So why not shove an ad in there whilst it is loading? Because of the low atten... wow, shiny thing! .. span of Internet users there's no real reason to believe they won't click on the advertisement, especially if it has lots of motion and pretty pictures and swirly things and sound effects. Seriously, I don't think I've clicked on a banner this year. Maybe last year. Oh wait, I think there was one thing on Slashdot about 3d goggles but I didn't buy em.
  • by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Monday December 18, 2000 @07:19AM (#551890) Homepage Journal
    ...then any website that plays that trick and provides no way to let me get around them (say, by offering content for a small subscription) automatically loses my business.

    It's amazing how this "We must force all customers to receive advertising" bullshit is driving the industry. If Yahoo mail would give me POP3 access for a small fee, I'd pay the fee, but instead they force me to download spam. So I don't use it. So I also don't buy the much more valuable "own domain" feature they're offering at the moment. I don't want spam. I have money, I'm willing to pay for things. Why does nobody want my money?

    Friends, I'm rarely click on banners. You're wasting your bandwidth serving these things up to me. I don't want to install Windows just so I can use a "free" long distance phone service. I don't plan to buy an airticket with ridiculous terms and conditions from Priceline just so I can save $10. I read those adverts, I can't miss them, I just don't want what they're offering, and if I had the choice, even if I did want what they're offering, I still don't want my reading interrupted by adverts.

    If you prevent me from reading something until I've read an advert, you haven't forced me to read an advert I'd have otherwise missed, you've just pissed me off. And if any site, even those I love to death, from Yahoo to Slashdot, from Snopes to Salon, forces me to download crap in exchange for reading the content, I wont read the content. I'll ignore you, and your ads, and your advertisers. Katz et al may think that it's dreadfully "old economy" for people to pay for content, but some of us are quite happy to do just that, and unless you provide us by the means to do so in comfort and without wasting time on stuff we really don't want, you're not going to get my business.

    You wont get it like A&E doesn't get my business, because they think interupting my viewing every 10 minutes is ok. You wont get it like NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox rarely get my business, because you don't let me watch TV for reasonable periods of time without interruptions. You wont sell to me products and services I'd have otherwise been willing to pay for, because like Yahoo, you're not willing to let me and too interesting in PISSING ME OFF.

    You want to piss off the customer, you go right ahead. We'll take the first door out, and screw you and your advertising too.

  • by leshert ( 40509 ) on Monday December 18, 2000 @10:10AM (#551902) Homepage
    Katz et al may think that it's dreadfully "old economy" for people to pay for content, but some of us are quite happy to do just that.

    Aha-that word, "some". Are there enough of your to support a business? It's been tried, and I don't think it's ever worked to a great extent.

    ClariNet, Slate, and MSN have each learned this lesson. Slate was a pretty interesting case--they have more about it on their site [msn.com]. If you don't read it, notice this one line: "Ten to 15 people visit our free areas every month for each one paying subscriber."

    The Wall Street Journal still sells subscriptions, but they have a different target audience, plus their content already has a strong offline brand and therefore has ingrained value. You might argue that AOL has a content subscription model, but I think more people use AOL for the Internet access than for the AOL-only content.

    The fact remains that not enough people are willing to subscribe--they'll just surf to a "free" site with the same content, even if they do grumble about interstitials. Companies, therefore are taking the 80/20 approach--why waste resources on a small minority of people who object to the ads?

    On a bigger-picture note, has anyone seen or heard of a revenue model, other than ads, that would work for a slashdot-style web site? I don't think so, unfortunately.
  • by fmaxwell ( 249001 ) on Monday December 18, 2000 @11:14AM (#551905) Homepage Journal
    Both The Proxomitron and Webwasher are good examples of why open source Linux products are not the be-all, end-all of software. The authors of these products did not "copy the ideas developed by free Unix/Linux software" and I think that the author of The Proxomitron (for which he asks no money) would be justly offended by your unfounded Linux prima donna accusations.

    There are people that have work to do and cannot dick around and recompile every third app that they want to run. If I can do a purchase req. for Webwasher and run its auto-install, that saves my client hundreds of dollars over having me scavenge the web for an open-source Linux app that needs to be recompiled, manually installed, and then configured using some arcane series of command line invocations and spells. Yes, I know that there are exceptions, but, by and large, it's a lot less painful to install and run Windows apps (just ask id Software).

    Besides, I have yet to see you (or anyone else) recommend UNIX/Linux alternatives that are comparable in features, ease of use, and performance to the aforementioned Windows products.

    P.S. I run Caldera OpenLinux 2.4, BeOS 5.0, and FreeBSD 4.2 (in addition to Windows 98 and Windows Me) so don't even think of claiming that I am unaware of non-Windows OSs.

  • by mcelrath ( 8027 ) on Monday December 18, 2000 @11:28AM (#551935) Homepage
    Try FilterProxy [wisc.edu]...it does exactly what you describe, in perl.
  • by Verteiron ( 224042 ) on Monday December 18, 2000 @07:25AM (#551951) Homepage
    This reminds me of Fahreinheit 451. One of the attributes of the "future-is-hell" society is that advertising was everywhere and had gone beyond unavoidable to being the only real form of entertainment. Specifically I remember a scene in which Guy is riding on some kind of mass transit (I think it was a train, it's been a while) and a song for something called "Denton's" came on. Everyone on the train started singing it, and enjoying it, but it was just the same lines over and over and over again...

    The only careers you could make real money in were entertainment and advertising... But there was no different between them. This concept, frankly, terrifies me.
  • by sammy baby ( 14909 ) on Monday December 18, 2000 @07:27AM (#551976) Journal

    Way back before Wired's online presence [hotwired.com] got bought out by Lycos [lycos.com], they experimented with this format. The interstitial ads were everywhere on the site, but were perhaps most annoying when trying to get to their "Threads" discussions (long since gone). There was an overwhelmingly negative response. One friend of mine went as far as to inject ads for his own nascent web design company into his posts on their discussion groups, then crow, "Let's see how you like it!"

    The problem is that regardless of what streaming multimedia enthusiasts would have you believe, the web is most often used like a big phone book. Or a magazine. Sure, more often than not, the magazine is Hustler, but people are flipping through indexes (Yahoo, Google, Alta Vista, AskJeeves, MySimon) to find the content they really want (porn, home electronics, news, music). It's not like a TV where we expect a certain show to be on a certain channel at a certain time, which is exactly what makes television ads work. Banner ads are, in some sense, more appropriate than interstitial ones because they look more like magazine ads.

    The only reason magazine-style ads don't work in the online world is because display technology has such a long way to go. Think about the number, density, and (comperable) quality of the quarter or half page ads in the average color glossy monthly publication. Think about putting something like on a single web page, so that you could get ad and content on the screen simultaneously, without compromising the readability or navigability of either. It's enough to give a web designer fits.

    Ironically, it looks like Wired has gone back to interstitial ads on their Hotwired [hotwired.com] site. Pity. It's a long time since that site has been useful for anything (other than as a portal to Webmonkey [webmonkey.com], Wired [wired.com], or what appears to be their biggest advertiser [hp.com], but I remember when there was some pretty good political and social commentary on that site. Sigh.

  • by Raunchola ( 129755 ) on Monday December 18, 2000 @07:29AM (#551981)
    OK kids, let's review the latest strategies from the advertisers...

    Pop-up ads

    Maybe these advertisers should take a lesson from Geocities: pop-up ads don't work. Nobody likes to go to a page, only to have a window with some flashing ad banner pop up. My reaction: close them and move on. Nowadays, I have Ad Filter [adfilter.com] (DISCLAIMER: Windows only) on my machine, which keeps the ads away from me.

    Still, history has proven one thing: pop-ups simply don't work.

    Interstitials and the such

    Unless you're rich / at work or school / lucky, chances are, you're still stuck on a 56 K modem like the rest of us. Who wants to wait for some gigantic 2 MB Javascript ad to load, especially when you're putting along on a modem? It doesn't matter if it "quietly" loads in the background or not, it still sucks up the same amount of bandwidth. Not everybody has a cable modem or higher in their homes.


    Why do advertisers think that big-ass Javascript ads are the way to go? Sure, we all grew up with ads on TV and the radio, but until around 1994 - 1995, the Internet was still commercial free. Not all of us grew up on a banner-filled Internet...and some of us who did grow up in one still don't like it.

    PS: The channel [nytimes.com] link works. Neener.


Last yeer I kudn't spel Engineer. Now I are won.