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Yahoo Geographically Targeting Users 114

minna writes: "[The] SF Examiner reports that Yahoo! is now working on separating its content based on the location of its user. In a recent court case in France in which it was sentenced to block access to auctions of Nazi memorabilia for French Internet users, Yahoo! claimed this was impossible. Now in order to gain the rights to netcast the next Olympics, Yahoo says that while it's not 100% successful, it can essentially be done. There are already any number of services, for example that specialize on locating Internet users."
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Yahoo Geographically Targetting Users

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  • " address that begins with "24.92" is likely from a Time Warner cable system in the United States. Addresses starting with "161.23" are assigned to the London Hospital Medical College."

    What happens when a user accesses a proxy in another IP range?
  • now it happens all the time.

    So what, it was hard for Yahoo to do it, now they've figured out how.
  • One would think that it should be relatively easy to distinguish between countries. I'm not exactly sure how ISPs are discerned from one country to the next, but I'm sure something could be put in place to check where the person is from and direct them to where they need to be. Besides, isn't there already a couple of internationalized Yahoo pages?

    The COBOL Warrior
  • by generic-man ( 33649 ) on Monday January 08, 2001 @09:36AM (#523018) Homepage Journal
    When I'm at school, advertisers from many companies including Yahoo! see that I'm on a .edu domain, and send me ads for things like textbooks and music. Seeing that I'm 19, when I use Yahoo! chat rooms I'm constantly pitched ads for Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears web sites and merchandise. (Fortunately, they can be moved off-screen for want of Junkbuster.) Seeing that I'm from New York (and I've said so in my Yahoo! profile), I often see ads for local businesses or web sites.

    Targeted advertising isn't all bad, as long as it's targeted correctly. I, for one, am NOT interested in boy-bands or crappy fucked textbook companies [].
  • what about sites like which allow you to roam around without giving your IP away?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 08, 2001 @09:37AM (#523020)
    Hide posts based on geographics locations?

    I feel kind of guilty somedays talking about my big old luxury car, my big old house, my home computer network and my big breasted honey knowing there are UKians who can barely afford a 1.0 liter Festiva, living in a poorly heated 500 sf flat, and having to share a scrawny, emaciated girlfriend.

    Maybe we can hide those posts so the UKians don't realize what a socialist purgatory they live in.
  • now they might stop trying to sel me sun-block, and push those snow-shovels.


  • Digital Island can report things like the country code of the end-user with their TraceWare [] product. Apparently, info as specific as zip/area codes may be coming soon. Zowee.
  • I think perhaps that the point was that when the geographic targetting was a cost/liability, they claimed not to know how, but now that they stand to make a buck, a solution magically presents itself.

    I'll agree with you, though, that this isn't necessarily earth-shattering news.

    - B

  • Wasn't there a specification built into the way IP addresses worked (or maybe this is ipv6?) that allow you to roughly determine global positioning based on IP? Maybe my mind made it up. Anyone know? Heck, I think Mars had a class A assigned to it for a while, when we could waste IPs.
  • Again, they would lose that bit of tracking data.
    However, they probably think that is an acceptable loss
    Vote Vader in 2000! []
  • The socioinformatic ramifications of this kind of action are quite disturbing. Imagine this sort of thing taken the other way...dictatorial regimes refusing to let anyone from outside nations access anything but shiny, happy government propaganda; entire nations being blocked from seeing certain information because it's "not useful to them," or "they don't need to know." The problem is, who decides? Who gets to censor the Net based on regional ghettoization? Based on some of the more paranoid scenaria I can think of in my cute little delusion, I can hear the howls of outrage now. (How dare X nation block YCorp's e-commerce site! and so on.)

    Call me an extremist, call me a conspiracy theorist, call me a crank...

    ...but don't call me collect, unless you're "Knute" Kennedy from Cleveland.

  • This is all theory from my twisted mind, so don't automatically assume that this would work, but couldn't we defeat regional tracing, or tracking of any kind for that matter by having initial requests from clients be made through something that could be loosely termed a 'masquerading gateway ring'? I don't know if anyone already has a term for this, but the idea that I thought of while having a 101 Degrees Fahrenheit fever is that if a whole bunch of relatively high bandwidth computers, owned by the individuals who use the ring, have their masquerade and potentially TCP/IP stack rewritten so that instead of the owner's computer making a direct request it instead randomly picks an IP on the ring, sends the request, does NOT permanently log the request (and neither do any of the others, they only log for as long as is required for masq), to another computer on the ring, which decides at random whether or not to send the request itself or to forward it on to another random ring-member, and the final computer to decide to send the request sends it to the world, and waits for the answer which routes back through the forwarding computers until it reaches the original client. Basically, security through random hopping, none of the servers on the ring log to disk the directions to or from for the data, only in memory for the amount of time needed to perform the task, so no one can be permanently traced. Any node on the ring would not be able to tell if the computer it just talked to was the originator or not, and it would nullify things like regional targetting, traces, etc, so no one could do demographics.

    I don't know if it is possible, but I'd like to see something like this.

    "Titanic was 3hr and 17min long. They could have lost 3hr and 17min from that."
  • One of the great promises of the Internet was that it would form a global community, free from geographical boundries. Information was to flow freely from country to country without the permission of local governments.

    Unfortunately, the reality is that if you are doing business on the Internet, then that global presence you have created means that you are under the jurisdiction of all these other governments. Since it is possible to discriminate between users accessing data from one country or another, businesses can comply with these court orders and this means that information no longer travels over the Internet free of political boundries.

    This is not great, but it is better to discriminate against users in select countries then to self-censor and discriminate against the entire world.

  • Now they're going to ban Allied paraphernalia in neo-nazi neighborhoods?

  • by Rurik ( 113882 ) on Monday January 08, 2001 @09:45AM (#523030)
    besides the anonymous users, mobile users, and unresolveable IPs. But VisualRoute [] has been out for awhile, and has been able to trace a map across the world to find out where the IP is located. Works pretty well too.
  • It's gonna be more like 5,000 out of 10,000
    Isn't AOL really one big proxy? Sort of defeats geographic location.

  • I would think that there are enough engineers in the audience to remind us that nothing is impossible, just currently unfeasable. And while this maynot be perfect, and have some privacy drawbacks, it may also be a way in the future to avoid having local jurisdictions (e.g., France) stop "objectionable" material to the whole world.
  • no, just takes forever to load
  • it would be like users in China using proxies to get around their firewalls there. Yahoo said it isn't 100% possible but they are going to *try*. There is almost always a way around things. You just have to attempt to keep the majority out.
  • This would only stop people who have no interest in circumventing the restrictions. If you really don't want someone to know where your email is coming from, use a remailer intelligently. If you don't want someone to know where you are surfing from, use a service like the Anonymizer [] intelligently.

    I really don't see how you can regulate people from different geographic location when there is an abundance of ways to make it look like you're coming from somewhere else. XHost is a wonderful thing, be in France and run netscape off a machine with an American IP address. Damn that's hard.

    But then again, I don't really know what techniques are being used to determine where a person is located, but I am truly very sceptical about the prospect of geographic tenderred material being close to 100% effective. I just don't buy it.
  • The socioinformatic ramifications of this kind of action are quite disturbing. Imagine this sort of thing taken the other way...dictatorial regimes refusing to let anyone from outside nations access anything but shiny, happy government propaganda; entire nations being blocked from seeing certain information because it's "not useful to them," or "they don't need to know." The problem is, who decides?

    The american government decides all the time what information it's citizens get to see/not see in the media. Haven't you ever heard of censors? That is why nudity is not allowed on TV nor swearing on radio and why pornographic magazines cannot be sold withing 500 yards of a public school - porno and cigarettes.

    If a governemnt chooses to extend this power of censorship to the internet, why should we complain. Again, the US is already doing this with child porn; try downloading some and see how many FBI agents bust in your door the next day.

    Remember, it was DARPA and Al Gore that brought you the internet <grin>! Don't complain if they want to regulate it.


  • In my webserver logs, AOL users come thru any number of AOL proxies....

    Could be difficult to map those users back to a geographical area-->other than the fact that they are likely in the U.S. (America OnLine)
    Interested in the Colorado Lottery?
  • right, and all war-era movies should be burned on grounds that they contain some Nazi visuals, and that war museums should be closed, burned, blabla because a handful of bigot jew idiots say so ?
  • It's not that far behind. Of course, this goes back to the age old adage, "Who watches the watchers?"

    The theory you propose might be to some too extremist. However, it has come to be a socially acceptable way of controlling the masses in modern society, utilizing everything from public bookburnings, to jamming radio waves at territorial borders, to simply outlawing and prosecuting "offending" material.

    Vote Vader in 2000! []
  • ...because all users throughout Europe (UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Netherlands) access the Internet through a firewall in the UK. The internal networks all use 10.* addressing, so all web requests seem to come from the firewall address.
  • Extremist. Conspiracy Theorist. Crank.

    But really, I completely agree with you. However, people have always been the ones to advocate change. The US should not police the world, nor should we make other countries follow any type of standard we think that they should or shouldn't have. While the internet is a nice medium and all, if people demand more freedom, let 'em fight for it.

    And then let them give it away like we're doing here in the US.

  • Well, if it's possible to locate a user by IP, and IP resolve and IP tree tracking has been around for so long, then I don't see wherein the difficulty lies. ^_^;
  • try again...
    ALL international aol users requests go through AOL proxies in the US (randomly, of course)...
  • I'd imagine proxying screws the pooch on this one. While it's generally easy to find me at home (*, absolutely anything that I would do at work goes through the corporate firewall. It will be really annoying if Yahoo targets me with crap thinking I am in Oklahoma when I'm in New Hampshire.
  • by SmokeSerpent ( 106200 ) <> on Monday January 08, 2001 @09:53AM (#523045) Homepage

    Are the Olympics becoming the center of all things evil?

    Long the playground of the megamedia establishment, the Olympics represent the theft and repackaging of what should be in the public domain that is occuring in all aspects of society. During the past Olympics, internet coverage was not allowed in any real fashion for fear that it would cut into the "profits" of the old media fat cats, for the next Olympics we are now told that only by dividing the internet along national borders can a new media company enter the good graces of the IOC. Yes my friends, the Olympics are a way for all peoples of the world to come together in peaceful celebration of what is best in humanity. Unfortunately, what humans seem to be best at is greed, graft, and division.

  • So they don't want to lose critical information about their customers. So what? If they weren't doing this, with international coverage, how would they know whether a US user (who is more profitable) wants an item or an Iraq user with customs restrictions?

    I'm all for privacy as much as the next guy, but enough is enough. Yahoo is a company with profits to worry about, not a government, not a religious organization. If they want to collect demographic data they have every right to do so.

    (We, as consumers, don't go around saying "Give me a portal to search with in my browser. But, uh, don't tell me who it is. And make sure I have no idea if I visit it again. I want to "respect" their "privacy"".)

  • "...and my big breasted honey knowing there are..."

    Dude, what the hell are you doing here? If I were in your shoes I'd never touch *ahem* silicon again... I'd be too busy in extracurricular activites...

    "Titanic was 3hr and 17min long. They could have lost 3hr and 17min from that."
  • Mandatory GPS chips? What are you talking about? Most upcoming PDA's don't have GPS chips -- some have Bluetooth, but that only allows them to communicate with similar devices nearby. Bluetooth should work the same whether your devices are in the US, Singapore, Germany, on a ship in the middle of the Pacific, or wherever else your travels take you.

    I think your paranoia is directed towards cellular phones, whose calls to 911 can be rerouted based on various location-determining measures (usually based on the nearest tower). IMO this isn't a bad thing for 911, but I'd never get a cell phone if it were to constantly beam me ads for businesses as I walk by.
  • ...which means the black-helicopter types on /. will hate it.
  • Comment not viewable in your location.

    Where's my first amendment???

  • A few years ago, I remember Yahoo would target UCB's CS subdomains the week before they came on campus to interview. So, in limited contexts, they've done this for a long time.
  • This comes from the broadcast televion side of things. Especially when dealing with the IOC(International Olympic Committee). They make tons of money off of selling rights to people in certain locations. So they are trying to enforce those rights. Meaning They don't want people paying money for the rights in the US, and then streaming it to Canada over the net. It is all about money (isn't it always)
  • There was a previous story [] on Slashdot about the Sydney Olympics and how the IOC would not allow the events to be web cast. I remember something else too about the IOC trying to ban ALL internet webcasting of Olympic content for the next 10 years or so, but I could not dredge up links on that.

    Its amazing how fast they can perform an about face on this issue. Sadly, I would have thought that webcasting is the best solution to the Olympics. There are multiple sports at multiple times, and the sports that I like to watch are not always broadcast on TV, which sucks. (Whitewater Kayaking for example, I got to see *NONE* of it.)

    I always thought that the olympics were about Sports and competition, and that you should be able to watch the athletes or countries or sports that you like, and not be spoon-fed the "important" events by the major networks. I guess I was wrong.

    Maybe Yahoo broadcasting this will change things, but somehow I doubt it.

  • Not sure how this compares to what yahoo will use, but see if it knows where you are... []
  • Here's another company that does geographic identification without the use of cookies.. DigitalEnvoy []
  • Does the general rule of opting out apply?

    I can see how this would be useful, and possibly even a Good Thing for, say, my Mom. But, for me it's not, really. Perhaps I am "bi-coastal" or just travel a lot...Maybe I'm just a paranoid, pain-in-the-ass nerd...but, uh, of course I'm not...*shifty eyes*

    Seriously, though...Are they offering a way to get "generic" ads?

  • My address was forever in the 24.x.x.x range (on ATT cable)... now it's in the 64.x.x.x or 66.x.x.x range (i believe)... I had a power outage, so when it came back, my router grabbed a new IP address in a completely different range, for some odd reason...

    I'm guessing almost that IP lookups would be the best way to geographically locate users... because no matter what IP ATT gives me, i'm still
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The two boilerplate responses to this type of news are "They'll never be able to do it" and "So what? If I just set up an IP proxy spoof masquerade hosts file, I'll get right past whatever they set up." The first response is inevitably refuted by a halfassed yet reasonably effective technical solution. The second response does no good for the 99.9% of Net users who have an interest in a free Internet but have absolutely no idea how to perform X workaround. Geeks need to raise their voices against Net censorship--it IS possible, and just shutting our eyes and claiming that it isn't won't do any good for the freedom of the Internet.
  • It's called logging.

    I am sure that most log analyzers point out the well known Class B's such as Roadrunner by name, and it is probably a safe assumption that the most frequent hitters of their page are proxies, and further logic could be derived from the browser's default character set, e.g. EN/US.


  • Hmmm... wouldn't it be possible to implement some sort of geography masquerading protocol, to get around this? We already have IP masquerading, why not geography masquerading?

    Coneheads: "We are from France!"

  • It's not just you; I also get a blank page. I even enabled Javascript, and still got a blank page.

    Presumably, they have a Flash home page (I don't have a Flash plug-in, and don't want one). I don't object to web developers using Flash, but I do object to Flash being critical to content & navigation.

    Crispin Cowan, Ph.D.
    Chief Research Scientist, WireX Communications, Inc. []
    Immunix []: Free Hardened Linux Distribution

  • by ch-chuck ( 9622 ) on Monday January 08, 2001 @10:26AM (#523062) Homepage
    Can't our fellow (from US) freedom lovers in France access

    3426 items found for "nazi". Showing items 1 to 50.

    German nazi pilot observer badge
    German nazi assault badge nice
    German Nazi Button Hole Ribbons Hitler Youth

    So the French courts want $13 grand for each Yahoo! violation - that's like fining WalMart for selling cigarettes when you can go to any one of dozens of quickie marts and get the same damn thing. This is the very heart of injustice.
  • Actually, there are currently 14 AOL mega-proxies that serve all AOL content. It would probably be trivial for AOL to set up geographically distinct proxies, but I don't see it happening. It is to AOL's advantage that they be the only people who know where their surfers are, why would they give that info out for free?
  • No its not funny. Not at all.

    And for the record, I am American.

  • ... of a new discrimination. We already have sexual harassment, racial profiling, etcetera, etcetera... Do we REALLY need IP discrimination as well?
  • "They're not silicon, they're real..."

    silicon, as in a computer, not silicone, as in jelly to make breasts bigger...

    "Titanic was 3hr and 17min long. They could have lost 3hr and 17min from that."
  • (an anonymizer proxy).

    They have no idea where you're really from, when you use safeweb.

    63,000 bugs in the code, 63,000 bugs,
    ya get 1 whacked with a service pack,
  • I, for one, am NOT interested in boy-bands

    So you are interested in Britney Spears then. Mhh, naughty boy.

    Sorry, couldn't resist:-)
  • > So if you are a homeless black man you will generate different search results than a wealthy chinese doctor.

    And this is supposed to be a good thing how exactly? Maybe for Yahoo as a business, but certainly not for the customer. I want my search results to be consistent, and not depend on the location where I happen to be at the moment, or on what skin color Yahoo thinks I have. Targetting banner ads may be acceptable, but please leave the actual data alone. Oh, well, but then I use Google [] anyways.

  • Not only that. The IOC banned all weblogs also. The athletes were not allowed to publish text accounts of their experiences during the Olympics.

    And yes... you're wrong. The Olympics are not about sports and competition. You do not get to watch your chosen athletes nor your chosen sports. It's about advertising and the last time I checked, a spot during a major sporting event on television costs much more than a banner ad on a web site.

    [cynicism hat on]
    On television, the shows are not the product. We the viewers are the product that is being bought and sold.
    [cynicism hat off]

    Oh... and sports and competition... right... there is nothing sporting about sending the NBA to the Olympics. Sure, it wasn't really fair to compete against government funded athletes but so what? At least when you won, it meant something.


  • Geographic load balancing has been a feature around for a few years now, with ConnectControl and BigIP both (that I'm aware of) supporting this. Geographic content customization has also already been around for awhile.. Nothing new here, either way you look at it.
  • by djrogers ( 153854 ) on Monday January 08, 2001 @10:42AM (#523072)
    There was a great article in the latest Forbes about Yahoo!'s seemingly incomprehensible ability to turn a profit based solely on web advertising. What it boild down to is that Yahoo! can charge 10x - 20x what other portals can charge, because they can target their ads with great precision. Most of this ability comes from the 75 million users of Yahoo!'s various services that have volunteered information such as age, location, and interests. This will simply allow Yahoo to target those who haven't volunteered info, or bock cookies etc.

    The article is well worth a read anyway, they talk about such interesting concepts as predicting trends such as movie success (based on who's searching for info about it, the actors, etc.) apparently they've been quite accurate so far...
  • How is my original post a troll? God you people. When are you going to stand up and take notice not only to big corporations but THE MINDSET of SLASHDOT ITSELF?
  • I think perhaps that the point was that when the geographic targetting was a cost/liability, they claimed not to know how, but now that they stand to make a buck, a solution magically presents itself.

    I tend to disagree. They claim the solution is not good enough for liability charges, but good enough for targeted adverticing and netcasting of the olympics. I'd say that's pretty reasonable. Getting something right 90% of the time makes most adverticers happy, but surely doesn't make the courts happy. That's it!

  • I just hope they think twice. Not that Im a Yahoo user, but it would definitely kill diversity. Keeping folks happy just by showing them what theyre used to is not a good idea. Just look at what happened to kids in Germany. Not that Germans (as a whole) are gresat English speakers, but at least younger folks used to know some. Since MTV has put on a German version noone bothers to learn any English anymore. Why the heck should we bother ??? Its all presented in German anyway - why use that thing called brain (whereever may be located) when we can happily live without it. Of course, Yahoo and the likes arent going to do too much for peoples education anyway, but why deprive folks of at least a little bit of whats going on beyond their own little backyards...???
  • Don't click on the link. It's a nasty maze of pop-up windows. Yes, one of them even contains picture of 2 guys 69'ing, but the worst problem are the pop-ups.
  • Well, yeah, but none of the sites that Yahoo advertises have *quite* as much, um, "information" as I would like.
  • But it's so much fun! I met this girl online named "nypd_enforcement_unit_34" that sounded so sweet. She's 13 and she just loves older men. I can't wait to meet her.
  • Excellent point. The Olympics used to be noble. It was about athletes meeting without regard to nationality or political boundaries.

    Now, it's just corporate greed... that is... unless it's being used as a political tool.

  • Geographically they always ask for a zip code most places.This is geographically targeting,who cares if they know your zip codfe.Cookies can follow you to other sites,though windows seems to warn you at least.AAAAgain,most can be blocked and who cares.This gets close to invasion of privacy,also E Mails can easily be traced.Like any phone service,these net things are private,yet public domain.Now Insurance companies want to put tracers on your car,if you go to certain areas higher rates.I will avoid these companies.Yahoo is mild.
  • remove the Nazi stuff?

    &DELETE if ($stuff =~ /nazi/i);


  • Not to get to carried away on previous articles, but the reason Yahoo was fined, was because they have an office in France, AFAIK, Ebay does not.
  • MSN redirects you automatically to either the American or British one based on your IP. I'm in Northern Ireland, so if I try to reach, I am shown However, if I go in through an American proxy, I am able to see the American version of, with completely different news and stories.
    (I just know this'll be modded down for admitting that I've ever gone to
  • I'm interested in creating an open source project to locate the country of the user based on the IP address. One useful application would be to locate the nearest download mirror for a ftp site. If you are interested in this project, or know of a similar open-source project already under way, please email me.
  • There is (theoretically, at least), already the capability to do some of this stuff, as outlined in

    RFC1712-DNS Encoding of Geographical Location []
    RFC1876-A Means for Expressing Location Information in the Domain Name System []

  • It's just the /. mentality. (Fortunately, somebody modded you back up again. If I had mod points, I would have done it.) That was actually one of the only halfway well-reasoned posts I've ever seen here on one of the privacy articles. (I admit, I just read these things for the amusement of seeing the /. crowd make fools of themselves ... the extremist mindset of everyone here provides some quality entertainment.)

    I've even found that I get metamodded for knocking up any post with a tone that's tolerant to corporations or the government, or advocates MS in any way. Unfortunately, I haven't yet found a good place with a smaller proportion of close-minded wackos, so I stay here.

  • Assuming IP addresses truly represent the users they are coming from, that might be possible.

    However, since IP addresses are meaningless, with the various forms of tunnelling connections, this whole idea is dubious.

    Good luck solving the TSM problem too, Yahoo!
  • there is also a site called you type in a ip or url and tells you the contry.
  • I guess I can always contact my international friends to have them lookup whatever as a means to circumvent such restrictions... but what a chore. The 'free' community could band together in this way to fight back, right?
  • Only because that is the zip code that you happened to enter...
  • Yes, the Olympics have pretty clearly been completely corrupted, but they're hardly the only ones in that position. There's just too much money for athletics of all kinds for any sport claiming to be amateur to remain really clean. What's worse is that their amateur status winds up attracting the worst kind of profiteering, because it gives them an excuse not to pay the athletes and put more into their own pockets. The net result is that they often wind up much more corrupt than sports organizations that are willing to admit their profit motive. Another very good example of this is the NCAA.

  • (...) Yahoo! can charge 10x - 20x what other portals can charge, because they can target their ads with great precision.

    Believe you me, if my online business offered service in California, Nevada and Arizona, and I were to choose between

    • Pay $X for 50,000 views of my banner ad by users all over the world, or
    • Pay $2X for 10,000 views of my banner ad by users from those three states,

    the second option would win hands down. This was the great promise of the Internet, remember? Advertising would be targeted so narrowly that we users only get to see stuff that is interesting to us. If Yahoo can offer that and others can't, they win.

  • That's part of my idea []. Well at least for stories, but I suppose you could do the same for posts if you didn't mind the overhead of sorting on that criteria all the time. You'd have to assume that the users would enter the data, and enter it correctly.

  • and market realities shall catch up to the IOC and the Olympics.

    this year was the worst year of ratings that the Olympics have had yet.

    if it continues, most large media companies will not pay the millions and billions of dollars to gain the distribution rights to the Games. By not watching the Olympics, you are standing up for your rights and for what you believe in.

    Will ABC, NBC, etc. pay tons of money next year after such a disappointing year this year? Doubtful. Will the IOC have to deal with market realities like everyone else does? I'm sure they will.

    Don't like what the IOC is doing? Don't watch. Read about it the next day.
  • Targeted advertising isn't all bad, as long as it's targeted correctly.

    I agree. I'm glad that Opera 5 [] allows you to customize the ads sent to you, instead of invading your privacy in an attempt to deduce that information like DoubleClick does. I hate the thought that people I don't know are compiling statistics about me. It happens all the time, I know, but I still don't like it.

  • Yahoo's merely taking advantage of the the unjust ruling against them from the French government, to launch a new source of revenue.

    Revenues from banner ads are declining to all-time lows, with many dotcoms going bust. Yahoo's just trying to adjust with the times to find better targetting methods to increase pofits.

  • Step away from the keyboard a few hours a week buddy.
    And cut that hair! brush those teeth!
    You slimy toad limey coont!
    The heroin look is out dammit! This is America! be fat!
    Be happy!

    "I like big butts and I cannot lie!"
    -Sir mix-alot
  • What I find sad and ironic, is the enforcement that athletes wear clothing with sanctioned logos, or face disqualification from the olympics. Some of these athletes are from the very countries in which western and global corporations exploit the populace in sweatshops to make these goods.
  • And of course reasonable targeting of ads is a boon for the consumer, too. I can't speak for anyone else, but I'd be much happier if I only saw ads for things that I'm actually interested in, rather than a completely random selection. Well targeted advertizing is potentially useful, and is also more likely to be an attempt to inform instead of just capture my eyeballs. And don't forget that if Yahoo can charge a lot more per ad then they can make money while still cutting down on the total number of ads displayed and hence my bandwidth consumed and the visual blight on my page. Sounds like a (potentially) great thing to me.

  • What's so bad about this? I don't really care for the censorship angle, but on the plus site, this could do wonders for the internationalization & localization of web content. If a site as big & complex as Yahoo can tailor itself to local markets, then surely smaller sites can apply at least some of the same strategy.

    I know this already happens in limited form -- lots of sites have local editions, e.g.,, just to name three of the top of my head. But to go a step further and automagically give visitors the right version (presumably with a version to switch languages / locales, to catch the inevitable errors) would be a huge boost to bringing the web to the non-English speaking world.

    I know that there's a lot of talk about doing this sort of thing, but this would be the first largescale application of it that I'm aware of. I'd love to see this take off...

  • Are the Olympics becoming the center of all things evil?

    The Olympics have been the center of quite a lot of less-than-savoury human behaviour over the years. Aside from the Berlin Olympics (everybody knows the story of Jesse Owens. What doesn't get told is the story of the two Jewish runners removed from the US 400 metre relay team at the order of the IOC president to mollify Hitler. While the athletes may have not liked the Nazis, the officials were playing right along), there is the systematic doping systems of the East Germans of the 1970's, the corruption and greed of the IOC itself, the ludicrous "shamateur" status of most of the athletes over the years, and so on. Andrew Jennings' books on the Olympic movement, tabloid in style they may be, are most enlightening.

  • I didn't even watch them, aside from a brief section (I saw someone else watching a 400 meter dash, and since I do track, I watched briefly).

    Quite frankly, the Olympics used to enthrall me -- I can remember staring continuously into the TV at the Atlanta Olympics. But now the TV companies bicker and pay billions of dollars to air one or two events, none of which really interest me.

    The "Official whatever of the Olympic Games" thing has gone way too far, too. Wasn't IBM and Windows the official hardware/software combo of the Olympics, or something like that? If Nike was the official shoe or something, that I could understand. But official computer? WTF?

  • With the right programming, this would not be an issue. You could pick your desired starting and ending location. You could even tie it into some sort of DNS server, where information could be transported under the guise of DNS information... so that it could potentially get thru firewalls.
  • Also, don't forget about ARIN databases and other international databases to find out the general location.

    Each IP address is allocated to a certain ISP or individual, if you can find that IP from an ISP you generally have a good idea as to where they are logging in from.

    Personal IP blocks (for example, if I lease a T1 line and rent out a class C) also must have your address associated to them.

    The major problem with this solution (Which VisualRoute solves, I use it at work all the time to solve this) is that with companies like AOL and other megacorps most of their IP addresses are based in a central location (Virginia in this case) - and then you have to default to a traceroute via VisualRoute or something else.

  • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Monday January 08, 2001 @12:43PM (#523105)
    Yes I know you're a troll...

    But as a 'UKian' who visits the US on frequent extended trips let me state with certainty what a load of bollocks you're spouting.

  • It's based on language settings. I was formally a Brit on an H1 in the US. I'm now in Canada. I keep my machine localised to UK English, and a language setting in IE for en-gb. It's a pain in the arse going to look for airline tickets, etc, at the Expedia web-site. I have to change my languages settings... it seems to think I'm too stupid to differentiate between, and I want to shop in the country where I'm currently residing... and I don't want to keep changing my language settings (maybe I will once I've chosen somewhere to settle pemanently). Interestingly, the MSN website doesn't redirect me - unless I've confused them by creating a passport that claims I'm from Wallis and Futuna.
  • Can we access Nazi pages on ebay from Europe? Yes!

    When someone accesses a web page containing nazi memorabilia, or any page with containing a keyword from a list of questionable terms, we get a warning that the item may not be legal for sale in some countries. But only if the originating IP address is from a RIPE assigned range.

    That warning is sufficient to comply with French and German law. By providing a warning to a user, eBay has complied with the law. If a user were to continue with the sale or purchase of a banned item, it is now the user, not eBay, who has broken the law. If a European user were to go out of their way to use a U.S. based proxy, then they have taken a step to circumvent the law, thus indicating they are knowingly breaking the law. eBay and Yahoo do not have to catch 100% of all cases, they merely must make an effort to inform. That is all the French court ruled.

    Yahoo swore in court it was impossible to determine with any kind of accuracy at all how to determine the physical location of a person based on IP address. But they change their web banners based on IP address. Their local office sells banner space to French companies with the guarantee that the ads will be served to people in France, and not to an uninterested audience in another country. It was this fact alone that caused the French court to rule against them. Yahoo proudly markets their ability to determine user location based on IP addresses, they know every IP block allocated to French ISPs and businesses and universities, and they filter on that. But they lied to the court, and the court wasn't fooled and ruled against them.

    And as others have pointed out, but were mostly lost in the /. S/N ratio, this case was brought about by a French law student's organisation, not the government. The LICRA is just one of hundreds of similar orgs where law students are expected to volunteer their time bringing cases to court before they start work in a cabinet. Other groups attack environmental abusers, hunting, illegal construction, or other bleeding heart issues that only students could care about. Consider these groups to be the FSF of the law world, the students do this for free to earn a reputation for themselves before job hunting. The higher profile the case, the more known their names, and the more likely they are to get a job with the Transmeta of the French law industry.

    The LICRA has made a name for itself in tearing down the ultra-far-right Nazi worshiping Front National, but since the FN almost doesn't exist today after a bunch of scandals, they have turned their interest towards the internet. Yahoo is the project of a group graduating next year, and they are as well versed at PR as they are at law.

    I hereby invoke Godwin's law, and declare this whole thread terminated
    the AC
  • I don't want automatic localisation based on location. Things really get buggered up when you travel. I'm already irritated by MSFT Expedia - it trys to go to a version based on the language settings of IE... which in my case don't match the country in currently in.
  • I should also mention a very unpleasant encounter with When I was in Russia, stuck due to the INS/Visa regulations, I needed to get some drivers for my YMF724 sound card. Since ALSA didn't support it back then, I was going to buy OSS drivers from 4Front.

    It was pretty disturbing to find out that the entire .ru domain was banned from the website for whatever reasons. Naturally, I used an american proxy, but that left a very nasty aftertaste, as if I somehow I was a lesser human, only because my DNS traced back to Russia.

    So, the supposedly "good" guys do this, too.

  • They're probably bitter because all the best cr@x0ring sites are in Russia.


  • Anyone who still watches the Greedlympics must be too dumb to figure out how to use an anonymiser.

    Not to say that many collectors of Nazi memorabilia are much smarter. But it would only take one to get Yahoo into trouble, while I don't see why the Olympic organizers would be terribly concerned if a few percent of Aussies managed to see the Yank version of the coverage. I have even more trouble imagining why the Aussies would bother.

    The thing I don't understand about the Yahoo/Nazi memorabilia case, is why it wasn't sufficient that Yahoo exclude those with a French shipping address? Preferably from everything, those stinking rude frogs don't deserve to keep up with the world. (Just kidding.)
  • Fair enough, but what about the person sitting down in front of the web for the first time in, say, a library in Jakarta or Mumbai? What if this person just knows to type in (or, more likely, click on) Yahoo, and is then presented with this bewildering stream of English text?

    You're smart enough to know how to override this (say, by logging into something like, and thus getting your own language preferences), while the newbie, who understands neither computers nor English, is able to get started without any unnecessary obstacles.

    I agree that a lot of these "usability enhancements" do absolutely nothing to enhance usability, especially for say the typical Slashdot reader that knows the way around a computer without any problems. But technically proficient people are not the norm (sadly), and when it can be done well (e.g. without pissing off the experts or further confusing the novices), there is a lot to be said for enabling those novice users to get up to speed quickly.

    I see this as such an example. The possible benefit to non-English speaking users (a hugely underrepresented group) is more than enough to offset the comparitively mild annoyance that experts will be imposed with, especially considering that the only people that should be getting the foreign editions will ideally be the visitors from those foreign countries and, presumably, the experts there will be smart enough to figure out how to switch to English if that's what they prefer. It's not exactly "first do no harm" (because it is making the experts do a bit more work), but it's better than the current "only do much harm" method.

    Of course, on the other hand, sorting out which language to feed to a visitor from, say bilingual Montreal is left as an exercise for the implementor.... :)

  • ...And realize [] you are missing an important point.

  • CNN used to display different news depending on which geographic region your IP address was in. It was very annoying or amusing, depending on your point of view.

    I used to have two browser windows open side by side, one using a local RIPE address, the other going through an IPSec tunnel to an american IP address. The differences were pretty bad, the americans tended to get lots more shallow, local, happy news and less international coverage. The European servers just didn't have very much american coverage, nor a lot of the content from the american site.

    Recently, CNN has taken to popping up a very annoying window to every European asking them to change editions every time they access the site. But if you just close the window, you can access american content. If you click Ok, you get redirected to the European server. They also set a cookie which then permanently redirects the browser.

    the AC

Never buy from a rich salesman. -- Goldenstern