Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?

British Colleges Selling Screen Saver Ad Space 241

gotroot801 writes: "The Chronicle of Higher Education is reporting that eighteen British institutions plan to generate income during the coming academic year by displaying advertisements on the computer screen savers of students, professors, and staff members. Why does this remind me of that Simpsons episode where Troy McClure is teaching a Pepsi-sponsored class?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

British Colleges Selling Screen Saver Ad Space

Comments Filter:
  • Good luck! (Score:2, Funny)

    by jiheison ( 468171 )
    I hope these adds are as succesfull for colleges as pop-ups and banners are for dot-coms!

    • Great, now x10 gets to be plastered all over our campus too. This is sick, where are my tax dollars going to?
    • I don't think X10 is losing money...

      • X10 doesn't profit from ad revenue. They pay sites to post their ad.
        • I took the poster's comment to mean that pop-ups weren't effective advertising, although, looking at it again, the message is little confused.

          • Re:Good luck! (Score:2, Insightful)

            by jiheison ( 468171 )
            I don't think that X10's ubiquitous ads prove that they are effective. They just prove that ad space on web-sites is now dirt cheap.

            The reason that they are dirt cheap was the reason for my original post. People ignore them. Thus, advertisers are not willing to pay much to have them posted. Thus, dot-coms that rely on being paid to post them are failing.

            It is only confusing if you can't distinguish the parties that pay to advertise from the parties that are paid to post the ads.
            • The reason that they are dirt cheap was the reason for my original post. People ignore them. Thus, advertisers are not willing to pay much to have them posted. Thus, dot-coms that rely on being paid to post them are failing.

              Most mainstream dot-coms that rely on advertising as their only revenue source are failing, just like most mainstream newspapers and magazines which rely on advertisments as their only revenue source fail (or a road which relied on billboard ads as its only revenue source). Even broadcast television gets revenues from places other than advertising nowadays.

              The biggest problem with advertising on the internet is that it tries to be interactive. Sure that works if you have a really unique idea or have the lowest prices, but most companies' advertising relies on repetition. They blast you with the same thing over and over and over again and eventually a larger percentage will buy their product. College screen savers are good for this, and the college will make a little extra money off it. They won't be able to fund the college, or even the computer lab, with it, of course.

        • I'm going to assume you posted before thinking... Of course they don't profit from ad revenue. Of course X10 is going to pay other people to display their ads. That's the advertising industry.
  • Nothing New (Score:5, Funny)

    by Moonshadow ( 84117 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @07:09PM (#2355415)
    Already happening!

    I'm the unofficial tech for my residence hall, and make a lot of "fix my computer" calls. You'd be suprised how many "Absolut" and other such products are featured prominately on my neighbors screens :)

  • We'll be seeing paid campaign ads all of the frickin' place. Crass commercialism I can handle but politicians really annoy me.
  • If you "bin" the screensaver, they withhold your degree?
  • It seems that there are already enough distractions.
    • You don't go to college to learn, you go to college to pay the world's biggest cover charge.

      I have computers in my English class. You're SUPPOSED to type your papers on them and such.

      I find that emulators run quite nicely over the network off my computer back at the dorm :)

      You can't stick me in a class next to a computer and expect me to pay attention. Ain't happening, screensaver or no.

  • Not a big problem. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by IamLarryboy ( 176442 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @07:11PM (#2355425)
    I am a student. As such I have NO MONNEY! These kinds of ads will directly bennifit me. Tell me what student is going to complain about $100 bucks being knocked off of his/her tuition? Ya sure I don't apreciate the ads that are now everywhere in our lives. However, most of those ads bennifit someone else. These are for our financial(or quality of education) bennifit. Besides ads are already everywhere. I think for the most part we just ignore them. A few more are not going to make a major effect on our spending habits.

    thats just my 2 bits.
    • I just don't see the point to piss off everyone in order for someone to make money.

      Nothing more aggrevating than pointless and worthless ads. There is enough "air time" for buisnesses on TV and Radio that if you havn't heard of a certain product then you don't need it anyway.
    • You really think that your tuition is going to go down becuase of this crap? These colleges are selling you out to businesses with crass, intrusive marketing practices. You will not benefit from this in any way.
    • by RasputinAXP ( 12807 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @07:34PM (#2355534) Homepage Journal

      I'd worry about the benefits of paying attention in English class instead of the money you'll be saving. It's not going to have much of an effect on your spending habits, but just think of all the benefits you could get with a good college education!

      I mean, it looks like you're working so hard at it!

    • by Chops ( 168851 )

      I am a student. As such I have NO MONNEY! These kinds of ads will directly bennifit me. Tell me what student is going to complain about $100 bucks being knocked off of his/her tuition?

      I am a journalist. As such I have NO BUDGET. These kinds of investments will directly benefit me.

      It's not like our sponsors would ever pull ads from a program they disagreed with, or the execs would ever be craven enough to change our programming to avoid pissing off those sponsors.

      TANSTAAFL. Someone who gives you money buys power over you, even if no "equity" is changing hands.
    • I hope you don't think you're going to see a decrease in your tuition due to this; surely a college student has enough experience with how the world works than that.

      (And, not intended to be flamebait or anything, but if you _are_ a college student, let me suggest that you invest some of your anticipated financial windfall in a dictionary and spend some time learning to spell words like "benefit".)
    • $100? Heh, that's not much off of my school's [] sticker price of over $32,000/year. Screw the annoying ads if they're not going to pay any real dough.
    • by Rinikusu ( 28164 )
      Show me one instance in where corporate sponsership has resulted in paying "less" for an education. It's like when Ford announced that they would be building cars in Mexico and Canada to reduce costs. Ford made it clear that even though the cost of the car was significantly cheaper, they did not have any obligation to lower the sticker price of the automobiles in question. Their loyalty is to their stock holders and maintaining "stock value."

      I guess the idea is: schools will get more money that they don't know how to use except, maybe, extortion (or to buy more Microsoft products), students gain little to no educational benefit, and some company gets to gloat that it's "influencing" the minds of millions of kids.

      While this article is primarily about the UK, it's already happening in the US. Anyone else remember the kid who wore a Pepsi shirt on Coke day and got suspended?

      The US spends more per capita on education and yet we stil have the lowest education standards of any industrialized nation. More money is not the answer.

  • Who can tell me the atomic weight of Bolognium?
  • by DrEldarion ( 114072 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [0791uhcsm]> on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @07:13PM (#2355437)
    Especially in areas where funding for schools is absolutely horrible. I know you anti-advertisement-nazis will jump all over this, but there is NO harm in showing some pepsi ads on the screen while no one is at the computer. I mean, hell, they might not even HAVE those computers if it weren't for the advertisements.

    These schools need funding, they get it through showing advertisements in a non-obtrusive manner. I say that all underfunded schools should do this. Some school systems need as much money as they can get...

    -- Dr. Eldarion --
    • by error0x100 ( 516413 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @08:02PM (#2355637)

      but there is NO harm in showing some pepsi ads on the screen while no one is at the computer

      Has it occurred to you that any intended impartiality (and thus quality) of education is immediately placed at risk when the interests of a third-party are involved? Consider: (1) Do you think an education should be questioning and impartial? (2) Do you think that your education will in all cases remain questioning and impartial should a conflict of interests arise between the educators and the sponsors? (As an example, we already have educational institutions that ONLY teach Microsoft software, in exchange for donations of computers from Microsoft.)

      This sort of thing happens, and will happen more and more in the future, particularly as more advertisers (and universities) start to realise that they get much better results from a highly targeted audience - that is, companies specifically related to some field sponsoring education of students within that field. That of course is nothing new, but in the past the sponsorship has been quiet and behind-the-scenes, while currently the trend is towards not only more overtly visible sponsorshop, but editorial control of the content of lectures by the sponsors. So Pepsi is not a very good example, as they probably don't have much interest in whether Linux or Windows gets used in the labs. But other sponsors will; and the Universities will accept those sponsors above Pepsi because more targeted advertising means better results which means more money.

      Schools do need money of course, so this may in many cases not be a bad thing. Where do you draw the line?

      Regarding the "nazi" comment: although I realise it was probably just hyperbole for effect, I kind of resent the noxious implication of an immediate association between being "anti-advertisement" and being a nazi. As I have explained, there can be valid reasons to be against this type of advertising; its a lot harder to justify the kind of fanatical white supremacy associated with nazis :)

    • by T.Hobbes ( 101603 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @08:27PM (#2355713)
      You do realize that the nazis were, in general, all for advertising; it was mostly state advertising - what you'd pejoritavly call 'propaganda' - but advertising none the less. From this freudian slip one can glean the reason why people arn't too keen on having pepsi logos within the walls of a school - because a school must be an area where one is free to think, and free from the imposition of the ideologies and ideas by others. This is, of course, never the case in practice; that is, however irrelevent - though theft continues, society deems it worthwhile to keep theft on the books as a crime. Likewise, though the school environment will never be absolutly free in an intellectual sense, this is no reason to allow for the introduction of programs which diminish the freedom of thought within said school.

      Advertising is, in and of itself, deteremental to the freedom of thought, whereever it exitsts. The sole purpose of advertising is to change the opinion of those advertised to towards the desired opinion of the advertiser. Pepsi wants you to think two things: that consumerism is the path to happiness, and that consumption of Pepsi is the ideal path to consumer bliss. The first of their tenants is the most significant; the consumer culture is the dominant culture in the Wester world, making institutions of higher learning very significant places vis-a-vis societal decisions regarding said culture. If the consumer culture is ever to be altered or removed, it is the institutions of higher learning which will be instrumental in effecting that change. Thus, to have private interests on _either_ side of the consumerism debate press their views within the school environment, and press those views through the medium of advertising, is detremental to society's future direction vis-a-vis consumerism, if only because it limits the ability of important members of society to choose freely where they stand on the issue.

      On the issue of funding; while schools may be short of money for chalk, blackboards, or CRTs, this is no excuse for the erroding of the very purpose of the school. As I have outlied above, advertising is counter-productive the program of a school in general. Thus, if a school finds itself short of money, it should and must raise the funds it needs from legitimate sources; in the case of the United Kingdom, this is very clearly the state (if you do not know already, the state funds schools in Great Britian to a very large extent, nearly- or completely eliminating the need for student fees). If the stone of government has run dry, tell the student to wear sweters in winter; reduce expenses; be inventive. Do not, however, fundamentally comprimise the purpose of the institution on the alter of the e-classroom.

    • Not to say you don't have to accept it, but *do* look it in the mouth, and take precautions.

      The real concern with these agreements is not the advertising, but future censorship/blackmail from the sponsors

      Yes advertising is intrusive, that's it's purpose.

      But don't be distracted by the advertising, beware when the sponsers make "requests" for things from the schools, such as changing student behaviour, changing school policy etc.

    • These schools need funding, they get it through showing advertisements in a non-obtrusive manner.

      The grad school I attended (in the UK) sold space on the "Active Desktop" to advertisers. Now that was annoying, when logging in you had to wait a minute or two before the ads would arrive, and the machine would be bogged down until they did.

      Fortunately, my class almost never used to undergrad labs, but I pity the poor students who were stuck with this.
  • by gregoryl ( 187330 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @07:13PM (#2355441)
    I can just imagine when Microsoft gets a hold of this idea:

    IEXPLORER is not responding
    When part of you is not responding, try BioV MultiVitimin.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      IEXPLORER is not responding

      When part of you is not responding, try BioV MultiVitimin.

      BioV MultiVitimin? I was thinking something along the lines of Viagra.

    • That isn't funny, that's dead serious. On OS vendor has a lot of ad inventory to sell if they get creative. I'm shocked that there isn't a small ad banner in the IE toolbar already.

      What is the installed base of IE5? I couldn't find it just now when I looked. But let's look at AOL's user base for fun. They have 29M users. Assume just for the sake of argument that on average, each AOLer user their browser to view 1 web page per day. That's 29M impressions a day; the CPM on "bottom-feeder" banner ads is about a buck. Let's slash that to $0.50, assuming some smaller ad banner and a volume discount.

      With a CPM of $0.50 and 29M impressions a day, you are making $14,500 a day. That is about $5.3M per year.

      I'm sure there are more than 29M IE5 users, and they probably average more than one page viewed per day, and so on. Even if you slash ad rates, it seems quite possible to make upwards of $10M per year by putting ads in your OS like that.

      Sounds like a lot of money, but I guess it's not. I used to work on an ATT project that was axed partway through development... see, it was *only* going to make $10M per year, and ATT likes big projects to make at least $30M per year. I'd assume MS thinks the same way. Maybe that's why we haven't seen it yet.

      (Why hasn't MS built spyware and ad-delivery mechanisms into the OS? Then shareware/freeware authors can tap into the Direct Advertising API, and MS can take a cut...)
    • It seems like Sun's already got hold of this idea. My cs department is about as anti - ms as you can get. Hardly a semester goes by without some insults veiled and unvieled towards Windows and Microsoft in general. Sun doesn't put advertisments on our boxen. They subsidies our departments computer spending. Therefore we get cheap sun boxes and in class anti-microsoft ads.
    • by os2fan ( 254461 ) on Thursday September 27, 2001 @12:31AM (#2356671) Homepage
      Didn't MS try something like this with their channel placement thing a few years back?

      I'm waiting to see who buys out the Blue Screen space: Can you imagine it if RedHat bought it out. "Well, another BlueScreen: Don't you wish you were on RedHat Linux today?"

  • excellent (Score:5, Informative)

    by BenHmm ( 90784 ) <[moc.yelsremmahneb] [ta] [neb]> on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @07:14PM (#2355443) Homepage
    Cultural note, people. British universities are effectively free - government funded - with comparitively tiny student fees, if any at all. Their alumni associations are small, and don't raise anything like the amounts their US counterparts do.


    They need the money, advertisers think it's a good idea, and students won't notice it after a week or two (even if they had cash to spend, which most don't).

    Sounds like, Win/Win/Win to me, especially if the money goes on more books, computers or teaching staff.
    • They need the money, advertisers think it's a good idea, and students won't notice it after a week or two...

      Except that during the next budget cycle, the Universities will have to figure in this revenue and the government will likely give them less in the same kind. Net gain to University in the long term: 0. We won't even mention what might happen to academic freedom if this takes off. How about the Glaxo-Welcome College of Pharmacy at Oxford where students aren't even allowed to be taught about drugs made by other manufacturers?

      Think it can't happen? Colleges in the US are already suppressing some research because of patent entanglements with corporations. My advice to the British is not to let this camel's nose into the tent without a lot of hard glances.

    • Nope. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Lemmy Caution ( 8378 )
      The advertising itself isn't what discouraging. What's discouraging is that the schools *have to resort to it* to pay for the costs of educating students. And it's so nickel-dime to sell advertising space: it suggests desperation.

      Advertising is a lose/lose game all around, because it increases costs without increasing value, yet if a producer tries to opt out they lose market share. It's a cognitive-environmental turn on the tragedy of the commons.

      By the way, has anyone considered that advertising isn't effective unless it's distracting? Insofar as much learning is subconscious, isn't there an inherent conflict of interest as the material being advertised competes for "mindshare" with the material being taught?

    • Re:excellent (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mosch ( 204 )
      Actually it's a win/win/lose situations.

      I fail to see how paying for ads that are purposefully placed where people aren't looking is a win.

    • > British universities are effectively free -
      > government funded - with comparitively tiny
      > student fees, if any at all.

      Yes, tuition fees were only bought in for students applying for entry in 1998 and are currently about £1000 per year, which I guess is very small compared to the US situation.

      However, it should be noted that some Universities have also been proposing 'Top up fees' i.e. extra payments that the University thinks it needs to maintain high standards of teaching/equipment for courses.

      Obviously students have opposed top-up fees, although I'm guessing that the issue will re-surface soon.

      Perhaps this advertising (wrong as it feels) will be a way to avoid taxing the students?
    • by jmv ( 93421 )
      and students won't notice it after a week or two

      Do you *really* think advertisers pay for ads that aren't noticed? They know exactly what they're doing. Also, the problem is not that much this screensaver advertisement but it's where does it end. Hey, maybe they could start the courses with a 2 minute ad read by the professor. But why not make it 5 minutes? or 20?...
    • I think this is excellent for all schools except grade schools (K-12) where it's advertisers are Pepsi and Coke (as it is in some Northern Californian classrooms). These kids are too impressionable and drinking sodas all day isn't too good for them or the teachers. But when it comes to colleges I think the students have enough knowledge to know better. I wouldn't buy Laramie smokes because my monitor told me to.
  • Because.. (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Why does this remind me of that Simpsons episode where Troy McClure is teaching a Pepsi-sponsored class?"

    Because you're an idiot.

  • by Jimmy_B ( 129296 ) <> on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @07:17PM (#2355453) Homepage
    It's not entirely clear whether they intend to do this only for university-owned computers or for student-owned computers as well. If this is only for the school's computers, I don't see too much problem with it. (I would see a problem if it turned into anything more than a screensaver, though). After all, it's the school's hardware, and a screensaver really can't interfere with work.

    If they're talking about putting it on machines that belong to students, then this is objectionable in the extreme. Students have the right to control what software runs on the hardware they pay for, and I can imagine bad things happening when faculty demand to install it on incompatible platforms such as Linux.
    • If they're talking about putting it on machines that belong to students, then this is objectionable in the extreme.

      No, but it would be dumb in the extreme, since the university has no say in what the students do with their computers (as long as it's not offensive). Also the students would know pretty fast, how to get rid of those annoying ads, or just use an operating system where the ads mysteriously wouldn't work (maybe because any process that is named 'adpause' recives a 'SIGBUS' signal from the OS).

      The notion of forcing an individual to look at obnoxioous ads (probably including sound effects, i can just imagine a CIP-Pool of machines bleeping their ads) on his own hardware is just plain ridiculous. And the webadvertisers better get their head around that too. If they want me to look at an ad, they better make it so good, i want to look at it.
  • "Why does this remind me of that Simpsons episode where Troy McClure is teaching a Pepsi-sponsored class?"

    Why does the Submitter remind me of a few friends of mine who can relate *any* event to a Simpsons episode?
  • I agree that any extra funding you can get into the education system is a good thing. But I can also see that the type of adds would have to be choosen fairly carefuly. I can imagine raunchy adds for condoms or lingerie could seriously distract classes.
  • by gorre ( 519164 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @07:18PM (#2355464) Homepage
    Obviously this is a good thing as many colleges are under funded in the UK (my dad works at a college where they are facing redundancies like several others here in Scotland) but there must be control as education should not be too dependant on companies. For example microsoft sponsored computer science departments serving up propaganda from the evil empire.

    Emacs is a nice OS - but it lacks a good text editor. That's why I am using Vim.
  • ...of letting commercial interests take over a part of your computer network, I would like to know a few things:

    - Are the computers counting how many times the ads are viewed? Wouldn't this constitute a privacy violation on their part?

    - Are the ads going to be "click-through" to Internet sites, like the ones used in Bezerk's games []? If so, wouldn't the university be concerned about the productivity lost?

    - How do they plan to keep the software installed? Unless these are highly-public, short-term use terminals (i.e. email checking between classes) it will just be a matter of time before some clever employee or student removes the annoyance, permissions or no.
    - If they've got all this space to spare, surely they'd be better off developing some SETI@Home-like software and using it for research. Is this really the best use of their computing resources, to bring more advertising to the campus?
  • Somehow, this seems like yet another brilliant idea by a marketing major.

    Of course, we already know what direction the MBA's took 'eCommerce'.

    Possible Arguement : I was just at a 7-11 and came up with a brilliant idea! They are making money by allowing someone to place ads on a monitor placed right by the check out screen. Can you imagine the income we could produce with all the monitors we have around our campus???
  • UHM (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rhymez0r ( 524721 ) <{moc.liamtoh} {ta} {nonaiptd}> on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @07:21PM (#2355474)
    Has anyone else thought about how stupid this is? Screensavers come on WHEN NO ONE is at the computer!
    • Re:UHM (Score:4, Funny)

      by Moonshadow ( 84117 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @07:23PM (#2355489)
      And then you get the brilliant idea that, "Hey, if we password protect these screensavers, and tell no one what the password is, the ads will get even MORE run time, and we'll get more money!"

      What do you want to bet?

    • Actually I know of many many students at my uni that sat around in the rooms listening to music, BSing, drinking, etc while their old pentium sat in the corner zooming through light year after light year of star fields. And when a bunch would get together for a party, a huge MP3 list is usually assembled and left to play, so up comes the screen saver after a while . . .

      But all of this is irrelevant if the PCs in questions belong to the university and are in labs, faculty offices, or public terminals. Especially in the case of public terminals, this would be a very usefull Accounts Receivable addition!

      • Ok so people do sit around playing mp3s while screensavers kick in, but there are major problems with this scheme: [1] By *definition* you probably are NOT look at your computer when the screensaver is on. Thats just common sense. How many of you listen to music watching your screensaver? Not many. You might do something else while playing music, but you probably don't watch your starfield simulation. [2] Aint no way in hell students who have half a brain are going to stand for this 'You decide my screensaver' crap, and furthermore, how are people going to decide [3] Placing these things on a distributed network - which appears how this is going to work means that if this system ever gets hacked you've got a helluva joke you could play. "On Tuesday a picture of the dean making love to a donkey was sent to every screensaver on campus...." [4] Ads on computers rarely work. [5] This is a total invasion of privacy. If its distributed it means that your computer is running a client and grabs information from the server, which therefore means that the server knows what advertisement it just sent to your computer for you to see, which in turn means it probably knows what you've been clicking on. Tsk tsk.
    • by Fjord ( 99230 )
      You've probably forgotten what it is like in a university lab. All the computers lined up beside each other. In some, labs they may be staggered, for more privacy, but the majority of terminals can be seen from the one you are looking on. It is probable that eventually students will learn to not look when the ad of the computer next to them changes (we have built-in mechanisms that alert us to movement in our peripheral vision, but these can be suppressed), but these ads will be seen. If they aren't, then the advertisers will pull the ads and we're back at square one. If they are, then you can bet that more advertising will be coming. They are using a foot-in-the-door.

      For those of you who think they can't quantify the effectiveness of the ads, I propose this: they will hire students to give other students quick surveys on the usage and happiness of/with their products. Then they will run ads. Then they will conduct another survey.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    without the banner ads that you all hate you wouldn't have this site...

    ... nor many open source projects hosted at sourceforge.

    Infact, we have banner ads to thank for the growth of the internet (and many of our jobs) - without ads many web sites would not exist, because they would not make any money (bandwidth, servers, and above all - sysadmins aren't free!) - no google, yahoo!...
  • by ocie ( 6659 )
    Sell ad. space in open source tools:

    % gcc foo.c -o foo
    This compile brought to you by Jolt Cola. All the
    sugar and twice the cafeine.
  • Adducation. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jiheison ( 468171 )
    Add placement is just one step closer to advertorial. Once schools become dependent on this revenue, advertisers will be able to dictate their policies on the threat of withdrawing it.

    • Add placement is just one step closer to advertorial. Once schools become dependent on this revenue, advertisers will be able to dictate their policies on the threat of withdrawing it.

      Yeah, it's not as if colleges aren't primarily funded by private interests already.
  • by JCCyC ( 179760 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @07:28PM (#2355509) Journal
    Will the screensaver time be forced to a certain value? Forbidden to be changed thru Windows system policies? What about turning off the monitor when you live? What about blacklisting the companies participating in the annoyance and starting a boycott? (College students ARE of the activist type, you know.)
  • by dmarcov ( 461598 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @07:32PM (#2355524) Homepage
    It seems that (I guess not just in the US anymore) that we are moving toward a time where every "public" service is paid for by ads. At some point, it seems to me, that you'd reach a place where there are so many messasges hitting someone that they aren't effective.

    Who in the world thinks of their screen saver as some sort of compelling mini-series they must watch (apologies to Scott Adams)? A thought that strikes me as a bit unsettling would be to go into a computer lab with 100 machines all extolling the virtues of Pepsi (instead of the 3D Flower Box).

    I suppose it's not true anymore, but it seems that labs, classrooms, etc. should be places reasonably free of corporate sponsorship. It is inevitable that once something has a corporate sponsor, the message gets influenced (anyone remember Microsoft donating money with some strings attached to universities?), and schools, especially publicly funded ones, should be free of that type of "influence peddling".
  • Any message can be pushed via screensavers.

    My Fortune 100 company has propoganda screensavers running everywhere that encourages employees to meet our ship dates, with phrases like "let's have a blitz to get it done!".

    I can't put my finger on why it bugs me so much.

  • not much to say, just not crazy bout this
  • So the advertisements will be displayed on student's, professor's, staff's, and lab computer's desktops. That isn't too big of a problem (IMHO). But I may point out that a problem could be the target of those adds. If the corporations paying the $$ are trying to target an audience with liquidity to their cash flow, should't they target someone besides these same students at these underfunded universities? Unless college students suddenly have far more available $$ than they did 4 years ago when I was one of 'em.

  • This will provided some well-appreciated incentives for students in IT security classes to discover firsthand the process by which systems are compromised.

    Imagine how fun it'll be for the students to plaster their own deepest thoughts (tasteful mix of cursing and swearing, no doubt) instantly across every public computer screen on campus!

  • It's not new to see thing's like that. But it's always frustating !
  • At Virginia Tech, a required management course. It was sponsered by Virgin records.

    I dropped the class after a whole lecture was devoted to a recently signed local band playing a set and some useless career advisor wasting my time telling me about internships.

    College is more and more just becoming a scam for the suckers still willing to pay for it.

  • Apart from someone walking past an unused computer who will see these things? The whole point of a screen saver is to keep the monitor busy when the computer isn't in use. My experience with college computer labs is:
    • they are full, with people waiting in line to use machines
    • or they are booked by a class
    Perhaps they'd be better off powering down the monitor (saving $$) rather than firing up a screen saver (which doesn't help modern screens anyway).
  • by mfarah ( 231411 ) <> on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @07:49PM (#2355598) Homepage
    I'm not gonna go into the obvious "alcohol & cigarettes comercials are forbidden because that's the policy", but on two more subtle ones:

    • Are political campaigns acceptable? Condom commercials acceptable? Commercials from OTHER colleges?

    • Who will get to set the "unacceptable" policy and how will its fairness be enforced? For example, let's say that I'm a raving laborist, and I decide to ban propaganda from the Conservative Party in my college. Or worse, let's say that Coca-cola has lots of ads in this system, and Pepsi pays me to ban those commercials.

    Of course, the loss of "editorial" independence of the college is a serious peril.

  • At least they don't rename [] their Electrical and Computer Engineering program to the local cable company []!

    And you thought that Disney webpage prank MIT pulled a while back was all for laughs!

  • Correction (Score:4, Funny)

    by Ezubaric ( 464724 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @07:54PM (#2355616) Homepage
    The as the poster is thinking of has a first name, it's O-S-C-A-R. The advertisment has a second name, it's M-A-Y-E-R:

    Principal Skinner: We can buy real periodic tables, instead of these promotional ones from Oscar Mayer.
    Ms. Krabapple: Now, who can tell me the atomic weight of bolonium?
    Martin: Ohhh... delicious?
    Karbapple: Correct. I would also accept snacktacular.
  • PBS went commercial many years ago, and my donations, and volunteering, ended. If they are getting money from big corporations, then they don't need mine.

    I think the same thing applies to colleges. If they are going to go get money from other sources, then IMHO, they don't need as much from the government in the next budget cycle.

  • We need the the money to pay our electricity bills.
  • Over in the States (so I have no idea how this would actually affect the UK) there is this lovely clause in the Constitution hinting at a seperation between church and state (now don't even start that argument) . . . but my question is would a flat out ban on even any religious looking adds be used? Or would adds like the following be allowed ... "Be nice to everybody ...(sponsored by the Church of Bob)"

  • I'm at Liverpool University doing EEng, and we have had this for months, it's called Screentime [] and it sux, it is NOT i repeat NOT a screensaver, it is a huge window in the top right corner of the desktop (about 1/4 of it) and it has clickthrough banner ads in it.. The thing that really gets me pissed is that they have disabled the task manager to stop ppl from closing it, which is all well and good until something actually crashes and you 'shock horror' actually need Taskman... sucks a large amount...
  • Obvious Flaw? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by LagDemon ( 521810 )
    Am i the only one who noticed that by definition, screen savers are usually only activated when no one is around to see them? Unless the computer is in a highly public place and never gets used, which is not likely, the only people to see the ads would be the ones who come into the rooms in the mornings to turn them on(in the case of lab computers).

    As for the student's personal computers, i don't see why anyone would volunteer to put adware on their computer unless they were paid for it. That is a waste of money though, because i know i would just turn off the monitor overnight and earn free cash.

    Unless they are planning to put the ads into the desktop backgrounds(which is usually obscured by the Apps i run), I can't see how the ads would reach the audience needed to maintain profitability.

    Let the flaming commence!!
  • Microsoft (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Microsoft could make a killing putting ads on the blue screen of death.
  • by jgaynor ( 205453 ) < minus language> on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @08:26PM (#2355712) Homepage
    Rutgers University is all but OWNED by Coca-Cola corp. Whats funny is that we're a state sponsored institution but still are subjected to this kind of corporate sponsorship.

    EVERYTHING here is Coke. All Dining Hall beverages are made by Coke (Barq's, Fruitopia, Minute Maid, POWERaDE, Sprite, Dasani water, Crush, Dr Pepper, and Schweppes). All vending Machines are Coke products. The university student centers are home to different franchises such as Wendys and Steak Escape, but only those who sell solely COKE as beverages are permitted to lease this space. The Coca-Cola logo adorns University clocks, Sports Uniforms, campus scoreboards and Student Orientation shirts. We are used as a testing ground for new Coke products like the ill-fated CITRA and such.

    Finding a Pepsi here is like finding a copy of Debian in Redmond.

    But for all the advertising blitz its not that bad. Coke almost directly sponsored our new University network. They keep tuition down to almost bearable levels. They get direct beverage reign over 40,000 caffiene hungry college kids and we get cheaper tuition. Im all for it!

    Hoorah for advertising efficiency!

  • Student computers? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CtrlPhreak ( 226872 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @08:28PM (#2355716) Homepage
    Does this mean that every student will be required to install the universities screen saver program? What kind of consequences would a student face if he/she refused to do so? And since the computers of these students donot belong to the university, do they have any right to demand so?
  • Not new (Score:3, Funny)

    by michael.creasy ( 101034 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @08:30PM (#2355723) Homepage
    Durham (my University) was doing this in 1999/2000 when I was in my final year. The screensavers were ads and then when you logged in there was a floating window with smaller ads with no close button or minimize button. The only way around it was to use taskman to kill it, which of course most people didn't know about or to use a unix box. They didn't do it on student machines, but it wouldn't surprise me if they started to. To get a student machine on the network you had to submit it to the IT department for a day for them to install some "useful" software and a NIC if you didn't have one. So it wouldn't be too hard for them to add a screensaver with advertising to every student machine and most people wouldn't know how to remove it.
  • by Omicron ( 79581 ) <> on Thursday September 27, 2001 @12:55AM (#2356758)
    So what the heck is the deal? I read through the article, and couldn't seem to find anything that told me how they are going to get the screensaver onto the students computers. How the heck are they going to do this?

    Is part of the internet connection that you sign up for in your dorms going to be a requirement that you put this screensaver onto your machine? I would be royally pissed if my university would make me put a screensaver onto my computer, just so that they could a load of money off of me. That would just seriously....argh!!! Just the thought of this aggravates me.

    Would it be a forced install over the network? If so, I would just install ZoneAlarm or set up a firewall under Linux or Win2k. I'll be damned if someone is going to install software on my computer that I don't want. And even if they do get the software on my computer, just shut your screensaver off (they are essentially pointless with many of today's monitor anyway).

    So yeah....anyone have more information on this, or things like this? I would be really interested in reading more on this....

Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.