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Ad Tracking: Is Anything Being Done?

samzenpus posted about 8 months ago | from the don't-track-me-bro dept.

Advertising 303

bsk_cw (1202181) writes "The W3C's Tracking Protection Working Group has been trying to come up with a way to make targeted ads acceptable to users and useful to advertisers — and so far, hasn't gotten very far. Computerworld's Robert Mitchell has interviewed people on all sides of the issue — consumer privacy advocates, vendors of ad-blocking tools, advertisers and website publishers — to try to unravel the issues and see if any solution is possible at all."

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Wear the tin foil hat (4, Insightful)

invictusvoyd (3546069) | about 8 months ago | (#46647179)

Use noscript , disable cookies. If your tin foil hat is too thick , Tor it out.

Re:Wear the tin foil hat (3, Insightful)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about 8 months ago | (#46647355)

Use noscript , disable cookies. If your tin foil hat is too thick , Tor it out.

The problem with Noscript is that things have changed. You used to be able to block Javascript and most websites worked well enough to still be usable. Today, more and more websites are designed in a such a way that disabling Javascript breaks them completely -- you literally get nothing but a blank page.

Re:Wear the tin foil hat (4, Insightful)

invictusvoyd (3546069) | about 8 months ago | (#46647403)

Today, more and more websites are designed in a such a way that disabling Javascript breaks them completely -- you literally get nothing but a blank page.

IMHO these websites are examples of bad design . Good design should fall back to plain html/css with ideally, minimum loss of functionality

Re:Wear the tin foil hat (5, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 8 months ago | (#46647471)

IMHO these websites are examples of bad design . Good design should fall back to plain html/css with ideally, minimum loss of functionality

Yeah, but then you wouldn't have to whitelist the JavaScript to see the content and get all the advertisements too.

Working as intended.

Re:Wear the tin foil hat (2)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about 8 months ago | (#46647499)

Today, more and more websites are designed in a such a way that disabling Javascript breaks them completely -- you literally get nothing but a blank page.

IMHO these websites are examples of bad design . Good design should fall back to plain html/css with ideally, minimum loss of functionality

Thank you Captain Obvious.

Yes, it is bad design. But it is bad design done deliberately.

Re:Wear the tin foil hat (0, Flamebait)

Kookus (653170) | about 8 months ago | (#46647795)

Today, more and more websites are designed in a such a way that disabling Javascript breaks them completely -- you literally get nothing but a blank page.

IMHO these websites are examples of bad design . Good design should fall back to plain html/css with ideally, minimum loss of functionality

IMHO these websites are examples of bad design . Good design should fall back to a fixed width of 120 characters and height of 80 characters of plain text with ideally, minimum loss of functionality

Morons spout off stupid garbage like this because they were told once 20 years ago that these types of statements are absolutes, and then forget that time keeps moving forward and so do people's expectations.

Dynamic interactions with scripting languages are here right now and in use almost everywhere except old angelfire/geocities sites with the nice space backgrounds. You might find some hipster trying to make a point by making their site completely in html/css, but that is just a pathetic attempt at holding back innovation and progress.

De-facto reality (5, Insightful)

sjbe (173966) | about 8 months ago | (#46647875)

IMHO these websites are examples of bad design .

While that is true, in practical terms it is irrelevant. Websites are now designed with little/no graceful degradation. That is simply the situation as it is, for better or worse. Websites are not designed to gracefully fall back and probably won't ever be designed that way going forward. There is insufficient economic incentive for commercial ventures to be bothered so it isn't likely to happen. Few people turn off Javascript and those that do are probably not of commercial interest so why design for them? Very annoying but I don't see any reasonably likely chance that it will change either.

Re:Wear the tin foil hat (1)

Tom (822) | about 8 months ago | (#46647887)

That's a nice dream and I've pursued it myself for over a decade. However, these days, to give users something like the functionality they've come to expect, you absolutely do need javascript.

Doesn't mean your page should be white without. I agree that is bad design. But "minimum loss of functionalty" for any site more complex and interactive than a blog that's basically "loss of most functionality".

Re:Wear the tin foil hat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46647917)

Today, more and more websites are designed in a such a way that disabling Javascript breaks them completely -- you literally get nothing but a blank page.

IMHO these websites are examples of bad design . Good design should fall back to plain html/css with ideally, minimum loss of functionality

So, no Gmail then? (it fall back with major loss of functionality)

Re:Wear the tin foil hat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46647611)

You can configure noscript to temparariy allow javascript from that domain by default. Most sites will work, and tracking advertisements that are served from a 3rd party (roughly all of them) and will still be blocked.

Re:Wear the tin foil hat (1)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about 8 months ago | (#46647747)

You can configure noscript to temparariy allow javascript from that domain by default.

Yes, that is correct. And back when Noscript was first created that approach worked just fine. But things have changed and Noscript's default behavior (block everything) just doesn't work any more. That's not Noscript's fault. That's the fault of assholes running shitty websites. Regardless, the number of pages that are horribly broken, or don't display at all (without Javascript) continues to grow. So now, every time you visit a domain you've never visited before, you have to tinker with NoScript.

Google Chrome has a feature (or used to, I haven't used it for a while) that allows you to selectively block Javascript by domain. I find this to be a better approach -- everything is whitelisted by default and you selectively block the ones you don't like.

Re:Wear the tin foil hat (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 8 months ago | (#46647735)

Then do not go to those websites, no reason to use a website that was built by some kid that does not understand basics of webdesign. It's like the 00's and the stupid 100% flash sites that were a bane of the internet. Built by noobs that had no training at all in webdesign.

Good luck (2)

sjbe (173966) | about 8 months ago | (#46647897)

Then do not go to those websites, no reason to use a website that was built by some kid that does not understand basics of webdesign.

Good luck with that. It isn't "kids" designing these websites and they know exactly what they are doing. It's commercial ventures who know that very few people turn off javascript and those that do are probably not likely to be customers anyway.

Re:Wear the tin foil hat (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | about 8 months ago | (#46647857)

Noscript and many similar tools allow selective blocking of JS based on domain... 99.9% of ads are served from dedicated domains so you just block them and the main site is unaffected.

Re:Wear the tin foil hat (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 8 months ago | (#46647883)

Today, more and more websites are designed in a such a way that disabling Javascript breaks them completely

You would be surprised at how easy it is to avoid those websites.

Re:Wear the tin foil hat (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 8 months ago | (#46647893)

Today, more and more websites are designed in a such a way that disabling Javascript breaks them completely -- you literally get nothing but a blank page.

Yes, I often click through from G+ to a news article and get a blank page. Then I go back and complain about it to whoever shared it, and I sometimes google for another article on the same subject. And nothing of value was lost. An outlet which doesn't care enough to figure out HTML surely will not care enough to develop useful news.

Re:Wear the tin foil hat (1)

zarlino (985890) | about 8 months ago | (#46647441)

No, just disable third-party cookies. Then you can whitelist the few legitimate "third-party" domains that use cookies to log you in.

Re:Wear the tin foil hat (4, Informative)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 8 months ago | (#46647609)

Use noscript , disable cookies. If your tin foil hat is too thick , Tor it out.

With modern marketing software, none of that matters. Tor makes a little trouble for them, but you're still passing enough information to be uniquely identifiable. You have to understand that Tor hides your identity... but it doesn't hide your habits. The marketing people don't care WHO you are, they just need group the data they collect on you into sets. So they assign you an ID and every time you visit a site thats monitored with their software, they log it under that ID. Tor is protecting your identity, but again, your habits reveal that you're the same person that logged in 3hrs ago and looked at that vacuum cleaner ad. Then, they setup some contest or something, get you to fill out a form on a completely unrelated site, and viola your ID is linked to your name and number. The softwares offered to companies as a SASS, and as such, you plug it into your site to collect data... but the vendor has thousands of customers... and so the vendor collects data from all those customers and makes it available to all of those customers. As a result they know far more about you than any individual site does.

I administer some applications that interface with such software and yes, it's horrifically invasive. I think our only saving grace is that this is used for marketing and sales, and they haven't really found a way to monetize the ridiculous amount of detail they have on you. Basically I have access to the data, and have to display it for sales people. But what use is most of that data to the sales folks? It's just too much data to make a lot of sense of. So I rank sites and keywords by time spent viewing them based on products we have. So if you call in and talk to one of our sales people they will know you have a lot of interest in product X and maybe competitors product Y... so they know what to talk up and talk down. I could, if I wanted to, tell the sales guy your political leanings, if you're gay, what medical ailments you might have... but what would the point of that be? It's not really used for anything horrible on our end... and that's party because it's just not all that useful, and also because people like me at the controls of such things have a moral center and refuse to reveal creative ways to use the data to the marketing folks. But the time is coming... There are smart people out there that will figure this stuff out and have no moral objections to it. I think the really invasive stuff out there now is either used by the government and political parties (even scarier) and by companys that are keeping their methods as trade secrets. But eventually the advanced analytics used to make sense of the data will be offered as a SASS just like the collection software is now.

There is no way to stop this that I can think of, and federal laws will simply move the software out of the country. Even with the strictest laws you can think of, all that will happen is the corporate entities in the US will outsource their sales divisions to Asia to avoid the law.

Re:Wear the tin foil hat (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 8 months ago | (#46647923)

The marketing people don't care WHO you are, they just need group the data they collect on you into sets.

That's not as true as it once was. Marketers now want to track you, not just your habits. They want identifiable eyeballs.

There are companies that market to particular credit scores, for example. That only helps them if they can close the sale.

As an increasing amount of economic activity occurs in the upper strata, and targeted marketing becomes more prevalent, it will be interesting to see how the 1% react to strangers being able to identify their behavior for their own purposes.

Re:Wear the tin foil hat (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46647703)

Remember that intel labs funny research paper on tinfoil hats and how they found that they actually amplify radio signals?

It has been taken offline.

FEELING PARANOID YET?

Re:Wear the tin foil hat (0)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 8 months ago | (#46647779)

Remember that intel labs funny research paper on tinfoil hats and how they found that they actually amplify radio signals?

It has been taken offline.

FEELING PARANOID YET?

I believe that was aluminum/aluminium hats that amplified radio signals. Tin foil is still OK. But to be sure you really need a Faraday cage hat.

Basics (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46647185)

The basic problem is that most of the time it works to the detriment of the person viewing the ad.

Captcha: florid, once again unrelated to the topic

Re:Basics (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46647465)

Captchas were never meant to be on subject anyway.

solution (5, Interesting)

Tom (822) | about 8 months ago | (#46647187)

to try to unravel the issues and see if any solution is possible at all.

Right, because an interview with the wolves on the one hand, and the sheep on the other, is sure to discover some kind of compromise on the topic of what's for dinner.

Advertisers are parasites, and the only reason they will ever give in to anything is if we threaten them with extinction otherwise. AdBlockers and other defenses caused them to cave in a tiny bit and begin talk about "acceptable advertisement". Don't ever get deluded into thinking they'd give even an inch by themselves.

Solution? Yes, shoot them. That's a solution. Everything else is just a delay in their fight to cover every second of your live and every inch of your attention with their shit.

Re:solution (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46647201)

Bingo, ads are just another attack vector, a blight on the internet. If I want something, I find it with a search engine.

Re:solution (2)

Racemaniac (1099281) | about 8 months ago | (#46647213)

i love your exaggeration, but am also wondering how a solution could possibly be found.

Users & advertisers just have opposite wishes. I don't see any middle ground. They are convinced that we want to see ads that are relevant to us, no we don't, if we want to know what could be interesting for us, we'll talk to our peers, we don't need you to try and data mine it for us, especially since no one trusts you anymore!

Btw, i'm wondering, is there a browser/plugin that nicely separates cookies across websites? that ads can't track you across websites via cookies? Completely separate cookie caches dependent on the url in your address bar sounds pretty easy to make, and would prevent some basic tracking (of course they can still track you on ip address, the information your browser gives, ... but i think cookies are at least a nice chunk to disable if possible).

Ads are just something that seems to only be able to get worse with every year, and i hope the backlash that the younger generation is giving to it, will some day actually mean that ads will be reduced again. They'll never disappear since they work too damn well, but that the only evolution appears to be more ads in more places and more tracking, that just can't be maintained.

Re:solution (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about 8 months ago | (#46647349)

One big problem with advertisements as it stands now, is that they are served from different servers than the content is being served from. This allows advertising networks to collect information about your browsing habits (through e.g., cookies, http referer header, fingerprinting, etc.) Ad blockers make this close to impossible, but they are not prevalent enough to be of a big threat to advertisers.

One solution would be to install ad-blockers in web-browsers by default (starting with e.g., firefox).

Of course, the reaction to this will be that advertisers demand their clients (websites) to show the ads in an "inline" fashion, one which the ad-blocker cannot block.
So this is not a solution against ads per se, but at least it will keep advertisers from snooping browsing behavior.

Re:solution (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 8 months ago | (#46647415)

A comparison could be drawn to how the rise of ad-skipping DVRs and on-demand subscription services lead to an increased use of product placement.

Re:solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46647477)

Do you need to update to non-standard firmware to skip the ads? or are we talking about users manually fast forwarding through the ads?

Re:solution (1)

Tom (822) | about 8 months ago | (#46647641)

So this is not a solution against ads per se, but at least it will keep advertisers from snooping browsing behavior.

No it won't. The ads served will be served from a small script that collects the stats and sends it to the advertisers anyways. All it would do is make adding ads to your website more troublesome (which is a good thing, but not a solution to the underlying problem).

Re:solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46647867)

The more I think about it, the more I think shooting advertisers is the correct solution to this problem.

Re:solution (4, Insightful)

Tom (822) | about 8 months ago | (#46647489)

i love your exaggeration, but am also wondering how a solution could possibly be found.

Not in this culture. We need to get back to a culture where you willingly pay what things are worth. Sadly, as a producer it's hard to get money from people these days because they are so used to everything being "free".

What I'd like to see is a seperation between advertisement and product information. You know, if I make something new, I do have a need to let people know about it. And people want to know about new things.

Can these be brought together with a different model?

Re:solution (3, Insightful)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 8 months ago | (#46647569)

Not in this culture. We need to get back to a culture where you willingly pay what things are worth.

It's not that simple as that. If all websites moved away from advertisement-/user-tracking-based income generation to just blocking everything out until you pay a subscription fee then a lot of all the information on the Internet would instantly be locked away from children, the poor, 3rd-world residents and so on. Free (as in gratis) access to information is enormously beneficial on the global scale and I certainly do not wish for us to move away from that.

Re:solution (1)

Racemaniac (1099281) | about 8 months ago | (#46647645)

I'm not sure if i agree to this. There is some truth in that of course, it's just that people are enjoying too many things at once than they can pay for reasonably. I also enjoy a lot of thing i don't wish to pay for (and thus don't), and that's indeed not so nice of me. But the things i really care about, those that interest me the most, do get a lot of money from me.
We're in a culture where suddenly it's possible to experience just about everything for free if you want to. And that leads to a lot of people doing so, but a lot of them wouldn't bother if they had to pay. And if you're expecting to get money from the mainstream, you better advertise a lot, and go for the lowest common denominator. Otherwise, find a loyal public, and don't expect to make millions, but a fair living should be very possible if you're good at what you do :).

I'm wondering what the ideal situation is. It's really nice to be able to see & experience so much, but how do the people making all those things get money? How do you split the people who are just casually interested from those who really like it, and want to pay for it. A lot of it in the current world has become more a case of goodwill of people willing to pay for content, because they know they don't need to.

I respect the content of what i like most, and am willing to pay for it. But not everybody wants to or is able to... It's a very hard question...

Re:solution (1)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | about 8 months ago | (#46647785)

Self-destructing cookies is a good addon. (For Firefox.) It deletes cookies made by a tab when you close that tab, and can be set to save the cookies for each site as desired.

Re:solution (2)

Chrisq (894406) | about 8 months ago | (#46647343)

Advertisers are parasites, and the only reason they will ever give in to anything is if we threaten them with extinction otherwise.

I'm sort of playing devil's advocate here because I hate pop-up ads, but you could put up a pretty strong argument that people accessing free (advertising supported) sites with adblock are the parasites.

I don't know what the solution is. i wouldn't mind seeing a few unobtrusive adverts, particularly if they are relevant - but turn off adblock and you often get those annoying pop-up adverts that tell lies like "you computer is infected, click OK to quarantine the virus", or ones where hitting the close icon on the window launches a pop-up or download.

Re:solution (1)

Tom (822) | about 8 months ago | (#46647479)

I'm sort of playing devil's advocate here because I hate pop-up ads, but you could put up a pretty strong argument that people accessing free (advertising supported) sites with adblock are the parasites.

I would argue they are the victims. Willing victims, mind you. However, economically speaking, they are the product that the producer (the "free" service) sells to its customers (advertisers).

Re:solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46647665)

When company A makes a product and company B asks for 1,000 of that product, company A goes off and makes 1,000 of the product, and gives it to company B, in return for money. The producers of free web services don't create users on demand according to an order book, so to say the users are "the product" is nonsense. The product is the free service, which is delivered on demand according to "orders" (HTTP requests). The "cost" of the order is that ads appear on the page. The relationship with advertisers isn't even on the same command plane, and serves merely to fund the primary purpose of company A, which is to deliver the free service to users.

That's not to say some companies are so poorly run they confuse their product with their funding model, but that's a failure mode with obvious bad consequences. Companies that exist on ad revenue but don't obviously fail, e.g. Google, are doing so because they aren't confusing their product with their funding model. For instance, Google doesn't just focus on improving their ad revenues, they also focus on improving their end-user experience.

Re:solution (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about 8 months ago | (#46647713)

For instance, Google doesn't just focus on improving their ad revenues, they also focus on improving their end-user experience.

Now if they could just stop hiring those UX twits, so that they might actually be able to improve the end-user experience, instead of just focusing on it and crapping all over it instead.

Re:solution (3, Interesting)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 8 months ago | (#46647705)

Yes and no.

This is a quality over quantity, and price valuation problem.

Advert company wants: Enormous quantity of inexpensive advert impressions for products they have exclusive contracts to advertise for, and comprehensive metrics about those impressions.

Content Producer wants: Enough operating capital to make a steady profit while producing engaging content that users like,

End User wants: Engaging content from the content producer.

The content producer sells the end user's eyeballs to the advertising company.

The advertising company pays the content producer for those eyeballs.

The user gets content paid for by the resale of their eyeballs.

Here's the rub:

All three parties seek to maximize their goals. This exchange only works when there is equity in the exchange. As any one party starts to leverage advantage, the arrangement becomes unstable.

Scenario 1:
Content provider demands too much money from advertisers for ad placements.

Advertisers cut off the producer, or, (if the advertiser cannot find other producers) goes out of business as they stop making profits. Producer stops making content as the money dries up, user stops getting content. All parties fail.

Scenario 2:
Advertising company pays too little for adverts. (current reality)

Content producers have to oversell the eyeballs viewing their content, resulting in end users going elsewhere to get that content, (Piracy, other sites, other networks, et al.) and to find technological measures to sanitize the content if alternative channels cannot be secured. Content producers do not get paid enough by the advert stream, stop producing content, advert company stops getting eyeballs, user stops getting content. All parties fail.

Scenario 3:

Users simply won't watch the adverts, period.

Users simply refuse any and all adverts. Content producers cannot secure a revenue stream from advert companies, and have to charge for content directly. This limits the available form and expression of the content to what end user is willing to directly pay for. This stifles the creativity of the producer, limits the variety of content consumed by the end user, and kills advertiser completely, reducing the ability to spread awareness of new products and offerings. All parties fail.

The ONLY WAY, and I mean THE ONLY WAY that advert supported services *CAN* work in the long term, is if there is across the board equity.

Advertisers *MUST* pay what the advert impression is REALLY worth.

Content producers MUST provide quality content with emphasis on content, not advertisement.

End users MUST watch the advertisements.

The problem, is that NONE of these actors are acting equitably, starting with the advertisers.

The advertisers found that they could leverage more profit by using mass-tracking analytics to evaluate how best to make payouts, to maximize their profit margins, pretending that this was in some fashion sustainable, creating an unreasonable stockholder expectation which they now must uphold. This is a technological advance that upset the equity.

Advertisers now pay less to the content producers.

To make up for the loss, content producers have to display more ads, further degrading the quality of the impressions received, and degrading the prices paid out, thanks to the analytics.

The end user says "Fuck that shit, I am going to block your BS adverts! They cover the whole damned screen!", and installs adblocking software.

The advert company screams to the content producer that the quality of their impressions has reached all time lows, and that they wont pay enough to keep the site running.

The content producer says that end users are blocking the adverts, resulting in a reduction in the number of unique impressions.

End user blames the content producer, saying they are now consuming a solid diet of advertisements if they dont use the adblock software.

The content producer blames the advertiser, saying they arent paying enough to keep the content in production.

Problem: Advertiser does not pay enough to sustain equity, by seeking to maximize its own profits in an unsustainable fashion.

Re:solution (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46647507)

Once I heard that ads supplied by doubleclick and other unscrupulous providers started including drive by RATS and viruses, I and many others started blocking them outright.

Re:solution (1)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about 8 months ago | (#46647521)

I wouldn't mind seeing a few unobtrusive adverts, particularly if they are relevant - but turn off adblock and you often get those annoying pop-up adverts that tell lies like "you computer is infected, click OK to quarantine the virus", or ones where hitting the close icon on the window launches a pop-up or download.

And that's the *REAL* problem.

We've lived with ads our entire lives. Radio, television, newspapers, magazines, etc. And it was annoying but not too terrible. But now, everything is dominated by assholes who are committed to making advertising as offensive, intrusive and dishonest as possible.

That's why CPM rates for Internet ads are so low --- everyone knows that they are nothing but shit and scams that nobody would ever click on except accidentally.

Re:solution (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 8 months ago | (#46647707)

Exactly. I'm not against advertising, but it seems that advertisers are once again engaged in a loudness war. For a good while, online ads were pretty decent: small banners with relevant information. But it's getting worse again; animated (bouncing) ads, auto-playing movies, roll over sound effects, anything to grab your attention. Interstitials and pop-ups are back in a big way. And that's without even getting started on the "goods" being advertised.

And besides the fact hat ad tracking is an invasion of my privacy (and thus far fails to deliver me relevant ads), it can also be detrimental to the performance of the hosting website. As TFA mentions, on some pages, tracking scripts make up as much as 25% of the downloaded data, and it shows. I increasingly see pages load very slowly or even fail to load at all because of an overtaxed ad server somewhere.

Re:solution (4, Insightful)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 8 months ago | (#46647589)

I'm sort of playing devil's advocate here because I hate pop-up ads, but you could put up a pretty strong argument that people accessing free (advertising supported) sites with adblock are the parasites.

Personally, there are two big reasons for why I block ads: 1) they're way too often enormously annoying, selling all the things I couldn't care less about and they make it hard to actually concentrate on the content I am on the website for in the first place. 2) they're one of the most popular ways of spreading malware on the Internet. Probably the most popular, in fact. I just do not trust ads. The websites I visit are generally more-or-less trustworthy, but the ads may come from anywhere in the world and from any sort of unscrupulous bastards. I just am not willing to compromise my security for a small amount of monetary benefit for the website-owner.

agree, relevant ads are best, images/text, no scri (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 8 months ago | (#46647655)

> selling all the things I couldn't care less about and they make it hard to actually concentrate on the content I am on the website for in the first place.

Agreed. I much prefer RELEVANT ads. These days, I often see ads that are precisely the type of thing I would buy, and like that. I buy a lot of refurb enterprise storage. If you offer me a great deal on a 16 port 3ware card, that's a lot more useful to me (and the advertiser) than some random ad.

> 2) they're one of the most popular ways of spreading malware on the Internet.

And needlessly so. The ads themselves don't need to be running script or Flash from the advertiser. Text or an image does the job fine. The NETWORK (Google or DoubleClick) may need some scripting to provide the most relevant ads, but they don't need to be presenting script provided by their various advertisers.

Re:solution (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 8 months ago | (#46647907)

I'm sort of playing devil's advocate here because I hate pop-up ads, but you could put up a pretty strong argument that people accessing free (advertising supported) sites with adblock are the parasites.

Sure, if you hadn't been here (the web) before commercial sites full of advertising, you might come to that conclusion.

My mod points (2)

waspleg (316038) | about 8 months ago | (#46647581)

You have them. Fuck ads. All of them. Always. Forever.

odd choice of words. Ads pay the bills, users free (0)

raymorris (2726007) | about 8 months ago | (#46647623)

"Advertisers are parasites". That's an interesting choice of words. I guess you're unaware that advertisers pay the bills for this site and almost all sites on the internet. Users like yourself get something for free. For any definition of "parasite" that I can imagine, it's the users, who get something for nothing, who best fit that label.

I work with a few thousand sites that are NOTsupported by ads. Instead, users pay the bills directly. That normally costs $29.95 / month for a membership. Personally, I don't want to pay $29.95 for each site. I prefer the ad-supported model.

Re:solution (2)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 8 months ago | (#46647693)

Are you aware that your signature contains advertising and, by your own standards, you should shoot yourself?
Or is that particular link to a commercial product somehow not advertising?

Here's a thought (5, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 8 months ago | (#46647195)

a way to make targeted ads acceptable to users

That's like trying to come up with a way to make waterboarding more enjoyable...

Advertising, be it on television, newspapers, the internet or roadsign billboards, feels like mind rape to me.

I'm middle-aged and I remember more ads from my youth than stuff I learned at school. Ads for products that don't even exist anymore, but I can't get rid of the stupid ads in my head. Why do advertisers give themselves the right to pollute people's memory long-term with their shit?

Re:Here's a thought (5, Insightful)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about 8 months ago | (#46647219)

Why do advertisers give themselves the right to pollute people's memory long-term with their shit?

They don't see it as a "right" but rather their purpose.

Re:Here's a thought (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about 8 months ago | (#46647681)

It's what Hollywood and music labels are good at too.
Essentially, the US has turned into one big propaganda machine.

Re:Here's a thought (1, Flamebait)

Sique (173459) | about 8 months ago | (#46647251)

Why do advertisers give themselves the right to pollute people's memory long-term with their shit?

With the same right you reserve for you the right to pollute people's memory long-term with your opinion. Advertisement is just the spread of an opinion, that it might be sensible/enjoyable/cool to buy a certain product or brand. You might disagree with the opinion (rightfully so), but in general, the advertiser has the right to spread it, and if some media agree to carry his opinion (even if they are paid to), it's their right.

Yes, you don't have the means or the money to spread your opinion as far and wide as an advertiser with his advertising budget, but on the other hand, the way the advertiser is allowed to spread his opinion is strongly regulated, differently to yours.

Re:Here's a thought (2)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 8 months ago | (#46647309)

With the same right you reserve for you the right to pollute people's memory long-term with your opinion.

There's a major difference: if you don't want to read my opinion, you're free not to. Advertisement is ubiquitous and inescapable. You can't opt out. Therefore it's brainwashing.

Also, if you read what I write, it won't stay with you for the next 40 years. Ads on the other hand are carefully crafted to act as memes that grab onto your mind and won't let go.

Re:Here's a thought (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 8 months ago | (#46647931)

Advertisement is just the spread of an opinion, that it might be sensible/enjoyable/cool to buy a certain product or brand.

Just another reason why corporations should not be entitled to protected speech, only people. People can make comments about corporations, but then they will be held accountable for them. Unlike corporations.

Re:Here's a thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46647303)

Something - I don't know what it is - tells me that you can remember the theme song to the "Dukes of Hazard" as sung by Waylon Jennings.

Just two good ole boys .... never meaning no harm...something ...something....like a two modern day Robin Hooooooods.

Re:Here's a thought (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 8 months ago | (#46647385)

I just had a great idea, Sesame Street should be interrupted by ads for various tidbits kids should learn and never forget...

Re:Here's a thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46647541)

A lot of the time, money and energy spent on advertising and marketing should be spent on education. If the people working in these sectors would apply their zest and zeal to promoting critical thinking, logic, the scientific method great things might be achieved.

Re:Here's a thought (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 8 months ago | (#46647551)

Well, basically, they pay through the nose to do it.

Take have manufacturer X who want to sell product Y, and media company Z who want you to watch their shitty TV programs. Company Z has no money at all to make any TV shows because nobody pays a subscription to a media service with no content, so they go looking for some money to make new shows. In comes X, trying to increase exposure for product Y, thinking "Hey, we'll give you money to make some shows if you show our super slide-show of Product Y in between sections of your shows!" and Z says "Sweet! Let's get to some TV making!" Z make a show, you watch the show, you see the advert for Y, X may make some more sales.

Twelve months later and Z is reviewing figures, looking at refreshing advertising, increasing synergy boondoggles or something, and decide that they don't have anyone at the company who's any good at this "advertising mumbo-jumbo". They are approached by with a company name straight out of Norse mythology, who say "Listen here, buddy, old pal. Can I call you Jim? Listen, Jim. We have psychologists, and statisticians, and SCIENCE! that will make your advertising more effective! Pay us money to handle it, and we'll show you some magic..."

Two decades later, and we have "Gillette! The best a man can get!" and "WhooooAAAAAAAAA BODYFORRRRRRM! Bodyform for youuuuuuuu!" and media companies, having proved their worth, are into absolutely everything.

Re:Here's a thought (1)

Tom (822) | about 8 months ago | (#46647877)

Advertising, be it on television, newspapers, the internet or roadsign billboards, feels like mind rape to me.

It doesn't just feel like it. Advertisement is a bane of our society, and a form of mental abuse. It's basically the same as bullying, just for-profit.

I understand that there's a need to let people know about your product or service - I own a small company, so I'm on that side as well. But I'd much rather have product information than advertisement. Give me a place where people interested in X can learn about X, and people who make X can talk about it. Where "X" can be specific or general - from "computer game" down to "FPS game with cooperative elements".

We have the technology to do that. It could work much like a search engine, or one of the portal sites that went out of fashion when Google took over.

RequestPolicy plugin for Firefox (5, Informative)

Petr Kočmíd (3424257) | about 8 months ago | (#46647209)

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-... [mozilla.org] It just works. Together with old AdBlock, no more tracking of me anywhere.

Re:RequestPolicy plugin for Firefox (1)

Tom (822) | about 8 months ago | (#46647849)

This is a fantastic plugin, but it needs subscribable lists like AdBlock Edge has.

It's a matter of trust (3)

erroneus (253617) | about 8 months ago | (#46647211)

I will open my door to these advertisers if they will give me the keys and alarm codes to their homes and promise not to prosecute me if I misbehave.

Sounds fair to me.

After all, that's what these people are asking from everyone else. It takes a real psychopath to want to do to other people what they would never want done to them.

Four pages? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46647221)

Four pages? Surrounded by distracting crap?

Get outta town.

The problem is not targeted ads (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46647225)

The targeted ads are far better then random ones that mean little to the users. Its the shear volume of those targeted ads and the longevity of how they hound you for weeks that is annoying. People can tolerate just so much traffic, bad weather, ads, or many other things in life. After that, it become excessive. As smart as ads are on the internet, they are dumb when it comes to determining when enough is enough. Maybe what can be done is reduce the amount of ads per web page and make them less annoying. I personally don't mind basic targeted ads, but I totally dislike animated and talking ads. That will not make me want anything, and tends to make me gravitate towards a ad blocker.

Re:The problem is not targeted ads (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46647271)

The problem is not targetting: the problem is ads. Is there any ad provider who can be trusted to vet the content they pass on and avoid being a distributor of JavaScript malware?

yes, the ones who don't redistribute JavaScript (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 8 months ago | (#46647677)

> who can be trusted to vet the content they pass on and avoid being a distributor of JavaScript malware?

That's easy - if they only pass on plain text and images, no scripting, they aren't passing on JavaScript malware. I believe Google falls into that category.

Of course Google has their own script. It does "track" you, but it's not malware in the sense of your post.

Re:The problem is not targeted ads (1)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about 8 months ago | (#46647295)

The targeted ads are far better then random ones that mean little to the users.

No they aren't.

Targeted ads are based on something you did in the past. Just because you searched for XYZ a week ago doesn't mean you now want to see a lot of ads for XYZ everywhere you go. So called targeted ads are just as useless and random as everything else.

Re:The problem is not targeted ads (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 8 months ago | (#46647405)

There's also the fact that 'targeted ads' (even if we assume that they work perfectly) still may fail to be acceptable for entirely different reasons.

The body of highflown academic theory on the matter ("The Gaze", how many inscrutable French deconstructionists can we quote today?) can get a bit tedious; but people don't like being obtrusively stared at.

'Targeted advertising', when it isn't largely nonsense, implies a level of focused, continuous, involuntary, observation of the subject in the attempt to discern their potential buying patterns, that most of history's secret police forces would have envied. Maybe there are people who are A-OK with that, so long as the banner ads are for their preferred brand of toothpaste; but there are plenty of people who would far rather be bombarded with the most baffling and inscrutable advertisements that wildly miss even their broad demographic categories than be subject to that. Can't say as I blame them.

Re:The problem is not targeted ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46647539)

targeted ads are not better, they are very useless. Why? Because target ads tend to advertise products that you have just bought.

Re:The problem is not targeted ads (2)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 8 months ago | (#46647605)

The targeted ads are far better then random ones that mean little to the users.

Actually, no. Because most targeted ads are just stupid. Personally, I couldn't get rid of targeted ads for products similar to something I bought and gave to someone else as a Christmas present, ads for restaurants in a town 10,000 miles away from my home where I worked for two weeks years ago, ads for products that I investigated and bought and I don't need another one, and recently ads by some scumbags that cheat contractors out of money.

On top of that, since my eBay and Amazon accounts are used by myself and my wife with very different interests, I get quite a schizophrenic set of ads and product suggestions from them - which could be considered a severe privacy violation as well, since we both shouldn't know what the other one is browsing for, unless we tell each other.

And if your business model depends on ad revenue (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46647235)

Then get a new one.

If you can't find a way to fund what you're doing with ads then do something else.

Re:And if your business model depends on ad revenu (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 8 months ago | (#46647351)

That's a tough thing to ask, as most websites are primarily funded with advertisements.

Re:And if your business model depends on ad revenu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46647381)

Then they should find a new business model, because I sure as fuck aint gonna set adblock off. Too much actual risk of malware these days without it for one, two.... ads fucking suck. Dont care about your need to eat and nor should I. And frankly.... you know how cheap it is to host a site these days? Unless you are biiiiig, it's next to nothing.

Re:And if your business model depends on ad revenu (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46647417)

Then most websites have a broken business model because they're being funded not because of what they offer or have but because of something incidental that happens.

How many people now brag about not watching TV? And what is the primary source of funds for TV? Advertising.
How many people now brag about not reading or needing newspapers? And what is the primary source of funds for newspapers? Advertising.

What's the pattern here?

Business models that depend on advertising are fundamentally flawed because they depend on something that is incidental to what they provide.

If I build a popular website that generates 1,000,000 hits a day, but nobody pays to use it, then it could be considered popular but also a money sink.

If I then throw advertising on it to generate money, it doesn't make the website any more worthwhile and it doesn't represent a worthwhile business model.

But what about facebook? Well, how many of us would pay to use facebook? Oh, you wouldn't? In that case what value does it have? Yeah. And people pay to advertise on it? More fool them.

Re:And if your business model depends on ad revenu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46647501)

And the money paid to them from the advertisers is added into the cost of the product.

Re:And if your business model depends on ad revenu (2, Informative)

Opportunist (166417) | about 8 months ago | (#46647379)

And if your business model depends on sniffing through my surfing habits and otherwise invading my privacy, don't bother finding a new business model.

Just go and die.

Too late (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46647523)

Back during the dot-bomb era, all the Silicon Valley entrepreneurs had this business model: start something, get lots and lots of eyeballs by giving away content, and regardless of its profitability, sell out to some very large corporation that has no clue for billions of dollars.

Big corps finding out that you can't charge for something that was free, then decided to use advertising.

And here we are.

Re:And if your business model depends on ad revenu (1)

clickety6 (141178) | about 8 months ago | (#46647595)

And if your business model depends on ad revenue. Then get a new one. If you can't find a way to fund what you're doing with ads then do something else.

You don't find it just a teensy bit ironic that you're posting this on Slashdot?

Do not track, easy solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46647291)

Turn off third party cookies, then use a hosts file something like this:

                # Stop Google Analytics
0.0.0.0 www.google-analytics.com
0.0.0.0 ssl.google-analytics.com

                #Stop some browser trackers
0.0.0.0 bluecava.com
0.0.0.0 ds.bluecava.com

# This MVPS HOSTS file is a free download from: #
# http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.htm #
# [Start of entries generated by MVPS HOSTS]
#
# [Misc A - Z]
0.0.0.0 fr.a2dfp.net
0.0.0.0 m.fr.a2dfp.net

Then if you want to go all paranoid and break your browsing, turn off javascript.

The host file works well and stops most tracking. In addition there is the benefit that sites load much faster even though my hosts file is >500 mb.

Re:Do not track, easy solution (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 8 months ago | (#46647425)

Maybe I'm just a paranoid old crank; but I always have to wonder if the 'browser fingerprinting' guys have started to take advantage of the fact that people at the extreme end of browser-hardening are quite rare and, while their efforts to break some tracking mechanisms that would otherwise provide useful details, they also make them among the most atypical hits a server is likely to see...

you're not wrong (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 8 months ago | (#46647723)

You are not mistaken. Your IP address is basically unique to your neighborhood. So we have "that guy in northwest Billings, Montana who uses Safari version X.Y on OSX version X.Y.z with the screen resolution xXy, media player plugin version x.Y, adblock version x.Y, noscript version x.Y ....". We'll recognize that guy when he comes back.

Why would there be a solution? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 8 months ago | (#46647365)

You have (at least) two sides with irreconcilable goals, so attacking the problem as a technological one, rather than a matter of power (with money sitting in the wings) seems like a category error(unless you count rounding up all the advertisers and rendering them into biodiesel as a 'technical solution', I'll give you that.).

If your goal is either to track somebody no matter what they think about the idea; that is a technological problem (cookies, then flash cookies, then various sorts of browser fingerprinting trickery, statistical system identification, etc, etc.) And, if your goal is to avoid tracking, whether Team Ads likes that or not, you similarly have a technical problem(cookie scrubbing, various sorts of script mitigation/disabling, browser anonymizations, onion routing, etc, etc.) Both of those are, if a continuing arms race, well understood to be technical problems.

A 'solution' or 'compromise' or similar such nonsense, though? Two people want overlapping things, it is not logically possible for them to both get what they want. Period. Not a technical problem, any more than 'peace and love in the middle east' just needs a few more RFCs...

people don't want ANNOYING ads, or tracking. free (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 8 months ago | (#46647787)

If users don't want annoying ads, instead serve ads that aren't annoying.

If you don't to be tracked from site to site, the ads you see on Slashdot could be based on which stories you read on Slashdot, and based on the comments you post. No cross-site tracking, if that's what users want.

Key to this is something else users want - a ton of free content. You don't want to pay $29.95 / month for Slashdot. You want Slashdot, and you want it for free. Advertisers are willing to help pay the bills to keep Slashdot running (and all of the other sites). That means advertisers are already giving you something you want.

One thing several people posted is that ad relevance is shorter than advertisers seem to think. Don't advertise something I searched for six weeks ago, users say. Advertisers can fix that. People have also complained that ads are often for a product they purchased. Instead, it would be better to have ads for RELATED products and services. That's doable.

The atmosphere is poisonous (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 8 months ago | (#46647371)

And cleaning that up will take a LOT of effort and a LOT of goodwill.

Ad companies poisoned that well, I dare say for good. After years and decades of more and more (in both quality and quantity) obnoxious, irritating and outright rude in-your-face ads, more and more people were pushed to the point where they went and did something against them. We went and installed ad blockers.

In other words: We found a solution for our problem. Us not watching your ads is not our problem. You, dear ad companies, poisoned your well. You went onto our nerves with increasingly invasive ads. YOU, and ONLY YOU find a way out of that problem.

And if not, well, so be it. Nobody here really sheds a tear if you go bankrupt.

Good luck with that impossible task (1)

pla (258480) | about 8 months ago | (#46647399)

You want to know how to make ads acceptable?

Permanent incognito/private browsing mode + Adblock + Ghostery + click-to-play + DNT (yeah, you all ignore it anyway) + a vanilla user agent. Make them the default for every browser.

Marketers take heed: Ads no longer server the purpose they once did. Every time you manage to sneak a clever ad past my technical defenses, you piss me off about your product/company/campaign.

You want to get my to buy Pepsi? Advertise for Coke. Simple as that.

After a lifetime of being inundated with them (3)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46647427)

advertisements do not have the intended effect on me anymore. Quite the opposite in fact.

The guy that shouts over the teevee that i should buy a pickup truck? He is virtually guaranteeing that i will NEVER buy a pickup truck.

I have never eaten at a Red Robin and I never will. Why? Because I once saw a commercial for Red Robin that i found particularly distasteful. Any time i go to a store, before walking in, if i can remember any particularly virulent ads, i turn around & go somewhere else. Mastercard may be priceless to you, but to me its a lame meme that stopped being funny in 1997.

Eventually i had to quit watching teevee altogether... there were so few places left that i could still shop at.

So when i block your ads, i'm doing you and your client a favor. Do NOT try to stop me from blocking your ads.

Re:After a lifetime of being inundated with them (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | about 8 months ago | (#46647459)

I think that parent essentially do tell what many of us feel.

I can accept that sports events at the beginning have a short infomercial that "This event is sponsored by ACME inc" (Wiley.E.Coyote) or whatever and that I may see that logo in various places, but when someone shouts my head off for something I don't want then it's time to flush the loo.

Simple, but counter intuitive to advertisers (4, Insightful)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 8 months ago | (#46647461)

The problem is simple.

The user wants the CONTENT to have focus, as that is what they go there to get.

The advertisers want the ADVERTISEMENTS to have focus, so they have "Impact."

That is why advertisements are obnoxious, obtrusive, cover 80 to 90% of the display, hoover around, make blaring noises, flash rapidly enough to induce epileptic seizures in those vulnerable, and overall make users reach for adblock software.

The solution? Advertisers need to pay more for less obtrusive ads.

If a site can get enough revenue to operate on just a simple hyperlinking rotating image banner, they wont need full page flash plague competing with their content.

But advertisers want eyeballs. ALL of the user's eyeballs. If advertisers had their way, people would spend 80 to 90% of their time watching adverts-- both on the internet and on television.

Allowing advertisements to become ubiquitous to the point of requiring brain bleach to control is NOT the answer, and only further increases the "Need" to inject yet more adverts to secure a workable revenue stream for the site/channel operators. Basically, they are saturating the market for adverts, and the price paid out per advert served drops. To make up for that, they have to display more adverts. Works GREAT for advertising companies, but is poison for content producers. It has a double-edge, in that as the percentage of time spent viewing adverts goes up, the number of viewers watching the site goes down.

It should not be any bit at all hard to determine where the two trends meet, especially with the INSANE amounts of analytics going on with advert tracking, and page viewing.

The problem is that the advert companies dont want to pay what the adverts are actually worth, and are driving the price paid per impression into the ground, while making a killing doing so. Users dont want to actually pay a fee to use the internet's various webpage services, which have traditionally always been free. (with a few exceptions.)

The real solution is to keep content as the primary focus, put a fucking ball gag and super glue in the mouths of the advertisers, and cut off the flow of gravy by refusing to plaster wall to wall adverts all over the internet, thus making the internet advert real-estate space a premium commodity, commanding a high price through encouraging scarcity.

Users would easily handle a 30% advert (max), 70% content (min) mix. They will walk away from, or start using adblock to circumvent anything above where the curves meet.

This isnt hard.

Ghostery (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46647505)

I use the Ghostery plugin for Firefox.
Works quite well.
Avast antivirus blocks some but Ghostery is the shit.
I got some websites that now come up with a message begging me to stop blocking their Ad shit, they need to make money.
Thats how good Ghostery is.

Re:Ghostery (1)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about 8 months ago | (#46647627)

I got some websites that now come up with a message begging me to stop blocking their Ad shit, they need to make money.

And those are the sites that I never visit again.

You want to make money? Charge people for whatever it is you have to offer. People spend a few Gazillions of dollars every year paying for things, so it's not like this is a new concept. If people aren't willing to pay for what you have to offer then you have nothing of value and need to die.

And nobody will even notice that you are gone.

Re:Ghostery (1)

Stumbles (602007) | about 8 months ago | (#46647765)

I haven't or don't recall running across a site with such a message but agree its a site I would never again visit.

Re:Ghostery (1)

Stumbles (602007) | about 8 months ago | (#46647757)

Didn't know about Ghostery. Just installed it for firefox and seems to work as, erm advertized. Thanks.

The W3C shouldn't get into bed with advertisers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46647557)

Advertisers get banned. Don't associate with them.

The whole point of advertising... (3, Insightful)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 8 months ago | (#46647701)

... is to sell us shit that we do not need. If we 'needed' something, we would find a way to get it.

Advertisers try to sell 'happiness', trying to convince us that if we buy their product (car, soda or laundry detergent), we will be happy. It's all a con job.

I lost interest in internet ads back when they started inserting 'flashing strobe lights' to get my attention, totally annoying! The ad people haven't gotten any better at not annoying me since.

While a HOSTS file has been very good at this (3, Insightful)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | about 8 months ago | (#46647749)

Google has gotten around it with google.com/analytics it used to be googleanalytics.com
It's the site that sends you your pre-selected ads on a mobile device as defined by where you've been, and who pays them.

End of Advertising (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46647855)

I don't think the issue is tracking. People expect that thanks Google, Baidu, NSA... One issue is that advertising has become so good at being evil that people don't trust ads. Think "one weird trick..." that people have a visceral negative reaction to ads. Another issue is that there is so much of it. 20+ minutes of an hour of TV with ads embedded in the show itself. Both are in part a result of consumers not having a vector to correct the market (think invisible hand). Do the advertisers see the results of the no this is not relevant feedback on hulu? Of course not because if the company running the ads knew how disliked their ads were some advertisers would be out of a job and the medium conveying those ads would loose revenue. Which brings us to the central issue, technology has given the advertisers more power and they in turn have became unconstrained psychopaths with said power so why would anyone want to give them more power.

Of course technology has changed consumers too. If I buy something say a magazine, a newspaper or a subscription to a website I feel that I am buying the content not the ads so refraining from sending me ads ought to be part of the deal.

Seriously Advertisers! (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | about 8 months ago | (#46647957)

After 20+ years of your ads online, stop already!

If we want your product we will buy it, otherwise leave me the fuck alone.

It's called Tracking Protection (1)

jader3rd (2222716) | about 8 months ago | (#46647971)

Internet Explorer has a feature called Tracking Protection which allows you to disable third party content on websites. It lists out all third party elements that you frequently see and allows you to disable them. That way you can block Facebook from all websites, which aren't Facebook.
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