Why don’t you add VRM to the mix.
Let me list things I want ads for.
the content you offer is not enough payment for the attention you want me to pay
i will allow you to inform me .. i won’t allow you to pitch me
The purpose of advertising is to increase revenue for the company whose products or services are being advertised. The Data overwhelmingly shows better individual targeting leads to more revenue for the advertised company. It’s therefore not at all surprising that the advertising industry is moving more and more toward individual targeting.
If targeted advertising is more likely to result in conversions, doesn’t that mean that target ads are better for the viewer? I would rather see ads that I am likely to click on and use to make purchases than ads which I ignore.
I think this whole “individual vs populations” argument is a distraction. Focus on the tangible negative aspects of advertisements and work to fix those. Block ads that cause slow page loads or use CPU unnecessarily. The fact that the ad is individually targeted is inherently positive. It’s the side effects of individual tracking (page bloat, background loading) that are negative.
Every god damn advertiser and every god damn company that advertises is lying to me! That’s the world I grew up in. As an adult now, I know there is no such thing as an honest and useful ad. That’s the reality of the 40 years of advertising I’ve been exposed to. If I see ads for your product/service it means you’re lying to me and upping the price.
Here, let’s break it down across some major categories.
Are you a product sales site? [Amazon, etc.] Then you’re flooded with fake reviews.
Are you a review site that makes money from the listing companies [Angie’s List, Yelp, etc.]? Then you’re selling reviews management.
Are you selling your own products? [Supplements, VW, almost every product company] Then you’re just lying to us to get us to buy your product. And the ads are simply increasing the price we pay.
Are you selling your own service? [Insurance, Travel, Spas, Roofers, etc.] You’re more expensive because you have to recover the cost of the ads. And what does 30% off mean when you’re making up the price based on how much you think you get squeeze out of us anyway.
If there ever was such a thing as an honest ad (maybe newspaper ads informing you of sale items at department stores?) then the internet has made them a thing of the past. If an ad fits your criteria as you propose then there’s some asshat company that’s going to go one step beyond because they know that their punch the monkey ad will generate more sales than your non-obnoxious ad. And, of course they’re going to label it with your hashtag.
Saying that “even” Adblock Plus has an acceptable ads policy is funny. They more or less pioneered the idea. Once they were in the position of being the largest adblocker, they realised they had leverage over ad companies. They charge for inclusion on the acceptable ads list, and in a dodgy way. It seems like extortion at some level, to tell companies to pay, or their ad won’t get shown to their users. But now, who does ABP serve, if they take payment from ad companies? You can see the conflict of interest there.
The same happened with the first ios 9 adblocker that made it to the app store. It got a lot of installs, and once it had leverage, the developer switched on his users, and allowed acceptable ads. It just happened to be the same acceptable ads as ABP. The company behind ABP was recently sold to an undisclosed company.
Firefox has decided to block known tracking third-party websites, in incognito mode at least. They decided to do so, after tracking companies interpreted the do-not-track setting as “track but don’t show targeted ads”. It’s hard to find a technically enforcable compromise. But if neither side is willing to find a middle ground, it will harm the open web irreparably.
I’ll expand a bit on my last paragraph then, as it was addressing your proposal. The privacy implications of trusting advertisers are clear from their response to the do-not-track header. They choose to keep taking in as much data as they can, only obscuring the extent of information they gather. Any self-certification on their part needs to be enforceable, and that probably requires a trusted third party to accept and, if necessary, rescind their #safeads status. This is the only way I see of addressing the malware threat from advertising networks as well. If I can just stick a #safeads tag on to bypass the adblockers, what’s to stop me?
If the browser takes on the trusted third party role, like they have with respect to certificate authorities, they would be in a position close a few loopholes by means of cryptography, for example, safe ads with a signature to verify origin and integrity. However Google and Apple as the big browser developers have no incentive to help other advertisers. If adblockers take that role, they will be the gatekeepers, and there the conflict of interest arises again. I see no clear way to the middle ground at the moment, but I appreciate any proposal that leads toward it.
As for the rest of my previous comment, obviously it was that word “even” that got my attention, it seems out of place in light of acceptable ads’ origin.
I was confused about the acquisition, I remember a lot of mention of Eyeo in the articles about it, the facts got a bit foggy apparently.
#safeads makes a lot of sense, though of course the concept doesn’t mean an end to targeted ads, just an end to non-permissioned targeted ads. If I wish to share my data with a site/intermediary/other for/accepting targeted ads because it is a value proposition I agree with, then the ad is permissioned and hence safe – there is no “round the side” tracking.
Thank you for elaborating, Doc. As a passer-by, I didn’t have all the background to your approach to this. I do hope it bears fruit, but I’d like it to have a sharp bite. 😉
CC-by is easy enough to respect, but the less convenient terms are ignored routinely. Somehow, the same result has to be avoided for the customer commons. An honour based system for an industry that has been reckless and hostile towards consumers has some skepticism to overcome, in that respect.
So far I haven’t seen much Madison Avenue, but no end of adtech online. And from a security perspective, there’s very little recourse after an invasion, no matter how bad form it is. Superfish comes to mind here, as an extreme example. They finally got called out after operating for months, and not by their victims.
We do leave our cars and homes locked, after all.
People still depending on the broken business model of online ads keep hoping, and hoping that people want “safe ads” instead of no ads.
The truth is that Adblock+’s “Acceptable Ads Manifesto” was not written in response to consumer demand, it was only written to justify the kickbacks the developer was taking to unblock certain ads.
(I’m sorry, did I say “kickbacks”? I meant “revenue sharing with strategic partners”.)
When you send a bundle of things into people’s homes, they’re always going to want to throw away the parts they didn’t ask for. That’s natural. If you think otherwise, you’re fooling yourself.
I completely agree with your views on ads serving because readers should not be distracted while reading the pages. If Adblock Plus will help users to block that kind of distraction ads then this will be highly obliged from my end. I spend 8+ years in online marketing and I can understand the value of right serving to the users so I hope this will be successful solution.
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