Advertising

Advertising Companies Accused of Deliberately Slowing Page-load Times For Profit 357 357

An anonymous reader writes: An industry insider has told Business Insider of his conviction that ad-serving companies deliberately prolong the 'auctioning' process for ad spots when a web-page loads. They do this to maximize revenue by allowing automated 'late-comers' to participate beyond the 100ms limit placed on the decision-making process. The unnamed source, a principal engineer at a global news company (whose identity and credentials were confirmed by Business Insider), concluded with the comment: "My entire team of devs and testers mostly used Adblock when developing sites, just because it was so painful otherwise." Publishers use 'daisy-chaining' to solicit bids from the most profitable placement providers down to the 'B-list' placements, and the longer the process is run, the more likely that the web-page will be shown with profitable advertising in place.
Android

Razer Acquires Ouya's Storefront and Technical Team 90 90

An anonymous reader writes: The Ouya Android-based gaming console was one of Kickstarter's biggest successes — and one of the biggest letdowns for all the backers. The console never really took off, and the company behind it has limped along over the past couple years. Until today. Razer has now acquired the Ouya technical team, as well as their online storefront — but not the console hardware itself. Razer intends to dump of all these new resources into its Forge TV product, also an Android game console. "Razer went so far as to kick a little sand in the face of the little-console-that-couldn't—by advertising its own Forge microconsole as a 'more advanced' system and telling Ouya owners that they will receive 'a clear path of migration' to buy the company's current $100, AndroidTV-compatible box." The fate of Ouya's hardware is not explicitly mentioned, but the news article suggests it is simply "discontinued."
Advertising

Google Studies How Bad Interstitials Are On Mobile 253 253

An anonymous reader writes: A Google study of their own Google+ site and app found that 69% of visitors abandoned the page when presented with the app interstitial. Google said it was getting rid of them and asked others to do the same. TechCrunch reports: "It's worth noting that Google's study was small scale, since the company was only looking at how an interstitial promoting the Google+ social service native app performed (and we don't know how many people it surveyed). It may very well be the case that visitors really didn't want the Google+ app specifically — and that Google+ itself is skewing the data. (Sadly Google is not offering comparative stats with, say, the Gmail app interstitial, so we can but speculate.)"
The Almighty Buck

Apple and Nike Settle FuelBand Lawsuit 13 13

An anonymous reader writes: Nike and co-defendant Apple have reached an agreement to settle a class action suit that alleged false advertising from the two companies indicating that the FuelBand fitness watch had capabilities to track health. The two companies agreed that Nike would pay $2.4 million out to customers who purchased a FuelBand between January 19, 2012 and June 17, 2015. Apple was a co-defendant in the case, but only Nike has been found liable for falsely advertising the wristband.
Advertising

Smartphone Apps Fraudulently Collecting Revenue From Invisible Ads 129 129

JoeyRox writes: Thousands of mobile applications are downloading ads that are never presented to users but which collected an estimated $850 million in fraudulent revenue from advertisers per year. The downloading of these invisible ads can slow down users' phones and consume up to 2GB of bandwidth per day. Forensiq, an online technology firm fighting fraud for advertisers, found over 5,000 apps displayed unseen ads on both Apple and Android devices. "The sheer amount of activity generated by apps with fake ads was what initially exposed the scam. Forensiq noticed that some apps were calling up ads at such a high frequency that the intended audience couldn't possibly be actual humans."
Facebook

New Facebook Video Controls Let You Limit Viewing By Gender and Age 90 90

Mark Wilson writes: Videos on Facebook are big business. As well as drugged up post-dentist footage, there is also huge advertising potential. Now Facebook has announced a new set of options for video publishers — including the ability to limit who is able to see videos based on their age and gender. A social network might not be the first place you would think of to try to keep something private, but a new 'secret video' option makes it possible to restrict access to those people who have a direct link. Other new options include the ability to prevent embedding on other sites, but it is the audience restriction settings that are particularly interesting. For a long time Facebook has been about reaching out to as many people as possible in one hit — particularly in the case of pages, which are likely to be used for the promotion of businesses and services. But now the social giant provides tools to limit one's audience. It's fairly easy to understand the reasons for implementing age restrictions on video (although there is obviously scope for abuse), but the reasons for gender-based restrictions are less clear.
Advertising

FTC Accuses LifeLock of False Advertising Again 54 54

An anonymous reader writes: You may remember LifeLock — it's the identity protection company whose CEO published his social security number and dared people to steal his identity. Predictably, 13 different people succeeded. LifeLock was later sued for deceptive marketing practices, and eventually settled with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to the tune of $12 million. Part of that settlement, of course, required that they refrain from misrepresenting their services in the future. Now, the FTC is taking action against them again, saying they failed to live up to that promise. The FTC claims (PDF) LifeLock falsely advertised that it "protected consumers' sensitive data with the same high-level safeguards as financial institutions" and also failed build systems to protect the data they held.
The Courts

Class Action Filed Against Sling Media 111 111

New submitter DewDude writes: In case you missed it; Sling Media has been forcing advertisements into video streams from Slingbox devices unless you pay for a client application, which is only an option for Apple, Android, and Windows 8 devices. The issue will now head to the courts, as two plaintiffs have filed a class action suit against Sling Media, claiming the company participated in 'bait-and-switch' tactics by charging users for the hardware, then monetizing the streaming of content. The suit notes that Sling does not own the rights to the programming into which they are inserting advertisements.
Advertising

Is Advertising Morally Justifiable? The Importance of Protecting Our Attention 351 351

theodp writes: With Is Advertising Morally Justifiable?, philosopher Thomas Wells is out to change the way you think about Google and its ilk. Wells says: "Advertising is a natural resource extraction industry, like a fishery. Its business is the harvest and sale of human attention. We are the fish and we are not consulted. Two problems result from this. The solution to both requires legal recognition of the property rights of human beings over our attention. First, advertising imposes costs on individuals without permission or compensation. It extracts our precious attention and emits toxic by-products, such as the sale of our personal information to dodgy third parties. Second, you may have noticed that the world's fisheries are not in great shape. They are a standard example for explaining the theoretical concept of a tragedy of the commons, where rational maximising behaviour by individual harvesters leads to the unsustainable overexploitation of a resource. Expensively trained human attention is the fuel of twenty-first century capitalism. We are allowing a single industry to slash and burn vast amounts of this productive resource in search of a quick buck."
Patents

Apple Patents Bank Account Balance Snooping Tech 133 133

An anonymous reader writes: Apple's latest patent filings shows that the company is looking into displaying advertising based on your available bank balance. If Apple moves forward with this type of technology it would be a complete 360 on its previous direction to not monetize everything they know about customers. Tim Cook has even said multiple times that companies are targeting consumers on multiple fronts and that he's completely against using customer information in this manner and it's not the kind of company he wants Apple to be.
Advertising

Study: Women Less Likely To Be Shown Ads For High-paid Jobs On Google 233 233

An anonymous reader writes: A team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University has found that women seeking jobs are less likely to be shown ads on Google for high-paying jobs than men. The researchers created more than 17,000 fake profiles, which were shown roughly 600,000 ads on career-finding websites (abstract). All of the profiles shared the same browsing behavior. "One experiment showed that Google displayed adverts for a career coaching service for '$200k+' executive jobs 1,852 times to the male group and only 318 times to the female group." The article notes, "Google allows users to opt out of behavioral advertising and provides a system to see why users were shown ads and to customize their ad settings. But the study suggests that there is a transparency and overt discrimination issue in the wider advertising landscape."
Programming

Watching People Code Is Becoming an (Even Bigger) Thing 135 135

itwbennett writes: Faithful Slashdot readers may recall the story of Adam Wulf, who spent two weeks live-streaming himself writing a mobile app. The phenomenon has quickly become thing, by which we mean a business. Twitch.TV, Watch People Code (which is an offshoot of the subreddit by the same name), Ludum Dare, and, of course, YouTube, are bursting with live or archived streams of lots of people writing lots of code for lots of different things. And just this week, Y Combinator-backed startup Livecoding.TV launched. The site has signed up 40,000 users since its beta went live in February, but unlike the other sites in this space what it doesn't have (and doesn't have plans for) is advertising. As co-founder Jamie Green told ITworld: 'We have some different ideas around monetisation in the pipeline, but for now we are just focussed on building a community around live education.'
Microsoft

Microsoft To Sell Bing Maps, Advertising Sections 61 61

UnknowingFool writes: Microsoft has announced that they will sell some Bing Maps technology to Uber and their advertising business to AOL. About 1,300 employees are expected to be offered positions in their new companies. CEO Nadella said previously that there would be "tough choices" to be made. Some outside analysts have said neither venture was very profitable for Microsoft and may have been unprofitable at times.
Advertising

How Television Is Fighting Off the Internet 194 194

HughPickens.com writes: Michael Wolff writes in the NY Times that online-media revolutionaries once figured they could eat TV's lunch by stealing TV's business model with free content supported by advertising. But online media is now drowning in free, and internet traffic has glutted the ad market, forcing down rates. Digital publishers, from The Guardian to BuzzFeed, can stay ahead only by chasing more traffic — not loyal readers, but millions of passing eyeballs, so fleeting that advertisers naturally pay less and less for them. Meanwhile, the television industry has been steadily weaning itself off advertising — like an addict in recovery, starting a new life built on fees from cable providers and all those monthly credit-card debits from consumers. Today, half of broadcast and cable's income is non-advertising based. And since adult household members pay the cable bills, TV content has to be grown-up content: "The Sopranos," "Mad Men," "Breaking Bad," "The Wire," "The Good Wife."

So how did this tired, postwar technology seize back the crown? Television, not digital media, is mastering the model of the future: Make 'em pay. And the corollary: Make a product that they'll pay for. BuzzFeed has only its traffic to sell — and can only sell it once. Television shows can be sold again and again, with streaming now a third leg to broadcast and cable, offering a vast new market for licensing and syndication. Television is colonizing the Internet and people still spend more time watching television than they do on the Internet and more time on the Internet watching television. "The fundamental recipe for media success, in other words, is the same as it used to be," concludes Wolff, "a premium product that people pay attention to and pay money for. Credit cards, not eyeballs."
Advertising

Google Will Reduce Accidental Mobile Ad Clicks, With Mandatory Borders and More 70 70

Mark Wilson submits news that Google is throwing a bone to mobile users annoyed by ads that (accidentally, or accidentally-on-purpose) make it too easy to accidentally click, breaking your browsing flow, by making those ads a bit less clickable. Writes Beta News: The company is taking steps to make the 'user experience' of ads a little better. It recognizes that advertisements that get clicked accidentally don't benefit anybody. They end up irritating the clicker, and are unlikely to be of value to the company that placed the ad. With around half of ad clicks being made by mistake, Google is now taking steps to stop this from happening — great news for users advertisers alike. In all, Google is making three key changes to ads that appear on smartphones and tablets, starting off by adding an unclickable border to the outer edges of advertisements.
SourceForge

SourceForge Suspends Independent Project Mirroring 124 124

vivaoporto writes: In a reversal motivated by community concerns (like the high profile outcry over the distribution of an ads-enabled installer for GIMP and the accusation by Fyodor of the hijacking of the nmap SourceForge project), SourceForge has discontinued third-party bundling of mirrored content.

Along with that, as of June 18th, SourceForge started "removing SourceForge-maintained mirrored projects" and engaging their "newly-formed Community Panel to discuss site features and program policies including a redesigned mirror program." Of the 295 mirrored projects, they removed all that were "not co-maintained with one or more of the original developers, except where the upstream site has been discontinued." For those wanting to reach SourceForge for some constructive feedback, they point to the recently-established Community Voice forum.
Note: SourceForge and Slashdot share a corporate overlord.
Advertising

Adblock Plus Can Now Be Rolled Out To Every Single Employee In a Company 127 127

New submitter Mickeycaskill writes: Adblock Plus adds large scale deployment (LSD) to version 1.9 of its software, allowing IT managers to block adverts on thousands of computers in one go, months after a German court ruled the practice was legal. The move is likely to concern online publishers who rely on advertising to generate revenue.
The Media

Pirate Party Founder Rick Falkvinge Launches News Service 66 66

New submitter lillgud writes: Rick Falkvinge, founder of the first Pirate Party, has unveiled a news service to compete against "oldmedia." The news stories will be three sentences in length, and distributed within shareable images. Falkvinge says this obviates certain parts of the industry — for example, there will be no need for clickbait headlines, because there's nothing to click on. The business model is based around advertising, but those ads will simply be a watermark on the image. Thus, no worries about adblock, and no concerns about ad networks collecting information from users. The service is targeted to be operational in Q3. Each writer will be paid in accordance to a revenue sharing model, and Falkvinge's goal is for each part-time writer to receive €125/month in exchange for four stories (12 sentences).
Communications

FCC Nixes PayPal's Forced Robocalls Plan 122 122

jfruh writes: As part of a new user agreement created in preparation for its spinoff from eBay as an independent company, PayPal told users that the only way to avoid advertising robocalls from PayPal and its 'partners' was to stop using the service. This caused something of a firestorm, and now the FCC is saying the policy may violate Federal law, which requires an explicit opt-in to receive such messages.
Software

Face Recognition Tech Pushes Legal Boundaries 110 110

An anonymous reader writes: As face recognition software becomes more capable, companies and governments are coming up with new ways to use it. Microsoft has already patented a Minority Report-style personalized billboard, and loss prevention departments in big stores are rolling out systems to "pre-identify" shoplifters. But this rush to implement the technology runs afoul of privacy laws in at least two U.S. states: Illinois and Texas forbid the use of face recognition software without "informed consent" from the target. Facebook is the target of a recent lawsuit in Illinois over this exact issue; it's likely to test the strength of such a law. "Facebook and Google use facial recognition to detect when a user appears in a photograph and to suggest that he or she be tagged. Facebook calls this "Tag Suggestions" ... With the boom in personalized advertising technology, a facial recognition database of its users is likely very, very valuable to Facebook. ... Eager to extract that value, Facebook signed users up by default when it introduced Tag Suggestions in 2011. This meant that Facebook calculated faceprints for every user who didn't take the steps to opt out." If Facebook loses and citizens start pushing for similar laws in other states, it could keep our activities in public relatively anonymous for a bit longer.