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Yahoo Patents Smart Billboard That Would Deliver Targeted Ads To Passersby or Motorists (thestack.com) 131

An anonymous reader writes: Yahoo has filed a patent for advertising billboards outfitted with a wide array of sensors -- including drone-based cameras -- which would use facial and vehicle recognition, data brokers, cell-tower information and social network information to attempt to identify worthwhile advertising targets and aim personalized ads at them as they pass on foot or in cars. The scheme, which was submitted on October 6th, anticipates using the same kind of micro-auction processes that currently determine which ads users see in webpages and mobile apps. The implementation of public ad-targeting brings up some fascinating and chilling prospects, as users find that the ads which "bloom" around them betray much about their private lives. Yahoo provides an example via its patent application: "According to one example, a digital billboard adjacent a busy freeway might be instrumented with or located near traffic sensors that detect information about the context of the vehicles approaching the billboard, e.g., the number and average speed of the vehicles. Such information might be used in conjunction with information about the time of day and/or the day of the week (e.g., Monday morning rush hour) to select advertisements for display that would appeal to an expected demographic and to display the advertisements for durations that are commensurate with the level of traffic congestion." The patent application also mentions how it will gather required information from individuals: "Various types of data (e.g., cell tower data, mobile app location data, image data, etc.) can be used to identify specific individuals in an audience in position to view advertising content. Similarly, vehicle navigation/tracking data from vehicles equipped with such systems could be used to identify specific vehicles and/or vehicle owners. Demographic data (e.g., as obtained from a marketing or user database) for the audience can thus be determined for the purpose of, for example, determining whether and/or the degree to which the demographic profile of the audience corresponds to a target demographic."
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Yahoo Patents Smart Billboard That Would Deliver Targeted Ads To Passersby or Motorists

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Which they certainly wouldn't just pass on to federal agencies....

  • Between Waze and Google Maps, Google probably knows a LOT of detailed info about most of the cars passing near any particular billboard in any particular city... they could make a killing doing a much more targeted advertisement that would directly appeal to specific individuals passing by.

  • Yahoo!, desperate to pull out of their inverted -8 G dive into the asphalt, pitches bullshit idea about advertising.
    • by FatdogHaiku ( 978357 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @09:10PM (#53066721)
      "Ladies and Gentlemen of The Jury, this tragic accident would have never happened without a targeted and pre-planned ad directed at my client! The instant the advertisers, the ad delivery company, and Yahoo made good on their conspiracy to display an ad for Viagra, my client looked down in shame... and a young life was snuffed out forever... by the callous disregard for the dangers of distracted driving by the advertisers and those working on their behalf."
    • Maybe they think they will get a bit more for the corpse if they have a bunch of "IP".

      Not sure who is stupid enough to fall for this.

      Rupert Murdoch paid $580 million for Myspace, and based on his personal life never learns a lesson, so they might pitch themselves to him.

  • as she passes by the billboard. gives a new meaning to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
  • With a few hundred of my like minded "get to work before traffic really sucks". Which targeted ad are you gonna show? I drive this 5 days a week and know where the billboards are, how you gonna make me look at them? Geocities type flashing and blinking? Good luck with that. I'm looking to pick a lane to get me to work 2 seconds faster, not looking at billboards..
    • by Anonymous Coward

      all kinds of choices for the stuck-in-traffic zombies:
      employment search sites, divorce lawyers, match.com, take-out and delivery restaurants, automobile insurance, tow trucks, personal injury lawyers, therapists, anti depression meds, vacation destinations.. to mention a few (or ten).

    • I drive this 5 days a week and know where the billboards are, how you gonna make me look at them? Geocities type flashing and blinking? Good luck with that.

      Video billboards already exist. They are fairly common in high-traffic corridors; for example, there are several on the CA 101. They tend to be located in places where traffic is frequently slowed due to... uh, traffic. They do not flash, but they do change, which draws the eye.

      I do think they're dangerous, simply because they do draw the attention more than normal billboards. I think normal billboards are dangerous enough.

      • The reason they're dangerous is because they don't dim enough at night and cause road blindness. At least the ones around me. They should have ambient light sensors and dim appropriately.

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @08:23PM (#53066507) Homepage

    The same thing that happens when I visit youtube will invariably begin to happen when I pass this billboard. Rolling along in my 1993 Lincoln town car, with my cellphone switched off for the evening commute as its both safer and avoids targeted advertising, ill glance at the horizon. Ahead, I'll see the new Yahoo billboard, and just as I approach, it will hesitate for a second before displaying the same Kardashian/Dr Phil/clickbait/pop topic trending at the national level and sponsored accordingly to do so.

    and in the midst of a 5 lane highway, im certain this billboard will get exciting.

  • I can only hope(though doubt) that the person responsible for this 'innovation' is appropriately ashamed of who they are and what they have done.

    There are plenty of people who are useless; but this winner is actively making the world just a little bit worse. I hope that weighs on them.
  • by JoeyRox ( 2711699 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @08:28PM (#53066533)
    *** Internet Company For Sale ****

    Price with CEO: $4.8 Billion
    Price without CEO: $8.8 Billion
  • John Anderton, you could use a Guinness right about now.

    • by niks42 ( 768188 )
      Surely being in a movie renders a concept unpatentable either for obviousness or for prior art. Actually, I prefer the latter.
    • Came to post this video clip but you beat me to the reference. Here's the clip anyway....
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

    • Yea, I sure was thinking "Prior Art" as I read the snippet. We sure have an interesting patent office if they "missed" that.
  • something else to distract your attention from what's in front of you [youtube.com]...

  • by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @09:13PM (#53066731)

    I'm sick of ads evading our time and space with no respect for people.

    When are people going to realize this excessive greed has to stop.

    Could we just ban ads already for once and for all instead of allowing them to visually pollute our physical and virtual places.

    • Could we just ban ads already for once and for all instead of allowing them to visually pollute our physical and virtual places.

      Ever see the movie Branded?

      • Nope.

        You've piqued my curiosity now. :-)

        • It's pretty weird, but I loved it. Especially the vodka salesman. Towards the end it gets...interesting.

          • The (2012) version [imdb.com] looks interesting !

            In future Moscow, where corporate brands have created a disillusioned population, one man's effort to unlock the truth behind the conspiracy will lead to an epic battle with hidden forces that control the world.

            I've ordered the Blu-Ray [amazon.com]

          • Just watched this last night -- loved it !!

            You're right about it getting weird -- especially around the red bull part. :-)

            It reminds me of

            Network (1976) [imdb.com]
            They Live (1988) [imdb.com]

            That very end doctor scene -- was that Misha ? Was it intentional that it was open-ended?

            • Those are two of my favorites, I need to rewatch these again. Not sure about that last scene, it's been a few years since I've seen it.

    • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

      ... ads evading our time and space ...

      If only they could do that...

    • by bbsguru ( 586178 )
      Simple solution: stop responding to advertising.
      If you/everyone did, it would go away almost instantly...
      Nimrod.

      The reason you see advertising is that advertising works. Get over it.
  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @09:13PM (#53066737) Journal

    Does this mean people walking near me will also be able to see that for some reason, Yahoo is targeting me with ads for Oxycontin, pornhub and pork rinds?

    This makes me a little uncomfortable.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Does this mean people walking near me will also be able to see that for some reason, Yahoo is targeting me with ads for Oxycontin, pornhub and pork rinds?

      This makes me a little uncomfortable.

      Just wait until they create targeted ads and you have to explain Oxyporkhub to your as-of-yet friends.

  • I thought I saw this in a movie (Minority Report). Though it was accomplished by a retina scan, but same concept. Would this be considered prior art?
    • I thought I saw this in a movie (Minority Report). Though it was accomplished by a retina scan, but same concept. Would this be considered prior art?

      It depends what the claims of their patent application recite. I haven't read them. But, anything published prior to the filing date of their application may be used as prior art.. I've had youtube videos cited in rejections.

  • a case of Coffiest?

  • How is this a patent? Advertisers have been targeting motorists for decades. Digital billboards are old news. What's wrong with this picture? How is this original? What am I missing?

    • How is this original? What am I missing?

      As per TFS, this is "original" (though frankly, obvious) because the billboards will display targeted ads. There's no law prohibiting storing your license plate number and associating it with your identity. Barring that, they'll just show generic ads, or maybe they'll recognize certain makes of car and show specific ads to people with expensive conveyances.

  • You could use a Guiness right now..
  • Wow! (Score:4, Funny)

    by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Thursday October 13, 2016 @06:08AM (#53068339)

    So if I drive with a Miss Piggy mask as adblocker, they'll show me frog-legs ads?

    • You'll have to take the battery out of your cellphone too for it not to recognize you.

      Seriously, I'm considering to stop carrying a cellphone.

  • Maybe the Unibomer was right. Technology is evil
    • by Sloppy ( 14984 )

      You might as well say "power is evil." It's not. The problem is that your adversaries have more than you.

      If the shoe were on the other foot, you'd be in favor of people having the ability to do more things easier. And then you'd be saying "Maybe Conan was right. Crushing your enemies, seeing them driven before you, and hearing the lamentations of their women is best in life!"

  • The first time I heard about this it was being used on a freeway-adjacent billboard in Sacramento CA, around 2003.
    I've always assumed the idea was being used lots of places, since it would explain why
    I see so many ads for Bail Bonds when travelling with my brother in law.
  • You can't patent something that somebody else thought of first; the trick is to prove it. --- Of course, ANYBODY who saw the movie Minority Report has seen this technology demonstrated years ago. --- So, this will stand for about 30 seconds into the first court challenge.
  • Great! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Oswald McWeany ( 2428506 ) on Thursday October 13, 2016 @07:33AM (#53068673)

    So now every time I pass by a billboard it's going to display ads for extra extra large condoms... ... how embarrassing.

  • ... Normally I hate these kinds of stupid patents, but if this helps prevent others from implementing this nonsense, I might be able to get behind this...

  • Hey, Joe Smith! Yes, You in the Blue Ford F150, This Bud's For You!
  • For that 16 year old kid who figures out how to hack into it and outs a dancing ass on the billboard all day.
  • This was obvious, it was already done in movies even. The one I remember the clearest was minority report.

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