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Do Not Track Does Not Conquer

Do Not Track Does Not Conquer

Posted Oct 18, 2012 17:49 UTC (Thu) by rillian (subscriber, #11344)
In reply to: Do Not Track Does Not Conquer by ThinkRob
Parent article: Do Not Track Does Not Conquer

The copyright lobby has been fairly successful in hanging legal enforcements on an "evil bit". Do Not Track has similar advantages.

Expressing a clear user preference both removes the argument that that person wants desires tracking by default, and provides a place to hang privacy legislation, which really can compel corporate behaviour.


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Do Not Track Does Not Conquer

Posted Oct 20, 2012 18:15 UTC (Sat) by giraffedata (subscriber, #1954) [Link]

Though no one has said it, I see clear implications that some believe nobody wants to be tracked, and that advertisers know that. Well, that isn't true. Advertisers believe users prefer targeted advertising to random advertising and I know that's not an unreasonable belief, because I do. I hate random advertising, and I would notice a degradation if I switched to a browser that told advertisers I'd prefer random ads.

Do Not Track Does Not Conquer

Posted Oct 20, 2012 18:55 UTC (Sat) by sfeam (subscriber, #2841) [Link]

There was a fascinating article in the NYT earlier this year documenting that advertisers correctly know that shoppers hate to be targeted. To work around this they deliberately mix random ads with targeted ads so that the targeting isn't so obvious. Why do the shoppers hate being targeted? The article uses a real example of Target (the company) being so clever that it could figure out when a shopper was newly pregnant and therefore it would send ads for baby clothes, diapers, etc. But the shoppers' reaction tended to be OMG, how did they find out I'm pregnant!?. This did not achieve the desired increase in sales of baby gear.

Do Not Track Does Not Conquer

Posted Oct 20, 2012 20:28 UTC (Sat) by giraffedata (subscriber, #1954) [Link]

There was a fascinating article in the NYT earlier this year documenting that advertisers correctly know that shoppers hate to be targeted.

OK, I read it and what one advertiser really concluded was this:

We have the capacity to send every customer an ad blooklet, specifically designed for them, that says, "Here's everything you bought last week and a coupon for it." ... With the pregnancy products, though, we learned that some women react badly.
That's a long way from saying advertisers know everyone hates targeted ads. In fact, it makes a good case for advertisers wanting a credible "do not track" header from browsers. Maybe with that, they could filter out those women who would react badly.

(The article also talked about public relations fallout, which again might be counteracted if prospects had a way to shut off the targeting, even if they rarely use it).

Do Not Track Does Not Conquer

Posted Oct 21, 2012 10:23 UTC (Sun) by bosyber (guest, #84963) [Link]

your quote:
"Here's everything you bought last week and a coupon for it."
shows a fundamental issue with those targeted ads (heh, originally I found I wrote attacks, hm):

Why would people want an ad for something they bought already? Hardly ever unless it is only about weekly shopping. And then they don't need to be enticed to buy it as it is already on their shopping list, evidently. For one-time-only buys it is just as useless for the opposite reason.

In my experience, that makes it more annoying - yes targeted, but too late/useless. To make it useful, they'd need to predict buys. And that can be pretty creepy, like with the pregnancy stuff. If they get it right, which is really hard.

The Amazon 'other people that looked at/bought this also bought Y' is occasionally useful, when the items deal with a specific well defined topic (say learning about a certain programming language), but even there it has a lot of misses. For fiction it can be really off-putting even.

Do Not Track Does Not Conquer

Posted Oct 21, 2012 17:27 UTC (Sun) by giraffedata (subscriber, #1954) [Link]

Why would people want an ad for something they bought already?

Maybe I didn't include enough context, but I'm sure what the advertiser was talking about was consumables, such as groceries and cleaning supplies.

I can easily believe coupons for those work, because without the coupon, the person might delay restocking, and consequently consuming, or might go to a different store to restock.

Obviously, the system isn't perfect. Sometimes the price you pay for sending someone a coupon that works is you have to send him 5 that don't. Amazon kept pressing me to buy a certain model of garbage can for a month after I bought it - from Amazon. But I know the program that did that works on average.

Do Not Track Does Not Conquer

Posted Oct 22, 2012 6:32 UTC (Mon) by bosyber (guest, #84963) [Link]

Okay, I see, that might work then. Though as you say, it still is tricky to get right.

I suppose that we live in different areas (I live in the Netherlands) - I know hardly anyone who seriously uses coupons - sure we may watch what the advertising leaflets of the grocery stores have on offer and it might have some influence on where we buy what, but to be honest, the weather and other activities have more influence. Different experiences for different people I guess :)

Do Not Track Does Not Conquer

Posted Oct 20, 2012 19:39 UTC (Sat) by viro (subscriber, #7872) [Link]

Then your adblock config obviously needs fixing. As far as I'm concerned, any ad delivered to me is (a) targeted incorrectly and (b) demonstrates a failure of filtering on my side...

Do Not Track Does Not Conquer

Posted Oct 22, 2012 9:04 UTC (Mon) by njwhite (guest, #51848) [Link]

It's just lucky that collecting and sharing massive quantities of information about a person's habits and beliefs isn't dangerous. Oh wait...

Besides which, targetted advertising is still advertising. It still is intended to get you to make a less rational decision than you would otherwise. It's just more tailored to you. So more effective. So better at manipulating you.

I can't really understand why anybody would want targetted advertising. I kind of presume they can't have really thought about the implications very hard. Do argue with me, though ;)

Do Not Track Does Not Conquer

Posted Oct 22, 2012 20:33 UTC (Mon) by giraffedata (subscriber, #1954) [Link]

targeted advertising is still advertising. It still is intended to get you to make a less rational decision than you would otherwise.

That is a very narrow view of advertising. There is one kind of advertising that is intended to get you to make a less rational decision, but there is plenty of advertising that is intended to educate you so you can make a better rational decision. Many times the education is simply letting you know the product is available. Other times, it's telling you something you didn't know about the product. In some cases, advertising brings your attention to a feature of the product you would otherwise overlook in your rational decision-making process.

The basic educational aspect of ads sometimes gets lost in the creative ways the ad must present the information in light of the audience's limited mental capacity -- advertisers are fighting for every millisecond of your thinking time and byte of your memory -- but that doesn't change the ad's objective.

I can't really understand why anybody would want targeted advertising. I kind of presume they can't have really thought about the implications very hard. Do argue with me, though ;)

No one can argue with you unless you get more specific than you have so far about those implications.


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