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This 113 message thread spans 4 pages: < < 113 ( 1 2 [3] 4 > >     
ISPs to insert their own ads into websites
GeorgeK

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3649194 posted 8:10 pm on May 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

Here's a story that should concern every web publisher, especially AdSense users:

[blog.wired.com...]
[connect.charter.com...]

Often, when you surf the Internet, the advertisements you see have
little or no relevance to you or your interests. As a result of this
enhancement, Charter can display advertisements that are more likely
to be related to your interests. You will not see more ads, but some
of the ads you see will be more relevant to you.

I'm astonished. How is this any different from the postal service ripping out all the magazine ads and replacing them with their own ads before they get delivered to your house?

With the "deep packet inspection" technologies, conceivably ISPs can just replace, in real-time, our Google AdSense publisher IDs with their own. Or, they could simply replace the entire Google AdSense Javascript snippet with something else.

I would hope that Google and other large advertising networks lead the charge against this, and that they are not partnered with any ISPs involved in this activity. A large class action lawsuit on behalf of publishers might slap sense into any ISPs using this "enhancement" to steal revenues from legitimate publishers.

This needs to be stopped.

[edited by: jatar_k at 5:13 pm (utc) on May 14, 2008]
[edit reason] better link [/edit]

 

thecoalman

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3649194 posted 1:52 am on May 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

Freephone ISPs long depended upon showing a popup window alongside webpages

I would not have problem with that, if a ISP wants to serve pop-ups or open new windows let them serve a zillion ads, they can also rot on the vine as their customers go elsewhere to no ad services. They are certainly within their rights. The problem I have is these are right in the page itself.

iridiax

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3649194 posted 1:52 am on May 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

Oh brother, what a dumb idea. They obviously made it opt out because no one but the clueless would opt in. So how do web publishers opt out of this scheme?

edd1

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3649194 posted 1:54 am on May 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

yes rubbish internet because webmasters won't be able to pay for high quality content anymore.

I'm in the business of educating people that advertising is necessary if you want to see high quality writing and editorial online. Major publishers seem to be very happy with that idea.

So what happens if ISPs start taxing the business model by skimming a percentage? Quality issues for everyone.

docbird

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3649194 posted 2:06 am on May 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

"Free internet" maybe - but also, should this become widespread, massively worse websites overall.
Even if ads were added rather than substituted, would reduce website revenues - inc for stores, as maybe ads would be for competing stores (Dell ads on Apple...).

Any ISP yet adding ads to, say, Google? [I'd imagine there'd be a list of "untouchable" sites; but not so easy to draw up. Ads on some sites might upset people who don't just go to lawyers when they're upset! - inadvertently try, say, "sopranos waste removal services.com"]

IanKelley

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3649194 posted 2:48 am on May 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

I think there might be some confusion here between the Phorm thing and the subject of OP.

Unless I'm badly misreading Comcast's own information they are planning to actively replace 3rd party advertising on websites that their customers visit with different ads.

Libraries stamp books, insert RFID tags and borrowing slips are pasted into them before lending them

The postal service puts their own adverts in the franking on letters

Private courier services plaster packages with their branding

Freephone ISPs long depended upon showing a popup window alongside webpages

All of these examples refer to advertising that does not alter the content of the message/package/page. This is a vast difference.

ember

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3649194 posted 3:15 am on May 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

Will Google really let this happen? They'll fight it tooth and nail.

There are too many issues involved. Privacy, copyright infringement, net neutrality. This will never happen, at least not without lengthy court battles.

[edited by: ember at 3:46 am (utc) on May 15, 2008]

Ocean10000

WebmasterWorld Administrator 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3649194 posted 3:42 am on May 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

Just a thought. Has anyone checked out the cookies they use to opt out and how they are done? And could a webmaster send a spoofed cookie which automatically outs its visitors out? Without having the user do anything else on there part. I am thinking of defenses here. What can I do as a webmaster to protect my content against some revenue stealing ISP, who would replace or insert ad's to my content without my permission.

For example one of my websites I have agreements to use others peoples content as long as I do not put any advertising on those pages, and do not lock them behind any membership requirements which would make the content non-free. The spirit of the agreement is to keep the pages advertising free, and available to the public at large to read them. The ISP's doing this would cause me to be in violation of this agreement, and more then likely caused me to have said content yanked, and possibly land me in court. The last thing I want to do is spend money on an attorney when I can do something to prevent it in the first place.

thecoalman

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3649194 posted 3:45 am on May 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

Unless I'm badly misreading Comcast's own information they are planning to actively replace 3rd party advertising on websites that their customers visit with different ads.

Unless I missed something Comcast has not been mentioned it's Charter. As I read the documnet on Charters site it appears they intend to track their cutomers to serve relevant ads on sites participating. I don't see anything that would indicate they intend on injecting ads or overwriting ads with their own.

IanKelley

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3649194 posted 4:40 am on May 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

Yes Comcast was a typo.

If you read Charter's info a little more slowly, you'll notice that one of the "features" is that the ads will only be shown in areas of websites where ads would appear otherwise. And that there will never be any more ads than you would normally see.

The only way to do this is to replace whatever ads are already in that spot. Unless someone can think of another way of meeting the above criteria?

IanKelley

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3649194 posted 4:53 am on May 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

After reading a couple of articles, you're right I misread, it sounds like Charter's only part of it is to gather the surfing habits and then ads would only be shown by participating ad networks. Their letter to subscribers neglects to mention that part of it.

Not a whole lot better from a user perspective but maybe not so impossible to get away with.

Sorry for any confusion.

Also noticed something at the end of the OP's linked article, not sure when it was added:

Correction: The original version of the article inaccurately described some aspects of Charters' plans, based on a misreading of the company's descriptions of the program.

Now if we can just do something about the thread title :-)

GeorgeK

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3649194 posted 5:04 am on May 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

https://db.usenix.org/events/nsdi08/tech/full_papers/reis/reis.pdf

is an academic paper that looks to be very recent.

In our results, we discovered several distinct ISPs that appeared to insert ad-related scripts into our measurement page. Several companies offer to partner with ISPs by providing them appliances that inject such ads. For example, we saw 5 IP addresses that received injected code from NebuAdís servers [2]. Traceroutes suggested that these occurred on ISPs including Red Moon, Mesa Networks, and XO, as well as an IP address belonging to NebuAd itself. Other frequently observed ad injections were caused by MetroFi, a company that provides free wireless networks in which all web pages are augmented with ads. We also observed single IP addresses affected by other similar companies, including LokBox, Front Porch, PerfTech, Edge Technologies, and knects.net.

More at: [cs.washington.edu...]

ebound

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3649194 posted 1:46 pm on May 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

No, you can't do that; and it's not a good example. A better example would be Barnes and Noble putting ads into all of the publications they distribute. Now, the question is, what kind of arrangement do they have with the book and magazine providers? Who has the clout here?

Yeah, thanks. It was sarcasm.

Your example is better in this particular case, but as a publisher I still don't think it's any different than someone altering my publication for their benefit.

It may not be right that I went to Starbucks this morning, picked up the pile of newspapers and put the inserts I made last night into each of them. But, as a publisher that may be affected by this, it's absolutely no different in my eyes. You are altering my publication. Set that precident and you're asking for trouble.

Demaestro

WebmasterWorld Senior Member demaestro us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3649194 posted 4:34 pm on May 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

More then a copyright issue I think this is a privacy issue. They have to look at your traffic and interpret it on some level to do this. Which is spying, and if not illegal should be.

Imagine Fed-Ex, Purolator, UPS, and even government mail and package deliveries services decided to start opening your mail, not to read it, but just to see what products, magazines and other stuff you get sent to you so they can drop a few related fliers or coupon books in the envelopes and packages along with your items...

To me this would be the same thing.

[edited by: Demaestro at 4:35 pm (utc) on May 15, 2008]

g1smd

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3649194 posted 7:15 pm on May 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

*** It really sucks and I don't want to see it as a webmaster. However, I do not think it is illegal by any means. ***

The insertion of the ads isn't illegal, but the interception and scanning of the data flowing between the website you visit and your own computer is very much illegal. It amounts to illegal wire-tapping.

fredw

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3649194 posted 8:42 pm on May 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

Ocean10000: No, as publishers, we would have no control whatsoever over the cookie. The user would be setting a cookie from Charter to opt out. One site cannot set a cookie for another. That's part of the security of cookies. So, we would not be able to set opt out cookies for everyone by default.

But why should we have to?

I agree with ember, ad providers will never let this stand. But further, I as a publisher, would never stand for it, either. If an ISP ever starts doing this, I will block my pages from being displayed by users on that ISP, and return pages instead that say something like "YOUR ISP IS TRYING TO STEAL THIS SERVICE."

loudspeaker

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3649194 posted 10:48 pm on May 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

I agree with ember, ad providers will never let this stand. But further, I as a publisher, would never stand for it, either. If an ISP ever starts doing this, I will block my pages from being displayed by users on that ISP, and return pages instead that say something like "YOUR ISP IS TRYING TO STEAL THIS SERVICE."

I think there should be a concerted effort of webmasters to enforce this. If somebody is active enough to organize such a union (basically, an exchange of information on specific IP blocks of ISP's trying to steal our ad impressions), I'll gladly join it. ¬°No pasar√°n!.

Class action lawsuits are optional, but would be quite welcome, too.

mcneely

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3649194 posted 5:14 am on May 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

"YOUR ISP IS TRYING TO STEAL THIS SERVICE."

Over half of our clients are already on board with this as of this evening.

We'll be actively seeking permission from all of our clients in the coming days to disallow ISP's that throw in with this practice.

driller41

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3649194 posted 9:56 am on May 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

I guess this would be confined to smaller websites as there is less chance of legal preceedings taking place - if they messed with say Amazon they would probably be in court the next day.

Just a thought.

johnnie

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3649194 posted 11:43 am on May 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

The insertion of the ads isn't illegal, but the interception and scanning of the data flowing between the website you visit and your own computer is very much illegal. It amounts to illegal wire-tapping.

Is it still illegal if they make mention of this activity in their TOS, which everybody agrees to without reading?

piatkow

WebmasterWorld Senior Member piatkow us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3649194 posted 12:22 pm on May 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

In the UK you can't sign away certain rights but no idea if this would be one. Considering recent incidents it would probably turn out that ISPs were protected by R.I.P.

ember

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3649194 posted 3:01 pm on May 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

In the U.S., Congress is looking at ISPs and how they handle traffic, particularly after what Comcast was caught doing. With a newer, even more Democratic Congress coming in January, ISPs will have fewer friends in the House and Senate, and what Charter wants to do will come under more scrutiny. It's not a good time for ISPs to try to run over the little guy.

edacsac

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3649194 posted 10:52 pm on May 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

So we'll have myspace, wikipedia, youtube, major news outlets, major retailers, niche retail sites, and a bucketful low quality web sites left in charge to fill the internet with quality reading on every interest available.

If you look where everything else in the world is heading today, this is really no surprise. Big business and overseeing government interests will probably let this fly in the long term.

fredw

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3649194 posted 1:02 am on May 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

johnnie and piatkow: You're not thinking about this from the right angles. Who's signing away who's rights with who's TOS?

A web site visitor CANNOT sign away MY rights as a web publisher by reading a TOS on the visitor's ISP. An ISP CANNOT modify the presentation of my website without MY permission.

They won't get it.

This concept is insanity. It would be as if the Phone Company listened into every single private telephone call, and inserted commercials into the calls based on what you were talking about.

A website visit is between me and my visitor. The internet providers cannot insert themselves.

IanKelley

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3649194 posted 1:29 am on May 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

The "concept" was all started by a misconception (an understandable one given Charter's wording) by various members of the press.

The stories have since been retracted or modified. WebmasterWorld is the only place left with a headline that suggests ads will be "inserted" into websites.

gmiller

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3649194 posted 3:12 am on May 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

Leaving aside the ethical problem (this is a really sleazy thing to do), it's not really surprising that they'd do this, and they have a pretty good legal defense. They're going to argue that better-quality ads are a service that their users are paying them for. Since users are allowed to do literally anything to their own copy of a copyrighted work, it'll be hard to sue services that provide ad blocking, spam filtering, or even the ad replacement thing that we're talking about here. Imagine being the lawyer that has to walk into a court room and say "Well, yes, they can do it--but they're paying someone else to do it for them! Despicable #*$!s!"

That being said, I don't think it makes much long-term business sense. What will you do if all the major ISPs start doing this and you can no longer make significant banner ad revenue? Dump banner ads for some other form of income, right? And then there won't be any ads to replace. At that point, they're reduced to putting ads on pages that didn't have them to begin with, and users will either switch ISPs to avoid that, or they'll install ad-blocking software to defeat the ISP's ads.

swa66

WebmasterWorld Senior Member swa66 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3649194 posted 2:00 pm on May 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

That being said, I don't think it makes much long-term business sense. What will you do if all the major ISPs start doing this and you can no longer make significant banner ad revenue? Dump banner ads for some other form of income, right? And then there won't be any ads to replace. At that point, they're reduced to putting ads on pages that didn't have them to begin with, and users will either switch ISPs to avoid that, or they'll install ad-blocking software to defeat the ISP's ads.

There's tons of examples of companies knowingly destructing a market based on a short term strategy. No guarantee they won't do it, their shareholders are by definition short term sighted only.

loudspeaker

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3649194 posted 5:10 pm on May 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

Perhaps this is a very weird attempt on the part of ISP's to destroy net neutrality. First they are going to force us (i.e., web sites) to discriminate between ISP's in serving (or refusing to serve) web content and then they're going to make an argument: "See? Those web sites themselves are not net-neutral, so why should we be? We are also going to discriminate!"

Leva

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3649194 posted 6:05 pm on May 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

If any ISP tried to replace my ads with their ads, I would very calmly block their IPs from the site, and have my site display an explanation to my users. End of story.

Leva

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3649194 posted 7:30 pm on May 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

I should add that I already have that policy in place for proxies which replace my ad content with theirs. Plenty of proxies already do this.

DamonHD

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3649194 posted 8:25 pm on May 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

Leva: what is your policy and how do you enforce it?

Rgds

Damon

Hugene

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3649194 posted 8:58 pm on May 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

I don't get this. If, on your site, you have some Phorm ad code, and they serve you ads, and share revenue with you, then cool, keep it coming. It makes no difference to me who serves the ads, G or ISPs. But if our pages are hijacked and Phorm ad code is injected without permission, this is a major problem, and is totally illegal, even probably in Tadjikistan ;)

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