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Safari Businesses The Almighty Buck The Internet

Every Major Advertising Group Is Blasting Apple for Blocking Cookies in the Safari Browser (adweek.com) 442

The biggest advertising organizations say Apple will "sabotage" the current economic model of the internet with plans to integrate cookie-blocking technology into the new version of Safari. Marty Swant, reporting for AdWeek: Six trade groups -- the Interactive Advertising Bureau, American Advertising Federation, the Association of National Advertisers, the 4A's and two others -- say they're "deeply concerned" with Apple's plans to release a version of the internet browser that overrides and replaces user cookie preferences with a set of Apple-controlled standards. The feature, which is called "Intelligent Tracking Prevention," limits how advertisers and websites can track users across the internet by putting in place a 24-hour limit on ad retargeting. In an open letter expected to be published this afternoon, the groups describe the new standards as "opaque and arbitrary," warning that the changes could affect the "infrastructure of the modern internet," which largely relies on consistent standards across websites. The groups say the feature also hurts user experience by making advertising more "generic and less timely and useful."
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Every Major Advertising Group Is Blasting Apple for Blocking Cookies in the Safari Browser

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  • The varnish is off (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AlanObject ( 3603453 ) on Thursday September 14, 2017 @01:04PM (#55196909)
    Who could have predicted that consumer privacy would be a lesser concern than revenue flow to industry trade groups?
    • by Kenja ( 541830 ) on Thursday September 14, 2017 @01:10PM (#55196985)
      Anyone. Anyone could have predicted that...
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, 2017 @01:14PM (#55197041)

      Advertising is a wasteful industry. It's completely not needed at all. The pharma industry unethically and immorality advertisers to consumers and give doctors perks for selling their shit instead of letting the professionals pick the appropriate medicine and treatment

      Most ads for products are for complete junk nobody actually needs. The advertising industry is a leach on society

      • Most ads for products are for complete junk nobody actually needs. The advertising industry is a leach on society

        True, but only for "most". There are some companies I actively follow on Facebook and/or Twitter simply because I'm truly interested in seeing their new products when they come out. Sideshow Collectibles being a prime example.

        The ting is, from what I can tell, they STILL haven't gotten a computer algorithm that really targets things you actually want to see. Sure, if I'm searching for a guitar it might start showing guitar ads, but that's something was actively looking for already, so I don't really need

      • by Cyberpunk Reality ( 4231325 ) on Thursday September 14, 2017 @05:36PM (#55199173)
        I think there is a legitimate market niche for advertisitng. Letting people gain awareness that things of interest to them exist is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. Lots of people go and watch movie trailers of their own volition, for example. But there is absolutely a line, beyond which advertising becomes parasitic. How much time do we collectively lose, how much wealth does our society spend, in order that some people may become wealthy selling to some other people? Where, ethically, is the line between robbery, extortion, fraud and an advertising campaign or sales pitch? I do not know exactly where the line is for responsible advertising, but as a society I think we are very far on the wrong side of it.
        • by JohnFen ( 1641097 ) on Thursday September 14, 2017 @06:52PM (#55199591)

          There is nothing inherently wrong with advertising. It serves an important role.

          But it's gone very wrong, and not just online. I think it's gone wrong in three basic ways:

          1) It generally fails to fulfill one of the primary reasons for its existence: to actually and honestly inform people about products.

          2) It has become too pervasive. Ads shouldn't cover every square inch of everything.

          3) It has become way too intrusive.

          Personally, I'm resigned to the notion that #1 and 2 will never change.

          #3, though, is completely unacceptable. The fact that advertising companies spend so much time and energy working to defeat my efforts to keep them out of my metaphorical drawers means that they have placed themselves in the role of my enemy.

          And since they have chosen to be my enemy, I will treat them as such until/unless the time comes that they can act in a more decent fashion.

          • by cyber-vandal ( 148830 ) on Friday September 15, 2017 @12:23AM (#55200725) Homepage

            Not to mention the psychological problems caused by playing with people's self-esteem.

          • by houghi ( 78078 )

            1) Ads where never about just informing people. They where about selling things. Be it a sign that there is a bakery or a fishmonger on a market, it is not about informing, it is about selling. If information would do that, then that is what they would do. But the goal was always selling.
            2) If you have one fishmonger yelling, the other needs to be louder than the first one. As the target is sales and not information, the result will be that it becomes visible all over the place.
            3) That is how it will be and

    • Varnish? Were any claims ever made otherwise?
    • Who could have predicted...?

      Perhaps the biologists studying hippo butt leeches [slashdot.org]? Because "yes, there are simularities."

      Cheers,

  • by Colin Castro ( 2881349 ) on Thursday September 14, 2017 @01:04PM (#55196911)
    I bought a motorcycle helmet years ago, I still get ads for the helmet and others I researched. Fucking ads suck.
    • by TechyImmigrant ( 175943 ) on Thursday September 14, 2017 @01:05PM (#55196929) Homepage Journal

      I constantly get ads for the thing I've recently purchased.

      I can't imagine a less effective form of advertising.

      • Or things which I cannot use. I once got ads for Lamaze classes. I'm a dude who doesn't have a pregnant significant other. It was funny because it popped up after a weekend trip to Vegas: "Honey, you gots some 'splainin' to do!"
        • by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Thursday September 14, 2017 @02:00PM (#55197495)
          That reminds me of the story about Target's initial foray into targeted ads where they could tell based on search history when a user was pregnant and had some data to suggest that if they could get a new mother to start shopping at their stores she'd likely be a good longtime customer. They were worried about it appearing creepy for them to start displaying sales ads for diapers or other baby products that people hadn't looked for yet, so they through it some ringer results (like golf clubs or scotch glasses) that would make the advertising appear more random.

          Perhaps they're selectively feeding you some ads that are more relevant, but tossing in some crap like that so it doesn't appear too obvious. Or maybe someone else temporary had that IP and was making different searches with it that are influencing the results.
      •     The problem is that the advertisers are only tied into the search data.. not the purchase data. They don't know you actually made the purchase already. It's cheap enough for them to take the gamble and blast everybody with their search history.

        • The problem is that the advertisers are only tied into the search data.. not the purchase data. They don't know you actually made the purchase already. It's cheap enough for them to take the gamble and blast everybody with their search history.

          That is their problem, not mine. I find things to buy by searching for them. If they want me to find their things and buy them then they need to work with the search people (google, amazon, bangood etc.) so that I find them when I search. Coming around like annoying little yippy dogs after every purchase, barking "Buy this too!!" is neither going to get them a sale nor get me to go to them for stuff in the future.

          • Right? Taking the motorcycle helmet example from above, it would make sense to show the helmet ads after someone searches motorcycles. If they bought a bike, they need a helmet; if they bought a helmet, they do not.

            That example, I believe, is a failing of whoever bought that particular ad space.

            And it's all too common. Well thought out advertising can actually be helpful to the consumer, but I almost never see well thought out advertising. The crap that's constantly hurled in my direction typically tell
            • Well thought out advertising can actually be helpful to the consumer, but I almost never see well thought out advertising.

              I never see it. Helpful advertising is advertising that tells me what I need to know about a product and is honest in its representation.

              The last time I saw advertising that was actually helpful was in technical journals in the late '70s/early '80s.

              All the advertising I've seen since then (and that was niche) has been useless garbage, whether or not it's for the type of product I'm interested in.

            • My wife has a yarn store. The customer base has a very, very well defined demographic and they tend to buy yarn and related stuff many times.
              The single best advertising we can buy is through Facebook. They target at the people within a certain distance in the knitting and crochet groups on Facebook with our ads, which essentially say "There's a yarn store over there". This has a measurable effect on increasing customers. Advertising through Google. the papers and other places has achieved nothing. Google m

        • The problem is that the advertisers are only tied into the search data.. not the purchase data. They don't know you actually made the purchase already. It's cheap enough for them to take the gamble and blast everybody with their search history.

          Some times they are though. When I book a hotel through one of the sites that do this, I keep getting emails about booking in thy same place I already made reservations in.

      • I constantly get ads for the thing I've recently purchased.

        Sometimes the websites are particularly stupid about it, too. I looked at a couple of items on Willams-Sonoma and other sites, and for a month after I received them after ordering from Willams-Sonoma, I kept getting daily emails from them saying that I'd put these items in my shopping cart, and they could only hold them there for 30 days before they'd fall off.

        In your case, though, the ad company may only be getting information about what you looked at, and doesn't know that you bought it. If the ads are co

      • by DMJC ( 682799 )
        This is so true, every time I go online and search for something to buy, the next six weeks are a constant stream of nothing but what I already bought. If I'm searching for it online it means I'm buying in the next five minutes. Not the next 6 weeks. These idiots haven't figured that out yet. Also, I'm still waiting for the Ad-Rapture where my feeds get filled with space games and Linux games. Hasn't happened yet and I won't be holding my breath. Online advertising is a total sham industry.
    • My guess as to the retargeting apologist's reply: "Have you bought another of the helmet as a gift for another biker in your circle of friends?"

    • by ljw1004 ( 764174 ) on Thursday September 14, 2017 @01:47PM (#55197355)

      I bought a motorcycle helmet years ago, I still get ads for the helmet and others I researched.

      Oh! But wasn't your purchase just the first step towards a lifelong hobby of collecting motorcycle helmets?

    • I bought a motorcycle helmet years ago, I still get ads for the helmet and others I researched. Fucking ads suck.

      I don't generally surf much on my phone. I do get gmail on it. And at home I have adblockers, ghostery and noscript. But I was at an event and I noticed some people "vaping". I was curious about it, so looked it up on the phone. I get back home, and am inundated with email and notifications regarding electronic cigarettes and vaping. Rat bastards - I verified the reason I need to lock my browser down at home.

  • by turp182 ( 1020263 ) on Thursday September 14, 2017 @01:06PM (#55196933) Journal

    Unless Apple has a patent on it...

    I have to manage enough other stuff and generally ignore cookies.

    That said, cookies do show me what my wife is shopping for on Amazon, but I don't need to see that (it is funny to call her and implicitly talk about what's she's looking at, but that only worked a couple of times).

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This might just get me to use Safari.. The idea that advertisers have any right to users browsing habits is a concept that needs to be crushed.

  • Targeted Ads? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by in10se ( 472253 ) on Thursday September 14, 2017 @01:07PM (#55196957) Homepage

    If I have to see ads on a web site, my preference is that they are "generic and less timely and useful" since I'm going to ignore them anyway.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      If I have to see ads on a web site, my preference is that they are "generic and less timely and useful" since I'm going to ignore them anyway.

      Um, if you're ignoring them why do you care what they are? Do you mean that you're trying to ignore them, but those damn timely, relevant ads are tempting you to use money you shouldn't? If so I think you're their primary market...

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I don't click on ads as a matter of principle. At the same time, I recognize that ads are highly engineered to distract me and grab my attention, and that this engineering is not without success. So, even though there is a 100% chance that I am not going to "bite", I know that a good ad will be able to distract me.

        As such, wishing for less effective ads is perfectly reasonable and respectable.

      • Um, if you're ignoring them why do you care what they are? Do you mean that you're trying to ignore them, but those damn timely, relevant ads are tempting you to use money you shouldn't? If so I think you're their primary market...

        I don't know about them, but when I get an interest in buying something I'll look around various places looking at pricing and alternatives, then put it aside for a while to ruminate about it. If I start getting ads for that product every second or third webpage I go to, it makes me start wondering what's wrong with it that they need to try to flog it that hard to me trying to get me to buy it, and it makes me less likely to buy it.

      • Um, if you're ignoring them why do you care what they are?

        Personally, I don't care if they're there -- but I care a lot about the tracking that they bring with them.

    • I often feel the ads I see on the subway station are more targeted towards me than what I see on the internet. Which is quite something to say.
  • by L-One-L-One ( 173461 ) on Thursday September 14, 2017 @01:10PM (#55196983)

    If "Every Major Advertising Group" hates this, then it shows that Apple is probably doing the right thing :-)

    These guys killed "Do-Not-Track" in the US and made a joke of "cookie laws" in the EU. Looks like now they have found a stronger opponent.

    • by Dixie_Flatline ( 5077 ) <vincent.jan.goh@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Thursday September 14, 2017 @01:48PM (#55197361) Homepage

      This is really significant in a few ways:

      1) This isn't something Google can do, because obviously Google's bread and butter is ads (though, let's be real—I bet Google could do better, less disruptive advertising if they wanted to)
      2) Apple's users are disproportionately represented in online purchasing. When you see stats for online Black Friday sales, most mobile sales are on iOS devices. This makes Apple's decision hit twice as hard despite having less market share.

      I'm sure it won't be long before ad agencies come up with some other irksome method of ruining my online browsing experience, but I'm so happy someone is trying *something* to mess with these guys.

      • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 ) on Thursday September 14, 2017 @02:18PM (#55197665)

        Google used to. Google used to be famous for unobtrusive, text only ads.

        Then they bought DoubleClick.

      • The irony is that if these advertisements weren't so abusive to begin with, people wouldn't be nearly as annoyed with it and we wouldn't need to spend development time on making it go away. It's the same situation as an industry that self regulates in order to make it unnecessary for government to regulate them.

        That is, until a bad actor comes along and forces the government's regulatory hand...

  • by bradley13 ( 1118935 ) on Thursday September 14, 2017 @01:11PM (#55197007) Homepage

    I hadn't thought about it, but all major browsers allow users to block third-party cookies. If they would only make this the default behavior, it would do a world of good. And piss of the marketeers even more.

    The only problem I ever have is when I want to read comments on a site that has outsource them to an external service like Disqus. But then, that's usually a good reason to skip the site entirely...

  • Apple = Privacy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, 2017 @01:15PM (#55197049)

    For all of the complaints people have about Apple, I feel the one thing that really sets them apart is their continuing effort to protect the user's privacy, even at the cost of software functionality. Siri has been lagging far behind other services, and at least some of it is due to her inability to track a user's preferences and habits. Apple is now introducing changes to the software that attempt to solve this by storing the information locally on the user's device so that government and law enforcement officials can't "demand" the data from Apple.

    • Yup.

      For all the shit I give Apple (and it's a lot -- Apple is not exactly a saintly company), they do have this going for them. It places them head-and-shoulders above the other major players.

  • People do not want advertising. They do not want 'targeted' advertising, either. Find a different business model, marketers, we don't want the one you keep pushing.
  • by aaarrrgggh ( 9205 ) on Thursday September 14, 2017 @01:23PM (#55197113)

    The idea that "consumers" want ads, much less that they want "timely and useful" ads is mistaken.

    Ultimately though, I imagine it is good for Google, Facebook, and other advanced tracking providers; they can easily evade any tracking avoidance strategies... unless Apple decides to proxy everything via iCloud.

    • Of course they do. What? You think you are the consumer? Ha, you are the product! Nothing is ever free whether it is Chrome or Windows 10.

      Unless you want to pay money in this case for Apple products you are going to get shafted.

    • by mysidia ( 191772 )

      Advertisers want ads, AND they want to make as-efficient use of the space as possible -- which means showing you an ad that has the highest probability of a potential conversion. If they can't target them, then the value of the ad-space decreases, AND we will begin to see a larger volume of ads on websites to make up for the diminishing efficiency..... Remember those webpages in the 1990s that didn't just have a couple ads, but pages and pages of ads interspersed with the content, with Popups?

      That's

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      The idea that "consumers" want ads, much less that they want "timely and useful" ads is mistaken.

      Most viewers want to read articles without having to pay a dollar per page (to compensate for per-transaction fees typical of credit card processors) or pay per site per year. They accept ads as a means to this end.

  • by GreatDrok ( 684119 ) on Thursday September 14, 2017 @01:30PM (#55197201) Journal

    So on my Mac I have Chrome, Firefox and Safari. Firefox has a whole heap of extensions that help keep things tight so I'll use that in the darker regions of the net, and Chrome works well with Google Docs so that's pretty much all I use it for. Safari is my main browser and that's what I'm using now. For all the hate Apple gets they did kill Flash and if they can kill cookies then all the better, especially on mobile.

    As others have said, Google is an advertising company and for all the good things about Android, that's the main thing that keeps me away. You would think though that the rise of AdBlock, and do not track, and cookie controls would be enough to tell these advertisers that we don't like what they're doing? Don't they track that stuff?

  • RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} Mac.* RewriteRule .* - [R=404]
    • by mysidia ( 191772 )

      Then they'll think the website is broken. Better idea to send them to a "landing page" explaining them to complain to Apple, or prompt them for an E-Mail address or other tracking key every time they load content, and funnel that to advertisers.

  • by J053 ( 673094 ) <J053@shanWELTYgri-la.cx minus author> on Thursday September 14, 2017 @01:36PM (#55197269) Homepage Journal

    If the advertising industry is opposed to this move, then I'm all for it. Fuck them.

  • by Snufu ( 1049644 ) on Thursday September 14, 2017 @01:38PM (#55197281)
    The internet has ads?
  • It's in Apple's best interest to regulate the ads because in the end if usability suffers or if privacy issues arise it reflects badly on their product. Same thing with Google. Intrusive ads eventually discourage people from going on the internet or using their devices. Things neither company wants.
  • They said this before when Safari introduced Reader mode. Somehow the advertisers survived anyway. Next...
  • by clovis ( 4684 ) on Thursday September 14, 2017 @01:50PM (#55197393)

    The groups say the feature also hurts user experience by making advertising more "generic and less timely and useful."

    If timely and useful advertising is so valuable to us users, then why are they giving it away for free?
    They should make us pay a subscription fee to get timely and useful ads.
    And seeing what percentage of the population that signs up to pay for "timely and useful" ads would indicate whether the advertisers are full of shit or not.

  • Apple doing something good, amazing

  • The groups say the feature also hurts user experience by making advertising more "generic and less timely and useful."

    Won't somebody please think of the users? These ad groups are just trying to get them the information they need! *chortle*

    I always get a kick out of it when these types of groups make it sound like they give a crap about the wellbeing of their cattle. Like anyone wants to see their ads in the first place.

  • by WaffleMonster ( 969671 ) on Thursday September 14, 2017 @02:08PM (#55197559)

    So everyone can hear how upset you are about a marginal loss of ability to stalk users as they move from website to website.

    Phone the press... demand they cover this very important issue before it's too late. Better still.. launch a public awareness campaign... after all stalkers have rights and are people too.

  • by JohnFen ( 1641097 ) on Thursday September 14, 2017 @02:08PM (#55197561)

    I can't believe that the ad agencies are still trotting this out:

    The groups say the feature also hurts user experience by making advertising more "generic and less timely and useful."

    It's almost as if they actually believe that spying on everyone is a good thing. But then, they also say this:

    collectively representing thousands of companies that responsibly participate in and shape today’s digital landscape

    Judging by their use of the word "responsibly" there, I'm thinking that they simply don't understand what words mean.

  • - Sites which demand removal of ad blockers are avoided.
    - Pages which demand payment after a couple of paragraphs, showing encrypted content below that payment demand have their window closed.
    - Unique email addresses used for any purchase or other web contact and deleted when they start sucking.
    - The greatest sucker for me right now is opera-mini, whenever one opens a new tab or window _not_ with ssl, they bring up an ad page in your face instead the URL you entered - immediately hated and ignored, not even

  • by Macdude ( 23507 ) on Thursday September 14, 2017 @02:21PM (#55197699)

    To the Interactive Advertising Bureau, American Advertising Federation, the Association of National Advertisers, the 4A's and two others:

    Your ads hurt my user experience.
    Your tracking hurts my privacy.
    Your infected ads hurt my computer.

    Basically, you hurt people. If you disappear that will be a good thing.

  • The only "standards" these guys are in favor of are the ones that line their pocketbooks. Do-not-track is a standard, and all these fuckers ignore it.

    Apple should put it in raw, deep, hard, and repeatedly.

  • by steveo777 ( 183629 ) on Thursday September 14, 2017 @02:39PM (#55197891) Homepage Journal

    I can't recall a single time in my entire internet history that I've ever purposefully clicked on an ad. Relevant or not, I blanket ignore them and always have. I've been trying to figure out how so many people use ads on the internets that they're a lucrative business.

    I SEE them. Sometimes they're for things that I might actually want or use. But even when Google shows me exactly what I want in my search, I skip past the advertised slots. There's 1/100th of a penny they may not get, but there's a slightly weaker advertising profile they have on me.

  • by blindseer ( 891256 ) <blindseer.earthlink@net> on Thursday September 14, 2017 @02:51PM (#55198009)

    In an open letter expected to be published this afternoon, the groups describe the new standards as âoeopaque and arbitrary,â warning that the changes could affect the âoeinfrastructure of the modern internet,â which largely relies on consistent standards across websites.

    When will people learn that what is provided to a web browser is merely a series of suggestions? The browser can take the suggestions, or discard them, and there is only so much the server side can do about it. I've seen website refuse to show content to browsers that block JavaScript or cookies but that's fine, I don't have to go to your site.

    If their advertising model can be broken with a web browser that provides a feature that people want then perhaps they should change their advertising model. Disposing of cookies that want to exist until the end of time is a place to start. Ignoring autoplay requests would also be nice. If I want to watch your video then I'll hit the play button, thankyouverymuch.

  • by sdinfoserv ( 1793266 ) on Thursday September 14, 2017 @03:35PM (#55198347) Homepage
    Meanwhile, Nabisco’s board of directors hold an emergency meeting to discuss the eminent demise of cookies and alternative confectionary marketing synergies.

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