Re: Interesting Twist to BANNER ADVERTISING
> in which Fred is playing Devil's advocate, proposing
> the hypothetical scenario of having the ISP router
> server actually replace banner purveyor ads for
> incoming web site pages, with banner advertising which
> has been sold by the ISP to local business to advertise
> to the local constituency...
TO WHICH MATT MAGRI REPLIED:
> It's a -very- clever idea, from a technical
> standpoint. My gut reaction would be to avoid it from
> just about any other standpoint, tho. You are
> changing the content of what the user has requested,
> which gets into all sorts of weird and exciting new
> legal and ethical realms.
TO WHICH FRED RESPONDED:
> Not true. You would be hard pressed to identify one
> single web surfer who REQUESTED that ad. I have a real
> problem calling banner exchange ads "content". Maybe
> it's just me.
The fact is, that ad is there because the person who
designed the site put in the code for it. In the case
of an ad from an ad network, the designer put the ad there
knowing that the ad would be chosen by the ad network on
You may quibble about whether switching an ad constitutes
a copyright violation or not. For instance, in my IANAL
opinion, copyright would at best only apply to the code
which calls the ad, rather than to the ad itself. Still,
you are changing that code, too.
> Could a site even testify WHICH banner was replaced for
> which reader at which time???
They would merely show the difference in their HTML
code before and after you had modified it. That would be
all that would be required to show that you had modified
their copyrighted page. I'll leave it to the lawyers to
work that all out. I'm more concerned about, and more
qualified to comment on, the net-based repurcussions and
> Unless it was part of some new "filtered" service
> they would optionally provide at the receiver's
> request, I suspect there would be jail time involved.
TO WHICH FRED REPLIED:
> What about schools, government ISPs, and others who
> automatically filter out ads, spam and porno? Will the
> schools go to jail?
Who said anything about that? The part you quote here had
to do with the USPS changing the ads in Newsweek when they
delivered it. There are laws against that sort of thing, ya
I did, in fact, refer to the content filters earlier, but
you didn't quote that part. I said:
: : weird and exciting new legal and ethical realms. I suppose
: : if you made it clear to your dialup customers that you
: : would be filtering the content of the webpages they see that
: : way it would be okay. You would be operating openly on their
: : behalf in making the content changes, much as the proxies
: : that filter the ads out completely do. [ ... ]
The key point is that they are operating on behalf of, and
with the consent of, the end-user (or, in the case of schools,
the end-user's guardian). But there was also a caveat, even
assuming that consent was enough to make things right:
: : [ ... ] The thing is, I would
: : think they'd start to wonder why they have to pay you for
: : access if you are making advertising money directly off of
: : their eyeballs. Are you charging the customers who use it
: : less for their access?
After all, if it fair for them to pay you for the privilege
of letting you sell ads to them?
> I think we need a wakeup call at this point. Remember
> that the Ad purveyor site SENDS the bit data to our hub
> servers for viewing on our private WAN. [ ... ]
That's not exactly the relationship. Your customer sends
a request to the site and the site replies to that request.
The understood model of providing "Internet access" is that,
barring some other arrangement between you and your customers,
you will send the request and the response through without
fiddling with it. That doesn't mean you can't fiddle with it,
it just means that everybody involved in the process has a
reasonable assumption that you won't fiddle with it without
warning people ahead of time.
And nobody expects the information to be viewed on your
private WAN, they expect it to be viewed at the point where
it was requested, your customer's computer.
> [ ... ] Once that data
> arrives here, it's on OUR property. Not like TV where
> the receiver is getting wide broadcast air waves. A
> Private WAN is like closed circuit TV. We can show what
> we please. Period.
And I suppose there are also no limits on your reading and
editing your customer's email while it sits on your
mailserver? You can decide what is carried on your equipment,
but there are limits that can get you into court if you
exceed them. It has to do with the business relationship
between you and your customers, and between you and your
bandwidth provider(s). There are a certain set of written
agreements between you and your customers/providers, and
there is also a much larger body of reasonable expectations
based on history and general business practice. Whenever
your business does something that goes against reasonable
expectations, you are incurring a legal risk unless you
take steps to inform your customers ahead of time.
> We let (usually) most web pages "trespass" on our
> system, but we don't have to.
They aren't trespassing. They are there by invitation.
You are selling a service that allows your customers to
send and receive information of various kinds, within
certain -specified- limits. Your customer sent a request
and received information, well within the specified
> The site owner who sells the ads is in effect stealing
> bandwidth from the ISP, then charging their advertisers
> for that bandwidth. We, as ISP are in effect charging
> our customers to make you money!!! Seems upside-down
> doesn't it?
If you are talking about your logic on this point, I will
agree. You are being paid by your customers to convey the
requests and responses they make to, and get from, the
Internet. -That- is your compensation.
What is upside down is expecting content providers to do
nothing but keep providing you content when you are
replacing the ads that compensate them for providing the
content with ads of your own. You would be just pocketing
the money with nothing going back to the content provider.
Instead of having a symbiotic relationship with the Internet
community, you would be a parasite.
Fortunately, there are ways for the Internet to deal with
parasites. For instance, mail providers who let $$$ blind
them to their reponsibilities will end up in the MAPS
RBL. Sites that participate in the RBL will not accept
-any- email from shunned sites. Likewise, there would a huge
financial incentive for the ad networks to come up with
their own RBL. They could require participants to block
downloads from known ad replacers. Your advantage in this
particular form of parasitic activity is that it's possible
to hide the fact that you are replacing ads. Slip up, tho
(or get ratted out by a disgruntled employee or customer),
and a big chunk of the net will suddenly go dark as far as
your site is concerned. Life on the fringes of society is
nothing if not exciting. ;-)
The idea of replacing ads with local ones is an excellent
one, *provided* that it can be done in a way that ultimately
provides compensation to the content provider. One method
would be for the ad sources (the ad networks and the
independant advertisers) to come up with an ad replacement
protocol. It would have to allow the ad sources to be able
to specify whether an ad was a must-carry or not. It would
have to allow the ISP to compensate the replaced ad only
when a replacement actually took place (rather than on some
percentage schedule). It should let the ISP limit who
they want to deal with (IOW, they would explicitly put in
the line for Link Exchange ads when they wanted to start
replacing/paying those). Needless to say, it would have to
work with multiple ad networks rather than being network
specific. It should also define the protocol rather than
the implementation. That way there can be a number of
different proxies that an ISP can choose from (I, for one,
would not use one that I didn't have the source code for)
The compensation model could be simplified if we assume
that the ad networks would like to sell local ads also.
The protocol would let them specify ads and areas, and
a model could be developed that would let them consider
the cost of the ISP inserting the ISP's ads to be a wash.
For instance, there may be may a magic percentage of three
classes of ads... must-carry, must-replace [with a more
targetted ad, if any, from the same ad source], and the
rest, which are fair game for the ISP to replace (what
is that, "may-carry"? ;-) ). If the ad source thought it
would make enough selling geo-targeted ads, it might skip
the hassles of the bookkeeping and collection process and
just have the ISPs replace whatever may-carry's they
want for no charge, in return for doing the must-replaces.
Of course, the protocol would also have to include feedback
to the ad sources so that they could have some stats on what
percentage of ads are getting through, etc.
> I'm going to take a poll and see just how many of our
> local dial-up customers ...
> A) would be willing to pay to see your banner ads,
> B) would rather have LOCAL advertising for LOCAL
> business, and
> C) would rather have ALL banner ads stripped from
> their dial-up account, all together.
Don't forget to ask if they would like to be compensated
for you selling access to their eyeballs in the case of B.
> (It might just be a good subscriber service to offer
> banner ad stripping. A service few other ISPs offer
> their customers. Could be a goldmine upcharge
There are ISPs that offer it for free. The thing is, it's
optional, and the customer has to actually point their
web browser at the proxy. Customers can actually do the
filtering on their own with one of the many free proxies
out there. Since they aren't pulling down the ads that
they are filtering out, it's not like it's a real win to
have the ISP do it for you, just a convenience.
> PS: Interesting also, that we have received over a
> dozen inquiries from web companies who what to "share"
> or help us "test" the code that replaces ads....
I don't think the fact that greed is part of human nature
is news, is it? Anyway, I have also heard from a number of
sites that have their own ad replacing software in place.
Any moron can take an ad filtering proxy (like Internet
Junkbuster), or even a web cache (like squid), and tell it
to replace the ads. It's a little more work to set up
transparent proxying on the router (or dial in server) so
that all web requests automagically go through the ad
replacing web proxy, but not exactly rocket science. The
biggest challenge is to make sure it's 100% undetectable
from the other end. Slip up there (or get ratted out by
someone) and you are screwed.
Because of the temptations involved, and the ease of doing
ad replacement, the ad networks should definitely work on
offering a responsible way of doing ad replacement so that
ethical providers will have an alternative. It's a win all
gets to sell real geo-targetted ads
gets to sell ads which are, by definition, on pages
that are being looked at by folks in that area
(unlike local-focus-content pages, which may or
may not be viewed by locals).
gets to advertise to their local market
as above, locals are seeing their ads regardless of
whether the page itself was local-focus or not.
gets to make money selling ads to local businesses.
gets compensated (through the ad source) for having
ads on site. The new scheme increases the market
for ads, by increasing their value. That supports
the viability of of the ad-supported content model.
Received on Thu Jan 06 2000 - 13:31:20 CST
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