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Posts tagged as “advertising”

Poll: You Vote to Outlaw Tracking by Advertisers

The FOSS Force Poll

Our latest poll indicates that our reader’s would support legislation that would prohibit tracking by advertisers.

Back on February 15 when we ran an article calling for a ban on advertisers’ practice of tracking users who just happen to drive by an ad, much less click on it, we ran a poll to find out what you think. Actually, we were pretty sure we already knew what you thought. You tell us everyday, either in the comments section to our articles or by blocking ads here on FOSS Force. The poll was mainly to put some numbers to what we already knew.

The poll was pretty straight forward. “Should advertisers and ad agencies be forbidden to track users as they surf the web?” we asked. There were three answers offered, “Yes,” “No” and “With exceptions.”

As far as FOSS Force polls go, the numbers were pretty low on this one. In all, 143 of you took the poll, a minuscule sampling by any measure, but with conclusive results: You’re completely against having your journeys through cyberspace tracked.

‘Opinion Stage’ Plugin Sneaks Ads onto WordPress Sites

Publishers of WordPress sites using the ‘Poll, Quiz & List by OpinionStage’ plugin, might want to check for unexpected advertisements.

FOSS Force has learned that the popular WordPress plugin “Poll, Quiz & List by OpinionStage” has been placing advertisements within photographs included in online quizzes that have been created using the plugin. The plugin is used by over 10,000 WordPress sites to create quizzes, polls and list articles.

Publishers using the plugin are not being made aware that ads are being placed on their sites unless, perhaps, they visit the plugin developers’ website and go to the “Pricing” page, where the developers say information about the policy is available. I say “perhaps” because we have been unable to find any such notice on this page. We discovered the issue on Sunday when considering whether to manually migrate the single FOSS Force Quiz created using the plugin to another quiz app we’ve since adopted as our default.

Advertisement from "opinion stage" in graphic.Advertisement from "opinion stage" in graphic.
Screenshot of a poll question using Opinion Stage’s plugin with advertisement at bottom of the graphic associated with the question.
Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Why Internet Advertising Needs to Be Regulated

The tracking policies of the major online advertising networks are threatening the future of free content on the Internet.

Back in the late 1980s, cigarette smoking was permitted in supermarkets where I live, but there was a move afoot — a ballot issue I believe — to put an end to that. At the time I was doing a four hour daily stint at the local newstalk radio station, and the proposed ban was, of course, a major topic of on-air conversation with our listeners. Pretty much, most of our audience was against the ban, as we have a sizable and vocal minority — maybe a majority — of folks here in North Carolina who think they should be able to do whatever they like, whenever they like, without much regulation. There was something of a consensus among our listeners that smoking or no should be up to the store owners.

Advertising Mad Man fallingAdvertising Mad Man fallingOfficially, the supermarket chains were against the proposal as well, probably both to placate their smoking customers and because North Carolina shares a long history with tobacco and attacking tobacco in any way was akin to attacking mom’s apple pie. Also, in these parts, upper management tends to oppose any regulation as a knee jerk reaction. The supermarket chains’ official support of “smokers’ rights” was, of course, often cited by listeners when they’d call-in to offer their two cents worth.

During that time, I was talking to an acquaintance who managed a Harris Teeter store on the west side of town — a smoker, by the way — who told me that he hoped the ban would be put in place.

“We all do,” he confided.

He told me he had friends who managed stores for Kroger, Food Lion and some of the other chains.

“We’d all like to ban smoking in our stores,” he said. “It’s dirty, it stinks, and careless smokers are always putting burns in packaging or dropping ashes onto the produce. But if one of us makes the first move and establishes a no smoking policy, we’ll make customers mad and lose them to the other chains. If they just pass a law, then we’re good. Smoking won’t be allowed anywhere, so customers who smoke won’t feel compelled to move to the competition.”

That’s exactly how it is with Internet advertising and privacy issues.

Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Mozilla’s Firefox Quits Sponsored Tiles

Mozilla has announced that it’s dropping a program everyone but Mozilla seemed to realize was a bad idea from the start. In a blog posting on Friday, the organization’s vice president of content services, Darren Herman, wrote that Mozilla has “made the decision to stop advertising in Firefox through the Tiles experiment in order to focus on content discovery.” The much disliked sponsored tiles won’t immediately disappear from users’ browsers, however. “Naturally, we will fulfill our current commitments as we wind down this experiment over the next few months.”

Google, Browsers & DRM

A recent brouhaha concerning Google comes from an item that made the rounds in the last week or so regarding older browsers and Google search. It seems that some users of older browsers have been receiving an outdated version of Google’s homepage when attempting to make a search. Evidently, Google searches made using these browsers returned results just fine, using Google’s current results page, but users needed to return to the search engine’s homepage to conduct another search. The browsers affected are primarily older versions of Opera and Safari.

This led to a discussion on the Google Product Forums, which prompted a reply from a Google employee using the name nealem:

“I want to assure you this isn’t a bug, it’s working as intended.

“We’re continually making improvements to Search, so we can only provide limited support for some outdated browsers. We encourage everyone to make the free upgrade to modern browsers — they’re more secure and provide a better web experience overall.”

Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Social Fixer’s Facebook Page Removed

Beginning yesterday, users of Social Fixer have been greeted by an announcement when they log onto Facebook, informing them that the popular browser extension’s Facebook page has been removed without warning.

Social Fixer, a plugin that works with most browsers, allows users to change how their Facebook newsfeed and other pages are displayed and how they operate. Although very popular, the extension has always been a thorn in Facebook’s side. It’s not surprising that Zuckerberg and his minions would now find even less to like about the plugin, since Wall Street has been prodding them to get serious about monetizing the massive amount of traffic that flows through the social network.

Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Your Obligation to Online Advertisers

The IAB wants you to know that if you don’t let online advertisers follow you around when you’re surfing, then you’re scum, a criminal and probably a traitor to your country. At least, that would seem to be the thick of it from reading their latest in a series of diatribes against Mozilla published last Tuesday on their website under the heading “Has Mozilla Lost Its Values?”.

Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

The Information Superhighway Is Now The Advertising Superhighway

I have absolutely no problem with people who want to spend their lives amassing wads and wads of money. I personally find it a silly way to live a life, since wealth can’t follow one into the otherworld, but if that’s what trips a person’s trigger, he or she should go ahead and become as rich as possible.

The trouble is, in the last few decades, the wannabe rich folks have decided the whole planet should be nothing but a platform for making money, and they’ve somehow convinced a majority of us that this is sensible. So now we have baseball and football stadiums, once named named after teams or the cities where theses teams played, named after respected corporate entities such as Enron and Bear Stearns. Heck, I expect that soon the Metropolitan Opera House will be known as Sony Music Theater and Lincoln Center will be renamed Lincoln Financial Group Center.

Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

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