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back to article Finns look to bring Phorm style stalker ads to UK radio streaming

UTuneMe has invited UK radio stations to sign up to its embedded advertising, promising to deliver targeted audio ads in the same way Google delivers online ones, personalised for the listener. The idea is that targeted adverts pay better, but while websites have half a dozen companies which will happily drop targeted ads into …

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Oh dear...

If Andy's 80s (the finest 80s station on the planet, in my very humble, and totally unbiased view) starts broadcasting targetted ads, I may change my mind...

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Good. I hate adverts for things I don't want or need.

But I also hate adverts for things that I do need.

tl;dr? I don't like adverts, much less adverts that have been specifically targeted at me using my personal data.

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Facepalm

tl;dr

Thanks. Those twenty two words were starting to look like quite a colossal task until I saw your tl;dr.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Good. I hate adverts for things I don't want or need.

Even more I detest adverts for

a) Things that I needed last week but no longer need now

b) things that some other idiot thinks I need

And that is ALL you get with behavioural advertising

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Good. I hate adverts for things I don't want or need.

I suspect I'm in the minority, but from time to time I do see adverts that aren't a total waste of screen space. Notably, they are never targetted at me based on my recent browsing history, but have some (possibly tenuous) connection with the page contents.

I looked for some gloves online a couple of weeks ago, and now the targetted avertising I'm seeing is ALL GLOVES, ALL MITTENS, ALL THE TIME! sometimes with three different ad slots on the same page spewing out the same stuff. All because some marketing arsehole sold an advertising idiot the notion that super targetted adverts are super valuable, without the key fact that their value drops precipitously after the initial activity that triggered them.

Still, on the brightside I'll probably be off to fresh woods and pastures new in a month or two when my current contract comes to an end, and I can restore my usual adblock/noscript comfort blanket.

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Joke

Sounds like..

Sounds like this spoof I made a few years ago.. http://www.telephore.com/

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sounds like..

Make the colour scheme brighter and the corners more curved. Also not enough css/javascript animated widgets.

Other than that, it is clearly idea whose time has come ;-)

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Black Helicopters

Fondleslab tracking

I have to agree with Bill Ray on this one.

I have a Sudoku game on my Android Tablet. I use it with WiFi disabled when I'm away from home (it extends the battery life) when I don't need to be connected.

The game complains becauuse it can't send data to the mothership. The URL has the word 'Tracking' in it.

Nuff said.

black helicopter because very soon anyone who isn't being tracked 24/7 will be assumed to be a terrorist.

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What's the alternative to ads?

Yes, adverts are annoying because they are not the main reason most people listen to the radio (or consume any kind of media really). But few people want to pay subscriptions for stuff, so how should radio, TV, websites, etc. be funded? Levies on receiving equipment are not popular, and any central authority collecting payments and distributing it to broadcasters would inevitably be accused of unfair bias.

My opinion is that anyone can choose to offer a service with conditions attached, and if you don't like the conditions you just don't use the service. So commercial radio broadcasts adverts as well as regular content, and if you want to listen to it then you get ads, that's the deal. If you want to have a TV in the UK, you pay your licence fee, that's another deal. (It's the same with music - if someone owns copyright on an artwork and stipulates that you can get a copy of it in exchange for a certain fee then that's their right, no matter how annoying it may be or how tempting it may be to copy it without paying.)

Anyway, given that ads are not going to go away, surely the best thing is for each advert to bring in as much revenue as possible, so there will be a need for fewer of them. Making ads more relevant to consumers is one way to achieve that.

Targeting feels creepy but it needn't automatically be sinister, and it can have benefits for both sides. As a slightly geeky male I'd be happy to see more ads for gadgets and tech instead of makeup and hair-care products or kids toys, for example.

I feel some down-votes coming my way...

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Re: What's the alternative to ads?

Actually, you can have an up-vote from me. Whilst I find excessive adverts annoying I can accept that they may be a preferable funding model compared to some of the alternatives.

My issue is with the "targetted" bit, and the behavioural tracking that this entails. It's invasive and increasingly difficult to avoid.

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Re: What's the alternative to ads?

I do actually broadly agree with you. Advertising is a preferred funding model to subscriptions.

The problems arise when the advertising becomes intrusive. This can happen in several ways:

1) The volume of the advertising is significantly higher than the volume of the program / songs you actually want to listen to. It actually is supposed not to be, advertisers do sneaky things like reduce the same rate so that the average volume works out as less than it should and then ramp the volume up.

2) Advertisers start tracking what I'm doing and where I am. This is creepy. I don't trust people I don't know by default, especially if they work in marketing.

3) The adverts break the content. Channel 4 on demand (4OD) is a good example of this. The programs often stream fine, but when they reach one fo the (frequent) ad breaks, teh ads slow down, stutter and often halt entirely, so that a 30 second break lasts five or six minutes. Stopping and starting the streaming goes back to the beginning of the adverts. These are also often the same five or six adverts over and over again. Oddly enough, all this does is make me take a mental note to avoid the product being advertised.

4) You apy a subscription and then get landed with adverts anyway. Sky, I'm looking at you.

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Re: What's the alternative to ads?

Yes, advertisers doing antisocial things is irritating. I think a large part of the resentment comes from feeling powerless to let them know how irritating they are being.

Surely if the service is able to track individuals, then it should be possible for advertisers and the broadcaster to get simple feedback from listeners. If a number of people switch off when a particular advert is played then the station is going to be unhappy with the advertiser as they are driving down audience figures, and the sellers of the product are going to be unhappy with an ad agency that irritates potential customers - so there would be market pressure on advertisers to make more audience-friendly ads.

That could be augmented by individuals opting to provide information about what ads they prefer to hear, so for example male geeks might get fewer ads for beauty products (unless they ask for them). Everyone would win, nobody would need to feel they were being spied upon.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What's the alternative to ads?

In the eighties, UK TV advertising was just about at the edge of the 'reasonable' envelope; not too many ad breaks, not too long and some were even entertaining and/or visually interesting. I moved to Septicville for a couple of years; TV had far more ad time, far more breaks in so many segments it was hard to keep focussed on the programmes storyline. The ads themselves were frequently crap, local and low budget, full of local used car salesmen in that peculiar American fashion statement, yellow checked trousers. So, very quickly you adapt to the nervous tic inducing ad breaks; you make tea (kettle one break, pour the water next, milk the next), have a wazz or six, make dinner in short instalments, water the plant - anything at all but watch the ads; when I came back to the UK, watching the BBC was hard work without the accustomed tea making breaks.

My long winded point is that nothing makes you phobically avoid ads entirely like too many of them; you hit a threshold, first ignore them and then physically avoid them. Back then there was only TV, radio, print media and billboards to contend with, now its wall to wall and seeps into every aspect of waking life. I might not even mind TV ads, but the continual shit shovelling of marketing drivel for sad crap that takes place the other 16 waking hours of my day leaves me phobic about all ads in every format and on every platform. I haven't been near commercial radio in 20 years, use ABP, never watch TV unless it's PVRed and simply filter out print media ads.

I'm clearly not alone in this and it really didn't have to be this way if only the supposedly smart people in the business 'got' the obvious limiting fact of oversaturation - which was already occurring well before t'interwebs arrived. Targetted ads fix nothing. This 'relevant' thing they're pimping as the latest sweetener is a joke, frankly; seeing ads for things I "might be interested in" that do catch my attention merely serves to remind me there's too much advertising and deepens my fundamental loathing even further, as does the fact my privacy is being screwed to serve me the unwanted shite in the first place. It's going to make me feel better about it? Ha! The privacy arguments are now very public domain and turning otherwise disinterested people who previously had few issues with ads into blockers/avoiders. The industry is not so much shooting itself in the foot every time it opens its collective mouth as firing a Somme style barrage - the ad pimps really are their own worst enemies and it IS a battle they are ultimately losing.

I find it quite depressing that it's come to the point that otherwise sane people are suggesting that we indicate our preferences for ad types simply to avoid the tracking. Really? Do you actually think that will stop it? Or just add a few more 'valuable' authentic bytes to the personal data mountain of yours that they will NOT stop mining unless the law or hard commercial reality forces them to.

When it comes to the tracking industry, I think some deeper truth lies in the names they use for their 'businesses' to add a little pseudo scientific sparkle to the unpolishable turd. PrecisionDemand, Audience Science, Cognitive Match, PredictiveIntent, RevSci; names in the the language of the snake oil salesman that seem intended to reassure advertisers that transforming punters into easy hard cash is not mumbo jumbo at all, but proper, scientifically derived certainty of the kind you might find bandied around the canteens at CERN, MIT or NASA, however much they might reek of the 'miracle' medical cures of the early 20th century.

I don't know how you amenably fund radio, TV websites etc, but I am quite certain that the unsustainable current levels of advertising and the accompanying tracking are definitely not the answer, and that the industry in it's current form and scale has a very, very rude shock coming it's way that will make the current environment look positively benign.

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Whats the point???

If you want local ads on the radio you would be listen to the local radio station.

If you dont want ads it's BBC Radio.

And how many listen to Internet Radio through their phone anyway?

UTuneMe will die off before long.

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Re:how many listen to Internet Radio through their phone anyway?

If your phone has a decent speaker and wifi, it can be a nice portable internet radio around the home.

Standalone internet/DAB radios are pricey too. A cheap stereo system with an AUX input a lot less so, plug in your phone and sorted.

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App?

Why would I need a dedicated app to listen to the radio?

http://bbcstreams.com

-A.

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