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back to article Hey, media barons: The noughties called, they want their mobile tech back

The last major keynote of Mobile World Congress saw speakers from ratings giant Nielsen, advertising agency Tribal DDB Worldwide, CNN International and developing world mobile firm Jana take the crowd through how the media - that is to say advertising - relates to mobile. If listening to the speakers from NTT DoCoMo is like …

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Silver badge

And so?

Who the hell pays attention to advertising in the first place?

Me & mine certainly do not ...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: And so?

Exactly. All this wonderful "new" advertising is just something else to try and block/ignore.

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Gold badge

Re: And so?

I don't quite get the visceral hatred of advertising. Sure bad advertising is annoying. But so long as it's not intrusive - there's no harm in companies being allowed to get their message across.

More importantly, our current web model requires that advertising works, or it's not going to be sustainable. It seems to be a choice between free services with online advertising, or paying for stuff and getting micro-payments to work properly.

Personally I'm happy to pay for the stuff I use a lot, and would happily subscribe to El Reg, for example, but until much larger numbers of web users agree with that we need advertising to fund stuff. In general I'm nervous of services where I'm costing money but not paying, as the money has to come from somewhere - TANSTAAFL applies. But if a company wants an easy route to send me a money-off voucher, I won't complain, and I'll take their offer up if it's something I want, at the right price.

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Devil

Re: And so?

"I don't quite get the visceral hatred of advertising."

Because it's sanctioned lying.

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@IaS (was: Re: And so?)

"I don't quite get the visceral hatred of advertising."

You actually ENJOY the idiots getting into your space, lying to you, in order to sell crap? Seriously?

"More importantly, our current web model requires that advertising works,"

My personal internet Portal has been alive & thriving. Since 1989. Without advertising.

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Ru

Re: And so?

Sure bad advertising is annoying. But so long as it's not intrusive - there's no harm in companies being allowed to get their message across.

Advertising and marketing are necessary because there are few things that are legal to purchase that sell themselves. But the sheer magnitude of the shite in online advertising beggars belief... pop-ups, pop-unders, irritating animations, even more irritating sounds, unskippable landing pages, deeply intrusive and hard to remove tracking systems and overwhelmingly incompetent "targetted" advertising campaigns combine to produce a fair bit of negative feeling.

The problem is that the advertisers are largely crap at what they do, and their solution to this is to trick or force you into eyeballing their work. Good luck with that, guys; I guess its easier than being any good at your jobs.

More importantly, our current web model requires that advertising works, or it's not going to be sustainable

Is this really such a bad thing? People can't really sell content anymore; everything is expected to be free and bespattered with ads. For all the reasons listed above I generally use adblock/noscript/ghostery and ultimately this is harming the current income stream of many websites I find useful or entertaining, but few of them provide an alternate means for me to subscribe, or reasons for me to do so. Not my fault, is it?

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Silver badge

Re: And so?

No advertising = no capitalism = no job. We gotta have it.

But the most intrusive advertising ruins the medium it appears in. On TV, many people, including me, mute adverts the minute they appear, or surf away, or skip forward if possible. At football matches, those animated bill boards degrade the whole experience. On the mobile, almost any kind of ad is going to be too intrusive. Even when a page says "skip this ad...", I just skip the whole site.

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Gold badge

Re: @IaS (was: And so?)

You actually ENJOY the idiots getting into your space, lying to you, in order to sell crap? Seriously?

No naughty misquoting here jake... I didn't say I enjoy advertising, what I said was it's currently a necessary evil. Society has to make a choice here, it's either pay for stuff direct or get it funded by ads. Lots of decent TV is funded by ads. Of course so's lots of shit TV, but then there's plenty of rubbish that gets made paid for by subscription as well. Lots of internet content is also currently sponsored by advertising.

Watching the journalists destroy their own industry is an interesting case at the moment. Are they going to give their stuff away for free, or charge for it? Can they make the stuff sufficiently good on the lower budget that the advertising-only model requires? I'm sure that's easily possible for specialist publications like the Register, but not so easy for the Guardian or the New York Times.

As a general point though, I don't think advertising is totally bad. There's annoying ads and rubbish ads, but there are also sometimes funny ads, or useful ones. My supermarket have just emailed me a voucher (with my permission) it gets me money off if I shop this weekend. Which I was going to do anyway. Some of their emails are for stuff I don't want, but enough are for stuff I'm interested in, or tell me when stuff I want is on special offer, that I allow them to continue to advertise to me.

Amazon, on the other hand, no longer can. Even though I use them, they started sending as many as 2 marketing emails per day! So I cut them off. Even though I liked some of their adverts, and bought stuff because of them, they went over the top, and got blocked.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: And so?

I don't quite get the visceral hatred of advertising. Sure bad advertising is annoying. But so long as it's not intrusive - there's no harm in companies being allowed to get their message across.

You've highlighted the issue already. For every good advertisement there are a gazillion really bad ones, and they don't stop at just being bad: they insist on shoving them in your face too. When they do that, all bets are off. I am technically competent, and I will kill such wherever I can.

I appreciate creating product awareness is hard, and every company would like you to know them. I even understand why Google thinks that targeting is somehow better, but given that their efforts result in me always seeing the SAME ads I'd venture that isn't working as advertised (cough) either.

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Thumb Up

Re: And so?

"On TV, many people, including me, mute adverts the minute they appear, or surf away, or skip forward if possible."

You missed using picture-in-picutre to watch something you recorded earlier in the add breaks.

Watch 3 programmes in the time time for 2.

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Boffin

Re: @IaS (was: And so?)

Say what you like about Amazon but if they spam you it's because you want to get spammed, you can turn everything off in account settings apart from legal notices and purchase/delivery mails which you get when you purchase something...

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Re: @IaS (was: And so?)

"No naughty misquoting here jake..."

Not misquoting. Asking a question, based on your premise.

"I didn't say I enjoy advertising, what I said was it's currently a necessary evil."

For whom, exactly? The marketards? Speaking as a consumer, I see no need for advertising.

"Society has to make a choice here, it's either pay for stuff direct or get it funded by ads."

Huh? There is a major harmonic discord in that statement ...

"Lots of decent TV is funded by ads"

Assumes facts not in evidence. There is no decent TV. Never has been. Probably never will be.

On the gripping hand, if you mean "we're separating sheeple from their money, and the sheeple are all idiots, so it's OK, it's been the business model of most religions from time immemorial, so I see absolutely no problem with advertising" ... well, just come out and say it!

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Pint

Re: And so? AC@12:17

Actually, the best advertisement that I've seen in ages was this one for NTT DoCoMo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMo3Z8lidmU

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Ad industry least innovative

I worked for a short while at a regional office of one of the big agencies (this goes back only about 4 years now) and sat in on a presentation by a web marketing guru. He asked the agency bodies attending what they thought would appeal to the youth as an online marketing strategy and some geniuses stood up and said "How about an on-line mall".

It would be hilarious if it wasn't so sad. Needless to say said agency almost went tits up a year later.

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Bronze badge

Re: Ad industry least innovative

Have you not seen PlayStation Home in action?

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grateful for small mercies

As an ex ad agency creative drone, let me say you should be grateful no bright spark has managed to (or been allowed to) project posters on the moon, or put animated ads on the walls of underground rail lines. Even better that they haven't caught on to the new, invasive, technologies.

Agencies are not very good at new media because (especially) the creatives tend to be paper-based -- art directors having come through art school and the writers via things like journalism.

The guys who select media at the agencies may mostly be seen as deal-makers rather than natural innovators.

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Mushroom

Re: grateful for small mercies

Oblig XKCD: http://what-if.xkcd.com/13/

Long story short - you'll need more than a bright spark for advertising on the moon. You'll need the kinda spark apocalypses are made of.

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Re: grateful for small mercies

Beijing, 2007, the metro there had a series of screens on the walls of the tunnel which displayed animated advertisments through the windows of the trains.

I quite liked them, from a technical viewpoint, because they matched the image changing to the speed of the train, it was very clever stuff.

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Mushroom

If anyone ever sends an advert to my pocket I will hunt them down and ram my phone up their arse. Sideways. Then nuke them from orbit because it's the only way to be sure.

I am not a dumb consumer. I refuse to be treated like a commodity.

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Devil

Are you?

How much do you pay every time you use Google Search?

Do you pay for your e-mail service? Do you have your own e-mail server?

Are you an user of Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr, Picasa, reddit, tumblr, etc.?

Have you bought a The Register Gold Account (can't find the article, that was hilarious)?

Etc.

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Meh

@AndueC

A long way along your argument I'd agree, and I'd be there with the rubber gloves helping you insert the phone (in fact we could use the second generation Motorola I've got in my loft, that's nice and big, but without sharp corners to snag when inserted).

BUT...I reckon the future of advertising is that it is both relevant, and I get paid to receive it. Or rather something out of it. A money off coupon is a bit low tech, I'm thinking more like what Google does for me. I suspect there will be many that disagree, and even I selectively block tracking and scripts, but broadly speaking I get a lot of benefit from Google services, and I pay for that by allowing them to (mostly subtly) target me with ads (often on sites like the Reg that I enjoy and don't pay to use). If Google overstep any particular mark, then I can opt out by cleansing my computer of their software, using more extensive privacy solutions, and using alternative services, perhaps paid ones.

In the case of mobiles, my screen real estate is so small that I certainly don't want any adverts sent to me. The "creatives" can fuck off if they think I want their garbage on my mobile, tracking my movements and hounding me to buy overpriced crap, just because I happen to be walking past a particular shop. But on tablets and proper computers, then I'm a lot more relaxed about the adverts, because they're paying for the content - and if Google have been quietly tracking my movements and use that to serve adverts on larger screens, then that's OK by me - I've got choices when I buy my phone.

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Silver badge

Re: Are you?

"How much do you pay every time you use Google Search?"

I drop the gootards IP addresses at the border routers. They can't see me, and I can't see them. It's better that way.

"Do you pay for your e-mail service? Do you have your own e-mail server?"

No. And yes. Why do you ask?

"Are you an user of Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr, Picasa, reddit, tumblr, etc.?"

Absofuckinglutely not. All dropped on the floor as useless trash, just like the gootards.

"Have you bought a The Register Gold Account (can't find the article, that was hilarious)?"

No. I personally think the flashy-badge-thingy is a joke. Including my unasked-for silver one.

HTH, HAND.

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Thumb Down

Re: Are you?

How much do you pay every time you use Google Search?

If I use a service then I'll accept adverts (although I reserve the right to take reasonable steps to avoid actually seeing them). My choice to use the service so I accept the 'consequences'.

Do you pay for your e-mail service? Do you have your own e-mail server?

I run my own mail server. It uses commercial software (called VPOP3).

Are you an user of Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr, Picasa, reddit, tumblr, etc.?

No. Well - I have an account on LinkedIn but I got sick of them sending me spam after I'd asked them repeatedly not to.

Have you bought a The Register Gold Account (can't find the article, that was hilarious)?

No - see my first comment. If I use a service or app on my phone that has adverts that's one thing. But someone working out how to send adverts to me just because I have a phone in pocket is another. It's the difference between a pull service and a push service.

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Re: Are you?

I think most people have learned to tune out the ads on Google. I use it all the time and can't recall a single ad I've seen or cared for.

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Silver badge

Re: Are you?

> How much do you pay every time you use Google Search?

I do click the occasional relevant ad. (Key word "occasional"; they mostly aren't.)

> Do you pay for your e-mail service? Do you have your own e-mail server?

Depends and yes. My ISP and electricity providers receive funds to provide an internet service and electricity necessary for my e-mail service to function.

About the only freebie is that I use yi.org to actually host the domain. I have considered purchasing an id.au domain.

> Are you an user of Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr, Picasa, reddit, tumblr, etc.?

Noe, nope, nope, nope, nope and depends.

> Have you bought a The Register Gold Account (can't find the article, that was hilarious)?

Don't have a credit card and I don't trust PayPal. Telegraphic wire transfers are too expensive for small amounts. This makes it a tad difficult to purchase such subscriptions from overseas firms.

I will tolerate static unobtrusive ads. If it moves or interferes, I will block it.

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Re: Are you?@P Saunders

"I think most people have learned to tune out the ads on Google. I use it all the time and can't recall a single ad I've seen or cared for."

It's much more subtle than that. The vast, vast majority of adverts Google serve you are placed on other people's sites, not on search results. So if you start browsing for cameras, then funnily enough Nikon adverts (or whoever) will start appearing on non-photograpy web sites that you visit, and so forth. And that's the magic (or the evil, depending on how you see that). Adverts tailored to what you are probably interested in are being targeted at you all the time. You can choose to ignore them, but the sites you visit get paid for hosting (almost) any adverts that Google and others choose to fire at you.

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Too many freetards

Trouble is that everyone seems to want something for nothing, and this ring particularly true for mobile.

When I first got into computers, I didn't mind paying £1.99 or £2.99 and taking a punt on a new game I knew nothing about. And yes, I did end up with some absolute turkeys.

How times change...

Over the last couple of years, I've released a few smartphone games. Of the first two, one was paid with a free trial, the other had no trial, each for less than a quid. Returns? Next to nothing. Moreover, the conversion rate of trial to paid in the case of the game with the free trial mode was in the order of less than 1 percent.

So I tried an in-app purchasing approach... and got a shedload of bad reviews about how I was basically providing half a game for free and forcing people to pay to get the whole thing. A few people even went as far as to accuse me of being a fraud...

Which has left me with in-game advertising as a sole means of getting some kind of return for the time I've invested. The return rate is pretty poor, but it's still better than what I was getting out of paid apps.

So (and I just know I'm going to score a shedload of downvotes for this) before going on a rant about how advertising is everywhere and how annoying it is, I'd ask people to stop and think about the various reasons behind it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Too many freetards

I can only give you my personal perspective on app advertising, because I recognise the situation. Part of the issue is that "free" isn't really free if it has ads - it means I spend resources advertising things on my own equipment. Those resources I pay for.

Now before you go up in flames, I have no problem with that, provided I am told beforehand that this is the case (which is often avoided in the description and screenshots), and I personally like your approach of an in-app purchase to clear the advertising because it gives me (a) a way to try the app (a basic omission in the app store model) and (b) reward the effort if I think it worthwhile. So maybe put your motivations somewhere on your webpage, and add a line "ad supported, can be disabled with in-app purchase" or something to the description.

Sometimes the issue is all about communication - as is advertising itself.

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Stop

Re: Too many freetards

Absolutely. If I choose to go somewhere or do something that has adverts that's fine. But the idea of someone thinking that my mobile phone is an advertising hoarding for them to use as/when they see fit is absolutely not fine.

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Unhappy

There are 2 points here. Benefits and screen real estate.

Benefits. Everyone wants them, no one wants to pay for them.

Sorry folks but the global economy still runs on some means of exchange. IE Cash. Processing, storage and bandwidth have all gotten cheaper but that does not mean they are free

Then there is the screen real estate on mobiles. If it's small enough to fit in your pocket who would want 25-50% (of not a lot) of their screen taken up with this? I've got to admit ElReg on a compute without adblock is a very different experience.

I think the fairest way is that the advertiser pays you

For your attention EG, you accept x% of your screen will take ads, possibly with you telling them what you're interested in.

For your data. They want to know where you are, what you want etc. Pay you for it.

It seems everyone make money off this data except the source IE You.

I've noted when I try to be even handed I tend to get down voted. But you can't have it both ways. If some deal looks too good to be true, guess what, it is.

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Gold badge

Re: There are 2 points here. Benefits and screen real estate.

I think the fairest way is that the advertiser pays you

Well, that's what they do by giving you a service or a useful app in exchange for some advertising space. You can't go any further because the point of ads is not for them to be watched, it is for them to lead to a sale. Paying someone to watch ads is thus the reverse of the actual aim (or I may have misunderstood this - it IS Friday, after all).

As I have seen above, I think we need to be clearer in descriptions. There is a slot between "free" and "buy" which is called "ad supported" - if we could make that clearer quite a few issues would disappear.

However, I refuse to pay for a service with personal details. Not a chance.

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Silver badge

It Works Though

Advertising works. YOU may not click on the ads but enough people do that it makes the practice profitable. McDonalds, who you wouldn't think needed to advertise, did a big experiment in the 90's and dropped or cut back advertising in select markets, sales plummeted. People think that McDonalds customers are all regulars who would eat there anyway, but that is not the case. Advertising drives you to make certain purchases you would not make otherwise. It works whether you realize it or not.

It is a common failing among IT folk to believe that everyone who doesn't think or behave like them is a stupid sheep. It is a poor attitude that keeps many an IT person stuck in their current roles.

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Megaphone

Re: It Works Though

Advertising works only if you can afford to repeat it for a very long period of time or have a very compelling discount of your product.

Preferably both.

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Megaphone

Re: It Works Though

Many people are "stuck" in their jobs, you condescending twerp.

I doubt you even realize you're proof of your own point.

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Happy

Re: It Works Though

Yes. I'm stuck as the Managing Director of the firm I founded nine years ago. I hate it too: I no longer make hiring decisions at your level so I don't get to watch your types squirm in their seats before I tell them they aren't hired.

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Silver badge
FAIL

The entire media & content parasites are living...

...in the early 90s, trying to hold on to their stupid little control-freak modus operandi - witness it everywhere, beginning with the shittiest, most monopolistic telecom market (US) resulting in shitty internet access, next the retarded, a-la-carte-less cable services, the stupidity of the studios, the utterly idiotic, complete lack of online TV service options, the laughable attempts of the entire industry to spread their totally false, made-up numbers about their imaginary losses to give ammo to their paid-to-shill lawmakers on The Hill so they can enact even more restrictive, anti-constitutional laws - and on top of this the ad agencies who are still unable to decide which side they are on: the customers or their paymasters...?

I looove watching these crooked, shitty giants getting bigger and bigger then crashland under their own weight (pay attention to Comcast)... fun times - but only if you can say no and cut the cord, stop feeding the parasites.

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FAIL

Uh.... What?

As the author stated, just how damn innovative and hard is it scale down a picture and some words?

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Thumb Down

Distraction

The problem with advertising online is that it's just distracting. On a full-sized webpage on a desktop or laptop computer it's less of an issue, because usually there is more than enough screen estate to sacrifice a little bit for advertising. On a mobile phone, the opposite is true. The mobile web-surfing population do not want advertising because it's already compact enough as it is. These ads that appear in apps and mobile web pages aren't useful or nice. They take up too much space, the animations are annoying and they are using up my already-precious-and-expensive data allowance.

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Megaphone

Ad agencies love a captive audience. Escalators, tube platforms, vast billboards surrounding gridlock zones, your phone, your tv. Their presumptions about the efficacy of carpet bombing your attention span are where they miss the point.

Once upon a time, targetted advertising was seen as essential to a brand that wanted loyal customers who actuially bought stuff. Then aspirational brand loyalty took over. Then competitive brand loyalty. And now, brand junkies are seen as the lowest form of sentient life, because their critical facilities have been ground to dust by relentless iterations of "exactly the same thing".

When so called creatives stop being creative, they're really fucking annoying. And when the meme bandwagon jumpers pile in behind them because they're too lazy and stupid to have an origial thought, they're intensely ragingly fucking annoying.

I've worked in advertising, and refused to follow the relentless spam dictat. I hit my targets, without creating a wall of resentment. It's not necessary to doorstep the world and its extended family through every possible medium. It's cheaper, and more effective to do good market research, and engage the target spectrum at an intelligent level. I'd single out the Heineken TV spots of yore as a prime example. A self deprecating humour that appeals to most sentient creatures, and effectively tips the balance with positive associations in limited choice situations (rubbish clubs, stations, airports etc). Something that spamming could never be accused of.

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Bronze badge
Paris Hilton

How do I get a job

Talking crap about stuff I know very little about, like some of those speakers?

(Obviously there will be stiff competition from many people here, but still...)

Paris, because being paid to be braindead is what she does.

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