back to article Android devs prepare to hit pause on ads amid Google GDPR chaos

Android developers are reluctantly considering putting Google ads on ice because of uncertainty over whether they'll be GDPR-compliant, cutting off what in many cases is their sole revenue source. With 10 days to go before GDPR, developers told us they are still waiting for an SDK that Google promised them, one they can't …

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Consent

I have read both guidelines and law (had to)

You cannot require consent unless you need it for the service, as in "actually needing it", not "this is needed for me to get money/call an API that needs it to monetize".

So yeah, I fully agree with the article.

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Re: Consent

So - no consent, no personalised ads?

Surely it should just fall back to unpersonalised ads then? Assuming consent is a big no-no in the brave new world of GDPR.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Consent

"So - no consent, no personalised ads?"

Yes please. In my experience, I'm more likely to get relevant ads if they aren't personalised...

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Re: Consent

So - no consent, no personalised ads?

Surely it should just fall back to unpersonalised ads then? Assuming consent is a big no-no in the brave new world of GDPR.

That's what I thought as well. However, it might be possible that advertisers (who pay per ad impression displayed) might not be wanting to have ads displayed in an untargeted fashion. Knowing that they have been charged $<x> for an advert to be shown to someone who fits their target demographic is one thing, but running the risk of spending their advertising budget on ads that are shown to random individuals with no interest in the product or service? They might not want to pay for advertising in the latter case

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Re: Consent

As mentioned in the previous comments, personalised Ads tend to be for products/services already purchased so they would be late to the party and getting no money anyway. Again as mentioned above, non-personalised is far more likely to include things you may be looking to buy in the near future

So on balance, the less personalised they are the more likely they are to be successful. Hang on, that can't be right as it is the opposite of how Google are selling their services....I'm so confused

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Re: Consent

might not be wanting to have ads displayed in an untargeted fashion.

It is targeted. By context. The best targeting there is and the best targeting there can be.

The scumbags should get on with the program and comply with legal reqs.

Google will need to do more work though. The apps should now start supplying as much context as it can extract from a webpage. If it was Google from 15 years ago this would not be an issue. Google in 2018 - it quite likely will be. It has acquired some of the worst large company characteristics.

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Re: Consent

The chances of someone clicking on a waffle iron advert when playing a strategy game are slim.

However, there's a good chance they may be interested in a rival game, for instance.

Almost all "personalised ad" stuff is absolute nonsense.

I only ever get ads about things totally unrelated to the pages I'm reading when they are "personalised". The best one was trying to advertise spandex leotards to me, on a Linux news site. I still can't fathom how they picked up those keywords, nor what kind of masochist WANTS to imagine their target audience of Linux nerds like that.

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Trollface

Re: Consent

So does this mean I might get ads for what I might actually want, rather than ads for stuff I just bought off the internet?

Wonders will never cease, what will they think of next...?

Perhaps adverts that don't play stupid inane tunes at full volume (especially the ones without a mute button) when the app you were using that spawned them was on silent/mute?

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Re: Consent

> However, there's a good chance they may be interested in a rival game, for instance.

Games publishers readily block ads from competitors, for obvious reasons.

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Re: Consent

"They might not want to pay for advertising in the latter case"

Good.

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Re: Consent

... running the risk of spending their advertising budget on ads that are shown to random individuals with no interest in the product or service? They might not want to pay for advertising in the latter case

As per a quote I heard: "Half the money spent on advertising is wasted; the problem is working out which half."

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Devil

Re: "personalised ad" stuff is absolute nonsense.

The solution for Google & Facebook etc is simple. Stop peddling the fake snake oil of Targeted and Personalised. Stop gathering personal and other information.

Just do adverts like TV, radio, magazines, newspapers, buses and billboards do. Stop the click fraud and lies about impressions, have 3rd audits.

Stop with the too invasive analytics, just count unique IP addresses per running hour and don't keep them.

Web Advertising has become an evil, dishonest, exploitive, immoral, law breaking, parasitical monster.

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Re: Consent

"Hang on, that can't be right as it is the opposite of how Google are selling their services....I'm so confused"

Just because that can do X doesn't mean that X is effective. It used to be that tobacco companies advertised their products as good for your throat etc, one wonders why it is that tech companies don't have to prove their claims?

https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/kzpajy/12-slightly-unbelievable-adverts-for-booze-and-cigarettes

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Re: Consent

"As per a quote I heard: "Half the money spent on advertising is wasted; the problem is working out which half.""

Lord Lever. Obviously got it right as Unilever is still a big thing.

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Re: Consent

"It is targeted. By context. The best targeting there is and the best targeting there can be."

In a sense it's like going back to magazine / TV / radio ads.

You put the ads for gardening equipment in the gardening sections.

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Happy

Re: Consent

"The best one was trying to advertise spandex leotards to me, on a Linux news site."

There was an instance of a support site for LaTeX suddenly attracting a lot of hits from folks searching for pron.

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Happy

Re: Consent

From Bruce Schneier's book "Data and Goliath"

There’s a famous quote, most reliably traced to the retail magnate John Wanamaker: “I know half of my advertising is wasted. The trouble is, I don’t know which half.”

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Re: Consent

"Lord Lever. Obviously got it right as Unilever is still a big thing."

"There’s a famous quote, most reliably traced to the retail magnate John Wanamaker: “I know half of my advertising is wasted. The trouble is, I don’t know which half.”"

I was under the impression that this particular quotation has been attributed to many people, and was probably not said by any of them.

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Re: "personalised ad" stuff is absolute nonsense.

TV,radio, magazines, newspapers all offer targeted ads by demographic. Billboards and buses do to, though onlying by location.

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Re: "personalised ad" stuff is absolute nonsense.

How are auditors suppose to audit if google don't keep IP addresses?

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FAIL

Re: "personalised ad" stuff is absolute nonsense.

ads within applications [and operating systems - Microshaft] is JUST! PLAIN! WRONG!

[I will not download nor use 'adware']

I can tolerate web site ads when a) they're part of my shopping [like amazon, target, etc.] or b) they're not IN MY FACE so I can ignore them if I want [like ads have been in newspapers forever].

Beyond that is irritating, and you don't want to irritate your potential customers.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Consent

"I was under the impression that this particular quotation has been attributed to many people, and was probably not said by any of them."

I thought it was belived that only half the people who have this quote attributed to them actually said it - but no-one knows which half. Then again, as someone said "most quotes are made up"

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Re: Consent

I was under the impression that this particular quotation has been attributed to many people, and was probably not said by any of them.

It was Einstein, wasn't it?

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i have always blocked as many ads as possible, i am not responding to 99% of GDPR emails asking for me to consent.

due to the amount of embedded types of malware in ads i will never consent to seeing them and usually i will research what i need myself and actively shun ads that force their way past my browser protections.

yep devs get it into your heads some of us do not want any advertising on the internet thats targetted or untargetted.

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Are you one of the same people that refuses to pay for any content on the internet too?

I'd love to live on your utopian internet but the fact is some services have no otherway to fund themselves.

I dont particularly like it but we are stuck with it, unless you want hobbyist/free stuff and lots of paywalls.

On balance I have come to the conclusion that a little light advertising is ok. I just avoid sites (ironically mostly owned by big media) where the scripts slow the site to a crawl. Yes I know about NoScript - but if they arent impacted by you not visiting then you are prolonging the problem.

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First, we're talking about *apps* not browsers.

Second, people might dislike adverts, but most people would rather put up with them than pay hard cash for apps. That's true of the wider internet, and historically has been true of ad-funded free-to-air TV and ad-funded free papers and magazines. It's not the producers who dictate this but the consumers. Without ads there's less content and the budgets of the content there is, will be smaller.

Of course the joy of such as system is some of us can be free riders -- blocking and fast-forwarding through ads, while still getting the free content. So long may it reign. But I freely admit I'd part of the problem and try not to bitch too much.

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Anonymous Coward

yep devs get it into your heads some of us do not want any advertising on the internet thats targetted or untargetted.

So, do you only use products/services that you have paid for? Or, if you are using free-to-download & use apps that are supported by advertising, do you offer the developers some other form of payment by way of compensation? Or do you just expect to get to use stuff for free without worrying one bit about how the developer who built it actually makes an income?

Enquiring minds would like to know.

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Second, people might dislike adverts, but most people would rather put up with them than pay hard cash for apps.

Curiously, unlike apps, in the case of subscription TV services like Sky people seem quite happy to both pay a subscription AND watch adverts. Funny old world....

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Stop

re: people seem quite happy to both pay a subscription AND watch adverts

and yet pirates not only get the content free, they get it *ad* free ?

Surely some mistake ?

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Anonymous Coward

They *seem* happy, until given the opportunity to buy broadband internet unbundled from cable TV. Then they gleefully dump cable for ad-free streaming services.

Crowdfunding is also replacing advertising as a funding stream for upstart content producers, particularly 'demonetized' youtubers, as well as large open-source development/production tools, games, apps, etc. This model is excellent for anything with a committed audience, as opposed to clickbait.

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Thumb Up

Crowdfunding ... as a funding stream for upstart content producers

Having flung a few quid at Richard Herring for his excellent "Leicester Square Theatre Podcast" (or, as the cool kids are calling it: "RHLSTP !") I'm quite happy with this arrangement. Generally an entertaining and occasionally thought provoking hour with a (generally) comedic celebrity, unencumbered with worries about taste and decency.

There are also a few non-comedic gems ... Mary Beard, Ben Goldacre spring to mind. And it's thanks to RHLSTP that Mrs Page and I have been to see James Acaster, Josie Long, Robin Ince, Josh Widdicombe, Sarah Pascoe, Nish Kumar, Romesh Ranganathan, Mark Thomas, Bridget Christie ....

And, famously, it was on a RHLSTP that Stephen Fry admitted to attempting suicide - so real scoop there.

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Re: RHLSTP

Generally an entertaining and occasionally thought provoking hour with a (generally) comedic celebrity, unencumbered with worries about taste and decency.

Indeed. I was listening to the Jess Phillips (MP) episode yesterday - entertaining, and very refreshing to hear an MP speaking as frankly as she did (even with the odd very unparliamentary F-bomb thrown in for good measure)

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"I dont particularly like it but we are stuck with it"

I disagree. There's nothing about advertising that is mandatory. There are numerous other ways to monetize, if that's the goal.

"I have come to the conclusion that a little light advertising is ok"

I don't mind advertising as such (unless it is of the obnoxious sort -- video, sound, popups, etc.). I mind the tracking, and strongly feel that no ads should be running scripts of any sort (whether they're for tracking or not). Unfortunately, the ad industry has decided that those two things are inseparable.

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"do you only use products/services that you have paid for?"

Yes, except for those products and services that are actually offered for free (if it involves advertising, then it's not free).

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Are you one of the same people that refuses to pay for any content on the internet too?

That's a bit of a strawman but it also beside the point: advertising is by definition wasteful. I have for years ignored all kinds of adverts especially for things like cars, which I've never owned. I'm not alone in this and this behaviour is factored into the model.

The solution isn't better targeting, it's better ads and particularly ones that don't disturb the flow. The targetting is a red herring pushed by media companies hoping that advertisers won't demand lower rates once they realise things are just as inefficient as they always were. This is one of the reasons why Instagram is doing so much better than Facebook's own ad networs, because, given a choice most sellers would prefer to be able to talk directly to the customer.

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Anonymous Coward

Are you one of the same people that refuses to pay for any content on the internet too?

Yes. Absolutely. And I block ads. And if that means websites go down? Well I just don’t give a fuck.

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"I have for years ignored all kinds of adverts especially for things like cars, which I've never owned."

In contrast, I enjoy a good car advert, if only for the artwork involved.

Many of these are for stuff that's out of my price range or for vehicles I wouln't consider buying from a practical view, but I still enjoy them.

In the old days of paper magazines, that was definitely a factor in buying the magazine itself.

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Anonymous Coward

...AND THE BILL WOULD BE?

in the case of subscription TV services like Sky people seem quite happy to both pay a subscription AND watch adverts.

and how much do you think sky would charge for subscriptions if there was a option to skip adverts?

I remember years and years ago, right at the time of the very first digital tv recorders from TVo appeared. They had come up with a feature where it would read the codes that are transmitted with the picture so that regional tv stations could take over for the adverts, so that you can hit a skip adverts button. I remember seeing a demonstration of it, but it never ever appeared in a commercial product. I have no doubt it is quite easy to implement in a digital TV recorder but pressure must have been applied somewhere to drop it.

I get that adverts are a required evil to cover the costs of producing content, I prefer adverts to be targeted but not personalised. When I find a app useful if there is an option to buy the add free version, I will pay up.

I do find it ironic that while watching youtube videos from the atheist video content providers that adverts pop up from some bible app.... I do make a point to click on and play the adverts just for devilment.

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Anonymous Coward

The solution isn't better targeting, it's better ads and particularly ones that don't disturb the flow.

So for tv and film you are suggesting product placement. This goes on already. you may notice in some films everyone drives a GM. ford or Toyota for example. The problems is that its harder for advertising standards to police. How do you police a film where the hero only orders a Vodka, gin and vermouth cocktail, naming the ingredients by brand? surely that's associating alcohol with heroism with no "drink responsibly" subtitle to go with it. is it implied that he is a better shot if he uses a gun made by Carl Walther? Surely gun adverts are banned in the UK? maybe a Taylor in Saville Row will pay up for a scene where our protagonist goes to buy a new suit.

adverts need to be clear that what you are watching is an advert.

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Re: ...AND THE BILL WOULD BE?

They may have done away with the "skip adverts" button, but the fast forward is still there and works almost as well.

I've not watched an advert on Virgin for years.

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So for tv and film you are suggesting product placement.

Not necessarily, it's just one of the different options. Internet ads fails because they try too hard to grab your attention.

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No way

Product placement is horrible, as it destroys/damages the content.

I still remember Samsung doing this on CSI. Focus on brand in whatever then pan to the action. It sucks.

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Anonymous Coward

RE:

how much do you think sky would charge for subscriptions if there was a option to skip adverts?

Dunno. How much is a NetFlix subscription ?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: ...AND THE BILL WOULD BE?

"but the fast forward is still there and works almost as well."

but you still see the advert. maybe its not in its full entirety, but you still see a product thrust in front of you for 2 seconds instead of 30...

and you are watching for the advert for whoever is sponsoring whatever program to take your finger off.... I dont think it will be too long until sky or virgin media get a brown envelope stuffed with cash to stop you fast forwarding adverts, or at least limiting it to x2

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Re: No way

Product placement is horrible, as it destroys/damages the content.

One of the worst that I remember is the first bloody five minutes of I, Robot which seemed to exist solely as an advert for some shitty trainer (sport's shoe) company or other.

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Re: No way

Product placement is horrible, as it destroys/damages the content.

I suspect content matters a lot here. Generic fiction is likely to attract companies pushing their high-margin brand.

But what do you think Top Gear is apart from product placement? Rinse and repeart for DIY shows. I know I'm susceptible to tips from people I consider to know what they're talking about or, influencers in despicable marketing speak.

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We are stuck with [advertising], unless you want hobbyist/free stuff and lots of paywalls.

No we are NOT stuck with it.

Flattr makes micro-payments automatic, depending on what websites you visit :

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/11/30/eyeo_adblock_interview/

https://flattr.com/

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Call me cynical but...

Perhaps Google don't want to arrive at a clear and coherent position? As far as I can tell from reading everything, they are desperately trying to claim they are as out of scope as possible, and are setting themselves up for another lesson in basic regulation reading down the road.

Let's remember, this is the company that tried to claim they weren't a data controller because all the data they collected and stored was in the public domain. The CJEU politely pointed out that the data protection rules don't actually mention WHERE a data controller collects their data from, so by Googles own admission they clearly were a data controller... (Note: Data Protection 101 pretty much covered this exact point prior to the court case!)

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Anonymous Coward

This confuses me with the whole consent thing. The dev is creating the app so sure there is consent but google are also serving me the app and in many cases they are processing my data via the app so where is their request for consent? Surely they can't just throw it all on the dev and get the dev to get consent for google which is what it looks like to me and even if they did how do google prove consent has been obtained properly? Also, whats with this google "paused" stuff in the activity settings? I want to turn it off forever thanks.

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This confuses me with the whole consent thing.

Well, Mr Weinstien, in order to provide Angry Fruitbox (the service) it's not necessary for the game publishers to share your personal data with Google. If they want to sling you untargeted ads then that's fine.To use another example, if I buy a pint in the pub and the barman tells me that to serve me a pint, he needs my email address so they can share it with "third party affiliates" then that would be unacceptable. I should be able to buy a pint without consenting to give over my personal data (although I could consent).

I mostly see ads for doner kebabs.

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