FTC ends investigation of DoubleClick
January 23, 2001 1:22 PM   Subscribe

FTC ends investigation of DoubleClick and finds no evidence of wrongdoing. I don't know about you, but I feel cheated. Don't forget to opt out of their cookie-bending racket.
posted by mathowie (16 comments total)
I've always had a dillema concerning the blocking of banner ads. I know this is unrelated, but it isn't ENTIRELY unrelated.
Anyway, I hate banner ads. But, I also realize that some sites require banner ads for their income. And since I use those sites, I don't think its fair that I block the ads. But I'm not sure that makes sense.
I have no problem blocking cookies, though.
posted by Doug at 1:34 PM on January 23, 2001

If only this investigation had been conducted under a Republican adminsitration.... surely they would have found something wrong.

Hell, let's summon Ken Starr out of retirement. Maybe he can find out if the DoubleClick execs are diddling the staff over there.
posted by mikewas at 2:20 PM on January 23, 2001

Sweet Merciful Jesus, how did THIS post turn into a weird bipartisan political discussion?
posted by Doug at 2:24 PM on January 23, 2001

I don't trust their "opt out". I prefer to do it at my end. I have all their IP's blocked in my firewall.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 2:49 PM on January 23, 2001

Can't you just empty the cookie and set it to read only?
posted by internook at 3:08 PM on January 23, 2001

Am I the only one who just doesn't really care about banner ads and cookies? I mean, I know the security issues are legimate, blah blah blah. But isn't there anyone else out there that just doesn't care all that much if DoubleClick has this info?

I'm much more concerned about the black helicopters that keep circling my neighborhood...
posted by anildash at 3:09 PM on January 23, 2001

I don't mind Double Click tracking my web travels and/or purchases. I understand how others could find this very offensive though.

Maybe someday we'll get privacy as a right, but for now it's long gone. You want to break out the tin foil..... be my guest.
posted by y6y6y6 at 3:22 PM on January 23, 2001

I've been to the doubleclick office, and its insane. I wouldn't be surprised if they control the black helicopters. They have a big, nasa-like screen with maps of the world covered in blinking lights, and when they fear there's a security risk a big black screen falls over it. There're also acres of servers, and an indoor park. Very weird.
posted by Doug at 3:28 PM on January 23, 2001

Why is almost everybody still under the impression that banners ads are neccessary for survival? As a business model and as more reports are confirming banners ads do not work.

The recent crash and burn of so many pure play internet companies can be traced to this false belief. Hanging your business model on serving up somebody else's products/services on your advertisement web site is just a little bit unrealistic. How many 'pages of links' do you visit?

Banner Ads can sell stuff. But they will never sell a thing the way they are being used. The best ad placement is birds of a feather sites. computer stuff on computer sites.

In the case of news organizations and magazines, until they get the content thing together, by presenting more content and going further in depth with links and ads for more information, they will fail there as well.

E-commerce works on the web. But what ad networks do not realize is the focus is more important than the ad.

we surf all day with hyperlinks.

posted by headlemur at 3:50 PM on January 23, 2001

Steven, the opt-out is for real. All it does is set your cookie for doubleclick to the same value as everyone else who opts out. When you then send a request to them, all they get from your cookie is an id that they have no way of tracing to any one person, due to the fact that many people have it. You can see for yourself that it changes the value in cookies.txt (or whatever IE has) to some text string like "opt out" or some such.

And I've generally not cared much about cookies and such, but now I'm becoming more worried. The fact is, it's *not* just a matter of serving you targeted ads. They can link your browsing habits to your personal identity. Okay, so what's the problem with that? Well, when your employer requests a background check on you, they can get a report based in-part on those browsing records, which can easily give false impressions. Just because you can't think of a way their tracking can be used against you doesn't mean no one else can...
posted by whatnotever at 5:28 PM on January 23, 2001

Internook, if all I did was interfere with the cookies (and my firewall has a much stronger way of doing it than the one you suggest) they would still be able to trace me if they wanted. They'd still receive my IP from my query, and a referrer telling which website it was. They'd still be able to build a profile of all the places that my IP visited.

I don't want them receiving anything. So my firewall prevents any and every program from accessing them. As a result, they never even know when I hit a site with one of their ads on it. (And I don't see the ads.)
posted by Steven Den Beste at 5:31 PM on January 23, 2001


where would one find a list of said IP addresses?
posted by o2b at 5:45 PM on January 23, 2001

Whether your statement concerning banner ads not working is true or not, I can't say, really. I've seen them work for some companies, and fail miserably for others. I'm concerned, though, with the small sites, the sites that scrape server costs together through a couple of banners on their home page.
posted by Doug at 5:55 PM on January 23, 2001

O2B, the beauty of my firewall is that you don't have to know. You can control a firewall rule using the name, and the firewall fills in the details itself. It's extremely friendly and flexible. What I have blocked is "doubleclick.com".
posted by Steven Den Beste at 7:50 PM on January 23, 2001

Here's an example of what I'm worried about.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 7:53 AM on January 24, 2001

o2b, here's a faq on blocking doubleclick, and similar advertisers. You can do the same thing using your C:\WINDOWS\HOSTS file in Microsoft consumer products.
posted by dhartung at 12:54 PM on January 24, 2001

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