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RE: Demographics

From: et <et@ipro.com>
Date: Thu, 11 Jul 1996 07:06:55 -0700
Message-Id: <01BB6F18.063D4EC0@pan.ipro.com>
To: Paul Leach <paulle@microsoft.com>, "http-wg%cuckoo.hpl.hp.com@hplb.hpl.hp.com" <http-wg%cuckoo.hpl.hp.com@hplb.hpl.hp.com>, "'hallam@Etna.ai.mit.edu'" <hallam@etna.ai.mit.edu>
X-Mailing-List: <http-wg@cuckoo.hpl.hp.com> archive/latest/1099
I have been following this thread for the past couple of days and being from a company that makes its living from measurement and  analysis on access information of most of the major sites on the internet I can assure you that the refer field is of the highest importance to advertisers and sites.  I agree with phil that we live in a capitalistic society where advertising pays for a great many things or subsidizes them.  For example magazines and newspapers.  I do agree that privacy is a concern on the Internet but if we as technologist do not provide a solution to content providers that will provide this information then sites and advertisers will just figure a way to hack around it.  You see this already with sites like yahoo that redirect back to there sites when people leave.  This is a performance hit that yahoo is willing to accept and apparently so is the consumer.

I guess I am a little confused as to why people are concerned with the privacy issue.  Please don't shoot me I just maybe na´ve here.  If I come from site A to site B and use the refer as a way for site B to know that I came to it how does site B know how I am.  As far as a know there is no personal information stored in the request from site A to site B or is this wrong?  My question is one of are we being to paranoid about the information?  I personal think that we could actually provide a mechanizes to give more information now and still create no privacy issues.  

Gene Trent
Dir. of Technology
785 Market St. 13th floor
San Francisco, Ca 94103
PH: 415-976-8627
FAX 415-975-8617
Pager 415-208-4382
URL www.ipro.com

From:  hallam@Etna.ai.mit.edu[SMTP:hallam@Etna.ai.mit.edu]
Sent:  Wednesday, July 10, 1996 12:57 PM
To:  Paul Leach; http-wg%cuckoo.hpl.hp.com@hplb.hpl.hp.com
Cc:  hallam@Etna.ai.mit.edu
Subject:  Re: Demographics  

>It is alleged that some advertisers want to pay content providers, not
>by the "hit", but by the "nibble" -- the number of people who actually
>click on the ad to get more info.
>What I'm looking for are comments on the privacy concerns with such an

I had a series of discussions with the folks like clickshare who are 
trying to make money from selling demographic data.

My first approach was to push the referer field - tracking ads was 
one of the original applications I had in mind for it. Its a pity that
the concern for privacy that has reduced the impact of the referer
field was not present when cookies were thrown in. One of the problems
with concerns about security, privacy etc is that the criteria being
applied tend to shift depending on who proposed what. 

I think that any discussion about privacy needs to take account of
the following realities :-

1) Content costs money to provide. In a capitalist system there must
	be mechanisms that cover these costs or content won't exist.

2) Vanity publishing and technology research will not continue to 
	pay for the New York Times etc. indefinitely. A lot of content
	providers have been prepared to give away content for free just
	to learn the potential of the technology. If we cannot provide
	mechanisms to pay for content then sites will soon start 

3) The current protocols admit any number of ad-hoc hacks that create
	linkage. Most of these mean that documents has to be
	customized for each reader which in turn means that caching will
	not work. This model enforces a communication with the host server.

4) Payment for content on a subscription model limits the audience for
	a product, it means that the rich inter-linked nature of the
	Web is lessened. The marginal cost of following a link becomes
	very substantial. If charging mechanisms are restricted to
	subscriptions alone the objective of disintermediation, removing
	the power that Murdoch, Maxwell and their cronies have over
	the movement of information will be lost. We will only be able
	to buy content that comes from large publishing corporations.
	There will not be the leavening of small independent 
	self-published works.

	a, in this
case the number of people in a household wich had internet access and
not the number of people who had used the internet. Why measure it
this way? Well consider a case where you want to buy a new car, you
know that your son can get details of prices via the internet, you
ask your son to do the search. In other words the potential audience
outreach is not necessarily the direct readership. There are similar
fudge factors for other media (pass on readership of periodicals).

One important point is that the advertisers are not really interested
in "readers", they are interested in an index that corresponds with the
measures they already use. 



Received on Thursday, 11 July 1996 11:11:08 UTC

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