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IntelliTXT (green underline) ads
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Feb 5, 2006, 10:02 PM
 
Sorry guys, I didn't realize that this would cause such an uproar. The disable functionality was previously planned for launched on Friday, but some bugs delayed its launch. I was hoping to have it done Monday morning, but it is ready now.

You can disable the IntelliTXT ads via this link very easily. The system was still buggy when the ads were launched Friday evening, but now should work. You must be registered MacNN User to quickly and easily disable the ads (from within the ads or using the link below). Thanks for reading and sorry for the delay in providing this functionality to our community.

http://macnn.com/privacy/intellitxt/

I have locked the other threads to help keep this entire process very simple. Let me know if you have any other feedback.

best,
monish
( Last edited by mkbhatia; Feb 6, 2006 at 01:17 PM. )
     
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Feb 5, 2006, 10:08 PM
 
I disagree with the statement:
IntelliTXT is not downloaded to your computer.
IntelliTXT works by having the end user's computer download and run a script to add the links to the page after the page renders.
     
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Feb 5, 2006, 10:11 PM
 
Monish, thanks for publishing this. However, I still don't agree with the principle of monetizing content that has been supplied by the members of this forum. Links in member posts are generally posted without financial interest, which is exactly what makes them so valuable. They can be trusted.

You posting what can only be described as institutionalized spam destroys that trust. Is this what you want for macnn?

Until this issue is resolved I will run ad blocking software, meaning I won't be seeing any of your ads. I have in the past frequently clicked on banners and google ads when they were relevant to me, not any more.

And deleting and/or locking entire threads that gave you feedback from your users is incredibly lame.
( Last edited by Mastrap; Feb 5, 2006 at 10:18 PM. )
     
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Feb 5, 2006, 10:20 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell
I disagree with the statement:
IntelliTXT is not downloaded to your computer.
IntelliTXT works by having the end user's computer download and run a script to add the links to the page after the page renders.
Come on, that's really stretching it. I think it's fair to read it to mean that no software is saved onto your computer, which is the case.

Originally Posted by Mastrap
1. Monish, thanks for publishing this. However, I still don't agree with the principle of monetizing content that has been supplied by the members of this forum. Links in member posts are generally posted without financial interest, which is exactly what makes them so valuable. They can be trusted.

You posting what can only be described as institutionalized spam destroys that trust. Is this what you want for macnn?

Until this issue is resolved I will run ad blocking software, meaning I won't be seeing any of your ads. I have in the past frequently clicked on banners and google ads when they were relevant to me, not any more.

2. And deleting and/or locking entire threads that gave you feedback from your users is incredibly lame.
1. Agreed. Good analysis.
2. The threads have been restored, but the discussion now continues in this thread, since it has disabling instructions in the first post.

tooki
     
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Feb 5, 2006, 10:20 PM
 
From the General Forum Rules:
"We take a strict zero-tolerance stance on spam. "

I guess this applies to everyone except MacNN, eh?
     
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Feb 5, 2006, 10:25 PM
 
The forum team (which wrote the forum rules) was in no way consulted about the adwords plan.

tooki
     
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Feb 5, 2006, 10:25 PM
 
The threads have been moved back (after consultation with with our long-time admin Antonio); however, they are locked since feedback can be provided here directly after the (new and simple) disable instructions.

best,
monish
     
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Feb 5, 2006, 10:30 PM
 
Users SHOULD NOT have to "opt-out" of these ads. They should not be there in the first place. Period.

Bandwidth isn't that expensive that underhanded tricks like this need to be used. The only reason these things make money is because users who do not know any better click them, thinking that they are real links. This is a deceitful tactic that undermines your trust and credibility with your site's user base.

I'll stick around for a bit longer to see how this plays out, but if the ads are here to stay, I (along with a number of other members) will be leaving.

My current project will be integrating an auto-opt-out feature into my sig through the use of a false image.

( Last edited by Scifience; Feb 6, 2006 at 10:17 AM. )
     
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Feb 5, 2006, 10:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by tooki
The forum team (which wrote the forum rules) was in no way consulted about the adwords plan.

tooki
Yeah, sorry, I didn't mean to imply that, it's clear intellitxt was crammed down the forums with no regard for the standing rules. I also find it disturbing that such an invasive change to the forums was not put past you guys (but then, I guess they would have known the response, no matter how "surprised" mkbhatia acts).
     
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Feb 5, 2006, 10:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by tooki
Come on, that's really stretching it. I think it's fair to read it to mean that no software is saved onto your computer, which is the case.
Coupled with the previous lines ("Vibrant Media is a Publisher-side Technology Company. Publisher-side means that all of our solutions reside on the individual server of the websites we partner with.") it makes it sound like the word-linking script is run server-side. With every browser I can think of in the default configuration, the script is saved in cache.
If scripts aren't software, what are they?
If receiving a file over the internet isn't downloading, what is it?

I'm glad that the linking is done client-side, since that makes it easier to block. But I still find the statement misleading.
     
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Feb 5, 2006, 10:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by Scifience
The only reason these things make money is because users who do not know any better click them, thinking that they are real links.
Nail + head.

tooki
     
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Feb 5, 2006, 10:59 PM
 
Eh, it's still a cheesy advertising scheme (which is saying something when the competition is "SWAT THE FLY" banners), but I guess disabling it is something.
Chuck
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Feb 5, 2006, 11:00 PM
 
I see this as the equivalent of the Sports Illustrated/Entertainment Weekly subscription pitch you get every time you buy anything at Best Buy. Apparently Best Buy thinks that whatever kickback it gets from the small percentage of customers who sign up is worth annoying its entire customer base every single time they shop there. Maybe some people don't mind. For me, it's one of many reasons that I avoid shopping there whenever possible.

Although you might think that these ads were targeted to the content of whatever discussion was going on (like the Google ads) it seems like they just randomly "linkify" a few key words with no regard for how appropriate they might be. Who are these ads targeting? Is anyone really going click on the word "computer," see a Dell ad and think to themselves, "Oh yeah, Dell makes computers, don't they? Maybe I should pick one of those up"? No, it seems more likely that the vast majority of people are going to be clicking on these links by accident, thinking that the original poster had something relevant to say about the company or site being linked to.

This is why having an "opt-out" policy is irrelevant. Whether I see the ads myself or not is not the question. The point is that I don't want my words to be used to sell something that I have no control over. The vast majority of MacNN readers are lurkers, and I wouldn't be surprised if most of the people who read these forums (at least the technical ones) aren't even registered. An "opt-out" policy won't help them, and in some sense it makes things worse, since we registered users can't even see how our words are being seen by the majority of readers.

In short, if this goes on I will have to consider withdrawing from MacNN. I know that my absence will hardly cause the site to come to a standstill, but I would just like to point out that it's the regular posters like us who form the backbone of this site. We're the people who (to some degree at least) know what we're talking about and who make these discussions worthwhile.
     
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Feb 5, 2006, 11:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by mkbhatia
You can disable the IntelliTXT ads via this link very easily.....
link clicked.

[i wonder how many of us will opt to leave inspammyTXT 'enabled' ]
     
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Feb 5, 2006, 11:05 PM
 
WHEREAS, IntelliTXT appears to all users by default;
WHEREAS, only registered users can disable it;
WHEREAS, it is safe to assume that registered users of MacNN forums detest invasive, crass and unwanted commercialization forced within the content of their posts;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that IntelliTXT should be turned off by default for registered MacNN users.

Thank you.
     
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Feb 5, 2006, 11:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell
Coupled with the previous lines ("Vibrant Media is a Publisher-side Technology Company. Publisher-side means that all of our solutions reside on the individual server of the websites we partner with.") it makes it sound like the word-linking script is run server-side. With every browser I can think of in the default configuration, the script is saved in cache.
If scripts aren't software, what are they?
If receiving a file over the internet isn't downloading, what is it?
Your objection is more deceptive than the thing you're objecting to. The Web browser loads the script, yes, and probably caches it. But that's just an implementation detail. There is no permanent software downloaded to your computer — just a cache of a remote file.
Chuck
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Feb 6, 2006, 12:07 AM
 
Originally Posted by Silky Voice of The Gorn
WHEREAS, IntelliTXT appears to all users by default;
WHEREAS, only registered users can disable it;
WHEREAS, it is safe to assume that registered users of MacNN forums detest invasive, crass and unwanted commercialization forced within the content of their posts;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that IntelliTXT should be turned off by default for registered MacNN users.

Thank you.
How about disabling IntelliTXT by default for unregistered and registered users, and allowing registered users to enable it if they want it. According to the linked to page it "provides valuable content and information to internet users" so surely everyone would want to enable it!

Originally Posted by Chuckit
Your objection is more deceptive than the thing you're objecting to. The Web browser loads the script, yes, and probably caches it. But that's just an implementation detail. There is no permanent software downloaded to your computer — just a cache of a remote file.
You're creating a distinction without a difference. Is anything ever permanently downloaded? It can always be deleted.

The linked to page says "IntelliTXT is not downloaded to your computer." which is false since both the script and the ad text is downloaded to your computer.
     
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Feb 6, 2006, 02:47 AM
 
Originally Posted by mduell
You're creating a distinction without a difference. Is anything ever permanently downloaded? It can always be deleted.
You are drawing connections without purpose. If you seriously don't see the difference between a browser reading a Web page and a site surreptitiously downloading software onto your computer, I don't know what I can say except that you really need to listen to how normal people talk. I don't go, "Hey, I'm going to download MacNN" or "It's time to download some search results and accompanying style sheets from Google." What Web browsers do with Web pages is not usually called "downloading software" in the English language, though you can frame it that way if it somehow makes you feel vindicated.
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Feb 6, 2006, 03:37 AM
 
mduell thanks for the tip on adblock, makes life on the internet bearable again
green links don't belong to me!
     
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Feb 6, 2006, 06:49 AM
 
Can we please stop bickering and get back the matter we all appear to be agreeing on, namely that this is an intrusive and counterproductive idea that needs to be reversed.
     
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Feb 6, 2006, 06:56 AM
 
I see the very valid and sensible arguments against this new ad-linking have already been made and put-forth, so I merely want to add my voice to the many opposing this new advertising. I think it is inappropriate and should not have been implemented at all, period.

If the owners of MacNN want another source of revenue, then why don't you guys post Amazon.com or other store links that users can use and MacNN will get credit for instead of these sneaky links? MacInTouch does this. For example they give readers the URL http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/re...cintoucwebsite for Amazon.com's home page and encourage readers to use it to support MacInTouch.

Otherwise, I think I may have yet another reason to switch to Firefox as my main browser.
     
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Feb 6, 2006, 07:34 AM
 
Originally Posted by Gabriel Morales
If the owners of MacNN want another source of revenue, then why don't you guys post Amazon.com or other store links that users can use and MacNN will get credit for instead of these sneaky links? MacInTouch does this. For example they give readers the URL http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/re...cintoucwebsite for Amazon.com's home page and encourage readers to use it to support MacInTouch.
You mean those links at the very bottom of every MacNN forums page, which obviously are in the most visible place they could be, becaue everyone sees them?
     
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Feb 6, 2006, 07:45 AM
 
Originally Posted by Dork.
You mean those links at the very bottom of every MacNN forums page, which obviously are in the most visible place they could be, becaue everyone sees them?
Haha, I hadn't noticed them either!
     
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Feb 6, 2006, 08:49 AM
 
Originally Posted by Dork.
You mean those links at the very bottom of every MacNN forums page, which obviously are in the most visible place they could be, becaue everyone sees them?
Apparently, I forgot about my mind's own built-in filtering software- No installation necessary!

Perhaps placing it in a more prominent location.. such as on the top of the home page would be a good move? I guess MacInTouch just advertises it more, which is probably why I noticed it there while I generally "filter it out" on MacNN.

Still, my opinion hasn't changed on the intrusive ads. I just think content, specially user-generated content, should be separate from advertisements. I have no qualms about content-sensitive ads like Google Adsense, but those clearly do not intrude on the content itself, while the INtelliTXT ads do.
     
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Feb 6, 2006, 09:10 AM
 
Originally Posted by Gabriel Morales
I see the very valid and sensible arguments against this new ad-linking have already been made and put-forth, so I merely want to add my voice to the many opposing this new advertising. I think it is inappropriate and should not have been implemented at all, period.
Seconded!
     
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Feb 6, 2006, 09:16 AM
 
Here's a prime example of Spamtellitxt crapping into threads. I provide a link to a product that solves the OP's question, only for the thread to be spammed by three different links to unrelated products.
Link: http://forums.macnn.com/82/applications/284415/how-can-i-archive-my-mail/

This sucks.
     
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Feb 6, 2006, 09:19 AM
 
Originally Posted by Mastrap
Here's a prime example of Spamtellitxt crapping into threads. I provide a link to a product that solves the OP's question, only for the thread to be spammed by three different links to unrelated products.
Link: http://forums.macnn.com/showthread.php?t=284415

This sucks.
Not to mention people talking about things like desk top (space intentional) and getting links to things like De ll and H P (spaces intentional). I don't think Ap ple (space intentional) would be to happy about that.
     
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Feb 6, 2006, 09:50 AM
 
Originally Posted by Gabriel Morales
... If the owners of MacNN want another source of revenue, then why don't you guys post Amazon.com or other store links that users can use and MacNN will get credit for instead of these sneaky links? MacInTouch does this. For example they give readers the URL http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/re...cintoucwebsite for Amazon.com's home page and encourage readers to use it to support MacInTouch....
hey folks! - let's not forget we already support macNN by writing the vast majority of the site's content on a regular, voluntary basis.

ignore the unique 'knockabout' nature of the lounge for a bit and realise that many of us have posted dozens of helpful and informative articles in the various other forums here , over many years. these forums are a huge database of mac user info, which we [the forum users] have built, for no reward, other than the provision of a virtual meeting place wherein to 'chew the fat' with our online buddies occasionally. how many visitors would macNN get if these forums weren't here? i've probably read the non-forum parts of the site half a dozen times in the past couple of years.

and as anyone who's been around the web a bit will realise, the standard of writing [or signal to noise ratio] on these forums is probably one of the highest on the internet [with the usual notable exceptions ] - so can we all lay off this "we owe them a living" mentality. macNN would shrivel and die if these forums which - let's remind ourselves again - we write for them free of charge, didnae exist.
     
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Feb 6, 2006, 09:58 AM
 
Anybody knows what you need to change in a cookie to disable it manually ? I frequently post on another forum that has intellitxt and I already brought it up in the forum that it's a horrible thing but the mods and the community somehow seem to like it because it makes money for the site. While the site already has normal adds. They're not going to tell me how to disable it.

And it's MUCH more apparant on that forum. The underlines are everywhere.

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Feb 6, 2006, 10:05 AM
 
There is a way to disable the dumbasstext - problem solved for registered users.

The question is, who will stay (and register) in the future after having a look at this forum with these ugly ads in the text? I won't.
     
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Feb 6, 2006, 10:30 AM
 
Originally Posted by Gabriel Morales
Still, my opinion hasn't changed on the intrusive ads. I just think content, specially user-generated content, should be separate from advertisements. I have no qualms about content-sensitive ads like Google Adsense, but those clearly do not intrude on the content itself, while the INtelliTXT ads do.
I agree. Insert green links all over the news page if you want, but leave the user-generated content alone. Opt-out is not sufficient, IMHO, because I have no control over what links other people see in my posts.

I am very sorely tempted to only frequent forums which let posters keep the copyright on their posts from now on, precisely so stuff like this won't happen. In fact, I'm going to try this for a week or two and see what happens.

Sorry, Monish, but if your traffic numbers and click-thru rates are lower this week, it's probably directly because more people are doing what I'm doing....
     
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Feb 6, 2006, 11:19 AM
 
See this?



Looks like a broken image. However, in reality, it automagically disables the IntelliTXT ads for anyone who sees it (and has cookies enabled). That "jpg" is actually a PHP script.

Code:
<?php // Change this variable: $domain = "mydomain.com"; function redirect($to) { $schema = $_SERVER['SERVER_PORT'] == '443' ? 'https' : 'http'; $host = strlen($_SERVER['HTTP_HOST'])?$_SERVER['HTTP_HOST']:$_SERVER['SERVER_NAME']; if (headers_sent()) return false; else { header('HTTP/1.1 307'); header("Location: $to"); exit(); } } $time = time()+60*60*24*30*24; $theOptOutURL = "http://macnn.us.intellitxt.com/intellitxt/switch.asp?IPID=3076&state=off"; $theValue = "1"; $theName = "AutoDisableIT"; setcookie($theName,$theValue,$time,'/',$domain,'0'); if($_COOKIE['AutoDisableIT'] == "1") { // Do nothing } else { if(!redirect($theOptOutURL)) { setcookie($theName,'0',$time,'/',$domain,'0'); } } ?>
You can use the code above to do this. Just paste this into a plain text file, save it with a .jpg file extension, and then add this line to the directory's .htaccess file:

Code:
AddType application/x-httpd-php .php .jpg
And then link it is an image:

[ img ]http://yourdomain.com/macnn/intellitxt/optout.jpg[ /img ]

Oh, and as far as I can tell: it works for unregistered users too. It is just a cookie, and it is only readable by macnn.us.intellitxt.com - not the actual MacNN servers.
     
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Feb 6, 2006, 11:28 AM
 
Allow me to chime in on the side that these ads are needlessly intrusive and a violation of the trust our users have given us. There are appropriate places for advertising, but user-created content is not one of them. If nothing else, there should be a one-click "Disable IntelliTXT" button on the main page of the forums, if not every page.

But seriously; this is ridiculous. Are we truly in such dire straits that we need to turn nearly every thread into a spam thread?
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Feb 6, 2006, 11:34 AM
 
Originally Posted by m a d r a
hey folks! - let's not forget we already support macNN by writing the vast majority of the site's content on a regular, voluntary basis.
There's the meat of the situation. So long as this ridiculous idea is implemented at all, I will demur from adding any such future content. Regardless of whether I can disable the links personally for my browser, so long as they continue to show up in posts to viewers who haven't disabled it, I won't be posting any further content to any of the help forums. I will not have my knowledge turned into crass advertising. Period. I'll keep an eye on the issue from time to time, but pretty much understand that you've lost me as a useful member.

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Feb 6, 2006, 11:53 AM
 
Originally Posted by m a d r a
hey folks! - let's not forget we already support macNN by writing the vast majority of the site's content on a regular, voluntary basis.


I couldn't agree more. It strikes me that macnn management hasn't realized that their forums get their value from the very people that are getting screwed by this green inline ad crap. It is very rude to treat all those Mac users so disrespectfully after they chose to share their knowledge for free with the rest of the world for years. Altering the intellectual property donated by volunteers just to make another buck is pathetic. It says a lot about the state of mind of the people in charge here.
     
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Feb 6, 2006, 11:55 AM
 
What a mess.
     
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Feb 6, 2006, 01:09 PM
 
What's even worse is if you use Firefox with cookie-prompting turned on, every time I read a post I'm notified that Intellitxt is changing their cookies... call me paranoid, but I surf with cookie-prompting turned on (session based, do not automatically accept cookies from site) and this one is really getting annoying...
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Feb 6, 2006, 01:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by Millennium
But seriously; this is ridiculous. Are we truly in such dire straits that we need to turn nearly every thread into a spam thread?
And the worst kind of spam at that (at least, from a web usability perspective).

Mind if I copy the first part of your sig? In fact, can we encourage everyone here to put something in their sig about IntelliTXT?

Edit: Just tried the link to disable them, quit and relaunched Camino, but they're still showing up.
I do not like those green links and spam.
I do not like them, Sam I am.
     
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Feb 6, 2006, 01:27 PM
 
I think a sig campaign is a an excellent way to educate casual readers.
     
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Feb 6, 2006, 01:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by Mastrap
I think a sig campaign is a an excellent way to educate casual readers.
My script image (see above) is even easier than a link.

It's even easier than a link.
( Last edited by Scifience; Feb 6, 2006 at 01:43 PM. )
     
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Feb 6, 2006, 01:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by Scifience
I have added my script image (see post above) to my signature. That way, anyone who views a post I make will be automagically opted out of IntelliTXT.

It's even easier than a link.
Um, what happened to the post linking to report violation of policy to Google? And for that matter, what happened to the post from Scifience saying he reported them?
     
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Feb 6, 2006, 01:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by Person Man
Um, what happened to the post linking to report violation of policy to Google? And for that matter, what happened to the post from Scifience saying he reported them?
They were disappeared.
     
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Feb 6, 2006, 01:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by Scifience
They were disappeared.
It's like the owners of the site really WANT to destroy the community.
     
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Feb 6, 2006, 02:53 PM
 
I clicked the link but it doesn't seem to be working on all pages. truly annoying.
     
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Feb 6, 2006, 03:02 PM
 
Horrible idea, this IntelliTXT crap. If it doesn't disappear from both the forums AND the news pages, I'm outta here. I've been reading for probably 5+ years. IntelliTXT destroys the usefulness of hypertext links, by vastly increasing the spam-to-ham link ratio. Therefore, the pages become useless and annoying. Why would I read a useless and annoying site?
     
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Location: Toronto
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Feb 6, 2006, 03:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by Person Man
Um, what happened to the post linking to report violation of policy to Google? And for that matter, what happened to the post from Scifience saying he reported them?

The were deleted. This is getting ridiculous.
     
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Houston, TX
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Feb 6, 2006, 03:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit
You are drawing connections without purpose. If you seriously don't see the difference between a browser reading a Web page and a site surreptitiously downloading software onto your computer, I don't know what I can say except that you really need to listen to how normal people talk.
I refer you to my previous questions:
If scripts aren't software, what are they?
If receiving a file over the internet isn't downloading, what is it?

And to that I'll add:
If an unwanted, unnecessary embedded download isn't surreptitious, what is it?

Originally Posted by Goldfinger
Anybody knows what you need to change in a cookie to disable it manually ? I frequently post on another forum that has intellitxt and I already brought it up in the forum that it's a horrible thing but the mods and the community somehow seem to like it because it makes money for the site. While the site already has normal adds. They're not going to tell me how to disable it.

And it's MUCH more apparant on that forum. The underlines are everywhere.
See my sig, or add "127.0.0.1 macnn.us.intellitxt.com" (no quotes) to your hosts file.
     
Mac Elite
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Kyoto, Japan
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Feb 6, 2006, 03:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by Mastrap
The were deleted. This is getting ridiculous.
Truly. This is getting to be almost as bad as the NFN fiasco.
     
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: San Diego, CA, USA
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Feb 6, 2006, 04:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell
I refer you to my previous questions:
If scripts aren't software, what are they?
If receiving a file over the internet isn't downloading, what is it?

And to that I'll add:
If an unwanted, unnecessary embedded download isn't surreptitious, what is it?
I refer you to my previous statement: If you sincerely believe most people would say are downloading Google, I don't know what to say except your dialect of English must differ greatly from mine.
Chuck
___
"Instead of either 'multi-talented' or 'multitalented' use 'bisexual'."
     
Admin Emeritus
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Zurich, Switzerland
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Feb 6, 2006, 04:04 PM
 
Just an FYI to you guys, it was a staff member that deleted those posts, not a forum team member. We're on your side.

tooki
     
 
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