Advertisers fixing to take over your web browser.

Discussion in 'other security issues & news' started by spy1, Apr 2, 2002.

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  1. spy1

    spy1 Registered Member

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    A New York online ad technology firm, United Virtualities, is preparing to introduce a product that will allow advertisers to automatically change the appearance of Web browsers, usurping some of the functions built into popular browsers designed by Microsoft Corp. and Netscape Communications, a unit of AOL Time Warner Inc.

    Weather.com, a unit of Atlanta-based Weather Channel Enterprises, is considering using the new technology on its Web site within the next month, said Paul Iaffaldano, chief revenue officer. The Web site is testing the new product but hasn't yet committed to using it, he added.

    In a demo version of a Weather.com-themed browser prepared by United Virtualities, visitors can see their gray browser toolbars transformed into an image of a setting sun, with the Weather.com logo appearing behind the toolbar icons.

    Even the toolbar options would change. The "home" icon on Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser, for instance, would become a "Weather Channel" icon, steering users back to Weather.com's main page when they click on it. Sponsored links to other Web sites would replace Internet Explorer tools like "edit" and a link to RealNetworks Inc.'s Real.com Web site. Users don't have to download any software to set the process in motion.

    The commandeering of the Web browser would be the latest in a series of intrusive tactics employed by online advertisers in the last year, often to the annoyance of Web surfers. From pop-up ads to pop-under ads, advertisers have gotten bolder in their quests for attention. United Virtualities' new product would be one of the boldest attempts yet to expand advertising beyond the browser content window.

    While advertisers might drool over the prospect of displaying their brands on a browser toolbar, Internet users might not be so receptive.

    "I think it steps over the line of what's permissible," said Jakob Nielsen, a Web usability expert and principal with the Nielsen Norman Group, a Fremont, Calif., consulting firm. He hasn't seen the new technology but it was described to him by a reporter. "Changing software is not permissible. The software is mine."

    United Virtualities calls the product "Ooqa Ooqa," the nickname of one of the cofounder's daughters. The firm's signature product is the "shoshkeles," named after another daughter of a co-founder. Unveiled last year, shoshkeles uses animation and sound in ads that move across a Web page, sometimes briefly obscuring content. These ads, hawking pet food or automobiles, have cropped up on numerous Web sites in the past year, including Weather.com and Yahoo Inc.

    United Virtualities says it has built features into Ooqa Ooqa to mitigate its intrusiveness. Web surfers will always have a clear option to turn off Ooqa Ooqa and go back to their regular browsers, said Ivan Entel, the firm's chief of staff. In fact, they'll have the option never to be exposed to the technology again on certain Web sites.

    But United Virtualities hopes to convince Web surfers that Ooqa Ooqa is useful, not a nuisance. It could display "utilitarian" tools in the browser toolbar, such as a currency exchange-rate calculator on a financial Web site, Entel said.

    "The idea is to enhance the user experience and not deprive him or her of normal features they are used to," Entel said.

    Advertisers may opt for a few different versions of Ooqa Ooqa. They could limit the customized browser to a specific Web site, with the browser reverting to normal form when a user jumps to another Web site.

    Or, the browser could retain the advertiser's brand even when the user visits another site.

    United Virtualities is in talks with other Web sites and advertisers to use Ooqa Ooqa, Entel said. He declined to identify them.

    Weather.com, which had 11.6 million visitors in February, according to Jupiter Media Metrix, is carefully evaluating Ooqa Ooqa, given the concerns about intrusiveness. "If you interrupt the consumer for no good reason, it's not effective advertising," Iaffaldano said.

    What do the browser manufacturers think? Netscape already lets people customize its browsers. Its client-customization kit lets Internet-service providers and others insert their logos to replace the Netscape logo in the browser toolbar, or insert specific bookmarks.

    Netscape spokesman Derick Mains declined to comment on United Virtualities' new product because the company hasn't seen it yet.

    Microsoft also lets software developers customize Internet Explorer. The company had no immediate comment.




    http://ap.tbo.com/ap/breaking/MGAXPXVAJZC.html
     
  2. Mr.Blaze

    Mr.Blaze The Newbie Welcome Wagon

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    Re: Advertisers fixing to take over your web brows

    Those idiotes you know what a inventive hacker can now do with that typ of thing i see mass vulnriabiltys i wonder if they would be held acountiable for os geting hacked.

    since they came up with the techknowledgy lol.
     
  3. Detox

    Detox Retired Moderator

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    Re: Advertisers fixing to take over your web brows

    Sounds rather dismal.
     
  4. Mike_Healan

    Mike_Healan Registered Member

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    Re: Advertisers fixing to take over your web brows

    For their sake, they'd better abide by that, or they'll end up with a special place on my hijacked page.
     
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