Posts

Cherry Pit Storage 2021-07-31T17:30:05.338Z
Come Build Affordable Housing! 2021-07-25T14:10:02.649Z
Housing Without Street Parking: Implemented 2021-07-24T02:40:02.341Z
Fire Law Incentives 2021-07-22T12:30:01.713Z
Pi Sound Box 2021-07-20T04:10:02.545Z
Essentialness of Data 2021-07-14T03:40:03.795Z
Firefox does not block analytics by default 2021-07-10T12:50:05.150Z
Whistle Synth Pi 2021-07-08T19:00:04.367Z
Preschooler Turnovers 2021-07-06T01:20:05.186Z
To the Robobassinet and Progress 2021-06-21T18:20:04.620Z
Who wants to run a B2B SaaS startup? 2021-06-17T13:40:02.311Z
Walking to School 2021-06-14T15:30:02.251Z
Alarms Are Better Than Chivvying 2021-06-11T15:30:05.982Z
Better Whistle Synth 2021-06-09T01:50:02.928Z
Update 2021-05-31 2021-05-31T13:30:02.564Z
Wrist Update 2021-05-29T01:30:02.563Z
Why Prefetch Is Broken 2021-05-28T02:20:02.388Z
Kids NCurses Messenger 2021-05-22T17:50:02.240Z
Solar Production Data 2021-05-20T01:30:02.098Z
Power Outage Chances 2021-05-16T16:40:02.389Z
Thinking About Generators 2021-05-16T02:40:03.535Z
Testing the FLEDGE Prototype 2021-05-12T12:40:05.048Z
Massachusetts Tick-Borne Disease Distribution 2021-05-11T18:40:08.363Z
Massachusetts Lyme Reporting 2021-05-10T22:40:05.857Z
Peekskill Lyme Incidence 2021-05-09T19:50:05.931Z
Android Video with External Microphone 2021-05-08T22:30:05.778Z
Thoughts on Ad Blocking 2021-05-06T02:50:04.606Z
Why I Work on Ads 2021-05-03T21:00:05.618Z
Car Seats Three Across 2021-05-02T02:00:04.832Z
Vaccination and House Rules 2021-04-24T01:00:03.030Z
Six-Door Cars 2021-03-21T19:30:04.647Z
Sharing a Car 2021-03-17T13:30:04.654Z
Seatbelt Extenders and Booster Seats 2021-03-14T21:50:05.559Z
Making a Kingfisher Video 2021-03-14T01:40:05.812Z
The Cost of a Sixth Seat 2021-03-10T03:20:02.570Z
Car Thoughts 2021-03-07T21:30:02.430Z
Bakeoff 2021-03-07T01:30:05.751Z
Limits of Giving 2021-03-04T02:20:02.903Z
When I left Google 2021-02-28T21:40:05.426Z
Avoid Contentious Terms 2021-02-24T03:10:05.216Z
Failed Vegan Choux Experiments 2021-02-20T20:10:05.990Z
Shortcuts With Chained Probabilities 2021-02-18T02:00:05.283Z
Weirdly Long DNS Switchover? 2021-02-16T20:00:05.905Z
KAnon 2021-02-15T20:50:08.144Z
Bucket Brigade Updates 2021-02-14T03:30:05.919Z
Watching themselves 2021-02-12T22:20:06.159Z
We Need Browsers as Platforms 2021-02-09T15:40:09.452Z
History of the Public Suffix List 2021-02-07T22:20:06.229Z
Bring Back Free-Flow Valves 2021-02-07T03:50:05.645Z
Looking at RSS User-Agents 2021-02-05T02:10:06.551Z

Comments

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Come Build Affordable Housing! · 2021-07-28T23:44:41.989Z · LW · GW

I'm hopeful that we can build enough that we don't even need a lottery, because the market price for affordable housing will fall below the maximum the city allows them to charge.

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Come Build Affordable Housing! · 2021-07-27T01:59:47.126Z · LW · GW

Massively decreasing the value (and hence the price) is the point!

You can rent or sell, at a specified maximum rate, to anyone whose income is under a limit.

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Fire Law Incentives · 2021-07-23T00:57:33.754Z · LW · GW

I like this idea, but I think it's still unreasonably disadvantages prescribed burns?

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Fire Law Incentives · 2021-07-22T19:58:37.124Z · LW · GW

I'm open to the idea that thinning is a better choice than burning; that's not the main point of my post. I'm arguing that directing most funding into minimizing sparks is not a good outcome, but happens because our approach to fire liability puts it all on whoever starts it.

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Fire Law Incentives · 2021-07-22T15:42:58.300Z · LW · GW

Uh, this is not a call to arson. While lots of the restrictions on prescribed burns are bureaucracy and poorly thought out liability, other pieces are important: coordination with local firefighters so they don't scramble to put it out, good understanding of the weather, plans for if it gets out of control, etc

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Essentialness of Data · 2021-07-18T11:18:49.570Z · LW · GW

Do not distribute content that deceives, misleads, or confuses users. This includes:

  • Misleading content related to civic and democratic processes: Content that is demonstrably false and could significantly undermine participation or trust in civic or democratic processes. This includes information about public voting procedures, political candidate eligibility based on age / birthplace, election results, or census participation that contradicts official government records. It also includes incorrect claims that a political figure or government official has died, been involved in an accident, or is suffering from a sudden serious illness.
  • Misleading content related to harmful health practices: Misleading health or medical content that promotes or encourages others to engage in practices that may lead to serious physical or emotional harm to individuals, or serious public health harm.
  • Manipulated media: Media that has been technically manipulated or doctored in a way that misleads users and may pose a serious risk of egregious harm.

Misleading content may be allowed in an educational, documentary, scientific, or artistic context, but please be mindful to provide enough information to help people understand this context. In some cases, no amount of context will allow this content to remain on our platforms.

This is about content distribution, so it's not about what sort of documents you can compose on the platform, but about what sorts of documents they're willing to host for sharing. The general idea of having this kind of restriction makes sense to me: if you don't have these restrictions then people use your platform to host harmful content, and I think any individual company should be able to decide they don't want to be associated with that.

I definitely think there should be some places where you can post whatever you want, and the market for general web hosting is big enough and competitive enough that it does work out this way. Additionally, hosts are much less concerned when it's not their domain in the URL.

As for the specifics of this policy, how do you see it as prohibiting journalistic use for documenting lies by governments? It looks to me like the exceptions at the end cover that. I do think, in practice, this is a difficult distinction for content moderators to enforce, which is not great. But again, there are lots of places you can publish journalism, and Google docs is not even a common place to do that?

(Disclosure: I work for Google, speaking only for myself)

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Essentialness of Data · 2021-07-16T22:02:24.764Z · LW · GW

What is this in reference to?

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Essentialness of Data · 2021-07-15T16:54:45.988Z · LW · GW

In the post I'm arguing that collecting data has downstream effects users value: services that improve as people use them, break less often, and/or fund themselves without charging money. Today, with typical individual-level data collection, this means there's a tradeoff between individual privacy and overall value, but if we had only private data collection then we'd get the value without the tradeoff. If I'm reading you correctly, however, you are opposed even to differentially private data collection?

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Essentialness of Data · 2021-07-15T16:42:02.403Z · LW · GW

what about all of the miscellaneous ad companies?

The approach the major browsers (except Firefox) have been taking is to provide new APIs that allow ad-related functionality without individual-level tracking (and then try to block cross-site tracking). Examples:

This seems like a good place to put it, to me. Users choose their browsers, and browsers are generally open source. This still does not do anything about same-site tracking, but in that case users are choosing which sites they interact with. Also, while this is being built with cross site tracking use cases in mind, I would like to see it built in a way where individual sites can also use it to demonstrate that their data collection is private.

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Who wants to run a B2B SaaS startup? · 2021-06-21T18:21:10.169Z · LW · GW

send me an email: jeff@jefftk.com

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Who wants to run a B2B SaaS startup? · 2021-06-21T18:18:25.895Z · LW · GW

send me an email: jeff@jefftk.com

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Who wants to run a B2B SaaS startup? · 2021-06-17T16:14:06.467Z · LW · GW

~20 hours/week sounds a lot like a pretty good retirement

They're only putting 20 hours a week into it because they have a lot of other things going on, but I think it would grow much more effectively with multiple full-time people. Given its current growth rate, I think it probably should have two full-time people, one technical and one non-technical, similar to a classic early stage software startup?

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Why Prefetch Is Broken · 2021-06-02T16:04:48.893Z · LW · GW

a.test is a test domain, while test.com is a real domain that someone owns.

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Why Prefetch Is Broken · 2021-06-02T16:03:31.992Z · LW · GW

The former: it is the site, not the domain. Browsers use the public suffix list to determine what the site is.

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Wrist Update · 2021-06-01T12:04:40.729Z · LW · GW

Thanks for describing this in so much detail!

(Unfortunately, it's also enough detail for me to tell that this is pretty different from what's going on for me.)

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Update 2021-05-31 · 2021-06-01T00:28:28.176Z · LW · GW

If you read schedule D you will see that long-term capital plans are included in AGI, even though they are taxed at a separate and lower rate

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Why Prefetch Is Broken · 2021-05-28T12:33:55.216Z · LW · GW

Unfortunately, this won't work either, because the ways the browser fetches a resource to be displayed in an iframe on an existing page versus as a new top-level page have diverged. For example, browsers either don't send cookies in third-party contexts or won't soon, and if you are prefetching a resource from a different site the first example is third-party while the second example is first-party.

Similarly, browsers that support Sec-Fetch-Dest explicitly tell the server what context the resource they are fetching will be displayed in:

// Top-level navigations' destinations are "document"
Sec-Fetch-Dest: document

// <iframe> navigations' destinations are "iframe"
Sec-Fetch-Dest: iframe

https://www.w3.org/TR/fetch-metadata/

Overall, this means that if you wanted to have prefetch work for both of these you would be requiring prefetch make two separate requests to the server when the developer almost always could tell you which one of the two they needed.

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Kids NCurses Messenger · 2021-05-23T19:32:15.139Z · LW · GW

Perhaps, but my house already uses Slack, and installing another app just for this isn't ideal?

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Peekskill Lyme Incidence · 2021-05-22T12:29:14.559Z · LW · GW

In general, a vaccine being safe and effective for dogs does not mean it's a good idea for humans. Is there a reason to think it's different in this case?

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Peekskill Lyme Incidence · 2021-05-22T12:28:18.775Z · LW · GW

It sounds like you're assuming you notice it promptly? I know several people who initially didn't have the symptoms but then later got the arthritic symptoms.

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Solar Production Data · 2021-05-20T02:32:21.516Z · LW · GW

newer all in one inverters do a much better job

How are the newer ones better?

The batteries have plummeted in cost very recently

It looks to me like a lithium ion has plummeted, to the point that it is nearly as cheap as deep-cycle lead acid. But since I was already fine with the trade-offs of lead acid (and have some) I think this isn't an update?

If you want backup power, get a generator ...

I wrote about this some last week. I agree that dual fuel makes sense.

The cost of the fuel is negligible due to the expected hours without power in a given year

I don't know, since it seems like much of the benefit of backup power comes in pretty unusual situation, and there's only so much propane/gasoline I'd feel safe storing on my 0.07 acre lot.

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Power Outage Chances · 2021-05-16T22:58:08.894Z · LW · GW

I don't quite understand how your analysis fits together, but notes on two pieces:

Assuming that ">3 day outage" = a MED, then we can do a little algebra.

"MED" is "Major Event Day" (definition, context). My stats aren't that great, but I think what they're doing is assuming a log normal distribution of outages and then counting any day that's 2.5 standard deviations worse than average as a "Major Event Day". So roughly two days a year (0.6% of days) should count as MEDs. What this means is that if you have a very reliable power company you will have a lower threshold for declaring an MED than someone with a less reliable one.

3 days of diesel fuel storage ... the City can probably get fuel easier than normal people.

My interpretation is that they will be able to get their generator tanks refilled within three days even in most emergencies. This does not guarantee that the blackout has ended, though.

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Power Outage Chances · 2021-05-16T21:16:02.617Z · LW · GW

Makes a lot of sense! And in the bay, a simultaneous wildfire and power outage seems quite plausible.

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Testing the FLEDGE Prototype · 2021-05-13T14:01:28.054Z · LW · GW

if the user is in groups id-8 and id-256 and id-2048, but not in groups id-1, id-2, etc., show banner saying 'Jeff, I know it's you

Except you can only target ads based on membership in a single group, not a collection. generateBid only receives one group at a time.

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Testing the FLEDGE Prototype · 2021-05-13T02:38:20.249Z · LW · GW

No, that's quite different. You're talking about contextual advertising: showing ads to people based on information about the page they are currently visiting. FLEDGE is intended for remarketing: showing ads to people based on the pages they have previously visited.

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Testing the FLEDGE Prototype · 2021-05-13T02:37:08.573Z · LW · GW

The prototypical use case is something like:

  1. You visit Amazon and add a blender to your shopping cart

  2. You visit the NYT, Amazon shows a blender ad to see if you want to come back and complete the purchase

Today this happens via third-party cookies, but with FLEDGE this would look like:

  1. On the Amazon page, when you put the blender in your shopping cart Amazon would call the FLEDGE API joinAdInterestGroup to add you to some sort of amazon.com:prospective-blender-purchasers interest group.

  2. On the NYT page, their ad network calls the FLEDGE API runAdAuction, and includes Amazon as a buyer. Amazon gets to run JavaScript in an isolated context which can look at amazon.com interest groups, see that you are in the prospective-blender-purchasers group and bid to show you a blender ad.

What you are calling "tags" would normally be called "user lists" or, in the language of FLEDGE, an "interest group". (And "tags" are something entirely unrelated: snippets of JS people put on pages)

The incentive to provide true information in the simple version is that the advertiser is leaving a note for themself.

(There's also a more complicated version, where an ad tech company makes some deals. For example, say ads.example contracts with a car website. On each page, the website includes some code from ads.example that adds users to ads.example:cars. Then, the ad tech company contracts with an advertiser, and agrees to target their ads to users who are in the ads.example:cars interest group.)

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Massachusetts Tick-Borne Disease Distribution · 2021-05-11T19:48:15.432Z · LW · GW

Right. I initially thought that this explained the difference, but when they count a case towards Nantucket they're only counting it if the person is a resident of Nantucket.

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Massachusetts Lyme Reporting · 2021-05-11T18:59:58.320Z · LW · GW

This makes it sound like TickCheck is a neutral party here. TickCheck doesn't make money by providing the data to users but makes money by selling tests. It would be easy for them to give their visitors better data but reporting the data like this is a way to put pressure on MA to buy more tests.

Saying "there's not much Lyme in MA" doesn't help TickCheck, though?

Additionally, MA is still doing lots of testing. It is the statistics on clinical diagnoses they're not doing.

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Massachusetts Lyme Reporting · 2021-05-11T18:34:50.092Z · LW · GW

Yes, this should be possible, and MA does it internally:

Tick-borne Disease Visit: International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision (ICD-10) query of the first three diagnostic codes assigned to the ED visit for: Lyme disease (A69.2), babesiosis (B60.0), anaplasmosis (A77.49), and other tick-borne diseases (A68.1, A68.9, A77.40, and A93.8).

See reports at https://www.mass.gov/lists/monthly-tickborne-disease-reports

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Peekskill Lyme Incidence · 2021-05-09T23:45:21.834Z · LW · GW

Similarly, they have: "Each year, approximately 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported to CDC by state health departments and the District of Columbia. However, this number does not reflect every case of Lyme disease that is diagnosed in the United States every year. Standard national surveillance is only one way that public health officials can track where a disease is occurring and with what frequency. Recent estimates using other methods suggest that approximately 476,000 people may get Lyme disease each year in the United States."

https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/datasurveillance/index.html

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on MIRI location optimization (and related topics) discussion · 2021-05-09T19:52:49.576Z · LW · GW

A potentially serious disadvantage of the Peekskill area, especially for outdoorsy or rural-life-enjoying rationalists, is that it’s tick country.

I looked into this more: Peekskill Lyme Incidence

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Thoughts on Ad Blocking · 2021-05-08T10:53:22.297Z · LW · GW

> To resolve this, it seems that one entity needs to own each "channel that distributes the ads", so all the damage is experienced by them

Where "channel" here is the internet? This sounds illegal, since the whole idea is removing competition

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Thoughts on Ad Blocking · 2021-05-08T01:05:29.183Z · LW · GW

> I am also disappointed with all the stupid things that Brave is doing instead of fully focusing on being the most safe, the most private, the least fingerprintable web browser.

If they did that, how would they fund their engineers?

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Thoughts on Ad Blocking · 2021-05-07T20:57:22.643Z · LW · GW

> not adding a "I dislike" button and a little survey on their ads

Have you tried clicking the little "ad choices" button in the upper right hand corner?

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Why I Work on Ads · 2021-05-06T15:59:02.523Z · LW · GW

The current system makes the advertiser the judge

You mean the publisher, right?

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Why I Work on Ads · 2021-05-06T15:58:06.955Z · LW · GW

I'm still confused about what you consider to be pulled. If I click on a link within the model railroading site to their page about locomotives, would locomotive ads in the response be push or pull?

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Thoughts on Ad Blocking · 2021-05-06T12:32:23.670Z · LW · GW

I agree that consumers and publishers (not advertisers) are opposed here, but there are also many participants who are not: browsers, regulators, industry groups. Having some people who are opposed doesn't make solving a coordination problem impossible.

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Why I Work on Ads · 2021-05-06T12:14:33.854Z · LW · GW

The primary cost of websites like lesswrong is not hosting fees, but developer time. By a huge margin. Are the aliens paying for that too?

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Why I Work on Ads · 2021-05-06T12:11:54.549Z · LW · GW

If I place ads for torture and snuff videos and some people decide to click on them while other people don't, is that a problem?

In that case I expect users to find viewing these ads incredibly unpleasant, on average, much more so than either the example I gave, or advertising in general?

(And almost all publishers would not be willing to work with an ad network that placed this kind of ad on their page)

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Why I Work on Ads · 2021-05-06T12:09:55.933Z · LW · GW

banning 'push mode' advertising, and strictly only allowing pull modes

I'm not convinced I fully understand your distinction, let alone that we could codify it sufficiently to make it into law.

If you visit a model railroading site, are ads for model locomotives push or pull?

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Why I Work on Ads · 2021-05-05T23:40:23.984Z · LW · GW

ARPU for ads grows which is the point I am making. It grew from 0 to whereever it is now in 20 years

You're talking about how much one company was able to grow ad revenue, which not surprisingly went up a lot as the company learned how to do ads. At the same time, other companies saw a large decreases revenue per user: famously, newspapers used to make a huge amount of money from classified advertising. Instead, I would look at the growth pattern of total advertising spend per American.

Since average mortgage is only about $10k/year, I find it plausible to think of such ad-driven annual spend.

Someone poor enough to consider an ad-funded house their best option is not going to have a spending pattern worth $10k/y to influence.

Can we agree that ads-per search are certainly higher than 20 years ago when there were no ads?

Of course, but I don't see what point you're making?

their presentation is increasingly aggressive

Your link goes to a discussion of a change to search results which showed favicons for regular results. I again don't have any internal information on this, but from this looked to me like a change to make search results more informative. After objections, the change was rolled back.

Are you using an adblocker in your browser?

I'm not, and haven't, no.

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Why I Work on Ads · 2021-05-05T19:17:19.842Z · LW · GW

consider the very webpage you are on currently: no ads, no paywall

Less wrong is funded by donations. So is Wikipedia. I touch on this in the post, but I think a model where donations fund the operations of most sites, let alone most journalism, is far from practical?

if advertising was not an option (eg banned and enforceably so), what would the internet look like?

I had a crack at answering this from the perspective of what this would do to products a couple years ago: Effect of Advertising.

From the perspective of users, I think the internet would be essentially unusable unless you subscribed to a few standard services, which would then have harmful levels of leverage. This is the "You can sort of fix friction with bundling..." paragraph above.

if there was a better payment model for the internet (say, magical space-aliens commit to funding it entirely, as a joke), what would advertising as a business look like in that case?

I'm not really sure what your hypothetical is supposed to be? For example, if I start a news site and I want to employ journalists, will the magical space aliens give me as much money as I want for their salaries?

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Why I Work on Ads · 2021-05-05T16:25:12.686Z · LW · GW

Trading a house for ads may seem expensive today but it is only one order of magnitude difference taking median home price, fact that most people get it on 30 year mortgage and average ARPU for ads.

Ad funded houses really can't work, unless we figure out how to make housing much cheaper. An upper bound on the amount it can be worth to advertise to someone is the amount of money they spend, and in practice it's much lower.

what most your team collegues have as some sort of OKR

There isn't much I can say publicly on this, except that this is a huge misunderstanding of the business?

nowadays we have entire Google search results beings ads

A small number of searches where people tend to be about to spend a lot of money have lots of ads. The majority of searches have few to no ads. My interpretation here is that Google has gotten much better at figuring out when to show ads, and when it is not worth showing ads. Again, I don't have internal numbers, but I would be very surprised if ads-per-search today were higher than it was ten years ago.

Youtube plays a commercial every 30 seconds

Since my wrists got really bad I've started watching a lot more video, including YouTube. There is no way there's a commercial every 30 seconds; where are you getting that?

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Why I Work on Ads · 2021-05-05T11:00:39.526Z · LW · GW

Cars and houses aren't good examples: they're so expensive that the only way to plausibly fund them with ads (and it's not actually economically plausible) would be incessant ads.

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Why I Work on Ads · 2021-05-05T10:58:12.776Z · LW · GW

I think journalism is a good example here? Very few people can afford to self-fund that kind of research

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Why I Work on Ads · 2021-05-05T00:55:43.558Z · LW · GW

a corporation is reading my letters to my wife (she uses Gmail)

Gmail announced they would no longer use the contents of email to target ads in 2017: https://blog.google/products/gmail/g-suite-gains-traction-in-the-enterprise-g-suites-gmail-and-consumer-gmail-to-more-closely-align/ https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/23/technology/gmail-ads.html

tracks my every movement (I use Android)

You can choose whether to have location tracking enabled, though? I have it on, because I like having a record of where I've been and I trust Google to handle this information securely, but I could turn it off if I wanted.

keeps a detailed log of maybe half of the web articles I have ever looked at (depending on what ads they serve and whether I used a blocker)

That's what the second half of the post is about: a project I'm working on to serve targeted ads without letting advertisers know all the sites you visit.

With advertising, if I accidentally click on the link, I already paid. ...even if 3 seconds after opening the page they regret having clicked on the link, the ad was already shown, the author of the page made the profit

Mostly not. Advertisers know whether their ads were viewed and aren't especially interested in paying for ads no one sees. If you read the whole article the publisher will have many more "viewable" ads than if you click "back" right away. Similarly, if you go back right away you're probably not going to click on ads.

Another big force behind clickbait is that platforms like Facebook will see a click as evidence that the link is interesting, and show it to more people.

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Why I Work on Ads · 2021-05-05T00:42:47.011Z · LW · GW

Sorry, what I was trying to find out was whether Dentin was opposed to even this maximally sympathetic case. Like, is their view idea that commercial persuasion is fundamentally unethical, or that it is typically unethical in practice?

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Why I Work on Ads · 2021-05-05T00:40:33.821Z · LW · GW

It sounds like you're talking about ads on search results? I work on display ads and don't know very much about the search side of things.

I don't have any internal information, but some thoughts on the examples you're listing:

  • Scammers placing ads is harmful, though not unique to advertising. The article you link describes a similar issue happening in the phonebook era. It's very hard to tell from this sort of investigation how well a service is doing at avoiding abuse.

  • "Google Ads are regularly hijacked, such that they present https://youtube.com or https://bestbuy.com as the destination, but lead to a fraudulent website" Is this actually common? Looking at your link, it's hard to tell what happened in that case but I think it was probably an open redirect on amazon.com?

  • I'm not able to find any examples of ads against "MapQuest" searching on my laptop or phone in a couple different browsers; you don't happen to have screenshots?

  • "It's in the best interests of Google for the consumer to click on an ad, not a search result. So even if Google has the best search result, it's goal is to get the consumer to click on the ad." This misses that there's enormous value in giving users a good experience long-term, where they keep coming back.

But again, I know very little about this kind of advertising, since I work in a completely separate part of the industry.

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Why I Work on Ads · 2021-05-04T17:48:16.244Z · LW · GW

There's no way the ads I would have seen in a site over a period of one month would have generated $20 for the site, so trying to charge me $20/month is a no start.

When you switch to a paywall model, you have to accept that you're going to lose a large portion of your readers, which means you need to charge the remaining ones a lot more, no?

Comment by jefftk (jkaufman) on Why I Work on Ads · 2021-05-04T17:45:50.593Z · LW · GW

You pay with contributed labor value

A small amount of non-expert labor is just not worth very much? Like, Amazon Turk pays famously poorly.

What if instead, occasional contributions to updating the map was the price for using it?

I could imagine a world in which that was part of using the map, but it's hard to imagine one in which it is a substantial portion. There are so many monetary costs to running a mapping site that you need some form of money coming in.

What if more online resources worked on a torrent-ish model where those accessing it contribute to hosting it for others?

Bandwidth is generally a small portion of the cost of running an online service. For example, the budget of this site (LW) is so overwhelmingly engineering time that they mostly don't worry about the cost of servers, let alone bandwidth.