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Apple Patents "Enforceable" Ad Viewing On Devices 439

Rexdude writes "Apple has filed a patent that forces users to interact with an ad. FTFA: 'Its distinctive feature is a design that doesn't simply invite a user to pay attention to an ad — it also compels attention. The technology can freeze the device until the user clicks a button or answers a test question to demonstrate that he or she has dutifully noticed the commercial message. Because this technology would be embedded in the innermost core of the device, the ads could appear on the screen at any time, no matter what one is doing.'" We've been following this story for awhile now but it seems to have broken into the mainstream.
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Apple Patents "Enforceable" Ad Viewing On Devices

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  • Re:Fortunately (Score:3, Interesting)

    by oldspewey ( 1303305 ) on Monday November 16, 2009 @10:49AM (#30115214)

    They can go ahead and use it if they want. It won't affect me one bit.

    I can see this blowing up in their face if they try to implement it broadly. For example, what happens if I am at a client site using a Macbook to drive a presentation to a C-level audience, and an "ad" for a competitor product (or some other inappropriate ad) pops up and I have to spend time fumbling with a multiple choice "quiz?"

    No Thanks.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 16, 2009 @10:50AM (#30115236)

    I was seriously starting to consider buying an iPhone. Then I see this patent, and think "I will never buy such a product".

    But your post gives me hope; if everyone called apple support every time they saw an ad like this, it would be awesome.

    "Hello Apple? I was dialing 9-1-1, but I only got 9-1 in, and then this screen popped up and asked me how many horsepower are in the new lexus, and now my house has all burnt to the ground, and I had to borrow the neighbor's phone because my iPhone is unusable until I answer this stupid question. BTW, can you give me the legal department's number?"

  • Re:Annoyance ads (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Peter Simpson ( 112887 ) on Monday November 16, 2009 @10:52AM (#30115270)

    I find that there is very little content that interests me enough to view a mandatory ad. I would imagine there's even less content for which I would waste my time answering a question before being able to view it.

    I predict most content "protected" by Apple's new mandatory ad system will go unwatched.

  • Re:Fortunately (Score:5, Interesting)

    by realityimpaired ( 1668397 ) on Monday November 16, 2009 @11:23AM (#30115700)

    Depends on what the technology is being used for, doesn't it?

    As an example... let's say they wanted to offer a free cellular service. In exchange for your free service, you had to watch 1 ad every 48 hours of real time, or every 30 minutes of talk time. A technology like this could allow them a way to guarantee to their investors that the ads would actually be watched, and would make it easier to fund such a service, no? They could even program the towers to return ads for businesses in range of the tower itself, essentially using geolocating in order to target the ads to people who might actually buy from the businesses in question without having to actually spy on you at all. They could implement it to be essentially non-intrusive while you're using the service... for the free cell phone example, it could, for example, queue up an ad so that once you're done your current conversation you need to watch it in order to make another call (but wouldn't block incoming calls)... it doesn't have to interrupt you mid-sentence with advertising.

    It's all about how they use it that really determines whether it's an ethical patent. If they're using it as a way to guarantee funding for an essentially free service, then great. If they're using it to force advertising down your throats when you've already paid or are paying for the service, then bad.

  • Re:Annoyance ads (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Rowanyote ( 980640 ) on Monday November 16, 2009 @11:48AM (#30116000)

    Unfortunately annoying people is a valid marketing strategy.

    By pissing someone off, the marketers create a sense of emotion for the product that tends to outlast the memories of anger. A customer walks down a grocery aisle and the product catches their eye, they feel some sort of emotion linked to it, assume it is a good emotion and buy it.

    Like and dislike can cause some of the same physiological responses, it is only memory and perception that tells us which feeling is which at the time. Lose the memory and we have a much harder time telling what we are feeling.

    Anger can also be a pretty useful tool in building an association between a problem and a supposed solution (the product). When I get a headache, I still sometimes think of those annoying "apply directly to the forehead" commercials.

    Anything that gets a person thinking about a product helps to differentiate it from the huge formless mass of the same thing in the market, and so may help make a sale later down the line.

  • Re:Fortunately (Score:3, Interesting)

    by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 ) on Monday November 16, 2009 @11:53AM (#30116080)
    Until they implement a 10s timeout on the button. Don't think that they won't until they cotton on to this little "exploit."

    Way to give the game away, by the way! Asshole.
  • I was thinking more along the lines of their new tablet multi-function device rumored for the near future. Free games, cheap e-books & e-mags, subsidized & limited 'net access...all for the price of some horrible flash ads that make you want to put your fist through the screen. Makes the Sony Reader look even better.

  • (Puts on Carnac hat) "Switch to BSD"

    (opens envelope) "What will everyone do if the Linux 2012 problem isn't fixed by mid 2011?"

  • by BrokenHalo ( 565198 ) on Monday November 16, 2009 @12:20PM (#30116420)
    they can finally sell their shiny, highly satisfying experience to everyone, not just the elite.

    They could try. If I bought a device only to find it was using bandwidth I pay for to push ads at me, I would be back at the store demanding a return and refund.

    Apple should learn that that kind of advertising doesn't work. Just like those "hover ads" that sit there obstructing content on a web-page until you click them. Whenever I come across one of these, I always leave the web-page and make damn sure I block the site in my hosts file. That kind of in-your-face advertising is offensive, and I will never reward the perpetrator by clicking on it.
  • by Altus ( 1034 ) on Monday November 16, 2009 @01:28PM (#30117482) Homepage

    I suspect this would most likely be tied to content and not actual products apple produces. what if, instead of paying 2 bucks at the iTunes store for an episode of a TV show you could download it with for free with 4 forced 30 second ads (not that much different from hulu but you cant get around it at all). Would you consider that option? I think I would.

  • by Tran ( 721196 ) on Monday November 16, 2009 @01:32PM (#30117598)

    Story of Apple talking to Entertainment/Hollywood/TV executives re monthly subscription fee....
    This is the most likely scenario for their intent.
    This would fit both the desktop and mobile devices.

  • Re:From TFA... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Monday November 16, 2009 @02:21PM (#30118554) Homepage Journal

    I hope Jobs has other things in mind than attempting to actually use this "feature".

    I can't imagine this being part of the built-in software., but I can actually see a use for this. If it were an API for those iPhone app writers who make two versions of their app---a free, ad-supported version and a paid version---then it would help support that model.

    The other thought that comes to mind is that if Apple has a patent on this and refuses to license that patent, they can in some small way improve the cell phone industry by ensuring that no one ever designs a free phone or a low cost cellular plan that is subsidized in this way. :-D

"Conversion, fastidious Goddess, loves blood better than brick, and feasts most subtly on the human will." -- Virginia Woolf, "Mrs. Dalloway"