Mike B. is calling to talk about the plan by TiVo to put in ads. Mike says that TiVo is obviously needing to in order to keep TiVo going. The good news is that if users have a TiVo Roamio or older, they won't get them. Only the Bolts or latest TiVos will. Leo says that it may just be easier to go with PLEX or the Silicon Dust HD Home Run.
TIVO has announced that they are putting ads in front of every recording they make. Leo says that will be a death knell for the company, which has been struggling since the advent of video on demand. Leo also says it's ironic because TIVO also has a commercial skip button. It's outrageous because you spend hundreds of dollars for a TIVO, and then you pay for a monthly guide subscription. We shouldn't have to deal with ads from TIVO as a reward. Plus, we don't need DVRs anymore, and if we do, Leo says that Plex (a sponsor of the TWiT Network) on your Roku does just as good a job.
Patti listens to the Tech Guy with her Amazon Echo and noticed that she gets commercials from San Diego, not LA. What gives? Leo says that when listening to the stream, the radio station sometimes uses specially sold ads for the internet stream that are more regional, or national in design. So that's likely why she heard ads from San Diego. Her device may also not really know your location, so if she can go into the app, she can add the location and get more accurate ads and weather forecasts.
Len listens to his podcasts through Amazon Echo. Leo says that Echo and other home assistants are a boon for podcasters and streaming radio from all over the world. He says the problem though is that it'll completely play live, but if he listens to it pre-recorded, he only gets about 20 minutes. Leo says it all comes down to advertising. If you're listening to a podcast in Cleveland, but you're in San Diego, ads are no benefit to you or the advertiser. And they probably don't pay to have an ad on the download. It's all about economics. Podcasts are like magazines.
Steve fears his Android phone has been attacked by a virus. He's suddenly getting something called "AdChoices." Leo says that AdChoices is by The Digital Advertising Alliance, and is a response to Ad Blockers. It lets users fine tune their ad preferences. Steve can go into his browser settings and turn off popups and redirects. Then he can clear out his browser cache.
Mark wants to know why broadcast ads will use the 'Alexa' trigger word that could hijack his Echo device. Leo says that in Amazon's commercials, they actually use an inaudible sound behind the trigger word that prevents the device from taking action on it, but it may be that other advertisers don't know about this. Leo says it may even be against Amazon's rules to use trigger words in flash briefings.
Online ads have become increasingly pervasive and annoying over the years, so the effort to circumvent or block them entirely is no surprise. Some ads go as far as to completely obstruct content, and it can significantly slow down the responsiveness of the site as well. Some sites automatically start playing video and audio of ads or other content, which can interrupt something else you’re watching or listening to. It may seem like an obvious solution to install and run an ad blocker all the time, but this presents an ethical dilemma.
Frank wants to know how he can filter out ads when he's on the internet. Especially when he's listening to music. Leo says that he has mixed emotions about blocking ads because he makes a living with ad supported content. But UBlock Origin is a good ad blocker. Leo says he should accept ads from sites he prefers. Another option is to block autoplay in Chrome. Just Google it, and he'll find a plugin to do it.
Facebook's top security officer says that it's really hard to keep bad guys off their site. Testifying before Congress, he said that buying so-called dark ads is hard to stop. Leo says that's because they're willing to pay for it. Leo adds that Facebook really needs to do eliminate dark ads completely and have every ad be seen in the light of day so we know who's buying the ads. But Facebook doesn't want to do that.
Robert has been using Google Adwords and Facebook Ads to contact his clients and find new customers, but it's a very expensive way to do it for a seasonal business. He wants to choose one or the other. Leo says Facebook ads are the better of the two, but he'll need to use it effectively. Facebook knows more about its members than anyone, but he needs an expert who can make the most of that. He'll have to think about his business in a way that leverages these new tools and there are ways to do it.