TiVo’s Risque Advertising?

Dave Zatz —  February 27, 2008 — 17 Comments

Over on the TCF we’re having a amusing philisophical discussion initiated by a family man who’s upset that his TiVo has been advertising a “Free SI Swimsuit Video.” While I don’t find that text offensive, I did come across a troubling ;) Cosmo ad last night after watching Jericho (on tape-delay). This AM, prior to my morning Starbucks run, I shot a quick video. So ignore me when I say the offer is linked to my credit card… The TiVo is linked to my credit card, but the subscription results in a snail mail or email invoice.

I have a second reason for posting… Last week, Google launched AdSense for Video as a means for web publishers to monetize their video content with contextual advertising. However, during the beta, they’re only accepting sites with over a million monthly video views. According to YouTube, I’m only responsible for about 330,000 impressions over the last 20 months. Fortunately, Amazon’s also recently launched a new affiliate service allowing smaller publishers (like me) to spam their viewers, as you can see above. Unlike Google, publishers pick the advertised products and frequency – but Amazon pays commissions on sales, so it’s probably harder to make a few bucks. Though, I’m relatively pleased with Amazon’s encoding and the clean look of the video widget – and placing ads is a simple process.

As a viewer, I’m interested in your thoughts… Are those few ads tolerable if it encourages me to shoot more video (and get a better camera)?

17 responses to TiVo’s Risque Advertising?

  1. The thing i find interesting about watching your video was that halfway through, an Amazon add for the book ‘Sex for Dummies’ popped up. Ironic….or is it?

  2. Unlike true contextual advertising that matches ads to content, in the Amazon video unit *I* decide what products will be advertised and where they appear in the video. So, that was my doing. ;)

    Hey Todd, looks like Amazon’s using their own S3 hosting for this. (Which makes sense.)

  3. The ads weren’t terrifically irritating, but its nice that you had a bit of a sense of humor about them. As long as you keep the ads tounge-in-cheek and sporadic, then I suppose my tolerance for having ads shoved in my face has been worn down to a point of accepting that, too.

    As far as TiVo goes, since I’ve been using my HD, it seems the ads are contextual, so the Cosmo ad and the SI ad only appear after certian shows – ones rated at least TV-14, in my experience. If you’re a parent using the KidZone feature, those ads probably shouldn’t show up, since my understanding is KidZone removes all forbidden shows from the Now Playing list.

  4. Yah, KidZone is sort of a locked down subset of the TiVo UI. That Cosmo ad is also found under Showcases via the regular TiVo interface, but I doubt it’s seen under KidZone.

  5. My aversion to advertising aside, the ads ARE in context to the content. They are some of the more context sensitive I have seen. What is amazon parsing? The text of the post? The text and our comments? I am neck deep in this space at the moment for my job ( Yahoo ads inside PDFs ) so I am very interest in knowing what is being used to generate those little yellow marks on the scrubber bar denoting when the ads appear.Reminds me of Viddler.com – Is there a link to the amazon page with details on how it works?

    Also @dave, Yes amazon S3 storage is awesome! A few pennies a month for nearly unlimited storage – great if you want to put a couple of terabytes of video and MP3s up in the cloud and have it accessible where ever you are.

  6. Todd, it’s human parsing. I watch the video within Amazon’s dashboard and I decide where ads will appear, how many will appear, and what Amazon products are displayed. Wherever I place an ad, the yellow marker in the timeline appears. I linked to the video widget FAQ above which may provide some insight, though the service is in beta. I’ve notified both NewTeeVee and TechCrunch – perhaps they’ll dig deeper.

  7. Dave,

    The ads are fine. They’re not intrusive (so far), and don’t interfere with the video you’re offering. Somebody has to pay for all this free stuff…

    I’m not too thrilled with the Cosmo ad though. I could care less about the text personally, but the ease with which you can spend $17 by mistake… not cool.

    I *do* want to order stuff like this, but it seems to me there should be some kind of order code or something required as they do with Amazon Unbox before something like this is confirmed.

  8. One thing about the Amazon videos – there doesn’t seem to be a way to link to the video, only embedding it. And the embedding code is NOT XHTML compliant. So you have to modify it to something like this to be compliant and work in the big browsers:

  9. Oh yeah, it is going to filter my HTML…

    <object type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” data=”http://ws.amazon.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&MarketPlace=US&ID=V20070822/US/davezatz-20/8011/cf4a2375-8508-4cb4-a697-98a8f71c36fd&Operation=
    GetDisplayTemplate” width=”368″ height=”318″ align=”middle”><param name=”wmode” value=”transparent” /><param name=”movie” value=”http://ws.amazon.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&MarketPlace=US&ID=V20070822/US/davezatz-20/8011/cf4a2375-8508-4cb4-a697-98a8f71c36fd&
    Operation=GetDisplayTemplate” /></object>

  10. Yah, I noticed when testing in Safari there was a browser error in the logs. And, dude, you’re butchering my new theme! ;) I’ll put that next on my list for mods – limit letters per line to X or something.

  11. Sorry about that. :-)

    Quick fix – add ‘overflow: hidden;’ or ‘overflow: scroll;’ to the style for comment boxes.

  12. TiVo has kidsZone feature, it is free, have you activate it? Oh no, DaveZatz, you work for Echostar–a TiVo enemy. ha

  13. Make love, not war. ;) By the way, on the forum someone complained that a possibly inappropriate ad (“Get NAILED”) showed up under KidZone too, which could be disconcerting for parents. A heavy handed moderator shut his conversation down, though. No surprises there, in fact that’s how this site started after repeatedly having my posts deleted and seeing interesting threads locked.

  14. Hi,
    Not really related to your post as such (sorry!) but I’m looking for a way to rip the video from the Amazon video widget – and searching for something along those lines took me to your page – and you seem to be fairly literate with using it etc.

    Do you know if its possible? There is a sort of “ident” video on a book item on its Amazon page that I am in, and I’d quite like to download the video for my own selfish indulgence :-)

    Any help/advise gladly recieved!

    Cheers
    Simon

  15. In Windows, you can use Real Player to grab it. There’s a beta version for Mac OS X, but I haven’t had much luck swiping Flash videos with it. I assume other Flash video download widgets will work as well…

  16. Dave,
    Thanks for the quick reply! Not long after I posted that I happened upon the latest RealPlayer and its rarther helpful Download Videos browser plugin! Cheers!

    Simon

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