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This article is amusing to me....

Randall Rothenberg doesn’t want anyone to forget the dangers posed by software that hides online advertising. Rothenberg, who runs the Interactive Advertising Bureau, gave a scathing speech at an industry conference this week in which he accused ad blockers of “stealing from publishers, subverting freedom of the press, operating a business model predicated on censorship of content, and ultimately forcing customers to pay more money for less—and less diverse—information.”

Rothenberg said publishers have begun to fight back with their own technology designed to disrupt ad blocking software and encourage readers to either turn the blockers off or pay for content. Readers should be forgiven for not noticing that this battle is happening.

I have a simple solution to this -- those media properties that insist on slamming me with ads and data mining are media properties that I don't need to use -- and won't.

I see both sides of this, of course, since The Market Ticker runs on advertising.  Unobtrusive, on-the-sidebar advertising.

Unfortunately the sort of "interweaved" and "pop-over" or through advertising is more and more common and what's worse, by far, is that some of those properties go even further and have tried to load malware on my machine when I shut the blocker off.

Forbes is one of those sites I no longer read for this reason.

This is not a new problem.  And let's face it -- advertising is content, and when I use Google's Adwords I am placing their content on my page.  Now yes, it comes from Google, but if Google either will not or does not police said content such that when it's on my site my readers are exposed to some sort of nefarious crap should I be surprised when folks think it's my problem?  After all, they didn't go to Google, they came to The Market Ticker.

But this belies part of the problem because Google doesn't, as is commonly thought, serve all its own ads.  In fact Adwords interconnects with a huge number of other "partner" networks, yet all are billed and sent through Google.  Who's responsible?

I've yet to have a serious issue with Adwords in this regard, but when it comes to other ad networks it's a different story.  There are even many of them that insist on delivering their ads without https; which means that my usual and customary practice of allowing anyone to use https (and in fact pinning the site to secure mode if you do use it, even once) instantly removes them from consideration as a competitor.

The ads -vs- blocking thing isn't going away.  I've certainly toyed with the idea of forbidding readers from coming in here with ad blockers turned on, but thus far I've decided not to.

Advertising, provided that its not intrusive and (1) doesn't attempt to misrepresent itself as content that is organic, that is, is clearly delineated and distinguished as advertising such as being on the side bar (incidentally all Facebook ads violate this stricture), (2) consumes a modest and thus immaterial amount of bandwidth and time compared to the content being sought, which specifically bars any non-asked for display of things such as video and/or audio (no, mouse-overs don't count) and (3) does not attempt to load anything persistent on the user's machine, including pop-under or "hidden" content, is in my view perfectly ok and a legitimate means of generating revenue with online content.

Violate any of the three above, however, and most sites do including a lot of the big ones, and I will refuse to add you to the exception list.  If you won't let me in without that and yet won't conform to the three points above as far as I'm concerned at best you're a thief trying to force me to pay for the delivery of your message and at worst you're a cyberterrorist and I want nothing to do with you.

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It's about damn time...

An uninsured woman who went to OHSU Hospital's emergency room and left a week later not knowing she'd soon be billed $31,000 is suing the hospital, claiming it charged her far more than it would have charged an insurance company for the same services.

Claire Amos' lawsuit claims that she and many other uninsured emergency room patients at OHSU have been kept in the dark about how much their treatment cost until they received their bills in the mail.

Robinson-Patman prohibits this practice for physical goods.  Everyone's hospital stay involves physical goods that move in interstate commerce.

How far is this sort of behavior from racketeering (I'd argue "it in fact falls under that category") in that it has the intent of compelling people to buy "insurance" because the implicit threat is that if you don't you'll be billed at 2, 3, 5, or even 10x or more than what the insurance company would pay?

How is this not racketeering and extortion?  Oh sure, you can claim that the insurance company and the hospital are not the same firm -- but that's a losing argument, particularly in the world we live in today where hospitals are part of affiliated networks and so-listed by insurance companies.

Goodspeed Claire Amos....

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Woke up this morning to the little update marker on my Priv.

It's February 1st, and BlackBerry did commit to regular, monthly updates of the system software.  Google does so too, with their unlocked Nexus phones.

BlackBerry pushed it first.  It's a small update, only 17MB, and it's updating now - there's no release notes to show exactly what was changed, and it's too small to be Marshmallow (by far), but I do like this pattern of support and updates being pushed out on a regular basis.

Keeping promises?  How nice.

In other news BlackBerry increased their stock buyback -- while their stock was getting hammered.  That's the right to way to do it, and the way nobody else ever does.  The whole point is to buy low, not buy high.  Witness Apple, which bought back a crap-ton of stock at $130 with analysts claiming that it was a "good move" because they'd spend $1.50 a share in interest expense but the stock paid somewhat over $2 in dividends, so heh, it all looks good, right?

Sure it does -- when you take a $30 capital loss how long does it take to make that back at 70 cents/year, and by the way, will interest rates remain that low for that long?

Probably not, and if not...


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Like, for instance, when everyone involved in this crap -- every single LEO in the department and affiliated departments that ran around like jackbooted thugs tramping on the citizen's rights has died.  That'll be a long while, since the alternative -- all those people going to prison -- isn't going to happen nor will anyone even call for it (other than myself), so the community is going to be forced to "wait it out" until time takes its course.

Which it will.... eventually.

CHICAGO (AP) — The widow of a disgraced Illinois police officer who staged his suicide to appear he was gunned down in the line of duty, sparking an intensive manhunt, was indicted Wednesday on charges of assisting her husband in siphoning money from a youth program.

Melodie Gliniewicz, 51, turned herself in at the Lake County Sheriff's Office when she learned of the grand jury indictment, said Detective Christopher Covelli, a sheriff's office spokesman. She was taken to the county jail Wednesday afternoon. Her bond was set at $50,000.

You do remember this one, right?  The Fox Lake cop who kill himself, setting it up to look like he'd been ambushed.  The entire area was basically shut down over a holiday weekend and the rights of the citizens treated like toilet paper, with searches, road closures and everything else under the sun expended looking for non-existent "bad guys."

The problem isn't that they looked.  It's that they paid zero heed to the rights of the citizens to be left the hell alone and that no ordinary person who is assaulted or murdered has the same sort of zeal applied to investigating their apparent homicide.

If someone shot me tomorrow I'm sure there would be some effort to find the person who did it and punish them.  Fine.  But I'm also very sure that the cops wouldn't go door-to-door, searching people's homes, garages and otherwise, blockading streets and basically shutting down an entire town looking for someone who killed me.

I'm dead either way, so heh, there it is.  But those who are still alive wouldn't have their rights trampled like so much used toilet paper.

But let a cop commit suicide in a way that leaves people believing that someone killed him, and oh boy, here it comes for everyone who is clearly not involved but just happens to live in the area.

Screw that and screw you, Fox Lake PD.

Oh, and as for the decedent's wife?  She'll get to try to make her case for innocence in a court of law, as she should.  May all the people on the jury be those who had their lives turned upside down as a result of the scheme that her husband, and perhaps she, were involved in and the outrageously-disparate (and derogatory) treatment accorded to the residents and business owners in the area as a result.

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Friday's rally was inspired by the BOJ going to "negative" interest rates -- not for deposits, but for "excess reserves" that the banks hold at the JCB.

Of course the central bank can't mandate a rate for deposits, but no commercial bank can pay a rate much beyond the "risk free" one, because they wouldn't be in business long if they did.

But let's think about this for a minute -- Japan has had decades-long deflation in most things, and asset prices were starting to slide once again (I note that their stock market has never recovered its former highs.)

So why do this?  Supposedly, to boost "inflationary" tendencies.

But what is inflation?  The usual response is "an increase in money supply."  Uh, not really.

Remember the basic economic equation: MV = PQ

That is, Money (and credit) * Velocity (how many times each "turns over" in a given unit of time) = Price (of each thing or service produced) * Quantity (how many things or services are produced)

This is an equation, which means it always balances.  It must, by definition.

So what does a negative rate do?  It decreases "M".  That is, if you deposit funds over time you have fewer of them.

But wait -- the goal is to increase M*V -- that's "inflation."

So why do it?

Because you are trying to force up "V" -- velocity.  That is, you're trying to force those with money to put it into the economy, and keep it there; that is, remove it from said deposits (or the mattress) and spend it.

But why would you do that?  You'd only do that if you believed spending it would benefit you -- either as an investment (that is, you can spend some money in the expectation of producing even more as a consequence) or out of pure consumption.

But you will only invest if you believe the future is bright; that is, that your investment will pay off.

What does a central bank that invokes desperate measures such as this tell the market?

It tells the market the future sucks and so we're going to try to force you to behave as we wish.

Gee, that's a terribly uplifting and positive message you have there Mr. Central Banker!  Why, it inspires confidence, doesn't it?  I mean, after all, a gun up your nose will "inspire" you to withdraw your wallet and hand it over, but I would hardly call that a positive experience, nor would the expectation of it happening again inspire me to invest -- except, perhaps in a gun to shoot you with when you come back for seconds.

Since that option is foreclosed in this case (as the robbery is not face-to-face) I suspect you can figure out how "inspiring" this little game is likely to be for the Bank of Japan.

Meanwhile, among the bankers, the BOJ swore they would not do this very recently.  As a result the banks and investment houses had been placing bets on it not happening, specifically in the currency markets.  This little game has now turned what they believed to be solid and profitable positions into immediate, very large and crystallized losses.

Gee, that's gonna provide lots of incentives to invest as well.

This is going to be amusing to watch over the coming days, weeks and months, especially considering that The ECB has gone down this path and now people are clamoring for The Fed to do so too.

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