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  Massive Game-Ad Autopsy  
 
 
Posted 2005-07-15 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Massive Incorporated serves up dynamic, trackable advertising inside game environments. When gamers Andrew Smith and Peter Wood discovered that the game Swat4 was patched to accept Massive advertising, they investigated the devilish details. The results, posted here [tip:ffwd], reveal the details Massive is tracking:
  • The name of the game being played
  • The number of "impressions" (your definition may vary)
  • Session ID
  • Gamer ID (not personally identifying)
  • The level/map being played
  • Time, duration, size and angle that the ad was viewed
That's a lot of market research gamers are unwittingly and freely supplying. Smith and Wood note that the collection of this data could be used to determine which levels of a game are more popular, and thus charge premium rates to advertisers. But how do gamers benefit?

Smith and Wood explain that in the case of Swat4, advertising was added to a previously ad-free game. In other words, consumers are paying full price for a game that later becomes adware. Thankfully, the two provide an easy method for blocking the ads:
    In order to prevent this 'functionality', the server can be prevented from being contacted by placing the following lines in either /etc/hosts on UNIX, or %WINDIR%\system32\drivers\etc\hosts on Windows.
    127.0.0.1 madserver.net
    127.0.0.1 ad.madserver.net
    127.0.0.1 imp.madserver.net
    127.0.0.1 media.madserver.net
 
     
 
   
 
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Dinozoiks wrote:
Wow! Thanks for that Tony. Just posted a bunch of other tips here... http://www.dino.co.uk/labs/2008/45-tips-when-designing-online-content-for-kids/ Hope it helps someone... Dino...
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