"Sorry for All the Ads," Says Former Microsoft Program Manager

"Sorry for All the Ads," Says Former Microsoft Program Manager

Xbox Live 2004 Banner of the Day

Ex-Microsoft employee apologizes for creating the initiative to have ads on the Microsoft dashboard.

"If you hate seeing advertisements when you boot up your Xbox, let me apologize in advance," states Allen Murray, the ex-Microsoft program manager, "I am one of the people--if not THE person--responsible for ads on the Xbox."

In a blog post addressed to the Xbox nation, Murray explains how he came to work for Microsoft from Amazon, and how he had to push to get ads on Microsoft's interface in the first place.

When Murray joined Xbox's team in 2004, he worked on platform software and realized he could "quickly make an impact, for better or worse." While learning about the new projects Microsoft was working on, one of which was the Xbox Live Arcade, Murray realized how difficult it was for users to find new game content. Hexic, for instance, was a puzzle game you can only play on the Xbox 360 at the time and was at risk of being buried because there was no way to advertise it on the dashboard--and Murray previously worked with the game's developer Jason Keimig so he had a personal attachment to the cause.

Murray then went to Larry Hyrb, a.k.a. Major Nelson, with the issue. Hyrb supported the initiative and with his help Murray was able to bring the case to his boss.

"So, as you can see we have all of these great games but no way for players to easily find them. So I'm proposing that we display banner ads on the dashboard that link directly to the download pages of the games so that..."

"Wait, banner ads? Like on websites?"

"Sort of, but these aren't like ads for Mt. Dew or anything, these are just..."

"No way."

"What?"

"Gamers are gonna hate ads. No way."

"How will they know they can download Zuma on the day it launches?"

"..."

"Is that a yes?"

"No."

Microsoft was still uneasy with the notion, and Murray speculates it was due to his terminology of "advertising" and "banner ads." In any case, Hyrb was able to push the project forward and the "Banner Of The Day (BOTD)" system was implemented. Flash-forward ten years and, "Nowadays the Xbox One UI is nearly all 'ads'... So it's nice to see that the idea caught on and if you hate the Mt. Dew ads, I am truly sorry. "

Murray mentions his next project at Xbox was designing the 360's parental controls. He apologizes for that as well.

Source: GameSpot

Permalink

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, so despite your apology I still wish the best of luck in surviving there Mr Murray.

So you're the man responsible for the downfall of one of the best console interfaces (The Original Xbox 360 Blade System) for one of the absolute worst (the current Xbox 360 and Xbox One dashboards)?

There is a special spot in hell for you sir.

...Is he one of the ones who was suggesting the built-in Kinect could be used to track users' gaze for commercial purposes?

If so, I'm not sure any apology would cut it.

Now let's be fair, he merely instigated the use of adds, he wasn't necessarily responsible for The Billboard That The Xbox UI Became.

First the guy who created pop up ads apologizes and now this? Are people finally waking up to how oppressive Ads are on some sites?

What he should of done is "what if we have a spot on the homepage where we suggest new games and current popular games to users we could even base it on their game history."

Its cool though I've never been suckered into paying for an xbox much less xbox live.

Does this mean they will be getting rid of the ads? If not, then it's about as thoughtful as someone apologizing to you while he is stabbing you.

How kind of you to release your full name Mr. Allen Murray.

UNLEASH THE INTERNET FURY!

Maybe we get a different experience down under due to our limited services being it isnt buried under random product ads, but the ads are always games and dlc....which his original reasoning is right. I do want to see an easy to find announcement of major new content.

mysecondlife:
How kind of you to release your full name Mr. Allen Murray.

UNLEASH THE INTERNET FURY!

Dude, the introduction of ads itself was punishment enough for him. The fact that he's apologizing in the first place shows how much he regrets what he did. The fact that he suggested it as a solution to a logical problem shows that he's far from the worst person involved in the xbone's UI too. What could you possibly accomplish here from requesting an internet mob?

So all I got from this is anything this man works on goes to shit... But anyways, I couldn't give less of a shit about all these "apologies' coming out because they aren't fixing the problems they created.

Dear Mr. Murray,
Create an ad-blocker for the XBox dashboard. Then all will be forgiven.
Until then, rot in the deepest corners of hell.
Sincerely, EVERYONE.

Elijin:
Maybe we get a different experience down under due to our limited services being it isnt buried under random product ads, but the ads are always games and dlc....which his original reasoning is right. I do want to see an easy to find announcement of major new content.

In my experience with the Xbox 360 (which was quite extensive) I've never seen anything along the lines of invasive advertisements. The important stuff was always first and foremost. Hell, you just had to throw in the disc and push but one button to play. You didn't have to sift through ads to get the content you wanted. Yeah, there were tiles for games/events/DLC, but they weren't in your face about it. I really don't see how different it is from Steam starting on the Store page by default (yes, I know you can set your favorite page, but I actually like seeing what's new and on sale right when I start Steam).

vallorn:
First the guy who created pop up ads apologizes and now this? Are people finally waking up to how oppressive Ads are on some sites?

The first guy, yes. The second guy, maybe.

OT: Of course, if it's genuine, it doesn't actually effect me, being not of the X-Box persuasion.

sid:

mysecondlife:
How kind of you to release your full name Mr. Allen Murray.

UNLEASH THE INTERNET FURY!

Dude, the introduction of ads itself was punishment enough for him. The fact that he's apologizing in the first place shows how much he regrets what he did. The fact that he suggested it as a solution to a logical problem shows that he's far from the worst person involved in the xbone's UI too. What could you possibly accomplish here from requesting an internet mob?

I was being disingenuous. Besides, if you wanted a internet mob, escapist would not be a best way to start it.

*Tosses ads atop of all the other reasons -not- to choose Xbox one*

I'm waiting for a time when people will just return their consoles and switch to PS4 if they aren't going to be getting a PC. I don't see much sense in anything else.

Sounds like he suggested "ads" in the sense of steam notifying you of steam sales. On steam.
Now who is the dipshit who turned that into toyota ads?

I also like how this was the solution to arcade being hard to navigate and now it's even harder to do so.

loa:
Sounds like he suggested "ads" in the sense of steam notifying you of steam sales. On steam.
Now who is the dipshit who turned that into toyota ads?

I think this is the crux of the issue. We're essentially talking about the person who invented a useful device, such as a hammer, but someone took the idea and turned it into a weapon.

Ads for services that are exclusive to the service you are using are 100% a-okay by my books. But ads for products outside the service you are paying for being displayed on the service you are paying for is a 100% no no.

008Zulu:
Does this mean they will be getting rid of the ads? If not, then it's about as thoughtful as someone apologizing to you while he is stabbing you.

Well it says Ex-Microsoft employee, so unfortunately he wouldn't be able to do anything about it even if he wanted to. Especially now Microsoft have made it clear they're not afraid of alienating gamers if they think they can rake in a bit more cash.

Well...

...the one thing we've seen from all top levels of government, military, banking, corporate and whatever other organizations there are in the world it's that it's much better to go ahead and do bad things and apologize for it later once you're retired or no longer working there than it is to simply use your power and authority as the top guy to NOT let it happen in the first place.

I'm constantly surprised (well, not anymore anyway) by all the memoirs, auto-biographies, major network interviews and what-not done by Presidents, Congressmen, CEO's, Heads of all the different law enforcement organizations who all claim "Oh, I was against such and such ideas and knew it would lead to bad things but, you know...if only I, as the guy at the top, had the power to say "no"...but, you know, when I'm the head guy I have to do what I'm told by the people under me and keep quiet until I retired, and THEN speak out...you know....when I'm trying to sell my book and need the attention."

Abomination:

loa:
Sounds like he suggested "ads" in the sense of steam notifying you of steam sales. On steam.
Now who is the dipshit who turned that into toyota ads?

I think this is the crux of the issue. We're essentially talking about the person who invented a useful device, such as a hammer, but someone took the idea and turned it into a weapon.

Ads for services that are exclusive to the service you are using are 100% a-okay by my books. But ads for products outside the service you are paying for being displayed on the service you are paying for is a 100% no no.

Sadly someone will always find a way to take something good (or at least innocuous) and abuse it for evil and profit. Just look at DLC and pre order exclusives for example; they are fine ideas when done right yet in recent years they have been twisted by these companies into yet another way to screw over the consumer instead.

I honestly dont mind ads, I mean, I do like to know that EDF 2025 has been added to the Games on Demand list and that if I want I can buy it there. I do however dont like the ads to cars, movies and foods.

Ads to games (even if Call of Duty and EA Sports games do show up a lot) dont bother me at all.

The Pink Pansy:
Now let's be fair, he merely instigated the use of adds, he wasn't necessarily responsible for The Billboard That The Xbox UI Became.

And he was only suggesting ads for new games that showed up on Xbox Live Arcade. I can hardly blame him for trying to address the issue of discoverability and there's nothing inherently wrong with what he did. Sounds like once it was in Microsoft caught the wiff of money in the air and couldn't resist doing the exact thing they told him they were against when he brought up the idea.

I didn't mind the ads on the Blades dashboard, they never over powered the console functions.

Each new dashboard incarnation though just became more and more focused on adverts first.

So I must be the only person that gets that one little ad down near the bottom of each page of the dashboard, because I've never been able to figure out where are all these ads everyone complains about.

Unless everyone is talking about the "recommendations" & "offers" everywhere, which I don't really mind. I guess I'm too busy playing the games to notice or care.

I don't care about the ads. I just miss the bladed dashboard, it had that cutting edge feel to it.

Ed130 The Vanguard:
They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, so despite your apology I still wish the best of luck in surviving there Mr Murray.

Hah, this was never good intentions. This was about monetizing people who paid for your product already.

This would be like a hotdog stand selling you a hotdog and then yelling ads at you while you're eating it.

I don't wish the guy any ill but I'll admit that it's the advertising that got my 360 to collect dust while my ps3 saw all the action thanks to a clean interface.

Still the case. So he literally lost them at least one customer in me going forward.

Paragon Fury:
So you're the man responsible for the downfall of one of the best console interfaces (The Original Xbox 360 Blade System) for one of the absolute worst (the current Xbox 360 and Xbox One dashboards)?

There is a special spot in hell for you sir.

Eh, the one that came between them was a pretty damn good interface too, allowing very easy access to everything, with ads very very minimized compare to the horrible mess it is today.

Mortis Nuncius:

Elijin:
Maybe we get a different experience down under due to our limited services being it isnt buried under random product ads, but the ads are always games and dlc....which his original reasoning is right. I do want to see an easy to find announcement of major new content.

In my experience with the Xbox 360 (which was quite extensive) I've never seen anything along the lines of invasive advertisements. The important stuff was always first and foremost. Hell, you just had to throw in the disc and push but one button to play. You didn't have to sift through ads to get the content you wanted. Yeah, there were tiles for games/events/DLC, but they weren't in your face about it. I really don't see how different it is from Steam starting on the Store page by default (yes, I know you can set your favorite page, but I actually like seeing what's new and on sale right when I start Steam).

"Not invasive" They literally cover 80% of the screen in 80% of the tabs. And the remaining tab only had a meer "40% of the screen covered" EDIT: And that's if you don't have gold, in which case it also becomes 80%. Your literally paying for another 40% of ad space on your screen, and multiplayer when all console games have shit multiplayer.

Still, it'll never be as good as the PS3 dashboard, which gets so much unfair hate its illogical, when its possibly the best dashboard ever made.

ahhh who cares about him. Give us the guy who decided to screw over skypes data transfer method, its layout, and oh yeah....decided to fill it with ADS! now THAT'S who needs some directed internet hate towards them.

Some moderation now would be ideal, like not making them the focus of the entire dashboard.

Mr Fixit:
So I must be the only person that gets that one little ad down near the bottom of each page of the dashboard, because I've never been able to figure out where are all these ads everyone complains about.

Unless everyone is talking about the "recommendations" & "offers" everywhere, which I don't really mind. I guess I'm too busy playing the games to notice or care.

You can call them different things but at the end of the day they are still a form of advertisement.

By your logic, when the branded advertisement square is showing an advert for the Gold sub then it isn't an advertisement because it is a recommendation and offer for a Microsoft product.

Also you obviously care about this subject enough that you felt the need to comment in the thread, so your dismissive attitude is a little odd.

If the adverts, recommendations, offers etc were not being viewed and clicked on then Microsoft would not have continued with them, since they have we can confidently say they are earning Microsoft enough to warrant their increased focus.

Can I say it bothers me in any real way, no I can't to be honest, however that doesn't mean I don't understand why it annoys other people.

 

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