Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 19th Sep 2015 14:37 UTC
Internet & Networking

Let's talk ad-blocking.

With the arrival of iOS 9, ad-blocking is coming to mobile in a big way, and it's causing a lot of talk all over the web. It is highlighting the internal struggle some feel about the practice, but also the hypocrisy of some of its staunchest proponents. So far, it seems like the real 'bloodbath' isn't taking place where people thought it would be - namely, publishers - but among personalities.

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The elephant in the room
by _dev_null on Sat 19th Sep 2015 15:21 UTC
_dev_null
Member since:
2005-08-02

Why would anyone want someone else to see an AD, if they don't want to?

The objectives of Ads seems lost in all of this. Why should I look at Ads if I will never be persuaded by one to buy anything. Let those who rely on Ads for their decisions view them. I can understand the outrage only if a third party blocks the Ads without explicit consent. Like if an ISP blocks Ads to its subscribers or an OS blocks Ads to its users. But I find it silly when websites display messages saying "please view our Ads because we need the money", not unlike a TV station saying "please don't go to the wc, or turn off your TV for the next 30 seconds because we need the money".

If your primary business is making money off people viewing Ads, whether they buy the products or not, then find a way to incorporate them into your content, that can not be filtered. Those who love the content more than they hate the Ads will continue to come, the rest will find other sites and everyone will live happily ever after.

3rd parties should not interfere with my web experience without my explicit approval, and websites/content providers should not care what I do in my own home with content they've delivered to me.

The problem is not Ad-blocking.

Edited 2015-09-19 15:23 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE: The elephant in the room
by kwan_e on Sat 19th Sep 2015 15:33 UTC in reply to "The elephant in the room"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

3rd parties should not interfere with my web experience without my explicit approval


But your web experience won't exist if the people making the content can't get paid by the ads they serve. At this stage, unless a better solution can come along, ads are a necessary evil.

At this stage, I think the least that can be done is to stop making ads in Flash or in any way animated.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: The elephant in the room
by Wondercool on Sat 19th Sep 2015 21:29 UTC in reply to "RE: The elephant in the room"
Wondercool Member since:
2005-07-08

This is not really true, it is a fallacy that people need ad money to make websites. Just like that if music doesn't make any money, people will stop playing music or book writers writing books.

Before 1998 there was no advertising yet the content was of high level because people put websites up out of enthusiasm, dedication. Just like this website btw. Started mainly for the love of BEOS. I doubt Thom/David/Eugenia and others made/make any money but that is not its purpose.

The only thing then you had to worry about were the blink tags on geocities ;)

I know I am not holding a popular opinion but most tech sites are mostly iterating the same press releases (BGR, Engadget, Anand, Alphr, etc etc
If they don't and throw out some opinionated piece, while it often entertaining to read, you have to ask yourself, would you pay 50 euro per year for that and think for most people the answer is no.

When the ads stop working, we will lose some of those sites, but isn't that a blessing?

Give me back the internet without ads and if the site is really good, like for instance Wikipedia (what an oasis in the world of ads!) or Wayback machine, I am happy to transfer some money - and I have.

Reply Score: 10

RE[3]: The elephant in the room
by kwan_e on Sun 20th Sep 2015 00:44 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: The elephant in the room"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

This is not really true, it is a fallacy that people need ad money to make websites.


Good. Because that wasn't the argument.

Before 1998 there was no advertising yet the content was of high level because people put websites up out of enthusiasm, dedication.


I think that is a fallacy. Or at least an observational bias.

I doubt Thom/David/Eugenia and others made/make any money but that is not its purpose.


It's not about making a profit. It's about paying for the hosting. Or have you lived in a silver-platter world so long you forgot that simple things like websites have operational costs?

When the ads stop working, we will lose some of those sites, but isn't that a blessing?


No, because if you understood the points others have made, it's the small sites like THIS one that will be lost. The ones people make for quality content and not just for the ad revenue.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: The elephant in the room
by Wondercool on Sun 20th Sep 2015 08:21 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: The elephant in the room"
Wondercool Member since:
2005-07-08

Let me rephrase it. The point I was trying to make is that it's not sites like OSNews that will go under, it's sites like The Verge with paid staff that have to worry. The Verge, like Alphr, Engadget, BGR, etc, have full-time paid staff and are much more dependent than small sites on ads.

I don't know about you but I don't come here to read about the latest tech news, I follow at least 10 tech sites every day and generally they all publish the same story. Most of the time I have already seen the original article Thom is linking to. I come here for the opinions, comments on the tech news. For me, that's the interesting bit.

Thom's original opinion articles are much more visited and appreciated than a simple article about IOS 8 been released so I am not alone.

Anyway, back to your original postulate that my web experience won't exist if I don't accept ads, that is just not true. I argue that my web experience will improve:
a) No more commercial interference with my brain (how anyone can allow oneself to be brainwashed knowingly and accept it, is beyond me).
b) Less commercial me-too sites in the long run thinking about the fellow user rather than the sponsor.

Reply Score: 4

RE[5]: The elephant in the room
by kwan_e on Sun 20th Sep 2015 08:44 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: The elephant in the room"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

Let me rephrase it. The point I was trying to make is that it's not sites like OSNews that will go under, it's sites like The Verge with paid staff that have to worry.


The Verge can let go of staff and reduce its size and their revenue would still probably cover their operational costs.

I don't know anything about the finances of OSNews, but given that none of the contributors are paid and one works "overtime" to keep the front page going just so it can get some traffic probably means it can't handle revenue reduction that sites like Verge can.

Anyway, back to your original postulate that my web experience won't exist if I don't accept ads, that is just not true.


Only if we accept your assumption that big sites will be hit the hardest, which seems nothing more than wishful thinking. Maybe if there was no such thing as fixed costs vs variable costs in economics then maybe. But they exist.

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: The elephant in the room
by Wondercool on Sun 20th Sep 2015 09:40 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: The elephant in the room"
Wondercool Member since:
2005-07-08

Afaik, OSNews doesn't pay contributors unlike Engadget. Costs are greatly reduced compared to commercial sites, it doesn't matter if they are fixed or not.

I am not saying it will be easy. More difficult are services like Google maps, Slashdot or Reddit.

The whole world uses Google maps, yet it is free (up to a point). If Google doesn't make money, probably we don't have maps (but even here we have volunteer sites like openstreetmap)

Slashdot was sold to a company and they are really struggling to make money of it and now it is for sale again. There was (is?) a plan to 'buy' the site by the readers and to preserve its spirit and continue from there but it has yet to materialise. I would pay money for such a plan btw.

Reddit is losing a lot of (investor) money even though most of the site is volunteer work, and still hasn't found a way to make money.
I still don't think ads are the way to go for those sites. I would ask 1 buck per year for those sites rather than diluting the site with ads. A bit like Whatsapp.

Reply Score: 3

RE[7]: The elephant in the room
by Lennie on Sun 20th Sep 2015 19:30 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: The elephant in the room"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

I sort of agree about the small payment, but I also don't want lots of content to go behind a paywall.

It's much better if everything can be indexed by search engine robots and easily found and universally accessible.

Maybe what we need is more like a kickstarted approach.

You want to write an article ? (or have already written one) If enough people pay for it (you might get early access), after a threshold is reached it gets published.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: The elephant in the room
by chair on Sun 20th Sep 2015 23:28 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: The elephant in the room"
chair Member since:
2012-12-18

Anyway, back to your original postulate that my web experience won't exist if I don't accept ads, that is just not true. I argue that my web experience will improve:
a) No more commercial interference with my brain (how anyone can allow oneself to be brainwashed knowingly and accept it, is beyond me).
b) Less commercial me-too sites in the long run thinking about the fellow user rather than the sponsor.


From my knowledge of business and journalism I would say the exact opposite is going to happen: more low quality sites posting press releases, more commercial interference.

With reduced ad revenue sites are going to have to reduce costs. That means less original, well researched content, and more regurgitating press releases, more relying on user generated content. You seem to like user generated content but in reality it's generally low quality. I realise the irony of an internet comment calling other internet comments low quality, but it's true. This is the modern day version of talk back radio. Comments (and comment rating) tends to follow what's popular. People naturally want to hear things that reinforce their beliefs. Commentators can say anything they want, there's no penalty for inaccuracy, and little moderation of extremist views. In fact, there's more of an incentive to post as fast as possible. Yes, there are positives to user comments. It's decentralised and democratic. But, compared to traditional editorial content, we get comments that are less likely to inform or challenge us.

To address your first point: ad blocking is going to lead to less obvious, and therefore more intrusive, ads. Traditional ads are clearly delineated, that's exactly what makes them blockable. With increased ad blocking web sites and companies are going to turn to "native advertising" (AKA paid content or advertorials). Some sites are doing this already. Some are obvious because they will clearly mark such content. Some sites may not mark paid content at all. Having obvious ads next to content isn't brain washing, posting paid content disguised as news on the other hand...

And then, of course, there is the marriage of the two: paid comments. Some companies are already doing this, and have been doing it for a long time. It can be cheaper and more effective than tradition ("honest") marketing. Talk up your product or just amplify negativity about your competitor. With ad blocking, and the rise in popularity of user comments, this is only going to become more enticing.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: The elephant in the room
by Wondercool on Mon 21st Sep 2015 09:09 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: The elephant in the room"
Wondercool Member since:
2005-07-08

Yes, I think that will happen with a lot of sites I have to admit. The process has already started. But I think you can't do this for a long time as visitors will see through this and move to other sites.

Some sites already operate 'skeleton' operations. Minimum effort, for maximum revenue. An example are these BGR 'articles' (picked from the homepage):

"8 tiny-but-terrific iOS 9 features you may have missed"
"15 hidden features in iOS 9"
"6 free tools that stop Windows 10 from spying on everything you do"

Just clickbait,

These sites will vanish when ads can be effectively stopped and nothing was lost. I still think something user driven will grow out of the ashes.

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: The elephant in the room
by CowMan on Tue 22nd Sep 2015 09:43 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: The elephant in the room"
CowMan Member since:
2006-09-26

The cost of web services has also dropped handsomely in that time, with a greater proportion of sites partially or completely deriving value from user uploaded media, discussions, etc.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: The elephant in the room
by bassbeast on Tue 22nd Sep 2015 08:19 UTC in reply to "RE: The elephant in the room"
bassbeast Member since:
2007-11-11

The problem with that argument is they refuse to take responsibility for the very real damage they are causing through selling ads from third parties that often sell to anybody, including malware pushers.

I had this argument with Jim Sterling of The Escapist when they had him going "boo hoo, blocking ads are stealing, boo hoo" and I simply placed links showing how many times The Escapist had shown malware infected ads. I asked "so is your company gonna pay for the very real damages you've caused by infecting users PCs? Are you gonna pay for the cleaning, the time they waste getting CC changed, any losses from stolen IDs?" and you'd be amazed how quickly they started throwing the ban hammer.

They keep comparing themselves to B&M newspapers and shops? Fine and dandy but when stores get hit with malware they have to pay sometimes to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. You can't have your cake and eat it too ad pushers, you want people to view your ads then you have to be responsible if they cause damages and pay for the losses. Don't like that? Then you have NO RIGHT to complain when people protect themselves by blocking your malware.

Nobody has a "right" to profit and I can tell you from years of working PC shop that if you block all ads? the infection rate drops so low one really doesn't even need an AV, the #1 source of malware is ads by such a large margin nothing even comes close.

Reply Score: 4

RE: The elephant in the room
by leos on Sat 19th Sep 2015 15:41 UTC in reply to "The elephant in the room"
leos Member since:
2005-09-21

Why should I look at Ads if I will never be persuaded by one to buy anything. Let those who rely on Ads for their decisions view them.


That's the funny thing, no one thinks they are influenced by ads, and yet all the research shows that you are.

Face it, ads influence your decision making whether you are aware of it or not. Next time you are faced with a decision to buy something, you will be subconsciously drawn to the ones you've seen before in advertising.

Advertisers aren't idiots, they know exactly the value of showing you those ads.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: The elephant in the room
by WereCatf on Sat 19th Sep 2015 16:00 UTC in reply to "RE: The elephant in the room"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Face it, ads influence your decision making whether you are aware of it or not. Next time you are faced with a decision to buy something, you will be subconsciously drawn to the ones you've seen before in advertising.


Ads do influence me to some extent, but not as much as you seem to imply or as much as advertisers would like them to influence me. If I know I am in need of something and I see an ad advertising that thing for a good price, then sure, they have managed to influence my decisions. On the other hand, ads don't do anything for me if I don't need what they're advertising; I always research and think of my own needs before buying anything even remotely expensive and I have zero brand-loyalty. I also don't follow trends, I don't give a flying fuck about celebrities or their "endorsements" nor do I care in the slightest about what people around me use or wear.

All that said, I know I am an outlier. I'm a loner and I often completely miss even obvious social cues. Ads do work wonders on normal people, but they just don't work nearly as well on me.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: The elephant in the room
by Wootery on Sat 19th Sep 2015 18:23 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: The elephant in the room"
Wootery Member since:
2013-11-22

You're simply ignoring the point.

Everyone thinks that they're less susceptible to ads than most people.

I too feel the inclination to say that, but I have no real reason to think I'm any less deluded than everyone else, and neither do you.

Anyway, surely people unaffected by ads should care about them less, not more.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: The elephant in the room
by Fergy on Sat 19th Sep 2015 18:33 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: The elephant in the room"
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

You're simply ignoring the point.

How?

Everyone thinks that they're less susceptible to ads than most people.

And 50% of people is right.

I too feel the inclination to say that, but I have no real reason to think I'm any less deluded than everyone else, and neither do you.

Any proof or good arguments for that?

Anyway, surely people unaffected by ads should care about them less, not more.

"You're simply ignoring the point."

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: The elephant in the room
by Wootery on Mon 21st Sep 2015 22:24 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: The elephant in the room"
Wootery Member since:
2013-11-22

And 50% of people is right.

Don't be obtuse.

"I too feel the inclination to say that, but I have no real reason to think I'm any less deluded than everyone else, and neither do you.

Any proof or good arguments for that?
"
What?

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: The elephant in the room
by WereCatf on Sat 19th Sep 2015 18:54 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: The elephant in the room"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

You're simply ignoring the point.

Everyone thinks that they're less susceptible to ads than most people.

I too feel the inclination to say that, but I have no real reason to think I'm any less deluded than everyone else, and neither do you.


I already listed several reasons. Your average person *does* care about celebrities and brands and doesn't do much if any research on products they buy, and many of them are susceptible to impulse-buying stuff, and they often have the need to "belong" among the people they surround themselves with, thereby being also influenced by peer-pressure. None of that applies to me.

Anyway, surely people unaffected by ads should care about them less, not more.


That's a logical fallacy. Ads can a terrible visual distraction, even if their content don't affect your impulses on what to spend money on.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: The elephant in the room
by Wootery on Mon 21st Sep 2015 22:32 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: The elephant in the room"
Wootery Member since:
2013-11-22

I already listed several reasons. Your average person *does* care about celebrities and brands

Fair point.

and doesn't do much if any research on products they buy


My problem with this is that it's possible that everyone feels the same way. Most drivers thinks they're an above-average driver. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illusory_superiority

many of them are susceptible to impulse-buying stuff, and they often have the need to "belong" among the people they surround themselves with, thereby being also influenced by peer-pressure. None of that applies to me.


Same again. You may very well be right on all points, but my point is that it seems likely that you could ask just about anyone and they'll say they feel the same way.

Ads can a terrible visual distraction, even if their content don't affect your impulses on what to spend money on.


Fair point.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: The elephant in the room
by tidux on Sun 20th Sep 2015 03:28 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: The elephant in the room"
tidux Member since:
2011-08-13

You're simply ignoring the point.

Everyone thinks that they're less susceptible to ads than most people.


I'm less susceptible than most because I see fewer ads than most. I don't watch TV outside of live sports, I ad block on every computing platform I use, and I don't listen to commercial radio. That is what the advertisers are afraid of, people simply not seeing their ads anymore.

Reply Score: 5

RE[5]: The elephant in the room
by kwan_e on Sun 20th Sep 2015 08:47 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: The elephant in the room"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

"You're simply ignoring the point.

Everyone thinks that they're less susceptible to ads than most people.


I'm less susceptible than most because I see fewer ads than most.
"

Susceptibility isn't about how many ads you see. If you see just one ad in a year, and it causes you to go buy that thing you don't need, then you are susceptible.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: The elephant in the room
by avgalen on Sun 20th Sep 2015 16:16 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: The elephant in the room"
avgalen Member since:
2010-09-23

I thought the same, until I found myself standing in a Japanese store looking for diapers...and just bought Pampers because it was the only brand I knew. Cost 2 Euro extra, but saved me from overthinking.

I was also looking for a case for the Lumia 1520 that I picked up for next to nothing on an auction here...couldn't find anything but there were hundreds of options for iPhones, a few Samsungs and Aquos. If all you see are those, you would never think of buying that Nokia.
(I payed 111 Euro for the 16 GB version. That is the all-in price without a contract and including shipping and taxes!)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: The elephant in the room
by shotsman on Sat 19th Sep 2015 16:20 UTC in reply to "RE: The elephant in the room"
shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

Yes I'm influenced by Ads.
Influenced to NEVER EVER buy that product.

As a GUM (Grumpy Old Man) I am most certainly not a target audience for Ads. Add to that I have worked for a company that makes its money by selling adverts.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: The elephant in the room
by Lennie on Sun 20th Sep 2015 19:32 UTC in reply to "RE: The elephant in the room"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

But the pay the content publishers get from ads has been going down and down. I think part of the reason is: there are to many ads.

Also: when there are to many ads, more people use ad blockers.

Reply Score: 5

RE: The elephant in the room
by Luminair on Sat 19th Sep 2015 15:53 UTC in reply to "The elephant in the room"
Luminair Member since:
2007-03-30

> The problem is not Ad-blocking.

Good point. These companies want to have their cake and eat it too while fucking you up the ass. I will stop using ad blockers when ads start being jpegs. I will not tolerate the exploitation of my own system to deliver neon fucking flashing lights to me. I will block it or I will use one of the other million sources for information that is not an obnoxious pile of garbage.

I think these companies should be getting paid directly by people in micro-transactions. That's fairly paying for work. But nobody will pay for a sleazy site that advertises unwanted crap. To get to the future where people pay for content, the content must be valuable.

Reply Score: 3

My position on ads is simple
by BeamishBoy on Sat 19th Sep 2015 15:40 UTC
BeamishBoy
Member since:
2010-10-27

I can't trust where ads come from due to ad-brokerage networks. And since I can't trust them to a degree acceptable to me, I choose to block all adverts.

I've only ever experienced two instances of malware in my twenty years or so of running Windows. Guess where they came from? Yes, that's right: third-party adverts running on websites that I visit every day.

It sucks that I have to block ads and deny these sites revenue, but I value my security and my time more than anybody else's business. Until that changes, I'll continue blocking every ad I can.

(The plague of "sponsored content" is of course an even more insidious one but that's a whole different post.)

Reply Score: 12

RE: My position on ads is simple
by dgoemans on Sat 19th Sep 2015 15:48 UTC in reply to "My position on ads is simple"
dgoemans Member since:
2008-08-23

Disable flash. This is what i did a few weeks back. Html5 ads cannot contain malware, since by design, Html/Javascript can't access anything on your pc/phone.

Edited 2015-09-19 15:55 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: My position on ads is simple
by Beta on Sat 19th Sep 2015 15:58 UTC in reply to "RE: My position on ads is simple"
Beta Member since:
2005-07-06

Disable flash. Html5 ads cannot contain malware, since by design, Html/Javascript can't access anything on your pc/phone.

Except when then can: exploiting browser security issues. tracking cookies. crashing your device from webgl exploits. poking holes through https→http. Writing large content to localStorage. etc.

The only way an advert avoids being malware is not needing to run code on your device.

Reply Score: 8

dgoemans Member since:
2008-08-23

sure, but then you should stay off the internet completely. Most browser vendors - and if you value your security, you're not using IE - are constantly patching browser issues. Most of these issues might allow you to be tracked, or crash your browser, but almost all of them can't install malware. That's different.

Reply Score: 1

WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

sure, but then you should stay off the internet completely.


What a stupid exaggeration. There is nothing wrong with wishing to reduce the footprint attackers may use against you, and ad networks are a very, very attractive target for attackers because then you can reach a much larger audience than you could if you attacked a single, specific website -- ergo, reducing or disabling access from ad networks is a perfectly valid security-measure.

Reply Score: 5

Beta Member since:
2005-07-06

sure, but then you should stay off the internet completely. Most browser vendors - and if you value your security, you're not using IE - are constantly patching browser issues. Most of these issues might allow you to be tracked, or crash your browser, but almost all of them can't install malware. That's different.


I rather like using the Web (nee Internet) though, and due to understanding most of the Web stack, yes, I will run NoScript and block most third party scripts. Why?

A few examples recently off the top of my head:
* A user on Steam wrote a XSS malware on their Steam profile, whenever you visited a profile infected with the script it would replicate (and it would leave a cute message on the originators profile). See a reply to my tweet for a screengrab https://twitter.com/johndrinkwater/status/574261118039891968
* Twitch had to ask all their users to reset passwords because an advert was found to contain cred sniffing http://www.cnet.com/uk/news/amazons-twitch-hacked-some-user-account...
* Visiting http://a/%%30%30 in latest Chrome crashes it. This doesn’t need to be a user-action, but can be triggered by an iframe or HTTP Location https://twitter.com/bl4sty/status/645320346934099968
* Firefox for Android accidentally let scripts read from the SD card… http://securityaffairs.co/wordpress/18270/hacking/android-firefox-b...
Do I need to continue?

You see, even using the latest up-to-date browser, you will be exposed to exploits that steal login details, your wallet, or crash your browser. The more access you allow to your system, the increase in likelihood of this happening. And no, I don’t trust advertising companies to just serve pretty adverts. They haven’t so far.

Apologies if this seems all RMS to you, but this even isn’t going that far into what ifs.

Reply Score: 6

WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Html/Javascript can't access anything on your pc/phone.


Have you ever Googled for, say, "Javascript vulnerabilities?"

Reply Score: 5

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Disable flash. This is what i did a few weeks back. Html5 ads cannot contain malware, since by design, Html/Javascript can't access anything on your pc/phone.

Nice in theory, but we all know about browser exploits. Disabling Flash is simply not enough.

Reply Score: 3

bassbeast Member since:
2007-11-11
How to get around ad blockers
by cannikin on Sat 19th Sep 2015 15:43 UTC
cannikin
Member since:
2015-09-19

I'm surprised this hasn't happened already, but it seems like the ad networks could do two things to get around all ad blockers right now:

1) Have sites create CNAME records to the ad network image serving delivery networks. Now the ads are coming from cdn.theverge.com instead of adwords.doubleclick.net. So the ads themselves can't be blocked without blocking all other assets on The Verge. Ad networks can (and probably will) be able to upcharge for this.

2) Create server-side proxies for the tracking scripts. Rather than serving ga.js from Google's servers you serve a similar script from your own server. Rather than sending the analytics back to Google directly via the JS you send them to your own servers. The data that comes in then gets sent to GA via API calls. Tracking services, or third parties that make this software, will DEFINITELY upcharge for it, making them even more money. (Someone building this software right now and letting the big publishers know about it while they're most frightened is probably going to make a TON of money.)

So it seems like the web we all know and hate could be back in six months or less if the ad networks and tracking services took these steps. And there'll be no blocking them this time.

As a web developer this solutions seems pretty obvious to me...am I missing something? How come I'm not hearing this theory more often?

Reply Score: 3

RE: How to get around ad blockers
by dpJudas on Sat 19th Sep 2015 16:35 UTC in reply to "How to get around ad blockers"
dpJudas Member since:
2009-12-10

As a web developer this solutions seems pretty obvious to me...am I missing something? How come I'm not hearing this theory more often?

Because it is almost as trivially blocked as blocking domains.

Virtually all web service calls go through XMLHttpRequest. The game just changes to blocking those requests instead. As you point out yourself, most websites would use a 3rd party vendor to create these APIs and that means for each such vendor you need one detection string. Just like with todays CDN domain blocking.

Reply Score: 4

cannikin Member since:
2015-09-19

Nope, I'm suggesting that everyone make XMLHttpRequests back to their own domain. The server side (outside the realm of ad blocking) just forwards that tracking data back to Google, et. al. Unless ad blockers start blocking all AJAX requests, whether to a third party or local, but then you'll get some severe performance degradation on most modern sites.

Reply Score: 2

Wondercool Member since:
2005-07-08

I was wondering the same but I think probably ad companies are afraid of giving up control where the ads are hosted.

And of course you can still blocks those Ajax request, the problem is that all elements from a HTTP request follow a pattern and all adblockers do is remove the pattern. this can still be done even if the content comes from the same server

Reply Score: 3

dpJudas Member since:
2009-12-10

Nope, I'm suggesting that everyone make XMLHttpRequests back to their own domain. The server side (outside the realm of ad blocking) just forwards that tracking data back to Google, et. al. Unless ad blockers start blocking all AJAX requests, whether to a third party or local, but then you'll get some severe performance degradation on most modern sites.

Yes, I got that. But since they are using a few limited 3rd party libraries that the requests are forwarded to they get very easy to identify. The adblocker then just hooks itself into XMLHttpRequest layer and discards any AJAX requests that matches a few regular expressions.

Reply Score: 2

RE: How to get around ad blockers
by Lennie on Sun 20th Sep 2015 19:39 UTC in reply to "How to get around ad blockers"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

1. seems like a lot of work and a potential security problem for your own site. But it might work.

2. doesn't work.

The ad-networks are afraid you'll just sent them more requests than the visitors you get on your site.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by Luminair
by Luminair on Sat 19th Sep 2015 15:48 UTC
Luminair
Member since:
2007-03-30

> better ads are not a way to combat ad-blocking

THOM: If there were better ads that didn't fuck up my browsing experience, I wouldn't have gone out of my to find an ad blocker. Every time I install a new browser I just browse the web like normal. Then I get frustrated and need to install an ad blocker. AGAIN.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Luminair
by Thom_Holwerda on Sat 19th Sep 2015 15:52 UTC in reply to "Comment by Luminair"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

> better ads are not a way to combat ad-blocking

THOM: If there were better ads that didn't f--k up my browsing experience, I wouldn't have gone out of my to find an ad blocker. Every time I install a new browser I just browse the web like normal. Then I get frustrated and need to install an ad blocker. AGAIN.


OSNews has moderate ads. We do our part.

Yet you still install ad blockers.

Because far too many others don't do their part.

My point, made.

Edited 2015-09-19 15:53 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Comment by Luminair
by Luminair on Sat 19th Sep 2015 16:03 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Luminair"
Luminair Member since:
2007-03-30

For one individual website it may not work. You got me there. But for the industry as a whole it could. I GOT YOU THERE THOM

Reply Score: 1

It's Not the Ads, It's theTracking!
by curio on Sun 20th Sep 2015 04:50 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Luminair"
curio Member since:
2010-05-03

"OSNews has moderate ads. We do our part.

Yet you still install ad blockers."

News-flash Thom! I haven't used an ad blocker on this site in a very long time. I still haven't seen a single ad.
Guess why?
That's right! Because OsNews doesn't serve a single ad that doesn't require that readers, fool enough to disable their tracking blockers, allow their privacy to be raped as well, as they're reading/seeing those ads.

You can lose the whole "us poor-ole little guy sites will be hurt" mantra as well.
The very moment you decided to hitch your wagon to all those filthy keyhole peeping, perverted trackers/stalkers for your entire income, you became an extension/franchisee of Google and the rest of those privacy invading tracker scum. You're now part of the beast.

You and Gruber can share a nice tall glass of hypocrisy among yourselves then.

Here's a hint/test for you reformed hypocrite wanna-bees going forth.

Duck Duck Go is gaining market share every day. They're not complaining about ad blockers. Why?
Well their claim to fame/come-on is

"WE DON"T TRACK YOU!", and I don't block their ads.

Find an ethical way to serve ads without raping your reader's privacy and we just might see a few of those ads.
That'll be OsNews doing your part!

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Luminair
by bassbeast on Tue 22nd Sep 2015 08:31 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Luminair"
bassbeast Member since:
2007-11-11

Do you follow ABP best practices, thus getting this website listed on its whitelist? If not sorry, it doesn't matter how "moderate" that YOU think those ads are, they are still a risk.

If you read the ABP requirements? It is practically a "how to" on showing ads while being malware free, and I'm sorry but my PC and data are too valuable to just take anybody's word for it that their ads are safe, I want some proof they are following best practices and the ABP whitelist provides that.

Reply Score: 3

Thank you
by dgoemans on Sat 19th Sep 2015 16:06 UTC
dgoemans
Member since:
2008-08-23

for a very well written article. There will be a third way content providers will tackle this issue, and this is blocking content and shaming those with ad-blockers. This is already common practice in the web games industry and i've noted a few news sites start to do this. The popular dutch tech site, tweakers.net shames ad block users.

also... Subscribed.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Thank you
by Em_te on Sun 20th Sep 2015 08:38 UTC in reply to "Thank you"
Em_te Member since:
2014-07-23

for a very well written article. There will be a third way content providers will tackle this issue, and this is blocking content and shaming those with ad-blockers. This is already common practice in the web games industry and i've noted a few news sites start to do this. The popular dutch tech site, tweakers.net shames ad block users.

also... Subscribed.


Yeah I saw that once because a script couldn't load on a webpage I was visiting so that webpage assumed that I had ad blocking on.

In actual fact, I was using my laptop at a friend's office and they block Google on their servers to discourage procrastination. Nothing else was blocked.

The webpage was trying to load JQuery through Google's CDNs.

Edited 2015-09-20 08:46 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Ad advocating ad blocker
by leos on Sat 19th Sep 2015 16:11 UTC
leos
Member since:
2005-09-21

I don't run ad blockers on my machines, but I do install it for my parents who have slower internet. I will also install it on their iPad.

What I want for myself is an active adblocker. Ads are enabled by default, but it allows the user to select offensive/intrusive/abusive ads and both block them and tell the website what you've done.

So for example, you visit a site, and it pops up a delayed ad that covers the full screen designed to get you to click it by accident. You select the ad and choose from a list of options, like "Block ads on this website for a day/week/month" and also how you would like to communicate to the website owners. Then a message get's sent to the website's contact info with the details of the ad that you blocked and a message like "I would like to support your website but with this ad <detail> you have forced me to block ads on your website for the next month. Please remove abusive ads on your website and the ad blocker will unblock your site".

Something to enable active feedback to websites when they abuse advertising, but still let normal ads through.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Ad advocating ad blocker
by darknexus on Sat 19th Sep 2015 16:29 UTC in reply to "Ad advocating ad blocker"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Something to enable active feedback to websites when they abuse advertising, but still let normal ads through.

I think you're on to something here. Of course, if it ever gets created, we'll have to have standards for communicating with the site and blocker. Certain companies, of course, will invent their own standard just to be contrary, requiring the implimentation of at least two standards for it and thus resulting in no one bothering.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Ad advocating ad blocker
by shotsman on Sat 19th Sep 2015 16:36 UTC in reply to "Ad advocating ad blocker"
shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

The other thing is the nested links to links to ads to tracking sites. One site I visited (just the once) linked to more than 40 other sites.
The average person has no idea what they do or why they are used.
I did some digging into some of them. There were 12 tracking sites. Really? Wouldn't just the one do the job

If sites were to come clean and have somewhere in their site that explained what sites the relied upon for revenue and that those links would just the 1 level deep, then I might be more interested in unblocking them.

Then there is another site that used to work perfectly well with googleapis blocked. Not you get a blank screen until you unblock it. Then only half works. You have to unblock some more google sites etc etc.
In general I don't use google directly for anything well because of their tracking.
The more sites that do this the less I will use them.

A sign of the times really. Stop the world I wanna get off.

Reply Score: 6

The number of ads is insane
by jonsmirl on Sat 19th Sep 2015 16:18 UTC
jonsmirl
Member since:
2005-07-06

My ad blocker reports blocking between 500,000 and a million ads a year. No one is going to look at a million ads. A million ads are not advertising, it is annoying clutter and that's why I block most of it.

The correct solution is to eliminate 99% of ads and then raise the price on what is left by 100x. Then someone might actually start looking at them.

My Feedly RSS feed is insane. I can load it and AdBlock will block 1,500 ads a day in it. Some days it hits 2,000.

Edited 2015-09-19 16:20 UTC

Reply Score: 6

It's about security
by darknexus on Sat 19th Sep 2015 16:21 UTC
darknexus
Member since:
2008-07-15

As long as ad vendors do not force the strictest security on their ads, I will block them. So long as they are an attack vector for malware, I will not unblock any of them even the supposedly "good" networks. Even Google ads have been compromised recently, because they permitted ads to be served by their network that were not hosted by them and could thus be modified after Google had done their security check.
No, ad blocking may not help our future. It may not help any publisher, or web page. But as long as it keeps me a lot more secure, I'm going to continue blocking, because by the time one of these nasty ads gets in, it's too late to completely control the damage.

Reply Score: 6

Comment by sb56637
by sb56637 on Sat 19th Sep 2015 20:08 UTC
sb56637
Member since:
2006-05-11

I also feel torn over this issue. I am one of the many small website owners that operate out of their "proverbial basement" as Thom says. I have some ad spaces, both Google Adsense and other spaces that I control for running my clients' ads. I would hate to lose my advertisers, which greatly help to defray the operating costs and time I have invested into my site.

But at the same time, I also run an ad blocker on all my personal devices. And ironically Google itself is the principle reason why I had to start using it. When Google Adsense first started, they only had discrete, relevant text ads that I actually found helpful and complementary in many cases. But then Google started allowing obnoxious flashing, blinking, moving Flash ads. While trying to enjoy a site, my laptop's fan was always screaming and the CPU was racing and the browser was stuttering to keep up with those dreadful Flash ads that Google started approving. That was the last straw for me, and I started running an ad blocker with a default set of rules from then on.

On my own sites, I do still run Adsense, but I do *NOT* allow image ads, despite Google's constant not-so-subtle suggestions that I enable them every time I log in to my account.

So in my opinion Google really shot itself in the foot when they started permitting those obnoxious ads, and they very well might have ruined it for everyone.

Edited 2015-09-19 20:09 UTC

Reply Score: 8

Good Content...Irony?
by Amarand on Sat 19th Sep 2015 20:30 UTC
Amarand
Member since:
2015-09-19

This is good content. I enjoyed the article, and felt it was very thorough. I've been using an ad blocker (Adblock Plus) for years, especially on my current browser of choice (Firefox). I'm regularly shocked when I use a browser that isn't ad blocked, although I'd gotten used to it on my iPhone using Safari. I love blocking ads, but I can see where that might be an issue for some sites. Is the site something I'd regularly visit? Are the ads useful to me specifically? Can I just scroll past an ad while I'm reading, or is it in-my-face? I hate pop-up ads, especially the full-screen ones. Those sites fill me with rage, and I tend to avoid them in the future. Note: not the ads, the sites. The whole darned site. Was that the intended purpose? I hope not....

Ironically, I found this article and site by scanning through Apple News. I like how it (the News app) aggregates news into one place, and allows me to share links directly from the app, favorite news pieces, and get news that I'm interested in. It's a little freaky how well it figures out what you like and dislike. I'm not 100% certain what "user-hostile platforms like Apple News" means. I'm curious, can you expand on this statement?

Within the Apple News reader, I have ads, of course. But to be able to read the news in this format makes it worth the "pain" of being advertised to. If I want to use Safari to go to a specific site, or if I want to read something ad-free, I can now just fire up my Safari browser on my phone. It's pretty awesome that I can now block ads on my phone, something I couldn't do last week. Something I've been doing on my PC and Mac for, what, eight or nine years now?

Anyway, glad I found this site, and looking forward to reading more articles here!

Reply Score: 2

RE: Good Content...Irony?
by darknexus on Sun 20th Sep 2015 00:58 UTC in reply to "Good Content...Irony?"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

awesome that I can now block ads on my phone, something I couldn't do last week. Something I've been doing on my PC and Mac for, what, eight or nine years now?

Cost of running iOS. We could and still do this on other mobile platforms for years.

Reply Score: 4

I for one hate ads...
by leech on Sun 20th Sep 2015 01:05 UTC
leech
Member since:
2006-01-10

Probably part of being easily distracted by things, I can't stand advertisements anymore, and will do anything to be able to not have to watch them. Whether it's buying TV Series on DVD/Bluray or trying to subscribe to streaming services that are ad-free. It's especially annoying to know that 'free apps' in the mobile market end up paying more to developers than if you just paid the small amount of money for the 'pro' version that is ad-free.

Funny thing is, if you pick up a magazine these days, especially any of the 'fashion' ones, you'll find the content between back and front is something like 80% advertisements and maybe 20% of actual content. It's insane. Imagine how many trees and the cost reduction of those 10+ dollar magazines would be if they just cut out all the advertisements. Same thing I suspect with the Internet, some of us pay huge amounts of money so we can have fast Internet access, yet comparatively, the old websites that weren't covered in flash animations and other extraneous crap, loaded just as fast on my 56k modem as 'modern' websites do on my 40mbps connection. I still remember when I first got high speed, and the damn pop ups were out of control, The advantage then of 56k modem was to be able to close them before they fully opened up all over your screen. With DSL, they would pop up like crazy and your screen would be covered in the blink of an eye. I bet you advertisers would LOVE for it to return to those days, when you couldn't block pop ups or ads. But then the Music industry would love for us to return to pre-MP3 days.

Reply Score: 5

RE: I for one hate ads...
by woegjiub on Sun 20th Sep 2015 01:35 UTC in reply to "I for one hate ads..."
woegjiub Member since:
2008-11-25

At least for fashion magazines, the ads effectively *are* the content.

If you buy Vogue, the ads are most of what you're intending to look at, which is why the advertisers spend so much effort in designing beautiful and appealing ads.

If you can't appreciate those, you're not the target demographic.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: I for one hate ads...
by leech on Sun 20th Sep 2015 02:31 UTC in reply to "RE: I for one hate ads..."
leech Member since:
2006-01-10

Well, appreciating an 'ad' is kind of nuts, granted there are some funny ones out there, and occasionally I'll indulge in watching some that were banned, then again you can compare the fashion magazines to any other out there, where they are mostly ads.

Reply Score: 2

Google
by Windows Sucks on Sun 20th Sep 2015 01:40 UTC
Windows Sucks
Member since:
2005-11-10

The thing I don't get is that most ads come from Google so why can't they do a better job of delivering them?

The other thing is that could be done is companies could let people pay for a ad free view of their site. Not a pay wall but maybe a ad version and a non ad version like a lot of apps are made.

?

Reply Score: 3

RE: Google
by Lennie on Sun 20th Sep 2015 19:51 UTC in reply to "Google"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

My guess would be because ad revenue has been dropping.

Do you know who did that ? Facebook.

Facebook is Google's biggest competitor in advertising.

And Facebook has more personal information about the person they are serving the ad too and they have no problem using all the information they can find.

That is the reason Google+ tried to adopt a 'real name policy' after Facebook did it.

Why did you think Facebook did so good with their IPO ?

Edited 2015-09-20 19:51 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Comment by Gregory Isaacs
by Gregory Isaacs on Sun 20th Sep 2015 02:25 UTC
Gregory Isaacs
Member since:
2006-06-30

I believe that it's the basic right of every individual to live ad free. The law should take care of that.

Reply Score: 2

ads cost me
by lpotter on Sun 20th Sep 2015 04:22 UTC
lpotter
Member since:
2005-12-01

Let's look at it from the consumers side:

The receiving of ads costs me money. (bandwidth and use cap)

The receiving of ads slows down page downloads.

Most ads are irrelevant, i.e. I will never buy a Microsoft Surface.

Most ads are annoying. Flashing, moving blinking, getting in front of my eyes.


Why wouldn't I block ads?

Reply Score: 3

RE: ads cost me
by bassbeast on Tue 22nd Sep 2015 08:39 UTC in reply to "ads cost me"
bassbeast Member since:
2007-11-11

You forgot "allow companies to spy on you" which you should really download Privacy Badger from the EFF and see how much tracking is going on (And just FYI but PB reports that this website is running two trackers, not very nice)

And "put your PC at significant risk for ID theft and malware" which I can tell you that if you block all ads that do not follow best practices? Your risk of infection drops to practically zip, in fact last figures I saw had malware ads causing 9 out of every 10 PC infections.

So yeah, not really any good reasons from a user standpoint not to block ads (although I do allow the ABP acceptable ads whitelist) and a heck of a lot of reasons to block them.

Reply Score: 3

Ad overload
by cmost on Sun 20th Sep 2015 15:17 UTC
cmost
Member since:
2006-07-16

I've been using ad-blockers on my computers since the dawn of the pop-up ad over a decade ago. Frankly, the web is so saturated with ads that I don't even really "see" them any more; my brain doesn't even register their content. On my phone, I simply close them without even thinking about it. I don't think I'm alone in this regard. I have to wonder how many people actually click on ads. Ad-blocking is a personal choice and on Firefox I find that Ad-block Plus is a must-have extension and it does a fantastic job. what I find comical is that now that Apple has introduced ad-blocking, they act as if they invented it.

Reply Score: 3

The cattle drive to Apple Ads
by nikv on Mon 21st Sep 2015 00:55 UTC
nikv
Member since:
2015-04-08

Apple is promoting ad blocking software here but Apple also benefits from Ads in its own apps. Either more sites will become apple apps or Apple Ads will be the only 'exception' to the Ad blocker.

Seems to be a clever though quite dirty feeling way to push everybody into the Apple Ad agency.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by nitrile
by nitrile on Mon 21st Sep 2015 01:55 UTC
nitrile
Member since:
2010-05-06

I'm sure some of us have a history of illicit ad blocking we'd be uncomfortable to admit. Ever since that first time, just turning off 'automatically run animated gifs' it's the drug we just can't quit. That was the gateway. Then it was pop up blockers, and banners. When google themselves supplied text ads, there was a quaint but short period where it seemed like the habit was about to be kicked. There'd be no reason to take unsafe or atrocious ads anymore.

How wrong we all were.

The ad pushers declared war, on themselves but also, incidentally on us. With a neverending stream of designer ads, delivered spiked with javascript and then, full-blown flash. Depleting batteries, crashing browsers. There was always a bigger hit. Making otherwise functional devices unusuable. Delivering more ad payload than content by orders of magnitude because it's been cut too many times, often bringing malware that they charge us the bandwidth for

Then, the trackers. Twenty a site. It was out of control. EFF tried to to help it go legit, to agree a DNT programme. But, as we all know - they thought they had all the power and were Just. Too. Greedy.

Alright. Storytime aside.

It may have been incidental, but it seems users are not entirely a neutral and passive party after all, and in the ad-pushers' efforts to outdo (by their metric) each other, they even managed to cross notice of the technically non-illiterate's line - even someone who knows nothing about computers understands when they look at a website with mountains of moving garbage and their tablet gets *hot* it's almost certainly related. And the data use.

They poisoned their own well, and I don't feel bad for them in the slightest. I hope all their businesses die. They tried to annex control of all our systems at our expense, track us across the web, and claim they had a right to.

I find apple's stance somewhat morally dubious. Quite asides from anything else, google was heir apparent to the saviour itself at one point. But at least apple have an 'experience' to protect. Their own. But finally as the ad sites panic - it's pulled back the veil with the very protestations of innocence by the offenders themselves. By enough? probably not.

For myself I'm genuinely conflicted. If it were like magazine ads - these used to work, remember - I'd not block. *didn't* block. Right now if I turned on javascript it would probably, via firefox set my 2014 quad core on fire, so I'm definitely not going to do that. It's not all ads. It's not all trackers, and not one tracker a page but sometimes more than 20. Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot.

It's the page reloading when you're reading it, the flash apps, the crap /everywhere/, more and more in your face. A line of copy pasted, insecure, buggy and inefficent JS at a time, they've been subsuming the internet.

And adblock makes it all go away. Oh that's such a guilty pleasure. Except it isn't, really for all the above reasons. I've whitelisted certain sites, but I don't actually want flash (or javascript; noscript nukes it all) from them either. I'd rather whitelist certain types but, it's just so.. easy. I used to, on occasion click ads that were relevant - from sites I visited and not even (entirely) spuriously, but that relied on my seeing them. Well I don't now; as things escalated beyond irritation and to actual security threats. And Adblock's motivations in the 'non-intrusive advertising' case are as dubious as Apple's. More seriously, that feature doesn't do what I want either. And definitely not the site admins'.

But I won't turn it off. Can there be a reset at this point? Driving smaller site operators into an apple or google barn to be farmed doesn't help us in the long term. I don't suppose asking for VC money to build an ad business that's ethical would get a first read. Maybe that's how someone like EFF should tackle this.

And yet, it doesn't, actually have to be a tripartite abusive relationship. It just is.

Edited 2015-09-21 02:06 UTC

Reply Score: 5

Irony
by kittynipples on Mon 21st Sep 2015 03:43 UTC
kittynipples
Member since:
2006-08-02

While I appreciate the economic realities of providing content on the web that consumers aren't being asked to pay for directly, there is a sort of irony in this whole episode. These web personalities are the same voices who were lecturing the traditional media companies about how they needed to change their business models to fit the realities of the Web; but now that theirs is being threatened, they cry foul.

Reply Score: 5

Comment by Bobthearch
by Bobthearch on Mon 21st Sep 2015 10:30 UTC
Bobthearch
Member since:
2006-01-27

If there was a particular product that Thom presonally recommends, I'd be happy to take a glance at a jpeg in the lower corner. Or if the site used a "page sponsored by" approach with a promotional link at the bottom, I wouldn't be opposed.
But what I won't tolerate are flash ads, javascript ads, ad servers and ad networks, video ads, ads with sound, tracking ads, ads that cover content, popup ads, ads for diet scams/sex items/gambling/other dumb shit, and ads that noticeably slow down browsing.

I'm fairly satisfied with the performance of AdBlock Plus combined with Ghostery, and would consider an Apple device when these two become iOS apps.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Mon 21st Sep 2015 19:14 UTC
ilovebeer
Member since:
2011-08-08

I want to look at ads about as much as I want someone coming to my front door trying to sell me some cleaning product, or deal on <random form of house work here>, or Jesus. I don't give a shit how "relevant" the ads are for me so I'm not going to lie and say I wouldn't mind if the ads were aligned with what I like. I use ad-blockers and will continue doing so until they're no longer intrusive, annoying, invading, and unsolicited. And I don't feel bad one single bit saying that.

If a website wants funding so it can exist, there are other models to use. If your website is worth existing, people will support it. I know of ad-less websites that only exist because of donations.

It may sound harsh but I don't have a lot of pity for the `little guy` websites when it comes to the internet. Why? Because there's a vast ocean of them. I don't have enough pity to go around for the million+ people who want to run a website the world can probably do without anyways.

Reply Score: 2

Death to badvertising
by ClockworkZombie on Tue 22nd Sep 2015 05:25 UTC
ClockworkZombie
Member since:
2012-12-12

I recently switched on a few script and ad blockers. I was searching for a way to fit a battery to my electric toothbrush as it is soldered in.

While reading my solution I started getting junk mail wanting me to become an oral b product tester. I deleted all cookies reset the browser and deleted all the caches I could find.

This has helped a lot sites that I want to support I allow adverts but still stop trackers and analytics. The verge in particular now loads in an acceptable time with images. On bad days images did not load at home or work.

The deck has a new privacy policy, gee wonder why that happened.
Want to guess how many dollars Gruber has lost this week? this copy paste is from his site.


THE DECK’S PRIVACY POLICY
The Deck’s new privacy policy is clear:

As a network we have never issued cookies or tracked readers in any way. The only data we collect is gross impressions: the total number of times an ad has been served during a month. We have never known, or have had any way to know, who was served what ad. Basically, aside from our surveys, all we know is what we can learn from our server logs.

We have never allowed third-party ad serving via iFrames or Javascript. In years past however, we did allow for simple “standard” third-party ad serving. We discontinued that policy in 2014. As that technology became increasingly sophisticated, we felt we could not adequately police those situations. Nor do we have any desire to do so.

On rare occasions, we have allowed specific advertisers to use a simple 1×1 tracking pixel for limited periods of time. Given the current environment, we’re not going to be doing that any more. We have never allowed the injection of scripts, page takeovers, interstitial splash pages or any of the other tomfoolery that so frustrates readers.

and his comment about this policy.

It sounds odd to say that a privacy policy makes for a good read, but this one does. I highly encourage you to read it. This is why I’m proud to serve ads from The Deck here on Daring Fireball.

Reply Score: 1

Who decides
by CowMan on Tue 22nd Sep 2015 11:28 UTC
CowMan
Member since:
2006-09-26

The problem with ads is that they went too far, they went too far when banner ads went from a sort of static standard size header or footer to a pile of deceptive, animated distractions. That we can blame on marketers, but also the 'greed' of those early website owners chasing the promised long-tail of ad revenues with more and more ad volumes.

My local news site self-hosts ads, which are relevant without tracking as the people who go there are already a self-selected targetable population. The first Google text ads and the early youtube ads, off to the side, they were okay too.. well, without the tracking. I didn't bother ad-blocking these, though I was well aware of how to do it.

Even as ads started getting intrusive, rather than broad blocking collective lists and heuristic models, targetted blocking could be handled domain by domain, or ad by ad, assuming it was worth the effort in the first place.

Now youtube is unusable without filtering. A large portion of the web is. Care of things like ad fly, even the basis of the world wide web - links and url's - are breaking.

I don't buy the marketing line of lost content. Maybe it's just as well. I started filtering heavily via proxies and internal servers when I found myself on a satellite connection for some time. 30-35% of non-video content was ads, and with upto 200 dns queries per page to external ad networks, they had a significant impact on page responsiveness and load times (particularly over the high latency connection). Ads are overwhelming the content for those on slow connections, either by circumstance or lack of affordability; yet the cost to create and share content has plummeted.

Reminds me of copyright. The 'content industry' seeks greater protection, longer terms, but they seem to feel they have an inalienable right to their creations; the reality is the opposite. The point of copyright is society, who can trivially copy your work, grants you a temporary exclusive license, so you can be compensated yes but primarily to encourage additional works for the greater good. Patents work the same way, hence the disclosure. This is fundamental - it's not a right, it's a social license, one at odds with man's desire to remember and share. Society accepts it's own short term loss of utility for the greater good of all involved.

Online advertisers want the same thing. They want us to believe that ads enable the content, that there should be a form of inalienable 'advertright' - however, in connecting to a server to access resources, I have neither the obligation to access everything as a complete unified package, nor to follow pointers to third party resources, nor to run arbitrary code - it's my terminal, thus it remains relatively trivial and justifiable for me to select what content I download, what format to view it in, and to drop ads if i see fit. To get around this, advertisers require society to agree this is inappropriate and achieve a social license for guaranteed ad delivery online.

Well, society has agreed. The opposite.. that it's okay to block ads, and that blame lies squarely on website owners and marketers. Not the users. Certainly i've never seen a user post asking for articles to be unedited press releases split into 15 ad-laden pages with a nice clickbaity title and unrelated images. For online media to both tolerate such anti-user pro-marketer behaviour on one hand, and then try to appeal to the user to allow it is rich indeed.

Sorry Thom, but ad blocking is a modern necessity until a better balance can be struck or a different system or set of expectations is developed. I note osnews carries a notice to bulk emailers - I see this as broadly similar, it's easier to ignore static text emails than most web ads, but who is opposed to laws against spam? Who doesn't filter the ads, cons, viral attachments? It's much the same problem from a user perspective.

Reply Score: 2