Linked by David Adams on Fri 19th Mar 2010 21:07 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes Online advertising has been a hot topic for the past week or so, with Ars Technica trying out an interesting, somewhat desperate experiment wherein they blocked access to their content for people using Adblock. Of course, if this were to become some kind of movement among publishers, it would probably just spark a technological cat-and-mouse game that would surely be reminiscent of DRM cracking or iPhone jailbreaking. But in their post-mortem, Ars states that it was a worthwhile awareness campaign, and I hope that's true. But I thought it would be a good idea to try to bring the collective OSNews brainpower together and crowdsource the idea of how to raise money for a web site in an age where advertising is increasingly un-viable.
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Random replies
by Thom_Holwerda on Sat 20th Mar 2010 10:21 UTC
Thom_Holwerda
Member since:
2005-06-29

Some random replies.

I) Paywall, pay-for content, whatever:

I don't like that at all. I write this nonsense because I want everyone to be able to read it - not to jiggle a few coins out of your wallet. On top of that, I'm simply not a good enough writer or a knowledgeable enough person to have people pay for what I write. I'm no Jon Stokes, I'm no Siracusa.

II) Delayed publication for non-subscribers (LWN method)

No. Again, I don't like this. For the same reasons as listed above, but also because we are a news blog/site, and news is only interesting the moment it happens - not a week later, when the paywall is lifted.

III) Internet should be free, fcuk off with your ads, I don't care about websites, internet used to be free

It's fine if you feel that way, but it does have its consequences. We're volunteers, and we're doing our best, but there's a limit as to what we can achieve. Using ad blockers indiscriminantly is your prerogative, but it can and will affect the sites you visit. If you don't care about that, then fine - but then don't come a'knockin' on site owners' doors with demands or feature requests either.

IV) ads served via JS are dangerous, they're going to eat my computer, etc.

This, for the most part, is a lame excuse. When you click on a Google link, you have no idea where that link will take you, or what JS it might execute. When you click on a link in an OSN story - same thing. People have no problems with that.

However, when it comes to ads, it's suddenly a problem? So, what, you trust random Google links, you trust the sites that we link to in stories - but no the ads? This one always felt like an excuse of convenience to me.

Again - you have every right to do it - but at the same time, I have the right to call a bullshit reason when I see one.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Random replies
by Kroc on Sat 20th Mar 2010 10:36 in reply to "Random replies"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

However, when it comes to ads, it's suddenly a problem?


Because ad agencies join the dots. And let's not get into Flash cookies.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Random replies
by Thom_Holwerda on Sat 20th Mar 2010 10:47 in reply to "RE: Random replies"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Because ad agencies join the dots.


What do you mean? I don't get this saying. All I know is that it's apparantly okay to trust random Google links and the random stuff we (and any other site) links to - but not ad agencies, which are, in fact, chosen by us too - just like the sites we link to. It's inconsistent.

And let's not get into Flash cookies.


Flash has nothing to do with ads. I block Flash too because Flash in and of itself is an inherent danger and a CPU hog. There's nothing inherently wrong with JS, just that it might possibly be used to attack your computer.

At which point I ask you the same question: what makes you trust Google, Wikipedia (random links inserted by total strangers!), OSNews, and every other site and the JS they link to - but not the ads we run? It is highly inconsistent.

Again - you have every right to, but I still believe it to be a reason of convenience.

Edited 2010-03-20 10:48 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Random replies
by m1cro on Sat 20th Mar 2010 12:24 in reply to "Random replies"
m1cro Member since:
2006-12-22

FOR ME, THE PROBLEM IS NOT SO MUCH SECURITY, IT'S ABOUT PRIVACY.

P.S. ALL-CAPS TODAY FOR DYNAMIC RANGE DAY:
http://productionadvice.co.uk/dynamic-range-day/

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Random replies
by coreyography on Sat 20th Mar 2010 15:37 in reply to "Random replies"
coreyography Member since:
2009-03-06

IV) ads served via JS are dangerous, they're going to eat my computer, etc.

This, for the most part, is a lame excuse. When you click on a Google link, you have no idea where that link will take you, or what JS it might execute. When you click on a link in an OSN story - same thing. People have no problems with that.

However, when it comes to ads, it's suddenly a problem? So, what, you trust random Google links, you trust the sites that we link to in stories - but no the ads? This one always felt like an excuse of convenience to me.


It's not "suddenly" a problem for me, since I leave NoScript on all the time. It's not 100% protection, I'm sure, but better than nothing.

I do agree that Flash is a bigger risk, though. I removed a virus from a friend's PC after he got tagged by a malicious Flash ad when visiting cnn.com. The presumptuous thing didn't wait 5 minutes before redirecting his browser and generating popups.

I only use NoScript, though, so non-script/non-Flash ads from the site I am viewing do get through. I don't mind them generally, and even click on the ones of interest. I must show appreciation that OSnews still mostly works when I have NoScript on, unlike many of the "major media" sites (I have OSn whitelisted, but one doesn't have to in order to see content).

In the end, I'm afraid I have no new ideas here. I would probably donate (where _is_ that button anyway?), but casual visitors would likely not. I'll use the shopping link next time I'm on Amazon, tho.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Random replies
by sprewell on Sat 20th Mar 2010 20:23 in reply to "Random replies"
sprewell Member since:
2009-03-25

Thom, I agree with you that the current news format is not worth that much, but my conception was for a separate paid section with the higher-quality content David said he'd like to pay for. However, if you feel the news links have some value too, you could charge say a cent for every news post and make 30% of them available for free. My point is the whole site will never go behind a paywall, as you have to advertise your content. ;) However, most of the internet WILL go behind a paywall, as it's the only model that makes sense, but when it's micropayments most won't care because the amounts will be so small and the system so easy to use.

Reply Parent Score: 1

I do love my run-ons
by cerbie on Sun 21st Mar 2010 01:50 in reply to "Random replies"
cerbie Member since:
2006-01-02

When you click on a Google link, you have no idea where that link will take you, or what JS it might execute
Incorrect. It will execute no javascript, unless I have explicitly allowed it to do so. And, actually, yes, I do know exactly where that link will take me, if I'm running my preferred browser and addons (will an RDR-alike extension come out for Chrome? Chrome seems to have almost everything else, now...). I prefer not to follow obfuscated links.

However, when it comes to ads, it's suddenly a problem?
No, it's suddenly a more annoying problem. I've been to forums with looping JS in the background that eats too much CPU with enough tabs open, and sites that leak memory with their JS over time. But, it's easy to just purse my lips, and temporarily disable JS on a site for an occasional occurrence of buggy code.

Ads, however, may move windows, make new windows, change focus, replace context menus, or freeze browsers for a time (slow servers, which is also a browser coding problem, but also inefficient JS), and have managed to consistently thwart browser settings to the contrary (which is bypassed depends on the browser used, and Opera seems to be best, here), necessitating either avoidance of the content they come with, or ad-blocking. Then there's the silly ones that cover content with an ad page, so if you have JS disabled by default, you can read content, but if it is enabled by default, you've got another 5-10 seconds just to load this ad page and a skip button (Heaven forbid they get served up as fast as the site you're trying to go to).

Also, 3rd-party ads loaded from news sites that use JS have been the only vector for any malware I've recently received (no worries: either the browser didn't have a clue what to do with the file, prompting me to Google it; or, AV caught it, if on Windows). It's no wonder malware spreads as it does, since even those experiences are in the short window between a working OS install, and a fully updated and configured install.

Not all ad services are that bad, but they get on the same block list(s) as those that are. Yet, those safer ones are just as much of a privacy risk, even the security risk is reduced.

Those running a site need to have, inspect, and approve every ad, and keep it on their server(s). Drive-by ads are going to continue being a security and privacy risk. The immediately obvious problem with this model is that it all but requires clicks as the only reliable mechanism to measure anything about ads, since you could doctor page view data.

Reply Parent Score: 2