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Ars Technica Inveighs Against Ad Blocking

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the paying-the-piper dept.

The Almighty Buck 1051

An anonymous reader writes "Ars Technica recently conducted a 12-hour experiment in which story content was hidden from users of popular ad blocking tools. Explaining the experiment, Ken Fisher appealed to Ars's readership: 'My argument is simple: blocking ads can be devastating to the sites you love. I am not making an argument that blocking ads is a form of stealing, or is immoral, or unethical, or makes someone the son of the devil. It can result in people losing their jobs, it can result in less content on any given site, and it definitely can affect the quality of content. It can also put sites into a real advertising death spin. As ad revenues go down, many sites are lured into running advertising of a truly questionable nature. We've all seen it happen. I am very proud of the fact that we routinely talk to you guys in our feedback forum about the quality of our ads. I have proven over 12 years that we will fight on the behalf of readers whenever we can. Does that mean that there are the occasional intrusive ads, expanding this way and that? Yes, sometimes we have to accept those ads. But any of you reading this site for any significant period of time know that these are few and far between. We turn down offers every month for advertising like that out of respect for you guys. We simply ask that you return the favor and not block ads.'"

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It's the freeloaders time (4, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31388738)

Somehow Internet has made people to forget that creating quality content costs money. Often a lot of money. Often with these kind of things I'm really surprised at how dumb nerdy people can be too. You know, us who should know better and not be those stupid sheeps who are happy have a "mindless" job and then watch tv for rest of the evening and still enjoy it, even if theres no mentally requiring tasks involved.

But all the while a lot of people, mostly us geeks, cannot grasp that immaterial products and content also costs to create and takes just the same manhours. This is usually the same thing on discussions about piracy too - there's always someone pointing out that "duplicating" that content to sell it to you doesn't cost anything. Really? Are we really that dumb? That may not cost much, but it's creating it that does and those costs are got back from selling it to people. A lot of times a lot later, with some forms of entertainment even years later.

Re:It's the freeloaders time (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31388762)

Plural of sheep is sheep.

It's the sexist time! (-1, Troll)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#31388774)

But all the while a lot of people, mostly us geeks, cannot grasp that immaterial products and content also costs to create and takes just the same manhours.

- what about 'woman-hours'? Those are about 1.5 times longer than man-hours are and you are deliberately neglecting this in your comment!

Re:It's the freeloaders time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31388784)

I block everything I can because I don't want to pollute my eyes with crap.

But, I have never tried to block Google text ads.

Re:It's the freeloaders time (5, Insightful)

OffTheWallSoccer (1699154) | more than 4 years ago | (#31388796)

For me, it comes down to the annoyance factor. If the ads on a site are cleanly organized in a way that won't distract me while reading the article, then I'm okay with it. But lots of sites display those seizure-inducing, bright-blinking-scrolling ads. THEY get black-listed.

Re:It's the freeloaders time (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 4 years ago | (#31388904)

Same here. I generally have flash and GIF animation disabled unless I need it (mostly because flash is a performance drain that shouldn't be running unnecessarily and GIFs are usually annoying, I don't want stuff moving in my peripheral vision when I'm trying to read something), anything beyond that has to be done manually. If an ad is annoying enough to make me bother to do that then forcing it down my throat would likely make me pick a different site to read. It's not like we have a shortage of people making free websites about stuff and these days professional journalists rarely if ever deliver content that's better than what other people do for free in their spare time. It's especially bad with writing on videogames where most people hardly even trust the professionals anymore because they're practically all bribed or otherwise compromised for the sake of the site's profits (e.g. troll articles to drive the hits up).

Re:It's the freeloaders time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31388854)

Are we really that dumb?

No, only you, TripMasterFucktard.

Re:It's the freeloaders time (3, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#31388856)

While we're at it, we should also all pull the "fast forward" buttons off of our DVR remotes, too. Television shows cost a lot of money to produce, and we shouldn't deny the TV networks their hard-earned ad revenue either. And we should read every ad in newspapers and magazines, too. Don't forget when you're driving down the freeway on your way to work to stop and read the billboards, too. You guys out there actually watching the road are irresponsible freeloaders!

Re:It's the freeloaders time (4, Informative)

Svippy (876087) | more than 4 years ago | (#31389010)

From TFA:

Invariably someone always pops into a discussion like this and brings up some analogy with television advertising, radio, or somesuch. It is not in any way the same; advertisers in those mediums are paying for potential to reach audiences, and not for results. They have complex models which tell them if X number are watching, Y will likely see the ad (and it even varies by ad position, show type, etc!). But they really have no true idea who sees what ad, and that's why it's a medium based on potential and not provable results. On the Internet everything is 100% trackable and is billed and sold as such. Comparing a website to TiVo is comparing apples to asparagus.

Re:It's the freeloaders time (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31389106)

Bullshit. In the same way that one can create a model defining the fraction of folks exposed to a TV ad who watch it, you can create a model defining the fraction of folks with webblockers. The analogy is a good one, and Ars Technica, as usual, is full of shit.

Re:It's the freeloaders time (2, Insightful)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 4 years ago | (#31389154)

But [TV advertisers] really have no true idea who sees what ad, and that's why it's a medium based on potential and not provable results. On the Internet everything is 100% trackable and is billed and sold as such.

Yes, now take that one step further - on the internet, you can track clicks, not just views. I don't click on ads, period, so why should Ars or their advertisers care whether or not my browser displays them?

Re:It's the freeloaders time (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#31389034)

FTFA:

Invariably someone always pops into a discussion like this and brings up some analogy with television advertising, radio, or somesuch. It is not in any way the same; advertisers in those mediums are paying for potential to reach audiences, and not for results. They have complex models which tell them if X number are watching, Y will likely see the ad (and it even varies by ad position, show type, etc!). But they really have no true idea who sees what ad, and that's why it's a medium based on potential and not provable results. On the Internet everything is 100% trackable and is billed and sold as such. Comparing a website to TiVo is comparing apples to asparagus. And anyway, my point still stands: if you like this site you shouldn't block ads. Invariably someone else will pop in and tell me that it's not their fault that our business model sucks. My response is simple: you either care about the site's well-being, or you don't. As for our business model sucking, we've been here for 12 years, online-only. Not many sites can say that.

Re:It's the freeloaders time (5, Interesting)

scarboni888 (1122993) | more than 4 years ago | (#31388862)

Look - I don't care. In these days of over-saturation of accessible media, information, and other distractions I can tune into something else. If the business model a particular artist or other outfit doesn't work out without me shelling out cash or refraining from blocking the ads then that's not my fault - I'll find another distraction or information source that has found a business model that works.

I'm getting so sick and tired of this dinosaurian party line that we should be expected to pay for content! Seriously - you know what I say? I say that as a content producer you should feel fucking privileged that I'm spending my precious valuable time sopping up your info-goop with my greymatter sponge as opposed to spending it on some other outlet/avenue/source of infostream.

It's called supply and demand. When the supply is infinite the cost is nil.

In fact if I had it my way content producers would throw in some cash to attract my eyeballs to their info-goop stream. let's get with the times, people!

Re:It's the freeloaders time (3, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31388936)

You may have over-saturation of content, but it's shitty content and a lot of times copied from other sites (now before someone jumps on it, I don't include slashdot with this - the comments and discussions here are sometimes great and unique). But quality content does cost. If they can't sustain making it with ads, they will start asking users to pay for the content. I know a few sites I would pay for, just because I find their content good and a few dollars a month wouldn't really be so much (price of one beer that you wouldn't even hesitate to think about?)

I'm getting so sick and tired of this dinosaurian party line that we should be expected to pay for content!

Heh.

Re:It's the freeloaders time (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 4 years ago | (#31388982)

Content is a pretty broad term. "News" content is a dime a dozen on the internet but proper free movies, games, etc are still fairly sparse with most of the free ones being vastly inferior to the paid ones (note I said most, I don't want to get random examples of great free stuff) so the producers of the higher quality material can usually afford charging for it. The professional writers for paid websites are rarely any better than hobbyists putting articles on their free website.

Re:It's the freeloaders time (1)

scarboni888 (1122993) | more than 4 years ago | (#31389134)

Look - it's now beyond the 'random examples of great free stuff' for me.

I am now at a point where I have access to an amount of high-quality free content and information that I lack the time to get to it.

I'm waiting for one or the other of them to get downright progressive and start offering me cash for spending that lack of time with them & not the other guys because seriously - do they want to be ignored?

Re:It's the freeloaders time (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 4 years ago | (#31388868)

I think it's more apathy than ignorance. To an extent we're wired to go for the short term pay off anyway, so considering what might happen to the site's revenues in the long term, when we see no immediate consequence, takes an effort to do. There's nothing really pushing us to make that effort so we just ignore the possible future problems.

I don't block ads for precisely the reasons you (and the author of the article) outlined. I have no problem with text ads, or non-invasive image or flash ads provided they remain confined to their section of the page. Pop ups, javascript rollover things on the links, interstitials or those flash ads that cover up part of the article all push it too far, but I've found that sites which resort to these tactics are generally not worth my time anyway. The one thing that continues to surprise me, however, is just how much money there is in advertising - just because I don't block them with technology, doesn't mean I don't ignore them.

Re:It's the freeloaders time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31388878)

yes, because an annoying business model is my fault as a consumer. That's almost as bad as legislating your business model. When I want to read something (and granted this is rare as 99% of the shit on teh innerwebs is fucking useless). I don't care about how the blogger/company/news org makes money, I don't care about banner ads (I've clicked on 2 in my entire life), I don't care about adult friend finder, I don't care about finding out if I'm smarter than a 4 year old, I don't care about anything but the actual content.

      If it 'forces' a 'free site' to go pay, good... if they are worthwhile I'll pay. Sometimes I feel like I'm on a different planet than people that actually respond to spam, banner ads, see something on tv and think, 'gosh my life is empty without that!'.

are 'we' really that dumb? are *you* really that dumb that you think a corporation can put something on the sidewalk with a string attached and complain when someone snips the string? Is it your duty as a 'good american consumer' to 'do your part'? Really?

I've had enough of corporate welfare in the last few years. I don't know what's worse, the pissy entitlement by failing/outdated businesses or the brainwashed consumers that have forgotten how to wield their dollar.

Re:It's the freeloaders time (5, Insightful)

wolffenrir (1065076) | more than 4 years ago | (#31388888)

Then figure out another way to make money. If you business model is based upon annoying the shit out everybody, ripping through cycles, and just peddling bullshit on your website, then just have the guts to fail instead of begging people to play along with your stupid business plan.

Half of the people out there with Windows machines infested with malware got that malware because they DID NOT use privacy and security extensions. So we are all supposed to pretend like this practice a good idea just so somebody can continue making money on a business model we have known is a failed concept for almost a decade?

It's a bad idea. If you want to sell something, then just write it out in your html. Don't play games with your customers' privacy and security. Let's not forget that these adservers also act as data collectors which threaten our privacy in rather serious circumstances.

When a newspaper runs ads, it is not jammed right in the middle of an article. It doesn't jump of the fucking page and flash in red letters. It doesn't create another newspaper filled with bullshit ads and malware and shoot it out at your face. But when we are talking about ads on the web, that is exactly what is happening. We are never talking about people just putting a sales pitch and graphic embedded in the html.

Just modify the scripts that generate your pages to insert the ads yourself. Don't use third parties. Don't fuck with your users. You might be surprised by the result.

Re:It's the freeloaders time (1)

Puff_Of_Hot_Air (995689) | more than 4 years ago | (#31388906)

I (and I think I speak for many people here) do not have a problem with adds per say. What I have a problem with is intrusive adds. Google style adds don't bother me a bit, I click them all the time. Sometimes I'm looking for a product, or am just plain interested, and then I click. It is not for these adds that people like me run add blockers. The problem is obnoxious advertising. It's like those television adds where a guy just yells the whole time. Adds like this make me willing to invest the time, money, and effort in a TIVO style box. You would think other advertisers would be trying to stop this sort of thing to preserve their own revenue! Can you imagine how pissed you'd be if your add screened after screaming man? It's these guys that motivate people to find a way to turn it off! If an add move blinks, etc, I find it very distracting and will leave a site. I will not visit your sight again, and I use add blockers to avoid this kind of thing in general browsing. The submitter admits to intrusive adds, so your site would be on my shit list. It's nothing personal, it's just that if you want traffic from people like me, just don't do intrusive adds.

True, but just one problem (1)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31389142)

I (and I think I speak for many people here) do not have a problem with adds per say. What I have a problem with is intrusive adds. Google style adds don't bother me a bit, I click them all the time. Sometimes I'm looking for a product, or am just plain interested, and then I click. It is not for these adds that people like me run add blockers. The problem is obnoxious advertising. It's like those television adds where a guy just yells the whole time. Adds like this make me willing to invest the time, money, and effort in a TIVO style box. You would think other advertisers would be trying to stop this sort of thing to preserve their own revenue! Can you imagine how pissed you'd be if your add screened after screaming man? It's these guys that motivate people to find a way to turn it off! If an add move blinks, etc, I find it very distracting and will leave a site. I will not visit your sight again, and I use add blockers to avoid this kind of thing in general browsing. The submitter admits to intrusive adds, so your site would be on my shit list. It's nothing personal, it's just that if you want traffic from people like me, just don't do intrusive adds.

I'm really sorry in advance, because I try really, really hard not to be a pedantic ass, but after reading what you had to say and agreeing with most of it and thinking that it's a relevant point, I just have to get this off my chest and out into the open:

For god's sake, man, it's ad, not "add." It stands for advertisement, with just one d. "Add" is what people do to numbers to produce a sum. "Ad" is what people do to some to produce numbers.

Wo are the REAL freeloaders though? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31388908)

The Next Ad you Click on may be a Virus:

http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/06/15/2056219 [slashdot.org]

Also, if a websurfer can go faster online by blocking out banner ads (as well as safer, per the article above), then they have that option via browser addons like Adblock (or protection vs. their more than potentially infected scripting via NoScript), or by mechanisms like PAC files or specialized CSS files, or a custom HOSTS file.

There's that above, which means quite possibly spending monies on removing said infestation (which is not cheap, and not every "Joe Sixpack" knows how it is done, or wants to for that matter), and the fact that people pay for their own linetime.

So it's ok for Ken Fisher of arstechnica to ask those same people to not only pay for their linetime, and for possible removal of viruses/spywares/rootkits/trojans/malwares in general that they may have caught from malicious adbanners too, but also to pay for Ken Fisher's life on top of that all as well? A life and lifestyle made off of millions made from ad banner revenues no doubt, and yet not off of his own efforts writing up every article his site has done, as well as the coding work put into his site (which I doubt he did every line of himself as well).

So, who are the REAL freeloaders here? The end users, or those using the end users to make their living from those passing by their sites and being forced to look at flashing ads (which are attacks on the psyche no questions asked and not much better than subliminal ads on T.V., since both basically snag a user's subconscious attention via a "look at me and let me sell you something you may not even need"!)

So, once more: Who is/are the REAL freeloaders here??

The end users, or those using them (website owners) to make their living from those passing by their sites and being forced to look at flashing ads (which are attacks on the psyche no questions asked, basically yelling at them "look at me and let me sell you something you may not even need"? There's the real question to ask here!)??

This is a "double-edged sword", and that is all there is to it, period.

Above all - I wonder how much Ken Fisher pays his article writers in terms of the percentage of profits he makes off of their efforts?? How come I have this feeling it is only tiny crumbs from the massive profits he's earned over time from ad banner monies given he by his sponsors???

I hope the article writer reads this.

It's the capitalist's time! (2, Interesting)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 4 years ago | (#31388932)

Now, you run a website. You can't maintain a viable business model. You lose money. Your readers are leaving. Now choose one:

  1. Just accept failure and die.
  2. Blame your customers and somehow die later.
  3. Be too big to fail and get government bailout.

It seems that Ars chose the worst, i.e. no. 2.

Re:It's the freeloaders time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31388956)

The problem isn't people "forgetting creating quality content costs money". The problem is that a lot of ads are downright obnoxious. I don't have AdBlock because of the kind of ads ArsTechnica runs. I don't even have AdBlock because of layer ads and flash ads. I started to use AdBlock when single flash ads started to use up 70% of my notebook's cpu load, when "InText" ads were beginning to masquerade as links inside articles, when flash banners obscured site elements by breaking out of their allotted space and gained sound effects, and when layer ads started to make the close-button a square and the 'x' in the top right corner a link to more ads.
If ads had remained silent, besides the content (instead above or in it) and with less cpu usage then HD video, there would be a whole lot more people deciding to see them.

Re:It's the freeloaders time (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 4 years ago | (#31389102)

This is usually the same thing on discussions about piracy too - there's always someone pointing out that "duplicating" that content to sell it to you doesn't cost anything. Really? Are we really that dumb?

No, we aren't. You seem to have a selective memory about how these discussions tend to go, though...

That may not cost much, but it's creating it that does and those costs are got back from selling it to people. A lot of times a lot later, with some forms of entertainment even years later.

Yes, someone always makes that point. And then someone else points out that selling copies is not the only way to get paid for creating content -- in fact, it's a pretty poor way, considering that the fundamental nature of the medium makes it impossible to prevent others from distributing their own copies.

Likewise, selling ads isn't the only way to get paid for running a web site. It might even be a pretty poor way, considering that Ars is now having to beg their readers to pay more attention to the ads.

If people don't want to look at advertisements, that's something sites like Ars will have to deal with. Maybe they should sell subscriptions instead.

Re:It's the freeloaders time (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#31389172)

"This is usually the same thing on discussions about piracy too - there's always someone pointing out that "duplicating" that content to sell it to you doesn't cost anything."

Which is true? In modern times, it costs nothing to make a copy -- that is why so many people are doing it from the comfort of their homes. We have moved past the age of requiring industrial equipment just to duplicate a song or a book, and you seem to be angry about that.

"That may not cost much, but it's creating it that does and those costs are got back from selling it to people."

First of all, many people produce creative works without turning a profit on it -- friends in a band, as an example -- so what is your point, exactly? That they should be turning a profit? That they should not be creating art if there is no money in it?

That being said, the answer to the issue of recouping the cost of production is not attacking modern technology, it is finding a new way to make money on creativity or moving to a completely different model of paying for creative works. It is not acceptable to create a system in which duplicating something is a crime, just because the publishing/recording/etc. industries fear the loss of their business, which is what this is really about.

Seriously, why do people keep attacking modern technology, just because it is a game changer? Yes, the reality is that computers have changed the nature of distributing creative works, and instead of embracing this new age of instant and unfettered available, people like you are attacking it and claiming that there is an inherent problem with mass availability. The incredible thing about it is that the copyright lobby (RIAA/MPAA/BSA/etc.) has been caught in lie after lie, and yet nobody questions their assertions, even when those assertions could not possibly be true (do you really think that recording companies are losing billions of dollars a year because of file sharing? Billions of dollars a year for over a decade, yet still throwing lavish A-list parties and somehow not going bankrupt?). Seriously, why defend such people?

Hmmmm (1)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 4 years ago | (#31388764)

If the ad blockers would actually follow the links and give the
people the clicks they desire, without displaying the advertisement,
would that help?

Sure it would pollute the ad revenue, but at least it would not
pollute my eyes... plus the demographic studies these revenue
sources depending upon the click analysis would fail. How nice.

Re:Hmmmm (1)

dk90406 (797452) | more than 4 years ago | (#31388806)

It is not only clicks. They are payed per SHOWN add. Even if you never click on one, they make money.
For what it is worth, I accepted their plea and white-listed them.

Re:Hmmmm (1)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 4 years ago | (#31388870)

Not seeing an ad removes around $0.003-0.009 revenue per person. Clicking an ad can bring in $20+ per click.

Automating that click would be fraud.

Re:Hmmmm (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#31389042)

If the user automates the "click" to make certain that his/her browsing experience isn't impaired due to not clicking ad links then that isn't fraud, by the same reasoning browser plugins that "preload" all linked content would be illegal.

/Mikael

Re:Hmmmm (1)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 4 years ago | (#31389082)

Except no one in this case was ever even talking about clicks, Ars technica gets paid per view.

Even so, browsers preload FILES, they don't pre-run the javascript in the ad code.

Re:Hmmmm (1)

IceCreamGuy (904648) | more than 4 years ago | (#31388872)

If the ad blockers would actually follow the links and give the people the clicks they desire, without displaying the advertisement, would that help?"

Are you asking if illegal click fraud would help Arstechnica? I think the answer is an unequivocal "no;"

...the demographic studies these revenue sources depending upon the click analysis would fail. How nice.

Why is that nice? Because then you'll see the ads that should have gone to 90-year-old widows instead of the video game ad you would normally see? How nice because Ars would go out of business? What exactly is your point here... because if it's what it seems to be on the surface then it's really dumb.

I have ad block in because of facebook (2, Informative)

codeguy007 (179016) | more than 4 years ago | (#31388788)

The only reason, I have ad block is because of facebook. While personally I don't like facebook, I have lots of friends on it so I do use it. The problem with facebook is it allows ads that look exactly like facebook apps. Sometimes is really hard to tell the ad from the app. So I installed Ad block plus to remove those annoying ads. If facebook would smarten up and start blocking those ads, I would be willing to remove the ad blocker.

Re:I have ad block in because of facebook (1)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 4 years ago | (#31388922)

The only reason, I have ad block is because of facebook. While personally I don't like facebook, I have lots of friends on it so I do use it. The problem with facebook is it allows ads that look exactly like facebook apps. Sometimes is really hard to tell the ad from the app.

My solution there is just to completely ignore them - both apps and ads that look like apps. I use facebook due only to people I know being on there too, but the people I know on there know I'm only there to use it as a messaging service and don't take part in the apps business.

Re:I have ad block in because of facebook (4, Insightful)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 4 years ago | (#31389050)

Its the advertisers fault. I understand that advertising is all about making sure your message is heard above the noise but they are the ones who jumped the shark.

When it was just banners and the occasional frame with some adds in it, I never attempted to filter them out other than with my own mental powers. When they started doing pop-ups and float overs, I even tolerated it. When they started making adds that pretended to be system messages, virus scanner alerts, and other applications that really struck me as fraudulent and abusive and so I started blocking ads and helping others do the same.

Oh Come On (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31388792)

It's not like everybody does this. You make a profit off of them. You don't need to make any more off of me. I mean, it's not like I'd buy it anyway, nor would I pay to see ARS content. If I had to pay, I'd go elsewhere. If I have to unblock obnoxious in-your-face ads to see ARS spiel, I would, and of course do, go elsewhere.

Stop crying about that which you cannot and will not control. Web is all about free, freedom, and free from ads if I know how. Most don't so you win. I win. We all win, just the way it is now. But go ahead, block me. See if I care.

Cant read with Seizure Robot adds in my view (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31388800)

I use an adblocker purely because I can't read articles with flashing pictures and text in my vision. I accept targeted ads that are non obtrusive, but when content makers continually allow obnoxious ads that ruin the experience the reading public have few options. Would they prefer I didn't visit?

Sorry Ars, you are animated too (5, Insightful)

markdavis (642305) | more than 4 years ago | (#31388802)

We have been through all this stuff over and over again. People wouldn't have started blocking ads in the first place if they were reasonable ads. These are the reasons I use an ad-blocker:

* Animation- movement of any type
* Sound
* Popups
* Flyouts
* More ad space than content space
* Slow loading third-party sites

I am so anti-animation (I can't STAND movement on the screen while I am trying to read) that I have to block even non-Ad content (using "Flash Killer" and/or a manual Adblock addition for those sections with movement). Sometimes I even have to resort to killing Javascript ("JS Switch"). I don't want to deny sites revenue, but without being able to block the above types of Ad's, I wouldn't visit (or stay on) a site, anyway- so there is little difference.

Sorry Ars Technica... you can CLAIM your ads are non-intrusive and "quality", but I just visited your site with adblocking off and was immediately met with one highly annoying animated banner and a second, lower-animated, section. At least you only had two.

I am tired of companies trying to turn the Internet into Television.

Re:Sorry Ars, you are animated too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31388952)

I just went to their site right now and I see some animations, but quite frankly it's not really THAT big of a deal.

Are you sure you're not just making excuses for wanting to block ads? Or maybe you've just conditioned yourself to be too easily distracted by them or something. Because seriously, these ads on Ars Technica today are not that big of a deal. At all.

You SAY people wouldn't have started blocking ads except for those situations, but I think that's bullshit. Adblock programs have been blocking static Google ads for years.

Re:Sorry Ars, you are animated too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31389008)

People don't like adverts. If a company's business model is based on them, then like many business models of today, they are going to ultimately fail. Ars is just a tech blog, no loss to anyone if it closed tomorrow.

Re:Sorry Ars, you are animated too (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 4 years ago | (#31389054)

Everything is in the eye of the beholder. YOU might not think it is a big deal, but I do (and so do many others). And no, it is not making excuses. Before there was such a thing as adblockers, I hacked Netscape to "break" animated GIF display (there was no option for turning it off). Then came Flash, which totally ruined major parts of the Web and can't easily be blocked without usually removing useful parts of the site. And now it is AJAX/JS animation, which is nearly impossible to stop without ruining a site.

My beef with animation is very real. As for static Google ads- I actually ENABLE those, because they are small, fast, non-animated, quiet, and *RELEVANT*.

Re:Sorry Ars, you are animated too (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 4 years ago | (#31389116)

We grab ad blockers because they do what we want, if they do more than that (e.g. block text ads) we aren't going to go out of our way to stop that. Animations are a much bigger deal if you don't spend your whole time browsing with animated ads everywhere, when I use someone else's computer I find even basic movement in ads unbearable because I set my browser up to disable all animations.

Re:Sorry Ars, you are animated too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31388964)

This pretty much sums it up.

6 things that ads have no right doing. Flash is the worst, but animated gif ads are the reason I have firefox set to not play them at all.

Re:Sorry Ars, you are animated too (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 4 years ago | (#31388990)

Dont forget the viruses transmitted by Ads. Sure this only happened a few times through large internet ad agencies, but its only a mater of time before it happens again
Ads would be the #1 way to saturate a lot of computers in a short amount of time. Ill never remove ad blockers.
That being said I am sure website developers can come up with a solution which checks if their ads are being blocked and if so, deny access to the site.

Re:Sorry Ars, you are animated too (1)

tonycheese (921278) | more than 4 years ago | (#31389002)

CONGRATULATIONS, YOU'VE WON A FREE IPOD NANO!
It's been so long since I've heard those words yelled at me through my computer speakers. Not to mention seeing so many huge ads of almost naked women when I'm trying to do something basic on the internet. It takes some effort for people to other to install ad-block and much more effort for someone out there to maintain their list of things to block, so it's clearly in response to something hugely bothersome.

Re:Sorry Ars, you are animated too (1)

BoxRec (532280) | more than 4 years ago | (#31389120)

If you are a regular reader maybe you could consider subscribing to their site, that way both parties are happy, you don't see any ads and they get a little revenue.

Re:Sorry Ars, you are animated too (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 4 years ago | (#31389126)

I find flashblock eliminates 90% of the animating ads, without blocking normal ads. I think Firefox has an option to disable GIF animation. Hopefully, one day it will have the ability to block HTML5 animations too.

It's *my* CPU you're using (5, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#31389138)

*My* RAM. *My* bandwidth.

I pay for it all, and I don't really care if your site folds (this includes you slashdot), you're just a momentary diversion, don't flatter yourself otherwise. There will be another along in 10 minutes.

So, i'm going to continue to block images, particularly moving ones. Javascript, flash, and pretty much anything else they come up with. I used to leave google ads alone, they were relevant, textual and just sat there inviting a click, but they blew it as well.
 

Re:Sorry Ars, you are animated too (2, Insightful)

owlnation (858981) | more than 4 years ago | (#31389174)

Could not possibly agree more!

I've never seen many animated ads on websites. In the days before adblock, I'd scroll the screen, put a piece of paper over that part of the monitor, or just leave the site -- never to return usually.

No-one has ever gotten any money from me by showing me an animated ad. No-one EVER will. If by chance I happen to catch the name of the company that produced the ad, I will do everything I can to avoid buying from them for the rest of my life. If your company doesn't respect my eyes, time and intelligence, then fuck you! I'm not giving you any money.

You want ads, fine. Google got it pretty much right. Discreet, contextual links. Those are quality ads. They can even have pictures in them, but if they move -- they die.

Arstechnica, if you aren't smart enough to understand this, and as the parent said; this is oft-discussed and well-known, then your site will eventually die. And it will be ENTIRELY your own fault. Quality ads do NOT intrude on the user -- they do NOT need to. It's just that simple.

Charge the readers directly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31388808)

Ad-driven commerce rots the collective brain.

You lost me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31388830)

..at the redesign from the black-and-orange. Was a regular (daily) visitor, now only click in on a specific story now and again if I see something interesting linked from elsewhere.

Now, the big problem with the people behind many internet sites is that they believe that they're ENTITLED to their sites existing and making money. I recognize that Ars is a high-quality site, but as I've explained above, I can do without it. So the bottom line is, why would I make my internet experience worse for a resource I hardly care about enough to even visit regularly?

Harsh, but honest.

The dynamics for a regular visitor are somewhat different, but I have no idea what the numbers are there.

Ads suck (5, Insightful)

mcelrath (8027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31388832)

Ads are invasive, intrusive, annoying, and I don't want to see them. ever. There are laws against sending advertisements over the fax and cold-calling cell phones. The logic is that the recipient must pay for the unsolicited advertisement (in fax paper, toner, or cell phone minutes).

Internet ads are no different. I pay for bandwidth and connection time, so your ad directly costs me money, and it should be illegal for that reason. It costs me time too, making your page slower and more annoying. I don't want to have to hunt for the content among all the cleverly disguised ads. I don't want to have to examine the links to figure out which ones are ads and which ones are legitimate.

I will continue blocking ads until the end of time. If you can't figure out how to make money without annoying people, that's your problem. Get creative folks, and stop whining about how you wish people would just be more receptive to being annoyed.

Re:Ads suck (5, Insightful)

Iyonesco (1482555) | more than 4 years ago | (#31388926)

If you don't want to see adverts don't visit any websites that have adverts on them. If you're repeatedly visiting websites that you know to have adverts then you're looking at the adverts voluntarily so it is no way an invasion or an intrusion.

Besides, without adverts the only way websites will be able to fund themselves is through fees. Would you rather pay a few dollars a month for every website you visit?

Re:Ads suck (1)

Puff_Of_Hot_Air (995689) | more than 4 years ago | (#31389018)

Of course, another way of looking at it is "only a smallish percentage of people will be tech savy enough to do the whole add blocking thing, so let the other saps pay for it" Now this is going to break down for tech oriented websites, in which case I suggest "no intrusive adds, and ask people to unblock your site". There, see, everyone is happy.

Re:Ads suck (3, Insightful)

mcelrath (8027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31389108)

If you don't want to see adverts don't visit any websites that have adverts on them.

That's supposed to work how? I'll just reprogram my browser to send a HTTP DOESTHISSITEHAVEADS request before following every link...

Besides, without adverts the only way websites will be able to fund themselves is through fees. Would you rather pay a few dollars a month for every website you visit?

Yes. But I don't want to juggle 50 different subscriptions at $50/year each. Get creative folks.

I do have a couple subscriptions, but I'm not going to buy a subscription for a one-off site I visit because the link appeared on slashdot (or google news, or twitter...). The threshold for buying a subscription is very high. e.g. I had one for lwn.net because I loved their excellent kernel traffic summaries, and I found myself reading it weekly for that.

Get creative.

Re:Ads suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31388946)

You could be an Ars Subscriber for $50 a year. But I bet you want it all for free as well, don't you?

Re:Ads suck (1)

rbb (18825) | more than 4 years ago | (#31388980)

I pay for bandwidth and connection time, so your ad directly costs me money, and it should be illegal for that reason.

Funny, by blocking ads and still visiting the site you are costing the content provider money. You don't seem to have a problem with that. If the ads bother you that much, the solution is much simpler than using adblocking software. Just don't visit that site.

Re:Ads suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31389148)

If the site owners think like you then they can block people who use ad-blocking software, the same as Ars Technica did in this experiment.

As it stands - I pay my fee to access the internet - the site owners allow public access to their site that can be viewed in any way - therefore I will view it the way I want to, as long as I'm able to. After that stops being possible (assuming it ever will - economic theories are not guaranteed) I'll go to the least objectionable place that remains below a yet-to-be-decided value of objectionable*.

*There is a point where if i becomes impossible to look for information/content without being able to avoid extremely objectionable sites, that I simply stop looking altogether and ignorance will truly have become bliss.

Re:Ads suck (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 4 years ago | (#31388994)

Ads are invasive, intrusive, annoying, and I don't want to see them. ever. There are laws against sending advertisements over the fax and cold-calling cell phones. The logic is that the recipient must pay for the unsolicited advertisement (in fax paper, toner, or cell phone minutes).

Internet ads are no different.

Internet ads are different - the key being unsolicited - you chose to go to a site, unlike fax spam or cold - calls where the sender initiates the communication.

I pay for bandwidth and connection time, so your ad directly costs me money, and it should be illegal for that reason. It costs me time too, making your page slower and more annoying. I don't want to have to hunt for the content among all the cleverly disguised ads. I don't want to have to examine the links to figure out which ones are ads and which ones are legitimate.

You can chose not to visit a site and not expend the bandwidth if you don't like the ads. If you don't like how a site pays for itself, don't visit it. Pretty simple; and if enough people do that the site will go away. Sites have real bills to pay; and unless they do that they will eventually fold. Ads are one way of doing that.

I will continue blocking ads until the end of time. If you can't figure out how to make money without annoying people, that's your problem. Get creative folks, and stop whining about how you wish people would just be more receptive to being annoyed.

They are - one site I frequent ran a public radio style pledge campaign, and vigorously polices its ads to remove annoying ones. Others are moving to paid content. In the end, there is no free lunch; good content costs money and if people insist on blocking ads they will have to find another way to make money or go out of business.

Re:Ads suck (1)

edumacator (910819) | more than 4 years ago | (#31389026)

Good points.

But then do you have a valid way for companies that produce the content to turn a profit? I'm willing to see non-intrusive ads that don't flash or talk, but the intrusive ads bug me, so I don't return to sites that have consistently intrusive ads.

But if we don't accept some ads, and if you are being honest, the cost of ads is miniscule in bandwidth cost.

Again, the points you make are valid, but I don't see any practical alternative.

Re:Ads suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31389060)

You know who else is paying for bandwidth for you to view the content? The host. Ars Technica (or whoever).

You have a fucking choice over whether you want to go look at a site or not, so don't try to act like they're violating your rights by displaying advertisements. Go ahead and keep blocking the ads, but don't sit here and act like you're being ass-raped by people because they're trying to make money to support their site. Just admit that you're aware that they're trying to make some money to support the content you're viewing, but you don't care and you'd rather they be that much poorer so you can blissfully read their hard work the way YOU want to read it. Don't sit here and act like you're being wronged, admit that you're being selfish.

Seriously, who marked this guy insightful?

Re:Ads suck (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 4 years ago | (#31389144)

You know advertisements on Slashdot just financed your ability to post that message.

Sometimes? (5, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 4 years ago | (#31388840)

If sometimes you 'have to accept those ads' then I have to block your ads totally. Maybe you should rethink that strategy, Ars?

Too annoying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31388846)

Most ads are just too annoying. Some are blinking, some hovering over the web page etc. I have to be afraid to lose my job with these kind of ads. I have no problems with statis ads, that's why I only use flash blockers.

Intrusive ads (1)

dushkin (965522) | more than 4 years ago | (#31388852)

I block flash by default (click-to-flash) both at home and at work and run an ad blocker at work. The flash bit is because Flash is full of problems, and I don't always want it loaded. The ad block at work is because ads make it look like I'm not working :/

Ads have tuned down a bit since a few years back, so I'm actually not as inclined to block them anymore. Except, like I said, if it's Flash or I'm at work.

Also, ads on Israeli websites make me want to kill myself. They're so intrusive. Popping over text as a flash graphic for instance.

ugh.

Malicious... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31388860)

There are simply too many blinky, flashy (and indeed Flash) ads out there. Popups. Popunders. Sound. And far, FAR too many malicious ads: it's bitten too many sites and too many major ad networks to trust any of them. I don't want third-party cookies tracking me, I never did, and I don't.

I've blocked banner ads on the web since they existed. I helped with the Proxomitron (RIP, Scott). A web browser isn't finished these days until it can block ads, and if you're locking people out because they don't view the ads, I will help with ad blockers' counter-countermeasures.

The reason is simple: because banner ads are fucking annoying. (Hint: I don't block text ads. That is reasonable.)

I don't care about your business model, I want to browse your goddamn site without having blinky Flash shit in my face and without having malicious Javascript even try to fuck my browser. We're not pirating or anything, we're just not displaying your ads, we're showing your site to us on our terms, because it's our computer and we can do what the fuck we want.

This makes you come over as a whiny crybaby. "Oh noes, it costs money to write articles!" No it fucking doesn't. People send you gear to review, damn it, what's costing you money about that? Oh my god, traffic? What a monster. Oh, wait, I own a hosting company, and traffic is fucking cheap. Thousands of bloggers prove you wrong about content costing money to produce. I appreciate what you do, man, but it didn't cost me a dime to write this.

Don't make the mistake of thinking readers need your site. Believe me, it's the other way around.

Block content and... (2, Insightful)

Deorus (811828) | more than 4 years ago | (#31388866)

You won't be indexed by search engines, so you lose more than if you don't block it. Furthermore I stay clear of any website forcing me to add exceptions to NoScript that would allow third party advertisers to run any kind of code on my browser.

Re:Block content and... (2, Interesting)

YojimboJango (978350) | more than 4 years ago | (#31388978)

I'm with parent on this one. I don't default to trusting anyone running code on my machine. I've got flash and javascript blocked by default (NoScript, FlashBlock).

If I trust your site (and I do trust Ars Technica), I'll white list them and only them for javascript. However I do not trust the half dozen shady ad and tracking services wanting to run scripts.

If you want my ad views, host it yourself.

Fake virus scanner (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31388882)

Tell that to the girl who got that stupid fake virus scanner that I cleaned off her computer friday. Came from a served ad.

Disable Adblock for the sites you like, simple (2, Insightful)

Ziekheid (1427027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31388898)

Ads are fine with me as long as they aren't screenfilling/blocking content (like some flash ads that fill your entire screen with some shitty animation).
I have adblock enabled by default but add sites I visit regularly (like this one) in the allowed list so they can display ads.

Adblock Plus proposal (4, Interesting)

kasper_souren (1577647) | more than 4 years ago | (#31388902)

They're missing the point. Most of the ads only get them money if people click on them. From my experience people who run adblock software are also people who refuse to click on ads in general. So instead of calling people to be annoyed by ads they should call people to turn off their adblock for a second, click on an ad and turn it back on. But well, that's not gonna make the advertisers happy. The authors of Adblock Plus came up with a better proposal http://adblockplus.org/blog/an-approach-to-fair-ad-blocking [adblockplus.org] - I wonder if Ars Technica has looked into that.

How is this different than muting TV commercials? (3, Insightful)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 4 years ago | (#31388910)

Or changing the channel when a commercial comes on?

Re:How is this different than muting TV commercial (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 4 years ago | (#31389028)

Thats actually a good point. Those of us who do not watch commercials probably also have ad blocker technology on our systems.
Logic then concludes that we are not the target audience for these ads.

Re:How is this different than muting TV commercial (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#31389098)

RTFA.

My thoughts (4, Interesting)

Mystery00 (1100379) | more than 4 years ago | (#31388912)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't internet ads generate their revenue through the amount of clicks they incur? I know Google's ads do this.

By using adblock, what I'm saying is: I'm never going to be clicking on any of the ads on your website.

If I didn't use it, I still wouldn't be clicking on any ads on your website and they will also annoy me.

It's most likely that the people using ad blocking don't care about the ads you display and won't be clicking on them anyway.

Re:My thoughts (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31389152)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't internet ads generate their revenue through the amount of clicks they incur? I know Google's ads do this.

Ken Fisher, the article author, corrects you:

"There is an oft-stated misconception that if a user never clicks on ads, then blocking them won't hurt a site financially. This is wrong. Most sites, at least sites the size of ours, are paid on a per view basis."

There are so many benefits to RFTA. Yes, I must be new here.

Re:My thoughts (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 4 years ago | (#31389160)

I thought they moved on to "impressions" not "clicks" - I don't think I've ever (intentionally) clicked on an ad in my life.

I don't block advertisements (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#31388928)

I only block Flash. Or, rather, on some machines I don't even have any Flash implementation installed. If the ads don't make it, well...that's their problem. Google AdSense is fine, flashing, screaming monsters are not. But I guess that sites like Ars Technica don't make users block ads by serving them such crap.

Re:I don't block advertisements (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31389006)

Make them work without javascript and they might get through my NoScript :)

I don't need Ars! (1)

m1k3g (1200215) | more than 4 years ago | (#31388938)

I use ad blockers. period. always will. If your goal (or primary concern) in setting up a website is to make money, I suggest you are in the wrong business. I don't allow solicitors to throw crap on my lawn or leave junk by my front door either. I use comskip on my HTPC so that my family & I don't have to watch crappy advertising on TV. I pay a monthly fee for television access, a monthly fee for Internet access, and god-knows-how-much of my taxes go to support the companies that spew all of this advertising. If you want to block me from reading content on your site because I exercise my right to only look at what I want to look at, screw you. I don't need Ars or any other website that thinks this way and I WILL go somewhere else!

Bring it on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31388942)

I won't read your site if I can't block moving, blinking and blaring ads. You need the eyeballs, I've got a million of attention whores competing for mine.

My 0.02 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31388950)

I use ad-blocking systems (mostly Konqueror's built-in one), but don't update from one of those big lists of ad servers. I just manually add anything that really offends or irritates me. I don't think I'm unusual in my standards: that mainly includes ads that are less SFW than the site they're on, and flash ads that go "omgnowaaaaai" (or in fact make any noise).

That way, I'm not removing the revenue stream of people who's bandwidth I consume, I am punishing people who show unpleasant ads, and I am not greatly inconvenienced. I suggest everyone does something similar.

Re:My 0.02 (1)

bcmm (768152) | more than 4 years ago | (#31389038)

Looks like I accidentally posted as AC... Anyway, the parent is me, not that anybody will read it now.

The other side: Ad abuse and malware (5, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31388954)

I posted this there, and I'll post it here, too.

I consider it irresponsible not to browse the web with a really good ad/Flash/javascript blocker. Not just because of the annoyance factor, but because it is a significant vector of malicious code attacks. This isn't just hypothetical; in the recent past, sites such as Wikia and a gaming site I visit injected malicious code and infected users' machines. The site hosts were completely unaware of it; the code was being injected through a third-party ad provider. Fortunately, I found out about this through someone else when they brought it to my attention, because the code never made it to my browser.

Ars raises a good point, but the simple truth is that given the choice between having less content available or putting my system's security at risk, I'll choose the first option any day. I'm sorry--I really am, because I know that it is devastating to sites such as theirs, and I'd gladly whitelist their site but for the risk. I don't blame reputable sites like Ars, I blame a decade and a half of abuse by ad companies. But such is the state of affairs.

Plus, please keep in mind that a lot of sites I visit are new to me, and they're sites that I don't know whether or not they're reputable. Many of them engage in what I consider an "ad assault" on me, barraging me with all sorts of annoyances for content that is of little to no value. When I'm just puttering around the Internet without visiting one of my usual haunts, most of the content means so little to me that until I have a chance to evaluate whether or not it's worth it and whether or not they advertise in some sane, responsible manner, I feel fully justified in not letting them force feed such annoyances to me.

For what it's worth, he is right, I'm glad they brought the issue up in a tactful manner, and I'm going to subscribe to Ars since I do indeed find its content of high value. When sites I value provide such an alternate business model for paying for their existence, I do try to do my part to support them.

Slashdot ads (1)

i'm lost (1247580) | more than 4 years ago | (#31388960)

I haven't ever read Ars Technia (except for following links from slashdot), but I did try to whitelist ads for this site. Unfortunately, I would have to allow javascript from whatever ad servers slashdot uses. Disabling adblock on this site and allowing javascript from this domain isn't enough to view ads, so I don't see them. It would be nice if I could support slashdot by viewing ads without trusting javascript from an ad server.

This is the solution ! (1)

burni2 (1643061) | more than 4 years ago | (#31388966)

I think we can all conclude that the cause for using adblockers is the annoying way some ads are appearing. Though blocking normal non-intrusive ads can be seen as collateral damage.

And here comes my solution, while clicking ads means money for the site-owners, we need ad-blockers which visit the ad in background and kill the tracker-cookie afterwards.

This way the site-owners get money - the ads are clicked but not seen. While most internet users have a very low technical skill, the impact on the advertisement business is small.

Couple of things the submission missed (1)

bheer (633842) | more than 4 years ago | (#31388974)

* The content was blocked without warning, leading many to think Ars was broken
* Readers who complained [arstechnica.com] were called "leechers" who were "held in contempt".
* They use Doubleclick and serve animated Flash ads
* Apparently text ads (e.g. Google AdSense) don't pay very well

Many of us do understand that Ars is more expensive to run than Stack Exchange or (maybe) Slashdot, because Ars has to pay writers. However the fact that web advertising is so inflexible and user-hostile is very sad and says something about the industry. BoingBoing and Daring Fireball seem to be doing well with their homegrown ad networks, maybe someone will take some ideas from them and come up with a non-evil ad network.

Old story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31388986)

Your failed business model...

Yes, I know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31388996)

"My argument is simple: blocking ads can be devastating to the sites you love."

Yes, I know. So.... when it's a site I like and visit regularly, and it's one that I trust not to be feeding the latest malware in the ads (slashdot is an example), I enable JavaScript for the site in my whitelist. But that's as far as I go, and it's a pretty short list.

No, I do not enable flash. No, I do not enable pop-ups. And, no, I don't run my web browser with JavaScript enabled by default. Browsing with all that enabled is like walking around with a big "kick me" sign on your back. If you can't advertise without using those techniques then I have no sympathy.

Let me put it another way: if your website doesn't gracefully degrade the user experience to deal with lack of JavaScript or flash then with a few exceptions you're going to lose revenue. That would be the case for any people visiting without flash or JavaScript in their browsers, so get on the ball and fix the defect in your website because that's what it is: a defect. You're unnecessarily losing revenue by failing to serve up content with non-obtrusive ads that I and many other people would be able to read in my default browsing mode. Any decent website can figure out my browser capabilities without too much trouble and theoretically serve up a simpler ad.

[Checks ArsTechnica]
I see no ad, just a big empty rectangle where I'm guessing one should be beside the article. I'm not *trying* to specifically block ads. I'm trying to browse reasonably securely. If it's so important for all the legitimate reasons you outlined, then fix your damn site. You'd think a technical site would be more on the ball with these sorts of things.

Even slashdot has issues. I've enabled JavaScript for it in my whitelist, but they're still serving up some ads with flash. I don't see those ones. Their loss, unfortunately.

Ads are not integrated (1)

digitect (217483) | more than 4 years ago | (#31389016)

The reason we have ads is because they are easy for advertisers to generate sales/revenue with them. They are a shortcut instead of actually providing a product we really need.

Face it, do we need much that is advertised? No. We also don't need much of the content we read. Advertising is this dance that occurs within non-critical content because we really don't have to watch TV or read entertainment news.

If products were so important, name dropping within actual content would be sufficient to generate sales commensurate with demand. Advertising is a way of increasing demand that wouldn't ordinarily exist (since we don't need it in the first place.

Turn off Flash ads, and I'll turn off the ad block (4, Insightful)

TodLiebeck (633704) | more than 4 years ago | (#31389020)

If I open Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, with a few tabs active in each on popular sites, the entirety of both cores of my Intel E7500 CPU will be consumed by Flash advertisements.

I'm on a Linux machine with a lot of memory, which makes for the worst case scenario: First, Flash is horrible on Linux. Second, I use virtual desktops and leave browsers open for days at a time. Memory is not a problem.

Flash ads tend to be poorly written by a creative designer who could give a rat's rear end about your system resources.

The ads interfere with my ability to work, which costs me money. They also cause my computer to consume significantly more power. So in effect, your Flash ads are even bad for the environment.

They're also of course quite annoying, and if given only the options of browsing the internet with Flash ads or not browsing the internet at all, I'll choose the latter.

How about you try this experiment: Turn off Flash ads. Post a banner at the top of your site that says, "Hey, we've turned off Flash ads. Please exclude this site from your ad blocker so we can make money."

Flash is my problem (3, Insightful)

Lemming Mark (849014) | more than 4 years ago | (#31389062)

I've never really bothered to block web content until recently. But I've now started using rekonq's Click-To-Flash mode having seen (far too many times) pointless Flash applets consuming 100% CPU when I just leave them. I'm currently using nspluginwrapper so at least I can hunt down the misbehaving Flash and kill it directly (a la Google Chrome), which is better than the old days where I had to guess which Firefox tab might contain an applet that's hammering performance. Unfortunately this means I don't see all the ads - I've never been that bothered by ads appearing, just one of those things that you get because people need to pay the bills. Occasionally ads are even amusing (e.g. the Plants vs Zombies parodies of the maddening Evony psuedo-porn adverts).

I don't block adverts specifically, though. Non-Flash ads are free to take up screen space and my attention and very rarely they're even interesting. Google's text-based ads are also fine, although some sites make it difficult to distinguish those from the actual articles. But these days it's a pretty hard sell to ask people to run resource-hungry software just to get adverts. Maybe Flash behaves better on other platforms - but OTOH, advertisers are going to lose revenue on iPad and iPhone customers if they don't move away from Flash at some point. For lots of these adverts I'd be tempted to say that an HTML5 video might even be more appropriate (!).

Linux Weekly News (http://lwn.net/) which is by far my favourite "serious" geek news site (mainly because of their kernel page) has a nice model involving some adverts + subscription. They do have some adverts. They also delay some of their best content by a week if you're not a paying subscriber. Subscribers can categorise themselves according to an "honour system" to choose how much they pay if they want to subscribe. Apparently it works OK for them. I suspect this only really works for them because they produce extremely high-quality, specialist articles - you plain can't get some of this stuff elsewhere, so it's worth supporting them. A general-consumption geek news site is going to find that sort of thing a lot harder.

Targeted ads suck (1)

billsf (34378) | more than 4 years ago | (#31389064)

Ads that originate from the site, I display, the rest >/dev/null. You can proxy where the ad is displayed 'internally', the site gets paid by the trash provider and I never have to see it. 'Flash' ads are by far the worst and no site I use places them directly on their own site. (A 30s flash commercial may take 10s to load >/dev/null) On the brighter side, the conduits for targeted ads can be sometimes used as proxies to beat the "Not available in your country" crap.

So Ars is selling impressions? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31389068)

If Ars was selling click-throughs, then ad blocking would only help them, because it saves them bandwidth they're using serving ads you'll never click on. But they're obviously selling impressions.

They're going to save even more bandwidth if they ban people using ad blockers; I, for one, am content to get my news elsewhere. Ars articles have been going steadily downhill anyway. I haven't even seen one linked from here in quite some time, so I'm not clear on why I need to read them anyway. I suspect I don't. Any content which cannot exist without ads is not important to me.

Don't forget (1)

Redlazer (786403) | more than 4 years ago | (#31389096)

No matter what you do, so long as you know you are now stealing content, that is allright. It's not illegal, but it's hardly justifiable.

If only they were safe. (3, Informative)

E-Sabbath (42104) | more than 4 years ago | (#31389104)

The problem with this is, the advertisements themselves can not be trusted. Beyond the issue of the sound and animation, advertisements are a malware vector. I'm having a huge problem with 'Antispyware 2010' and its variants. One idiot claims he got his from Microsoft, because it says Microsoft on it. If they were less hazardous, I'd block them less. I turned off blocking for Project Wonderful and for Google's text ads, after all.

Stop annoying us with your ads (1)

dmesg0 (1342071) | more than 4 years ago | (#31389124)

There are way too many sites with intrusive ads, very low content/advertisement ratio, lots of flash banners that eat up CPU (Isn't it annoying to see 100% CPU taken by the browser?). There is even a site that displays a screaming flash ad, so when I visited it at work, it was quite embarrassing.

So it's very simple, as long as there are many such sites, we'll continue to use ad blockers. The webmasters must finally understand that in order to get some revenue they should not annoy their visitors. And it's not that hard to do, I don't think many would mind a few text ads or one static banner on a page.

And if you refuse to let us see the content without flashy ads, well, go to hell, such sites aren't worth visiting anyway.

"not immoral" precedes moral argument (2, Insightful)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#31389170)

On a practical note, I make a point of never clicking on adverts. The only way I interact with an advert is to make a little mental note to reduce my opinion of the advertiser and to make it less likely for me to recommend them. It is more helpful for you if I block your adverts entirely.

On an Internet's note, if you don't want something rendered as I please, don't send it via unauthenticated HTTP. As a reasonably technically competent magazine, you should know better.

On a personal note, I owe you nothing. If you think your content is worth charging for, charge for it. If you provide your content, I will take it, just as I am happy with people taking the fruits of my labour as published on the Internet (and sharing it). Change your business model and try voluntary donations or subscriptions if you want, but don't ask me to be dishonest with your advertisers.

On a general note, paid advertising is not a good way of raising awareness, and I will take no part in the cycle -- enough essays have been written about this already.

Cart before the horse again.... (5, Insightful)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#31389176)

Here we have yet another politician trying to manipulate us into seeing things his way with a fallacious argument. Why does anyone decide to use ad-blocking software in the first place? Do people set out with the express goal that "Heh, I'm gonna teach these fuckers a lesson"? I certainly didn't. Nope... I employed ad-blocking techniques because the ads became a truly hard-sell nightmare. Does anyone recall the meatspace jokes about car salesmen and "hard sell" tactics? That's what we're talking about here: digital ads that take a hard-sell approach.

NOBODY likes the hard-sell tactics. That's why I, and most other people, employ RECIPROCAL tactics to block ads, because far too many are insanely hard-sell. Has it been simple greed and lack of self-restraint, no scruples, or did their business model just suck vacuum from the start? Is either cause my fault, my problem? Honestly... and they blame *us* for starting the whole contest? Ya got it ass backwards there, chum. Ad-blocking is here to stay BECAUSE your foolish greed arrived first.

Honestly, it's already just too damned late; this ship had already sailed. Advertisers proved themselves to be consistently untrustworthy and self-centered, and we responded in kind. How do they intend to win back our trust? Oh, that's right: by blaming the bad behavior on *us* and claiming they always had our best interests at heart.

Bullshit.

Ya know what? I do believe I could survive well enough without their "content" if it just dried up and blew away. So find yourselves a revenue model, guys, one that actually works and that we can actually afford, or just go away. Ad-blocking is here to stay.

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