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Website Mass-Bans Users Who Mention AdBlock

kdawson posted more than 3 years ago | from the don't-say-the-a-word dept.

Advertising 660

An anonymous reader writes to recommend TechDirt's take on the dustup over at the Escapist, which recently tried on banning users from their forums for the mere mention of AdBlock. In the thread in which the trouble started, a user complained that an ad for Time Warner Cable was slowing down his computer. Users who responded to the poster by suggesting "get Firefox and AdBlock" found themselves banned from the forums. The banned parties didn't even need to admit they used AdBlock, they simply had to recommend it as a solution to a troublesome ad. The forum's recently amended posting guidelines do indeed confirm that the folks at the Escapist believe that giving browsing preference advice is a "non forgivable" offense. After a lot of user protest, the forum unbanned the transgressors but heaped on the guilt.

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660 comments

They pay the bills, so STFU (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31919862)

It's their site, they pay for hosting. It's their business.
If you don't like it, fuck off to another site.
Nobody is born with the 'right' to other peopels work, even if that work is a website. It's their decision.
get over it.

Re:They pay the bills, so STFU (3, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#31919880)

Given that they have reversed the bans since then, it's not that simple, now is it? What is the value of a site without visitors?

Re:They pay the bills, so STFU (4, Interesting)

1s44c (552956) | more than 3 years ago | (#31919988)

What is the value of a site without visitors?

The site owners banned these people because they don't see any value in a site without revenue.

Re:They pay the bills, so STFU (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31919888)

Fine, I will. Luckily there are sites like Slashdot which do fine without ads.

Re:They pay the bills, so STFU (2, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 3 years ago | (#31919906)

On the other hand, Slashdot has a right to grouse about it on their own site if they want! Everyone's got rights all around. ;-)

Re:They pay the bills, so STFU (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920196)

On the other hand, Slashdot has a right to grouse about it on their own site if they want! Everyone's got rights all around. ;-)

I second that, everyone do what they want so long as it doesn't come to threats destruction fists and bullets. In fact I would make that the one-line constitution and we'd be better off.

Re:They pay the bills, so STFU (4, Insightful)

speculatrix (678524) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920212)

slashdot have allowed me to turn off adverts, but I haven't. I have adblock installed, but I am not subscribed to any block lists, I generally only block adverts and advertisers which are particularly instrusive (for example, trustedreviews' website has broken adverts which obscure text, and theregister have adverts in the middle of the articles). I occasionally find adverts useful so I would miss them, but I am merely very selective, and I would rather put up with a bit of screen clutter to buy content instead of paying cold hard cash!!

Re:They pay the bills, so STFU (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31919934)

I pay for my bandwidth I'll choose what I download, including page elements.

The Internet was so much better before corporations/bussiness was significantly interested. Befor anyone says the ads pay for content there was plenty of content in the early days of the internet, much of it was high quality because the people who placed it there wanted to, were interested or passionate . Not because they were getting paid.

I turned off my TV in 1996, internet entropy has caught up with television. It is becoming prepackaged "safe for idiots" and less free

Re:They pay the bills, so STFU (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31920018)

I pay for my pipe. I own my computers, and have root/admin rights and responsibilities for them. It is my duty to myself and others on the Internet to lock down security threats I know about. As an IT person, if I do not take steps to stop an avenue of infection, then I'm committing gross negligence at my job.

Some ad-rotators from third parties are one of the top sources of browser exploits. A lot of unscrupulous ad services place control of the ad to anyone who comes with dollars. This means they can go for a browser add-on exploit, or many other things. And since the ad is random, neither the ad company, nor the malware company making ads gets blamed. Everyone wins except for the website, and the user.

Even first tier ad companies have gotten bitten by this in the past: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/11/13/doubleclick_distributes_malware/ [theregister.co.uk]

So until I can get some assurance from ad companies that they are not allowing people to serve up malware, I will take steps to protect security, and that means Adblock, NoScript, and on company networks, I'm going to be using Privoxy or some commercial ad-busting transparent proxy to make sure that this avenue of intrusion is closed.

And if some website bans people for wanting to protect their own security, fuck them. It is as simple as that. Most users if banned will just create another user from a different IP. If the new user creation process gets too stiff, that web forum will just fade into irrelevance, unless it caters to just a small, inbred crowd.

Re:They pay the bills, so STFU (2, Insightful)

h00manist (800926) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920280)

Ban all the ads. Problem is with time the ads become the priority, and the content is there just to keep people at the site, it doesn't really matter to the publisher what the content is so long as people see the ads. Therefore, stupid tv programs, spam, domain squatters, pages with stolen, duplicate, software-generated content, pointless content of all types becomes the rule. Advertisers should band up and create a common index of all services organized with some coherence, so people just search and find when they need something.

Re:They pay the bills, so STFU (2, Funny)

Spad (470073) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920060)

He's back! [theonion.com]

Re:They pay the bills, so STFU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31920116)

Don't be a douchebag, it was mentioned to contrast the timescale and advertising between the two forms of media.

Re:They pay the bills, so STFU (2, Insightful)

edumacator (910819) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920146)

internet entropy has caught up with television

There is a difference; the cost on entry is pretty low for a website while astronomical for a TV station(not including public access). Don't visit the horrific sites that bother you with ads. Find a nice little corner of the internet and hang out where people are willing to pay their money for your entertainment and mooch off of them until they can't afford to do it anymore, then find someone else who is willing to pay for your entertainment, and repeat.

Just don't complain that other people are trying to make a living by providing a service supported by ads. If you don't like it, fine. Just go somewhere else.

Re:They pay the bills, so STFU (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920226)

Yep the best sites are often those with no ads. Yes paying the bills is a problem for everyone too, but if it's solved in ways which involve less money and forcing things etc it's much better. Plus often paying the bills is no longer the problem at all, just increasing profits.

Re:They pay the bills, so STFU (5, Insightful)

Eraesr (1629799) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920026)

That, or The Escapist could've simply looked into the matter, discover the banner causing problems and remove it from their rotation (or contact the banner vendor they get it from) and everybody would say "the Escapist are awesome for actually listening to their visitors".

Quite a contrast there, eh?

Re:They pay the bills, so STFU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31920220)

The contrast between reality and what you imagine to be reality, you mean? The actual reality is that if they'd gone to the effort of investigating the issue, determining if the ad was actually at fault, bothering their customer (which is the advertiser in this scenario) and potentially preventing future custom, it would prove incredibly costly and you'd be lucky if any users even noticed the ad was gone. Like it or not, it's their site and they're unlikely to throw money away on the basis of one user's complaint. That doesn't mean the users are without power - they can vote by avoiding the site, and I would suggest any site that would ban one user for giving useful advice to another user is probably worth avoiding anyway, but don't make the mistake of thinking the users would be grateful for the site owners expending time and effort to solve an issue which would naturally go away in the next rotation anyway.

Re:They pay the bills, so STFU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31920096)

hey idiot, welcome to the PUBLIC internet.. if you want to paywall your shit, do so, but anything else is 'out there.' once the html is in my browser it will be parsed how I see fit on MY machine. if you don't like it, take your ball and go home.

Re:They pay the bills, so STFU (2, Insightful)

fbjon (692006) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920172)

once the html is in my browser it will be parsed how I see fit on MY machine.

Here's a thought, just to play devil's advocate. Is it legal to modify the content being transmitted to my own machine? I don't have copyright over it, so do I only have permission to transfer it for viewing? The browser has to render it of course, so there's wiggle room there, but what about Privoxy?

In the same vein, does the ISP have the right to modify, for example replacing ads with their own? In fact, I wonder if any ISP's are surreptitiously doing just that right now. Not necessarily different ads, just redirecting the cash flow. Who would notice!

Re:They pay the bills, so STFU (2, Insightful)

benjfowler (239527) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920182)

Fine, they're certainly within their rights, but on the other hand, it comes across as extremely petty and childish.

If they want to behave like 7 year old children, that's their perogative. But then they have to accept the consequences of the negative feelings they generate.

They can be as right as they want, but that'll do absolutely no good if they handle the situation poorly and antagonise their users. Being right isn't a license to behave like a tool.

Re:They pay the bills, so STFU (2, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920184)

not my bandwidth bills they don't. I can choose to revoke access to my bandwidth and PC however i choose, and if that means certain ads then tough shit.

Re:They pay the bills, so STFU (2, Interesting)

SakuraDreams (1427009) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920242)

What if you know for sure you will never buy or use any of the products advertised - is it still bad? I live in a different country and most of these ads advertise services not applicable to me or my profession, the online shops don't ship to my address and so on. When you block the ad you're also saving site bandwidth and also reducing impressions and the amount of money the advertiser has to pay for displaying ads to non target audience visitors.

Re:They pay the bills, so STFU (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31920264)

"I believe one of two things. Either we have unlimited rights, or we have no rights at all. Personally, I lean more towards the side of unlimited rights, which means I have the right to do anything I please. But if I do something you don't like, I believe you have the right to kill me. So where you going to find a fairer fucking deal than that, huh?"

(George Carlin. RIP)

Find a new site (5, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#31919884)

When Microsoft decided that they wanted to limit the number of features in the OS based on how much I was willing to pay them, I changed operating systems.
When the Sea Shepherds decided that terrorism was a valid way of combating whaling, I stopped contributing to them.
When Hamas decided that war with Israel would broaden their support, I decided to throw my support elsewhere.
When Obama decided that the only way out of this depression was massive spending programs, I affiliated myself with a different party.

If a site is not going to treat you with respect and dignity, then take your business elsewhere. A site that measures you in "eyeballs" rather than "contributors" is not something you should be associated with in any way.

Re:Find a new site (5, Insightful)

sulfur (1008327) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920038)

If a site is not going to treat you with respect and dignity, then take your business elsewhere. A site that measures you in "eyeballs" rather than "contributors" is not something you should be associated with in any way.

Exactly. In fact, Slashdot is one of few sites that are Doing It Right. I was so impressed when I saw the "Disable Advertising" option that I immediately added *.slashdot.org to my AdBlock whitelist (although I should have done it earlier given the amount of time I spend here).

Re:Find a new site (3, Informative)

beuges (613130) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920198)

I have no idea if its related or purely coincidental, but ever since I've had the 'Disable Ads' box checked, I've never received mod-points, despite receiving them somewhat regularly up till then.

Disable ads = Fewer mod points? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31920282)

Yes, mod points seem to be a lot rarer after ticking the disable ads box. If this is indeed a real policy, it should be made public so we can assess the pros and cons of ad-free viewing.

Good Luck with That (3, Interesting)

FreeUser (11483) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920098)

When Obama decided that the only way out of this depression was massive spending programs, I affiliated myself with a different party.

I hope it wasn't the Republicans, since the bailout that was required to prevent a depression directly resulting from years of irresponsible lack of oversight was initiated by George W. Bush and merely completed by Obama.

I also hope it wasn't the Libertarians, since it was their lassaiz-faire philosophy of deregulation and strict adherence to the Chicago School of Economics which infected and drove the Republican deregulation push of the last 20 years that in turn was directly responsible for the unregulated behavior that resulted in the current crash, and would have sent us directly into a second Great Depression had Bush/Obama/Brown not acted as they did.

I'm not sure what that leaves ... the Greens? Aryan Nationalists? Socialists? Teabaggers? Communists? The Party of Everything-is-Black-and-White-No-Exceptions-Allowed-and-Anything-That-Doesn't-Fit-My-World-View-Perfectly-Must-Be-a Liberal/Conservative-Conspiracy?

One issue only voting rarely works out--there will be some other issue in your new affiliation that drives you away, like a lone sheep being herded back and forth across the paddock by a playful terrier.

Re:Find a new site (-1, Offtopic)

Dyne09 (1305257) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920128)

You....supported Hamas? I mean, you say you gave money to the Sea Shepherds, and I assume you voted for Obama by party affiliation, but exactly how did you support Hamas other than just agreeing with them? How is comparable to refusing to buy a product. While I am sure Hamas was heavily dependent upon your moral support, you ceasing to agree with them does...well....nothing. Come to think of it, how are any of these things even remotely comparable? ...oh, wait, I get it "Bad Analogy Guy"

Re:Find a new site (0, Troll)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920150)

Hamas runs several orphanages and public welfare organizations. They accept donations, as do many humanitarian agencies do.

Re:Find a new site (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31920166)

passive aggressive behavior is only part of the dynamic.. it is reactionary. something like adblock is proactive, which forces the other side to sit up and take notice. since when does visiting some site qualify as a business relationship by default? ...arrogant 'webmaster' mentality taken to extremes I guess..

What happen??? (4, Funny)

FyRE666 (263011) | more than 3 years ago | (#31919892)

Hey, where the hell did my previous reply about Digg go?!!

Same place as mention of AllParadox did on Groklaw (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31919972)

The same place as any person inquiring about AllParadox goes on Groklaw. (He left the site due to their moderation policies which are both sneakily implemented and poorly known. See his post to the SCOX forums, for example.)

From rules list (2, Insightful)

DarkIye (875062) | more than 3 years ago | (#31919894)

Starting a thread: Posting is an art; be proud of your work.

This tells you everything you need to know about these forums.

Non Issue (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31919898)

They already have their accounts back, move along.

Re:Non Issue (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31919996)

only because social media will make it an issue and make the situation worse than it is for them.

Because people complained. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31920032)

Because people complained. Wheras you'd have them not complain until after it's happened, then complain that it's not their site.

You could stick post-it notes over my screen ... (5, Insightful)

AlexiaDeath (1616055) | more than 3 years ago | (#31919904)

Lets ban people for suggesting channel switching for the duration of ad breaks on tv aswell...

Troublesome ads (5, Insightful)

topham (32406) | more than 3 years ago | (#31919916)

A site I frequent ran some ads for a while that gave me grief. When it spawned a discussion thread they got rather pissy about it.
but, here's a point...
If your Ads fuck-up the user experience that bad then they can't read your site you dimwits. If they can't read it they will go away and not come back. Would you rather have that? -FIX- the Ads promptly and there won't be a problem.

It's not a threat to say "If you don't fix it, I will leave". It's a fact, and it's not entirely by choice.

Re:Troublesome ads (5, Interesting)

xtracto (837672) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920000)

The problem I see with ads is editorial control.

With real magazines ads, editors have some kind of control of the ad after they receive it. For example, they can decide if they accept an ad with a full page giant penis in it selling v14gr4.

However, with web ads, the editors have no control over it. The advertizer has complete control of how the ad looks. And even though at the time of "contracting" the ad the editors may like the types of ad, maybe after a month the ad will get changed to something really annoying.

From the original forum thread, the problem was that someone's computer was slowing to a halt because some random flash ad. That sort of thing is really annoying.

I even have seen similar kind of trouble in pages of open source projects. In one of those pages, the guys used some ad service and got some kind of virus or XSS attack in one of the ads... even though the ad company was supposed to be good!

Re:Troublesome ads (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31920102)

So use a better ad company. Project Wonderful [projectwonderful.com] lets you moderate ads if you choose, or whitelist by advertiser, or just allow a free-for-all. And they don't allow arbitrary scripting, so no XSS or browser attacks.

Re:Troublesome ads (1)

Quantumstate (1295210) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920126)

A decent ad provider provides controls which should stop this happening the vast majority of the time. Maybe the odd thing will slip through but that should be unusual. I personally run a website which uses text only adverts because I consider them to be acceptable in terms of bandwidth use and they don't interfere with the website other than being exactly where I put them.

Re:Troublesome ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31920174)

A possible solution to that problem would be having a consumer organization that rates ad providers based on the intrusiveness of their ads. If it got enough critical mass, it'd both help the consumers get served acceptable ads (it could publish a whitelist for adblock for instance), and help the advertisers not get blocked by giving them standards to adhere to.

Re:Troublesome ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31920248)

There are a lot of sites that don't give a rats ass wether you read their pages, they want you to read their ads. Any and all cpalead.com-blackmail-sites for example...

Flash (5, Insightful)

Weezul (52464) | more than 3 years ago | (#31919924)

All internet users should use some Flash blocker that allows the user to accept specific flash content, period.

FireFox and Chrome have plugins called FlashBlock, Safari's is called ClickToFlash. IE8 provides this functionality from the Flash player add-on in Manage Add-ons under Tools, just select More informations and click Remove all sites. All these will let you reenable either individual Flash applets or whole sites when you browse those pages.

Re:Flash (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920066)

I would even argue that making it mandatory to give this option is a national security issue but, you know, I'm always blowing things out or proportions...

Re:Flash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31920120)

AWSOME idea! The sooner everyone blocks all ads the sooner we will all have to PAY for what now are free websites. You ROCK! I wish more people are as smart as you..........

Re:Flash (1)

hamisht (197412) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920136)

I browse using an iPhone - what is this "Flash" of which you speak?

Re:Flash (2, Insightful)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920272)

It's the software equivalent of hooking up your battery directly to a dummy load so it drains very quickly without anything really showing on the screen.

Re:Flash (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920158)

Actually I have been doing for long time without AdBlockPlus but with FlashBlock. That was enough to stop those irritating blinking Flash ads.

That was until I was browsing some torrent sites and everything started to flash again. And it was slow because there was more ad than content.

Now I also have AdBlockPlus on this computer. Most of my computers don't have it though. Just FlashBlock. The non-Flash ads are generally not intrusive so OK with me.

Do an Ars (5, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | more than 3 years ago | (#31919932)

Do what Arstechnica discovered after they tried blocking adblock users from seeing articles; actually *ask* your users to whitelist your site in adblock (or other ad blockers) with a promise that if the adverts on the site cause issues with users machines that they will work to resolve them and/or remove those adverts from rotation.

So far, every site that I use regularly and trust (for appropriate values of trust) that have asked me to whitelist them have had their request granted. I'm happy to help out the sites with their revenue on the condition that the adverts on said site do not impact my browsing experience; pop-ups, pop-unders, sound, fullscreens, "intellitext" or mid-paragraph ads are an instant nono, as are any that impact page loading due to shoddy design and overloaded ad servers, but I'm willing to put up with most other ads if I'm asked to in order to support the site.

Re:Do an Ars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31920006)

The editors at Ars there were dicks and after they realized that they didn't even apologize, just called it a failed experiment. They also drew my attention to their ridiculous TOS. They've been redirected into oblivion in my /etc/hosts since then.

I really hope I don't have to do the same to the Escapist, because I really enjoy the Zero/Extra Punctuation columns.

Re:Do an Ars (4, Informative)

Spad (470073) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920034)

[...]They've been redirected into oblivion in my /etc/hosts since then.

Yes, because simply not visiting the site would be silly.

From http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2010/03/why-ad-blocking-is-devastating-to-the-sites-you-love.ars [arstechnica.com]

[...]We made the mistake of assuming that everyone who is blocking ads at Ars is doing so with malice. As it turns out, only a few people are, and many (most?) indicated you are happy to help out. That's what led to this hopefully informative post.

Our experiment is over, and we're glad we did it because it led to us learning that we needed to communicate our point of view every once in a while. Sure, some people told us we deserved to die in a fire. But that's the Internet![...]

What dicks!

Re:Do an Ars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31920064)

What dicks!

If you read the comments in the thread where the whole thing was playing out, you'll find multiple posts by Ars editors that are condescending or hostile towards adblock users.

Re:Do an Ars (5, Informative)

Zan Lynx (87672) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920152)

They were hostile to NoScript users too, who didn't even notice Ars had done anything until the forum postings started.

Once some NoScript users mentioned that, and then loudly said they'd never, under any circumstances, enable scripting for doubleclick, etc, Ars got nasty toward them too.

Re:Do an Ars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31920014)

Screw that. The web existed before the ads went nutso. Remember when the worst thing we hated was the blink tag? Yeah, I want those days back. I don't care if I "like" a site or not, I don't "like" ads, and if I can block them, I will. There will always be sites that work without the ads, and that's where I'll go.

Re:Do an Ars (5, Insightful)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920154)

My take: Text ads, fine. Basic graphic ads, OK.

Ads that pop up crap when moving over text, Flash crap which wiggles around the screen like someone projectile vomited over my shoulder and onto my monitor, and pages which take more than 30 seconds to low because some adfarm just doesn't have the pipes to deal with the traffic, or even the annoying "punch the monkey" crap no.

Google learned this lesson back when every other search provider were doing banner ads, and this is one reason why Google has leapfrogged ahead of the pack and stayed ahead so long. Text ads are fine. Ads which require 5 megabyte .swf files are just plain unacceptable.

Re:Do an Ars (1)

spandex_panda (1168381) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920214)

Me too. I have two of the sites I frequent a lot unblocked (ars included). Reddit responded to its uses disgust at one of the adds on its site which goes fullscreen by assuring that it was an accident, they mentioned how it happened and put something in place so that it would not happen again. I use addblock a lot, and I am shocked when I use a computer without it. The web is very different with those big, flashy adds.

Admin Abuse (1)

hellop2 (1271166) | more than 3 years ago | (#31919944)

What's new? At least slashdot was enlightened enough to implement measures to counteract admin/moderator abuse. Right on, slashdot!

I don't understand the fanboy mindset (5, Insightful)

Huntr (951770) | more than 3 years ago | (#31919946)

After the community manager unbanned everyone, the follow-up posts in that thread [escapistmagazine.com] are all fan-boyish groveling which I totally don't understand. "We shouldn't use adblockers anyway!! Thanks for unbanning! Much respect!!" Respect for what? Taking the boot off your throat? Here's some bannable "browsing preference advice:" don't read The Escapist.

Re:I don't understand the fanboy mindset (2, Insightful)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 3 years ago | (#31919970)

Stockholm syndrome?

Re:I don't understand the fanboy mindset (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31920142)

My guess is withdrawal and intimidation: they fear their forum stats could be ruined so they remorsefully kiss their feet.

It's really quite beneficial to those who got blocked because it teaches them not to help others and invest too much time on a corporate site.

= belonging to a group (2, Insightful)

s-whs (959229) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920224)

fan-boyish groveling which I totally don't understand. "We shouldn't use adblockers anyway!! Thanks for unbanning! Much respect!!" Respect for what? Taking the boot off your throat?

It's juvenile behaviour of people who who have not grown up enough (mentally) to be something on their own but get their self esteem by belonging to a group.

To give some examples more relevant to slashdot where I've seen/experienced this: gnu.misc.discuss springs to mind where everything Stallman says or does is perfect and noone should ever criticize him or suggest alternatives. It's quite similar to religious zealotry and Linux enthusiasts often are no better than that (dare to criticize the GPL or suggest alternatives and see what happens). BSD people are often tired of this and it's one of the reasons I switched to FreeBSD (the final straw was Torvalds behaviour, esp. the unfounded (read as: based on made up 'facts') criticism of John Dyson (the FreeBSD VM guy)). I tried OpenBSD but there's a similar situation with Theo de Raadt. He has done some good things but he's also an ass. The group-following-a-leader phenomenon is clearly visible there too and I wanted none of that.

move along (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31919954)

change website.
the internet is so large that sites that act like this are doomed to oblivion

Blizzard did the same thing (5, Informative)

Cyberllama (113628) | more than 3 years ago | (#31919976)

Not too long ago, around a year ago, Blizzard added banner ads to the official World of Warcarft game forums.

People strongly objected on the basis that nobody can post to those forums unless they already pay Blizzard money for an account, so why should paying customers be subjected to the advertisements? They clearly didn't need advertising revenue to pay the bills, it was just a crass money-grab. This spawned many posts on how to block the ads. The result? All of the ad-blocking discussion threads deleted, and all of their creators banned from the forums. Some people complained, but they soon found out that talking about deleted threads is also grounds for a ban.

It sucks, but what can you do? The only way they would have any incentive to change is if people actually quit the game in protest over the decision, which isn't particularly likely. They perhaps spent some of their good will by way of their actions, but there's no real immediate or obvious negative repercussions.

I am torn as well. I understand the need for advertisements to subsidize content on the web, but I also see it as an issue when a company abuses the ubiquity of ads to slip them in as a money-grab when they clearly aren't dependent on advertising for their revenue. Moreover, I really feel like it should be obvious at this point that banner ads are stupid. They fact that people go to such lengths to remove them should indicate how people feel about them. They're really no different then spam; except spam is free, so it can be profitable with abysmal response rates. Does anyone actually buy anything as result of banner ads? Sure people click them all the time, but how often is it done on purpose? The damn things are just in the way. I'm constantly accidentally tapping on ads on my iPhone, but I sure as hell have never bought anything as a result.

Annoying flash ads, banner ads, and javascript-fueled nightmare ads are not selling anything. Anyone notice those are all things Google does not use? I think they know a thing or two about the business of internet ads. They've got 25 billion dollars in the bank that says internet advertising works better when its not obtrusive and obnoxious.

Re:Blizzard did the same thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31920012)

I agree. I seem to recall somebody from Google saying something along the lines of "If ad companies were doing their jobs properly, people wouldn't be concerned about blocking them."

Re:Blizzard did the same thing (1)

mxh83 (1607017) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920046)

google tricks you into clicking links (ads) that you think are genuine non sponsored links. That's their business model.

The first rule of AdBlock is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31920178)

:)

Re:Blizzard did the same thing (5, Insightful)

AstynaxX (217139) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920278)

Honestly, I was fine not blocking ads until 2 trends started.

First, the obnoxiously loud ads. A little sound is one thing, but an ear splitting 'Congratulation!' bellowing out unexpectedly is quite unacceptable.

Second, malware spreading ads. I thought they were a myth at first, until I was tapped by one (spreading one of those annoying fake antivirus trojan things no less.) And these do turn up on otherwise reputable sites, so anyone trying to pull out the 'watch where you browse' or 'lay off the (porn/warez/music/movies) can sit and spin. The first infection I encountered on a system I used came from a tech support forum of all places, while running Firefox, with anti-virus and anti-malware application resident and up to date, and all applicable security patches to all involved software in place. 0-day exploits are a pain that way.

And even the best 'we will remove it if it causes trouble' policy is a failure. By that point, the damage is already done, I've had to spend time cleaning (or just plain rebuilding) a system to be certain a bit of malware is gone.

Nope, until sites start guaranteeing all their ads free of such issues (and a few others might be nice, like bugged, eta your CPU ads) the ads get blocked. My browsing safety > their ad revenue.

Do not mention Mathfox.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31919978)

....on Groklaw or your post will be deleted. It is the same thing. Big deal!

My solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31919990)

One simple solution:

If i ever get banned from any website or any other place, it's their lost, not mine. They need me as a member and not me them. I can get same info somewhere else.

Not the only forum that does that (1)

tangent3 (449222) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920008)

Strange that Escapist is being singled out when the same policy can be found in several other forums. http://diablo.incgamers.com/forums/faq.php?faq=rules [incgamers.com] is one: You use DIII.Net and its affiliates in the full knowledge that advertising in the form of banner adverts, interstitials and embedded adverts appear on all pages. You agree to not interfere with the display of these adverts through banner blocking software or browser features.

But whatever, I've since learnt to keep it to myself that I'm blocking ads. Sad that there are lots of people out there annoyed by ads and do not know that ads can be easily blocked, but I'm not going to teach them on a public forum that is ad supported. I also keep out of threads where people bitch about the ads on the forum.

Re:Not the only forum that does that (1)

tangent3 (449222) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920044)

Oh shit... Slashdot doesn't really count as a public forum that is ad supported, does it?

Re:Not the only forum that does that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31920238)

My attitude is don't ask, don't tell in general. This is common courtesy, and it is also to prevent an arms race from starting up. I remember one place who wanted to try to lash out at adblockers started trying to do fanciful Javascript in efforts to find those who were supposedly blocking their ads. If they thought someone was blocking, they would send them to a Web page cursing them out for stealing content and threatening lawsuits for "copyright violations/unauthorized tampering with content". Quickly, someone made a Greasemonkey script to deal with that. Another person made a DNS based solution. This arms race ran for a bit, until the website ended up trying to put all their content only accessible through a large .SWF blob that was about 7-10 megabytes. Then, they got completely abandoned for other sites and didn't last more than a few weeks after that.

Way to go - 'criminialise' your users! (4, Insightful)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920024)

Apparently (FTA), this is in the site's T&Cs

Do not confess, teach, admit to, or promote ad-blocking software that will allow users to block the ads of this site.

Great. Using ad/flash-blocking software is a crime now? Whatever happened to reasonable discussion?
Instead of just banning the users, could the mods not have simply pointed out that the site needed the ad revenue to survive, and also acted to remove the offensive ads?
Who are the customers of a site such as this; the users, or the advertisers?

Re:Way to go - 'criminialise' your users! (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920190)

I have talked with people who used to run an ad "service" company. To them, the customers are the people who pay for the ads. The people who go to the Web pages are not considered customers at all, but visitors/useful idiots at best, leeches and pirates at worst.

From that point on, I realized that the only way to reduce the more intrusive ads is to block them, or find another site that considers the people browsing as assets, not necessary evils.

Re:Way to go - 'criminialise' your users! (1)

djmurdoch (306849) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920240)

I have talked with people who used to run an ad "service" company. To them, the customers are the people who pay for the ads. The people who go to the Web pages are not considered customers at all, but visitors/useful idiots at best, leeches and pirates at worst.

No wonder they're no longer in that business. They missed the whole point. The people who go to the Web pages are the *product* they're selling to the advertisers.

Re:Way to go - 'criminialise' your users! (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920234)

The readers are the product, which is being sold to the advertisers.

Re:Way to go - 'criminialise' your users! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31920254)

Do not confess, teach, admit to, or promote ad-blocking software that will allow users to block the ads of this site.

Don't ask, don't tell?

Re:Way to go - 'criminialise' your users! (1)

shabble (90296) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920274)

Who are the customers of a site such as this; the users, or the advertisers?

Silly question. As with the likes of Y!Groups, the users are the product. The advertisers are the customers.

It's the only model that makes sense when the adverts are being relied upon to generate cash that is required to keep the site going.

Internet used to be a home (3, Insightful)

amn108 (1231606) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920048)

There is a good reason a home is called a home. As opposed to a marketplace. People like to actually live at home, not at the marketplace (shopaholics excluded.)

Internet used to be more of a home. Now it is become more of a marketplace. Everywhere you turn, there is some shmuck pitching and pushing his stuff onto you, and when you refuse he goes verbal.

The whole thing is rooted in overpopulation again. Too many people need to survive, and they colonize the Internet space, with their smallminded schemes.

A disappearing problem (1)

Alkonaut (604183) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920084)

If the site owners need to make sure that everyone that reads the site also gets the ads, then they simply have to figure something else out. Make ad downloading mandatory in order to download the content, or mix ads and content in some more elaborate way. As long as I need to do a number of separate downloads for the ads (http requests for images for example), or even RUN ads as applications (for example flash), I choose when and if I download those ads. This is simply a problem with html and http, nothing else. Should be a disappearing problem as more and more sites realize they need to move off html in order to make sure that what people see is what they intend (for good and bad, ads being the bad).

I do agree that anyone can ban anyone off a private forum, at random, or for any reason however stupid.

Re:A disappearing problem (1)

Zan Lynx (87672) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920216)

Move off HTML to what? Flash? Not going to work unless they refuse to have any Apple iPhone/iPad users.

Java? .NET? I really doubt many people are going to install that to visit web sites unless they are insanely great sites.

Make the whole web site a giant video file? That would kill off browsing at many workplaces that shape traffic down toward a fair share per IP. Stuttering, always buffering Youtube is awfully common around lunch time but the VoIP works fine.

Mod me whatever you like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31920112)

I just wanted to say, I will be deliberately increasing the number of websites I use ad-block on, as well as increasing the amount of peers I recommend it to, as a result of this.

Cheers!

tongue in cheek? (2, Insightful)

SkunkPussy (85271) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920122)

"As we've mentioned previously in great detail, if you've got ads on your website that are annoying your users, that is your fault -- not your users' fault. "

he writes this with a massive animated HP advert that takes up 1/4 of the column width down the side

heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31920124)

Sites such as Neowin.net do the same.

Escapist know for unfair bans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31920138)

This isn't a surprise, they banned a bunch of people recently for saying they didn't like one of their series (a popular opinion since it started)

I don't see the point in using adblock (1)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920140)

when you can use flashblock, stopping JavaScript animations and NoScript. It means if I can't see an advert, it's the own website's own fault. My Netbook is slow enough on the web without Flash and fancy Javascript. Interesting affects of my usage are that www.newgrounds.com accuses me of adblocking in their advert spots and screwattack.com videos don't play unless I turn off NoScript.

Log in your own eye (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31920148)

Slashdot is not immune from this either. Reading the website's rules page, the general motivation is quite clear, and that is to protect the interests of the said business (Escapist)---read the last post and a bit above that. [I admit that that was more of an editorial-based comment rather than one to do with advertisements, but the idea is that it is made clear not to criticise the work.] Slashdot threads, while not penalising people for comments against Slashdot, nonetheless "mod down" posts which do not agree with the intentions of the original poster. Hence "enforced" or compulsory discretion is present in both cases.

If this post is modded down, then my point is proven.

HardOCP and TechReport do it as well. (2, Interesting)

Dukenukemx (1342047) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920160)

Every time HardOCP or TechReport mention web browsers, ADBlock Plus is sure to follow in the discussion. When that happens, administrators go ban crazy on their asses. If your tech website relies on revenue from ads to the point when you ban forum posters, you're just digging a slow grave for your site. The website ads are nothing more then another form of pop-up ads.

advertisers can suck it! (5, Insightful)

acromosh (1645811) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920192)

I might be quite backward in my thinking here but... I pay my isp for a subscription to access the internets (every last one of them). The specific contect I choose to receive or block at my end is my own damn business. It's like being banned from walking down the street because I chose not to look at the billboards!

AutoPager mentions may be banned next (1)

Mandrel (765308) | more than 3 years ago | (#31920200)

AutoPager [mozilla.org] also prevents ads from displaying, so it may become the next unmentionable. Eventually any system which messes with the HTML or scripts.

That's how it works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#31920276)

Everybody should be able to do whatever he wants with packets coming through his NIC.

Maybe some sites will come up with EULAs which state that usage of their site is only allowed without adblocking software. Or they will claim copyright on the tcp packets (no layer 2).

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