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Adblock Plus To Offer 'Acceptable Ads' Option

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the polarizing-issue dept.

Firefox 373

Many readers have submitted news of a week-old announcement from Wladimir Palant, creator of Adblock Plus, about a change to the addon that will allow unobtrusive ads to be displayed. The change has been controversial because most people who run the addon strongly dislike seeing any ads. Palant hastens to point out that this is a toggle-able option, and by changing one setting, users can resume ad-less website viewing. Many are upset, however, that the setting defaults to allowing the display of "acceptable" advertisements. The description of "acceptable" ads includes the following criteria: "Static advertisements only (no animations, sounds or similar); Preferably text only, no attention-grabbing images; At most one script that will delay page load (in particular, only a single DNS request)."

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And money changes hands... (3, Interesting)

InsightIn140Bytes (2522112) | more than 2 years ago | (#38348968)

Adblock developers have previously tried to monetarize the addon in very shady ways. I bet this is just another one of those. The announcement quite clearly reads as "we will still block ads, but we will not block Google's ads". I can bet that Google is directly paying them not to block their ads, but still keep continue blocking everyones else. This means increased income to Google, which now suddenly is the only provider whose ads aren't being blocked. This isn't new from Google either - they're currently under monopoly abuse investigation in EU after their contracts with advertisers said that advertisers cannot advertise on competing ad networks, like those from Yahoo and Microsoft.

Shady people, shady deals.

Re:And money changes hands... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38348996)

Meh, if it's an only an option, it doesn't seem too bad. I do wonder if it is the default, though.

Re:And money changes hands... (3, Informative)

InsightIn140Bytes (2522112) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349036)

It is the default. They explicitly noted that most users aren't interested in tweaking settings and that's why they had to make it default and even change it for existing users.

Re:And money changes hands... (5, Insightful)

chilvence (1210312) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349408)

I use adblock because I don't like ads. Or the principle of advertising. If I need something, I look for it. If don't know about something, then I won't care if I don't have it will I? I'll be happy as a pig in shit. Yet somehow to support television, magazines and the internet we have to be fed an endless stream of trash that will invariably end up in the landfills that spoil the countryside after it is thrown away by the morons that actually buy it even though it has no relevance to what they were watching or reading or listening to just because someone somewhere has brainwashed them into buying it by showing it next to a nice pair of tits.

Re:And money changes hands... (4, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349596)

Online ads don't end up in landfill, but i fully agree there...

I hate unsolicited junkmail ads and will never buy anything advertised therein. They go straight in the recycling bag and are terribly wasteful.
I also detest people who cold call, either on the phone or in person and will never purchase their offerings.
If I want something, i will actively go and look for it.

Ads that include any form of sound especially irritate me, and are the main reason i installed adblock in the first place... I also dislike garish animated ads, and those that delay access to the content but nothing is worse than sound... Especially when you can't work out which of your many browser tabs is making the noise!

Re:And money changes hands... (4, Informative)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349846)

I think he was suggesting that the shit being advertised is what winds up in the landfill when the consumer eventually figures out he was sold shit.

Re:And money changes hands... (5, Funny)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349866)

Sorry.... the only part of the post I caught was about the nice pair of tits. Go on.

Re:And money changes hands... (5, Insightful)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349978)

I also use adblock because I also don't like ads, but you're missing an important piece of the principle of advertising. You hit on why advertisers are willing to pay for ads, but you ignored the reason why people let them place the ads on their websites, radio stations, etc. It's to pay for the service. Running a website may be cheap, but it's not free.

So here's their options: paywall or ads. We all know which one works, and which one doesn't.

We all like "free" stuff, and ads are what make the "free" world tick.

Special Ad-Friendly Code vs. Subscription Lists (5, Interesting)

billstewart (78916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349770)

There's already an obvious way to permit no-annoying ads while blocking annoying ones, which is to have the subscription blacklist you already use for AdBlock delete the entries for the annoying ads. No need to build a special whitelist capability, unless you want to prevent people from using alternative blacklists.

I'm not actually too bothered by having a few ads, as long as

  • * None of them use Flash/Javascript/ActiveX/Popups/Popunders/Floatovers/StupidHTML5Tricks/iFrames/etc.
  • * None of them use animation, just static images/text
  • * None of them use cookies
  • * None of them pretend not to be ads
  • * None of them are sleazy, annoying, or NSFW.
  • * None of them get REFERER except the originating site.

Unfortunately, that kills off most of the advertising services that might be used to support web sites I like (especially the no-tracking features, because the ad services use those to prevent web sites from faking view data.)

The current advertising-like annoyance I still get is Disqus's takeover of the site-comments business. It thinks that I'm blocking its cookies (I'm not), so some combination of Linux, Firefox, NoScript, Ghostery, AdBlockPlus, FF's Don't track is breaking it. (Also, it has lots of other problems, like not being good at keeping track of multiple identities - my comment histories on BoingBoing and various newspapers aren't supposed to all get lost, which happens if they get mushed together into one Disqus ID.)

Re:And money changes hands... (2)

lbft (950835) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349042)

TFA says quite clearly that it's the default.

Re:And money changes hands... (2)

Myopic (18616) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349268)

Please forgive GP. Some people only have the attention necessary to read three sentences, and that detail was "buried" in the fourth sentence.

Re:And money changes hands... (4, Informative)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349046)

I do wonder if it is the default, though.

Yes and no.

No as in when you first load up the new version, you get to choose whether you want the option.

Yes as in if you use EasyPrivacy it's enabled by default.

Re:And money changes hands... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38349056)

"Many are upset, however, that the setting defaults to allowing the display of "acceptable" advertisements."

Re:And money changes hands... (5, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349778)

"Many are upset, however, that the setting defaults to allowing the display of "acceptable" advertisements."

Considering the "acceptable" advertisement criteria (no animations, sounds or similar) I've no problem with that. Text or static ads are welcome, particularly if they are paying the bills for what I'm reading. I intensely despise video/audio ads, anything animated and will stop what I'm doing to kill them dead and do whatever is necessary to never see them again. Pretty galling what some people seem to consider acceptable advertising behaviour. It's really bad when you have two audio/video ads playing at the same time.

Re:And money changes hands... (5, Insightful)

Kelbear (870538) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349288)

It would be a bad move to make it the default. People download this add-on specifically to remove ads, the presumption should be that all ads should be removed.

The best way to handle it would be to just ask the user in plain-english, maybe even explain why they might want to allow such advertisement. Then once the choice is made, never bring it up again. (For example, I don't mind seeing ads for movies because I like to see movies. I don't watch network television, so I never get exposed to movie trailers and I don't know I am missing a movie that might be relevant to my interests. So there are indeed a few cases where I want to allow ads.)

I'm not opposed to non-invasive advertising, and on certain sites, I'll even click an ad from time to time on the sites which I've allowed to advertise to me(assuming the ad was of any interest to me). The ads support the site, and I want the site to continue. I like the idea of advertisers having guidelines to adhere to in order to avoid pissing off viewers. They should already know by now what will piss off viewers, but at least now there's a standard they can point to. For example, if the advertiser has an internal argument between someone who wants a more invasive ad, and someone who wants a less invasive ad, now the guy who wants to use less invasive ads has at least 1 more arrow in his quiver.

If "free" ad-supported content is to survive as ad-blocked viewing methods grow in popularity, somebody needs to keep looking at ads. For that to happen, ads need to evolve into something that gets the point across without pissing off viewers. I didn't mind the brief 15-30 sec Hulu breaks, especially when given the option to give feedback on what kinds of ads they should be serving me with.

Re:And money changes hands... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38349686)

People download this add-on specifically to remove ads, the presumption should be that all ads should be removed.

Well, kind of. I use AdBlockPlus as a security measure, because a depressing amount of malware is served via animated ads. I don't actually care about blocking ads as such; in fact I like the idea of sites I like receiving revenue for my pageviews. (As opposed to the site ducking behind a paywall.) A default option to allow static, text-based ads doesn't undermine my ABP use-case at all. I can only presume that (for once!) I'm actually part of the intended audience.

I think your argument above has a lot to do with their choice of default options. The "guy who wants to use less invasive ads" has a lot more arrows in his quiver if he knows that many zillions of ABP users who don't change the default will actually see the less-obtrusive ads.

Re:And money changes hands... (2)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349692)

Why would you want to see ads for movies?
Can you not visit a site which explicitly lists current and soon to be released movies?

I was especially annoyed by some movie ads not so long ago, a site i visited to view some video clips made me watch an unskippable 30 second movie trailer before every single video... It was always the same trailer, and the movie it was advertising was not even released where i am so i couldn't have gone to see it legally even if i had wanted to.

Re:And money changes hands... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38349546)

Yes, it is the default and you have to dig through configuration to turn it off.

Re:And money changes hands... (4, Insightful)

jlechem (613317) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349034)

Totally agree, and I'm sure someone will nerd rage and create the next adblock plus plus that will block all ads again until they decide to take the money and run. Kind of a vicious cycle but as long as someone picks up the torch I am happy. Hell I might even be motivated enough to get off my fat American ass and do it myself.

Re:And money changes hands... (5, Insightful)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349242)

Why re-invent the wheel? The option of a full ad-block is within the program, you just have to tick one extra box to enable it, at which point it will most likely stay for every update until you chose to disable it. IMO this is not a horrible idea, The reason people started using ad-blockers wasn't because they abhorred the idea of their free sites having the nerve to post advertisements to fund themselves, it was because the advertisements kept getting more and more obtrusive as they went from small images, to large images, to images with popups to obnoxious sounds, at least a few people aren't opposed to a middle ground where they revert back to small banners on the page. One thing that would be nice is if ad-block could be designed to adjust the loading order however, IE the advertisement loads after the page.

Re:And money changes hands... (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349324)

People who aren't tech savvy aren't likely to be installing adblock, and those that are can handle the changing of a single option. The people that are likely to be the most annoyed though are either nerd raging or are in the habit of manually installing huge numbers of installs.

Re:And money changes hands... (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349890)

People who aren't tech savvy aren't likely to be installing adblock,

I disagree. I point naive people to adblock plus all the time, I tell them just click the big green button to install it and then restart firefox. On restart it asks about adding extra subscriptions, but they can safely ignore that.

In the past it "just worked" - now it won't.

Why even bother developing the software? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38349906)

1. Form LLC
2. Purchase software and customization kit from 3rd party.
3. Act in apparently good faith until the payoff is sweet enough.
4. Profit!

Re:And money changes hands... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38349976)

Or get off your lazy American ass long enough to hire a Mexican to do it for you?

Re:And money changes hands... (4, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349066)

You're speculating they're shady - you have no proof Google pays them. Besides, even assuming that they're accepting money from Google in the first place, offering a free add-on which users optionally install and run is hardly a problem, is it? Haven't Google been paying Mozilla to work on the browser this plug-on runs under? Is that shady too?

Re:And money changes hands... (4, Informative)

trunicated (1272370) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349074)

I remember NoScript, the other addon people install when they're trying to prevent large attack vectors, updating for very minor changes, and automatically loading their home page. Those loads translated to ad hits, which generated revenue. They eventually added an option for this, and I'm sure the people that cared enough turned it off.

However, I don't remember anything similar happening with AdBlock... Can you site a specific incident?

Re:And money changes hands... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349358)

TBH, most people that install noscript want bugs and functionality worked on regularly. Plus, I have a hard time imagining that they get much money like that as I don't recall ever seeing any ads on that page.

I'm personally more comfortable with that than silent upgrades and having to figure out why something is suddenly not working the way that it had been.

Re:And money changes hands... (4, Informative)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349576)

TBH, most people that install noscript want bugs and functionality worked on regularly. Plus, I have a hard time imagining that they get much money like that as I don't recall ever seeing any ads on that page.

Then you have never looked at the page. It's full of ads. That's why the asshole that runs noscript silently killed ad-block without telling users, so that his ads would be seen. []

Re:And money changes hands... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38349156)

How do people make money from on-line ads that everyone wants to block?
This strikes me as similar to the spammer's business plan: defraud the clueless company who thinks they will make money by advertising via spam.

Re:And money changes hands... (5, Informative)

makomk (752139) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349296)

Google ads apparently aren't unblocked (yet), but someone on Hacker News asked the developer earlier and apparently monetization is part of the plan [] :

I don't think that we get anything yet but we indeed hope to get some income this way to make the project sustainable. This doesn't mean that paying us is the requirement to be added to the exceptions list - the requirements a formulated here and they will probably become more precise as we gain experience (suggestions are welcome). As to Google: no, they have nothing to do with it. We didn't talk to Google, we didn't take money from them, there is no conspiracy here. We did look at Google Ads as a typical example (unblocking them is the most common request we get yet most people lack the knowledge for that) but they don't meet our requirements at the moment. Google's search ads are a different thing and they can meet our requirements depending on how the website configures them - and we did add an exception for them on one particular website.

Re:And money changes hands... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38349348)

Very odd.

I went to to install adblockplus.

When I clicked the Install button, Firefox said:

" Firefox prevented this site ( from
asking you to install software on your computer."

I installed it anyway.

What is this suppose to mean anyway ??

Re:And money changes hands... (2)

arose (644256) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349762)

By default only addons from are installed without additional warning. What you see is basically a security warning, you can still install addons from third party sites, but you have to explicitly tell Firefox you wanted to. And of course you can always install Adblock+ from [] .

Re:And money changes hands... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38349604)

Shady ways? You must mean Noscript that likes to update to load it's ad-filled update page and at one time whitelisted itself on Adblock+ [] . If you are going to accuse the Adblock+ developers, then have the decency to include a link!

Re:And money changes hands... (2)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349694)

IF this will cool the inevitable arms race between advertisers and adblock and possibly forestall the advertisers creating ads that are more difficult to block then it's worth the extra few clicks. Additionally, this may have the added effect of making advertising on the web (it ain't going away, folks) less flashy, bandwidth/CPU intensive and less of a potential vector for malware infection. However I, for one, will be clicking the little box that says no ads whatsoever.

Re:And money changes hands... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38349746)

Where does it say Google? It's not officially on the list of sites [] they're blackmailing/selling adspace to. Of course Palant could be grooming himself for a deal with Google, but that's speculation. There's no mention of Google anywhere.

Reminds me of the mob... (4, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349822)

Adblock developers have previously tried to monetarize the addon in very shady ways. I bet this is just another one of those.

*long whistle* Nice ads you have there! It'd be a shame if someone were to come along and block 'em. *extends hand*

One more filter needed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38349004)

It needs eye-searing color clash detection, too.

Reasons for negative response (5, Informative)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349038)

The summary fails to cite some of the core reasons for the complaints, which are that this feature will be enabled by default as well as the fact that the Adblock project is hoping to make monetary agreements with advertisers [] .

Re:Reasons for negative response (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349186)

I rtfa and I could care less, noscript > adblock anyways, so if you like opting in to website, noscript still does this I hear, there's also other ad blockers out there. Can you really blame the guy for wanting to make money w his app? If you got a problem go make your own especially on something as trivial as this ad blocker that ppl seem to be bashing left and right.

bonch: consider your signature owned after reading: []

is the real reason for my post :DDD

Re:Reasons for negative response (1, Interesting)

Myopic (18616) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349298)

I've tried noscript a couple times, and each time it rendered the web useless. Almost all websites use Javascript to build the page or for the pages to function. Do you really use noscript without problem? Is there something I need to change (a setting, or an expectation) which could make it work for me?

Re:Reasons for negative response (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349416)

I'd recommend allowing scripts by default and using request policy to limit the scope of the jabascript. I can definitely understand the annoyance, I used to run noscript with scripts disabled by default, but most of the sites I'd go to would be completely broken unless I allowed a half dozen scripts from places that I'd never heard of. Most of them would turn out to be Content Delivery Network scripts, but annoying nonetheless.

If they'll allow only tasteful ads with adblock, I'm probably going to install it as I don't generally mind those kinds of ads, it's mostly the bright flashy ones and the flash ads that cover up paee elements that I want blocked.

Re:Reasons for negative response (2)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349524)

Lol, ya, it requires patience, if you keep browsing new websites say as with stumbleupon, your best bet is to temporarily disable it for your browsing session. If your like me and 90% of your browsing is done between 19-20 websites, I add exceptions for those websites and sometimes for the stuff that the website runs in the background to make it work. The last part is tricky and 99% of the time I just toggle the exceptions till it starts working, to test functionality I do disable all temporarily on this page and then block them 1 by 1 if the reverse method doesn't work. The end goal is to wind up with a whitelist of ONLY & ONLY what you use, that way if youtube decides one day to start spamming the shit out of me via browser, I'll never even notice unless it's coming across as the domain "" and you'll notice ads almost always come from 3rd party domains.

P.S. I'm sure you can do something like read the page source and correlate it to what you need to unblock based on the red x's on the page, but I'm wayyy too lazy so I just experiment till it works. Common sense is your best friend here I guess.

P.S. #2 I've been using noscript a while now, and one thing that has never landed on my white list is , I'll continue using it if only to subvert google's data mining. But seriously, it blocks 23423432 other things I don't care for as well.

Re:Reasons for negative response (2)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349592)

You can also use noscript in reverse and that is "allow all permanently" I believe and then block on a per website basis everything you don't know / want that website to access. So in this case I would blacklist ONLY ONCE the first time I can across it, but something like,, I'd have to blacklist individually also. This is why the reverse approach can get cumbersome, it's really [0-9][a-z][a-z][a-z][a-z].net that's running on the ad server probably. 100% depends on the websites you visit.

Re:Reasons for negative response (4, Informative)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349926)

"I've tried noscript a couple times, and each time it rendered the web useless"

Some websites are entirely reliant on scripts--poorly constructed websites, for the most part, but mostly because the website is trying to slip something past you.

If you pull up the context options for NoScript (right-click anywhere on the webpage) you'll see that you can allow scripts individually. Start with the script that looks like it applies directly to the website, usually a domain that matches the one in the address bar, and the page will automatically reload with that script running. Keep doing this, one script at a time until the page works. You can do this just for the browsing session, or set it to permanently allow those particular scripts. Keep in mind that at some point you may have to start allowing stuff that is bad or the website still doesn't work--this is the point I usually leave the site.

The hard part is determining which scripts you don't need. This is something you learn over time (my youngest daughter has been doing this on her own since she was 12 yrs old). Does that Googlesyndication script REALLY have anything to do with your local newpaper? No? Then don't let it through. Some are obviously from 3rd parties. Don't let them through.

The biggest problem, you will come to see, is that sometimes allowing one script to run will trigger more scripts, and NoScript will simply block those as well.

I have a rule for myself that makes things pretty easy--I block any script that isn't obviously from the website I am visiting. If it breaks the site, I go elsewhere. Another good rule of thumb is the fewer scripts the website requires you to run, the better.

NoScript is no panacea--it is just a tool. Unlike AdBlock (well, as it is NOW), NoScript still requires user input to function according to the users preferences. I suppose the biggest difference between the two models is AdBlock uses a subscription to determine what to block and what not to block, while NoScript blocks everything and relies on YOU to decide what to let through.

A combination of AdBlock, NoScript and Ghostery seems to protect me, and my senses, pretty well. But, there are also a LOT of websites I cannot view as a result of those add-ons...a good thing, I am sure.

I, for one, will continue blocking all the ads I can, for numerous reasons--lower bandwidth usage, no unexpected sounds, no questionable embedding in ads, etc. When AdBlock doesn't allow me to do that anymore, someone will make another add-on that does and I will move to that add-on.

Re:Reasons for negative response (5, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349454)

Can you really blame the guy for wanting to make money w his app?

Absolutely. I will criticize an ad-blocking project for making revenue agreements with whitelisted advertisers.

Re:Reasons for negative response (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349722)

I don't think his code is GNU licensed though? If it was his intent to keep it free, that would be the project's home.

It is open source though []

You can grab a build w/o the feature, build it ??? no more opt out. '

I can't help but compare the ethics of this case to that of firefox's and that's because we use it for free, what I learned from those threads is it's free, use it if you like, we aren't forcing you, you can bitch but you get no say in the features so just accept it. This seems to be the new open source standard, there is no more reliability in open source ethics at least on the windows side (never was much to start).

Re:Reasons for negative response (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38349882)

>Can you really blame the guy for wanting to make money w his app?
I refer you to:
Where it says:
"A while ago I started talking to somebody who shares my passion for the web and agrees that the current advertising model needs fixing (no names for now, he first wants to see how things work out). We had many discussions on how to do it and on how to move Adblock Plus further. One thing that came out of this: he raised some capital, enough to let me work on Adblock Plus full-time the next two years."

Two... full... years...
I would say, that is comfy enough.

Re:Reasons for negative response (2)

Spad (470073) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349202)

If said agreements result in a reduction in the number of increasingly ridiculous, full screen, flashing, animated adverts that people are using, then I don't really have a problem with it.

I'm not against advertising on websites, I'm against advertising on websites that's distracting, breaks up articles, makes noises, slows down page loads, etc.

My only suggestion would be to have the option to turn the feature off pop-up on first install of the addon, so that people are aware of its existence.

Re:Reasons for negative response (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349616)

Some control over what constitutes acceptable ads would be nice too. Personally running any kind of script is out for me (and anyone who runs NoScript). Cookies and tracking too, although I don't know how AdBlock can verify that the server isn't collecting your IP address and tracking your browser via HTTP headers.

Re:Reasons for negative response (1)

makomk (752139) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349346)

Also, it appears the main ads to be unblocked so far are Sedo domain-parking ones. You know, the annoying ones you see when a domain squatter has noticed a useful website's domain has expired and decides to make a cheap buck off their traffic by sticking up a content-free page of irrelevant ads. They technically meet Adblock Plus' new definition of "acceptable ads", mostly because they don't need to draw the viewer's attention - there's nothing else on the site for them to look at!

Re:Reasons for negative response (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349734)

Well, if you go to a page that contains nothing but ads, while using a browser that blocks ads, wouldn't you just see a blank page?

Re:Reasons for negative response (1)

halfaperson (1885704) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349396)

This was my first thought when reading the headline. I wouldn't actually mind seeing some unobtrusive ads, but knowing ads are unlikely to be deemed "unobtrusive" if the company behind it does not pay for the service makes ad block plus an ad provider, not an ad blocker.

fork time (2, Insightful)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349040)

There's no such thing as "unobtrusive ad", just like there is no "unobtrusive DRM".

With a toggle or not, it's the thought and default what counts, and we need something to recommend to non-technical friends to make their www browsing palatable. I for one go with several partially redundant layers of anti-crap defense and put some time into maintaining them, but ordinary people deserve to have something decent out of the box.

Re:fork time (4, Informative)

rmstar (114746) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349220)

There's no such thing as "unobtrusive ad", just like there is no "unobtrusive DRM".

I disagree. You can have a small pic and a bit of text. That's pretty unobstrusive. I'm willing to put up with that in limited amounts (I don't klick on it anyways, but that's a different matter). Loading a huge flash animation is a completely different beast.

And I truly do not understand your DRM analogy. A pic with a bit of text to the left or the right of the main webpage is like DRM how?

Re:fork time (4, Interesting)

Myopic (18616) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349340)

I agree with you. I don't hate advertisements in theory; I hate advertisements in practice. In theory, I'm quite happy to be informed of useful and pertinent products and services; but in practice, all I get is screaming, flashing, interrupting, annoying bullshit that blocks my enjoyment of the content I came for. There is an incredibly tiny minority of ads which I block, which I wish would come through (maybe 1 in 10,000 of today's ads), and if we can convince advertisers to conform to certain criteria, then that would make the world Better, and I support that.

But, I think that's pretty unlikely.

Re:fork time (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349452)

Precisely, I've had to block most advertising because it's a pain to block just certain types of ads. It's mostly those intelletext ads and the huge honking flash animations that cover up elements on the screen that I most want blocked. Sometimes a tasteful text only or simple GIF ad at the side of the screen does advertise something that I'm genuinely interested in.

Re:fork time (2)

Nimey (114278) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349594)

I agree. I've taken to deblocking ads on sites I frequent and then only re-blocking if there's a really annoying ad, like sometimes comes up on Wikia with those full-screen slideovers.

At least that damned Evony ad campaign with the scantily-clad women advertising a completely unrelated game is over.

Re:fork time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38349894)

An unobtrusive ad is a non-functioning ad. The whole point of an ad is to gain your attention. If it's not doing that it's not a sustainable business model.

People who support "unobtrusive" ad's are either shills or people who have not thought it through.

And I truly do not understand your DRM analogy. A pic with a bit of text to the left or the right of the main webpage is like DRM how?

An unsolicited ad is theft of your time and attention. It's based on the bogus premise that's okay to steal the time and attention of a thousand people to make a sale to one person. It's not particularly ethical in the same way that DRM is not ethical. They are both based on win-lose (they win, you lose) rather than a true free market win-win transaction.

Re:fork time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38349578)

I might be OK with seeing certain ads on certain pages. This is what the whitelist syntax in Adblock is for. I've actually added some whitelist regexes that are not patches for false positives.

What I find much more disconcerting is that AdblockPlus (Palant) is now in the ad business. It sells privileged adspace to its customers, adspace on otherwise largely ad-free browsers. And it sells it to customers like the sleazy German tabloid "Focus" and Sedoparking! These aren't "small blogs". Selling adspace to domain squatters -- they could just as well strike a deal with some 419 and phishing sites. I'm sure there's a lot of money to be made.

Re:fork time (1)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349728)

There is such a thing as unobtrusive advertisement, because "unobtrusive" is a subjective term.

Re:fork time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38349776)

>There's no such thing as "unobtrusive ad",

Well, when I'm watching DVRed TV, my definition of an unobtrusive ad is "any ad that is less annoying than the choice between fast forwarding through them, or listening to my wife complaining about the ads she's watching as I get up to fix a mid-show sandwich." In a similar vein, I'd say an unobtrusive ad is any ad that takes less mental effort on my part to skip over than it would to complain about it.

You ignore things all day. I dare you you to tell me the specific details of _anything_ from your walk to work today. The ads occupying the 10% of the screen so far right that you never look at them are similar.

For what it's worth, there are sites out there that are ad-supported that you may actually WANT to support. This was the norm before ads became animated, interstitial, script-fueled mini-sites in their own right. It's the shift from forgettable to obtrusive that made us want to block them in the first place. So now that we have a chance to return to normal, why isn't the old normal good enough? And if it's not good enough, why is it such a chore to click a second preference box?

Oh cry me a river (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38349060)

> Many are upset, however, that the setting defaults to allowing the display of "acceptable" advertisements.
Hey princesses, how about a nice hot cup of "harden the fuck up".

No such thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38349144)

I'll keep blocking every ad that I see. My screen, my rules. Block me if you want to. I'll go elsewhere.

TANSTAAFL (5, Insightful)

vanyel (28049) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349150)

I don't have a problem with this, even if Adblock is getting revenue from it. I want them to be able to continue to support the product, and I want the sites I go to to be able to afford to continue to exist, and I am happy if they are able to make a profit even. We all win. The only reason I started using adblock is because of all the disruptive, distracting, ads that interfere with the actual reason I came to a website in the first place. As long as they're able to keep blocking those, and sites that do tracking, I'm happy...

Re:TANSTAAFL (4, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349382)

I don't think TANSTAAFL really applies. I mean, so my lunch isn't free. OK. What's the price? I suffer? Because, ads or no ads, no money is changing hands here. People who cry that Web sites get money from ads always make the false connection that merely by having me look at ads, the advertiser benefits. That simply isn't the case. That seems like the same argument as the people who claim that every time someone downloads a copy of CS 5.5 from BitTorrent, Adobe loses $1,200. No, it doesn't quite work that way.

Example: Car ads. I don't have a driver's license. No matter how many ads for cars they show me, I won't be buying a car. It might not even be legal for me to buy one (I'm not sure). So watching a 20-second video clip of a CG car driving around some fictitious Autobahn is not only wasting my time, it's also wasting the advertiser's money to show it to me.

Also, maybe I get so tired of seeing the same car ad every 10 minutes in a Hulu video that I start to hate that car and its manufacturer?

I'm sure some Web site owners say, "I don't give a shit about any of that. My contract just says I have to show you the ad." But to me, that's shortsighted thinking. In the long run, advertisers are only going to want to advertise where it's effective. If some people are so hostile to advertising that they use AdBlock, why not leave them alone? How is wasting that person's time and causing them more frustration going to pay for that Not-Free Lunch? The only people who really benefit are the middlemen -- the ad agencies -- and you know what Bill Hicks said about them. []

Re:TANSTAAFL (4, Interesting)

Rob Y. (110975) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349720)

Well, some of us hate most ads, but understand that something's got to fund the content. Still, I use Adblock Plus, and would welcome a way to have it allow non-obtrusive stuff through. I don't feel good about freeloading - I do it because I can, and because the ads tend to be overly distracting.

Google seems to have found the sweet spot in web advertising. Their text ads are unobtrusive, and in fact, can be quite useful. They mainly show up when I'm looking to buy something, and are profitable for both Google. What they don't do is try to manipulate my feelings - and that's the main reason I don't mind them. I guess Google's lucky to be in a business that lends itself to such a 'clean' ad-based revenue stream. I don't know if non-search websites can manage this.

Anyway, much as I hate ads, I'd rather control their methods than try to eliminate them. I pay for home delivery of the ad-stuffed New York Times and subscribe to Public TV and radio. Those are habits I made before the web and AdBlock and 'information wants to be free' came along - I'm not sure I'd make them today. And ultimately, that's a shame. I want there to be a New York Times, a PBS and an NPR - and a slashdot...


icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349870)

I'm sure some Web site owners say, "I don't give a shit about any of that. My contract just says I have to show you the ad."

Actually, as far as I know virtually all ad networks have moved to PPC (pay per click), so showing the ad by itself gets them nothing.


Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38349384)

As I recall, something similar was said about Tivo ad skipping...


Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38349424)

Well, that's YOUR view. Why should it be the DEFAULT?

I use adblock because I don't like ads. I have the right to block them. And if the websites I visit disappear because of that, so be it, I couldn't care less.

It's blatantly hypocritical that a service that became big by screwing other website's sources of revenue is now changing its default configuration to make money themselves. It makes me nauseous.

I'm inclined to make my own blocker, and most likely will, very soon.


Nimey (114278) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349496)

You're certainly free to stop using this software that you're not even paying for.


Fjandr (66656) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349696)

^ This.

It's incredibly arrogant of people to block ads simply because they dislike advertisements on an idealogical basis. They want free websites, but they don't want them to be able to make any money to pay for all the work that goes into it. Like it or not, advertising is the primary way websites fund themselves, and punishing all of them instead of targeting specific misbehavior (like Flash advertisements that destroy usability of a site or consume lots of system resources, or ad networks that track cross-site) they decide to cut off all advertisements for all sites.

Myself, I block ads selectively when they disrupt the usability of a site in one way or another. If they are not obtrusive, I am perfectly happy that the sites I use can make money simply from me loading them. Kudos to others who aren't selfish and self-righteous.


Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38349726)

I don't have a problem with this, even if Adblock is getting revenue from it. I want them to be able to continue to support the product, and I want the sites I go to to be able to afford to continue to exist, and I am happy if they are able to make a profit even. We all win. The only reason I started using adblock is because of all the disruptive, distracting, ads that interfere with the actual reason I came to a website in the first place. As long as they're able to keep blocking those, and sites that do tracking, I'm happy...

The only reason I use ad-block type add-ons is because ads are an infection vector for crapware/malware.

Your right to send me ads ends with the *possibility* of you infecting me with malware.


Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38349954)

Everyone has a different definition of a distracting ad.

Advertisers are welcome to display ads on my machine if they follow these rules: (0) no tracking images/cookies/flash objects/uniquely identifying css, (1) no interactivity (no javascript, no flash, no mouseovers, no popups), (2) no interstitials, (3) no sound, (4) no videos or moving images, (5) ads must be low-contrast relative to the rest of the page, (6) there must be a strict planar separation between ads and content/functionality (in other words, ads may only appear on the non-toolbar/non-scrollbar edges of the screen), and (7) total area allocated to advertisements must be no more than 5% of the page area and no more than 2% of the content area.

In other words, advertisements that passively sit on the edge are welcome. Also: if the content layout forces me to mouse across an ad for any reason, it will get blocked.

No ads the eay way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38349182)

Turn off javascript

Turn off images


It's the only way to fly - United!

Re:No ads the eay way (2)

dmomo (256005) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349228)

Have fun with a very non-functional web. I used to go that way, but turning javascript ON for sites I wanted to access it became more annoying than the ads I was trying to block. Plus, this brings the ads back on those sites.

Re:No ads the eay way (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349492)

I wish request policy would add a black list functionality so I could block things like facebook even if I have the rest of the scripts on a particular site enabled. Request policy is nice in that it enables or disables scripts based upon the site you're visiting not the site that's serving the script so I can enable sites for my bank and have them disabled elsewhere or more commonly enable them elsewhere and disable them when I'm at my bank site.

Security? (3, Interesting)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349188)

I don't have a problem with ads on web pages (hosting isn't free, y'know) but I don't like putting my systems at risk to plugin and browser vulnerabilities. If an ad company promised no flash or potentially dangerous scripts or images I'd add them to my whitelist.

As long as it's toggle-able... (4, Insightful)

milbournosphere (1273186) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349204)

I'll turn it off and move on. Setting it to this option as default is a little shady, but I'll pick up my pitchfork when they remove the off switch entirely. Adblock is a wonderful plugin, I don't fault its creator for trying to make a little bit of money off of it. As long as the plug-in allows me to keep blocking any ad, I'm happy.

I could go for this (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38349230)

My main reasons for using adblock+ is not to kill adds, but to protect my systems from hosts I consider hostile. Ad networks are a major malware vector because most ad network providers are mostly sleazy scum that can't be bothered to secure their networks. Either that, or they try to exploit javascript and other mechanisms to extract information I don't feel that they are entitled to. I'm sure as fuck not going to execute any script that comes from them.

Second comes browsing improvement, because some ad networks are so badly performing that they hinder the use of many web pages. I also found adblock plus the absolute best way to improve browsing performance on low-end netbooks. (Noscript helps a lot too)

Maybe this new option will enable a real no-bullshit way to enable advertisements that respect instead of exploit end users. I would would not mind that at all. Really, though, I don't want to execute any scripts from ad networks at all. I probably would not mind enabling Google's ad services either. As far as I know they're reputable as far as security is concerned.

Your Vote (1)

dmomo (256005) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349256)

I don't use an ad blocker. When I got to a site (usually via google), and I get confronted with an annoying ad, I click back ASAP, increasing the bounce rate for that site. Google DOES note this. Some might argue that a bounced visit is worse for a site than no visit at all. At least from an SEO point of view.

Re:Your Vote (0)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349440)

I don't use an ad blocker. When I got to a site (usually via google), and I get confronted with an annoying ad, I click back ASAP, increasing the bounce rate for that site.

Of course by that point your PC is already pwned by Flash malware. If it's running Windows, anyway.

Would be nice if it works as intended/conveyed (3, Interesting)

jiriw (444695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349264)

Actually I try to filter my adds through adblock to not block the unobtrusive text based adds (which Google became 'famous' for). If this option is able to do the filter work for me instead of me opting out every single add I find annoying manually, I'd actually very much like the option. If it has this as intention, I'm willing to try it out, see if it can get the job done. I can always put back my original filter list, can I?

It reminds me of YouTube... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38349310)

...and many other projects that get big and then screw the users that made them big.

Do we really need to monetize everything? If you're out of time to work on the project because you need a paying job, then just hand it to someone else. I'm sure there's lots of capable people that have the time and are willing to do that. Hell, I'd do it...

how is this different from.... (1)

apcullen (2504324) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349326)

noscript and flashblock? That's what I run. I don't have any annoying pop-ups or animated ads (which seem to be mostly in flash) Ads are no longer a problem for me, so I never bothered to install adblock. What am I missing here?

Re:how is this different from.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38349458)

I installed adblock mostly so I could get fine-grained control over image blocking. Mostly just for annoying animated avatars on forums. Everything else, noscript handles pretty nicely.

Re:how is this different from.... (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349914)

NoScript itself blocks Flash (and all other plugins), so that second is redundant.

Dont take away choice (1)

Xanny (2500844) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349386)

I don't like the incentive that the addon maker should decide what ads are "acceptable" or not. I will choose which sites to allow ads on, if they are in the way of content, I will get rid of them, otherwise I will usually allow them.

Heres an example: ads on youtube. I use noscript to block the in video ads, because I am not waiting through 15 seconds of wasted bandwidth and time to get to a video. Ads on the side? Those are fine, and I allow them under adblock. Does your site pop an ad up when I load a page? Adblocked. Ads on the banners and sides, that are not animated / sound, usually just a single image or some text? Perfectly fine.

I have never bought anything based on an ad before, from TV or internet. I always research purchases, or when it comes to consumables like food, I try different brands. It is almost like wasting bandwidth to throw ads at me, but I do know there are plenty of people that eat up ads like candy.

If advertisers were better at advertising, (4, Insightful)

davide marney (231845) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349428)

we wouldn't need AdBlock at all. For example, who complains about ads on the Google search page? The ads are highly relevant, and largely unobtrusive. If advertisers were smarter, they'd go one step beyond Google and give the consumer direct control of their ad placement. I don't mind ads when I'm buying, but when I'm not, I want them out of the way. Sounds like a UI problem to me. How hard would it be to solve?

Re:If advertisers were better at advertising, (2)

dbc (135354) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349614)

Quite true. The ability to control what ads I see would go a long way towards training the advertisers. If they learned that people will block you unless you play nice, they will play nice.

By-and-large, I don't mind a static picture that doesn't gobble up screen space. Animations I absolutely hate. Sound, I hate even more absolutelier. Tracking creeps me out. I usually run with flashblock and adblockers in place. On one lab system, I haven't bothered to install all that crap -- it is always jarring to see ads pop up on one site that are obviously only there because of tracking by behavior on other sites. Being tracked is what makes me turn on script blockers.

Re:If advertisers were better at advertising, (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349922)

we wouldn't need AdBlock at all. For example, who complains about ads on the Google search page? The ads are highly relevant, and largely unobtrusive. If advertisers were smarter, they'd go one step beyond Google and give the consumer direct control of their ad placement. I don't mind ads when I'm buying, but when I'm not, I want them out of the way. Sounds like a UI problem to me. How hard would it be to solve?

There are ads on the Google search page?
<Turns off adblock to check it out>
Hey, you're right!

FUCK YOU! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38349518)

There are NO acceptable ads!

The computer is one place on the planet i can get away from them. The rest of my life is crammed full of ads from every source 24-7.

Re:FUCK YOU! (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349618)

Then find another program to block your ads, Mr. Entitled, or switch to ELinks.

Re:FUCK YOU! (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349934)

Or just switch the checkbox on the preferences...

I want my money back! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38349526)

I mean I paid good money to use this tool every single day that I surf the web. I use this tool on different browsers, running on different platform....all of that cost me good money.

It's about time we all demand a refund from these insensitive clods and go back to use the ad blocking tool that comes with IE 6.

Extortion! (1)

cornicefire (610241) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349572)

Wow. If you don't pay off the guy, it sounds like he distributes software that breaks your Terms of Service and helps people cheat your site. Gotta love the web.

Big deal (1)

rapidreload (2476516) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349660)

The reason I decided to even try Adblock Plus in the first place was because of a particular (Flash-based) ad on deviantART which was ramping my then single-core CPU to 100% and not only jamming up my browser, but was also causing the normally invulnerable-to-lockup mouse cursor to stutter as I moved it around.

More to the point, I originally used ABP not because of a hatred of ads, but because of a single ad which was bringing my computer to its knees. So I don't see this change as a big deal - it's easy to change and the classification of an acceptable ad sounds like one which is unlikely to cause performance issues.


Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38349708)

20++ ADVANTAGES OF HOSTS FILES OVER DNS SERVERS &/or ADBLOCK ALONE for added "layered"/"defense-in-depth" security + SPEED:

1.) HOSTS files are useable for all these purposes because they are present on all Operating Systems that have a BSD based IP stack (even ANDROID) and do adblocking for ANY webbrowser, email program, etc. (any webbound program).

2.) Adblock blocks ads (not anymore apparently, lol:

Adblock Plus To Offer 'Acceptable Ads' Option [] )

in only browsers & their subprogram families (ala email), but not all, or, all independent email clients, like Outlook!

(Disclaimer: Opera now has an AdBlock addon (now that Opera has addons above widgets), but I am not certain the same people make it as they do for FF or Chrome etc.).

3.) Adblock doesn't protect email programs external to FF, Hosts files do. THIS IS GOOD VS. SPAM MAIL or MAILS THAT BEAR MALICIOUS SCRIPT, or, THAT POINT TO MALICIOUS SCRIPT VIA URLS etc.

4.) Adblock won't get you to your favorite sites if a DNS server goes down or is DNS-poisoned, hosts will (this leads to points 5-7 next below).

5.) Adblock doesn't allow you to hardcode in your favorite websites into it so you don't make DNS server calls and so you can avoid tracking by DNS request logs, hosts do (DNS servers are also being abused by the Chinese lately and by the Kaminsky flaw -> [] for years now). Hosts protect against those problems via hardcodes of your fav sites (you should verify against the TLD that does nothing but cache IPAddress-to-domainname/hostname resolutions via NSLOOKUP, PINGS, &/or WHOIS though, regularly, so you have the correct IP & it's current)).

* NOW - Some folks MAY think that putting an IP address alone into your browser's address bar will be enough, so why bother with HOSTS, right? WRONG - Putting IP address in your browser won't always work IS WHY. Some IP adresses host several domains & need the site name to give you the right page you're after is why. So for some sites only the HOSTS file option will work!

6.) Hosts files don't eat up CPU cycles like AdBlock does while it parses a webpages' content, nor as much as a DNS server does while it runs. HOSTS file are merely a FILTER for the kernel mode/PnP TCP/IP subsystem, which runs FAR FASTER & MORE EFFICIENTLY than any ring 3/rpl3/usermode app can.

7.) HOSTS files will allow you to get to sites you like, via hardcoding your favs into a HOSTS file, FAR faster than DNS servers can by FAR (by saving the roundtrip inquiry time to a DNS server & back to you).

8.) AdBlock doesn't let you block out known bad sites or servers that are known to be maliciously scripted, hosts can and many reputable lists for this exist:

Spybot "Search & Destroy" IMMUNIZE feature (fortifies HOSTS files with KNOWN bad servers blocked)

And yes: Even SLASHDOT &/or The Register help!

(Via articles on security (when the source articles they use are "detailed" that is, & list the servers/sites involved in attempting to bushwhack others online that is... not ALL do!)).

2 examples thereof in the past I have used, & noted it there, are/were: [] []

9.) AdBlock & DNS servers are programs, and subject to bugs programs can get. Hosts files are merely a filter and not a program, thus not subject to bugs of the nature just discussed.

10.) HOSTS files protect you vs. DNS-poisoning &/or the Kaminsky flaw in DNS servers, and allow you to get to sites reliably vs. things like the Chinese are doing to DNS -> []

11.) HOSTS files are EASILY user controlled, obtained (for reliable ones -> [] ) & edited too, via texteditors like Windows notepad.exe or Linux nano (etc.)

12.) With Adblock you had better be able to code javascript to play with its code. With hosts you don't even need source to control it (edit, update, delete, insert of new entries via a text editor).

13.) Hosts files are easily secured via using MAC/ACL &/or Read-Only attributes applied.

14.) Custom HOSTS files also speed you up, unlike anonymous proxy servers systems variations (like TOR, or other "highly anonymous" proxy server list servers typically do, in the severe speed hit they often have a cost in) either via "hardcoding" your fav. sites into your hosts file (avoids DNS servers, totally) OR blocking out adbanners - see this below for evidence of that:


US Military Blocks Websites To Free Up Bandwidth: []

(Yes, even the US Military used this type of technique... because IT WORKS! Most of what they blocked? Ad banners ala doubleclick etc.)


Adbanners slow you down & consume your bandwidth YOU pay for:



And people do NOT LIKE ads on the web:



As well as this:

Users Know Advertisers Watch Them, and Hate It: []


Even WORSE still, is this:

Advertising Network Caught History Stealing: []


15.) HOSTS files usage lets you avoid being charged on some ISP/BSP's (OR phone providers) "pay as you use" policy [] , because you are using less bandwidth (& go faster doing so no less) by NOT hauling in adbanner content and processing it (which can lead to infestation by malware/malicious script, in & of itself -> [] ).

16.) If/when ISP/BSP's decide to go to -> FCC Approving Pay-As-You-Go Internet Plans: [] your internet bill will go DOWN if you use a HOSTS file for blocking adbanners as well as maliciously scripted hacker/cracker malware maker sites too (after all - it's your money & time online downloading adbanner content & processing it)

Plus, your adbanner content? Well, it may also be hijacked with malicious code too mind you:


Yahoo, Microsoft's Bing display toxic ads: []


Malware torrent delivered over Google, Yahoo! ad services: []


Google's DoubleClick spreads malicious ads (again): []


Rogue ads infiltrate Expedia and Rhapsody: []


Google sponsored links caught punting malware: []


DoubleClick caught supplying malware-tainted ads: []


Yahoo feeds Trojan-laced ads to MySpace and PhotoBucket users: []


Real Media attacks real people via RealPlayer: []


Ad networks owned by Google, Microsoft serve malware: []


Attacks Targeting Classified Ad Sites Surge: []


Hackers Respond To Help Wanted Ads With Malware: []


Hackers Use Banner Ads on Major Sites to Hijack Your PC: []


Ruskie gang hijacks Microsoft network to push penis pills: []


Major ISPs Injecting Ads, Vulnerabilities Into Web: []


Two Major Ad Networks Found Serving Malware: []












London Stock Exchange Web Site Serving Malware: []


Spotify splattered with malware-tainted ads: []


As my list "multiple evidences thereof" as to adbanners & viruses + the fact they slow you down & cost you more (from reputable & reliable sources no less)).

17.) Per point #16, a way to save some money: ANDROID phones can also use the HOSTS FILE TO KEEP DOWN BILLABLE TIME ONLINE, vs. adbanners or malware such as this:


Infected Androids Run Up Big Texting Bills: []


AND, for protection vs. other "botnets" migrating from the PC world, to "smartphones" such as ZITMO (a ZEUS botnet variant): []


It's easily done too, via the ADB dev. tool, & mounting ANDROID OS' system mountpoint for system/etc as READ + WRITE/ADMIN-ROOT PERMISSIONS, then copying your new custom HOSTS over the old one using ADB PULL/ADB PUSH to do so (otherwise ANDROID complains of "this file cannot be overwritten on production models of this Operating System", or something very along those lines - this way gets you around that annoyance along with you possibly having to clear some space there yourself if you packed it with things!).

18.) Bad news: ADBLOCK CAN BE DETECTED FOR: See here on that note -> []

HOSTS files are NOT BLOCKABLE by websites, as was tried on users by ARSTECHNICA (and it worked, proving HOSTS files are a better solution for this because they cannot be blocked & detected for, in that manner), to that websites' users' dismay:



An experiment gone wrong - By Ken Fisher | Last updated March 6, 2010 11:11 AM []

"Starting late Friday afternoon we conducted a 12 hour experiment to see if it would be possible to simply make content disappear for visitors who were using a very popular ad blocking tool. Technologically, it was a success in that it worked. Ad blockers, and only ad blockers, couldn't see our content."


"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!"

Thus, as you can see? Well - THAT all "went over like a lead balloon" with their users in other words, because Arstechnica was forced to change it back to the old way where ADBLOCK still could work to do its job (REDDIT however, has not, for example). However/Again - this is proof that HOSTS files can still do the job, blocking potentially malscripted ads (or ads in general because they slow you down) vs. adblockers like ADBLOCK!


19.) Even WIKILEAKS "favors" blacklists (because they work, and HOSTS can be a blacklist vs. known BAD sites/servers/domain-host names):



"we are in favour of 'Blacklists', be it for mail servers or websites, they have to be compiled with care... Fortunately, more responsible blacklists, like (which protects the Firefox browser)...


20.) AND, LASTLY? SINCE MALWARE GENERALLY HAS TO OPERATE ON WHAT YOU YOURSELF CAN DO (running as limited class/least privlege user, hopefully, OR even as ADMIN/ROOT/SUPERUSER)? HOSTS "LOCK IN" malware too, vs. communicating "back to mama" for orders (provided they have name servers + C&C botnet servers listed in them, blocked off in your HOSTS that is) - you might think they use a hardcoded IP, which IS possible, but generally they do not & RECYCLE domain/host names they own (such as has been seen with the RBN (Russian Business Network) lately though it was considered "dead", other malwares are using its domains/hostnames now, & this? This stops that cold, too - Bonus!)...

Still - It's a GOOD idea to layer in the usage of BOTH browser addons for security like adblock ( [] ), IE 9's new TPL's ( [] ), &/or NoScript ( [] especially this one, as it covers what HOSTS files can't in javascript which is the main deliverer of MOST attacks online & SECUNIA.COM can verify this for anyone really by looking @ the past few years of attacks nowadays), for the concept of "layered security"....

It's just that HOSTS files offer you a LOT MORE gains than Adblock ( [] ) does alone (as hosts do things adblock just plain cannot & on more programs, for more speed, security, and "stealth" to a degree even), and it corrects problems in DNS (as shown above via hardcodes of your favorite sites into your HOSTS file, and more (such as avoiding DNS request logs)).

ALSO - Some more notes on DNS servers & their problems, very recent + ongoing ones:

BIND vs. what the Chinese are doing to DNS lately? See here: []



(Yes, even "security pros" are helpless vs. DNS problems in code bugs OR redirect DNS poisoning issues, & they can only try to "set the DNS record straight" & then, they still have to wait for corrected DNS info. to propogate across all subordinate DNS servers too - lagtime in which folks DO get "abused" in mind you!)


DNS vs. the "Kaminsky DNS flaw", here (and even MORE problems in DNS than just that): []

(Seems others are saying that some NEW "Bind9 flaw" is worse than the Kaminsky flaw ALONE, up there, mind you... probably corrected (hopefully), but it shows yet again, DNS hassles (DNS redirect/DNS poisoning) being exploited!)


Moxie Marlinspike's found others (0 hack) as well...

Nope... "layered security" truly IS the "way to go" - hacker/cracker types know it, & they do NOT want the rest of us knowing it too!...

(So until DNSSEC takes "widespread adoption"? HOSTS are your answer vs. such types of attack, because the 1st thing your system refers to, by default, IS your HOSTS file (over say, DNS server usage). There are decent DNS servers though, such as OpenDNS, ScrubIT, or even NORTON DNS (more on each specifically below), & because I cannot "cache the entire internet" in a HOSTS file? I opt to use those, because I have to (& OpenDNS has been noted to "fix immediately", per the Kaminsky flaw, in fact... just as a sort of reference to how WELL they are maintained really!)


DNS Hijacks Now Being Used to Serve Black Hole Exploit Kit: []


DNS experts admit some of the underlying foundations of the DNS protocol are inherently weak: []


Potential 0-Day Vulnerability For BIND 9: []


Five DNS Threats You Should Protect Against: []


DNS provider decked by DDoS dastards: []


Ten Percent of DNS Servers Still Vulnerable: (so much for "conscientious patching", eh? Many DNS providers weren't patching when they had to!) []




TimeWarner DNS Hijacking: []


DNS Re-Binding Attacks: []


DNS Server Survey Reveals Mixed Security Picture: []


Photobucket's DNS records hijacked by Turkish hacking group: []


Halvar figured out super-secret DNS vulnerability: []


BIND Still Susceptible To DNS Cache Poisoning: []


DNS Poisoning Hits One of China's Biggest ISPs: []


DDoS Attacks Via DNS Recursion: []


High Severity BIND DNS Vulnerability Advisory Issued: []


Photobucketâ(TM)s DNS records hijacked: []


Protecting Browsers from DNS Rebinding Attacks: []


DNS Problem Linked To DDoS Attacks Gets Worse: []


HOWEVER - Some DNS servers are "really good stuff" vs. phishing, known bad sites/servers/hosts-domains that serve up malware-in-general & malicious scripting, botnet C&C servers, & more, such as:

Norton DNS -> []
ScrubIT DNS -> []
OpenDNS -> []

(Norton DNS in particular, is exclusively for blocking out malware, for those of you that are security-conscious. ScrubIT filters pr0n material too, but does the same, & OpenDNS does phishing protection. Each page lists how & why they work, & why they do so. Norton DNS can even show you its exceptions lists, plus user reviews & removal procedures requests, AND growth stats (every 1/2 hour or so) here -> [] so, that ought to "take care of the naysayers" on removal requests, &/or methods used plus updates frequency etc./et al...)

HOWEVER - There's ONLY 1 WEAKNESS TO ANY network defense, including HOSTS files (vs. host-domain name based threats) & firewalls (hardware router type OR software type, vs. IP address based threats): Human beings, & they not being 'disciplined' about the indiscriminate usage of javascript (the main "harbinger of doom" out there today online), OR, what they download for example... & there is NOTHING I can do about that! (Per Dr. Manhattan of "The Watchmen", ala -> "I can change almost anything, but I can't change human nature")

HOWEVER AGAIN - That's where NORTON DNS, OpenDNS, &/or ScrubIT DNS help!

(Especially for noob/grandma level users who are unaware of how to secure themselves in fact, per a guide like mine noted above that uses "layered-security" principles!)

ScrubIT DNS, &/or OpenDNS are others alongside Norton DNS (adding on phishing protection too) as well!

( & it's possible to use ALL THREE in your hardware NAT routers, and, in your Local Area Connection DNS properties in Windows, for again, "Layered Security" too)...




"Ever since I've installed a host file ( to redirect advertisers to my loopback, I haven't had any malware, spyware, or adware issues. I first started using the host file 5 years ago." - by TestedDoughnut (1324447) on Monday December 13, @12:18AM (#34532122)

"I use a custom /etc/hosts to block ads... my file gets parsed basically instantly ... So basically, for any modern computer, it has zero visible impact. And even if it took, say, a second to parse, that would be more than offset by the MANY seconds saved by not downloading and rendering ads. I have noticed NO ill effects from running a custom /etc/hosts file for the last several years. And as a matter of fact I DO run http servers on my computers and I've never had an /etc/hosts-related problem... it FUCKING WORKS and makes my life better overall." - by sootman (158191) on Monday July 13 2009, @11:47AM (#28677363) Homepage Journal

"I actually went and downloaded a 16k line hosts file and started using that after seeing that post, you know just for trying it out. some sites load up faster." - by gl4ss (559668) on Thursday November 17, @11:20AM (#38086752) Homepage Journal

"Better than an ad blocker, imo. Hosts file entries: [] " - by TempestRose (1187397) on Tuesday March 15, @12:53PM (#35493274)

"^^ One of the many reasons why I like the user-friendliness of the /etc/hosts file." - by lennier1 (264730) on Saturday March 05, @09:26PM (#35393448)

"They've been on my HOSTS block for years" - by ScottCooperDotNet (929575) on Thursday August 05 2010, @01:52AM (#33147212)

"I'm currently only using my hosts file to block pheedo ads from showing up in my RSS feeds and causing them to take forever to load. Regardless of its original intent, it's still a valid tool, when used judiciously." - by Bill Dog (726542) on Monday April 25, @02:16AM (#35927050) Homepage Journal

"you're right about hosts files" - by drinkypoo (153816) on Thursday May 26, @01:21PM (#36252958) Homepage

"APK's monolithic hosts file is looking pretty good at the moment." - by Culture20 (968837) on Thursday November 17, @10:08AM (#38085666)

"I also use the MVPS ad blocking hosts file." - by Rick17JJ (744063) on Wednesday January 19, @03:04PM (#34931482)

"I use ad-Block and a hostfile" - by Ol Olsoc (1175323) on Tuesday March 01, @10:11AM (#35346902)

"I do use Hosts, for a couple fake domains I use." - by icebraining (1313345) on Saturday December 11, @09:34AM (#34523012) Homepage

"put in your /etc/hosts:" - by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 03, @09:17AM (#34429688)




Then, there is also the words of respected security expert, Mr. Oliver Day, from SECURITYFOCUS.COM to "top that all off" as well:


Some "PERTINENT QUOTES/EXCERPTS" to back up my points with (for starters):


"The host file on my day-to-day laptop is now over 16,000 lines long. Accessing the Internet -- particularly browsing the Web -- is actually faster now."

Speed, and security, is the gain... others like Mr. Day note it as well!


"From what I have seen in my research, major efforts to share lists of unwanted hosts began gaining serious momentum earlier this decade. The most popular appear to have started as a means to block advertising and as a way to avoid being tracked by sites that use cookies to gather data on the user across Web properties. More recently, projects like Spybot Search and Destroy offer lists of known malicious servers to add a layer of defense against trojans and other forms of malware."

Per my points exactly, no less... & guess who was posting about HOSTS files a 14++ yrs. or more back & Mr. Day was reading & now using? Yours truly (& this is one of the later ones, from 2001 [] (but the example HOSTS file with my initials in it is FAR older, circa 1998 or so) or thereabouts, and referred to later by a pal of mine who moderates (where I posted on HOSTS for YEARS (1997 onwards)) -> [] !


"Shared host files could be beneficial for other groups as well. Human rights groups have sought after block resistant technologies for quite some time. The GoDaddy debacle with NMap creator Fyodor (corrected) showed a particularly vicious blocking mechanism using DNS registrars. Once a registrar pulls a website from its records, the world ceases to have an effective way to find it. Shared host files could provide a DNS-proof method of reaching sites, not to mention removing an additional vector of detection if anyone were trying to monitor the use of subversive sites. One of the known weaknesses of the Tor system, for example, is direct DNS requests by applications not configured to route such requests through Tor's network."

There you go: AND, it also works vs. the "KAMINSKY DNS FLAW" & DNS poisoning/redirect attacks, for redirectable weaknesses in DNS servers (non DNSSEC type, & set into recursive mode especially) and also in the TOR system as well (that lends itself to anonymous proxy usage weaknesses I noted above also) and, you'll get to sites you want to, even IF a DNS registrar drops said websites from its tables as shown here Beating Censorship By Routing Around DNS -> [] & even DNSBL also (DNS Block Lists) -> [] as well - DOUBLE-BONUS!


* POSTS ABOUT HOSTS FILES I DID on "/." THAT HAVE DONE WELL BY OTHERS & WERE RATED HIGHLY, 16++ THUSFAR (from +3 -> +1 RATINGS, usually "informative" or "interesting" etc./et al):

* THE HOSTS FILE GROUP 23++ THUSFAR (from +5 -> +1 RATINGS, usually "informative" or "interesting" etc./et al):

HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> []
HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> []
HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> []
HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> []
HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> []
HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> []
HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> []
HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> []
APK 20++ POINTS ON HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> []
HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> []
HOSTS MOD UP:2010 (w/ facebook known bad sites blocked) -> []
HOSTS MOD UP CAN DO SAME AS THE "CloudFlare" Server-Side service:2011 -> []
HOSTS MOD UP:2011 -> []
HOSTS MOD UP & OPERA HAUTE SECURE:2011 -> [] in HOSTS:2009 -> [] IN HOSTS:2009 -> [] in HOSTS:2009 -> []


* "Here endeth the lesson..." and, if you REALLY want to secure your system? Please refer to this: []


P.S.=> SOME MINOR "CAVEATS/CATCH-22's" - things to be aware of for "layered security" + HOSTS file performance - easily overcome, or not a problem at all:

A.) HOSTS files don't function under PROXY SERVERS (except for Proximitron, which has a filter that allows it) - Which is *the "WHY"* of why I state in my "P.S." section below to use both AdBlock type browser addon methods (or even built-in block lists browsers have such as Opera's URLFILTER.INI file, & FireFox has such as list as does IE also in the form of TPL (tracking protection lists -> [] , good stuff )) in combination with HOSTS, for the best in "layered security" (alongside .pac files + custom cascading style sheets that can filter off various tags such as scripts or ads etc.) - but proxies, especially "HIGHLY ANONYMOUS" types, generally slow you down to a CRAWL online (& personally, I cannot see using proxies "for the good" typically - as they allow "truly anonymous posting" & have bugs (such as TOR has been shown to have & be "bypassable/traceable" via its "onion routing" methods)).

B.) HOSTS files do NOT protect you vs. javascript (this only holds true IF you don't already have a bad site blocked out in your HOSTS file though, & the list of sites where you can obtain such lists to add to your HOSTS are above (& updated daily in many of them)).

C.) HOSTS files (relatively "largish ones") require you to turn off Windows' native "DNS local client cache service" (which has a problem in that it's designed with a non-redimensionable/resizeable list, array, or queue (DNS data loads into a C/C++ structure actually/afaik, which IS a form of array)) - covers that in detail and how to easily do this in Windows (this is NOT a problem in Linux, & it's 1 thing I will give Linux over Windows, hands-down). Relatively "smallish" HOSTS files don't have this problem ( offers 2 types for this).

D.) HOSTS files, once read/loaded, once GET CACHED, for speed of access/re-access (@ system startup in older MS OS' like 2000, or, upon a users' 1st request that's "Webbound" via say, a webbrowser) gets read into either the DNS local caching client service (noted above), OR, if that's turned off? Into your local diskcache (like ANY file is), so it reads F A S T upon re-reads/subsequent reads (until it's changed in %WinDir%\system32\drivers\etc on Windows, which marks it "Dirty" & then it gets re-read + reloaded into the local diskcache again). This may cause a SMALL lag upon reload though, depending on the size of your HOSTS file.

E.) HOSTS files don't protect vs. BGP exploits - Sorry, once it's out of your hands/machine + past any interior network + routers you have, the packets you send are out there into the ISP/BSP's hands - they're "the Agents" holding all the keys to the doorways at that point (hosts are just a forcefield-filter (for lack of a better description) armor on what can come in mostly, & a bit of what can go out too (per point #20 above on "locking in malware")). Hosts work as a "I can't get burned if I can't go into the kitchen" protection, for you: Not your ISP/BSP. It doesn't extend to them

F.) HOSTS files don't protect vs. IP addressed adbanners (rare) &/or IP address utilizing malwares (rare too, most used domain/host names because they're "RECYCLABLE/REUSEABLE"), so here, you must couple HOSTS files w/ firewall rules tables (either in software firewalls OR router firewall rules table lists)... apk

Boycott! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38349730)

How DARE they give their free-to-use software more options for the user. I'd rather if on top of ads, it also blocked every website in it's entirety as well!

Why you haters aren't using WGET to pull down a page/strip out all HTML & Javascript/run it through a TeX parser I'll never know.

Its good (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38349816)

I can see this as only a good thing. There is now an insentive for ads to be less intrusive and "acceptable"

Fork it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38349910)

The source code is available online, what prevents a fork from happening? Personally, I HATE ads. They're like intellectual harassment with how stupid and pointless they've become and I go out of my way to avoid buying things from the companies that sponsor them (i.e. I'm not trusting a f-ing lizard to tell me what car insurance to buy). I don't watch tv because of this. Though I'm surely at the far end of the spectrum, it's still true (unfortunately) that this is *their* code and they can be shady with it if they want to as long as it doesn't break any laws (then they "can't" but may still get away with it because of how corrupt things have become in regards to the behavior of companies). The good thing is that since the source is available, why not just fork it? If you don't agree with their principals and want different options in effect right from the start of Firefox, fork it -- they did it with and made why not here? AND if you can't fork it for licensing reasons, what prevents another version with different code from being created. It's not like Adblock is the Apple of ad're not going to get sued naked and bankrupt for it...(which they'd have no basis for because they didn't invent ad blocking (which was around long before them) anyway).

The bottom line: IF you don't agree with their 'shady' behavior and don't want to go through the trouble of changing one setting at startup, then fork it or create a new one...or considering that most people have more energy for complaining than they do for actually doing anything productive...most people will probably just bitch and moan and declare that they're creating another version then just install the new crappy "Adblock minus"...either forget to change the setting or change it and forget this ever happened...

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