Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Adblock Plus Developers To Allow 'Acceptable' Ads

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the good-ads-vs-bad-ads dept.

Mozilla 247

First time accepted submitter Roman Grazhdan writes "Developers of Adblock Plus, an award-winning add-on for Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome boasting over 12,000,000 users, announced that starting from version 2.0 the extension would come with a white list of unobtrusive, privacy-respected ads. These will be allowed by default; users will still be able to block them by unchecking 'Allow non-intrusive advertising.' The developers say: 'Only 25% of the Adblock Plus users seem to be strictly against any advertising.' What is this — betrayal of ideals of annoyance-free web or birth of independent authority for standards for advertisement?" Ads are sometimes annoying, but they also make certain websites (like this one!) possible. Getting the balance right is tricky — I know I often avoid sites because of interstitial advertising, pop-ups, etc. Whitelisting sounds like a good way to reward sites that try to keep it subtle; offloading and generalizing the task of categorizing ads into annoying or acceptable gives sites and advertisers a good threshold to duck beneath. Next step I'd like to see: a sliding scale, so browsers can be set to zero, or eleven, for tolerable annoyance. Update: 12/13 14:54 GMT by T : My fault: I liked the story so much that I missed it the first time.

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered


Dup! (4, Insightful)

thsths (31372) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354866)

I have a deja vu feeling, and it is not an ad.

Re:Dup! (3, Insightful)

gazbo (517111) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354910)

Now,now. You can hardly expect Timothy to read back nearly a whole day's worth of stories just to do his job to a basic level of competence. That could take upwards of seconds - and he'd have to do it EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Re:Dup! (1)

thsths (31372) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355040)

You mentioned words in one sentence that do not go well together.

Re:Dup! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38355486)

You mentioned words in one sentence that do not go well together.

I agree. "Timothy" and "do his job" tossed a parser error with me also.

Re:Dup! (1)

TWX (665546) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355010)

Pete and Repeat are ice skating. Pete falls down... Who's still standing?

Re:Dup! (2)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355236)

1. Both of them. Pete got back up.
2. Neither of them. Pete was so fat the vibrations shattered the ice, and everyone fell down.

Now, on the subject of dupe stories - I don't mind the occasional one (stuff happens, people are busy, some stories are worth repeating b/c some people will have missed it before).

Why does it happen? I've seen plenty of stories in the firehose, and when they finally appear, I'm thinking "isn't this a dupe, or old news?" So I can see how anyone can slip up. It's not that big a deal - it's slashdot, not reddit :-p

Re:Dup! (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355218)

It hardly seemed like /. without semi-regular dupe stories. I'm glad that they're continuing in the glorious tradition even after CmdrTaco left.

Re:Dup! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38355712)

To be honest I really don't mind, as long as they do it the other way around, the 'acceptable' ads blocked by default, and if anyone wants to see the ads just change it.

Slashdot to allow duplicates (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38354878)

maybe we need a Dupeblock Plus?

Re:Slashdot to allow duplicates (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38354906)

A "DupeBlock" would actually be called an "editor". It would be awesome if Slashdot hired some.

On the plus side, it's been a while since we've had a good duplicate post. I was starting to miss them.

They got paid for this... (2)

Tufriast (824996) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354918)

I can't really state anything but like my subject says, I believe they got paid off by someone to do this. I fear that their hard work probably wasn't seen as a cash flow of significance. I don't buy the only "25% against any advertising" mantra. I think a lot of people, myself included, will be looking for another advertisement blocking plugin. I pay for Slashdot, not much, but I do pay. I pay for what I read.

Re:They got paid for this... (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354964)

I think perhaps the other 75% are those whose computer-literate relatives have aggressively installed Firefox and ABP on their computers on their behalf.

In fact, come to think of it, it sort of makes me wonder if perhaps the majority of people who haven't converted to Chrome might be people who were never all that in control of their destiny in the first place...

Re:They got paid for this... (5, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354988)

I only block ads because the majority are intrusive and many sites are over saturated. If ads were all friendly I wouldn't block any of them. I think many (most?) people probably feel the same way.

Re:They got paid for this... (4, Interesting)

jfengel (409917) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355140)

I'm one. I use NoScript rather than AdBlock because it blocks the kind of ads that make it hard to read what I'm trying to read. I don't mind the ads on Slashdot. I've been offered the option of turning them off, and I don't take it. I like the site and don't mind if that's what it takes to preserve it.

Re:They got paid for this... (1)

allo (1728082) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355496)

noscript ... mh, wasn't this the plugin, which adds the author's homepage to the adblock whitelist?

okay, they are not doing it anymore, but at this time i had the impression the noscript guys want to make money and the adblock people are the good guys. now the adblock author does strange things, too.

The straw that broke the camels back (4, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355212)

I didn't bother for a long time, partially because I use a lot of different browsers for different needs and that meant that I needed to setup and ad-filtering proxy which is a tiny amount of work and I am very very lazy.

But ads got so annoying over time that I just installed it, made it the default on my home network (all HTTP traffic is filtered) and not just am I not annoyed anymore by ads, the speed has gone up.

Ads take just to much time. It doesn't matter where they are. Trying to read an American magazine is a game of "hunt the article". It used to be article - ad - article. Now the article between several ad pages, often only part of the page and spread all over the magazine to force you to keep hunting for it and be exposed to more ads. TV? 5 minutes of ads for every 10 minutes of TV? Including ads for the program you just interrupted?

That leads me to the next thing about ads. They are so goddamn fucking stupid. A tiny handful are funny but they are shown maybe a handful of times. The ads that are in every single commercial block are the ones that make your brain want to crawl out of your ears. I don't watch TV anymore, not because I am not in the mood for mindless drivel but because even my desire for mindless drivel is insulted when the ads come on.

Ad-block can start to let ads through but lets face it, they do this for money and so, the ad that pays the most is the one that gets through. That is how all this kinda stuff works. Movie TV channels advertise with not showing ads, and then charge a premium for special offer blocks. You buy a DVD not to see ads and then they put non-skippable ads in front of the content.

It is not like there are no alternatives to ad-block.

If advertisers want to get back on my browser they need to sanitize their own industry. Get rid of all the animated ads, the ads that are slow or stupid or annoying and make them be delivered at insanely high speeds so that NEVER EVER a webpage refuses to load because of a slow ad server.

But that won't never happen and so, I got several block lists. Opera has the most userfriendly at the moment, can even be used to content on the site itself.

I have even gone to the trouble of filtering out comments on sites with drivel comments. It is easy, just write a javascript command to hide blocks with author "smallfurrycreature" and the net will be a cleaner place.

Yes, this is drivel, but at least it isn't drivel tracking your every move or taking ages to load.

Re:They got paid for this... (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355228)

Probably. I don't believe I bought anything specifically because of any ad, though it's possible that some of the products I bought over the years were somehow influenced by some ad somewhere, it's hard to say. But I use every tool available to block as much ad content as possible because it's all in your face nonsense.

There is nothing wrong with having some ads, obviously we have ads on everything. Look at your computer - it has a logo on it. Look at any food package - it has an ad on it. Check out your jeans, there is an ad somewhere there. Your shoes probably too. But it doesn't really bother us because it's just part of life but more importantly because it doesn't jump out at us while we are trying to do something.

If I was walking on a street and all of a sudden my shoes stopped me and started yelling: buy (whatever the brand is) and I couldn't keep walking, I would throw those shoes right out.

More likely scenario: if I put a key into the car's ignition and before it started it gave me a 30 second ad by the car manufacturer, I would fucking sue their asses to hell for wasting my time (imagine if you have to get out of some situation rather quickly, you start your car, and instead of taking you out of there, it started an ad for 30 second, giving enough time for the angry mob to catch up - you are dead.)

So it's the same with your computer - if instead of allowing you to do your work, it stopped you for 30 seconds to show/read/display an ad to you. That's insane. That's why we block all ads, and I am so jaded now, I want the maximum ad blockage even though in reality most of those ads don't really stop me from anything, but they still occupy my desktop space and it's annoying.

So I say - we can't have good things because people ALWAYS taking one step further and spoil the good thing. So we fight back the way we know how - technologically.

Re:They got paid for this... (1)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355356)

More likely scenario: if I put a key into the car's ignition and before it started it gave me a 30 second ad by the car manufacturer, I would fucking sue their asses to hell for wasting my time (imagine if you have to get out of some situation rather quickly, you start your car, and instead of taking you out of there, it started an ad for 30 second, giving enough time for the angry mob to catch up - you are dead.)

More likely scenario?

Anyway, now imagine that most people are not chased by hordes of ravening zombies during their lives. Now imagine that in exchange for that 30 second ad-delay, you got to drive a new car all the time for free. Still suing?

Re:They got paid for this... (2)

del_diablo (1747634) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355458)

Engine stop due bad clutching, somewhere in a heavly trafikked intersection.
I can think this is a likely scenario, and if the people behind are going to wait a extra 30 seconds, they may even attempt to lynch you, along with whatever fines you can get from the local police.

Re:They got paid for this... (1)

whereissue (2522564) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355640)

This is a really poor car analogy. What, precisely, about your computing experience is free?

Warning... my question is bait; with exceptionally rare exceptions, nothing about your computing experience is free (as in beer, or otherwise).

Re:They got paid for this... (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355746)

This is a really poor car analogy. What, precisely, about your computing experience is free?

Warning... my question is bait; with exceptionally rare exceptions, nothing about your computing experience is free (as in beer, or otherwise).

Almost all of the content I view on my computer is free and advertiser supported. Slashdot, Google, News sites, Hulu, etc.

Though I guess a more apt analogy would be you pay for the car, but every time you want to get on a freeway you have to stop and watch a 30 second ad first to pay for the road.

Re:They got paid for this... (1)

CraftyJack (1031736) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355416)

More likely scenario: if I put a key into the car's ignition and before it started it gave me a 30 second ad by the car manufacturer...

I won't hear that ad, because I'll be outside scraping the ice off the windshield.

Re:They got paid for this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38355736)

More likely scenario: if I put a key into the car's ignition and before it started it gave me a 30 second ad by the car manufacturer, I would fucking sue their asses to hell for wasting my time

Why sue when you can let The Market sort things out?

Trust (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355418)

Remember back in the day when you could trust ads to be unobtrusive? Then the Internet came along and suddenly advertisers decided that they had free reign to ruin websites and invade our privacy. At this point, I do not trust any advertisers to respectfully show ads; they all either track everything I do or try to get in the way of what I am trying to read, or both. When advertisers regain my trust, I will stop blocking their ads.

Re:They got paid for this... (1)

marcop (205587) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355426)

Yup. Even though Slashdot offers me the option to not-display ads I find them to pretty non-annoying so I leave them on. I would guess that there is some view-counter-script so I want to be counted as having potentionally viewed the ads. As Timothy mentions in the article, ads keep the lights on at Slashdot.

Re:They got paid for this... (1)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355444)

It's even worse than that.

Some pages have ads that are non-intrusive in on windows, but break horribly on a Linux machine.
This most commonly occurs with ads that use flash, so you can avoid the worst lot by blocking flash
except for when you need it.

Also, while the browser should be able to handle it, it has happened that some poorly coded site managed
to lock-up my browser or crash it. That should not happen to a well written browser of course, but blocking
ads all but eliminates it.

The bad part about this is that "if you don't like the site don't visit it", won't help, because you only realise it
will break things after you visit. It also happens on occasion that this kind of problem happens to sites you
kinda need to use, such as when you try to print a form to fill in your taxes.

Re:They got paid for this... (1)

Jamu (852752) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355460)

I have nothing against advertising, provided they aren't pop-ups or such, many websites depend on them to run. The reason I block ads is to avoid malware.

Re:They got paid for this... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38355558)

Awww. It's an appologist for the corrupted freedtards. How sweet... traitor.

Re:They got paid for this... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38355046)

I don't think that they got paid. They're probably tired of the arms race with advertisers. I've been noticing more ads slipping through adblock. If simple ads were just allowed to come through, I don't think the ad companies would feel as compelled to "one up" adblock.

And then there's the moral issue. If everyone adblocks then websites don't make money, and there's less of a compelling reason to create good content. There needs to be a balance.

Re:They got paid for this... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38355176)

One way to have balance would be to offer great content and great forums and actually charge for it. Can you imagine how strange it would be to use an internet forum with no trolls, bots, or other crap on it? Yep, charging for access would get rid of almost 100% of that (although to be fair it may drive up the number of accounts the spammers would be trying to 'hack' so they could use them to do their dirty work). For example: I'd prefer to pay say 50 cents a month for slashdot than have ads and trolls. I agree readership would go way down (along with infrastructure costs). But the remaining users would be the ones with actual good comments that are often a pleasure to read.

Re:They got paid for this... (1)

dougmc (70836) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355088)

I don't buy the only "25% against any advertising" mantra

I do believe that what they said was probably reasonably accurate.

But remember, what they really claimed was " 'Only 25% of the Adblock Plus users seem to be strictly against any advertising.'".

In order to be part of that 25%, you have to be *strictly* against *any* advertising. If you don't mind TV being free because there's commercials on it, you're part of the 75%. Or if you do mind, but you're not *strictly* against it -- part of the 75%.

If you *hate* web advertisements of all kinds, but don't mind a logo on the side of that brown truck that brings you your stuff -- you're not strictly against *all* kinds of advertising.

It's all in how you word the question. And it sounds like this question was worded *very* carefully.

In any event, people are getting overly upset about this I'd say. My guess is that they were indeed paid for it, but all you have to do is click a button and it goes back to the way it was, so it really shouldn't be that big of a deal. Yes, it has the stench of selling out, but for now it's not so bad -- but if it gets worse, it could very well be time to ditch them.

Re:They got paid for this... (3, Insightful)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355092)

I am a power user, and I actually don’t mind ads. I HATE pop-up ads, though. The ones that show in the middle of the screen while you are reading, the ones that do crazy stuff when you accidentally roll over them, and every single flash based ad. But plain image banner ads, PNGs or GIFs, I don’t mind. Heck sometimes I like them. In some sites they let me know of products I care for (like upcoming games.)

I currently manually manage ad block in Firefox to allow certain sites to show their ads because I know the sites in question don't allow obtrusive stuff.

That being said: they stated that they can’t automatically determine what is an obtrusive ad so they are instead going for a kind of partnership program where they won’t block ads from specific sources that agreed to their terms. That is garbage. If you ever dealt with an ad agency you should know they WILL push as hard as they can and they will slowly violate the agreement terms and annoy users like most already do.

Re:They got paid for this... (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355152)

What does it matte if they got paid, I hope they got paid. Because either way we get a great feature.

Re:They got paid for this... (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355378)

Not as much getting paid, but keeping the peace.
This tool is for getting rid of the sleezball advertisers who will do anything to get their adds out. But there are the good ones who do it nicely, and don't try to trick you into clicking into it. Or take forever loading your pages. We want to encourage good advertising, really we do, the alternative is that we will need to pay for content to access web sites, especially professional ones who have staff that they need to pay for.

Sure you pay for Slashdot, but are you willing to pay for all your sites? A Google search for a technical answer will require you to pay $0.25 to see the answer?

And if Addblock gets too aggressive you are going to enter in an Addblock vs. Website owner war where they find ways to stop addblock and addblock finds way to stop the websites. And at the end everyone will lose, consumer will have sites that break on them all the time or they get bombarded with adds, websites loose revenue, add makers need to spend more and more money to make their adds smarter, addblock needs to put more and more resources to make its tool stop the advertisers.

This way the advertisers who gets block will need to try to prove that they are not being abusive. If they cannot they need to admit that they are abusive and their customers will need to question them on it.

Re:They got paid for this... (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355472)

I like this idea. I also do not mind none intrusive ads as a way to pay for content. When I read magazines like Cycle World and Circuit Cellar I actually value the ads. What they consider to be an OK ad matches what I feel are non intrusive ads 100% .
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)

Frankly since they have an option to block all I do not see why any reasonable person would be upset over this change.

Re:They got paid for this... (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355606)

You mean you pay for every single site you use?

Because that's what you're saying. Sites can't survive on good wishes and nice comments.

Re:They got paid for this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38355770)

If you run a site as a hobby, you shouldn't expect any pay for it. Nobody pays me for my hobbies.

If your site is a part of your business, it's a business expense.

Otherwise, if you need another source of income of some sort to sustain your site: charge a subscription fee, and if the site is useful to me I will very happily pay it.

I will not, however, tolerate advertising. At all.

If a site owner were to put up an ultimatum banner that says "Don't view my site if you block ads", I'd respect his wishes (assuming no subscription option or the site is unimportant to me), though I haven't seen anyone do that yet.

Better idea (1)

ashpool7 (18172) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354928)

Instead, work on a new app: Dupe Block Plus...

Re:Better idea (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355158)

The editors say: 'Only 25% of the Slashdot users seem to be strictly against any dupes.'

Perhaps the rest appreciate the reminder? (I hear the average Slashdot user memory span in political debates is that of a goldfish. What were we talking about again?)

Doublespeak (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354940)

The ministry of adblocking, which displays advertisements.

In all seriousness though, who thought this was a good idea? We use adblock to block advertisements. I do not want the developers deciding for me which advertisements will not be blocks; the only person who should control the whitelist is me.

Re:Doublespeak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38355072)

Go make your own blocker. Or go donate a wheelbarrow of money to the developers. Or just stop whining and click the little box they're including to continue your leeching.

Re:Doublespeak (1)

AdamJS (2466928) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355188)

They've created their own little extortion racket.

Face it; Sites need an alternative to paid subscriptions and advertisements.

Re:Doublespeak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38355084)

I think the "good idea" is that it rewards all three advertisers who aren't in the "OMFGWTFBBQ ANYTHING FOR EYEBALLS!!" camp.

I'd like to know what a "privacy-respected" advertisement is, because I don't think there is such a thing on the web.

Re:Doublespeak (1)

SilentChasm (998689) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355328)

As a user of Adblock Plus for Firefox who also blocks ads in other browsers I use by using blocklists, I welcome this as an option.

The only real reason I installed it in the first place was because ads started using animated images/flash and slowed down page loads and my machine (a low-power nettop). Firefox already seemed slow (UI) compared to other browsers at the time and having the ads slow down the machine more than the actual content became much too annoying when I could simply block them all. I tried for a time to only block a limited number of ads/types that annoyed me but I realized that it had become a lot of effort for the benefit of the people annoying me when I could just download an addon and a blocklist and be done with it.

In the end, I hope the allowing of "acceptable" ads helps return the web to not being so annoying without addons by forcing advertisers to make their ads less annoying if they want to be seen.

SimpleBlock addon! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38354972)

SimpleBlock [mozilla.org], a nice little extension that in many ways is better than ABP but requires a basic understanding of FF error console and Javascript regex.

This is a duplicate. (4, Interesting)

Millennium (2451) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354992)

As I said before, though, I'm OK with this. I don't use ABP to stick it to The Man; I use it because a number of my ads either actually make my browser unusable or are annoying enough to seriously detract from my browsing experience. If ABP can block only these while letting more benign ads through, then I applaud them: it allows site owners who don't employ these ads to keep their revenue, and it provides a clear alternative for site owners who currently do employ these ads. That's the sort of thing that actually stands a chance of making some change.

In fact, I wish this weren't optional. There's a difference between protesting against certain odious forms of advertising and simply stealing content. The people who run this just to stick it to The Man are not allies in that fight.

Re:This is a duplicate. (1)

VIPERsssss (907375) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355114)

As long as they stick to static images I'm also OK with this. Ie. something that would be reasonable over dial-up (if I were still using dial-up).
When it comes down to it, I'm paying to download those bytes too.

Re:This is a duplicate. (3, Insightful)

broken_chaos (1188549) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355124)

There's a difference between protesting against certain odious forms of advertising and simply stealing content.

It's not 'stealing content' to determine what I do and do not wish to download or execute on my computer. I simply do not feel I can trust any advertisers to not be obtrusive, potential insecurity vectors, or abuse my privacy.

Re:This is a duplicate. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38355142)

Blocking ads is not stealing content. You are awfully brainwashed.

Re:This is a duplicate. (1)

dougmc (70836) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355166)

In fact, I wish this weren't optional. There's a difference between protesting against certain odious forms of advertising and simply stealing content.

Ahh yes, the "if you don't watch our ads you're stealing" argument. (Of course, people have been doing this "stealing" since the first time somebody took a leak during a TV, er, radio commercial, and I could probably think of much older examples if I gave it some thought.)

I do like this distinction you've made. It's stealing if the ad is not odious, but not stealing if it is (that's just protesting) ?

In any event, if this wasn't optional, Adblock would find all their customers moving on to something else, perhaps a fork of Adblock that tries to get *all* the ads, not just the 75% that are extra annoying (or failed to pay the Adblock developers.)

Re:This is a duplicate. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38355262)

Who cares what a low-ID cocksucker like you thinks?

Re:This is a duplicate. (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355334)

In principle I agree, but in practice having a gatekeeper with a whitelist you must get on sounds like a really bad solution. "I have here these X million of web users and unless you pay me, they're not going to see your ads" sounds too much like an extortion racket.

Re:This is a duplicate. (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355504)

it allows site owners who don't employ these ads to keep their revenue, and it provides a clear alternative for site owners who currently do employ these ads. That's the sort of thing that actually stands a chance of making some change.

Yes, I agree. I've long thought that part of the problem with the whole advertising system on the Internet is that there's no real feedback. Some site puts up obtrusive ads. Some people open the site and immediately close it because of the ads-- the person operating the site has no way of knowing. Another user has an ad-blocker installed and doesn't see the ads, but the site owner probably can't tell. Is the user blocking the ads because he finds the ads on your site obtrusive, or is it because he just has the ad-blocker installed to block other ads? Who can tell?

Since there's no way of telling who is blocking your ads and why, how can advertisers, site owners, and web designers make good choices about what ads are acceptable to their users and which ones aren't? If you want people to change behavior, you have to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior-- but just as important, they need to have a clear signal about which behaviors your punishing and rewarding. If you're punishing them and they don't know they're being punished, or they don't know *why* they're being punished, then you can't expect good results.

So I'd almost like to see something advanced that says, "If a website does X (where X is bad behavior), block all ads on their site and signal to them in some way that I'm blocking ads because of behavior X."

In fact, I wish this weren't optional. There's a difference between protesting against certain odious forms of advertising and simply stealing content.

I'm not sure I agree that blocking ads is "stealing content". First, if it's theft, it's theft of potential ad revenue, not content. I'm not taking the content away from the site, nor am I using the content elsewhere. Second, it's not really theft of potential ad revenue since I'm not getting the ad revenue, I'm not failing to provide the site with ad revenue. Third, I don't think it's remotely reasonable to call it "theft" when all that's happening is "I didn't look at the ads that you wanted me to look at." It's also not "theft" to look at the ads and refuse to click on them, or to click on the ads and refuse to buy anything.

So how long (1)

AdamJS (2466928) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354998)

Until someone releases an Adblock 2?

Most sites simply just don't understand that ads and sub services aren't acceptable to a large portion of their userbase.

Allow filtering by format details (4, Interesting)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355062)

I'd like separate options for suppressing:
- Pop-unders
- Pop-overs
- Ads emitting sound without being clicked on
- Ads that start playing video without being clicked on
- Ads that are sneaky (single-pixel, etc.)
- etc.

Re:Allow filtering by format details (1)

allo (1728082) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355510)

just create a blocklist for each, and offer the adblock users to subscribe to your lists. then they can choose.

Re:Allow filtering by format details (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355576)

That might be the way it's modeled from a user's perspective. But I expect the real challenge is coming up with an automated way to maintain such lists.

And if I'm right, the fact that JavaScript is Turing-complete is a serious problem to automating this, especially because many advertisers are unscrupulous.

I unblock ads at webmaster's requests (3, Interesting)

sandytaru (1158959) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355070)

Usually webcomic artists, who come right out and state that their ad revenue is their primary source of income generation. I'll even click through ads on those web sites. But in exchange, I expect those webmasters to patrol their own ads, and if anything is offensive or obnoxious, have it removed at the source. Web ads, even automated ones, should not be a totally passive thing on the part of the webmasters. If they're asking people to click their ads, then they need to make some effort to supervise the ad process.

Re:I unblock ads at webmaster's requests (1)

allo (1728082) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355706)

and even this will not work out. when more people start doing this, just clicking to help the webmaster, then the ad-prices will drop.

Privacy is key, but doesn't seem respected here (4, Insightful)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355076)

I'm not 100% anti-advertising, but the privacy issue is deeper than just being on a "Do not track" list.

If the ad is served from a host controlled by the advertiser, then they have my IP address, the date and time, the number of times I saw the ad, and (by the "referer" header) what page(s) I was viewing when I saw the ad.

For me, "acceptable" ads are those served by servers which I've opted into correspond with, either by typing into the address bar or by clicking a link.

I've seen enough advertising for three lifetimes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38355096)

I'll pass, thanks.

Hide enough ads, and the media outlets will change (2)

tgd (2822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355104)

On TV, you see product placement in TV shows all the time, because of DVRs. Some shows are rampant with them, like Big Bang Theory, which must get a pile of money from Dell. Laptops are ALWAYS carried around with the Dell or Alienware showing.

Or you get websites like Slashdot, which show advertiser bias in the bizarre choices of stories, clearly designed to get click rates up, or the new "sponsored" stories.

I'd rather see unbiased media and unobtrusive ads, then see ads blocked and the whole internet get as bad as /. in that regard.

Re:Hide enough ads, and the media outlets will cha (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355178)

Just remembered an interesting observation about laptops in use in the "real world" versus the media. In movies, they tend to use Apple products. However, when the now infamous "war room" photo of Obama, the generals, and the cabinet circulated at the time of Osama Bin Laden's capture, every laptop in the room was a ruggedized, locked down, extra-secure business HP system.

As for the Dells in Big Bang Theory, that really reeks of false geekery to me. Real geeks will either be using Macbook Pros, or some really souped up Windows or Linux system from anyone but Dell.

Re:Hide enough ads, and the media outlets will cha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38355324)

Geeks don't use MBPs, they use anything they can install Linux or BSD on, the weirder the better. Fashion conscious dweebs buy Apple to look kewl.

Re:Hide enough ads, and the media outlets will cha (1)

QuantumPion (805098) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355814)

For whatever reason product placement doesn't particularly bother me. When I see a close-up of a phone or a shoe in a movie or TV show, I know that it is a form of advertising but it doesn't detract from my viewing. Probably because the actual time of advertisement is on the order of a second or less. When it is just a brief glimpse that requires no interaction on my part I can tolerate it. What I can't stand are commercials that you have to sit through on TV, or worse, commercials you have to sit through to view a web page or online video. If the advertisement presents itself and then disappears very briefly without interrupting me or requiring input on my part, that is just fine. When the ad requires me to click it to go away, click it to continue, blocks what I am trying to do, or wastes my time, that is unacceptable and I will always either block it or stop using the service that employs it.

Wise move, bad PR (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355134)

This was a wise move for the overall health of the web, but the people who use Adblock instead of NoScript + Flashblock are the types who are offended by seeing ads at all. With this user base trait in mind, it would have been best to have the "allow unobtrusive ads" off by default, and maybe show a post-install screen explaining the feature and offering the option to turn it on.

As I Said Before (1)

TheFlannelAvenger (870106) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355146)

Look websites, we get it, the social contract. I would be fine helping you out by watching your ads. But the ads on your site, aren't from you, they are from an adfarm, or an adhosting company, or any number of third parties I do not know or trust.

Although not a tech site, everyone here has probably heard of the NY Times third party ad supplier getting hit, and injecting an attack to visitors from a poisoned advertisement. *

I use Adblock mostly in self defense, along with NoScript, because I don't know who is pushing the ads, or what their policies are. If AdBlock is going to vet advertisers and guarantee safe content, then maybe I will loosen up a bit. But I'm still leery, as even certificate authorities these days are getting gamed.

In general blocking anything except the web content I'm trying to view, seems best practice.

* http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2009/09/14/fake-antivirus-attack-hits-york-times-website-readers/ [sophos.com]

"ads power the web". too bad... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38355156)

I've seen people express that opinion and it's nonsense. Remember the internet before the first banner ad, before the web even? It was as *awesome* resource in the 1980's. It hadn't been corrupted by money and commercial interests. There was no astroturfing, you could believe reviews were a real person's opinion about 100% of the time. There were excellent resources to answer questions about a huge range of things without the $$$ sites offering to sell you shit you didn't need infesting everything. Your every move was not tracked and used to sell you shit.

So if we kill internet ads entirely, and all this crap disappears from the net? That's no loss. That's a gain. Let it all die, I say. Yes, this site too, if that's what it means: usenet of yore before the commercial spammers ruined that too had FAR better tech discussions than slashdot. Maybe the net can go back to what it was before TBL invented the web to make it usable by idiots, attracting legions of idiots, marketeers, censors, and mouth-breathing people clicking on ads to infest it.

What's their price for intrusive ads? (1)

swb (14022) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355190)

If ABP makes money off this deal (and I don't understand why they would do this without making money...), I'm sure their principles of only "allowing non-intrusive ads" will last five minutes until the right price is reached and then they'll allow them, too.

What I don't understand is why the ad biz would try to do business with them -- short term, it's extortion -- pay us and we might unblock your ads. Long-term, you'll pay them and people will switch to BlockAdPlus or whatever the replacement is that does the same thing with the same blocklists but doesn't allow ads.

Either way, the advertisers get squeezed and don't get a lot of long-term satisfaction out of it.

I just hope that this doesn't happen to NoScript. I see that system as much more complex to replace than AdBlock. I could be wrong, but ABP seems more of an URL filter for a page, where NoScript seems to need do more heavy lifting.

Ads are amazing (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355234)

The internet cannot exist without ads.
Imagine if every site above personal hobby projects required you to pay to use its content. Imagine if there was not a single news site that did not charge a subscription cost. Imagine if XKCD charged a subscription cost and Google charged 25 cents to make a search.

That is where we would be without advertising and anyone not willing to help out at all because of some set of principals are just lazy bums and should stop leaking off of everyone around them.

Re:Ads are amazing (1)

sohmc (595388) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355438)

But your forgetting that ads have to, at a minimum, not disturb the user experience. Most online ads are very disturbing to the user. Blocking flash gets rid of a large majority of those ads.

One bad thing about HTML5 is that these ads will make it through the flashblock. Hopefully, AB+ will evolve to include those as well.

I will say this: at least they are giving the end user an option. I would prefer that the whitelist was opt-in, but having the option to block them is a good start.

Re:Ads are amazing (1)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355538)

What you're really saying is not that the internet can't exist with ads, it's that the world can't exist without consumerism, and somehow people are "lazy bums" if they don't share this belief... I could easily argue that people who subscribe to this dogma are too lazy to fight for a better way of life.

The internet existed BEFORE ads (3, Interesting)

tekrat (242117) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355574)

Sure, it wasn't the internet YOU know and love, but in many ways, it was a better place. Now get off my lawn.

Ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38355282)

I don't install an ad-blocker to see ads. I'll obviously block this, and the day where doing so will become unreliable or difficult, simply use an alternative ad blocker.

I'm the 25% :p

The only way that I'll accept ads ... (2)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355338)

The only way that I'll accept ads is if they're hosted by the site that I'm visiting.

Sure pop-up, pop-under, flash, and all of the other obnoxious forms of advertising that advertisers have come up with are annoying. Yet I am willing to put up with the inconvenience if there was some guarantee of privacy. And advertising (as it stands today) is one of the multitude of ways that users can be tracked across the multitude of sites that they visit.

So blocking it shall be.

ADP misses the most intrusive stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38355346)

So if it misses the most intrusive stuff, like pop unders, and they're giving a pass to the least intrusive stuff... how much ad content will actually be blocked? Another thing to consider is that "intrusiveness" is not a measure of the "scamminess" of the ads. Why not just block everything instead of going into the slippery slope of "good" vs. "bad" advertising?

Bullshit about "ads fund websites". (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38355478)

I'm tired of people blabbering all the bullshit about how you have to view ads, because they fund websites. You know, I ran a very large site because I enjoyed it. It cost me some money, in fact. But I didn't charge for it (I easily could have and people asked me to) and I didn't plaster it in ads. See, there was a time when you did things on the internet (or before the internet, with BBSes) because you enjoyed offering a service and building a community. You enjoyed doing the "work". It was fun.

Today? Not only do huge sites that actually cost a lot to operate have ads, but so does every fucking "mommy blogger" who thinks they need to fill their site with tons of fucking advertisements so they can monetize their several dozen readers. (And for the most part, hosting a site or service is not expensive enough to necessitate an ad campaign - unless you're Netflix or Slashdot or something).

Anyway, the idea that the only way sites can exist is if they plaster ads all over the place is just bullshit. Ads are offensive and there should be some places in the world where you can (either by nature or by CHOICE) keep your eyes from being constantly bombarded by advertising.

I really can't see any problem (1)

slashdotit (2530864) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355484)

I really can't see any problem with them getting paid off. Unless you are an anti-capitalist, getting support this way is legit in my opinion. Just uncheck everything.

I am the 25% (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38355506)

To hell with this, I am one of the 25%. I am strictly against ads.

Question: But what about Slashdot? Answer: I block ads on Slashdot.
Question: But what if your favourite website shuts down? Answer: Who cares?
Question: Do you have an alternate way to make money on the web? Answer: Who cares, it's not my responsibility to prop up a failing business model.
Question: Would you be willing to pay to use the websites you block ads on? Answer: No. Free and no ads. Those are my terms and conditions.

Question: But what about TV, the movies, radio, in-store, billboards? Answer: I don't subscribe to pay TV anymore, I pirate or wait for DVDs and buy and rip those. I hate product placement in TV shows. I rarely go to the theatre anymore. I rip all my DVDs/Blus so I don't see previews. I only listen to public radio. I try to do most of my shopping online. None of this has negatively impacted my life in any way, I'm not sacrificing anything here. My (pop) culture experience is at least as good as anyone else's. My city has very few billboards and I hate those. If I could wear augmented reality adblocking glasses, I'd do that. I don't want advertising.

All ads are intrusive by definition. If I want information about a product, I will look for it myself. I don't /EVER/ want any unsolicited product information. I don't care if it's text, video, audio, interactive, whether it's a statement of fact, an outcome of research, an image campaign, or anything else. I'm not an anarchist or a political extremist. I have a normal social life, with normal friends. I'm not anti-capitalist or anti-corporate. Advertising, in specific, is the problem. It's pollution. It's noise. It's garbage.

War on ad blockers (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355528)

There have been a few sites which will complain if you block their ads but not many. I'm surprised that there hasn't been a more wholesale backlash against ad blockers given that visitors who block ads are basically freeloaders. It would be fairly simple to test if ads are being blocked or not with some inline JS and take the appropriate action. What that might be is open to discussion but I expect there are ways to devalue the content commensurate with the devalued visitor, e.g. don't show any news articles in the last 12 hours for example.

Go fork yourself! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38355530)

Yeah, this is going to happen....

three strikes, you're out (1)

epine (68316) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355536)

Many readers have submitted news

At this point I'm guessing that the license plate still garbed in the pristine shrink-wrap Steve Jobs couldn't bear to tear into has come up for sale on eBay.

of a week-old announcement

So it was boring then and it's still boring now, but finally we have geek quorum.

from Wladimir Palant

Oh oh, even worse, its about some Twitter celebrity I've never heard of.

Three strikes, you're out.

Since I missed it myself the first time, I'll add my two percents.

I grew up in the era of Coke vs Pepsi. The debate should have been about high fructose corn syrup vs metabolic syndrome. You hear from the man standing under the elephant, but it's never about the diabetic ankles.

One of missing gems from Five Equations That Changed the World:

information + greed + sex appeal = toxic sludge

The dynamic here is that whatever standard one sets for acceptable advertising conduct, the advertisers are incented to differentiate themselves by crowding the perimeter of bad taste. The bad behaviour doesn't end until the acceptance criteria is reduced to the null set of "don't call us, we'll call you". There's plenty of people out there who enjoy the mind rot, the same way many people are into body rot. Advertising is best applied to these people.

The spectacular increase in metabolic syndrome in the western world over the last thirty years can't possibly be genetics. It could perhaps be caused by people parking the salty and sugary chip truck on their front lawn thinking they'll not really notice its presence there.

the undying asymmetry (1)

epine (68316) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355806)

There's more.

If I make a considered personal opinion that I'm crossing high-fructose corn sugar and most soy derivatives off my menu for now and forever, because the superficial culinary joy is outweighed by the metabolic tax, and because I dislike mega-corporation agriculture, and because I *really* dislike mega-corporation agriculture as pwned by Monsanto under their regulatory capture of having the FDA "generally recognize as safe" a shot-gun genetic modification technology (which scatters the injected gene throughout the chromosomes) then to enter my house, as a principle of courtesy and respect, the visitor should scrape this particular dog shit off their shoes before stepping onto my porch.

Until advertising incorporates the "I have decided" list of things I personally never wish to hear from again, I'm not unlocking the front gate, if only to protect my porch, even if I don't open the door after they ring the bell.

As a consumer, I'm never allowed to set a fixed policy. In their mind I'm permanently up for suasion and drift. They understand decision fatigue and wield it against me.

Another decision I've made is to never purchase a condiment which contains 40% of my sodium RDA in a single tablespoon. Does the cash register access my file to help me enforce this firm personal decision when I pass the till. Not bloodly likely. I'm surrounding by B2B technology of the highest order, yet I have to personally flip over every stupid bottle and read it myself.

Capitalism where art thou?

What are ads? (2)

redelm (54142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355618)

Excuuuuse me if I'm "so last millenium", but what are ads? I browse the web with `links`in gorgeous 149col x 143rows of text!

Serving the Users (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355686)

I think it's a reasonably good idea to allow users the option to let some ads through. A lot of people think advertising is a legitimate way to fund Web sites and maybe they want to preserve the revenue streams of sites that advertise in an inoffensive way.

Myself, I think all advertising is contemptible by definition, so I am also glad the developers preserve the option to block everything.

I don't see this as a betrayal of the user community. I see it as adding a feature. Yeah it's a feature that is enabled by default but if you are smart enough to use AdBlock in the first place you are probably smart enough to configure it.

This seems reasonable... (1)

sirwired (27582) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355752)

I have no beef whatsoever with unobtrusive text ads, or a reasonable number of static graphical ads. The reason I end up eventually installing AdBlock on my browsers is where some badly designed website brings my browser to a crawl with a half-dozen animated ads, or, even worse, a video ad with the sound enabled by default. (And most video ads in general make my machine chug some...)

Restructuring for revenue (1)

helix2301 (1105613) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355798)

This sounds like they are going to do the same thing search engines do the more you pay the more your ads will appear. Just like search engines the more you pay the higher you rank. The company needed revenue and this is how they decided they were going to make money. A lot of company's that offer free services get people hooked the first few years then start with the revenue stream ideas. Apple did with the iPhone they got everyone hooked on the phone then introduced iAd and guess what we all kept our iPhones. If people like the service enough they will just put up with the changes. How ever the post goes on to talk about unchecking 'Allow non-intrusive advertising' to not allow a white list. So this does show they are trying to keep the products integrity and the products main purpose.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account