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Ask Slashdot: To AdBlock Or Not To AdBlock?

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the ethics-of-free dept.

Privacy 716

conner_bw writes "Is there an acceptable compromise to behavioral targeting? On the one hand, I don't want to be profiled by unscrupulous advertisers. On the other hand, I feel that the advertiser is the middleman between the things I care about (content) and the dollars that support those things. My compromise is to take a page out of BF Skinner's book, Walden Two, and view the situation as a sort of absurd behaviorist experiment. Basically, I Adblock everything, but whitelist the sites I support. Is this too much? Not enough? What should individuals do protect themselves, if anything at all?"

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716 comments

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Just block all ads and don't worry about it (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41075805)

Advertising is evil. No need to rationalize ad blocking. Kick the marketers to the curb and move on. If the site needs another source of revenue, they'll find it be it micropayments, subscriptions, etc. And if you really care about the content you can then pay to get it, and if not, nothing of value is lost.

Re:Just block all ads and don't worry about it (0, Troll)

bartosek (250249) | more than 2 years ago | (#41075827)

This, exactly this.

My two cents... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41075887)

Simply by asking question, you are committed to doing the right thing. Follow your morals.

Also, by my reasoning you are a better person than me. I did not consider unblocking, even after reading this:

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

Re:My two cents... (4, Interesting)

Larryish (1215510) | more than 2 years ago | (#41076075)

Adblock is good for blocking annoying site headers or site images and to block the remote advertisers that it comes with by default in the subscription.

I rarely block ads that adblock doesn't catch (such as those hosted on the same server as the website) unless it is a cycle-stealing piece of shi^H^H^Hflash.

Re:Just block all ads and don't worry about it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41075837)

Parent speaks the truth. Unless you are living in a cave you are already funding the content as a consumer - the advertisers are just the inconvenient middle-men in the equation.

Re:Just block all ads and don't worry about it (5, Informative)

shmlco (594907) | more than 2 years ago | (#41075935)

You may be buying the products, but that doesn't mean the web sites are receiving any revenue. Google ads and many others often only pay when clicked.

Re:Just block all ads and don't worry about it (-1)

honestmonkey (819408) | more than 2 years ago | (#41075905)

Yeah, I was going to say something similar, but also, don't even worry about it. The question is dumb. If I can block the ads, then there is no moral problem with it. If a site wants to figure out a way to force them on me I'll either accept it or move on. It's evolution in action. Sites with less obtrusive or blatant ads will be more likely to get my business. If sites don't want me to visit with Adblock turned on, I won't visit. They either figure some other way to make money off me or they die.

People seem to think ads are some official or holy thing. It's just another useless business model that will eventually have to figure out another way to work. If the internet can't work without ads, the screw it, it can't work.

Re:Just block all ads and don't worry about it (3, Interesting)

shmlco (594907) | more than 2 years ago | (#41075959)

"Sites with less obtrusive or blatant ads will be more likely to get my business. If sites don't want me to visit with Adblock turned on, I won't visit. "

So less obtrusive or blatant ads don't matter at all. You seem to block everything, regardless.

Re:Just block all ads and don't worry about it (3, Insightful)

JosephTX (2521572) | more than 2 years ago | (#41075929)

If you're one of those weird people who visits more than 3 or 4 websites a month, that model would get very expensive very quickly.

Re:Just block all ads and don't worry about it (5, Insightful)

laxr5rs (2658895) | more than 2 years ago | (#41075943)

I'm not sure advertising is "evil," but I agree that a person should do whatever they please, as they wish, just as advertisers do.

Re:Just block all ads and don't worry about it (5, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 2 years ago | (#41076123)

I'm not sure advertising is "evil,"

It doesn't have to be evil to be bad.
Instead of binary good or evil questions, we should be asking if it's in the public interest
and whether or not the benefits outweight the negatives.

Don't forget that advertising is commercial speech, which can be limited.

Re:Just block all ads and don't worry about it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41076237)

It doesn't have to be evil to be bad.

Define your terms, please.

Re:Just block all ads and don't worry about it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41076077)

Advertising is evil.

Lie.

Re:Just block all ads and don't worry about it (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41076195)

In my opinion, I think advertisers (and other personal data-gathering companies) need to be more transparent and open about what info they collect.
What I want:
- Let me know EXACTLY what you collect about me.
- Let me choose what you collect.
- Let me know how you process that data (e.g. if you use my data for personality tests and such that tells you more about me than I've told you myself, and what you learn about me this way).
- Let me have you delete my personal data at anytime after you have collected it.
- Let me know who you share all that data with.
- Let me make you not share my data with specific groups, people and companies.

Advertisers could set up a website where we volunteer personal data and retain full control over it. Targeted advertising can be good for customers, hey I'd love to know about products that might interest me. The issue is the control I retain over my data.

But somehow, advertisers collect data about us behind our backs and work hard to keep us from knowing about it - this is suspicious. They can claim targeted advertising is good for us, and done properly I'm sure it is, but as long as they refuse to be open and co-operate with the customers then I will doubt that they really have our best interests in mind.

Now what does this have to do with Ad Block?
I realize websites rely on ads to keep running and I want to help. However, the way advertising is done right now, it does not satisfy me at all.
I could suck it up and unblock ads anyway, for the sake of the websites I like, but that will never solve the problem. On the other hand, if enough people block ads, advertisers will be forced to change their methods. And the innocent websites who suffer while we block ads? Well they should be pushing for advertisers to be more transparent.

Re:Just block all ads and don't worry about it (4, Insightful)

quantaman (517394) | more than 2 years ago | (#41076207)

So you're subscribing to /. then?

sometimes ... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41075819)

Text ads, fine
images, fine for now (the increasing use of caps on "unlimited" plans may change this in the future)
Punch the monkey, flash, talking, or auto start ads, block the shit of them

I just block (4, Insightful)

TrumpetPower! (190615) | more than 2 years ago | (#41075833)

I hate advertising in all forms, including that from vendors whom I might otherwise like. I'd much rather live in a world without advertising than one with one. So, for me, that's basically the world I live in.

No, I don't care that your revenue depends on advertising. I don't want your buggy whips, even if they're "free," even if you won't give me stuff for "free" unless I take a buggy whip. Find some other way to pay the bills.

And I don't think my attitude is at all outrageous or selfish. Would you accept "free" cake that came topped with "free" output from the sewage plant because that was the only way they could dispose of the waste? Would you feel guilty about decontaminating the cake before eating it? If you couldn't decontaminate the cake, would you still eat it anyway?

Cheers,

b&

Re:I just block (-1, Flamebait)

JosephTX (2521572) | more than 2 years ago | (#41075903)

Actually, your attitude IS pretty outrageous. Advertising != forcing you to buy it. It's still something businesses rely on so that people actually know they EXIST, and that's worth the occasional penis enlargement ad and the silly products you just listed.

Plus, like the OP said, if websites didn't get revenue from ads, they'd have to get it directly from you. Any website you visit with ".com" in it likely wouldn't exist or be the same.

Re:I just block (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41076033)

This is a bullshit response, and attitude. Given that response then you must also believe that you must get and use a credit card because that's the way banks make money.... Utter bullshit. How about just block the ads and watch the creative people at company A come up with another way to make money or be gone....same for the web sites that use it.

Wake pawned person!

Re:I just block (1)

JosephTX (2521572) | more than 2 years ago | (#41076143)

Banks make money through loans, with our without the use of credit cards. That's their whole business. If i'm using their service (taking loans) then I'm already contributing.

Re:I just block (2, Insightful)

scot4875 (542869) | more than 2 years ago | (#41076183)

Banks make money through loans, with our without the use of credit cards. That's their whole business.

No, it's not even close to their whole business. Thanks for playing though! And no, I'm not going to look up links for you; there's really no excuse for this kind of ignorance when you have access to the internet.

--Jeremy

Re:I just block (-1, Flamebait)

JosephTX (2521572) | more than 2 years ago | (#41076213)

oh, you got me! there's also investment, which they get a cut of from handling my money anyway. good job completely ignoring my point though, which is that I'm not stealing from my bank just by not paying 1 month late on all my credit card bills. The same can't be said for using a website's sole service while blocking their sole source of revenue. So no, it's not the same. Try harder.

Re:I just block (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41076043)

if websites didn't get revenue from ads, they'd have to get it directly from you

The only sites which need revenue are the ones which don't know how to monetize their brand in other ways.

Re:I just block (1)

Xenx (2211586) | more than 2 years ago | (#41076127)

No, it also applies to sites that don't want to monetize in other ways. Believe it or not, people can be cheap about things.

Re:I just block (1)

JosephTX (2521572) | more than 2 years ago | (#41076181)

if a company couldn't make any money through their website, there'd be no reason to have that website in the first place. Any website such as youtube, huffington post, hulu, and pretty much anything else that doesn't just act as a company's product-ordering site wouldn't exist.

Re:I just block (5, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 2 years ago | (#41076173)

Advertising != forcing you to buy it.

Worse than that - Advertising motivates me to make a point of never buying it. Ads absolutely infuriate me, the less obtrusive ones, less so.

If you find a magic formula to get my attention with an ad, congratulations, you have just lost me as a customer forever.

I block ads because they waste my, and the sites, bandwidth. I have zero chance of ever clicking an ad, or buying a product based on "impressions".

Don't like it? Go bankrupt. Because realistically, those describe your two choices - Accept that some fraction of people will block your ads no matter what, or stop producing content and let someone else fill your niche.

And in case you wonder - Nope, I don't feel "bad" about this. If Slashdot vanished tomorrow, another "news for nerds" site would take its place overnight.

Re:I just block (-1, Flamebait)

JosephTX (2521572) | more than 2 years ago | (#41076249)

I could sum up why you're just an altogether unlikeable person, but you seem to have done a pretty good job at that yourself.

Don't worry, it's just because you're too smart and ahead of the curve and whatnot.

Re:I just block (2)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 2 years ago | (#41076261)

If I need a thing to do X I will hunt one down. Fuck your advertising. I could care less about anything that relies on advertising to support itself. Whatever it is, I don't need it, and if it disappeared I could care less. Oh no! Slashdot went away. Boohoo. I can't watch So You Think You Can Dance anymore??! The tragedy!! All the shit in the world that exists solely to help sell products that people don't need can quite happily disappear. You believe that you can't live without all the "free" services that ad revenue provides. You think you're immune to the subconscious programming that advertising does to you. Block the ads, let some other sheep get brainwashed, take advantage while you can...

Re:I just block (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41076277)

Advertising doesn't force you to buy the "item" advertised but it does have the cost of the wasted bandwith. Even if you have an "unlimited" it isn't really and definitely increases the overall cost of internet traffic. There are "real" and economic costs to it.

Especially those without "unlimited" traffic are in reality having their "services" stolen from them. Adblock is a software version of a receptionist told to keep solicitors out.

Though not a welcome thought to many here, the internet was always better suited to the "Free" flow of information then commercial uses.

Re:I just block (5, Insightful)

stevedog (1867864) | more than 2 years ago | (#41075997)

Things of value require money, and money has to come from somewhere. Are you really saying you would prefer to pay for content directly, rather than to have an unobtrusive and moderately relevant ad that you can easily ignore?

Here on Slashdot, we have the alternative option to give our own contributions + good behavior, measured in the form of karma. That doesn't work on all sites, though, and even Slashdot would be unsustainable if no one viewed the ads; the only reason their model is sustainable is because positive-karma contributions presumably increase the value of the site, thus increasing its viewership, thus increasing the total number of ad-views enough to keep the site afloat. If everyone on the Internet adblocked, Slashdot would lose that revenue stream.

There's no such thing as a free lunch. If you don't want to be profiled by having your online behavior tracked, and you don't want to pay for the product (see outrage over NYT paywall), and you don't want to view ads... what of similar value would you prefer to give?

Re:I just block (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41076071)

You are wrong. Things of money do not require money.

easy... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41075835)

adblock everything. all the time.
advertisements fill our brains with unrequested rubbish.

Everything (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41075849)

I AdBlock everything. One, I dislike looking at ads. Two, I dislike business models that are based on ads.

I don't care if AdBlock destroys the Internet as we know it. The Internet as we know it could use a little constructive destruction.

Re:Everything (0)

SecretAsianMan (45389) | more than 2 years ago | (#41075897)

And apparently, I can't remember how to log into /. I'm the AC who posted above.

Re:Everything (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41076087)

"I don't care if AdBlock destroys the Internet as we know it."

    For the first few years that I was on the Internet, I never saw an ad. That's because _There weren't any ads_!
    Now I AdBlock, Flashblock and do whatever it takes to keep me from looking at ads. If ads went away, and we lost Slashdot, TheRegister, the IMDB... well not much would be lost in the Grand Scheme Of Things. If the Internet shrank to 1% of it's present size because of a lack of advertising, it would be a much more pleasant place. I would still get my literature, my Fine Art pix, my music, just as I did over 20 years ago. From sites run by enthusiastic, decent, intelligent volunteers. (Well, decent except for the Fine Art bits...) After all, enthusiastic, decent, intelligent volunteers created the Internet in the first place.

    Advertising just appeals to the stupid, and the even more stupid who actually base purchasing decisions based on ads.

Re:Everything (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41076231)

Way back in the day, some legitimate companies tried to use newsgroups to advertise. It did not go so well. They underestimated the concept of unmoderated uncontrollable feedback.

About the OP question, should he unblock ads from companies he likes, my answer is no, cut out the middle man and just buy their products. Seeing their ads means nothing to them if you are not actually buying their products.

Re:Everything (2)

massysett (910130) | more than 2 years ago | (#41076099)

Two, I dislike business models that are based on ads.

Therefore, you routinely visit websites whose business models are based on ads?

Re:Everything (1)

quantaman (517394) | more than 2 years ago | (#41076215)

So what's the business model you'd prefer then?

Seconded (1)

ternarybit (1363339) | more than 2 years ago | (#41075853)

A whitelist approach seems most reasonable to me.

Simple, unobtrusive text ads? Sure.

Huge Flash seizure-inducing videos with sound that play automatically? Go to hell.

Some sites (even slashdot) get so heavy laden with adverts that simply loading any content becomes a headache on high-latency connections like HughesNet. FF + ABP to the rescue.

Re:Seconded (1)

JosephTX (2521572) | more than 2 years ago | (#41076079)

this is the approach I take. I want websites to get revenue from my visits, but I'm not selfless enough to sit there while a giant auto-playing video ad slows down my browsing. I sympathize with people who hate THOSE ads, but that's no reason to hate the majority of ads that are reasonable and convenient, and it's definitely no reason to claim some ridiculous moral integrity based on your choice to go out of the way and deny money to the websites you visit.

Also, if you've ever dressed nicely before going out to a bar (or if you even have a job resume), then congratulations, you're an advertiser and a hypocrite.

You should not block ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41075863)

So that the sites make money and I can keep blocking ads. If that doesn't sound like a fair deal, consider how much influence you have on my adblocking either way.

Re:You should not block ads (1)

tdillo (253373) | more than 2 years ago | (#41075933)

Based on my experience there are plenty of people subsidizing my adblocked browsing by having multiple tool bars, search engines, helper apps, etc. that I don't feel too guilty.

Advertising (5, Insightful)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 2 years ago | (#41075867)

I fully support adblock plus - It's a fully transformative experience compared to browsing without it. Pages load quicker, load without the random long-pauses from faulty ad servers, and from not having to traverse dozens of servers just for a small amount content.

That, and your view is uncluttered with intentionally misleading images, many kinds of annoying sound and images, and countless script-based frustrations that advertisers are ever-increasingly willing to push on their prospective customers.

Simply put, AdBlockers do an amazing job at helping me retain some minimal level comfort that humanity can sometimes retain some motivations greater than misleading manipulation - even if you have to filter your view to extensively to see that sometimes.

Ryan Fenton

Re:Advertising (1)

vanyel (28049) | more than 2 years ago | (#41075995)

Actually, I've been debating the question, as I all too often see chrome say "waiting for adblock extension...", however until ads stop being intrusive, disruptive and obnoxious, I will block them. Which effectively means forever.

Ghostery, NoScript, HOSTS file... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41075869)

The list of plugins to block advertisers is fairly long. As a web consumer, I like making the web browsing experience faster and less likely to contain drive-by downloads. As a web designer, seeing people block the income-generating ads would make me RAGE!
Even with blocking cookies, ads, flash cookies, pixel tracking, and deleting history when the browser close, the advertisers still manage to track my habits by IP address or unique browser fingerprinting. I feel no remorse blocking everything I can find.
If I like the content of the website, I might buy something from them or their Amazon store, especially if it was something I was going to get anyway.

Let them do what they think is best (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#41075875)

Present the facts and let each person decide for his/herself.

Personally I always block the third party "analytic" sites and anything else that slows down my connection to the page that I'm trying to see. Sorry Slashdot.. Clean up the off site ads, and maybe I'll let them through.

Re:Let them do what they think is best (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#41075949)

Actually scratch that... Ads are cluttering up the whole internet and bogging it down... If you don't believe me, watch the status bar and see the dozens of links passing through just to see one page. I bet the DNS servers just love that. Block 'em all.

No bad conscience (4, Insightful)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | more than 2 years ago | (#41075885)

It's not like I would ever click one of those ads anyway.

Irrelevent (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 2 years ago | (#41076209)

Nearly all advertizements pay per impression (view) not per click these days. Ads primarily exist to leave an impression, not to get an immediate response. That is why passive advertizements existed long before there was a way to interact with them like you can on the internet.

So by not loading ads you are decreasing the site's revenue regardless of whether you would have clicked them or not.

Why whitelist anything? (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 2 years ago | (#41075893)

I've been online since 1997, and I've never, ever clicked on an advert other than in error. I've never bought anything because of an advert either. They're pointless.

Re:Why whitelist anything? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41076109)

To be fair, some ads can be useful. I've mostly used ads at work when I was explicitly searching for a particular item to buy and was looking for a business-type supplier. Some google ads proved useful. I've never used unrequested banner ads though.

Block all advertising (2)

ThePub2000 (974698) | more than 2 years ago | (#41075895)

There's enough evidence that moving, flashing, and otherwise annoying advertisements do little for your concentration. They can even effect your brain long after viewing a Web page. Block all advertising for your own good unless said advertising is already party of video content or guarantees to only serve static images.

What's always confused me... (1)

p0p0 (1841106) | more than 2 years ago | (#41075915)

What has always confused me about ads is this: does the content provider get paid when I click an ad, or simply for loading it?
I never click ads in the rare cases where I do see them. They all look so unproffesional, like every company in the world got their 12 year-old to design it for them. This gives them an air of untrustworthiness that instantly repels me from them. Why has no one figured out a truly passive, targeted, and un-decietful ad system? Why do I even NEED AdBlock in the first place?

Re:What's always confused me... (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#41076133)

It depends on the ad content network. Some are per-view, some are per-click (hence, click fraud). There may be some that are per action (not just clicking hte ad but also signing up for a newsletter or buying something).

the issue is not the ads... (5, Insightful)

MarcoAtWork (28889) | more than 2 years ago | (#41075919)

... it's that so many times ad-serving networks end up being compromised and send ads that end up installing malware on your computer: if sites ran their own SIMPLE ads (plain images, served by their own website, no flash/iframe/... crap) there would be a lot less problems.

Unfortunately that kind of ad-serving costs more money to do (easier to farm this out to an ad network) and since there are no penalties for doing so (if your ad provider is compromised and thousands of your users get hit by drive-by malware you say "sorry, not responsible, it's the ad provider's fault") that's why we're in the situation we're in where most tech savy people adblock as much as possible to reduce risks, which unfortunately hurts the content providers...

I honestly wish there was some sort of scheme where you could have some sort of microtransaction way to give $$$ to websites you use. Say you like /. a lot, you could decide that every time you visit, you'd pay $0.01 with a maximum of $0.25/day, say you don't like as much another site but you don't want to completely freeload, you could decide you still give them $0.01 but only with a maximum of $0.01/day. It might seem low, but with a lot of users it could add up quite a bit for sites, and I think more than the current ad-based approach.

Yes, this could probably add up to $50-100/month, but I'd be totally willing to pay that because I'd be supporting the sites I chose to, and sites wouldn't have to deal with subscriptions, they'd just get paid by the microtransaction provider once a month (minus of course a flat fee of some sort). The microtransaction providers could compete on fees etc. as long as there was interoperability so users wouldn't have to worry...

Re:the issue is not the ads... (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 2 years ago | (#41076155)

... it's that so many times ad-serving networks end up being compromised and send ads that end up installing malware on your computer: if sites ran their own SIMPLE ads (plain images, served by their own website, no flash/iframe/... crap) there would be a lot less problems.

Not everyone has the time or inclination to go hustle companies for advertising dollars.
If it was easy, then we wouldn't need middlemen.

There's also the issue of measuring ads served, which is why middlemen serve the adverts, handle fraud, and vouch for the # served.

Re:the issue is not the ads... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41076279)

I honestly wish there was some sort of scheme where you could have some sort of microtransaction way to give $$$ to websites you use. Say you like /. a lot, you could decide that every time you visit, you'd pay $0.01 with a maximum of $0.25/day, say you don't like as much another site but you don't want to completely freeload, you could decide you still give them $0.01 but only with a maximum of $0.01/day.

You mean something like Flattr [flattr.com] ?

force advertisers to play on customers' terms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41075921)

Advertisers lost all legitimacy the moment they took their usual adversarial stance vis-a-vis their target audience and started force-feeding their ads -- no matter how intrusive or how annoying --in their usual manner, thinking (apparently) that people would have to grin and bear it. Now that it turns out it isn't so and that they may actually have to compromise -- or completely lose out, as people install the lastest generation of quite effective ad blockers -- they are the ones crying foul.

I Don't Block Anything (4, Insightful)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 2 years ago | (#41075925)

But I do disable animated GIFs, flash and Javascript in my browser. If you can't convey your ad to me in a single static image, I'm not clicking on it. I click through a fair number of Google ads. Often they're exactly what I'm looking for, anyway. The more obnoxious an ad is, the less likely I am to click on it. The more obnoxious a page is, the less likely I am to hang around for very long.

Re:I Don't Block Anything (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#41076169)

On my website I run Google text ads. They (Google) keep suggesting that I upgrade to what they call "rich media ads", which I'm pretty sure are exactly what you're describing. But since I don't like to see them myself, I don't want my website visitors to be subjected to them.

Sort of an odd spin on the Golden Rule, I guess.

And to reply to an earlier question... websites running ads don't get paid for your eyeballs - they only get paid if you click on an ad.

Animation and annoyance (2)

markdavis (642305) | more than 2 years ago | (#41075961)

I would not block any ads at all if they were static images. But they almost never are. And I CAN NOT STAND trying to look at the screen or read something while there is ANY type of movement or animation at the same time. It is just too distracting. So, greed has done them in.

I won't even mention crap like hyper mouse-overs, SOUND, and other extremely annoying "features" because just the animation is enough.

Tracking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41075963)

It's the trackers that are evil, as far as blocking the ads themselves, depends on your tastes.

If you only want to block trackers and leave ads intact look for Ghostery instead of Adblock.

Ads are for the lazy and ignorant (2)

synthesizerpatel (1210598) | more than 2 years ago | (#41075967)

Either they're so lazy they don't care or they don't know how to get rid of them.

If you feel bad about circumventing their terrible business model, just wait until they're broadcasting commercials directly into your dreams.

And they laughed at me for wearing the tinfoil hat! Who's laughing now!

I do advertisers a favour by blocking adverts (5, Interesting)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 2 years ago | (#41075969)

I react very negatively to adverts. The more a company puts it's message in front of me, the less likely I am to buy from them. I instinctively avoid products with heavy TV marketing campaigns, because they can't represent good value for money, given that the cost of the campaign comes out of the price I'm paying.

So I adblock everything... and by doing so, I save advertisers from getting filed under 'I hate those irritating people and won't buy anything from them'. I'm more likely to buy from a company if I don't see their ads than If I do.

Re:I do advertisers a favour by blocking adverts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41076103)

I react very negatively to adverts. The more a company puts it's message in front of me, the less likely I am to buy from them. I instinctively avoid products with heavy TV marketing campaigns, because they can't represent good value for money, given that the cost of the campaign comes out of the price I'm paying.

This needs to be made into a poster. Ads make me angry. If all ads went away one day and the internet and tv stations went with them as a consequence, I'd be more than happy to go outside with a pen and paper, maybe a few books and my hackeysack, and get on with my life. Ads might be evil, but a necessary evil i think not.

anyone who says blocking ads is stealing... (5, Insightful)

manicpop (1342057) | more than 2 years ago | (#41075973)

...doesn't understand how the Internet works. On a simpler level, there is no reason that just because I load file A (content I want), I also have to load file B (advertising). My downloading article.html does not make me obligated to download advertisement.png just because there's an image link to it. I will not feel guilted into using my bandwidth to download a single byte I'm not interested in downloading. If I'm stealing, am I also stealing when I use a text mode browser like lynx? Are blind people that use text browsers and a screen reader stealing? If I set Firefox to not download images or turn off JavaScript, am I stealing? If you feel passionately enough about a site that you want to support their ad business model, go ahead and whitelist that site. I feel no need to support any site by downloading things I want. If a site goes out of business because no one looked at its ads, well I'm sorry to hear that, but I'm sure I can find the content I want elsewhere.

TOASTY (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41075981)

When Flash, and flash based advertisements, stop turning my MBP into a toaster. i'll turn off AdBlock.

The End.

There must be better solutions. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41075985)

Something a lot of webcomic sites have been doing recently is making plush toys of their characters, print-quality books, etc and merchandising them. This seems like a much more direct and less intrusive way of gaining revenue. That being said, such a system may not be able to be implemented in all cases... or can it...?

In regard to the advertisements themselves, I don't mind small text ads that DON'T track my browsing habits. They're easy to ignore that way. In practice, I block everything.

Fuck them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41075993)

So many sites have made themselves unreadable on mobile devices because there still isn't a reliable way to block ads, without completely disabling Javascript. Annoying pop-overs which disable the full page and have a 10x10 pixel close button, "Download The App Now!" or "Continue to the Main Page." It's just a matter of time before these ads are rendered useless. Ad-blockers were in response to intrusive advertising, and the subtle, clever ads suffered; there was no need for them when ads were not talking and jumping out of the page.

What's the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41076001)

If you're not going to click on it anyway, go ahead and block it. Personally, I just don't run Adobe Flash at all. That solves the majority of issues. I don't care about the other banner ads.

Block'm (2)

VonSkippy (892467) | more than 2 years ago | (#41076015)

Until the site owners stop pimping out their sites to any and all ad engines, I'll use Adblock, NoScript, Flashblock, and anything else I deem necessary to prevent my systems from being targeted by Malware.

If site owners would run their own tested and approved ad's, I'd have zero problem with that, but since they don't have a clue what crap is being passed out by their site, I have no moral problem blocking them all.

Blocking ads is hypocritical (-1, Troll)

massysett (910130) | more than 2 years ago | (#41076025)

It means you want something for nothing. You want to look at websites that cost money to operate, but you do not want to support them.

It's not stealing. It's not a crime. But it is childish and hypocritical.

"But I want to see the content." waa, waa. The grown up, principled thing to do would be to avoid websites that have annoying advertisements.

That's okay though. Everybody wants something for nothing. But the old "unscrupulous advertisers" or "I don't want to be profiled" or "I'm doing them a favor, I've been online since 1997 and I've never clicked on an advertisement, I'm saving them bandwidth" is just unprincipled crap. Just admit you want something for nothing rather than coming up with ridiculous rationalizations.

Re:Blocking ads is hypocritical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41076061)

It's not stealing. It's not a crime. But it is childish and hypocritical.

Is using Tivo to skip ads 'childish and hypocritical'?

Yet most DVR users do it when surveyed.

Re:Blocking ads is hypocritical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41076119)

Hypocritical? I don't think that word means what you think it means.

Re:Blocking ads is hypocritical (1, Troll)

NoMaster (142776) | more than 2 years ago | (#41076219)

It means you want to provide something for nothing. You want to run a website that costs money to operate, but you do not want to pay for it.

It's not stealing. It's not a crime. But it is childish and hypocritical.

"But I want them to see my content." waa, waa. The grown up, principled thing to do would be to stop expecting people to pay for your wants.

That's okay though. Everybody wants someone else to pay. But the old "I can't afford it" or "I'm providing a benefit, I shouldn't have to pay" or "my content is important, and a little ad or 2 saves having to restrict it to people who will pay me directly" is just unprincipled crap. Just admit you want to don't want to pay for your actions rather than coming up with ridiculous rationalizations.

Don't block (4, Interesting)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 2 years ago | (#41076029)

I've never blocks ads. However I do block scripts and trackers, which as a consequence blocks a lot of ads anyway.

I don't see why I should open a security vulnerability (client side scripting) just to read a webpage. However I don't have a problem with ads that aren't malicious but those seem to be getting fewer and fewer.

Why bother? (2)

countach (534280) | more than 2 years ago | (#41076031)

Why bother blocking ads, or making their targeting any worse than necessary? Is your self-will so weak? I very rarely am influenced by or click on ads. But if I have to see ads, I'd rather they be well targeted to my interests. And the ads are not particularly bothersome. What is the big deal really?

Re:Why bother? (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#41076247)

What is the big deal really?

They clog the internet and mess up our bandwidth, slowing down my torrents.

not a question (5, Insightful)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 2 years ago | (#41076039)

(a) This is posted to Ask Slashdot, but it's not really a question, it's a plug for the author's answer.

(b) The slashdot summary is incoherent.

(c) TFA consists of an incoherent intro followed by a description of what the author does. To save you the trouble of wading through the incomprehensible text, here's what he does: "#1 -- Disable third-party cookies [...] #2 -- Use Ghostery to block everything indiscriminately, but whitelist the sites I support."

A typical piece of bizarre reasoning, incoherently expressed, from TFA:

I want to reinforce myself with content that makes me a better person. If an advertiser uses a technology of behaviour on this type of content, I agree.

This whole thing about the morally correct response to internet advertising has been rehashed over and over on slashdot. Over and over, people have made the same point: internet ads wouldn't be objectionable if they were like ads in a newspaper or magazine, but because they aren't like that, any user with enough know-how is going to block them. I'm sorry, but I just can't read an article while an animated monkey is jumping up and down next to it on the screen.

Text-oriented sites like slashdot are relatively cheap to run, on a per-user basis, so as long as some percentage of their users don't use ad blockers, these sites are viable.

I asked someone I know, who works in online advertising, whether ad blocking is an issue for her company. I told her I never saw ads on the internet and was surprised that anyone was ... well, dumb enough ... to fail to install ad blocking software. Her response: "Do you use Hulu?"

Re:not a question (1)

quantaman (517394) | more than 2 years ago | (#41076275)

Over and over, people have made the same point: internet ads wouldn't be objectionable if they were like ads in a newspaper or magazine, but because they aren't like that, any user with enough know-how is going to block them. I'm sorry, but I just can't read an article while an animated monkey is jumping up and down next to it on the screen.

Text-oriented sites like slashdot are relatively cheap to run, on a per-user basis, so as long as some percentage of their users don't use ad blockers, these sites are viable.

I asked someone I know, who works in online advertising, whether ad blocking is an issue for her company. I told her I never saw ads on the internet and was surprised that anyone was ... well, dumb enough ... to fail to install ad blocking software. Her response: "Do you use Hulu?"

Not necessarily. In generally I don't find ads, or the implied contract that I should view the website ads along with the content, particularly offensive, thus I've never used ad-block. In the case of sites where the ads are annoying enough I generally leave the site and don't come back, this is one of the behaviours that keeps webmasters in check.

The birds and the bees (4, Interesting)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#41076051)

Imagine you are a bee, or a hummingbird. There are all these delicious flower full of yummy nectar... but around them is this icky, nasty, yellow pollen. The flower needs the pollen to be carried around to propagate the species... but you still don't want to get plant jism all over yourself. So you develop strategies to get the nectar without getting pollen on you. The plant, in turn develops strategies to get more pollen on you while not wasting as much precious nectar. No morality about it, it's just nature.

(For the slow: the user is the bird or bee, the flower is the content provider, the nectar is the content, and the pollen is the advertisement.)

Don't be so sure (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#41076067)

Being an ad-blocker is just one more behavior someone is collecting about you. It makes you more uniquely identifiable Check for yourself here [eff.org]

Does whitelisting help the sites? (1)

Mandrel (765308) | more than 2 years ago | (#41076097)

Basically, I Adblock everything, but whitelist the sites I support.

Does the article submitter find these ads on whitelisted sites useful? Unless they're influencing his/her purchases, the sites in question won't benefit in the long run because both click and display pay rates have to eventually reflect this influence.

Sure ads can make you aware of things, but their sine qua non [wikipedia.org] is to not tell the whole truth. There will always be a big supply of advertising because it's lucrative to spin, the problem is the demand for it is whittling away as advertisers and publishers go overboard, and because the Net has added better ways to research and learn about products.

I think advertising is still needed to allow businesses to get their message out when there isn't sufficient independent help available at an acceptable price. But advertising that interrupts media is among the worst types, just behind telemarketing and door-to-door.

Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41076101)

Even if I for some random reason choose to turn adblock off. If a site is paid by click, they won't get any money out of me. Even if for some ungodly reason it looks interesting, I won't click the add out of spite because I'm so sick of being forced to look at them if I don't turn adblock on.

I can't imagine any adds being paid just for views (because the owners are usually cheapskates) unless they're irritating intermission adds, in which case I'll just never go to that website again.

AdBlock is great -- but what about iPad apps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41076111)

So many apps are ad-supported, plus many people are stuck using browsers without AdBlock-like extensions. Pretty sure Apple would not allow anything in their market that would threated most app developers business model.

You really think you're that important? (1)

dalias (1978986) | more than 2 years ago | (#41076115)

Your individual decision to adblock or not makes no financial consequence for sites you like. Only the prevailing collective behavior affects their bottom line. Simply keep up the adblock and send them a donation if you want to do something much easier and less-costly to yourself (in terms of time and effort and privacy) than trying to support their ads. As for the perspective of sites, those whose users are savvy enough that a significant portion use adblock should take concrete steps to make it easy and safe for their users to whitelist them, or offer other easy ways to support them (like donations, premium/supporter accounts, merch stores, etc.).

meh (3, Insightful)

LodCrappo (705968) | more than 2 years ago | (#41076131)

I care about my time far too much to spend much effort on such trivial matters.

If spending time thinking about/taking steps to categorize and block sites brings you some pleasure in itself, fine.
Otherwise the fact that you seem to have nothing more important to worry about may be a problem needing more urgent attention.

I don't block unless it is bad (1)

locopuyo (1433631) | more than 2 years ago | (#41076135)

I'm a website owner and I don't block ads unless they are annoying.

Even if you don't click the ads you are still giving the ads views which even on systems that say they are "pay per click ads" actually matter to the advertisers and will end up increasing revenue for the site indirectly.

So I never block ads unless they are annoying. If it has sound without me clicking on it I block it, if it has stuff pop-up by me hovering over it I block it, if it flashes like crazy I will block it. I either block it or just leave the site. A site that has bad advertisements typically has bad content.

Re:I don't block unless it is bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41076197)

I block all ads. Somehow, someone forgot what a single source text ad was. Ads these days have large graphics, animations, scripts, virtually clicking through one ad server to retrieve the ad from another ad server, intersitial ads. I block them all.

No more compromise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41076167)

Marketers, you had your chance over and over again to behave, for more than a decade, game over. I'll block what can be blocked, i don't give a rats ass if yet another google bombing, popup opening, fullscreen flash banner pooping page is dying, no good riddance, JUST F****** DIE.

Ads really are evil. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41076175)

Ads in all forms serve no productive purpose whatsoever in society and the world would be better off without it.

The Best Advertising... (5, Interesting)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 2 years ago | (#41076177)

... is advertising that doesn't come across as advertising.

People who say they loathe advertising in any form actually just loathe the bad advertising; the advertising that detracts from what you're trying to do and immediately screams "this is an advertisement, I'm here to interrupt you in some way in the hope that somehow it will get you to buy something even though I've pissed you off."

A few years ago I received an unepxected phone call on my wife's cellphone from a company offering a CDN service. At first I was really pissed off that this company had reached me in such an inappropriate manner ... but the guy on the other end didn't try to sell me anything and the conversation was unlike any telemarketing call that I had ever received. It was personal and appealed to my geeky curiosity (CDNs were very new at the time, the only companies that were using them were heavy traffic movers like Yahoo, so I wanted to know how it worked), it was offering me a solution to a problem I had at the time and the conversation was very informal. Within a minute or two I was actually asking him questions, and that's how it works. And to top it off when I told the guy I wasn't going to buy from him he chuckled and said "I'm not trying to sign you up today, don't worry." It kept me on the phone. I didn't buy but I was impressed enough that if I had chosen to purchase a CDN service within the next little while I probably would have given them a second look.

I still don't like people phoning me, and I think there are far better ways to reach out to people, but everything that transpired within that phone call was an example of marketing done in the right direction.

I'm self-employed, running a high-traffic web-site that generates money via ad revenue for 11 years now, and the people who visit my web-site have no idea that the entire site is one giant advertisement; in fact, people have complimented and praised me for not having any ads on the site. And yet when fellow webmasters in the same industry as myself share their sales and conversion stats I always get a big smile on my face. Their sites are crawling with blatant advertisements and they need 2 to 5 times the traffic to generate the same revenue. I've never understood how pissing off your customers can be regarded as any form of business model.

I think the best well-known type of advertisement that's going in the right direction is product placement. It can be done poorly, yes and I know I am about to get a bunch of replies from people telling me that they always notice it and it ruins the program etc. But it *CAN* be done in a subtle way that blends with the program and does not detract, to the point where the viewer does not notice or care.

But I think the real way to do "advertising" is provide a value to the viewer as the advertisement itself. Imagine an hour long infomercial on television that was entertaining and/or informative enough to get you to watch it for it's own sake, with no intention of buying anything. Remember that "punch the monkey" ad that was on every single web-site a decade ago ? Imagine if that had actually been a real game that you could play. No pushy-ness what-ever. Not shoved in your face and not done as a banner / flash ad. Instead, something people genuinely wanted to play, with an entertaining sales pitch as part of it. Good advertising can be done, and occasionally is. We just don't notice because we're too distracted and pissed off at the "BOO!!! HAHAH! THIS IS ADVERTISEMENT! YOU WILL BUY NOW LOLZ!"

I've practiced "magic"/illusion-performance as a hobby for a few years and in reading/studying I've learned that corporations will often hire magicians at trade-shows to pitch new products to retailers. Some of the better magicians have crafted entire 20-minute magic routines around the product they're hired to pitch. It's entertainment and people want to watch it for that purpose alone, but it's also an advertisement.

Don't block (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41076189)

You REALLY think that blocking is productive? Give it a few years, if blocking becomes more widespread, you'll see more and more unblockable advertising. Eventually, all advertising will be ridiculous and intrusive (think television commercials) and the entire internet will be worse off for it.

I can deal with a few text ads today if it means avoiding that future.

Re:Don't block (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41076225)

I doubt there will ever be this 'unblockable advertising' that you speak of.

It will just be a constant arms race, until either legislation happens or all sites switch to paywalls.

Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41076229)

Title says it all. Why are you so opposed to viewing ads?

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41076267)

To elaborate, people try to get their products out there. I don't see how that's a bad thing. Some sites will try to show you products you're more likely to be interested in. That sounds like... a good thing. I think people just dislike ads because they feel they're "smarter than them" and somehow connect that with purposely not viewing ads because it makes them feel smart.

I have no use for ads (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 2 years ago | (#41076241)

I never look at ads even when for some reason I'm using IE on someone else's computer. At home I run every ad blocker known to man.

So why wouldn't it be morally honest to block the ads because I refuse to look at them? Why should the advertiser be wrongly charged for an ad that nobody consumed?

It's just too much work for me to care (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41076243)

Basically, I Adblock everything, but whitelist the sites I support. Is this too much?

That's too much work for me. I just AdBlock everything.

For me, the bad behavior of some has spoiled it for everyone.

Maybe it's a shame that AdBlock is hurting the "good" advertisers. I don't know. But I'm just unwilling to take the time to figure out the good from the bad.

If my attitude (multiplied by millions) results in less web content, or lower-quality web content, then so be it. There's already more worthwhile content than I could ever possibly find and use. At even 1% of its current size, the web would still be a paradise of massive content.

It's a numbers game, and the numbers are far beyond imagination anymore -- for example there are 4 million porn sites now. My mind is so boggled by the magnitude of it all -- I just can't care anymore about sites shutting down due to poor ad revenue.

Web vs. apps (2)

dumky2 (2610695) | more than 2 years ago | (#41076257)

Browsers allow you to block ads, because they are so extensible (plugins). But it is interesting to think about Apps.
It is easy to block ads from a website, but not so from the corresponding app. Apps are a complete bundle of features (some which you may like and some less), but you don't get to pick and choose and tweak as with browser.
Have you tried blocking ads on the Hulu website? You'll get to wait for about twice as long as if you watched the ad.

And then there's my theory (4, Insightful)

kilodelta (843627) | more than 2 years ago | (#41076265)

That I pay for the bandwidth, so how dare they usurp and use it to serve ads. So I aggressively adblock.

I've almost got all of hulu's ad servers blotted out. And then for standard web browsing I use AdBlock Plus.
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