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Ad Blocking – a Coming Legal Battleground?

timothy posted about a year ago | from the you-must-watch-and-hear-this-ad dept.

Advertising 686

An anonymous reader writes "Computerworld asks: What will happen if big advertisers declare AdBlock Plus a clear and present danger to online business models? Hint: it will probably involve lawyers. From the article: 'Could browser ad blocking one day become so prevalent that it jeopardises potentially billions of dollars of online ad revenue, and the primary business models of many online and new media businesses? If so, it will inevitably face legal attack.'"

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686 comments

Short answer: (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42076837)

No. People who block ads do not click ads anyway, and as long as adblock is opt-in, this will never, ever be a problem.

Re:Short answer: (5, Insightful)

BonzaiThePenguin (2528980) | about a year ago | (#42076915)

It's not about clicking the ads, it's about the impressions. Oftentimes the ads are about increasing awareness of a brand's existence.

Re:Short answer: (5, Insightful)

multicoregeneral (2618207) | about a year ago | (#42077093)

Seems to me that if an advertising scheme is so obnoxious that an entire category of software arises to block it, then it's the fault of the medium of advertising being too invasive, too obnoxious. Not the fault of the people who block it.

Re:Short answer: (3, Interesting)

robot5x (1035276) | about a year ago | (#42076923)

but you're seeing things from an end-user perspective. Businesses and lawyers see things from a... business and money-making perspective. In that respect, the answer can actually only be "yes".

There are many examples of the legal system being used to preserve outdated and irrelevant business models that quite clearly fly in the face of expressed consumer demand (RIAA anyone?). This looks like it won't be any exception, unfortunately.

Re:Short answer: (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42077011)

The problem is, websites cannot easily detect if the user has ad-block deployed for their site.

The fair way to solve this problem, is that the site should be able to first query the client if ad-blocking is deployed, and, if so, then decide whether it wants to deploy content or not. Fair for both sides.

Step #1: User clicks on a link.

Step #2: Web site shows mostly blank image, requesting that user first whitelist this site from ad-blocking, then hitting refresh once done

Step #3: User decides if the site is worth white-listing. If so, then follows the procedure. If not, finds something else to do.

Re:Short answer: (4, Interesting)

magic maverick (2615475) | about a year ago | (#42077141)

It's already sort of possible.

Except that it's more like:
Step 1. User loads page.
Step 2. Page uses JavaScript to display page.
Step 3. I go elsewhere, because frankly, fuck 'em.
Step 4. Anyone else who doesn't have JS enabled does the same.
Step 5. JS can be used to detect whether external ads are loading or not, and block those that don't load external ads.
------

I don't have an ad blocker. I use Request Policy to block external requests (and whitelist and temporary whitelist if I want external content in a web page). This blocks most ads by default, without any extra work on my part. I also use NoScript. This blocks more ads, especially as I'm not about to whitelist the ad domains. I finally use a cookie manager that blocks cookies by default (and I whitelist certain domains).

The only ads I see are the ones that don't use JS, and are served from the same domain as the website I'm viewing. Though I was certainly thinking about blocking a moving graphic ad recently...

-----
So, yeah, websites can detect if you have JS enabled, and use that to detect if ads are being displayed. And I'll say fuck you to the parasites and find my sources of entertainment, news, and community elsewhere. I'd be perfectly happy if all ad supported websites went out of business (I'm not counting those that have ads for their own products though, just those with ads from external sources). Just like if broadcast TV were to go elsewhere because everyone skipped the ads, I wouldn't care at all either.

Re:Short answer: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42077185)

And sites already do this.. I've found a few that tell me something is being blocked by adblock, and to disable for the site and reload to continue

Re:Short answer: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42077189)

Generate unique ids for the ads, send html page that display frame of site with urls for ads and content via Javascript. Stall content until ads have been requested. Done. Not running Javascript you say? You're not the target audience for the ads or content then.

Re:Short answer: (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42077203)

This already happens. I have seen several sites which ask me to disable Adblock. Some sites just ask it friendly, others refuse to show their content.

Re:Short answer: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42077207)

I have two choices:

I donate 30,000k to the adblock-plus fork maintainer and request he make it so the website believes it's done it's dirty deed. With some hope he uses the funds for the rest of you.

I do what I do now and opt out of their spew and find something else to look at. They're easy to spot and will refuse to work without either or both scripting and cookies on and 3 way communication between the website, their ad spewer and both of them to my browser. I was seeing a lot of strange traffic I'm not qualified to decode so YMMV. It was on a website that requires doubleclick to be very intrusive.

No, won't suck from the adblock maintainers trough, he's more unethical than the ad shills.

Yes. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42076839)

The businesses it jeopardizes are flawed in that they depend on advertising. When that business model doesn't work, they deserve to die.

Re:Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42076847)

for example.. GOOGLE

Hardware level adblocking is the future. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42076841)

Internet -> Adblock -> Router -> Ad-free internet. These devices already exist, it's only a matter of time before a major router manufacturer builds in black/whitelist support for ad blocking. AdBlock Plus is great, but if they want to escalate, we are prepared to go full out.

Re:Hardware level adblocking is the future. (2)

TemplePilot (2035400) | about a year ago | (#42077019)

+1 Absolutely! We go full out! Enough of this in your face advertising! It doesn't need to be every conveivable place in existence!

Re:Hardware level adblocking is the future. (1)

gmueckl (950314) | about a year ago | (#42077175)

The alternative is deep packet inspection, on the fly ad replacement by your ISP, and some legalese in your contract with the ISP that forces you to not suppress those ISP-injected ads. The technology has been demonstrated. It's a question of when they'll get serious about it.

Re:Hardware level adblocking is the future. (2)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year ago | (#42077177)

I just found "DroidWall", in the Google Playstore's "tools" section. Not meaning to be a shill for this little app, but for rooted android devices, it's a great little 'firewall'. I finally have a choice over what apps/games get an internet connection, regardless of its 'permissions'.This app should be s.o.p. for android, imo.

Re:Hardware level adblocking is the future. (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year ago | (#42077193)

Routers would need at least 20 times (possibly more like 200 times) more hardware resources then they have right now to parse every single webpage that passes through them.
Since the browser already does this, it is far more efficient to just use it.

Nonsense (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42076843)

A legal attack on what grounds? That "we're not getting the profits we have a God-given right to"?

Re:Nonsense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42076949)

Worked for Disney.

Re:Nonsense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42077049)

Ever get the feeling that other people look at the internet and see something completely different from what you see? This is one of those moments...

Re:Nonsense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42077085)

Oh, I agree. I know they see something completely different. Whenever I have to show them something on their computer I wonder what the hell is wrong with their system when sites like cnn.com and others seem absolutely crammed with crap. Some are completely useless with the ads there. Others are only mildly annoying. In fact, it has been hard to get used to web browsing on my tablet because it doesn't support adblock. Pages look strange and content is in weird places.

Dear big media advertisers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42076849)

F**K you.... The internet created and here long before you tried to use it as a vehicle to make $$$$. Don't want to be on the internet then don't be there. But I will sure as hell block anything and everything I can...

Dear ad-blocker (1, Insightful)

dshk (838175) | about a year ago | (#42077031)

You do not need to block ads if you have some self-respect. You have to visit ad-free and payment free pages. Good luck for that.

Re:Dear ad-blocker (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42077229)

You seem to have a very capitalistic definition of "self-respect", I bet you're American.

Yup (4, Insightful)

Nemyst (1383049) | about a year ago | (#42076851)

Because legal attacks have worked really, really well against anything that happens on the Internet. Taking down MegaUpload and The Pirate Bay eliminated piracy altogether, never to resurface again. Gone, dead, finished. Burying ad blocking services under lawsuits will totally never make them even more resilient and hard to pin down. No way that'd happen.

Re:Yup (5, Insightful)

kye4u (2686257) | about a year ago | (#42076927)

Because legal attacks have worked really, really well against anything that happens on the Internet. Taking down MegaUpload and The Pirate Bay eliminated piracy altogether, never to resurface again. Gone, dead, finished. Burying ad blocking services under lawsuits will totally never make them even more resilient and hard to pin down. No way that'd happen.

You can add napster as another case example. Did the legal battle on music piracy really change anything? No. What ended up happening was a handful of individuals were fined ridiculous amounts of money that they would never would make in their life time.

You know what changed everything? Having a legitimate alternative to being forced to pay $20 for an album with maybe only 2 or 3 descent songs on it. Cue itunes.

Come on out, APK. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42076853)

Now's your time to shine!

Click to play Flash (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#42077127)

Hosts files aren't the only way to block ads. Putting Flash Player on click-to-play [mozilla.org], with a whitelist per origin, blocks most of the more annoying and CPU- and RAM-hogging ads. And because Flashblock is content-neutral, and in effect enabled out of the box on tablets, it's more likely to stand up to legal challenges.

Yes, it could. On the other hand, maybe it won't. (1)

Press2ToContinue (2424598) | about a year ago | (#42076861)

Is there a point to posting a purely hypothetical legal question like this on slashdot? Wouldn't this be better posted on a legal forum? Personally, I've never been a fan of the purely speculative form of alleged "news reporting."

Re:Yes, it could. On the other hand, maybe it won' (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#42077143)

Wouldn't this be better posted on a legal forum?

What do you think Your Rights Online is?

lynx browser, another scourge (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42076863)

Better ban that too.

Google ads (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42076867)

Google ads are always completely irrelevant and annoying. It is about time businesses start thinking about a real business model instead of annoying people with ads.

Re:Google ads (1)

cvtan (752695) | about a year ago | (#42077053)

No they are not! They show me ads for things I have just purchased and therefore don't want. In case I forgot, or something.

Re:Google ads (1)

dshk (838175) | about a year ago | (#42077115)

Well, maybe if you don't use the latest uber cookie killer and total privacy add-on, than you would get relevant ads from Google.

For example the Google banner displayed for me here on Slashdot is about a cloud backup solution.

Practicalities (1)

Improv (2467) | about a year ago | (#42076871)

They'll have to figure out a way of detecting us first, and I think writing a decent law that would target this reasonably would be pretty tough.

It'd be amusing, perhaps as amusing as spammers suing Google for the right to spam your mailbox.

If there's anyone here in marketing or advertising (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42076875)

Kill yourself. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDW_Hj2K0wo

Re:If there's anyone here in marketing or advertis (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#42076903)

Not sure if it's a video version of goat.cx or an attempt to Rick Roll.

Re:If there's anyone here in marketing or advertis (2)

bmo (77928) | about a year ago | (#42076929)

It's Bill Hicks. Worth watching.

--
BMO

Detection is cheaper (5, Insightful)

griego (1108909) | about a year ago | (#42076877)

I've run across a few sites here and there that won't display any content unless I disable ad-blocking. I'm surprised this isn't more prevalent. Surely it's cheaper to pay a programmer to write some code than paying lawyers to do their thing.

Re:Detection is cheaper (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42076933)

You're right, but since there is a great probability that some company already filed a software patent for 'forcing users to see ads on a webpage', you might need a lawyer in either case :)

Re:Detection is cheaper (3, Interesting)

Kethinov (636034) | about a year ago | (#42076947)

Yep, exactly. Preventing ad block from working is quite easy to do. Most sites don't bother because only a small minority does it and that small minority tends to be disproportionately made up of the kooky anti-consumerist crowd anyway, who aren't worth advertising to due to their hatred of advertising in general. If ad blocking ever went mainstream you'd see more sites tying content to ads explicitly.

Re:Detection is cheaper (3, Interesting)

Albanach (527650) | about a year ago | (#42077091)

Most sites don't bother because only a small minority does it and that small minority tends to be disproportionately made up of the kooky anti-consumerist crowd anyway, who aren't worth advertising to due to their hatred of advertising in general. If ad blocking ever went mainstream you'd see more sites tying content to ads explicitly.

Perhaps they don't bother because the cost of entering an arms race would be too high. If any major site were to block adblock users, you would expect the plugin to quickly route around their attempts.

Re:Detection is cheaper (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42076951)

And for those sites, if there is content you really want to see, use Firebug to get around their poorly written attempt at showing you an add.

Re:Detection is cheaper (3, Interesting)

bmo (77928) | about a year ago | (#42076973)

I've run across a few sites here and there that won't display any content unless I disable ad-blocking. I'm surprised this isn't more prevalent.

I have too, and I never go there again.

I whitelist sites that I think are worth reading and don't have obnoxious animated or too-numerous ads (I turn it off, hit reload, and see if it's stupid or not).

But if you're going to outlaw adblocking plugins, you'd better outlaw the hosts file, too.

--
BMO

Re:Detection is cheaper (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42077199)

I've run across a few sites here and there that won't display any content unless I disable ad-blocking. I'm surprised this isn't more prevalent.

I have too, and I never go there again. I like to think I'm a crusader against unjust advertising, but really I just enjoy getting something for nothing.

Fixed that for you.

Re:Detection is cheaper (3, Informative)

bwoneill (1973028) | about a year ago | (#42077007)

Most of these methods involve using third party JavaScript which can be circumvented by NoScript.

Re:Detection is cheaper (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#42077009)

It will be the same as with P2P apps - a game of cat and mouse between the guys writing the ad blocking software and the web developers trying to detect its use. Ultimately the ad blockers will win because they control the client, so the web guys will resort to lawyers.

Re:Detection is cheaper (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42077183)

And we know how successful lawyers are from the RIAA experience of the last 10+ years.

Re:Detection is cheaper (2)

Baron_Yam (643147) | about a year ago | (#42077029)

I assume that they're unable to directly detect AdBlock, but instead are checking to see if your browser has requested the advertising to load. If that kind of check becomes too popular, I imagine AdBlock (or similar software) will be modified to include a list of sites for which it doesn't completely block advertising, but merely stops it from actually rendering on your screen.

You'll still take a bandwidth hit, but your eyes will be safe.

Re:Detection is cheaper (4, Funny)

TuringTest (533084) | about a year ago | (#42077161)

Then they'll begin placing captchas in their advertisements, to ensure that you've read the ad before providing the real content.

And then developers will add OCR to AdBlock...

Re:Detection is cheaper (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42077033)

There propably is a technical way around this. How about an ad blocker that downloard the damn ad, but the browser just doesn't put it on the screen. Even ads requiring that they report back to the website that they are being displayed could be taken care of. Simply have the browser lie to the ad and say it it being displayed when actually it is not. Of course the browser would also have to deny the existance of the ad blocker.

People who can't get wired broadband (2)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#42077221)

How about an ad blocker that downloard the damn ad, but the browser just doesn't put it on the screen.

That would be useless for people who rely on ad blocking software to make efficient use of a slow or capped connection, such as users of dial-up or wireless (satellite or cellular) ISPs.

Except that detection is not cheap (1)

Scowler (667000) | about a year ago | (#42077051)

Why should a programmer be required to do this? Why can't Ad-block and/or No-script be simply query-able?

The site should be able to simply ask the client, "are you blocking my ads?" in plain vanilla, and then decide from there which content to deploy.

I think this would also ease any legal concerns. As long as the add-on honestly conveys its blocking intentions to the host site, we have fair play on both ends.

Re:Except that detection is not cheap (1)

somenickname (1270442) | about a year ago | (#42077157)

Even if it weren't highly objectionable to allow a web page to query the status of my ad blocker, browser based blocking is only one form of ad blocking. You can also use a hosts file, a proxy (like squid), or even your router (like untangle). In fact, on a public/company network, you may not even be aware of the fact that you are blocking ads because it may be done at a level that you aren't in control of.

Re:Except that detection is not cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42077219)

Still cheaper than legal action.

Re:Detection is cheaper (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42077149)

But useless. You might get away with crap like that if you're a unique website that offers something that noone else does, but how many of those sites are there? On every other site, users that took the time to install an adblocker will simply leave, probably forever.

They don't have to sue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42076879)

All advertisers have to do is drop a little code into place to make sure their ads are displaying. No ads, no product, which seems like pretty solid legal ground to me - the "cost" of using their product is looking at advertising. They don't do this now because they don't really have to, but if people really did get heavily into ad-blocking, I have no doubt they can find a way to tie ads to the rest of their product.

Re:They don't have to sue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42076953)

That won't work, it'll just escalate a coders arms race for the next gen of undetectable ad blocker.

With home bandwidth getting higher I don't care if I have to download the ads to make such blocking undetectable, I just don't want to *see* the ads.

No. (1)

bmo (77928) | about a year ago | (#42076881)

Could browser ad blocking one day become so prevalent that it jeopardises potentially billions of dollars of online ad revenue, and the primary business models of many online and new media businesses?

No. 99 percent of people don't bother blocking ads and 90 percent don't even know that you can block ads. This is a ridiculous question to ask, especially since ad blocking has been around for so many years with solutions ranging from a custom hosts file to browser plugins and built-in adblock (opera).

Try to make it through this video without raging.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLVWD2UNvVI [youtube.com]

--
BMO

Re:No. (2, Interesting)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about a year ago | (#42076977)

No. 99 percent of people don't bother blocking ads and 90 percent don't even know that you can block ads. This is a ridiculous question to ask, especially since ad blocking has been around for so many years with solutions ranging from a custom hosts file to browser plugins and built-in adblock (opera).

Bingo.

I'm very computer literate, I could block ads, but I don't. Why not?

a) I can't be bothered to invest the time in downloading the software, deploying it and doing whatever else is required.

b) I'm just not that bothered by ads. I know some Slashdotters go ape-shit bananas if even one ad for Capital One or Ford slips in, but I'm like 'meh' - I just tune them out - And from time to time I'm even served up an ad for something I'm interested in.

c) I accept that ads are the price for nifty free content online.

Re:No. (2)

Z00L00K (682162) | about a year ago | (#42077045)

Ad makers should actually ask themselves - why have we created a need for ad blocking software? When they have the answer and acted upon it then the ad blocking software is no longer needed.

Re:No. (1)

StormyWeather (543593) | about a year ago | (#42077099)

I respect that that guy hates ad blockers. I don't respect him for calling people thieves when there was NO legal agreement with the website in question that ads would be blocked. If there was such an agreement, and you blocked ads then yes you would be a pirate. I hate it when people see some sort of legal agreement when there is none.

Re:No. (1)

eriklou (1027240) | about a year ago | (#42077129)

Lawl, by his logic people who take their grocery store ads from the post-office box and directly deposit them in to the recycling at the post-office are pirates. Ads, blocked.

In other news (1)

hypergreatthing (254983) | about a year ago | (#42076885)

People want free money. More at 11.

I could say the same, there's potentially trillions of dollars at stake if people don't pay me 1$ for every website they go to. I might have to start call a lawyer to see if it's possible to mandate this.

No (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42076891)

"There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary to public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute or common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back."

Robert A. Heinlein

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42077179)

As a Heinlein fan, I think I can place that quote as from Lifeline. Way to go Dr. Pinero.

Good luck with that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42076897)

Landsharks are not going to stop me from filtering out incoming malware and other junk any more than people can be stopped sharing files. When are mediasaurs going to learn that my computer is mine and that I am the master of my own property? Business models that depend on forcing malware down my throat are broken and need to die.

Ads are bad for your eHealth (5, Insightful)

RenHoek (101570) | about a year ago | (#42076899)

I'd love.. well.. no. I'd tolerate more ads on sites if they were safe. Here in the Netherlands, we've recently had infections go via nu.nl and nrc.nl. Both very respectable news websites and perfectly safe. If it wasn't for the trojans served via the ads.

Nowadays all ads are the enemy. Flash, Java and Adobe reader seem perma-broken, coming with new 0-day attacks every time.

So adblockers aren't just a convenient way of stopping the more shady sites from popping a million blinking commercials in your face, they're part of regiment to keep your PC as healthy as possible.

(Certainly with the current trend of commercialized trojan kits, which means every noob can whip up something that nestles itself in your MBR, stays invisible and undetectable to everything you can through at, can steal your passwords and inject any banking site with redirecting iframes. No sir, the internet is a wild an dangerous place.)

Re:Ads are bad for your eHealth (1)

bmo (77928) | about a year ago | (#42077119)

This problem with virus-ridden ads came to the fore with ad services. It used to be that websites had control over who bought ad space on their pages, but efficiency of scale gave birth to ad services, where the operator gives up control over what ads are served to the ad service.

It's no longer whether a website is trustworthy, but rather whether an ad service is trustworthy, and there are no metrics for this.

--
BMO

Malware (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42076921)

how about everytime a site delivers malware to a computer through ads, they buy the use a new computer

Re:Malware (2)

zentigger (203922) | about a year ago | (#42076961)

Maybe not such a crazy idea. Maybe it's time to start laying criminal charges against the sites that deliver malware

Re:Malware (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about a year ago | (#42076999)

how about everytime a site delivers malware to a computer through ads

Does this really happen?

I'm online hours per day, have no adblocker, and zero malware. Now granted my Windows PCs are patched up to date, but still...?

Simple solution for the publisher (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42076925)

Do not outsource your Ad Delivery and deliver Ad and Content from the same domain.

Just watch TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42076937)

The television folks have tried this and haven't really succeeded for the most part. It's been ridiculously easy to skip advertisements for ages. It's called a VCR. The only place where TV really has succeeded is in third-party services which remove the ads for you (as opposed to selling you a device which does the same).

First, we will see TOS change to forbid ad blocking.

Second, we'll see the technological solutions. Simply don't load content unless the advertisement has been hit. This is trivial, but also trivial to get around. There will be an arms race (possibly providing fuel for legal battles in the future).

Then finally we'll see the legal battles.

Cue the Slashdot anti-ad brigade in 3... 2... 1... (3, Interesting)

gregwbrooks (512319) | about a year ago | (#42076943)

Slashdot's anti-ad rhetoric aside, content creators or rights holders have a right to monetize if they want to -- just as content consumers have a right to bypass that content. Everyone has a choice and everyone has other options.

Right now, the easiest path for those who want to skip ads is also the best-of-both-worlds path: You can consume the content you want *and* avoid the ads. Eventually, some (maybe a few, maybe many) content creators will simply not serve content unless they have confirmation that their monetization vehicle was served as well. Some sites will die because it turns out there are other options -- and many will thrive because people need what they've got.

If it *does* become a legal battleground, it'll be less about the macro and more about the micro. No one gives a fuck if there's one less or one more eyeball on some half-baked 9gag clone serving up commoditized CPM advertising. But a social-media ad that's relevant to maybe 100 people in the whole country? Advertisers -- and their attorneys -- damned well care if they're losing significant percentages on those hyper-targeted buys, which often carry a premium.

Re:Cue the Slashdot anti-ad brigade in 3... 2... 1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42077043)

Greg is a terrible name, and anyone with that name should be ashamed. Tell me, do you know just how terrible the name is, or is it just everyone else that knows? I heard that people named Greg don't need to sleep at night because they have no souls. Sound familiar?

Oh, wait, you were cueing the anti-ad brigade. I'm with the anti-Greg brigade. I'm sure that they'll be here shortly; there must have been a mix-up at central brigade station dispatch.

Re:Cue the Slashdot anti-ad brigade in 3... 2... 1 (1)

StormyWeather (543593) | about a year ago | (#42077121)

They do, but if they want an agreement not to block ads, then they need to present that to the viewer. There should not be invisible land mines consumers can step into where they don't know what they are allowed to do around reading content and not allowed.

Personally I don't block ads in most places other than my laptop which I use on a cell connection a lot, and bandwidth matters. I've been able to disable ads on slashdot for a long time, but I don't do it. I've even clicked on a couple that are relevant or a product I might need.

Re:Cue the Slashdot anti-ad brigade in 3... 2... 1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42077125)

You think that social network sites can't track if you are displaying their ads or not and remove you from the "target" group before some company gives them money to run an ad specifically to you so they aren't liable for selling something they can't deliver? I'm not saying lawyers won't get involved, because they'll chase any case they can convince someone to pay them billable hours for but it'd be mighty silly and garner whoever does it will garner a lot of bad will from the technologically inclined.

For the networking sites etc, if it comes to a point where it's a more significant dollar amount they are losing to ad-blocking then whatever value the extra community they'd lose by not sending content to those people, they'll just block them. Sure a select few might work around it, but as I've encountered sights that ran ad-block detection and asked for it to be turned off or refused to display content I've just decided they were not worth viewing/recommending and I'd suspect most people that run ad-blocking software are in that same boat.

Re:Cue the Slashdot anti-ad brigade in 3... 2... 1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42077167)

Even if you outlaw ad-blocking, ad-blockers will continue to exist. Only way to be sure is for legislators to require trusted computing on all computing devices and outlaw open source browsers. As long as we have control over our computers, ads will be blocked.

The real question is if such a case was winnable (3, Insightful)

King_TJ (85913) | about a year ago | (#42076959)

Anyone can file a lawsuit over just about anything..... So could advertisers decide to sue developers who made tools like Ad-Block? Of course!

I think the reason you haven't seen this happen so far (and why it may not happen in the future) is the relatively poor odds of winning such a case. First of all, you have to ask if users normally have the legal right to avoid viewing advertising that's presented to them. Clearly, there's vast evidence that they do, including the ability to change the channel on the TV when commercials come on.

One would have to successfully argue that somehow, contrary to all advertising ever created in the past, advertisers placing their ads on web sites enjoy a special legal protection where they can force viewers to view their ads.

IMO, such a suggestion borders on insanity .....

Re:The real question is if such a case was winnabl (1)

Marc_Hawke (130338) | about a year ago | (#42077041)

Ad block isn't illegal in any way (unless you played up a copyright angle where it was modifying the contents of the webpage...) so I wouldn't see litigation and legislation in the future. However, as Ad-Block gets more prevalent the price if internet ads will continue to decline. After a while it simply won't be feasible to support your content delivery simply by running ads along side it.

I expect paywalls and subscription sites to increase as the result of Ad-Block usage increasing.

(Then again, commercial skip on DVR's seems to be the same thing and that definitely is going the 'litigation/legislation' route.)

Re:The real question is if such a case was winnabl (1)

Scowler (667000) | about a year ago | (#42077139)

There are real world similarities to consider.

If you defaced a billboard, can they sue you for that? Clearly yes, that is an obvious case of causing destruction of property.

What if you simply planted a giant tree in front of a billboard, obscuring it from view from most bypassers? Can you be sued over that? IANAL, so I don't know the answer, but I imagine this legal terrain has already been well traveled.

As long as they pay my mobile data bill... (4, Insightful)

dragisha (788) | about a year ago | (#42076979)

...I'll be happy to look at whatever they send to me.

And vice versa.

They probably can kill AdBlock Plus (legally). As they tried to kill libdvbcss, at least. When this happens, people will find other ways to block. And advertisers will find new ways to attack blockers, and to pass their ads through. And so on.

If they want me do download ads (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42076983)

Then they need to pay me for the bandwidth.

I already blackhole the sites that have the most obnoxious ads (just add them to the /etc/hosts files...).

I don't mind if they are actually honest, and provide basic information.

But interrupt my train of thought will get you blackholed.

How about (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42076993)

We hold advertisers responsible for the malware and fraud peddled throughout their networks.

pay or view ads or search for ad-free site (1)

dshk (838175) | about a year ago | (#42076995)

Web sites should put a message rectangle - like the current idiotic EU cookie banner -, that says:
"You are licensed to continue using this web site, if either you view ads and do not use any ad blocker, or if you pay our modest subscription fee, which is 2 cent/day." It is even better if it is displayed by the advertising agency, so if a somebody regularly use an ad blocker and do not pay on many sites, than he accumulates enough dept that it worths pursuing him by some debt collection agencies.

Re:pay or view ads or search for ad-free site (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42077117)

Just because you tell somebody they owe you something doesn't mean that they agree to pay you. Especially if you put the non-binding notice somewhere where you know they won't see it.

Locked down computing devices (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42077001)

Since locked down computing devices are slowly becoming more prevalent why should they care? With the inability to install anything apple doesn't approve on idevices and before too many more years, their PC's to people like Google who can just throw a switch and suck anything they don't like off your android device after declaring it "malware" you won't really have a choice. No lawyer needed. Enjoy your locked down computer device.

Voices in your head? (1)

wcrowe (94389) | about a year ago | (#42077015)

When I see news stories like this, I have to chuckle at the "singularity" crowd who can't wait to get direct internet connections to their brains.

hmmm.... (1)

sdnoob (917382) | about a year ago | (#42077025)

there is no way to legislate a ban on adblockers and enforce that legislation.. absolutely no fucking way.. so that LAWYER that wrote article and the AD-SUPPORTED site that published it both need to find some other tree to bark up.

No (2)

Kjella (173770) | about a year ago | (#42077027)

If ad blocking was a sufficiently large problem, there are far easier solution like embedding the ads harder in the content. For example transitional ads between pages, DOM pop-over ads, click-throughs that open a pop-up and whatnot. Imagine someone went through dead-tree newspapers and noted the ad locations, then gave/sold you that list to feed into your magic black marker ad remover machine. What possible grounds would you have to call that illegal? It's a legal battle they're sure to lose.

what about legal attack on ad's on data caped line (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#42077037)

what about legal attack on ad's on data caped lines?

Can Comcast force you to download Comcast ad's that count as part of your download cap? Can they sue over some one trying to ad black it?

The Important thing is... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42077065)

that either way the lawyers win. Win some, lose some; get paid for them all.

Who owns my computer? (1)

RichMan (8097) | about a year ago | (#42077109)

A web page is a unit of data. It can be processed and presented on my machine anyway I like.

Stupid people think the web is like TV/Radio and we are forced to digest it in the way they want us to.

Extra stupid advertisers think so.

Who owns my content? (2)

dshk (838175) | about a year ago | (#42077227)

I do not think so. A web page is protected by copyright law and the owner can decide about the terms under which he allows you to use page. You either agree to the terms or skip the page.

Gosh-durned technology (0)

proslack (797189) | about a year ago | (#42077131)

Rockefeller and his blasted oil wells are threatening the survival of my horse-fodder supply store! I'm calling my solicitor!

No legal agreement. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42077169)

No, viewing a website is not a legal agreement and you are mistaken in designing your site in such an easily digestible way.

Until I sign a legal agreement where I agree to view ads in order to consume content, their content is free at a level of exposure I can decide.
I can choose to not read ads in a magazine, newspaper or anything else too.
Yes, they may register on a subtle sub-conscious level, but still. (especially in my case, I trained myself to read as much as possible in my peripheral vision, despite the blurriness. It also helped in me not needing glasses since they recovered, so great success, my vision is almost back to normal from the last test)

And note that I actually do view ads. I only block abusive advertisers who do any form of pop-anything, heavily animated flash-crap, page-jacking, page-locking, etc.
I'm fine with everything else since I'm not paranoid that some company knows I have a fetish for latex or whatever else. Big deal, everyone I know knows this, and they are relatively typical people.

Advertisers will demand inline ad content (1)

overThruster (58843) | about a year ago | (#42077197)

If ad blocking really starts to hurt advertisers, I expect they will demand a technical fix rather than a legal one. If sites serve ad content inline with their main site content, ad blockers in their current form will stop working.

This would be a significant change to the current ad distribution model but I think it has a better chance of success than the hypothetical legal approach posited by the article.

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