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Does Adblock Violate A Social Contract?

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the do-your-part-citizen dept.

Mozilla 1043

almondjoy writes "Newsforge is currently running a story on Firefox extensions where the author states the following regarding use of the AdBlock extension: 'If you use this tool ... there are those who would assert you are not holding up your end of a 'social contract' between yourself and the Web site that you are browsing' Would you be volating a social contract hitting the 30sec skip button on Tivo? Or putting a strip of paper across the bottom of our TV screen to block out those super annoying scrolling banners? I have found that using the combination of AdBlock and FlashBlock extensions in Firefox has greatly enhanced my browsing experience. Has acceptance of web sites crammed with advertising content become part of my social contract with society?"

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the answer is.. (5, Insightful)

BYC(VCU.EDU) (831956) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247167)

Doesn't SPAM violate the same contract.

Annoying People != $$$ (3, Insightful)

A Boy and His Blob (772370) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247169)

The thing advertisers don't seem to get is that you don't sell products by annoying the hell out of people. Pop-ups, pop-unders, floating ads, the all singing all dancing flash ads, anything that blinks or wants you to answer a trivia question, ad infested web pages that have half a page of text and require you to hit the next button to continue to the next page. These are all ANNOYING, that is why people are blocking or otherwise avoiding them.

You don't see people going to extreme lengths to block Google text ads. Why? Because they are fairly unobtrusive, yet still visible enough for people to see them.

If advertisers don't want me using Adblock they should use small, unobtrusive, static images and I will happily turn it off. But until then, they can whine and complain all they want. Just my two cents...

Unfortunately, they do sell (2, Insightful)

Improv (2467) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247221)

There are always bozos who actually buy things they get spammed about, which is why spammers continue doing what they do. It would be nice to fine the companies whose products are being pushed by spam as a way to combat this, but then of course companies would aim to have their competitors fined. Better, I think, to just shoot the spammers on recognition :)

In any case, using Adblock is a good way to deal with things until a more permanent and global solution to end internet advertising can be found.

Re:Unfortunately, they do sell (1)

DrinkingIllini (842502) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247316)

Research is pretty clear that text based ads have a much higher rate of success than any other form of internet ad.
You can't put an end to internet advertising, unless you want pay-per-view websites. Advertising is the only thing keeping tv and (most) internet free. I think adblock and commercial skipping with Tivo will force advertisers to find MORE obtrusive ways with which to advertise.

Re:Unfortunately, they do sell (4, Insightful)

WaterBreath (812358) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247342)

There are always bozos who actually buy things they get spammed about, which is why spammers continue doing what they do.

Yeah, but those of us who are competent enough to block the annoying ads are also probably intelligent enough not to buy anything from the advertisers even if we were forced to view the ads. So I don't think they're losing any sales. Though they probably are losing money, paying for our pageviews without us actually seeing the ad.

Re:Annoying People != $$$ (3, Insightful)

Mick Ohrberg (744441) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247254)

The thing advertisers don't seem to get is that you don't sell products by annoying the hell out of people.

Unfortunately, this is not true. Rest assured that if it wasn't profitable, advertisers wouldn't spend the money on creating annoying and intrusive popups etc.

Re:Annoying People != $$$ (5, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247282)

The thing advertisers don't seem to get is that you don't sell products by annoying the hell out of people.

I would take it a step further. The thing advertisers don't get is that if someone is taking steps to ensure they don't see your ad then the chances of them actually buying anything from you had they seen your ad are absolutely miniscule.

Re:Annoying People != $$$ (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12247284)

What kind of idiot are you? If they weren't selling anything with highly irritating flashing ads, they wouldn't use them anymore. OK, so you recognize that != means "not equal to," but above and beyond basic syntax, it appears your brain is completely devoid of reasoning skills. I vote that we have your feeding tube removed. You should stick to real estate or something and avoid technical jobs. We don't need any more of you floating around, according to our 17th or 18th place finish in coding abilities worldwide. Fucktard. Come back when you grow a pube.

Re:Annoying People != $$$ (5, Informative)

LiENUS (207736) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247396)

You don't see people going to extreme lengths to block Google text ads. Why? Because they are fairly unobtrusive, yet still visible enough for people to see them.

Actually, most of the prepackaged adblock rules such as the one at [] do block Google text ads.

Re:Annoying People != $$$ (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247398)

i agree completely, advertising should not annoy people, and when i buy something it is from a need of something, not because of some stupid flashing/spinning graphic...

Social Contracts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12247171)

Social contracts aren't worth the paper they're written on!

Bullshit... social contract isn't violated by a to (5, Insightful)

rsborg (111459) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247178)

Social Contract, per definition, is between people. Therefore, the closest adblock could come is to being a "social contract infringement tool". However, it doesn't really capitalize on this (ie, there's no centralized adblock-blacklist server), and it's fairly obtuse to use (ie, my wife doesn't grok it completely)... so I doubt you could say that it intentionally infringes.

What gets me is that arguably, social cotract was first violated by offending websites and ad-server ppl in general, with things like popups, glaringly bad animation (ie, flashing colors, etc). Not to mention the EVIL doubleclick and their "we will track your ass... try and avoid us, punk" attitude. Which is what I believe the adblock authors were trying to control/avoid/defeat.

I won't adblock a server/ad that's generally nice or doesn't get in the way of my browsing... think google or other text-based adverts, or even non-animated, "non-epilepsy inducing" image ads. THATs a real social contract... because google/etc know that their revenue relies on their good behavior. I respect that.

Finally, on a dialup (like at my parents place), adblock SIGNIFICANTLY improves performance. I think removal of bloat is impressively important for non-broadband folks, and that's another case of advertisers "messing with social contract". I especially hated it when the page would load fast, but the ad at the top woudl sit there and hold up the entire page from rendering. WTF.

Re:Bullshit... social contract isn't violated by a (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12247380)

She doesn't "grok" it? Speak english.

Re:Bullshit... social contract isn't violated by a (4, Insightful)

stinerman (812158) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247406)

Finally, on a dialup (like at my parents place), adblock SIGNIFICANTLY improves performance.

Thank you!

I'm still on dial-up (free from university), and I often use Adblock in this way. Many pages I frequent have some images that simply waste bandwidth. For instance, I have blocked a lot of the images on my on-line banking website so that the response time is better. Getting rid of those images cuts down how long I'm dialed in.

What social contract? (5, Insightful)

AstroDrabb (534369) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247181)

What social contract? Since when did "we" have to guarantee poor businesses models based on annoying the crap out of your users with flashing gif and flash ads? Anyone remember the annoying "punch the monkey flash ad"? I block ads on /. and every site I use with adblock and flashblock. If I want to support a site I like, then I will donate a couple bucks to them. For example, if you look at my /. UID I have an asterisks next to it, that means I am a subscriber. I just donated $5 USD to /. and do this about two times a year. To me /. is worth $10 a year. Now imagine if the 100,000+ /. readers all donated $5 - $10 a year. /. wouldn't need stupid ads.

I also don't feel bad about not watching most commercials on TV or ripping the DVD's I buy and removing al the crap from them. I paid for the product, I don't want to see more ads. I pay about $140 a month to my cable company for Digital cable, Digital Broadband and a Digital phone. The least the cable company can do is get rid of ads for me, though I know that day will never come.

The only ad content I don't make an effort to block are text based ads like Google uses. I have no problem with those types of ads since they do not distract me. The day most/all web ads are text based and don't flash to "get your attention" is the day that I will stop using adblock and flashblock to block web ads. Oh, and adblock has two modes: "remove images" and "hide images". The "remove images" option doesn't download the images and the "hide images" option downloads but doesn't display them. So if you want to surf a site and still help out the web advertiser, just use "hide images", though I use "remove images" so I can get faster page load times.

Re:What social contract? (1, Funny)

RealSalmon (177174) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247286)

Anyone remember the annoying "punch the monkey flash ad"?

I'll get that damn monkey one of these days. He'll rue the day that he openly mocked me. "And he'll know, he'll know, that it is I, Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, who emcompasess his doom . . .AH HA HA HA!"

Re:What social contract? (0, Flamebait)

Tlosk (761023) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247374)

If you don't agree to subject yourself to the advertising, the appropriate course of action in a social contract situation is to not use the content that comes with the advertising. Of course social contracts are nonbinding, but there are deleterious effects if ignored. If more people observed their half of the social contract we wouldn't have the escalating arms race that has created this mess we have today.

Re:What social contract? (2, Insightful)

nacturation (646836) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247381)

I block ads on /. and every site I use with adblock and flashblock. If I want to support a site I like, then I will donate a couple bucks to them. For example, if you look at my /. UID I have an asterisks next to it, that means I am a subscriber. I just donated $5 USD to /. and do this about two times a year. To me /. is worth $10 a year. Now imagine if the 100,000+ /. readers all donated $5 - $10 a year. /. wouldn't need stupid ads.

To play devil's advocate here, why do you need to block ads on slashdot? You pay the $5 and you get so many credits which will block ads on your behalf. Slashdot has set a price saying that each ad is worth so much money, so your $5 gets you the ability to block X ads. In effect, you're gaming the system by using slashdot's paid ad-blocking system as well as using your own. If everybody did what you did, slashdot would still need ads because they'd get shortchanged on revenue.

Re:What social contract? (5, Funny)

dogmatixpsych (786818) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247387)

What's kind of funny is that I didn't even realize /. had ads. I don't really ever look at the top of websites anymore because that is where most of them put ads.

// Here's how you create your own personal adblock (but it only works on things at the top of the screen): Create a lesion (how you do this is your own problem) in the lower bank of the calcarine fissure in both your occipital lobes. This leaves you with a superior quadrandanopsia. (In other words, when you fixates on a point, you cannot see things in the upper visual fields of either eye).

//Then come see me. *Aspiring to be a clinical neuropsychologist*

Do I have to stay on the couch during commercials? (1)

BCole (620344) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247419)

Do I have stop changing radio stations during commercials also, paying attention to everybillboard on my drive to work?

Balderdash, Codswallop, etc. etc. (5, Insightful)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247182)

If a commercial website can't support itself via its audience, that website should die. If the users of the website are sufficiently motivated to pay for content, they will, and it will survive. Here's a hint: if you need to be paid, then be up-front and honest about it (eg: LWN [] ). If your worth preserving, you'll be fine.

There is no such thing as an implied or "social" contract - by their very nature, contracts are not implications! The whole terminology is a marketing exercise designed to appeal to the "guilt" that just because someone is giving you something, you ought to pay for it.

Sheesh! Social contracts! What next ? Breathing contracts ?


Using commercial time to go to the bathroom (5, Funny)

Matt the Hat (860759) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247185)

could get you sued, then. I guess.

OH YEAH? (4, Interesting)

evilmeow (839786) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247187)

Well in such case I have a brilliant idea.

Why don't all the website owners that feel cheated by those who use Adblock put a clear, visible banner that says it's illegal to view this website with advertising stripped off?

As soon as I see one of those, I will put their hostname in the proxy's blacklist forever. Problem solved.

If the webmasters think they can force people to read their website in one particular way that's most benefitting to them, I'll be among the ones glad to remind the webmasters that I, too, have a choice of throwing their website into a blacklist and advise other people on not using it.

I don't care if it violates any social contract. I don't even agree that there is any contract. As long as the website is
publically available, I can do whatever the fuck I please to its contents on my own machine. The website owners should shut the fuck up and be grateful I spared a minute of my time to even pay attention to their little shitty website, and sure as hell I don't feel indebted to them for anything. Unless they're paying ME to have it their way, I'm going to strip their ads, block their cookies, apply my stylesheets to make their shit readable, and if they're uncomfortable with that, why don't they just let me know so that I can continue ignoring them some more and care even less?

If they feel deprived of revenue, perhaps they should reconsider the field of businness they're in, because I'm most certainly not here to pay their bills.

So here's how Internet works: when you put something into a place where everyone can have a copy, it's none of your business what people do with their copies. For those of you cretins who still have the brick-and-mortar mentality, I dont owe you anything at all and you should thank me for even considering your shitty website.

Hard to justify (-1, Troll)

bonch (38532) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247192)

While I understand the "social contract" point, it's hard for me to accept that I am unable to control what is downloaded to my computer through my Internet connection. Just as I can use a firewall to block certain information, I can also choose to block certain information on a webpage. It's my Internet connection, after all.

Web site owners have the right to display whatever they want on their pages whether I want to see it or not. Nobody's stopping them from doing that. And I can choose not to see it. Nobody should be stopping me from doing that either.

Huh? (4, Interesting)

elid (672471) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247194)

And what about a simple pop-up blocker, especially now that Microsoft includes one with IE? Does this violate a "social contract?" How is blocking any other type of ads different than blocking pop-up ads?

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12247196)

If it did, I'm sure they'd extend it to "You must buy what we advertise."

No one would claim you were breaking a social contract if you threw away ads in the newspaper. (Yes, you pay for it, but at a much reduced rate because of the ads.)

popup blockers? (3, Interesting)

justforaday (560408) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247198)

It's no more a violation of a social contract than having a popup blocker built into the browser...

the preexisting contract (5, Insightful)

Surt (22457) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247200)

Stated that websites weren't allowed to pop-up advertisements. When they started to do so, a renegotiation of the contract became necessary, and the new contract states that while web sites may attempt to pop up windows, I am free to disallow that on my system.

If web sites have a problem with this, they need to learn to read the fine print before they sign.

Doesn't matter, Adblock is dying (-1, Troll)

SweetAndSourJesus (555410) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247203)

The devs have been stalling 0.6 for a year. The assmunch that writes filterset.g is a total dickhat. The homepage design completely sucks, yet they refuse to change it despite repeated requests.

All the signs of a project that the devs really truly don't give a shit about.

Eh? (3, Interesting)

Eric(b0mb)Dennis (629047) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247205)

It doesn't matter.

Until websites trying to enforce ad-views, it won't matter.

Any website who tries to aggressively force ad-views will be left alone in the dust, so I don't think it's much of a problem

I sure hope so (4, Funny)

Enigma_Man (756516) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247207)

If I could violate the social contracts of every advertiser out there, I would be a happy man. I just hope that someone somewhere is angry that I've blocked their crappy flash/gif advertisement.


Re:I sure hope so (1)

Enigma_Man (756516) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247253)

To be awesome and reply-to-myself: Advertisement isn't just "let's show the world our valuable and useful product, to get the word around that it exists" anymore (if it ever was, though it goddamn should be), it's "let's try to trick the consumers into buying our product that they don't need, don't want, and breaks after two months anyway".

Good products don't need subversive advertisement planned by a-hole marketers.


Somebody has to pay for the web sites you use (-1, Flamebait)

k0mplex (545007) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247209)

Bandwidth costs money. The content you read cost money to build too. Why do you think you are entitled to receive something without giving something back in return?

Re:Somebody has to pay for the web sites you use (4, Insightful)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247260)

And conversely, should we implictly pay for the bandwidth to receive content we neither requested nor wanted? I think not.

Re:Somebody has to pay for the web sites you use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12247274)

maybe, but by blocking the ads the browser is saving you money and bandwidth, then?

Well, lets see... (2, Informative)

demopolis (872666) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247210)

I currently have firefox blocking all the ads that are displayed on Slashdot. Does anyone here have an objection? Is that violating any sort of slashdot user code of ethics?

Re:Well, lets see... (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247283)

Me too!

Even though that is the case, I plan to subscribe when I have the money.

Advertisers don't seem to get that I'm dead broke in college. I don't have the money to buy anything.

Re:Well, lets see... (2, Funny)

DrinkingIllini (842502) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247430)

Advertisers don't seem to get that I'm dead broke in college. I don't have the money to buy anything.
Let a fellow collegiate finish that thought "...except beer, lots and lots of beer."

No. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12247214)

There can't be any social contract between people who haven't even communicated with each other.

My machine, my choice (3, Insightful)

bmw (115903) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247216)

Social contract or not it is really my choice whether or not I want something displayed on my screen. If the revenue generated from ads on a particular website is suffering to the point of not being profitable then perhaps it is time to look at new ways of making money. You can't try to enforce some form of draconian control over everyone's computers. This is my machine and I will decide what is downloaded, displayed, and run on it.

Re:My machine, my choice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12247420)

hmmm. not enough revenue. maybe people aren't noticing the ads. I'll just add some flashing colors to attract the eye and maybe even make windows pop up so the visitors have to look at them!

I've been browsing before there were ads. (3, Insightful)

jhill (446614) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247217)

I would have to say that the social contract that's being broken are by the people advertising. I've been browsing the web since it's inception with HTML and the like. The things that's been invaded is my space, not the other way around with me blocking it.

Adblock, flash block, block images from this server will always win out with me.

There's an old saying... (4, Insightful)

deanj (519759) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247220)

There's an old saying that seems appropriate here:

Free speech is the right to say whatever you want; it's not the right to make people listen. (1)

ctk76 (531418) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247227)

You're not blocking ads from slashdot are you??? (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247422)

I am.

Also as well.

I don't like ads. I have never bought anything from them and never will.

Social Contract in the real world (5, Insightful)

sellin'papes (875203) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247228)

There is no social contract with advertisers in the real world. When you walk down the street, if you are looking at the ground, you are not violating a social contract you have with the advertisers to keep your head up and keep an eye out for new products.

Why should this be different on the internet?

Pure BS (5, Insightful)

stinerman (812158) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247234)

This "social contract" BS is something marketers dreamed up to make it "bad" to block their ads. The TV people say the same thing about how you're "breaking contract" by muting commercials, getting up off your duff for a drink, or skipping past them on a recording you made.

I didn't sign any contract. I didn't agree to any ToS. I don't want to see your commercials, so poo on you.

More like free markets... (2, Interesting)

jokestress (837997) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247235)

This is a simple case of market forces, like a fuzzbuster or other "arms race" involving technology and those who feel they are circumventing something they find annoying.

You ask this on SlashDot? (1)

SSpade (549608) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247244)

This is the land of all-free, all-the-time. People are supposed to product content for free, and give it away to all and sundry with no revenue stream to, say, pay their rent.

If you're looking for an useful discussion, you're in the wrong place.

Ads? (1)

panxerox (575545) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247245)

Oh yeah thats right those are the things you see if you dont use ad Filters like proxomitron or privoxy. Either of these with Opera is browsing heaven.

Same thing can be said about.. (2, Insightful)

thenetbox (809459) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247246)

Same thing can be said about.. Popup blockers and Spyware removers. Are they breaking a "social contract" by removing the spyware/blocking popups that some sites/apps use? I understand what the article is saying but but they could have worded it better.

There is no social contract (3, Insightful)

ksvh (875006) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247252)

The idea of a "social contract" is just a scam some people use to con other people into thinking they have obligations that they never actually agreed to. Any real contract is written down and signed by the parties agreeing to it.

My opinion (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247256)

There's the saying, "The customer is always right." Perhaps they need to consider alternatives.

Re:My opinion (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247325)

When I said "they", I meant the companies need to consider alternatives.

Re:My opinion (4, Insightful)

headisdead (789492) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247332)

Indeed, ignoring the gratuitous reference to a "social contract": put simply, AdBlock is not in any way "unethical" because advertisers pay on the assumption that they'll make money. If they don't think a certain type of advertising will generate revenue, they won't use it. Why won't advertisers mount megaphones on the top of cars screeching "NIVEA HAND CREAM!" in residential areas? Because it would piss people off, make them less likely to buy Nivea hand cream; or, more importantly, just be ignored. I use AdBlock not primarily because I don't like having to see advertising per se, but (A) because busy, moving, flashing ads interrupt my browsing experience and (B) because I have never clicked on an ad in my decade-plus internet experience. Most advertisers pay on clickthrus, and I bet that most AdBlock users, like me, would never clickthru anyway. Indeed, if I didn't use AdBlock I'd end up making more corporate enemies than I do by using it--"Eugh! That Pepsi Flash ad is horrendous! I'm never buying Pepsi again!" If AdBlock use affects advertising revenues, then advertisers will come up with a better way to sell their product. If it doesn't, they won't. Somewhere in the middle, they'll make advertising even more pernicious; but Mozilla's development platform means they'll always be someone around to program a way to get around their get around. Isn't OSS great?

Slashdot Advertisings? (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247259)

Interesting story, some time ago I posted a /. poll asking if you used AdBlock or any other ad blocker to read SlashDot, I think it was rejected but I thought it would be interesting to see how many people blocks the ads, thinking that Free Software advocates should know it is the way /. uses to survive

I used to use adblock (2, Interesting)

The Hobo (783784) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247266)

Now I use userContent.css found at here [] and flashblock. It doesn't block EVERY ad but damn near everything, and no updating the blacklist, though if you want even more you can use the userContent.css + adblock + flashblock + firefox popup blocker for the ultimate protection

All ads suck (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247275)

I have the right to tune out, ignore, and block any fscking ad I want.

I hate ads with a passion. Annoying, useless, worthless, did i mention I find them annoying?

TV goes to mute and/or I switch to using my powerbook. at home I don't use a radio, but instead use my small 1600 song collection which gives me some 5 days of never listening to the same thing.

I adblock nearly everything online I come across.

Let's just say I have never bought anything from an ad, an i plan I keeping it that way.

Do i care? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247276)

That is the real question..

Of course not (3, Insightful)

SecurityGuy (217807) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247278)

Advertising exploits a coincidence. It is not an obligation on the viewer. I don't enter into any agreement, implied or otherwise, with /. when I come here looking for content. That I happen to look at the ad on the top of the page as a consequence is a side effect that slashdot and other web sites choose to capitalize on them. Good for them. If and when most or all users start blocking ads, they'll have to find another means to survive, or just close up shop.

It isn't your customers obligation to fund your business. It's your obligation to satisfy your customers sufficiently well that they fund your business. Not many companies seem to remember that.

Somebody has to pay... (1)

Neopoleon (874543) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247285)

"Has acceptance of web sites crammed with advertising content become part of my social contract with society?"

I don't think it's a matter of "acceptance."

I don't mind, for example, that slashdot has banner ads. I've read a bit about the infrastructure required to support the site, and I have *some* idea of how much it must cost to keep this thing up, and I feel that the least I can do is let someone push some relevant ad on me.

Ads are irritating, yes, but *somebody* has to pay for these sites.

We can wrap this argument in whatever fancy-shmancy terms we'd like, but whether we call it a "social contract" or something else, the fact is that a lot of the sites we all love are being floated by advertising revenue. You aren't required by any sort of "contract" (your conscience) to support these sites, but don't come whining when some of them shut down because, financially, it just wasn't worth it to keep pushing content out the door.

THEY VIOLATED IT, NOT US. (4, Insightful)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247290)

The main problem is that the Advertisers have ABUSED the crap out of the consumers. Pop ups, pop unders, etc. etc. Ads then when you close them, they open new ads. etc. etc. etc.

Adverisers took the social contract, ripped it into fifty billion pieces, then get upset when we don't abide by our side of the contract?

Look, I am perfectly willing to see reasonable, well placed ads. I am seeing a Vonage banner ad above Slashdot write now. I am NOT forced to see intrusive, obnoxious crap that intereferes with the reason why I use the service. Anything that requires me to "click" on it to send it away qualifies as abusive intereference, and should be outlawed.

Morons think "If I can get them involved, they will pay more attention to my ad" Instead most consumers get ANGRY at both the site that is abusing them and the moron company that thinks "bad pr is better than no pr".

Social contract? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12247291)

So take me to social court or quit whining.

Provocative Question == Ad Server Overheat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12247294)

Hey Editors,

These work too...

CS Degree: Important, or a Waste of Time?
The Star Wars Tilt-o-Whirl: Thoughts?
Conservative or Liberal?
Java Speed Now Rivals ASM?
Which Browser is Best?

Stupid (1, Offtopic)

Symb (182813) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247297)

Score: -1 this article is really stupid.

Do Advertisers not breach Social Contract? (1)

LionKimbro (200000) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247299)

I went to the College bookstore and saw a book on "Consumer Behavior."

It was filled with horrendous things. It was all about how to tap into vanity and make people desire things.

Then, there's "Public Relations." Which is basically all about how to manipulate people by manipulating the media. But, they also use advertising a lot.

I have no problem with most advertising. But, before I clip my browser, they're going to have to stop pulling PR shit, and stop writing those books. Guess when that's going to happen? Never.

"Social Contract" extended into the physical world (5, Funny)

Caped Cod (633799) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247301)

"Yes, your honor, I was honoring my social contract by carefully reading all the roadside billboards and advertising when I accidentally drove my car into that Denny's."

Social Contract cuts both ways (4, Insightful)

ArmorFiend (151674) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247304)

The Social Contract cuts both ways, and I don't see advertisers holding up their end of the bargain with truthful ads. Are the boobs in True's advertising blitz actually using the service? Methinks not. Does clicking here actually get a free iPod? Methinks not. Does whatever those damn strobing ads ... nevermind, no.

When media sites start carrying advertising that's not disrespectful of their audience's intelligence, then I'll worry about bypassing it disturbing a social contract, but while its not adhering to the social contract itself then they can bite my shiney metal ass.

My response: (1)

millennial (830897) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247312)

If you put advertisements on your web site, you are not holding up your end of a "social contract" between yourself and the people browsing the Internet. The Internet was originally intended to be a database of human knowledge, a research tool, and an educational resource, not a billboard.

Yes, it does (1, Insightful)

BiggsTheCat (460227) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247315)

Quite simply, sites that put ads on their page depend on the profit from those ads to support themselves. The page authors chose to put those ads there. If you don't want to see the ads, then you have no right to view the content. If you refuse to see the ads, you should find your content on another website.

Reading the content of a web page is not a right, it is a privilege afforded to you by the website's author and it comes with strings attached, like ads.

It is unfortunate that so many websites choose to use popups and horrible flashy ads that don't entice people to click anyway to make a profit. But you should take that up with the webmasters.

Just like downloading music on a p2p system is a violation of copyright law. You have no social right to listen to that music. You have no social right to see a webpage with its ads filtered out.

no -- you aren't required to look at the ads (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12247321)

If your idea that somehow you should have to download ads or you violate a contract were true, then you would also be obligated to actually read and consider each of the ads on every page you see.

I doubt anyone does that, so clearly you are allowed to skim the ads without violation.

Blocking them entirely is just more aggressive skimming.

Contracts require agreement (1)

jimbro2k (800351) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247329)

I never agreed to read all their crap.

Moreover, agreements must (by definition) be mutual and freely entered into.

Attempts to ram increasing quantities of junk down our throats fail on both points. They broadcast (by air or web) this stuff in hopes people will watch the ads, made more palatable by some amount of content desired by some of the viewers (& surfers). The hopes of others are not a binding contract on me.

Alternate presentation of content (1)

Rikus (765448) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247330)

I use a text-based browser most of the time, and a browser that doesn't support Javascript the rest of the time. So what?

If I want to view someone's web content in raw HTML form, printed out on paper, or stipped of ads, whose business is that but mine?

To the last question ... (1)

jglen490 (718849) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247336)

... simple answer. NO!!!!!

Whatever... (1)

WebHostingGuy (825421) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247337)

The social contract they (whoever they is) refer to is as good as the paper it was written on; no more, no less.

social contracts? (1)

Run4yourlives (716310) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247345)

If I buy a t-shirt with a swoosh on it, does Nike pay me advertising royalties? Does that not break a social contract?

Do sites that use technology designed to FORCE MY COMPUTER TO DO THINGS I HAVE TOLD IT NOT TO, like show pop-up windows - I'm talking to you firefox blocker evaders - not violate the "social contract"?

Clearly, you can't have your cake and eat it too.

How Serious a Problem is this for Web Sites? (1)

_J_ (30559) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247350)

You can check for the existence of other browser windows with javascript through the DOMs. A web site should be able to sense that a pop-up was blocked by testing for its existence or by having the pop-up set a value in the parent. If the web site admins really want to present these ads, why wouldn't they block access to people who don't view them?

Rule: "Allow our ad or you don't get access to the content."

Just a question...


Violation? YES (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247355)

Is there a violation of a social contract? Oh yeah... definitely. But if it's not illegal, then I consider it perfectly okay.

Okay, I don't consider it to be perfectly okay but I tend to look at it this way: I'm a drop in the bucket of people who would otherwise go ahead and allow the ads through. But here's the thing that is being done right:

Ads should be hosted (or appear to be hosted) on the server serving the web pages. This makes blocking less likely.

Ads should be present with the content the user is looking for but the content should ALSO be available in a "printer friendly" format. Many sites do this and I am grateful. I am also not as likely to block ads from that site since a simple click will get me beyond the distractions and clutter.

Anything that pops up should be blocked immediately.

Two wrongs don't make a right, but two rights make a left... stupid and senseless statement. But with that said, the advertisers cannot and should not expect any more respect from the 'consumer' than the advertisers give. And I think that's the sentiment that most of us will hold to.

My blocking philosophy (2, Interesting)

g051051 (71145) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247358)

I block any ads that are annoying. That means:

popup, popunder: My popup blocker handles these. It's my broswer and desktop. You don't get to pick what's displayed, I do.

audio, animated, layer ads: These are distractions for me. I simply can't read a web page with an animated ad moving around off to the side, or wedged into the article, or some sliding ad box covering the text. I can usually tune my junkbuster file to get all of these.

IntelliTxt: This is not only annoying, it's almost criminally wasteful of bandwidth. I block this with junkbuster, so the requests to the IntelliTxt servers never happen.

Interstitals: Most sites are designed such that I get a JunkBuster display before moving to the main content. Sites that don't work that way, I simply ignore.

Basically, if I find something annoying enough, I block it. I won't spend more than a minute or so setting up my blocks, though. If it takes longer than that, I just won't go to that site anymore. There's too much content available from too many sources for any one site to command my attention.

Adblock feature request !? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12247361)

So, using adblock rules.

But, what if (conigurable of course) adblock would do:
1) hide/remove those annoying things
2) "click" on every one, as if I would click on it
3) throw away what those "clicks" would produce.

This would
a) fullfill this "social contract" (means : clicked on ads)
b) keep away the ads from my eyes
c) produce a bunch of bandwitdh (social contract to the provider)

point a) + c) has to step back if surfing via low bandwith (when configured the "click on everything" (uf :) feature out)

just my 2ç

Self regulation & AddBlock enhancement (1)

Reemi (142518) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247365)

Personally, I have no problems with sites showing adds, as long as it is withing certain limits. Those sites I'll not block.

Sites with annoying adverts, blinking and moving are blocked within seconds. A wise website targetting me would self regulate the maximum amount of advertisement.

Unfortunately, some sites can't show me advertisements as I blocked the add-server they are using somewhere else. Would be good if I could indicate in AddBlock that e.g. site X is excluded from the blocking or site Y is included in the blocking process. (Nope, I didn't file a wish yet)

another social contract broken (1)

michaelbuddy (751237) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247371)

I'm constantly breaking social contracts. When I see advertisements, I don't believe them.. I have a pre-disbelief of marketing hype and a strong BS meter. I also encourage others to think critically.

So by doing that I've violated a social contract by assuming untruths by the advertisers who care so much about my attention and gullibility.

Lynx (1)

Mildog (27114) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247373)

Uh Oh.....I should probably stop using lynx

Not really (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247375)

It doesn't work like that. You don't make an implicit agreement to see the ads. You don't agree to anything at all. They offer a website. You read it. They are perfectly entitled to try to sell you stuff, but you're not under any obligation to assist them.

Once they start trying to make money from you in any manner that isn't directly related, it changes the relationship entirely. They're trying to maximise their profits. that is their right. I'm not going to inconvenience myself or annoy myself for their benefit.

More loaded questions (2, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247376)

Has acceptance of web sites crammed with advertising content become part of my social contract with society?

The answer is yes. You get the content for free, the ads pay for the site.

Of course, "social contract" is just a PC euphamism for "not being a dick".

Blocking the ads makes you a dick, and does violate the "social contract". Lots of good sites are gone forever because of the attitude that "nobody has the right to show me advertisements".

However, when a site is "crammed with ads", or has popups or hijacks your browser, tries to mislead you, etc, then the webmaster has violated HIS side of the social contract (that is, he's being a dick).

There are worse atrocities in the world than a little advertising. I don't know why everyone has to be such a douchebag about it. I mean, having a speakeasy ad at the top of this page isn't going to be the end of my world.

What's a social contract? (1)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247377)

> there are those who would assert you are not holding up your end of a "social contract" between yourself and the Web site that you are browsing

That is, there are some who would assert that a contract is defined by an offer, acceptance, and consideration - and that putting the word "social" in front of something that is not a contract, doesn't make it a contract. Period.

Unless I agree to terms that indicate that my screen being used to display advertisements is required as consideration in exchange for your delivery of content to me, there is no acceptance, and there is contract. Period.

I offer my left buttcheek to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and I assert that he's obliged to kiss it.

Post Rejected (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12247378)

3 annoyingily stupid questions in one article.

Sorry, over the amount by 2. This post has been rejected for mass stupidity.

What did I agree to? (1)

grahamtriggs (572707) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247385)

I certainly accept that by blocking adverts you are not fulfilling your responsibilities as a user of a site.

But the contract thing takes it a little too far. Basically, I have no idea what a site is going to try and push on to me until I visit the site. I don't get a chance to agree to flash banners, pop-ups, etc.

So if someone wants to whine and moan about adverts being blocked, it's THEIR responsibility to warn you / give you a chance to accept or not. And if they don't - well, shouldn't I get to sue them for usurping my computer / browser / user experience without my prior agreement?

Isn't that part of the contract that I have with a website in allowing them to send data to my machine?

I just use my host file (2, Informative)

n0tWorthy (796556) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247388)

If I create an entry in my host file like so:

I don't have to install any software to block ads and I don't have to waste CPU cycles animating their ads either. This saving of CPU cycles is expecially vital while playing those CPU munching JAVA games at sites like and

In a word, No. (1)

Progman3K (515744) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247391)

I NEVER signed any agreement saying I would watch ads.
I have always maintained the opposite.

Nothing to do with a social contract (3, Insightful)

WOSSquee (722543) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247392)

I don't think it's about a social contract, what it comes down to is that I will NEVER buy something simply because I saw it in an ad. I don't buy things based on ads, I buy things when someone cool says it's cool (Penny Arcade is a good example.) I can't remember ever buying something because of an advertisment. Even a TV commercial. (The exception, I think, is the Saturday/Sunday newspaper ads from CompUSA and Best Buy and Circuit City, but that's only because I'm already looking for something and they just happen to have it on sale) Since I'm NEVER going to buy something based on an online advertisment... aren't I saving the advertisers bandwidth from not downloading their ad? More to the point, aren't Adblock users as a whole saving advertisers a quantifiable amount of bandwidth (money) by not downloading ads for things they aren't going to buy?

Social contract (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12247399)

The term "social contract" refers to the agreement between government and society. It is often also used in a more general sense to mean an agreement between a group and its members, for instance the Debian social contract.

A social contract isn't an organisation telling its visitors "this is what you will and will not do". A social contract is devised by the people it constrains for the good of the group.

Perhaps they meant unwritten contract, or implied contract, but they didn't mean social contract. The person who decided upon that term probably did so because it allows them to (unfairly) paint opponents as anti-social.

Is there an unwritten/implied contract to sit through advertisments when watching TV? I don't think so. Is there an unwritten/implied contract to look at adverts on a website? Again, I don't think so.

Missing the point (1)

jessmeister (225593) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247401)

I think the point you are all missing is that if a site is annoying you with their advertisements you have 1 of 2 choices. One you can stop going there. No more ads no problem. Or two you can contact the site and work for change.

Either way you look at it the sites are not forcing anyone to see their advertisements. Users go to their content because they find it of value. If they find it of value they should be willing to pay the provider back in some way if the provider asks. If that means putting up with a banner or other form of advertising so be it. They are only trying to make a living. If they receive enough feedback that a certain advertising method is damaging their user base they will change. Some of the posters here need to understand that advertisements mean money. Not just for the product they are hawking but also for the site displaying that product. Thats the way it works. Hell why do you think Slashdot displays banners (many of which I have clicked on I might add).

That being said even I use adblock. When there is a particularily annoying ad [] on a site I block it. Then I send an email to the site admin telling them what ad I blocked and why. It is amazing the number of them that respond favorably.

Absolutely f$&*#ng not. (1)

One Blue Ninja (801126) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247402)

What contract? I don't recall visiting a site that clearly stated "Use of this site requires that you look at these ads." I know that if I ever buy something from an online ad or a piece of junk mail, I'm just giving advertisers more reason to keep doing them. If I saw an online ad for a real working light saber for $29.99, I'd still go to a brick-and-mortar store and pay $20,000 just so they didn't count my click as a "hit" to promote more damned banners. Technically then, wouldn't looking at the ad at all be a form of fraud - making advertisers think I'm looking at or care about the ad, therefore making them pay more money for my "impression" or whatever the current marketing lingo calls it? Wouldn't that be like eating the free samples in a grocery store, with no intention of buying the product? OR going to look at some condo rental just for the free airline tickets they promise? If websites want to enforce this bullshit "contract", then I have an idea: Sites should state that ads are required to view the site. If the server detects a page request and no follup requests for the ad-content, which tells them that the ads are actually being viewed, then the site should stop working entirely for that user. Once these companies see that few if any people are viewing their site anymore, maybe they'll wisen up and realize that they can take their contract and shove it.

Complete misunderstanding of "contract" (5, Insightful)

BobGregg (89162) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247407)

Social or not, a contract represents an *agreement* among people or groups. To have a valid contract, first there must be a common agreement that the terms of that contract are actually valid. Our at-large social contract works because, on the whole, people agree that there are certain rules we must live by in order for society to work.

However, there has NEVER, implicitly or otherwise, been any sort of common agreement that society *must* endure advertising, regardless of degree of intrusion or method of delivery. When TV and radio were first brought on the air, the idea that commercial advertising would allow them to survive was not a given. The fact that it *did* allow them to survive happened to come to pass, but then again, there were no technological means for the public to manipulate the medium for their own benefit - for a while. However, there was no obligation for society to absorb content broadcast to them, and indeed when options became available, they were used.

When the first tape players became available, there *were* arguments and court cases regarding recording off the air, whether it was "legal" to listen while skipping recordings, etc. These arguments have all been had before. And consistently, it has been recognized that people hvae no inherent "obligation" to absorb content in any way other than however they see fit.

I have no obligation to read the ads in a magazine. I have no obligation not to turn down the dial on the radio when commercials come on. I have no obligation to sit by idly while pop-up windows dance across my desktop. THERE IS NO SUCH CONTRACT OR AGREEMENT, social or otherwise. If my actions, and the actions of millions of others, somehow cause those broadcasting content discomfort or loss, that's their problem, not mine.

I have no obligation to support *any* business model for anyone else. Indeed, if there were such an obligation, then society could never evolve or adapt to change, could it?

In short - that's just plain old horse manure.

does robbIE's PostBlock censorship devise violate (1)

already_gone (848753) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247411)

an unwritten agreement/trust with most of US? what a surprise?

it didn't used to be that way until he got the monIE/stock markup FraUD sponsors.

as we know, the real killer app is time.

god's way of making sure everything doesn't happen all at once?

easy come, easy goo? some of US should consider ourselves very fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate.

it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc....

as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis.

concern about the course of events that will occur should the corepirate nazi life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order.

'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

for each of the creators' innocents harmed, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12247415)

So would I be violating this same social contract by say not installing Flash and visiting a site that has Flash ads. Would I be violating this contract if I turn off Javascript and/or don't install Java and visit a site that uses one or both for ads. Finally, would I be violating this contract if I refuse to install adware certain site attempt to foist on me or even turn off images.

Social Contract implies negotiation... (1)

moorley (69393) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247421)

and reconciliation...

I don't know about anyone else but I don't feel I as a web surfer or citizen get much in the way of negotiation, or re-negotation for that matter.

As for reconciliation I don't see them apologizing for assailing my eyeballs in any way shape and form they can even if I see it as rude.

If it's a social contract I'd say its been voided long time go. But if they are up for mediation sign me up... ;-)

It's an interesting way to view it but I don't think advertisers and marketers are up for the flip-side of the argument if you start viewing it as a contract, social or otherwise.

Adds the right way. (1)

zkn (704992) | more than 9 years ago | (#12247424)

This is somewhat off topic but after discovering the vlog [] I've come to love their attitude towards adds.
They show the adds at the end of the videoclips so If I don't want to see it, I'm on my way.
However since the adds they show are all pretty funny(Like those who occationally get shiped round the interweb) I watch them anyway.

Can't say if it's effective marketing since I haven't actually bought any of the things adverticed, but the concept I quite like.
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