To adblock or not to adblock that is the question!

  • Thread starter cpscdave
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Curious what other people think about running Adblock.
I personally don't surf without it. I get that its a way that sites generate revenue, but here's the thing. I find that so many ad's are so poorly implemented that they either take forever to load, or make the page run flaky, or are just annoying.

I don't recall which site this was, but Slashdot had a story last week on the debate. The argument that I think makes the most sense is people who run adblock (like myself) are extremely unlikely to click through any ads.
 

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  • #2
jim mcnamara
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A new wrinkle - some pages won't load until you turn off ad blocking. Example: some pages linked from google news to Forbes.
 
  • #3
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Wired is doing that now. Which is making me re-evaluate whether the site is worth the effort.
I had no issues loading their pages, turned off Adblock an a page took over a minute to load, wouldn't scroll properly and all around annoyed me :)
 
  • #5
Vanadium 50
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I understand that someone has to pay for the content on the internet, and that revenue stream is ads. I get it. I really do. But the behavior of some advertisers is so bad, I completely understand why their ads are blocked.
  • Multiple simultaneous autoplay videos - not only is this loud and annoying, how can it possibly be effective?
  • Links disguised as something else, like "close" buttons
  • A complete lack of creativity - compare ads like Honda's Cog, Wendy's Russian Fashion Show, or Apple's 1984 with today's picture of toenail fungus.
 
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  • #6
Borg
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I don't usually like to talk about it here because I don't want to impact PF's revenue. I don't use Adblock. Instead, I have a modified hosts file. I see little to no advertising unless it is coming directly from the site that I'm viewing. Anytime a new ad site shows up, I get its address and add it to the file.
Multiple simultaneous autoplay videos - not only is this loud and annoying, how can it possibly be effective?
Most of those are running in Adobe Flash. I have Flash configured to not run on any page until I say it can. So much easier to read a news story without waiting for it to buffer a Kardashian. :woot:
 
  • #7
jim mcnamara
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  • #8
Borg
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Many of the ads are served up by sites that only provide advertising so I actually like being able to block entire sites. I wasn't aware that AdBlock was such a memory hog so that would be a non-starter for me - I use Firebug in my work and that's enough of a hog. I would hate to think what AdBlock would throw on top of that. :wideeyed:

BTW, my hosts file is 500K. I block lots of stuff.
 
  • #9
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White list the sites you support
After I posted this thread yesterday I did White List physics forums. But haven't seen any ads yet :)

I looked into it and it was Stackoverflow who came out with the argument that if you use an adblocker you are almost certainly never going to click through an ad.
 
  • #10
QuantumQuest
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Creating revenue from ads is a completely fair thing to do, but pushing it far away off its limit, to the point of annoying users and maybe further, is unacceptable. What Vanadium 50 pointed out, describe pretty much the whole picture.Because competition has made this game perpetual, the only viable solution in my opinion, is what Greg Bernhardt suggests: black lists / white lists. I think that sites with fair advertising, must get their revenue.
 
  • #11
fluidistic
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I block every ad I can with firefox addons. (Noscript + umatrix + ublockOrigin), I also removed Flash player before it was officially removed from Firefox.
I think that no human being deserves to be presented ads unless he explicitly wants it. If a website needs a revenue, why not buy a raspberry pi or a cheap laptop and run a script that auto clicks on all ads, over and over? The revenue should be higher than powering the hardware.
 
  • #12
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If a website needs a revenue, why not buy a raspberry pi or a cheap laptop and run a script that auto clicks on all ads, over and over?
You are suggesting mass click fraud? Really?
 
  • #13
fluidistic
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You are suggesting mass click fraud? Really?
I didn't know it was considered as a fraud (first time I read about mass click fraud), but from what I've read on wikipedia about it, yes. I don't see anything bad with it, and I think it doesn't go much against moral, at least compared to showing ads in websites where almost nobody want them. If the law got it backward then I think it's broken, i.e. needs to be changed.
I know I'm a special case, maybe an extremist, but ideally I'd like to have neutral (like wikipedia is supposed to be) websites where all the ads are displayed. And one would pick either a country or "Internet" and the subsections one want to see ads about.

I've seen people clicking ads links on purpose on the TCEC website (chess related) because they either weren't willing to donate or didn't have a credit card and they were still willing to support the event. I found it sad that they lost their time on this, and I believe they could have used a program to do this for them (2 clicks per minute as long as they are watching the event for example).
 
  • #14
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I've seen people clicking ads links on purpose on the TCEC website (chess related) because they either weren't willing to donate or didn't have a credit card and they were still willing to support the event. I found it sad that they lost their time on this, and I believe they could have used a program to do this for them (2 clicks per minute as long as they are watching the event for example).
And how is this fair to the advertisers? Put yourself in their shoes. You create an ad and have a budget $100k. Two days later the budget is gone and you find out it's mostly from bot clicks or "support clicks". Exactly how is that healthy? I do advertise PF on Facebook and I used to on Google. If I found out my campaign budgets were mostly blown on bot or support clicks I'd go bonkers. Don't click an ad unless you are interested in the product.
 
  • #15
fluidistic
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And how is this fair to the advertisers? Put yourself in their shoes. You create an ad and have a budget $100k. Two days later the budget is gone and you find out it's mostly from bot clicks or "support clicks". Exactly how is that healthy? I do advertise PF on Facebook and I used to on Google. If I found out my campaign budgets were mostly blown on bot or support clicks I'd go bonkers. Don't click an ad unless you are interested in the product.
Advertisers should know there's a risk that a bot is going to mess things up. I don't consider as morally correct what advertisers do (publish ads on websites that I don't expect to see any ad, which means more than 99% of websites) so if a 100k dollars budget gets ruined I'd ask my boss why on Earth he did put so much money in that instead of finding other ways to earn money.
One thing that occur to me for PF (and why not other websites) is to open source the budget related to donations. Every member would be able to see how expensive it is to run the server for 1 month (electricity bill + hardware replacement/improvement, etc.), how much money donations yielded so far this month (and overall). When a member donates, he would have the choice to do so anonymously or not. There would be a ranking of members who donated the most this month and overall. I think that this could increase donations. But I'm getting off-topic.
 
  • #16
jim mcnamara
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FWIW - Mozilla has a feature 'Enter reader view' which is an icon on the far right of the URL box - looks like a open book. Cuts right though ads and all of the startup flash "bombs", etc. Wonderful.

Turn it on for a given page. Any CNN page link gets this turned on for me, and pages load an order of magnitude faster. This thread prompted me to try it. It is not an all-or-none approach or something you have to tweak constantly, and is not a memory hog. It simply levels the playing field between consumers and over zealous ads. And my wife likes it too - she describes herself as a 'post-modern luddite' - meaning that all the tweakage required for other ad controls were something 'up with which I will not put'.

There have been links from Google news that actually were unreadable minefields because of interference and deliberate pagination to force more ad displays. Indian news services come to mind. Problem solved.

I would say this is a default feature browsers will have in the future or lose market share. YMMV.
 
  • #17
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Advertisers should know there's a risk that a bot is going to mess things up. I don't consider as morally correct what advertisers do (publish ads on websites that I don't expect to see any ad, which means more than 99% of websites) so if a 100k dollars budget gets ruined I'd ask my boss why on Earth he did put so much money in that instead of finding other ways to earn money.
You realize that the website owners are the ones who decide the size and location of advertisements right? They sell that space to pay for the content they create. How could that possibly be immoral?

It's fine that you would prefer website owners use different ways of making money (would you prefer paid subscriptions in the absence of adds?) but I think it's wrong to block adds and then still consume content, especially if it's a website you visit frequently.
 
  • #18
fluidistic
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You realize that the website owners are the ones who decide the size and location of advertisements right? They sell that space to pay for the content they create. How could that possibly be immoral?
Well I had never thought about it, but ok. When I'm looking for a specific information on the web, be it on Wikipedia or anywhere else, I'm not willing to see ads in my way. If I'd want to see ads I'd go to an ad website (if that even exist). Forcing people to see ads is immoral to me.

ulianjay said:
It's fine that you would prefer website owners use different ways of making money (would you prefer paid subscriptions in the absence of adds?) but I think it's wrong to block adds and then still consume content, especially if it's a website you visit frequently.
No, I dislike the paying subscription for no ads. What I'd prefer is that web browsers would have integrated ad blockers by default instead of having people to download and install them thru add ons.
 
  • #19
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Forcing people to see ads is immoral to me.
How do you feel about tv, newspaper, magazine, billboard ads?
 
  • #20
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My only internet connection is over my cell phone, so my data rates are very expensive, that is my primary reason for blocking ads.
I don't mind some respectfully placed ads on a page.. perhaps a sidebar, but leave the content intact.

One of the worst offenders in my book is Photobucket.. even when I'm on a fast connection capable of 10mbit, I can't get the pages to load.. they have calls to SO MANY different domains/servers, and it seems like if any one of them fail, the page fails..
A polar opposite is Gmail, where you ave good access to the content, yes, there's a sidebar with ads, and they're relevant to the conversation.. Yes, I have clicked on them because they were USEFUL.. it was like googling for something without having to google for it!
 
  • #21
fluidistic
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How do you feel about tv, newspaper, magazine, billboard ads?
The exact same way that I feel with Internet. It's even worse with the giant LED tv they put in public IMO. I've read horror stories about people who bought flats around them before they were installed and how they can't live unless they close the shutters day and night.
I think those ads benefit to a minority of people, not a majority.
There were very few tv ads I enjoyed when I was a kid/teenager (I don't watch tv since that time. To me it's dead, a thing of the last century.) and I would have loved to watch them over and over but the internet wasn't common back then. From what I remember about how we faced tv ads in my family, it was to zap to another channel when the ads started. Sometimes the 4 or 5 channels were all displaying ads, we would quit tv for a short while.
About newspapers, I read one of them for during about 1 year, I don't remember its ads though. Today I would not enjoy them for sure, would not even take a look at them, I'd skip them. Nowadays I read the digital version of it, without any ad thanks to the ad blockers.
I hate billboards. :) It was very windy 2 days ago where I live, and a big billboard fell. That's what I'll remember about them, don't stare nor stay close to them.
 
  • #22
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The exact same way that I feel with Internet.
ok, well, at least you are consistent :smile:
 
  • #23
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a paintball gun on that digital billboard would do wonders... I think hacking it and displaying something rude would perhaps be a more entertaining method of eventually getting it removed..

I don't condone any of those actions of course!
 
  • #24
harborsparrow
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I have been using AdBlock Plus in Firefox for a long time with some satisfaction. But then it added a whitelist and started showing some ads (but only small ones, not too intrusive).

Someone recently showed me how to go into the add-on filter settings and just change the default so it stops using the whitelist--and all the ads went away again.

I LOVE AdBlock Plus.
 
  • #25
meBigGuy
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I will always block ad servers. I have been rooted by a corrupted ad server while the computer was unattended, just sitting on a major news site.

I can tell you which ad server, which ad, when it occurred, etc etc, and nobody cared. That included Microsoft (defender failed), the ad server company, the advertiser whose ad was compromised (least guilty of them all) the web page owner, and the web page creator.

It is easy to find a hackable ad server and install your malware. Much easier than hacking a major site to do your dirty work. And, you get broader coverage.

I have been attacked this way twice, once malware, and once rooted. Both times with anti-virus installed. (but I only did forensics on the one)

Actually, the rooting failed because the re-written boot sector was wired to C: somehow and my system was installed on F:, but that's another story.
 
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