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Litigation Possible for Web Ad Blocking Add-Ons
engine




msg:3450835
 3:17 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Advertising-supported companies have long turned to the courts to squelch products that let consumers block or skip ads: it happened in the famous lawsuit against the VCR in 1979 and again with ReplayTV in 2001.

Tomorrow's legal fight may be over Web browser add-ons that let people avoid advertisements. These add-ons are growing in functionality and popularity, which has led legal experts we surveyed this week to speculate about when the first lawsuit will be filed.

If ad-blockers become so common that they slice away at publishers' revenues, "I absolutely would expect to see litigation in this area," said John Palfrey, executive director of Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

Litigation Possible for Web Ad Blocking Add-Ons [news.com]

 

WiseWebDude




msg:3450854
 3:28 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Interesting! Thanks for the link. I would like for a way to block my site from those who block ads. I have very few, but they help me pay for it. OR, somehow have a page come up if they are using a blocker that says:

We have detected you have an ad blocker, therefore we cannot show you our content as it costs time and money to produce. If you would like to pay for the content, click here.

Compworld




msg:3450865
 3:31 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Heck, even I block ads now. The pops, expandables, interstitials, and automatic play of those video ads are extremely annoying. I think the ad industry has gotten so obtrusive the Adblock has led to this. I happen to love it. It makes browsing the web enjoyable again. The mass market public will not utilize all these services. But, as the teens become adults, I think more people will start to use them.

jkwilson78




msg:3450866
 3:33 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

That article is an interesting read and there have been some good debates in other forums on this exact topic that I have participated in.

What I didn't know is that the company behind the Adblock Plus plugin offers the source code publicly.

It's probably only a matter of time before someone uses that source code to reverse engineer the plugin to create an "anti ad blocker" that would detect whether someone is running the ad blocker and then disable it when someone visits their site to enable the showing of ads.

I would almost like to take this on myself to see if it can be done but don't want to get hip deep in possible legal issues :-)

WiseWebDude




msg:3450882
 3:38 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

The pops, expandables, interstitials, and automatic play of those video ads are extremely annoying.

Very true. I use nothing but text ads that are obvious...no having to hunt for a way around and all. I HATE those video ads that start playing automatically. Those expandables are, most likely, doomed just like pop-ups were...they screw up some people's computers and the damn things refuse to close. Might as well slap you in the chops. LOL. Well-placed, toned-down ads are what keeps content free however. Some people are so rabid in the use of ads on their sites that it renders them useless. I agree.

Compworld




msg:3450895
 3:46 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yes, I agree. Text, animated, and even some flash is OK. But those auto-playing ones, auto-expandables, interstitials, forced pops, etc. are just too much.

farmboy




msg:3450929
 4:12 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

But, as the teens become adults, I think more people will start to use them.

That might be true to some extent.

Of course if it becomes a very common practice, there will be less Internet for them to enjoy.

FarmBoy

zjacob




msg:3450967
 4:29 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have sympathy for the ad blockers. Forced pop-unders, flying ads, automatically starting video ads etc are annoying.

However, to balance that out, I find Adsense text ads continuously adding to the usability of the web.

The way through this all could be a Google brand web browser that does not block Adsense.

europeforvisitors




msg:3450972
 4:36 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm skeptical. Just because litigation might occur doesn't mean that the plaintiffs would win. And if they did win in Buffalo or Brussels or Bangkok, enforcement would be next to impossible in a medium whose name begins with the words "World Wide."

What's more, it'a a lot easier to freeze out "freeloaders" than it is to file, pay for, and wait for results from a lawsuit. It seems to me that, if ad blocking were to become a serious problem, the Web-publishing industry could demonstrate easily that blocking can work both ways.

vincevincevince




msg:3450973
 4:38 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Advertising has changed format countless times even just since the birth of the internet. It will change yet again should this become a problem. I think smart marketers know this already; just look at the rise of reviews, advertorials, and entire websites blurring the boundaries between content and advertising.

pageoneresults




msg:3450975
 4:40 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

While statistics for ad-blocking tools are hard to come by, an estimated 2.5 million users worldwide currently run Adblock Plus, and an even greater number have downloaded the utility, Adblock Plus.

That's a lot of users for just one Adblock program. Let's not forget that some ads present security risks to users. You have people that are using ads to deliver exploits through the users browser.

The hair on my neck always rises when I visit a site and I start hearing page reloads, that concerns me. Third party ads in frames concern me as that is where many exploits are initiated.

Litigation Possible for Web Ad Blocking Add-Ons

Not one mention of NIS, how come?

artek




msg:3451005
 5:02 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Tomorrow's legal fight may be over Web browser add-ons that let people avoid advertisements.

Hey, whose computer is it anyway?
I will install on my computer whatever software I please. If they want me to see their ads, they need to pay for my computer.

Some of the ads are already so intrusive and bandwidth consuming that they are preventing real content pages from loading up.

I think people do not mind and are perceptive to static, visually informing, esthetic quality ads but they get turn off by anything that uncontrollably jumps, make noise and invades "peace and quiet" time at their computers.

The Park Avenue execs, of course, disagree with above but every one of you can test this yourself and decide if your website should be annoying with jerky hip ads or nice, relaxing, informative and pleasant web place to visit. If the visitor does not need to block anything on your website he may comeback sooner and visit more often.

[edited by: artek at 5:36 pm (utc) on Sep. 14, 2007]

RandomDot




msg:3451025
 5:15 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Adblocking has always existed. With Internet Explorer you would just usually have to pay some hard cash for the program. AdblockPlus which the fuzz is all about is for firefox and it is free, and extremely capable of both hiding and allowing ads. There's even extensions for adblockplus which will allow ads on all sites you have bookmarked.

Perhaps those smart hat advertisers should begin looking for other ways to fund their so called content? I am really sorry to say this - but most websites which I have seen with advertising on, doesn't supply anything which is really usefull or informative in any ways. Why should they? If people stay on their site, they don't get clicks.

This forum is a really good example of how revenue could be made through other means than cheap advertising. Oh yah, if you provide something really usefull publically, don't you think people are willing to pay for some exclusiveness eventually..?

Besides from that, I also have adblockplus turned on when I am here, and I subscribe to every filter list there is. Funny thing is - that the ad which is shown in the top right corner of this forum for pubcon, isn't blocked. I could block it manually, but it's not intrusive or annoying, so I just leave it there. Not that I would click it anyways, but it doesn't bother me.

If somebody blocked me from their website because I use firefox or adblockplus, I am also sorry to say - that I would just go somewhere else. It's not like there's no competition in your market or on the content you provide. I'll probably be able to find it elsewhere if it's really that much of a need this, want this so bad.

Sincerely and have fun,

jtara




msg:3451038
 5:22 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

It's probably only a matter of time before someone uses that source code to reverse engineer the plugin to create an "anti ad blocker" that would detect whether someone is running the ad blocker and then disable it when someone visits their site to enable the showing of ads.

I can easily see how one could detect the use of an ad-blocker: use Javascript to see if ads have been removed or hidden in the DOM.

Disabling the ad-blocker is a thornier problem. If the browser's security features are working correctly, it should be impossible. If you circumvent them, you probably face potential legal liability yourself.

moTi




msg:3451059
 5:43 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

no problems and no fears here.

i have an ad block blocker on my site that redirects adblock users to a page where they are advised to turn off the ad blocker. works perfectly.

WiseWebDude




msg:3451131
 7:04 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

no problems and no fears here.
i have an ad block blocker on my site that redirects adblock users to a page where they are advised to turn off the ad blocker. works perfectly.

Whoa, whoa, back up the bus and let the kiddies off. Please sticky me with such a fanciful thing, LOL. Can you let me know what it is (sticky, please) and I will put it to use as well. Thanks.

[edited by: WiseWebDude at 7:05 pm (utc) on Sep. 14, 2007]

victor




msg:3451136
 7:10 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hey, whose computer is it anyway?
I will install on my computer whatever software I please. If they want me to see their ads, they need to pay for my computer.

I too am happy to see ads provided the ad supplier can certify that the ad will do no damage if run on my computer, and that there is insurance in place to cover any losses I do incur in running an uncertified program on my machine.

I am happier to run ads that have been externally QA'ed to ISO 9001 standards of course -- and come with such a certificate.

Bottom line: Ads are programs. If you want me to run one on your behalf, first prove to me it is safe.

These points apply to active ads such as those in Javascript, Flash, etc. Not to pure text ads. They do apply to HTML and inage based ads as they can exploit flaws in rendering programs.

I am very happy to unblock such certified safe ads. All others fail my security standards; so my IT dept would not let me run them.

How many of you who wish me to run such ads are providing such much needed public protection? Those who aren't yet, why not?

WiseWebDude




msg:3451145
 7:28 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

How many of you who wish me to run such ads are providing such much needed public protection? Those who aren't yet, why not?

That's a good point, I see what you are saying. I have been reading into this and I can see all points made here. Hm, I will think on this some to be sure. I think a lot of you are right when you say that most users couldn't find the ad blockers in the first place let alone use them (won't become mainstream, most likely). One thing that REALLY scares me when I go to a web page is when IE pops down a little bar saying: you need to install such and such...and, of course it is for some crap ad. Great, let me install some code to run your crap ads. Yipee. The only way I see as a sure-fire way around this is to make users pay to use the content...not much, but enough to keep servers, and the other expenses covered. I guess $9.99/yr with 10,000 people would cover some expense. I just may look at that option and cut out ads altogether. Hmmmmmm.

gibbergibber




msg:3451150
 7:35 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

-- Heck, even I block ads now. The pops, expandables, interstitials, and automatic play of those video ads are extremely annoying.--

Blocking popups, flashing banners and other annoyances is totally understandable, but is there really a need to block text-only ads and text affiliate links?

--These points apply to active ads such as those in Javascript, Flash, etc. Not to pure text ads. They do apply to HTML and inage based ads as they can exploit flaws in rendering programs.--

This is what annoys me about this area of debate, the unobtrusive text ads are almost always lumped together with the flashing spyware download pop-ups.

Those are two totally different things, as different as a cold-calling hard-sell advertiser and a printed advertisement in a newspaper.

--This forum is a really good example of how revenue could be made through other means than cheap advertising. Oh yah, if you provide something really usefull publically, don't you think people are willing to pay for some exclusiveness eventually..?--

Only if you have a very large audience. Smaller sites will never have enough hardcore fans to fund themselves through subscription.

At the end of the day, if all ads are blocked it's the large sites that will win. They will be running non-click branding ads, and will have a large enough visitor numbers to run a subscription service.

100% ad blocking is going to hurt small sites far more than large sites. When the small sites can no longer run ads, the advertisers will be forced to turn to the big sites which are unaffected by the blockers.

MatthewHSE




msg:3451154
 7:46 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hey, whose computer is it anyway?
I will install on my computer whatever software I please. If they want me to see their ads, they need to pay for my computer.

I think you're missing the idea of whose website it is. If you don't like ads, don't visit sites that use them. You have no entitlement to view a website just because it's there. This would be a much better statement to make:

Hey, whose computer is it anyway? I will use my computer to visit whatever websites I please. If I don't want to see ads, I won't visit sites that use them.

Receptional Andy




msg:3451199
 8:35 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

You have no entitlement to view a website just because it's there

I'm not sure I agree with this statement. The internet is a public medium and by putting it on the internet over public protocols you are giving everyone the ability to look at it. After that point, it's up to the site owner.

I admit I find the legal issue somewhat difficult to understand on a philosophical level. At one point does it become unethical or illegal? Presumably averting my eyes from the TV is OK. Or leaving the room. But what if I pay someone to stand in the way of the ads for me? ;)

jimbeetle




msg:3451209
 8:53 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Whenever a certain computer-oriented magazine editorially promotes ad-blocking software I send it back to the publisher with all the ads snipped out. The comparatively few pieces of paper remaining are accompanied by a short note, "This is what your magazine looks like with my ad blocking software turned on."

Of course, it's never resulted in a reply, just makes me feel good in a weird sort of way.

blend27




msg:3451231
 9:11 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

-- automatically starting video ads ---

I watch Yahoo News in AM.

You still don't have NetF*ix? The thing is I do, but they don't know about it, so am I stock with it cause they don't know I do? or am I stock with it cause it's Y?

londrum




msg:3451238
 9:17 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

comparing websites to TV and magazines doesn't really work - because the user pays for the content on TV and magazines. and the money that they spend ends up in the pocket of the people who provided the content.
so if users want to ignore the ads then it's fair enough - because they've paid for the content anyway.

but with the web, they don't pay for the content... any money that they do pay (for the cost of the computer, and phone lines etc) doesn't end up with the content provider.

so they are viewing the content for free. but people can't create the content for free. they need to earn money to do it. and if you take away their means of making money then there will come a day when they can no longer provide the content.

WiseWebDude




msg:3451240
 9:21 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Jimbeetle,

That was a good idea! Nicely played. I bet it really irked them when they opened it up and read the note...I could picture one of the sanctimonious editors hurling it, angrily, into the wastepaper basket, ROTF. Oh man, just think of TV without the endless badgering from that insurance company with the little lizard, that stupid crap you rub all over your damn head because their commercial gave you a splitting headache, a certain ISP that would like to stick a CD up every posterior in the world, a certain sandwich company that boasts plenty of lettuce & bread and lacks any substantive meat to it wanting to show a sandwich down your throat to help you lose weight...and on and on. We all deal with it as it keeps things free. We may not like it, but we damn sure have to deal with it, LOL.

tim222




msg:3451286
 10:31 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

i have an ad block blocker on my site that redirects adblock users to a page where they are advised to turn off the ad blocker. works perfectly.

It works perfectly to get rid of the user, but I doubt if they turn off their ad blocker.

Is there something better that can be done? I don't want my site to be on the front lines of an ad-blocker war. What if the deflected vistor gets offended and retaliates somehow?

zeus




msg:3451291
 10:43 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

I know a lot that block Firefox, be cause of there add ons, what do they think of, blocking ads, how would they have a site to deliver free content to users with out ads.

how to block is found - search "why firefox is blocked"

incrediBILL




msg:3451315
 11:30 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

The article is a factually inaccurate fluff piece...
Firefox's Adblock plug-in is probably the most prominent way to configure Web browsers not to display advertisements.

Most ad blocking occurs in firewalls, not browser plugins, and AdBlock is a mere blip on the radar.

Filing suit against browser ad blocking providers might pan out but when you file suit against firewall companies it'll hit the fan when you go up against the risk of potential security threats.

The best fight against ad blocking isn't legal, it's technological, and merely block visitors that aren't downloading the ads.

Easy enough to do, can be implemented today.

incrediBILL




msg:3451317
 11:36 pm on Sep 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

I know a lot that block Firefox, be cause of there add ons

Then you know a lot of people that don't have their fact straight and should get a clue.

There are probably more ads being blocked with MSIE, various blocking add-on tools, proxies and firewalls than all copies of Firefox ever shipped.

It really gets under my skin when misguided people jump on a bandwagon just because someone with an ax to grind starts a bunch of hype.

RandomDot




msg:3451344
 12:10 am on Sep 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

At least Firefox got some free advertising and some more users out of all this hype and buzz. Not like anything is going to happen, besides the fact that we get something to talk about

And all those people you know who blocks firefox from their website? - could you pm me with a list, just to verify it. It's kindda hillarious that I haven't come across even one site yet...but then again, how many sites are there on the internet? :)

This 80 message thread spans 3 pages: 80 ( [1] 2 3 > >
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