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How Best to Manage Visitors With Ad Blocking Turned On
to stop or not to stop, that is the question
incrediBILL




msg:532294
 7:52 pm on Aug 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

Web sites that depend on advertising for revenue, like AdSense, seem to be at odds with freeloading surfers that use all the latest technology that blocks AdSense, affiliates and other ad technologies.

Unlike other media such as radio, TV, etc. we can actively sense when ads aren't being displayed on the web page which means we could prevent the content from displaying if the ads aren't displaying. The technology isn't that complicated to stop visitors with ad blockers from viewing the site and a simple technique could even be employed to detect the lack of javascript running.

I envision this freeload stopper showing an alternate page with something like:

"This web site uses modern web technologies and requires javascript to be enabled and banner blocking technology to be disabled."

The immediate worse case scenario I can see is some visitors which currently are non-revenue producing (no CPM ads, no CPC ads, nothing) are no longer permitted on the web site unless they permit ads to be displayed. Banning them would obviously have an impact on total web statistics of visitors/pages that some of us use for selling advertising but in reality these visitors weren't seeing those ads anyway so it's sort of a moot point except for marketing (aka bragging rights).

What do you think the repercussions would be to implement technology on a web site that would block visitors from viewing content if the surfer has AdSense blocked?

Would this possibly call undue attention to AdSense and provoke a invalid clicks by initially "blocked" visitors?

If you had the technology to block "freeloaders", would you use it?

 

edacsac




msg:532474
 7:35 pm on Aug 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

I agree with bedlam, that if a user is really on a warpath against ads, they will ultimatly win. But I also believe incrediBills plan could recover a good percentage of ad impressions from the users that just install an ad blocker and leave it at that, or those that are blocking ads by default through a norton type product. Even if you only recover 50% of the impressions you've lost to adblockers with this method, and even if the revenue isn't as great as adsense ads, its still something to say.

jomaxx




msg:532475
 7:41 pm on Aug 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

Bill, when you do this make sure to put a local tracking image in the NOSCRIPT tag so you can see how many browsers are seeing that message. They could still be spiders that appear to be human surfers, but it would be worth measuring nonetheless.

bedlam




msg:532476
 7:44 pm on Aug 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

You are correct except that will only apply on the first page as my implementation included a "bug" in the page which will tell me if the page is loading ads via scripts or noscripts[if both come up negative then I'll just do 100% server side ads on subsequent page loads.

You're missing the point again. With both the CSS and javascript methods of 'turning off' ads, I'm just causing the page to render differently than what you've specified. The ads are still there in the source, but they're not visible. Your solution can't work the way you describe it because the ads DO load, they just don't display.

Depending on the order in which different items involved in page rendering occur - external js or css, user js or css - you might be able to use the DOM to determine what properties your iframe and noscript elements have (i.e. is the 'display' property set to 'none'?) and make decisions on how future pages get served that way, but in any case the fundamental point remains that, if some browser or other tool can fiddle with the page after it's fully downloaded, there's little an advertiser can do.

Bill, when you do this make sure to put a local tracking image in the NOSCRIPT tag so you can see how many browsers are seeing that message. They could still be spiders that appear to be human surfers, but it would be worth measuring nonetheless.

See above. We're talking about loading the noscript tag, but just not showing it.

With everything integrated server side there will be nothing to detect when there are no scripts or uniquely identifiable iframes involved and it all looks like content

Well, as I already mentioned a long time ago in message 144, this will work if there's nothing ad-network-specific about the markup you create...

-B

incrediBILL




msg:532477
 7:49 pm on Aug 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

You're missing the point again. With both the CSS and javascript methods of 'turning off' ads, I'm just causing the page to render differently than what you've specified. The ads are still there in the source, but they're not visible. Your solution can't work the way you describe it because the ads DO load, they just don't display.

I think you're missing the point even further -

I've been running integrated ads for about 2 years now for my direct sold sponsored links and my CSS for my text and my integrated ads is 100% the SAME and was done this way on purpose so if you mess with my CSS the whole page goes blank.

The ads are in HTML no different than the content, including the CSS class, you'll get a blank page trying what you describe.

JaySmith




msg:532478
 8:16 pm on Aug 11, 2005 (gmt 0)


But I do agree with one point: now is the time to make some money from adsense. Just make sure you're ready for when the bubble explodes.

So you are saying that there will be a day when people won't search for info on the net? This argument is so flawed that it backs up and reinforces my opinion that you have absolutely NO idea what you are talking about.

The internet bubble burst because INVESTMENT money was thrown at garbage. It had NOTHING TO DO WITH ADVERTISING. IF ANYTHING, ADVERTISING HELPED DURING AND AFTER THE BUBBLE.

It's like saying that NBC needs to look into a new business model for showing commercials because the television "bubble" is going to burst.. Advertising is here to stay. It was here when the first caveman chiseled his initials in his cave and will be here long after our time.

I for one am in the block all freeloaders camp.. For heaven's sake, what damage does it do to be "forced" to look at a banner or google ad bar while reading the content? Popup's are another story and are pretty much dead with the advent of popup blockers. I can understand that. But having a program blocks ads is basically saying "Scr*w you webmaster, I will read and take all you quality information and make sure you don't get a cent out of it"

This is WORSE than freeloaders.. It is in my eyes STEALING!

jomaxx




msg:532479
 8:53 pm on Aug 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

"Stealing" - yeah, sure, whatever, this is not worth arguing with.

Anyway the bubble DID have a lot to do with advertising. Remember when CPM rates for banners dropped from $35 down to less than a dollar?

bedlam




msg:532480
 9:20 pm on Aug 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think you're missing the point even further -

I'm not. Just so you know what I'm trying to point out here, I'll summarize:

<obligatory disclaimers>

  • I have no problem with unobtrusive ads
  • I use ads
  • I don't use an adblocker
  • When ads p*ss me off, I just leave the site
</obligatory disclaimers>

  1. Even if you force a user to use javascript to view your pages, it is still possible for the user - and, in other words the useragent - to selectively 'turn off' any part of the html using javascript.
  2. Ads placed in <noscript> tags are even easier to block since js or css can simply turn off all noscript elements in the page - unless (as IncrediBILL seems to imply above) the entire page is in a noscript tag.
  3. Unless the ads contain absolutely no markup common to other ads or to the network, they can still be automatically hidden using JS or (possibly) css (I've been saying this for over forty messages now...)
  4. All of the methods I'm describing work after the page has been served up by the server and downloaded by the browser, so they can not be easily detected...
  5. Unless there is some way for publishers to run scripts after user scripts and stylesheets have been applied to a page.

The whole point is that useragents request the page, download the page and then display it. Whoever can run the last scripts controls page rendering - including ads - and I think that's always going to be the user. Personally, I'd prefer to see concerned advertisers using a little of their advertising know-how to promote alternatives to the scorched-earth block-everything adblockers; there are, for example, plugins allow users to selectively block annoying objects on a page on a per-page basis. Perhaps marketers should be pushing Firefox extensions like this one [addons.mozilla.org] as an alternative to adblockers. It's a good option, since you have to be actively irritated by something to use it...

-B

incrediBILL




msg:532481
 10:23 pm on Aug 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think you're missing the point even further -


I'm not. Just so you know what I'm trying to point out here, I'll summarize:

Um, yes, you are missing the point, as you keep arguing the same points although I said specifically I'm implementing a scaling fallback architecture.

OK, let's address it point by point:

# Even if you force a user to use javascript to view your pages, it is still possible for the user - and, in other words the useragent - to selectively 'turn off' any part of the html using javascript.

I'm not going to force them to use javascript, gave up on that idea.

From the start I was hoping I could get a XML feed from AdSense and do this as embedded ads instead but since you can only get those if you're a premium publisher that's not going to happen soon. I understand it's not worth their time to enable me with XML just to capture a possible missing few thousand dollars in revenue a month, but it's worth ME pursuing that revenue.

So, I decided if they can't see AdSense they'll just see something else.

# Ads placed in <noscript> tags are even easier to block since js or css can simply turn off all noscript elements in the page - unless (as IncrediBILL seems to imply above) the entire page is in a noscript tag.

Assuming you have 100% javascript disabled via the US-CERT alerts, the argument doesn't makes any sense but we'll assume it's still running in the client regardless.

First, I didn't imply the entire page was (or would be) in noscript, I implied that my current direct ads and site content were all in the same style so attempting to disable my direct ads via any CSS tricks would blast the entire page.

I already know embedded direct ads work as I've been running them for years and every page impression that has these ads embedded has a higher CTR that exceeds AdSense and other banners and affiliates.

# Unless the ads contain absolutely no markup common to other ads or to the network, they can still be automatically hidden using JS or (possibly) css (I've been saying this for over forty messages now...)

Exactly what I'm saying, my normal direct ads appear as content with the exception of the words "sponsored links", no special mark up on purpose, no special CSS even, you'll get a headache trying to sort them out from my content. That's how I intend to imbed ads via server side feeds, the same way, looks and smells like content in the HTML.

... and I've been saying this for at least 20 messages now :)

# All of the methods I'm describing work after the page has been served up by the server and downloaded by the browser, so they can not be easily detected...

So you're saying I can't detect images not being loaded onto the page from my server?

Or, assuming javascript is still running, I can't detect via script some of the actual objects loaded onto the page and theoretically pass this data to my server via the next page loaded?

Yes, you may be able to thwart them all but the page would be quite useless if nothing worked whatsoever.

# Unless there is some way for publishers to run scripts after user scripts and stylesheets have been applied to a page.

There is a timer in Javascript so I could analyze the page every second if I wanted which would run a script after the user scripts, unless that then again triggers the user scripts to run.

Whether or not I can detect what you're doing in the client isn't the point as an absence of activity can also be detected which would also serve my purposes.

That's why my 100% fallback strategy is when I get a bunch of negative responses including lack of responses from the web page that all further ads will be 100% directly embedded ads that blend into the content for all subsequent pages which you won't be able to esily detect. They will not be in javascript or noscript tags, they will not have images loaded from or links to 3rd party banner servers or link to 3rd party domains, they will be just plain old text and graphics like everything else on the page.

Now that I've fully evaluated the situation I'm convinced direct data and ad feeds embedded as content is the best way to go as it leaves no trail that any simplistic script or blocker could disable.

Doesn't mean the ads still couldn't be blocked, but it wouldn't be worth anyone's time to mess with it if blocking ads meant actually filtering conent on a site by site basis. If most web sites out there had server side ads seamlessly blended into content pages all over the place in varying ways, especially text ads, it would be a daunting task to filter them out.

Ad Blockers as we currently know them would be obsolete.

incrediBILL




msg:532482
 11:31 pm on Aug 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing more ad coverage now so my strategies are working.

Will get some better stats on javascript blocking and post sometime next week.

DamonHD




msg:532483
 9:40 am on Aug 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hi,

OK, those will be interesting to see: keep us posted!

(Always nice to get a few facts into a heated argument... B^>)

Rgds

Damon

martingale




msg:532484
 6:21 am on Aug 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

IncrediBill, you are a pretty smart guy, judging from your comments on other threads. So I am surprised to see you advocating this apparently stupid tactic of banning users from your site because they happen to have ad blocking technology turned on.

It's a lost cause. I am sure you will succeed in banning these guys, but I very much doubt it helps your bottom line one bit. Bandwidth is so very cheap, they can't be costing you near as much as the cost of your time in "dealing" with it.

What's worse is the loss of the benefits from these guys, the links to you from their blogs, their referrals of friends to your site, and so on.

But, finally, the "ban them!" attitude is just wrong-headed from the get go. The right question is not "how do I get rid of freeloaders" but rather "how do I turn this traffic into a net benefit to me?"

The movie industry has a similar sort of problems. Users are downloading movies for free using p2p tech. and not paying a ticket or rental price to view the media. Have they responded by going broke? NO. Despite all their whining, they have formulated a real and effective response to "freeloading": Increased product placement.

If users do get so sick of ads that they ban them, then YOU have failed as a publisher. It is not the users fault. The correct solution is to get creative and find some way of integrating paid content into your site. Work with advertisers to bury links to them in stories on your site, etc., how can someone block that?

I will not do this with my site YET, because it's still such a small % of users blocking and I am happy that they link back to me, tell their friends, etc., but if it DOES become a real problem, where 50% of my users are blocking, say, then I will start making side deals with advertisers to integrate their message into my stories.

If people are blocking ads it is because they are sick and tired of ads, and honestly, forcing them to unblock is NOT going to increase your CTR one whit. Those people will resent the ads you forced to look at them, and if they ever do click through one they will be outright HOSTILE when they get there. That is just not the kind of traffic that I personally want to send to my advertisers.

I guess I view the ads on my site fundamentally differently than you do: I view them as a *service* to my users, not a way to nickel and dime them. If the ads on my site aren't relevant enough to their lives that they want to view them, then my service sucks. I should do better. Integrating links to advertisers into a story in a compelling way, usefully and informatively explaining what they'll find when they get there, would make my site suck less and some day I will--when enough people are sick of AdSense that they mostly block it.

edit ps: I guess in the long-run, it is likely that my site will outlive things like AdSense. AdSense works great now, but, I've got traffic. And, some day when AdSense doesn't work any more.. I will still have traffic! I believe deeply that if you have the eyeballs you can find a way to profit from it that is a net win for both you, your readers, and your advertisers.

neveremail




msg:532485
 1:00 pm on Aug 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

How many of us would like to have the option to turn adverts off on the TV? I'm sure a lot of us would, me included. But for all of us that would want TV ads turned off I dont think we resent all these channels that show adverts or the advertisers themselves, and we all act upon those adverts at some point even if we dislike having to see them.

I'm pretty sure the same applies to the internet, obviously people who make the effort to turn off adverts will be less productive but they will still from time to time find an advert which does interest them and act upon it.

WocitJC




msg:532486
 8:34 pm on Sep 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

How to Block Google's AdSense - a Tutorial

Sick and Tired of looking at all those stupid Google AdSense Ads?

Well, here's the answer:

Instructions on how to block Google AdSense

First off, you have to get a browser that will let you choose what you want to see on the page. For this, I recommend Firefox

Next, you have to download
Adblock 0.5.2.050

Now, install and reboot your new browser - when it opens up, it will have Adblock with a dotted line underneath it, in the lower right corner. Left click on it and enter the following as a new filter:

[pagead2.googlesyndication.com...]

1Lit




msg:532487
 8:41 am on Sep 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks for that guide on how to steal from people's sites.

Bluepixel




msg:532488
 8:32 am on Sep 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

If you don't want that somebody finds and reads your content, don't put it on the web.

pescatore




msg:532489
 8:53 am on Sep 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

"AdSense, affiliates and other ad technologies."
Google Yahoo CJ and Tradedoubler have the money ,they can buy Norton and all other ad blocking companies or alternatively make an agreement with the most serious of them to exlude there adds.That is the most simple and easy way .And by the way ,why do you think that Norton and others have super developed Add blocking...because they knew that it will come the day that the big marketing Giants will have to pay them big bucks...or not?
OH! i forgot ,funny no more new viruses ...(like melissa remember?)
Was true?that the antivirus companies where creating those viruses so we all have to buy the software?.

netchicken1




msg:532490
 9:04 am on Sep 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

Unless adblocking is addressed somehow then we are in the golden age of adsence. I use Opera browser, and have installed the adblocking software. I also have it in my firefox browser as well.

Although I really do want google adverts, even if just to see what they are like on my own site, the Opera program downloads a ban list that automatically blocks them, and about 20 others. All it needs to do is block the root server.

Any geek can develop this technology, it can't be supressed or controlled, or bought out.

We are only 1 generation of browser away from having this technology already integrated in the browser.

You can imagine that the first browser to integrate this and use it as an advertised feature, not just for geeks like now, will be VERY popular among the mom and pop users.

The reasons I use the adblocker (I feel like this is a cofession from some sort of addict) is because of being tired of the intrusive "blasting / flashing" graphic adverts. Google adverts are totally non offensive and for some actually beneficial.

This is the saving grace of google adverts, its passive, beneficial nature.

Maybe the beginning of the end can be delayed by website owners refusing the more visually abusive adverts.

Maybe the power is in our hands to say no to popups, and those crappy "Prize awaiting you now" "click on our smilies" flashing adverts that are so annoying.

Otherwise reap money whilst you can, 5 years from now advertising will be a barren field.

netchicken1




msg:532491
 7:40 pm on Sep 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

Upon reflection, there are stratagies that can be used by the advertisers to overcome the adblocking programs.

The blockers work by banning the root servers such as [showcase.netins.net...] for the advert top right on this site.

If the url had the clients number in it as a subdomain [custnumber.showcase.netins.net...] then it would bypass the blocker.

This would work only until they ban an individual part of the domain "netins.net" for example.

A stratagy then would be to cache the graphic on the customers server and upload it from there with the customers url.

Mod edit: Continued here: [webmasterworld.com...]

[edited by: engine at 4:19 pm (utc) on Dec. 5, 2005]

This 198 message thread spans 7 pages: < < 198 ( 1 2 3 4 5 6 [7]
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