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Managing Adblocking Users 2
maxgoldie




msg:1427952
 12:41 am on Dec 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

Is there a way to redirect or block Norton users?

 

wrgvt




msg:1428012
 6:07 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

I make much more from my sites from affiliate revenue than AdSense, and all my affiliate links are javascript-based (for a variety of reasons). One of my sites it pretty useless for other reasons if a visitor has javascript disabled. My user logs show this to be about 3% of my visitors. But then I figure people who surf with javascript disabled aren't likely to buy things online either.

I do have this problem with the mindset that a web site exists simply to monetize every visitor. 99% of the web sites I visit I read the content without clicking any ads. I must be a lot of webmasters' worst nightmare. If you don't want to give your content away for free, then either go with CPM ads or force people to pay to register to read your content.

Webwork




msg:1428013
 6:23 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Perhaps this thread would do better if the 3 (or more) perspectives were followed in separate threads:

1) (Technical) How best to implement a strategy for dealing with ad blocking software? and,

2) (Policy) How will the propagation of this idea impact the broader society? and,

3) (Economic) Is this proposed action likely to be good or bad for business?

Sometimes, the value of a thread is eroded, sometimes enhanced by the addition of all the perspectives.

I find that when a technical issue (How do you implement this?) is overtaken by the policy discussion something is lost for all the additions.

jessejump




msg:1428014
 6:26 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

>>>>> 75,000 missing ads x 8% CTR = 6,000 lost clicks x

This is complete speculation (the 6,000). It may be 6 lost clicks.
People who block ads are not likely to click on ads if they were there.

incrediBILL




msg:1428015
 6:40 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

This is complete speculation (the 6,000). It may be 6 lost clicks.

Based on current stats but you must start somewhere - probably would be a bit less.

I'll take 50% of that number, even 10%, and be happy as it all ads up ;)

People who block ads are not likely to click on ads if they were there.

That's complete speculation on that as well as my mother was one of the Norton victims with everything blocked altogether and never realized what she wasn't seeing.

FWIW, people thought I was into serious overkill with alternate ads and NOSCRIPT ads and I'm just laughing all the way to the bank as my income just keeps inching up as I refine my technical marketing skills as well as my SEO skills - it all works together.

Here's an amusing tale as even a lawyer I went to for a copyright case didn't know he wasn't seeing my entire web site as their office admin just installed some seriously hardcore site filtering and blocking technology and big chunks of my pages were missing on his screen - he had no clue.

jomaxx




msg:1428016
 6:46 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

How will the propagation of this idea impact the broader society?

Academic. Even the people here arguing the loudest about how bad the problem supposedly is will never do it. The concept will certainly never catch on widely. It's just hot air.

I remember this exact same posturing from the age of banners and the age of popups, but I have yet to hear of a site that bans users for ad blocking. (Actually there are some lyrics sites that require you to download their spyware in order to access the lyrics, but that's not really in the same category.)

tigertom




msg:1428017
 7:19 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think the idea that you can serve different content to people who have javascript disabled is an interesting one. I've already put a polite message using <NOSCRIPT> on my site.

I wasn't aware Norton was so brutal, that is useful info too. I _was_ aware ad blocking is a (profitable?) software development area, and widely used. Most interesting.

maxgoldie




msg:1428018
 7:32 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Then you have to show that 'forcing' Norton users to display ads will actually improve your revenue.

Actually Bill gave some pretty substantial numbers which suggest the number of folk that block ads. To me it isn't just that they are lost revenue, these folks are eating bandwidth from those others who are viewing the site as it was created.

Plus, there is still the issue that some of these ad blockers, (like those greasemonkey scripts for Firefox, actually load the ads, then hide them) might actually trigger page impressions as far as G is concerned.

I guess there are drawbacks, such as some malicious minded people out there, but in the end why should we care about those who don't care to meet us halfway?

"Malicious minded"? Come on now...

I didn't mean that people blocking ads were malicious, but rather that some of them might get incensed enough at being blocked (because they are blocking ads), that they might try denial of service attacks, click attacks, etc.

stonecoldsober, if everyone was as judicious as you are in deciding what to block, this wouldn't even be an issue for me. Heck, blocking annoying blinking ads and stuff is understandable, but it is the folks who get so annoyed with those ads go to the extreme of blocking all ads by default, and the software like NIS that do it by default, that make it bad for all of us.

So rough estimate is Norton is directly impacting my revenue by $1200/month assuming that people would actually click on the ads at the same CTR as the normal population if they saw the ads in the first place.

That is a substantial amount of lost income, not to mention add to that the amount of bandwidth they used, and offered nothing in return.

I do have this problem with the mindset that a web site exists simply to monetize every visitor.

I agree with this, if I had a pub, I wouldn't be trying to squeeze as much money as possible out of my customer, or would I be even looking at them as money in my pocket in the first place. But I would get annoyed if 10% of the people coming to my pub, always sat there and ordered a glass of water, used my stools booths and my restrooms, and never had the intention of spending a dime. This is why these sorts of people almost force you to look at things in a pecuniary or fiscal context. It is always the behavior of groups of people that trigger consideration of economic issues, as groups of people have a greater implications on material resources than a few individuals here and there would.

aeiouy




msg:1428019
 7:55 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Perhaps you ought to find a new industry. Or do you have some right to make money out of this model?

Yeah actually you do. The trade-off is people trade their viewing of ads for the content that a particular site offers. Not sure why we have to get into advertising 101 here, but the concept is basic.

What some people here are proposing is you could only watch a particular TV show if you purchased a product from an advertiser in the last 24 hours of that particular show.

I have a TiVo. I fast forward through commercials. I still understand that advertising has to get to me to allow most of these programs to be made. That means product placements, fast forward banners or other mechanisms, including limiting the ability of hardware to skip ads. I am not against any of it, because I know the end result pays for a lot of what I watch on tv.

Same is applicable here. Not sure why some people think they are entitled to all this content for free. They are not.

aeiouy




msg:1428020
 8:01 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Similarly, the terms of usage on my PC (enforced by browser settings) forbid you from running any software on it. Attempts to supply javascript or other scripting code is strictly forbidden.

I do not allow freeloaders to take advantage of my CPU cycles. If someone wants to use up processor cycles, they can do it on their own machine. So do it on the server, or not at all.

This has the effect of reducing ads seen to a bare minimum while not exposing my PC to many publicised risks.

If that upsets some peoples' marketing expectations, then those expectations may need to change.

Make a case for my donating processor cycles to your business (or pay me a reasonable rate for them), and indemnify me for any loss or damage as a result of running your code on my machine, and we may be able to negotiate access for you.

Bad argument victor. That would be like inviting someone into your living room and then forbidding them from breathing the air. You visited the site at your own volition. Your option is not use the site. You are obligated to view the ads as that is how the site manages to provide you content.

Academic. Even the people here arguing the loudest about how bad the problem supposedly is will never do it. The concept will certainly never catch on widely. It's just hot air.

I remember this exact same posturing from the age of banners and the age of popups, but I have yet to hear of a site that bans users for ad blocking. (Actually there are some lyrics sites that require you to download their spyware in order to access the lyrics, but that's not really in the same category.)

The only reason it never happened with banners and pop-ups is that the percentage of people blocking them never reached a critical mass. It is the same reason why nothing drastic has happened with TV yet. If and when ad blocking reaches a critical mass then changes will be made and sites will block people who don't allow advertisment displays.

[edited by: aeiouy at 8:08 pm (utc) on Dec. 5, 2005]

py9jmas




msg:1428021
 8:04 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

eating bandwidth

Your adverts eat my bandwidth, that I pay real money for. Care to contribute?

Not sure why some people think they are entitled to all this content for free. They are not.

Nor are webmasters entitled to profit. If the model doesn't work, tough. Find a new one. If that's pay per view, so be it. You have a choice.

aeiouy




msg:1428022
 8:10 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

The new model would be to block people who don't allow advertisements to be displayed when viewing their site.

I am not sure you understand that. If all the content goes away you do not win. Your position is only a tenable one while you are in the significant minority. If your position becomes more popular you lose. Either sites block you from access or they go away.

Not sure why you view that as some kind of great result.

Catalyst




msg:1428023
 8:19 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think I wrote most of the original articles about 'Norton Blocks Affiliate Links' back when this 1st started to affect affiliate income. My main article shows examples and offers some old solutions that were available wy back when this all started.

It's important to note that after tons of complaints they did change the latest version so ad blocking is OFF by default which is all I ever asked for. I don't think many surfers would turn it on - on purpose or especially leave it on - once they realize how tough it is to navigate with it on and how much it slows down their computers and ruin's content. EVEN innocent non-ad content like logos and family pictures.

My biggest complaint was always that when it was on by DEFAULT many surfers didn't even know what was wrong - most importantly since it was never sold or labeled as an ad blocker. I hope we see this problem decrease as more surfers upgrade to the latest version that has ad blocking off. If you ever tried surfing with ad blocking on you will see it's not a choice most people would make if they knew what was up.

Instead of blocking people that have it turned on I would be tempted to educate them like many sites have - even big sites like the Wall Street Journal have the problem. The WSJ has a pretty good help section that says something like - if you are having a hard time viewing content on our site - you may have a program that is blocking our content - go here to find out how to change your setting. Something like that. I think I still have a link on my article with some good examples of wording but can't post links here.

So anyway I hope this problem continues to get better for all of you.

Linda

py9jmas




msg:1428024
 8:26 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

It seems to me you, as a provider, is the one complaining about changing the model. You are welcome to block me, just as much as I am welcome to go to one of the hundreds of your competitors, and to recommend them over you. Just as I do with sites that block everything but IE.

If/when adblocking users are the majority, blocking them will be suicide for the website.

philaweb




msg:1428025
 8:37 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

~Catalyst

I still run Norton Internet Security 2002 and am very satisfied with it. It gets reinstalled at least once a year after a security reformat of the hard drive. As far as I remember, the Norton Internet Security 2002 did not ship with ad-block as default.

The ad-blocker blocks certain HTML strings like "ad", "banner", "graphics" etc. At one point, I discovered that a website I considered as a favorite website had some clickable images blocked because they were placed in a "graphics" folder. I emailed them and explained the situation and advised them to change the name of the directory. They did... and everything works swell, now.

Is there a way to redirect or block Norton users?

Let me put the answer this way:
There is a way to make Norton users see your ads if you simply rename directory and file names to something unique for your website.

PaulPA




msg:1428026
 8:37 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Why isn't it in Google and other ad network's best interest to provide a solution? If ad blocking is widespread (which I doubt it is now) than the ad suppliers are losing out a lot more than the publishers.

philaweb




msg:1428027
 8:46 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

As far as I remember, the Norton Internet Security 2002 did not ship with ad-block as default.

Ooops... Should have been:

As far as I remember, the Norton Internet Security 2002 did not ship with ad-block enabled as default.

incrediBILL




msg:1428028
 8:57 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Why isn't it in Google and other ad network's best interest to provide a solution?

For larger premium publishers Google provides an API so that the ads can be embedded into the page on the server side, just like on Google search pages, which avoids the ad blocking technology and works with javascript disabled.

However, for the content network it's still a small percentage of ads blocked, javascript disabled, popups blocked for that matter. However, how would Google know exactly how big the problem is when you can't measure what you cannot see without more intrusive techniques. Ad blocking does just that, blocks ads, so Google has no clue how many ads they've missed in the Content network, only how many they've actually displayed.

There is a way to make Norton users see your ads if you simply rename directory and file names to something unique for your website.

That only works with server side embedded ads and not 3rd party affiliate programs or CPC programs like AdSense.

netmeg




msg:1428029
 9:10 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

I am not sure you understand that. If all the content goes away you do not win. Your position is only a tenable one while you are in the significant minority. If your position becomes more popular you lose. Either sites block you from access or they go away.

All the content go away? Won't happen. Ever. I promise. Anyone ever published any numbers on the estimated percentage of websites subsized by advertising, vs. the ones that aren't?

You may shake your heads at the idea that users expect their content for free (and ad free), but the reality is that there is almost NO truly unique content out there, and if you make it difficult or annoying to get the content on your own site, people will go elsewhere. I do this all the time myself, when I'm looking for the solution to a technical problem or error message, and the first few responses are on forum sites that require registration to view. I just keep looking till I find it, and I *always* find it, eventually.

So yea, users who block ads (and I do so at the server level here) are a PITA and defeat the purpose and all that, but they're also a cost of doing business, and every site that makes it more of a chore for their target audience to use, is actually creating more opportunity for ME to step in and fill that niche.

endomorph1




msg:1428030
 9:13 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

OK guys, to the point. What can be used in place of Adsense for people who do not have Java enabled?

philaweb




msg:1428031
 9:16 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

That only works with server side embedded ads and not 3rd party affiliate programs or CPC programs like AdSense.

That is right - since they mostly are JavaScript based. :)

My solution to visitors with JavaScript disabled is to serve the ads in a separate <div> (I am assuming people reading this are familiar with semantic mark-up). The <div> is formated a bit larger than the JavaScript ad itself, when the ad does not turn up (JavaScript disabled) a background image of the <div> tells people that JavaScript is disabled.

If the ad is not served in a separate <div> there is no sign of something "disappearing".

victor




msg:1428032
 9:23 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Bad argument victor. That would be like inviting someone into your living room and then forbidding them from breathing the air. You visited the site at your own volition. Your option is not use the site. You are obligated to view the ads as that is how the site manages to provide you content.

My option is to filter whatever data stream you try to send me to match what I want to accept on my computer. Your option is to send nothing, not to demand that I see everything. You cannot dictate to me what I do on my PC.

Similarly, you are not required to action all of any URL I send to you. Otherwise, I might want to insist that the URLs I send you have a &script= parameter that uploads code I want to execute on your server as part of my business model.

But as we know, you have no rights to tell me what I do with data that reaches my PC (assuming I don't republish it in any way that undermines your rights), and that includes declining to run scripts on your behalf. And I have no rights to insist you run scripts on my behalf on the server.

That already sounds to me like a meeting halfway.

netmeg




msg:1428033
 9:31 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

The entire web was designed with the idea of giving most of the control of the experience to the user and not the publisher. I can change font size, block images or pop-ups, disable scripts on almost any page, even one with a restrictive style sheet. I can control how it prints, and how much of it I want to see and how much I want to block.

If you have to use a sledgehammer to get people to view (and click on) the advertising on your pages, for one thing, it won't work, and for another thing - you need to revisit your business model.

incrediBILL




msg:1428034
 9:53 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

revisit your business model.

Excuse me?

It's the same business model of every magazine and newspaper since the dawn of printing - ADVERTISING PAYS THE BILLS

With the exception of AdSense, I've been embedding ads as much as possible into the actual page and not relying on 3rd party services when possible to avoid the banner blocking.

Like someone else mentioned, I have resorted to using text links to affiliates so you'll see it whether you like it or not ;)

netmeg




msg:1428035
 10:08 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

It's the same business model of every magazine and newspaper since the dawn of printing - ADVERTISING PAYS THE BILLS

Yep. Are you aware of the state of the newspaper and magazine industry these days, both in print and online versions?

Here's an interesting article from the American Journal Review [ajr.org] on the subject of the NY Times and other papers going for-pay for some content, vs. advertiser supported.

maxgoldie




msg:1428036
 10:43 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Seems funny to me that some of you are so against the advertising model, but yet are commenting on an ad-specific forum?!

bedlam




msg:1428037
 10:53 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Not only that, Norton's software violates the terms of use of my web site which is to 'not copy, modify or alter the content in any form' so theoretically every time Norton filters my web page they're reverse engineering my software and potentially liable for civil damages but I don't have the inclination or war chest needed to make a point in court.

Exactly.
A while ago, on another forum, I advocated almost the similar copyright argument.
The bottom line was/is: If you don't like it, well, don't go to the Shell station anymore.

Well you're right; as I have mentioned before, a TOS like this could only be obeyed by avoiding the relevant site altogether, and what webmaster does that benefit? Hint: it isn't you...

If you want some reasons why a TOS like this is insane for the web, how about lynx [google.com], different operating systems [google.com], screen readers [google.com], web-enabled phones [google.com], many [google.com] browser [google.com] settings [google.com], user stylesheets [google.com], screen resolution [google.com] or alternate web browsers [google.com] for a start? Are you guys seriously trying to suggest that everyone on earth surf your site with your exact combination of hardware/os/software/settings? Because it'd be impossible to adhere to your TOS otherwise...

I have great difficulty believing that any webmaster who's ever seen the internet could try to impose such a ridiculously broad TOS on their sites' users and believe that a) it would have any effect at all, or b) that it could possibly be of any use to them in any competent court.

It's the same business model of every magazine and newspaper since the dawn of printing - ADVERTISING PAYS THE BILLS

No it isn't. The web is only superficially like print. End users have a very substantial say in how they want to view your content, and there just isn't anything the advertiser can do about it. Any sane or realistic ad-based revenue model has to simply acknowledge this reality and incorporate it into its strategy. There are good suggestions in this thread, but the deluded pseudo-legalistic TOS and insistence that web surfers are obligated to view your content in a very particular way are not among them.

The best solution I've seen in this or other threads is just to make sure you have a backup ad delivery system; for example if users disable javascript, serve up alternate ads in <noscript> elements...but even then, you can't necessarily assume a) that your users see the ads, or b) that you can detect it if they block the ad (e.g. "noscript {display:none;}" in a user stylesheet will be either impossible for you to defeat, or at least incredibly irritating to the end user).

So rough estimate is Norton is directly impacting my revenue by $1200/month assuming that people would actually click on the ads at the same CTR as the normal population if they saw the ads in the first place.

That is a substantial amount of lost income, not to mention add to that the amount of bandwidth they used, and offered nothing in return.

It isn't 'lost income', it's pure fiction until you have better information. The 'lost revenue' claims in these threads imply that users who don't see ads would click through the ads in a statistically similar way if they did see them. This is the only way that an argument could be made that revenue is lost because of adblockers, and it is not at all clear that it's true. The big missing bit of information that's needed before being able to make this claim in any sort of believable way is not stats on the numbers of visitors who don't see the ads, but some solid numbers indicating who the visitors in question are, and why they're not seeing the ads. E.g. if it's due to Norton's sledgehammer adblocking, then there may very well be something to it. But in the absence of any very specific information, it makes no sense to claim anything except that you are afraid you're missing out on potential revenue--you can't say you're "losing" money.

This might be seen by some as a reason to try to take action against adblockers but I, personally, would be hesitant to take action that might alienate visitors without better information. It would certainly be a good reason to have a backup revenue stream (i.e. as Bill suggests, delivering backup ads when it's detectable that others are blocked).

-B

incrediBILL




msg:1428038
 11:20 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

It isn't 'lost income', it's pure fiction until you have better information.

Everyone seems to jump on that statement made purely as an example based on current trends and statistics although I plainly added the caveat that everyone seems to gloss over:

"assuming that people would actually click on the ads at the same CTR as the normal population if they saw the ads in the first place."

Sheesh.

netmeg




msg:1428039
 11:24 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'm not at all against the advertising model, in fact, I run AdSense on half a dozen of my personal sites. But I recognize it for what it is - supplemental, and entirely at the users' option - and every single one of my sites would still be up, even if all ads were blocked, or I took the AdSense off.

pixel_juice




msg:1428040
 11:33 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Not to play devil's advocate, but I block ads of all kinds, and I am ingenious in my ability to cirumvent anti-ad blocking methods. If I bought a book to read and every so often it replaced a page with a 'relevant' ad, I would bin it and never buy a book by the author again.

At the same time, I am one of the (I imagine, few) people who actual pays through the 'donate to this site' links, and I also prefer to buy from websites who have offered me free content in the past.

According to many of the posts here, I am an undesirable and a freeloader. Perhaps I am in the minority of 'ad blockers', but at the same time, you'll probably get more cash value (if that's what you're after) out of surfers like me that you ever would forcing people to view ads against their wishes.

physics




msg:1428041
 11:38 pm on Dec 5, 2005 (gmt 0)


OK guys, to the point. What can be used in place of Adsense for people who do not have Java[Script] enabled?

Good question. This is one way to really solve the problem, display ads using something other than JavaScript. To do this you need to use something server-side like a PHP snippet that will output HTML ads right into the page. The problem with this is that if your site is static HTML then it may not be able to process the PHP commands. It is possible, however, for static HTML sites to show PHP on Apache by adding a simple line to .htaccess (it is not so easy on IIS).
For publishers with a technical audience that is blocking ads I think this is becoming increasingly important. It can take a bit of extra work but you can almost guarantee that the ads are being seen by everyone.

incrediBILL




msg:1428042
 12:04 am on Dec 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

That's a bit of overkill just for catching the javascript disabled.

Just make your HTML look like this:

<script>
... Google AdSense Code....
</script>
<noscript>
.... some affiliate code here like Commission Junction or Amazon....
</noscript>

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