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Google AdSense Forum

This 78 message thread spans 3 pages: 78 ( [1] 2 3 > >     
Program strips Adsense

 7:29 am on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

The new "free" version of Netcaptor completely strips Adsense out of the page.

It also displays its own content-targeted text ads.



 7:32 am on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

<edit> Netscape really did that? Did Netscape actually replace what we have in the location of adsense with their text ads?

[edited by: Jenstar at 8:58 am (utc) on Jan. 9, 2004]
[edit reason] language [/edit]


 7:40 am on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

I don't think Netcaptor is the same as Netscape.

But if someone is replacing ads on our pages with their own, they're even worse PARASITES than the scum who spawn popup windows on other people's sites.


 8:01 am on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Not on my site, deny NetCaptor as I did.


 11:04 am on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Sorry Jenstar, and everyone esle


 4:53 pm on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

It's not replacing, per se. Their ads run in a strip under the tool bar. But they are content targeted ads. Their ads appear whether or not there are other ads on the page.

It kills Adsense banners, nothing appears there at all. On my sites it produces an empty div, which looks really dumb when there's a border around it since it's all squished together.


 7:05 pm on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

That should be illegal, they are making money using our websites, plus intentionally stealing our advertising income. Sounds like a good legal case.


 7:41 pm on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

cyberair - i agree with you. :)


 8:28 pm on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

It's not replacing, per se. Their ads run in a strip under the tool bar.

Wonder if they got their idea from the Opera Browser. [webmasterworld.com]


 10:48 pm on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

If you want to block Netcaptor, have this PHP code.

Place it in front of anything else in your web-page.

if (strstr(getenv("HTTP_USER_AGENT"),"Netcaptor")) {
echo "<HTML><HEAD><TITLE>Browser blocked</TITLE><META NAME='ROBOTS' CONTENT='NOARCHIVE'></HEAD><BODY BGCOLOR=white><P><font face='Verdana' size=4 color='#000066'><B>Browser blocked</b></font></p><P><font face='Verdana' size='2' color='#000066'>Sorry. This website blocks Netcaptor, because it blocks the ads that we use to pay for this service.<BR><BR>Please use an alternative browser, like <a href='http://www.mozilla.org'>Mozilla Firebird</a>, which offers the same functionality as Netcaptor, but without stopping us having the chance of paying for your visit.</font></p></BODY></HTML>";


 10:57 pm on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

I don't want to rainon the parade, but netcaptor can get around the user-agent blocks you put up. From a page on their site (that specifically explains how to get around blocks):

NetCaptor 6.5 final allows you to turn off the NetCaptor user agent identification value by adding a string to the registry.


 11:10 pm on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Viewing Sites That Block NetCaptor

"...Because of NetCaptor's popularity, and because it can block PopupWindows, images, and ads by URL (in registered mode), some sites are blocking access to the NetCaptor browser...."

Look over NetCaptor's site for their permanent recommended solution to any efforts we might make.

Seems like we'll all have to think hard about this one.


 11:19 pm on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Although, my code will stop many Netcaptor users: of course, it's not going to be 100%.

Incidentally, anyone can block Google ads just by editing a simple file in their Windows system directory.


 11:28 pm on Jan 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

why is this any different than Googles toolbar blocking other sites advertising?


 12:09 am on Jan 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm not sure anyone's making that case.

A couple of differences I can see offhand, though:
1. Netcaptor is apparently showing competing contextual advertising in its toolbar.
2. Almost everyone hates popup ads, and in fact many people don't know how to get out of "popup hell" other than rebooting. I doubt many people have strong feelings about AdSense ads.


 12:14 am on Jan 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

Brett asked, "why is this any different than Googles toolbar blocking other sites advertising? "

Part of what is different is the displaying of their own content-targeted ads while turning off yours. Many of us are not thrilled with ad blockers, but then again, we chalk it up to user's choice: if they don't want to see ads, let them block the ads. We can always do an htaccess-protected or otherwise members-only site if we want to force visitors to help pay for the site, or we can block various user agents, etc.

If the site becomes too expensive, I'll just take it down. That's always my choice, and remains so regardless of ads/no ads/ads blocked, etc.


When you overwrite my ads with your own ads, you're not just allowing the user the choice to not see ads, you are stealing from me. You're basically hijacking my content to make money off of it.

Would I be irritated at NetCaptor just for blocking the ads without showing any others? Maybe a little.

Am I irritated at them for blocking MY ads on MY site and showing their own? You betcha.

I think you may also find that there's also a bit of ... shall we say, "moral relativism" in the ad blocking controversy. For example, it's okay for Google to block popup ads because "everyone" knows they're annoying, but it's not okay to block MY text ads because they're less annoying.

Also they're MINE.

I think there's a certain amount of the same outrage I've seen in programmers who have no problem burning copies of commercial software, but freak out when someone pirates their code. :-)



 11:50 am on Jan 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Okay, this is very puzzling.

I posted a note in a software e-list I belong to, damning Netcaptor for blocking AdSense ads in its free version.

Here's what I got back:
- A note from an existing Netcaptor user who sees AdSense ads just fine.
- An indignant note from the author of Netcaptor, saying that the free version positively DOES not block AdSense ads, and that he's disgusted people spread such vile rumors.

I decided to test this out for myself by downloading and installing the new Netcaptor 7.5 Free, and -- lo and behold -- it sure DID strip AdSense ads!

So what's going on here? It seems odd to me that this program's author would categorically deny what so many of us Webmasters have witnessed with our own two eyes. Have others of you tried this program and confirmed that -- for you as well -- AdSense ads are blocked?


 3:44 pm on Jan 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

We were talking about this over at amazon and someone downloaded it and mentioned that it was blocking Adsense.

I downloaded it and on first boot...no adsense ads.

edited for wrong word. Used and instead of at. No caffeine yet.

[edited by: varya at 5:47 pm (utc) on Jan. 11, 2004]


 3:55 pm on Jan 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

In a sense, NatCaptor is just upping the ante from what About.com, TripAdvisor, and other sites have been doing for a long time. They've been displaying ad frames over third-party pages; NetCaptor is doing the same thing while stripping out competing ads. At some point, such infringement is going to become widespread enough that an entrepreneurial class-action attorney may see a juicy opportunity for a lawsuit.


 5:35 pm on Jan 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

I also downloaded Netcaptor 7.5 to see what was going on. And lo and behold it definitely is stripping out AdSense on pages. If AdSense is placed fluid within the design, you don't see where the AdSense should be. If it is set up in its own area (ie. a hard coded sized space at the top for a leaderboard, or a sidebar) it shows as a big empty space with nothing in it.

I could get Adwords to show up in the Google serps, but AdSense just vanished from pages, both for regular publishers and premium publishers.

There also seems to be some ad blocking in Netcaptor, I was seeing the different standard sizes of banner ads (ie. buttons, banners, leaderboards) also vanish off pages, also leaving empty spaces.

So I did some more checking, and checked the list of ad blocking URLs that come installed with this version, and guess what - pagead2.googlesyndication.com was blocked (although ads coming from google.com were not).

The full blocked list was:

Basically, any image file with the word banner, banners, ads in the directory is blocked (* is used as a wildcard).

So while NetCaptor is allowing ads from google.com (by $www.google.com* in their banned file, with $ meaning to allow) it is specifically banning anything called from the pagead2.googlesyndication.com URL which all AdSense publishers have their code come from, hence stripping out AdSense.


 5:43 am on Jan 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Let me introduce myself. I'm Adam Stiles, the author of the NetCaptor browser. Its come to my attention that some users are erroneously reporting that NetCaptor is stripping AdSense ads from pages displayed by the browser. This is definitely not true. There is no ad blocking functionality in the free version of NetCaptor.

NetCaptor Pro does have ad blocking, and some users may configure it to block AdSense and many others types of ads, but that is up to the user. The free version of NetCaptor definitely does not block any ads except some popups.

Until today I was not a subscriber to WebmasterWorld, but I thought I needed to defend the honor of our product.


Adam Stiles
Stilesoft Inc.


 5:59 pm on Jan 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Just to follow up, I was using the free version of Netcaptor version 7.5.0 with the sponsored ads/links running in a toolbar and the ad blocking was definitely enabled. The ad blocking list with the free version definitely included blocking from pageads2.googlesyndication.com And I couldn't find a way to turn off ad blocking in this version (unless it was buried in some of the options and I couldn't find it) - editing their blocked URL file was the only way to see what Netcaptor was blocking by default.


 6:49 pm on Jan 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Welcome to Webmaster World Adam:)

Perhaps you could address the direct testing that is and has been done that disagrees with your statment? Downloads of the free version done recently show that adsense is being blocked on any pages but google direct serps. I would be interested in your followup comments before taking any actions.


 6:52 pm on Jan 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

LOL, I'm with ThatAdamGuy - I don't understand that defense at all. I don't get why Netcaptor is making claims that appear to be demonstrably false, why he is making such a big deal about the free vs. "Pro" versions, or how that post defends his software product's honor.


 6:54 pm on Jan 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Greetings Adam!

I'm glad that you came here to discuss this issue.

I am not erroneously reporting anything. I'm willing to accept that possibility that there is a bug in your product and that you did intend to block Adsense.

I downloaded and installed Netcaptor last Thursday and it is definitely blocking Adsense.

I'd be happy to email you screenshots of the same page in IE and in Netcaptor if you'd like. Send me an address via sticky mail.


 7:18 pm on Jan 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

I guess he figures we were all mistaken, and that we must not have looked hard enough for the google adsense ads. They must be there, after all he said so right?

Seems to me the energy he spends defending it would be better spent repairing it.

When does the spyware stop? The ad replacement dirty tricks? The outright lies?

Hello Folks, I have been a web author for many years. Self employed, I make my living off of my advertising on the sites that *I* sweated over. Some income is from products and services, but mostly income is from ads. Am I a bad guy? I only deliver one popUNDER to a viewer per day, I have a java ad called invue (1 a day) banners and skyscrapers and adsense. Sounds like advertising hell doesn't it? IF you design pages rich in meaningful free content, and you get email after email praising your site to verify this, then something must be right eh?

Bear in mind Adam, and everyone else *anti* ad, some of us make our living and feed our children from it. I find only the most inexperienced web masters do the *popup hell* thing, and they make it bad for all of us. Why not write your program to target them?

Removing a text based ad is down right wrong imho because it is the most tame of all ads.

Adam, do us all a favor and fix your product so it is not:

a. Parasitic
b. Hard to CHOOSE how ads are displayed.

If you want to compete with IE, then please don't destroy the income from the authors of the web in doing so.

Sorry for the rant...

Back to lurking I go...


 10:05 pm on Jan 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

that ain't no "bug", blocking a whole domain of google adsense ads!

this person has just shot his reputation on the web FOREVER! Doesn't matter how good the product is, people, webmasters will always remember NetCaptor and Scumware in the same breath. la Alexa....they were scummy with their toolbar and won't ever rid themselves of the reputation that will follow them like a bad smell.


 10:29 pm on Jan 11, 2004 (gmt 0)


There are a couple of issues here, but I would like to try to resolve the issue of whether NetCaptor Free Version blocks AdSense ads. The ethics of a browser blocking ads is ultimately separate. I have no problem with web masters blocking the NetCaptor client if they have a problem with the fact that our pro version blocks ads. If you follow that reasoning, you'd have to block Opera, Mozilla, and a large number of NetCaptor-clone IE extensions.

However, I do take issue with the charge that we are removing AdSense ads and replacing them with our own. That's just plain not true. Ad blocking is only enabled in the pro version of NetCaptor, and in that case you would never see the NetCaptor ads. The ad block list that you see is never loaded or used in NetCaptor Free.

If you are seeing this issue (it appears that NetCaptor is removing AdSense ads), please post a link to the page on which this behavior occurs.

I use NC75 Free version (not Pro) most of the time, and I just tested the behavior on the following sites, and never saw a problem:

I'm happy to take a look at any examples you may offer.



Adam Stiles
Stilesoft Inc.


 10:42 pm on Jan 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

I did not know I could not post URLs. Sorry about the edit Jenstar.

OK - I tested a bunch of sites and I always see AdSense ads.

If you could send me the URLs of your sites, I'd like to test out the display of AdSense asds.

Email me at adam at stilesoft dot com.




 10:49 pm on Jan 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

No URLs are permitted to general sites running AdSense, but I did check them in both IE & NetCaptor, and they did not appear in NetCaptor. I tested on the free version, not the paid version, which I downloaded from NetCaptor this morning. Most publishers in this forum know where to find sites running AdSense.

The problem doesn't seem to be with the software itself, but with the fact that ad blocking is turned on, with the pageads2.googlesyndication.com added into the block file. If that line was removed from the block file that comes with NetCaptor (and is enabled by default), there would be happy AdSense publishers.

NetCaptor isn't really doing anything different by showing ads on the browser itself - this is also what Opera does, and likely what other browsers do. The issue is that the ad blocking feature which blocked everything coming from pageads2.googlesyndication.com by default.

Perhaps some are running an older copy of the block file - this sounds like something that wouldn't be overwritten with an upgrade, so the problem isn't evident. But the block file of the version people are downloading right now does block AdSense by default, so someone added it to the currently available download version somewhere along the way.

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