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This 40 message thread spans 2 pages: < < 40 ( 1 [2]     
Ad Blocking with Greasemonkey
A threat to Adsense revenue?

 4:21 pm on Oct 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

Is anybody concerned about the ease with which people can block all ads from their browsing experience? I have been using Firefox now for a while, but only recently learned about Greasemonkey. It was scary how easy it was to locate a terrific ad blocking script and start surfing an ad-free web. No Flash animations. No affiliate ads. No Adwords. Nothing.

I ran a site search on Google before posting this and was surprised that the issue had not already come up in another thread. My apologies if I missed it. It makes me wonder if the true veterans have lost interest in this group...



 10:32 am on Oct 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

As it is I already have most of my AdSense code with alternative banners:

<script> google code here </script><noscript> some other ads here </noscript>

Surprisingly the NOSCRIPT code displays quite a few ads so I'm going to be expanding on that technique site wide.

I presume that Google is happy with you amending the </noscript> component of the Adsence code?


 11:05 am on Oct 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

There is no <NOSCRIPT> portion of the Adsense code, so you're not altering anything, you just add it in afterwards


 11:08 am on Oct 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

As I understand it it's been easy to block ads for a while now.

Personally I use a third party blocker which strips out most adverts including adsense (to the extent that I'm surprised when I see one).


 12:19 pm on Oct 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

It will be great to hear ASA on this matter. To see what he/she thinks about this issue. Because if this is a real or sizable threat, this threats Adsense too.


 1:33 pm on Oct 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'll be suprised is ASA provides meaningful comments as this is a major long term policy issue.


 2:28 pm on Oct 18, 2005 (gmt 0)


What could Adsense do, is to come up with a anti-something that would either overcome the blockings or with some other solution.

They can do this, can they not?


 2:57 pm on Oct 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

What could Adsense do, is to come up with a anti-something that would either overcome the blockings or with some other solution.

That could backfire because people who are blocking ads are actively saying (for the most part) that they do not want to see ads in their surfing experience.

If you try to circumvent their power of choice and make their browser act as they didn't intend it to, you could make users negative on the idea of adsense or contexual advertising in general.

People may associate it as a more "in your face" type advertising format (ala popups) which would also give advertiser less incentive to want to pay money for this less desirable format.

Even if you did show those people (who are blocking) the ads, it's not likely that they will react in a positive way, you are not likely to get increased earnings from it.

I don't agree with ad blockers, but I think they are in the minority.

It is a bit scary to think that some browser or OS maker could include this "feature" *on* by default.


 3:29 pm on Oct 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

Maybe the newspaper notices you're ad-free and pops up a nice little notice like:

"We sorry but you're blocking our sponsors from being displayed.
If you wish sponsor-free content then subscribe for $9.95/year."

Yes, and most readers won't bother--they'll just go to a competitor. That's a problem for the newspaper, since losing online circulation and market share is likely to be more expensive than losing the income from blocked ads.

Interesting discussion. It's funny that no one has mentioned the obvious "solution" to this "perilous" problem: integrate ads and content...

Advertorial and product placement are no substitute for AdSense (or for display ads, in most cases). They serve a different purpose altogether--they're essentially paid public relations. And while advertorial or product placement might be useful for communicating the name of Hewlett-Canon printers or conveying the idea that the new H-C Home Banknote Printer is a great way to stretch your family's budget dollars, they aren't going to drive e-commerce traffic to widgets-discount-warehouse.com or arnies-affiliate-site.com.


 4:54 pm on Oct 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

If the issue gets serious enough, what would be the feasibility of a server-side solution? I don't know enough to know how ads work, scriptwise. But from what I read, it's all client-based scripting. Surely an ad blocker would not be able to block advert code that is hard-coded into an html page(for example, via a PHP include)? How would it distinguish between the ads and the content?

Definitely outside my realm of knowledge and probably off topic. But it's just a thought.


 5:16 pm on Oct 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

Surely an ad blocker would not be able to block advert code that is hard-coded into an html page(for example, via a PHP include)? How would it distinguish between the ads and the content?

Well, it all depends on the markup. The thing is that if the page is well-coded it's trivial to use tools in the browser [addons.mozilla.org] to block chunks or markup from appearing whether or not they are loaded into the browser. If there is any distinguishing characteristic about the markup of ads, they can even be blocked by user stylesheets -- and both of these actions are totally outside the advertiser's or webmaster's control.

For (a very simple) example, if AdCo served up ads in this markup:

<div class="AdCoAds">
{ad content here}

All that would be required to block all such ad content in a user stylesheet would be:

.AdCoAds { display:none; }

The same would be true if there is any standardized markup to the ads (and is also true of the contents of <noscript> elements). Using regular expressions at the user end (in plugins etc), it should also be possible to match patterns (rather than identical strings) to keep content from displaying.

As Bill has pointed out, if the ads can be completely integrated with the content, this task becomes at least much more difficult, but this might also not be the most effective way to serve ads (i.e. it might also be hard not to make it seem like you're trying to conceal the fact that the ads are ads from the visitor).

To summarize, any way of including ads in content that uses detectable patterns can probably be hidden at the client end, but any way that doesn't use detectable patterns might be detrimental to the effectiveness of the ads themselves.


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