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AdSense Webmasters on Mozilla AdBlocker Extension
loudspeaker

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3432102 posted 3:56 am on Aug 24, 2007 (gmt 0)


System: The following 14 messages were cut out of thread at: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google_adsense/3426203.htm [webmasterworld.com] by martinibuster - 11:30 am on Aug. 25, 2007 (utc -8)


BTW, the story was picked up by InfoWorld [infoworld.com] today. Look for the article entitled "Firefox ad-blocker extension causes angst" (currently on the front page).

From the article:
Adblock Plus is listed on a Mozilla Web site as the second most popular add-on for the open source browser. PC World, which is owned by IDG, named the extension one of the best 100 products of 2007...

[edited by: martinibuster at 7:23 pm (utc) on Aug. 25, 2007]
[edit reason] Added link to news article. [/edit]

 

Powdork

WebmasterWorld Senior Member powdork us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3432102 posted 7:18 am on Aug 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

Does anyone offer an IE7 referral button similar to the one Google is currently shooting itself in the foot with for Firefox. Seriously, they're paying money in order for people to not see their ads.

gibbergibber

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3432102 posted 8:57 am on Aug 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

--No it is like showing up 15 minutes late to avoid having to see them at all...--

I think you misunderstand my analogy. I wasn't talking about people missing adverts in the cinema, I was talking about people sneaking into a theatre without buying a ticket.

If everyone who went to see a play in a theatre sneaked in without paying for a ticket, the theatre would probably close down because it would have lost its only source of income.

If everyone who visits an ad-supported website blocked the ads, the site would probably close down because it would have lost its only source of income.

That's why ad-blocking is freeloading, because it's a kind of behaviour that would destroy the resource it uses if everyone behaved the same way.

If Firefox and IE were distributed with a 100% effective adblocking feature switched on by default, you would see a lot of quality free content websites disappear from the web as they would have no way to survive.

tim222

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3432102 posted 5:26 pm on Aug 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have a couple of related questions -

1. Since some ad blockers actually download the ads and then render them as (visibility = "hidden") or (display = "none") does that mean the ads show up as impressions in our stats?

2. Could Google sue ad blockers for modifying the AdSense code? This is not like Tivo, where the entire transmission is being selectively turned off. Instead, when an ad is blocked on a website, the intended code is being modified.

webwannabee

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3432102 posted 5:37 am on Aug 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

I don't think it is a good idea to block any users. What does it cost you to serve information to a non-js visitor? How does cutting off an non-js visitor benefit you?

The only thing you are accomplishing is being spiteful to them. And you never know if the person you block is that reporter for a big newspaper who is gonna write a nice article about your site or mention it on one of the huge message boards they belong to.

That's the beauty of the long tail -- information distribution costs are nil.

If they don't want to see your ads - who cares IMHO.

inactivist

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3432102 posted 6:16 am on Aug 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

If Firefox and IE were distributed with a 100% effective adblocking feature switched on by default, you would see a lot of quality free content websites disappear from the web as they would have no way to survive.

1) You'd see Google and others react, and quickly, to change the ad distribution model to thwart the blocking technologies.
2) If IE shipped with with a built-in ad blocker, you'd see legal action accusing Microsoft of of antitrust/anti-competitive behavior. Google's revenues come from ads. Ain't gonna happen.

I understand the desire to keep people from modifying your site's content. I think it's pointless and a waste of time, though. Consider: Google and other companies who derive significant revenues from running these ad programs will have no choice but to react and adapt if the ad blockers' use becomes more widespread. After all, the big G isn't going to just give up all that AdWords/AdSense money, it it?

GaryK

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3432102 posted 6:23 am on Aug 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

Random thoughts and questions:

1) If an ad is shown but the visitor doesn't click on it does the website still get credit for the ad?

2) When I go to an information-based website it's for the purpose of finding out information. It's not likely I'll even pay attention to the ads, much less click on them.

3) Today I visited a site where every page I clicked on the content was blocked by a pop-over asking me to take a survey. I had to click the close button on each one. Very annoying. A sure way to get me to block the pop-over's URL. :)

4) What if I'm using a browser that doesn't support JS? Mobile devices are slowly adding increased JS support but am I going to get blocked just because my browser is incapable of using JS?

callivert

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3432102 posted 9:25 am on Aug 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

What does it cost you to serve information to a non-js visitor? How does cutting off an non-js visitor benefit you?

It's like this:
If 90 percent of commercial websites refuse access to adblocking browsers, then the adblocking technology becomes obsolete. Deprived of access to huge swathes of the internet, there is no incentive for users to install such an addon.
...but...
if 90 percent of users install ad-blocking software, internet advertising in its current form becomes obsolete. There is no incentive for webmasters to install such advertising.

I hope this answers your question. Some people are looking at this from an emotional or personal perspective, when it's got nothing to do with that. This is about competing technologies.

Blocking ad-blocking users is a way of discouraging people from using a technology that threatens your core business model. Since there is nothing lost from blocking them, there's no reason not to do it.
It's not "spite". It's business.
(btw the biggest loser from adblocking would be Google and Yahoo. What would happen if installing adblocker meant you were denied access to Google search or Yahoo?)

GaryK

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3432102 posted 2:25 pm on Aug 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

What would happen if installing adblocker meant you were denied access to Google search or Yahoo?

That's a very good point. Which is why I advocate using ad-blocking in moderation. I only block ads I find offensive or distracting. If enough of us do that perhaps the outcome will be the end of such ads and with it the end of the need for ad-blockers. :)

loudspeaker

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3432102 posted 5:16 pm on Aug 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

What about negotiating with Mozilla to establish some sort of "policy protocol" for ad-supported sites? If the Mozillians went along, it could work like this:

The browser is the only entity that "knows" what extensions the user has installed. So:

- Mozilla would then consult a certain file on the site or simply a meta tag in the page that's being viewed.
- This file or tag would describe the site's "policy" for dealing people with ad blockers.
- If the policy settings contradict the visitor's browser settings, a prompt would be displayed - something like "Certain content from this site is only available to people who agree to view advertisements. Would you like to a) Temporarily unblock ads b) Permanently unblock ads? c) Only view partial content of the page as per site policy?"

I think it'd be relatively easy to get Google's support on developing such a protocol.

What do you guys think? Naive? Workable?

jomaxx

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jomaxx us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3432102 posted 5:32 pm on Aug 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

Why would Mozilla want to build in a feature that allows webmasters to cripple their websites?

This phenomenon scarcely exists now, for all the good reasons that have been enumerated earlier. I've been hearing grousing from greedy webmasters sore about losing a hypothetical few % of their earnings since the nineties, but the number of sites that have actually gone ahead and implemented something like this is negligible. Building something like this into a browser at this point would serve no purpose. Mozilla only controls a small proportion of the browser market anyway.

loudspeaker

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3432102 posted 6:04 pm on Aug 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

Why would Mozilla want to build in a feature that allows webmasters to cripple their websites?

If enough webmasters petitioned and explained how one of its top-downloaded "add-ons" affects them, I think they would. Especially when presented with the alternative of an organized blocking of Mozilla browsers.

Mozilla only controls a small proportion of the browser market anyway.

On my sites, this "small percentage" is upwards of 16% (Firefox only, not counting off-shoots like Camino). I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that Firefox will attain 25% or even 30% in the near future.

londrum

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3432102 posted 6:45 pm on Aug 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

you can kind of draw a parallel with TV.

adverts in-between the programs pay for the programs. if you remove the ads then the companies wouldn't be able to afford to bring any programs out.
if viewers want ad-free TV then they still have to stump up some money - whether that is through the BBC license fee, or a satellite subscription or whatever -- and that money goes to the people who create or buy the programs.

but with internet users, the only money they have to stump up is the connection fee, telephone bill and equipment -- none of which goes to the people who actually create the websites. so the webmasters have to find other means of making money.

websites aren't free to produce. there are all sorts of costs involved. just because a piece of technology is clever enough to remove our way of making money, doesn't make it right.

tim222

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3432102 posted 7:08 pm on Aug 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

Why would Mozilla want to build in a feature that allows webmasters to cripple their websites?

They already do. Mozilla follows the W3 standard while IE follows more of a de facto standard. In other words, IE built their browser to work the way the web really is, rather than how it should be.

Mozilla's solution to this is to "respectfully ask the website developer if they can make their page work in Firefox/Mozilla Suite." Another proposed solution is to "Install a user agent spoofer ... to make the web site think you are using a different browser."

[kb.mozillazine.org...]

Meanwhile, FireFox is a world better than NetScape. It's more popular, too. Last month, 14% of my site visitors browsed with Firefox. That's a huge increase from earlier this year.

Back on topic, that same page also suggests that a web page might look wrong because "Security software that filters web content or that includes ad-blocking or site-screening features may prevent certain web pages from fully loading. Temporarily disable the security software or go through the program options and disable the content-blocking feature."

So it's interesting to note that they are recommending that in some cases you might want to disable their second-most popular add on (Ad Block)

netchicken1

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3432102 posted 8:03 pm on Aug 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

I don't get the fuss.

Why block people with adblockers?

Do they cost you bandwidth which you are maxing out on, or is it just a sense of injustice?

As they cost you nothing then surely any eyes are better than no eyes, maybe they will post a link on another site or advertise you some other way.

Its a non issue, like having customers in your shop who are only 'browsing'.

londrum

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3432102 posted 9:11 pm on Aug 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

a shop doesn't have to pay out money every time a customer comes in to browse. but a website has to pay out for bandwidth.

i agree that the problem is ridiculously small, its very tiny indeed, but who knows what is going to happen -- a year down the line firefox might have 50% of the market and install ad blockers as standard -- browsers already fit pop-up blockers as standard.

Jafo

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3432102 posted 9:47 pm on Aug 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

Reading the Info World article, I find it funny how people do justify ad blocking because of their view on advertising. The argument that you never click on ads or as someone wrote rarely ever is a joke. Advertising affects everyone. Those who say they have never clicked an ad are liars, and those who say advertising does not affect their buying habits are fooling themselves.

Samizdata

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3432102 posted 9:56 pm on Aug 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

Those who say they have never clicked an ad are liars

I have never clicked an ad (and never will).

Those who claim otherwise are deluded (and I am being polite).

FrostyMug

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3432102 posted 10:17 pm on Aug 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

it's rubbish.

99% of web users don't even know what 'add-ons' in firefox means or that they even exist.

Remember -- Firefox does not come with ad blocker installed.

In my view, only professionals use ad-blocker-type proggies. I personally use about 15 of them, plus have similar add-ons installed in IE. And still, i turn them on/off as needed - sometimes I want to see the full page with ads on it. I'd never block any users based on their browser/system configuration.

[edited by: FrostyMug at 10:18 pm (utc) on Aug. 25, 2007]

balam

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3432102 posted 12:52 am on Aug 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

How to contend with this scenario?

A visitor comes with any JS-enabled browser, no ad blockers installed, but routes all ad requests to 127.0.0.1 via hosts.

Detectable? Ban-able? Evil? Common?

"No, no, eye-of-the-beholder, and definately not," are the answers, I believe.

I suspect use of hosts will increase, as I've seen increasing references to it in non-technical-friendly articles about security, and just came across a site (from one of the aforementioned articles) that has a 613KB hosts file, complete with batch file for ease of installation.

In the increasingly "high tech" battle between ad blocking & ad blocking-blocking, this "low tech" solution seems the winner.

loudspeaker

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3432102 posted 1:15 am on Aug 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think somebody already mentioned this: what if Google converted JS-based ads into something resembling a server-side include? Wouldn't that get around the whole problem? Or am I missing something?

jomaxx

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jomaxx us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3432102 posted 1:36 am on Aug 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm pretty sure Google doesn't want to get into providing and supporting server-side code. Anyway an ad blocker could still determine that such-and-such code contains AdSense links, and not display it. Then Google could change around it's formatting and servers to get around those filters, and then ad blockers could be changed to watch for THOSE signs, and so on in an arms race without end.

Ultimately there's a reason most people probably surf with some kind of popup blocker today. It's because everybody hates popups. They're intrusive and deliberately confusing and they generally wreck the experience of being online. There's also a reason why very FEW people bother to block AdSense ads, even though it would be a fairly simple matter. It's because those ads are not that intrusive and nobody really cares that much about them. Suppressing them wouldn't actually improve sites much, even MFA sites. That's why I don't think it will ever become a big deal.

And if it DOES ever become a big deal, I'm sure Google will start coming up with workarounds.

gibbergibber

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3432102 posted 12:24 pm on Aug 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

--2) When I go to an information-based website it's for the purpose of finding out information. It's not likely I'll even pay attention to the ads, much less click on them.--

It's not likely on any one occasion, but over the course of a year most people ARE likely to click on at least some ads. These rare clicks are currently enough to support many free-to-view sites out there.

If you take away these clicks by total ad blocking, the sites that depend on the clicks will have no money to provide any new content.

At the end of the day, someone somewhere has to pay for content. If ads (including affiliate links) are going to be removed from the picture, where will the money for content come from? Are people really going to pay subscriptions for even a fraction of the sites they currently visit?

If ad-blocking becomes standard and effective on browsers, the only professional content sites of the future will be the huge ones that can get direct corporate branding sponsorship, and the huge ones who can afford mainstream exclusive content such as sports events coverage.

If Ad blocking becomes standard, it means the end of the independent professional webmaster.

I can understand blocking annoying things like pop-ups and huge flashing banners, but how does a tiny bit of text at the top of a page really bother anyone?

successlieswithme

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3432102 posted 4:06 pm on Aug 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

well,
i use adblogger along with noscript addon,

but whole point is,

if a user wants to block ads means he don't click on ads too,
so stop bothering about those people who install adblock kind of addons,
also as someone said, only techies install all these things,
and techies since know everything about adsense, they usually don't click on ads at all

martinibuster

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3432102 posted 6:15 pm on Aug 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

...if a user wants to block ads means he don't click on ads too...

I don't believe that is so. The original reason for blocking ads was that it slowed down internet connections on a 36k or 56k modem. With ad units weighing 15k (and more) each, removing ads could significantly speed up your page downloads. That has nothing to do with whether you're inclined to buy or not. This is just one reason out of many why someone who blocks an ad may be interested in buying something.

Another reason why someone who blocks an ad may be someone who would buy something is that the whole point of advertising is to inspire the viewer to purchase something. Inevitably the ad will get clicked and a product will be purchased.

[edited by: martinibuster at 6:28 pm (utc) on Aug. 26, 2007]

phantombookman

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3432102 posted 6:28 pm on Aug 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

<i>if a user wants to block ads means he don't click on ads</i>

I keep hearing this but I think it's wide of the mark
I suspect when most people use an adblocker they are not bothered about getting rid of adsense but getting rid of those animated, annoying and in your face ads you see on some tacky sites.

Well placed adsense is not obtrusive and does negatively impact on a visitors experience of a site or page.
Flashing banner ads and the like though ...

loudspeaker

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3432102 posted 6:45 pm on Aug 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

First of all, i agree with martinibuster - having an ad blocker doesn't necessarily mean the people are never going to click on any ad. In another thread I made an example of my friend who didn't even KNOW he had an ad-blocker installed. He had nothing against ads - somebody just installed it on his computer. This is the kind of user we do NOT want to be excluded and making ad-blockers a standard check box (it is already standard in Camino, which is an offshoot version of Firefox for Mac - no installation of anything required) is doing just that.

I think gibbergibber said it best summing up the whole issue:

If Ad blocking becomes standard, it means the end of the independent professional webmaster.

inactivist

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3432102 posted 12:18 am on Aug 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

If Ad blocking becomes standard, it means the end of the independent professional webmaster.

It also means the end of Google AdWords revenues. How do you think G will react to such a threat? One word: Countermeasures.

Thus starts the escalation of the ad blocker wars..

webwannabee

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3432102 posted 5:57 am on Aug 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

You need to embrace change - universal ad blockers will not be the death of the professional webmaster - our business will adapt and evolve to meet the market conditions.

IF there is universal JS blocking, Google software engineers will have to invent a new ad serving technology. OR we will develop a new business model.

2 years ago, Google gave me a royal Adsense screwing and I was forced to adapt by expanding into publishing ads directly from advertisers sans Google as the middleman.

You need to accept that the customer is always right. This is a primary consideration of the new "Long Tail" theory of economics.

The visitor's needs come first - if you don't meet his needs he will go elsewhere; there are 500 other information providers out there or on their way.

This is where the recording industry went wrong - they put their needs before the customer's desires. Ditto with Blockbuster - that's why Netflix ate their lunch.

Cell phones will be next to fall. It is already starting - some teenager just hacked his i Phone to accept T-Mobile.

[ see : [news.bbc.co.uk...] ]

Respectfully,

Fellow webmaster who depends on AD revenue

nonni

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3432102 posted 11:37 am on Aug 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

>> a shop doesn't have to pay out money every time a customer comes in to browse. but a website has to pay out for bandwidth.

Actually, shops do incur a cost with every person that walks in. Those non-buying browsers consume a measurable amount of resources - they ask questions of the staff, they move things around, they use the restrooms, they drop stuff and bring dirt in on their shoes, they increase the demand on air conditioning or heating when they walk in and out the door. Some of them try to shop-lift.

Just the costs of doing business.

This 32 message thread spans 2 pages: 32 ( [1] 2 > >
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