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In the advanced settings of Norton, there is a list of URL strings that cause a URL to be blocked....
Here's part of them:
Adsense is displaying but it is unclickable.
Basically any banners with the sie of 468X60 are blocked.
I don't like it!
What's worse is that many users of Norton Internet Security are blocking banners without even knowing it. I just recently had an advertiser who wanted to know why her banner wasn't showing on our site. Turns out Norton was blocking all images of popular banner sizes, and she didn't even have a clue it was happening.
It's one thing to offer a banner-stopper, I guess. But it shouldn't be so integrated into another program that users don't even realize it's turned on.
Not to mention banners are ugly, slow page loads, etc, and of course do all kinds of things most people might get annoyed at if they understood what was involved.
Every person I have ever shown ad blocking software to has been absolutely thrilled, things like that take a while to spread, but given that in 2000 most people had no idea you could block ads, and today Norton IS comes with that installed default, that might give food for thought about that particular way of generating income for a site. Personally I'd never do that, but that's just me.
joined:Feb 13, 2003
Many sites already have checks for flash enabled/disabled by the browser and serve ads based on user allows. This is good technology as the ad is still served, but within the user preference.
I think we'll start seeing soon some major sites that block users who block banner ads. Either that, or sites are going to start renaming their ads and directories to start fooling norton/ad blocking software into thinking its a regular image on the site and thus it'll be allowed.
Regarding the banners being so annoying - maybe I received two or three complaints in more than 3 years about annoying banners, but I get several compliments daily.
I understand about popups and such, but blocking banner ads is not right.
Norton only cares about their bottom line and couldn't care less if many websites would not be viable because of them.
Right now Norton is stealing from my income and from the income of many other webmasters who run contant sites!
I agree that some sites over-use banner ads, at least in my opinion. I can't stand those banners that flash ten times per second and when banners get in the way of content, I sometimes turn off images in my browser for a couple of pages.
But on the whole, I consider banners a necessity, and properly used, helpful to the visitor. There's no such thing as a free lunch, and that free content has to have some price to it somewhere. if unobtrusive banners are that price, you're getting a lot for very little.
It's the more invasive ads I'm talking about, those are the ones I wouldn't use, and that ad blocking software blocks.
I guess there's just different ideas of what the web should do and what it shouldn't do, no big deal, there's room for everything on the web I think.
Here are some other threads since this "feature" has been added (noticed here first back in October)
AdSense invisible to Norton Internet Security Users [webmasterworld.com]
NAV 2004 & ad blocking [webmasterworld.com]
1st, the title of this thread is wrong. Norton AV does not block, it's Norton Internet Security and also the Personal Firewall software that does it. This software is coming BUNDLED with many new computers and yes the default is set to BLOCK ADS, even though this is sold as a "security" product, not an ad blocker.
It not only wipes out banners but EVEN your site logo and other regular images if they happen to be any of the standard banner sized images.
It also deletes text link and STRIPS YOUR SOURCE CODE and can totally change the content of your page.
When I say strips your source code, that's what I mean too.
Even if the user contacts you to find out why there are big blank spots on your site and no "buy" links... If you tell them to turn off the ad blocker and hit refresh the page still will not load properly. The code is stripped at the source.
One company in one of the forums listed above almost has software finished that will prevent Norton from blocking your site. The other forum has links to contact the FTC and other places to complain basically for restriction of trade. Here it is.
FTC Consumer Complaint Form: [rn.ftc.gov...] FTC site content Fair Trade Act 2002 Quote: Article 10
No monopolistic enterprises shall:
directly or indirectly prevent any other enterprises from competing by unfair means; improperly set, maintain or change the price for goods or the remuneration for services; make a trading counterpart give preferential treatment without justification; or otherwise abuse its market power.
There are a bunch of other good suggestions in the forum links above for anyone who wants to take action and try to find solutions or report this.
HeHe, one guy even found a way to put Mcaffee messages behind all his links so if his links won't display, underneath it says "if you can't see the links then Norton IS is blocking content and won't let you access parts of this site. Please dump Norton and go buy McAffee and this page will load properly" or something to that effect.
[edited by: Drastic at 6:19 pm (utc) on Feb. 18, 2004]
[edit reason] no links to your own sites please [/edit]
Yes, I was very happy when Google killed somebody else's popup when I was on their site, but now that the show is on the other foot and I am an adsense publisher . . .
If Norton stopped blocking adsense by default, all that would have to be done is a third party ruleset to import. There will be plenty of those hosted by everyone that makes popup blockers.
Adsense can even be blocked by using the HOSTS file which is a core part of Windows, and it's incredibly easy.
Right now Norton is stealing from my income and from the income of many other webmasters who run contant sites!
It is amazing how many websites promote software that erase cookies and block ads. These webmasters go after one sale by promoting this type of software and risk losing dozens of future sales from repeat visitors. Don't they realize that they are only hurting themselves by doing this?
I tried it for 30 minutes and I bought it, it works great.
[edited by: Drastic at 4:35 pm (utc) on Feb. 20, 2004]
[edit reason] no urls please [/edit]
Together the webmasters, webmistresses and advertising companies can class action against those interfering with our businesses?
I mean - blocking pop up "intrusive" advertising is one thing - but "blocking all 468x60 images" is another... making it a commercial enterprise to put other people out of business is illegal is it not?
making it a commercial enterprise to put other people out of business is illegal is it not?
Actually, I think there would only be a case if it could be proven that Norton was attempting to create a monopoly of some sort. Simply offering a product or service, which happens to put someone out of business, is not illegal. I imagine a lot of carriage manufacturers went out of business when cars came along.
Still, it's a shame that software can be provided on such a wide basis that blocks so much of the user's online experience without so much as their approval. I mean, do you know how many NIS users don't even realize they're missing something?
So far, I've confirmed that it removes (not just blocks!) banner and text ads that are linked to any of the leading affiliate networks. It also removes any images that contain width="468 and height="60" attributes along with other common ad sizes. Although AdSense ads display, the links are disabled. For those who depend on affiliate sales or AdSense revenue, this is a SERIOUS problem that will become more serious as this product gains popularity.
Norton Anti-Virus 2002 came bundled with a motherboard I bought a few years ago and I still use it, does the job very well, no reason to upgrade. But if Norton is now bundling NIS in the same manner, it's use and popularity can only increase.
There is no "free" in life. Watch TV (at least stateside) and one is blasted by ads. Want ad-free TV - pay for it.
Same with the web.
I have no problem with pop-up blockers. Pop-ups (or worse, pop-unders) are just too intrusive, and they are using my system resources without my permission.
Affiliate links (like CJ) can provide a necessary source of cash flow for small site owners, but IS will arbitrarily strip them from a page, leaving nothing but whitespace (or worse, causing the page to collapse into a jumbled mess).
If I have a link on my site to a page offering purple widgets for sale, I would guess that my visitors want to find purple widgets for sale, not a blank page. With IS, they may find a blank page.
This is akin to the Postal Service cutting pages out of a magazine before delivering it. It is unacceptable to me.
I have slowly been replacing affiliate links on my sites as I am able to identify alternatives. It is a pain in the arse, and it will require time that I don't really have to change the model, but I do need that trickle of income to support the site.
The biggest problem with it is that user do not necessarily know that the Firewall is doing this. The Firewall logo appears in the bottom right of the screen, surely advert blocking should be classed as seperate from the Firewall and have a seperate logo there.
Alternatively, it could be a question offered to the user on first use of the program, if they want adverts to be blocked or not.
The manual has a whole chapter devoted to the advert blocking and is very clear. But who reads manuals...?
Not quite. It's more like buying a mailbox that automatically throws anything that says KMart into the trash, and removes special offers from statements. Or tears all the ads out of a magazine.
But it seems wrong to modify web pages like that.
Someone on another forum said their atty told him you could get Norton on copyright violations if you made the affiliate links long with your own personal copy. He advised that there is a potential issue with copyright laws if the text links being removed were incorporated into the content of the site so as to make the pages incomprehensible by their removal.
He said if publishers were to make a larger portion of the text part of the link itself, so that by removing the link, the blockers would also be removing large chunks of copyrighted content from the page, it's possible copyright laws could be enforced against the blockers. The blockers need to be smart enough to remove only advertising, not content. And I don't think they can do that at this point.
They could then potentially be held liable for defacing the page, and violating copyright laws by removing copyrighted content without the author's permission.
So instead of making the link "Click here to buy a Blue Widget", you'd make it "Blue Widgets have been around for years, and are highly coveted collector's items by many. The version made from pure silk is now selling for six times it's original asking price. To start your own collection of widgets, Click here to buy a Blue Widget, and discover how rewarding these collectibles can be."
Another person said "My Attorney says this thing with Norton (and the parasites) sounds like a "Tortious interference with a beneficial contractural or economic relationship."
Another said "They could then potentially be held liable for defacing the page, and violating copyright laws by removing copyrighted content without the author's permission.
Load up some suitable pages, then send a DCMA letter to Symantec AND their hosting providers - firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
[edited by: eljefe3 at 8:19 pm (utc) on Feb. 22, 2004]
joined:Apr 13, 2002
I agree that ad-blocking is misguided, this issue affects me too because it's removing potential revenue. However, calls to action against any company are against the tos.
...calls to action against any company or person will be removed.
What's your attorney's number? I'm going to sue Netscape for doing exactly what he's just described.
I installed it because I wanted to automate the deletion of spam e-mail, since I get so many of it. I was aware that it also blocks ads, but I was disappointed to see that the ad blocker is turned on by default.
The thing is that AntiSpam 2004 is probably the first spam blocker to be sold in discount retail stores nationwide (WalMart, K-Mart, Target, etc.) It used to be you had to go to a software store or buy it online. Now all of rural America can get one too.
But I think that the ad-blocker industry can be put out of business if all publishers and media companies stopped using pop-ups. I believe Pop-ups is what is fueling the ad-blocking industry. Everyone hates pop-ups, but most people seem to tolerate ad banners and text ads.
My problem with Norton IS is that it is attacking an entire industry model.
I couldn't agree more. The reason why the vast majority of information resources on the web are free is because they are supported by advertising. I'm not against readers having the choice:
b) see adverts
but stripping the adverts without being willing to pay to read the content oneself is just selfish.