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Ad Blocking with Greasemonkey

A threat to Adsense revenue?

     
4:21 pm on Oct 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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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...

4:38 pm on Oct 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Less than 1% of webusers would be affected by this and those that actually are that web savy to want to block ads wouldn't be a good source of clicks anyway.
4:49 pm on Oct 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Exactly my thought Tropical Island. When you consider that a lot of web users can't even see the difference between ads and content it's unlikely many would start to use apps to control scripts and display.
And even someone capable of doing so would not necessarily do it if he/she is searching for something. Not ALL ads are crap and useless and a web savvy user will know that.
4:50 pm on Oct 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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1%? Where does this statistic come from?

Perhaps I'm just overreacting, but one has to wonder about all the buzz around Web 2--Is the landscape of the web going to change such that commerce will be, at least in part, squeezed out?

You know, a lot of folks would love to see that happen.

...and those that actually are that web savy to want to block ads wouldn't be a good source of clicks anyway.

The main concern I have, and that I would think most advertisers would have, would be that Web2-type changes would transform more people into precisely those types of web-savvy surfers and erode our base.

4:55 pm on Oct 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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What folks would love to see happen has little influence on the world's realities: people have products to sell and the internet will most probably become the main medium for advertising those. Like it or not.
5:04 pm on Oct 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Okay. I feel better because I'm busting my hump on a website and have much to learn, which means I have much work to do.

I have no reason to know one way or the other whether advertising on the web is doomed. I just hope that you are right, Jean, and that we are not all in denial.

5:23 pm on Oct 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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It is not doomed in the short to medium term. In the long term...all things change so maybe a better advertising medium will emerge. Or there'll be nothing left to sell...or no buyers. But why worry about that now?
5:42 pm on Oct 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Not worried. Just thinking.

In addition to the recent press about Web2, I recently read a bood that talked about the phenomenon of advertising being progressively less effective. The author was speaking more of traditional forms--like Yellow Pages and TV. Couldn't help but connect the dots when I heard about Web2.

6:17 pm on Oct 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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It's true that traditional ad mediums are less effective in the modern age. TV commercials have to contend with TIVO. Magazines are now a dime a dozen and the niches are endless. Where AS has made a major impact is re-introducing non intrusive quality advertising relevant to what the visitor is seeking. I think AS will be around for quite some time, however, with the vast amounts of quality-poor sites now running AS, it remains to be seen how Google will adapt their program in the future.
9:33 pm on Oct 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I have been in PPC programs since they started with GoTo.

My experience is that things change dramatically about every 6 months - new competition, less competition, changes in minimum bids, new pricing models (AW), mergers, etc., etc...

Through everyone of these changes I have seen the crying and predictions of doom. Yes we have had to adapt but, NO, the world of PPC has not collapsed. It has grown astronomically. If ad blocking programs become too prevalent the ad producers will just adapt. Google, Yahoo & MSN have too much riding on the future to let things go too far before reacting.

The key for us as advertisers and publishers is to keep an open mind and adapt along with them.

We were finding our AdWords budget getting out of hand for the size of our business however we absolutely needed it to stay competitive. We adapted by adding AdSense which now more than covers our paid ad budget.

You just gotta roll with the flow:-)

10:09 pm on Oct 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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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.

Nothing is the appropriate word because that is what we will have on internet with such programs....nothing!

I agree with most of the other users, as long as it is an option there is no real danger.

The real danger will come when a company integrates it automatically as part of a browser to try and attract attention, firefox are perilously close to doing that...then the 99 % of users who don't care about it will have the choice made for them and we will all be in trouble.

10:27 pm on Oct 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Let's not forget good old Norton Firewall that blocks all sorts of banners and ads as well.

You people are being short sighted as Greasemonkey is meaningless, most everything you need is built right into the browser.

The browser already allows you to:

1) Disable Javascript and bye bye AdSense

2) Disable 3rd party graphics and bye bye affliate programs

3) Disable cookies and bye bye affiliate tracking and payments

It's not a new threat at all, just a one stop shop to shut off the ads.

ann

10:32 pm on Oct 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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and if push comes to shove, with no way to make income more websites will fold so no content to surf in their ad free bliss :)
10:34 pm on Oct 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Then Google and Yahoo will go down in flames, no sites, no advertisers, no profits

Dot Com Bomb 2.0

10:50 pm on Oct 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Where is that coming from Bill? Google will find a way to adapt, like all companies do. To say it will suddently cease to exist is just plain stupid.
10:59 pm on Oct 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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If you want to force your visitors see your ads, you can use some scripts that depends the content showing to scripts and... be activated. Also you can remove all your rss outputs and so on, but it really doesn't worth! How many of the surfers even know something other than the default IE exists?!
10:59 pm on Oct 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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pcgamez

I don't think Bill was being really serious - were you Bill?

And "stupid" is a pretty harsh word for these forums.

11:02 pm on Oct 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Where is that coming from Bill? Google will find a way to adapt, like all companies do. To say it will suddently cease to exist is just plain stupid.

When you have a company built on advertising revenue and suddenly some browser technology comes along that allows everyone to block all the ads on all the pages those companies could go belly up, assuming they haven't diversified substantially before such an event occurs.

I'm not suggesting it could/would/will happen but if ALL ads were filtered from all web pages in all browsers a whole bunch of us, possibly including Google, would be holding signs on the side of the road "will display banner ads for food."

To say an unforeseen complete and total loss of a primary revenue stream wouldn't destroy a company is just plain stupid

11:09 pm on Oct 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Fortunately, most people actually like relevant advertising, as long as the ads aren't used in an annoying way. (Need proof? Look at your monthly AdSense payment.)

What the world needs is an ad blocker that makes it easy to block ads on a site-by-site basis. That would be a boon for users, and it would discourage publishers from letting greed spoil the user experience.

11:14 pm on Oct 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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1) Disable Javascript and bye bye AdSense

2) Disable 3rd party graphics and bye bye affliate programs

3) Disable cookies and bye bye affiliate tracking and payments

...suddenly some browser technology comes along that allows everyone to block all the ads on all the pages...

With the possible exception of the '3rd party' part of point (2), these things have been around in mainstream browsers since at least the version 4 generation (and even in NS 4, you could stop animations...)

To say an unforeseen complete and total loss of a primary revenue stream wouldn't destroy a company is just plain stupid

These abilities in browsers definitely predate Adwords/Adsense; if Google let something like this kill them, then it might be reasonable to call them stupid...

-B

[edited by: bedlam at 11:19 pm (utc) on Oct. 17, 2005]

wizarddave

11:16 pm on Oct 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Or here's a revolutionary idea: Just don't return to sites that have annoying ads. Book-mark sites that have worthwhile ads (like us!) instead.
11:26 pm on Oct 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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What the world needs is an ad blocker that makes it easy to block ads on a site-by-site basis. That would be a boon for users, and it would discourage publishers from letting greed spoil the user experience.

That's exactly what this script does, though you have to pre-specify which sites get blocked. You just use * for all sites. I suppose what you are talking about is a script that places a button on the browser to block ads as you surf?

What I'd like to see is a script that prevents scraper sites from ever showing up on your browser. Any suggestions, folks?

11:52 pm on Oct 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I was tempted to try Greasemonkey just to see what all the fuss is about, but I got scared off when a security issue [mozillazine.org] surfaced. Although it was later fixed, I still haven't tried it. Not that I was going to use it for blocking ads anyway.

I have used AdBlock [adblock.mozdev.org] for Firefox though, but only really to test it out. I don't mind viewing ads (most of the time).

The way AdBlock works is by filtering URLs of the actual ads. You can use wildcards or regular expressions, so the filtering mechanism can be powerful. However, if I understand europeforvisitors's request to "block ads on a site-by-site basis", that would mean you'd want to block the ads being presented at certain site, not based on where the ads are coming from. I'm not aware of a way to do that with AdBlock. Is that what the Greasemonkey ad blocker does?

12:06 am on Oct 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

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owever, if I understand europeforvisitors's request to "block ads on a site-by-site basis", that would mean you'd want to block the ads being presented at certain site, not based on where the ads are coming from.

Yes, that's what I had in mind. Maybe you'd want to visit a local newspaper site regularly that drove you nuts with in-your-face ads, so you'd click an "Always block ads on this site" button and get your revenge. :-)

12:14 am on Oct 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Maybe you'd want to visit a local newspaper site regularly that drove you nuts with in-your-face ads, so you'd click an "Always block ads on this site" button and get your revenge.

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."

12:34 am on Oct 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Interesting discussion. It's funny that no one has mentioned the obvious "solution" to this "perilous" problem: integrate ads and content. This is the new ad medium which will probably become more and more common. For example, posting an interview with the CEO of one of your advertisers, or informative product reviews etc.. etc..., when the line between commercial content and content content becomes blurred, it is difficult to block one thing and not the other... There is no reason to assume that ads need be uninformative attempts to sell someone goods...
12:43 am on Oct 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

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

Actually, we beat this topic pretty hard (200+ posts) about 2 1/2 months ago:
[webmasterworld.com...]

I do integrated ads direct into my page with anyone that will give me data feeds.

Sadly, based on the technical expertise levels of most webmasters Google will only dole out this arcane javascript ad display code to the non-premium publisher masses. I would do anything to get the ads 100% integrated into my site and toss the javascript.

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.

The next problem I have to address better is if javascript is disabled (no AdSense) and other ads are blocked (no affiliates) that I can detect this and automatically switch to integrated affiliate data feeds to replace those ads.

Always something.

12:44 am on Oct 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

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trialfomiles wrote:
The way AdBlock works is by filtering URLs of the actual ads. You can use wildcards or regular expressions, so the filtering mechanism can be powerful. However, if I understand europeforvisitors's request to "block ads on a site-by-site basis", that would mean you'd want to block the ads being presented at certain site, not based on where the ads are coming from. I'm not aware of a way to do that with AdBlock. Is that what the Greasemonkey ad blocker does?

Yes. It's quite nice, actually. You open an "options" box and input the sites you want blocked. You can enter "*" to block adds on every site you visit. I just put "*yahoo*" to get rid of ads in my Yahoo mail.

...and there you have it. Full use of Yahoo without all those annoying (and, I assume, expensive) Flash ads. While I'm a little more tech savvy than than most surfers, I'm no web developer. In fact, I have yet to launch a site for fun and profit, although I'm working on it!

12:48 am on Oct 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Actually, we beat this topic pretty hard (200+ posts) about 2 1/2 months ago:
[webmasterworld.com...]

Darn! I searched for a thread on this topic before starting this one. I promise.

6:45 am on Oct 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Few months ago, I raised the topic of Ad blocking in a big FORUM and asked users opinion, I pointed out that users should not block non-intrusive and negligible bandwidth using TEXT-ADS from websites which provide free services to their users,as it will help the webmaster to maintain the iste and provide more quality content, but nobody seem to agree with my posting they all just wanted to leech others hardwork and getoff.
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