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Ad Blockers Should Be Illegal

Ad blockers deprive sites of needed income

     
3:25 pm on May 29, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I'm very surprised that someone somewhere has not begun a class action suit against all those who provide ad blockers. Whatever happened to personal responsibility, both on webmasters' and the users' sides? When someone uses an ad blocker, they are, in reality, defacing (changing) someone's website and depriving them of potential income needed to continue to operate the site. Seeing ads is a small price to pay if the users are getting the information they want. It seems so simple to me that if you don't like seeing ads on someone's site, you have the right to leave. No one is holding you hostage. I have never used an ad blocker, and there are some sites (news sites) that I have left because the ads are overwhelming. There are those who will argue that people who use ad blockers never click on ads anyway. I feel that is not true, because somewhere along the line there will be that one ad that a person will not be able to resist.
6:01 am on May 30, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Scripting is a really good way to do cross site scripting XSS attacks
Just use the X-XSS-Protection headers intended for this. No extra scripting necessary: [infosec.mozilla.org...]
6:43 am on May 30, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Mute function on all remote controls, since its sole function is to avoid hearing the advertising


That is totally untrue. That is not the sole function. Many times people have to mute the television during the programming also because they need to take a call or are otherwise interrupted.


I won't go into specifics but there's one particular politician I always mute.
7:26 am on May 30, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I won't go into specifics but there's one particular politician I always mute.
I find myself looking for that mute button as well.
12:34 pm on May 30, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I can't say I'm a big fan of ad blockers, but then again nobody complains about pop-up blockers. I suppose though, there's no such thing as an unobtrusive pop-up.
4:18 pm on May 30, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I suppose though, there's no such thing as an unobtrusive pop-up.
Surprisingly there is--or rather, there's such a thing as a necessary popup. I see it most often with login prompts in a forum; the popups are so unobtrusive you may not think of them as popups, but mechanically that's what they are. Years and years ago, one reason I used {now-defunct browser} was that it offered a popup blocker override at a time when at least one major browser didn't have a popup blocker in the first place.

Reading some of these threads, you would think the entire WebmasterWorld membership was under 30 and genuinely couldn't remember a time before Internet advertising was a thing.* And this, we know, is not the case.

:: insert reference to movie-theater musicians here ::

* Rule 34.5: If it exists, there is advertising on it.
5:31 pm on May 30, 2018 (gmt 0)

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under 30 and genuinely couldn't remember a time before Internet advertising was a thing.


I remember extremely well working with Altavista in 1994/95 with all types of different advertising trials, obviously they were experiments since no such thing had existed before, some were amazingly successful, some were total disasters, nonetheless we learnt very rapidly what did or did not work.
6:14 pm on May 30, 2018 (gmt 0)

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What I remember is reading articles about this amazing new idea of online advertising, and how some people were actually making big money from their blogs (exclamation mark, exclamation mark, exclamation mark).
2:49 am on May 31, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Whatever happened to personal responsibility


Unfortunately, that seems to be disappearing, along with civility, common courtesy, manners, etc.
6:34 am on May 31, 2018 (gmt 0)

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This is a no win debate in that both sides are absolutely correct.

Both sides have the law behind them (access to systems under system rules OR accessing a system that accesses another by their rules).

Personally I kill all scripts, Ad Block, and all that happy stuff when I surf the web. I have learned, since 1983 (BBS days) you can't trust boards/websites to be as ethical as you. Just human nature.

MEANWHILE, I also never click ads, follow links I don't know, or allow anything third party (to the site I am visiting) to get on my personal system(s).

MEANWHILE, more than a few years back, switched to direct sales and sponsors, etc. to achieve revenue requirements (including a paycheck) and have not looked back since. My road may not be another's. Firmly believe there's value and purpose in the present advertising industry for many.

The last comment that makes me chuckle is the lament of some that others are "stealing my free stuff I labored at great effort and expense to create". Oxymoron at work. If it is offered free and the user ALREADY HAS BEEN CULTURALLY CONDITIONED TO FREE STUFF how the heck can one be offended? If it is that good it should be behind a paywall from the word "go".
12:11 pm on May 31, 2018 (gmt 0)

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If it is that good it should be behind a paywall from the word "go".

Bit like charging people to come into your shop just to look. Has to be a pretty exceptional store for that to work! Also, it means that second rate discounter down the road will clean up...
1:08 pm on May 31, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Personally I kill all scripts, Ad Block, and all that happy stuff when I surf the web. I have learned, since 1983 (BBS days) you can't trust boards/websites to be as ethical as you. Just human nature.

After installing and using the NoScript blocker I am amazed at all the third party dodads that some web sites use. Most will still load without the 3d party addons. If the site does not load using scripts from its own domain, or small things from Google, then I bounce.

I encourage everyone to take a good look at what scripts some web sites thrust upon us. Scripts may be the next frontier for ads.
1:21 pm on May 31, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@TorontoBoy - What about blocking 3rd party cookie consent scripts - is that GDPR compliant? :)
2:39 pm on May 31, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Bit like charging people to come into your shop just to look. Has to be a pretty exceptional store for that to work!


actually it is more common that you thing ... art fairs, antiques fairs, wedding shows and specialist trade shows of all types charge an entrance fee - to what is generally a bunch of shops/stalls/booths selling products.

auctioneers charge you for a catalogue - which is just a list of items for sale.

etc etc
2:56 pm on May 31, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Without having noticed this thread, I wrote something on this topic in another thread - I have copied it now over here:


The internet, namely the WWW, which is only one part of the classic internet, was originally not meant to be a shopping mall, but a place to share information quick and for free.

Do you remember how it was in the mid and end 90s, where lots of information became accessible in this acuality, or at all? The commercial entities used Compuserve, later AOL, both pay-for services and financed their operations with revenues generated from members visiting their sites.

Then in came the commerce on the webpages. More and more, until sometimes one saw more advertises than text on a page and the content on webpages made for content (MFC) became increasingly buried by websites made for advertises (MFA).

Yes, I am fully aware that some discovered by then the economic model of small publishers who thought they can shut out the middle man by placing direct advertises, first by selling advertises on their webpages themselves and placing them themselves eg. by using permanent banners or rotation scripts. On the other side of the fence were the "old timers" who kept publishing for the good of the community for free.

However, content was being ripped and/or automatically rewritten and for those, who did that, it was profitable enough by plastering the sites with ads, to do it in a big style, and so the search engines, who exploded in their growth, picked up more and more of these sites, to a degree, where original content publishers became less and less visible.

People started to avoid the ads, websites replied with putting up more ads in a more pestering way. And people avoided them more, only to be faced with websites who forced more upon them. Where one could read an article of interest and concentrate on the content once, now they had to deal with blinking and jumping elements, with video and audio starting without warning or mercy for the viewers.

But that was not the end of it, because now came those for whom everything was commerce, namely selling goods and services locally, and personally.
Now viewers were facing a whole new "experience", which advertisers threaten even to increase. The experience being that advertisers were not satisfied that you bought one washing machine, but having the opinion that you need, for weeks to come, a lot more washing machines ... and showing that to you. Or the experience that, when you walk through a town, ads popping up like "Visit my restaurant. NOW!" rather than "sit down on the park bench next street and enjoy the view".

Yes - some people love this "experience", they love to be "taken care of", because (naturally), everyone wants only their best (their money...?). They love it when they are being profiled so that "someone" knows what they are supposed to need in this minute or day.

But there are others who did not like all of this, or even most of it, and those are using ad blockers, script blockers, they disallow positioning services when they do not need it, VPN - and a thousand more tactics to evade the (in the end, it comes to it) commercialism not only of their world, but of themselves.

Yes, I know, this is written dramatized, and it is simplified, and some elements are not mentioned, like profiling down to existential and highly sensitive data, but the reader gets the idea nevertheless.

And, let me stress, not the advertises are the problem, but their number increase, their presence everywhere and everywhen and their increase in being forced upon someone.

And now, someone comes and says "what are you doing here? It is my godgiven right to force impose my advertises on you".

What effect will it have? One of two: First, a more aggressive stance and resistance towards him (and even other advertisers) - or he will be left alone and people go to walled gardens once, where they might find out that they can find there not a lot less of what they were looking for elsewehere, but without being stringed along and, in some cases, having to sell themselves for it. :-)
3:00 pm on May 31, 2018 (gmt 0)

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actually it is more common that you thing

I'm not sure it is as successful as it is popular.

We had high-end audio show/convention here in Montreal. Many years ago it was free or with a small fee for the whole weekend. It was relatively popular with many people coming from out of town. But the organizers weren't making enough money, so they upped the fee, fewer people came, fewer exhibitors came. Even less money was made, so the fees increased. After that I believe the organization went bust, or was sold, the show got canceled. This year it was back, with free admission.

The point is, that yes the business model exists, but it probably isn't well suited for most niches. Another good example of a successful pay to shop model is Costco.

I couldn't make any money with a subscription model in my niche. It is simply not well suited for that. I could possibly provide some augmented service for a fee, but I doubt that I would be able convert a large enough portion of my audience. The other issue is that the augmented service would likely compete with my main advertisers and I doubt I would be able to do that successfully given the size and scope of their marketing efforts.
3:02 pm on May 31, 2018 (gmt 0)

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>>>
art fairs, antiques fairs, wedding shows and specialist trade shows of all types charge an entrance fee - to what is generally a bunch of shops/stalls/booths selling products.
<<<

The difference being that, on entry, you are notified about the fee - and when you pay it, nobody tries to identify and profile you on what other fairs you have visited ... and nobody follows you around to write down how long you looked at what stall and item. And most probably, you won't be shown for fairs to come, and independent of the theme of that fair, items that you (or your friends...) have looked at before. Well ... one should get the idea...
3:17 pm on May 31, 2018 (gmt 0)

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>>>
I couldn't make any money with a subscription model in my niche. It is simply not well suited for that. I could possibly provide some augmented service for a fee
<<<

I agree. However, from the publishers point of view, there is another facette. Me, for example, I have been writing now for 20+ years articles and published them for free on websites (yes, I do have adsense, but my webpages explicitely state that visitors with ad- and script blockers are welcome and that they will then not miss any content or could not navigate).

The first idea behind that is that those whom pages I visit for free and read their articles, should be able to do so with my pages as well ... and the second idea is that, for success, there are two ways to reach it, by earning money and by earning reputation and fame (which may later turn as well into money).
Of course, those who aim with publishing mainly at making money, might not understand this or might not be in it for the long run, and my model will ost probably not work for them.

But yet - there are many more who think like this and work like this. The WWW is _not_, NOT, a free billboard for anyone to use at their will to make money fast and impose the costs on others (ref. to the transfer fee issue, especially for mobile users). It CAN be a such billboard, when visitors agree or explicitely want to see ads - but if they do not want it, these should not be forced upon them.

And this, basically, is what the GDPR wants to achieve (amongst some other things).
3:35 pm on May 31, 2018 (gmt 0)

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actually it is more common that you thing ... art fairs, antiques fairs, wedding shows and specialist trade shows of all types charge an entrance fee


Hmmm ... I suppose it depends in which country one is. Specialist trade shows, fine, you know the scenario, but art fairs, antiques and wedding shows where I live in the UK, no chance, they are all advertised by the very fact they are free to enter, I have absolutely no idea what the situation is in major UK cities with regards to these events.

The situation is, and we have the www to blame for this, because people do generally realise it costs money to set-up a stand at a trade exhibition for both exhibitors and organisers, the problem is that most people do not realise that setting-up quality websites also costs money yet because so much stuff has been given away for free until now they believe it should continue to do so.

My sites will continue as they are, professional corporate brochureware, we'll have no paywalls, they'll be usable on any device, anywhere and without having to set cookies but, of course, we're not trying to actually sell you anything via The Net which is another thing altogether.

I have Just re-read this and it's almost like pre-AdSense days which made things oh so easy!
5:29 pm on May 31, 2018 (gmt 0)

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But the organizers weren't making enough money, so they upped the fee, fewer people came, fewer exhibitors came. Even less money was made, so the fees increased.
For heaven's sake, I remember getting this kind of thing as an exercise in high-school math classes.

The bare fact that a given activity was profitable last year does not guarantee that the same activity will be profitable next year. The issue becomes especially ridiculous here, because it's not as if your father was an internet advertiser and your grandfather was an internet advertiser and his father before him and before him and now we're looking at the loss of an age-old traditional means of livelihood. Find something else to do. If the internet then shrivels away and people start complaining about the lack of readily accessible information, set up a members-only site to meet the need. Maybe it will work; maybe it won’t.
7:37 pm on May 31, 2018 (gmt 0)

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"stealing my free stuff I labored at great effort and expense to create".


I don't believe that is what was said. What was said was stealing bandwidth.
9:15 pm on May 31, 2018 (gmt 0)

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What was said was stealing bandwidth.

Which goes BOTH ways!
10:53 pm on May 31, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Which goes BOTH ways!


Not as a rule. If they come to a site with their adblocker on and they find what they want, they have not wasted their bandwidth, but they have stolen mine.
11:09 pm on May 31, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I can see where a lot of people are coming from, but making it illegal would be a step too far IMO. If a person is savvy enough to be running an ad blocker, do you really think they are the kind of person who is going to click your ads?

Mack.
11:16 pm on May 31, 2018 (gmt 0)

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If a person is savvy enough to be running an ad blocker, do you really think they are the kind of person who is going to click your ads?
I think that's the bottom line. I see less impressions since adblockers became popular, but that same metric has not shown in loss of clicks.

Adblocker people would not click ads anyway, that's why they get blockers... they can't tolerate advertising and don't understand the business model.

The 2 major things affecting my income are the lack of high-bid advertisers & the empty ad space (for whatever reason.)
2:02 am on June 1, 2018 (gmt 0)

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We might as well broaden the topic, because the advertisment issue has a much bigger scope than just the internet and people increasingly try to escape from ads. Some countries are yet experimenting with what to allow in the future and what not.

- In Sweden, TV stations may not interrupt a movie for advertisments unless the director has explicitely allowed it. The reason given was that the directors copyright includes the atmosphere of a movie, which could be destroyed if non-movie related things were put into it.

- In Germany, postmen or companies are not allowed to put brochures or leaflets or letters marked as "advertisments" into mailboxes, when they are labelled "no advertisments". Meanwhile, 30% of the german households have applied such an advertisment ban on their mailbox.
- Also in Germany, "cold calls" are illegal - that are calls that are placed without the target being a current customer of the calling company or having agreed in advance to being called by them.

- In Sao Paolo (Brazil) and Grenoble (France), billboards are banned, so basically, no large outdoor advertisment (or neon light signs) are allowed. Some towns in Germany and Spain are considering such a ban as well.
6:21 am on June 1, 2018 (gmt 0)

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You don't get a newspaper or magazine and expect the adverts to be removed, so why should people who visit a site think they have a right to remove the ads that are an integral part of it (and which in most cases are funding the website's existence)?

You don't expect to watch a football match and have all the billboards digitally blanked out for you? Or the adverts painted on the end zones to be removed?

People might not click ads on sites and think that justifies using an ad blocker, but branding is also a part of website advertising too.
7:46 am on June 1, 2018 (gmt 0)

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People BUY newspapers/magazines (always have, not "free") and the ads stay in one place and don't follow you around.

Many folks pay for tv (either through taxes, or services, not free) and the ads stay in one place and don't follow you around.

Broadcast TV has never been free (always had advertising, even though the broadcast itself is "free") the ads stay in one place and don't follow you around.

The web started free. Had no ads. Then things changed...

Tough to put the genie back into the bottle without changing the WEB ITSELF. Sites still offer free access and free information and the users EXPECT it to remain that way.

Reasonable ads were tolerated (or ignored) and that worked well for the beginning. Only it didn't stay that way, ads became intrusive and ultimately devolved to data mining users world wide (hence governments now getting involved). That involvement WILL eventually change the web. Beware what you ask for, you just might get it. With regulation comes the walls and stifling of innovation, access, and quality.

I fear the ad blockers came too late to have affected the change needed and IAB is certainly too little too late. This next year will reveal where the web is headed. Guardedly optimistic it will keep much of what has made the web such a wonderful resource to hundreds of millions around the world.
12:38 pm on June 1, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I would like to point out one significant difference between TV and web advertising. For TV the broadcaster gets paid for the ad regardless of whether the watcher sees the ad or not. When the watcher changes channels because there is an ad, the advertisers still pays for that "impression". This means that advertisers have a big incentive to get watchers to sit through their ads. Advertiser spend a lot of money and effort to create ads that people want to watch (think Superbowl). I think the TV dynamic would be much different if this weren't the case.

On the web advertisers have no incentive to make their ads an intrusive or "watchable", if the user blocks them then so be it, they probably wouldn't have clicked anyways. Since the advertiser doesn't pay for a blocked ad there is no real concern. The user has incentive to block, the annoying ads are eating up bandwidth which is a cost to the user. The party getting the shaft is the publisher who is in the loosing position in this situation. The publisher still needs to produce content and "broadcast" the website, but gets uncertain payment for this.

Maybe we should be less critical of the user and more critical of the advertisers.
12:52 pm on June 1, 2018 (gmt 0)

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All I can say is this: After experiencing a significant drop in revenue due to ad blockers being enabled, I have stopped creating content for my site and have shut down a thriving 15-year-old forum community because I cannot pay the bills. It's hard to find incentive to help people when you view the analytics and see that most of them are blocking your only revenue stream. I think this will eventually play itself out in the years to come. Free content will go away and only those that can pay to win will remain.
3:01 pm on June 1, 2018 (gmt 0)

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There are lots of interesting comments since this thread started, thanks.

Broadcast TV has never been free (always had advertising, even though the broadcast itself is "free") the ads stay in one place and don't follow you around.


Not 100% correct, but for the vast majority it is: For example, the BBC is funded differently and not through ads. It's funded through a UK tax, so it shows no ads (Unless you see the non UK sites and TV feeds). Those overseas feeds gain earnings for the BBC, so, technically, that funding goes back to help create more great shows (and some bad ones, too.), however, it's mostly funded through tax. The closest thing you get to that is a subscription.

Subscriptions don't work everywhere, but it's a model that can work in some places. Expect much lower numbers of subscribers, but it's guaranteed income. The only way to get the numbers up is with exclusivity, and that's much tougher these days.
The other aspect of exclusivity is that the smaller publisher has to work hard at getting subscribers. The exclusivity needs to be promoted or people won't even know you're there.

Getting back to ad blockers: The companies have created a business model, which hurts all publishers, especially the smaller independent publishers most. It disrupts the status us publishers have become to know and love since AdSense started. The alternatives may be that you give up on a business model. However, it's worth looking at as many alternatives as possible.

Some of the ways include:-
Limiting access with a nag screen with a plea to turn off ad blockers.
Limiting access with a subscription, but you have to sell, sell, sell to make that work.
White list the site through ad blockers (yuk, I hate that one).
Ignore it all and carry on, but work hard at getting high value ads and minimizing blank ads.
Go with your own ad system (expensive to run for smaller publishers.
Change to sponsored site option. This works especially well if you have the traffic, or are niche.

Any other suggestions you want to make?
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