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Opera For Desktop Gets Native Ad Blocking

     
9:08 am on Mar 10, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Opera has taken the step of building in an ad blocking feature which it claims makes site loading, on average, 45% faster. Users don't need a plug in, or add on, it's within the browser. The feature is off by default, but will offer users the option of turning it on when browsing a specific site. These option can be turned on or off per site, and users can create an exception list to let sites and their ads through. The version with ad blocking is available in the developer channel. [opera.com...]

... together with the native ad-blocking feature, we also provide a tool to help advertisers and users understand the problem of heavy ads. We believe this will accelerate the change that the ad industry needs to pursue. Opera For Desktop Gets Native Ad Blocking [opera.com]
12:48 pm on Mar 10, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I think that's called jumping on the bandwagon.
3:18 pm on Mar 10, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I downloaded the developer (37) version and tried loading a page from a popular online newspaper:

First I loaded the page with the ad blocking feature disabled, than with ad blocking enabled: it still showed the ads but still said "Wow the page loads 58% faster!".
The same happened on youtube. The ads still show but the message says "Wow the page loads 46% faster!".

I then realized there is an already populated exception list that included the domains (of course) *.opera.com, and those of their little friends, or those too powerful to mess around with.

On top of that, fiddler shows that whether you enable the option to block ads or not, a list of the websites you visit (not the full url) gets sent to sitecheck2.opera.com. At first I thought it would only be on the developer version but also the beta version 36 logs the domains you visit.

It also blocks ads on secure sites (youtube when removed from the exception list). This really should not be legal IMHO. Communications sent over a secure channel should be none of their business.
7:16 pm on Mar 10, 2016 (gmt 0)

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There may come a time when, to browse an ad supported website, one will have to employ a browser that supports advertising.

I do NOT mean a browser to inserts ads or inherently tracks or accumulates personal data. Just a browser that acknowledges and supports this reality: No advertising revenue = the sound of crickets chirping.
10:48 pm on Mar 10, 2016 (gmt 0)

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The assumption that users are stupid seems prevalent, even at the developer level. When a product is advertised as "ad blocking" and then doesn't because the developer has predetermined which ads get through, then the user will respond with disbelief in the product and move elsewhere. I do fear that as all this escalates the average webmaster depending on ads (and embarks on war against ad blockers) will find themselves in much the same position as the music industry which chose not to listen to users/the public ... and we all know how well that turned out.
1:09 am on Mar 11, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Users want as much stuff as possible for free. When they didn't get free music, technology helped them steal it via p2p and other 'downloadables.' Now technology (ad blockers) helps them consume content for free.

Listening to users / the public will not help unless you can afford to continue giving them stuff for free. The only way to resolve it is to pick up the fight and block free loaders; it's past the turning point now to somehow try to 'persuade' them that ads are good or load fast..
1:36 am on Mar 11, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Or it is time to find alternative revenue streams that aren't abusive or invasive. (These do exist, just not plug and play).
3:39 am on Mar 11, 2016 (gmt 0)

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The only viable alternative revenue stream (considering adblocks remove affiliate and social media buttons too) is advertorial, ie. deceiving your visitors that you are objective / impartial / organic about something you are really not. Adblocks could be considered abusive / invasive to your hardware, but advertorials could be abusive to your brain.. not sure what's better..
4:37 am on Mar 11, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I'm having decent results with creating my own CPA links when I redirect the visitor through a domain I own. It takes a little time to build an ad unit but after that no ad blocker ever catches the ads. It doesn't pay on a CPC basis of course but in my niche the earnings are on par with CPC ads.
10:44 am on Mar 11, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I don't use ad blockers. I never felt the need. The ads on most websites I visit are generally unobtrusive and they often introduce me to products I am interested in. I fully understand the need to browse anonymously, without being tracked sometimes. Firefox, implemented this quite well: it's not the default browsing mode and lets the user decide when he wants to become anonymous. I have no objections on someone visiting my website while maintaining his privacy if he actively decides to do so.

Opera's approach, on the other hand, is very different: They are trying to boost their popularity by saying effectively "Look, you can browse much faster with ads turned off!". They don't say that the page loaded in 0.4 seconds instead of 0.8 seconds, they say "it loaded 50% percent faster!".

They don't block the ads on the likes of facebook, google, ebay or the NYT because they know that these big companies may react. They actively promote blocking the ads and they target small sites. To me, trying honestly to maintain my very modest livelihood by creating good content, this represents a personal unwarranted attack.

On my own sites Opera only accounts for about 0.8% of visitors and even less than that for revenue. I am seriously considering blocking specifically the next version of opera browser (if ad blocking is enabled). When news hits the mainstream that with Opera you can browse 50% faster it's raise in popularity could be catastrophic.

Another interesting point is that according to their documentation Opera Mediaworks supports interstitial ads within apps (also used by Opera Mini browser if I understood correctly). Talk about improving the web browsing experience....
11:47 am on Mar 11, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Unfortunately with over 200 million adblock users and lost revenue estimated at 22 Billion in 2015 it's a serious concern for webmasters. Some niches have it worse than others, tech sites see a nearly 20% ad block rate where travel sites see roughly half that (2015 figures). It's also highly geographical, in 2015 35% of visits in Poland used a blocker with 20% in Canada and 15% in the U.S.

That's a whole lot of lost ad impressions.
5:29 pm on Mar 12, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I've been experimenting with creating my own images, hosting them on my server and linking them to my affiliate accounts (started with Amazon to see how it goes). So far the results are encouraging. These links (or related images) don't get blocked, don't rely on external scripts and, frankly, I think they look better. This obviously doesn't address the damage being done to CPC advertising models (like Adsense) but I'll take this one step at a time. Right now, I'm looking for ways to replace IFrame ads and ads where all or part of the content (like images) are being served from another server.

BTW, I'm still using Adsense but in a much scaled-down way. There's still plenty of gravy there. Having said that, I think we may all need to get out of that box unless Google does something to protect it's publishers and advertisers (but I'm not holding my breath).
6:06 pm on Mar 13, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Webcentric, when you replaced your amazon iframe, was it the iframe that had the price in the box (called an enhanced link)? How did your testing go? I was a little concerned that not having the price would hurt, but then again, it might force them to click thru to see the price on Amazon.

Did you see a sales boost? How much.....? Thanks in advance.
8:37 pm on Mar 13, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@vphoner Right now I'm pushing category searches which are specific to my niche so no pricing involved in this set of tests. I'm sure you could include even more info such as prices in you're custom image or related text. It could be a lot of work to replace a bunch of individual ads but if you're just pushing a few products, it might be worth the effort if you're worried about ad-blockers. Also, replacing rotating ads or automatically populated grids of ads probably isn't practical. As for sales, Amazon is just one of my ventures into diversification recently so I don't have enough data to drawn any income conclusions yet. What I know works is that this seems to help avoid some of the issues with ad blocking and privacy tools.
12:34 am on Mar 14, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Thanks Webcentric.....I still use the enhanced product display, that has a picture, price, and a little description in a vertical rectangular iframed box, for individual products. I have been able to replicate them, locally hosted, but without the price. These are adblocker proof, and will show up. The question is, should I replace the iframes from Amazon with my own product boxes with no price, and would that increase sales since they must click through to get a price, and not be blocked. Not sure how big the problem of adblockers are in the USA. Maybe I should test it on a certain product area.
10:50 am on Mar 14, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Well, I don't think ad blockers are going away so I can only see this as an issue to contend with before there's no revenue stream left.

Yes, testing is highly recommended. :) Doing nothing though, is most likely a recipe for disaster.

I'll also add that if you use something like bootstrap, it's fairly easy to create your own responsive image ads. My images scale to the screen size so with a bit of careful planning, I don't have to worry about swapping out ads for a certain screen size or device.
3:43 am on Mar 15, 2016 (gmt 0)

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"Opera For Desktop Gets Native Ad Blocking"

I guess this qualifies as the proverbial "fat lady."
4:58 am on Mar 15, 2016 (gmt 0)

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It does sound a little like Ethel Merman doing a song from Annie Get Your Gun: "Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better)"
 

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