Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Get HideMyAss! VPN, PC Mag's Top 10 VPNs of 2016 for 55% off for a Limited Time ×
Advertising Businesses The Almighty Buck The Internet The Media

Editor-in-Chief of the Next Web: Adblockers Are Immoral 618

lemur3 writes: Hot on the heels of the recent implementation of Canvas Ads (allowing advertisers to use the full page) Martin Bryant, the Editor-in-Chief of The Next Web, wrote a piece that, ostensibly, calls out mobile carriers in Europe for offering ad blocking as a service. He writes: "Display ads are still an important bread-and-butter income stream. Taking delight in denying publishers that revenue shows either sociopathic tendencies or ignorance of economic realities." While referring to those using ad blocking as sociopathic is likely not to win many fans, this mindset seems to be prevalent in certain circles, as discussed previously on Slashdot. Martin closes his piece with a warning: "For all their sins, ads fuel much of the Web. Cut them out and you're strangling the diversity of online voices and publishers – and I don't think consumers really want that."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Editor-in-Chief of the Next Web: Adblockers Are Immoral

Comments Filter:
  • Fuck you. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Noxal ( 816780 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @10:39AM (#49710727)

    No. I will not risk the safety and security of my systems by allowing them to display potentially (frequently) harmful ads. Also I don't like being advertised to in general and fuck you anyways.

    Shut the fuck up or join Adblock Plus' unobtrusive ads program.

    • Re:Fuck you. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by robbo ( 4388 ) <slashdot@s[ ]a.net ['imr' in gap]> on Sunday May 17, 2015 @10:45AM (#49710763)

      Agree 100%. I installed adblock plus when slashdot started throwing URL blocks from the ad rotator. How do I know the next ad rotation won't be a driveby? The industry provides zero guarantees and relies too much on upstream ad providers to vouch for safety.

      • Click to play Flash (Score:2, Interesting)

        by tepples ( 727027 )

        How do I know the next ad rotation won't be a driveby?

        Because you've set the the Java applet and Flash Player plug-ins to "click to play" mode. It's sort of hard to catch a drive-by when you've disabled the tech through which drive-bys enter your machine. This used to be a separate extension called Flashblock, but browser publishers have recently started to incorporate this functionality directly into the browser. In Firefox, in Hamburger > Add-ons > Plugins, set "Shockwave Flash" to "Ask to Activate" instead of "Always Activate". This way, you can block

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Doesn't work. Most ads these days use HTML 5 (thanks Apple). And since browsers always have vulnerabilities (none has ever survived Pwn2own) you're left with blocking ads entirely if you want to remain safe.

        • by sqlrob ( 173498 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @11:08AM (#49710889)

          You're assuming the browser doesn't have vulnerabilities as well. Bad assumption.

          • by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@ g m a i l .com> on Sunday May 17, 2015 @11:19AM (#49710947) Homepage Journal

            I'm assuming that Firefox and Chrome browsers are less likely to have vulnerabilities that are known and exploitable than those in Flash Player. And I'm also assuming that ad networks are going to continue to be as dumb as they currently are, serving up Flash as the preferred ad media type instead of HTML5 with a Flash fallback. So until some of these assumptions become no longer valid, such as if advertisers come to prefer HTML5 over Flash Player, browsers become more vulnerable than Flash Player, browser vulnerabilities become more serious, or zero-day browser vulnerabilities become more widely known to malware authors, blocking Flash will remain effective.

            • by X0563511 ( 793323 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @11:33AM (#49711043) Homepage Journal

              Stop assuming, because we're talking about security. Assumptions have no place in this discussion.

              • by tepples ( 727027 )

                Without assumptions, there is no threat model. Without a threat model, there is no way to measure security.

                • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @11:47AM (#49711171) Journal
                  Then assume that the browsers all have security vulns that are available to anyone who is willing to look for them. Because they do. If you don't accept that, then your model is broken.

                  The only reasonable thing is to block all ads if you don't want to get hit by an exploit.
                  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@ g m a i l .com> on Sunday May 17, 2015 @11:53AM (#49711217) Homepage Journal

                    Then assume that the browsers all have security vulns that are available to anyone who is willing to look for them. Because they do.

                    If the assumption is that all Internet-facing applications have vulnerabilities that can be exploited to take full administrative control of a computer, what is the mitigation other than abstaining from the Internet?

                    The only reasonable thing is to block all ads if you don't want to get hit by an exploit.

                    Now define "all ads" in a way that allows a machine to correctly determine what is a non-ad. Is a can of Pepsi in a movie an "ad"?

                    • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @12:04PM (#49711297) Journal

                      If the assumption is that all Internet-facing applications have vulnerabilities that can be exploited to take full administrative control of a computer, what is the mitigation other than abstaining from the Internet?

                      I don't think you're understanding something here. Usually, when I go to Yahoo.com, or to Microsoft.com, the content on the page is all generated by the company, and the chance of them trying to attack your computer is low.

                      That is not the same with ads on a webpage. In the modern world, anyone can put an ad onto yahoo.com, all they have to do is pay. Yahoo doesn't closely examine the ads that are placed on the page. They don't even own the server that is serving the ads.

                      So, when you visit Microsoft.com, you are essentially saying, "Microsoft, I trust you to run code on my computer." When you visit a page with ads, you are saying, "I trust any random person to run code on my computer." That is a bad idea, and exploits have been found in ads.

                      In fact, I don't see any way you can look at that and say, "yeah, running unknown code on my computer? Great idea!" Furthermore, the ad networks really don't care.....the people paying are the customers, and when they try to stop malevolence, they are primarily focused on click-fraud, which hurts their customers, not malware.

                    • Then assume that the browsers all have security vulns that are available to anyone who is willing to look for them. Because they do.

                      If the assumption is that all Internet-facing applications have vulnerabilities that can be exploited to take full administrative control of a computer, what is the mitigation other than abstaining from the Internet?

                      Correct. It's an old, old saying, "The only secure computer on the network is the one not on the network." Taken another way, "The only secure computer is the one not powered on!" It's an unfortunate truth that we all must come to grips with. We do our best to make the computer less desirable a target on the network, but the only way to be completely secure is to not be on the network. The CIA knows this, the NSA knows this, and I am sure that intelligence agencies the world over have two computers on their

          • > You're assuming the browser doesn't have vulnerabilities
            > as well

            I use lynx, you insensitive clod!

        • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 17, 2015 @11:11AM (#49710907)

          Because you've set the the Java applet and Flash Player plug-ins to "click to play" mode.

          As if JavaScript was inherently safe. Browsers are adding more and more "web" APIs and better optimizations, the attack surface is growing. If you want "secure" then JavaScript has to join the others in "click to play" mode. Bonus: the most annoying adds are also silenced.

      • I use noscript instead of an ad-blocker. I don't mind seeing ads to some extent. I even choose not to disable slashdot advertising. But there is ZERO reason to allow a third-party advertising ad to run executable code on my machine. Screw that. If they want to show an unobtrusive image-based ad off to the side, that's fine. It's when they start getting obnoxious that they get the ban-hammer.

        I'm also getting mildly irritated at Amazon showing external advertisements on their pages. So my shopping doll

    • Re:Fuck you. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by PsychoSlashDot ( 207849 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @10:55AM (#49710819)
      I'm of the opinion that advertising is immoral.

      To be clear, I mean active advertising, in the sense of placing product information out of context. That includes billboards, products in movies, commercials between songs or before movies, and most of the crap that shows up in the mail. I don't have an issue with passive advertising, for instance having "the special of the day" on an e-commerce site, or related product information such as offering me different vehicles if I am visiting a vehicle sales site.

      Active advertising is literally coercion, enticing, manipulating, and encouraging a viewer to make purchases that they otherwise do not wish to make. "If only you knew about our great product" does not justify the psychological arm-twisting advertisers undertake. Yes, by the end of your advert I might "want" your product that I'd never heard of, but as the OP says, "fuck you". You are taking money out of my pocket that I did not plan to allow its removal. In some circles, that's theft.
      • Re:Fuck you. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AthanasiusKircher ( 1333179 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @11:17AM (#49710939)

        Yes, by the end of your advert I might "want" your product that I'd never heard of, but as the OP says, "fuck you". You are taking money out of my pocket that I did not plan to allow its removal. In some circles, that's theft.

        Huh? I know that the meaning of the word "theft" gets argued about a lot around here -- particularly when the copyright enforcement police come around.

        But whatever we think "theft" means, I don't think it has ANY relation to what you just said. You read something, then you decide to buy something. "In some circles, that's theft." Umm, no, it's not. You made a choice to spend money. That's not "theft" by any stretch of the imagination.

        Active advertising is literally coercion, enticing, manipulating, and encouraging a viewer to make purchases that they otherwise do not wish to make.

        See, all of those words mean different things. "Coercion" is generally immoral and often illegal. "Enticing" or "encouraging" are not. "Manipulating" is usually immoral, but whether it's illegal depends on context.

        I hate advertising probably as much as you do. And I agree with you that it sometimes exploits people psychologically in unfair ways. I wish there were less of it. But as long as you don't have a significant mental deficit and the advertising is basically true (not false or misleading), I cannot possibly see how you say that someone choosing to spend money is "theft."

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by roman_mir ( 125474 )

        Billboards are immoral? Products in movies? What is the difference what beverage an actor is holding in his hand? It could be anything at all, or it could be somebody paying him for it. Movies are not reality. Commercials between songs? Do you mean on the radio? And how will a radio station stay open if not for commercials? I think using the word 'immoral' in this context is way overreaching. I see immorality in using force and violence of let's say the State to oppress a group of people. But to adver

        • What is the difference what beverage an actor is holding in his hand? It could be anything at all, or it could be somebody paying him for it. Movies are not reality.

          A flagrant anachronism, such as a bottle of Pepsi in a film set in the 14th century, destroys the film's believability. Only the very oldest brands can successfully push this sort of product placement.

      • by Livius ( 318358 )

        I think advertising needs to be more 'active' than that to truly qualify as immoral, but there's so much grey area that banning it outright would be much easier.

        • Re:Fuck you. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Bengie ( 1121981 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @12:25PM (#49711465)
          Do advertisements add enough value to my existence to compensate me for the time lost? Not rhetorical, I think it's a good question. Having some commercials while watching TV may be the only reason I have something to watch on TV, I can appreciate that. But in the paste decade or more, commercials have consumed such a large portion of the time of TV, that it was no longer worth the time investment to be constantly interrupted, taking 30 minutes of my time to watch a 15 minute show.

          I guess I would use that as an example. Another staggering fact that I learned while in school is that about 50% of the cost of enterprise software is marketing, If you pay $10k for some software, about $5k of that cost was convincing you to purchase it in the first place. I understand that to some degree that marketing is a necessary evil, but holy crap!
      • Re:Fuck you. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by taustin ( 171655 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @12:54PM (#49711681) Homepage Journal

        Active advertising is literally coercion,

        If you find advertising that does not involve a realistic threat of physical violence against your person to be coercive, then advertising isn't the problem, your broken mind is.

      • Re:Fuck you. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by samkass ( 174571 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @01:05PM (#49711783) Homepage Journal

        I'm of the opinion that advertising is immoral.

        Do you like the existence of Google? Should the Internet be purely pay-to-play like in the old AOL or GEnie days? For that instance, should Slashdot exist?

        Yes, by the end of your advert I might "want" your product that I'd never heard of, but as the OP says, "fuck you". You are taking money out of my pocket that I did not plan to allow its removal. In some circles, that's theft.

        You know what ACTUAL theft is? Consuming someone's product (ie. visiting an ad-supported web site) and then refusing to pay (ie. allow the ads to be shown). If you want a moral and ethical ad-blocker, implement a plug-in that refuses to let you visit any site whose ads you don't want displayed, or which allows you to pay micro-payments per visit.

        • Re:Fuck you. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by lister king of smeg ( 2481612 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @02:17PM (#49712409)

          I'm of the opinion that advertising is immoral.

          Do you like the existence of Google? Should the Internet be purely pay-to-play like in the old AOL or GEnie days? For that instance, should Slashdot exist

          Yes, by the end of your advert I might "want" your product that I'd never heard of, but as the OP says, "fuck you". You are taking money out of my pocket that I did not plan to allow its removal. In some circles, that's theft.

          You know what ACTUAL theft is? Consuming someone's product (ie. visiting an ad-supported web site) and then refusing to pay (ie. allow the ads to be shown). If you want a moral and ethical ad-blocker, implement a plug-in that refuses to let you visit any site whose ads you don't want displayed, or which allows you to pay micro-payments per visit.

          That might be the case but when any of those ad could be carrying a malicious payload and attack my system there is no way in hell I am going to allow any arbitrary code from a third party to execute on my system.

          I trust Slashdot not to attack me. Slashdot is paid by "acme ad company" to insert their ads. Acme will pipe through whatever code crackers and malicious operators gives them as long as they get their money. I don't trust acme because of this and I certainly don't trust the person placing the ad. But here is the problem acme doesn't care as, I am a product not a customer. They only have to appease Slashdot and who ever is placing the ad. In fact their is a disincentive to scrutinize the content on the ads they are selling as they get paid either no matter the content and passing up bad operators is lost money. They can get away with it because if Slashdot viewer complain then they can say they will look into it opps one got through our system and nothing happens. So the only way to be safe is to block ads.

          If Caveat lector (reader beware) is the way the internet is to be then get used to me being aware and responding appropriately.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          Browsers need to support safe adverts. A single off-site image or text content. No scripts, no animation, no noise. Heavily sandboxed.

      • Re:Fuck you. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @01:37PM (#49712075)

        This is why I actually don't have a problem with Google's text ads. You do a search on some terms, and alongside your search results you also get some ads based on those terms. This can be really helpful if you're looking for a product to solve a problem you have, and the ad shows you something which is exactly what you're looking for. I guess this is called "targeted advertisement".

        The mass-spam advertisement is the stuff that sucks, because I have to see it even when I'm not looking to buy something, and it can be for anything, not something that I specifically need.

    • Re:Fuck you. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @11:00AM (#49710851) Homepage Journal

      Agreed. What is "immoral" is, advertisers expecting to use most of my bandwidth, FOR FREE! Take a typical page full of content, and use some network analyzer while it loads. The actual content might amount to a few hundred k, but the damned advertising can amount to multiple megabytes.

      Fuck 'em all. I have limited bandwidth, which I have to pay for, each and every month. Not one of those advertisers is entitled to any of it.

      • by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@ g m a i l .com> on Sunday May 17, 2015 @11:11AM (#49710909) Homepage Journal

        I smell a perverse incentive. The sender of traffic pays, but the last mile also pays for the connection. And in the case of a satellite or cellular last mile, the subscriber pays the most by far: usually $5 to $15 per gigabyte in the United States market. How many of these ad networks happen to own stock in satellite and cellular carriers or vice versa?

        • Never thought of it in that light. If a person had a genuine interest, he could probably find who sits on what boards, which corporate officers hold positions in seemingly unrelated companies, etc. I've been shown before how some corporations are entwined with each other - like a bunch of snakes copulating. That may well be the case here.

    • by swschrad ( 312009 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @11:11AM (#49710905) Homepage Journal

      and it gets worse forcing autoplay of that dancing singing crap, much of which gags my browser. take your Flash and HTML5 and go to hell.

      • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @12:19PM (#49711411) Homepage Journal

        This. I don't mind static ads. Heck, I don't even mind analytics and tracking as long as it is anonymous and the raw data is not made available to anyone who could de-anonymize it.

        What I mind are the seizure-inducing flashing ads that tell me I'm broadcasting an IP address, the ads that take over my screen if my mouse happens to cross the edge of the ad as I go to click a link on the page or scroll it, the ads that make annoying sounds on my work computer, the ads that play video and audio on my work computer, etc.

        I know the advertisers think that they're going to get better results by being more annoying, but the reality is that it is an escalation in an arms race that can only result in that ad network getting blocked en masse.

    • Yep. The issue isn't advertisements it's trackers, beacons, analytics, and all of the other privacy infringing mechanisms that these icehole companies implement that disturbs the discerning web user.
    • Re:Fuck you. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by WillyWanker ( 1502057 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @11:11AM (#49710915)

      This. I don't want to see ads, I'm sick to death of seeing ads, and I'll do everything in my power not to. If that means the end of the web, I don't care. There isn't a single solitary website I can't live without.

      The thing that gets me is that even though advertisers know full well we're all sick to death of advertising and don't want to see it they are doing everything they can to shove it down our throats whether we like it or not. And y'know what, If I'm forced to somehow sit thru an ad when I don't want to (I recently tried to watch a video at CBS.com, and if you block the ads you can't watch the program) I'm either going to a.) mute the sound and switch the tab till the ad is over, or b.) make note of the advertiser and NEVER patronize them simply because they forced me to sit thru an ad I had no interest in seeing. In most cases I will do both.

      Fuck them.

      • I'm either going to [...] make note of the advertiser and NEVER patronize them simply because they forced me to sit thru an ad I had no interest in seeing.

        Good luck doing this when the ad is a public service announcement brought to you by your local electric monopoly. Care to join the Amish?

      • I don't want to see ads, I'm sick to death of seeing ads, and I'll do everything in my power not to. If that means the end of the web, I don't care. There isn't a single solitary website I can't live without.

        Ironic -- saying this on a website that serves up ads. (Granted, it allows you to block them if your karma is good, but clearly your morality still allows you spend time on sites that do the thing you detest, particularly to new users.)

        The thing that gets me is that even though advertisers know full well we're all sick to death of advertising and don't want to see it they are doing everything they can to shove it down our throats whether we like it or not.

        The problem is that they can run the stats. Companies know that successful ad campaigns can increase revenue. How effective web ads are, I don't know -- but there are good reasons that companies spend millions of dollars per minute to run ads during the Superbowl or why cl

      • This. I don't want to see ads, I'm sick to death of seeing ads, and I'll do everything in my power not to. [...]

        Fuck them.

        Here's the thing that gets me. These idiots in ad agencies think that the end of something is when there are no ads. Tell that to HBO, Netflix and any number of other subscription based content providers that don't use advertisements as a revenue stream to shore up their work. If the content on the web page is good enough to attract people to view it, then it might be good enough to supply on a subscription basis and forgo any ads. Now, I know there are things like news and other live or current events rela

    • In any medium, a modus vivendi develops between consumers and advertisers. Nobody objects to ads in a magazine or online advertising that works like ads in a magazine.It's when popups start planting themselves over what you are reading that people reach for their ad-blocker plugins. When you encounter the kind of popups that won't go away, people start calling their legislators.

    • Re:Fuck you. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Austerity Empowers ( 669817 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @01:08PM (#49711825)

      I will not risk the safety and security of my systems by allowing them to display potentially (frequently) harmful ads.

      Let's tally the bad things some ads, do:

      - Play audio without permission
      - Play video without permission
      - Provide intentionally misleading guidance about what a click will do (i.e. "DOWNLOAD HERE!")
      - Pop-ups
      - Pop-overs
      - Obscure material
      - Render improperly/force remaining web page to render improperly
      - Look really, really ugly
      - Frequently provides a strong incentive for copy-cat content, 0 content websites, click-bait, plagiarized content websites to exist, and to be profitable

      Let's then look at the upside:
      - Provide income stream to site owner

      I've got an obvious solution:
      - Learn from Wall St. Journal. Paywall your content, groom it to ensure it is top quality and worth payment. Have a secure order form that is not compromised and willing to spill your CC details to everyone, ask for no more personal information than is strictly required to authorize a purchase.

      Of course most of us aren't going to deal with the paywall, but if you are a site owner, and you want guaranteed revenue from your site, then that is your only option. Otherwise the arms race will continue. As far as I'm concerned the internet was far more useful before people tried to monetize it. There was 90% less content, to be sure, but the content that exists came from people who had something useful to say.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 17, 2015 @10:39AM (#49710731)

    Examples include ads that occupy the entire page, video ads that automatically play and hog mobile data, or broken/inoperable links to ad servers that prevent access to content.

    Make ads unobtrusive (think about the way Google delivers ads), and customers won't block them.

  • by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @10:41AM (#49710735) Homepage Journal

    In other news, a psychologist said that idblockers are amoral.

  • by maliqua ( 1316471 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @10:43AM (#49710753)

    are the reason i started using ad blockers, i will continue to do so until i'm confident the web has removed 100% of these

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 17, 2015 @10:44AM (#49710757)

    There is no right to make a profit. http protocol is displayed by a backend interpretation. I can do what I want with the data I fetch.

    In addition I want the concept of ad revenue generated content to die.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Agreed.

      I remember the first usenet spam, long before the web existed. I also remember the 10 years before that spam, when the internet was ad-free.

      It was much better. I'd like to return to those days. So if this clown and all his "ad-fueled click-bait" content were to up and disappear tomorrow, I would not shed a tear. The actual useful content will continue to exist. I'm even willing to directly kick a few dollars to my favorite small-time interest-specific sites I read.

      But ads and the masses of "here

      • by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@ g m a i l .com> on Sunday May 17, 2015 @11:04AM (#49710877) Homepage Journal

        I'm even willing to directly kick a few dollars to my favorite small-time interest-specific sites I read.

        If anti-ad sentiment grows, you'll end up having to create an account and "directly kick a few dollars" for a month's subscription to read the full text of even one article whose abstract you found through a search engine. Look at newspapers' trends toward making more money from the paywall than they had from advertisers, look at major scholarly journal publishers that continue to resist open access, and look at musicians pulling their recordings off Spotify in favor of subscription-only services like Tidal.

        • I have no problem paying for a subscription (or forums account) for sites which matter to me. All of the truly important information I have found on the Internet has come from small enthusiast-run sites with no advertising, so I'm not too fussed if a majority of ad-sponsored sites either go subscription-only or simply die out.

        • by itzly ( 3699663 )

          you'll end up having to create an account and "directly kick a few dollars" for a month's subscription to read the full text of even one article whose abstract you found through a search engine

          I'll just read the Slashdot summary.

    • by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@ g m a i l .com> on Sunday May 17, 2015 @10:59AM (#49710839) Homepage Journal

      In addition I want the concept of ad revenue generated content to die.

      Slashdot is advertising-supported, and I can see that you aren't posting from a subscriber account. Would you prefer that Slashdot operated like Something Awful, requiring payment up front to see anything past the front page? If you read an article on 20 different web sites, good luck paying for 20 different $5 per month subscriptions.

  • Add that to the growing list of things surrounding marketing that are immoral. As immoral as it may be though, it's also very obtuse, self-serving, and irresponsible.
  • by Fruit ( 31966 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @10:46AM (#49710769) Homepage
    and I'll keep blocking your ads.
  • by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @10:47AM (#49710771)
    Ad networks have lately been the largest vector for remote exploits. Some very ordinary and mainstream websites have been using ad networks that offer up images/flash with embedded exploits. I will block all ad networks due to this. You want to provide ads? Download the ads locally, vet and display them from your own server like we used to do in the good ol' days of the web. Then I can't block them.

    Using an ad network as a webmaster is laziness and immoral.
    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      You want to provide ads? Download the ads locally, vet and display them from your own server like we used to do in the good ol' days of the web.

      How would you recommend that a small web site attract advertisers under this sort of model?

    • Ad networks have lately been the largest vector for remote exploits. Some very ordinary and mainstream websites have been using ad networks that offer up images/flash with embedded exploits. I will block all ad networks due to this.

      Especially ordinary and mainstream sites. Too many people think that viruses come from porn sites and stuff like that.. Worst virus I ever got on a Windows machine was from a site about comparing garage door openers.

  • by l0ungeb0y ( 442022 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @10:53AM (#49710801) Homepage Journal

    "For all their sins, ads fuel much of the Web. Cut them out and you're strangling the diversity of online voices and publishers – and I don't think consumers really want that."

    So for all their sins, which include abuses such as embedding malware, unlawful tracking and spying as well as browse hijacking, plus the sheer annoyance of embedded video and flashing content -- the users who have opted out by installing Ad Blockers are the immoral ones. Then again -- rapists often blame their victims.

  • by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @10:53AM (#49710807) Journal

    Ad blockers would not have been necessary if we didn't have ad networks distributing malware.

  • Immoral? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Razed By TV ( 730353 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @10:54AM (#49710809)
    The war began in earnest when ads became intrusive and disruptive.

    I appreciate that someone has to pay for all of the sites that I visit for free. Some are payed entirely out of pocket, a labor of love by the host. And some are fueled by ad revenue. But those that utilize pop-ups, pop-unders, full screen ads, ads that autoplay voice and sound, malicious ads with fake security warnings and fake buttons... I don't feel the slightest bit guilty about denying ad revenue to those sites.
  • He has a point (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @10:56AM (#49710823)
    If web sites can't find a way to pay for the content and hosting then they eventually will go away. The consensus on /. seems to be "paywalls and ads are bad and screw those that use them I have a right to ad free and free access to content..." The problem isn't so much ads as the intrusive nature of some and their increasing use as malware delivery mechanisms. pop ups, self starting, animated ads are a real nuisance and worthy of blocking, as are tracking cookies etc. The advertising industry needs to find a way around that that doesn't annoy users because, while ad blocking users are probably a small fraction of all users currently, as things get worse more and more users will block ads. Whisk they are at it, they need to fix the problem that if I do see an ad I am interested in if I leave the page and come back the ad is no longer there.
    • Re:He has a point (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @01:16PM (#49711893)

      First of all, there were web pages before the onset of ads. There are still big pages that can exist without ads. Some would perish, but I doubt that something we deem valuable would be unavailable for long. I could currently not think of a single page that I would honestly miss dearly should it perish due to a lack of ad revenue.

      Blocking ads is a rather recent development, and mostly due to increasingly obnoxious ads. Of course you had the hardcore anti-ad people who would block ads on principle, who went out of their way to block them, rewriting DNS entries in their servers and even developing their own page-manipulating plugins. But they were few. They existed for a long time and they hardly mattered.

      When it started to matter was when "normal" people started reaching for ad blockers, and they would not have done it if ads hadn't evolved into something that is SO obnoxious that people who accept ads in their TV shows. Can you remotely imagine how much you have to piss someone off to go out of his way to find a remedy who is used to having his TV series interrupted every 10 minutes for a 2 minute commercial break? How much you have to piss someone off who puts up with THIS?

      But the genie is out of the bottle now. The ad industry slaughtered the goose that lays the golden eggs. People are not going to uninstall their adblockers, even if the ads went back to a saner form.

  • He has a point. Ads are used to support many free services such as hobbyist forums which would otherwise be unable to run.

    That being said, none of us here would be affected by banning of ad-blockers since we all know basic CSS and other ad-blocking techniques. We don't need it, and we can all benefit from others' lack of it.

  • For all their sins, ads fuel much of the Web. Cut them out and you're strangling the diversity of online voices and publishers – and I don't think consumers really want that.

    Actually, consumers want everything, and they want it for free.

    Plus a pony.

    Consumers are going to go for the absolute cheapest venue right now, and then they're going to complain about the long-term consequences of their behavior. That's just how humans work.

    And producers are going to try to maximize the amount they make right no

  • by sirwired ( 27582 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @11:00AM (#49710853)

    For many years, I didn't block ads, viewing them as a necessary part of all the free content on the internet. But starting with pages of animated ads that really slowed down browsers of old, and progressing to ads that play audio by default, ads that play video (with audio!) on even a momentary mouseover, etc.,, not to mention ads containing or linking to malicious content, I have no choice but to block them.

  • The Church of the Invisible Hand's doctrine on annoying ads are that they are all manifestations of Xiombarg, god-queen of Chaos.

  • I hate ads, I use an ad blocker, but I'm posting because so far all of the comments have chastised sites for using ads, without providing an alternative.

    The summary has some truth when it says, "for all their sins, ads fuel much of the Web". It costs real money to host a website, it costs real money to run a website, it costs real money to produce the content for a website.

    So my question to all of those infuriated by those content producers who would "dare" to try to protect their ads is this: what viable a

    • by Z80a ( 971949 )

      Ads that don't try to install something like alureon on your machine?

    • by lq_x_pl ( 822011 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @11:28AM (#49711015)
      I feel like the overarching sentiment isn't hostile towards ads in general, but towards disruptive ad tech. Pop unders, pop ups, ads that cover the entire screen, ads that auto play videos or sounds. These ads make the 'internet experience' miserable. Ad blockers were created in response to those nuisances. This is an arms race started by advertisers. Yes, ads help keep sites running, but the internet is not just for ad distribution. When an ad seizes control of my browsing experience, or delivers malware (because the ad mechanism has facilitated exploitation), it has ceased to be 'the thing that pays for content' and become the central feature of the browsing experience. Website owners are welcome to run their websites like that, but I am also welcome to determine what data is welcome on my machine. Since we peasant consumers have no way of knowing, beforehand, what the ad delivery mechanism is going to be, the emergence and embrace of ad blockers is to be expected. These days, I will stop browsing a site immediately if the ads become annoying. I would not have clinked on the link in the first place if I knew ahead of time that I would be interrupted by a full-page antacid advert.
    • by itzly ( 3699663 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @11:43AM (#49711125)

      So again, if we were to get rid of ads, what would we replace them with?

      Frankly, I don't give a shit. I'll continue to block the ads on my browser, and the content hosting company can figure out how to get their money.

  • Agreed BUT (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Andy Smith ( 55346 )

    In very black-and-white terms I agree with Martin Bryant.

    BUT... to give one example, a lot of web sites (including Slashdot) are unusable on my iPhone nowadays because of ads that either (1) automatically redirect me to a product on the App Store as soon as the ad loads, or (2) try to do that, but do it badly so Safari closes the web page and reloads it.

    Maybe if advertisers didn't behave so aggressively, people wouldn't aggressively block them. I block ads on my Mac, and if it was possible (maybe it is?) th

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @11:06AM (#49710887) Journal
    While I find his preaching about the moral rightness of what he does, and our duty to endure whatever shit he wishes to shove in our faces to be deeply obnoxious; it would not entirely surprise me if this little experiment by the carriers ends up going...badly.

    Ad-blocking at the client end('client end' includes routers, filtering appliances, etc. under user control, if the applicable network is large or geeky enough) is simply the right of the individual to run the software of their choice on their hardware, to best serve their interests, in action. Running a public HTTP server doesn't give you some special right to dictate how the output is formatted for display.

    Ad-blocking at the carrier level, though, gets risky fast. Whenever an ISP starts deviating from 'dumb pipe' operation, you have to start worrying about whose interests are going to win out, and how dramatically. Especially risky if (as is the case with quite a few cellular companies and ISPs) they also have a side interest in advertising, consumer analytics, a media arm, or other properties that could benefit from a little traffic meddling. We've already seen some of the more obscure WISPs provide 'ad blocking', then inject their own ads over the originals, worst of both worlds.

    Ad blocking is well and good(and, frankly, until the advertisers can clean up the ghastly security situation, they have no justification for whining. Ads are easily the most dangerous part of most parts of the web you'd admit to visiting in polite company); but anything that gives ISPs more control over traffic is to be watched with considerable concern. You don't think that a plan to stick it to google is going to stop at blocking google's ads, do you? Not when they could use their privileged position on the wire to achieve the same tracking and advertising that google actually has to offer attractive services to achieve...
  • by King_TJ ( 85913 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @11:10AM (#49710899) Journal

    I'll be honest.... I won't shed a tear if a good 50 or 60% of the existing web sites die off, due to lack of revenue generation.

    Maybe then we'll get back to something more sane? Look, I get that a lot of special interest blog sites would die if they didn't receive ad revenue. I used to write for one of them myself. (And guess what? It died, because they couldn't generate enough page hits to impress enough advertisers to spend a lot of money on it.)

    But ultimately, it's survival of the fittest like anything else. I think it would be in the best interest of a lot of businesses to host and pay for sites related in some way to products or services they sell, so that would theoretically keep quite a few of them afloat. (A few of the car related forums I'm on work like that.... They're partially funded by contributions by area car dealerships that want to sponsor them, and they charge annual fees for 3rd. parties to host a message base on the forum where they can advertise whatever they like with new message posts.) This model keeps out the spam/malware and ensures target marketing by default. The users LIKE the sponsors and their marketing because it typically includes discount coupon codes on various products of interest, and ensures good
    customer service when a forum "regular" also happens to be the owner of the company you bought your items from!

    In other cases, people should just learn to accept that hosting a web site is going to cost them something. It really shouldn't cost much, in most cases. If you're not streaming out a bunch of video content or hosting huge downloads, your blog site just isn't likely to generate massive amounts of bandwidth usage (what most hosting services really bill for, because storage space itself is dirt cheap). Every hobby I ever had cost me some money.... Deciding to run a special interest blog or message forum should be no different.

  • Sociopaths? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aardvarkjoe ( 156801 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @11:16AM (#49710931)

    So the advertisers (or their mouthpieces) are calling the people that would block ads sociopathic? That's rich.

  • I haven't found display ads a particularly effective marketing tool. Ad blockers are not the only reason their effectiveness is diminishing. Ads are so ubiquitous that we don't even see them anymore. We have several billboards within blocks of our house, I drive past them every day and couldn't tell you what's on them. It's just noise and we tune it out after a while.

    At least when it comes to books, paid reviews and blogs are more effective than display ads. Even if the reviews aren't positive, they're us

  • Around 2000 I was playing with a Digital (the computer company) technology where you could do microtransactions on web pages. I forget the exact size but it was as low as something like 1/1000th of a cent. This was pretty cool in that you could charge customers to visit your website page by page or however you would like to structure the transaction. The idea was that an end user would have put, say, $10 in their wallet and each time they would go to a website it would pop up and say, "This site will charge
  • Display ads are still an important bread-and-butter income stream.

    Display ads are still an important malware distribution mechanism..

  • How about they can advertise all they want as long as they can guarantee that the adverts are completely safe for my computer?

    Of course, the technology for such a guarantee is probably decades away (if it exists at all), so that would be a big leap forward.

  • Martin Bryant, the Editor-in-Chief of The Next Web clearly needs to find himself a less public position that does not entail dealing with reality and actual people. What kind of moron goes out calling people they don't know snobs. And pertains to know that everything is fine because it works for him... there is a fantastic TED talk about that. If it is broken for me it is broken for me mister, period!!! I utterly resent your rant sir and all the deapicable thoughts it represents about other people that you
  • I was happy with the internet before ads and would welcome the return of an ads-free internet. The only commercial sites that I have any use for, are vendor sites whose products I already use and therefore need support.

  • by rbrander ( 73222 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @11:36AM (#49711079) Homepage

    Jon Stewart once signed off the Daily Show with "If you used a DVR to skip our ads, you're a thief" or some such - it was a sharp way to highlight the foolishness of these guys. We skipped ads when it was only broadcast TV all the time by stepping out to make a sandwich.
    The only thing we're doing is voting with our feet that content providers should find another way to fund their work. It's no more immoral than renting direct-to-video movies were immoral compared to watching broadcast TV.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @12:36PM (#49711535)

    Thank you for your concern, we all had a good laugh. But still I feel you are entitled to a response. And that's all you're entitled to. A response. You're not entitled to our bandwidth, you're not entitled to us reading your spam, you're not entitled to steal our time and most of all, you're not entitled to infecting our computers with malware 'cause you can't be assed to check whether your customers are crooks.

    And this is why we use ad blockers.

    Advertising is something we have come to accept as the price to pay for what we want to have. We have accepted ads as part of our TV viewing experience. And you may trust us when we tell you that we're not too fond of it. It's something we accepted as a price to pay. Not as an "additional experience" or as "valuable information". It's something we put up with to get what we want. nothing more. Essentially, we see you and your product as the necessary evil we have to accept to get what we want.

    Just so you know where we are standing, and where you are.

    We're not your partners. I think I don't tell you anything new, since we're essentially your product. You sell us, to your customers. You sell our views, our page impressions, our viewing habits, our "eyes" so to speak.

    And products are rarely fully on the side of the entity selling them.

    We have come to terms with you and your customers. And we have accepted it, as stated above. And we were also willing to do the same with this new medium here. We do understand that someone has to pay money, and if we want to pay with our time, someone else has to do the money part. We do understand that. And we do actually accept that.

    What we do NOT accept is when you do not check whether your customers are crooks, we have to defend ourselves against their attacks. And that means that we have to disallow you to show us ads. Out of self defense.

    What we do NOT accept is when you try to get obnoxious. When you slap ads over ads over ads before, while and after we have had any chance to see a tiny bit of what we actually want to see, we will defend ourselves. We allow you to use our eyes on our terms. Overstep your boundaries and be prepared to be shown the door.

    We do NOT accept hundreds of megabytes of traffic for obnoxious video/sound ads for a few lines of content that we want. If the price (ads) outweighs the product (content), we will not pay that price.

    Bottom line, and tl;dr version (we know, your time is valuable, you only deem ours expendable): You're entitled to nothing. You will get what we let you have. Be thankful and you shall thrive. Try to force more out of us than your due and you shall perish.

  • by Art3x ( 973401 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @02:36PM (#49712557)

    I'm trying to think of how to make advertising work, because I really like all of the free stuff, and I know eventually those media creators need to somehow get paid.

    Pages
    BAD: Animated, big, or pop-up ads
    OK: Text ads, like on the side of Google Search Results. Maybe little bitty, icon-like logos of brands along the side or bottom (a few). Also, somehow the print advertising in paper newspapers was never that annoying. It was even interesting. It's worth studying why and implementing whatever the computer-screen equivalent is.

    Video
    BAD: 30-second commercials before my 2-minute Youtube video begins
    OK: 5-second commercial at the end of the Youtube video

    Games
    BAD: Full-screen ads between levels, or partial-screen ads during levels.
    OK: Little ads at the bottom of the Game Over screen.

    Businesses spend millions of dollars to hire a celebrity endorsement, talented graphic designers and filmmakers, and others, to cater to touchy-feely emotional associations. They often focus on just getting people to think the brand is cool or trustworthy in a nebulous way, instead of simply outlining the cold, hard facts about their product. I'm not saying I endorse this way of advertising. I'm saying that the elephant in the room is that they are sabotaging it all by their rude interruptions. What kind of emotional aftertaste will I have for a brand in this scenario: Ah, funny cat video. Click. Hi, I'd like to sell you insurance! Meh, you ruined the moment.

    Businessmen might think the limits I've outlined above will make their ads too subtle. But if you cross that threshold of subtlety, you ruin everything. Besides, people are a lot more detail-oriented than you think. In school I remember that Guess jeans were all the rage. The difference between Guess jeans and all of the others was a one-inch triangular patch sewn on the back. I'm even talking teenagers here. They may sometimes seem incapable of remembering historical dates, but man can they spot the difference between the Polo logo and a knock-off. That's why I think little logos will be noticed. They may even be more compelling because they are not chasing you. They're standing back, like they don't really need you, totally cool.

    For those that are interested, be a little enticing. For those that aren't, don't be annoying. Because I don't think the tactic is working to hit everyone over the head in the hopes that they'll fall into some kind of stupor and buy.

Time-sharing is the junk-mail part of the computer business. -- H.R.J. Grosch (attributed)

Working...