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ASUS To Include AdBlock Plus On All Phones and Tablets In 2016 (betanews.com) 189

JoeyRox writes: Starting in 2016 Asus will ship all phones and tablets with AdBlock Plus integrated into their mobile browser. The ad-blocking software will not only be pre-installed but enabled by default as well. The move to include ad-blocking software on mobile devices is significant because unlike desktop users the percentage of mobile users presently employing ad-blocking software is very low at approximately 2%.
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ASUS To Include AdBlock Plus On All Phones and Tablets In 2016

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  • by jones_supa ( 887896 ) on Thursday December 24, 2015 @06:49AM (#51177557)

    The sorts of politically incorrect software that Asian electronics companies can ship is sometimes funny. I'm sure there are a few smaller vendors that even ship a Torrent app with the explanation being up front "the customer wants to download pirated movies". I love it.

    Baking in an adblocker will certainly raise eyebrows in Google and other big advertising syndicates.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      How much do you want to bet that ASUS ads will be on the non-intrusive whitelist of adb+?

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Forget about Adblock plus and it's "acceptable ads" bullshit. Ublock origin FTW!

        • Ublock origin doesn't exist as a standalone thingie on android, so adblock is what's there until something better comes along.

          Ad Away works relatively well at cost of a massively bloated /etc/hosts but it doesn't catch everything.

      • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

        If you bought an Asus device then they don't need to push more ads for their products. You can see related products each time you visit their web site for support, like when you need updated firmware or drivers.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Adblock Plus earns money by including a whitelist which those advertising syndicates have to pay for to be on. It wouldn't surprise me if Adblock Plus is paying ASUS to put their garbage app/plugin onto their phones. Just another piece of bloatware.

      • I use Adblock Plus, and have never seen an advertisement with them. Not even acceptable ads. I'm perfectly fine with advertisers paying to be on a list and still not being viewed by anyone.

      • I just reinstalled adblock plus on my android.

        The option to filter/unfilter "acceptable advertising" is no longer there.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The sorts of politically incorrect software that Asian electronics companies can ship is sometimes funny. I'm sure there are a few smaller vendors that even ship a Torrent app with the explanation being up front "the customer wants to download pirated movies". I love it.

      That's nothing. Car vendors will happily sell you cars that go above the speed limit, and will explicitely say that this is because people enjoy driving fast!

      Just let that sink in for a moment. Unlike ad-blocking, it's actually against the law! And unlike downloading movies, it may actually endanger people and cause damage to life and limb!

      What is the world coming to.

      • I guess that the argument there is that they want you to be able to drive your car anywhere. There are no speed limits on some highways, although obviously safe driving laws are still in effect. There's also the fact that you could take your car to a race track where you are allowed to go whatever speed you want, and it's probably somewhat safe assuming you are properly trained and go at full speed on the correct part of the race track.

        • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

          And some roads have obscenely low speed limits, often indicated by when people keeping the speed limit causes a pile-up.

    • Adblocking is 100% legal. Downloading pirated movies isn't.

    • by swillden ( 191260 ) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Thursday December 24, 2015 @11:59AM (#51178467) Homepage Journal

      Baking in an adblocker will certainly raise eyebrows in Google and other big advertising syndicates.

      Probably not so much at Google since Google's ads comply with the ADP+ acceptable ads policy and are not blocked.

  • by Maow ( 620678 ) on Thursday December 24, 2015 @06:53AM (#51177565) Journal

    This is an interesting move.

    Will others follow suit and a crisis in online advertising ensue?

    Or will ABP leverage this to extract gobs of cash from the ad industry to allow a lot of ads through, rendering it relatively useless?

    I shall remain behind my DNS-based ad blocking here at home and watch with interest.

    On a side note, some YouTube ads are sneaking through on a mobile device. Anyone know what domain(s) they're being served from? It's a fairly recent phenomenon; something's changed on their end it seems.

    • by johanw ( 1001493 )

      Use Snaptube for Android (http://www.snaptubeapp.com/). No ads and you can download the video's as well.

    • by wvmarle ( 1070040 ) on Thursday December 24, 2015 @09:22AM (#51177875)

      Or will ABP leverage this to extract gobs of cash from the ad industry to allow a lot of ads through, rendering it relatively useless?

      ABP has a very thin line to walk there, as the moment they go too far in allowing ads through people will jump ship and move to another blocker. They may be the most popular, but they for sure aren't the only ones out there.

      For me the main reason to use ABP (and FlashBlock) is to get rid of floaters, popup/unders, moving/flashing images, ads with sound, and other such annoyances. I don't mind ads as such. I still buy paper newspapers even though at least a quarter of the page area is advertising - all static images that don't distract me, it's so hard to read text when there are a few ads flashing next to the article (the web site of the Dutch paper "De Volksrant" is a prime example of this horror - at least it was last time it triggered me to install ABP/FlashBlock).

      My ABP allows "acceptable ads" and until a few days ago when I checked while reading another /. discussion I didn't realise this. I'm obviously not bothered by them. Maybe it's also that the "acceptable ads" are far and few between.

      • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Thursday December 24, 2015 @09:35AM (#51177905) Homepage

        I very much agree with this. Web sites need to support themselves. I don't think the web would work quite as well if you had to pay a fee to every website you went to, even if it was a very small amount. As long as the ads don't move or make sounds, and don't try to cover up the content, then I don't really have a problem with them. I think that advertisers are shooting themselves in the foot. If there weren't so many terrible ads on the web, we wouldn't even be having this discussion right now.

        • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

          One example where unobtrusive ads exists is The Daily WTF [thedailywtf.com].

          I don't feel that they are denying me the target experience and therefore they can be left. The fact that they rarely interests me is a different issue, but at least they aren't up in my face annoying me.

      • As far as I can tell, "acceptable adverts" in ABP parlance means "no popups, no animations, no flash, no noises and no obnoxiously large panels"

  • It blocks all the crap without any automatic whitelisting.

  • by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) on Thursday December 24, 2015 @07:00AM (#51177603) Journal

    It's starting to feel a bit like the end of an era for the advertising-based business model for the web. Almost everybody I know now uses an adblocker on their desktop/laptop PC. My employer recently switched on adblocking-by-default on our office PCs, due to concerns over the number of malware-spreading adverts. Meanwhile, adverts while mobile browsing have become so disruptive (it's virtually impossible now to browse certain websites on an iPhone) that I'm strongly considering adblocking on my phone as well.

    The web-advertising industry is on the verge of suicide. Few people had a problem with the static banner ads and most tolerated the animated .gifs, but the video-ads were a further intrusion and, for many people (self included), the auto-playing video-ads were the tipping point. The increasing prevalence of ads as a means of pushing malware and the failure of the advertising networks to screen them out seems to have been the tipping point for a lot of Government and corporate networks as well.

    So the question is, what comes next and what does it mean? The strangulation of advertising income is going to fundamentally change the way a lot of sites operate. The pace at which newspapers and magazines are paywalling formerly free content is accelerating. In other cases, the content is free but subscription plans are available for an enhanced service, or even required if users want to leave comments or participate in forums. Are we moving towards a world in which only sites with a product to sell and small-scale operations will be free to browse?

    If so, there might be upsides as well as downsides. One product of the advertising model has been the clickbait-culture. That's not just about "10 shocking things you won't believe" and "this one neat trick" headlines, it's also about deliberately provocative content. Stories which get people riled up are great business, if your business model is based on page-views and ad-views. Give people an interesting article that they enjoy reading and they will view the page once then move on. Give them something that makes them angry and they will leave an angry comment, then refresh the page 30 times over the course of the day to argue with other people leaving angry comments. Just look at the stories on Slashdot which get the highest number of comments...

    Slashdot is a long way from the worst offender (even though, in the DICE-era, it undoubtedly is an offender). The advertising web model has turned the angry fringe voices, whether the ultra-conservative demagogues of the right, or the "ban everything I don't like" Angry Campus Narcissists of the left into a profitable business model and in doing so has arguably coarsened public debate and poisoned the wider political sphere.

    So maybe the death of the advertising model and the move to a subscription-based web might be a good thing.

    • I would pay double, perhaps triple, my internet bill for an ad-free, quality content filled, no spyware version of the internet.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Yeah, but that's not how it will work. It's 10 bux here, 10 bux there, pretty soon you have to fork over a hundred dollars a month to read content you might only have perused before. It breaks linking, it makes sharing difficult - it's really not the best way to go.

      • The problem with that is that traditional media has always been 100% paid for (and then some) by advertisers.

        Even newspapers were completely paid for long before they left the press. That number on the front is simply to ensure that the reader feels he's getting value for money (it's usually set at about the value of the paper) - people traditionally felt a free source is less "valuable" in terms of the information disseminated.

        William Randolph Hearst drove 2 countries to war (USA vs Spain) in order to sell

    • It could be an excuse to develop even more intrusive / difficult to filter ads than what we've seen so far. But unlike other arms races, I think -over time- that's a dead end. Unless you want to chase all visitors away.

      The other choice is re-evaluate how costs are covered. Some options: (mix & match as needed)

      Put up a paywall - subscribers only. Or a partial paywall: some stuff free, premium stuff for paying subscribers.

      To keep a lid on hosting costs: a return to low(er) bandwidth content. Fewer

      • Plain image ads (hosted on your own site not 3rd party-provided)

        How would that work? If a site hosts its own ads rather than entrusting that to an ad network, how will its advertisers trust that they're being fed accurate view and click statistics and not a line of bull$#!+?

        • Why should such statistics actually matter? If you don't measure the success of an ad campaign purely from sales numbers, you aren't measuring actual effectiveness.

          • by tepples ( 727027 )

            Without statistics, how would an advertiser go about determining which ad buys within a particular campaign were more likely to have contributed to sales? Or are you recommending cost per action (CPA) advertising, such as referral programs where the publisher gets a percentage of the advertiser's directly related sales? One problem with CPA is that it disregards customers who see an ad now and then decide to buy later. The other is CPA's association with CPAlead, a company offering a "content locking" servi

      • Put up a paywall - subscribers only.

        Say you open a search engine, and you find ten pages, one on each of ten different web sites. But each web site wants $20 for a year's subscription. I don't think most people are willing to buy a year's subscription just for one article from each of these sites [blockadblock.com].

        Increased interest in micro-payment options.

        I'm not sure how pay-per-page will work as long as credit cards still have a swipe fee on the order of 33 cents plus 3.3%. And I'm not sure how Bitcoin is a viable alternative when it still has a fee of 0.0001 BTC (currently 4.3 cents) per transactio

    • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

      The web-advertising industry is on the verge of suicide. Few people had a problem with the static banner ads and most tolerated the animated .gifs, but the video-ads were a further intrusion and, for many people (self included), the auto-playing video-ads were the tipping point. The increasing prevalence of ads as a means of pushing malware and the failure of the advertising networks to screen them out seems to have been the tipping point for a lot of Government and corporate networks as well.

      Even the video ads don't bother me so much because I don't browse with sound. What annoys me are the adds on websites like CNN and ESPN that wrap around the entire page.

      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        Even the video ads don't bother me so much because I don't browse with sound.

        They'll bother you once you get your Internet bill and see an increase in the monthly data volume because advertisers are pushing 720p ads at you even though your browser window (or even your device's screen) is smaller than 720p.

    • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

      Well you pretty much summed it up, the whole malware bit where ad networks refuse to vet ads is probably the biggest reason people install ad blocking software. They could fix it tomorrow if they actually just veted the ads before they were served to ensure that it wouldn't be a problem.

      But they can try a subscription based service, it won't work as long as people can find the information elsewhere. Ask the newspapers all over the place who've tried their paywalls and so on, and how much it's failed.

    • Why are trees tall?

      Trees as a whole do not benefit from being tall. It uses resources, and makes them vulnerable to weather damage. If the trees were intelligent they would hold a conference and decide that they should cooperate to collect as much sun as they can - staying just above ground height. They may pass a law prohibiting trees from growing too tall and shading their neighbours. But trees are not intelligent - the tree that goes higher than those around it gets more sun, and so creates more offsprin

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      I'm hoping it will go even further than just ad blocking, with users really taking control of their browsers. Default cookie blocking, much more restrictive JavaScript with an app style permission system. Business models like "5 free articles/month " will have to change. Tracking will become useless.

  • They should use an adblocker that really blocks ads, with no whitelists. The only acceptable ad is a blocked ad!

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      They should use an adblocker that really blocks ads, with no whitelists. The only acceptable ad is a blocked ad!

      Consider it a bit like the Geneva Conventions, they don't make war a good thing but maybe we could get a ban on the worst forms of advertisement until we all hold hands and sing kumbayah.

    • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Thursday December 24, 2015 @10:48AM (#51178143)

      Wrong attitude. The use of an ad blocker which defines "acceptable" ads sends a clear message on what we can tolerate, and quite frankly I'm quite happy to tolerate ads that are not obtrusive, animated, or include any multimedia other than text or even a very small static picture.

      What I don't want is a world where I have to make a micro payment to every bloody page I visit.

      • What I don't want is a world where I have to make a micro payment to every bloody page I visit.

        You're likely already doing that, albeit indirectly. Who pays for the ads? You think businesses just grow their money on trees to pay out that money to website owners for serving ads?

        No -- those ads are paid for by businesses, who must extract more profits from customers to pay for those ads. With the increase in "targeted advertising" where you tend to see advertisements for products you've been shopping for recently -- you're already making a "micropayment" for that business serving up that ad for th

        • "micro-payment" has a definition. That is not the same as bartering or providing something for something else. Yes I am bartering, no I do not want to switch to micro-payments, mainly because currently advertisers super-massively overvalue knowledge about me.

          I'd rather see the ad-supported web die completely. I was around before it existed. It was fine.

          A disperse set of hobby sites run by a few highly dedicated nerds loosely collected into groups or rings, often out of date or a one time only publication, tiny user bases, static content with bugger all server / bandwidth requirements. Yeah I was there

      • by jc42 ( 318812 )

        Wrong attitude. The use of an ad blocker which defines "acceptable" ads sends a clear message on what we can tolerate, and quite frankly I'm quite happy to tolerate ads that are not obtrusive, animated, or include any multimedia other than text or even a very small static picture.

        What I don't want is a world where I have to make a micro payment to every bloody page I visit.

        If you're using a wireless gadget, chances are that most of your bandwidth is taken up by those ads. And actually, just blocking them may not help your bandwidth much, because by the time your software figures out that a given download is an ad, all it can do is not display the ad. But its byte count has been added to your account by your ISP/cell provider. So you're paying for it whether or not you actually see it.

        At least, that's the way it mostly works here in the US. Yes, if it's from a known ad s

        • But its byte count has been added to your account by your ISP/cell provider. So you're paying for it whether or not you actually see it.

          Are you saying websites push ads into HTML in your browser, that your phone downloads images without actual HTTP requests?
          I think you may need a better ad blocker.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The APK guy's a bit late today.

  • The new competition is between brokers - ad "blockers" are used NOT to block all ads, but to block the ads of competing broker networks. This is why Adblock Plus was chosen: it isn't an ad blocker, but an ad broker-broker, the product of a company which requires a fee to be paid to let your network's ads through.

    Oh, and before apk appears: your HOSTS solution is useless because I can't use it to block the advertising for your product that you spam over this site.

  • If it defaults to not allowing them, this could be a good thing. Otherwise uBlock would be the better choice.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    That's the obvious question. By installing ad blocking software by default they're creating a market (for themselves) where advertisers pay Asus to get their domain white listed and thus their ads allowed.

  • But your phone has to be rooted to use it. Adaway can be downloaded from D-froid [ http://f-droid.org/ [f-droid.org] ]. Each known ad web url is redirected to 127.0.0.1, really rocks :)

    • by rklrkl ( 554527 )

      I use Adaway too, but supplement it with Adblock Plus in Firefox to get wider coverage (my assumption here is that some URLs in Adaway aren't in Adblock Plus and vice versa). The only time I look at ads now is usually for a short video to let me be resurrected in a game or get some bonus coins, but even that can be tedious (if you must show me video ads, uniquely cycle through them rather than having the same video ad over and over again and only switching it after about 5 views).

      • (my assumption here is that some URLs in Adaway aren't in Adblock Plus and vice versa).

        They use the same adblocking lists, so you're effectively wasting cycles.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It will also have a custom whitelist that will allow ads approved by ASUS, so their "partners and affiliates" will still be able to bombard you with ads. Of course, ASUS will collect a fee for the privilege.

    There is no such thing as corporate altruism, folks.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Don't poke the bear!
    Let's just pretend that no one is using AdBlock instead of essentially *forcing* people to use it.
    That way they won't try to find ways around AdBlock (I hope).

    • Exactly. This reminds me of Internet Explorer deciding to set the "Do Not Track" header by default. If you put it on by default, nobody pays attention to it. The fact that it's on should mean that the user made a conscious decision to tell the website operators they do not want to be tracked. Similarly for ad blocking, the presence of an ad blocker should be a conscious decision made by the user. It means they actually are annoyed by the ads, and want to send a message to advertisers.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The problem with Do Not Track was that some evil websites where using the DNT header itself to help identify and profile users.
        Turning it into the default state of a commonly used browser at least prevents it from having the opposite effect of what it's supposed to do.

      • "If you put it on by default, nobody pays attention to it."

        If you don't put it on by default, nobody pays attention to it anyway. There's no incentive for sites to obey the request.

  • Its really great step from the user's point of view. Ads really irritates and after removing it, the user can freely access whatever they want. Basically they will enjoy to work on ASUS.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Not with AdBlock but with Ads

    The first is that since they started Ads have gotten bigger, flashier and just generally obnoxious over the years which has caused people in general to start taking measures to actively avoid them. I sure as hell don't want or need to see a 2+min movie that takes up half my screen and PURPOSEFULLY blocks its own close button by pushing it up out of the frame. Forcing you to sit there and listen to whatever, every other time you click on an article on the same #$^!#$^ site. Somet

  • by Anonymous Coward

    When I have FIOS and no data limit, the ads don't bother me too much. Video ads do still SUCK. On my phone where I have monthly limits, I don't want some BS video add sending me huge amounts when I am looking for directions to the discount store.

  • The majority of the adblockers are very heavy handed. They break webpages. ABP is one of them.

    It will also do one of two things to sites (regardless of content) that mainly rely on advertising. It will make them go under or the sites will insert javascript for adblocker detection and force you to disable it to use the site. So it will be a near zero-sum game.

    What we need is an HTML firewall to block all of the third-party advertising and scripting. This gives sites better control on what shows on their site

  • The number of blocked ads on mobile devices would be higher if:

    a) we had blocking software which didn't rely on rooting.
    b) we had universal browser plugins that worked with the popular browsers
    c) Firefox Mobile wasn't such an incredibly intolerable piece of shit.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "People are taking the piss out of you everyday. They butt into your life, take a cheap shot at you and then disappear. They leer at you from tall buildings and make you feel small. They make flippant comments from buses that imply you’re not sexy enough and that all the fun is happening somewhere else. They are on TV making your girlfriend feel inadequate. They have access to the most sophisticated technology the world has ever seen and they bully you with it. They are The Advertisers and they are la

  • Hopefully this will make things better as (at least on the versions before adblock) on ios many sites are completely unusable start to type in the search box Appstore redirect.
    try to scroll the page? Appstore redirect. Try to click a link Interstitial and then appstore redirect. Try to close a page what do you think happens? app store redirect.

    Don't have much experience with android tablets but most of what i've seen hangs on the ebay homepage.

    Either way in my experience advertisers treat mobile users much

  • I think this is excellent. While AdBlock Plus might not be perfect, having it installed by a major manufacturer is an important milestone in stopping the business of intrusive advertising. One must consider that most of the general population does not care enough to install an adblocker. This is especially true for mobile devices. These same people are also not going to care enough to uninstall one, either. The more companies that start doing this, the less profitable serving insecure and invasive advertisi

  • You currently have two choices if you want ABP on mobile: 1) you can install the ABP browser (which isn't Chrome or Firefox), or 2) you can can set up an ABP proxy to use your normal browser. Both options are slower and less reliable than a "real" browser.

  • They might start installing ABP, but does this mean they'll stop installing crapware (that you can't uninstall) on their devices? I doubt it. This gives Asus the monopoly for advertising on your device--only the ads that come through their own software will get through.

  • ...ads are much more disruptive and costly to the recipient on mobile devices. I'm glad they are doing this, it's long past time.

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