Ad Block Apocalypse? Here's How to Save the Web

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turkey3_scratch

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Ad-blocking is not wrong. Companies have a right to put ads on their sites, and we as clients have a right to do whatever we want with the data that our web browser handles.
 

damianrobertjones

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Ad-blocking is not wrong as is having ads in the first place. What IS wrong is people favouring one company over another.

For instance... Tom's still hasn't reviewed the Surface Pro 3.
 

itmoba

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Ad-blocking isn't very sophisticated technology. By the moment a "wall" is adequately constructed, someone will have devised a way to pass through said wall. For example, is it that difficult to exploit canvases to sneak advertisements in by means of having converted an image to a byte array? No.

But, if we don't tolerate the removal of advertisements by means of plug-ins, add-ons, and extensions, then, it begs the question as to how should we approach, classify, and handle the "problem" with respect to text-based browsers, like, Lynx, ELinks, and w3m.
 

jpishgar

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Jan 5, 2010
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Outstanding piece on the current state of ads and ad-blocking from my past debate partner on this very subject!

From my view, Solution #3 with a heavy peppering of Solution #1 seem the best way to go. Standardize ad actions and insist on ethical ad behavior. The IAB did this once upon a time when it set uniform sizing, and it helped tremendously. It could go a step further and declare, ideally with cooperation from the biggest ad serving companies (Google AdSense, et al) additional, stringent requirements.

Once upon a time in America, there was a habit of advertisers on television to double or triple the volume of their commercials, causing televisions to blare loudly, deeply upsetting viewers. Advertisers knew this tactic was effective, because people would hear the commercials far louder than the program they were watching, and it all but required their attention. The discomfort reaching for the volume control to turn down the suddenly-loud television could be directly equated to closing an annoying pop-up, or hunting desperately to find the hidden "X" in a takeover ad online. How did we fix this problem? We passed the CALM Act - https://www.fcc.gov/guides/program-background-noise-and-loud-commercials That is, the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act, requiring that commercial advertisement on television be the same average loudness as the programs they accompany. Rest assured, if we hadn't introduced this regulation, there would have been a private inventor somewhere out there who would have come up with a way to automatically mute commercials, or eliminate them completely (until the advent of DVR/Netflix, a whole 'nother ball of wax).

The IAB and others have an opportunity to develop a deeply beneficial set of guidelines and keep the industry held to them - the alternative is a collective, eventual wipe-out of content publishers if browsers begin to come stock with adblocking plugins, or the gradually increasing adoption en masse by users of adblockers as just another part of life surfing the web, natural as sunscreen at the beach.

-JP
 

jldevoy

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They brought it on themselves, they slowly went from small unobtrusive ads to half the page full of ads including video with sound that autoplays when you load the page, I hardly visit MSN now because of such ads.
 

itmoba

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Wouldn't a simple EULA suffice? It's a rather simple and honest approach: "By visiting this website, you (i.e., the user) agree to view the content distributed by Tom's Hardware, its subsidiaries, partners, and affiliates 'as-is' and that any intentional alteration of said content by oneself or a third party (including, but not limited to, ad-blocking software) is a breech of the 'Terms of Use'".
 

turkey3_scratch

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For instance, I was on an official radio website, so while I'm listening to the radio station, there's an ad on the screen making constant noise! Without my ad-block, how am I going to listen to the music?
 

turkey3_scratch

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Or you can actually take "canvases" literally. The HTML5 canvas element allows you to draw in a box, and it allows can render images. The companies may start rendering ad images into a canvas for instance to beat the blocker.
 

HEXiT

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sorry this is laughable...

ad blockers came into existence because add companies started taking the piss by putting multiple adds on websites, on videos, on basically everything, eating up users metered connections caused people to create the blockers.
then ad companies decided that they would track us and gather our usage data "OUR DATA" and then tell us we have no option and no privacy... sorry but NO!.

and dont tell me im steeling data when they are constantly invading my privacy trying to give me adverts i dont want, need or ask for. PERSONALIZED ADVERTS ARE AN INVASION OF MY PRIVACY!.

WE DONT NEED ADVERTISERS! they need us and until they stop trying to ABUSE us i will block every add i dont want to see.

if an advertiser decides i cant view content unless i accept there adds or it breaks the site. i immediately leave because thats not a site im now willing to use. advertising companies dont own the web. its time they learned that...
 

jpishgar

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Jan 5, 2010
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WE DONT NEED ADVERTISERS! they need us and until they stop trying to ABUSE us i will block every add i dont want to see.
We kinda do. The ad revenue for this site, as a for instance, pays my salary and is the reason we have forums (mostly) free of spam, child porn, and terrorists (not exaggerating there). It pays for Avram to write great, in-depth articles like this one, as well as all the other staff for reviews. It pays for the bandwidth and servers. I say "We" need advertisers in both the content producer side of things and as a user, myself, since I rely on review content from websites on games, hardware, and tech news.

That said, advertisers really ought to do better by consumers and adhere to some self-imposed standards before the entire content/advertiser/user economy goes all belly-up Armageddon on us. As it stands, the vicious cycle of adblocking consequences and cause isn't being arrested by any of the efforts so far.

-JP
 

turkey3_scratch

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Some websites such as cubeupload.com will say that they detect an adblock and would appreciate it if you turned it off. And I actually do, because cubeupload specifically says their ads are not annoying, and they are true. I can't recall the last time I was on Tom's on a desktop without Adblock, but I remember the ads being somewhat annoying. maybe things have changed.
 

TechyInAZ

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Good article. Some things I would like to point out though.

1. "That also means potentially hundreds of thousands of lost jobs and the end of the free Web as we know it."

Sure, there will be lost jobs. However, the free web isn't free because of advertisements. There are no laws on how to operate the WWW, because it's free. Freedom to use ad blockers is perfectly legal, and should be legal. Hard to break it to you advertisement businesses, but it is what it is.

2. I completely agree that advertisers need a far far better way of getting their ads across to us. Main reason why I use ad blockers is because they are shoving them in our faces every day. Get's old and makes me not want to go to that site AND not buy that product being advertised. If advertisers advertise in such a way that it doesn't hinder or heavily distract us users, then that will make me have far more incentive to consider that product.
 

little_me

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No one has mentioned it yet but almost weekly someone makes a new malware/virus/trojan that spreads by ads.
Lot of those affect people who don't have latest update to X or Y (which might or might have happened day before the attack or will happen week after the attack)

and that is in my opinion, good reason to block them.
 

randomizer

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It is the content providers' prerogative to decide what content they will provide but it will always be my prerogative to decide what content is displayed on my device.

Protecting jobs should not always be the goal. It's a fact of life that jobs are made redundant over time, and if you're lucky then others will be created in their place. Fortunately this is a creative industry which is harder to automate, but no industry operates in a vacuum and external influences can force changes. Adapt and say ahead of the curve instead of fighting all the way to retirement. Don't be like taxi drivers.
 
Er do I feel guilty about being able to block advertising ... no.

At the end of the day I will buy what I want and when I am able.

I don't need to have advertising rammed down my throat thanks.

That's why there are many sites I simply avoid ... because they have so much advertising and so little meaningful content.

Thankfully sites like Toms have got the right kind of balance.

Plus, there is an area where I can go to if I want advice on what to buy.

I don't respond well to advertising ... hence I don't watch TV.

Good article BTW ... enjoyed it a lot.

:)
 

tomsguideUS

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Ad-blocking is not wrong as is having ads in the first place. What IS wrong is people favouring one company over another.

For instance... Tom's still hasn't reviewed the Surface Pro 3.
Hi Damian! We reviewed the Surface Pro 3 on Laptop Mag, our sister site dedicated exclusively to laptops and tablets, which shares a staff with Tom's Guide. You can read it here: http://www.laptopmag.com/reviews/tablets/microsoft-surface-pro-3
 

t3chnomanc3r

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Until Ad providers take FINANCIAL, at the very least, responsibility for damage from exploit payloads delivered by their ad servers I have no reason to allow the data in. I don't mean 100yrs later some court or room of lawyers holds them responsible either. Why? Because they've not been able to prevent to payloads reliably & consistently, period.

We have enough vectors already, don't need more in the hands of money grubbers who argue in terms of artificial virtual gains & losses to justify their practices and only see breaches as a down side when a court assigns blame & damages.

 

t3chnomanc3r

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Real hard when you browse with scripting & plugins disabled by default with NoScript which is commonly paired with AdBlock by Firefox users for example. Even if your scenario works, it would be discovered and mitigated.



 
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