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Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

Last post 08-29-2007 5:36 AM by PSWorx. 61 replies.
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  • 08-17-2007 4:43 PM

    Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    Well, this was on Digg, but I know the folks here would be interested.  http://whyfirefoxisblocked.com/

    The author is deliberately blocking Firefox (well, anything that claims to be Firefox) becuase Firefox users use Ad-Block, and that's stealing.

    I know we had a discussion hereabouts about the ethics of blocking ads for Worse Than Failure, but this is somewhat different; the site owner has gone byond feeling that people who block ads are annoying gits, and deliberately shut them out.

    As the discussants on Digg said, Opera and IE already have ad-blocking features, and Firefox itself is quite capable of changing the browser id string. 

    And so it goes... 

  • 08-17-2007 4:49 PM In reply to

    • rbowes
    • Top 150 Contributor
    • Joined on 02-09-2007
    • Winnipeg, MB
    • Posts 412

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    I love this quote, "If Internet Explorer came with a feature such as Adblock, you would effectively wipe out thousands of websites, maybe more." Besides the fact that Firefox doesn't come with Adblock either, and people are forced to use it instead of getting a seizure from annoying animated ads, the Internet isn't going to fall apart as they seem to be suggesting. The Web sites involves can also make money other ways, without pissing off customers.

    I'm surprised that more sites don't take measures to get around Adblock, actually, it seems like there should be ways to avoid pattern recognition. One obvious way is building the ads right into the page.

    By the way, a non-Slashdotted mirror can be found here: http://www.mirrordot.org/stories/f964babc43e02991d79f90952789c161/index.html

  • 08-17-2007 4:52 PM In reply to

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    sinistral:

    Well, this was on Digg, but I know the folks here would be interested.  http://whyfirefoxisblocked.com/

    The author is deliberately blocking Firefox (well, anything that claims to be Firefox) becuase Firefox users use Ad-Block, and that's stealing.

    I know we had a discussion hereabouts about the ethics of blocking ads for Worse Than Failure, but this is somewhat different; the site owner has gone byond feeling that people who block ads are annoying gits, and deliberately shut them out.

    As the discussants on Digg said, Opera and IE already have ad-blocking features, and Firefox itself is quite capable of changing the browser id string. 

    And so it goes... 

    Too bad his site is now slashdotted, digged and whatever'd, and you don't make much ad revenue with your server in flames.
    All in all, this is either the stupidest thing I've read all week (and I'm porting SSDS to .NET!), or the worst trolling attempt ever.
    -bstorer
  • 08-17-2007 4:53 PM In reply to

    • Renan_S2
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on 07-17-2007
    • 3 kilofeet from the moon
    • Posts 110

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    For me, TRWTF® is that "blocking ads is stealing". I block ads, so please call me a thief.
    When all you have is a 9th Grade. education, all problems start looking like your Desktop. Search. (thank you, MasterPlanSoftware)
  • 08-17-2007 4:54 PM In reply to

    • rbowes
    • Top 150 Contributor
    • Joined on 02-09-2007
    • Winnipeg, MB
    • Posts 412

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    This just in, changing the channel during commercials is now stealing.

    News at 11.

  • 08-17-2007 5:04 PM In reply to

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    rbowes:

    This just in, changing the channel during commercials is now stealing.

    News at 11.

    That one's more a grim, oncoming reality than a joke.
     

  • 08-17-2007 5:49 PM In reply to

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    So do these sites get paid for impressions or clicks? If it's clicks then the person using adblock most likely wouldn't have clicked on the ad anyway.
  • 08-17-2007 6:05 PM In reply to

    • Renan
    • Top 75 Contributor
    • Joined on 08-10-2007
    • Fortaleza, Brazil
    • Posts 731

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    If I disable images and browse through an ad-supported site, am I stealing the textual content of that site?

    snoofle

    That hideousness is what keeps you and I [sic] employed!
  • 08-17-2007 7:16 PM In reply to

    • skippy
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-10-2006
    • Calgary, AB
    • Posts 190

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    mattwho:
    So do these sites get paid for impressions or clicks? If it's clicks then the person using adblock most likely wouldn't have clicked on the ad anyway.

    That depends on who you ask.  Like how the big movie/music companies felt that every illegal download was a lost sale.

  • 08-17-2007 7:28 PM In reply to

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    quamaretto:
    rbowes:

    This just in, changing the channel during commercials is now stealing.

    News at 11.

    That one's more a grim, oncoming reality than a joke.

    "And we will only tolerate a limited number of visits to the bathroom"

    Not a joke. Actual quote from a TV advertising industry executive. 

  • 08-17-2007 7:29 PM In reply to

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    skippy:

    mattwho:
    So do these sites get paid for impressions or clicks? If it's clicks then the person using adblock most likely wouldn't have clicked on the ad anyway.

    That depends on who you ask.  Like how the big movie/music companies felt that every illegal download was a lost sale.

    That's a funny concept, though. Every time I buy a CD from artist A instead of artist B, that's also a lost sale. Why isn't it stealing? It's a lost sale for the owners of artist B, isn't it?

  • 08-17-2007 10:48 PM In reply to

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    asuffield:
    skippy:

    mattwho:
    So do these sites get paid for impressions or clicks? If it's clicks then the person using adblock most likely wouldn't have clicked on the ad anyway.

    That depends on who you ask.  Like how the big movie/music companies felt that every illegal download was a lost sale.

    That's a funny concept, though. Every time I buy a CD from artist A instead of artist B, that's also a lost sale. Why isn't it stealing? It's a lost sale for the owners of artist B, isn't it?

    Shut up! Now they're going to make us buy one of every CD!
    --Edward Dassmesser
  • 08-17-2007 11:36 PM In reply to

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    asuffield:
    That's a funny concept, though. Every time I buy a CD from artist A instead of artist B, that's also a lost sale. Why isn't it stealing? It's a lost sale for the owners of artist B, isn't it?


    As much as people on the Internet hate to admit it, many downloads are lost sales.  Unless you've got two really similar albums or someone who's only going to get one album in their lifetime, no one would try to apply like your example.

    Back on topic, it's not unethical to block ads, but it's not very nice.  And if you block Adsense or Google Analytics, you're just being an asshole
  • 08-18-2007 1:16 AM In reply to

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    Whether it's right or not to block ads, I think everyone here can agree that blocking Firefox because of it is the stupidest thing EVER.  It's not like Adblock is built-in and turned on by default.  You *can* install Adblock if you have Firefox, but just having Firefox is not the same thing at all as having Firefox with Adblock installed.  In fact, I'm sure that more than half of Firefox users haven't gone to the trouble of installing Adblock or just don't want to.  That's like banning all bags from airports because you could be carrying a gun in one instead of just searching them.
  • 08-18-2007 1:36 AM In reply to

    • Renan
    • Top 75 Contributor
    • Joined on 08-10-2007
    • Fortaleza, Brazil
    • Posts 731

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    asuffield:
    quamaretto:
    rbowes:

    This just in, changing the channel during commercials is now stealing.

    News at 11.

    That one's more a grim, oncoming reality than a joke.

    "And we will only tolerate a limited number of visits to the bathroom"

    Not a joke. Actual quote from a TV advertising industry executive. 

    Reminds me of Minority Report... So many scenes in which people are force-fed advertisement right into their minds, unable to block them. In one scene the amount of spam is so high that I imagine I'd faint it I were the protagonist.

    snoofle

    That hideousness is what keeps you and I [sic] employed!
  • 08-18-2007 3:30 AM In reply to

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    burntfuse:
    Whether it's right or not to block ads, I think everyone here can agree that blocking Firefox because of it is the stupidest thing EVER.  It's not like Adblock is built-in and turned on by default.  You *can* install Adblock if you have Firefox, but just having Firefox is not the same thing at all as having Firefox with Adblock installed.  In fact, I'm sure that more than half of Firefox users haven't gone to the trouble of installing Adblock or just don't want to.  That's like banning all bags from airports because you could be carrying a gun in one instead of just searching them.
    If you follow some of the links from that page, it becomes fairly apparent that he has some kind of conspiracy-theory-esque deep-seated hatred of Firefox. You can't reason with those types. Maybe a red panda ate his family or something?
  • 08-18-2007 5:10 AM In reply to

    • tchize
    • Top 200 Contributor
    • Joined on 07-26-2006
    • Belgium
    • Posts 303

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

     
    Want to argue with site owner ?

     whois result:

     Registrant:
       Danny Carlton
       19724 E Pine St
       Suite #149
       Catoosa, Oklahoma 75015
       United States

       Registered through: GoDaddy.com, Inc. (http://www.godaddy.com)
       Domain Name: WHYFIREFOXISBLOCKED.COM
          Created on: 06-Aug-07
          Expires on: 06-Aug-08
          Last Updated on: 06-Aug-07
       Administrative Contact:
          Carlton, Danny  godaddy@DannyCarlton.net

    There is even a nice picture on his web site and lots of links to commercial stuffs :p

    Ho, and his site is not blocking firefox :D

    He also manages quite a lot of domains: http://dannycarlton.net/11.htm

     

     

  • 08-18-2007 6:53 AM In reply to

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    rbowes:

    I'm surprised that more sites don't take measures to get around Adblock, actually, it seems like there should be ways to avoid pattern recognition. One obvious way is building the ads right into the page.

    Think about it, it's a good deal harder than it sounds. Of course you could get the banner image, put it on your server and link it as an image. This would probably trick all ad blockers currently around but it would also defeat the purpose: Making money with ads.
    Regardless of the actual implementation, the ad networks need a way to

        a) control the banners that are shown and
        b) reliably measure the impressions and clickthroughs.

    They can't use proxies over the customers' servers because those would all too easily be compromised. So the only way is that you always have to keep some kind of direct connection with their servers. Frame, popup, script or something else, it doesn't matter, but some connection has to be there. And that's a reliable pattern that a blockers will always be able to use.

    Cap'n Steve:
    asuffield:
    That's a funny concept, though. Every time I buy a CD from artist A instead of artist B, that's also a lost sale. Why isn't it stealing? It's a lost sale for the owners of artist B, isn't it?
    <BR><BR>As much as people on the Internet hate to admit it, many downloads are lost sales.  Unless you've got two really similar albums or someone who's only going to get one album in their lifetime, no one would try to apply like your example.<BR><BR>Back on topic, it's not unethical to block ads, but it's not very nice.  And if you block Adsense or Google Analytics, you're just being an asshole<BR>

    I think the general idea, treating information as a limited ware has a few very BIG flaws but that is another discussion that the whole Free Software movement thankfully leads. 

    As for how things are right now, I agree that there is probably a certain amount of genuinely lost value (in the worst case, the album would cost more to produce than it would generate income (even though I somehow doubt this with the current quality of music (but the artists would have been ripped off anyway (what did I want to say again?)))) so I can see a certain just reason for copy protection systems.
    But there are many other moves that were brought through under the hoods of this reason but that in fact go a good lot further. There has been a whole zoo of new "busyness models" sprouting up that are all solely based on the new ability of "license enforcement". I think DRM and the like must have been the absolute dream for certain marketing people: Now they can let the customer jump through as many hoops as they want and install an arbitrary number of points where he has to play money.
    A good example of this is the new way of pay-for-listen songs. Remember: if you buy a CD in the store, you have to pay a certain price. But then, it's basically your own and you're free to listen to it as many times as you want. Not that way with the new models: Now first of all you have to pay for expensive new hardware that will downgrade your system. And then you have to pay for every single time you listen to the song. This is a large step beyond protecting the rightful value of a sing in my opinion.
     

  • 08-18-2007 7:17 AM In reply to

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    Cap'n Steve:

    As much as people on the Internet hate to admit it, many downloads are lost sales. Unless you've got two really similar albums or someone who's only going to get one album in their lifetime, no one would try to apply like your example.

    Back on topic, it's not unethical to block ads, but it's not very nice. And if you block Adsense or Google Analytics, you're just being an asshole

    I don't know about that. Many times lately, I have been looking at a blank screen, while firefox tells me that my browser is waiting for Google Analytics. Certainly, often enough for me to wish it was blocked. If it keeps happening, I'll be forced to see it done.

     

    Extracted from EM radiation remaining from the end of previous universe -
    //Quantum Bogosort.cpp - Implement Quantum bogosort Algorythym
    // (c) Jamie Bean
    // Dedicated to my brillant mum, Paula
  • 08-18-2007 7:26 AM In reply to

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    Cap'n Steve:
    asuffield:
    That's a funny concept, though. Every time I buy a CD from artist A instead of artist B, that's also a lost sale. Why isn't it stealing? It's a lost sale for the owners of artist B, isn't it?


    As much as people on the Internet hate to admit it, many downloads are lost sales.

    My question operates on the assumption that this is true, and explores the consequences of condemning it.

     

    Unless you've got two really similar albums or someone who's only going to get one album in their lifetime, no one would try to apply like your example.

    That wasn't an answer. Why isn't it stealing? Why are certain lost sales acceptable and others not?

  • 08-18-2007 7:36 AM In reply to

    • bobday
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on 04-04-2005
    • Notbugville
    • Posts 175

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    Cap'n Steve:
    Back on topic, it's not unethical to block ads, but it's not very nice. And if you block Adsense or Google Analytics, you're just being an asshole

     Call me whatever you like, but I prefer blocking Google Analytics over waiting five minutes for a website to load because of it. Which actually made me block it...

  • 08-18-2007 9:32 AM In reply to

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    asuffield:
    quamaretto:
    rbowes:

    This just in, changing the channel during commercials is now stealing.

    News at 11.

    That one's more a grim, oncoming reality than a joke.

    "And we will only tolerate a limited number of visits to the bathroom"

    Not a joke. Actual quote from a TV advertising industry executive. 

     I wasn't able to google that, do you have a link, or some search terms that might get it for me?

     

  • 08-18-2007 9:35 AM In reply to

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    asuffield:
    skippy:

    mattwho:
    So do these sites get paid for impressions or clicks? If it's clicks then the person using adblock most likely wouldn't have clicked on the ad anyway.

    That depends on who you ask.  Like how the big movie/music companies felt that every illegal download was a lost sale.

    That's a funny concept, though. Every time I buy a CD from artist A instead of artist B, that's also a lost sale. Why isn't it stealing? It's a lost sale for the owners of artist B, isn't it?

    It's a metaphysical argument, like the religious belief that masturbation is mass genocide because every one of those millions of sperm /could/ have grown up to be a person.

    The real WTF is that reasoning from counterfactuals always ends in circular self-referential nonsense.


  • 08-18-2007 10:48 AM In reply to

    • stinch
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on 09-28-2005
    • Oxford, Uk
    • Posts 55

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    tchize:
    Ho, and his site is not blocking firefox :D

    He also manages quite a lot of domains: http://dannycarlton.net/11.htm

    Bizarre, none of his sites are blocking firefox. Pretty much invalidates every point made on the whyfirefoxisblocked site.
     

  • 08-18-2007 11:48 AM In reply to

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    DaveK:
    asuffield:
    skippy:

    mattwho:
    So do these sites get paid for impressions or clicks? If it's clicks then the person using adblock most likely wouldn't have clicked on the ad anyway.

    That depends on who you ask.  Like how the big movie/music companies felt that every illegal download was a lost sale.

    That's a funny concept, though. Every time I buy a CD from artist A instead of artist B, that's also a lost sale. Why isn't it stealing? It's a lost sale for the owners of artist B, isn't it?

    It's a metaphysical argument, like the religious belief that masturbation is mass genocide because every one of those millions of sperm /could/ have grown up to be a person.

    I'm not sure that it's an argument at all. I've never found anybody able to give a comprehensible answer - I don't think that the people who claim "lost sales == stealing" have actually thought it through.

    I also don't think that applying rules developed for physical objects to pure information is likely to result in a logically sound system. 

  • 08-18-2007 11:49 AM In reply to

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    DaveK:
    asuffield:

    "And we will only tolerate a limited number of visits to the bathroom"

    Not a joke. Actual quote from a TV advertising industry executive. 

     I wasn't able to google that, do you have a link, or some search terms that might get it for me?

    Alas, I've lost track of it. It was on boingboing a couple of years ago. 

  • 08-18-2007 4:16 PM In reply to

    • iwpg
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on 05-24-2006
    • Posts 258

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    durnurd:

    Shut up! Now they're going to make us buy one of every CD!

    How optimistic.

  • 08-18-2007 4:35 PM In reply to

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    Cap'n Steve:
    asuffield:
    That's a funny concept, though. Every time I buy a CD from artist A instead of artist B, that's also a lost sale. Why isn't it stealing? It's a lost sale for the owners of artist B, isn't it?


    As much as people on the Internet hate to admit it, many downloads are lost sales. Unless you've got two really similar albums or someone who's only going to get one album in their lifetime, no one would try to apply like your example.

    Back on topic, it's not unethical to block ads, but it's not very nice. And if you block Adsense or Google Analytics, you're just being an asshole

    It wouldn't be the first time I've been accused of being an asshole. 

    That said, even if I *could* run IE or IEtab or whatever the fuck that thing is called that runs the IE renderer in Firefox on my Linux machines (neither I, nor anone in my house, owns a Windows machine), they would still not achieve the desired effect.... I have the ad sites blocked at my router.

    Oh yeah, almost forgot.  My workplace, through no prodding of my own, also blocks ad sites at the network level through the use of a proxy server.


  • 08-18-2007 5:34 PM In reply to

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    asuffield:
    That wasn't an answer. Why isn't it stealing? Why are certain lost sales acceptable and others not?


    In the case of downloading, you have Album A, which you didn't pay for and it's safe to assume you never will.  In your example, you have Album B, which you did pay for (maybe even to the same company) and quite possibly might buy Album A in the future.

    robbak:
    I don't know about that. Many times lately, I have been looking at a blank screen, while firefox tells me that my browser is waiting for Google Analytics. Certainly, often enough for me to wish it was blocked. If it keeps happening, I'll be forced to see it done.


    Well I can't find out how big it is at the moment since Google won't let you go directly to it, but it has to be one of the most cached files on the Internet, right?
  • 08-18-2007 6:08 PM In reply to

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    Cap'n Steve:
    asuffield:
    That wasn't an answer. Why isn't it stealing? Why are certain lost sales acceptable and others not?


    In the case of downloading, you have Album A, which you didn't pay for and it's safe to assume you never will. In your example, you have Album B, which you did pay for (maybe even to the same company) and quite possibly might buy Album A in the future.

    So your claim is that receiving something you didn't pay for is stealing? So charity is wrong?

  • 08-18-2007 6:34 PM In reply to

    • PJH
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 02-14-2007
    • Newcastle, UK
    • Posts 3,906

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    asuffield:

    So your claim is that receiving something you didn't pay for is stealing? So charity is wrong?

     Yes. But for different reasons.

     'My analogy is not perfect' called and wants it's reply back.

    "Because you watched 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar,' we recommend 'The Human Centipede.'"
    --
    UED - Countryside: To kill Piers Morgan
  • Parp!
  • 08-18-2007 6:58 PM In reply to

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    asuffield:

    Cap'n Steve:
    asuffield:
    That wasn't an answer. Why isn't it stealing? Why are certain lost sales acceptable and others not?


    In the case of downloading, you have Album A, which you didn't pay for and it's safe to assume you never will. In your example, you have Album B, which you did pay for (maybe even to the same company) and quite possibly might buy Album A in the future.

    So your claim is that receiving something you didn't pay for is stealing? So charity is wrong?



    I would say forced charity definitely leans toward the wrong side of things, yes.
  • 08-19-2007 6:44 AM In reply to

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    Cap'n Steve:

    robbak:
    I don't know about that. Many times lately, I have been looking at a blank screen, while firefox tells me that my browser is waiting for Google Analytics. Certainly, often enough for me to wish it was blocked. If it keeps happening, I'll be forced to see it done.


    Well I can't find out how big it is at the moment since Google won't let you go directly to it, but it has to be one of the most cached files on the Internet, right?

    It is dynamic content, set to be uncacheable, so is never cached.

    If the link between me and that server is not top notch, (over-full international link, for instance: not uncommon), then this cache-unfriendly, unneccesary fetch can be a real annoyance. 

    Extracted from EM radiation remaining from the end of previous universe -
    //Quantum Bogosort.cpp - Implement Quantum bogosort Algorythym
    // (c) Jamie Bean
    // Dedicated to my brillant mum, Paula
  • 08-19-2007 7:34 AM In reply to

    • WWWWolf
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on 12-05-2005
    • Oulu, Finland
    • Posts 244

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    Some extremely WTFful points I posted to Slashdot about this thing:

    One of the sites run by this guy (or sponsored or hosted or whatever) is jacklewis.net. (Incidentally, Firefox's history feature stinks (can't wait til Fx3.0 is released, you know =), and the site now gives me Bandwidth Limit Exceeded, and I'm too lazy to look at my Slashdot comment history now, so I can't verify this.)

    I installed the Firefox User Agent Switcher extension (anything like of which I have never needed or wanted, thankyouverymuch). The site still failed to show up. I was guessing the site must have done some Extremely Clever Heuristics to figure out that I was using Firefox and just disguising my UA - so I went out to figure out what the heck was going on.

    Nope, it was not clever.

    Basically, that site did the following kind of JavaScript trick

    :

    if(!document.all) { window.location="that damn site" }

    So let me get this straight: Everyone in Slashdot seemed to be so incredibly confident about this - "ha, let's see if it's match for my User Agent Switcher". Nope, User Agent Switcher doesn't work as intended in this case. Why? "When faced with True Idiocy, even the Almighty God is powerless."

    Good luck to all browsers that don't implement MSIE 4.0's broken DOM. Go on, Microsoft, please kill document.all, no one in their right mind uses that anymore now that everyone has document.getElementById(), so it can be safely broken. =)

    There was absolutely no other tricks to try to identify the browser or whether or not Adblock (or other ad-blocking systems) were installed. That disappoints me - that really disappoints me. I mean, it would have been an educational sight, to see what weird web-related shenanigans had been implemented. Now? The site barely manages to say "Ye doth not speaketh brokeyn Olde Englysh. Get thee to the nunnery, spawne of Satan." to every modern browser out there regardless of what they're fitted with, probably new versions of IE as well. This is so very boring.

    mysql> help contents;

    Nothing found
    Please try to run 'help contents' for a list of all accessible topics

    Desktop Search Rain - Gothic Computing's EASY button

    (Go wild^H^H^H^H figure)
  • 08-19-2007 9:52 AM In reply to

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    skippy:

    mattwho:
    So do these sites get paid for impressions or clicks? If it's clicks then the person using adblock most likely wouldn't have clicked on the ad anyway.

    That depends on who you ask.  Like how the big movie/music companies felt that every illegal download was a lost sale.

    Thats a bit different. There is a contract in there that one is not allowed to distribute copies of music (it is a violation of copyright law, despite how much certain people want to pretend it isn't). There is no such contract with regard to web ads or TV commercials, no law prohibits blocking a banner or pop up ad. People view them voluntarily. Unfortunately an entire industry has been built up under the assumption that there is such a contract, and it may now be in jeopardy as people realize that.
  • 08-19-2007 10:01 AM In reply to

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    WWWWolf:

    Some extremely WTFful points I posted to Slashdot about this thing:

    One of the sites run by this guy (or sponsored or hosted or whatever) is jacklewis.net. (Incidentally, Firefox's history feature stinks (can't wait til Fx3.0 is released, you know =), and the site now gives me Bandwidth Limit Exceeded, and I'm too lazy to look at my Slashdot comment history now, so I can't verify this.)

    I installed the Firefox User Agent Switcher extension (anything like of which I have never needed or wanted, thankyouverymuch). The site still failed to show up. I was guessing the site must have done some Extremely Clever Heuristics to figure out that I was using Firefox and just disguising my UA - so I went out to figure out what the heck was going on.

    Nope, it was not clever.

    Basically, that site did the following kind of JavaScript trick

    :

    if(!document.all) { window.location="that damn site" }

    So let me get this straight: Everyone in Slashdot seemed to be so incredibly confident about this - "ha, let's see if it's match for my User Agent Switcher". Nope, User Agent Switcher doesn't work as intended in this case. Why? "When faced with True Idiocy, even the Almighty God is powerless."

    Good luck to all browsers that don't implement MSIE 4.0's broken DOM. Go on, Microsoft, please kill document.all, no one in their right mind uses that anymore now that everyone has document.getElementById(), so it can be safely broken. =)

    There was absolutely no other tricks to try to identify the browser or whether or not Adblock (or other ad-blocking systems) were installed. That disappoints me - that really disappoints me. I mean, it would have been an educational sight, to see what weird web-related shenanigans had been implemented. Now? The site barely manages to say "Ye doth not speaketh brokeyn Olde Englysh. Get thee to the nunnery, spawne of Satan." to every modern browser out there regardless of what they're fitted with, probably new versions of IE as well. This is so very boring.

    I viewed that site in firefox and even thought about posting a message on his blog saying I had done so. However several other people had already done that, and I didn't feel the need to be redundant. All you have to do is disable meta redirects and it can't do a thing about it. A bit of advise for all the web developers out there who are thinking about doing something like this. You can't. Whatever you publish on the web, you lose control over. You can advise the user's browser to do certain things, sure. But at the end of the day they have control over how they render the page. They can display it with or without ads if they want to, and there is not a damn thing you can do about it. They keep you from opening new windows, and again, you can't do anything about it. And they can even tell their browser to disobey your commands, there still isn't anything you can do to stop them.
  • 08-19-2007 10:19 PM In reply to

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    WWWWolf:
    (Incidentally, Firefox's history feature stinks...)

    Yea verily, doth Firefox's history sucketh and bloweth goats. You want Enhanced History Manager, which is a wonderful solution. It basically gives Firefox all the History viewer features that it should have copied from iCab but failed to :-P (And more) History as a tab, sidebar or window, both title and URL search, various columns including the all-important URL column, and proper sort order, and it behaves as a regular list box for multiple selection.

  • 08-20-2007 12:02 AM In reply to

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    robbak:

    Cap'n Steve:

    robbak:
    I don't know about that. Many times lately, I have been looking at a blank screen, while firefox tells me that my browser is waiting for Google Analytics. Certainly, often enough for me to wish it was blocked. If it keeps happening, I'll be forced to see it done.


    Well I can't find out how big it is at the moment since Google won't let you go directly to it, but it has to be one of the most cached files on the Internet, right?

    It is dynamic content, set to be uncacheable, so is never cached.

    If the link between me and that server is not top notch, (over-full international link, for instance: not uncommon), then this cache-unfriendly, unneccesary fetch can be a real annoyance. 



    Google Analytics?  What about that would need to be dynamic?  Sure it sends information, but I can't imagine that would delay the page loading.
  • 08-20-2007 3:03 AM In reply to

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    nwbrown:
    There is a contract in there that one is not allowed to distribute copies of music (it is a violation of copyright law, despite how much certain people want to pretend it isn't).

    Careful - the correct response to an ethically unsound law is to ignore it, or "pretend it isn't". It is unconscionable to comply with a law that you believe should not exist, as you would be implicitly accepting and encouraging it. Disregarding such laws is a necessary step in getting them revoked (if everybody obeys them, they will never be revoked).

     

    Unfortunately an entire industry has been built up under the assumption that there is such a contract, and it may now be in jeopardy as people realize that.

    And that is not an entirely imprecise description of how copyright law came about in its current form - an industry built up on certain unsound assumptions, rich people were in jeopardy of becoming less rich, so they made new laws.

    Who wants to bet on who will win this round - rich people or consumers? I'm pretty sure I know which side is making the laws these days.

  • 08-20-2007 3:09 AM In reply to

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    Cap'n Steve:


    Google Analytics? What about that would need to be dynamic? Sure it sends information, but I can't imagine that would delay the page loading.

    The page can't be rendered until the browser has finished downloading the whole thing (because there's no way for the browser to tell that there won't be something in there to display that would cause the page to reflow around it), and so you have to sit waiting for a round-trip to the server. This can take an annoyingly long time, sometimes.

    To some extent this is a fundamental limitation of the HTML model - the assumption that all page elements are potentially display elements, so no progress can be made until they have all been collected.
     

  • 08-20-2007 4:00 AM In reply to

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    asuffield:

    Cap'n Steve:


    Google Analytics? What about that would need to be dynamic? Sure it sends information, but I can't imagine that would delay the page loading.

    The page can't be rendered until the browser has finished downloading the whole thing (because there's no way for the browser to tell that there won't be something in there to display that would cause the page to reflow around it), and so you have to sit waiting for a round-trip to the server. This can take an annoyingly long time, sometimes.

    To some extent this is a fundamental limitation of the HTML model - the assumption that all page elements are potentially display elements, so no progress can be made until they have all been collected.

    This is why external scripts should, where possible, be placed at the end of the page, and never in the header. Sadly, many of such scripts write to the page immediately, in order to be copypaste-fähig, and can delay pages indefinitely. Flickr is a good example: sometimes the server hiccups, and all one gets is a sidebar while the script call times out.

    Stats-scripts, in any case, should appear as the very final element in BODY.


    In complex analysis, a meromorphic function on an open subset D of the complex plane is a function that is holomorphic on all D except a set of isolated points

  • 08-20-2007 4:22 AM In reply to

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    dhromed:
    asuffield:

    Cap'n Steve:


    Google Analytics? What about that would need to be dynamic? Sure it sends information, but I can't imagine that would delay the page loading.

    The page can't be rendered until the browser has finished downloading the whole thing (because there's no way for the browser to tell that there won't be something in there to display that would cause the page to reflow around it), and so you have to sit waiting for a round-trip to the server. This can take an annoyingly long time, sometimes.

    To some extent this is a fundamental limitation of the HTML model - the assumption that all page elements are potentially display elements, so no progress can be made until they have all been collected.

    This is why external scripts should, where possible, be placed at the end of the page, and never in the header. Sadly, many of such scripts write to the page immediately, in order to be copypaste-fähig, and can delay pages indefinitely. Flickr is a good example: sometimes the server hiccups, and all one gets is a sidebar while the script call times out.

    Stats-scripts, in any case, should appear as the very final element in BODY.



    But unless Google is doing something weird, the urchin.js file should usually be cached, since it's used on a ton of sites.  And even if it's not, the instructions explicitly state to put it at the bottom of the page, so it really shouldn't be interfering with the page.
  • 08-20-2007 8:07 AM In reply to

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    Cap'n Steve:
    dhromed:

    This is why external scripts should, where possible, be placed at the end of the page, and never in the header. Sadly, many of such scripts write to the page immediately, in order to be copypaste-fähig, and can delay pages indefinitely. Flickr is a good example: sometimes the server hiccups, and all one gets is a sidebar while the script call times out.

    Stats-scripts, in any case, should appear as the very final element in BODY.



    But unless Google is doing something weird, the urchin.js file should usually be cached, since it's used on a ton of sites. And even if it's not, the instructions explicitly state to put it at the bottom of the page, so it really shouldn't be interfering with the page.

    I've never had any speed problems with Google's urchin. Their mighty servers deliver.

    Other stat sites, on the other hand....
     


    In complex analysis, a meromorphic function on an open subset D of the complex plane is a function that is holomorphic on all D except a set of isolated points

  • 08-20-2007 8:41 AM In reply to

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    In the general sense, I'm glad that we have a way to block ads. Some of these ads can be used for malicious purposes (they pop up other ads, that pop up other ads, etc sort of like ad spam)  As a user, I usually use the internet for research (and reading this site). I don't like the fact that I can be annoyed (and possibly make my system vulnerable for attacks) by normal browsing. Of course, we could install all these security programs and whatnot, but from my perspective, this is my computer; I shouldn't have to run all this extra crap just to have a regular internet experience and keep my system clean. I usually turn off most features in my browser that might be conductive to attacks (such as browser helper objects and stuff). Probably not the best thing to do, but it works for me. I don't think that trying to avoid annoying ads or other form of media can be considered stealing, because if those ads compromise my computer, I veiw that as stealing from me. (Not to mention it might take a few hours to get rid of the damage, if you can find it)

     

  • 08-20-2007 9:39 AM In reply to

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    This page seems to operate on several incorrect assumptions.  This sentence, for example, is loaded with BS: If Internet Explorer came with a feature such as Adblock, you would effectively wipe out thousands of websites, maybe more.

     
    1.  Firefox doesn't come with Adblock installed by default.  Adblock is a third-party add-on.  Internet Explorer certainly does have add ons, and plenty of third-party ad-blocking software exists for IE. Symantec? McAffe? IE users block just as many (if not more) ads as firefox users.

    2.  I use firefox and don't even have adblock installed.  I just don't pay attention to the ads.  And I also spend a lot of money on the Internet.

    3. It seems that those who would be most benefit from this are not "honest, hard-working website owners and developers," but rather the scam artists who put up bogus sites just for the ad revenues.


     

  • 08-20-2007 11:46 AM In reply to

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    I think the problem here (as I've said whenever this 'issue' comes up) is that it's people not wanting to let markets work.

    Here we have the following:

    • People willing to pay directly for a website.
    • People willing to pay directly for goods and services.
    • Companies that produce goods and services willing to pay for websites (if the websites put ads on their website) if sales increase because of that money paid.

    The problem is that for some reason folks are trying to force people to see everything on a website to make this work, when inherently it doesn't matter if every person going to a website sees the ads or not. The only thing that a company advertising cares about is "for every advertising dollar I spend, does my profit increase at the rate I want it to."  The mechanism that causes the advertising dollar to turn into sales doesn't really matter (other than an academic exercise). The problem is that the only way to currently gauge the value of advertising is by the thing called "exposure" and some assumptions about the probability of a population making a purchase based on some level of exposure.

    So if X% of the population blocks ads (where X is probably a measurable quantity) then this will mean that the exposure from a given website is less, which means that a company would pay less money to the website. Presumably this would mean fewer ad-supported websites could exist because there would not be enough ad revenue to support them.  The alternative would be for the websites to change the presentation of ads to make X a smaller number.

    What websites forget, though, is that they don't have any obligation to stay in business; if they can't get enough revenue for the website, then they can either tell people they need to pay directly or shut down. If people really want the website, they'll pay for it.

    People try to make it complicated, but it really isn't.  (The only things that get really complicated are government services, which are funded through mandatory payments from the general public even if a given individual doesn't directly use a particular service.) 

  • 08-20-2007 11:57 AM In reply to

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    asuffield:
    "And we will only tolerate a limited number of visits to the bathroom"

    Not a joke. Actual quote from a TV advertising industry executive.

    Even if that's a real quote, that doesn't mean it's not a joke. Executives can have a sense of humor too.

  • 08-20-2007 12:15 PM In reply to

    • PJH
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 02-14-2007
    • Newcastle, UK
    • Posts 3,906

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    Random832:
    asuffield:
    "And we will only tolerate a limited number of visits to the bathroom"

    Not a joke. Actual quote from a TV advertising industry executive.

    Even if that's a real quote, that doesn't mean it's not a joke. Executives can have a sense of humor too.

     Hmm. Found the following off-topic articles while searching for the aforementioned TV Executive:

     
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B02E1D9143BF936A25751C1A963948260

     

    The school has restricted the number of trips by students to two a day because the principal, Edmund Miley, believes there is a link between bathroom visits and failing grades.

     

    http://www.nospank.net/couture2.htm 

    The practice by school teachers and other caretakers of denying children use of the toilet is commonplace. [...]

    The external control of another person's bodily functions is viewed as a human rights violation in the case of adults, but as an acceptable management tool in the case of children (Knutson, 1998; Teachnet.com, 1999):

     

    "Because you watched 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar,' we recommend 'The Human Centipede.'"
    --
    UED - Countryside: To kill Piers Morgan
  • Parp!
  • 08-20-2007 12:23 PM In reply to

    • ender
    • Top 50 Contributor
    • Joined on 04-27-2006
    • Sunny side of the Alps
    • Posts 1,445

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    Random832:
    asuffield:
    "And we will only tolerate a limited number of visits to the bathroom"
    Not a joke. Actual quote from a TV advertising industry executive.
    Even if that's a real quote, that doesn't mean it's not a joke. Executives can have a sense of humor too.
    I've read some time ago that (IIRC) Philips patented a device that prevents you from changing the TV channel while there are advertisments on...
    Because 10 billion years' time is so fragile, so ephemeral... it arouses such a bittersweet, almost heartbreaking fondness.
  • 08-20-2007 12:27 PM In reply to

    Re: Rebellion Against Rebellion Against Advertising

    too_many_usernames:

    I think the problem here (as I've said whenever this 'issue' comes up) is that it's people not wanting to let markets work.

    It's a messed-up situation. I don't know whether I'd call ad-blocking "theft" but I do concede that it's unfair. I used to block all ads as a matter of principle (aesthetics, render time etc) but now I tend to leave them alone and only block those that cause trouble. Flash ads often get the axe because on slower PCs they horribly break Firefox's broken priority event scheduler, stopping windows from responding to various messages and internal events because Flash must get 100% at any cost. (It seems that the same abominable scheduler also executes keyboard events before mouse events, such that clicking then typing will obey the key press first and then the mouse click, a flaw in XUL never seen in any other GUI model). I also have Google ads blocked as they were messing up the page layout of a favourite site of mine.

    The ultimate problem is site traffic. Sadly, site traffic is still expensive and more popular sites can burn through exorbitant amounts of it. My own site has 20 GB/month allowance and there are no ads -- I cover all the costs. But someone at Fark made me swallow 2 GB in one day by hotlinking one of my graphics, so Fark is now anti-hotlinked. As is MySpace, as I can teach a lot of people a lesson at once that way (lots of people hotlink my artwork there). Everyone should ban hotlinking from MySpace to teach people that traffic is expensive and people should pay for their own. I can cope with MySpace users but it's their refusal to credit me for my work or link back to me that annoys me more, and again, I can get lots of people at once there. (I can't stop all hotlinking as then I'd break all the sites where I've hotlinked my own content validly, and I forget what those all might be now.)

    But many sites have legitimate causes to eat traffic, and who cops the bill? The site owner might fall on hard times, or might not make a lot of money. That said, the world's population is not growing at that large a rate, and hopefully traffic costs should be falling at a greater rate than there are more people accessing sites. There's also always room for improvement. Replace HTML styling with CSS, and move as much CSS as possible to an external stylesheet, which can be cached. For some reason, the popular phpBB defaults to a ton of inline CSS that no-one thinks to externalise like you're told to. Likewise, put all JavaScript into external files. Moving to CSS should also get rid of horrible tag soup that makes pages excessively long; try also, if you can, to use CSS designs that avoid thousands of <div>s.

    A lot of people have no idea about image optimisation either. I took over a site where all the 200×150 thumbnails are at least 20 KiBkB in size. 20 kB per thumbnail, and 60 to a page. No wonder the pages all load so slowly! They should only be about 5 kB each! Use JPEG live preview to avoid excessive compression, and switch off chroma subsampling to get red to compress well instead of using extreme quality to combat it (IrfanView has this feature for example, as does GraphicConverter). Learn to tell when to use JPEG and when to use PNG.

    You can even ease load by not cluttering up pages. Blogs that eat 500 MB RAM to load and render, for example, and pages that need a million blog badges and pages of blog roll entries and all sorts of other inane crap that's just going to eat more and more traffic.

    Ultimately, there will still be sites that really do need a lot of raw traffic due simply to extreme popularity. And in those cases, it's not so easy. Some, like Wikipedia, rely on donations, and I've given them some money to help offset how much I use that site (as well as doing my share of editing pages). Other sites like Filext are apparently very traffic heavy yet not something you use often enough to feel obliged to donate to, so it's covered in ads.

    Now that I have a flat screen machine, I've come to realise that JPEG compression isn't as cool as it could be, as flat screens are so sharp that the artefacts are quite visible; JPEG mostly relies on the fuzziness of CRT screens to hide the artefacts, which they do very well. Next up will be 300 dpi displays, so as soon as all that traffic becomes wonderfully cheap, we'll move over to images that are nine times as large and need higher compression to deal with the widespread prevalence of flat screens...

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