GQ And Forbes Go After Ad Blocker Users Rather Than Their Own Shitty Advertising Inventory

from the stay-on-target dept

And so the war on ad blockers marches on. Lots of sites have recently made ad blocking software a target of their ire, complaining that such software ruins everything and is a form of puppy genocide or whatever. We, of course, know that to be bullshit, so we think it’s just fine if you block ads (in fact, we make it easy to do so). Still, some of these attempts are getting more and more aggressive, such as what two recent sites, GQ and Forbes, have decided to do.

Let’s start with Forbes, in which the website was recently putting up a “none shall pass!” wall for users who attempted to access it while using an ad blocker.

Reports are coming in from Twitter, and I can confirm, that Forbes is now preventing all (most?) visitors who use an ad-block tool from viewing any articles. From what I can tell, the ban on ad blockers is only rolling out today, and it is not affecting all visitors. I have a report from a uBlock user, as well as one from the UK, which say that they got through just fine.

Those who didn’t get through receive a page that reads “Hi Again. Looks like you’re still using an ad blocker. Please turn it off in order to continue into Forbes’ ad-light experience.”

Here we get into the crux of the problem. First, anecdotally, I see these same messages from sites on occasion. My reaction is always the same: close out the tab, move on to find another source for whatever I was looking for. I have literally never shut down my ad blocker in order to continue to the site. Which, in the case of Forbes’ ad-light experience, would only have caused me to frantically turn it back on to begin with, as the reports from readers indicate that ad-light translates into real-life speak as a barrage of advertisements. Add to all that, that the barrier only affects certain users using certain ad blockers, and this all devolves into a DRM-esque game of whac-a-mole. Go ask the gaming industry how well that money-pit has turned out for them.

But GQ goes one further. Instead of only giving users the choice of turning off the software or moving on, GQ additionally offers potential readers the option of paying for every single article they read! Progress!

“Turn off your ad blocker or purchase instant access to this article, so we can continue to pay for photoshoots like this one,” it concludes, pointing to an image of Amy Schumer dancing with stormtroopers.

Readers who choose to pay for their content rather than view’s ads for beard oil and expensive clothing are directed to start an account with content, a micropayment company that allows you to pay the $.50 fee to read whatever story you were trying to reach.

GQ’s advertising is notable in that it is the worst and most annoying kind. Multiple auto-playing videos with volumes ratcheted up, banner ads that fill up the space and auto-expand, and ads that follow you around as you scroll the page. Or you can pay four-bits per article, which is an appropriate phrasing of the price, since apparently GQ believes it’s still operating in an old-timey online ecosystem where it can hold content hostage rather than working to make itself more attractive to readers.

And that’s the crux of the issue. The war against ad blockers didn’t start when users began using the software. It started when online outlets refused to understand that content is advertising and advertising is content, and if any part of that equation is bad, the whole thing falls apart. There’s a reason why users use ad blockers after all: many online ads suck harder than a vacuum cleaner looking for love. But they don’t have to. Everyone has their stories about ads they have liked or loved. Some readers will always block ads, but not most of them. If ads were good and fun, they wouldn’t need to be blocked and users wouldn’t want to block them. Fix that and the war on ad blocking can be retired.

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Comments on “GQ And Forbes Go After Ad Blocker Users Rather Than Their Own Shitty Advertising Inventory”

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elemecca (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Ad blocking via DNS remapping (which is what modifying the hosts file does) isn’t easily distinguished from real network issues, but it’s certainly detectable.

While it may not be what they’re doing now, it’s possible for them to require all of the ads to load before they display the page content. Depending on how much they’re willing to impact page load performance, they could go as far as making it impossible to fetch the actual content without submitting tokens included in the ads. That would mean the user’s browser would need to at least fetch, if not actually display, the ads in order to get the page content.

That would impact their performance for users who don’t block and would require significant additional resources and complexity on the server side, but that hasn’t stopped people from using DRM before…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I use a host files for me and my kids. For the kids, it is more about them not seeing ads and preventing malware. For me, I don’t mind most ads on the internet, but there are a minority of ads and sites with so much advertising of various types, that annoys me to such ends, I have started blocking ads as of last year. It is a shame that the good advertisers and sites with sensible advertising also suffer, but I’m not going to put the effort into categorizing the good from the bad, the content and advertising industries should get together and figure out how not to annoy their users.

Scott (profile) says:

I'm Sure They Are Easy to Bypass

If, in addition to running ad blocking software you are also blocking scripts (like noscript)these blockades are not that hard to get around. Find the script thats sniffing out your ad blocker and forbid it either in adblock plus or noscript. Some are more challenging than others, but usually can be beat. I do agree, however, its usually just easier to move along somewhere else and not be bothered.

Socrates says:

Re: Re: The end of Eternal September?

or just the end of the “Fox News” news?

Theoretical, it could be fewer “shill for money” sites. In my opinion, that would be a good thing. There would not be fewer Internet users though, so the citizens of the world would just participate elsewhere, and most would be better off.

Socrates says:

Re: Re: Re:2 The end of Eternal September?

I referred to it in a colloquial sense.

Fox news is in many ways the epitome of unreliable information; they have even used evidence of how unreliable they are in court to evade convictions when they lie, as a “no one believes what we say anyway, because we lie all the time”.

Implicitly referring to MSM as “Fox news” is warranted because they are all best avoided. (And if they all disappear we are all better off.)

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Re: We can block if we want to...

If the ads are genuinely so important to those putting those ads on their sites, then they shouldn’t have abused it, nor allowed the advertisers to abuse it so badly that everyone was universally forced into blocking ads.

Suppose I sell you ground beef. And I depend upon this for income. Then I start including salmonella in my ground beef for no extra charge. Then you start blocking me as one of your vendors. Then I complain that you are blocking me, but still using other vendors.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: We can block if we want to...

I realize that to those of you who are mere ignorant newbies and weren’t around back in the day that it’s difficult to imagine the Internet without advertising.

But we built it. It ran. It worked. It was just fine.

It would work just fine again if did what we should do — which is to ban advertising and blacklist anyone engaged in it. Yes, a LOT of sites would die: that’s perfectly fine. It is completely acceptable because any site which can’t survive without advertising DESERVES to die. And good riddance to them: nobody is going to miss GQ or Forbes except the inferior morons who are too stupid to know any better, and well, fuck them.

Advertisers are the enemy.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: We can block if we want to...

I realize that to those of you who are mere ignorant newbies and weren’t around back in the day that it’s difficult to imagine the Internet without advertising.

But we built it. It ran. It worked. It was just fine.

True, and because it worked, every commercial concern out there jumped onto the web to have “an on-line presence.” Why? To help them sell their stuff; Forbes and GQ magazine for instance.

Then some shithead MBA decided the “on-line presence” had to pay for itself, or even show a profit if possible. Hence, advertising. Lots and lots of advertising, and some of the worst advertising ever imagined; pop-up ads, ads which completely took over the browser, or even the desktop. Worse advertising than TV, and that’s saying something (no mute button, autoplay videos, …). Continue that with websites with cookies to follow you wherever you went, and store your web activity in databases, then sell that data to their “corporate partners.”

Now, they’re insistent that we’re stealing their content if we’re not letting them treat our web activity like TV on steroids.

Fuck ’em, indeed.

Walt says:

Re: We can block if we want to...

I’m interested to know how they’re expected to monetize without ads.

Yes, some of the ads are really annoying, but 20 years ago, you’d pay $20 – $40 a year to get a bundle of paper in the mail once a month with the content – and still full of ads. (We called them “magazines.”)

I have hit some sites where the ads are so bad that I can’t read (or even find) the content, and some where there really isn’t content – they just lured you there with the promise of content to show ads.

On those sites, I leave.

I don’t see Forbes as being that bad. Maybe I’m just numb to it.

MadAsASnake (profile) says:

Re: Re: We can block if we want to...

You know, marketing peoples ideas when advertising doesn’t work is often simply to stuff more aggressive / intrusive ads down any pipes they can find. If customers are already pissed off with that (ie TV programming that is 50%+ ads), stuffing more ads in is counter-productive. People leave. Unfortunately, marketing people are often too simple to understand this.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Why were ad blockers created?

They couldn’t police themselves back when “ad blockers” were called “pop-up blockers”, and were such an in demand feature that basically all major browsers eventually incorporated them. Why would they suddenly be better able to police themselves now?

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Why were ad blockers created?

It’s worse than you think.

They have an attitude that they have a God given right to put ads on the inside of your eyelids once the technology becomes available.

They think they should be able to put ads on every surface on the planet.

What kind of thinking do you think is behind the rise of spam starting in the usenet days, and then moving to email, and then growing to what we have now.

MadAsASnake (profile) says:

Hmmm. Ads. I hate them. There are two ways of doing them. Make them unobtrusive enough that they don’t fight for my attention, and I’ll ignore them. Make them aggressive and I’ll avoid the site. What I will NOT do is use any of those advertisers – at least not in response to the ads. If I want to purchase something, I’ll go to a store I trust or I’ll research the issue. We did some home improvements a couple of years ago – and I still get ads for floorboards, furniture and paint. Sure it’s targeted – but guys, the purchases were made years ago, I’m not buying more floorboards in the next couple of decades… why am I a target?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

That’s one thing I never got about targeted advertisements. If it were detergent, soap, food items or stuff that runs out and you need to restock like that, sure. But if I literally just bought a computer part, or like in your case some home improvement materials, why are they telling me about stuff that fills the exact same function? Or even worse, what’s the point of advertising the thing I just bought? If I wanted more, I’d have bought more.
That’s not targeted, it’s just plain stupid! And if stupid is what they do, I’m blocking the adverts, their scripts and any attempt at data collection I can see.

MadAsASnake (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Initially, I found it a little creepy just how much they were tracking me to do this pointless thing. Still do if I think about it. It is also clear from the data that my metadata (linked to real comms channels) are being sold ion a marketplace. I’m a little bemused that they think this generates sales. Not from me it doesn’t.

Jessie (profile) says:

Honestly, just consider the minority of users who use ad blockers as loss leaders. Odds are, if the article is good enough, it may be shared and bring in other users that would not have normally come to the site and probably don’t use an ad blocker.

Either way, there are enough news sources these days, if they want to actively encourage people not to use them as a source, somebody else will be welcoming.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Honestly, just consider the minority of users who use ad blockers as loss leaders.

Alternatively, moan and complain about ad blockers, driving blog writers to produce articles like this which inform all and sundry that GQ and Forbes are too much pain and aggravation to bother with to get what they offer in return.

Hmm. Six of one, or half a dozen of the other? I was told the dinosaurs died out. What’s with all these dinosaurs wandering about?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: For what it's worth...

I already was considering blocking Forbes due to the full page ad and this just pushed me over the line. I will never go to their site knowing again and apparently I am far from alone in this attitude. I am not interested in finding a way to view their content, they just made it not worth viewing even for free.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: For what it's worth...

“I will never go to their site knowing again and apparently I am far from alone in this attitude.”
You’re not, but ad-blocking isn’t in the majority, sadly. Though that fact makes these attempts by some sites to get us to allow their ads seem even more like petulant whining.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: For what it's worth...

My guess is that people who use ad-blockers are the most technologically savvy people and these people are potentially among their most valuable audience for advertisers.

When this most valuable audience migrates to The Verge, Vice or other online-centric publication (if it hasn’t already), all they will be left with is crumbs, kinda like prime-time news….

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 For what it's worth...

Not my problem is it?

They could, you know, be smart about it and imbed ads on their own servers without any flash bullshit, but noooo they are too lazy and cheap so they let others do their work for them and then bitch and moan about how people are stealing their content … which btw they probably stole from someone else.

KJ (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Allowing some ads

If the ads are genuinely so important to those putting those ads on their sites, then they shouldn’t have abused it, nor allowed the advertisers to abuse it so badly that everyone was universally forced into blocking ads

Karma Blocker for Firefox lets some ads through to support the publishers while blocking annoying ads.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 For what it's worth...

“But if they use as blockers, they have no value to advertisers.”

I don’t generally use blockers, but I will tend to avoid sites that overuse ads, use autoplay videos, intrusive ads, etc. If a site does these things, I won’t go there again. People who do the same as me have even less value to advertisers as while you may be able to convince someone to turn off their ad blocker on a site to help them stay in business, you’re less likely to recover readers who you’ve chased away completely.

“How do people expect these publications to exist without a revenue stream?”

They have no God-given right to exist. If they fail because they’re causing their own customers to kill their revenue stream and they don’t have any other method of funding, then good riddance. They deserve to die, and they will have done so by their own hand.

They all have competitors, and the market won’t mourn their passing for long.

Socrates says:

Re: Who?

Me too.

Though I noticed something as a child, whatever subject I knew something about, if the Main Stream Media covered it they were way off alarmingly often. As in almost always. That were science stuff, but it made me wary of political tales issued by the same publications.

I were much older when I were able to assess if my mistrust were justified. How can we know what is true, and what is deliberate lies? This is no easy task. To the extent that I have been able to check, the MSM is even worse for non-science “news”! And that is telling something.

Anonymous Coward says:

Took 3 minutes

Blocked this script…still have to wait out the now blank welcome page…but it wasnt that hard. I used it on an article about ad blocking.
I still have no interest in going to their site…just wanted to know how long it would take me to bypass it.


Anonymous Coward says:

You know, I just now went to some news site without an ad blocker, and it had a pop-up ad featuring a fake survey. I’ve had ads pretend to be virus scanners or Flash installers. I’ve had banner ads that play obnoxious sounds when you just mouse over them. I’ve had multiple ads auto-playing videos with sound on the same page, sometimes even disabling the controls so you can’t easily pause or mute them. And even some ads that look OK in general but provide no insight as to who is sponsoring them, and you have no idea where clicking that ad would take you. And these are all ads on supposedly reputable sites. Is it any wonder why people use blockers?

Amusingly, that fake survey ad had a disclaimer that they believed the images used in their website were “in the public domain” due to the “fair use act” (huh?) and because they were “available on the Internet”. I can only imagine what would happen if the DMCA didn’t protect the websites those ads were served on.

Mark Wing (user link) says:

It’s pretty hard for a site to detect a failed connection to an IP address that’s not owned an operated by the site, such as one of the ad networks.

Seems like they would have to pretty sophisticated and have some tight integration with the ad network that your HOSTS file is blocking.

There’s certainly things they could do toward that end, and that’s probably where we’re headed. A war of attrition against the browsers they are serving content to … sweet.

And certainly putting and into your HOSTS will solve the ad problem with both those sites 🙂

But the war on HOSTS was already started by Microsoft, who now will bypass it for their own “telemetry” data.

As pointed out, we’re ripe for some good turnkey hardware solutions.

Anonymous Coward says:

You know, I could care less. I will continue to use the ad blocker for security, a faster internet experience, and with other software, a lack of datamining. Those two sites you mention have no monopoly on news nor on photos being taken. Given the choice between the two, the ad blocker will stay on and I will seek what I need at other sites.

Ads, datamining, Do not track failures, and the lack of industry oversight to prevent malware, will ensure I will never turn off the ad blocker.

This is a failure of the advertising industry that it doesn’t want to address or acknowledge. The total loading of websites with so many ads you can’t pay attention to the articles has come down to the surfers of the net doing something about it since the sites and ad companies refuse to.

Please, can we have some more of these idiots that think their content is so unique that other items of interest can’t be found on the internet to replace them? I would like to see those so greedy go down the path to bankruptcy to end the issue.

Anonymous Coward says:

the webcomic has an interesting approach to advertising for subscribers. Every so often, there’s a “nag strip” with a 30-second delay exhorting you to buy a subscription.

The problem is, the “nag strips” are FUNNY. I wouldn’t want to subscribe–and miss them.

“Advertising is content, and content is advertising”, indeed!

That One Guy (profile) says:

Missed the big one

If ads were good and fun, they wouldn’t need to be blocked and users wouldn’t want to block them. Fix that and the war on ad blocking can be retired.

You forgot the really important one: ‘And are guaranteed not to contain malicious code’. I value my computer more than I value any given site, so as long as ads have a potential of screwing with my computer due to lazy and/or indifferent ad services that can’t be bothered to check ads for questionable code, even if the ads presented were amazing the ablocker would still stay on.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Everytime an autoplay ad blasts away, an ad blocker gets installed.

My favorite from this battle so far was the person who turned off their ad blocker to read something on Forbes and immediately got a pop under fake virus warning ad.

Perhaps they should focus more on cleaning up the bad things in the ads, rather than the revenue they think they are missing out on. Everytime they host an ad that tried to infect a user, they make sure that user will find an ad blocker to avoid it happening again.

The focus is on the money they are losing, rather than on why people are blocking. Doubling down on demanding the revenue stream is going to end up costing them much more as people look for sites that aren’t tone deaf to why the ads get blocked.

I’d love to be that kind of hacker who could track all of the employees of Forbes & GQ online and see how many of them are blocking ads themselves yet somehow still clueless as to why others are doing it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Here’s a thought for an ad blocker that might be a “compromise”:

– It has the same sorts of lists of known ads and ad-serving domains as power ABP and uBlock.

– It blocks everything that ABP would block that is not a .gif, .jpg, or .png — and does so by content-type, so renaming a script or a Flash video to .png isn’t going to sneak by it, or by blocking everything outside of img tag src attributes.

– It allows the first three (3) things that ABP would block that *are* img src=*.gif, .jpg, or .png, and blocks all subsequent ones, per page load.

This allows and *enforces* a certain minimal level of non-intrusive, non-security-risk advertising. It does not allow plugin content or scripts, which are security risks and also contain some of the worst annoyers: pop-unders, pop-ups, overlays that follow you around or cover up content, auto-playing stuff, and everything with audio. Excessive banner ads will also be trimmed down to just the first three on the page.

Sites that want to advertise to users of such a blocker need to get static image ads, which are just img tags in the html — they can still be script-selected, by running the scripts server-side. (img src=”” etc.) The first three of these on a page will get through.

The only thing this doesn’t address is the deceptive banner ad: fake download buttons and message boxes, etc., as well as bait-and-switch ads that link to pages hosting malware or to scams. But there is no way to block such things short of blocking all ads.

As a compromise, it might be accepted by some sites that try to block other ad blockers, as well as by some users that otherwise would block all ads. Call it the “return to the early 1990s” ad blocker. 🙂

Frost (profile) says:

No such thing as good ads, though.

All ads are ways to brainwash people into buying crap they don’t need, juts so people will give money to the site so the site can keep operating.

The whole methodology is insanely bad and makes little sense. Unfortunately, to fix it and to remove all ads everywhere forever, we first have to make one minor adjustment – end capitalism and competition and switch to a real-world based cooperation focused approach. We need that for many reasons, though, including this one.

Ninja (profile) says:

The war against ad blockers didn’t start when users began using the software. It started when online outlets refused to understand that content is advertising and advertising is content, and if any part of that equation is bad, the whole thing falls apart.

Hmm Tim, I have an issue with this “content is advertising and advertising is content” thing. Like everything, it seems that there are some folks getting overboard with it. I haven’t seen this regularly in news outfits but there are whole portions of some sites dedicated to “sponsored content” or something. I mean, you did something like that in the past and frankly it didn’t bother me (and it was well disclosed) but I’ve seen some pretty nasty attempts. Keep an eye, it will be abused like everything else.

Anonymous Coward says:

If we ignore for a minute the huge annoyance, waste of bandwidth (lets ignore the fact I pay for bandwidth) of ads with autoplay audio / video / lots of graphics etc
And also ignore the issue of sites where content cannot be read until all ads loaded (which can be a long time on slow mobile connection, again ignore the bandwidth cost) and even then popups / unders attempt to make viewing of content a major challenge once it is finally available.

So, lots of inconvenience and my excess bandwidth costs ignored we still have the deal breaker..
On a near daily basis we read of “mistakes” where lack of due diligence allows bad actors to purchase online ads which are then used to install malware on machines.

The last is a key reason that many people block ads / scripts, they wish to reduce the risk of a common attack vector.

Every now and again I fire up a fresh VM and test a few sites with usual ad / script blocking disabled (vanilla browser setup with no extensions), sadly each time I do this the incidence of aggressive ads seems to have increased & it reaffirms my usage of protective measures .

DannyB (profile) says:

Why do they insist on executing code on my computer?

If all an advertiser wanted was to put an image in front of my face, that would be one thing. (Which could still be done to the point where I would be forced to block it.)

But then they had pop ups.

And then they want to execute code on my computer? Why does an advertiser have to execute code on my computer?

dakre (profile) says:


I block ads due to malware being embedded into them, and the ad company doesn’t do much other than possibly remove the ad when they find it. They don’t check the ad for anything more than a payment before putting it out on the internet (at least in the few cases I’ve seen malware in ads). I hate the intrusive ads to that make everything so much harder, such as the ones that pop up in the middle of the page and won’t let you go until you click on something. If you want to include ads, leave them on the side of the page, and stop putting them in the middle of each page. It’s probably worse on mobile, but i have had a few ads completely redirect me to another page as soon as it loads. All you can do is hit the back button, but it’s that easy on mobile to fall prey to an ad.

So i do what i can and use an ad blocker. When they put up prompts like that (can’t see this because of your ad blocker), then i add filters that bypass it and still get in with no ads. 🙂

tqk (profile) says:

Re: I guess?

… I use uBlock Origin, Ghostery, and Flashblock. Maybe the author needs to use better ad blocking software?

About a decade ago, I started hearing about people using multiple anti-virus suites at once. Half their CPU was being taken up by anti-virus programs! That brand new, state of the art quad core box was performing no better than the single core CPU box they had five years ago.

Don’t you think it’s a bit odd that you need to saddle your system with three already? How long will it be before you’re using six, or twelve, or twenty-four, …?

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: I guess?

Are you assuming browser extensions are the same way?

I know how computers work. Each running process takes up resources; RAM, CPU, network communications, and storage read/writes. Each one of these processes execute, trigger more work when they detect what they’re looking for, and call on other processes and system resources. Some work may be fobbed off on the web server the browser’s communicating with, and the server may be telling your browser to kick off stuff on its own. Each of those cause latency slowing down the overall process.

I doubt browser extensions are much different from any other type of process.

Phil says:

Re: Re: I guess?

Don’t you think it’s a bit odd that you need to saddle your system with three already? How long will it be before you’re using six, or twelve, or twenty-four, …?

The three browser extensions I mentioned do different things. uBlock blocks ads, Ghostery blocks trackers, and Flashblock blocks Flash apps unless they are on a whitelist. There is probably some overlap between them, but if one app blocks an item, the other two never even see it. The amount of CPU they consume is negligible, and in fact the net effect is that my browser consumes less CPU because it’s not loading ads or running animations.

Anonymous Coward says:

I use adblock like many as well but not necessarily to block the ads themselves. Rather it is the intrusive nature of the ads that annoys the hell out of me. I don’t really care if a site is full of ads, just:
* don’t cause the page to slow down
* don’t run video/audio automatically on page load
* don’t expand over the content I am looking at just because the page loaded or my mouse went across it
* don’t follow my mouse or scroll

If ads were more like real life ads (i.e. billboards) that were there and didn’t try to interact with me or the site I’m on I wouldn’t have to block them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Sometimes in the attempt to find an alternate location for the content you want from you may not be able to find it OR the hunt isn’t exactly worth the extra time. How about just beating at their own ridiculous game…

If you use AdBlock Plus you can enter your own filters. These will bypass forbes’ jackassery with no problem:

click on your ABP icon
Select options
Enter the following filters one by one:

Tells to fuck off with their stupid system that prevents visits to their site. It’s rather interesting to me that their advertisers are paying forbes to advertise on their site, but forbes is taking their money and actively preventing people from seeing their site and thus the ads. If I were an advertiser on, I’d sue them for this practice or at least tell them to lower their ad rates.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Dafuq is this? A blank page, which turns into a readable article if I do a Web Developer > CSS > Styles > Disable All Styles.

That seems to be becoming a trend already in 2016. For the past week or so I am constantly coming across sites that serve blank pages whose content can only be unhidden by turning off CSS. I can’t fathom what this could possibly accomplish for the site operators. The typical nontechnical user will take one look around and hit the “back” button. But many such sites are aimed at nontechnical audiences, and most of the rest have no sensible reason for trying to restrict access to only the tech-savvy…

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Wonkiness.

A blank page, which turns into a readable article if I do a Web Developer > CSS > Styles > Disable All Styles.

FWIW, I haven’t seen that, nor do I know what you mean by “Web Developer > CSS > Styles > Disable All Styles.” In what? Your web browser, or something else? What OS and browser?

I have seen wonkiness of another sort recently (Debian Linux “testing” here). The first two articles about T-Mobile’s Legere was spiking my Gkrellm “proc” window. I couldn’t read them as they were threatening to crash my box. That’s new. I’ve seen pages that spiked CPU cores, but rabbits? Never. I saw the same thing happening on other sites at the time, and now haven’t seen it again (so far). Weird. Sounds to me like a bug in a library common to multiple web servers.

I think the web was a great idea, but I’ve not been happy about how that idea was executed for a long time, and every day it seems to get worse. I suspect it’s in dire need of a re-think and re-boot, just like everything else on the net; IPv6, secure DNS, kill Microsoft & Java & flash & …

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Wonkiness.

I’ll tell you a little “secret” (not really deliberately secret, just accidentally obscure).

The blockchain math that underpins BitCoin enables cryptocurrency because it allows distributed authentication of edits of a file — it allows everyone to distinguish a “proper” update to the ledger from an “improper” one, and thus allows everyone to agree on where a given BitCoin has gone, even if people other than its owner try to claim to have spent it, or that it was spent to them.

The same technology should allow any kind of computer file, not just a bitcoin wallet or ledger, to be maintained in a distributed way while still having an “owner” with distinct editing rights. In other words it allows creating a distributed, world-readable filesystem with cryptographically protected “w” permission bits. And that allows creating a truly decentralized web on a P2P base without everyone being able to vandalize every page, even one with some amount of interactive features. The users share in the hosting costs, as with BitTorrent and other P2P systems. No central servers. No DNS. No single points of failure — either engineering-wise or legal-wise. Which means no takedowns, no censorship, full freedom of speech.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“Unfortunately, it’s simply not clear how to resolve the issue. Websites that depend on ad revenue (all of them) can’t survive if 60-80% of readers are using adblock. The nature of the advertising business practically requires the use of automated approval tools and specialized partners — ad networks approve and purchase millions of ads, in real time.”

Actually it is very clear how to resolve the issue: if an ad network cannot manually and very carefully vet all ads served through it, then it should serve only ads that are physically incapable of infecting anyone with anything.

I suggest that they serve only 460×60 JPEG files. That ought to be pretty safe. Any major security holes in commonplace JPEG decoding libraries have surely long since been fixed.

Of course the advertisers will have to give up the ability to pop things up, pop things under, obscure content, autoplay audio, and all similar things, but cest la vie…

Michael (user link) says:


GQ actually hid comment in their code. If you know how to read and edit css and html, you can press F12 in your web browser and then turn off the splash page to continue reading the article. When you go through the code, there’s a snip that reads:

“Yep, you’re in a test. Thanks for participating and kudos if you want to hack around it. Let us know why you dislike ads:”

The code in the page that displays the popup is:

div id=”abnm”

and if can be turned off by editing the code to add in that div:

visibility: hidden.

I can be reached via email for assistance on bypassing these.

Stoatwblr (profile) says:

Why do adblockers exist?

Simple: For the exact same reason antispam DNSBLs exist: Marketing is full of sociopaths who believe their rights trump everyone else’s and that they’re fully entitled to operate cost-shifted models (ie, you’re paying for the computer CPU and bandwidth needed to download and display the ads, plus run any payloads they may contain)

Spammers tried suing over block/boycott lists. It didn’t work out so well for them and it won’t work out so well if advertisers try going down the same route.

There’s a world of difference between website operators running adverts to offset costs and blindly selling space for adverts which consume excess resources on the client computer.

Dr. Anonymous says:

Online ads are dangerous

Attempts by sites to block content, coerce, and shame their users into turning off their ad blockers are quite literally ruining the World Wide Web with their garbage. With ad servers being the constant target of hack attacks to inject malware, and the frighteningly bad and horribly intrusive nature of most online advertisements, there is no way on God’s earth that I’m shutting off my ad blockers for anybody.

ESPECIALLY when you try to goddamn shame me into it. Fuck you, and take your stupid content and stick it up your ass. It’s not worth risking joining a Russian botnet to read “The top 25 cutest puppies.”

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