What Should We Do About Linking To Sites That Block People Using Ad Blockers?

from the weigh-in dept

Earlier this week, the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) — the same organization whose boss Randall Rothenberg recently suggested that if you use an ad blocker you hate free speech and are, possibly, a racist — put out some guidelines for publishers looking to “combat” ad blockers. The basic crux of it: the IAB suggests that sites block people who use ad blockers from reading their content. They even created a puke-inducing acronym “DEAL” and some code for “detecting” ad blockers. Detecting being the D:

  1. Detect ad blocking, in order to initiate a conversation
  2. Explain the value exchange that advertising enables
  3. Ask for changed behavior in order to maintain an equitable exchange
  4. Lift restrictions or Limit access in response to consumer choice

Of course, it should be no surprise that this is happening at the same time a ton of online publishers seem to be following this plan exactly. It really kicked off late last year when Forbes and GQ started telling users that they couldn’t read their content unless they whitelisted them on their ad blockers. In the last few weeks, Wired joined in with the same basic plan. And just this week, the NY Times announced plans to do something similar.

Publications had tried this in the past. You may recall, actually, that back in 2010, Ars Technica (owned by Conde Nast, which also owns Wired and GQ) implemented a very similar plan, blocking anyone using ad blockers — but the outcry was so vocal and loud that it dropped the plan later that very same day. At the time, we pointed out how it seemed like a really bad idea to blame your own community, and that still holds true today. Blocking people using ad blockers seems pretty stupid for a variety of reasons.

And a big one is this: as far as I can tell, all of these sites block me. And I don’t use an ad blocker. Admittedly, I do use “NoScript” to block untrusted javascript, but I happily whitelist it for many sites that I generally trust. In fact, I’m beginning to think that that’s why I’m blocked on most of these sites. Others on Twitter have told me that they don’t run into the ad blocker wall with NoScript. But I’ve noticed that on all of these sites, I had previously whitelisted the sites in question in NoScript, and potentially that’s why they’re now blocking me, claiming (falsely) that I’m using an ad blocker.

So here’s my big question: should we at Techdirt still link to these sites if we see worthwhile stories on them (and if we realize they’re blocking people using ad blockers)? As we’ve said plenty of times in the past, we not only don’t get upset if you’re using an ad blocker, we allow you to turn off ads if you don’t like them on our site — though we do politely request (not require or demand) that you support us in other ways, such as through our Insider Shop, our Deal Store or our ongoing crowdfunding campaign. But should we link to sites — even if the content is good — if they might annoy our community?

To be honest, this is part of the reason why I think this war on ad blockers is idiotic. Even if I was using an ad blocker, if I linked to an article on Wired or Forbes, I’d be sending them a lot more traffic, and even if some of those users were using ad blockers, many would not be. Thus, they’re actually losing out on significant ad impressions by making it more difficult for me to read their stuff and link others to it. And, obviously, that’s one reason to not link to such sites (not that they’d understand this — they’d likely chalk up the decline in inbound traffic to some other factor, potentially blaming readers even more).

My general thought — as of right now — is that whenever possible, I will try to avoid linking to such sites, and will look around for alternative sources that are actually more welcoming. However, in some cases, I may still link to such sites, if the particular content really is unique and worthwhile to discuss here. But I did want to share my thinking with everyone here, and get your take on this as well. What do you think we should do when coming across potential stories to write about from those sites?

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Comments on “What Should We Do About Linking To Sites That Block People Using Ad Blockers?”

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Ehud Gavron (profile) says:

Point to another source

Forbes and the rest of the group are hardly original.

Instead of linking to them, how about a hat tip to them and a link to an alternate source? I envision:

Original article at [source name but not a real URL] blocks ad-blocker viewers so instead of that here’s a working link: [working URL]

Original article at Forbes blocks ad-blocker viewers so instead of that please see https://www.linksRus.com/linkie.html


TechDescartes (profile) says:

Re: Point to another source

Today’s “Forbes Quote of the Day“:

“What I do for my work is exactly what I would do if nobody paid me.” – Gretchen Rubin

Right next to:

Hi again. Looks like you’re still using an ad blocker. Please turn it off in order to continue into Forbes’ ad-light experience.

Never mind. Forbes gotta get paid.

Violynne (profile) says:

For the most part, Techdirt has been up front with alerting its readers the site requires disabling AdBlock, leaving the choice to the user.

It’s been working, though I can see this being tedious to include in every article, especially since the issue is growing.

A suggestion: atop the page, denote links coded in red point to sites demanding ad blocking be disabled. In addition, add tooltips/jQuery popup to alert the same.

This way, authors don’t have to worry about adding the disclaimer in each and every time.

Personally, I wouldn’t link to them at all nor would I mention the site by name. If information came from the NYT then I’d write it as: “A source from a major news publication published an editorial on…”

Because if they’re going to treat their readers like this, then they’re effectively treating everyone like this, and all for the lousy price of $0.0001 per read.

Hardly worth the price of admission and if more sites stand up to stop linking to these sites even if such content doesn’t require removing adblock, then that’s going to drive the point even faster.

Conde Nast needs to be taught a lesson and perhaps this is the best way to show value isn’t something companies control.

Vote: no links to any site that demands ad block be removed even if said content isn’t blocked.

JonK (profile) says:

Re: Conde Nast is not responsible

I agree that Conde Nast does not take responsibility for ads on their sites serving malware to their customers. It would eat into Conde Nasts profits if they attempted to prevent malware serving ads causing their readers to spend hundreds of dollars rebuilding their computers. Conde Nasts real customers are their stock holders, and corporations have no responsibility to address morality over profits. Indeed in our courts of law corporations can lose law suits for doing so. You, however dear Conde Nast reader, can legally be punished for trying to keep your PC from being taken over by malware served by Conde Nast. Please don’t think bad of Conde Nast for attempting to make a bigger profit out of the misery they willing serve you.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I prefer this. I don’t mind not being able to access Forbes, but I do hate it every time I accidentally click on a Forbes link and get a blank page. FYI: I use ad blockers + no-script and flush my white list several times a day. I’ve seen too much insecurity on too many sites to permanently whitelist any site I don’t have to.

Anonymous Coward says:

I can tell you what I do when I am blocked by a website over an adblocker. I go somewhere else. I don’t have a problem with it.

None of the advertisers have addressed anything I or most of us that run adblockers want. They’ve only addressed what they want.

I don’t hear them talking about ‘Do Not Track’, malvertising, use of resources not theirs, slowing of websurfing, security, or anything else important to me and other security conscious surfers.

They are not talking serious yet and as long as the fix is on me, so is the cure.

Avatar28 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Yep. I was looking for some mods for a game a few days ago. Nexus Mods had a nice placeholder asking me to disable ad block. I said, okay, fine. I find your site useful so I will. When I got autoplaying video ads on two page loads out of three I said screw you and turned it back on. Not only were they autoplaying ads, they were LOUD, like TV commercials used to be before they passed a law to prevent it. I had headphones on and had to rip them off my head before my ears started bleeding.

Kumouri (profile) says:

I think you should still link to them, but do something (I’m not sure what, I like the different colored link idea someone said earlier) to denote that they’re blocking ad-blocking users.

One of the reasons I like TechDirt so much is because I can ALWAYS get a link to the source material and evaluate it for myself. I would definitely continue reading even if you stopped linking to them (because you site is the shit and your content is the best) but I would prefer you continue!

Machin Shin (profile) says:

Re: Re:

As much as I would love to say “Drop the links, no need to send them traffic.” I have to agree that linking to the source is important. That really is very important for this site. It gives your stories credibility that you loose otherwise.

Without letting people view the original material you risk being labeled as a group just spouting your opinions while hiding the facts. With links to the source content you give others a chance to verify what you say.

Coyne Tibbets (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I agree. But we should come up with some kind of marker that everyone understands to be that type of site, that is easily understood. Perhaps something like:

hyperlink (AdForcer)

It shouldn’t just be us that does this either. Google should add this marker to its links. Freedom of speech is freedom of speech; they want to force people to watch ads, the people should be allowed to identify them openly as such.

Jason says:

Personally I don’t have a problem with linking to such sites, with a callout if necessary to indicate it’s a site that demands viewing their ads. I see it as roughly the same thing as mentioning that a link is behind a (free or nonfree) login or that it includes autoplay video. Both types of sites annoy me, but I’d still like to see the link in case I feel the content is worth the annoyance. I’d probably feel similarly in this case. (And I second Kumouri’s stance on appreciating Techdirt for linking to source material.)

Ben (profile) says:

Wired vs Slate

I must have missed the ArsTechnica toe-dip in the dark side; I have been a supporter of them for years and I’m glad I don’t need to drop them.

I have/had both Wired and Slate in my RSS news feeds for a while. As noted above, Wired recently started blocking users using blockers (I use Ad Block plus); I now no longer have Wired in my news feed. I kind of miss it (and I actually subscribe to the physical magazine!) but it was too annoying to deal with.

Slate, on the other hand just displays a removable footer noting that it noticed my blocker and could I please subscribe…

If the ads were controlled by the sites themselves, I’d probably white list them, but in almost all these cases the ads are coming from a service (google, or some other purveyor of web ads); how far should my trust go? Ads these days can be used to pwn your machine — in the current case I would need to trust Wired’s trust in their ad source’s vetting of their advertisers, and I can easily imagine their vetting process being fooled.

To the original question: link to them. Maybe set up a style to indicate link targets? Pay-walled vs Ad-blocking vs NSFW vs “normal”?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Wired vs Slate

A long time ago, I used to be a regular reader of ArsTechnica. That is until they decided that the readers were stealing their income by not displaying ads. To this day, I don’t return to their site much. It’s very rare I actually go there anymore. The site damaged it’s brand in the process of trying to shame everyone into viewing ads.

When they started seeing what it was doing to their viewership, suddenly they had a change of heart, most likely because their advertising space had dropped in value along with everyone leaving.

They made their point and as a result lost huge amounts of readers, this one pretty much permanently. Wired and Forbes have accomplished the same thing with their attitude over ad blockers. I really don’t care what they have for content; it’s not that unique.

John85851 (profile) says:

Don't link

I vote to NOT link to any sites that block people who use ad-blockers. Send these sites a lesson that there are plenty of other sites with the same news.

The bottom line is this: I will continue to use an ad-blocker until the site can 100% guarantee that the ad-network won’t serve me malware, damage my computer, or give me a “cryptolocker”.

It’s also disingenuous for these sites to serve annoying ads and malware but then get upset when people block the ads.

But this goes back to the issue of why sites serve flashing, distracting ads in the first place. Are they in the business to provide entertainment and news to readers or to provide an audience for the ads? I’m starting to think it’s the latter.

Chris-Mouse (profile) says:

Re: Don't link

Are they in the business to provide entertainment and news to readers or to provide an audience for the ads? I’m starting to think it’s the latter.

This has always been the case. Newspapers, magazines, and blogs are all a method of aggregating reader attention and then selling that attention to advertisers.
It’s just that most of them won’t admit it.

Deniable Sources says:

Re: Re: Don't link

That’s always been the case. If you’re not the buyer or the seller, then you’re the product.

Advertisers and content aggregators are completely up-front about it. What’s different in this case is the egregiously intrusive and offensive nature of the ads in question. Google still sells huge numbers of ads because they keep the ads below that threshold of maximum tolerated offense.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Don't link

I second this not linking to sites demanding the removal of adblockers. So far they have only addressed what they want. As usual the ‘why people are running them’ is a topic they don’t want to broach. When they get serious about cleaning up their act and addressing the concerns that are the reasons people are running the ad blockers, maybe there will be less reason to use them.

I do not reward these that demand the removal. Instead I see them as not wanting me as a reader. I’m good with that. The internet seems boundless for where you can go without needing to address the adblocker issue. If they want to turn away viewership over pennies, that’s their business. That I don’t see them getting serious and addressing our concerns just tells me I’m right to continue to use ad blockers and other methods.

kenichi tanaka (profile) says:

I’ve been using ad blocking software for years but only because of the unethical motives of advertising companies who use autoplay video ads, full page pop-ups that try to bypass ad-blockers and other unscrupulous advertising methods that have proven to be a major inconvenience.

Until advertising businesses stop using these methods, I’ll continue to employ ad blockers and support them. I just have no interest to continue to add websites to a white-list and I just employ a “block all ads” just because it’s easier.

Chris Brand says:


I think it is important to provide your source (that’s one of the nice things about Techdirt’s reporting – you make it easy to dig deeper into an issue). On the other hand, I’d really like to see these sites drop in Pagerank as a direct result of this. You could always provide the URL but not as a link (and of course provide a link to another source if you can find one).

David T. Macknet (profile) says:

Do Not Patronize

If you’re sending people to someplace that may compromise their security, you’re essentially standing by that company and saying, “yeah, your security isn’t as important as this story we really know you want to read.” Now, if you highlight the link somehow to let us know that it’s behind a paywall (which, hey – these sites essentially are, by demanding we look at ads) then I think that’s a fairly easy compromise, and says that you are citing your source appropriately but whilst making people aware that the source is untrustworthy.

Personally, I’ve added hosts file entries for wired, forbes, etc. which resolve to So, if you link to them, I end up with a blank page, and that’s that. I literally cannot be exposed to those sites with this setup, which seems ideal to me.

Anonymous Coward says:

No objection to linking, but a suggestion...

I suggest tagging such links with the standard search engine no-follow-links attribute that many sites apply to user-posted links (rel=”nofollow”). This lets Techdirt readers use the links (possibly annotated as others have suggested), but denies the linkee the search engine benefit of being referenced.

On the humorous angle, search engine crawlers do not look at ads, so logically, the linkee ought to be blocking the search engine crawler anyway and insisting that the site be indexed by a non-ad-blocking human. Using rel=”nofollow” just saves them the trouble. 😉

CanadianByChoice (profile) says:

In my opinion, I think you should still link to them with a note that it refuses ad-blocking, just as you note articles that behind a paywall (I don’t see a whole lot of difference), and then, perhaps, also list an alternate source?
While I don’t bother with an adblocker program or plugin, I do have most ad servers themselves blocked (redirected) in other ways. This does sometimes get captured as an ad-blocker; when that happens, I just go somewhere else.

Brandon Hawes says:


I read Wired a lot. I like their reporting and their articles. This does not mean that I have to pay for their advertising with my views, it is just nice if I do. So since I use an adblock they have now started only showing the first page of the story and then it goes to an info screen if I go further. If I want to read the rest of the story I just use select all and copy and paste the story into a Word document. It isn’t pretty, but it is a workaround until they figure out this is more of a loss for them, than it is for me.

wscaddie56 (profile) says:

Re: Workaround

Hey look, if you want to use an ad blocker I disagree but it’s a free country. But to claim you are ‘nice’ to allow the site to generate revenue is unrealistic.
Where else do you get to use a product then decide if you want to pay for it? If something isn’t free but you are taking it and not paying, then how is that different from stealing without getting caught?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Workaround

Where else do you get to use a product then decide if you want to pay for it? If something isn’t free but you are taking it and not paying, then how is that different from stealing without getting caught?

Oh, kind of like going to bathroom during a TV commercial, eh? Yeah, I see what you mean. Dirty, filthy, bathroom-going thiefs.

JonK (profile) says:

Re: Re: Workaround [stealing by refusing to run malware]

Stealing by refusing to execute malware.
Stealing by refusing to execute malware.
Lets see, Conde Nast (& any other site that cares to look) knows that I didn’t kill my PC by downloading their malware serving advertisement, and you consider that stealing? Perhaps I misunderstood, and you know that they are stealing from their readers.
Possibly if they watched their own ads, and had to spend their own money rebuilding their own PCs & networks, they would care more. I wonder if Conde Nast employees are required to use ad blockers to view their own sites, so that the IT expenses are smaller?

Whatever (profile) says:

With adblockers becoming a bigger and bigger issue, you are likely to see more aggressive tactics used to thwart them. You may see sites use more and more pseudo articles and posts to try to sell things, as well as integrating sales pitches into their regular content. You may also see more attempts to use crowdfunding to make the bottom line.

No wait, that’s Techdirt, so all those things must be perfect, right?

Seriously though, with ad blocking reaching a fairly high level, it’s quite likely that sites will use to more aggressive techniques to disguise their ads or to integrate them into the content in a manner where it’s harder to block them without losing context. There are also some moves to use blocker detection scripts to turn aorund and pour more advertising onto the page, either as text links or non-ad style images and links that are harder to block.

Outrightly blocking users with adblock is a pretty nuclear option, but just like “paywalls”, in some cases they are very successful, and in many cases they are not.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

I will go with the link but notify and offer an alternative group.

Maybe a series of specially designed footnote type segments that denote the various types of issues with a site: Pop ups, autoplay, login, non-free, ad viewing required, etc.

Then link to the alternative in the story and footnote to the source where the footnote style describes the issue(s), maybe just as text, but no link (as mentioned above).

orbitalinsertion (profile) says:

I was going to suggest the same as a few others above: Color code links to sites for varying reasons, including those who block visitors because of an ad blocker or noscript.

What really needs to happen, and possibly users dropping site visit and complain will help magically now with some content providers, the way it generally hasn’t almost ever since the 90s, is that these sites need to drop the damn ad providers until they do a better job.

Sites also need to place a few ads judiciously on a page. No problem then, especially if they aren’t malware vectors.

People buying ads should be smarter too, about picking ads that don’t fucking annoy people.

Flash, other video, and sound ads need to just go away. I’ll click through if i want to see it, if not, you aren’t selling me something anyway, and i’m going to block you, and maybe stop visiting sites that serve the ads.

It’s funny, the only way i use ad blockers is by opting to block ads myself. So if you are cool, amybe only some or none of the ads displayed on your page will be blocked. Assumeing the domain they are served from isn’ty so annoying that it isn’t allowed in noscript.

And that is the other thing. You ever try hosting you own dam content and ads? Do you really need to be serving scropts and garbage from 50 other domains? And so that your content isn’t even viewable until one allows a chain of several scripts?

Really, and some people pay enough for bandwidth on some devices. And for some people, pages aren’t even reasonably accessible if they don’t block at least some of ad-heavy pages. Either it is too much for them, or their system. Stop being ridiculous bastards.

I’m even happy to support a site by clicking though, if they aren’t obnoxious with what the put on their pages.

Anonymous Coward says:

Not Ad Blockers, but Tracking Cookie Blockers

I don’t use an ad blocker. I use Ghostery for blocking tracking cookies and kin (including the, ahem, 13 trackers on this page). I get blocked by Wired and such as well, despite the fact that I’m perfectly happy for them to serve ads to me.

With regards to Techdirt policy here, the problem with researching alternatives is that those links may break in the future if and when those sites elect to start blocker-blocking as well. It seems like it may not be worth the effort. I’d just denote those links that you know are tied to these sorts of sites.

For the engineers who maintain your site: if possible, give those a links a dedicated class. Partly, you might style those links different (e.g., background color) to help highlight the troublemakers. Partly, that may help if you try to script adding and removing that class to take into account sites that start blocking or stop blocking users this way.

Anonymous Coward says:

“whenever possible, I will try to avoid linking to such sites, and will look around for alternative sources that are actually more welcoming. However, in some cases, I may still link to such sites, if the particular content really is unique and worthwhile to discuss here.”

I agree with this policy.

Whatever you decide to do, please (really please) don’t use an alternative color or font for different link types.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:



REALLY, REALLY – PLEASE DO NOT use alternative colors to denote links of any type. The horror. 0_0

Your current thinking/policy quoted in the comment I’m replying to is appropriate. If you want to give us the heads-up about the blocked-adblocked links, just note it in the text like you do when there’s a paywall.


Anon Coward

Scote (profile) says:

Link, as a last resort and with notice

“My general thought — as of right now — is that whenever possible, I will try to avoid linking to such sites, and will look around for alternative sources that are actually more welcoming. However, in some cases, I may still link to such sites, if the particular content really is unique and worthwhile to discuss here. “

That seems entirely reasonable. Links are for two reasons, one is so readers can click and read more info. The other is as a citation, a record of where the information came from. Sites that block ad blockers are just less useful for the former, but still entirely valid for the latter. The situation is similar to sites that require subscription, where links are often noted as “subscription required.”

On the other hand, like you *I don’t have an ad blocker*, but all of these sites treat me as if I do because I use NoScript, as recommended by security experts, to block the security holes represented by 3d party scripting.

Ironically, the anti-ad blocking notice on Wired is a **script**, and only shows up if you whitelist Wired.com. If you turn off all scripts, you can read Wired.com

Given that *ad networks* are sometimes hijacked to serve up malware, blocking 3d party scripting is good security hygiene. NoScript does not block HTML. Web advertisers need to find ways to serve up ads that are not a security risk.

Ironically, Techdirt used to give me messages about me using an ad blocker for using NoScript – but not actually blocking me.

Anonymous Coward says:

Warts and all

Link it, maybe with a warning, if there’s no other source, or if the story in question needs the specific site for context. It’s my decision to use an adblocker and I only begrudge the site’s blocking me as far as it is the wrong response to my action.
If a story needs that particular link, use it, warn me, and I’ll decide what to do next.

Tin, the Tinman says:

I'm livid about this.

There are a few intersecting issues at play here. The biggest of them, is why they think forcing people to see ads that they’ve gone out of their way not to click on before they’ve visited the site is going to be a viable means of generating revenue. Just this morning, I read a shopify blog post explaining this fundamentally flawed reasoning in great detail.

As someone who has been involved in building websites for over 20 years now, I have to say that I’m a little bewildered this is the approach they’re adopting after consumers have blatantly told them, in no uncertain terms, that they do not want to see these things at all. There’s a message there, and “deal with our ads as we force you to see them,” is not it.

And even though, we as a group, a collective, their audience, have told them time and time again that our browsers belong to us, and that they have to right to tell us how to use them, they just don’t seem to be getting the message.

So let’s send them one.

It’s time to tell them in a unified voice that it’s their job to come up with positive business models that allow them to survive. Not ours. And if they do, in fact, wish to survive, in this ever more competitive landscape of content… they need to adapt. Again, their job, not ours.

We’ve seen this crap before a hundred different ways. First, people assume that they have the moral authority to tell us what browsers we should be using, intentionally offering different experiences on their site based on user agent.

That goes on for a couple of years, and then inevitably, we, the programmers revolt, and the sites that do it either fade into obscurity, or get laughed out of business.

Then there were popups. We, the programmers got together, rose up, and made popups so unprofitable, that even the standards bodies and browser manufacturers took note and changed.

We also had the similar but unrelated problem with Spam, that attempted to monopolize our attention deleting unwanted email messages. We the programmers rose up, got together, and pooled our resources for years to stop these idiots from harassing us, and everyone else. It broke email, made it less friendly, less usable, but that’s another discussion.

The point is, that every time someone has ever tried to break our platform, or presume to tell us what software we should be using on public channels and how to use it, those efforts have been on the wrong side of history.

In this case, we have a moral obligation to stop the adblocker blockers. It’s actually incredibly easy to do. At least on Wired. But that’s not the issue. The issue is that someone, anyone, is telling me how I’m supposed to use software that I own. And if I’m being asked to deal with it, I’m going to. And I propose everyone follow this or a similar technique.

First and foremost, we need to make for absolute certain that people like Randall Rothenberg, Martin Angelov and Sites like PageFair and Shopify are made social pariahs in the professional community. Anyone who associates their name with encroachment on the freedom of everyone needs to be held to account. And we do this by shunning them. We need to treat these assholes the same way that we treated the people that wrote the cascading porn popups. They need to removed from the community altogether, ridiculed for their stupidity, and forced to recant their positions if they hope to work in this field again. We’ve done this before, we can do it again.

From there, any and all sites that utilize this kind of technology need to be warned and given a chance to back down from their stated stance on the issue. If they do not, they need to be widely blacklisted. This list needs to be open, and there do need to be options for them to change their ways and be removed from it. This list can be utilized in several ways. You can block any and all email from these domains, shutting down their ability to communicate with the outside world. You can create a browser extension that will put a warning page on Google search results. You can treat these sites differently by putting them into a sandbox where they are not allowed to run scripts at all. And more. We can call it adblocker blocking blocker, and I assure you: people will use it.

There are plenty of things that can be done, if we all get together, in at least a semi-organized way, and stop them.

The real question, at least in my mind is… do the content producers, given their history with this, and the reaction of the community really want this war? Because if they do, the net result will be the end of monetized content as we know it.

And there will be casualties.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: I'm livid about this.

…problem with Spam…deleting unwanted email messages. We the programmers…pooled our resources for years to stop these idiots…It broke email, made it less friendly, less usable, but that’s another discussion…

You all did too good a job, even if not perfect. I’ve lost count of how many legitimate emails got trashed and not sent to my inbox. Once I figured out to tell my ISP to mark and send no matter what things got better. I’m still getting legitimate emails marked as spam, but at least they’re getting to my inbox as opposed to not getting to me at all.

Unfortunately not all ISPs and email services have this option; they trash what they think is spam and don’t care about the recipient’s wishes.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I do this often. One of the things that sites just absolutely think you must have is their floating toolbar to reference their site. As you scroll down it stays in place, limiting the amount of visual landscape you have to actually read the content you came for.

It’s become a pet peeve and I take the time to remove it from my view before continuing with the article.

Anonymous Coward says:

Don't disable the links

As a lurker I made the decision to block ads. Unless you have a reason to not link to a site that blocks users using ad-blocking it’s my choice to be barred from that site. Who knows, maybe they might actually publish something well thought out and eloquently written that I would turn off the blocking.
I have this site whitelisted since the content is worth my time and I try to give a little respect to that fact.
For me, most of the sites that block us blockers really don’t have content worth the risk of 3rd party snooping. They actually drive me to sites that have better content and try to respect me as a user. (I bailed on /. and came here due to the lack of user respect on /.)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

There is no DEAL here. The only DEAL they are willing to discuss is you turning off the adblocker.

In a deal, both sides get something from the bargain. What is missing in this so called DEAL are the very things that people are using adblockers for.

This part they are refusing to discuss at all. Until they take up the reasons why people are using adblockers there is no DEAL.

Anonymous Coward says:

And I say this every single time this debate comes up.
Browsing the internet without an adblocker and script blocker is like having sex with a hooker without a condom. You’re going to pick up a whole bunch of nasty shit you don’t want.

Perhaps if they and their ilk hadn’t ruined the internet with malicious intrusive obstructive ads, things wouldn’t have turned out this way. They tore up the house and expect us to live there. Fuck that.

This is not a fight they’re going to win. They may make people miserable for a little while until someone scrambles to cobble a solution together and the ads will be blocked once more. It’s a game of cat and mouse.

Anonymous Coward says:

“whenever possible, I will try to avoid linking to such sites, and will look around for alternative sources that are actually more welcoming. However, in some cases, I may still link to such sites, if the particular content really is unique and worthwhile to discuss here.”

This is fairly reasonable, and about what I would recommend, though the suggestion of using rel=”nofollow” that someone else recommended is a good addition.

Quiet Lurcker says:

A Modest Proposal

Half the problem, I think, is these … people have brought it on themselves. They put too many ads, too much garbage, too much irrelevant information, too many deceptive ads on the site, make it so difficult if not impossible to actually find actual content. Then they whine when people take steps to cut down on the advertising clutter.

Let’s drive the message home in clear, unambiguous terms.

Contact the manglement of the anti-adblocker sites. Offer them this choice.

You will mention that their sites have the source material or bacgkround information on any topic you’re posting, along with a warning about their anti-adblock stance. Then show those links as text in the stories.

Or, if they can prove to your satisfaction that adblocker technology is not needed on the site in question – and I mean actual documents here, not just screen shots – or that they are moving to make that the case, then you’ll link to their sites.

End-users, let’s boycot these anti-adblock sites and tell them it is happening until they either allow adblockers, or redesign their sites so the adblocking isn’t necessary.

Ryunosuke (profile) says:

a new deal

Detect – Detect ad-blocking sites
Explain – Explain why you are blocking ad-blocking sites
Ask – The sites to review their anti-ad-blcoking practice
Lift or Limit – links based on *CONSUMER*(KEY WORD) demand

The crux is that the CONSUMERS have already spoken, they are refusing disruptive, unwanted, and hazardous ads. It’s the ad companies that still have their heads in the sand.

I would say block them, use alternative sources. When their viewship (readership, clicks) drop, then they might, just MIGHT take another look at it. But it’s doubtful.

djl47 (profile) says:

Name them and shame them.

I don’t mind the ads so much as I mind the third party scripts, distracting animations and squandered bandwidth. Some of the commercial sites will have over two dozen third party sites serving up javascript, flash and who knows what else. Perhaps we could ask the NoScript developer to add an “Export List” function that would export a list of the third party sites and the name of the scripts. Then email the list to these blowhards asking why they need so many different third party scripts and what security measures they have in place to prevent malware from being served using their website. Name them and shame them.

Coyne Tibbets (profile) says:

Browser plugin link-rating system

I think there should be a browser-plugin link-rating system that can be used to preview any link off of the current site.

1. Hover to pop up the rating display.
2. Snap bit.ly and similar links to determine the real target.
3. Consult a crowd-sourced rating system and display ratings.
4. Profile settings to mark unwanted features of the target site.
5. Mark links with a warning symbol when the site has features the user has indicated in the profile are unwanted.
6. Easy vote-rating system to register reviews of a site.

A quick search didn’t show anything obvious in this space.

Rating features include:

1. Pop-over ads
2. Automatic video/sound ads and, secondarily, automatic video content
3. Ad malware
4. Pop-out ads
5. Pop-over ads
6. Inline ads that disturb text positioning
7. More?

Free speech is their watchword. Therfore they should have no problem with us using our free speech to rate their sites and share those ratings with others via such a system.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

How Come?

How come all the sites that I go to that made me want to use an adblocker are exactly the sites that want to DEAL with me now?

You guys are the very reason I sought out and chose a blocker in the first place. No, I don’t want to whitelist you! You want to track me, expose me, and over-sell me.

How bout, Imma start with an assumption that you are on the blacklist, and you convince me that that was a mistake. Here’s some deal-breakers:
– tracking, especially by third party ad networks
– pop-ups, pop-unders…any fn popping
– things that make the page’s actual content bounce up and down for 30 seconds while it loads ads from god-knows-where
– offer me a fair DEAL, not “accept ads or pay us $5/mo”. We should be talking penny increments, not $.

Here’s a idea. Serve your own ads. Make them decent, put them on the side.

PW097 says:

Make a W.O.T. but for adblocking whitelists

Create a new icon system that goes next to each link that let’s users know if it’s a site is WORTHY of white-listing.

Rate the site and show icons by:
– light cookie used for navigation purposes only
– or deep use to glom all accessible user data
– etc.

What kind of ads to they show?
– static and sensible as part of a story (preferred)
– stream their ads from 3rd party ad vendors (dangerous, proceed with extreme caution)

Sort of like Web of Trust does but in this case related to a sites ad blocking chicanery

The thing is, most sites that use ads have a 3rd party vendor involved with their ad streaming. We the users get NOTHING that tells us that these vendors perform malware checks on every single ad they serve. Until that happens, until there’s a list or mechanism that we the users can inspect all my ad blocking remains in place…

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

The Savior of Print Media

I basically stopped reading print media years ago. I read a lot of news and articles, all online. For me this last decade, print is reserved for airplane trips, during takeoff and landing. Really. And as of a couple of years ago, we’re allowed to use our electronics during that time, too.

OTOH, I still get a number of print publications sent to my mail. Some of them good, some bad. I get them because I am a member of a variety of organizations, alumni, etc. And some of them are pretty good.

My question is, how is is that these publications are able to offer me good content, with expensive ink and paper, and with expensive distribution costs. So, IAB, answer me this:

How can these print media firms monetize the business with un-obtrusive, non-tracking ads??

If they can do it, why can’t online content companies? Online, you have lower costs. No ink, no marginal cost of production, and small distribution fees per digital copy, for which I pay half the freight.

You guys at the IAB are doing more for print media than any other group, pulp or digital. I’ve already shifted some of my consumption back to paper.

Scote (profile) says:

Way too much entitlement in this thread - making content takes time and money

I’m against obnoxious ads and web tracking. And I’m for good security products like NoScript. However, way too many people seem to to think that they are entitled to free content. Creating professional content takes time and money. We can either pay for it directly (subscriptions), or indirectly (ads). People who reject all ads are saying “stop making content.”

Anonmylous says:

Re: Way too much entitlement in this thread - making content takes time and money

I agree and disagree…

I know that sounds odd but bear with me. 😀

We’re used to getting things “for free” on the web. Content was the draw to ads to monetize those viewers. The content was never really free. But we’re fed up with the way we’re being monetized, to the point we’re now going out of our way to do something about it.

The content is not the problem, people actually WANT it. The problem is monetization. The problem is ever-intrusive and dangerous advertising. Taking advertising in-house again is the sanest way to deal with it, but there are more.

Paid archives – pay to access after 30/60/90 days. Limited value to most of your readership but still of value.

Limited free articles – as a tracking and counting measure such as used by NYT and WSJ, or as a side-bar to normal free content. Both models have been shown to work quite well, especially when costs are kept sane with the goal of more subs versus high sub costs.

Donations – self explanatory and not the best option, but can be done so many ways its silly not to consider it at all.

Limited partnerships – traffic drivers between websites to create a ring of monetary exchange giving the visitors value for effort.

Combining these can make smaller sites lots of money, getting them off the ad-networks entirely. And allowing them to begin courting advertisers directly and slowly or even not at all. I applaud Mike’s efforts to keep his site ad-free.

Now about those farcebook, twatter and other icons for sharing on your page that all have tracking junk in them bro…

Ryunosuke (profile) says:

Re: Re: Way too much entitlement in this thread - making content takes time and money

yes, and no.

part of it is, in fact, we (at least Americans) are fed up with advertisements in general.

But more so for me is the disruptive ads that looks like it should be (or actually ripped from) the beginning of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, voice over ads that is trying to sell me something while I am TRYING to listen/read news, or outright dangerous ads with built in adware/trojans/etc.

Coyne Tibbets (profile) says:

Re: Re: Way too much entitlement in this thread - making content takes time and money

In principle, I agree with the need for sites to finance their work. They deserve to be paid, simply put.

But the ads at the top, around the edges, those are okay. If I’m interested, I can look, but I don’t have to. They still get paid.

But that wasn’t good enough; they saw that I might not pay attention (which is actually my right). So they invented pop-out ads.

And I was still ignoring them, so they invented pop over ads. Ads that you had to watch to enter the site.

And I still might be stubborn and not actually pay attention so: Motion ads, inline ads that move the text, and video ads that auto-play at top volume, and sound ads that play at top volume that you can’t even find.

And malware, to enslave your system.

They started out bumping your shoulder with ads; I had no problem with that. Now they’re hitting you in the side of the head with a three-foot elephant-leather glove, with a twelve-pound lead brick in the business end.

After you pick your bleeding, beaten carcass out of the dirt and complain, they say, “What the fuck do you mean, annoying?”

That’s the whole reason there’s a problem.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Way too much entitlement in this thread - making content takes time and money

The problem behind adds is the extremely low payment for click, leading to sites loading up with in the viewers face adds in an attempt to increase their clicks. Place enough adds on a page, and they will get clicks by accident, but those still earn them a bit of money.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Way too much entitlement in this thread - making content takes time and money

“However, way too many people seem to to think that they are entitled to free content.”

I don’t think I’ve seen a single comment here making that case.

“People who reject all ads are saying “stop making content.””

Baloney. People who reject all online ads are saying “you’re doing the ads wrong”. Also, advertising is far from the only way to get paid for content. It’s just the easiest, as long as you don’t care much about your audience.

Scote (profile) says:

Re: Re: Way too much entitlement in this thread - making content takes time and money

“Baloney. People who reject all online ads are saying “you’re doing the ads wrong”.”

Read what I wrote again. Specifics matter:

“People who reject all ads are saying “stop making content.”

Not all ads are auto play video ads, content obscuring pop ups, etc. So when I say “all” I mean people who are blocking “all” ads.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Way too much entitlement in this thread - making content takes time and money

I sad thing is that there’s nothing to figure out. It’s very clear what advertisers need to do to stop people from hating them so much. The comments in this thread alone give a fairly complete list. They are just unwilling to do it.

Since advertiser’s attitude towards the audience is essentially “fuck you”, there’s no mystery as to why they get the same message right back.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Way too much entitlement in this thread - making content takes time and money

For those of us using adblockers for security, for stopping the drain on caps through ads, we are saying the ad industry is costing us money directly out of our pockets. Pretty much the definition of paying for something you’re not getting.

The ad industry which at this point has become a pest industry akin to spam, is suffering from their own greed.

I’m good with them stopping their content if that’s the way they want to do it because I’m not visiting a place with such ideas.

What I don’t see in this DEAL is anything in it addressing these and other issues. It’s all about no changes from their side and everything being changed from the users side.

I’ve spend enough hours hunting down malvertising to get rid of it. At no time have I ever heard a single advertising company say “we’ll send someone right on over to take care of this” nor have I heard of them saying, “oh, we caused your cap to go over, here’s the payment for that”.

Your viewpoint is completely lopsided just as the advertisement’s viewpoint is. When they clean up their act to malvertising, do not track, and excessive bandwidth consumption, maybe, maybe, the internet surfers will have a change of heart.

Right now, not a snowball’s chance in hell.

DanA says:

Re: Re: Way too much entitlement in this thread - making content takes time and money

The irony is that the cost to the user for the bandwidth to display the ad is generally close to what the site is getting paid to display the ad. If we just cut out the middleman and gave the site the fractional cent of bandwidth their unwanted ad was consuming everyone would be happier.

Anonmylous says:

Still fighting the wrong fight

Mike you should do whatever makes you feel best about how you handle sites that block those using adblockers.

To the sites using Adblocker-blockers (anyone else feeling the Big Hit right now?)

Adblockers happen because the general public.. you know, those morons you want to monetize… are fed up with advertisers tricks.

When you let an advertiser take up your entire page with a pop-over javascript ad with a teeny tiny close button nearly the same shade as the background image…

When you let an advertiser run large video ads that prevent your page from loading until they are downloaded…

When you let advertisers run ads with sound and its cranked to 11…

When you allow your website to be a PRIMARY vector for malware and virus infections because you use a 3rd party ad network more interested in making money for impressions than protecting the very users you are trying to monetize…

YOU force users to deploy adblockers. Its your fault. You made this shit-sandwich. Now grin, take a big bite, and swallow. Your blind faith in a 3rd party to make money for your business is a mistake. A huge mistake. A MASSIVE mistake. Stop making that mistake. These were print periodicals moved to the web, yet you put the only thing that made them money in the hands of a 3rd party and are surprised when it isn’t working out. Still playing catch-up with technology, you guys WERE the advertising industry but you ignored the internet for far too long and let a bunch of bad actors take your place, now you whine and complain when they don’t do as good as job as you used to…and you blame the readers for it.

That. Is. Ridiculous.

Just plain… ridiculous. You knew you’d lose subscription revenue, but you made no move to become the next advertising network yourselves. You let someone else do it. When it comes right down to it, even with all the high tech garbage we’ve invented in the last 20 years it still holds true…

If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.

Stop letting others own your ad space and make money off you while destroying your business. Take it back and start selling ads yourselves. You have a host of sites to deploy them across, that you can guarantee ad-impressions to marketers because you’ll host your ads natively on your own domains. THAT is so much more than the ad networks can promise. You can sell ads to relevant advertisers based on stories, on readership, on current trends and topics. THAT is so much more than ad networks can promise. The only reason not to do it is sheer laziness and a lack of care about your own businesses. Yes, it’ll cost you some money at first, but you’ll be pioneers again, you’ll be front-runners once more. You’ll pull in much better money than ad networks can give you. But you gotta WORK. And I know that’s a scary word, but what you are doing right now is not working, and its crazy to keep thinking that it is when you have proof in declining profits that it is not.

JonK (profile) says:

Re: Still fighting the wrong fight: Shun them

These sites legally KILL our PCs, and WHINE when we refuse to let them.
Let them die in the dark alone.
They do NOT deserve to be for profit internet sites.
Consumers have the obvious right to shun them.
Shun: in your eyes they do not exist. Do not visit them, do not acknowledge that they exist, and eventually they will change, or cease to exist.

Ryunosuke (profile) says:

hey mike, having thought about it a bit, i have a solution.

they “say” they want a discussion on adblockers, but refuse to actually discuss it with the public, then let us bring that discussion forward.

You could make a list of sites that forces ads, and then discuss why those companies/pages want to harm the internet, your computer, and weaken cyber-security at the same time. We can force this discussion even if they don’t want it.

And just think if that kind of article hits Reddit (as often it does)

Anonymous Coward says:

Privacy Badger

I don’t run any “ad blockers” per se. I do run the EFF’s Privacy Badger, which does get me blocked from Forbes & co. Same effect, basically. I’m not deactivating it or whitelisting them–if they have a coherent DNT policy, they’ll be unblocked in due time, without me having to make an exception for them.

Link to whatever you wish, even if sites are going to block folks who use ad blockers or do-not-track tools like Privacy Badger. But if it’s an important story, on which you wish to reach people, maybe you should try to find an alternate source.

Digitari says:

Subjective Testing..

I am using windows 10, I have Google Chrome with adblock plus. Edge does not have an adblocker installed. Using http://speedof.me/ I get on average 51 MB download speed in Chrome, and the max I have ever gotten in Edge is 24 MB download speed, even at 2 am on a Monday morning.

This is exactly why I use an adblocker. (although Chrome may/may not be just that much faster)

ECA (profile) says:


Why not talk to the sites,
and ask 1 question..
IF they will be liable for any corruption/infection placed on a person machine, IF’ we allow their site..

I dont mind sites that have THEIR OWN ADVERTS..not much.
but being responsible for a 3rd party advert??
That the Site hasnt Scanned for infections/redirects/malware??

thry could STRIP{ the advert, and make it part of their site, Stripping the SCRIPTS and stuff out that are NOT NEEDED..

But FEW sites will do anything.

TRX (profile) says:

Usenet and gopher served my internet purposes just fine, until I finally built Mosaic to access some of those newfangled “web page” sites.

I was at the end of an expensive dialup connection then, and well into the 21st century, with metered phone service *and* metered net access.

Every one of those ads came straight out of my bandwidth and my pocket.

I populated my hosts file to block as many as I could, but eventually it got to where a click to some sites might take as long as 20 minutes to load. Ch-ching.

In the past 21 years I have *never* clicked on an ad on any site, nor have I any intention of ever doing so. And, frankly, I doubt many of the people who read Techdirt are the kinds of suckers the advertisers are looking for…

Nowadays I can hit some ad-encrusted site like CNN or eBay and watch my network usage indicator tell me how much bandwidth the rotating ads are sucking up even when the page isn’t ostensibly doing anything.

The kind of advertising they’re doing is stealing. From me.

Killer_Tofu (profile) says:

My 2 cents

Link to other sources if possible, them if need be.

Used to have Wired in my RSS feeds. They were already annoying in that only a tiny piece was there and you had to click through if you wanted to read any more. Since they started blocking ad blockers, I came up with a more absolute solution. I no longer follow Wired in the RSS feeds. Not in the feeds, I never click through the site. Done.

Scott (profile) says:

Anti-Adblock killer

I’ve been using this for a couple of days and it works on Forbes and Wired. I had white listed Wired in Adblock Plus and yet they still blocked me. If they aren’t smart enough to get that right why on earth would I allow untrusted javascript to run. Anti-Adblock Killer is a Greasemonkey script (you can use it different ways


Kronomex (profile) says:

I’m not about to stop using ad-blockers just because some bloody site owners and advertisers are whining that they are losing money and can’t track you. What annoys me is that some sites require you to unblock multiple scripts before you can peruse the page in all its glorious advertising. My personal favourite, although the name eludes me, was 17 scripts and still more lurking. Needless to say I don’t revisit any site that whines and cries that I’m using ad-blockers to cheat, yes cheat, them out of advertising dollars.

David (profile) says:

First, noting them as having this anti-ad blocking kinda sorta doesn’t quite work. Are you going to update the post you had about a Wired article that you put up a year ago because they’re doing this now? If they drop the plan after a month, people reading the articles that had been posted in the meantime now see a warning that scares them off, that’s no longer valid.

I guess you might be able to use CSS tricks to style “known” sites, and just have a single rule in the CSS file that adds an ::after rule with that little message. As long as you keep that up-to-date, it would be valid for all instances of linking to that site, from any articles on this site.

The primary thing I’d want to be sure of is that you include sufficient portions of the original article that being blocked from the other site doesn’t hinder understanding of the story. Luckily, you tend to do that anyway.

As for the actual warning: Well, as you’ve noted, using or not using an ad blocker is not itself an indication of whether you’ll be blocked, and I’ll often give temporary permissions to a site, so that even if blocked at first, I can still choose to allow them on a case-by-case basis. So I’d put it more as a caution than a warning. (eg: “Note: the linked-to site is known to run code that may prevent you from viewing its contents if you use ad-blocking or security software.”) Maybe even just put in a [Caution] marker that puts the full explanation in a tooltip.

surfer (profile) says:

sites that block content..

my 2¢..

link if you like, im a tabbed browser kinda person, open in new tab from link.. each and every single time I encounter this rebuff, I simply close the tab.

the content is simply not worth being lambasted with idiocy of ads for objects/services/things I will never buy.. EVER.

since its adblock’s initial debut in dec of ’09 and installation, i have been ad free for over 6 years, I like the cleanliness of not being distracted by flash or blinky blinky BUY HERE sh*t.

/end my 2¢

Insurgence (profile) says:

I personally think the story is more important than if the site blocks ad blockers. If we really want to read the linked site we can disable the ad blocker or whitelist that site.

But it is nice of you to try to link sites that don’t block ad blockers. That is a good way to direct traffic and help endorse sites that have business practices you agree with.

Anonymous Coward says:

What if they do a bait and switch. What if they enabled ad blockers, or even disabled ads altogether, just long enough to allow the article to be linked to by other writers but then they enabled ads and disabled ad-blockers just before user traffic picks up.

Many companies do bait and switches. There is this one site that offered educational videos for free for a period of time. Teachers (I am not a teacher but one of my teachers mentioned it) used to link to that site. Then the site suddenly started limiting access to content and charging for more access after teachers had implemented the site into their lesson plans. Then teachers either had to pay the fee or change their lesson plans last minute. It’s a sneaky trick.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Then they can close the site and open up a new site.

“Especially on the internet.”

It is exactly the Internet that is conducive to this type of behavior. You buy a physical book or get one for free it’s not like they can suddenly revoke the book from you arbitrarily once the book is in your possession. I believe that’s one of the disadvantages of digital media is that it can phone home and later be revoked such as has happened with digital media/books. Or it can require a network connection to work.


Or if a piece of software becomes discontinued or if the company goes out of business and the software phones home it could later become useless.

Then there is the whole physical good vs license to use trick that companies try to do where they try to give consumers the worst of both worlds.


John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“I believe that’s one of the disadvantages of digital media is that it can phone home and later be revoked”

True, but at least that’s easy to work around. I strip the DRM from all my books (and translate them to a standard format, so I can use any reader I want).

“Or if a piece of software becomes discontinued or if the company goes out of business and the software phones home it could later become useless.”

Yes, this is a serious problem. But again, easy to work around by not buying any software that needs to phone home to work.

Neither of those things are really “bait and switch”, though.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

No, it is bait and switch. If you were mislead into buying something without knowing that the product may later be discontinued or revoked and it could potentially become useless (to the average user that doesn’t want to go through the trouble to hack it because you expected to pay for a product without needing to invest the time and energy into hacking it. Time = money and investing more time into hacking something is the equivalent of investing more money since you could be doing something more monetarily productive in that time) because this wasn’t told to you before you bought it then you are being baited and switched. Just like what Adobe did above. The person in the above example had no reason to suspect that Adobe would do this to him, he was baited and switched.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I think that the circumstances matter. Yes, DRM can be used in a way that is pure bait and switch. But it can also be used in ways that aren’t, and I would argue that most uses are of the latter sort. Now, DRM is a terrible and unacceptable thing for a bunch of other reasons, but it’s not automatically bait and switch.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

It all depends on what was disclosed before the purchase. In many instances the terms, conditions, and the presence and behavior of DRM is not disclosed before the purchase. In many instances the fact that something might later be revoked or be made useless is not disclosed before the purchase.

AJae says:

Caution [source name only.. NO DEAL = no link – HELP us COMBAT anti- Ad blockers]
..Ok it can/should??? be tamed down a bit, however I will leave it to others who have done a fine job with suggestions.

Mike maybe you could link to this current article using HELP COMBAT Ads, and/or link to your final decision. This would help new users to see your reasoning.

My reasons for using various addons/programs to protect myself online & limit tracking. “Advertising malware has existed for years, but recent reports show that its happening far more often than it used to. A report released by Cyphort earlier this year claimed that online advertising infection rates had increased 325% from 2014 to 2015 as more malware authors began tapping into the market. There are multiple ways that malicious advertising can masquerade to ad networks as legitimate, including:

Enable the malicious payload after a delay of several days after the ad is approved

Only serve the exploits to every 10th user, or every 20th user who views the ad
Use SSL redirectors in malvertising chain

Verifying user agents and IP addresses”

The reason this can happen, even on legitimate websites like Forbes (which is far from the only company impacted by this kind of event) is that users don’t need to actually click on an ad to be infected.”


Along With NO Script, Ublock Origin & Cookie Monster I use Request Policy. “RequestPolicy is an extension that improves the privacy and security of your browsing by giving you control over when cross-site requests are allowed by webpages you visit. Cross-site requests are requests that your browser is told to make by a website you are visiting to a completely different website. As with any extension that blocks content, some websites will not work properly until you have allowed the required content. If a website you visit isn’t working, you can use the RequestPolicy menu to allow the cross-site requests the website needs.
“RequestPolicy is not a replacement for NoScript! Each focuses on different, important issues. For the best security, we recommend using both RequestPolicy and NoScript.”
The Policeman addon gives you even more fine grained control.
Thank you Mike for doing what is right & providing both honest journalism & an outlet for us to be heard.

AJae says:

~The World needs People~

Who cannot be bought;

Whose word is their bond;

Who put character above wealth;

Who possess opinions and a will;

Who are larger than their vocations;

Who do not hesitate to take chances;

Who will not lose their individuality in a crowd;

Who will be as honest in small things as in great things;

Who will make no compromise with wrong;

Whose ambitions are not confined to their own selfish desires;

Who will not say they do it “because everybody else does it;”

Who are true to their friends through good report and evil report, in adversity as well as prosperity;

Who do not believe that shrewdness, cunning, and hardheadedness are the best qualities for winning success;

Who are not ashamed or afraid to stand for the truth when it is unpopular;

Who can say “no” with emphasis, although all the rest of the world says “yes”.

by Ted W. Engstrom

Edward Morbius (profile) says:

Use alternate links -- but also, address issue of supporting content

I believe in information as a public good. This adds a refinement to Stewart Brand’s famous dictum: information access wants to be free.

But those who create information, particularly if that’s their full-time job, must, as Adam Smith says of all other workers, live by their wages.

The first part of information as public good says that the distribution of information, particularly over systems such as the Internet which were built for the purpose of disseminating knowledge, should be freely accessible. And blocking those who block ads is broken behavior.

Advertising itself, and the mass of techical misfeatures piled on top of it: bloated webpages (see Maciej Ceglowsky for amusing, but pointedly accurate criticisms), tons of crap, malware, and above all, integrated and integral surveillance, is simply broken. Perhaps there’s a way to bring ads to the Web without these misfeatures, perhaps, as Jerry Mander and Neil Postman have said, advertising itself is evil and must die.

But that still leaves the question of paying creators: authors, musicians, photographers, artists, filmmakers, actors, sculptors, and others.

Several people have suggested forms of universal content payment and syndication. Phil Hunt of Pirate Party UK as a broadband tax, Richard M. Stallman of the Free Software Foundation an “Internet License”, and I my own “universal content syndication”. I’m not convinced that this is the way to fly, or that they can work. I suspect they’re far better than micropayments (see Nick Szabo and Clay Shirky’s rebuttals to these, or Jakob Nielsen if you prefer support).

But we need something. What we’ve got clearly ain’t working.

And it’s got to be pretty good-sized. Internationally, advertising is a multi-hundred-billion-dollar industry (~$500 b if memory serves). Parted out among the 1 billion or so members of the developed world (the 6 billion of the up-and-coming deserve this subsidy, IMO), that’s about $500 per head, annually. Assuming some advertising remains, that’s the upper bounds on a broadband tax.

But yes: $500/year per capita (and I’m a big fan of progressive allocation by income or wealth), should offer you an all-you-can-eat access to any and all media. Again, more for the wealthy, less if you’re a starving student.

Just a thought.

Anonymous Coward says:

The real problem is that advertising is so cheap, sites have to cram more and less-savory ads into their pages just to “make the rent.” The solution IAB and ad networks need to go for is to make advertising lucrative again. In 2016 with ad blockers now added into browsers, it puts a true incentive out there to sites to keep it honest and means less desperate attempts to stuff malware. It’s been cheaper to advertise on TV for a decade (as in, before cordcutters), and there’s far less data returned on those ads on top of it.

ECA (profile) says:

how about a test....

uSE A clean install, with no protections..
NOT even MS protections..


Then Run ADW..and see whats been installed on the system..

You dont even need to click their sites..JUST COME HERE, and see if BOTS are installed from 3rd party adverts..

ITS NOT THE ADVERTS…I dont Mind adverts..
I MIND BOTS/Malware/Vireus/trackers/.. being placed on my machine and I didnt even got the site..
THEN I goto a site and Im inundated with MORE 3rd party crap.

The fun part is Proving some Crap killed infected your machine..and What liability a SITE HAS, or an Advertiser..
You know they have to have Identifiers in them..but the Advert company wont tell you anything..

Iv asked Browser makers to TAG the adverts when they get installed, so I can TRACK the web site that installed it.

1 bot on a computer can track you all over the net, ID the items you buy, insert THEIR own ad’s and Popups..
Say, I bought a PART on Amazon, then Im getting TONS of popup for more parts for what I ALREADY BOUGHT…I dont need any more parts..Even Amazon, every time I go back, ASKS me to buy another part..
And that is 1 BOT, from 1 company…what happens with 2-3-4…10..ALL vying to sell me CRAP..
ITS our RIGHT, to cut the spam..
This is as bad as the OLD mail system and getting a MAIL BOX, full of crap every day of the year..and it aint even xmas..

Anonymous Coward says:

If the sites are trying to limit who is able to see their content just because they choose to limit the ads/spam they see then don’t link to them and find a more friendly site and link to their content instead.

Just like removing the comments sections, if they want to make it less appealing to go to their sites and see their content then other sites that do care will get linked to and benefit from it instead.

John Strosnider (profile) says:

Two thoughts

I have two separate thoughts on this issue:

First, you would make a decision on linking or not linking only once–at the time of publication. However, since articles on Techdirt live on forever, this ignores the reality that site can and do change their policies. The site you link to today, may start blocking tomorrow. Likewise, the site you choose not to link to, may see the light and stop blocking at some point. Now, your link/not-link policy is out of sync with reality.

Second, it seems to me that Techdirt readers can be categorized into three groups with regards to ad blocking: 1) those that do not use ad blockers, 2) those who use them in “set it and forget it” mode, and 3) those who adjust and tweak their ad blocker constantly based on which sites we wish to support/block ad on. If you choose not to link to a site based on their ad block blocking policy, all three groups are hurt, albeit to different degrees. Group 1 would have seen the content and are apparently OK with seeing the ads. A link would have been better for this group. Group 2 won’t know that the site would have blocked them. I think greater awareness of which sites are blocking is an overall good thing. Group 3 is the most hurt by this policy since we have invested time and energy is setting up the block as we choose. To not link to a site prevents us from leveraging that effort. I would imagine that loyal Techdirt readers fall into group 3 more often than not.

The bottom line is that I see no positives to not linking to a site and several negatives. If anything, simply add a short disclaimer similar to what you do for articles that are behind a paywall.

All the above assumes that there is no other equivalent article on a site that doesn’t block ad block users.

Monday (profile) says:

What Should We Do?

You, at TechDirt, use your sources as you see fit. That decision to link to “Ad Blocker-Blocking sites is your call.

The readers need to determine if the source is worth visiting or not. I have gone to sites, have been blocked, and I go somewhere else for the full story, because I have noticed that Google’ing’ will get you the meat of the story – if you have a spare thirty seconds. Mind you, I also see that TechDirt is the meat of the story. It is covered in detail, so why go for hamburger when I have steak? Others serious about infringing on my personal space with their ads can suck-it, so-to-speak. I do not dwell or obsess with the unseen. I wheel-click to open in another window, and if the site’s a no-show, I close the window and move on… that’s it… I’m done with them.

Again, it’s your call, just like it’s mine to click on that link. You will do your best to make our reading experience inconvenience free, but I wouldn’t go out of way to detract from the quality that every reader of TechDirt has come to appreciate.

Monday (profile) says:

Re: What Should We Do?

I wanted to add that Websites need to be held accountable for the advertising content they permit, through the sale of space, on their sites – and yes, even the sites which contain Pornography, although that little debate on “Is it Art or Pornagraphy? still rages. So we shouldn’t judge others who go to Met-Art 🙂

It is clear that advertising is a major source, if not the leading source, of infection to computers. So if they carefully screen their potential clients, make the sworn statement that they will not, through their ignorance, damage your computer, maybe, just maybe people wouldn’t have such a problem with ads on websites. If they post a waiver before entering the site… hit the bricks.

Or maybe I should just stf up? 😀

Kludge (profile) says:

The content-blocking Forbes and others are engaging in really only makes sense if they stop regurgitating “news” with some third-party consultant’s opinion thrown in to boost word count (wasting readers’ time) and make it appear less lazy.

It’s just as easy to block content-blockers from Google News as it is to whitelist the site in my ad blocker – and why would I do something I’m asked from a company telling me “no” when there’s no drawback to defiance? Thousands of other outlets are regurgitating the same generic crap.

bonnie (profile) says:

RE: Should We Link To Sites Block People Using Ad-Blockers?

I don’t think you should have to block these sites – you are a business. Have you thought about compiling a list, that others can add to, of sites that block people using Ad-Blockers?

Question: Do you think companies are cutting off their own foot by such practices? I send interesting articles / product info from sites to those who might find useful. I am a much better direct marketing resource – get them to possible converting customers – than annoying ads that only piss off most of internet users.

Thanks for great site, just found it tonight when I googled “sites ask turn off ad blocking” after I read an article on Forbes about ad-blocking and the benefits. I found an ad-blocker, installed the ad-on to my browser, went to find that article again to send to a colleague to check out the useful info – hard to come by good content these days – and discovered I had to whitelist Forbes or continue being blocked. Ironic to say the least – left Forbes and could care less if I read another article from them again.

Jamieson says:

Don't link. Don't aid their SEO.

I vote that you not link to sites that you feel are treating visitors poorly, and here’s why: even if you call out the practices of the site you’re linking to, you’re still providing them with SEO link juice. That means that you are reinforcing the placement of their content in search engine result pages.

I don’t view articles on Forbes. I wish I could get Google to remove Forbes results from my search results when I’m logged in. I absolutely hate clicking a search results link, only to realize too late that I clicked a frickin’ Forbes link and all I’m going to get is their insulting DEAL page.

By not linking to Forbes and other DEAL-infested sites, you can help reduce the SEO signals that get their content favorable placements. If enough journalists take this approach, it could have a tangible effect on the ability of DEAL-infested sites to infest our search results.

Kill the links. Help kill their SEO. And thanks for having such a user-friendly policy about ad blockers for your own site.

Artem says:

I am using windows 10, I have Google Chrome with adblock plus. Edge does not have an adblocker installed. Using http://speedof.me/ I get on average 51 MB download speed in Chrome, and the max I have ever gotten in Edge is 24 MB download speed, even at 2 am on a Monday morning.

I think there is a problem at Microsoft Edge. Try to test internet speed on other sites, for example on this one.

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