Reddit's Technology Subreddit Ponders Banning Wired & Forbes For Blocking Adblock Users

from the block-the-blocking-of-the-blockers? dept

Over the last year there have been a growing number of websites that have decided to “deal” with the rise of ad blockers by blocking ad blocking users entirely. Blocking the blockers was the recently recommended course of action by the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), which suggested the best way to have a “conversation” about ad blockers was to try and prevent them from being used. And while sites like the New York Times, GQ, Forbes and Wired have all happily pursued this course of action, their actual implementation has ranged from frustrating to downright comical.

Mike has noted he doesn’t use an ad blocker, yet is somehow blocked by all of these sites completely. I do use an AdBlocker and whitelist websites I care about, but even after whitelisting the entire Wired domain, this is what I see whenever I’ve tried to view a Wired story in 2016:

This has been a problem since the website first announced it was going to be blocking adblock users earlier this year. At the time, Wired stated that ad block blocking was necessary because on an average day, 20% of Wired readers block Wired ads:

“On an average day, more than 20 percent of the traffic to WIRED.com comes from a reader who is blocking our ads. We know that you come to our site primarily to read our content, but it?s important to be clear that advertising is how we keep WIRED going: paying the writers, editors, designers, engineers, and all the other staff that works so hard to create the stories you read and watch here.”

Wired’s ingenious solution to this problem was to impose a system that’s so shitty, it can’t detect whether you use an ad blocker or not? A solution that’s so ham-fisted it’s actually pissing off and blocking users that have never even considered using an ad blocker? Like paywalls, Wired’s also alienating editors and writers that might otherwise link to its content, but decide not to for risk of annoying their own readers. Wired’s “solution” causes far more problems that it fixes, and so far the company’s been mute to user complaints, likely in the hopes that annoyed users will just pony up $1 a month for its “ad free” option.

Since users being sent to these websites are increasingly annoyed, moderators over at the technology subreddit have announced they’re considering banning ad block blocking websites from the subreddit completely. They don’t even mention that these blockers don’t work, but they do point out that websites like Forbes have been pushing malware at users should they lower their defenses:

“It has come to our attention that many websites such as Forbes and Wired are now requiring users to disable ad blockers to view content. Because Forbes requires users to do this and has then served malware to them we see this as a security risk to you our community. There are also sites such as Wall Street Journal that have implemented pay-walls which we were are also considering banning. We would like all of your thoughts on whether or not we should allow domains such as Forbes here on /r/technology while they continue to resort to such practices.”

It’s entirely possible that the mods face pressure from higher up to avoid this route, but it remains an obvious indication of a growing annoyance among consumers, many of whom see ad blocking technologies as just another privacy and security tool. And like any such tool, the rise of ad block blocking has simply given birth to another game of cat and mouse — the development of tools to help ad block users block detection more easily. Yeah, we’re now busy blocking the blockers of blockers. This is the glorious “solution” to a problem that started with websites pushing too many poorly designed ads and intrusive technologies?

So what has trying to block ad block users actually accomplished outside of annoying potential readers, reducing traffic and making your website look tone deaf and foolish? Here at Techdirt we let users disable ads, but simply ask they try to support us in other ways (the Insider Shop, Deals Store, or one of our crowdfunding campaigns). That seems like an easier route than forcibly trying to dictate what tools consumers can and cannot use. Meanwhile, if websites really want to have a “conversation” about ad blockers, the first step would be to really listen to customers when they explain why they’re using them.

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Companies: forbes, reddit, wired

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Comments on “Reddit's Technology Subreddit Ponders Banning Wired & Forbes For Blocking Adblock Users”

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99 Comments
Jnite (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Agreed, I’ve experienced this first hand in the past (years ago) with DeviantArt when the ad-server company they were using were infected. Fortunately, my antivirus was strong and prevented it from getting in, but still.

Whenever I work on computers, installing an ad-blocker in one of the standard security measures I take to help keep their computers secure and work faster/smoother.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Response to: Baron von Robber on May 9th, 2016 @ 11:48am

I have to agree with you about script blocking. Javascript has been a necessary component of 99.99% of all web-served malware over the last 15 years.

Ads are one big vector for malware but a second big vector are directly compromised websites. Somebody finds a zero-day in WordPress and within hours there are tens of thousands of websites directly serving up malware.

Block javascript and for all practical purposes you are immune to all forms of malware regardless of the source.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: About That Name

Nah, I’m pretty sure that most communications over the internet still spend the majority of their time going through a series of tubes, and will for the foreseeable future. That’s why we get excited when someone like Google starts laying down more tubes, and why we complaint when folks like Verizon and Comcast refuse to lay down more tubes.

DannyB (profile) says:

Here's The Thing

Here’s The Thing
With Malware

We don’t get it: Malware isn’t what you’re here for. But not being responsible enough to exclude malvertisements is what helps us keep the lights on.

So, add us to your malware whitelist or pay $1 per week for a version of WIRED with less malware.

Either way, you are supporting malware, hackers and botnets. We really appreciate it. (even if we have no clue what a botnet actually is.)

And you’re privacy, is our number one concern!* So please enable cookies.

*(a concern that comes right below how much we can make by selling your tracking information to anyone who can pay).

I.T. Guy says:

I never minded ads to be honest. Up until they became mechanisms to deliver malware. Then just like any other user to keep myself safe and to not have to waste hours rebuilding my machines, I installed software to thwart the attempts. Plain and simple. Ads have become an attack vector and need to be dealt with. In our cases it’s to block them entirely. Just like the rise of viruses and anti-virus software. One would think a site like Wired would understand this.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Please disable your computer's protections to use our site

“It appears you’re using an anti-virus program, please disable that to use our site.”

I’m guessing most people would not think that the above would be an acceptable price to use a site, and with malware hiding in ads ad-blockers effectively are anti-virus programs, protecting you from malicious programs that could infect your computer.

‘Asking’ someone to disable ad-blocking software(especially if you happen to be a site that’s been caught serving malware ridden ads in the past) is simply not going to happen at this point, and the sites and ad services need to realize this. Ads have become so bad, and present a very real danger such that ad-blocking has gone from anti-nuisance to computer security, and only a fool disables that.

They’re welcome to explore new options as to how they get the funding for their sites, but the ad-blocker stays up, now and forever. Ultimately I value my computer more than I value any site I might visit, and if I have to give up a site because they insist that use of it requires disabling the ad-blocker, then that’s a site I can do without.

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Re: Arms race

I agree with what you say. Reddit is engaging with users rather than exploiting them — and installing malware on their computers.

But what I was getting at is that if Reddit blocks, say, Wired, then what could Wired do?

Wired could block users coming from Reddit. But what users? There would be none.

I suppose Wired could run JavaScript in your browser, snoop through your browsing history, determine if you’ve ever been to Reddit, and then say you must promise never again to visit Reddit before you can visit Wired. At this point, I’m getting into the absurd. But hey, we’re talking about advertisers here.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Arms race

They could add a Form every time you go to a Wired link. Like those asking to confirm your age, they could ask you “are you a Reddit user?” and if you say yes they could boot you.

Of course they need to do it every time you click anything in their site also.

Zangetsu (profile) says:

Why I run an adblocker

For me I don’t really mind the ads themselves, I mind when the ads impact my viewing of a website. I have been on a number of websites where the content doesn’t show up until the ads show up and if the ad distributor is slow, the site is slow. On other sites the ads crash the browser so I need to disable the ads in order to even view the site. And ads with sound that play by default? Please make them go away.
I have no problem with sites earning money through ads and, where the ads are unobtrusive (don’t crash my browser, don’t force me to watch before content, etc.) I willingly whitelist them. But forcing me to do something? Well, I guess someone else deserves my eyeballs and not them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Why I run an adblocker

Basically, I have no problem with ads. I DO have a problem with unverified code from a third party site running on my computer without my express permission. So ad sites are blocked, as they currently inject javascripts and all sorts of nasty bits. A site’s content isn’t worth me having to re-image my machine regularly and lose local data.

I’m waiting for an ad provider to start up that provides only text and SVG images. I might not block that site.

Jnite (profile) says:

Re: Why I run an adblocker

This is one of the reasons I also use ad-blockers. Too many sites run like garbage because of ads. There have been sites I genuinely wanted to whitelist, but as soon as I turned the ad-blocker off, the site became a slow, unresponsive, and/or other annoyances.

So of course I turn the ad-blocker back on. The reason I was going to whitelist the site is because I liked it, but without the ad-blocker I no longer like the site.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Why I run an adblocker

The one that prompted me to start using an adblocker was an advert that lurked on a page until the page had been loaded for about ten minutes, and would then start playing video adverts, buried somewhere in amongst ten or fifteen tabs I had open to read later.
It was such a blatantly user-hostile act that I had to take defensive measures.

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Re:

It would be ironic to suggest that one of the internet’s most profitable advertisers (Google) blacklist a clueless advertiser like Forbes.

But would that be a conflict of interest? Yes. But would it be illegal?

I don’t know. Nobody forces you to use Google. You presumably use Google INSTEAD OF OTHER SEARCH ENGINES because you prefer Google’s results — including this hypothetical blocking of Forbes.

But after Forbes’ “what SCO wants, SCO gets” in 2003, I don’t really care what happens to Forbes. Long memory.

Anonymous Coward says:

Next generation

I get that the websites that block adblock users detect the use of an adblocker because some item (the ad) is not being downloaded.

How about someone makes an adblocker that doesn’t block the ads from being downloaded, but neither does it show them. Is that possible?

I agree that this still wastes the bandwidth needed to download the items, but maybe it becomes more difficult to block the blockers?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Next generation

I believe the first generation of ad blockers on Chrome even worked this way – they downloaded the ads anyway, and just didn’t show them. This was due to a limitation in the extension functionality on Chrome.

Ultimately, this made some people happy, but ads still consume bandwidth, so loading was still slow while the ads were being downloaded simultaneously with the rest of the site content.

Eventually, Chrome’s extension layer got better – meeting the demand.

Anonymous Coward says:

The whole concept of advertising is weird to me. Most ads have long since abandoned the informative “here’s our product” advertisement and moved heavily into the “buy our product” demand-creation advertisement. And there’s this mostly undiscussed concept that eyeballs in ads lead to click throughs lead to purchases. I rarely, and usually only on accident, click on an advertisement. I will never buy a product by clicking through. If I see something interesting, I might Google it, look at reviews, and comparison shop before making a purchase. So advertisers will never know if I purchased because of their ads. Who are the people who actually click through and purchase? Who are the people that advertising works on?

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Re:

There is also the fear driven: OMG!!! Buy our product or something BAD BAD BAD is going to happen to you!

If you don’t buy our product, you won’t be cool, smart, beautiful, or rich. But if you buy our product you will be all of that and more!

ALERT: Malware has been detectified upon your computers.
To preserve your valuable informations please to be installing our anti-malware product quite immediately!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

They might not be able to link together that you in particular saw an ad and then through a different route actually purchased, but what they CAN see is “we put out this new ad campaign and in the following weeks we saw X% increase in sales with only X-Y% being accounted for from direct click throughs”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I’ve seen those kinds of claims, and some ads may certainly work (I do start to crave a cheeseburger when I see one on TV, though not necessarily the cheeseburger of the company that paid for the ad), but there also seems to be some conclusion-drawing with insufficient evidence or ignorance of other factors.

“We advertised our snow shovels the week before the blizzard warning and they sold like hotcakes. Advertising clearly works!”

Anonymous Coward says:

Wired Blocks Those Use Use Tracking Cookie Blockers

I do not use an ad blocker. I do use Ghostery and a few other privacy tools to block tracking cookies and related shenanigans.

(including 13 of the 14 that show up on this page)

Wired gives me the same “Here’s the thing about ad blockers” page when I try visiting their site.

Presumably, their ad blocker detection technique involves changing one of these tracking cookies and seeing if that change sticks.

Now, Wired could still serve me the page and serve ads. Perhaps they would use a different ad inventory that specifically is geared towards those disabling tracking cookies. The fact that they don’t speaks volumes about their real motivations here.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Wired Blocks Those Use Use Tracking Cookie Blockers

Wired gives me the same “Here’s the thing about ad blockers” page when I try visiting their site.

What is funny is that at least until recently (I haven’t checked in the last couple weeks, they may have changed it,) blocking Javascript prevents their (Wired) “Here’s the thing about ad blockers” page. If you block javascript on their page, you don’t get the warning and can read the page unhindered (but nothing on the site works much so don’t expect links or other content to work.) At least you can read their content. I don’t know if Forbes works the same way.

I’ve pretty much avoided Wired and Forbes, but with the block of the Wired javascript, if I accidentally click on one of their links, I can at least read the content that brought me there.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Wired Blocks Those Use Use Tracking Cookie Blockers

I still read some articles from Wired on occasion and can confirm that their adblock detection doesn’t work if you’ve disabled JavaScript on the site.

I run NoScript, Ghostery and uBlock Origin. I can access Wired just fine. Forbes does see the blocker and won’t let me in(which is fine). Some sites seem to implement their ad block detection in a very haphazard way and others go so far to the other extreme that it isn’t funny. Either way, like many of the readers here, I won’t compromise my system security just to read an article. If the information is that important to me, I’m certain I can find it elsewhere

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Wired Blocks Those Use Use Tracking Cookie Blockers

Check out the self-destructing cookies add-on for firefox.

It lets websites set cookies all they want. But when you navigate away or close the tab, poof it deletes them.

It is a great idea because someone who just outright blocks cookies draws attention to themselves as being different. This way as long as you are on the website they can’t tell the difference between you and some dumb schlub who doesn’t care about their privacy.

The add-on could use a better UI for whitelisting, but otherwise it is just about perfect.

johaus (profile) says:

Re: Wired Blocks Those Use Use Tracking Cookie Blockers

I have basically the same setup. Difference is I run adblock, but whitelisted Wired prior to them bitching. But, they apparently still think I’m blocking because of Ghostery. I reached out to them and haven’t heard anything back. Told them they can serve ads, but they aren’t going to be tracking.

Haven’t been to that site in months. Guess they would rather have no visits and no ads served versus ads served without tracking. Or maybe they don’t know how to run a website well enough to distinguish.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Wired Blocks Those Use Use Tracking Cookie Blockers

It’s even worse than simply forcing user to allow tracking cookies

Wired will block you if you simply have the ‘do not track’ tag activated within your browser.

That is simply past the ‘please let us display our shity ads’ and well into ‘illegal interferance with our business model’ territory

Anonymous Coward says:

I get hit by these because I have configured my browser to not run scripts unless I specifically greenlight them. I consider that to be safer, as it limits the number of infection vectors. I feel that wired should understand this, at the very least.

If the ads weren’t intrusive, auto-running scripts that consume vast quantities of bandwidth and acting as a vector for malware, then I might consider allowing them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

For wired.com – it doesn’t show up until you start scrolling down a large article to read the whole thing – as you scroll down, it overlays the page to piss you off.

I just close the page when this happens – they might as well be upfront about it like forbes.com – hooking me into their content and then taking it away just pisses me off more.

Dr. David T. Macknet (profile) says:

Unobtrusive

The thing about the way TechDirt does it, though, makes sense: you don’t prevent the content from displaying, but give a gentle nudge that says you’re monetizing and there are other ways to support you other than to get rid of security precautions. These others don’t offer any option but to be less secure / anonymous. TechDirt at this moment knows who I am because I’m commenting and logged in – most of the time I’m not, and clear my browser cookies / history every time I close the browser; to be able to still benefit from the site w/o having to log in is an awesome feature – and, yes, I’ve supported you ’cause I like your content, but don’t need for you to remember that I have done so.

What these sites fail to understand is that we of the internet have options – we can visit other sites, or drop the title into a search engine and find the exact same content on some other site.

I block them right back, frankly – I add them as 0.0.0.0 to my etc/hosts file so that if I accidentally try to follow a link I get no content. Makes it simpler.

Dukrugger (profile) says:

Sorry ad agencies, you made rhis to yourself, i started (and i guess mos of the people) hating ads after all the flashing, blaring, moving, blocking, obscuring crap you funneled to our screens, now you cry because nobody likes you? It’s like the wife-beating husband that cries when she laves him. As a side note there are already anti-anti-adblock extensions.

Anonymous Coward says:

The great irony is that just asking your users for support actually works, as long as you do it in a non-shitty way. There is Techdirt’s approach, of course, but there’s also YouTube giants like CGP Grey asking for a totally voluntary and incredibly easy contribution of $1 per video for “Adblock Absolution”, and small-time web comics artists saying “the ads give me $X/month; give me >$X and I’ll remove the ads”.

The Groove Tiger (profile) says:

I don’t buy things that are on internet Ads. Like, if I wanted to buy something, and then saw an Ad of it, I would think “hey, don’t tell me what to do, buddy!” and then not buy it.

So, I’m actually doing them a favor, see. By blocking them Ads, I make sure I’m not negatively influenced by it in case it’s a product I would normally decide to buy.

ECA (profile) says:

dONT HAVE TO SAY MUCH

We all know why we use Blockers..
There are very good reasons..
Why wont/dont they understand this?

UNTIL they Screen and clean the 3rd party adverts..
I wont allow them.

Unless they WISH to declare that they will be responsible to 3rd party(as well as their OWN) inclusion of CRAP on my machine…I wont go there.

I run adblockers and NoScript…There are sites with so many SCRIPTS, that you really wonder if a site KNOWS how to program..

Ben (profile) says:

I actually subscribe

I actually subscribe to the *paper* (gasp!) edition of Wired. It provides something for my teenage boys to read on long drives that is, to a certain extent, enjoyable (and sometimes quite funny).

I had (note tense) wired in my RSS reader, but once they implemented the “block users who block ads” rule I simply dropped them. Now I learn about things a bit later (a month or two), but I eventually get it, although I might not renew the paper subscription since my boys are aging out of it, and since I don’t see it every day I don’t think of it as much.

At least ArsTechnica hasn’t switched; *that* would annoy me to have to turn off.

Wired has every right to implement their business model the way they want to. More power to them, even. That doesn’t mean I have to do business with them.

JBDragon (profile) says:

Re: I actually subscribe

I agree with this. Go ahead and block your site to AdBlock users. I’m perfectly happy to go somewhere else. I don’t need to find some run around to get on. The web site is free to run it how they want and I’m free to just not go there.

I was fine with simple ad banner on the top of the page, but it’s gone so far past that where you’re downloading more Ad and tracking data then the topic you want to read. The web site is grabbing garbage from 20-30 different sites and dishing it out to you. It’s beyond crazy. I didn’t asked to be tracked. I don’t want to see a flood of ad’s all around, left, right, top, bottom, in the middle of something I want to read either. It’s just not worth it. Now you can get infected with this garbage because it’s become automated to the point where no one is checking anything.

No thanks,.. Block away,. I’ll go away. I’m fine with that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Wwith some of those sites that try to get you to stop viewing them if they detect you have an adblocker, the content still gets rendered in the background but some other thing pops up on top of it to prevent you reading it. You can then go into inspect and start deleting stuff to get rid of it and then read the content. So, how long until I can have a chrome addon that just automatically does this for me?
An adblock-blocker-remover?

David (profile) says:

I had a wired subscription

And at that time you were required to receive the paper version as well. Okay, that lasted a year then I stopped it. Easily half the magazines were never read. Why waste the paper?

Recently I added AdBlocker Plus for the express purpose of stopping the always security suspected Flash. I still have no idea why advertisers think it is acceptable to suck my bandwidth for and with crappy ads.

Then Wired gave me the “Here’s the Thing” pitch. What irritated me was they stole the page, whited out the entire article with their push. I closed the tab. I thought about it and the next day (or so) white listed them. The very next time I visited what did they do? They whited out the article to thank me for white listing them. I closed the tab and have not returned. Except a few minutes later to black list them again.

Ham fisted champion of the web, Wired.com by a nose.

Anonymous Coward says:

More than once I’ve come back to some place to find out those who were viewing ads, got malware while I block the ads and don’t get them. I started doing that after spending hours getting rid of some malware. I am yet to have an advertiser say we’ll send someone right on over to fix it. If the fixing is on me so is the cure.

Nor have advertisers asked me to use my bandwidth. With caps starting it has become very important where my bandwidth goes.

Then there is the matter of datamining that has gotten increasingly problematic with a nosey government quite willing to pay for what it doesn’t get itself. I’m not a card to be spindled nor mutilated.

I’m good with the idea Forbes doesn’t want me there as they consider me a thief of their income. If I get accidentally linked to it, I just close the page. I don’t want them count my eyeballs when they go to figuring up how much to charge for advertising spaces by traffic.

Vinquus (profile) says:

Here's the Thing with Adblockers

I use an adblocker to block ads.

This is my way of telling you, the website operator, that if I were to see any ads, I see, I would not ever click on them. I think you’d agree that it’s my decision whether I click on an ad or not.

By using an adblocker, I’m cutting out the middleman. By telling you that I don’t even need to see the ads, because I will never, never click them, I am saving you bandwidth. Because you don’t even need to serve up the iframe. And your advertisers don’t need to serve up their image, animated gif, embedded video and tracking scripts, thus saving them money that they can pass onto you!

And by the way, you’re welcome.

Anonymous Coward says:

What do these guys think they know that we don't?

The only reason these sites are as popular as they are in the first place, is because they spend a shitload of money on SEO, and bored people in airports pay way to much for reading materials.

These guys are thinking they can constrain access to their own content and make MORE money. The only reason to think that would be that they think there will be some future means of constraining the availability of competing content, MORE than they constrain the availability of their own.

What I’m suggesting, is that at the executive level, these decisions would require some anti-competitive behavior either with the search engines or with the carriers to have any reasonable expectation of maintaining ROI, let alone improving it.

Entropy is not on their side. So what do they know that we don’t?

Anonymous Coward says:

One day they’ll finally realize that ad blockers aren’t the problem and it’s in fact the intrusive and sometimes dangerous ads themselves that are the real problem that needs to be fixed.

But that time will probably be around the same time Hollywood realizes that the internet is a good thing and streaming is a good thing and copyright doesn’t need to last hundreds of years and be more draconian every year.

Uh, yeah I’m not holding my breath either.

Whatever (profile) says:

Adblockers and the world of walled gardens

My take on all of this is pretty simple: If too many people (including myself) use adblockers, then the very basis by which much of the web pays for itself will disappear. So the question becomes, what replaces it?

The worst potential solution and the one we are seeing the most of now is the idea of “pay to make the ads go away”. It’s a version of the walled garden, call it the quiet garden. Pay us a nominal fee that makes us whole on the money we would have made from you watching ads, and we will give you the content without any issue.

The other choice is integrated adverting (aka, Golden Frog spam on Techdirt) which is harder to filter out. Thankfully, that tends to be self filtering, because smart operators realize how much publishing spamvertising posts can hurt your brand in the long term.

Note: For what it’s worth, if you mobile visit Techdirt on a Sunday, generally you get ZERO actual stories. The first loading page is top list, history, spam post, etc. More and more Techdirt supports itself with these posts, but more and more the risk is in overdoing it and detracting from the real content (here’s looking at you, Gizmodo!)

“So they’ve decided that that no longer want 20 percent of their audience? That’s kind-of a slap in the face.”

The issue I guess is one of value. If you have to pay for too many freeloaders, is it really worth it? The lowering of ad views and click thrus tends to lead to intensification of the ad products, making them pop out, auto play, fill the page, auto expand, and so on – all in the name of making up for the lost revenue from the freeloading crowd. There is a point where the entire product for everyone may be harmed trying to give the 20% (or more now) a free lunch.

It’s a question of respect in both directions. It’s been lost for a while, and adblockers have just upped the angry ante.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Adblockers and the world of walled gardens

It’s a question of respect in both directions. It’s been lost for a while, and adblockers have just upped the angry ante.

It’s not ‘upping the ante’ to protect yourself from malicious code, which unfortunately is what it’s come down to. When even major sites like Forbes get caught offering malware laden ads then you have to be either ignorant of the threat or seriously reckless to not use an ad-blocker, it has nothing to do with ‘respect’.

Sites do need money to stay afloat, that’s true, the problem is the ‘standard’ way of making it, that of offering ads has been poisoned by the ad services and the sites caring more about their welfare than the welfare of their visitors. If the ones running sites don’t care about the security of their visitors then they don’t get to complain when said visitors take their security into their own hands, and if the sites have troubles because of that then they brought it on themselves with their indifference.

Anne Onymous says:

The non-dev's solution

I am aware that there are probably various people with a lot more tech knowledge than yours truly, who might spot a flaw in this (not sure how it fares for blocking any malware that may be present, for instance – if anyone has an idea for how to make it more secure in that regard, I’d like to hear it), but here’s what I’ve been doing about this problem.

Yes, sites usually need to show ads to make money. I don’t object to that. What I do object to is the way the technology behind the ads spies on people viewing the sites to make the ads more able to manipulate the viewers.

So, if I find a link to an article I want to read on a site that won’t let me because my main browser has ad blockers – I open it in Tor. They can show ads all they like, but they won’t be finding out anything about me, so the ads will be water off a duck’s back, just as they were before intrusive ad technology was introduced.

Anon says:

Bye bye ads

My main issue is not just with the malware served up by some of these ads. It goes deeper. A large majority of the ads on any given internet site are scams, particularly the ones served by Outbrain and Taboola which are known cancers. They may be safe to see on the site where they appear, but when you click, that’s when you get screwed. And isn’t clicking those ads the whole point of their being there in the first place? If I don’t feel that I can click on an ad and not get infected, then I wouldn’t mind so much. And don’t forget the whole clickbait way these ads are worded. That annoys me to no end. If you have to result to shady methods like that, then the product you’re pushing is likely crap no one wants. Hell, even if it’s not clickbait, it’s probably crap no one wants. Get it?

Ginny says:

Ads that don't alienate your readers and might actually sell

I use adblock for two reasons: security and usability. Some sites are so poorly designed that it is actually neigh impossible for me to browse them on a small screen or a slow internet connection.

I use adblock to disappear hover headers such as the one Youtube uses as a searchbar – some of those take up one third of my laptop’s screen after I enlarge text with Ctrl + …I block the intersite promotions Cracked has above the article, next to the article (unless they have since stopped doing that), and twice below the article. I loved “Recommended for your pleasure” when those links were all text, but now it’s pictures, and combined with Quick Fixes Section beneath a Quick Fix articles, those promotions are scroll’s length longer than the content I came to the page for. So I block those – but I actually leave in the sponsored content ads! For now, so long as it’s not intrusive or gives me a virius.

I have my Adblock set to allow ads as long as it’s not intrusive. I read a my community newspaper which depends on ads, and I actually clip out businesses I want to check out and magnet them to my fridge. Ads are not bad as long as they are informative (what are they selling?) and not offensive or triggering (I hate skin whitening ads, and condo ads with sexy woman on it and nothing else reminds me of the ‘furniture’ in Soylent Green).

Security is why I will not drop my adblock to read newsite, I see the stupid adblock overlay up, I close my window and add Forbes to my blacklist. Newspapers uses way too many third party stuff they have no clue about. I have long whitelisted 4chan because 4chan knows what they are doing.

A way to get around adblock which block by element, and to NOT infect your userbase with viruses or let third party ruin your rep, is to manually insert ad at the end of your article. No flash because it’s annoying and eats bandwidth, just text and a still image that’s attractive, at the end of the article – I often scroll pass stuff when I’m reading an article, whereas at the end, I’m half thinking about what I just read while the screen with the ads at the end are still up.

Ads ‘personalized’ with the aid of cookies is creepy and inaccurate, but ads should be personalized to the average audience of the webpage it’s displayed on. It’s really not hard to figure out your demographic’s interest as long as you allow comments, you don’t have to know their age or gender or race, but comments reveal interest and sometimes buying ability

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