French Publishers Think They Can Fix Online Advertising By Suing The Company Behind AdBlockPlus

from the 'fix'-as-in-'burn-all-bridges-in-all-directions' dept

The debate over ad blockers continues, all without gaining much ground in terms of coherence. Most people still find ads annoying, something that plays hell with websites' attempts to make money by utilizing them. Ad blockers kick these intrusive nuisances to the curb (and block questionable scripts), prompting website owners to make regrettable decisions like blocking users of ad blockers or banning any discussion of ad blocking software, etc. Responses like these seem to emanate from the brainstem rather than from careful consideration, and generally do more to alienate readers than screen-eating splash ads and flash-heavy sidebars that slow systems to a crawl.

So, who's going to pay for all of this "free" content? That's the question on many site owners' minds. Subscriptions, paywalls, data mining, patronage, physical goods tie-ins… all of these are options. Not a single one of these is perfect and none of them have enough pull of their own to completely displace ad revenue.

It's an industry that's still ripe for disruption, just as much as the online publishing field is. Advancements have been made, but there's still a long road ahead before any sort of consistently profitable equilibrium is achieved. But why wait? And, by all means, why innovate? Members of the French publishing industry are now doing what so many industries have done before -- attempting to sue their way to success. (via slashdot)
On grounds that it represents a major economic threat to their business, two groups of French publishers are considering a lawsuit against AdBlockPlus creator Eyeo GmbH. (Les Echos, broke the news in this story, in French).

Plaintiffs are said to be the GESTE and the French Internet Advertising Bureau. The first is known for its aggressive stance against Google via its contribution to the Open Internet Project. (To be clear, GESTE said they were at a “legal consulting stage”, no formal complaint has been filed yet.) By his actions, the second plaintiff, the French branch of the Internet Advertising Bureau is in fact acknowledging its failure to tame the excesses of the digital advertising market.
As Frederic Filloux notes, this proposed litigation will be nothing more than two failures attempting to co-write "History: A Biography." Even if these two manage to take AdBlockPlus down, they'll just find themselves facing people who still don't want to see ads and many, many developers willing to fill the void. And once people are aware that these two plaintiffs are willing to force them to view ads, they'll be twice as happy to actively make things worse for the publishers. There will also be collateral damage: people employed by both who don't see eye-to-eye with their employers but whose employment will be adversely affected by the backlash.

Not that Eyeo GmbH is completely blameless. While the product works as advertised, the philosophy of the company isn't exactly altruistic. The company has its own idea of what is or isn't an "acceptable ad," but the quantifying factors verge on ethereal.
1. Acceptable Ads are not annoying.
2. Acceptable Ads do not disrupt or distort the page content we’re trying to read.
3. Acceptable Ads are transparent with us about being an ad.
4. Acceptable Ads are effective without shouting at us.
5. Acceptable Ads are appropriate to the site that we are on.
But who decides whether an ad is "acceptable" or not (and thus qualified for a spot on the software's whitelist)? Well, the company does. And since the company is interested in moving copies of AdBlockPlus, it's hardly an unbiased view. It admits that it receives fees from some companies in return for whitelisting, which it also extends to all "small- to medium-sized websites." It promises not to sell whitelist spots, but it also withholds information about how it determines which sites are eligible for free whitelisting, or which advertisers it takes money from.

Filloux points out the pitfall this situation presents.
[A] single private entity cannot decide what is acceptable or not for an entire sector. Especially in such an opaque fashion.

Eyeo GmbH is filling a vacuum created by the incompetence and sloppiness of the advertising community’s, namely creative agencies, media buyers and organizations that are supposed to coordinate the whole ecosystem (such as the Internet Advertising Bureau.)
It's an industry that's singularly an anti-industry force. AdBlockPlus's success is tied to the failures of the ad industry. It seems willing to play nice with certain advertisers, but these qualifications are withheld from both the industries it affects and the users who depend on the product.

But the "solution" these publishers are proposing is no solution. What needs to be fixed will remain unaddressed as long as simply suing an undesirable entity out of circulation remains a possibility. This isn't just a French thing, either. We see it here in the US as well -- the use of government entities (legislative, judicial) instead of actual innovation when faced with declining revenue. The fact that it rarely, if ever, works is lost on the incumbents. (Remember that time when the RIAA sued LimeWire out of existence and piracy ended?) AdBlockPlus may have its issues, but forcing it out of the market won't fix the online advertising. All it will do is make it worse.

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  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 9 Dec 2014 @ 6:33am

    Acceptable Ads

    An acceptable ad is one that I cannot see.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      art guerrilla (profile), 9 Dec 2014 @ 7:53am

      Re: Acceptable Ads

      yes, ads suck, period; there are VERY FEW that are actually 'entertaining' in some fashion or another (ESPN commercials come to mind), and i do NOT want to sit through 100 ads to get one 'gem' that is not anything special anyway...

      that is a general statement, whether it is teevee (more on that), magazines, billboards, movies, whatever; ADS SUCK, FUCK YOU ADVERTISERS...

      (NO, i will NOT sit still for the LIES of 'well, ads perform a very important role in our society blah blah blah...'... BULLSHIT, they do not, shut up with that happy horseshit... we ALL -EXCEPT FOR ADVERTISERS AND USELESS MARKETING DROIDS- could have ALL ads disappear tomorrow and it would be a BETTER , PRETTIER WORLD and no one would die as a result...)

      what i'm hating on now, is the trend of having a big site title banner thingy with idiotic tweet/farcebook/etc icons JAMMED into my face, especially the ones which drop down and obscure the page... USELESS SPACE WASTING...

      and about teevee: hate, Hate, HATE the bugs those jerks put on OUR screens... AND i can prove with one factoid how the purported 'reason' they 'have to' put bugs on the screen is a lie, because we po' po' widdle teevee watchers won't know what channel we are on...
      A. that's really a problem ? (no, it isn't)
      B. IF that is the intention, then WHY aren't the bugs onscreen during THE ONE TIME THEY ARE REALLY NECESSARY: during commercials ? ? ?
      i know why, you know why, but the teevee droids are STILL going to piss on our legs, and not only tell us it is raining, BUT INSIST YOUR LEG IS NOT WET AT ALL...

      further, it is bad enough when they have the little ghost bugs of their channel logo/whatever in the corner; but they also have the relatively HUGE animated/video adlets which overwrite OUR SCREEN with bullshit advertising their next shitty show we don't want to watch OVER TOP THE SHOW WE ARE WATCHING...

      totally blotted out some translated language subtitles for a show i was watching the other day... fuckers, couldn't follow what was going on in the show because the subtitles were obscured...

      this has NOTHING to do with what we PAYING CUSTOMERS want, and EVERYTHING to do with wringing every last penny out of us they can... AND DESTROYING their OWN product in the process ! ! !

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        DannyB (profile), 9 Dec 2014 @ 8:08am

        Re: Re: Acceptable Ads

        > it is bad enough when they have the little ghost bugs of their
        > channel logo/whatever in the corner; but they also have the relatively
        > HUGE animated/video adlets which overwrite OUR SCREEN with bullshit
        > advertising their next shitty show we don't want to watch OVER TOP THE SHOW WE ARE WATCHING


        It was a gradual process. But I found a solution.

        I simply quit watching.

        If I can't find it on Netflix, then it doesn't exist.

        I can find plenty to watch in the limited time that I have for watching TV. There are better things to do in life. Yes really.

        Go out and buy a Raspberry Pi starter kit.
        Learn to play a musical instrument.
        Read a book. (horrors!)
        Watch fantastic lectures on YouTube. (I'm currently watching videos from Clojure Conj, and watching a series on introduction to advanced mathematics, currently in groups, rings, etc -- which I want to absorb in order to work on polynomial factoring in software.)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2014 @ 8:01am

      Re: Acceptable Ads

      An acceptable ad is one that I cannot hear.

      FTFY

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 10 Dec 2014 @ 9:36am

      Re: Acceptable Ads

      An acceptable ad is one that I cannot see.

      I'd put it differently. An acceptable ad is one I don't notice unless I want to.

      Imagine strolling leisurely down a sidewalk, enjoying the sunshine and tweets from the birdies ... Then from behind a bush jumps out a pitchman drowning out everything else backed up by a line of chorus girls and a brass band. That's when I want a mac-10.

      When I click on a link, then notice Gkrellm's network traffic meter spike and both cores also spike and I'm still waiting so see the page I've asked for, and the bottom line displays my browser phoning home to "services" I've never heard of, and now my machine's on its knees and I'm still waiting for my browser to kill the tab that's sucking the life out of it, ...

      I do not need animated autoplaying gifs embedded in a page that I was intending to READ! I do not want to have to scroll all the way down the page to find the autoplay ad that's destroying the responsiveness of my machine. I want a kill file so I can blackhole the assholes who did this to me so they can never do it to me again!

      My computer is not a television. Making it act like a television is an assault on my senses. Do that to me, and you'll never be invited back.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 9 Dec 2014 @ 6:38am

    I never minded banner ads, even if they were for products that didn't fit the site.

    Then they started making popup ads, leading to the use of popup blockers. Then they started using Flash to make animated ads with sound, leading to the use of Flash blockers. Then they started using Javascript to hijack pages and force people to view adds, leading to the use of Javascript blockers...

    Finally, it got so annoying that I installed the MVP Hosts file, which redirects all known advertising IP addresses to 0.0.0.0, rendering them unreachable. Not only do I keep this list updated, I also add every one of those annoying "You must update your copy of Flash Player now!" pages that keep popping up when I visit some shady sites.

    I rarely see any ads on sites. I haven't seen an ad at the start of a YouTube video in years.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 9 Dec 2014 @ 6:43am

    They may be blocking ads...

    but nobody is forcing anyone to install AdBlockPlus. It's completely voluntary, you have to find the software/extention, and must be done explicitly. Now, if they distributed as some sort of AdWare (like Sun's Java installer pushing the Ask Toolbar crap), I would likely feel a little differently about the French Publishers case.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2014 @ 6:44am

    there shouldn't be a single ad visible on any page! if there are, the viewer should have the right to disperse them! i personally dont care if the publishers go entirely out of business, i dont go to any web site just to have my attention disrupted by something that i dont want to see, am not interested in and takes away from me the pleasure i may otherwise get from a web site! no person or company should have the right to force adverts on to me. and it's even worse if the adverts are for something i am completely uninterested in. you want to run adverts, run them on your own site, then see how many people stop going there!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2014 @ 10:28am

      Response to: Anonymous Coward on Dec 9th, 2014 @ 6:44am

      Devils advocate- it's their site and you're using it voluntarily which means on their terms. Ads are part of the package since you're using it for free.

      Having said that, I use a script blocker which has the effect of killing most ads. Static images still appear, but I don't mind those ao much.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        DogBreath, 9 Dec 2014 @ 11:07am

        Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Dec 9th, 2014 @ 6:44am

        Devils advocate??? I think in reality it's more like Cylons advocate:



        Battlestar Galactica (1978)

        Imperious Leader: Welcome, Baltar. I have grave news. A handful of Colonials prevail, but we will soon find them.
        Baltar: What of our bargain? My colony was to be spared!
        Imperious Leader: I now alter the bargain.
        Baltar: How can you change one side of a bargain?
        Imperious Leader: When there is no other side. You have missed the entire point of the war.
        Baltar: But I have no ambitions against you!
        Imperious Leader: Could you think me so foolish as to trust a man who would see his own race destroyed?
        Baltar: Not destroyed, subjugated, under me.
        Imperious Leader: There can be no survivors. So long as one human remains alive, the Alliance is threatened.
        Baltar: Surely you don't mean me?
        Imperious Leader: We thank you for your help, Baltar. Your time is at an end.
        Baltar: No! You can't! You still need me AAAAAAARRRRGHHH!
        [a Cylon Centurion slits Baltar's throat]




        It seems to be the path we are headed down anyway, with companies giving in to ever increasing "requests" from those that demand you do things their way or be sued into submission. Either way you still end up dead, in the end.

        The only real choice is how you will die, on your feet (in kangaroo court with your scruples intact), or on your knees (everyone gets the picture).

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          dinglebingle the flowering shrew, 11 Dec 2014 @ 12:22am

          Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Dec 9th, 2014 @ 6:44am

          Are scruples the same as testicles?







          :p

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        tqk (profile), 10 Dec 2014 @ 9:57am

        Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Dec 9th, 2014 @ 6:44am

        Devils advocate- it's their site and you're using it voluntarily which means on their terms.

        It's my computer, my connection, my eyes, and my brain. If you offer me something worth my time and you don't insult or assault me in any way, I may give you some limited access to the above. I may even come to support you in one way or another.

        That's the deal. If that's unacceptable to you, I'll be happy to never bother you again. Understand you'll be shot on sight if you attempt to get around that blockage.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    squall_seawave (profile), 9 Dec 2014 @ 6:47am

    ok for my part i think acceptable ads must have the following

    clear that they want to sell it something
    not flashing
    not swf
    a page could inform and apeal to whilisting
    not porn ads according to local times 7 am to 11 pm

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 9 Dec 2014 @ 7:58am

      Re:

      My cry-tear-ia:
      * not flashing
      * not swf
      * NO AUDIO
      * NO POPUPS
      * not pr0n, ever
      * not a page filled with ads, and a tiny bit of 'content'

      If an advertiser has unobtrusive ads, providing information about goods / services offered, I wouldn't mind. But it has gone way, way beyond this.

      Here's a clue: if I am looking for the thing that you offer for sale -- I WILL FIND YOU and I WILL CONTACT YOU.

      The whole approach of every vendor with their hand out trying to directly get in front of my eyeballs is UNSUSTAINABLE and UNSCALEABLE from my PoV.

      (some) web ads, and tv ads are bad for the same reason that Spam is bad. There a million vendors out there that want to directly contact me. That simply cannot work if I want to have a life.

      It needs to work the other way. If I want what you offer for sale, I will find and contact you. Not vice versa.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Roger Lancefield, 9 Dec 2014 @ 6:48am

    The plaintiffs are strongly advised to watch Cory Doctorow's talk "The coming war on general purpose computation". Here's a version he gave at the Chaos Computing Club a couple of years back:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUEvRyemKSg

    It will give them all the information they need to understand why the course of action they are considering is futile.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 9 Dec 2014 @ 8:13am

      Re:

      Bad idea.

      You are basically encouraging France to expand it's War On The Intarwebs into a full out War On General Porpoise Computing!

      Cory Doctorow's talk is likely to give them ideas.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ima Fish (profile), 9 Dec 2014 @ 6:51am

    When are the major television networks finally going to sue toilet manufacturers for interfering with the viewing of commercials?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 9 Dec 2014 @ 8:16am

      Re:

      > When are the major television networks finally going to sue toilet manufacturers for interfering with the viewing of commercials?

      When are they going to sue popcorn makers with their left hand while their right hand claims that corn farmers depend on copyright because people eat popcorn while watching?

      (and don't think they aren't crazy enough to do it!)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2014 @ 6:54am

    It's also free advertising for AdBlock Plus AdBlock Plus AdBlock Plus.

    Still prefer AdBlock Edge myself.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2014 @ 7:16am

      Response to: Anonymous Coward on Dec 9th, 2014 @ 6:54am

      UBlock FTW!!!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2014 @ 8:50am

      AdBlock Edge = (AdBlock Plus - "acceptable ads")

      "Acceptable ads" is one of the main reasons AdBlock Edge was introduced (and why I switched to from Plus to Edge).

      From FF addons page - Adblock Edge is a fork of the Adblock Plus version 2.1.2 extension for blocking advertisements on the web. This fork will provide the same features as Adblock Plus 2.X and higher but without "acceptable ads" feature.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2014 @ 1:12pm

      Re:

      Adblock Edge no ad is acceptable.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2014 @ 6:54am

    Scummy assholes complaining that their abusive business model has been undermined by end users.

    Perhaps if your fucking ad's weren't design to look like a download link. Perhaps if your fucking ads DIDN'T AUTO PLAY WITH SOUND. Perhaps if your ad's didn't click jack ect, ect.

    You burned yourselves, which is why a company came along to get rid of your shit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2014 @ 7:02am

      Re:

      Perhaps if your ads weren't (quite often) a conduit for malware.

      Perhaps if your ads weren't targeted based on highly abusive privacy-invading data collection.

      Perhaps if your ads didn't chew up the bandwidth that I paid for and thus belongs to me.

      We had a perfectly fine Internet before filth like you discovered it. Your presence is not required. Your businesses are disposable. You, and your pals the spammers, the domainers, the phishers, the scammers are all EXPENDABLE.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        JEDIDIAH, 9 Dec 2014 @ 1:26pm

        Now it's a security issue.

        My main objection to ads (beyond the fact that they are usually just annoying) is that they are typically served from some other server. They aren't something that a site owner has any control over. The aren't something that a site owner can be responsible for.

        In short, they require the execution of untrusted code from random sources.

        Modern ads are just a security threat.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2014 @ 7:01am

    I have AdBlock and AdBlock Plus (and some other such extensions) on both my Surface Pro and my PC at home.
    I had to install it on my Work PC after trying to look up a solution to something and finding myself on a website with a banner ad, a popup ad, an in-site javascript popup ad, 3 sidebar ads and an ad between posts.
    This is absolutely unacceptable behavior. This is why people turn to these ad blocking extensions.
    Unless ads are complimenting to the page, such as a "Click here to Preorder Game 2014 now!" ad tucked away in an unintrusive spot on a page where I'm looking up information on that very same game, then they don't belong.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2014 @ 7:10am

    There is such a thing

    as a reasonable ad.

    The problem is that the advertisers refuse to use them... and opt for instead to try to blast you in the damn face with popup rapid blinking and flashing epileptic seizure ads!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2014 @ 7:24am

    Half of the budget on advertising is wasted

    Advertisers used to say: "Half the budget we spend on advertising is wasted. We don't know which half."

    I guess the answer is staring them in the face.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 9 Dec 2014 @ 8:02am

      Re: Half of the budget on advertising is wasted

      If half of advertisers' budgets are wasted, as they say, it looks like they have found a solution.

      Spend the wasted half of their budget on litigation. That will fix everything and make people want to watch ads again. Only ads. All ads. All the time.

      Advertisers seriously need to get legislation passed requiring everyone to have Google Glass.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2014 @ 7:31am

    And of course, they don't want to get rid of those gigantic, annoying, often malware-laden ads because they pay so much more than unobtrusive text ads.

    Gee, I wonder why the malware ads that steal people's credit card info would pay so much to be added to sites?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2014 @ 7:34am

    You know, when browsing the internet on by phone or ipad, I'm stuck browsing without adblocking. It's pretty annoying. Pop up ads that block the site and need to be actively closed to continue. Some of them aren't coded right and can't be closed, forcing a reload of the page. Ads that are the last thing to load, bumping content just as you click on a link. And that's on fairly reputable sites. Start going off the beaten path and you get ads that redirect your phone to open up the store on the page for whatever app or game they're advertising like you'd clicked a link for it. Some of them are kind enough to give you bogus pop up warnings you can hit cancel on to avoid being sent to a store page. Descend into even slightly more unsavory parts of the internet, and you get browser redirect ads.

    All that stuff and more is the reason I used adblock on my computers. Ads are more often than not what holds up loading of a website, overloaded ad servers being slow to serve ads preventing the speedy loading of an otherwise fine website. Demanding flash and javascript use where the website does not. Installing tracking cookies. Serving as avenues for malware to be installed.

    Sure it can be occasionally annoying to have to enable things one by one until a website that relies to heavily on outside scripts and services to work. But I'll cheerfully take that over ads popping up, playing sound, demanding I update flash, redirecting my browser and so forth.

    In short, adblock plus and adblockers in general are a response to numerous bad behaviors by the advertising industry. They have only themselves to blame for us reaching a situation where we need to actively whitelist what content we allow to load in our browser, even popular websites.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      art guerrilla (profile), 9 Dec 2014 @ 8:06am

      Re:

      yes, you've hit another nail on the head: NOT just the annoyance of them existing at all, but HOW they screw up the pages loading and rendering, such that pictures, links, headlines are flipping up and down and rearranging for a half minute(+) until you can select something on the page...

      have adblock/etc on computers at work and home, surfing is great; then when i do some on either the phone or tablet (where i have not blocked stuff), it is a fucking nightmare to look at and wait to finish loading, pieces/parts of webpages flipping around, etc... yuck, i HATE *that* inertnet...

      TOTALLY different and FAR crappier experience web surfing without adblock/etc...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2014 @ 11:55am

      Re:

      "You know, when browsing the internet on by phone or ipad, I'm stuck browsing without adblocking."

      iCab Mobile has a built in ad blocker and recently added a tool to download easylist filters... It's a fucking godsend...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    MonkeyFracasJr (profile), 9 Dec 2014 @ 7:35am

    Transparent

    "3. Acceptable Ads are transparent with us about being an ad."

    It is an advertisements JOB to be seen, it by definition cannot be transparent.

    I have no problem with most internet ads. However the full page loads that interrupt my reading, and the "key-word bubbles" that hide text (again interrupting my reading) are both terrible advertising ploys.

    Advertising methods that make my visit to any given website LESS enjoyable do not make me want to consider your product OR return to your website!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    MonkeyFracasJr (profile), 9 Dec 2014 @ 7:42am

    favorite slashdot comment

    http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=6328725&cid=48548389

    They can go bite a donkey
    by RoninRodent - Monday December 08, 2014 @11:34AM

    "They use my bandwidth (without permission) to peddle me ads for things I don't want and they think the courts should force me to look at their ads by removing my choice? I use ABP specifically because I don't want their invasive rubbish. The courts should be forcing them to ASK me if I want them using my bandwidth if anything as they are effectively stealing it."

    One reply to this correct him by saying that technically he did request the ads when he clicked the link to the page. But I do understand hi sentiment, sometimes the ad content is 90% of the bits making up the page.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2014 @ 1:45am

      Re: favorite slashdot comment

      That is why I cut the cord. I got tired of paying to watch paid advertising.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 10 Dec 2014 @ 2:09pm

      Re: favorite slashdot comment

      One reply to this correct him by saying that technically he did request the ads when he clicked the link to the page.

      That is the advertiser's bald faced lie. I click on things I want to see. Their stuff is piggybacking on that. I did not ask for that from anyone.

      I understand this needs to be paid for somehow. I'll meet you half way. Show me what I asked to see, and you're welcome to ride along with that, IFF you don't insult or assault myself and my connection.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2014 @ 7:49am

    No means no, advertising companies. I do not wish for my eyes to be raped by your throbbing ads.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2014 @ 7:55am

    Can we just filter out France, please?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 9 Dec 2014 @ 8:09am

    More ads

    First, like TechDirt always says, ads should be treated as content so people will want to watch them. There's a reason why there are shows called "The World's Greatest Commercials". I bet if you thought hard enough, you could think of a favorite commercial. ;)

    However, too many companies take the easy way out and think it's better to have flashing, annoying ads to "get people's attention". Well, guess what, you got it... but there's a big difference between annoying people and entertaining people.

    And how many articles have there been about how ad networks are becoming a big delivery system for malware, to the point where even networks like DoubleClick get caught by it? So now, not only do ads slow down my browser by having to connect to another network and download the content, but now I run the risk of getting malware?

    And don't get me started on irrelevant ads.
    I view TechDirt at work, and they don't let me install ad-blocking software, so I see crap ads on the side for "This 70 year old grandma looks 40" or "See this food that beats diabetes".
    What do either of these have to do with a tech site? Nothing, but the ad network shows them anyway. But if they're irrelevant and no one is going to click on them, then why show them?

    Here's the message that ad companies can't seem to grasp: you brought it on yourself.

    I use the free version of AdBlockPlus, but I think I'm going to buy the professional version just to support them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2014 @ 1:48am

      Re: More ads

      Old age and Diabetes can affect anyone. Even "techies."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 10 Dec 2014 @ 4:37am

      Re: More ads

      I view TechDirt at work, and they don't let me install ad-blocking software, so I see crap ads on the side for "This 70 year old grandma looks 40" or "See this food that beats diabetes".

      Really? We don't allow such ads on the site. If you see them *please* let us know so we can find out how they got on the site and block them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Jessie (profile), 9 Dec 2014 @ 8:13am

    How many stories have we seen where a virus was distributed by an online ad? No thank you. It is my job as a user to minimize the vectors that malware can creep into my system. Since ad networks have proven to be a vector, it is not only my prerogative, but perhaps my duty as a responsible user, to block them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    New Mexico Mark, 9 Dec 2014 @ 8:24am

    Javascripts and ads

    I always block both javascript and ads by default when visiting new web sites. The security risks for not doing this are considerable.

    Once I've vetted a site, I'll usually permit scripts for core site functions while still blocking a LOT of questionable scripting sites and ads.

    If I really like a site
    and they have earned my trust
    and they screen their ads carefully
    and the ads don't screw up the site presentation
    I'll permit the ads on that site.

    I'm not completely anti-advertisement. However, when I shoulder surf more promiscuous web users, I'm shocked that anyone would put up with that carnival atmosphere. The ads, popups, and other cruft interfere to the point that sometimes the desired content is barely accessible or usable. And again, from a security standpoint, what is happening behind the scenes is way more nightmarish than the ads themselves.

    P.S. Kudos to RekRul on MVP Hosts file for sinkholing dangerous/malicious sites all the time. Not many folks do this, but it is a useful security measure, especially for laptops or other mobile computing platforms. (A good alternative for home/personal environments is to configure the router to use a DNS provider that takes care of this for you like opendns.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      BernardoVerda (profile), 10 Dec 2014 @ 12:04pm

      Ads Pay The Freight. (But...)

      Ads "pay the freight", so I don't block them, per se...

      I do block many cookies, and dump all cookies several times a day (Cookies are set to get dumped automatically every time I close my browser).

      I run a cookie blocker/manager, a "Flash-cookie" blocker/manager (Better Privacy), and a webbug (1-pixel, transparent GIF) blocker (Ghostery).

      I block all trackers, virtually all "analytics", and most "widgets". Advertisements themselves (more precisely, the ad networks) I leave alone, as long as they don't attract my negative attention.

      Any website that I care about, or bookmark, or find myself returning to regularly, gets it's advertisements provisionally whitelisted; like I said -- Ads Pay The Freight... so if the site is worth coming back to, I'll accept almost any ads that don't actually aggravate.

      In summary: I don't block ads, I block "bad behaviour. Considering that policy, it's rather surprising how few adverts I actually do end up seeing...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2014 @ 8:34am

    autoplay is why I have an ad blocker

    I am all for ads, as it is a revenue source for my favorite sites. But it's annoying to open up a site and have video playing especially when it isn't muted; trying to locate the ad on the page just to pause it.

    And it is funny that it was the autoplay ads on this site that prompted me to finally get an ad blocker.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2014 @ 8:40am

      Re: autoplay is why I have an ad blocker

      I won't unblock ads for any site -- including this one. Any site that can't survive without ad revenue deserves to die, immediately and permanently. The Internet will get along just fine without them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2014 @ 10:33am

        Re: Re: autoplay is why I have an ad blocker

        So you expect the site owners to pay for servers etc.whith what? Unicorn farts?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 9 Dec 2014 @ 11:34am

          Re: Re: Re: autoplay is why I have an ad blocker

          I, too, block all advertising due to it being a security problem. If a site has no other way to get support form me, then tough. In the case of Techdirt, though, I give them cash money every month and I expect them to pay for such things, in part, with that.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          JEDIDIAH, 9 Dec 2014 @ 3:40pm

          Re: autoplay is why I have an ad blocker

          They could try ads that aren't an obvious security threat.

          I only block scripts. So it would be trivial for any site to show me ads by simply not being abusive about it. Hosting their own ad scripts would also work.

          The current corporate mentality when it comes to this stuff just isn't acceptable for anybody.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2014 @ 3:51am

          Re: Re: Re: autoplay is why I have an ad blocker

          Repeat after me: This Is Not My Problem.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2014 @ 5:16am

          Re: Re: Re: autoplay is why I have an ad blocker

          Oh, well, take mine, if you prefer. Or sell your adverts to unicorns.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 10 Dec 2014 @ 4:38am

      Re: autoplay is why I have an ad blocker

      And it is funny that it was the autoplay ads on this site that prompted me to finally get an ad blocker.


      We don't allow autoplay ads on the site. We had one incident about 9 months ago where there was one ad that snuck through and we blocked it fairly quickly. If you see autoplay ads on the site, let us know.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2014 @ 8:50am

    And there I just added https://ii.techdirt.com/s/t/i/promo/insider-promo-*.png as adblock plus custom rule.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2014 @ 8:50am

    And there I just add https://ii.techdirt.com/s/t/i/promo/insider-promo-*.png as adblock plus custom rule.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Gracey (profile), 9 Dec 2014 @ 9:25am

    [But who decides whether an ad is "acceptable" or not]

    I do. At least for myself. Other people can decide for themselves too.

    [and thus qualified for a spot on the software's whitelist)? Well, the company does]

    Only if the user allows it to. The "sofware's" whitelist is just that - belongs to the software developer. It doesn't belong to me, and I can negate that by choosing myself what to block and what not to block.

    I don't choose to block by "acceptable advertising". I block by website - in it's entirety.

    If a website warrants me turning on my adblocker it's because the ads have overtaken the content (ie: more ads than content) or nearly all of the ads "move" in some way, or the page has multiple popups and popunders (which also warrant a blocker) or too many trackers that I can't opt out of.

    Just because I use adsense on my site, doesn't mean I'm going to whitelist them. Publishers abuse the numbers of ads frequently. If I have to turn on my adblocker, it's for the site, and not because of specific ads.

    And no, I don't have an issue with people using adblockers when visiting my site. I don't find one or two ads annoying, but others might, and that's within their right to choose.

    I'm not going to block visitors because of it (the phrase "cutting off your nose to spite your face" comes to mind here). Why exchange one ill for another?

    The French can, IMO, "aller sucer un cornichon" (excusez mon fran├žais) ... highschool was a long time ago.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2014 @ 10:20am

      Re:

      I bring this up because it teed me off at the time. ARSTechna decided to go this route of you're stealing our income because of using an adblocker. After years of being a faithful reader I left and never returned. Nor was I the only one to leave.

      In the end they were losing so many eyeballs that they pulled back in their horns but the damage was already done. Their content is not worth that sort of demands.

      As has been mentioned, it is on the user as to what is acceptable. I have a very low tolerance for ads of any nature. Enough that it was a major contributor to me cutting the cord over a decade ago. Today I don't own a tv and I have no plans to ever own another. Especially given that they are now adding more spying into them in the form of microphones and cameras.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 9 Dec 2014 @ 10:22am

        Re: Re:

        "After years of being a faithful reader I left and never returned. Nor was I the only one to leave."

        You certainly weren't. That was what made me stop going to that site as well, and I will never bother going back. The level of disdain and contempt they showed for their readership was truly mind-boggling.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2014 @ 10:03am

    Much of what has been said here is how I feel. Ads that autoplay, that are annoying, and in some cases the volume of ads are all things I don't want to see and refuse to.

    There is also the issue of infected ads and ads that pass malware. This is a security issue and so far the various ad agencies responsible have not done their policing. I never see someone from an ad agency coming by to remove the malware. It's on me. If that is the case so is the cure.

    Taking out adblocker does nothing for the prevention of ads. I hate an ad enough that I make sure it goes into the Host file if it makes it through everything else. The host file has been part of Windows since back in the early days of Windows. Blocking ads speeds up the surfing experience. Why should the requirement of my attention be the purpose of slowing down my surfing experience that I pay for?

    I also hate datamining. Something that comes hand in hand with advertisement. To this date the advertising groups have yet to agree on some sort of standard. Even getting out of datamining is a hassle. It's set up so you are right back in after it is all over as they give you a cookie to prevent it. If you don't delete your cookies someone else will ignore the do not track. This is an evil that comes right along with advertising.

    Their a victim of their own dirty works and no amount a regulation is going to make it acceptable.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2014 @ 10:51am

      Re:

      Even here datamining is present. I have it blocked but there were 83 repeat requests for data from my computer. That's a bit overboard.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 9 Dec 2014 @ 11:37am

      Re:

      "Even getting out of datamining is a hassle."

      If by "hassle" you mean "impossible", then I agree. That's why I don't bother with the stupid and pointless opt-outs. Instead, I block all access to advertising companies.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Tim A, 9 Dec 2014 @ 12:41pm

    I don't subscribe to any lists in AdBlockPlus, so Eyeo GmbH isn't choosing for me. I build my own.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2014 @ 1:15pm

    If they can sue users can return the favor by suing for bandwidth usage.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2014 @ 3:10pm

    This goes more for broadcast TV ads than internet ads, but TV show ads should be classified as an adulterant and limited in its quantity. Shows that take a half-hour or an hour should hold that much time in actual content, not have 30% or more of its time be nothing but garbage-padding.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 9 Dec 2014 @ 4:02pm

    WHY BLOCK ADVERTS..

    Why would you really want to stop adverts on your computer? or Who is responsible for you stopping adverts on your computer?

    its been a long hoe on WHO did what, and Why we try to protect ourselves after. But the reason being that Sites dont scan 3rd party(adverts from services OFF' site)

    Long story short..I re-installed WinXP on a system, and it had Dialup so decided to set that up. I let the system connect to the net and the first site was MSN. The system started acting funny, as the page was half loaded, and the modem was Downloading TONS more. I knew what was happening, and decided to wait and watch. After 15 minutes, it settled down. The Browser was acting funny, and things just got weird..

    So I closed down and loaded Protections(using other computer)...15 Virus and 53 bots.. I reported this to MSN, as well as asked them if they Ever scanned incoming adverts for problems.. 1 year later, MSN Stopped adverts.

    So. WHO is responsible for your computer Crapping out.. YOU, the Site, the Advertiser, the Product being SOLD?? Considering that IF' you could find the info on your computer and KNEW which site you got it from, you could SUE the site. With That info(of who they were dealing with for the 3rd party adverts) you could SUE the advertiser. THEN you could get the advertisers info of WHO made the advert and added the bots/virus(if they will give it to you, if they dont, sue them again). You must understand, that the maker of the Advert may not be PARt of the company, but there has to be a Identifier for the company to PAY him for his advert. So you can SUE HIM ALSO..and probably get him arrested for 5-10 year.

    So, WHY do we Block all this Stuff, and have Advert companies getting upset? WELL there are a few suggestions.

    What would be nice, is IF' you get data from a site, that a small notation of its location, you received it, would be very nice. makes tracking easy. And windows and Linux have this ability.

    I send notes to Sites about Absorbing the Advert and making it part of their site, rather them sending from another location and posting to my machine. Make it part of the site you are ON, and SCAN the Scripts..

    Another idea is for sites to ADVERT the things that wish to support, not using 3rd party adverts. This should give them more money as they are going direct and there is no Middle company trying to advert to us. yes, its more work, you may even have to MAKE the advert yourself, but its SAFE..and those that visit will PROBABLY ALLOW more of your site.

    SERIAL programming of scripts. What this means is that, Scripts are made so you cant SKIP them. A site will not come up until you ALLOW the script. And when you do, MORE scripts come up to be allowed. Iv seen sites with over 20 scripts to be allowed before you could see anything. i wont goto those sites anymore.. There are lots of ways that can make it HARD to view a site until you ALLOW more scripts..

    Any more creative comments are good. But HOW can we solve this problem? The sites need the revenue, the advertisers want to advert..but HOW can we get these folks to understand, NOT TO ADD BOTS AND CRAP to our machines?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    tom (profile), 9 Dec 2014 @ 4:32pm

    Until websites are held legally liable for malware delivered via scripts and trackers spawned by that website, Adblock, NoScript, Ghostery and others will be necessary basic security measures. As I type this, Ghostery is blocking 13 trackers and Noscript is blocking 9 of 13 scripts. I wonder how many of these scripts have been reviewed by Techdirt and is Techdirt willing to put their bank account at risk by assuming liability if one or more of those scripts and trackers load malware on my PC or lead to identity theft?

    Until websites are willing to risk their bank accounts, I will continue to run Adblock and programs to protect mine.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Gumnos (profile), 9 Dec 2014 @ 8:45pm

    HTTP, a dialog.


    Me: Hey, server, can I have page $GETURL?
    Server: Here, have some HTML
    Me: [looking over HTML] Hey, it looks like I need these images, could I get those too?
    Server: Sure, here you go.
    Me: uh, you want me to use my bandwidth to include images off some remote server? I think I'll pass. It also looks like you want me to request some JavaScript. I'll take the ones you've got.
    Server: Sure, here you go
    Me: Hmm...looks like you want me to load some 3rd-party scripts. And some Flash objects. Seriously? No thank you.

    It's perfectly within my rights to refrain from requesting things that I don't want (which ABP/NoScript/etc facilitate), no matter how strongly the server might want me to download them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    BernardoVerda (profile), 10 Dec 2014 @ 12:08pm

    Ads Pay The Freight. (But...)

    Ads "pay the freight", so I don't block them, per se...

    I do block many cookies, and dump all cookies several times a day (Cookies are set to get dumped automatically every time I close my browser).

    I run a cookie blocker/manager, a "Flash-cookie" blocker/manager (Better Privacy), a flash-blocker (FlashBlock -- no Auto-play for me) and a webbug (1-pixel, transparent GIF) blocker (Ghostery).

    I block all trackers, virtually all "analytics", and most "widgets". Advertisements themselves (more precisely, the ad networks) I leave alone, as long as they don't attract my negative attention.

    Any website that I care about, or bookmark, or find myself returning to regularly, gets it's advertisements provisionally whitelisted; like I said -- Ads Pay The Freight... so if the site is worth coming back to, I'll accept almost any ads that don't actually aggravate.

    In summary: I don't block ads, I block "bad behaviour. Considering that policy, it's rather surprising how few adverts I actually do end up seeing...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Dec 2014 @ 8:49am

    This made my day.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Dec 2014 @ 8:55am

    Fixed the title for you

    French Publishers Think They Can Fix Online Advertising By Suing FOSS

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Dec 2014 @ 9:47pm

    I can't take an industry such as the internet advertisement industry seriously when they cry about ethical questions, when they have no ethics whatsoever..

    They have no limits, they give no shit about robbing you of your time. Both spent dealing with said ads, and on fixing your browser and pc from whatever crap they managed to get into your machine..

    "Oh, so you had to hard reset your PC because flash is a literal memory leak, and because our ads abused the flash plugin more than a day's worth of youtube surfing ? Not our problem!"
    "Aww, your browser slows down or takes ages to load a page because of our ads ? Not our problem!"

    And ads provider and anybody monetizing using ads are to blame at least in part for whatever happens. They have a say in this, and could help making this industry a respectful one. But most chose to be accomplices, by facilitating it all. They really should be selective and smart, not careless, over-apologetic/protective and gullible..
    "Oh you got scammed / had your browser hijacked / installed junk through phishing because of the ads that were displayed on my website / video / etc.. ? Not my problem! Someone's gotta make a living!"

    I'm flabbergasted that the advertisement industry can't understand that when your target demographic is running for their lives, trying to escape the damage your products would cause, and trying to come with way of protecting themselves, it means there's an issue with your products, not the demographic..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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