Forbes Is Confused: You Can View Content Using An Adblocker By Promising Not To Use An Adblocker

from the er? dept

Forbes, an organization with a website presumably built on the value of its content, also has made the unfortunate decision recently to try to block off access to anyone using adblocker software, apparently so that it could successfully allow malicious "ads" to infect its readers' machines. This set of circumstances would seem to be one that would have Forbes re-thinking its adblocker policy, assuming it wishes to retain the trust of its readership. And it turns out that Forbes is doing so. And then not! Or maybe? Allow me to explain.

Rob Leathern recently noticed that going to Forbes.com and refreshing the screen after being told that he should disable his adblocker suddenly offered up a new option: becoming a member. That membership would allow the viewing of the content for free. And, hey, all it wanted in return was the ability to manage his social media contacts for him.



Forbes, a site that in the past has allowed malicious ads to be presented to its readers, would now like access and control of those readers' social media contacts, which sounds like a terrible idea. But even more strange was when Leathern bothered to look into the terms of services that such a membership with Forbes entailed.




If you aren't laughing by now, you should be. Because the ToS for a membership which would allow readers to access the site's content while using an adblocker contain language asserting that you cannot use an adblocker. Whatever else you may think of Forbes in general, having multiple personalities running policy for the site seems like a bad strategy. Leathern's conclusion summarizes it nicely:
So I’ve basically agreed now to not block their ads, after signing up for the express purpose of being able to see their content while blocking their ads.
Forbes: a confused schizophrenic that would like to serve you some malware, please. I can just hear the dollars rolling into the coffers now...

Filed Under: ad blocking, ads, privacy, social media
Companies: forbes


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  • icon
    Ed (profile), 5 May 2016 @ 7:01am

    I wish I could strike all Forbes links from my Google News aggregator. They take up space that could be served by other sites. As it is now, I just avoid any links going to Forbes because I am NOT going to turn off my adblocker.

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

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 5 May 2016 @ 12:30pm

      Re:

      There are a ton of sites that I wish I could tell Google News to omit. That I can't do that seriously diminishes its value.

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

    • icon
      Kludge (profile), 5 May 2016 @ 1:24pm

      Re:

      Ed, this is possible by going to news.google and clicking the "Personalize" button at the top-right. Add Forbes in the "Adjust Sources" section and move their slider all the way to the left. I have a large handful of walled gardens and clickbaiters in there.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2016 @ 7:24pm

      CFAA

      Could this be Forbes trying to turn the Feds loose on viewers with ad-blockers? If you agree to not use an ad-blocker in return for access, and then use an ad-blocker, they could claim that your access was then "unauthorized", and a felony violation of the Feds' favorite computer law, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA).

      That'll teach those nasty ad-blockers!

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

  • icon
    TechDescartes (profile), 5 May 2016 @ 7:17am

    Hey Now

    Forbes: a confused schizophrenic that would like to serve you some malware, please. I can just hear the dollars rolling into the coffers now...
    Don't blame Forbes for what Forbes is doing. They're two separate companies.

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

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 5 May 2016 @ 8:29am

      Re: Hey Now

      Have a talk with your sales department and the production department. Most companies are composed of few to a few dozens of companies inside that don't talk to each other and often get into fights.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2016 @ 7:28pm

        Re: Re: Hey Now

        That's the way my body is. Parts of it may do things that other parts may not agree with. Still, the whole thing gets held responsible. It's just not fair!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2016 @ 7:22am

    Forbes is now indistinguishable...

    ...from every other spammer, phisher, e-pender, and stalker.

    What a magnificent achievement.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2016 @ 7:28am

    estupid.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2016 @ 7:39am

    So in addition to being schizophrenic about adblocking, Forbes is also apparently under the delusion that adblockers are a third party. My adblocking plugins aren't a "third party". They're me using a tool to remove, obstruct, and otherwise interfere with content that is both suspect and undesirable. The lists of rules they use are fully under my control, and the updates to these lists merely automate a process I would otherwise be doing myself. So when the adblocking plugins in my browser block something that's not some third party blocking something, that's me blocking something.

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

  • identicon
    A Silent Crew, 5 May 2016 @ 7:44am

    You're confused

    The little guy sitting by my keyboard wants me to point out that schizophrenia is NOT about having multiple personalities. You're confusing it with Dissociative Identity Disorder. Hey always asks me to type these things since his hands are too small.

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

  • icon
    Ryunosuke (profile), 5 May 2016 @ 8:09am

    well can we have Forbes committed now? If corporations are people now, and Forbes is a corporate person, then they should have corporate mental health issues too, right?

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

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 5 May 2016 @ 8:31am

    So the evil Forbes want to infect you with malware while the good Forbes want you to be free (bonus Queen soundtrack in the background). This needs to be turned into a movie starring Jim Carey. Oh wait.

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

  • icon
    Adam (profile), 5 May 2016 @ 8:40am

    We set the rules and you agree we set the rules simply by reading this sentence. Gotcha!

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

  • icon
    Yakko Warner (profile), 5 May 2016 @ 8:46am

    But it's an "ad-light" experience!

    What gets me is that the page they throw up if they detect an ad blocker says to turn it off "to continue into Forbes' ad-light experience." When I use adblock, it tells me how many things it blocked, and just to show that page, the number is in the double digits.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2016 @ 9:29am

    That is too much effort to go through just to view a page occasionally. As long as they have a problem with ad blockers I don't need to show up there at all.

    The ad blocker stays on as long as the ad pest industry ignores cleaning up it's act.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2016 @ 9:33am

    I'm pretty sure that 99% of people are just going to close the tab, rather than jump through their hoops.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2016 @ 9:39am

    Forbes is getting wise to a new method of ad blocking, at the sever level. I block ads at the router level, and that used to work with Forbes, but not anymore.

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

    • identicon
      no namehere, 5 May 2016 @ 5:45pm

      Re:

      to me that means there is a lot of scripting in those ad's.. if there's scripting i don't want it
      companies can go bankrupt first .. i really don't care. There is no article out there that is worth reading if it's not somewhere else i can get to it without compromising my security and/or contact list.

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

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 5 May 2016 @ 10:12am

    We need to talk more about malware

    block off access to anyone using adblocker software, apparently so that it could successfully allow malicious "ads" to infect its readers' machines
    I love this sentence and I think it needs to be said more often simply because the argument over using adblockers is usually worded as "you're stealing content by blocking ads". Yet not many people talk about the malware that gets served as ads.

    And don't forget how much bandwidth (and time) is spent serving ads, especially on mobile devices. Is Forbes going to pay me back for using my data to serve ads and javascript code from 5 different sites?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2016 @ 10:48am

      Re: We need to talk more about malware

      Saying you're stealing content is completely backwards! If I don't read every single letter of the page, am I stealing content as well? I guess not going to their website is also stealing content, then, right? I probably owe them a fortune, because I can't remember the last time I opened one of their pages.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2016 @ 7:34pm

        Re: Re: We need to talk more about malware

        "Saying you're stealing content is completely backwards! If I don't read every single letter of the page, am I stealing content as well?"

        Not just read it, but buy the products as well. If you don't buy the products, then you're stealing! But let's be reasonable. You don't have to buy every product. One buy per page should do it.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2016 @ 10:14am

    I right click on the interstitial and select Block Element from the menu.

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

  • icon
    Melkemind (profile), 5 May 2016 @ 10:16am

    Meh

    Forbes has become a content farm filled with clickbait anyway. You're better off not reading anything their "contributors" post.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2016 @ 10:45am

    forbes, join wired

    I will treat them like I treat wired, never click links to their site again.

    Want my eyes to see your adds? Serve them without requiring scripting.

    Want to assume that all people using script blockers are doing so to block adds? Enjoy digging your hole deeper and deeper.

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

  • icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 5 May 2016 @ 12:28pm

    Forbes' logic

    What the hell is Forbes even thinking with this??

    Apparently, they're perfectly fine with people who block ads as long as they are willing to go along with something much, much worse.

    This is truly baffling.

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 5 May 2016 @ 12:37pm

    lETS SEE...

    So NOW:
    They have access to your Social communications?
    So, you wonder their site and ALL your nets, send links to the Forbes site, SHOWING what you are reading..

    who HERE would allow FIRST PARTY ADVERTS?? not adverts from a 3rd party, Only ones from the site you are on??
    Raise your hand...I know you are there..

    Why cant Forbes GET IT into their heads, that THEY can make the ADVERTS for their site, for OTHER advertisers..and GET PAID FOR IT..

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 5 May 2016 @ 3:39pm

    Because demanding better ads is to hard compared to looking for new ways to screw over readers.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 May 2016 @ 5:59pm

    It's unfortunate that if you ARE on someone's contacts list and they accept such an agreement the company in question already has access to your information whether you want them to or not. Most people still "click through" permissions and licensing systems like this without even bothering to read the fine print. Unless Google fine grains Android permissions even further and make *everything* including their own apps opt-in (and it will take laws to do it because they won't on their own) this isn't going to change.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2016 @ 9:56am

    Thanks to Forbes, websites that complain about adblockers will be banned from /r/technology

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


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