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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  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 9 May 2016 @ 11:48am

    While blocking ads is nice from adblockers, it's the security of that I like the most.
    Compromised ad severs are a well known vector of drive-by malware.

    Fix that first, then we can talk about obnoxious adverts.

    Your move, advertisers.

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

    • identicon
      Rich, 9 May 2016 @ 12:25pm

      Re:

      Totally agree!

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

    • icon
      Jnite (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 2:47pm

      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.

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

    • icon
      Atkray (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 6:33pm

      Re:

      Kind of pointless to tell them it is their move, you have them in Checkmate.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2016 @ 8:17pm

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

      If it's security that concerns you, dump the adblocker and get a scriptblocker. Better protection and the ads get blocked as a side effect.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2016 @ 9:08pm

        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.

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

  • icon
    TechDescartes (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 11:55am

    About That Name

    "Wired.com" is the naming equivalent of a magazine calling itself "Horse & Buggy" in the early 20th Century.

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

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 12:03pm

    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).

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

  • identicon
    I.T. Guy, 9 May 2016 @ 12:05pm

    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.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 12:07pm

    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.

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

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 12:07pm

    Arms race

    Users block ads.

    Wired blocks users who block ads.

    Reddit blocks Wired for blocking users who block ads.

    So what is next:

    Wired blocks users who come from (redirect-from) Reddit?

    And would anyone care? If a siteA sent no visitors to a siteB that blocks visitors coming from siteA, would it make a sound?

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

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 12:21pm

      Re: Arms race

      I am not a Redditor. The way I see it is:

      Reddit talks with users about these problems.

      Wired talks at users about these problems. When they decide to take an unsympathetic stance, it shows how they're less interested in relating and more interested in exploiting.

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

      • icon
        DannyB (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 1:06pm

        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.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2016 @ 1:43pm

          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.

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

        • icon
          Mike (profile), 10 May 2016 @ 7:06am

          Re: Re: Re: Arms race

          Fortunately, most modern browsers protect your browsing history (except for forward/back functionality) from javascript.

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

  • icon
    Zangetsu (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 12:09pm

    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.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2016 @ 12:45pm

      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.

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

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 1:08pm

      Re: Why I run an adblocker

      Why I run an adblocker?

      To block ads.

      Now, to be fair, I must say that I don't have a problem with ads -- as long as I don't have to see or hear them and can be basically completely unaware of their existence.

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

    • icon
      Jnite (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 2:56pm

      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.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2016 @ 2:15am

      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.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2016 @ 12:09pm

    Now if only Google News would blacklist Forbes that would be awesome as a sign of protest. ;)

    ... and also nixing the clickbait-y sites that poison its content too would be awesome, for that matter.

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

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 12:15pm

      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.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2016 @ 12:09pm

    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?

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

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 12:16pm

      Re: Next generation

      It's possible. It's even been debated.

      But isn't it easier to just not visit that website? There are a billion others.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2016 @ 3:36pm

        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.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2016 @ 12:12pm

    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?

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

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 12:19pm

      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!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2016 @ 12:26pm

      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".

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2016 @ 1:12pm

        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!"

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

    • icon
      Sleyman Okan (profile), 13 May 2016 @ 5:06am

      Re:

      What matters is that you do click once in a while, however seldom. Advertising is CPC. If you admit to ever clicking on an ad out of curiosity, it is a win for the advertiser. Put together a billion seldom clickers like you, it hopefully translates into profit. That's the idea anyway.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2016 @ 12:16pm

    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.

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

    • icon
      ltlw0lf (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 12:40pm

      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.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2016 @ 1:10pm

        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

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2016 @ 9:16pm

      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.

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

    • icon
      johaus (profile), 10 May 2016 @ 9:42am

      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.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 May 2016 @ 6:03am

      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

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

  • identicon
    Rich, 9 May 2016 @ 12:27pm

    I haven't read Wired since they instituted this policy. There are a lot of other sites out there.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2016 @ 12:29pm

    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.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2016 @ 2:31pm

      Re:

      I browsed a few Wired pages myself, and did not run into the "adblock warning" issue. Is it only intermittent?

      ... or does it require JavaScript enabled to operate? I run with JS blocked by default (NoScript for the win!).

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

      • identicon
        Techanon, 9 May 2016 @ 3:22pm

        Re: Re:

        try browsing forbes.com

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2016 @ 3:39pm

        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.

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

  • icon
    Dr. David T. Macknet (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 12:36pm

    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.

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

  • icon
    Dukrugger (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 12:36pm

    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.

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

  • icon
    dogwitch (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 12:41pm

    look at Wookieepedia for how to do bad ads

    Wookieepedia. is a the star wars database. but try visiting it without ad block on or script. the ads alone still and moving take up 1.3gb of ram. yes you heard that right.i tested the site with and without ad block . early last month using firefox.
    their no standard for the ad business online at all.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2016 @ 12:45pm

    A tale of two articles:

    Article #1 is about the latest nasty form of ransomware that is being spread through exploits in banner ads.

    Article #2 I couldn't access because I have an adblocker.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2016 @ 1:20pm

    I wouldn't mind Forbes serving malware accidentally, but they're buying user-data BACK from the malware-serving ad companies to 'streamline' their failing subscriptions.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2016 @ 1:21pm

    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".

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

  • icon
    The Groove Tiger (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 1:46pm

    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.

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 1:51pm

    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..

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

  • icon
    Ben (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 2:10pm

    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.

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

    • icon
      PRMan (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 4:54pm

      Re: I actually subscribe

      I also dropped them from my RSS feed.

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

    • icon
      JBDragon (profile), 10 May 2016 @ 8:08am

      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.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2016 @ 2:33pm

    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?

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

  • icon
    Oblate (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 2:47pm

    NoScript blocks this behavior

    The site works ok if you're using NoScript and Adblock Plus. The nag screen only appears if you allow wired.com to run Javascript. You can read the articles without it, but you do lose some of the pictures and videos. YMMV as to if this is a pro or con.

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

  • icon
    Ryunosuke (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 2:49pm

    Nope, this is NOT coming from higher up, I messaged the mods of /r/technology yesterday when the post went live. This is a subreddit decision (and other subreddits are also blocking/tagging Ad-blocker-blocker sites) but afaik, this is purely a subreddit decision.

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

  • identicon
    Nat, 9 May 2016 @ 2:59pm

    Reader View

    Just use Reader View (at least in Firefox) - seems to work fine and is much easier to read than a busy webpage trying to distract you to click to other articles before you've read anything.

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

  • icon
    David (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 3:24pm

    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.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2016 @ 3:38pm

    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.

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

  • icon
    Chaz Antonelli (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 4:05pm

    I'm WIRELESS now!

    Because of this action, I have allowed my subscription to WIRED and all other Conde Nast publications expire.

    I hope they're happy.

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

  • icon
    blogagog (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 4:08pm

    noscript

    Just fyi, if you disable javascript on these anti-adblock sites (via noscript or yesscript, for example), you don't get the annoying complaint from them.

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

  • icon
    Dave Cortright (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 4:16pm

    $1/month would actually be reasonable

    Turns out Wired only charges you $1/month if you agree to have dead trees snail mailed to your house. But for the privilege of digital delivery, that costs $1/week, or 4½✕ as much.

    As for me, I just installed an ad-blocker hider.

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

  • icon
    Vinquus (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 4:22pm

    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.

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

  • icon
    Steerpike (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 4:30pm

    uBlock works against ads on both Forbes and Wired, but the sites don't seem to realize I'm using a blocker (whereas with AdBlock they did).

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2016 @ 4:45pm

    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?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2016 @ 4:50pm

    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.

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

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 4:58pm

    So they don't want that 20 percent of traffic?

    On an average day, more than 20 percent of the traffic to WIRED.com comes from a reader who is blocking our ads.
    So they've decided that that no longer want 20 percent of their audience? That's kind-of a slap in the face.

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

  • icon
    Whatever (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 6:06pm

    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.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 7:23pm

      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.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2016 @ 8:18pm

      Re: Adblockers and the world of walled gardens

      Whatever uses adblockers? You filthy, filthy ad pirate.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 11 May 2016 @ 2:32am

      Re: Adblockers and the world of walled gardens

      "Note: For what it's worth, if you mobile visit Techdirt on a Sunday, generally you get ZERO actual stories."

      You've been acting the moron here for this long, and you only just realised that there's no news posts on a weekend? Wow...

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2016 @ 6:17pm

    We just need to get more adblockerblockerblockers.

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

  • identicon
    'nonymous, 9 May 2016 @ 6:54pm

    Install Privacy Badger

    The ads from their servers get through, 3rd party ads --not so much.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2016 @ 7:22pm

    NoScript

    If it's still complaining about an ad-blocker even after whitelisting, disabling or not even using an adblocker, then it's picking up on you blocking scripts. Which is probably the cheapest, nastiest way to do it.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2016 @ 8:41pm

    I disable Java on my Mobile browser and am blocked from these sites. It's not that I don't want to block ads I just don't have unlimited data.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2016 @ 10:18pm

    Have never visited forbes, because I don't want scumware on my pc. I usually surf with js. turned off, and if you think I am running an ad-blocker then I pull your site. If your site is slow I will disable images for it as well. Etiquette and manners aren't dead to the rest of us, so why are they to you?

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

  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 10:50pm

    Lame ad-blocker detection

    Snicker all you like at how lame some sites are at detecting ad blockers. But this is an arms race, and they will get better; prepare to wipe those grins right off your faces.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 11:15pm

      Re: Lame ad-blocker detection

      I'll be grinning, since I avoid sites that do this anyway. Doesn't matter how good their ad blockers are when I refuse to visit their site in the first place.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2016 @ 2:46am

    The problem is that "bad" ad providers who employ "deep" tracking of users, pay the most. Some of them are also more susceptible to becoming attack vectors.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2016 @ 4:54am

    keep the money flowing

    I liken this to the traffic cameras that is suppose to keep everyone "safe". The truth is they are leaning heavily on ads to generate revenue.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2016 @ 5:33am

    encryption blockers

    Forbes blocked me even though I didn't have an ad blocker. I did have encryption though. So what is up with that? eh?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2016 @ 10:16am

    Reddit and Techdirt: Asshole hypocrites who abhor censorship agree with each other on supporting censorship. Nice.

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

  • icon
    WillSee (profile), 11 May 2016 @ 5:46pm

    Former Subscriber

    At my age (21++++) I still prefer to read paper magazines. I've subscribed to the paper version of wired for 5 - 10 years.

    Since they started blocking my access to the web site (using Firefox, Adblock Plus, Ghostery, NoScript) I haven't been back and won't renew the subscription.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2016 @ 10:11am

    Requesting to disable an adblocker is like saying "Please, leave your condoms at the door" in a brothel.

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

  • identicon
    Anne Onymous, 19 May 2016 @ 11:54am

    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.

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

  • icon
    Najwalaylah (profile), 27 May 2016 @ 2:25am

    Wired.com can't tell when you've unblocked them and wired.com doesn't care.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Jul 2016 @ 6:42pm

    What sold ad blocker to me for life was when I went to putlocker to put JungleBook on for my kids... A nude woman pops up in the middle of the screen wondering if i was looking for ugly single moms in my area...

    My children had many questions...

    Adblocker for life.

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

  • identicon
    Dick, 4 Jul 2016 @ 8:16pm

    Plenty of free content out there

    If they block me because I don't want to see their ads I close the page and move onto to the next article in my search. If they all start blocking I go clean the garage.

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

  • identicon
    Anon, 21 Oct 2016 @ 6:01am

    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?

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

  • identicon
    Ginny, 11 Dec 2016 @ 9:33pm

    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

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


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