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Advertising Censorship Your Rights Online

Website Mass-Bans Users Who Mention AdBlock 660

Posted by kdawson
from the don't-say-the-a-word dept.
An anonymous reader writes to recommend TechDirt's take on the dustup over at the Escapist, which recently tried on banning users from their forums for the mere mention of AdBlock. In the thread in which the trouble started, a user complained that an ad for Time Warner Cable was slowing down his computer. Users who responded to the poster by suggesting "get Firefox and AdBlock" found themselves banned from the forums. The banned parties didn't even need to admit they used AdBlock, they simply had to recommend it as a solution to a troublesome ad. The forum's recently amended posting guidelines do indeed confirm that the folks at the Escapist believe that giving browsing preference advice is a "non forgivable" offense. After a lot of user protest, the forum unbanned the transgressors but heaped on the guilt.
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Website Mass-Bans Users Who Mention AdBlock

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  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @04:10AM (#31919880) Journal

    Given that they have reversed the bans since then, it's not that simple, now is it? What is the value of a site without visitors?

  • Find a new site (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @04:10AM (#31919884)

    When Microsoft decided that they wanted to limit the number of features in the OS based on how much I was willing to pay them, I changed operating systems.
    When the Sea Shepherds decided that terrorism was a valid way of combating whaling, I stopped contributing to them.
    When Hamas decided that war with Israel would broaden their support, I decided to throw my support elsewhere.
    When Obama decided that the only way out of this depression was massive spending programs, I affiliated myself with a different party.

    If a site is not going to treat you with respect and dignity, then take your business elsewhere. A site that measures you in "eyeballs" rather than "contributors" is not something you should be associated with in any way.

  • From rules list (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DarkIye (875062) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @04:11AM (#31919894) Journal

    Starting a thread: Posting is an art; be proud of your work.

    This tells you everything you need to know about these forums.

  • by AlexiaDeath (1616055) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @04:12AM (#31919904)
    Lets ban people for suggesting channel switching for the duration of ad breaks on tv aswell...
  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@@@hackish...org> on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @04:12AM (#31919906)

    On the other hand, Slashdot has a right to grouse about it on their own site if they want! Everyone's got rights all around. ;-)

  • Troublesome ads (Score:5, Insightful)

    by topham (32406) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @04:13AM (#31919916) Homepage

    A site I frequent ran some ads for a while that gave me grief. When it spawned a discussion thread they got rather pissy about it.
    but, here's a point...
    If your Ads fuck-up the user experience that bad then they can't read your site you dimwits. If they can't read it they will go away and not come back. Would you rather have that? -FIX- the Ads promptly and there won't be a problem.

    It's not a threat to say "If you don't fix it, I will leave". It's a fact, and it's not entirely by choice.

  • Flash (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Weezul (52464) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @04:15AM (#31919924)

    All internet users should use some Flash blocker that allows the user to accept specific flash content, period.

    FireFox and Chrome have plugins called FlashBlock, Safari's is called ClickToFlash. IE8 provides this functionality from the Flash player add-on in Manage Add-ons under Tools, just select More informations and click Remove all sites. All these will let you reenable either individual Flash applets or whole sites when you browse those pages.

  • Do an Ars (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spad (470073) <slashdot@noSpam.spad.co.uk> on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @04:16AM (#31919932) Homepage

    Do what Arstechnica discovered after they tried blocking adblock users from seeing articles; actually *ask* your users to whitelist your site in adblock (or other ad blockers) with a promise that if the adverts on the site cause issues with users machines that they will work to resolve them and/or remove those adverts from rotation.

    So far, every site that I use regularly and trust (for appropriate values of trust) that have asked me to whitelist them have had their request granted. I'm happy to help out the sites with their revenue on the condition that the adverts on said site do not impact my browsing experience; pop-ups, pop-unders, sound, fullscreens, "intellitext" or mid-paragraph ads are an instant nono, as are any that impact page loading due to shoddy design and overloaded ad servers, but I'm willing to put up with most other ads if I'm asked to in order to support the site.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @04:17AM (#31919934)

    I pay for my bandwidth I'll choose what I download, including page elements.

    The Internet was so much better before corporations/bussiness was significantly interested. Befor anyone says the ads pay for content there was plenty of content in the early days of the internet, much of it was high quality because the people who placed it there wanted to, were interested or passionate . Not because they were getting paid.

    I turned off my TV in 1996, internet entropy has caught up with television. It is becoming prepackaged "safe for idiots" and less free

  • by Huntr (951770) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @04:20AM (#31919946)
    After the community manager unbanned everyone, the follow-up posts in that thread [escapistmagazine.com] are all fan-boyish groveling which I totally don't understand. "We shouldn't use adblockers anyway!! Thanks for unbanning! Much respect!!" Respect for what? Taking the boot off your throat? Here's some bannable "browsing preference advice:" don't read The Escapist.
  • by gzipped_tar (1151931) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @04:24AM (#31919970) Journal

    Stockholm syndrome?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @04:32AM (#31920018)

    I pay for my pipe. I own my computers, and have root/admin rights and responsibilities for them. It is my duty to myself and others on the Internet to lock down security threats I know about. As an IT person, if I do not take steps to stop an avenue of infection, then I'm committing gross negligence at my job.

    Some ad-rotators from third parties are one of the top sources of browser exploits. A lot of unscrupulous ad services place control of the ad to anyone who comes with dollars. This means they can go for a browser add-on exploit, or many other things. And since the ad is random, neither the ad company, nor the malware company making ads gets blamed. Everyone wins except for the website, and the user.

    Even first tier ad companies have gotten bitten by this in the past: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/11/13/doubleclick_distributes_malware/ [theregister.co.uk]

    So until I can get some assurance from ad companies that they are not allowing people to serve up malware, I will take steps to protect security, and that means Adblock, NoScript, and on company networks, I'm going to be using Privoxy or some commercial ad-busting transparent proxy to make sure that this avenue of intrusion is closed.

    And if some website bans people for wanting to protect their own security, fuck them. It is as simple as that. Most users if banned will just create another user from a different IP. If the new user creation process gets too stiff, that web forum will just fade into irrelevance, unless it caters to just a small, inbred crowd.

  • by Bearhouse (1034238) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @04:32AM (#31920024)

    Apparently (FTA), this is in the site's T&Cs

    Do not confess, teach, admit to, or promote ad-blocking software that will allow users to block the ads of this site.

    Great. Using ad/flash-blocking software is a crime now? Whatever happened to reasonable discussion?
    Instead of just banning the users, could the mods not have simply pointed out that the site needed the ad revenue to survive, and also acted to remove the offensive ads?
    Who are the customers of a site such as this; the users, or the advertisers?

  • by Eraesr (1629799) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @04:32AM (#31920026) Homepage
    That, or The Escapist could've simply looked into the matter, discover the banner causing problems and remove it from their rotation (or contact the banner vendor they get it from) and everybody would say "the Escapist are awesome for actually listening to their visitors".

    Quite a contrast there, eh?
  • Re:Find a new site (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sulfur (1008327) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @04:35AM (#31920038)

    If a site is not going to treat you with respect and dignity, then take your business elsewhere. A site that measures you in "eyeballs" rather than "contributors" is not something you should be associated with in any way.

    Exactly. In fact, Slashdot is one of few sites that are Doing It Right. I was so impressed when I saw the "Disable Advertising" option that I immediately added *.slashdot.org to my AdBlock whitelist (although I should have done it earlier given the amount of time I spend here).

  • by amn108 (1231606) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @04:36AM (#31920048)

    There is a good reason a home is called a home. As opposed to a marketplace. People like to actually live at home, not at the marketplace (shopaholics excluded.)

    Internet used to be more of a home. Now it is become more of a marketplace. Everywhere you turn, there is some shmuck pitching and pushing his stuff onto you, and when you refuse he goes verbal.

    The whole thing is rooted in overpopulation again. Too many people need to survive, and they colonize the Internet space, with their smallminded schemes.

  • tongue in cheek? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SkunkPussy (85271) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @04:48AM (#31920122) Journal

    "As we've mentioned previously in great detail, if you've got ads on your website that are annoying your users, that is your fault -- not your users' fault. "

    he writes this with a massive animated HP advert that takes up 1/4 of the column width down the side

  • by edumacator (910819) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @04:52AM (#31920146)

    internet entropy has caught up with television

    There is a difference; the cost on entry is pretty low for a website while astronomical for a TV station(not including public access). Don't visit the horrific sites that bother you with ads. Find a nice little corner of the internet and hang out where people are willing to pay their money for your entertainment and mooch off of them until they can't afford to do it anymore, then find someone else who is willing to pay for your entertainment, and repeat.

    Just don't complain that other people are trying to make a living by providing a service supported by ads. If you don't like it, fine. Just go somewhere else.

  • Re:Do an Ars (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mlts (1038732) * on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @04:53AM (#31920154)

    My take: Text ads, fine. Basic graphic ads, OK.

    Ads that pop up crap when moving over text, Flash crap which wiggles around the screen like someone projectile vomited over my shoulder and onto my monitor, and pages which take more than 30 seconds to low because some adfarm just doesn't have the pipes to deal with the traffic, or even the annoying "punch the monkey" crap no.

    Google learned this lesson back when every other search provider were doing banner ads, and this is one reason why Google has leapfrogged ahead of the pack and stayed ahead so long. Text ads are fine. Ads which require 5 megabyte .swf files are just plain unacceptable.

  • by fbjon (692006) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @04:58AM (#31920172) Homepage Journal

    once the html is in my browser it will be parsed how I see fit on MY machine.

    Here's a thought, just to play devil's advocate. Is it legal to modify the content being transmitted to my own machine? I don't have copyright over it, so do I only have permission to transfer it for viewing? The browser has to render it of course, so there's wiggle room there, but what about Privoxy?

    In the same vein, does the ISP have the right to modify, for example replacing ads with their own? In fact, I wonder if any ISP's are surreptitiously doing just that right now. Not necessarily different ads, just redirecting the cash flow. Who would notice!

  • by benjfowler (239527) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:01AM (#31920182)

    Fine, they're certainly within their rights, but on the other hand, it comes across as extremely petty and childish.

    If they want to behave like 7 year old children, that's their perogative. But then they have to accept the consequences of the negative feelings they generate.

    They can be as right as they want, but that'll do absolutely no good if they handle the situation poorly and antagonise their users. Being right isn't a license to behave like a tool.

  • by timmarhy (659436) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:01AM (#31920184)
    not my bandwidth bills they don't. I can choose to revoke access to my bandwidth and PC however i choose, and if that means certain ads then tough shit.
  • by acromosh (1645811) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:02AM (#31920192)
    I might be quite backward in my thinking here but... I pay my isp for a subscription to access the internets (every last one of them). The specific contect I choose to receive or block at my end is my own damn business. It's like being banned from walking down the street because I chose not to look at the billboards!
  • by speculatrix (678524) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:07AM (#31920212)
    slashdot have allowed me to turn off adverts, but I haven't. I have adblock installed, but I am not subscribed to any block lists, I generally only block adverts and advertisers which are particularly instrusive (for example, trustedreviews' website has broken adverts which obscure text, and theregister have adverts in the middle of the articles). I occasionally find adverts useful so I would miss them, but I am merely very selective, and I would rather put up with a bit of screen clutter to buy content instead of paying cold hard cash!!
  • by s-whs (959229) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:08AM (#31920224)

    fan-boyish groveling which I totally don't understand. "We shouldn't use adblockers anyway!! Thanks for unbanning! Much respect!!" Respect for what? Taking the boot off your throat?

    It's juvenile behaviour of people who who have not grown up enough (mentally) to be something on their own but get their self esteem by belonging to a group.

    To give some examples more relevant to slashdot where I've seen/experienced this: gnu.misc.discuss springs to mind where everything Stallman says or does is perfect and noone should ever criticize him or suggest alternatives. It's quite similar to religious zealotry and Linux enthusiasts often are no better than that (dare to criticize the GPL or suggest alternatives and see what happens). BSD people are often tired of this and it's one of the reasons I switched to FreeBSD (the final straw was Torvalds behaviour, esp. the unfounded (read as: based on made up 'facts') criticism of John Dyson (the FreeBSD VM guy)). I tried OpenBSD but there's a similar situation with Theo de Raadt. He has done some good things but he's also an ass. The group-following-a-leader phenomenon is clearly visible there too and I wanted none of that.

  • Re:Flash (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jo_ham (604554) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .999mahoj.> on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:14AM (#31920272)

    It's the software equivalent of hooking up your battery directly to a dummy load so it drains very quickly without anything really showing on the screen.

  • by AstynaxX (217139) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:16AM (#31920278) Homepage

    Honestly, I was fine not blocking ads until 2 trends started.

    First, the obnoxiously loud ads. A little sound is one thing, but an ear splitting 'Congratulation!' bellowing out unexpectedly is quite unacceptable.

    Second, malware spreading ads. I thought they were a myth at first, until I was tapped by one (spreading one of those annoying fake antivirus trojan things no less.) And these do turn up on otherwise reputable sites, so anyone trying to pull out the 'watch where you browse' or 'lay off the (porn/warez/music/movies) can sit and spin. The first infection I encountered on a system I used came from a tech support forum of all places, while running Firefox, with anti-virus and anti-malware application resident and up to date, and all applicable security patches to all involved software in place. 0-day exploits are a pain that way.

    And even the best 'we will remove it if it causes trouble' policy is a failure. By that point, the damage is already done, I've had to spend time cleaning (or just plain rebuilding) a system to be certain a bit of malware is gone.

    Nope, until sites start guaranteeing all their ads free of such issues (and a few others might be nice, like bugged, eta your CPU ads) the ads get blocked. My browsing safety > their ad revenue.

  • by h00manist (800926) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:16AM (#31920280) Journal
    Ban all the ads. Problem is with time the ads become the priority, and the content is there just to keep people at the site, it doesn't really matter to the publisher what the content is so long as people see the ads. Therefore, stupid tv programs, spam, domain squatters, pages with stolen, duplicate, software-generated content, pointless content of all types becomes the rule. Advertisers should band up and create a common index of all services organized with some coherence, so people just search and find when they need something.
  • Re:Find a new site (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shadow of Eternity (795165) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:18AM (#31920298)

    Coincidental, I've got them right now and seem to get them at least every other week. Probably has to do more with how your posts are rated and how often you metamoderate than anything else.

  • by Teun (17872) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:24AM (#31920350) Homepage
    The Original Complaint was about a particular ad slowing down the whole site.

    AdBlock is of course not ideal from a website's owners point of view.

    A proper admin would have solved the problem, not made a new one.

  • Re:Troublesome ads (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 19061969 (939279) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:40AM (#31920412)
    And for every user who pipes up with the "fix it or I'll leave" line, there are at least 10 who go quietly without leaving their reasons.
  • Re:Troublesome ads (Score:4, Insightful)

    by srothroc (733160) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:41AM (#31920414) Homepage
    They COULD have control, but they choose not to. I mean, sure, smaller sites would have problems, but large sites like the one in question easily get enough traffic to be able to choose what they want to advertise. Penny Arcade does it.
  • by MindKata (957167) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:43AM (#31920428) Journal
    @"The Internet was so much better before corporations/business was significantly interested."

    Plus now they are interested, they show through their own actions, they have no moral limit to how far they will go. This action by them is blatantly effectively punishing Thought Crimes. I guess talking about AdBlock is against what the business wants, which is effectively compliant consumers who don't learn how to block advert bombardment.

    I guess they have never heard of the Barbra Streisand effect.

    But it does makes me wonder what kind of world we are heading into where corporations gain ever greater control of the major web sites when they show they are so willing to behave like this.
  • by Skater (41976) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:45AM (#31920438) Homepage Journal
    I run a site for owners of a certain model of RV (of which only about 1000 were made, so the market for my site really isn't that large). Fortunately for me and my users, I can afford to run it out of my own pocket, without any ads. In fact, other than the domain name, it didn't cost me any additional money over what I was already paying for web hosting anyway. But, it's slowly growing to the point where it will cost me extra. I can absorb some of that, but at some point I'm going to have to ask for donations or put some ads on it... I'm certain most of my users will understand, but I've seen other sites where the users just don't get it - "This has been free in the past so it should continue to be free!" And that's on sites where people spend thousands of dollars modifying their cars, but are insulted when the site owner asks for $12/yearly toward maintaining the site where they got the info on how to modify their cars...
  • Re:Find a new site (Score:3, Insightful)

    by YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:45AM (#31920442) Homepage

    You should change your name in BadAnalogIESGuy .... four analogies mostly unrelated to the problem at hand ... I salute you sir ... nomen est omen.

  • by Z00L00K (682162) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:46AM (#31920450) Homepage

    It only takes one bad ad to trigger the use of adblocking technology and then the users won't stop use it.

    This is yet another case of ad companies creating problems for users that decreases the usability of a site.

    On the other hand - I couldn't see much value over at the Escapist site anyway, at least nothing that did attract me.

  • by beakerMeep (716990) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:59AM (#31920524)
    the Zero Punctuation videos are hilarious
  • by purpledinoz (573045) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @06:18AM (#31920640)
    I've started using ad blocker, and I haven't turned back. I always thought that firefox bloat was the reason for website rendering to slow down. But after installing ad block and no script, I realized it's the content that's getting bloated.
  • by makomk (752139) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @06:43AM (#31920752) Journal

    The Original Complaint was about a particular ad slowing down the whole site.

    No, the original complaint was about a particular ad slowing down the user's browser, including any other sites they might have had open. In fact, at least one user found it crashed their browser repeatedly, which is a non-forgivable offense in the modern era of tabbed browsing.

  • by coastwalker (307620) <(moc.liamtoh) (ta) (reklawtsaoca)> on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @06:45AM (#31920762) Homepage

    I am a strong supporter of adblocking software on Firefox or anything else. I do not consent to the level of advertising that seems to be acceptable to most people. I believe that spending 10% of your life being assaulted by advertising is not a good way to live. Further I believe that some advertising is directly causing harm to people by constantly playing on their fears and promoting irrational greed. The balance is wrong and we should have the means to tip it back to a sane level.

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@@@hackish...org> on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @06:46AM (#31920776)

    I haven't found a huge pushback against relatively unobtrusive ads that are reasonably tasteful, especially if the site owner explains why they were introduced, and the site has a community that actually knows and believes the site owner. A lot of the backlash is over the total opposite extreme of no ads: ads plastered on the page in 10-15 locations and even breaking the flow of articles, some animated in Flash (which also grabs your mouse pointer and breaks kb navigation), some of which play sounds at you, and some displaying gross teeth and spiders and fat bellies and god knows what else.

    If you have a community that cares about the site, you might try gently introducing some optional payment options also. Even trivial things like: support the site with a $10 donation and you get a little icon next to your name in the forums as recognition.

  • by capnkr (1153623) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @06:59AM (#31920882)
    ...right, and so then the Mods decided:

    The beatings will continue until Morale improves...

    Good call... Not. {roll_eyes}
  • by Jawn98685 (687784) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @07:05AM (#31920928)

    What is the value of a site without visitors?

    The site owners banned these people because they don't see any value in a site without revenue.

    And they un-banned them because they realized, belatedly, that without visitors there will be zero revenue. Why is that so hard to grasp? When users feel compelled to take extra steps (AdBlock), just to wade through the crap to get to what they value (content) you're doing it wrong.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @07:06AM (#31920940)

    I'm quite the oddball, I guess, but, I haven't browsed with scripts enabled by default since the mid-90s.

    Although huge chunks of the modern internet simply don't work without it, I simply move along and ignore such sites - even if I've been browsing them for a long time. If I'm not welcome, I'll go find somewhere that I am; it's a very big internet. Exceptions usually require me moving to another browser on another computer and making onerous configuration changes that are good for only one session; this is deliberate so that I make the exceptions only when they're important (same for images and flash; the actual process is booting a flash drive with Ubuntu and viewing the page, then shutting down).

    But one side-effect of that is that I never see ads. I don't have flash installed anyway, but even aside from that, I still almost never see ads. JPEG- and GIF-only banners went out of style a very long time ago; plus, I don't have images turned on by default either (half the time, I'm using lynx or some kind of configuration in a program like emacs that takes so long to configure that I simply don't bother).

    I will say, though, that when Google first started selling ads (I mean banner ads, not homepage search ads), I was very surprised because - for the first time in several years - I could see them! You see, these ads had fallback text, and didn't require scripts, and in the beginning had no flash at all. I absolutely did not mind these at all; they used minuscule bandwidth, essentially zero processing time, couldn't possibly harm my computer or spam me with pop-ups or achieve anything but the most rudimentary tracking without me clicking on them, and were marked - in readable text - as advertising.

    But after a year or two, the Google ads began disappearing until there were none at all. I guess that gradually started using scripts and flash - I doubt Google has stopped selling ads. I remember that they said that they would permit flash soon in the future if it totaled less than 50k and didn't use sound.

    What I want to know is: sure, I can think of a thousand reasons why you want scripts, flash and frames (I am actually a web developer); but why don't you have fallback text? Tracking efforts and such are useful, and creativity is your cleverest tool in advertising, but it looks like you have backed yourself into and all-or-nothing corner where you can't go back to text, and you can't suppress a revolt from your most lucrative market who are fed up with the outrageous processing and bandwidth requirements you are demanding, even as computers become more portable (meaning less bandwidth) and greener (meaning lower power consumption hence less processing power).

    It's almost as if there is literally an untapped market there. I can only presume that Google found out first-hand that there was no such market; or, more likely, that advertisers of the day refused to pay to reach them no matter how many there were. We'll see if they end up changing their minds before their host websites lose all of their readers.

  • by dunezone (899268) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @07:08AM (#31920948) Journal
    I thought the only content that site offered was ZP.
  • by Stumbles (602007) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @07:08AM (#31920950)
    Yes it seems the did reverse the bans. However they added to the TOS something along the lines of; "Thou shalt not speak of ad-blocking software on this site". Its a good thing the site mods got religion. Now they can start Holy Crusades for other types of banned speech. That should fit in well with their policy of; give us some money and we will reduce the number of ads you see. How nice, think I'll stick with Adblock.
  • I think Flash ads are notoriously evil. They do chew up your computer resources big time. Not to mention some are so obnoxious as to play sounds out of the blue. Really annoying when you are not expecting it, or are listening to music.

    Some of the worst of this lot I've seen on The Pirate Bay, so maybe I should try AdBlock for that site. Normally I don't mind ads that behave themselves and don't try to "get in your face". But Flash ads have gone too far afield in this regard.

    Let's face it. If you have something to advertise that I am interested in buying, a simple JPeg ad will get my attention. If I am not interested, the most flashy of Flash ads will have no hope in hell of changing my mind, and become annoying if they start tying up my computer resources trying to get my attention for their crappy products.

    The owners of Escapist and other sites should recognize this basic fact and spend more time policing the ads and less time harassing their users, who can go elsewhere in a heartbeat. I thought this was obvious, but some never learn.

    And when your browser chews up 400 megabytes or worse due to these bloaty ads, that's a problem. Users shouldn't have to throw out their old computers and buy the latest and the greatest just so they aren't slowed to a crawl -- or even crash -- because of silly bloaty ads. Go figure. So the STFU works both ways.

  • by poena.dare (306891) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @07:32AM (#31921184)

    (Max Lib Here) Psst... Dude, Clinton deregulated banking structure and exotic investment products. He even apologized about it last week. GWB kept the stupid ball rolling. Just don't take the bait from posts like that. Just write down his name, wait a month, and then mod his posts into oblivion.

    Dammit, what is this thread about?

  • by technomom (444378) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @07:51AM (#31921362)
    Then don't be ordinary.
  • by waspleg (316038) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @08:07AM (#31921582) Journal

    Escapist is not alone. EA bans anyone who talks about the Better Business Bureau and removes their posts. I recently, after 40 days (irony?) got a free copy of Mass Effect 2 Collector's Edition after turning them in to the BBB (something I've never done before) for their shitty Bad Company 2 launch and the fact that several weeks after launch, and after I had talked a friend in to buying the game for the whole 15 minutes I had been able to play it, it was still broken and took HOURS to connect to a server to the point where sane people walked away and wanted their money back.

    I had purchased from STEAM so they told me I was fucked because they wouldn't talk to me since it had been a digital download (that they had to distribute to Valve, got their cut of the money for, and I paid full retail for; something else I rarely do). I appealed to the BBB, I guess because they didn't want the 3 year mark on their record they finally ponied up a game after refusing to refund anything, going through 3 tiers of tech support idiots and going full circle when they tried to "troubleshoot" my connection after already offering an alternate title.

    I think people who are dicked on releases like this (in this case, the game was fine, it was their horrible MP authentication and Punk Buster server fiascos) should absolutely be compensated by the company at fault so they have a deterrent from pulling that shit again.

    I should say, I haven't even opened the box for ME:2, I may well sell it, and I haven't touched BF:BC2 since either. Fuck EA, the Escapist, and all those like them. This will probably be marked OT but it seemed relevant enough, and happened recently enough (I just got the replacement game yesterday, after literally 40 days of going back and forth between EA and the BBB mediator every couple days) that I thought I'd share my story of woe.

  • Re:Find a new site (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @08:30AM (#31921924) Homepage Journal

    There are a lot of reasons for not getting mod points, one is if you are a prolific poster (like I am) you won't get mod points, even with excellent karma (like I have). You're still eligible for and invited to metamoderate, however.

    I'd rather argue or agree than moderate.

  • Sucks to be them. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pushf popf (741049) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @08:37AM (#31922006)
    You see, if enough people take up a site's bandwidth without generating ad impressions, the ad companies pay less for their ad-space, and each visitor, on average, produces less income for the site.

    Shh. If you listen carefully, you can hear me playing sad music on the world's smallest violin

    I know that most of you weren't even born yet, but there was a time when the internet had no advertising. And it did just fine.

    "Monetizing your assets" is marketing bullshit-speak for "fleecing stupid people and annoying the rest". In fact, I own several websites right now that contain no advertising and get traffic. Any business that performs a service that's worth more than a pile of post-horse-oats can afford enough hardware and bandwidth to support thousands of users for less than they spend on getting the mats by the front door cleaned. And anybody who wants a personal site can do the same for less than the cost of a "value meal" at McDonalds.

    And as bizarre as this seems, I could even post original content and have user interaction just like The Escapist and still charge nothing.

    Not only do I recommend ad-block to my friends, I install ad-blocking proxy servers for businesses, because nowhere in the world is wasted time, money and bandwidth more apparent than in businesses that actually measure expenses and productivity. Employee wants to spend a little while looking for a new recipe for hummus? Great! Employee gets distracted and spends a half our down the rabbit hole with punch-the-monkey ads, not so great.

    They can advertise all they want, but nobody is going to tell me that I have to:
    • Watch
    • Give a crap about blocking it
    • Feel guilty about denying anybody ad-revenue.
  • by cmdr_klarg (629569) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @08:48AM (#31922154)

    Playing devil's advocate...

    This is my website, and I am going to deny whatever freeloaders try to abuse it. Freeloaders have used up website resources without compensating for it. Rather than not rip me off, they run special software to fuck me over, driving up costs and taking away resources from legitimate users. So fuck the ad blockers. They just lost the privilege of being able to browse my website.

    Privilege? If viewing your site means I'm forced to endure popups, seizure inducing Flash ads, and drive-by-download virus delivery ads, then I want nothing to do with your site.

  • Re:Troublesome ads (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Big_Mamma (663104) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @08:54AM (#31922220)

    Too bad the price difference between them and others is much too large. I'm not talking about tens of percents, but 2 cent per 1000 views vs the 50ct we currently receive for US traffic. For international traffic, divide by 5 to 10. Advertising revenue is bad enough already, unless you serve millions of pages a month, you're not going to break even. Reducing that by another 90% is plain suicide - it's probably more effective to remove them all and add a donation button if you can take a 90% pay cut.

    I really would love to support them, but advertisers just do not want to advertise internationally with the same ad. Even brands like Dell have 30 different versions of their ads, one for each country, and depending on where the visitors are, they get their local version with prices in their own currency and the text in their own language - it simply works better that way. If you serve me US prices for Dell, I still have no idea what the final price is in euros after the import duties, VAT and the price difference of Dell NL vs Dell US, so that makes the ad useless for 70% of the visitors. Project Wonderful can never achieve this with their model. This internationalization is one of the main reasons editors on sites have lost control of the advertisements - there's just no way you (or anyone) can review thousands of ads each day...

    I hate how the ads market works and I'd love to see a fix for it, but Project Wonderful isn't it. The market is completely in control of the advertising networks, it's hell for us independent publishers; we just get a check every month, and there's nothing we can do to influence it.

  • by FreeUser (11483) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @09:01AM (#31922318)

    FAIL: I would have thought, as a slashdotter, you were more interested in the facts. Do some homework: The banks were bullied into lowering their lending standards by left-wing idealists intent on equal opportunities at any cost.

    Ah, no, that would be your collassal FAIL for swallowing right-wing talking points and fiction hook, line, and sinker and calling them "facts".

    This crisis had nothing to do with the tiny minority of sub-prime loans disbursed under federal fair lending requirements. These banks were not "bullied" into anything--they aggressively sold sub-prime loans to far less debtworthy recipients than specified in any federal fair lending statutes, and did so for one very simple reason: profit. Not long term profits for the bank, but for short term paper profits off the back of irresponsibly low interest rates that translated into large bonuses for the Bankers and Traders involved, and then packaging up the toxicity and selling it onward as CDOs and CDSes that were fraudulantly sold to investors in a climate of no oversight, little to no regulation, and a business model of raking in the profits and shedding the liability as fast as possible...initially onto investers, then ultimately onto the shareholders while the main culprits pocketed millions and made for the hills. I work in this industry (for the investment arm of a large bank BTW), and there is nothing "poor" or "bullied" about these banks...this is pure, unadulterated, and unregulated greed--raw, freewhelling free markets just as the Libertarians and "small 'L' libertarian Republicans tout as the answer to all of society's ills.

    And guess what, it had results that were entirely predictable to anyone thinking outside of the right-wing dogma of the Chicago School of Ecomonics (which seems to require debunking about once every generation or so), and the right-wint Libertarian and Republican economic policies it inspires.

    It's amazing the level of audacity the right has, to try and place the blame on their successors, whom they've left to clean up their mess. I'm not a particular fan of Obama, but to try and blame him for cleaning up Bush's economic mess (and seeing Bush's bailout through to the end, no less), and to blame a statistically insignificant number of fair lending loans as the cause of this crisis is absurd to the point it beggars belief, and belies a willful ignorance of the facts that appears to stem more from political (some might say 'religious') dogma than any fundamental inability to grasp the basics of economics and credit markets. Fair lending loans weren't the cause of this crisis, nor were the policies that put them in place. The cause was a combination of low interest rates creating a real-estate bubble, and investors who were lied to about the underlying risk and value of the credit instruments they were sold, which in turn created a lending frenzy whose enormity far outstripped anything mandated by government, by orders of magnitude in size and risk. In short, the very CDOs and CDSes that have Goldman in the sights of the SEC right now (and very rightly so, I might add).

  • Re:Troublesome ads (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Blakey Rat (99501) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @09:07AM (#31922388)

    To be fair, given how goddamned annoying AdBlock users are on this site, I'd consider banning them to get them to shut up as well. It might have nothing at all to do with losing revenue from blocked ads.

    "Oh! You see ads? I don't see ads because I use AdBlock! I'm so much better than you! In fact, you should probably just bow down and worship me right now. Man you stupid primitives always give me a chuckle! Ha ha ha!"

    Assholes.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @10:03AM (#31923378)

    Windows users (Vista, 7 32-bit): Start, notepad - ctrl+shift+enter; click yes at UAC; File - Open: c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts
    Add:
    127.0.0.1 escapistmagazine.com
    Save. Close notepad.

    Linux users: You're linux users. pick an editor of your choice (not my war) and run it as a superuser to edit (usually) /etc/hosts
    Add:
    127.0.0.1 escapistmagazine.com
    Save. Close %editor%.

    In before baby and bathwater [wikipedia.org] commentary.

    I lose nothing by ditching that site.
    Zero Punctuation is not funny at all.
    The rest of the site isn't of any use to me.
    And now, they can ban me for telling people how to permanently fix their ad problems.

  • Re:Fuck ads (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki&gmail,com> on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @02:01PM (#31928830) Homepage

    Let me respond in kind. Your site is not a unique snowflake, ban a person and they can go somewhere else. Anywhere else, and they'll probably drag more people with them out of 'kinship'.

    The users make the site, the site doesn't make the users.

God may be subtle, but he isn't plain mean. -- Albert Einstein

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