Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
The Internet Your Rights Online

Only Thieves Block Pop-Ups 1376

aurelian writes "It's official: using browsing the web while blocking pop-up ads and other such exciting website enhancements is theft. are offering to protect your site from browsers blocking pop-ups (or 'theft tools' as they call them) - just try stealing from them with your favourite pop-up free browser. (I picked this up on the phoenix discussion forum...)"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Only Thieves Block Pop-Ups

Comments Filter:
  • Just fine by me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sjhwilkes ( 202568 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @06:37PM (#4745852)
    If a site doesn't want me then they can %^&* off. There's no shortage of sites that haven't resorted to pop ups.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 24, 2002 @06:38PM (#4745859)
    A long while back, in a little debate here on Slashdot, someone called me a thief for blocking pop-ups ads. If I recall, I think I stumped them by asking if Lynx users were thieves since their browser didn't support pop-ups.

    Anyway, I didn't sign any contract to view pop-ups, and there is no guarantee I will support any soft of technology when I browse the web, so they take a chance in using it knowing it may not work. Same with Flash, other javascript, or even images.
  • can't believe this (Score:5, Insightful)

    by greenerx ( 598149 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @06:38PM (#4745874) Homepage Journal
    bandwidth theft?.. they're stealing OUR bandwidth by polluting our pakets with junk
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 24, 2002 @06:38PM (#4745875)
    Telling me not to block pop-ups because the website needs the pop-up income is bad motivation.

    No website is worth wading through hundreds of pop-ups.

    If their only source of income is pop-ups, they aren't long for the web anyway.

    Pop-up income is a bad way to "earn" money, and everyone knows it. (except
  • so... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HillBilly ( 120575 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @06:40PM (#4745893)
    What can I do on the internet that isn't illegal these days?

    Soon there will be warning messages when connecting to the internet: "You have connected to the internet. This is in violation of blah blah blah. Disconnect now"
  • by solostring ( 620535 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @06:40PM (#4745901) Homepage
    I've never worked out how much bandwidth popup ads have sucked out of me over the years, but until recently, I had to pay for 'x' amount of MB's over my monthly limit (crap monopolistic ISP).

    The people that block popup ads are the same people who would *NEVER* click on a popup ad and purchase something, so I'm sorry, but I can't really see what their problem is. Surely we are saving THEM bandwidth?
  • doh! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by chamenos ( 541447 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @06:42PM (#4745921)
    this isn't a troll post, but isn't it obvious? the stuff you browse on the web isn't exactly completely free of charge. there're bandwidth costs to be paid, servers to be bought and maintained, and some of the information you read doesn't just appear there; someone had to do research and type it out.

    the websites let you browse their sites for free, and all they're asking in return is for you to do you part and look at those ads. some may interest you, most do not. in the cast of the latter, just close the pop-up window and go on. is it that big of an inconvenience? is it too much to ask for? i think not.

    in effect, you're "paying" to see the websites' content by seeing those ads. if you disable pop-ups then yes, you are in effect stealing the right to see the content on those websites.
  • Whatever (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kris_J ( 10111 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @06:42PM (#4745923) Homepage Journal
    Since we've also recently been told that going to the loo when the ads are on is theft, this latest mob can go screw themselves. If a site doesn't let me view it through Proximitron (will test when I'm on my own PC) then there are plenty of other things I can be doing with my time.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 24, 2002 @06:43PM (#4745936)
    You must block ads, or avoid those sites entirely.

    If companies and individuals go out of business because of blocking ads, that will lead to fewer, higher-quality companies like google that can come up with ways to make ads *work*, or sites that actually .. wait for it .. CHARGE MONEY.

    I would rather pay money to visit a handful of web sites, then to put up with this bullshit pop-up ad crap all over the place. In fact these days I don't even bother visiting more than about 5-6 web sites, since I'll just drown in ads anyway. And I paid for a /. subscription.

    Don't take over my computer with your ads and javascript nonesense, and I won't hack into yours. Deal?

    Remember folks: Advertising is not a god-given right. It just happens to work for TV and magazines. If they don't want me ad blocking, they should take down their sites.

    Is it theft to get up from a TV commercial? To skip the big ad section in your magazine? No. Ads are priced by the eyeballs after the fact, you don't try and force the eyeballs to match your expectations.
  • such a shame... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Fuzzums ( 250400 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @06:45PM (#4745953) Homepage
    and what a way to scare away your visitors.
    weired plugins, too many popups or obligatory cookies and i'm gone.
    google will help me to find an other site :-)

    what, by the way, about indexing software. wget isn't doing javascript. I wonder if 'protected' sites will be indexed correctly.
  • by Foredecker ( 161844 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @06:45PM (#4745954) Homepage Journal
    By their logic, if I get up to go pee when a comercial comes on then I'm steeling. If I simply manually click and close every freaking popup, then I'm stealing (gee I didn't look at them).

  • The word stealing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anik315 ( 585913 ) <anik@alphaco r . n et> on Sunday November 24, 2002 @06:47PM (#4745982)
    It finally happened. The word stealing has lost all meaning. Stealing used to mean physical theft, as in you stole my calculator. You stole my book. You stole my videogame. You stole my song. You stole my TV show. You stole my internet site. You stole my cable. You stole my bandwidth. Stealing = made me mad
  • Theft? Offensive! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gary Franczyk ( 7387 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @06:47PM (#4745985)
    Theft? That is insulting and offensive.

    I guess you can consider these other things theft also:

    Using the Lynx web browser
    Any TV using Tivo or ReplayTV
    Going to the bathroom during commercial breaks.
    Coming to the movies a bit late for the commercials.

  • by jimsingh ( 314245 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @06:52PM (#4746041)
    Despite what it may feel like, pop-up ads account for less than 5% of the total advertisements on todays websites. Further, AOL (see this [] NYT article posted on ./ several weeks ago) has confirmed that pop-ups are a huge source of dissatisfaction from web users - thus making them in-effective. Rather than use "anti-leech" technology, wouldn't advertisers be better served by simply employing technology that would be more palatable to their readers?
  • by Zergwyn ( 514693 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @06:52PM (#4746050)
    I guess that there are multiple sides to any story, though in the end I find the efforts of sites like anti-leech both amusing and somewhat dangerous. On the one hand, I do understand that serving a website can be expensive, and that as the recession continues many people are becomming more and more desperate to avoid going under. However, anti-leech is bad for at least two major reasons, one economic, and one societal.

    1. Alienating your customers rarely makes for a solid business plan: As the RIAA and countless other harsh regimes(both in business and government) have learned, the more you clamp down, the more people squirm to escape your grasp. Companies forget that one of the whole points of the WWW is choice- and that includes the choice to go to another website if this one is treating me badly. I don't think I need to point out that long term business is built on repeat customers, but then again maybe I do. Repeat customers are ideal, because they are likely to spend more, and have a far lower cost of acquisition. You generally get repeat customers by building loyalty, a positive feeling towards the company. Loyalty does not generally follow from pissing people off.

    2. Even more so then with programming, many people start learning their HTML by looking out how another site has done it. I now do a lot of website development, but I got my start when I was younger in part through liberal copying/tinkering with already built stuff until I figured it out well enough to do myself. This makes me concerned about their 'anti-view-source' offerings. While I suspect much of their stuff can be circumvented, the very people who might benefit most from looking at code are new to the web and thus might not know how to get around stuff. If such things became widespread, it could have a somewhat chilling effect on the learning that goes on for the general, casual designer, who might never have the chance to get bit by the bug and learn more(/me looks over at large pile of Mt. Dew bottles, not totally sure this would be bad ;).

    Any how, I hope that the concept embodied by antileech gets thoroughly trounced. Heh, and I haven't even touched on the whole rediculousness of the 'theft' thing, but I'm sure that will get pretty well gone over by others.
  • by chunkwhite86 ( 593696 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @06:54PM (#4746067)
    I am not morally or legally bound to view the advertisements of others.

    If pop-up blocking in browsers is "theft", is it then also theft when your Tivo skips the commercials??

    This is incredibly silly, and I wouldn't frequent a web site, or give business to a corporation that would ban be based on my browser or browser settings.
  • Visual Pollution (Score:2, Insightful)

    by spanky555 ( 148893 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @06:54PM (#4746068)
    Whatever happened to the micropayment model?

    There doesn't seem to be any way to get it into some companies' heads that I DO NOT WANT TO BE ADVERTISED TO...and I can't even pay to get them off my back, which I would gladly do. Think about it:

    1. Magazines.
    2. TV - even when PAYING (~$50 these days) for cable, I still see commercials. Why is that?
    3. Tivo - even though I pay for the service, they still "sponsor" this and that. WTF?
    4. Web browsing - few sites offer a "members-only" AD-FREE portion of the site.
    5. Phones - now companies are suing to get the "rights" to sell my info? What about MY rights? That's my info you have there, Mr. Head of Company.
    6. Then there's the hospitals...who give your info out to folks when, say, your family has a baby.
    7. DVDs!!!
    8. Movies at the theater!!!
    9. It just goes on and on...

    I'm not confused about the need to advertise in the free market, but not one of these offer me discounts to advertise to me(phone companies, for example), or else they don't give me the option to pay a bit more to not get spammed.

  • If the window is loaded, but not shown, then everyone wins except the advertiser. As far as you're concerened, you saw no pop-up. As far as the web site is concerned, they get paid. As far as someone like doubleclick is concerned (or any other advertising-helper company), they pushed the impression and get paid by the actual advertiser. The advertiser loses, doubly, though. They have to pay for an impression that was never "impressed" upon the user.

    As far as I'm concerned, this is fine. I don't like companies that would want pop-ups. This is like blocking spam as far as I'm concerned. I don't feel bad that the spammer paid for the bandwidth and I didn't read their spam. And in the same way, they're forcing ME to PAY for the bandwidth for getting their advertisement. It's not a big deal now, but what do I do when my I have a transfer limit on my broadband and actually start PAYING for downloading their ad.

    I must say, that might be a *good* thing about this whole data transfer cap. People are going to get damn pissed when they start getting billed for receiving spam.
  • by GigsVT ( 208848 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @06:55PM (#4746078) Journal
    refusing to render my site correctly.

    The whole point of the web (in theory) is that you as a programmer only provide sugesstions as to how to present the data, and the client has the final say. I don't know where people got the idea that they should have total control over how their site looks on the client side.

    Now, browsers making stupid or broken choices about how to render standards compliant code... that's another issue entirely.
  • by smoondog ( 85133 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @06:55PM (#4746083)
    You know this is silly. I bet that advertisers are pretty happy with this. People who block ads (I bet) are much more likely *not* to buy products related to those ads (if they saw them, of course). So advertisers are getting better views for their money. In reality, however, maybe the website providers should go after the advertisers, not the blockers.

    That said, providers have a right to block access to people not requesting their pop-ups. I also have a right to avoid their page....

  • Re:doh! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mnemia ( 218659 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @06:57PM (#4746107)

    No, I'm not stealing from them. There is no agreement saying I have to view the website the way they say I have to, and the Web was explictly designed so that publishers could not impose layout decisions upon browsers. I hate all sites that use popups and would never click on a single one out of principle even if I was interested in what they were selling. So I'm saving them bandwidth costs by not loading their ads which I would ignore anyway.

    The more advertisers try to saturate our lives with forced advertising, the stronger the backlash will become. What has effectively happened is that due to the sheer number of ads the impact of each individual one has been reduced to near zero. They're really shooting themselves in the foot by using these invasive techniques.

    Using Mozilla is not stealing; I see it more as a start to forcing sites to use more reasonable advertising methods by undermining the market for their invasive techniques.

  • Umm... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jpt.d ( 444929 ) <abfall@roger[ ]om ['s.c' in gap]> on Sunday November 24, 2002 @06:57PM (#4746114)
    "Close your browser window, uninstall your pop up blocker and come back here to visit us."

    How about I go to another site and forget about yours.
  • by joe52 ( 74496 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @06:58PM (#4746124) Homepage
    I don't see what's wrong with this. I'd rather have them attempt a technological solution than buy some congressmen and have them make popup blocking illegal.
  • Re:Just fine by me (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Presence2 ( 240785 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @06:58PM (#4746125)
    Popup cop 2.01 on ie6 gets their nasty "come back when you've uninstalled" message. Sorry twits, request denied.

    If you're paying for your site with adds, then run a banner in the page with your copy. Most people don't find them anywhere near as intrusive/annoying to the degree that popping up new browser windows does.

  • Re:Tech fix (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Error27 ( 100234 ) <.error27. .at.> on Sunday November 24, 2002 @07:03PM (#4746178) Homepage Journal
    The solution is to allow popups, but not to display them to the screen.

    It's not really an improvement since it wastes bandwidth. It is really bad for websites that have popups but don't install this software because now they will have to pay the bandwidth costs for popup images that will never be displayed.

    In my mind though, computer users rights are more important than website owners. It is justified to waste bandwidth if it makes computer users happy.

  • by fferreres ( 525414 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @07:03PM (#4746183)
    I was probably me. I remember that I was modded down though I was very polite, and you modded up as very insightfull. I was not even talking about pop-up, i was talking about normal banners. I confronted you with the posibility of supporting the websites you like by contributing a small amount, which you said was stupid since you can just block the adds: "why pay for what I already have!" (the case was the slashdot no adds subscription iirc).

    The thing is without watching adds you'll have no websites, no TV shows (except pay per view). So it's kind of ok if they decide to try to block the people not contributing to sustain the website or show.
  • by Badger ( 1280 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @07:08PM (#4746226)
    Ok, so calling ad-blockers "thiefs" is stupid, and the odds of this thing taking off is something around zero. Some points, though:

    1. There's nothing wrong with a site requiring you to view ads before viewing it. This isn't the best way to do it, mind you, but it's a reasonable theory.

    2. Everyone is better off if websites know what advertising works. Pretending to view ads hurts everyone in the long run.

    3. What we really need, at the end of the day, is better statistics on Internet ads. Radio and TV people can factor in bathroom breaks and channel surfing into their ad rates, but we're only beginning to get those stats for the Internet.

    4. Somewhere deep inside of me, I suspect that people who refuse to look at (any) ads are the first ones to yell when their favorite sites go to a subscription model. Actions do have consequences, and your ISP fee doesn't subsidize the sites you visit.
  • by Moonshadow ( 84117 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @07:11PM (#4746257)
    Anyway, back to my question though, how SHOULD people make money from their websites? Or should thousands of people in the world just work their butts off to give YOU stuff for free?

    Anyone who has ever tried to produce something worthwhile, such as a website, in their spare time, in addition to having a full-time job, will probably understand these sentiments.

    Note: reading my preview, this post sounds quite holier-than-thou - not intended at all. This isn't an attack, just the perceptions of a web developer. Now, on to the content!

    I'm a pro web developer, and put up sites all over in my spare time just for the heck of it - not little pansy Frontpage sites, PHP/SQL sites that I've sunk a lot of time and effort into.

    I have yet to ever put a single banner, popup, or paid button ad on any site of mine. Honestly, $10 or $12/month is quite negligible, and it gives you a presence on the web. If you don't like it, then get off. The way to make money on the web is ot through advertising, but by offering a service that people find useful, and charging them for it. If you expect banners and popups to pay for your site, let alone your next meal, unless you're generating thousands and thousands of hits a day, you're going to be disappointed.

    The web is not there to serve pop-ups. It does not exist solely for people to make money from. I run my sites out of love, and a desire to sharpen my skills. If you dislike it, or it's costing you too much, stop doing it. If you're going bankrupt, set up a donation system, and if people truly think your site is worthwhile, they'll dontate.

    Example: a lot of web comics. They develop large followings, and then start to be run into a hole. Their fans take up the slack, because they don't want to see it die. A high traffic forum I participate in recently lost webhosting due to bandwidth and space concerns. The members of the forum pooled together some $1200 to buy a co-lo'ed server, and things are plugging along. They get nothing substantial out of it, but they enjoy it enough that they're willing to take a financial hit to keep it running.

    If you have something people truly care about, they'll pay for it. If you have nothing but average, run-of-the-mill stuff that they can get elsewhere, they won't. It's as simple as that. Donations, subscriptions, etc. are the way to go, because if you're serving quality content, people will pay for it.
  • Re:doh! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jdreed1024 ( 443938 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @07:11PM (#4746264)
    is it that big of an inconvenience? is it too much to ask for?

    Yes. Pop-up ads are annoying. I'm not sure which planet the marketing folks who think "Oh, if we annoy them _more_, they'll buy from us" are from, but, well, they're wrong. I have no problem with the banner ads on, say, slashdot or userfriendly, or wherever. They're just there - they don't interfere with the "web browsing experience".

    Pop-up ads on the other hand, are extremely annoying. First of all, they rely on either a) JavaScript kludges; or b) HTML kludges such as bogus frame targets. Second, spawning too many windows can suck if you're on a slow machine, and I've seen pop-ups kill Netscape on Linux, Win32, and Solaris. The only-thing worse than pop-up ads are the pop-under ads, or the pop-up ads that move around your screen by themselves.

    If I'm browsing /., and I'm bored, I might glance at the banner ad and click it. If /. used pop-up ads, I'd close them as soon as the page loaded, and if I was bored, well, I'd just get back to work rather than looking at their ads.

    I'd like to see some serious statistics on banner ads vs. pop-ups. I strongly disbelieve that pop-ups have a higher click-through rate. Don't people understand this?! Your morning newspaper doesn't have a spring-loaded ad that hits you in the face as soon as you open it. Why should the newspaper's companion website have that feature?

    And the "just close the window" is the same argument as "just delete the spam". It's not the point. If I have a friend who sends me mail from yahoo, I don't mind the shameless plug for Yahoo that's inserted as a footer, because I can ignore it. If Yahoo were to send me a mail directly, saying "use our mail service", I would mind a lot. It takes no time at all to visually parse a web page and see what's an ad. It takes a significant amount of time to locate a pop-up window, close it, and close the 10 others that it spawns.

    Of course, now comes the argument "Well, if you can ignore inline banner ads, then they're not useful." Bullshit. I can ignore billboards while I'm driving; I can ignore ads in the subway; I can mute commercials on TV; I can toss the flyers from the Sunday paper. Apparently, however, some people still think these methods are useful, because they don't seem to be going away.

    (Of course, this is all moot for me, since any packets outgoing to or the other ad places get redirected to, which answers everything with 1 pixel image :-)

  • Re:Just fine by me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Goldberg's Pants ( 139800 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @07:13PM (#4746284) Journal
    So rather than change an offensive, annoying practice that pisses EVERY web user off, some idiots are now making it so you HAVE to see the damn things... *sigh* Of course, it was recently declared that fast forwarding through commercials on your Tivo or VCR was theft as well... Some of these shitheads need to look up the word "theft" in the dictionary. defines theft as:

    1. The act or an instance of stealing; larceny.
    2. Obsolete. Something stolen.


    Remember when the web was actually about content?

    Guess I need another list to go with the "Sites that insist I use IE" for sites that can go fuck themselves.
  • by GospelHead821 ( 466923 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @07:15PM (#4746301)
    It doesn't just apply to people with a cap on their bandwidth, beyond which they pay additional charges. I am unfortunate enough to still be connecting to the internet via a 56K modem. Every ad that comes up slows down my data transfer rate. If I pass through two or three sites and don't realize that I've accumulated a half dozen popups, my transfer rate is going to slow to a crawl. I'd much rather kill the popup before it can even start wasting my time.
  • by Masami Eiri ( 617825 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `vaw.niarb'> on Sunday November 24, 2002 @07:15PM (#4746302) Journal
    Their site doesn't have the blocker on it, the page with the blocker is an example to people who may want to use the blocker.
  • by fferreres ( 525414 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @07:18PM (#4746328)
    If I recall, I think I stumped them by asking if Lynx users were thieves since their browser didn't support pop-ups.

    Short answer: no.

    I think the problem is people using the fully featured website while trying to suvert the very means that makes the website stay online.

    If a large percent of the people used Lynx, you could expect websites to start using text ads, as opposed to blocking people that try to block the income source of the publisher.

    If there existed a way to automatically reformat a printed newspaper into a non-ads newspaper, they'd have to charge everyone more and due to reduced audience they'd also have to cut jobs and lower the quality of the articles. In the web, thing are the same or worst, because if you try to charge you reduce your audience to a much greater degree, being forced to severily affect the quality of the product.

    So, the bottom line is it's ok for you to try to block adds, as long as you can recognize that when your favourite site closes you are part of the reason. And when a site is doing find and provides you of great pleasure or insight, you are not helping and are freeriding everyone elses "hard work".

    Of course, it's mandatory that i know there are some limits to what means resonable adverticement. If the site wants to place 25 chained pop-ups and 75 flashing banners then I would disable javascript or avoid the site. The thing is the most usefull sites have decent advertizing schemes.
  • by Strike ( 220532 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @07:21PM (#4746360)
    This just in:

    Only Morons Depend Upon Client-Side Technology To Force Unwanted Ads Upon Customers

    It's almost as bad as when users bitch about pop-up ads when the software they are choosing to use is the one that is popping them up for them.
  • by Goldberg's Pants ( 139800 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @07:23PM (#4746380) Journal
    Any idiot website that insists on using popup ads when the entire planet hates them deserves to not get any revenue... If people were watching TV and halfway through your show a huge popup ad appeared over the screen you'd be pissed.

    If sites that force popup ads shut down... Well boohoo...
  • Schweet! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EchoMirage ( 29419 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @07:28PM (#4746427)
    I'm an avid user of Phoenix [], which of course blocks pop-ups, and this is great news to me! Websites that use this will now immediately inform me, "We don't want you to give us (or our advertisers) your money." This is a big time-saving feature from having to wade through a webpage for a while to determine whether or not it's crap. Now I know from the outset. Thanks, webmasters!
  • Re:doh! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by barc0001 ( 173002 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @07:34PM (#4746484)
    "there're bandwidth costs to be paid, servers to be bought and maintained, and some of the information you read doesn't just appear there; someone had to do research and type it out."

    OK. So, by that logic try this one on for size. Every time you walk into a store at the mall to browse and maybe talk to a sales clerk about this item or that, do you give them a quarter? After all, there's rent to be paid, a staff to hire, electricity, inventory costs, etc. These things aren't cheap, and if you're just going in there to look, you're wasting their time and energy. You're a THIEF!

    Didn't think so.

  • Re:doh! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by joshki ( 152061 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @07:36PM (#4746510)
    But I will never buy anything from any company that uses a pop-up to try to sell it to me. NEVER. And by extension, that means that I will never click on their pop-up either. So I should be considered a thief because someone doesn't like the fact that I can't stand their method of advertising?
  • by 0x0d0a ( 568518 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @07:40PM (#4746556) Journal
    Take a look at how they purpose to "protect you from spam" here [].

    "To use this method you will first have to create an Anti-Leech account and then enter the e-mail address that you want to protect into our database."

    No technical reason to create an account, of course. Unless they're selling your email address, and hence have a "good reason" to require you to have cookies enabled. Then they have multiple advertisers on their site, who, if they follow standard procedures, pay extra if they can get email address information associated with a cookie planted in your browser....
  • by Khopesh ( 112447 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @07:42PM (#4746570) Homepage Journal
    if you ask me about this whole deal, it screams fair use; if i go to a burger joint and get a kids' meal requesting no toy, they should give it to me that way. if i forget to request no toy, and throw it out without looking, there should also be no problem.

    are blind people all theives? they don't see ads!

    what about stereo systems? they come with graphic equalizers, which let people filter music as they see fit. but hark! this means radio broadcasts and cds can be played without so much treble! the thieves!
    this whole thing reeks of 'loss of potential sales' -- the same argument as used by the MPAA and RIAA. sure, it's a bit more far-fetched (and therefore more obvious), but this may help our case against the motion picture and recording industries.
  • by Moonshadow ( 84117 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @07:44PM (#4746598)
    Well, let's de-gray-ify it a bit.

    Any legal site that is doing enough traffic to put a dent in the owner's wallet is obviously quite appreciated. People will pay to use it. The little small sites? Of course no one is going to pay. No one goes to them. However, they also cost almost zero to run. I can get free webspace at any of the bazillion providers out there to put up a page about my dog. If I want to do something dynamic, I can pay $10/month for all the tools I need, and a dynamic website is probably going to generate a bit more traffic than your stadnard Frontpage hack job. If you actually have a job, $10/month isn't going to be a big problem. I'm a college student making $15/hr at my day job. In one 8-hour work day, I will have made enough money to run my site for a year, assuming bandwidth costs are negligible.

    If it bothers you that people don't vigorously shake you hand for creating a site, then you need to reevaluate your approach to the web. Unless you manage to create the next Yahoo or something, people don't really care. Are they at fault for not sending you mail thanking you for your wonderful site? I'd hardly say so. Do strangers waking by your house stop by to say "Nice job on the lawn! That's really something! You must have put a lot of work into it!"? I've never experienced anything like that.

    I have a girlfriend, a social life, school, a family of 5 other people to interact with, and I still manage to work 30 hours a week at the office and develop websites on the side. The "no time" is really not an issue. Take an notebook with you for a week, and write down everything you do with the times you spent doing it. At the end of the week, tally the gaps. I -guarantee- you there will be a lot. If my father, who works to provide for a family of six, maintains relationships with friends, practices and plays in the church band, and goes hiking for 4 hours every Saturday can find time to study for an MBA, then chances are most people can find extra time for the things they want to do, too.

    If you want money from people, charge them for something. The idea that popups are the only way to make money on the web is faulty at best.
  • Re:Ads and ADS (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mnemia ( 218659 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @07:45PM (#4746608)

    I understand that you just don't like the idea that people shouldn't have to give something in return for content; and that sites deserve to be paid. That's true, to an extent: if I like a site and choose to pay them for what they offer, then I have no problem with that. I subscribe to several websites that I frequently visit exactly because I feel they deserve to be paid for what they provide me. But, that's MY decision to make, not the site's. I dislike popups because they are like the site is forcing me to look at their ads. I don't want to see your ad unless I choose to do so. To me popups are like stealing my time.

    If a site can't survive without pop up ads then they probably aren't a worthwhile site anyway. Alternatively, they can go to a subscription model, and people who want to will pay them.

    Lastly, web sites only engage in popup advertising because they can. If everyone had software to block these ads all the sites would stop using them and find some other way to make money. By using such software I'm just making the statement that I think they should make their money some other way that doesn't steal my time and patience.

  • Re:Umm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zurab ( 188064 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @07:46PM (#4746622)
    This is a targeted marketing attempt towards businesses that heavily rely on advertizing revenue in exchange for bandwidth; maybe includes some free pr0n sites and similar free or low charge services. Obviously calling pop-up and cookie blocking "theft" is a promotional strategy. Everybody gets excited, people who need to notice the commercial do, and buy the service.

    If this held any water as far as stealing is concerned in legal terms, it would, of course be a disaster for everyone. It would be illegal to have cookies and Javascript turned off? Then where would it stop? Maybe they could also require flash (for more appeal), Java, and AvtiveX. So not running Windows or software of web site operator's choosing could be equal to stealing. What if some features are not available to me?

    Could I, in turn, sue them back for not using standard XHTML that does not validate through W3C's specification, and, thereby "stealing" the content from me that I would otherwise enjoy? That would be about, oh, 99.999% of websites I imagine.

    So, yeah, the idea behind this terminology is ridiculous, but it serves their marketing purpose, I imagine.
  • Well... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Squidgee ( 565373 ) <> on Sunday November 24, 2002 @07:46PM (#4746627)
    I vote we take action, /. style: Slashdot their servers into oblivion!

    Hah, now that I've got that out of my system, let me get serious: this is the dumbest idea/company I've ever heard of (Next to MS). Honestly, so many people use pop-up blockers these days (And people seem to have problems accessing the site without pop-up blockers) that they'll be losing so much revenue/potential customers (If it's a site that sells things) that it's worthless. In fact, they're blocking anyone who uses Earthlink, as their major feature is ad blocking (I don't use Earthlink, but I've seen the commercials). And, if all else fails, we'll just disable javascript to view their site. Mind you, most people will just turn away when they see the "Go away until you don't block pop-ups" dialog.

    I also love their image/download link/HTML source savers. This is the internet; there's always ways to get things. If the image can't be downloaded, I'll take a screen cap. One of my friends who didn't know about screen caps took a digital picture of her computer screen and blew up the image to use it on her project. There are always ways.

    I also love how they try to install the Adware/SpyWare Gator onto your computer.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 24, 2002 @07:52PM (#4746680)
    If there existed a way to automatically reformat a printed newspaper into a non-ads newspaper,

    Bad anology, since it doesn't cut out all streams of advertisement. This is more akin to holding said newspaper upside down over the recycle bin and letting the flyers fall out. That is not going to bankrupt any newspaper anytime soon.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 24, 2002 @07:53PM (#4746688)
    People should stop thinking that websites are there to make money from. Use a website to help your business make money, sure. Use a website to try and make money, you're an idiot. For example, imagine is someone said "Hey, let's make flyers and give them to people every day on the street, we'll make heaps of money when our flyer becomes popular!" They would be an idiot. Websites are the same.

    If you have a business that can use a website for a purpose, by all means do so... but I just laugh when I hear about websites going 'under' when they never had anything to sell in the first place!
  • by StormReaver ( 59959 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @07:53PM (#4746689)
    I don't think these people understand who the real thieves are. Sites that serve unwanted popups, banners, etc. without my consent are stealing the bandwidth that I paid for. If they want to use my bandwidth, they can damn well pay me for it at the prices I set. If they don't want to pay my prices, then they shouldn't be able to use my bandwidth. By the same token, if they don't want me to use their bandwidth, they're perfectly within their rights to deny me access to their sites.

    These bandwidth looters are trying to set the tone of the game by portraying those of us who are trying to preserve our bandwidth usage as something dirty. I am paying for my bandwidth, and I will be the one to determine when it gets used.
  • by fferreres ( 525414 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @07:56PM (#4746714)
    Theft? That is insulting and offensive.

    I guess you can consider these other things theft also:

    * Using the Lynx web browser
    Lynx is 100% fine. It works perfectly and is not blocked for a reason.

    * Any TV using Tivo or ReplayTV
    The day everyone has TIVO, you'll see that the advertizements start to get buried INSIDE the show, or that that show you loved in no longer supported. All you can access for free will be propaganda supported stuff or pay-per-views. I'm nt looking worward to that day :)

    Going to the bathroom during commercial breaks.
    Nobody requires you to look at the screen when they display an add last time I checked. Not even to stay on the channel. Most websites are not asking people to click the banners nor asking you to pay carefull attention to all the banners.

    * Coming to the movies a bit late for the commercials.
    They couldn't care less, the fact is some people enjoy those commercials, and for the movie you have already payed a ticket wich is the way you supports the creation of movies.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 24, 2002 @07:58PM (#4746735)
    You know at the risk of being a Troll here I have to point out that a few years back the web was not commerce driven. People put up pages because they had something to say or to share. People payed for there own space and hosting and did so without complaining.

    Now the problem is that the corporate world is trying to take over the net and they are bitching and moaning because they can not figure out how to consistently make a buck off it excluding the porn industry.

    No where to me does it seem to be mandatory that the users of the web have to maintain the viability of the current business model used by businesses.

    It seems to me businesses and websites are forgetting that they need consumers to survive and not the other way around. Most of us would survive just fine without any given website or product. Not to mention a more consumer friendly group would come along to fill the need.

    I just do not see as my responsibility to support sites whose goal is to make a buck and who can not figure out how to do it. Something things just wont sell.
  • by nhavar ( 115351 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @08:00PM (#4746756) Homepage
    I get it but don't agree. The logic should be that as users bail out on advertising then it's either time to reevaluate the type of advertising you are doing or reevaluate the business model. If you don't do either that's when you shut down.

    Many users are just burnt out on ads. It's been said time and time again. When every show, every channel, every magazine, every newspaper, every website, every shopping cart, every building, every movie, every music CD, every box of cereal, basically every horizontal and vertical surface that a person sees is covered with an ad you get burn out. When an hour long show contains 22 minutes worth of show (2 minutes of beginning and ending + 20 minutes actual plot and acting) and 28 minutes worth of commercials there's a little commercial zone-out going on.

    Pop up blockers and similar technology in PVR's are just helping what the brain does automatically - block out the crap. In fact it might even improve some of the ads getting seen since the users aren't overloaded with so much some of it might actually register.

    Marketers don't understand "reasonable" or "ethical". They understand marketshare, branding, and placement. If they looked to "reasonable" and "ethical" the economy might look a little better than it does right now.
  • by rtconner ( 544309 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @08:00PM (#4746763) Homepage Journal
    actually the concept itself is a really good idea. i'm sort of impressed with these people. i think i'll take their idea and start using it on my sites
    everyone should use javascript to hide email address' from the bots.

    of course then the spam people will just start making smarter bots. you can't win can you.

    we just neeed a new email protocol with some sort of verification process used. then we can block whatever servers we don't like.
  • Re:Sue Them... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fferreres ( 525414 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @08:03PM (#4746793)
    As long as you don't request ANY image, they site will still load. The moment you start selectively loading images, they block you.

    Hope it clears your concerns (note: I don't like pop-ups, i have a commercial website and refused to sell pop-ups over and over. I'd be very unhappy if everyone just blocked my 1 add per page in selected pages...that helps me pay for the journalists)
  • by malaba ( 9813 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @08:09PM (#4746839)
    ... and roam on their site.

    To be more proactical
    use the toolbar from
    (a checkbox to enable/disable JavaScript).

    Evidently if the site contain "pertinent"
    data that need javascript....

    my 2 cent
  • by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @08:14PM (#4746878)
    A web site has every right to decide wether or not they allow a particular browser configuration to access their site. Of course, the more people block pop-up ads, the fewer people that will be able to visit anti-blocking enabled sites, the less cash they'll get for ads, and eventually they'll die a natural death from lack of money.

    A free market cure for stupid business models. one that I will totally support by continuing to use pop-up blockers - and encourage friends to do likewise.
  • by fferreres ( 525414 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @08:30PM (#4747003)
    Well, that's up to the channel owner. You see, some channels require the cable company to pay a high fee or they can't broadcast the content. Some others do not and are always there, but full of ads.

    Whcih ones to I watch most? The ones without ads. But not only because of the ads, but mostly because they have the content I like most (Discovery, Animal Planet, Movies).

    It's nice to have choice though. Not every show can be financed in the same way. Some are better of showing ads and reaching a higher audience (there are some people that are unwilling to pay, or that couldn't pay if everything was per-view).
  • Almost there. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 24, 2002 @08:32PM (#4747021)
    let's fetch =demo_pop& t_example.html&html=test

    Sorry for cutting out stuff folks, the lameness filter is turned up high today.

    // This is the Anti-Leech HTML protection

    blah blah blah

    egenskaper="toolbar=no,location=no,directories=no, status=no,menubar=no,scrollbars=yes,resizable=yes, width=496,height=65";
    url="http://new.anti-leech. com/ad_popup.php";,'antihtml',egenskaper);

    //Disable right mouse click Script
    //By Maximus (

    great stuff, someone else's right-mouse button javascript. I love it. now here comes the fun bit.

    // Printing out protected HTML code

    document.write(unescape("%3Cfont%20size%3D3%20fa c ...

    Argh, the fearsome document.write(unescape()). So that gives us:

    <font size=3 face=verdana>
    This HTML code is protected by<br;><br>
    With help of the Anti-Html system you can protect both parts of your page or all source code. We can even protect java scripts.<br;><br>
    Take a look in the source code of this page for a better view of how good the protection actually is.

    I must say I'm impressed. I didn't know anyone who could write s/[^A-Za-z0-9\.,]/'%'.hex(chr($1))/eg' in perl. That's really SUPER UNCRACKABLE CODE.

  • by whereiswaldo ( 459052 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @08:34PM (#4747036) Journal
    Great comment.

    Here's an idea: why don't the anal SOB's who want everyone to view their ads place a small "ads.txt" file similar to "robots.txt" which says to the browser or ad blocker "you must view the ads or you are not allowed to view this site". Then we could just tell our browser to not load sites with that file in place, thereby solving the silly "bandwidth theft" problem.
  • by doormat ( 63648 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @09:16PM (#4747304) Homepage Journal
    On one side, the client can block popups. Its perfectly legal/morally right.

    On the other side, when I request a HTML document from a website, they are no way obligated to send it to me. Calling blockers thieves is bullshit, but they are in no way obligated to serve me data if I block popups. And if IE ever implements popup blocking, the sites that block users who block popups could find themselves with no audience.
  • Pop-up Schmop-up (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jdkane ( 588293 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @09:25PM (#4747391)
    The pop-up window was never designed for advertising purposes. However because of the flexibility of the JavaScript language, you can easily create a program to display advertising in a pop-up. And so the pop-up window has become an annoyance because 99% of the time it's related to in-your-face advertising (99% unwanted).

    Popups can be used for other reasons. Maybe I'm blocking pop-ups for a totally different reason than advertising. The fact that thinks that blocking pop-ups == blocking advertising, is wrong because many more applications exist for the standard pop-up window (like games, application notices, cool effects, temporary data store, etc. -- whatever the programmer can imagine).

    On the flip side, there are other ways to make advertising annoying without popups. For example, some sites now use a DHTML layer that floats across the content to get your attention. Now that's annoying, but it's not a pop-up, which proves pop-ups aren't needed, so why protect pop-up advertising? I don't see a reason, but maybe somebody else (an advertiser) can shed some light on this. I would like to hear perspectives from advertisers on that point. DHTML layers are a good idea from the advertiser's perspective because layers can't easily be suppressed, unless JavaScript is turned off completely, which most people are not likely to do []. Sorry about giving out such "evil" pointers but it's nothing new that people don't already know about.

    Excluding anti-pop-up browsers will make most potential clients angry. Instead, the advertisers (and should better spend their time creating alternate methods for delivery of advertising (like the DHTML layer) intsead of blocking the defunct pop-up. It's easy to see that protecting pop-up advertising is short-sighted because popups are not the only delivery method available for advertising. These companies must not be technically savvy. Whoever buys into this foolish logic will end up annoying their potential clientel, and therefore alienating them. Are you gonna' buy from someone who calls you a thief and then forces you to see pop-ups that you've already decided you don't want? Notice the accusing intonations of the text that the anti-popup detector displays -- very rude indeed -- any descent advertiser or sales outlet wouldn't use it, unless they are convinced they have to deal out punishment to their potential clients as a parent might to a child. Very demeaning to say the least. We're all grown-ups here.

    Why do so many browsers allow you to block pop-ups? Because the people have spoken, and the people do not want pop-up advertising! For any advertiser to now force-feed pop-ups and call clients thieves -- especially at this point in history -- it goes against every ethical and smart business practice.

    I don't mind advertising being displayed to me, because I am so accustomed to it. However I do despise it being pushed to me in pop-up windows or any other annoying fashion that blocks the primary purpose of my visit to the website. If they have to yell that loud about their product, then I would say the product most likely sucks. For example, you probably won't see the Segway HT [] in a pop-up window anytime soon because the product speaks for itself. Quality, value, and purpose.

  • Good idea (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dissy ( 172727 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @09:35PM (#4747461)
    So if blocking popups is stealing, does this mean that when their site is unavailable they are obligated to compensate us for the downtime their site was unavailable?

    So many times ive been upset because a site i needed to get to was down.. At long last justification for getting money for my loss!

    After all, im not paying my ISP for bandwidth just to have these sites be down stealing information from me.
  • by susano_otter ( 123650 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @09:36PM (#4747464) Homepage
    The thing is without watching adds you'll have no...TV shows (except pay per view).

    Exactly! And have you compared the quality of HBO's programming to that of the networks, recently?

    Also, have you noticed that when a TV program doen't rely on ads to generate revenue, you get it on video a lot sooner? Have you noticed that 24 came out on video almost instantly? Even the broadcast networks are beginning to get the picture (so to speak).

    Maybe advertising would have been a viable revenue model for the web, but the advertisers screwed that pooch right away. Instead of addressing privacy concerns, they began straightaway to abuse consumer confidence. That, combined with a wilful wrongeheadedness regarding the nature of web advertising, killed any chance targeted advertising based on aggregate data ever had.

    My favorite part of the whole fiasco is that web-based advertising hasn't even been around long enough to become the "traditional" way of doing things, but already people are screaming at me for not doing things the way "they're supposed to be done". Put up a website, lose all memory of life prior to 1998, I guess. If only the other kinds of lobotomy were so cheap and painless!

  • by awol ( 98751 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @09:45PM (#4747528) Journal

    If there existed a way to automatically reformat a printed newspaper into a non-ads newspaper, they'd have to charge everyone more and due to reduced audience ...

    The advertising industry is a scam. The people who "objectively" evaluate the effecacy of advertising are those that have a vested interest in the increased use of advertising. If it were a real product most people would be more questioning.

    Don't get me wrong. Advertising is a "good" thing, and a banner add is a classic example. If I see a banner add for something to scratch an itch that I have, then it will lead me to invesigate the solution to my problem (perhaps). Certainly if I block the add then I lose that option. However if I (and others) use a technique that removes the channel then you are right the advertising sponsored "vehicle" will suffer, but the classic development in this case is that the adverstising just becomes editorial content and the "information" is still disseminated. But the advent of popups, floaters, animated banners, active content etc etc, is just the bullshit of the industry arguing that "in your face" advertising is "more effective".

    Look, one of the best examples in my mind comes from classified employment adds. Where I grew up it was (and to a greater or lesser extent still is) the case that if you were hiring you put an add (the channel) in the big Saturday paper (the vehicle), similarly if you were looking for a job you bought the paper to search. This process was so effective, that there were times when the paper in question was so large that the recycling value of the weight of the paper was greater than the cover price of the paper. Much of this largeness was due to the classifieds. Therefore the paper became a targeted channel. There is lots to be gained from the "internet" ability to accurately qualify different channesls (Slashdot readers are a fairly well targeted audience, adds for florists and hair products are unlikely to figure in the banner adds here :-) and it is this value of which I speak when I say that advertising is a good thing, it really can inform, however the idea that the kind of business in this story has about "theft" and the need for ways of "forcing the content" on the audience is the same kind of braindeadness that the other parts of the advertising industry have been peddling for years.

  • Damn thieves! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by buswolley ( 591500 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @10:09PM (#4747688) Journal
    I pay for bandwidth. I pay for my computer. I pay for my software. I pay for my electricity.

    pop-ups use my bandwidth, my computer, my software, and my electricity for free. That is theft. It will remain theft until I sign an agreement that gives them the right to access my resources.

    The problem in this world is we never recognize the real thieves.

  • Re:Just fine by me (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Archie Steel ( 539670 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @10:12PM (#4747714)
    I don't know about you guys, but I'm going to write them an e-mail saying that, when I see a pop-up, I am so annoyed that I actually make a point of not buying the product. Therefore, they are actually hurting sales (as far as I'm concerned) by forcing me to see those pop-ups. I'll also make sure to resend this letter to any web site dumb enough to use their product (and I'll tell them that, too!)
  • by paladin_tom ( 533027 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @10:17PM (#4747743) Homepage

    Technology makes some good business models go bad and eliminates certain categories of jobs. It happened for farming...

    Which is still the most important job in the world, and always will be. It takes a lot of decadence to forget that fact.

  • Re:Just fine by me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Archie Steel ( 539670 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @10:19PM (#4747753)
    Here's the letter I sent. Please feel free to copy or adapt it and send it to: [mailto]

    Whenever I used to see a pop-up ad, I was so annoyed that I actually made a point of not buying this product, and sometimes even went as far as to discourage those around me not to buy this product.

    Ever since I've been using a browser that block pop-up ads, I have probably been a better customer. Your product will once again cause misguided advertisers to lose my business. I'll make sure to point this out to any web site I come across that uses your product.

    Banner ads are the most that 95% of Web users will accept. Anything that "pops up" is found annoying by the great majority of Web users. The negative reinforcement can only be detrimental to business - you're only hurting those you want to help.

    Also consider that, if you keep wantonly calling people like me thieves, you're liable to get sued for libel.
  • Re:Just fine by me (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BubbaTheBarbarian ( 316027 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @10:35PM (#4747863) Journal
    So what if they don't want you?

    But here is good Q for you? How they hell do they know if they want you if they do not know who YOU are? Yes, I know, this brings the golden monkey of "'puter privacy" in question.

    Who here likes money? It helps, right? Remember this little nation called the USSR? They tried the whole "Lets pay doctors like garbagemen" thing. They tried the whole you are not an individual thing too. A small little known nation called China is doing the same thing.

    Why bring this up? Because here, our "entertainment", while being produced by a bunch of morons, is at free to be produced by those can afford to produce such entertainment. And yes dumbasses, I am talking about radio, TV, movies, web sites, things you have to produce....that take time and time = money.

    Follow so far? Good, cause we go deeper.

    Free trade is just what it is. The American economy is based upon the free flow of money from entity to another, those entities being a singular person or a Monopoly (and yes M$ers, I know that monopolies hinder that flow which is bad for the economy and such, but that is a different debate for a later day after you are done wiping the droll from you face cause you had to figure out which cereal munch on while reading this). Now remember that time = money, so you are paying for content that they produced to entertain you with your time and bandwidth (and way some of you think, your cranial bandwidth isn't that much).

    So it is easy. You like it, either take the two second click on that little box with X in the upper right corner, wait for programmers to get around this (which will take all of 5 days) or find another site that posts stuff for "free."

    But remember, that nothing --NOTHING-- is free. Not even Stallman's software.

    War Tux, and enlightened conversation.

    "Bastard operators don't win...anyone can win. Bastard operators win and TOTALLY demoralize. That is REAL winning."
  • Re:Sue Them... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by loply ( 571615 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @10:41PM (#4747905) Homepage
    Exactly - There is no way for the server to determine whether the downloaded images actually get used or whether the browser did it merely to satisfy the server :)

    Would be about 3 lines of code added to konqueror to download blocked files but not display them :)

  • Re:Just fine by me (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Axe ( 11122 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @10:50PM (#4747964)
    You wish. Most of them did just fine and have enough dough stashed away.

    Those who jumped into stock craze in the late 99 and invested their retirement money are those who got fucked up. - if stock market lost 3 trillions - that means at least that much money changed hands. Into pocket of investment bankers, and yes, a fare share for those 24 year old MBA assholes..

  • by fishbowl ( 7759 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @10:53PM (#4747980)
    I think a good civil rights lawyer could get a few billion in settlement on behalf of the blind, whose reputations have been damaged by the slander of being called theives for using the very tools that allow them to function in society.

    A *really* good lawyer could get these people sent to prison for havimg made the false accusations of "theft".

  • Re:Sue Them... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fishbowl ( 7759 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @11:00PM (#4748021)
    "This makes pages un-readable for some visual disabled who use text browsers to get to what they need and read it out on a braille-board or via software that simply reads the text out- load to them."

    Don't sue -- bring criminal prosecution.

    The one guy with the case against Southwest Airlines really didn't have a case, because SWA actually was making it possible for him to purchase tickets. Here, the situation is different. Not only is this company actively and agressively forbidding access to the blind, the spokesperson for the company is accusing these disabled individuals of being theives. I'm likely to get modded down as a troll, but I honestly believe there is a potential for litigation here.

    Don't some of the larger internet providers distribute pop-up ad blocking software? AOL? Isn't that the sort of kindling for being a target of one of those lawsuits that bankrupts you just by being sued? You know, the kind of suits that "Everybody" is afraid to make the slightest contraversial move in busines because they're so afraid of being sued?

    This would be a terriffic time to show me that's not a myth.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 24, 2002 @11:14PM (#4748094)
    Here is a link [] to the original post. Can I be sued as well?

    Posting anonymously because this is a stupid country that may actually find me guilty.
  • Re:Just fine by me (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 24, 2002 @11:47PM (#4748313)
    The problem with your argument is that technology has advanced to the point where "content" costs nothing to duplicate; in a truly "free" market this would mean that the price for e.g. a recording would drop to almost nothing. This makes many current business practices obsolete - in order to keep them viable you have to create artificial scarcity by enacting a whole slew of laws (DMCA etc) making duplication impossible, or at least controlled. The issue is that by creating this scarcity you trample on many important freedoms, including free speech. So is it worth it to abandon the first amendment merely to keep companioes like AOL Time Warner in business? But, you say, "then there will be no incentive to create anything new"...To which I reply, fine - that's the free market. And then perhaps something new will indeed be valuable.

    One off-topic rant deserves another...

  • Re:Just fine by me (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Archfeld ( 6757 ) <> on Monday November 25, 2002 @12:01AM (#4748395) Journal
    that is easy enough to do...just edit your host file and redirect the ad servers to
    A host file is very easy to find...check

    The author of KL keeps a VERY comprehensive host file, I just see a custom broken link pic these days which I rotate :)

    As for not letting my and my popup ad filter in, so what, I will go spend my money else where :)
  • by matt_beall ( 551184 ) <> on Monday November 25, 2002 @12:01AM (#4748400)
    that is tantamount to saying that my flipping by the pages of ads in the front of a magazine is theft. this is a great way to make me never come to your website again.
  • by Malcontent ( 40834 ) on Monday November 25, 2002 @12:05AM (#4748421)
    As George Orwell made so abundantly clear those who control the language control the world. This is why you are called a thief and a bomb that wipes out villages is called the daisy cutter.

    It's all double plus good.
  • Re:Damn thieves! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Minna Kirai ( 624281 ) on Monday November 25, 2002 @12:29AM (#4748557)
    until I sign an agreement

    Wait for it. Websites will eventually show a click-through popup agreement to all non-cookied users, consenting to using your bandwidth just like they want.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 25, 2002 @12:30AM (#4748558)
    Ummm, sorry guys, but when you FORCE me to view something vis a vis SPAM, then you are stealing my bandwidth.

    I, and I alone get to control what comes through my firewall and into my home. If I don't want to listen to your message, that's my right. If I don't want to listen to some part of your message, then that's my right to.

    You can't do a thing to force me to listen to it. You don't have to talk to me. But if you are broadcasting it out, then you can't force me to listen to the whole thing - I get to pick and choose.

    If you don't like it, then tough nuts. Set it up so you're not broadcasting anymore. But don't blame me for your crappy business model.
  • by NitroWolf ( 72977 ) on Monday November 25, 2002 @01:31AM (#4748850)
    Patrick... this is not meant as a flame, but your statements are ridiculous... utterly and totally. You are obviously "new" to the web, and these statements show what a sophmoric or perhaps coroporate attitude you take towards the web, and it's unsettling.

    I take special umbrage to this quote:

    They give you content, you view the ad. The Internet is not a one sided deal. You don't get your cake and eat it too.

    Wrong. Wrong. So VERY wrong. And wrong three times over. The internet was BUILT on the foundation of sharing information... FOR FREE. YOUR commercialized internet is NOT my internet. I don't NEED your information. I may find it interesting, but chances are, there is some alturistic person out there willing to GIVE it to me for free... just like I provide 10,000+ users information for free as well. I run a number of popular message board sites, most are directed at very niche markets, but together, I serve around 10,000 users at any given time. With EVERY site I run, with the exception of 1, I offer totally free, without banner ads, etc...

    Why do I do this? Because that's how _I_ give back to the "internet" for the information I take from elsewhere. I've put hundreds and hundreds of hours into these sites I run, for zero monetary compensation. It probably sounds crazy to you, but 15 years ago, that's what the Internet was all about. Everyone sharing their information for pleasure.

    I realize the Internet is a commercial beast now, and we wouldn't have what we have without that commercialization. However, I think that if we were to take away the advantages commercilization gave us, and replace them with the advantages non-commercialization would give us, it (the net) would be a less stressful place to live.

    I totally, and utterly disagree with you that blocking ads is theft. The whole premise is utterly ridiculous. If I don't want to watch something on TV, something I find offensive, I TURN THE GOD DAMNED TV off, or change the channel. By your twisted logic, I'm STEALING from the networks because I choose not to watch thier bullshit. How ridiculous can you get? If you want to offer your information, GREAT... and if I find it valuable, I would _consider_ donating to you, however, I feel that my return I give to the net is in proportion to what I take from it. I may not give that "return" DIRECTLY to you, but it's all interwoven, and you recieve the same benefit from somewhere else, who may or may not have recieved benefit from me.

    As for "deal" with the ads, they aren't going to kill me... I do. I use Webwasher with a very robust and complex filter set. I rarely see banner ads, much less ANY pop-ups. That's how I deal with you... I suggest you DEAL with people blocking intrusive and utterly pointless advertising. I have no wish to see the advertising, and if that means that I won't get access to your information, then so be it... it won't break my heart, because I can get that information elsewhere, and if I can't, and I actually NEED that information, then I will PAY for it voluntarily. But forcing ads upon me is making me pay for that information INVOLUNTARILY, and THAT is the difference between STEALING and protecting myself. Your way is involuntary, my way, the morally correct way, is voluntary.

    YOU, sir, are stealing my time from me, I am stealing NOTHING from you.

  • by tbarrie ( 125473 ) on Monday November 25, 2002 @02:06AM (#4749013) Homepage
    Yet at 99% of the car dealerships that's exactly what you get - hover and pressure. Everyone has to buy a car after all.

    They do? Why?

  • by Skiboo ( 306467 ) on Monday November 25, 2002 @02:09AM (#4749032) Homepage
    The problem with doing it this way is that search engines are less likely to index your site properly.
  • by Guppy ( 12314 ) on Monday November 25, 2002 @03:05AM (#4749305)
    "Technology makes some good business models go bad and eliminates certain categories of jobs. It happened for farming... "

    "Which is still the most important job in the world, and always will be. It takes a lot of decadence to forget that fact. "

    I can think of one occupation that's even more important than that -- Motherhood.

    Well, time to go hunting-gathering, ciao! :)
  • bad idea (Score:2, Insightful)

    by muzzy ( 164903 ) on Monday November 25, 2002 @03:07AM (#4749322) Homepage Journal
    And what about people who wouldn't want to obey such instructions? Would they be thieves? I'm having a bad feeling about this... One day, that idea of yours might become a reality, so be careful what you wish for as it might just happen. What would it really mean?

    Generally, such file would be considered a "terms of service", and the server could choose to block everyone who didn't read the file. Only people who had browser to read the "machine readable website viewing license" or whatever would be able to request any files off the server. And after this, if your browser would ignore that, and would choose to not display ads, it would be violation of the terms of service. Writing ad-blocker could be seen as completely illegal thing to do. Far fetched? Think DMCA.

    Is this what you want? How about we got a bit further? How about this...

    Servers could implement a new protocol for serving information about what services are available, and with what conditions. This service would be assumed to exist on every server, and if it didn't exist, you wouldn't be allowed to do anything. Once browsers would begin to enforce this, all servers that wanted to be visible would implement a rule serving protocol for sure. If the rulefile said there is only a http service available and it requires viewing ads, trying to probe for ftps or anything else would be illegal. Such protocol would make it easier for search engines to process data (they'd know what is public and what private), it'd make it easy to sue spammers that are using smtpd's that aren't marked public, it'd make it easy to sue for the guys port scanning and the kids who sent you icmp_echo in the morning without checking for the server rules first...

    Eventually, ISPs would be forced to comply with this also, preventing rogue users from doing stuff. Transparent proxys would enforce the remote server rules, so that you couldn't request pages without fully receiving the ads first.

    Such a great idea, isn't it? Rules are bleh without enforcement, and when MONEY is involved, as it is with ads, there's need for enforcement. Have a nice day.
  • by upper ( 373 ) on Monday November 25, 2002 @03:26AM (#4749404)

    Web interactions can be described at two levels. The first, and the only one nontechnical folks know about, is the human level. Here interactions are described as they are perceived by a human using standard tools. That is, when I click a link I'm asking for a page as rendered by default configuration Netscape or IE -- a bundle of content which you're offering as a bundle and which I see only as a bundle. If this is the way you understand web interactions, then accusations of theft make sense. But it's an abstraction that doesn't reflect what's really going on.

    The truth is at another level, which is network level. Under HTTP, I request a chunk of data and, your server may or may not send it to me. That's it. The protocol says nothing about what I do with the data once I have it -- my computer is my agent, not yours. In particular, it says nothing about whether or not I will follow any suggestions to request other chunks of data. The protocol says nothing about what whether or not I'm using the standard tools. (It does suggest that I tell you, but I see that as a detail of the request -- "I want the version you've prepared for IE5".) Those are the real terms of use. If you're server sends out data on those conditions, you've implicitly agreed to them

    (This doesn't give me license to violate copyright law or commit identity theft. Those are illegal independently of any protocol.)

    If you want to make sure I download your ads, use a protocol (or server configuration) which is a better fit for your abstraction. You can:

    • Configure your server to deny content requests until the ads has been downloaded. E.g. don't serve me part 2 unless I've downloaded the ads in part 1 ( does this), or put the content I want in a frame that I have to load last. [But there's no way to tell whether or not I've displayed the ads.]
    • Use a protocol in which the whole page -- text, images, and all -- are transfered in a single bundle, like a zipfile or tarball. The protocol makes it clear that the ads and the content are a package. [There's no way to tell whether or not I've displayed them here, either].
    • Require me to use code you trust. It could be a signed version of a standard app or your own applet. [But the only way you can require it is by serving the content only to machines that have proven that they know some secret. With fully programmable computers -- i.e. not crippled by "trusted computing" hardware -- the secret will be be DeCSSed.]
    In other words, you can readily force me to download the ads, but forcing me to display them is just another DRM use case. Or maybe it's a DMCA issue.

    The protocol is the law. Or at least it should be -- reality may differ.

  • by jafuser ( 112236 ) on Monday November 25, 2002 @03:56AM (#4749508)
    Not only lynx, but what about mobile users? Most mobile browsers do not support pop-ups (as the UI does not even have windows), or sometimes even javascript. Nice way to block off a large consumer segment with money to burn (on things such as mobile internet electronics and service).
  • by Sri Lumpa ( 147664 ) on Monday November 25, 2002 @04:32AM (#4749623) Homepage
    "If there existed a way to automatically reformat a printed newspaper into a non-ads newspaper, they'd have to charge everyone more"

    Wrong analogy.

    If there was a way to automatically reformat newspapers so that when you turn a page and start reading an article another page full of ads appears and I have to tear it off or turn it before being able to read the goddamn article and if I tear it off another page of ads (or two!) appears in its place ... then I eithe would stop (not being able) to read that newspaper or find a way to read it in a sane way.

    The way its gonna be with these sites blocking anti-popup is that I won't be bothered to close and reopen my 4 or 5 browser windows with 5 or 10 tabs in each just to read a goddamn article unless I really need to for whatever reason.
  • Re:Just fine by me (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Peer ( 137534 ) <> on Monday November 25, 2002 @05:10AM (#4749732) Homepage
    Although I really hate pop-ups, and my browser succesfully blocks them, you're forgetting something. Most sites that sell products do not show pop-ups. It's sites that provide 'free' content and show banners to pay for their editors and bandwidth that do. They are directly affected by the fact that my computer thinks he is
    I can understand they want you to see the ads.

    Slashdot is a nice example of a site that lives of advertising, and doesn't sell stuff.
  • by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Monday November 25, 2002 @06:30AM (#4750007)
    I think these frustrations are being vented at the wrong people. Before I started using mozilla, all I did with pop-ups were trying to beat them back like crazed student protesters at a WTO meeting, I never ever looked at them. What the hell is the difference whether they pop-up or not, actually I'm saving them bandwidth.

    They are the ones putting up the site on the internet for all to see, not me. If they think their site is so important to people, make it a pay site, if not, don't complain.

    Just like the content industry, they see their business model just does not work, so they demonize their customers instead of looking at the root cause. If the way they are doing it doesn't rake in the dough, find another way or just shut down, don't slander your customers and expect any sympathy in return. They should be glad to get the hits they are, contrary to popular opinion, eyeballs on the internet is a valuble commodity for more than popping up ads.
  • Re:Just fine by me (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ryosen ( 234440 ) on Monday November 25, 2002 @11:15AM (#4751286)
    Wow, did you ever miss out on a free marketing opportunity. If you have a web site that is unique among the billions of web sites out there, I would have liked to learn more about it. It's a shame that you didn't put a URL in your post.

    All sarcasm aside, you make some valid points and, if I was moderating today, I would have modded you up as Informative +1. Hopefully someone else will.

    It's good to have some insight from a site owner regarding their advertising methods and the reasons for choosing said methods. I also find it interesting that the pop-unders prooved to be 5 times more effective than the banner ads. Clearly this is a model that works for some.

    The issue here isn't an attack on you as the owner. In fact, I doubt that it's an attack on the technology that is being presented here. At least for me, the issue here is that we're being labeled as thieves should we choose to ignore the advertising. This is no different from, and most likely inspired by, Jack Valenti's argument that you are a thief if you skip over a commercial while watching a video tape.

    As for your business model, no one is trying to change it and, in fact, you have proof here that there is an opportunity to improve on it. Many sites sale an ad-free subcription option where, for a nominal fee, the viewer is spared the pop-up and banner ads. Those people who enjoy your web site but want to ignore the ads can pay a few bucks a month for the priviledge of not being bombarded with the ads. Those who don't want to pay can continue to receive them. This is a proven revenue model and one that you might want to consider. If nothing else, the revolving (monthly) charges should provide you with a predictable revenue stream. In fact, as you have 200,000 unique visitors a month, if a (very) small percentage sign up for the program, you'll actually end up making more money than you would with the pop-ups.

    As a side-comment, I don't personally find pop-ups that bad provided that it is a single pop-up. It's when you visit a site and six of them pop-up all at once that it becomes a nuisance. That's when I tell Opera to suppress the popup windows.
  • Re:Just fine by me (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jonadab ( 583620 ) on Monday November 25, 2002 @11:22AM (#4751334) Homepage Journal
    > You're ignoring the reality of the situation. I run a medium-size,
    > ad-supported website. Last month, I made about $350 from popunder
    > advertising, $70 from 468x60 banners. I can't run the site on $70.
    > I barely break even with the $420 total (hosting costs of $250,
    > syndicated data costs of $200).

    Well, I haven't studied the exact business model of your particular
    site, but there seem to be quite a few sites out there doing just
    fine without popups; perhaps you could do a case study on one or
    two of them and see how they pay the bills. Or you could continue
    to defend your broken business model, which as you admit is barely
    paying the bills.

    As far as claims that the internet will die without popup revenue,
    that's just plain stupid. The internet was already a tremendous
    resource sporting a wide assortment of valuable information before
    the web was invented, to say nothing of javascript. Is it possible
    some sites will die without popup revenue? Sure; let them die;
    millions of others will take their place.
  • by McFly69 ( 603543 ) on Monday November 25, 2002 @12:43PM (#4751931) Homepage
    Only Thieves Block Pop-Ups

    I do not think so. Company who gives Pop-ups ads are Thieves. They use up our bandwidth and cpu, when most users clearly do not wish it. Is it fair, for a person, who pays months for a set bandwidth (let's say 1 gig a month) and some of that bandwidth is wasted for these ads? I do not thinks so!

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito