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DoubleClick Warns Against Ad-Blocking Browsers 1399

An anonymous reader writes "The end of free Internet content will come when Web browsers start blocking online advertisements by default, a DoubleClick executive has warned. Bennie Smith, the online advertising network's privacy chief, said the popularity of tools like Adblock -- an extension to the Mozilla Firefox browser -- which makes blocking online ads simple was tied to 'a negative vibe against advertising in general'."
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DoubleClick Warns Against Ad-Blocking Browsers

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  • Wrong way around? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Miaowara_Tomokato ( 757775 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:30AM (#12889779)
    The end of free web content... ... or the end of (non-commerce) web content for profit?
  • by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:30AM (#12889784) Homepage Journal
    ...Ford warns consumers against public transportation.
  • by Ubergrendle ( 531719 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:31AM (#12889801) Journal
    If by "free internet content" he means "obnoxious flash based advertisements" he's right.

    Advertising is an important revenue stream, but its not the only revenue available nor the only viable business model. I don't see alot of people blocking Google advertisements since they're non-intrusive and context sensitive... only obnoxious flash based adverts, or banners -- Doubleclick's meal ticket.

    FUD by a company executive to protect his business model. Nothing to see here, move along...
  • Hah (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kutsu119 ( 883719 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:31AM (#12889802)
    "'a negative vibe against advertising in general'."

    Shouldn't abuse it then, should you?

    I dont know about anyone else, but I don't mind adverts. It's just the stupid "SMACK THE MONKEY!!!1" type that means I right click, and add them to the block list.

    I've no problems with websites advertising, just don't take the .... with it.
  • by yagu ( 721525 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <ugayay>> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:31AM (#12889809) Journal

    The analogy doesn't hold up. To compare ad-blocking with something that could do the same in newspapers doesn't even make sense. What's really going on (in my opinion) is the natural selection process. Browsers started out simple, naive, and unassuming. Then came the predators... in this case popup ads. Now most browsers offer popup ad blocking or extensions to block popups.

    Popup ads are nothing like newspaper advertising -- the dynamic is quite different. For example, if there were the capability and there really was a newspaper that had advertising that actually jumped up in front of what you had started reading, or some other intrusive behavior, that paper would be likely shunned by most consumers and the paper would fail.

    Popup ads today are just part of the browser experience and its evolution... but, popup ads are annoying to most, and eventually will (okay, at least should) disappear... advertisers don't like paying for something consumers will never see. Meanwhile I see normal sidebar ads as being sufficient as more people use the internet... I can only speak anecdotally, but if sidebar ads are tastefully done, and well-targeted, it is not unusual for me to click and browse/shop and maybe even purchase. It's similar to the newspaper paradigm... simple, unobtrusive, universally accepted, and usually non-offensive.

    I can't imagine an internet incapable of sustaining itself without popup ads... (For the record, there's a certain mortgage/lending institution from which I would never take a loan -- that's how annoying I find their popups.)

  • by macklin01 ( 760841 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:31AM (#12889812) Homepage

    Well, there is some truth to it.

    I try to unblock ads to my favorite small sites (e.g., sourceforge, slashdot, overclockers, ocforums), especially as survival is not so guaranteed for the smaller sites. -- Paul

  • by TheSHAD0W ( 258774 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:31AM (#12889814) Homepage
    I have nothing against a page putting ads up; if the ads get too voluminous to read the content I'll simply stop going to that page. But pages that pollute my desktop with pop-ups, especially ones that spawn more when I try to close them, can go to hell. If getting rid of pop-ups means the end of the world-wide web, then go 'head, pull the trigger.
  • by ZiakII ( 829432 ) * on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:32AM (#12889824)
    I'm sure we have all seen the new versions of pop-ups that get though firefox, but luckily we can use plug-ins to block them (Adblock), as long as firefox continues to grow they will only get more and more plug-ins to prevent those annoying pop-ups while IE at the same time, lacks these features, it took Micro$oft how long to develop a anti-pop up utility for there browser, it will probably take them as long to make another one for the new versions of pop-ups. That is why firefox will continue to gain market share, because its flexible and can adapt to something much easier.
  • Geez Louise... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KC7GR ( 473279 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:32AM (#12889831) Homepage Journal
    This is the same industry that wants to put ads on screens above the urinals in restrooms, on electronic screens in shopping carts, and God only knows where else.

    Ad blockers are simply a way for 'net users to say "No! You already have enough places to advertise, and I don't want my computer screen to be one of them."

    What part of "No!" don't advertisers understand?

  • Annoying ads (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Xshare ( 762241 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:32AM (#12889835) Homepage
    Don't know about anyone else, but I can tell you I don't adblock google ads, or any other non-intrusive ads. The ads I block are the ones with the sounds and the moving monkeys telling me to hit them to get a free ipod. I mean jesus christ, you wonder why people want to block your ads?
  • by Bravoc ( 771258 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:32AM (#12889838) Journal
    I pay $39.95/month!
  • Tip (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tomstdenis ( 446163 ) <tomstdenis@gm a i l.com> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:33AM (#12889843) Homepage
    Stop making your ads insulting and ineffcient and people won't block them.

    In the age of dialup a simple 3KB page would have >20KB of stupid banner ads and logos.

    Now we're in the age of flash popup/under/over/sideways ads that have loud "HEY BUY ME" audio samples and etc..

    Yes, an ad has to be noticed. But if it's just too much of a pain in the ass people are going to actively try and ignore them.

    For me it has gotten to the point where I actually mute the TV during station breaks because the commercials are not only repetitive and annoying but insulting to my [and anyone over the age of seven] intelligence.

    And no, RemodelAmerica, I really don't want your fucking cheap wall siding. Stop paying for EVERY AD SPOT ON THE WEEKEND....

  • by CyricZ ( 887944 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:33AM (#12889846)
    This is the free market at work. Firefox and AdBlock provide a service that is in high demand: the blockery of ads. Thankfully for all of us, the price is so very low enough that most of us can afford it. Indeed, DoubleClick's days are numbered because they have a very small market these days. And you can't create a market by crying in public like this. You need to buy politicians to enact copyright/patent-style legislation on your behalf.
  • No sympathy at all (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MynockGuano ( 164259 ) <hyperactiveChipm ... NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:33AM (#12889847)
    If you advertisers hadn't infested the Internet with pop-up, flashing, animated advertisements that dwarfed the actual content, you'd not be in this position. Newspaper ads are given no priority over the content; that's the difference. You can look at one or the other, just as easily. Not so with the crap you put on the Internet.

    I have no sympathy at all; you abused your customers, and now they have a "negative vibe." Deal with it.
  • Going too far... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fostware ( 551290 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:33AM (#12889848) Homepage
    It's also to do with the advertising sites building sneakier pop-ups, pop-unders, iframes, dialog-like messages, and annoying flashy backgrounds.

    And let me be the first to castrate the moron who put the Crazy Frog on flash banners, so they play automatically >:(
    Nothing like surfing quietly, and forgetting the speakers were turned up, and jumping when I hear DING-a-ding-ding-ding!
  • Boo hoo. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ip_fired ( 730445 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:33AM (#12889856) Homepage
    If you want people to stop blocking all of your incredibly annoying ads, make them inobtrusive and useful.

    Google has the right idea, ads based on the content of the page, taking up just a little space, no animation to draw your attention from the real content on the page. With that method, if I want to find someone who is selling what I just read about, I know where to look!
  • Re:cry me a river (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Trigun ( 685027 ) <evil@evilempi r e . a t h .cx> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:33AM (#12889859)
    Not capitalism, idiocy.

    Doubleclick wants to get rid of the free as in beer internet as well as the free-as-in-Mel Gibson painted blue internet. If they had their way, they would track every single person on the internet and their shopping habits, eating habits, and any other thing that they could figure out how to track, and sell it all to the highest bidder.

    Fuck you double-click! If people weren't trying every single underhanded trick to make money on the Internet, the place would be better. Fuck you, fuck your adware-hocking buddies, and fuck Roland Pipsqueakalli for their desperate attempts to make a buck off of my back.
  • by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:34AM (#12889865)
    I hardly notice the ads that google puts on the side of their search results, or the few odd ones placed on a page to generate a little extra revenue. Hell, I don't even mind the occasionaly banner ad at the top of some sites.

    However, there are ads that bother the hell out of me and make me want to block them or stop visiting the page that hosts them. These usually include flash banner ads (shoot the monkey, sink a basket, hit the target, etc.) or animated .gifs or anything else that's more bandwidth intensive than my 56k connection at home can handle in a few seconds. Additionally, ads about products that I don't want or ads that look like scams or phishing attempts really bug me.

    It's not the ads that are bad, it's the type, placement, and content of those ads that gets to me.

  • by kevin_conaway ( 585204 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:34AM (#12889867) Homepage
    I don't mind be advertised to. People have to make their money somehow, and if I want to get content for free, the publisher should be able to show me advertisements in order to make money for his/her content.

    This advertising space is limited to the page I am viewing. I consider it unacceptable to:

    - Show popups.
    - Show popunders.
    - Spam me.
    - Install spyware / adware.

    Basically if you advertise in any way that is not confined to the page/window I am viewing, all bets are off when it comes to blocking your advertisements.
  • Re:cry me a river (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:35AM (#12889897) Journal
    Exactly. Seeing large, flash animations telling me about a service I am completely uninterested in irritates me. Sometimes I click[1] on them on the basis that it will cost someone money and not give them any sales.

    Google ads, on the other hand, I have no problem with. They are small (both in terms of content and download size - particularly important if I am using GPRS and paying per byte), unobtrusive, and - most important - relevant. I have even bought things as a direct result of Google ads, something no other advertising mechanism can claim. I have no problem with well-targetted adverts, but blanket adverts just get ignored. Whether the filtering happens in my browser or my brain makes very little difference.

    [1] Open in background tab, then close without ever actually looking at the tab.

  • Idiots (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GreatDrok ( 684119 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:37AM (#12889918) Journal
    These people need to get the message. We don't like advertising. It was reasonably acceptable when it was a little here and there but as it has become more and more in your face it has become some people's mission (mine included) to block it as much as possible.

    This isn't to say that I don't appreciate adverts when they are clever and targetted but this is very rare compared with the huge amount of dross that hits our door mats, or spews from every screen or the pages of magazines and poster boards. TiVO, Pithhelmet/adblock and registering with the likes of the Telephone Preference Service etc do make a big difference. I am generally indifferent to advertising these days as a result except when someone really goes out of their way to get to me and that really doesn't make me particularly inclined to listen to their sales pitch.

    I find it particularly funny when people say that Mozilla/Firefox/Safari/Opera etc do not render web pages properly when compared to IE and yet when I use Safari or Firefox and filter out all the ads the pages look so much better than they do when using IE so frankly I don't care. And with the move to IE7 do we really think that MS will allow anyone to have something like Pithhelmet/Adblock? Doubtful. In which case I don't think the alternative browsers have anything to worry about for some time.

    So, the message for advertisers? Learn the art of subtlety and grow a brain.
  • by CdBee ( 742846 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:37AM (#12889935)
    ..to control what I see on my screen. Advertising to fund content is not a sustainable business model as too many people are willing to provide genuinely free content.

    I do not wish to be advertised at, so I generally refuse to use sites which require me to sign in to use non-commercial services.

    I wouldn't be too sad to see the end of commercial websites funded by advertising.... the internet managed long enough before the days of spam and aggressive advertising.

    I remember surfing the web with IE5 on Windows 98 and finding advretising totally unobtrusive, with just a banner ad on every page. Then in the space of about 6 months, I started seeing pop-ups, ads with sound, javascript tricks, etc

    So now I block all advertising regardless of its nature. Had quite enough of that. And them.
  • by helioquake ( 841463 ) * on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:38AM (#12889939) Journal
    The end of free Internet content will come when Web browsers start blocking online advertisements by default

    Then let it end. I'm fed up with the business model of running intrusive advertizing that means nothing but annoying to the viewers.

    I'd pay some extra $$$ for better content and service. I know many slashdot readers (read students) are too used to getting many things for free. But that business model CAN'T work for long, as the providers of information need to make some profit somehow. Either you yield to the advertiser's demand or stand against it.

    Well the choice is yours. I am to choose against annoying flashy ads and pop-ups (not that I'm getting any of these with Firefox).
  • Agreed... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by avalys ( 221114 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:39AM (#12889962)
    Quite frankly, I agree with him.

    Most free content on the web is supported by advertising. The advertiser pays the website publisher to display ads on their site, in the hope that they will catch someone's eye. If enough people run ad-blocking software, this will no longer be a viable business model, and most free content on the web will need to find another method of funding.

    It's the same issue with TV commercials and TiVo.

    You can whine all you want about how evil and annoying the companies are, and say "So what if they're not making any money? Greedy bastards, it serves them right!". But keep in mind, they can always take their toys and go home, and where will that leave you?

    Personally, I don't mind putting up with ads. I tune the majority out mentally, and I even occasionally click on an interesting one.
  • Yeah, a lot of AdBlock users aggressively block all ads, period. But a good many of us don't. I block iFrame ads, I block blinky, seizure inducing ads, I block anything that interferes with my ability to *read* the content I'm seeking out. Other than that, I leave 'em in (although I don't load ads from any domain containing the string 'doubleclick,' but I don't think I'm alone there).

    What am I getting at here, other than wasting time that could better be spent tweaking queries? Darwinism, selective adaptation, survival of the fittest (or at least the least obnoxious), call it what you will. But if *more* people used AdBlock, and used it selectively, advertisers would quickly learn that people go out of their way to avoid seeing things bouncing around and strobing at 15hz while trying to read the news.

    And Flash-based ads... I do a lot of browsing on a laptop. A CPU intensive ad is not only demanding screen real estate, but it is directly limiting my browsing time by using an obscene amount of battery power. I feel *no* guilt at all in using Flash Click To Play to filter *all* those ads, no matter how obnoxious they are or aren't, and no matter how much I may wanna support the site they're on.

    Adapt or die. Those advertisers that grep their server logs properly will improve and therefor prosper. The rest? Fuck 'em.
  • Re:Good call (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bedroll ( 806612 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:41AM (#12890006) Journal
    People wouldn't need to block ads if they weren't so obtrusive and offensive. I would imagine that if advertisement agencies stopped producing obnoxious ads that block you from viewing content, launch endless pop-ups, and are otherwise incredibly annoying then people will stop blocking them. Honestly, who adblocks google ads?
  • by Schezar ( 249629 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:41AM (#12890011) Homepage Journal
    These ad companies seem to think that, by not viewing their advertisement, you're somehow stealing from them.

    What if I don't block them, but I conciously refuse to ever click on one? Is that any different? How about if I make a point of never buying any product I see an ad for online? How about if I just ignore ads?

    How is blocking them any different?

    I'm not going to get a mortgage from some online bank. I'm not going to buy a car just because I saw an ad for one. No amount of advertising will change that.

    I block ads because it's convenient to do so. Were this somehow impossible, no one would get any more revenue out of me than they do currently.

    So basically, I don't see what the issue here is. (And don't give my any bullshit about "branding." That's a load of crap.)
  • Adblock (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Morosoph ( 693565 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:42AM (#12890029) Homepage Journal
    I have taken to using Adblock, but I only use it to block advertisers who actively annoy me. Pop-ups always result in me blocking the advertising firm. Otherwise, I tolerate advertisers that do not cross my threshold since I do generally wish to support sites that I visit.
  • Re:Praise Bob! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by British ( 51765 ) <british1500@gmail.com> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:43AM (#12890047) Homepage Journal
    I can't wait either. I surely don't remember any advertising when I was using Google.

    One fundamental problem is, popularity comes at a price. Your website is more popular, more bandwidth gets used. More bandwidth gets used, your hosting provider charges you more.

    It's not so with TV shows. The costs are the same whether 8 people or 8 billion people watch it. Of course, if you have consistently low ratings, advertisers don't want to pay you for their ads.

    If internet technologies get to the point where bandwidth is maybe at a flat fee(for outbound traffic), or something of the like, perhaps advertising won't be so promiment.

    But as it stands now, advertising is getting to the point where it is overshadowing original content. Now only if we had more original content instead of the same AP news stories repeated over and over. Ah crap, I just realized what website i was on. :)
  • Re:cry me a river (Score:5, Insightful)

    by man_of_mr_e ( 217855 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:48AM (#12890106)
    Advertising will never go away. It will just become more insidious. In a way, I think adblocker and the like are akin to people taking anti-biotics every time they get a sniffle. It just ends up creating new strains of antibiotic resistant germs which, eventually will not be able to be combatted.

    Today, it's relatively easy to spot the advertising within the page to block it out. Eventually, advertising will become so integrated with the content that you can't automatically detect and strip it out.

    I agree whole heartedly with blocking truly annoying forms of advertising, such as popups, but to block all advertising, including stuff that goes out of its way to not be annoying (such as Google Ad Sense) is really just shooting ourselves in the foot.

    We want to encourage non-annoying advertising!
  • by micromuncher ( 171881 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:53AM (#12890172) Homepage
    From TFA
    "In an offline world, what would happen in that case is that the 25c newspaper would cost $5," he said.

    Apples and Oranges bud. In a paper, the ad doesn't redirect you to a [potentially rogue] site. How many users get linked to a Flash or JavaScript heavy ad with pop-ups? These ads are the bane of users everywhere, in particular those with slow connections.

    I absolutely HATE a js or flash ad that I can't get rid of, that prevents me from seeing page content, or slows/hangs my machine.

    Besides, click-through ads do NOT work as a form of advertising. 90% of internet users do not click through intentionally. Read: dot-crash, not a revenue model.

    Given the opportunity to NOT download that 500k jpg... I'd take the opportunity.

  • Re:cry me a river (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Winkhorst ( 743546 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:53AM (#12890174)
    I agree. But let me just say that I really didn't mind static ads. After all, the internet was originally a static medium and, like newspapers, one expects some nice little static ads.

    It was when these retardo-bozos began the damned flash ads that winked and blinked until they drove you nuts that I began to get angry. When the damned ads started getting up and marching across the screen like wooden soldiers in a little kid's dreams, I began to get apoplectic. Then you couldn't even click on a link without being redirected to an ad page before being permitted to see what you wanted to see.

    And somewhere along the way these veritable cretinous lunatics decided that they had the right to set malicious cookies that would phone home everytime you turned on your computer thus slowing down your boot time and generally mucking up the innards of YOUR VERY OWN computer paid for with your hard earned dollars. And this character has the nerve to threaten us with the DEATH OF THE INTERNET!!! if we don't stop preventing him from annoying us.

    Yes, I agree. Screw you double-boner and the rest of your silly fannies.
  • Smith is oblivious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Todd Knarr ( 15451 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:54AM (#12890188) Homepage

    Smith is obviously oblivious. He's talking as if the kind of intrusive, evasive ads his company does are the only kinds out there. To counter that, I'd point to Google. Google runs plenty of ads. They make lots of money off their ads. And nobody's up in arms about their ads, nor do you see anything being added to browsers to block them. That's because Google's ads are, as in a newspaper, clearly distinct from the content and don't interfere with the user getting at the actual content they're there for. And the ads are, gods help me, actually useful. More often than not, if I'm looking to buy what I'm searching for I find myself clicking through Google's ad links because I've found I'm likely to be able to buy what I was looking for. Smith simply isn't getting the hint, and if he doesn't he and the marketers like him will naturally go the way of the dinosaurs.

    As for free content disappearing, I doubt it. Content supported soley by intrusive ads will disappear, but there's a lot of content out there that won't be affected:

    • Search-engine results where the advertising on the pages follows the Google model.
    • Content that's actually worth paying for access to. Yes, it actually exists.
    • Content where profit isn't the principal motivation of the person putting it up. I hate to tell Smith this, but most of the good content isn't put up by his precious corporate patrons, it's put up by hobbyists and amateurs simply because they want it up.
  • by tourvil ( 103765 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:55AM (#12890203)
    Instead of blocking the ads you should either subscribe or stop reading it. Any other behaviour is immoral (some would even call it stealing).

    Out of curiosity, do you think that changing channels on the TV when a commercial comes on is immoral or stealing?

  • Re:Good call (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spy der Mann ( 805235 ) <<spydermann.slashdot> <at> <gmail.com>> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:55AM (#12890214) Homepage Journal
    Yes... in fact i thought about this:

    Imagine you're reading a newspaper.

    Suddenly a clown springs from the newspaper and begins yelling offers at you.

    You suddenly flip the page to get rid of him. Then a monkey starts bothering you until you punch him. But when you do, an executive salesman comes out from the alley and tells you "Hello! You won a prize! Please sign!"

    "Get away from me!" You run away, and sit in a bench. "Now, where was I?" you say, as you flip to the next page.

    Then a gorgeus girl starts flirting with you, until you notice she begins to pick your pocket. You quickly flip the page.

    "HELP!!" you yell. Then you hear a "psst psst" from the back of the newspaper. It's a firefox.

    It comes out, and scares all those annoying people away. You feel it's friendly, so you let it rest on your shoulder.

    Now you can read your newspaper in peace.

    (hey can someone make an internet ad out of this idea? It's public domain)
  • Re:cry me a river (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iced_773 ( 857608 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:56AM (#12890223)

    Doubleclick and its cronies have been indirectly stealing people's money for years. Why does the average Joe switch from dialup to cable/DSL? Because these stupid Flash ads and images keep clogging bandwidth like crazy. Now that cable/DSL has overtaken dialup, Doubleclick can make more money by placing even more obnoxious ads on pages.

    Also, look at some of the ads these guys put out: "Congratulations! You have won our hourly prize! Click OK to claim it," not bothering to tell you that you will have to give plenty of personal information, which is at their disposal to sell to spammers. "Shoot the villain and win a free iPod/Xbox!" At the very bottom of this ad is white text on a light backgroud saying "With participation in our program."

    Not to mention the fact that they put adware/spyware on your computer without your consent or even your knowledge. Granted, this is only a minor problem if you are a more educated user who has a spyware removal tool and runs Windows Update regularly (if you have Windows), but it's still a problem. While Doubleclick may have a right to place ads on pages, they have no right to exploit people.

    On top of that, the executive's warnings are completely unfounded. IE still takes up most of the browser market, and how many average users who happen to have tried Firefox would even know that it supports extensions, much less even know that Adblock exists?

  • Re:cry me a river (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ShieldW0lf ( 601553 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:56AM (#12890225) Journal
    This might mean the end of a lot of free content, but it won't mean the end of peoples desire to publish. And computers are cheap. And getting cheaper. And bandwidth is cheap. And getting cheaper. So anyone can publish, and peer to peer is getting better. And ISPs like to make money.

    If all the advertising in the world dried up tomorrow, there would be an instant and huge opportunity for ISPs that provided good, seamless and easy P2P publishing, because whichever ISP provided it would be the one providing the free content.

    It's not hard to imagine a scenario where this happens. It might spell the end of a lot of the crappy "me too" technical review sites and others of their ilk who are churing out mediocre content purely for the money, but a good reputation is still a valuable thing, and being published and respected worldwide is still a valuable personal asset.

    I imagine that there'd be another greed-based crisis later when the ISPs try to leverage access to the content it's users create as a means of getting more users by cutting off access to other ISPs unless they pay, until we end up with a global monopoly in the ISP market or we collectively call for the governments to step in and roll ISP services into their basic tax-funded infrastructure.

    Regardless, the people are collectively happy to publish for free, they want to read what other people have written, they don't want to be manipulated by scumbag advertisers when they do it, and they are already paying money every month
    for access to the internet. That is a market waiting to be tapped.

    So fuck off and die, doubleclick. We don't need you.

  • by Teckla ( 630646 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:56AM (#12890226)

    I use Mozilla and Firefox and regularly block ads, but I only block ads that prance, dance, blink, flash, bounce, jiggle, and otherwise annoy the crap out of me.

    Those kinds of ads are not acceptable, because they're really distracting when you're trying to read and comprehend the real content of the web page.

    I never bother to block normal ads, because they don't annoy me. Sometimes, they even look interesting, and I click on them.

    Perhaps if advertisers would stop making obnoxious ads, there wouldn't be as much demand for ad blockers. But they've already shown themselves to have incredibly poor taste in ad design. Recall the living hell the web was before pop-up blockers became popular?

    I suspect this is one of those areas where advertisers will just plain never get it, doing their best to make their ads stand out as much as possible...which is synonymous with making them obnoxious.

  • by Col. Klink (retired) ( 11632 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:58AM (#12890244)
    Is it immoral if I don't block the ads but simply ignore them? Is it immoral if I browse with links? Is it immoral if I go to the bathroom during a commercial?
  • Re:cry me a river (Score:2, Insightful)

    by diggem ( 74763 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:58AM (#12890246) Homepage
    Whether you looked or not, they think you did and that only encourages them. They take that as a view, an impression. They take that set of eyeballs and turn around and sell it as more positive feedback. "This add is working, it's getting more views, let's keep doing this"

    Of course, if you wanted to do it right you would create a script to continually download their images and any other large objects. They'd get the clicks but no revenue off the spent bandwidth. Eventually if you were irritating enough they might BLOCK YOU (In Soviet Russia advertising company blocks you, heh)
  • Agreed...??? NOT (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ratboy666 ( 104074 ) <fred_weigel&hotmail,com> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:58AM (#12890256) Journal
    MOST free content on the web is supported by advertising?

    Come on, that's... (charitably) WRONG.

    MOST of the content on the web is on the edge; supplied by individuals. And that's where the growth is, too.

    Just look at how much BitTorrent traffic is carried.


  • by Saeger ( 456549 ) <farrellj@NOspAM.gmail.com> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:02PM (#12890308) Homepage
    People are mostly blocking the obtrusive in-your-face ads, not the Google-style text-ads, and that's our right (and always will be as long "Trusted Computing" doesn't lock us out). Filtering the annoying ads saves time, aggravation, and bandwidth.

    Even *if* EVERYONE was automatically filtering out the traditional (BIG-annoying-BLINKBLINK-CLICKMENOW!) ads by default, it wouldn't be the "end of free internet content". For one thing, the cost of hosting has dropped dramatically since the Adfree-early-90's, but more importantly, money isn't the incentive that gets the best content online.

    And about the complaint against Firefox:
    1) Firefox's Adblock extension isn't installed by default, and very few people install extensions.
    2) The Adblock extension doesn't come with a prepopulated blocklist - you have to create your own as you go or download one. 3) Far more adblocking is probably done by corporate proxies to pinch pennies.

  • Free to Improve (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:05PM (#12890352) Homepage Journal
    No, it's an end to easy money for DoubleClick. Now they'll have to reinvest some of their annoyingly-gotten gain into producing ads that people don't go to lengths to block. Like ads for products people want to know about, without destroying their multimedia experience. Otherwise, DoubleClick will just keep reinvesting in whining about losing their right to annoy you.
  • by AviLazar ( 741826 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:06PM (#12890353) Journal
    That mindset plays along with the "It's okay to pirate software because I am not denying anyone of the software, i am just copying it." Someone put effort into this website. Someone is paying for the hosting, bandwidth, etc. If people do not subscribe or view the ads then they are getting the material totally for free. If the people who make this site are losing money (and they are not wealthy enough to keep it going) the site will be lost.

    Blocking ad's will only lead to innovation in terms of people trying to circumvent the pop-ups, and other people trying to figure ways to prevent that. In the end - it is a cat and dog chase and it is a waste of our resources. I would rather see us live in harmony (as far as internet/advertising goes) and working on creating better services.
  • by Viceice ( 462967 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:08PM (#12890382)
    Bennie Smith is entirely WRONG.

    2 Facts:

    1) People will always want things free (As in paid for by ad's)

    2) If the people who serve ads as we know it today die off, soemone else will come back and fill the void.

    People do tolorate and to a certain extent, apreciate ads, but the reason why people block ads today is because the people serving ads are crap flooding people with annoying devices like pop-up that serve up lies, half truths and spyware.

    The advertiser who learns the rule of doing it in moderation and not pissing off your audience is the one whose gonna make it, not scum like DoubleClick.

    In essence, this whole mess is the advertising industries own fault, not the fault of the makers of ad blocking software.
  • by Otter ( 3800 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:12PM (#12890463) Journal
    The freerider problem only applies to public goods that are excludable and rival. The Internet is neither excludable nor rival, and therefore is not a public good. And since it is not a public good, the freerider problem does not apply to it.

    Whether or not "the Internet" is a public good (which may or may not be the case), free web content is most certainly excludable and rival. It's excludable in that access can easily be restricted and rival in that use costs the providers money to keep access available.

    Forget the jargon and use some common sense. If all Slashdot readers stop viewing ads and their ad revenue disappears, Rob will or will not keep offering free access?

    Blocking ads won't end free content on the Web. It will lead to innovation and new opportunities.

    Perhaps, but requiring the creation of completely new forms and models of web content hardly contradicts Smith's point, does it?

  • Well it will also lead to innovations in new types of ads. I personally don't block google ads because not only are they lightweight and unobtrusive, but many times I find relivent information. Innovations need to come from comprimises, not from force like charging to view a web page.
  • Simple (Score:3, Insightful)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland@NOSpAm.yahoo.com> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:17PM (#12890536) Homepage Journal
    Becasue the blink and have moving pictures.
    I will block all das like that. Google did this right, and I don't block there ads.

    'Ok, Slashdot editors, I want to read your magazine, but I do not want to let you earn any money for running it.'


    "Any other behaviour is immoral"

    from dictionary.com:
    immoral Audio pronunciation of "immoral" ( P ) Pronunciation Key (-môrl, -mr-)

    Contrary to established moral principles.

    your statement seems to be false. nobody, except you and advertisers, considerd viewing ads a moral principle.

    " (some would even call it stealing)."

    they would be wrong.
  • by ThosLives ( 686517 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:20PM (#12890568) Journal
    The viewing of the ads is irrelevant. What matters is that the people maintaining a [website] have enough incoming revenue to continue that activity. It is currently often the case that this revenue comes from commercial enterprises in exchange for putting certain information on the [website]. The reason these enterprices pay to put that information on the [website] is that there is empiracle evidence of correlation between the amount of "exposure" of such information and their revenue.

    What is happening is that viewers of the [website] do not want the advertisement information, so they developed a tool to block it, or simply cease to visit the [website]. This supposedly reduces the "exposure" mentioned above, which would theoretically reduce ad revenue to the [website]. This means that revenue for the [website] maintainers must come from somewhere else or the [website] will cease to exist.

    This is complete free-market behavior, and eventually there will arise some sort of dynamic equilibrium. However, if the [websites] have enough revenue to continue the site, the odd thing about [the internet] is that the number of people who can use it is not strongly proportional to the cost to maintain it - that is, a very small bit of revenue can provide information for a vast number of individuals. This is different than newspapers, because the cost of newspapers is much more strongly proportional to the number of newspapers.

    Just like the entertainment industries, the advertising industry should have to adapt to changing market environments. The whole issue really does require a change of perspective, from "Everyone who uses [x] needs to pay me" to "As long as enough people continue to pay me enough to do [x], I will keep doing it." - It is a shift from "what can I get away with" to "what do I need."

    The thing I think is funny is that commercial enterprises appear to believe they are entitled to advertise and that entitlement should be protected by the legal system.

  • Re:cry me a river (Score:3, Insightful)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland@NOSpAm.yahoo.com> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:20PM (#12890583) Homepage Journal
    naw, thye'll become less insidous and more helpfull. as many people here have pointed out, google seems to hit the nail on the head with it's advertising model.
    I have found google ads to be the first that are actually usefull and helpfull.
  • by Andrew Cady ( 115471 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:23PM (#12890631)
    If the people who make this site are losing money (and they are not wealthy enough to keep it going) the site will be lost.
    Who do you think makes this site? Is it Andover.net? Or is it you and me?

    I could create a free slashdot in a single day of programming: an rss feed, a thunderbird plugin, and a new Usenet group is all it would take. The only thing missing would be the users. But that's the only important thing.

  • AdBlock and similar products exist because advertising has become so obtrusive that it prevents the software installed on your computer as well as the content on websites from being useful.

    The worst offender I've seen lately was a new "punch the monkey" style add. It was flash based of course. Normally these ads are just animated banners, but the designer of this one got the clever idea of putting sound into the ad. The chosen sound was quite possibly the most obnoxious sound possible. It sounded like my speakers were pumping out radio static.

    Now this is a flash ad right, so you should be able to right click on it and stop it from playing, and stop the flash from looping. Nope. The creator of the flash disabled all controls. The location of this advertising wasn't bad, it wasn't obtrusive, it wasn't in the way, but it was still noticeable. The problem was, I was jamming to my iTunes library at the time, something totally unrelated to web browsing.

    Advertisers: This is your problem. You removed all control. My only options were to not read the content at all or block your ad. Seeing as the content was important to me, the only option left to me was to install AdBlock. And as you had just royally pissed me off, I didn't just block the one ad that was annoying me, I blocked all the advertising from your domain(s). If you've let one obnoxious ad get out to the internet, I'm sure it's not the only one.

    Go out there and learn some principles of user interface design. One of them is that the user should feel in control. As soon as you remove control, the user is going to take action to regain control. Pop-Ups and Pop-Unders are other good examples. You're creating new windows that I didn't ask for! Not only are they getting in the way of my web browsing, they are getting in the way of other things I'm doing on my computer. Again, my options are to block advertising or close my web browser. Both are options you don't want, so don't force me to take these actions in the first place.

    I do not mind ads on web pages myself. I don't even mind transition advertising where you click a link, and instead of getting the next page of an article you are reading you get a full page advertisement, and another link to continue to your article. Where web pages use these "transition" ads I've felt they were relevant to the content was viewing, and felt no need to block them.

    Any time I'm not in control of what my computer is up to, you've gone too far and you have left me with no choice but to install ad blocking software. If you had left the user in control of their computer, you would have had much less to worry about. Now though, your practices have spawned countless pieces of ad blocking software. The software was made to block the obnoxious ads that should never have existed, but now that it's out there, there is no stopping it from blocking everything your industry does. You left us users with no other choice, and now you will feel the consequences of your actions.
  • by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <slashdot@keirstead. o r g> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:28PM (#12890693) Homepage
    Because after all, we all know that before the WWW ad boom of 2000, there was no content on the web.

    Oh wait - I think I have that backwards - there was *better* content on the web *before* the major corperations and their ads came on.

    You -> Foot -> Mouth

  • by Syncdata ( 596941 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:30PM (#12890729) Journal
    I may one day buy a new car, Ford/Chevy/etc. I may not. Either way, it's totally uninfluenced by your billions of dollars a year in ad money.

    You say this, but you don't truly know to what extent you've been influenced.

    When McDonalds first started running adds referring to themselves as "Mickey-dees", I was galled at what a blatant and rediculous attempt it was to gain "street cred". Surely this will never work, said I.

    2 months later, and millions in advertising, I start hearing people say "lets go to Mickey-Dees".

    Noone in their right minds thinks that when they pop the top of a Budweiser *ugh*, buxom swimsuit models will randomly show up and start partying. But I'd be willing to bet that somewhere in anheiser busches marketing department there is a graph that shows a direct correlation between the number of buxom lasses in ads, and the ammount of money they get from the 18-25 year old market. Sorry for the off topic rant.
  • by IANAAC ( 692242 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:32PM (#12890747)
    If all Slashdot readers stop viewing ads and their ad revenue disappears, Rob will or will not keep offering free access?

    Maybe not this site, but certainly other sites can and do operate at a loss. I worked for a TV station a while back and I can tell you that the web site - as a single entity - NEVER made money and was always operating at a loss. The information provided on the site, however, effected some cost savings on the broadcast side of the business, though, which balanced things out. In other words, if a web site is the sole means of income, yeah, you probably need ads. but if it's a compliment to the overall business, they're not necessary.

  • by drix ( 4602 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:33PM (#12890766) Homepage
    -5, Wrong. A public good is nonexcludable and nonrival by definition... look it up [wikipedia.org] if you don't believe me. Internet sites are essentially nonrival, although the /. effect is one of the best counterexamples to that. Subscription-free sites are also nonexcludable, making them public goods and very much subject to the free rider effect. A great way to combat that would is to convert to a subscription-only model, AKA "the death of the free Internet." DoubleClick is a sleasy, slimy company indeed, but what the guy is saying is dead on from an economic standpoint.
  • by AviLazar ( 741826 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:34PM (#12890784) Journal
    I would rather see innovation come in other ways. Instead of a cat and dog chase how about we figure out ways to make websites utilize less code, but offer more information. Unfortunately, we have to waste valuable resources on protecting ourselves...
  • Re:Agreed... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jdavidb ( 449077 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:36PM (#12890816) Homepage Journal

    But keep in mind, they can always take their toys and go home, and where will that leave you?

    Playing with the better toys that never used this model, in a cleaner room.

  • by AviLazar ( 741826 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:37PM (#12890822) Journal
    Really? You think that is it?

    How about this:

    Bandwidth (or do you think free geocities account will do it for you). Your site will be /. with a thunderous laugh...actually without paying a high end hosting company your site will be /.'d with a quite chuckle and a "that was cute."

    Then there is advertising...you want your site to be known right?

    Then there is maintenance. Yea you could probably whip up something similar to /. in a day or two (though I would wager a lot more time then that for something innovative and complex) - but what about maintenance. I have a feeling a lot of these people are working on /. many hours of the day. Do you plan to quit your day job for this site?

    Advertising is important - my problem is with the obtrusive ones.
  • by Leif_Bloomquist ( 311286 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:38PM (#12890844) Homepage
    The Web worked perfectly well, with lots of free content available, for the several years before advertising appeared. What would be wrong with going back to that?
  • threshhold (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RealProgrammer ( 723725 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:38PM (#12890847) Homepage Journal


    I don't block:

    • images from the same server as the page
    • images with low distraction
    • images that are visually pleasing
    • images that conform to the content, rather than forcing the content to conform

    A simple, static (per-view) banner doesn't bother me. Advertizing related to the content doesn't bother me. Pretty, but subtle, images that fit the color scheme and page layout of the site are just fine.

    What I will block every time are

    • images hosted by an ad site
    • animated GIFs, flash, etc. Go away!
    • off-site images that crowd the screen or conflict with the page layout I'm expecting. If I have to alter my browser window, I click on AdBlock and tell it:
      http: //*.adsite.com/*
      (Slashcode kept making that clickable, so I put a space after the ":").

    I block everything from doubleclick.net, for instance.

  • by Deanalator ( 806515 ) <pierce403@gmail.com> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:38PM (#12890853) Homepage
    if ad blocking becomes standard in popular browsers, that will be the end of free content on the web.

    I totally disagree. The internet is a big place. If one person starts charging, then its easy enough to find someone which doesnt charge. I dont have a job right now, and same with alot of other students, who make up a large part of people who use the internet. If slashdot starts charging, Ill switch to the register, if AIM starts charging, Ill use yahoo.

    Advertising is a plague to the economy, because it produces nothing. I stopped buying mad magizine when they riddled their magizine with ads, and I dont read news papers that dont have a clearly defined ads section. I never listen to the radio, and I dont listen to live streams that have ads in them. People have the right to advertise, but they just have to realize that they run the risk of offending their readers.
  • by LibertarianWackJob ( 881478 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:43PM (#12890923) Homepage
    Web pages are generally written in HTML which is a markup language. It is just a way to present your content. Slashdot has annoying flash ads but I can normally scroll past them and see the content I'm looking for. That is because the information is oriented vertically such that scrolling is possible. Ads on the side of the content I'm interested in or that can't be moved off the visible screen are unacceptable and are always blocked.

    Advertizers need to see the entire page as a single entity that will be viewed by the user and figure out how to work within those constraints.

    Writing a good page requires good content and an artists eye for presentation.

  • by AndersOSU ( 873247 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:43PM (#12890931)
    I love my adblock, and my flashblock.

    It seems to me that doubleclick.net is in trouble because they've annoyed so many people that someone else has decided to do something about it. Opening up my adblock black list, I can see that doubleclick.net is the very first entry.

    What free sites need to do is find a marketing firm taht doesn't have obnoxious ads, then they'll stay in buisness, because people won't block what isn't annoying.

    Case in point: Just for shits and giggles I opened up the article in IE, and what do you know there's an delightful to look at marque add promenently displayed at the top of the page (provided by doubleclick no less.)

    When advertisers realise that people visit websites because of the content, not to look at ads maybe they'll place less obtrusive, non-flash ads that don't encroach on the content.

    When that happens maybe I'll stop blocking ads, or maybe the damage has already been done.
  • by Baki ( 72515 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:44PM (#12890940)
    I oppose advertising in any form and thus feel free to block it. I would rather pay than have to put up with advertisements.

    Reasons why I oppose advertisement as a principle:

    • It is subjective information.
    • Advertisements are paid for by companies, who calculate the cost of marketing in the market price of their products.
    • Therefore, everyone, even those that don't watch advertisements, pay a kind of tax on all products due to this rotten system.
    • It is therefore a complete waste of resources that everyone is forced to accept.
    • Instead of biased information, I would rather see that the price of products is diminished. The money saved can and should be put partially into an objective organisation that tests products and provides true information on products.
    • People who visit "free" sites funded by advertisements profit from the money paid by the advertisers. Since this money is paid by all consumers (since it is passed on in the product prices) the public at large is subsidizing people who use these "free" services.

    I think the world would be better if we cut out the enormous waste of resources the advertisers make, the waste of everyones time when viewing advertisements, and the damage caused by biased and untrue information.
  • by whitefael ( 305869 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:50PM (#12891030) Homepage
    I think we're all missing an important point: yes, the ads are annoying with all the Flash, etc., but it's the web sites that we are visiting that are allowing the ads to be displayed. We should really be pissed at the web sites for allowing the Flash and pop-ups to be used on their sites!
  • by Otter ( 3800 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:54PM (#12891097) Journal
    That's a good point. But if operation of free sites with significant readership were to be limited to people who can subsidize them out of pocket or out of some other revenue stream, I'd call that a pretty serious change in the nature of web content, no?
  • Re:cry me a river (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jearil ( 154455 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:55PM (#12891111) Homepage
    I think what the grandparent is trying to say is that a cookie is merely a small piece of text, usually with an identifying number, left in the cookie cache of your web browser with an ID linked to the URL that created it. It is a piece of text, not a program.. unable to "phone home" as it were or store any other information besides with the creator of the cookie put into it. They cannot collect information about other things and store them for later retrieval from the company.

    You're computer will not get slowed down by cookies (once again, just small text files). Certain programs such as adaware will however recognize malicious cookies as being ones that are used to track your movement on the internet. The way that this works is dozens of websites participate in allowing the tracking company (such as doubleclick) to read their own cookie each time you connect to the site. So if you went to say msn's website and they were using doubleclick's tracking cookies, they would send a request to doubleclick to check for their cookie before msn sends its page info. Doubleclick would then go "ah yes, our cookie is here.. this is user ID *some ID number*. Let us update our database which has a primary key of that number to add the information that this user has visited msn at this time today".

    Cookies are not all bad, they help to keep track of state (such as shopping carts or login info) across pages.. as html was designed as a static medium.

    Err.. so anyway.. Cookies didn't slow down your computer. It was probably spyware/malware from p0rn sights or Gator or some shit like that.
  • by pottymouth ( 61296 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @12:55PM (#12891112)

    Here here! Well said!

    I often have to wonder what some of these advertisers could be smoking to think that their annoying and obnoxious ads are going to get someone to buy their product. If anything they make me want to boycott them. The advertiser that manages to create informative and persuasive ads that are delivered in a way that doesn't bother potential customers will be the winner in this war.
  • by spisska ( 796395 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @01:00PM (#12891180)

    Bennie Smith is entirely correct -- if ad blocking becomes standard in popular browsers, that will be the end of free content on the web.

    No. It means that if ad blocking becomes standard, it will pose a threat to bouncing, popping, blinking, annoying graphical ads on the web. Text ads do not get in the way, do not distract, and do not get blocked.

    The fact that Mr Smith sells bouncing, popping, flashing, annoying graphical ads may have something to do with his opinion.

    Note to marketers: It is possible to reach your target audience without annoying everyone else.

  • Re:Agreed... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LionKimbro ( 200000 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @01:00PM (#12891181) Homepage
    When they pack up their toys and go home, I will still be reading Wikipedia.

    Greedy bastards, it serves them right!
  • by Snowhare ( 263311 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @01:02PM (#12891203)

    Very few ad blocker programs block ads that are not attempting to do something abusive. It is about blocking intrusive and abusive ads. Doubleclick and ilk want huge centralized databases of personal information and push formats like audio/popup/popunder/floating ads that actively interfere with people using the web.

    It is as if you were reading a magazine and everytime you turned the page someone shoved a sign between you and the magazine and wouldn't let you read until you signed something and crumpled the ad up and threw it away.

    The free market is just telling marketers don't be evil. Doubleclick is unhappy because their business model is to be as evil as we want to be.

    It is noticable that only marketers appear to believe that intrusive advertising (whether you are talking telesolictors, door-to-door salesmen or popups) is something people actually want.

  • by Ahnteis ( 746045 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @01:03PM (#12891227)
    Which is why Google adwords are less likely to be blocked then annoying flash ads that drift over the page obscuring content, or pop-up/under ads.

    If your only source of revenue is ads, you better make sure that your ads aren't driving away your audience (or making them find ways to block your ads).
  • by AviLazar ( 741826 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @01:08PM (#12891307) Journal
    The only thing I disagree with you about is that you only donate to sites you regularly use. What about the site you went to, utilized their information and then never returned. Is that fair that you are utilizing their data (they worked to put on there), you utilized their bandwidth (isn't /.ers always the ones who complain "this advertisement is using my bandwidth"). If a site is trying to generate money - then we have a responsibility to pay for the service we are using. Anyhow, I am sure someone will disagree with me -
  • by MynockGuano ( 164259 ) <hyperactiveChipm ... NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @01:12PM (#12891341)
    While this is true in many respects, you'll find that many websites have a space which is fed dynamic content by the ad server. I recall a rant recently on reallifecomics.com where he went off on the ad provider he was using when it started putting ads up that he specifically requested NOT to see on his site. I can't get to the site right now (possibly being updated), but I'll paste it here when I find it.
  • by I_can_not_believe_I_ ( 889846 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @01:14PM (#12891369)
    As has been pointed out in parent and elsewhere, websites cost money to run and maintain, which requires revenue. I'm more than willing to have a reasonable number of banner/text ads on free sites I read, and even click through if it looks interesting (if it appeals to me, why not learn more?). As things get worse with the banner/text ad business (AdBlock, hired click-throughs, whatever else), its value is going to drop as advertisers see less and less return, and people will have to look elsewhere to generate revenue for their sites. You know what this probably means? Pop-ups, pop-unders, interstitials, and ever more annoying forms of advertising designed to catch your attention. I personally would rather avoid the great cat and mouse game between advertisers and ad-blockers, and stick with something nice and simple that works for both sides without irritating the crap out of me. You don't want the ads? Don't visit the site, or chip in and help the site run with less/no ad revenue.
  • Re:Agreed... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by crabpeople ( 720852 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @01:14PM (#12891372) Journal
    "But keep in mind, they can always take their toys and go home, and where will that leave you?"

    browsing to another site?

    i remmeber before their were banner ads. just because you jumped on teh internets bandwagon late doesnt mean thats how it was and always will be. do you remmeber newsgroups? BBS? message boards? IRC? FTP? theres so many ways to get information on the internet. as long as someone has a connection and a computer there will be stuff out there.
  • by Jerf ( 17166 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @01:16PM (#12891392) Journal
    It is possible to reach your target audience without annoying everyone else.

    Despite the fact that I am technically savvy, I have not invested time in AdBlock or anything else.

    I have FlashBlock (moderately misnamed, it really makes loading Flash fully voluntary), turned off image animations, and forbid unrequested popups.

    By and large, this makes the web perfectly tolerable, and I do not feel that further time invested in crazy blocking schemes would pay off. The only thing on the horizon that might change the balance is further penetration of interstitials (I don't instantly leave the site, but I don't come back), or on-page adds (that aren't Flash since I block that).

    If they weren't such dicks, they might not have prompted the formation of such sophisticated tech to counter them.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, 2005 @01:16PM (#12891403)
    Problems with your great plan:

    - Someone still has to pay for the bandwidth for your hosting of the thunderbird plugin and RSS feed.
    - Who the hell wants to download a plugin to view your moderated discussion group? Web accessible is way more popular and convenient.
    - How does the plugin work? It seems easy in theory but it has to do a lot more than you think (hint: more than a couple of days even for your uber self)
  • by end3rtm ( 894520 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @01:33PM (#12891614)
    I think lot of you guys don't understand how internet advertising work.

    Without a doubt, I'm in favor of non-annoying ads. But I do want to see ads on my favorite sites so that these sites can make money and continue to operate. If all I have to do is view ads and sometimes click on a few to support these sites, it's lot better than me paying $2-5 a month to view that site.

    Besides that point...it's not Doubleclick that's putting popups and rollovers and floaters on your favorite websites. It's the websites. Someone can't put a full page ad on LA Times without LA Times working on that ad. Same with ads on the internet. Everything is at the Web publisher's discretion. Unless...they turn over all their page impressions to these ad networks (fastclick, etc...) without approving any ads. That in turn, is webpub's responsibility.

    Our society has turn more and more selfish where people only think about themselves. Like all the users who block ads to an ad supported site that they visit frequently...and advertisers who do whatever they can to get their message across without caring about how annoying it is to the users.
  • by poot_rootbeer ( 188613 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @01:35PM (#12891634)
    He said if a similar tool could be produced for newspapers, it would not be accepted by consumers.

    Yes, but in the case of internet ad-blocking, the tool has been not only ACCEPTED but DEMANDED by consumers.

    Check out the marketing for any Internet Service Provider. All the major providers and many of the smaller ones now advertise "popup blockers" as features of their service. People demanded that something be done about the decrease in usability caused by intrusive advertising, and the ISPs responded.

    DoubleCock has no one to blame for the proliferation of ad blocking besides the proliferation of annoying ads, and they themselves pioneered that field.
  • by Chosen Reject ( 842143 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @01:36PM (#12891652)
    We could just switch to a p2p kind of network instead of a single host kind of network. I like slashdot, you like slashdot, we both have parts of slashdot. When someone else wants to see slashdot, they get parts of it from me and you.
  • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @01:40PM (#12891693)
    Someone is paying for the hosting, bandwidth, etc.
    And most of that bandwidth is consumed by... you guessed it, the ads.

    DoubleClick's pop-up graphical banner ads are like a tanker truck that burns 100 gallons of gas to deliver 50 - inefficient.

    Google's more conservative ads are cheaper to deliver and not coincidentally less often blocked.

    That's doubleclick's problem - they think of the web as advertising, because that's all they do. They don't even offer a real service like google does. Maybe their bloated, annoying ads will go the way of the dinosaur. You know what? The web will survive.

  • by bXTr ( 123510 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @01:40PM (#12891706) Homepage

    Most websites have so much advertising you can't tell it from the actual content. Some are pretty much all advertising. To paraphrase a quote about TV, the web is pretty much a "vast, pock-marked wasteland."

    On another point, nothing on the Internet has ever been free. I pay for access as well as the webmaster, and he may also pay for hosting his website. These expenses are paid regardless of advertising. Advertising revenue only offsets those expenses.

    As to the particular FA, this is like spammers claiming that spam blocking will result in the end of email. I see what he's saying from an economic standpoint, but I don't really have any sympathy for him.

  • by Lovesquid ( 840251 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @01:44PM (#12891745)
    Then let them adapt... Right now we are being inundated with ads of all kinds in all mediums. You literally cannot turn your head without being exposed to an ad for something, whether on a billboard, radio, tv, the net, city bus, your friend's t-shirt, etc. etc.

    Some of these methods deserve to be kicked to the curb, like the newest trends of advertising inside of video games that I've paid to play, and before movies that I've paid to see.

    According to doubleclick's logic, if I turn my head away from a billboard, I'm stealing money from the advertisers' pockets, with is utter BS. Cutting out ads in the online service that I pay for each month is my right. If these companies cannot make a buck any other way, then let them charge for their crappy content and see how much revenue they make. I'll either decide that the value of their service is worth the headache of the ads, or I won't, but it's my decision to make and mine alone. I may be taking away a potential (very lower percentage) sale from the advertiser, but it's the utter uselessness of the medium they are using that is to blame if the company loses money. Give me useful ads that make me aware of things that pertain specifically to me that I might actually want to buy, and I'll buy the products.

    The advertisers should be forced to evolve in the ways they get their messages out, and the users should be able to choose the eradication of certain methods that they find annoying without interference. They use this same "we've lost a potential sale" logic to justify DRM, as well as the elimination of the commericial-skipping buttons from DVRs, when the fact is that the consumers hold the power to determine whether to listen to ads or not, just as they hold the power to buy or not to buy. It's corporate BS.

    Make these companies cater to us, not the other way around. I'm mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take it any more!
  • Re:Modify Adblock (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mike Buddha ( 10734 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @01:50PM (#12891802)
    You can set adblock to do just that. You have the option of merely hiding the images or not even downloading them.
  • by Reziac ( 43301 ) * on Thursday June 23, 2005 @01:51PM (#12891828) Homepage Journal
    Exactly. As to the comparison with newspapers -- well, the newspaper ads don't make the rest of the paper stick together and refuse to let me turn a page until I've read the current ad, which is what internet advertising tries to do, with invasive popups and the like.

    And I'm completely free to ignore newspaper ads. But online advertising often doesn't give up until you've done something proactive, even if that's just chase down and close the damned popup (or block it entirely).

    If online advertising were billboards, they would be planted in the middle of the road like a roadblock, and refuse to let you drive on until you'd paid a toll.

    If they'd stuck to text and small graphics (akin to the majority of newspaper ads), no one would mind the presence of online ads, and might even find them useful. Such as having an ad section geared toward people who want to buy a car, but that everyone else is free to bypass -- EXACTLY as in a newspaper.

    So, yes indeed, let's make online advertising MORE like newspaper ads!!

  • by Seng ( 697556 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @01:56PM (#12891874)
    There once was a day when sites like Tom's Hardware, Anandtech, et al. reviewed the good, bad & ugly... Now there's a strange correlation between all the XYZ brand items reviewed and the XYZ brand banners all over the place... God forbid you post a negative review of an advertiser!
  • by badasscat ( 563442 ) <basscadet75@@@yahoo...com> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @02:00PM (#12891909)
    Innovations need to come from comprimises, not from force like charging to view a web page.

    First of all, let's can the idealism and be a little realistic here. You're a web site publisher with little ad revenue left. What do you do? Your training is not in marketing, it's maybe in business development. Are you going to sit there and try to invent a new form of advertising that isn't patented by Google, or are you just going to say "screw it" and charge for the use of your site?

    You can hope all you want that people will innovate; the reality is most web site owners are only in it for the money. They don't care about compromise and even if they did, they wouldn't know where to even start coming up with new revenue streams.

    I think this is what gets lost in these discussions. You can call it short-sighted, you can call it whatever you want, but the fact is the owners of most web sites are not innovators and never claimed to be. All they want to do is put out a product and make money doing it. If they have exhausted one method, they will simply move on to the next rather than trying to come up with something entirely new. And there's not even anything wrong with this; this is the way small businesses in this country have always worked. It's not up to every guy who runs a bakery or a stationary store or whatever to come up with entirely new business models whenever they hit hard times, and nobody expects them to - yet for some reason, people do expect that when it comes to the web.
  • by s20451 ( 410424 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @02:03PM (#12891932) Journal
    I don't understand ... you're saying that you are not influenced at all by advertising, but when you decided to name two brands of vehicle "at random", you chose two that (by your own admission) get most of the advertising coverage in the USA?

    The point that you are missing is that the advertising model is not as simple as a person hearing "Buy Acme Widgets" and then buying an acme widget. Why do you think companies spend millions just to get their logos in sporting events where people can see them? Almost all of advertising is awareness, not sales.
  • by Queer Boy ( 451309 ) * <dragon@76.mac@com> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @02:05PM (#12891949)
    other sites can and do operate at a loss.

    Advertising (which some websites are just big ads for a product) is always a loss. It has no effect on the actual product and cannot be measured directly. Conjecture and assumptions are the only way to track how or if advertising works and the effectiveness of it. It is not like money is being spent to better the product, streamline the production.

    We live in a mass market era, between TiVO, ad blockers and the like it's becoming clear that advertising does not work anymore, marketers are just refusing to accept that. It does not work because people are not interested in it, that's proof it's becoming a failed way of getting information out about the product, and threats are not going to make pewople more interested.

    Certain companies do little to no advertising and are outrageously successful, Abercrombie & Fitch is the first company to spring to mind. The trick is to get your product into your focus group. A&F does this by hiring the type of people they want to wear their clothes. Other companies could do it by instead of spending all that money on advertising, actually giving their products away to specific individuals (as designers do), or making them cheaper.

    With a connected world, a company's opinion about their own product is worthless.

  • by Forbman ( 794277 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @02:19PM (#12892119)
    And there's not even anything wrong with this; this is the way small businesses in this country have always worked. It's not up to every guy who runs a bakery or a stationary store or whatever to come up with entirely new business models whenever they hit hard times, and nobody expects them to - yet for some reason, people do expect that when it comes to the web.

    Yet, *somebody* in that pool *WILL* innovate, and the ones who want to continue the fight will learn from the innovation(s) and apply them.

    Think of farmer's markets and other direct marketing efforts for small farmers, because either they cannot get into the commodity market or can't make money doing so. So they innovate.

    Farmer's markets and other DMA efforts like CSAs (Community-Supported Agrigulture, i.e., customers "subscribe" to the farm to get periodic product from the farmers. Some veggie growers here in PDX are able to supply veggies 10-12 months out of the year. So you're not getting tomatoes and lettuce in December and winter squash and turnips instead, so it requires some flexibility on the customer as well) allow the farmers to work directly with their customers, and sell at a mutually beneficial level - farmer gets more profit, customer gets better product.

    $3.00/dz for farm eggs might be too much for you. But at least I can unequivocally state what has, and more importantly, has NOT, gone into those eggs.

    For everyone else, there's a WalMart Supercenter near by.

    Small business owners, if they're not innovators, they are imitators. There's nothing wrong with that, unless every little small business in an area starts looking a little bit the same.

  • by TGK ( 262438 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @02:22PM (#12892147) Homepage Journal
    Lets continue your analysis (acutaly, this would be a good Slashpole -- Editors? Catch that?) -- Who blocks Google Ads? Really?

    I don't. I have Adblocker installed, I have it configured to display Slashdot's ads because I typicaly click on them on accident if I don't. I have doubleclick blacklisted because their ads are irritating.

    In fact, no one I know blocks Google ads. They're unobtrusive, helpful, and direct me towards the products and services I'm allready looking for. Why would I block them? They're like a yellow pages for the internet.

    So really, its the people that sell advertising space to herbal viagra vendors on their Disney fan site that are going to suffer, not people like Google.

    Build ads that don't piss me off. I have never blocked an ad that didn't piss me off.

  • by Nogami_Saeko ( 466595 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @02:26PM (#12892189)
    Ah, bingo. You've hit the nail on the head.

    I only block stuff that's obtrusive to me:

    -If it moves, flashes, animates or makes noise, it's gone
    -If they try a popup/popunder, it's gone

    Static ads don't annoy me (much like the newspaper he was mentioning), and I don't block them.

    Oh, and I also block additional ads on any sites I pay to access - if I'm already paying their subscription fee, I deserve an advertising-free environment.

  • Re:cry me a river (Score:3, Insightful)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland@NOSpAm.yahoo.com> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @02:37PM (#12892366) Homepage Journal

    The only thing I want them to know is what I am currently(as in at the moment) interested in finding.
    If I go to a sight that is about cars, then there should be advertising geared towards cars.
    If I do a search on 'Golf' then a few non intrusive ads about golf would be WELCOME.

    But I do not want them to track me from place to place, because the ads will very quickly become irrelevant noise.
    They also fail to recognize that many people may use the same computer. once again every user is targetted with ads that might be interesting to every other user on that computer. once again, it just becomes noise.

    They do not need to know my gender, age, race, height, favorite color, or my dogs middle name.

  • by InvalidError ( 771317 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @02:38PM (#12892389)
    Looks like you skipped the paragraph about "the only advertisements I still tolerate are google-style text-only ads and static images".

    Filtering the ads is my way of telling advertisers and websites that abusive ads are unwanted. Freeloading might not be right but neither is the audio-visual abuse many advertisers use.

    Example 1: a flash ad with sound popping up at 04h00 when the 100Wx2 (RMS) amplifier plugged to my PC is still on. This happened to me once and I scrapped Flash to make sure it would never happen again. (Until I learned about the likes of flashblock.)

    Example 2: High-contrast, high-motion/jumpy Flash or animated GIF in or around an article make reading fairly painful - until I discovered FlashBlock&co, I used to either resize the browser and scroll to hide these or move a window on top of these ads.

    Both cases are absolutely unacceptable. Silent static ads, preferably text-only, are the only ones I will tolerate - they're discrete, quiet and trying to filter them would have many undesirable side-effects.
  • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @02:40PM (#12892418) Homepage
    They complain endlessly about the negative "vibes" towards advertising, yet they take no responsibility for creating these "vibes" in the first place. No one had a problem with Internet ads before DoubleClick started tracking people.

    This can't be emphasized enough: Doubleclick is the one at fault. Any problem they perceive with ad blocking is a direct consequence of their own actions. They are the ones that made online advertising annoying, intrusive, and invasive of privacy. They are the ones that made everyone hate internet advertising. How many of us first learned how to use /etc/hosts to block doubleclick.net?

    It is exactly like them to say it is our fault for not wanting to be annoyed with pop-ups, pop-unders, mouse-dodging javascript widows that pop up fifteen new windows when you manage to close them while simultaneously tracking every single site we ever visit. We all know about Google ads -- ads I've actually clicked on in order to buy product, not just a fake click to throw a website a click-through's worth of revenue. Good behavior gets rewarded. But Doubleclick thinks it is our behavior that needs to change. We should just accept whatever crap they want to foist on us, apparently. Why won't we just bend over?

    And as far as "a negative vibe against advertising in general" -- he's goddamn right! Because most advertisers are just like Doubleclick. Advertising is everywhere, and designed to be as obnoxious as possible. Like with television ads, which can be severely annoying and thus causes people to hit the mute -- or record the show and then skip the ads. Just like with those bastards at Doubleclick, Television advertisers have only come up with two ideas on how to fix this:

    1) Make the ads even -more- obnoxious and hard to avoid.

    2) Chastise us for not wanting to be annoyed.

    If you read the TFA, you'll see that he really believes he has purchased our eyeballs. No, you fool, you payed a website to put your ad on their page. I'm under no obligation to look at the thing. You might think I owe you my eyeballs, but I never agreed to be given a headache by a flashing ad that pops up when I leave that page.

    Bennie is right about one thing, though: His company's behavior is going to kill internet advertising that tries to grab eyeballs through irritation. I doubt the 'free' internet will end, because Google already has shown how you can make money off advertising and not piss people off. But even if he is right and a substantial portion of the internet is incapable of adapting to a world where the people are in control of what they see, I have only one thing to say:

    Good. I hope they die off as quickly as possible. I want some serious Darwin shit to go on here, and I want it to be clear that the ones that will survive are the ones that can make money without pissing me off.

    Doubleclick and every advertiser like them needs to die. We will make them an evolutionary dead end. And despite all their screaming, once they are gone, buried, and slowly turning into some future generation's gas we'll find out that we never needed them at all.
  • by FLEB ( 312391 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @02:51PM (#12892554) Homepage Journal
    Bakeries and stationery stores don't have to retool their business models, because their business models aren't broken. (Although, those suffering from WalMartization might be forced to, just as ad companies suffering from blocking are forced to change.) The advert model in its current form is, appearantly, broken.

    If the content draws enough people, and the owner wants it to persist, it (generally) will. A free/paid mix of content can be set up. The provider can monetize in different ways, such as audience data mining, affiliate plans, or swag sales. They can set up a "tip jar". They can network with other similar sites to make a network and take advantage of numbers. They can minimize costs by taking advantage of things like mirroring or BitTorrent. They can take advantage of their community by putting out a call for mirrorers. They can offload the content to a mailing list to relax web bandwidth needs. The can open-license the content and let it prosper in fansites.

    Or, there's always failure. Not all ideas are good, and not all should be treated like they are.
  • by smoker2 ( 750216 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @03:27PM (#12892911) Homepage Journal
    Because after all, we all know that before the WWW ad boom of 2000, there was no content on the web.
    Oh wait - I think I have that backwards - there was *better* content on the web *before* the major corperations and their ads came on.
    Exactly right. It was the ads and the uptake of the net by big business that caused so much boom and bust in the industry. Personally, I would be glad if all the ads disappeared tomorrow.
    As for the cost of bandwidth etc, bollox !
    Hosting pre-requisites are cheaper than they have ever been. If people need so many ads to support their crappy little sites then they don't really belong on the net in the first place. This is a place for the enthusiast to create, and everybody to enjoy, not a private corporate cash-cow, or a place where every git with a copy of FP can make their fortune.
    Bah !
    I used to rent out webspace for fun and profit, but as the prices kept falling, it became more of a pain in the neck to keep things sweet and still make any money. So now I host a few sites on colo servers for friends and mirror for worthy [gpstudio.com] causes [geexbox.org], and charge nobody anything. Bandwidth is pretty cheap these days and I average just under 1000 GB per month, which is less than 50% of my allotment. No ads are needed to pay for any of this. I'm tired of going to some blog site and getting adverts thrust at me, and I'll even include Google ads in that. The only people really benefitting from Google ads are Google, through the impression counts.
  • by nahdude812 ( 88157 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @03:29PM (#12892931) Homepage
    Actually, what's more likely to happen is that advertisers will get more slick, by providing server side scripts / plugins to serve their advertising. A few ideas:
    • Text-based ads within the content of an article (insepparable in HTML from the surrounding content, only distinguishable by our ability to parse the information displayed in it).
    • Site content which cannot be viewed until a Flash based ad sets an arbitrarily named cookie (only after the full ad has been viewed) and refreshes the page.
    • Ad scripts which are downloaded with other scripts that are required for the site to function
    There's too much money at stake in advertising, and too much desire for you to *see* advertising on the part of those buying the advertising for it to die. There'll always be a new form, and very likely, it'll actually only become more and more annoying. As long as you're accepting information from a party that wants to serve you ads, there'll be a way for them to BUY SOYLENT BRAND SOAP TODAY -- ONLY SOYLENT SOAP PROVIDES ESSENTIAL SOYLENT NUTRIENTS! insert the ads into that information.
  • Mixed Modes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DumbSwede ( 521261 ) <slashdotbin@hotmail.com> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @03:33PM (#12892974) Homepage Journal
    It occurs to me that one reason that popup advertising and flash advertising is so aggravating to many is the mixed media types it employs.

    When you're in the mood for a read, you read. So the ads in magazines and newspapers match the type of sensory input you have chosen which is READING, and don't require any action to un-obscure what you are reading. Popup ads transform the passive act of reading into a forced interactive one.

    When you watch a TV show or movie on TV you're in a video watching mode and ads while sometimes obnoxious or overly abundant don't tend t to be a jarring experience because they are presented in the same sensory input experience you have chosen to engage in. Ironically while many TV ads employ printed text also, it is rarely the only content of the ad and tends to be supplementary. If during your 30 minute viewing of a TV show you were subjected to 7 minutes of static, music less, text only ads you would probably have a similar amount of irritation.

    For websites and games that are interactive in nature I predict the acceptance of popup type ads should/would be better since you would already be in an interactive mode state of mind. At $50 dollars a pop no one would tolerate active popup style ads in video games, but if Pepsi or Coke sponsored free game content that rivaled paid game content then you can bet game players would tolerate (with little complaint) interactive ads built into the game at between level intermissions. Call me immodest, but I would be surprised if my little post here doesn't start the hamster wheel turning in some marketing type's head (granted this idea has already been implemented to varying degrees already, and is no doubt in some stage of development somewhere for something by somebody).

    My advise to advertisers who don't want to be hated, if not to be considered downright EVIL, don't mix modes when presenting ads. People have expectations for the types of experiences they engage in and don't want to be forced into another one involuntarily.

  • Web Ads (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kilodelta ( 843627 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @03:37PM (#12893014) Homepage
    Rule for on-line advertisements that should be implement immediately:

    1 No blink tags, ever.

    2 No purple/green backgrounds, fonts or images unless they occur in nature.

    3 No bouncy ads, ads that pop in the middle of what you're reading or try to pop up windows.

    4 No ads embedded in the web page so I can't block the really annoying ones.

    5 Keep the ads at the top, bottom, right or left gutters. Ads in the middle of text shall be considered an offense punishable by death.

    If advertisers would just follow these simple rules the market for ad-blockers would evaporate overnight.
  • by lightspawn ( 155347 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @03:37PM (#12893019) Homepage
    Now this is a flash ad right, so you should be able to right click on it and stop it from playing, and stop the flash from looping. Nope. The creator of the flash disabled all controls.

    Why do you have a plugin installed that lets you have such little control?

    Uninstall it, call the plugin vendor and explain why you will not use their product until the necessary features are implemented; convince as many others as possible to do the same.
  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @03:38PM (#12893026) Homepage Journal

    Part of the problem for advertisers here is the same as I have posted before. When web ads consisted of a simple banner or two, most people didn't particularly mind. They treated them much like magazine or newspaper ads (that is, mostly ignored them.

    Personally, when that's the extent of the ads, I just ignore them in place. However, if they try to pop up, over, under, through, whatever, they're toast. If they insist on jumping around like a chihuahua on speed, I block the entire ad server. Same for those that look like a Happy Llama production with horrific (and headache inducing) flashing red and yellow background.

    Doubleclick, in particular, with their 'pioneering' efforts at tagging users like animals and tracking them earned a special place in my hosts file ( well before there was adblock.

    Advertisers need to realize that they are like the friend of the host's friend at a party. If they behave, they may stay, but if they insist on cleaning out the fridge, ruining the coffee table and peeing in the sink, they won't be welcomed again.

  • by HairyCanary ( 688865 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @03:50PM (#12893144)
    You can hope all you want that people will innovate; the reality is most web site owners are only in it for the money.

    Hope is not required -- as a web site owner, you will innovate, or you will be out of business. Just because you are "only in it for the money" does not grant you immunity from this fact. There are more than enough people in this world who will figure out more creative ways to part consumers from their money, we are not in any danger of running out of choice. Dave

  • by a whoabot ( 706122 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @03:50PM (#12893147)
    No no, you can't! No one is allowed to create free content in the market! If they do, it's not even worth looking at! Price always equals level of quality! Market!

    No exceptions! If you like something that's free more than something that's not, you're an infringment of nature! Criminal!
  • woops (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rayde ( 738949 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @03:54PM (#12893186) Homepage
    well, i didn't really know about the adblocking extension for firefox until reading this. now i will definitely use it. i don't think that's what they had in mind by complaining, but it brought more attention to the capability.
  • by tolkienfan ( 892463 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @04:00PM (#12893254) Journal
    Except that it only takes one innovator to create a method that works to generate revenue.

    It doesn't take everyone to develop "the car" for us all to have one available.

  • by 2ms ( 232331 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @04:17PM (#12893394)
    The ad-blockers rose up because of demand by consumers for relief from incredibly crude and annoying to the point of severely impeding usefulness of internet form of advertising. The market was ripe for system of dealing with a terrible system of advertising.

    Now market is ripe for someone to come up with better system of advertising. Someone will make a ton of money meeting this need. Who said anything about individual operators of sites needing to come up with new business models or advertising system?

    Dont try to say that popups were necessary for internet to be what it is - if anything you'll hear the quality of sites was better before the days of popups. Popups are crude abuse of a browser feature that certainly would have been designed differently had the architects anticipated what would happen with them.

    Obviously anyone would agree that internet advertising serves important purpose but it's absurd to imagine "popups" are The Way to advertise and that blocking them is somehow blocking advertising.
  • by JGski ( 537049 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @04:18PM (#12893407) Journal
    You are falsely equating copyright violation with ad-blocking. Not even remotely similar. Ads are an information commodity being "sold" at the price of viewer attention. Unlike information commodities like music advertising is "meta information" about other commodities. Nonetheless, an economic value/decision process applies.

    Advertiser have no more right to force their "product" on me any more that record companies have a right to force me to buy Britney Spears or any other talentless commodity they think I *should* buy to help their profits. Britney is, of course, an exceptionally efficient commodity given the production and marketing processes used to create her. But all the efficiency in the world doesn't matter if the buyer doesn't assess sufficient value to make the transaction hurdle.

    You can claim implied contract but guess what: "free" content does not create any enforceable contract in common law legal systems. I can stand on a corner in a big city and play guitar with the case open for remuneration - if someone doesn't want to "pay up" despite benefiting from my "free content" I don't have the right or expectation to shakedown passersby for cash or reward (such as taking and reading my playbill for a paying concert or partner's product, if you want to keep the analogy going). I don't even have the right to shoo them away for repeatedly partaking in my free content!

    If making content freely available proves to become economically unviable, that means one and only thing: the content you are offering simply isn't valued (by the market you serve) as highly as YOU WISH it were. In the street musician example, the musician may live in the fantasy that his music is God's Gift to Humanity, but if others don't agree he may have to get another job to make ends meet or quit playing. So be it. That's exactly how it should work.

    Thus blocking ad's will only lead to the demise of businesses that not fundamentally sustainable in the first place. A business in the US only has a right to participant in the market, but never a right or guarantee to its healthy financial or organizational existence.

    IT'S ONLY FREERIDERS WHO INSIST OTHERWISE! Advertiser are complaining about "freeriders" abusing them when it is they who are the freeriders if ad-blocking is somehow barred or banned. They are advocating that they should be allowed to FREERIDE . They want monopoly power to force people to buy their information commodity (advertising) at the price of viewers' scarce commodity (attention/time)!

    I'm keeping my ad-blocking full-up, thank very much, and I know I'm on the ethical and legal high ground! The same can't be said for self-serving propaganda as Double-Click is pushing here.

  • Re:cry me a river (Score:2, Insightful)

    by iced_773 ( 857608 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @04:26PM (#12893516)

    I agree that deception is one of the biggest problems, but there is also another major problem - visual accessibility.

    I myself have Firefox set to override colors on web pages in favor of a white-on-black scheme, because too much light bothers my eyes. Therefore, the familiar "You have won our hourly prize," for example, with all of its colors and blinking can really make things hard to see. General movement in Flash animations along the side of the site can also be a pain. All of these obnoxious ads can make it very difficult to focus. I cannot tell my browser to block all images because there may be a diagram or something that is part of the page itself.

    Some people actually need Adblock so they do not spend hours trying to discern a single paragraph! Or, why can't ads simply be small boxes saying "Try Vanilla Coke" or something?

  • by Zphbeeblbrox ( 816582 ) <zaphar@gmail.com> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:39PM (#12894429) Homepage
    Exactly, Doubleclick gets blocked because they are so intrusive and annoying. Google is experiencing growth in the ad revenue stream precisely because they found the right niche market. even the slashdot ads aren't as intrusive as some sites. They stay at the top in that banner and there are some text ads on the side. They don't distract from the websites purpose so they fit. Many website advertisements do the exact opposite of this. They make the website unuseable. Thus spawning the market for adblocking software. This may mean the end of Doublclick style ads but it's not the end of internet advertising.
  • by sandwiches ( 801015 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @06:21PM (#12894995) Homepage
    This reminds me of the media evil masterminds wanting bitching about the 30-seconds-skip buttons in tivos and other such devices. Will those 30-second-skip buttons make free TV collapse?
  • by Cross-Threaded ( 893172 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @07:03PM (#12895419)
    exactly what I want! A place to gather, and post, useful (sometimes fun) information.

    At my first exposure to the Internet, it was nearly perfect. Consisting of little more than a collection of websites that people found interesting, informative, and/or fun. It was based on people/institutions wanting to share knowledge and experience, not entities looking to extract my cash, or make a quick buck.

    Those sites that did have something to sell, actually had product that would sell based on its merit, not because it was hosted on a "cool" site with free games, discounts, etc. Why do I care if whatever goofy-dumb-site, paid for by dubbaklik.dumb, goes away? I sincerely doubt that the Internet(world) will be a worse place for it.

    If I am searching for a product, or service, I want to let the search engine find it. When/if I find what I am looking for, I then make my purchase. If I don't find it, then maybe I don't really need it. (Hint here: products.google.com, services.google.com???)

    I don't want to look at advertising, no matter how it manifests itself (e.g. Pop-Ups, Banners, etc.), even if it is something I might want. I make it a point to NOT purchase a product or service, if they try to advertise like this. If dubbakilk.dumb can't make their business model work because of my choice not to view ads like theirs, then they need to change their business model, right?

    This guy is simply whining because his gravy train is going away, and he might actually have to innovate and add real value for the consumer, to make his business model work.

    I feel that if a product, or service, is worth purchasing, the site of the seller will be able to make the sale, without getting in my face.

    Don't threaten me with crap websites going away, because you'll find that's exactly what I want!

  • by Alsee ( 515537 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @08:21PM (#12896100) Homepage
    Than don't visit the sites in question. If you don't like their adverstising, don't leech their content.

    I agree. That is why I carefully analize every link on every webpage befor I click it, and check it against a list I've been keeping of sites with annoying ads before clicking on it.

    Oh wait, no I don't. Every time I come across a flashing jumping beeping singing popunder popover browser-hijacking ad I just add the marketing host server to by block list so they don't unexpectely send my browser into epileptic spasms every time I click some unknown link sending me to some website I've never seen before that just so happens to be a crapfest.

    Which incidentally means that when I go so some new website I generally never even know it was designed to throw up 6 popunders and load dancing and singing teddybears and eyekilling lime-on-pink flashing pink-on-lime text.

    So in general even if I *did* want to "not visit the sites in question" and "not leech their content", I couldn't anyway. I don't know it's going to be there before I click the link, and there's no fricking way in hell I'm going to instruct MY computer to display that crap after I click the link, so I wouldn't even know it was there after I click it.

    Peopel can put up websites or not as they wish, but they have absolutely no reason to expect that *my* computer is programmed to display it in any particular way. Maybe I'm blind and my browser only displays text in braile. Maybe I only speak Swahili and my computer autotranslates the language. Or maybe I filter out all naughty wrods like "fuck" and "shit" for my kid's surfing. Or maybe I have a redhed fetish and I programmed by computer to change every word "blonde" and "brunette" into "redhead" before displaying it. Or maybe I feel like telling my computer to display the word "Microsoft" as "Micro$oft" (or not display that word at all).

    Someone puting up a website has no right to expect anything about how I've programmed my computer to display it.

    If I want to hire someone to eliminate the sports section and the fasion section and and move teh siceince section to the front and clip the ads out of a newspaper before I read it, well once they gave me that newspaper that copy is my property and I can hire someone to do as I like with it. My computer is my property and I have a fundamental right to program my computer to display information you sent me in any way I wish. Just because you dislike one particular kind of modification - the ads - does not change the fact that it is fundamentally the same thing as modifing it to display in braile or Swahili or to filter obscene language.

  • Re:a nitpic (Score:3, Insightful)

    by toddestan ( 632714 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @09:52PM (#12896712)
    The fix to your proposed solution would be to have the browser download the ad, but Adblock would make it so the ad is not displayed in the browser window. That way, the content providers would have no way to know who is actually seeing the ads. This would actually put the advertisers in a worse position, because a significant portion of their bandwidth would now be completly wasted, making their margins even slimmer (though I'm sure quite a few people would see this as a good thing).

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.