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AdBlock Plus Defends Ad Blocking, Applauds Marco Arment 351

Mark Wilson writes: Ad blockers have been much talked about since Apple opened up support for them in iOS 9. The now infamous Peace shot to the top of the download charts before it was pulled by its creator. Now AdBlock Plus has come out in support of Marco Arment, who developed something of a guilty conscience after his ad blocking creation proved so popular. Ben Williams from AdBlock Plus says "I really applaud this guy," going on to suggest that whitelisting and the Acceptable Ads feature of AdBlock Plus epitomize the "more nuanced, complex approach" Arment called for. The ad blocking software I'd like to see would detect and zap into a heap of ash those unrelated-photo clickbait ads; I'd rather suffer through some honest banner ads anytime.
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AdBlock Plus Defends Ad Blocking, Applauds Marco Arment

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  • Support of what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Sunday September 20, 2015 @05:47PM (#50563373)

    Support of his capitulation to the status quo by pulling his app? Support for him clearing the market of a successful ad-blocker so they have fewer competitors?

    • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Sunday September 20, 2015 @06:26PM (#50563583) Journal
      Support of his idea to make his app more like theirs.

      At the end of the day, this is really an attempt from ad-block pro to capitalize on the publicity he got.
      • Yeah. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 20, 2015 @08:42PM (#50564191)

        If the ad market policed itself, ad-blockers would not be necessary.

        Since they are necessary, and since the "more nuanced, complex approach" is expensive and error-prone, rightly self-interested end-users have no choice but to resort to simple, effective, indiscriminate ad-blockers.

        That is all.

        • Re: Yeah. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 21, 2015 @01:36AM (#50565027)

          Exactly. My bandwidth, my processor and my screen. If they want to implement paid services instead of ad supported ones, I'm happy to pay as long as I deem the service worthy of my money.

          I miss the days when people shared thoughts and information with each others not out of financial gains but out of sincere interest into a subject. Collaboration, code sharing, tutorials -- all for free and for the mere expectation that if I share this, I know othera will share too and we all get something out of it. Respect was the currency back then.

        • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Monday September 21, 2015 @09:35AM (#50566535)

          Agreed! We gave the advertisers a chance, and they blew it, over and over and over with ever-more obnoxious ads.

          I really wouldn't mind seeing ads which are tasteful, non-obtrusive (e.g. not pop-ups, pop-unders, flashing colors, etc.), and are targeted to me. This is why I had no problem with Google's simple search ads; if I'm having a problem and type in some terms about that, and one of the results off to the side is an ad for a product which solves my problem, that's great. (Unfortunately this is the way it used to be, these days it seems like they just integrate the ads into the search results so you can't tell if they're genuine search results or paid ads.)

    • Is there any possibility that Apple paid him money in order to reinforce his admirable principles? (Admirable for Apple, not the user)

    • Re:Support of what? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Zeio ( 325157 ) on Sunday September 20, 2015 @11:54PM (#50564801)

      What really chaps my hide on this issue is that now days we are mostly all capped and we have to pay to have this trash garbage ads shoveled in our face and they usually amount to more than half the traffic. Sorry, if the internet is coin operated I should be able to choose the content.

  • by pubwvj ( 1045960 ) on Sunday September 20, 2015 @05:47PM (#50563375)

    Any ads with flash, movement, glitz need to be crisped. Having whitelists, blacklists, preferences as to types and crowd blocking all help. Well behaved ads are not an issue.

    • Re:Move and die! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rudy_wayne ( 414635 ) on Sunday September 20, 2015 @05:55PM (#50563407)

      Well behaved ads are not an issue.

      And that's the real problem that the AdBlock haters don't want to admit.

      More and more pages crammed full of more and more annoying, distracting ads that are either (a) worthless shit that nobody would ever click on, except accidentally, or (b) outright scams and malware.

      Clean up your shit and adblocking goes away.

      • Re:Move and die! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Sunday September 20, 2015 @06:03PM (#50563447) Homepage

        (a) worthless shit that nobody would ever click on, except accidentally, or (b) outright scams and malware.

        There's also a bunch that are somewhere between merely "worthless" and "malware". I've noticed a lot recently which seem to be targeted toward mobile devices, seeming to intentionally trick people on clicking. For example, I've noticed some which seem to load on a delay, either loading overtop of the page or causing the page to reformat itself when it loads, and loading itself directly when/where you would naturally click to begin scrolling down the page. On a technical level, I don't know what they're doing, but I've found myself more and more accidentally clicking on ads on my phone. Like a page loads, I start reading, and as soon as my thumb hits the screen, an ad appears under my thumb. I'm just trying to scroll, and suddenly it's loading some other page.

        I wouldn't have gone looking for an ad-blocker in the first place if it weren't for those kinds of tactics.

        • Just as bad, if not worse, are those annoying-as-hell ads that automatically redirect you to the app store. I used to not be able to surf the web on my wife's iPad because it would always switch from Safari to the App Store, then it started happening on my Android devices, too.

          The deciding factor on which browser I use on my mobile devices is now "Does it have an ad-blocker?" The mobile web is useless without it.

          • I used to not be able to surf the web on my wife's iPad because it would always switch from Safari to the App Store, then it started happening on my Android devices, too.

            On Android you have the option of whether you want to open Play Store links in your web browser or with the Google Play Store app. If it's automatically going to the app, that's because at some point you told the device you wanted all Play Store links to go there. To undo this decision, go to Settings->Apps, then open the menu and touch "Reset app preferences". Then, next time you hit a Play Store link, the device will ask you whether you want to open it in the browser or the app, and whether you want to

        • This is not actually malicious, but an artifact of the rendering engines and the order in which they render things.

          If they choose to wait for all of the external references to other JavaScript stuff and render when this is all processed, all pop-ups and other content will appear it their specified locations, but it often takes so long to do this, due to those ads, that some browsers are rendering as soon as the main script is processed and then "adjusting" positions or adding pop-ups late... often very late

          • All I know is, it didn't used to be a problem, and then suddenly it was a major problem across a lot of different sites, and often sites where the ads were otherwise aggressive. So I don't believe it was purely accidental.

      • Re:Move and die! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Firethorn ( 177587 ) on Sunday September 20, 2015 @06:04PM (#50563455) Homepage Journal

        Clean up your shit and adblocking goes away.

        Adblocking would never have become a thing if they had stuck to image only banner ads and such and never introduced 'punch the monkey' type ads.

        • Re:Move and die! (Score:5, Interesting)

          by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Sunday September 20, 2015 @06:32PM (#50563623) Homepage Journal

          Adblocking would never have become a thing if they had stuck to image only banner ads and such and never introduced 'punch the monkey' type ads.

          Nonsense. Ad blocking also has ramifications for bandwidth use, so if it hadn't already become a thing before mobile became big, that's when it would have become relevant.

          • Pretty much what phantomfive said - banner ads, and their size, isn't that big of a deal. You're probably looking at about 20kb for one of them.

            Now, video ads, sound ads, active ads - those get huge.

          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            My university installed ad-blocking at router level to reduce bandwidth. IIRC it was Privoxy.

        • Re:Move and die! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by FranTaylor ( 164577 ) on Sunday September 20, 2015 @06:40PM (#50563665)

          Adblocking would never have become a thing if they had stuck to image only banner ads and such and never introduced 'punch the monkey' type ads.

          I think ad-delivered malware probably plays a role too.

          • It's fairly hard to deliver malware through images like jpeg, png, and gif compared to the ease at which you can do so via java and flash. Without punch the monkey stuff, they'd be stuck trying more more estoric hacks for their malware.

            • It's fairly hard to deliver malware through images like jpeg, png, and gif compared to the ease at which you can do so via java and flash

              Not really. It's only possible to deliver malware via Flash and Java because of bugs in the implementation. If there's a bug in the JPEG or PNG library that allows arbitrary code execution, then the same technique will work. Search for arbitrary code execution CVEs in libjpeg and libpng and you'll see how common this is - they both have a fairly dire security track record, yet browsers will happily pass them untrusted data.

          • They can't have it both ways. They want to give me unlimited bandwidth that is limited and has a surcharge when I go over my unlimited limit. They want to shove malware at me through ads. They track me despite me saying they can't. They want me to trust anyone that they trust. No thanks. I'll use my adblocker and keep my internet to displaying only explicitly what I have asked it to display.

    • Re:Move and die! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by lucm ( 889690 ) on Sunday September 20, 2015 @06:03PM (#50563449)

      Those are annoying but really it's the overall slowdown of websites caused by all those lousy ad networks downloads that sucks. Developers spend tons of time optimizing code, minifying javascript and css, using sprites and whatnot, all in order to restrict the number of connections per page to a minimum (the real killer on mobile internet) but then suckers from ad companies step in and cause browsers to download 50 different files.

      Do it right without hurting performance and maybe people will stop hating ads.

    • Any ad that make a site to perform badly or change the page layout in an unsual way should be ban in first place by the website owner. If he tolerates badly designed ads, he doesn't deserve to make money from his website. You do not respect your audience, do not expect them to respect you. All the flashy animated bullshit should be banned from the whole internet, dot period. These technologies (animation, etc) are nice for content, not for marketing bullshit. You just want to grab more attention than I am w
      • Any ad that make a site to perform badly or change the page layout in an unsual way should be ban in first place by the website owner.

        You do realize that the ads are coming from a third party and the webmaster really doesn't have a lot of control over this.

        • You do realize that the ads are coming from a third party and the webmaster really doesn't have a lot of control over this.

          Of course they do. The webmaster is a customer, too, and has choices on which ad delivery service to use. If he chooses one that doesn't vet for shit ads, then he doesn't deserve ad revenue.

          Welcome to Chick-fil-a. I'm sorry that our sign-spinner vomited on you on the way in, but we're actually blameless because he way provided by our contractor. Why are you mad? Why are you leaving?

        • You do realize that the ads are coming from a third party and the webmaster really doesn't have a lot of control over this.

          Ahem. The webmaster is the only one who has total control over what appears, or doesn't appear, on the website. This is not complicated, folks. If you don't want shit ads appearing on your website, don't accept shit ads.

    • Well behaved ads are not an issue.

      The problem I have is that no company has defined "well behaved ads" in a way that I agree with. For me, the #1 feature of a well behaved ad is that it does not track or otherwise spy on me. As near as I can tell, there's no such thing as a "well behaved" ad.

      • The problem I have is that no company has defined "well behaved ads" in a way that I agree with. For me, the #1 feature of a well behaved ad is that it does not track or otherwise spy on me. As near as I can tell, there's no such thing as a "well behaved" ad.

        I'd add a bit to that. No tracking of any kind unless explicitly opt-in requested with informed consent and respects do-not-track requests. No sharing of user information with other organizations. Minimal bandwidth. No animation. No flash or similar technology. No malware or ware of any kind. No redirects unless explicitly selected by user. No pop up/under/over of any kind ever.

        And you are right, I don't think there is an actual "well behaved" ad these days.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 20, 2015 @05:51PM (#50563393)

    I use Ghostery because I think all ads are also tracker bots like Google Analytics, Facebook like buttons, etc. Even if you never use Google or Facebook they know almost every webpage you visit because most have Google Analytics or Facebook like buttons that load JavaScript from their servers.

    • by Kernel Krumpit ( 1912708 ) on Sunday September 20, 2015 @06:03PM (#50563451)
      How quickly things change - a comment from Ghostery's add-in page. No Longer Blocks Facebook, Twitter and Othe Trackers Rated 2 out of 5 stars by marty on September 19, 2015 permalink translate Warning - Once a well functioning ad-in, several weeks ago it stopped preventing Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus and other wide ranging trackers. All their icons and functionality are now visible on lots of sites, even Ghostery's site. I've reported this several times, yet there has been only one response with no status or progress. I would caution users about this now. This is happening on Windows & Android machines running Firefox.
      • Ghostery?? It gets worse: http://www.reddit.com/r/firefo... [reddit.com]

        Hint: "Allow Ghostery to show messages in my browser related to product features, updates, and promotions."

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Privacy Badger is a better option. It's from the EFF, and works by looking for domains that track you are you move from site to site. No reliance on blacklists or ideology, and no profit motive.

      • I've heard about this, but can't see any evidence of it myself. I just visited Ghostery's home page with Firebug switched on and the only domains it downloaded any content from are ghostery.com and fonts.googleapis.com.

        I noticed a while back that after an update some of the 'trackers' weren't selected in the Options screens. I always just say "select all" on the trackers and cookies tabs, but I guess if you're not completely watching then things could slip by.

        Apart from laziness, I suspect the EFF's tool is

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Otherwise I block every ad and I sleep like a baby for it. I don't have a lot of power in this fucking society, if I can't even control where my attention goes to, then what the fuck can I control?

  • Hate Ads (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Slashdotgirl ( 912338 ) on Sunday September 20, 2015 @06:13PM (#50563515)

    I decide what I want downloaded, because I pay for it and I fucking hate ads and that is why I use ad blocking software. If I want to buy something, then and only then will I look at some ads (maybe). If you want to run a business web site or your own web site then you pay for it. If you don't like me looking at your web site, fine I will go somewhere else, just don't expect me to look at ads.

    The recent slashdot poll about ads said it all, 65% use ad blocking software and do not feel guilty about doing so.

    Regards
    Slashgotgirl

  • Bullshit headline (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Sunday September 20, 2015 @06:18PM (#50563539) Homepage Journal

    AdBlock Plus Defends Ad Blocking, Applauds Marco Arment

    Try Adlblock Plus fellates self, applauds Marco Arment for fellating advertisers. Because of course AdBlock Plus would applaud Marco Arment for doing precisely what they do, and permitting some advertising content. But in the process, they're doing nothing but patting themselves on the backs... or as we often like to say these days, sucking their own dicks.

    There is no "acceptable advertising", to many of us. We're tired of space in our brain being rented out, and we're willing to not consume content if only we don't have to encounter advertisements. I'd rather my ad blocker break a site than show me ads. Otherwise, I know not to go back there, and may that site die the death of a thousand dogs, amen. This is a war for control of your brain. Don't be a loser.

  • by sparkydevil ( 261897 ) on Sunday September 20, 2015 @06:19PM (#50563551)

    The ad blocking software I'd like to see would detect and zap into a heap of ash those unrelated-photo clickbait ads; I'd rather suffer through some honest banner ads anytime.

    Web publishers should get together to make a "Reader's Charter" that pledges to stop clickbait and intrusive ads. It's not that complicated. Here's mine [newslines.org]

    • Web publishers should get together to make a "Reader's Charter" that pledges to stop clickbait and intrusive ads.

      and remove their #1 source of income? those are the ads that pay the best. why oh why would they do that?

  • by drolli ( 522659 ) on Sunday September 20, 2015 @06:23PM (#50563569) Journal

    in 2008/2009. I bought a netbook and quickly figured out that rendering the webpages themself (news, technical stuff) was absolutely fine with a single core atom running for 4h on battery, but that playing the flash video in the ad in the background would render the site unusable.

    i started ad-blocking and everything was fine.

    Just make decent, maybe targeted ads, which are unintrusive and dont slow down my computer too much, and we can discuss that i change my behaviour.

    • Just make decent, maybe targeted ads, which are unintrusive and dont slow down my computer too much, and we can discuss that i change my behaviour.

      See this advertisers? You don't need to fear the small minority of us who are allergic to your bullshit. You can ignore us, because all you have to is be minimally non-offensive and there is a large majority who will line up and bleet happily. No, you never had to resort to being obnoxious and toxic. You'd have been better off in the long run on the high road.

  • If you have a valuable commodity then somebody will voluntarily support it. Wikipedia for example. Or you might find people want to buy what you have on offer. When I see people without ad-blockers I'm amazed at their crap experience, but they don't seem to know any better. If you want to see model this in print then buy Private Eye. Excellent Journalism worth paying for and ads at front and back which I skip over because I've got no money to spend, but presumably some people do because a lot are repeats.
  • The ad blocking software I'd like to see would detect and zap into a heap of ash those unrelated-photo clickbait ads; I'd rather suffer through some honest banner ads anytime.

    You mean like the Taboola crap my ad blocker is currently removing from the bottom of Slashdot pages (even though I have ads disabled on my account)?

  • by speedlaw ( 878924 ) on Sunday September 20, 2015 @06:58PM (#50563737) Homepage
    I was surprised to find this out. I've had blockers on my stuff for the last, oh, five years. I got hit by a bad ad at one point, and realized it was just another attack vector. I'm sorry that the legit guys lost too, but it is kind of like 50 people pass through your house, one is a thief. None of them NEED to be there, so you can lock the door without feeling bad about it. Every time I have to de-malware someone's machine, it is left with full adblock on all browsers...and I'm not even a real geek.
  • by CAHutch ( 2786995 ) on Sunday September 20, 2015 @07:12PM (#50563801)
    I have no guilt about using Ad Blockers. Advertisements have become so pervasive and invasive that they are literally ruining any experience they touch. I got a TiVo so I could avoid spending a quarter of my TV time watching Ads I got an Ad blocker when web Ads started becoming obnoxious and distracting. I for one would rather not have any Ad supported services. I'd rather pay for services like YouTube and Facebook than have to put up with the Ads. If web services lose revenue over Ad blockers, they should offer users a way to Pay for the service in exchange for an Ad free experience. IMO "Ad supported" might as well be "supported by clubbing baby seals". Both are evil and should be stopped. Elon Musk would seem to agree with me. "he refuses to advertise for Tesla, something most startup car companies wouldn’t think twice about—because he sees advertising as manipulative and dishonest."
  • I want an ad blocker that whitelists everything by default, so I can block sites I consider abusive. I tried them all, none do this.

    To me, blocking everything by default is a reflexive overreaction. I agree that ads have gotten out of hand, but penalizing sites that use them responsibly is horrible.

    Can someone point me in the direction of an ad blocker that lets me whitelist everything by default and has a simple "block ads on this site" button for the bad actors? (I'm looking at you, wikia!)

    • but penalizing sites that use them responsibly is horrible.

      A perfectly competent and well-run web site can still be hosting malware from third-party web sites.

    • They all do it, it just isn't advertised how because few people want that.

      Just install the ad-blocker, and then manage your own list subscription. Depending on the blocker, you might need an empty list file. Then nothing is blocked, because there are no blocking rules to start with. You'll still have all the normal tools like "select element to hide," etc.

    • This sounds like a good idea until you realize there is thousends of thousends of thousends of adds out there.
      So every time you refresh a page, start your browser, or you go to the next part of a webpage, you would have to click everything. That adds up too a lot of time, compared to just blocking everything.

  • by Snufu ( 1049644 ) on Sunday September 20, 2015 @09:36PM (#50564367)

    Because there is no such thing as 'acceptable ads' on my internet*.

    *The internet that was funded by a collaboration between federal and academic institutions for public--not commercial--enrichment.

  • by DERoss ( 1919496 ) on Sunday September 20, 2015 @09:51PM (#50564415)

    Those who would prevent the use of ad-blockers need to consider where the logical path of their position leads. Advertisements also appear on television and radio, in newspapers and magazines, and on billboards along our highways.

    Action to prevent ad-blockers must therefore also prohibit Mute buttons on TV remotes and prohibit me from running to the bathroom during long commercial breaks on TV. They must also prohibit me from switching radio stations or turning off the radio while driving They must force me me read every ad in my morning newspaper and make me stop my car to carefully read every billboard.

    NO. I can choose to be deaf and blind to advertisements in other media. Why can I not choose to block advertisements on the Internet? What is it about the Internet that mandates its advertisements on me, something other media cannot do?

  • You know what kind of ads I really hate? The autoplaying video ads that have started appearing on Slashdot. Is there an ad blocker that will kill only those?

    • by jafiwam ( 310805 )

      You know what kind of ads I really hate? The autoplaying video ads that have started appearing on Slashdot. Is there an ad blocker that will kill only those?

      Try one of the HOSTS file add blockers.

      I don't see any of that on /.

  • by crunchy_one ( 1047426 ) on Monday September 21, 2015 @12:43AM (#50564915)
    I find it very sad that anyone would take the side of advertisers. Advertising is now, and always has been a gangrenous cultural wound; a filthy puss filled carbuncle on the ass of capitalism. Advertisements not only manipulate the ignorant and the weak minded, they actively seek to produce ignorance and weak mindedness. Whether or not it moves, plays sound, or just sits there, advertisements are an evil that should be expunged by any means necessary.
  • by Tom ( 822 ) on Monday September 21, 2015 @02:15AM (#50565085) Homepage Journal

    whitelisting and the Acceptable Ads feature of AdBlock Plus

    Never forget that ABP has been sold out to a company in the advertisement business, and has been repeatedly accused of cutting favors for a) other companies in their group and b) those who pony up the cash, no matter what kinds of ads they serve.

    The solution to the advertisement problem is for advertisers to step back into the realms of civilized behaviour. The solution to theft is not to whitelist the guys who steal a little bit from the rich, it is to jail thieves, period.

    Once that basic system is in place, we can think about exceptions, e.g. not jailing people who stole an apple because they were starving. Because we understand that the solution to hunger is food, and providing an alternative way of getting it is the better solution than jailing all starving people.

    But before we talk about "acceptable advertisement", we need to arrive at the point where everyone - including the fuckers who made the mess - agrees that the current amount and style of online advertisement is not acceptable.
    As long as you have people running around claiming that their particular style of stealing is fine, you shouldn't be talking about whitelisting thieves.

  • by bytesex ( 112972 ) on Monday September 21, 2015 @03:31AM (#50565205) Homepage

    Sorry, but if ads were simply generated on the webserver itself (in case of slashdot), with images that also come from slashdot itself, or - in case of something like wordfeud - the ads are simply proxied by the app's home base (apps also phone home for stuff, right?), then the ad-traffic becomes indistinguishable from other, necessary traffic and ad-blockers would be out of work, right?

    Yet this doesn't happen. So apparently, it is still too easy to serve apps.

  • I use ABP but I kept seeing Taboola ads and I couldn't understand why ABP wasn't blocking them. I eventually wrote my own rule to strip them out. Then I discovered it allowed them through because they were "acceptable" when they were clearly obnoxious "social" click-bait bullshit. From that I conclude that ABP's main definition of "acceptable" is "paid us a lot of money".

    So no, I don't think ABP's policy works, nor is it driven by conscience. At least the settings allow all ads to be blocked but I'd trust

  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Monday September 21, 2015 @04:30AM (#50565345)

    Look, if they kept their ads to non-blinking, non-animated, and non-offensive ads then I'd not use ad block.

    On youtube DoubleClick keeps trying to sell me something to do with some horrible disease involving really gross looking parasites. And so if I disable adblock on youtube I see these really gross "something awful" type pictures of gross shit. That's on fucking youtube.

    I go to some newsites and I get auto playing ad movies.

    And then there are lots of sites that have nested javascript which is javascript inside of java script inside of javascript... and all of that makes the pages load slowly to say nothing of doing all sort of weird shit.

    Look...

    1. If you want ads... I want nothing beyond a jpg. No gifs. No Flash. Nothing that moves.

    2. If you want ads... do not annoy me with offensive ads. If I see ads for penis pills, women showing me their vaginas as if I need an add to find porn, or whatever the fuck that image is that double click keeps throwing at me on youtube... I will enable ad block. No hesitation, no mercy, no remorse.

    This is why people skip ads anywhere. They get too pushy and people respond "oh really!?"

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