[Rejected] An approach to fair ad blocking

Various discussions related to Adblock Plus development
ChazChance# UK
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 4:32 pm

Alternative approach

Post by ChazChance# UK »

I don't mind ads for cheese and chocolate, I object to ads for slimming aids.
I don't mind ads for things that expand my mind, I object to ads for things to change the shape of my body.
I love soul music, I object to ads for religeon and porn.

If Adblock Plus were to block ads based on where the links lead (can you do that?) instead of where they originate then:
1) Not all ad links on a decent site would get blocked.
2) Revenue from click-throughs would go up, because the the viewer would be interested in the subject and therefore more likely to buy.
3) No need to keep updating Adblock as new ad sites come on-line.
4) A "parent" filter could be created to keep children from seeing ads for dodgy sites, which is better than just stopping them from going there.
5) No matter what you are trying to sell, someone, somewhere, wants to see your advert, so Adblock ceases to be the threat it seems, because blanket blocking becomes a thing of the past.

Anyway, if one site blocks ME because I am using Adblock, there are plenty of other sites that won't. They have the freedom to block me, and I have the freedom to lower their popularity. I would rather update my bookmarks than give up Adblock.

My web site carries advertising - so what?
Anonymous Coward 1

Subjective advertising

Post by Anonymous Coward 1 »

Ares2 wrote:Unfortunately it's not that easy, the main general filters like '/ads/*' block all kind of ads. And then "unobtrusive ads" is still very subjective, see forum/viewtopic.php?t=3907 .
I've looked at a few sites with Internet Explorer (sans ad blocking software) and I think you're right. The annoyances that I immediate recognized are ads with audio (regardless of size), animated ads (regardless of size), large ads that sit right in the middle of what I'm trying to read, and ad clutter in which it seems there are more ads than content. Interestingly, I found some ads that are constantly repeated across pages to be major annoyances as well. For example, one site had an ad for a conference in the same place on every page of the site. I wasn't interested the first time I saw it and by the fifth page I wanted to rip it to shreds.

Is your primary goal presenting information to users with an occasional ad to generate revenue, or is your primary goal to present ads to drive revenue and the content is an afterthought? I seriously believe the primary goal of some sites are the ads... the content is just a means to drive eyeballs to the ads. The surface area of the advertisements outweigh the surface area of the content, the content of a smallish article is split across 10 to 15 pages, or the article is so heavily chopped up by ads that the article is nearly impossible to read.

I also find some ads objectionable and this is mostly an issue based on personal perceptions. I personally perceive (rightly or wrongly) pharmaceutical companies as the biggest liars in marketing campaigns and object to 99% of all pharmaceutical advertisements. Ads featuring sexually provocative female models (whether scantily clad or used as "eye candy") are offensive to me. I think women and minorities in this country have put up the good fight to prove they deserve equality, so, yes, I find your depictions that women aren't anything more than "eye candy" to enhance your latest gadget to be terribly offensive.

There are those ads that are kinda sorta in the right ballpark but are so off the mark to be completely useless. I may be on a site reading very technical information about routers, routing algorithms, or whatever... but I have no interest in and can't afford that $10,000 router you keep plopping in front of my eyeballs so why bother?

Finally, there's the issue of safety in advertising whether through breach of privacy, the potential for cross-site scripting attacks, or malware delivery injecting into advertising streams. This is the primary reason I use NoScript in conjunction with AdBlock Plus and allow scripts only on trusted sites that really need scripts. I very rarely allow scripts from third-party sites even if the primary site won't work without them.

I guess this is a rather long way of say that I agree with your assessment that ads are subjective.

Re: Opinions requested: An approach to fair ad blocking

Post by phillipsjk »

I have not read all the comments in this thread, but I have read the comments accompanying An approach to fair ad blocking - Feedback summary

First off, I don't use AdBlockPlus. It seems counter-productive to me that you would use a web-browser or plug-in that implements annoying ads, only to disable the functionality. Sure some websites don't work with out Client-side Scripting: I just assume they don't want my business anyway. I use Yahoo! mail. I find their service faster, more reliable and less annoying with JavaScript disabled. I also don't have Flash installed. They were even nice and fixed it so I can log in with Lynx again like I always did when I first signed up.

I have noticed that many people (like me) only object to intrusive advertising. The problem is that intrusive advertising is difficult to detect automatically: how do you know if that chunk of JS code is for advertising or content like Google Maps? One of the commenters linked above pointed out that even static text-based Ads or images can be intrusive if they are misleading.

Another thing to consider is bandwidth usage: I realize a lot of people don't bring it up, but it is a legitimate concern. When you are listening to the radio or watching TV, the Ads use about the same amount of bandwidth (boosting the volume during commercials uses a little more bandwidth) as the content. If I am reading a text article that is 10KiB, but also end up downloading a 1MiB video Ad, the Ad is using 100x the bandwidth as the content. If the article is 250kiB of text and images, 100kiB of banner Ads are not so out of place.

For the past year I have been trying to use the web with JavaScript enabled. I eventually decided to disable JavaScript again after my sister opened ~10 tabs on the 'Best Buy" website. The JavaScript or content got pushed to the swap partition; as a result 95% of the CPU time was tied up waiting for the disk. Disabling JavaScript took 3 hours, but Firefox was immediately responsive again once all the open tabs were converted to "static" web-pages.

The point of that anecdotal story is that intrusive advertising often has side effects: side effects that can be measured.
Add an option to automatically block Ads if more than 25% of the CPU(s) is/are in use or if the size of the Ad content is likely to be disproportionate to the size of the non-Ad content.
Such functionality will likely require a "grey list" of known Ad sites or simply assuming third-party sites are Ad hosts. I realize the filesize is not always known before download with HTTP, but you can probably guess based on content type (assuming the server doesn't lie about that too). If a server lies about content type, it should be automatically black-listed.
Some suggestion

Re: Opinions requested: An approach to fair ad blocking

Post by Some suggestion »

Annoyance meter. Ask user to vote for annoyance factor (Good, less annoying, annoying, very annoying.)
Add configuration which says show only less annoying.
Issues will be there with privacy and spam. I think you can make registration based stuff. And make it optIn. So atleast those users show wish online world should exist with Ad, will vote. Other users will just use that ratings. This will require server side infrastructure maintainance etc. You can charge website owner to give more details like what part was annoying etc given by users. And use these money to maintain these servers.

Is there any possibility to block graphical ads only ? cos as i see, some of them really don't have image in url, but they deliver with script etc...I think most annoying and distracting ads are those flashing banners.

Re: Opinions requested: An approach to fair - tip jar

Post by phillipsjk »

woolwit wrote:. . .
So that, when I installed AdBlock Plus, I would be given the option of putting a TipJar in my toolbar. Perhaps I'd set a default amount, say $.06, and whenever I hit it, the account of the site I was on would instantly receive my tip. You wouldn't even have to sign up the content providers, just have their tips accruing and send them an email once in a while. They'd soon enough come running. I could easily spend a couple of dollars a day (say the price of a newspaper) thanking the people who provide the quality content I enjoy. And knowing that this was an option, perhaps more publishers would opt out of the Adsense model.
I find this idea interesting, but there are a couple of problems with it:
Micro-transactions often cost more than the donation. The suggestion that you allow tips to accumulate can mitigate this:
  • Allow each user to select how full their tip jar is before a transaction (with the aggregator ) actually happens. An easy way to do this is have the users "load" money into the tip jar. When you empty your tip jar, you can't give tips until you load it again.
  • The aggregator may only contact the website owner after a certain threshold is reached like $20. While subject to abuse, it is no worse than existing advertising services
  • I would expect the tips to go to the person controlling the domain. This may be unexpected behavior as blogger, Youtube, and social networking sites may benefit from a lot of indirect donations. While that helps pay for maintenance and bandwidth, it does not discourage annoying ADs (IMO)
Potential for abuse The reason transactions are so expensive is the requirement for oversight, and possible compliance with anti-money laundering and anti-terror (funding) laws. Institutions dealing with money are supposed to know their customers.
  • People hosting websites may stuff their own tip jar. Since they are using their own money, it would likely be used to get over the $20 threshold mentioned earlier. Major potential for abuse if they are not using their own money through fraud or computer take-over.
  • Where will the tipjar state be stored? I think the tip jar aggregator would have to track all tips: potential privacy/security concerns.
  • Cyber-squatters may try to "game" the system by stealing content from "legitimate" web-sites in order to collect on tips. They would benefit the most from stuffing their own jar (getting many marginal websites over the threshold is more profitable than getting a personal website over the threshold).
PS: I refuse to use PayPal or Credit cards because their terms are unreasonable. I'm sure any "tip-jar" aggregator will have similar unreasonable terms (possibly for similar reasons).
Wladimir Palant

Re: Opinions requested: An approach to fair ad blocking

Post by Wladimir Palant »

I'm closing this topic - the feature discussed here will not be implemented. This is partially due to the points brought up in the discussion, partially because I no longer feel that this is the best way. I'm considering some other solutions, will request comments once there is something more definite to discuss.