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back to article Blogger silences Google ads with death and destruction

If nothing else, it's sure to amuse Steve Ballmer. The Microsoft chieftain has been known to turn his nose up at the way Google targets ads on its Gmail service, accusing his bete noire of reading your email. Google does in fact read your email - or at least, Google machines do - and there's nothing you can do about it. Short of …

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WTF?

Seriously?

This is news how? Everybody knows that Google stick targetted ads in e-mails, everybody knows Google is free, everybody knows there are hundreds of free mail providers out there.

The ads are a whopping 1 line above the e-mail, and this guy's on some crazy arse mission whiting out text in emails to get rid of it? Has he found a solution that works with non-white background themes? Maybe spend a few days working through their CSS?

If it *really* offends him that much, he should go use Hotmail, or any of the other free e-mail services out there, or even, heaven forbid, pay for an e-mail service.

Jesus I really hope if Google do respond they respond with a premium e-mail service without ads that this moron can pay for.

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Anonymous Coward

Seriously? (Continued)

OK, I just realised I had Adblock+ installed, which removes the right-side ads, but kind of makes the point really doesn't it?

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Silver badge

Woah, settle petal

Seriously AC @ 05:13, try some chamomile tea.

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Linux

Or

register a domain of your choice, point it to your home adsl and host your own mail server. simples. complete control.

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WTF?

@Seriously

Totally agree. If you don't want ads in gmail either:

1. Use Firefox and AdBlocker[1]

2. Use GMail on your mobile device (works for me)

3. Use GMail's POP/IMAP interface

4. Don't use Gmail.

[1] I think this is the case, I don't recall ever seeing ads myself but I rarely use gmail's full web interface, I normally do it all from my mobile.

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Use a mail client

Why don't people just set up an e-mail client, such as Thunderbird, for G-Mail? The only time I have to visit the G-mail web pages is to check the spam folder every now and again to make sure a legit. message hasn't gone in there.

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FAIL

Still parsed...

And how does Google tell if a message contains content it doesn't want to display an ad next to? Oh, that's right, it has to parse it...

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Paris Hilton

@lupine

Well, that will work fine unless your ISP is one of the growing number who block smtp at their gateway.

I couldn't care less about the adverts, but if you are really keen to remove them and you don't want to use firefox + adblock then I suppose you could come up with a suitable email sig that has the requisite words in it. I'm not sure why you would bother though, i'd rather see ads than a string of words about death an fornicating.

Fornicating? Hmmm, then again . . .

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Headers

Wonder if it works if the words are put into the headers. Come to think of it, I have no idea if GMail even lets you fiddle with the headers. Will have to prod it later.

Steve.

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loser

what a loser! He should just use PINE!

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Alert

@lupine

... and manage your own spam filter ... and DNS ...and patch the server regularly to ensure security....and put up with the bandwidth overhead of spammers constantly testing your server for vulnerabilities ...and pay the power bills for a mailserver running 24/7 ...and accept that you'll lose mail every time your ADSL line goes down or your machine isn't running.

Yeah. Simples.

Erm. I think I'll have the gmail option, thanks.

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Stop

@lupine

Until your home broad-band/computer goes down, at which point mail starts vanishing into the ether...

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Wark Kupo

@ AC 5:13

... and the point of viewing ads you're never going to click is? If you know you're never going to go for adverts on internets, then there's no point viewing them. The argument that you should always view ads on ad-supported sites because that's how they make revenue is retarded, as if you know you'll never click them, you're just driving down their CTR and revenues. Far better to banish them, by whatever means.

Also take a chill pill, sheesh.

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Or II

Install adblock plus. I forgot that google even serve ads ;)

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Big Brother

@Seriously? (Continued)

It won't even get rid of the banner at the top. So it does no more than adblock+

However in settings you can turn that top line off anyway by going to "Settings" then the "Web Clips" tab and unchecking "Show my web clips above the Inbox"

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IT Angle

So what?

Don't use gmail. I can't say I've ever wanted to use the service.

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block it

Or use noscript or adblock plugins for FF for example.

Works too

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Anonymous Coward

@lupine

LOL SIMPLES.

We need a meerkat icon reg.

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Silver badge

Google has ads?

I never noticed. But then I use a proper browser with some proper filters and blockers in place.

If web ads were not so horribly intrusive (animated ads are the worst) then I wouldn't block them.

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Big Brother

So... Google wont read it

But I bet the CIA / MI5 will lol

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Bronze badge

Missed opportunities

"As Joe McKay points out, Google turns off its sponsored links if an email mentions suicide, death, 9/11, and murder. Or other words to that effect."

Yes, rather nice of them don't ya think... but do they then forward such emails directly to the NSA?

If I was a shareholder I would be rather angry about the missed revenue.

Why do Google not show ads that advertise paracetamol, knives, guns, C4 and funeral directors with such emails?

Where's the sarcasm icon?

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WTF?

Google still reads your emails

Putting in the words to stop ads still means that Google is reading your email. If you're that bothered about the ads annoying you install AdBlocker (there are other programs available).

J

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It's not only about "getting rid of ads"

This is about the purest form of "hacking". Exploiting the workings of a system in ways it's creators never intended it to work. It's not about efficiency or need, it's about style.

Here's a much earlier exploration of the same idea (shouldn't be taken too seriously either): http://asofterworld.com/index.php?id=194

If you want to get rid of the ads, use an offline client like Thunderbird, read your mails on your cellphone or get adblock. Whatever.

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Of course....

This doesn't stop Google *reading* your email. It just makes Google think that it would be kind of inappropriate to sell you a funeral plan or something, in case you're talking about the loss of a loved one.

So Adblock Plus will accomplish the same task much more simply. Ads? I see no ads?!

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Hacking

I'm impressed - it's in the true spirit of hacking of good old days; look at it, see how it works, figure out how to make it behave differently, tell the world and his dog.

Let's hope that the words used to kill off the advertising aren't the same trigger words which get people flagged up as terrorists :-)

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Linux

@Matt Bradley

yeah i run a home mail server under debian 5. it's running spamassasin, needs very little patching and consumes very little power. current uptime is sitting at 169 days...

it needs few updates/patching as it's running few services and if it goes down (monitored by siteuptime) i point my remote dns to a server i've got running on the rackspace cloud.

simples? well maybe not quite...

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Go

Proxomitron

The aging Proxomitron still does a pretty good job with most ads too. Also runs good under Wine for those so inclined.

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Happy

Ads? I see no ads

I have always used gmail via Thunderbird -- no ads -- general browsing, Firefox with adblock+, NoScript, Request Policy and Flashblock thrown in for good measure -- no ads (unless I want them)

Simples --- yea, where's that meerkat icon o_o

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Go

@ Matt Bradley and King Edward

Mail doesn't just start disappearing when your connection goes down - it gets queued by the sending servers and comes in when your line comes back up. If it isn't then the sending servers are broken and you can't expect anything like reliable delivery anyway. OK, if you are down for several days then mail will start to bounce (note: bounce so sender knows it's not been delivered, not disappear silently - unless sending server is broken, see above about lack of expectations for service from broken servers).

Spam filtering ? Well there are some very useful techniques that you can use when mail is delivered direct, but cannot be done when it comes via a relay. And most importantly, you have the opportunity to REJECT bad mail rather than accepting it and then being faced with the choice of either delivering spam or silently deleting legitimate mail. I refuse to have anything to do with complete numpties who think accepting mail which they have no intention of delivering or bouncing is a good idea - you wouldn't accept it if your postman looked through your post and threw anything in the bin that he thought looked 'a bit spammy' (or you wouldn't once he's lost you money by throwing away some important document).

In my case the box is already on all the time - it's my router, internal server (DHCP & DNS), torrent server, MythTV server, and a few other things besides. So SMTP service isn't a problem.

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Re: Home mail server

Many mail servers on the web (including mine) will reject e-mail from 'home' mailservers, as it is all too often a source of spam (and the number of legitimate uses is negligible). I use the Spamhaus XBL list, which blocks all 'dynamic' IP addresses, so unless you have a business class connection, with your own netblock etc, you'll find a number of places you simply can't email...

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@King Edward !

"Until your home broad-band/computer goes down, at which point mail starts vanishing into the ether.."

Nah. Your server's unreachable for a while, so the sending servers queue the message. Once you're back up, the messages will begin to arrive again when the servers retry at intervals. It's the way the mail system's designed, to cope with broken/busy systems. The length of time a message is queued is configurable, but three to five days is common.

People have kind of got used to the idea of e-mail being all but instantaneous; those of us closer to our bus pass than our first legal beer know better!

Like lupine, I run my own mail server (with spamassassin, ClamAV etc). Pretty much self maintaining, I have a schedule set to train SA with new junk periodically and the amount that leaks through (compared to an unfiltered account) is acceptably trivial...

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@King Edward I

except of course it doesn't disappear, it returns to the sender in a server not found type of way....

I also run a email server at home, I use my ISP for sending. Works a treat.

as for powering it, I think my kettle uses more everytime I make a cuppa.

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Happy

@King Edward I

Of course, Gmail never goes down.............

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Pint

HOW TO BLOCK ALL ADS FROM GOOGLE et al

Use Firefox then install the AdBlocker add-on.

Takes care of all pesky ads and increases your view size.

It's brilliant.

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h 6
WTF?

What?

"and hope your friends don't search for c***suckers"

Whadaya mean? My friends search for c***suckers every day...

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thanks Zoltan and Jason

Zoltan, I made a note of your comment on the page. Gets right to the point. Thanks.

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Grenade

out-fucking-standing!

fornicate google and the servers they f-ing rode in on!

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FAIL

Move along, nothing to see

“Simply add the trigger words in white text on white background”

That's not email. That's HTML.

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Gates Horns

Re: @King Edward !

“Nah. Your server's unreachable for a while, so the sending servers queue the message.”

Or it gets delivered to a backup MX. (Which is probably what the spammers will do anyway.)

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Pint

Where's Dogbert when you need him?

I suspect the point of the article wasn't to criticise Google's advertising policies, but to report on an interesting quirk that allows you to sidestep it.

Not because anyone seriously would want to go this far, but because Google's ways of doing things are so rigidly obscured from anyone outside the company, that experimenting to discover them is Fun.

Icon - pint of beer, because some of the commenters in here really need to get out more...

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@lupine

Hehe! Exactly. Not so simples. Robust can be a bit techy for most folks. Gmail does a pretty good job for a lower admin overhead. Running your own mailserver IS more demanding.

You gets what you pays for.

I suppose you could run your own mailserver and use gmail as a backup MX with gmail's mail forwarding. ;)

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WTF?

@Matt Bradley

use gmail as a backup MX? How exactly would that work?

Either I'm too tired to imagine it, or I just don't understand.. or your wrong.

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