Google - the world's largest online ad broker - sees no reason to worry about the addition of ad-blocking extensions to its Chrome browser. Online advertisers will ensure their ads aren't too annoying, the company says, and netizens will ultimately realize that online advertising is a good thing. "We think about this a lot at …
"I think there will be a nice equilibrium. If people get too aggressive with ads, then ad blockers will become more popular and companies will get less aggressive with ads. The market will sort itself."
Exactly, this is naive
The idea (first semester economics I suspect) that all players in a market will behave for the good of all is the sort of naive "perfect market" economics that Bush and Brown subscribed to when they let the Wunch of Bankers bugger the entire planet's economy and steal all the money.
Markets do not work this way, each player in the market will seek to advantage themselves and only themselves without consideration of the damage to others, or themselves in the medium term through damage to the market. The reason for this is simple (thanks to John Nash et al) if any players in the market behave in this way then they all must behave in this way to avoid being disadvantaged and stay in the market, thus driving down the overall behaviour.
You can also see this in television programming, we have the likes of X f**cker and Big Brother because they can be made more cheaply than real television and therefore attract higher margins. If one channel does this they all have to (except the BBC who have no excuse as we have to pay them a fixed fee anyway) so programming collapses into a steaming pile of reality TV.
Until it has rikaichan, noscripts and a quality adblocker then it doesn't matter. Even if it does try and lure me with its delicious K-on theme.
I'm afraid to say
I use ad blockers largely because of news sites, and a particularly bad offender for irritating flashing and animated ads is The Register. I absolutely can't stand to have some fit inducing commercial beside a piece of text I want to read. I like Google's idea that ads will get less annoying, I certainly feel no need to block ads on their search pages, and occasionally they are useful.
Than turn off flash
Register is best viewed with flash off ;)
That is one of the reasons why I always browse the web with konqueror which has had per-site plugin policy long before the relevant plugin in firefox hit a 0.0 version. And the policy for elreg is exactly that - noflash.
The most annoying one at the moment is the shell banner at the top, because when I scroll down it often opens up but doesn't close again, meaning that a large chunk of text is obscured until I put my mouse over the advert, then move off again...... grrrr!
Second most annoying is the one in the middle of the article, which wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't animated in such a nausiating way.
And they wonder why people like to block them!
RE: I'm afraid to say
I have to say that I have to agree.
I always run an adblocker, because the vast majority of sites I visit can cause a huge overhead on resources for my machine.
I have even installed it for all people on my network so that new starters get it by default, because most adverts are flash based and I'm fed up of the flash based memory holes.
I now treat ads as opt-in and on a reasonable number of sites i visit regularly I unblock the adverts that are not annoying, and some ad agencies like http://www.projectwonderful.com/ know not to do flashy adverts or popups so that one has been unblocked. However to paraphrase Gold Soundz, the Registers adverts suck ballz and although i keep unblocking them, i just have to block them again because they annoy me _too_ much.
Most news sites = crap adverts that drive you mad
Nothing gets on my tits more than some gaudy coloured piece of shite, always flashing away right next to what you want to read.
Ad Block & No Script
Another vote against Shell
I do use AdBlock generally but with an exception for ElReg.
a few more ads with the annoyance level of that bloody Shell one and it will get turned back on.
Re: Than turn off flash
Yes, you COULD configure separate plugin policies for every single site you go to and then keep them all up to date every time a website adds content you need to block/allow. You COULD spend hours doing that.
OR you could just install ABP and have no ads at all.
Honestly the lengths you advertards will go to just to keep some adverts but not others, when a perfectly easy and rational solution is to block all ads, boggles the mind.
I bet you run one of those ad-laden landing pages with a domain suspiciously similar to a legit site, designed to trick users into looking at a billion adverts when they don't want to - don't you? "oh but you can make a policy... blah blah blah"
"What happens when Chrome controls 90 per cent of the market, for instance, and Google's largest advertisers start demanding satisfaction?"
Nothing. Anyone who cares will still be using a browser that blocks the crap.
It's not just the ads that are annoying.
They MIGHT help drive down annoying ads but will they stop the ad people harvesting as much data as they can about you? For me it's not just annoying ads its also Tracking scripts, Tracking cookies, Flash LSO's etc that pisses me off about ads. If ad networks offered you a chance to OPT IN for targeted ads & all that stuff rather me having to take steps to OUT OUT off all that bollocks then I MIGHT start to allow exceptions in No script, Adblock plus & even my Hostsfile!
It's not that I have anything to hide, its more like it's none of your fucking business. Text ads & some graphical ads are fine but they rest of the deal no thanks.
Yeah. THAT's gonna happen.
"What happens when Chrome controls 90 per cent of the market, for instance,"
What happens when my personal net worth eclipses that of the EU, China, Japan and the US combined? The odds of either happening are not exactly what I'd call "good".
Chrome is niche software, at best ... too little, too late ... and I have a funny feeling that google itself will be either gone, or a bit-player like SCO (or perhaps nothing but a verb) before 2015. Face it, google doesn't have a product that is sustainable. More and more people are blocking all of google, all the time.
The Internet isn't like Newspapers, TV or Radio, in that you can partake of the product WITHOUT having to put up with advertising. If I don't like a series of IP addresses, I am free to not see anything from those addresses. This is a fact, regardless of what the marketing bozos would have the sheeple believe.
 I stopped reading newspapers when Herb Caen died ...
 The only TV we own is in the barn office ... it's used strictly to view video tapes of horses and/or riders, for a variety of reasons. (Yes, equestrian people still use video tape. I'm TRYING to educate, but inertia is a tough nut to crack ...).
 All the vehicles have a push-button on the dash that gives me 110 seconds of silence when we are listening to baseball games while on the road.
Cull them all!
I use various ad-block, noscript and block advertisers like doubleclick on all my browsers at home, and on my portable virtual desktop that I take into work (megamonolithiccorp doesn't want me to shove 50 gig of my music onto the work laptop for some reason!), and so I've gotten used to seeing websites as I like them, with only the information I am looking for and as little as possible extra cack. Then I recently had cause to use the work browser, IE6 in all of its glory no less, to do some surfing at *ahem* lunchtime and I was simply shocked at how much advertising some sites have... with El Reg being one of them. For example, some places have a fecking huge banner ad that means to see any meaningful content you need to scroll down a little on every fecking page you go to! That's something that just pisses off any sane user...
"because if advertising is so annoying that a large segment of the population wants to block it, then advertising needs to get less annoying."
If? We reached that point when they started using animated gifs. Flash adds insult to injury.
Ad companies are too greedy
It's a good and probably reasonable argument - or would be if Google were the only ones doing advertising. Google ads are not the worst by quite some distance, and while they might be able to see the need for restraint, the others won't in their desire to screw the consumer in every way possible to the extent the law allows. BT, Virgin and Talktalk all thought pushing the limits of privacy to the max was quite reasonable, and plenty of smaller advertisers try ever more devious, dishonest and invasive methods to target ads and force them under our noses.
I'm really not at all sure they're smart enough to realise they'll kill their own businesses. But in doing so they'll target Google with the same brush in any case. "Good" ad companies may see themselves as distinct from those with bad practices; the public simply see advertising as a whole; print, web, broadcast direct mail etc etc, and the number who have had quite enough is growing. Most people are ex directory, over 50 percent use the Telephone and Marketing Preference services, and 40 percent have opted out of the marketers version of the Electoral roll, clearly not too keen on those special offers. Using adblockers is just a logical extension of that.
Google's thinking might well prove to be a little wishful.
C is for Cookie
Flashing and screaming ads aren't Google's thing. It's all about monitoring, data collection, and power. I bet Google does some Evil when a Chrome package comes out that can block the whole Google family of monitoring services.
Great article - short, incisive and to the point.
It's not the adverts on Google that worry me...
It's the adverts in general. If I've used a search engine, I'll assume that I'm likely to get some sort of advertising on the same page - but it's probably something I'm looking at/for anyway.
But the conceit that if people use adblockers, advertisers will tone down the ads? Stupid, stupid, stupid... adverts will become more and more intrusive to attract the attention of those daft enough to let them in.
More likely, I feel, is that sites will not allow access to their main information unless and until you download their advertising crap first. That will fill the net with even more pointless bits than presently, but I'm sure we'll live with that, just as we live with unseen spam emails. Of course, they can't force you to display it at your browser... oh, wait, we're talking about a browser built by a company that makes its money from advertising...
"they can't force you to display it"
..Apple has a patent for just that. Watch this space.
"What happens when Chrome controls 90 per cent of the market, for instance, and Google's largest advertisers start demanding satisfaction?"
Nothing much - the people who care will switch back to Firefox, Internet Explorer or whatever else is available.
IE had 95% market share around 2002, I seem to remember that some people worried that Microsoft would take over the Internet. That didn't happen, and I can't see that Google would be able to do so either.
should really read this article about annoying adverts - then apply it to there own site, thank god for ad blockers removing flash adverts
If people are lazy...
"Like we said, people are lazy. They don't go out of their way to use anything other than what they already have."
So they won't be installing Chrome in the first place. Which is a shame, when you think of what they'll continue to use instead...
Could that Shell advert BE any more annoying?
Can you imagine if billboards did that IRL, you'd be suing for invasion of privacy if not ABH.
Rollover to have your entire screen filled by our advert is what it should say.
Their TV adverts annoy me as well but I shout at the TV a lot in the comfort of my own home.
well I don't know...
... I've never seen the ad since I'm on firefox. Ignorance is bliss in this case methinks.
Haven't seen their TV ads either - never owned a TV set, for the following reasons:
1) 90% of programming panders to the lowest common denominator, and;
2) watching the remaining 10% is transformed into sheer agony by advertising with characteristics as described under 1).
STOP, because that's what the ABP icon looks like.
I have no objection to plain HTML adverts. (Or if a website does it so badly, I do, I'll go somewhere else).
If they get a 90% share then the advertisers would probably be glad of the opt-out from those who don't want ads by running a blocker, a bit like with opt-out from junk mail in the post. No point in showing your ads (and paying for them) when the person on the receiving end actively does not want them.
@AC 16/12/2009 01:02 GMT
You forgot TACO... opt you out of a heap of targeted advert networks too.
no ads, no websites
The blunt truth is that many websites could not stay in business without advertising, if more ways are used to block them, they will just close down.
"The blunt truth is that many websites could not stay in business without advertising, if more ways are used to block them, they will just close down."
Perhaps they will close anyway when the intrusive advertisers realise that they are just pi$$ing people off. I won't be going into a Shell petrol station again for a long time because of their infuriating advert here. If I wanted to read how fricking marvellous Shell are, I would go to their own website.
Yes, some websites would disappear - those that were set up to make money from advertising. Others would fill the gap.
Some websites are purely for marketing (try Misco) and that's fine. If I wanted to buy computer bits that is where I would go. Such sites will always exist.
I run several websites with no adverts and I am just a private individual. Only costs me a few £ a month. Are you telling me that any company (like Netcraft) HAS to have adverts to afford a website?
"If people get too aggressive with ads"
Quick, shut the stable door.
Too late. The horse is already over the next hill.
Web advertisers have had in excess of 10 *years* to grasp the idea that the web is *not* like papers, TV or radio and that they can't force us to view any brain-rotting, eyeball-straining crap they like.
Yet still they persist with this attitude.
No. Ad people won't *ever* learn. They will continue trying to ram their crap at us and will continue to be blocked. "Equilibrium" will be reached, not when the advertisers see sense (they won't, ever, they are *way* too arrogant and stupid for that) but when everyone has an ad-blocker and *nobody* sees their annoying crap.
adblock and no scripts = win
always block quantserve, google analytics and double click.
That includes the reg,
Adverts will never be accepted
I stopped watching television because the adverts have become so annoying and so devious. I don't miss it really. I've been learning to play the Violin instead of watching the dribble the BBC and alike have been offering. I also bought a PS3.
The Adthwart extensions barely works at all, youtube is a mess with all the advertising popping up all over it like it's a malware site.
totally with you
"I use ad blockers largely because of news sites, and a particularly bad offender for irritating flashing and animated ads is The Register" -- Gold Soundz
along with the new scientist site, it's actually worse.
Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
"... if we do a good job on the advertising side, people won't want to block ads. People will find them actually useful."
I block ads
I hope el reg are reading these comments.
I actually don't mind the google style text ads, or even a vertical image ad to the side of an article or in some wasted white space (like the space to the right of this comment box!) I've clicked 'ads by google' before because a few do seem relevant and interesting.
However, the flashy stuff at the top of pages, in between content etc, is such a massive turn off, if I couldn't block ads, I'd go somewhere else. Browsing the web on someone elses PC is always a massive shock to see what 'normal' people actually put up with.
looks to me...
.. like Google are trying to get themselves out of the Ad revenue busines, giving all their recent moves to ship a phone, etc. and offering free or low cost services in order to infiltrate other markets. Once they have their fingers in other pies, they can turn around and start lecturing at their advertisers.
Lets face it ... I can never see the point of advertisers paying good money to push their adverts to an audience that is using ad blockers anyway ... might as well have their ads printed in ... oh, lets say the newspaper? or TV?
Why on earth would they
print adverts on the TV? Most people only buy one every few years!
Is there a tool that only blocks annoying ads?
I'm conflicted because many web sites I enjoy using obviously make an income from ads. But is that from showing them or from getting clicks? I almost never click on an ad. I suppose I hope I'm abnormal in that.
So I don't install an ad blocker, but I disable new window popups as far as possible (I'm ethical but not tolerant) and I usually browse with Opera with images disabled: I mostly use the web for text content. So I miss a lot of ads anyway.
I use a combination of Adblock Plus and NoScript on Firefox. If I like a site enough, I'll tell ABP to allow ads on that site, but NoScript is still there to stop the annoying Flash-based ones. That still leaves animated GIF ads, but for years Mozilla's browsers have had the ESC key as a hotkey to stop animations, so it's not so bad.
Only block annoying ads
The best way to do that is to use a filtering proxy. You could try Privoxy or Polipo for example; however I often found that Proxomitron, though less flexible, is better accepted by people who like graphical interfaces. In any case you will have to do a bit of configuration if you want really personalized results, but you can choose exactly what you will be blocking.
But adblockers will only work if the people blocking the ads are in the minority. If everyone starts blocking ads, then sites are going to need new revenue models (such as subscription-only content).
the 'equilibrium' they talk about doesnt happen though. its not like you think "well, i've have adblocker installed for a few hours, the ads i was trying to get rid of wernt *too* annoying, i'll turn it off again now". no, the way it works is, you see a few really annoying ads, you go "grr, why havnt i installed adblocker on this pc yet", you install it, and forget all about it until you get a new windows install 12months later. so i suppose, over the long term, you could get this 'equilibrium', but in most cases? nah.
The same inertia that deters people from installing an ad-blocker will surely deter them from opting-in to Google's browser.
Commercial propaganda (advertising) strains every sinew to overcome and arouse people from their natural state of passiveness so that on the internet you end up with a rolling, scrolling, blinking, Flashing, in-your-face, intrusive nightmare. Sensitive souls like El Reg readers can easily opt-out and enter a more tranquil parallel universe by using ad-blocking technology. But, and it's a big but, by so doing they may well kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. The Reg is funded by advertising revenue so it's possible they might be forced to follow the Murdoch model and erect pay walls to access ad-free content.
And yes, I am another ad-blocking freetard.
Tech savvy readership....
I'm guessing The Register is in a more precarious position with regard to this than the Murdoch empire given that the average Reg reader is probably considerably more tech-savvy than the average Sun reader. If The Register did go for the subscription model I *might* sign up depending on how much it costs.
IIRC, web sites are paid for displaying ads per impression or per click-through. My ad blocking won't ever affect click-through payments because I never, ever, click on ads (I'm quite capable of finding what I want by myself). However I can see it disadvantages sites like The Register who have little control over the crap the ad men push to them when I consume their content without racking up ad impressions.
So, If there was an ad-blocker that generated the impression but didn't display the ad (ie, downloads the image but doesn't display it) then I'd be happy ( I don't see the ad), the web site would be happy (they get paid) and even the ad-men would be happy as they would be paid as well until their customers leave because they don't get the click-through rate they desire ( you can't click on something you can't see)
..the chrome adblockers..
..download the ad, then hide it- at least giving an impression.
Of course, this means the browser downloads and parses the content (hell, you can often see it just before it vanishes, too, on a fast machine). This is arse ache, as my second reason to block ads is because so many ad syndication sites have been tricked into serving malware, designed to exploit the browser, its plugins or helper apps.
So, maybe good for you, bad for me.
Advertising is so annoying
"if advertising is so annoying that a large segment of the population wants to block it, then advertising needs to get less annoying"
It is. They do. It does. If an ad is flashing at me from part of the window I want to scroll it off as soon as possible, or resize the window to exclude it. I have now disabled animations.
Ads can be useful. If I want a particular bit of kit I search suppliers' ads and web sites to see what's on offer and at what price. I don't want to be told about a brand that I know perfectly well or have no desire to know at all. I want to be able to find information when I need it, and not have it stuffed in my face when I don't.
I use Ad Muncher. It's the most effective and reliable I've found with frequent updates. It also has an amusing animated cow in the system tray :)
Paris because for some reason 'amusing animated cow' reminded me of her.