back to article Ad-blocking ‘plateaus’, claims hopeful ad industry

The digital ad biz is hoping that ad-blocking has reached a plateau in the UK, after its rolling survey of users failed to detect an increase. The IAB's July poll, conducted by YouGov, found that 21.2 per cent of the sample used prophylactics, down from 21.7 per cent in February. However the IAB notes that many users don't …

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  1. Kevin Johnston

    the production of decent content costs money

    I fully agree with this statement however the Content Producers need to understand this cuts both ways.

    If you want to either charge to view, or front-load with ads to get revenue that way then the product had better be worth the grief to get there. The vast majority of what I see being pushed at the moment fails that test so I have no qualms about streamlining or safeguarding my experience and if that means an ad-blocker then so be it.

    1. MrXavia

      Re: the production of decent content costs money

      If ads were not so intrusive, then we wouldn't mind...

      If ads were well made, we'd watch them...

      In the old age of telly, I remember plenty of well made adverts, that I didn't mind watching, and a few I got so annoyed with I vowed to never buy their products again....

      online, I don't midn adverts. but I HATE the Background adverts on the reg, and I hate large intrusive adverts...

      Small non video adverts in the right column for relevant items I do not mind....

      Short ads I can skip after a few seconds before vidoes, I don't mind... if the advert is good enough I wont skip it...

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: the production of decent content costs money

        How many people can still hum 'for mash get smash'?

        1. smot

          Re: the production of decent content costs money

          And how many people can still "wonder where the yellow went"?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: the production of decent content costs money

          How many people can still hum 'for mash get smash'?

          I can. But I never bought any of the powdered white dog mess that they were passing off as a potato based "convenience food". Proving that you can advertise shit well, but that doesn't mean it will sell.

      2. Baldy50

        Re: the production of decent content costs money

        Me too!

        Had to disable Privacy Badger for this site to run properly.

      3. Mark 85 Silver badge

        @MrXavia -- Re: the production of decent content costs money

        I like your list, etc. But it needs one more thing... NO MALVERTISING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      4. Christian Berger Silver badge

        Re: the production of decent content costs money

        Make Ads well, and please no tracking or malware.

        Seriously it's not like spying on your potential customers is a good base for a business relationship.

    2. goldcd

      This research is 'bollocks' - but

      We've had the ramp-up of the great-unwashed arriving on my pristine internet.

      They've been bitten, and their children have installed the ad-blockers for them, whilst uninstalling the toolbars that previously presented the internet through a letterbox.

      *Nobody* is uninstalling their ad-blocker though.

      I personally have started to make 'exceptions'

      Wired, for example, very nicely masks the page and asks you to make an exception for them.

      I like Wired, wish to read what they've paid somebody to write, so comply.

      I've also in the last few years contributed to kickstarters and signed up to Patreon to chuck the odd dollar to people whose videos/podcasts I actually enjoy.

      Bluntly I've come out of the other side of the much derided "I pirate as I can't afford to pay" trench of non-contribution.

      What currently annoys the f out of me is the "pay to view per site" model, which I've yet to see any example of... well it "actually working".

      e.g. I see a link to The Times.. well I just don't even bother clicking any more.

      I might "pay a cent" to read a page, but no way am I ever going to setup a direct debit to read a page of anything.

      My cunning, if not innovative, solution is to pay the ad-blockers to handle this for me.

      I pay £10 a month to "Ad-Block-Future".

      I get my ads blocked.

      Sites I go to can decide whether I can view content for my £10 a month subscription, or whether I need to pay £20 a month for access (will they accept 1c assuming I view 1,000 pages a month, or are they holding out on me doubling my payment to get their extra cent).

      Whatever I spend each month is divvied up (less overhead) and distributed to pages I could see based on the number I've accessed.

      Finally, I want a "won't pay" button/plugin, where I can opt out of sharing to that site/page - solely to ensure that click-bait/spam/shite isn't rewarded. You hit that button, they get nothing, but you lose access for the next billing cycle.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This research is 'bollocks' - but

        Whilst you claim "*Nobody* is uninstalling their ad-blocker though" it's not true. I don't block adds, but I do block flash. I used to have add blocker installed but a couple of very good sites I really like politely asked me to turn it off. I found that acceptable. Somewhere along the way I seem to have uninstalled it too. I'm very rarely troubled by intrusive adverts. Not allowing flash probably saves me from some of the more irritating specimens till they move off flash though I think it might be mainly due to the choice of web site I frequent. If a web site's editorial values sink to slinging voluminous crap at its users it's unlikely a site that has content of interest to me.

    3. goldcd

      Where there's money to be made here

      is between the "what we expect to receive by serving you an ad" and "what we expect to make by charging you a monthly sub for access to our site".

      1) Providers would be more than happy to serve an ad where one in a thousand viewers click an ad and sign up for something that makes them $10.

      2) Providers would shit themselves with happiness if you paid them $10 a month for their content.

      Harsh reality is that option 2 is rubbish, unless you're fantastic. Really REALLY good, Something nobody can get elsewhere. Spotify and Netflix get that sort of money from me each month, nobody gets that for a piece of text though.

      So let's look at option 1. I'll pay a cent/penny to read a page and give you more than you'll get in advertisement revenue - but there's currently no decent mechanism to let me do this.

      I block your ads, you block me until I look at your ads - you never ask if I can simply compensate you in excess so you don't need me to look at them.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm ok with this

    I give the industry permission to make the ads 21.2% more invasive to make up for their "loss" due to my adblocking.

    This way we can all continue to enjoy free websites. (Except the windows user's who get pwned)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm ok with this

      This way we can all continue to enjoy free websites. (Except the windows user's who get pwned)

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/08/15/android_trojan_abuses_google_adsense/

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/08/17/android_marcher/

      Just for balance.

      1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: I'm ok with this

        'Twouldn't be a problem with most all advertisements here* except for the fact that ad networks are extremely well known vectors for infection whatever the device. I'm fairly certain this was part of Apple's calculus on allowing blockers. Using prophylactic is most appropriate.

        *most always computer related which is great!

  3. malle-herbert Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Of course IAB is saying that only 1 in 5 users use an AdBlocker...

    Wouldn't want companies to stop spending money on online ads now do we ?

    (And they probably never heard of a .hosts file either...)

    Using countermeasures against ad-infected websites is as normal these days as having a decent virusscanner.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Aggressive

    Amusingly, the "aggressive" site you link to, https://fuckadblock.sitexw.fr/, claims that AdBlock is not detected on my browser. Because I also run NoScript,

  5. Magani

    "Fifty-five per cent of ad block users are prepared to turn them off if “it was the only way to access content”."

    I think I've done this about half a dozen times in the last year. In all other cases I decided one of the following:

    a) I didn't need the info as much as I thought, or

    b) I found it somewhere else that wasn't anti-ad-blocker (yes, I know the quote says 'only way to access...' but the InnerTubes is very good at reposting most stuff)

    Having looked at how many 2nd and 3rd party references are in most pages when viewed in NoScript or similar, there's no way I'm turning off ABP or NoScript as a general rule.

    Also, as mentioned by @Kevin Johnston above, decent content is worth paying for, but if I subscribe to a web site, I would expect to find zero ads.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Only disabled on

      Forums I use who provide relevant and usable adverts and do not use a blocked provider.

      Relevant means that a user of above forum would buy from the advertiser.

      Howver one forum I used went to a blocked provider lots of unable to load messages now.

    2. Paper

      Block the message

      I usually use the ad blocker to block the "we notice you're using an ad blocker" modal that stops me from getting to the content. 95% of the time I can block that anti-block crap.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: Block the message

        My proxy just replaces the ads. That way the sites dont moan at me and i get white boxes instead of ads. Diladele is great.

    3. Adam 52 Silver badge

      "if I subscribe to a web site, I would expect to find zero ads."

      Then you'll need to pay more for your subscription. Those Ads create revenue which has to come from somewhere. The arithmetic isn't hard.

      1. William 3 Bronze badge

        How much do you think the register gets per person per ad view. Having worked in this industry, it's practically nothing, less than 0.01p. The money comes from a CONVERSION from that ad. As in PAY PER CLICK.

        Never click any ads, the register gets fuck all.

        Someone who uses an ad blocker isn't suddenly going to start clicking on ads if they stop using one.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          I don't know how much El Reg gets per person per ad view, but I suspect the ad networks don't really care, just so long as they can bill their clients for serving 10,000 ad's and claim the bonus arising from the occasional conversion...

          It is here that the problem arises: with the ad networks only paying a pittance to websites, websites have to serve a lot of ad's to make it worth their while. This artificially depressed market (caused by an over supply of ad space) in turn helps the ad networks to keep their costs down. With widespread usage of ad blockers and "responsible adverting" list, the market changes with the value of each ad placement increasing. ie. what is the value to an ad network to use one of the dozen or so ad slots I see in a typical day? it is certainly more than one of the hundreds of ad slots I would see if I weren't using an ad blocker...

        2. Dwarf Silver badge

          Touch

          The problem is that with touch interfaces on tablets, the simple action of scrolling the screen often results in an irrelevant advert popup, since it saw a "click" rather than a "scroll".

          Similarly on desktops, trying to avoid all the click-enabled or link-enabled pictures in the main body of the site means that I'll often click an "empty" part of the page like the gutters on the left or right since they should be neutral space, but often even they will result in irrelevant popups too.

          Even here, the user interface changes daily - some days I can be on a customer machine with no ad blocker and click on the surround, so that I can scroll the mouse and its fine. Other days, bam, you get the paid advert and attracted attention of others that you might be taking 10 minutes downtime.

          The only thing that has happened in all the above is that the site had to pay for an irreverent "clicked ad" that was not watched and as a consumer I got frustrated with the site and just caused an unwanted distraction and probably lost my focus on what I was wanting to do..

          Then we get to trains or similar when we are on metered internet and then I get really peeved with the pointless waste of my money - which is further frustrated by the fact that the browsers seem to load the images first, then the text last. I want it the other way around as most of the pictures are pointless and not relevant to the page being visited.

          I'm wondering how much fun it would be to fire off a script that just sits there requesting the relevant adverts and causing a nice steep bill for the advertiser, since they just got a million hits in an hour.

        3. Adam 52 Silver badge

          I'm not sure you've worked that deeply in the industry. El Reg has a direct sales team, direct CPM rates are likely higher than RTB. You also ignore CPH, branding campaigns and sponsored content, which Reg's more detailed articles will perform well on. And you ignore Reg's demographic of wealth, IT savvy, high disposable income and ability to influence purchasing decisions in the millions. Plus they've got technology interest information from mining the click logs and forum posts.

          It wouldn't surprise me if El Reg got eCPM rates in the $1 to $10 range.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            TLA Bingo

            "I'm not sure you've worked that deeply in the industry. El Reg has a direct sales team, direct CPM rates are likely higher than RTB. You also ignore CPH, "

            Bingo.

      2. Magani
        Unhappy

        @Adam 52

        Maybe you misunderstood my comment.

        If I am paying money to view a web site and I find ads on it, that web site is history as far as I'm concerned.

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "Then you'll need to pay more for your subscription. Those Ads create revenue which has to come from somewhere. The arithmetic isn't hard."

        Yes, that's what he was saying. He'd pay something (i.e. more than nothing) for a subscription. Now work this out: he pays the site publisher who only pays his costs. If the site was ad supported the marks whose products are advertised pay* the site and the advertising company who made the ad and the broker who displayed it and the tracking companies and goodness knows how many more.

        So the subscription model would be a good deal more cost-efficient. Of course, it's a major problem for the advertising industry and the malvertisers who, as far as the rest of us are concerned, can both just FOAD.

        *And what does he get for this payment? A load of pissed off formerly potential customers.

  6. israel_hands

    FuckFuckFuckAds

    Ads can still go fuck themselves and the cunts that produce them can die in a cancer fire for all I care.

    Websites don't need to post insane profits in the billions so constantly needing to push ads at people and harvest their data isn't necessary. Most of the sites I visit are small-scale affairs run by people who occasionally ask for help with hosting costs when the bill gets too high. The larger sites who rely on massive revenues to keep functioning mostly produce bullshit content anyway, which is why they're so terrified of an adblock future, because they know that if they ask people to hand over something as tangible as money most people will realise how little they value the "content".

    Kudos to the producer of fuckfuckadblock for including this awesome clip from The Big Hit on his GitHub page: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iw3G80bplTg

    I was reminded of that scene last week when facecock threw their toys out of the pram and ABP promptly tossed them straight back in.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: FuckFuckFuckAds

      > The larger sites who rely on massive revenues to keep functioning mostly produce bullshit content anyway.

      The larger sites who rely on massive revenues to keep functioning mostly produce NO content, pimping out user generated content instead.

      Fixed.

  7. Necronomnomnomicon

    Speculation

    Is it possibly down to increasing numbers of Windows 10 installs, with users relying on Edge which (until very recently) didn't support ad blocking? W10 did make it a bit more of a faff to make another browser the default.

    Of course, if I'm right then as the 1607 update spreads through the userbase then users will be surprised and delighted to discover they can start using ad blockers again.

  8. Dabooka Silver badge

    Maybe if they weren't so in your sodding face

    Searched for tyres once; got tyre ads for ages, even after new rubber was fitted.

    Searched for hotels; get Laterooms et al forced down my throat.

    etc etc

    It just doesn't seem to occur to them that a search may on occasion actually result in a purchase, thus rendering their poxy ads irrelevant.

    1. IvyKing

      Re: Maybe if they weren't so in your sodding face

      I know what you mean. I use the private viewing feature of Firefox to take care of that ungodly behavior. Main way it works is deleting cookies after you close the session, and also deletes history. I've also removed Flash from my main system and that removes another vector for cookies.

      On a somewhat different note,I've also configured FF to not auto play video and reject site redirects, and apparently this in combination with private viewing's blocking tracking ads seems to fool sites such as Wired into thinking that I'm running an adblocker.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Maybe if they weren't so in your sodding face

      "It just doesn't seem to occur to them that a search may on occasion actually result in a purchase, thus rendering their poxy ads irrelevant."

      It depends on who "them" is. I'm sure it occurs to the advertising industry. As I've said here before, the only thing the advertising industry is successful at selling - the only thing it needs to be successful at selling - is advertising space to advertisers. That's where the money is.

  9. tiggity Silver badge

    yougov..

    .

    Maybe yougov is not the best company to poll people on such an issue.

    Just visited their site with default "run no scripts except from white listed sites" on my browser.

    Without enabling scripting from the yougov site, the site is impossible to use as not even basic content delivered. Massively over reliant (IMHO) on JavaScript. Thus defensive browsing inclined people may well never get beyond a site that's useless unless you start enabling scripts: I may be unusual but if I do not even get served basic content with scripts disabled I do not even bother enabling scripting to see what I'm missing as plenty more sites on the web I can investigate instead.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Capitalism - pah. Foresight - pah.

    If adslingers had actually done some real work (so we're already seeing how the problem started) they would have seen that an awful lot of internet traffic was going to be over a mobile - and therefore charged by byte - connection.

    The second that became the norm, people were going to resent paying to download ads, and the appeal of an adblocker drove the industry.

    Now, if I had been in charge, say 15 years ago, and worked in advertising, I would have done my utmost to work with telcos to provide unmetered mobile web access, and remove the "paying to download ads" reason.

    The same lack of foresight the recording industry showed in the late 90s .....

    1. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Re: Capitalism - pah. Foresight - pah.

      Terrible shame you weren't around 15 years ago to advise Page and Brin, you could have saved them from becoming billionaires with your sage council.

      1. William 3 Bronze badge

        Re: Capitalism - pah. Foresight - pah.

        Whilst on the subject of time travel, pity it doesn't exist, otherwise we could have gone back and told your parents what a twat you'd end up.

  11. Ralph B

    Ad-blocking 'plateaus'

    Noun-verbing 'noun-verbs'

    Enough already.

    1. Kubla Cant Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Ad-blocking 'plateaus'

      Using nouns as verbs is a legitimate feature of English.

      The use of "plateau" as a verb is common enough that it's questionable whether it's even an example of verbing. Would you raise a similar objection to "Ad-blocking peaks"?

      1. Loud Speaker

        Re: Ad-blocking 'plateaus'

        Would you raise a similar objection to "Ad-blocking peaks"?

        If you had read the post, you would realise that should be "Ad-blocking piques".

        Personally, I am with the crowd who are shouting "If I wanted malware, I would have installed Windows myself."

    2. Graham Cobb

      Re: Ad-blocking 'plateaus'

      I enjoy verbing nouns and other words and do so whenever I opportunitise.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Ad-blocking 'plateaus'

        IT may be a legitimate feature, but none-the-less, verbing wierds nouns.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Ad-blocking 'plateaus'

      ...apart from all the other comments, using "plateaued" and "plateaus" to describe verbally a levelling off of an upward trending graph has been in fairly common use for many years. I move to replace it with levellisationisms.

  12. staringatclouds

    Dear sites that want to serve adverts to me,

    I don't mind adverts providing they satisfy the following conditions.

    1 - They are only animated or make a noise when I click on them, so no following the mouse round the page, flashing, playing videos with a soundtrack while I'm trying to listen to the radio etc... a static picture with some text will do fine.

    2 - Adverts must be declared to be adverts and not disguised as links to other articles.

    3 - They don't obscure the page and are reasonably discreet, I don't really mind if an ad picture occupies half the page as long as I can still read the article.

    4 - They are wholly located on the site I am visiting and that site accepts 100% of the responsibility for their content being safe & appropriate, so no 3rd party ad sites or scripting sites as these are common targets for hackers who want to download malware in compromised adverts. You will need to check your adverts & scripts regularly to ensure they haven't been compromised & if my PC is infected with a virus which can be traced back to an advert from your site, you pay for the cleanup.

    5 - If clicking on an advert would take me to another site then this needs to be clearly indicated before I click on the advert.

    6 - Clicking on an advert is not a pre requisite for viewing the content of the page.

    7 - Adverts should not consume significantly more bandwidth than the article I'm looking at unless I click on them to initiate a video/audio stream.

    I can probably think of a few more but that will do for the moment.

    Do this and I'll cheerfully look at a few ads to generate revenue for your site, don't do this & I'll block every advert I can & if I can't block ads from your site I'll block your site instead.

    You want my traffic, these are my terms, they are not negotiable.

  13. earl grey Silver badge
    Flame

    It isn't just the ads

    But also the truckload of scripts that many of these sites are loaded with. If i turn off script blocking i can take a nap, get a cup of coffee, and drive to the store and the page will still be loading some kind of garbage.

    I don't plan on stopping adblocking any time soon. If you don't want me to see your page, so bit it; i can go elsewhere and you'll never get my business.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: It isn't just the ads

      I visited one site in the USA a few months back.

      It wanted to load 67, yes sixty seven bits of javascript from other sites.

      I found this by firing up a VM and using an OOTB IE 9. Well, I was using my laptop in a Starbucks. The VM is one that I overwrite after use with a clean version.

      It took almost 5 minutes to load and I was in the middle of Portland, OR.

      I have to wonder if the owners of the site are happy with all that ad revenue and tracking cookies (24 of them) that get deposited on your system. One had an expiry of 01-Jan-3033. WTF?

      I wonder how many people just give up and go somewhere else with sites like that? Probably loads so they lose revenue so they add more ads etc etc

      The increase of advertising will soon make the internet unusable without adblocking.

  14. bozoid

    Tracking is the issue here

    I don't mind being served ads in exchange for real content -- that's the standard "magazine" model -- but that's not the issue here. Many sites that complain "you're using an ad blocker" don't really care about ads, because they make a lot more money selling your tracking information.

    If you're a Firefox user (for example), try whitelisting Wired.com in AdBlock Plus. They'll still refuse to show their content until you ALSO turn off NoScript and Ghostery. Sorry, Wired -- your content isn't worth my privacy.

    1. Old Used Programmer

      Re: Tracking is the issue here

      For the one blog I read occasionally on Wired, I just switch over to a Raspberry Pi (Pi2B, at the moment). Good luck finding anything useful on *that* machine.

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