back to article Will the MOAB (Mother Of all AdBlockers) finally kill advertising?

Researchers from Princeton and Stanford University have developed an ad blocker that they claim could end the ad blocking "arms race" for good. You can put the claim to the test yourself quite easily – proof-of-concept prototype code can be downloaded in the form of a Chrome browser plugin. The researchers claim to have …

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Pint

nice reference

Will have to re-watch Idiocracy. If I remember rightly, it was somewhat prophetic.

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Re: nice reference

I'm watching it now - it's happening all around me, all day every day :(

The film is just the abridged version of modern society.

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vir
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Re: nice reference

Yeah, but what are electrolytes?

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Re: nice reference

Hah. Idiocracy is purported to be a work of fiction, set at 500 years in the future, but... this future seems to be approaching rapidly. We'll probably have to re-classify it as a documentary soon enough.

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Re: Yeah, but what are electrolytes?

It's..what they use to make Brawndo.

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Re: nice reference

Welcome to Costco. I love you.

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Terminator

Re: nice reference

Idiocracy, yeah.

don't forget that TV screen (it appears prominently in the DVD menu) that has about 1/4 of its area with actual content on it. The entire outer portion is polluted with (apparently interactive) advertisements. Do the 'area math' and that's about 3/4 of the surface area of the TV screen, covered in moving/interactive ads... (I would expect it's at LEAST 3/4 of the bandwidth, too, including the SCRIPTING needed to make sure you actually SEE the ads and block the content if you use an ad blocker)

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Re: nice reference

"Yeah, but what are electrolytes?"

Electrolytes perform the ceremonial duties at the Electrolial College, which is responsible for electing the President of the United States of Decay.

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Gimp

Re: nice reference

Hah. Idiocracy is purported to be a work of fiction, set at 500 years in the future, but... this future seems to be approaching rapidly

Yawn. Wake me up when I can have my flying car the new series of Ow! My Balls is on

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Re: nice reference

ro watch it, and notice in the TV scene ('America's, funniest shots to the groin') ALL THOSE BOX ADS on either side ot the centralm2/3 of the screen where the program stream appears.

When do we have enough? How much is too much? And if the tidal wave teaches us to ignore it, what then?

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Sponsored people

Can it pick up the unlabelled adverts from sponsored athletes etc. The kind of like "I took out my new $BRAND bike today and it's amazing [Emoji hearts]".

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Re: Sponsored people

Not just athletes, but people on forums too. And I used to know a bloke on campus who was a paid 'brand ambassador' for shoes with wheels in them.

The answer is to go to the pub more, and use word-of-mouth when it is delivered face-to-face. Or subscribe (pay real money) to an organisation such as the Consumer Association who buy every product they then test in controlled circumstances.

But hey, I like my Logitech mouse, my Victorinox knife, Scarpa boots, my local Lidl, my Panasonic compact camera (but I hear Sony RX100 is the mutt's nuts)... I get on well with Ryobi drills, but my mates swear by Makita - and they have a better site radio.

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Anonymous Coward

People DO hate adverts

I do. Any Product that gets advertised to me is ignored and I'll try my dammedest to NOT buy that product ever again.

I don't ask for adverts and I respond in only a negative way to them. I regard them as an invasion of privacy.

I skip TV ads as a matter of course.

I'm proud to be a fully paid up member of the Society of Grumpy old Men.

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Unhappy

Re: People DO hate adverts

I have to confess that ads don't really bother me much. I seem to have developed an internal filter so that I don't even see them whether online or in real life. They might be there but they never register.

Having said that I do use an ad-blocker because of the ways they slow things down and provide a vector for malware. I've got used to ad-free pages and when I went to one newspapers site without an blocker the mess I was presented with was a real shock, absolutely appalling, and I was paying for it all.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: People DO hate adverts

This comment was brought to you courtesy of The Society of Grumpy Old Men (TM) (R)(C)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: People DO hate adverts

I mostly object to long unavoidable ads, noisy multimedia ads, bandwith hogging video over mobile, and random ads for services I wouldn't dream of. Or indeed the stalking ads where I seach for something results in hours of all adverts being for that item/service.

I don't mind ads, within reason, but they are now starting to detract from actual content in their efforts to be "most eye catching" and I DONT WANT ADVERTS WITH NOISE when I am just browsing.

Grrr

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Re: People DO hate adverts

This!

I *detest* adverts, mainly because of the assumptions made about me by the wankers doing the advertising.

TV. muted.

Web, ad blocker,

Radio, no adverts on R4.

Junk snail mail, straight into composter.

And whatever i need to do to stem adverts completley i will do....Now and until underverse come.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: People DO hate adverts

Charity junk snail mail (where no previous contact with charity = your details have been illegally sold on) -- back to senders in their reply-paid envelope.

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Re: People DO hate adverts

I have to confess that ads don't really bother me much. I seem to have developed an internal filter so that I don't even see them whether online or in real life. They might be there but they never register.

The word you are missing on the end there is 'consciously'. This is why you are exactly the target of advertisers. You don't notice the adverts, but they still affect you on a subconscious level. From 'brand awareness' (The subconscious process of hey I've heard of X brand, they must be better than Y that I've not heard of) to finding yourself humming a jingle while stuck in traffic.

This is my basic objection to most advertising; it's mostly not basic honest, "Buy Johnson's Soap," kind of stuff but designed to affect you on a psychological level. An adept advertiser knows that the human psyche can be manipulated very easily. Just ask Derren Brown if you don't believe me.

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Re: People DO hate adverts

"back to senders in their reply-paid envelope."

This is good, but for extra bonus fun. Add a sprinkling of glitter inside the envelope.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: People DO hate adverts

> Any Product that gets advertised to me is ignored and I'll try my dammedest to NOT buy that product ever again.

So which one is it? If you are actively trying "to NOT buy that product ever again" then you must be making a fairly conscious effort to remember which products you are trying not to buy, which is pretty much the opposite of ignoring it.

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JLV
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Re: People DO hate adverts

>I've heard of X brand

Upvoted and agree about subconscious brand awareness. That's something many of us don't grok about ads.

You can block ads if you so desire, I don't begrudge you that in the least. I occasionally do that as well though I mostly just ignore them, like @nematoad. What I most certainly do is NoScript the heck out of everything for security reasons, which kills a lot of ads.

Still, most non-amateur/volunteer content has to pay for its creators' time.

Seems to me no ads anywhere, for anyone, might mean very little professional content, unless you pay for it or it's self-promotion/freemium. Not sure I'd prefer that to the status quo, though you're welcome to feel differently. As the article rightly points out, be careful what you wish for.

<rant>far as I am concerned CBC/BBC video ads, often overlong and non-skippable, are the worst. No respect whatsoever for folk's mobile data limits. Even YouTube is better. I will consciously shun advertisers' products there.

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Re: People DO hate adverts

"This is good, but for extra bonus fun. Add a sprinkling of glitter inside the envelope."

And if they just stamp "RETURN TO SENDER" on it and throw it back in the mailbox?

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Re: People DO hate adverts

"back to senders in their "back to senders in their reply-paid envelope."

"This is good, but for extra bonus fun. Add a sprinkling of glitter inside the envelope."

Back in my High School days, one mail order 'tech school' kept pestering me with a daily barrage of snail mail.

So I trimmed a hefty piece of slate to fit the reply-paid envelope.

About a week later, the barrage (which had been ceaseless for months) stopped completely.

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Re: People DO hate adverts

These days, a little bit of white flour in the envelope will be even more effective than glitter.

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Re: People DO hate adverts

These days, a little bit of white flour in the envelope will be even more effective than glitter.

Do you have a death wish or something? White poweder in an envelope equals to a very trigger happy black squad busting your door (and head).

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Re: People DO hate adverts

So I trimmed a hefty piece of slate to fit the reply-paid envelope. About a week later, the barrage (which had been ceaseless for months) stopped completely.

Did you write your name and address on it, or are you telling us they abandoned their entire marketing strategy and pulled their outgoing mail pipeline, in the space of a week, on the back of a single piece of slate? Nice story, but I call porkies.

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Re: People DO hate adverts

These days, a little bit of white flour in the envelope will be even more effective than glitter.

That's really pathetic.

You just mess with the unlucky minimum wage worker that has to open the mail when your real targets should be the bosses of the advertising company who will never even know about your glitter?

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Re: People DO hate adverts

"You don't notice the adverts, but they still affect you on a subconscious level. "

And hence you find yourself having a subconscious dislike of some product but can't quite remember why.

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Re: People DO hate adverts

You don't notice the adverts, but they still affect you on a subconscious level. From 'brand awareness' (The subconscious process of hey I've heard of X brand, they must be better than Y that I've not heard of) to finding yourself humming a jingle while stuck in traffic.

I went shopping yesterday. I purchased based on known quality, place of manufacture and price. Most of the brands I brought from I have not seen advertised anywhere (unless you count the name of the butcher on the signage out front of the shop, and the product/labels in the window), and the rest I've not seen advertised. I got a small gas soldering iron needed for a particular job - brought based on price and that I've had one of that model before. I've seen the product cataloged (in one that lists every item the store sells) but not sure I've seen any of the brand's stuff advertised.

McD, BK, KFC etc ads don't affect me because I know the product quality - edible but not great. Subway, not bad, good price, but not something I often am interested in. Carl's Jnr stuff just looks disgusting. I've never once seen Burger Wisconsin advertise, but here they do a roaring trade because their product is worth it. Maybe more expensive than McD, but more than worth it. Same for Whittaker's chocolate. Cadbury advertises almost daily, as does foul spewballs (ferero somethingorather IIRC). Cadbury simply make rubbish these days, and now they're closing their Dunedin plant they don't even have a claim to being NZ made. Whittakers advertise sometimes (and even pay Nigella Lawson(? I think, don't watch cooking shows!) to do so), but they don't need to because although the product is a bit more expensive, it's much much better. Lindt seldom advertise (their "gold bunny" at easter is all I believe) but again they do some really nice and imaginative products.

I'm aware of a lot of brands, but I am patriotic when it comes to purchasing (if more Kiwi's did that more of us would have jobs!), so place of manufacture, place company is owned (so a NZ made and owned place beats Oz owned by NZ made any time) and price are my main considerations. Known quality is also a high factor, but that also means that I will often test new brands where I don't know their quality, and will dump previously favoured brands where the quality falls (eg right now am using Pale Moon, had been with Firefox for a very long time previously).

As to "humming jingles while stuck in traffic" I don't do either. My Cheapcrap(TM) GPS unit makes sure I never get caught in traffic (while I may spend a few extra dollars on petrol with the extra driving, but it's nice and cheap at BigCorpRipoffGas, which the Cheapcrap happily marks on the screen for me), and with the WouldShowAdsIfItCouldGetOnline(TM) music player app it means I never have to remember music again.

Word of mouth is the best advertising out there, and often the best brandkiller as well. Do good and people get to know you and you don't need to spend a dime. Screw up (like Cadbury teaming up with a sewerage processing plant for their raw ingredients) and you'll lose the loyalty that no amount of money can buy back. Till a few years back I was quite loyal to Cadbury. And Griffins. Won't buy from either now.

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Re: People DO hate adverts

And if they just stamp "RETURN TO SENDER" on it and throw it back in the mailbox?

I put a note on the envelope that they will be billed for any future mail processing I have to do. Ends the problem instantly. Also works for debt collectors and government depts sending stuff to former tennants (though I only do that after the second RTS, give them a chance to fix their books).

Totally legal, they've been notified in writing in advance that they will be billed. Sadly no one has tried my resolve on it. Would love to be setting one debt collector on another debt collector for a fully legally owed amount. Or setting a debt collector onto the ministry of justice or the tax dept...

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Re: People DO hate adverts

"Add a sprinkling of glitter inside the envelope."

Also splendid, but did you know that there's no weight limit to those pre-paid business-class reply envelopes? Also, that the owner of the reply envelope gets charged by weight?

I recommend breeze blocks.

And all the junkmail that doesn't include a reply envelope.

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Re: People DO hate adverts

Bad advice, Bernard M. Orwell. The post office will not pass along obvious abuses of the system ... and in fact has been known to prosecute people who won't knock it off. A friend of mine was fined around $3,500 for this practice (in 1998ish), and had to pay all the court fees. (I'm in the US, other jurisdictions may vary, check your local laws etc. etc.)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: People DO hate adverts

Or, better yet, tape envelope to brick, give to mailman. They must deliver it to the addressee at so many dollars per ounce. Always fun

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Re: People DO hate adverts

Why the fuck does this urban legend persist?

AC, do us all a favo(u)r. Go ahead and tape your business reply mail envelope to a brick. Hand it to your local postman. Report back. We'll be waiting.

::crickets::

That's what I thought.

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"People don't hate adverts, just awful adverts"

That kind of sums it up, along with the observation that the awful sort is basically virtually everything.

Had the advertisement industry kept to low-bandwidth and discrete side bars that did not distract the user, act as a malware vector or soak up all usable bandwidth/CPU/screen area most users would not bother with ad blockers. But they didn't, and now here we are in a world where many web sites are pretty intolerable without an ad blocker.

What is the solution though? We have such a race to the bottom in web funding and nothing viable in sight that would make most people chose another means of supporting sites. Many have talked about micropayment options instead of the sordid world of on-line advertisement, but none have taken off.

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Re: "People don't hate adverts, just awful adverts"

Yes, I don't hate all adverts. But I do hate adverts that go beyond piggy-backing content, discretely, to seeing the content as just being there to host their ads. I don't skip ads on ITV necessarily. I don't even object to ads on athletes. I do object when the announcers ( especially on BBC) have to tell us that they're showing the Acme Gambling Minimum Stake £5 First Game Free Darts Championships

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Re: "People don't hate adverts, just awful adverts"

True for some.

Some do hate them all, some hate their bandwidth requirement, some hate being tracked for advertising purposes (or indeed, mostly any purpose) and some hate the increased risk posed by poorly vetted 3rd party "source injection" (for want of a more accurate term occurring to me while I type).

There are likely others too, but that last one is where the assumption that adverts = insecurity is clear (though tracking and theft/misuse of that data is another type of insecurity too).

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Re: "People don't hate adverts, just awful adverts"

> "People don't hate adverts, just awful adverts"

In other words, "People don't hate adverts, just all adverts"

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Re: "People don't hate adverts, just awful adverts"

" Acme Gambling Minimum Stake £5 First Game Free Darts Championships "

we get this on PBS stations across the pond... "Major funding for this program by umpty-squat corporation, {insert slogan here}" - a good 2 to 3 minutes' worth of that sometimes. At least they don't break in the middle of the show. Then again, commercial breaks are a good time to take a whizz or grab a sandwich. The problem is that with DIGITAL TV, a lot of the networks figured out that they can keep SHOW CONTENT volume 6db lower than ADVERTISING volume, so if you don't hit the mute button in time, it's blasting your neighbors with advertisement so you can hear it in the bathroom with the door shut and toilet flushing.

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Re: "People don't hate adverts, just awful adverts"

"Had the advertisement industry kept to low-bandwidth and discrete side bars that did not distract the user, act as a malware vector or soak up all usable bandwidth/CPU/screen area most users would not bother with ad blockers. But they didn't, and now here we are in a world where many web sites are pretty intolerable without an ad blocker."

The problem with the old days of banner ads was that it stopped working. People got used to them and started ignoring them. And ignored ads get reduced rates, and so on.

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Re: "The problem with the old days of banner ads..."

That's not a problem, that's a feature. A lot of people, even most people, simply aren't going to pay attention to ads. That's something advertisers need to accept. They fire off a wide spray in order to catch the relatively small handful who will pay attention. The rest of us are not your audience.

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Re: "People don't hate adverts, just awful adverts"

What is more critical is the websites that detect the add blocker and then stop showing the pages. You are then in a loop, you have blocked that advert but cannot access the content. At the moment it is usually possible to find it somewhere else but if this becomes prevalent then I am not sure where you go.

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Re: "People don't hate adverts, just awful adverts"

"but if this becomes prevalent then I am not sure where you go."

Perhaps a nice long walk in the countryside? :)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "People don't hate adverts, just awful adverts"

Actually I find the pledge breaks more annoying on PBS stations than the "Major funding for this programme..." bits. I'm frequently in the US when WGBH have their pledge season and hate where they'll spend 5-10 mins telling me how I can support the station with a donation. I wouldn't be so annoyed if it wasn't for the presenters telling me that the current programme is funded by my donation. Well actually that programme is made by the BBC and I've paid for it with my licence fee thank you very much.

I was working on a laptop years ago that was going to be installed on a yacht and if it wasn't a Toughbook then it had some fancy custom designed case that helped prevent the sea air from damaging things inside. They were going to use it to get their email on board and had to do this via satellite connection when out of reach of land based networks. I had installed Firefox as requested and asked if they wanted me to modify the hosts file and install Adblock Plus to help cut down the advertising. The wife said "What do you mean by that?" so I patiently explained and she said "Yes do all of that it sounds brilliant".

I said if they collected their email using a dedicated mail program as opposed to doing it through a browser and webmail they'd save even more bandwidth. That again took a bit of explanation but this was waved through enthusiastically. She then phoned her husband and said that the satellite bill might come down a bit. Turned out that they were spending a fortune on using satellite and this (despite having a ton of money) was unpopular. The crew were not allowed to use the satellite connection for personal mail or calls and they had to wait until they saw land.

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Anonymous Coward

No, I really do hate all adverts.

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Superbowl?

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Anonymous Coward

That's what the BBC is for. Content we've actually paid for!

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Unless you deign to step outside our Sceptred Isle and then the adverts come flooding in.

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@Lord Elpuss

/Especially the StupidBrawl.

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