back to article Forgive me, father, for I have used an ad-blocker on news websites...

A survey of people using ad-blocking has mixed news for publishers. Thirty per cent of users deploying adblocking software were less inclined to visit websites that forced them to “whitelist” the site. On the other hand, in reality many do whitelist one or two favourites. 77 per cent of adblock software users have whitelisted …

MJI
Silver badge

Re: Adblock banner

They change it regularly, I use Greasemonkey to make the web usable

Every few weeks __nq__hh will be some other text

var MaskElement = document.getElementById("__nq__hh");

if (MaskElement)

{

MaskElement.parentNode.removeChild(MaskElement);

var HtmlElement = document.getElementsByTagName("html")[0];

HtmlElement.style.overflow = "auto";

}

Loads more to remove google privacy warning as I do not agree, need one for youtube as well now.

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Context

Like all the other posts, I have absolutely no issue with blocking ads and never had to unblock any sites. As soon as I see the whining "adblocker detected" page, I hit the close button and go elsewhere, After all, I'm always looking for something specific, not a random advert for a something that I don't want or need and more often than not, shown in a different country and priced in a currency I can't readily convert to real money.

For me, the big issues are the unwanted distraction that wastes my time, coupled with random nature of adverts that have tried to characterise me and serve context adverts based on other sites I've been to in recent weeks. I go looking for something when I need it, not 3 weeks afterwards..

The other problem with adverts is that if you take 5 minutes out in the office to do something then its plainly obvious to everyone else around that you are not working because of the adverts and the lack of ad blockers in corporate environments..

BTW - does anyone know what a "forbes" is for anyhow ?

I would go and find out, but for some reason it doesn't want to talk to me.

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Re: Forbes

I have come across Forbes twice. First time I was told it was a magazine for "executive bathroom user wannabes". The second time was early in the SCO vs The World litigation. Apparently Forbes' regular IT correspondents would not cover the case because SCO's allegations were complete fiction. Rob Enderle proudly stepped up and said he had not problem presenting Darl's deluded diatribes as world changing news. Later he wrote something promising to be an apology for writing tripe. Instead he crowed about how he used the vast number of corrections he received about his tripe as evidence that he was bringing traffic to the site. At least some of the other journalists writing that SCO were going to win big were genuinely gullible ignorant fools. Forbes knew better, but decided to publish Enderle anyway.

I thought the whole ad/block war had moved on. These days, the article is the advert. Some sites employ an Enderle clone who can bring in some decent revenue for writing rubbish that some industry wants to pass off as journalism. Others receive offers of artiverts written by guest writers. One of these writers has addressed the need to warn people about the terrible and rarely recognised danger from ponies.

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Forbes

"One of these writers has addressed the need to warn people about the terrible and rarely recognised danger from ponies."

Warning. Cover your keyboard before following the "ponies" link. Ken White at his very best.

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Anonymous Coward

Guilty? Hell no...

Guilt is a chemical imbalance evident in the losing side.

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A little dig?

Hmmm, a little dig at the INQ and the sh*tstorm that followed their adblocking block perchance? Don't envy Carly Page right now. One site I'd have considered whitelisting but Taboola ads on a technology site?

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Re: A little dig?

Stopped reading INQ a long time ago. W10 quite rightly gets bad press round these parts for it's slurping tendencies, but the articles being written by Chris Merriman went beyond all reason and in to tinfoil hat mode. That and the blatant Apple bias drove me away.

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Anonymous Coward

Not Guilty via great Browser Extensions

What adverts?

When did adverts invade the interweb?

Loads worth buying these days that is sustainable and economically viable (vain hat on)

Quality diminished due to cost reductions and the need for greed.

Minimal QA testing on products/software, bug ridden rubbish which, by the time they sort it out, it's out of date.

Need I go on?..pah!

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They should be grateful

The advertisers should be grateful to me for blocking their adverts. My phiolophy, in respect of ALL adverts, is that I will NEVER buy anything tackiliy, or splashllly advertised. So they should be grateful that I am not aware of this fact.

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No guilt here

And you probably wouldn't want to hear what else I have done to El Reg with Grease Monkey scripts after you changed your format such that it wasn't how I wanted it. In for a penny, in for a pound, so everything I don't want is stripped out. Then I have An Ad Blocker on top.

I'm actually not that adverse to adverts, but there's more to it than that; they are a vector for malware, spying, snooping, and, above all, are often the cause for slowness of site loads. I got so sick of page loads stalling on adverts that I reached for the nearest hammer. Other tools may be available but the hammer works for me.

As for sites which block me from visiting because I Ad Block, that's their loss not mine. I just ignore them as if they never existed in the first place. I don't think there's been any time I haven't found what I was after somewhere else.

The question advertisers should be asking themselves is; how did we piss off so many reasonable people?

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Just had a look in my fuck bucket.

Nope, they're all there.

So not a single fuck was given.

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Silver badge

No, I have never whitelisted a site, at least not permanently. A few times I've temporarily turned the blocker off and given the site a few clickthroughs to support them, but after that, it goes back on. The ads are simply too intrusive, resource-heavy, privacy-invading, and potentially unsafe to do otherwise.

If the ads were simple little inline things that are hosted on the same web server as the site being visited, with no tracking cookies or scripts in use, that would be one thing. This would be most like the print ad analog. That's not the norm, though; most ads come with a heavy dose of tracking/analytics scripts that bog everything down, waste bandwidth, destroy privacy, and retrieve ads from remote servers that could be hosting malware. An average web magazine type site can have dozens of analytics, tracking, and advertising scripts running all at once (I've seen more than a few that have had more than a hundred third-party domains blocked-- for a single page). Open a few dozen tabs and even a fast PC can get bogged down, and it's even worse if you have a mobile device but you still prefer the desktop (full) page.

For those sites that try to force the issue with whitelists, there are anti-adblocker countermeasures. The combination of the ones in the list of uBlock Origin and the one I use in GreaseMonkey have so far vanquished all of the paywalls and whitelisting demands I've come across. I'm not permanently whitelisting any site... I may do it for a test here and there (to see how it works with nothing blocked for comparison), but that's it, and the cookies get cleared afterwards (and my IP address changes day to day anyway).

Guilt? No, never; why would I? It's self-defense, and I resent the site publishers for making such unacceptable web sites that I have to configure and use all kinds of add-ons to try to undo their ignorance, negligence, and maybe even malice. If they didn't try to use my bandwidth and my CPU cycles (for which I pay the electric bill) to track me in defiance of my wishes and send them personal information I don't want them to have, I would not have to block their ads in the first place.

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Silver badge

Not even slightly

When I was reading on my phone, advertisers had no trouble in hijacking the browser, throwing away the site I was wanting to look at, and scream about how many hundreds of viruses my phone supposedly has. They had no problems in taking note of my phone and pushing a half megabyte APK that I didn't want every sodding page refresh. And then I get texts from Orange saying that a payment has been refused because I have not activated Internet+. WTF?

Sorry. The average advertiser has no qualms in actually trying to steal from me; bandwidth and just basic money. So screw the advertisers. I'm now using Firefox to run blocking. There is no whitelist, and if something demands third party advertising to be enabled, I'll just walk away and go look elsewhere. If I trust you, I'll run YOUR scripts. But no amount of trust will convince me that allowing random scripts from who knows where is ever going to be a good idea.

You want to advertise to me? It's easy. Run the scripts on your server to embed the advertising in your page. But wait, that won't happen will it?

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What about photosensitive epileptics

There are times I do not risk visiting certain websites (in particular the web site of a major national newspaper) because you will almost certainly be greeted by numerous tacky flashing adverts embedded in the news. I do not want to risk triggering an adverse reaction in people at risk.

N.B. I would much rather prefer to have a warning that a site may display flashing images, rather than the pointless warning that a site uses cookies, I can delete cookies.

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Anonymous Coward

If a site asks me (politely) to stop AdBlocking, I will sometimes do that, if I am feeling benevolent and if the last ad infestation I have seen has not pissed me off. If I disable AdBlock and am then presented with animated ads, video ads, ads for stuff I just bought, moron offers for special deals, invitations to have my registry hosed etc., AdBlock goes back on and I quit the site. Simples.

Ads on my mobile devices provoke another aspect to the discussion. Because I don't rely on my mobile devices as a social crutch and can generally live without an always-on data connection, I simply use a basic PAYG and manage with maybe £20 of credit about once a year, paying a standard rate for calls, for texts and per meg of data.

The thing that puzzles me is this: Would anyone accept a reverse charge call from a marketing company, just so said marketing company could sing their client's praises? Would anyone pay the postage to receive an unfranked advertising mailshot? - I submit no-one would. Commentards' opinions would be welcomed.

Given that, why the hell should I be expected to pay for the "pleasure" of downloading some marketing company's dross ad content that I neither wanted not asked for?

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Online adverts should be like magazine adverts: static text, an image, no video, no sound, no animation, and stuck where the printer put it.

If I read a car magazine, I expect car-related ads. If I then read a gardening magazine, I'd expect gardening-related ads, not car-related ones.

If I buy an item, I don't want to see adverts for the same thing for weeks after, it's pointless. If I have bought one, chances are don't I need another And if I do, I think I could find it again without seeing adverts plastered all over.

Until online advertisers become responsible and trustworthy, I'll stick to blocking ads. If a website insists I have to see them, I'll find another site.

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MJI
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I fully agree and sites like this I see and use ads, but if they move to a banned ad server I no longer see them, I just see cannot load instead.

If forums can manage advertising, why not news sites?

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"If I read a car magazine, I expect car-related ads. If I then read a gardening magazine, I'd expect gardening-related ads, not car-related ones."

That's the thing that really puzzles me to this day. When I used to buy old-fashioned paper magazines frequently, I wanted the ads. They were at least as much a part of why I was buying the magazine as the articles! In the case of some magazines, like the gigantic Computer Shopper (with pages twice the size of those from a standard magazine, and with an overall thickness of over an inch) from Southern California, the ads were the main attraction. I wanted to see what was on offer and at what prices. If I was a PC user reading a PC magazine, articles about PC hardware and software were relevant. The same goes for all of the other specialty-interest magazines I read over the years.

Now, with all kinds of scripts and trackers and snooping that are designed to serve up ads that are relevant to me, the ads are less relevant and far less interesting than they were 25 years ago when most of my reading was from paper publications. How did they manage to take all of that snooping and data mining and still end up with ads that are less relevant than dumb print ads on a piece of paper?

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Silver badge

"How did they manage to take all of that snooping and data mining and still end up with ads that are less relevant than dumb print ads on a piece of paper?"

Simple.

Because that's an expensive service only the advertising industry can sell. Any fool can put together something simple that obviously works. Remember, the only thing the advertising industry sells is the services of the advertising industry.

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Why?

Why should anyone feel guilty about keeping junk and security threats off their system and making sure their machines' core temperature doesn't go up by 15 degrees (that's what happened here when I ran some tests with blockers off)?

Who do we contact for compensation for the damage that does to a machine?

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My adblocker policy

Sites that have hard blocks against adblockers end up in my hosts file, as do sites that let Google index their news articles but hide those articles behind a paywall. (Note: changing your user-agent to look like the Googlebot still usually only lets you see the headline and one paragraph, not the whole thing)

My hosts file is quite large.

Sites that ask nicely for a whitelisting without blocking access get considered. If their content is engaging enough that I return a second time I give them a free trial on my whitelist. If their ads are too annoying or intrusive (<cough>El Reg</cough>) the trial gets cancelled and they get blocked again. Such websites can get another free trial if they state that they have since taken measures to reduce the annoyance of their ads.

Otherwise if the site's ads aren't too annoying or intrusive I give them permanent position on my whitelist, so as to help them out and keep them going.

My whitelist is quite small.

Obviously, the advertising industry and overly pushy clickbait sites have quite a way to go before they get the message. I sometimes wonder if it will even happen in my lifetime. Somehow, I doubt it.

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Anonymous Coward

I don't block advertising banners…

… I block foreign code elements, Java and Flash. GIF animations are turned off: I will see the first frame only.

If a piece of JavaScript is hosted from the same hostname as the page, it loads. If it comes from another box, even the same domain, it gets blocked unless I deem it safe enough to unblock. (e.g. for this page, http://forums.theregister.co.uk/ascript.js will load, http://anotherhost.theregister.co.uk/ascript.js will not.)

I have no problems seeing advertising: a static hyperlinked image is perfectly fine. I might even choose to click on it. If it moves, I'll either block it, or failing that, I close the page.

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Silver badge

Re: I don't block advertising banners…

I have third-party javascript disabled by default too in uBlock Origin... but third-party script blocking breaks most web pages in varying degrees. Comment sections like this one are one of the most common things to stop working (as you no doubt know).

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Re: I don't block advertising banners…

"If a piece of JavaScript is hosted from the same hostname as the page, it loads."

Only if I trust the host. And all too often the JavaScript from the same host wants to do little but upload (oops - mistyped uplard which seems a reasonable substitute) crap from who knows how many other hosts.

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Silver badge
Facepalm

I find the adblocker blockers more annoying than the ads, usually

Most of the time I get an aggressive "turn off your adblocker" message when I don't have an adblocker installed.

So I go to a browser that does have one installed and - guess what - site works fine.

I'm of the opinion that adblocker-blockers are probably going to end up costing sites more money than they lose through ad blockers anyway. Although that would be exceptionally difficult to quantify accurately, of course...

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It's not the ads per se, it's the trackers

I'd be happy to turn off blocking for sites I want to support, but only if the ads came without tracking cookies and beacons.

Until then,

pi-hole.net - lan wide ad block, possibly the best thing to do with a RPi

Adguard - add blocking for Android without root, including ads inside apps.

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Thumb Up

Re: It's not the ads per se, it's the trackers

Adguard

Thanks for that. Have a doughnut.

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Never Have I...

Never have I ever purchased anything based on an advertisement I saw online... Not once in 20yrs of being online has I been tempted.

What does that tell you about adverts... that they're ineffective and a simple annoyance. I never watch live TV on channels that have advert breaks, instead I hit record and then wait to start watching for 10-20 mins so I can fast forward through the ad breaks. Mind you, the number of times I watch an advert riddled channel over the course of a year can be counted on one hand.

I do whitelist a few sites that don't invade and blast you with crap... sadly the reg is NOT one of them because it has become really, really bad over the last few years.

But In addition to adblocking, I also script block and tracker block... Why this comments page and the reg feel the need for 6 trackers is beyond me... But they're blocked all the same and will never be unblocked.

After the news that adblock plus has sold out and is now accepting payment to ALLOW ads through, I shall be finding something else. But noscript and privacy badger remain and until they stop working, shall remain active on ALL sites I visit unless it's something that is essential to my use.

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Blocking's the only way to make them usable.

Don't feel bad at all. When many sites are so bad it's impossible to actually view them without an adblocker running, the choice isn't between using or not using an adblocker, it's between using one or going elsewhere. Besides, none of their content is unique, so by making their content impossible to view it doesn't prevent me reading about something, it simply ensures I read it elsewhere!

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The problem with using an AD Blocker

is that I never see the products that are being advertised, so I don't know which products to boycott.

So maybe I should open my browser to discover the offenders.

Living in the Philippines, any ads I might see would not be relevant anyway

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Unhappy

Re: The problem with using an AD Blocker

Lucky bloke, I love Masinloc but sadly living in UK :( Heart in one country head in another :(

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This post has been deleted by its author

Silver badge

"micropangs or nanopangs"

These would be similar to the size of the violin we should all be playing when advertisers whine about missing out on revenue ? If they played fair, maybe we might too... eventually.

They might need to buy a sweater and a torch though, the sun is more likely to go out before they have that "lightbulb moment" and stop being so dickish with their ads.

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Anonymous Coward

Tracking ads

I use "Privacy Badger". When it detects that ads are tracking me they will be blocked. If the ads didn't track me they would be allowed.

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Silver badge

Re: Tracking ads

"If the ads didn't track me they would be allowed."

But does malware include trackers?

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Anonymous Coward

That whole industry needs a master reset

.. or at least a boot up a place where it seriously hurts.

Be honest, all shenanigans beyond an animated GIF have but one purpose: to steal your attention away from the article that brought you to the website in the first place (which may exist for ad revenue, so that's a bit chicken & egg).

If there was a way to guarantee that the only active code I'd get in my browser is that of the site, and not some flash w*nkfest that some marketeer has decided to inflict on my eyeballs, when the only tracking on a site is an anonymised or accounts-focused tracking by the site owner itself that doesn't go anywhere else, when looking at an ad doesn't result in being served the same all over again, when social media buttons do not also act as mini spies for their faraway owners of my presence - THEN I will consider allowing dropping ad blocking for the sites that matter.

As it stands, even El Reg cannot guarantee that their ad providers won't send provide the next IF*ckYou virus in advertising malware, and that's a serious indictment indeed.*

No, I don't feel guilty for blocking ads. If you base your income on ad revenue, it may literally pay to pay some attention to the consequences of what you do to your audience. If you don't, well, that strikes me as a market opportunity.

So there.

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Silver badge

Re: That whole industry needs a master reset

"all shenanigans beyond an animated GIF"

Beyond?

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MJI
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Adverts

I have seen sites die due to too many scripts even after adblocking.

I have bought from companies advertising on the internet, I see the ad I contact the company and I buy the item.

These ads are simple animated gifs with a few seconds per frame and about 3 or 4 frames, banner ad as as well.

And it would be impossible to boycott the companies without changing hobbies.

Yes the forum financed by ads from companies supplying the hobby the forum is for.

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Silver badge

A bit late to the party but.....

After the LAST "AD Blocker is killing the Internet" spree, I decided to try a few sites I normally block, and see how bad it was.

The answer was "Judgement Day" bad; every website load was slowed to a crawl, and a number of websites with user forums similar to this one were broken; so many trackers and ads were trying to load, the pages timed out.

On some popular click-bait websites (looking at you Buzzfeed), the list of trackers and ad servers runs to over THREE PAGES; and if you allow that lot ANOTHER PAGE (or two), of them appears!!

My 80Mb connection felt like my old 40Kb line back in the 90's.

You'll get my ad blocker off of me when you prise it from my cold, dead hands; block my blocker and you are dead to me.

A clueless friend foolishly joined FaceBook last month, he is now panicking and asking how to get all his info back off, as he is being bombarded with "targeted" ad crap (the only "targeting" being his name included), where-ever he goes on the internet.

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Guilty? Are you mad?!

If anything, I want even stronger adblocking to block the whining that they want to show me ads!

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I feel so un-guilty.

Imagine some bloody advertiser breaking into your living room and standing in front of the TV every thirty seconds shouting adverts at you. He wouldn't last long, but web advertisers seem to think that sort of thing is quite acceptable.

No it isn't. ABP is a must.

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Off-white list?

I use ad-blockers on every machine I use.

However, I would happily (for sites I like and use regularly, such as this) tick an off-white list that permitted only text adverts or static images.

Anything that is animated (especaially flash), autoplayed movies, popped over/under/across the screen or generally is a pain in the @rse should 100% be blocked all the time.

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Silver badge

Not Guilty your Honor

Intrusive ads suck. Fat, bloated, bandwidth sucking ads suck. Targeted ads suck, and that whole kettle of fish is so very creepy.

I've never seen a skinny advertiser. They must still be eating...

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Bronze badge
Happy

I'll Cry Victory When.....

I no longer see......."My girlfriend makes $8467 a month working from home on her computer........."

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Anonymous Coward

Crap

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Spot on commenters

I agree with all the comments I read here (yea, I lazily read a half dozen). I feel no guilt either because it's not my hatred of commercials that got us here. It's a security risk, period.

I've had ads served by Yahoo and Google both have injected malware in them and even though my AV (Webroot) stopped them cold, it's the creepy factor that comes from being on a legit site and suddenly seeing your AV go nuts about an attempted driveby. Ad servers need to take security and content much more seriously and maybe folks like me would loosen up a bit, but to me ad these days are like popups were in the 90s.

Would you turn off your pop-up blocker if a site told you they wanted you to? Nope. Same thing.

I am truly sorry that the sites I love (<hugs El Reg>) don't get revenue from my visits, but I try to bring other readers to those sites, which should make up for some of my sins. Not all of them are using blockers.

As for me, I visit this site from work and I'm an Enterprise Administrator level account so I can't risk my network security over a few pennies of revenue for websites.

As a matter of fact, I'm sure this spurred the conversation, I had to remove The Register from my favorites list yesterday for this very reason. Their choice (to block my adblocker) didn't generate any additional revenue for them, it only cost them a reader (I'm sure they would say they are saving bandwidth by me not going there anymore).

Don't follow their lead Reg, it's not worth pissing off your readers... plus, we wuv you! <big dooey eyes>

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Re: Spot on commenters

Oops, I meant to say I removed The InQ yesterday. Not El Reg.... you guys are smarter than them! And prettier too! Please don't consider following InQ down that dark path. :)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Spot on commenters

"I visit this site from work and I'm an Enterprise Administrator level account so I can't risk my network security over a few pennies of revenue for websites"

You are a moron if you are using an administrator account to surf the web.

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Silver badge

Sometimes you HAVE to use an ad blocker because otherwise the site doesn't work properly.

Take for example http://www.speedtest.net/ for testing your internet speed. If I don't use an ad blocker then my speed test results cannot be trusted because of the bandwidth & cpu the adverts take up when loading the page & doing the test.

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Silver badge

Although the question is in the subheading, not the actual headline, I feel Betteridge's law of headlines fits: Do I feel guilty? No, I absolutely do not.

Although, technically, I don't block adverts as such - I block scripts. This has the side effect of blocking the overwhelming majority of adverts, and making the web far quicker, lighter and a whole lot more pleasant to browse. There is the small inconvenience of deciding when I need (whether permanently or temporarily) to allow scripts, or when to just move on - but I find it really is only a small one.

The advertising industry has well and truly fucked itself. It started off with a simple foot cannon, and after firing it complained that us, the users, were the cause of the problem - and it has gradually adjusted the settings on that foot cannon, firing it again at each step, until it's reached maximum yield, maximum strength. And still they blame us.

The bottom line is that I run NoScript for security reasons - and that's not going to change. If you want me to see adverts on your websites, therefore, those adverts should be text or images embedded in the pages, clearly marked as advertising, and served up without the need for Javascript. Do that, and I will see your adverts with no hoop jumping necessary, and without compromising the security of my computers.

But trying to force me to accept annoying, intrusive adverts by compromising that security - noting that the adverts themselves may bring the payload? Not a bloody chance, you imbecilic fucktards.

Worth adding that along with the news that it's cheaper to get hacked than be secure, a similar mindset is probably prevalent in the whole online advertising industry. Why bother to incur the cost of cleaning up their act when it's probably cheaper to deal with the damage that might be caused?

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