This'll be the next...
...virus-writer V antivirus company digital war on the horizon then?
At Hulu - the ad-driven streaming video site cooked up by media giants NBC and News Corp. - you can watch mainstream feature films and big-name TV shows without paying a penny. But you aren't welcome if you've installed an ad blocker. Roughly a month ago, Hulu began serving this message to any user who dares equip their …
1) Physically cover the ad with an opaque block at the browser level. This would seem undetectable. It would require the blocker to recognise the ad on the page.
2) Look for those advertising services stupid enough to require the advertising medium to include a specific URL (eg: ad.uk.doubleclick.net <cough>) and point it somewhere else. I would have though it would be quite hard to match up connections to the medium with connections to advert, so, again, hard to detect. This has the advantage that it only requires a list of advertising domains.
The question then, is how does Hula know that an ad blocker is being used unless these products are stupid enough to advertise their presence?
If you want the visitors to respect your adverts, respect the visitors.
There are two ways the ad-block technology works and ways for companies to detect it.
Firstly you have static images, jpegs and the likes. The adblock software has a blacklist and doesnt download content from those domains/links. Companies can detect this by matching page requests with image requests, and hinder future requests from the same session
Second is the more active content, like flash. Because of built in scripting functions, a n onload script can then request something else, alerting the company that the ad has been seen. Again sessions contrio
So how to combat this. Virtualisation technology. Have a little box to display all the ad content at will, but fail to connect it to a screen!! woops. It should be quite undetectable, as really all your doing is ignoring the content rather than blocking it. Does add to the bandwidth bill (on both sides might i add )
1) You still download the ad, so why not just let it be?
I get annoyed with the giant animated ones, I have some slow machines and they can be flattened by a giant heap of flash.
2) This is the ad-block model.
a) Use a bit of JS to see if you've loaded up the ad providers images, may be able to get around that by using a blank in place of the ad image.
b) Link to the ad provider and only serve to people who've downloaded the ads cookies simplify that, but you wouldn't need them.
c) Ad has a link that you follow to get the content, no ad, no link.
One has to ask how they know exactly what software you have: is their 'interrogation' techinque(s) legal or not, and can it (they) be disabled or not?
If so, would such companies then target any system refusing to answer/tell them their required info (or respond with delay times of .. or whatever), in which case I can see a new plugin quickly being developed that would return the expected data, ad blocker or no.
Why do these idiots think that AdBlock exists in the first place? It isn't because people have a pathological hatred of advertising in general, its because people have an *intense* dislike of in-your-face, garish, overbearing advertising that spoils their enjoyment of whatever content the advertisement is embedded into.
In other words, AdBlock, and other similar ad blockers, are the bastard offspring of the advertising twats themselves. If they had behaved reasonably in the way they placed ads then nobody would have minded and there would be no need for AdBlock.
Of course, once AdBlock, etc, came along and people realised they could block *all* ads, not just the *really* annoying ones, they did so.
So, Mr thick-as-shit advertising 'executive', you only have *yourself* to blame if nobody is looking at your annoying bullshit. You are too stupid to realise that, on the Internet, there is *no way* you can *force* people to look at your ads and *no way* you can block access to desirable content to users of ad blockers. There will *always* be a way to work around your pathetic attempts to force your crap through.
I remember in the original Adblock there was an extra option which allowed you to download the adverts but not display them, precisely to get around this kind of detection.
I've just looked in the AdBlock Plus preferences and I don't see an equivalent option there. If this technique becomes popular I imagine that something similar will be added pretty quickly.
The nature of the web means that this is a battle web sites can't win. Keeping ads small (in file size and screen space) inoffensive (no flash animations) and relevant will encourage people to view them. Anything else and people will find a way to block them.
"how does Hula know that an ad blocker is being used"
The ad blockers typically alter the page so that the ads are never fetched from the server - they remove the HTML tags. Thus, if you are controlling a particular page, and have the appropriate server-side intelligence enabled, you can refuse to serve the actual content until the browser has downloaded the ad.
You are right, however, that an ad blocker which actually *did* download the ad would be much harder to block. And with Flash ads, they can tell when they are being displayed, not just downloaded, since they are executable content.
What you need to do to end-run around all of this is to effectively have a virtualized browser that does everything a normal browser page would do, but only actually displays those bits that are wanted by the user.
It's obviously very easy to detect if an ad blocker is being used; the server just has to detect whether the ads are being fetched by the browser. if they are not, then something out of the ordinary is happening (ie - there's an ad blocker in place).
I suppose one way round this would be for the browser to fetch the ads but just not bother displaying them. Would do nothing to save on bandwidth usage of course, but at least the user wouldn't have to put up with the ads.
Of course, a bit of script could also play a part in detecting this stuff.
I have Adblock Plus always running. I do this because 99.99% of all internet ads are far to intrusive. I don't want a page with a pig (or whatever) doing the funky fandango all over the content, I want to read/view the content.
If the ad were less obnoxious, smaller to download and rendered last; then I may be inclined to reduce the blocking level. Also, if the ads did not engage in user tracking (hello to the Google evil-empire) then I may be even more inclined to do so.
Until then, blocked they shall remain.
They'll be monitoring the server for requests probably. Serve a page, then check with the server dealing the ads to see if the relevant ad has been requested. Easy enough to work around of course, just request the advert then bin it.
That said, I wouldn't be surprised if we see an arms race out of this where flash adverts will start making a request back to the server to report that they're running normally.
***"The question then, is how does Hula know that an ad blocker is being used unless these products are stupid enough to advertise their presence?"***
I assume it is the Flash applet that is trying to download the ad and displays the message if it can't.
Simplest work around is to have your ad blocking proxy return a dummy file of the correct type whenever a request is made to a URL pattern matched to a advertiser. The player would get a file it *thinks* is from the advertiser and continue happily.
As always a load of freetards demanding something for nothing. I have no idea why you think a site providing free content doesn't have the right to advertise.
If you disable their ads then you are only one small gray step away from theft.
El Reg is a classic example. Alright there are quite a few ads and the expanding jobbers are especially irritating but they are there for a reason. It's how they pay their staff to get the content you so lovingly bitch about on to the site in the first place.
If you want a micro-payment web instead then fine. I personally don't mind the ads if I can get some free content in return.
In Firefox, it's apparently fairly trivial to detect if a user has a particular extension installed:
Alternatively, it's presumably possible to detect if the DOM has been changed to hide an advert, and trigger a function to prevent loading of a video if this is the case (note: I don't know if this is how Adblock works, I'm not a Firefox extension developer).
> The question then, is how does Hula know that an ad blocker is being used unless these products are stupid enough to advertise their presence?
1. Assume that everyone has an ad blocker so always get ready to display the 'disable your ad blocker' message
2. Use an advert delivery system to set a global variable
3. If the variable has been set hide the message
OK, not *all* of us.
But most of us are used to services like Facebook, YouTube and even The Register being available to us for free. Who do we think is paying for this?
So it makes sense for free web sites to find a way to protect their advertising revenue and hence - their existence. Either that or they'll have to find a new business model.
(We've been here before - UK readers will remember when "Freeserve" was actually "Free", in the sense that the ISP connection was free to the user. That model didn't last.)
When my favourite websites get round to asking, I'd pay a few pounds a year for an advertising-free option. It would be worth it for the security and possibly for the increase in page load / refresh times. In the meantime, I'm going ahead and using AdBlock and NoScript.
I have adblocker turned on, however I allow ads on sites that provide content to me for free.
After all, i'd rather see an advert & get something for free than not see the advert & have to pay for the content. And why shouldn't people make something for going to all that hard work of providing something I want?
theregister.co.uk is a classic example.
Ad-blockers are all well & good, but you should seriously consider turning them off for sites you wish to support.
Get started now with blocking ads - the less they are blocked the more silly ideas they think of. We can't be too far away from Jeff Noon's 'Blurb flies' and other writers little mobile advert devices. But once we've all got our General Identity Tags our RFID chips will broadcast our Facebook info so any bus stop, advert hoarding or shop sign can directly tell us what we need to buy.
Tom, you ain't seen nuthin' yet!
I have an idea what they might be doing ..... they might be detecting the fact of the advertisements not being ownloaded. Simple fix would be to have an "extreme" setting for ad-blocking software which does actually download the advert (and, just out of sheer spite for pay-per-click advertisers, also silently downloads and discards the page to which the advert linked; thus forcing somebody to pay for nothing), but doesn't then go on actually to display it. It still takes up bandwidth, but at least it doesn't eat up screen real estate.
If I thought I could make any money doing it, I'd resell broadband internet with a transparent, advert-busting proxy server. No downloads, no settings to change, totally platform-agnostic: you just get the Internet sans advertising.
In a properly designed browser there should be no way to know what extensions a user has installed from Hulu's end. The only way to do it should be to link video downloads with ad downloads. That would be trivial to by pass by downloading the ads and simply never displaying them.
I have created a number of sites which all share the ability to (attempt) to detect ad blocking software.
Two of the sites that I deployed on lost 30% of their page views (ignoring the ad-block notification screen) during the first month. Over the same time period ad revenue increased (the sites popularity was growing).
In both cases the websites were profitable before the change, but with filtering savings and no loss of revenues they now generate around 3 times as much (to be fair starting profit was low, so 3 times low isn't massive).
Like others have mentioned, I don't mind lightweight ads such as the ones Google throws up. It's the big/garish/animated/annoying/any combination of the above which I use AdBlock to screen. If they're going to insist on eating my bandwidth with advertising, they can either choose to do it in a tasteful and inoffensive manner, or they can get blocked. It's up to them.
And maybe they are getting the message. When I first installed it a couple of years back I was adding new URLs to the block list pretty regularly. Now, I don't remember the last time I made an addition, which means one of two things - either I've already blocked the main offenders for my sphere of browsing, or the advertisers have wised up and are creating less irritating ads. Either which way, I don't mind seeing the adverts which still make it through. Perhaps the advertising industry could learn from this...
However, the marketers were being freetards first.
The most egregious example:
When people bought cable TV it was for-pay but without ads.
Then they added ads but the service didn't get cheaper.
Then they added more ads.
Now 1/3 of it is ads.
OK, we have 120,000,000 channels, but most would make $0 if we had to choose them.
There's another reason to block ads: when the ad server is busy, the pages won't complete loading until the ad has completed. Block the ad and your pages load quicker.
A final big reason is that ads can be expensive bandwidth wise and with fair use being "don't use it", this is an imposition.
On one hand, drastically reduced ads, thus speeding up my web browsing. On the other hand, I get to watch dumb TV shows.... Choices choices.....
I never used Hulu anyways, so it's no loss to me. Since I save bandwidth by not viewing videos and ads, that's more bandwidth I can use for more important stuff.
...People detecting ad-blockers and then withholding content (I appreciate that in this case it's not _actually_ being withheld) are missing the point.
I absolutely won't ever click on your advert anyway. I just won't. So let me block it and save me the bandwidth of downloading it, and yourself the bandwidth of serving it. Showing me it really won't change my mind. "but you might WANT to see it, go on, take a look!". No. You can't polish a turd.
@A J Stiles - interesting idea, clicking through so someone pays for nothing. Maybe sites like this should have their banners clicked on a few thousand times per hour for a day or two? The advertisers would likely pull out if they had to shell out 10K for naff all.
The point of web advertising is not that you simply watch the advert, but actually buy the product or service that is being advertised. I installed Adblock after I realised that I had never bought anything advertised in a web banner online, so it was a waste of time for me to view the ad. The way some commenters have described it, viewing ads is a punishment that must be endured for the right to view "free" content. Why not create an alarm clock that shouts random brand names/slogans at you every morning, make ownership compulsory, and that is your quota for the day. Everything else is advertising free.
Why is this news? ABC (at http://abc.go.com/player/) has been doing this for months. Maybe years for all I know. You can watch all their shows you want to but you have to allow the "commercials" as they call the.
What are you guys at El Reg trying to pawn this off as something newsworthy? Can't keep up?
Had to read almost to the end to see a few people saying what I was thinking...
I have no sympathy for people who block ads. I agree, the ads are many times way too intrusive and obnoxious, specially the Flash ones (it's hard to read something when there is some stupid flashing, moving thing taking 20 % of your screen: hint to El Reg).
But as others mentioned, you are getting content for free, many times from professional people -- or at least people who do this for a living. Ads are their way to get paid. They therefore have all the right to deny serving content to whomever kills their (sometimes) only revenue stream. I would if I were them, for sure.
Don't want to see ads, go away read Wikipedia, I'd suggest.
"... and it doesn't carry much in the way of good tv shows either."
So Sir Hitchcock and Rod Serling not very good. My wife won't watch the any of the Hitchcock shows because they remind her too much of Psycho. And the Serling show with Phyllis Diller as the nagging wife ghost - also a classic. Guess you didn't look very hard.
Actually, I don't find the ads all that bad. They are usually 15 to 30 seconds, not even enough time to get up off the couch.
I feel with this one. If you fire up Adblock, you're hurting the site. (And not to mention that Adblock is a FF-only extension.)
I really don't care, for example, if I get google ads or not, as those aren't intrusive; actually some of them are very funny. But some of them (doubleclick.net, cpxinteractive) are annoying enough to cut them out. Especially some of them that for some reason like to show me BIG BUTTS, nag me on watching "girl next door" cams or similars; these kind of ads are actually a threat to you (and no, it isn't in porn sites these come up!) Add up with those stupid "You're the 999999th visitor YOU WON!" crapads, and I've decided I'm fed up.
So my solution has been to set up a squid proxy that blocks the offending domains, and voila! No more annoying ads. Project Wonderful and Google Syndication, on the other hand, still remain in my accepted lists. :)
Don't blanket-ban ads, and maybe the webmasters will get the hint and switch to the nicer ads.
As a site owner I would block people using adblockers, if we could do it without too many false positives.
Why should someone get to view my content without having to pay. No such thing as a free lunch. All you do by blocking is ensure site owners have to inflict others with more ads or degrade content.
If everyone used one then it would be pay to look or shut down for many sites.
As can anyone else who tries to force me to use a certain browser, or a certain plugin, or register an account, or disable ad-blocking in order to merely view their site. Life's too short to deal with that crap.
For those of you who ask "why block the ads, after all sites need the revenue" - true, you make a very good point. If the ads were relevant, unobtrusive, unanimated plain images or text, I would have no problem with letting them load and display. I might even click through on some if they were of interest to me.
The problem is that the idiot marketers don't know when enough is enough, so we get animated banners, huge banners, flash banners, Java banners, sound, the whole effing nine yards and then some more. To add injury to insult, the ad services are a perfect attack vector for malware peddlers.
So to make sure the browsing experience is not reduced to a miserable, bandwidth-sucking, potentially dangerous, ad-infested crawl through sites where the content is less prominent than the adverts, we block the damn things.
Unfortunately, the inoffensive, relevant and lightweight advertising I have *no* problem with gets swept up with all of that garbage. Everyone loses.
Instead of trying to dissuade people from running ad blockers, the marketers should be doing a spot of navel-gazing and maybe realizing that, if they stopped being assholes about it, there'd be less need to block adverts and they'd actually reach *more* people.
I'm not giving up my ad-blocking software or my script and flash disablers. If that means there are things I can't see, so be it. If companies that rely on advertising go to the wall because of it, so be it.
I'm quite happy to pay a reasonable amount for an ad-free service. I've done it in the past for sites that offer a "premium" service (ie add free and extra features). Unfortunately most content suppliers nowadays are so wedded to the advertising model (probably because so many people demand free content) that I no longer have the option to pay for a clean feed.
You'd think half the El Reg readership are under the impression that they are entitled to define how they use things that don't belong to them.
nice example from Jesthar:
"they can either choose to do it in a tasteful and inoffensive manner, or they can get blocked"
I'm afraid you've all got it backwards.
*they* own the content, so *they* decide how you watch it.
From where I sit, you (the consumer) want something they (the producers/studios/networks) have (the content).
If the above is horribly wrong, you could always ask them to license your eyes to view their content.
In any case: there is an excellent way to watch the content without ads: you could buy the DVD or pay for a download, or get a premium cable channel. But I appreciate this is an alien concept amongst the torrent-addled masses.
@Alan Parsons: you're free to not click on the ad. The only thing they ask is that you watch it in return for enjoying their content. Is that so much to ask?
From the evidence presented it would appear that the media player has a 30 second delay inserted at the beginning of playback when it displays the above message. Under normal circumstances the message is obscured by an advert so you don't see it, but if you have Adblock installed the advert is blocked but the delay (and message) remain.
So it's not actually very clever at all.
(Disclaimer: Being in the UK I can't verify this hypothesis).
My ad-blocker works just fine. Where there's a will... Hulu isn't as smart as they think they are ;-) DRM doesen't work and neither will foisting ads on people. Free means Free... to everyone except advertisers.
Greed is the CAUSE...
Advertising is the EFFECT...
Open Source is the ANSWER... Amen.
All this talk of theft of service from sites that use ads to fund themselves is ignoring the fundamental problem.
I'd be happy to see the ads if they didn't interfere so much with the experience of the site. So, if a site wants advertising income it needs to adjust the ads until they generate enough click-through revenue without causing us to block them (and so perhaps lose the content and stop visiting the site).
If a site is particularly worthwhile the bar to nausea will be higher than if it's a waste of space.
If people vote with their feet that's one more useless site gone and a better experience from those left.
Paris, because even she can work this out.
In my opinion the problem isn't the ads themselves. The problem is that the ad designers work under a bunch of assumptions most of us have issues with.
Assumption 1) I want to see eye-hurting animation and will tolerate it in my field of vision while I use the site.
This is the thinking behind those moronic animated in-program eye-turd pop-ups that various television channels have fallen in love with. They now not only take up over 20% of the tv screen real estate, but also have independent sound channels that play over the program in progress. Whoever thought this was a good idea should the fingers of each hand amputated by having them pulped with a coal hammer. The message might then get across. All animation superfluous to the site content must go and no exceptions.
Assumption 2) I have a state of the art computer and can afford the cycles needed to reload an animated add or roll-over every few seconds.
Of course no-one would be surfing the net on an old, slow pentium 3 would they? Ads that burn cycles (unless activated by clicking) must go and no exceptions.
Assumption 3) All users have cheap high-bandwidth internet connections and therefore can afford to have a constant barrage of witless ad-necessary chit-chat sucking it up without worry. After all, who uses dial up these days, or high bandwidth but premium-priced connectivity services? All unauthorised (ie sans click) adbabble must cease forthwith.
I don't think anyone with a realistic sense of what it costs to bring the internet to them would object to static ads that could do more if clicked on. It's these stupid epic feature films that get served up that cause the ill-feeling.
The point of advertising isn't actually to get you to buy stuff, at least, it's not the main point, which is to raise brand awareness so that when you are in the mood to buy a particular item the advertised brand name springs to mind before anyone else's. Just look at the average car commercial on TV. It tells you little about the car itself, but tries to associate the brand with a driver type in the hope that when that type of driver needs a new car, they will think of the brand in a positive light. This mission can be achieved with static sidebars and suchlike. They're just not as shiny, is all.
Which is the problem, since ad designers believe in their heart of hearts that shiny=better.
Yep.. I use Ad blocking software. And I go to sites that are ad supported. Am I ashamed? Not even a little bit. I recommend ad block to everyone I know.I also make a cup of tea or fast forward during ad breaks on TV. I know.. I'm one step away from a terrorist.. I'm even too anarchic to pay for proper commercial software and use Linux instead.. Yes.. I am trying to ruin the internet for the nice advertising people who know that we really want to listen to their message instead of reading some silly article or something.
I will not read a site that has a quarter page flashing ad for something. If that means I don't get to see the content, then so be it. Some sites really milk it. A couple of paragraphs each page of a ten page article.. Come on. This is just asking for someone to block the thing.
Some sites I do unblock, but reverse that if they get carried away. Advertising is ok in moderation, but don't overdo it.
Throttle back the migraine inducing "eye catching" ads and people don't need to use blockers, and don't make me use the mute button on my keyboard late at night. It really is that simple. An ad for the latest video game... fine. A static picture with links to find out more. An ad with a flash animation in a perpetual loop with annoying sound is not helping guys, neither is a moving fake window offering insurance with a difficult to find close button floating over what I came there to read. It's the internet equivalent of driving down my street at four in the morning with a megaphone and a strobe light. I am NOT going to buy from your fine advertiser under any circumstances after that! And a brand that advertises in such a way that I already use has just lost my custom.
I stopped using p2p and other "targeted" services years ago. I've gone back to my pre-WWW roots (Unix shell account on arpanet) and now get most of my content from the newsgroups, where I can download using encryption and where good netiquitte is still fairly prevalent.
I do download from iTunes, but I was a consultant for Apple back in the late 80's and I still have a soft spot in my heart for Apple and Steve Jobs.
I don't know how useful this is, but It Works For Me. I see neither ads nor nags on Hulu while watching video and I block cookies and Flash by default. I've watched a few videos now in full-screen as well as normal size, "480p" as well as the normal video and audio quality.
I'm using "Iceweasel" (Debian's Firefox) 18.104.22.168 in Debian Linux lenny/sid (the "testing" branch) with the Flash 9.0 r124 plugin and the NoScript 1.6.9 and FlashBlock 1.5.6 extensions. I allowed scripts and Flash for www.hulu.com and http://static.hulu.com and allowed all hulu.com and 2o7.net cookies for session only. They include scripts from google-analytics.com which is on my permanent blacklist (as well as being blocked by default) and I didn't allow marketingsolutions.yahoo.com.
Now that I've actually tried Hulu, I'm not sure if I still need my Netflix subscription or Verizon FiOS TV service. They don't have any Discovery Networks programs and they probably never will-- that might cause me to keep "cable" for now. Discovery has show clips on their website but still not full episodes, but how much longer will they hold out? I've got five days left to cancel FiOS TV with a full refund and it's sorely tempting.
Where's the negotiation about how much I pay for this? Where? If there is none because there's no medium for exchanging opinion and so they put out "ad-block detection" software to make me see the ads, then my inclusion of an undetectable ad blocker is my counter offer.
Or should the consumer have no say? Are you a communist???
they* own the content, so *they* decide how you watch it.
I own my computer, I decide what I want to see.
I installed adblock because I wanted to block out those intrusive flashing adverts. Any others being blocked are roadkill.
I appreciate that sites need the money and I have no problem with unintrusive ads. The marketeers have shot themselves in the foot with their intrusive ads. Now they are turning the advertising racket into a challenge. Very much like "No user servicable parts inside" which I treat like a red rag to a bull.
I think the general consensus is we don't really mind the non-offensive 'ordinary' ads. It's definitely the 'You have just won yada yada....' vibrating twatbox type that we all hate with a passion. I for one would really like to know if anyone has (or will admit to have) clicked on on of these to see wtf they're about.
And, yes , the Google/ El Reg type ads are really not too much to worry about and sometimes (shock horror) they actually get your attention...
Paris as she probably loves a good blocking
Right, switched to only blocking .swf files, the lot'll get it as soon as this becomes a PITA.
Hopefully if enough people do this rather than blanket block everything the advertisers will realise that no-one watches the 44GB flash movie they've lovingly crafted in a desperate attempt to illegally flog us Viagra.
*LEGAL* *FREE* shows on the internet, as long as you're willing to view the occasional ads.
How do you expect anyone to pay for server costs, bandwidth/transit, content, staff, support, and other recurring costs while running a free service?! God forbid these people cover their costs and maybe make a little money running the services they do by showing a couple of assorted ads. If you block these ads, you're denying them the funds that let them provide this service to you --- so why should they continue to provide it?
If you go into a restaurant and order food and refuse to pay -- are you going to be pissed when they refuse you food?
I don't really mind the Hulu adblock message. When they weren't serving it up the video would make very harsh jumps where there was supposed to be an ad, now it fades in and out properly. Admittedly you do have to wait as long as you would for an ad, but the message has no sound so it is still a huge improvement over having to watch the ad.
I like Hulu, I just wish NBC would stop being so paranoid and post a few more episodes.
Is why I have a girlfriend, why pay for something I can get for free ;-)
Anyway, a solution here is just to point AVG's LinkScanner at the ads... The site makes a boat load of greenbacks and the person's paying for the ads will go out of business, never to advertise again (Win - Win for the paytards.)
With 20million or so 'clicks' on those ads... Hulu's earning should shoot through the roof!!!!!
Mine is the one filled with Hulu stock.
Tom, I never used to block ads but the register forced me into it.
I usually look at the front page and open all the stories I'm interested in in separate tabs. What was happening with the register is their adverts were using so much processing power that my computer would grind to a complete halt. I was left with no choice but to block ads and scripts. Since I've done this I've found that everything runs much smoother and faster and not just with the register but with most sites I visit. One other thing, when your processor is running flat out its drawing more power and costing you more in electricity (okay, not much, but still..). Oddly enough the registers worst offender was an advert for "Green Computing".
So in answer to you question, the reason you should block ads is because everything runs smoother without them and you save money and bandwidth.
So what if they play ads? If the content is good enough people will temporarily disable their blockers, if not they won't watch anyway.
My own personal advert blockers (and these work for broadcast tv too) are to
1/make myself a cuppa,
2/take a leak,
3/make some munchies,
4/watch another channel until the adverts are done, or...
5/just press fast forward because I hardly ever watch live TV anymore.
I am a bit particular about what I block. I respect that sites have to pay the bills, but resent having to foot a bill myself in return (I am on a fixed per-month download limit).
As mentioned above, Google-like text banners and small static images don't bother me at all and I explicitly allow them on any site I visit regularly (such as elReg). But anything that moves or is huge or is slow will generally get on my black list quite quickly. And I have never found a site anywhere that I couldn't live without if they want to get stupid on me.
Given that many ad-funded sites out-source their advertising, how many host actually know how bad/intrusive it is? Or how much damage it is doing to theor reputation.
Personally I run no ad-blocking software, I just don't stick around on sites with loud, animated, full-screen, pop-up, etc., etc. .... adverts. This must hurt them more than it hurts me since there is now no chance of me clicking through on ANY of their other ads, however quiet, static, etc. they may be.
Besides which, since most animated ads are offering "free" things, and TANSTAAFL, I assume they all are (not just might be) malware attack vectors.
Well, it has to do with personal freedom. We're free to not read ads in the newspapers or not buy the rag at all. We're free to go pee during TV commercials if we wish or turn the TV off during their presentations if we wish. Basically until such time as personal freedoms are revoked, people will find ways to block, or ignore, all sorts of things they as individuals find irritating. Means do vary.
Those of you who want to charge for sites, please do so. You certainly have that right and you have the right to choose whatever type of cheese you want with your whine.
Put you money where your collective [ad pushing] mouths are and either make your viewpoint prevail or grow up ... which ever comes first.
I don't agree with many of the comments on this page that it is fully acceptable to block ads and that Hulu is in the wrong to block ad-blockers.
As far as I can see this is how Hulu generates revenue, as many have said it is like spitting in their face when this revenue is removed. The ads presented are pretty straight forward and not obtrusive. I think they are giving us a pretty good deal and some people still aren't happy.
It costs a lot of money to make TV shows and they need to make this money back somewhere, TV advertising revenues are right down so now they are delivering shows, free of charge to users in exchange for very minimal (IMO) advertising being served.
To those users that have said if they are prevented from using ad-blocking software they will not visit that website - I would have to wonder if any web-master would be bothered about losing a user who downloads content (which costs money) without making even the most basic contribution (viewing a few ads) to the running of the service.
For users not prepared to view ads, there is iTunes or Amazon Unbox or just DVD rentals for you to consider.
I use an ad blocker but I don't consider myself a freetard. If I like something, (music, game, movie, whatever) I have no problem buying it.
The reasons I block ads?
* They're pointless to me. If I want something, I'll go look for it. Ads won't influence that. Currently they don't cos I never see them. When I look for something, I'll seek independent reviews and the like.
* Ads piss me off. Static banners like I see on some webcomics don't bother me. My brain has become adept at ignoring them but anything animated distracts me. What tends to happen is that I note the brand and *blacklist it*. Yep, in the same way I will be rude to idiots who phone me late at night and make a point of never buying their products, I never buy products who's internet ads piss me off.
* External interference with my stuff REALLY pisses me off. I'm trying to read a news story, the last thing I want is animated crap in my browser. It's interfering with what I am trying, legitimately, to do. Trying to detect and counter the presence of ad blocking software on my browser is essentially trying to alter the behaviour of my computer for commercial gain. Absolute no-no. My PC, so the only person who gets to decide how it behaves is me. Ad companies can fuck off. And DRM too.
The ad spewing idiots need to decide why people block ads and realise intrusiveness is the cause. Some folks might react to the ads but basically online ads are the same business model as spammers: if only 0.01% of your target population will respond then flooding the other 99.99% with masses of bandwidth wasting crap is the way to get revenue by brute force. No sane person complains about anti-spam on their email, why should it be different for embedded ads?
Like those bloody irritating ones El Reg has put on some pages that insist on moving all the time. Not only are they distracting - but it looks like I am browsing some non-work related site. Why oh why? The one that really gets me is that one with the bloke holding up the signs. If I could smack him one I would.
Anyway I've gone off on one .... but I'd love to be able to just block specific types.
Hmmm... I may have to try this from my home machine. I don't have any ad blocking software installed, but I *DO* have a Hosts file with just about every ad server under the sun pointed to 127.0.0.1.
Let's hear it for old-school ad blocking.
Tux, because my Hosts file in Debian is easily accessible.
Edwin I don't block adds, but i don't click on the damm things...as others have said normal text based adds don't bother me (i just ignore the dam things).
"The only thing they ask is that you watch it in return for enjoying their content. Is that so much to ask?" It sodding well is if it platers its self all over the content I am trying to view.
Some adds are funny and stick in the mind <I always liked the say pepperami adds or going back in to the depths of time the ones with the guy from raising damp in them>, others on the other hand are just shit and make less likley to ever buy anything from the company its advertising. This is not even taking into consideration bandwidth of mine they are using for their shitty adds.
If a particular site chooses to block my access because I use Adblock then they can get stuffed ... Plenty of other sites out there that can deliver the same content without the adverts.
If I want to watch the adverts, I'll go watch the TV and get bombarded with ads for OxyClean whilst 'doing the moves' to the Comfort song or that prat Howard Brown singing his 'Halifax Greatest Hits'.
Welcome our ad-blocking overlords. My simple solution for Hulu is to simply block that site so my browser never looks at it. Saves my bandwidth for something truly useful and saves them whinging at me about blocking their ads. See, everyone happy....well, except the advertisers who aren't making spit....oh well.
Paris, 'cos I hear she makes spit.
Beg pardon, but you seem to have misunderstood me. I don't do torrents. Never have, never will. I don't have Huru - never even heard of it before now. I don't buy content downloads, I either watch stuff live on TV, or record it, or occasionally buy things I really like on DVD, all good and paid for and legal. In fact, I would merrily pay a few pounds more for a trailer free DVD. And I certainly don't care for premium TV - there are far better things to be doing with my life! ;)
I was simply referring to regular website banner/space filler ads of the hidiously obnoxious or horribly annoying variety. You know, the ones which have repetitive, distracting animations (hit three ducks/swat three flies and win a prize! Yeah, right...), the ones which expand to cover half the screen if you touch them when scrolling (grrr!), ESPECIALLY the ones which jiggle and flash at me in every lurid colour available that I'm visitor number one million and have won a mound of prizes (aaargh! My eyes!). Those are the kind of ads I block. And, as I said, I haven't had to add any to the list for a good while now.
And, sure, I'm free to not click on them - but is that before or after they give me a headache? If they were on TV, I'd hit mute and examine the TV guide until they've gone. I regard AdBlock as the nearest internet equivalent. :)
And here is an interesting paradox - when I'm at work (and forced to use a vanilla and ancient IE install), I still get inflicted with pop-up adverts for all manner of things (Dell springs to mind). Now, both I.E. and FireFox have inbuilt popup blockers - how come the ad merchants aren't also complaining about those? ;)
With many ISP's screaming about switching to a pay-for-actual-bandwidth-used schema, the sites that want to force me to watch their ads, will quickly watch my traffic vanish.
If I have to pay for every damned byte of data I get, then *I* will determine what data I receive.
If they want me to watch their ads, then they can pay me for my bandwidth.
We've taken 2 steps forward (DSL & Fibre) & one MIGHTY FREAKING LEAP backwards to the days of dial-up ISP's...
I screen my email at the server (so I don't download the Spam), I screen my browsing (so I don't see the ads), I throw out all the junk snail-mail (the mail box is right next to the rubbish bin - how convenient!), and I either mute the commercials on the telly, or I leave the room.
Until you're paying me to compensate me for my wasted time & resources, you can stuff your ads right up your Marketing Executive.
It isn't that Hulu is wrong to block ad-blockers but that it isn't wrong for us to use ad-blockers or stealth ad-blockers.
If they don't want people watching their stuff without watching their ads, they can stop putting their stuff out over the internet.
We're selling our eyeballs. We get to say whether they get to use them.
Others here have already explained there are good ways to do ads, there are bad ways to do ads and there are fscking awful ways to do ads.
If an ad is intrusive or takes up too much screen space then it goes. If an ad is irrelevant then it goes. If an ad makes my PC sound like an Eagle spacecraft taking off then it goes. If a site has too many adverts on a page or ads which interfere with reading of the content, then the site gets blacklisted and never visited again.
Text based or static banner ads aren't a problem. Sites I want to support don't get blocked, indeed their adverts are invariably small banners or other non irritating and non intrusive methods and get routinely clicked.
I am not a target market. I have never clicked on an advert from a site that I do not support. I have blacklisted companies and sites whose ads are a pain in the ass. I own my computer, I pay for my bandwidth, I decide what I want to see.
Mine's the t-shirt quoting Bill Hicks on marketing and advertising.
will you all quit whining on about ads on a FREE service
normally i'm against adverts for adverts sake (like in games i've payed for once i don't wanna see ads in.)
but this is a FREE service all they ask is you look at there ads to play for the service if you don;'t want to see the ads DON'T use the service
even el reg sells ads and gadets to make money and pay staff and for servers etc.
>If they don't want people watching their stuff without watching their
>ads, they can stop putting their stuff out over the internet.
If you don't want to watch their adverts then don't watch their stuff.
>We're selling our eyeballs. We get to say whether they get to use them.
It's a straight sale, usage of your eyeballs for the video, you want it you pay, it's not unreasonable.
Very nice piece of software, avoid skimming through a host of ad-loaded websites for your supply of "aww cute kitten!" and ilk videos, still in it's early days as there are a ton of features still needed to raise it to superb level, one of which I'd like is to be able to convert the downloaded video files to other formats for playing on PMP's etc.
I like things free but if people expect companies to spend money on programming and then give it away for free they are living in a fantasy world. I would be more than happy for the advertisers to pay for the content I watch rather than me. If people don't like it then don't watch and the service will fail. Would you rather they set up an ad free payment based subscription service where you pay out of your own pocket? AD'S SAVE US MONEY!!!
"From where I sit, you (the consumer) want something they (the producers/studios/networks) have (the content).
If the above is horribly wrong, you could always ask them to license your eyes to view their content."
Christ , i hope Gordon Brown doesn't read that last bit........"i dont know such things, i only do the eyes" (Blade Runner).
Some sci-fi book i read mentioned retinal scanners in Tv sets =not enough viewing done =no food and shelter credits=specialist gaze "hackers" subvert the system , plus ca change, n'est ce pas?
"we should do a servy" whassat? footballers abuse a waitress again? oh,sorry wrong broadsheet.
***"It's a straight sale, usage of your eyeballs for the video, you want it you pay, it's not unreasonable."***
Yes, in fact, it *is* unreasonable. If you want me to pay for a service, then ask me to pay *directly*, if you want to finance your site by advertising then you take the risk that I, or anyone else, can ignore your adverts. If your adverts are subtle I will ignore them by merely not looking at them, If they annoy me I *will* block them.
If your site contains only subtle ads then you stand a small chance that I might find one or two interesting. If your site contains *any* annoying ads (and we all know what they are), then I will block them *all*, and you will stand no chance of getting me to look at any.
So, if advertisers want people to stop blocking ads, they have to start being more reasonable with the ads they show. Ranting on about ad blockers and calling those that use them freetards and thieves impresses nobody and won't get your ads looked at.
If you foist adverts and advertising video on me you are stealing from me. Your are forcing me to pay the bandwidth for something I never asked for, and never wanted.
If, by blocking adverts, I 'hurt' the 'revenue model' then GOOD. Get another 'revenue model' that's acceptable.
I've always felt there is a continuous spectrum of marketing, with spam at one end and adverts you genuinely want to watch (eg Guiness) at the other. Do something interesting with your advert, generate some buzz, and I will be trying to look at your adverts. Display static text and, if I'm honest, I'll ignore it totally, but I wont bother doing anything to block it. Animate your advert, scroll it over, under or around the stuff that I'm attempting to read, and congratulations - you've been blocked. Attempt o advertise without having any actual content gets a full site block (link farms, sites with chunks ripped from wikipedia etc). Send me unsolicited crap and I'd hope that its filtered automatically by my antispam software, but should you get round that I will *never* buy a product from the advertised company again.
How hard is it to understand? The old methods don't work when customers can choose - make your adverts interesting or get used to obscurity.
I don't see anything other than text ads. Not on TV, not online. Sky+ ensures I don't have to sit through a barrage of volume-increased rubbish just to see the latest episode of Chuck. Adblock ensures that ridiculous cartoon characters don't come screeching across my screen when I'm trying to wander around the internet.
Why on earth would I allow ads onto my screen? They're ugly, I dislike them. I can get rid of them, therefore I will. If a site goes under through lack of revenue - well, I wouldn't want the site anyway if it has to be covered in ads, so fine, I'll find another site. Google's ads usually make it through and are text-only so I don't mind them enough to work out how to block them. But if it moves, makes a noise, or forces me to wait a set period of time before I can get what I want, I will kill it or find what I want elsewhere.
if you go to a free site then expect it to be funded somehow...
for those that don't want to see adverts, I suggest that you should feel free to write to the site and ask about a paid ad free subscription.
and no they are no stealing your bandwidth, the adverts are a part of th page. when you reqested to view the page you requested to see the adverts also. it's your browser that downloads them...
if you block an advert then it's you who is stealing the service.
I don't have a problem with ads. Unfortunately, in a desperate attempt to make me watch their crappy, poorly designed pieces of crap they've made said ads jittery, moving, obtrusive, and very very annoying. So I've blocked most of them using, as most people here seem to AdBlock Plus + NoScript. Which works great for me.
So if they can only make a living by forcing me to be annoyed by this trash, then I guess they should just fold, and perhaps someone with a better understanding of consumers should fill their niche.
The sites have every right to serve up their ads. I have every right to do what I can to not have to be treated like a walking wallet and forced to put up with a screen full of jittery, flashing, moving trash. And I'm going to win that particular war, because it's my screen over which I have full control (so far anyway).
So, message to advertisers: don't piss off your customers by producing crap, and maybe you won't have to spend extra money to try to force people to watch your trash. Because you'll never win that particular war, especially when I can always just go elsewhere if you annoy me enough.
I really feel sorry for those sites whose revenue depends on ads, because they are being ripped off not by the people who use adblock, but by the people who write the adverts that make adblock not just "nice", but "necessary". Instead of trying to blame your (potential) customers, maybe you should be taking a good long look at your advertising providers as the source of your misery.
I just turned Google ads back on. Did a few test searches. Then turned Google ads off.
On some searches, there were only 4 genuine search results and 9 ads on my screen (13.3" @ 1280x800). 30% of visible search reults being ads is not unobtrusive by my measure.
Here's the thing. If the ads were actually placed and hosted by the site in question then the adblocker wouldn't work. For example, facebook often slips ads into your news feed. It's tolerable because it's minimal. But that model isn't easily be profitable for all cases. So they automate the process and go for a scattergun approach (not so far removed from spam techniques). And I automatically block 'em (not so far removed from spam blocking techniques).
It's an arms race that the admen started and the 'free' internet has blithely jumped on. What did they expect.
I must admit I surf with an adblock on, but if I use a site, and the info was useful, I do turn it off and click an ad link that I find relevant.
How do people think other's pay the bills, so I sort of support their move in this regard, but better to put the case to people.
The ad block software should probably come with a little ditty similar to the above, whilst no one wants to be inundated with the stuff, some of us also try and make the ads blend with the site, or stick them at the bottom.
I would be happy with an ad blocker that allowed only one advertisement through, the most non obtrusive one. Which I would then probably click each time. But, when has common sense ever worked - I suppose I could write one (patent pending :) ). Generally people do want to support others, if all they have to do is give a quick click and have a read through.
Did they not get the hint?
They don't seem to be listening.
I cannot understand the mentality of these merketing morons. Spammers do this: in World of Warcraft, the gold-sellers advertise their sites as "wow-gold.(0m" and similar to deliberately get around the anti-spam addons people use. Here we have websites now doing the same thing: bypass my AdBlock to force me to view ads.
This is analogous to a shopkeeper having a huge distracting flashing board outside his shop, which is annoying people (the spam), so they put their hands up to block the board from their view (the adblocker). The shopkeeper then runs out, grabs the person's hand and throws it down, spits in their face and yells "Fuck you, you're going to look at my ad!" (this bypassing on the part of advertisers)
Now, how many people does this shopkeeper think are going to then walk into his shop and buy his stuff after he treats them like that? What the FUCK do these bastards think is going to happen when they force me to put up with their page-obliterating bullshit? I'll tell you what is going to happen: I'll make damn sure neither I nor anyone I know ever buys anything from the arsehole.
There are enough sheeple who will watch the ads and buy the crap, so where's the mileage in forcing people who are merely going to boycott your company to watch the ads? And the advertisers are paying for an ad impression that's not going to get any results; in fact, is only going to achieve a negative result. I just can't fathom the sheer deluded stupidity of these bastards!
Why don't you quit your bellyaching. Advertising is there for a reason, to keep things free (or the price lower)
It's people like you who think they're oh so cool, blocking the ads, that make them come up with all this technology so that they can somehow FORCE us to watch it.
Whatever happened to simply ignoring it? Or turning the volume off?
The only thing I cannot stand about adverts is the fact that the volume on them blasts. I also have no time for intrusive web ads, ones that distort and disrupt what i'm doing... just show me an ad in the corner, or make me 'skip this page' once an hour, but don't trick me into clicking on you an ad when I try to find the close button.
Like I said, it's wannabe clever people like you that have done this, forced the advertisers to be so sneaky and change it from what used to be pretty simple.
If I am watching video online I do not mind an advert playing before it, as I am not trying to browse and play music, i am sitting about to focus on a video. Thus the ad is appropriate and not offensive. All I do is press mute, wait about 20 seconds looking around the room, then UNMUTE. Job done! What's so hard about simply ignoring ads..?
Revoutionary new ad blocker! Lift up hand, place over ad. Mute voume. Wait a minute. Unmute. OR simply IGNORE with your brain.
>"it's wannabe clever people like you that have done this, forced the advertisers to be so sneaky and change it from what used to be pretty simple."
Incorrect and you know it. Mark pointed undermined your point only two points prior to yours. People have only begun to use Adblock em masse since the admen and sites got greedy with their over zealous and intrusive ads. As a consequence, many folk just say "sod 'em" and block everything.
Shooting. Themselves. In. The. Foot.
I repeat: If the ads were actually placed and hosted by the site in question - newspaper style - then the adblocker wouldn't work. If ads were so great and Adblocking was so damaging, this model would be employed. But they persist with what is, imho, essentially a "spamming" model. Doing otherwise would expose internet ads for their true worth. Which is much less than the (already low) price that is being charged for them.
Folk can bleat on about Web2.0 being built on shoddy foundations, but Web1.0 ain't much better. Ultimately, unless you've got something folk are prepared to pay for, it's highly likely your product or service is worth far less than you think, and to rely on ad subsidies smacks of desperastion. And desperation ain't pretty.
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