back to article Google, Amazon 'n' pals fork out for AdBlock Plus 'unblock' – report

Internet giants Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Taboola have reportedly paid AdBlock Plus to allow their ads to pass through its filter software. The confidential deals were confirmed by the Financial Times, the paper reported today. Eyeo GmbH, the German startup behind Adblock Plus, said it did not wish to comment. So far …

  1. BlartVersenwaldIII
    Mushroom

    Begun the Ad Wars have

    Expect this to get very ugly, very fast, especially for browsers with curated extension stores.

    Happily using Palemoon with AdBlock Latitude, itself a fork of AdBlock Edge which was a fork of AdBlock Plus without the advert whitelists. Is the original AdBlock still around?

    1. PleebSmash

      Re: Begun the Ad Wars have

      It just means that a slice of users who managed to install AdBlock in the first place but are too lazy to change the settings or download a fork will have to see some text ads. That's worth undisclosed millions to Google and friends.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Begun the Ad Wars have

      "AdBlock Latitude, itself a fork of AdBlock Edge which was a fork of AdBlock Plus without the advert whitelists."

      Are you saying that AdBlock Edge now ALSO accepts some ads?! Otherwise, why switch to AdBlock Lattitude?

      ref. AdBlock "revenue stream", it is pure blackmail (not that I care a bit about the the Big Boys being blackmailed). That said, it's a short lived business. As more and more boys will pay to have their ads "whitelisted", more and more ads will be displayed to those users, who stupidly believe Adblock is all for their benefit. And as they start poking around, they will realize they were fooled. Next step - they'll install an alternative that doesn't whitewash anything. Until they start seeing more ads again, at which point they'll find out that the alternatives' alternative does yellowlisting instead. At which point they'll move on to another blocker. And so it goes.

    3. Mage Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Begun the Ad Wars have

      Adverts MAY finance some good sites.

      All advert images use up MY bandwidth cap. My cap is fixed. Or use MY data allowance on Mobile connection.

      On a TV I mute the adverts.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: Begun the Ad Wars have

        a squid proxy cache can blacklist the adservers quite effectively if you want a solution for home (great if you already use a Linux firewall or LAMP). Or install diladele if you want a more industrial filtering option. We don't see any adverts at work since I put the pair on on system - it also stops a big chunk of click though poisoned adverts.

        1. Mephistro Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Begun the Ad Wars have

          I'm using Privoxy on Windows. Nice, fast and does everything I need it to do.*

          * That is, after several hours spent learning the workings of the configuration file. Sigh...

          1. asdf Silver badge

            Re: Begun the Ad Wars have

            Privoxy also has the advantage of using less memory and cpu than adblock plus as well. If you use an open source router OS like OpenWRT and derivatives you can run it on your router instead of having to put it on each computer plus you can then adblock effectively on unrooted Android and IOS with no fuss as well.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Begun the Ad Wars have

          > a squid proxy cache can blacklist the adservers

          Or just run privoxy, which is easier than full-fat squid. Or run an occasional script for dnsmasq - see http://www.debian-administration.org/article/535/Blocking_ad_servers_with_dnsmasq

          I'm not sure of the status of privoxy on android - there seem to be a number of versions with different origins, which seems dodgy. But I think there is a build for windows if you're that way inclined.

      2. J__M__M

        Re: Begun the Ad Wars have

        On a TV I mute the adverts...

        You say that like they wouldn't unmute them if they could.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Begun the Ad Wars have

          "On a TV I mute the adverts...

          You say that like they wouldn't unmute them if they could."

          If muting ads really makes them hate me, fast forwarding them must make them want to commit murder.

        2. Martin Budden

          Re: Begun the Ad Wars have

          On a TV I mute the adverts...

          You say that like they wouldn't unmute them if they could.

          Spotify pauses ads when you mute/lower the computer volume. This could conceivably be a feature of TV ads at some point in the future. I really really hope not.

          p.s. If your computer has external speakers with a volume control, you can mute the ads there without Spotify noticing.

      3. joejack

        Re: Begun the Ad Wars have

        > On a TV I mute the adverts.

        How will you know when a new season of Archer starts up?

        1. Martin Budden

          Re: Begun the Ad Wars have

          > > On a TV I mute the adverts.

          > How will you know when a new season of Archer starts up?

          He said he mutes adverts, he didn't mention trailers ;-)

    4. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: Begun the Ad Wars have

      No need to use something like Ad Block on IE. Ad blocking is built in:

      • Open IE11 in Modern or Desktop mode

      • Bring up the Charms bar (swipe from the right)

      • Tap 'Settings'

      • Select 'Privacy'

      • Tap 'Add Tracking Protection Lists' and select an appropriate block list. EasyList Standard is the same list that powers the Adblock Plus plugin. Recommended also is 'Stop Google Tracking,' which gets around Google's circumventing of IE's privacy preferences.

      1. asdf Silver badge

        Re: Begun the Ad Wars have

        >No need to use something like Ad Block on IE. Ad blocking is built in:

        >Open IE11 in Modern or Desktop mode

        And right there your plan falls apart for probably %80+ of the people visiting this site. Open IE for anything but the intranet? Haha good one.

        1. sabroni Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: your plan falls apart for probably %80+ of the people visiting this site

          And for the 20% who just use windows 8 like we used 7 before it, and xp before that, it's good to know. Ta!

        2. TheVogon Silver badge

          Re: Begun the Ad Wars have

          "And right there your plan falls apart for probably %80+ of the people visiting this site.

          Current Internet Explorer PC desktop market share is about 58%, and probably higher for this site as many users will be using corporate desktops: http://www.netmarketshare.com/browser-market-share.aspx?qprid=0&qpcustomd=0

          "Open IE for anything but the intranet? Haha good one."

          The last 3 major versions of IE have all been faster (on the SunSpider benchmark) than the current release of Chrome at the time of release and have also had far fewer security vulnerabilities over time than Chrome. And more importantly to me, they don't report your browsing habits back to The Borg like Chrome does. Oh - and as above Ad Blocking is built in (and is extremely fast).

        3. Lozsta

          Re: Begun the Ad Wars have

          I only open IE to confirm product works on IE due to customers local IT incompetence and insistence on using things like IE7

      2. ashdav
        Joke

        Re: Begun the Ad Wars have

        @TheVogon

        You're using IE(insert version of choice)?

        Seriously?

        What is this Charm Bar of which you speak?

        I have real computers and none of them have magic "Charm Bars"

        I smell shill.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Begun the Ad Wars have

        @thevogon

        I am using a pc and a mouse. could you explain what this has to do with tap settings please? i am not a plumber i just dont want no ads.

    5. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Begun the Ad Wars have

      There are a lot of things which get past Android Adblock Plus already (even in strict mode).

      One of its greatest failings is the limited set of filter lists it can handle.

    6. streaky Silver badge

      Re: Begun the Ad Wars have

      especially for browsers with curated extension stores

      Not really, Moz isn't in the business of selling Ads, and AFAIK has no plans to - any browsers that do the conflict of interest is blatant though.

      Re: privoxy and friends: we're moving to a world with much crypto, if it isn't in the browser the best-case scenario is it breaks things. Not ideal. Key is using browsers not made by people who sell ads, even if that's a fork of a browser by a company that does.

      1. phil dude
        WTF?

        Re: Begun the Ad Wars have

        Yes I agree. I have been using chromium for a while, but I am starting to look at Pale Moon. I only use chrome for gmail, since that is sort of its target...

        Privoxy can "ignore" https , and it quite good and killing some tracking tech.

        I must say I register my disgust that browser writers don't know how TOXIC some ads are and are collaborating with them.

        ANY code that runs on your CPU is a potential source of malware. The less third party code the better, especially when we are accessing secure sites.

        P.

        1. Jess

          Re: I only use chrome for gmail,

          I find the current gmail interface so horrible that I normally disable scripts for google on first use, then set it to plain html. (With Chrome the setting doesn't seem to stick when you re-enable).

          However the best fix is Thunderbird.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sigh

    If I start getting Ads from these companies I'll definitely have to look for alternatives to Adblock Plus.

    There are some of us here who really do not want to see Adverts.

    you know who you are... Those who record all the TV progs they want to watch and then skip the adverts. Some Ad breaks are as long a 6 minutes on some FreeSat channels. That is getting silly.

    soon the adverts will take up more time than the actual programme just like US Football, more time spent showing Ads that the time playing the game.

    1. Whitter

      Re: Sigh

      I recall visiting friends in Australia - we saw a film we fancied seeing that night in the TV listings, so rented it on DVD; watching any ad-wrecked film on TV in Oz is unbearable.

      1. Tom 35 Silver badge

        Re: Sigh

        Regular commercial TV is almost unwatchable in Canada too. And the times where you would have got a movie, or an old TV series they now run half hour ads for magic diet pills, or bowling ball sucking vacuums. And they wonder why Netflix is so popular...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sigh

          > Regular commercial TV is almost unwatchable in Canada too.

          It's doubly galling since you have to pay for most channels worth watching, and they're not cheap either.

          As far as I'm concerned, if you're paying for it, you shouldn't have to endure ads.

          If you're getting it for free, well fair enough.

        2. Bernardo Sviso

          Re: Sigh

          Worse than that -- the stations that do play old "classic" TV shows: they trim those old, classic episodes to fit the new, smaller time-blocks that are customary now (ie. to make room for more ads).

      2. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: Sigh

        +1. We never watch anything live - always record for at least 45 minutes in Australia.

        Advertising increases as you go through the program. Near the end, you're looking at 6 minutes of programming and 6 minutes of ads. Hello MythTV, nice to see you!

        I don't mind text adverts on the web. Even small graphics are ok. It's the large, intrusive or moving graphics I despise. Noscript and flashblock screen out most offensive things without resorting to adblock.

    2. BlartVersenwaldIII

      Re: Sigh

      There's already an alternative, for firefox at least, in the form of AdBlock Edge - IIRC this itself started life as a fork of AdBlock Plus with the "Acceptable Ads" whitelist removed. Pale Moon forked that to form its own AdBlock Latitude.

      Are there such alternatives available for Chrome?

      1. Sarah Balfour

        Re: Sigh

        You answered you own question, use Firefox. Why anyone would use Chrome is beyond all understanding. Chrome is, as far as I'm concerned, just one big ad; not only have you got the sponsored results, but Google manipulates search results to shove its own products in yer face er, no ta.

        I'm not saying Mozilla doesn't harbour an agenda, but it's a lot less pushy about it than Google (perhaps I ought to be worried…), although I do wonder who powers its search - if not Google, then who…? Bing? Yahoo!?

        I'm still trying to find a decent iOS browser; tried a few, but there were things I couldn't get on with about each of them which meant I've not stuck with one for any length of time.

        I use Tor most often, but I can't say I understand it, and the config guides might as well be in Klingon for all the sense they make.

        1. Mage Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Sigh

          Noscript also helps protect your privacy (block privacy slurping domains) and helps against Malware. A side effect is blocking a lot of adverts.

          I block ebay.com in Noscript to avoid horrible large scrolling eBay adverts on some sites. If I need ebay.com then "temporary enable" in Noscript is enough, though I usually use ebay.co.uk and have it whitelisted.

          1. Turtle

            @Mage

            Noscript already has many of the larger parasites whitelisted. You might want to look at Noscript's Options->Whitelist tab and see who's already there courtesy of the devs (and, no doubt, large payments to those devs from the entities on the default list.)

            1. Looper
              FAIL

              @Turtle: "Noscript already has many of the larger parasites whitelisted."

              No. It most definitely does not.

              If you have any sites in your Whitelist, then you put them there yourself. There is no other way for them to be there.

              At least try to check your accusations BEFORE posting.

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Sigh

          "You answered you own question, use Firefox. "

          I would if it wasn't such a memory pig.

          1. Myself-NZ

            Re: Sigh

            When did you last try firefox ? To test your assumption I just opened up the same 13 web sites in tabs on each browser and firefox was using about 600 MB of memory, whilst chrome was using about 800 MB. Chrome not using ABP (installed but not enabled), firefox was.I think the later versions of firefox may have got the memory usage under a bit more control.

          2. asdf Silver badge

            Re: Sigh

            >>You answered you own question, use Firefox. "

            >I would if it wasn't such a memory pig.

            Actually today FF is a lot better and if you don't run adblock plus and flash you might be amazed. Sadly FF picked up IE like bloat in the 2.0 to 3.5 days and really turned off a lot of people. Once FF had its ass handed to it by Chrome the devs have been pushed to make a fairly decent browser these days.

          3. jason 7

            Re: Sigh

            "I would if it wasn't such a memory pig"

            Really is that an issue in 2015?

            Sometimes you just have to come to terms with the fact that some things just won't change and live with it.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sigh

        Are there such alternatives available for Chrome?

        Yes . there is an alternative for Chromium and derivatives (Google Chrome, Opera, and I guess Vivaldi will too...). It is called uBlock (muBlock, really) and its source code is in Github[1] for you paranoiac delirant types.

        [1] https://github.com/gorhill/uBlock

        1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

          Re: Sigh

          uBlock is available for Firefox too - it's still in beta, but it seems to work well enough (especially on certain sites with huge irrelevant lead photos and menu bars).

      3. h3

        Re: Sigh

        For Chrome (Or Opera) the best is ublock. (It is lightning fast as well).

    3. DanDanDan

      Re: Sigh

      Unfortunately, there's no such thing as a free lunch. Your complaint about TV advertising is not relevant. The equivalent is oversized ads getting in the way of the content you want to watch. Amazon, Google, etc. have really quite modest adverts and provide a means of income for the content generators in the world.

      I get it, you want quality stuff for free, without ads. But this is the real world, where free stuff doesn't really exist.

      If you take to banning *all* adverts, then the content generators will have to find another means of generating revenue. Either that or the content will suffer or the content generators will go out of business. I'd rather have subtle adverts alongside my content that have to pay a subscription fee to use a service.

      1. Stuart 22

        Re: Sigh

        Unfortunately, there's no such thing as a free lunch.

        Well there is. I don't respond to adverts. Its just an attitude I have. So they just waste my time - adblocking saves my time at no cost to the advertiser. And they haven't alienated me. So good all round.

        I do have Adsense on my websites for those who want adverts and give me some revenue. I'm happy for them to do that and I provide the service. If, like me, they choose to block the ads then great. Its supposedly a free country.

        Of course if 100% of us block 100% of ads !00% of the time then the ad model fails. A happy day for me and it would be market choice that decided it, not backroom bribes and mind manipulation.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sigh

          Yep.

          Just like I don't buy anthing from doorstep salesdroids, give to Charity Bucket holders in shopping centres apart from the RBL (I donate about a grand a year to a few chairties that I choose), or buy anything from cold callers who get through my call filtering.

          Yes, I'm an old curmudgeon. Ad agencies (in the main) are up there with Lawyers as professinos to hate.

          Life is short enough as it is without having to see/listen to a million adverts every day.

          1. BlartVersenwaldIII

            Re: Sigh

            > Ad agencies (in the main) are up there with Lawyers as professions to hate.

            Hmm. Didn't think I would say this when I woke up this morning but I think you're being unfair to lawyers; in the past I've willingly paid legal professionals money to provide me with a valuable service.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Sigh

              [...] in the past I've willingly paid legal professionals money to provide me with a valuable service.

              Fixed that for you. No need to qualify.

        2. jason 7

          Re: Sigh

          Indeed, I've never bought CillitBang, tampons or a Nissan Juke.

          Likewise I've never clicked on anything saying "Get a free iPad here!!"

        3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Sigh

          "I don't respond to adverts."

          I do.

          Negatively.

          If I'm an actual or potential customer of a company it's worth that company's while NOT to shove ads in my face. I've moved my custom away from companies who annoyed me.

          The ideal solution would be an ad-blocker that will download a certain amount of the ad stream and consign it to /dev/null. It would need caps on volume and time. Everybody wins. The user doesn't get annoyed. The adserver thinks it's displaying ads so both the server and site get paid.

          At first it seems that the advertiser is being ripped off by paying for something that doesn't get through but the actual pay-off is in the previous statement: the user doesn't get annoyed so if the user is an existing customer the advertiser doesn't drive them away otherwise they aren't going to be excluded if the user is subsequently looking for what they're going to sell.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Sigh

            "The ideal solution would be an ad-blocker that will download a certain amount of the ad stream and consign it to /dev/null. "

            Unsurprisingly there are plugins for FF and chrome which do exactly that.

        4. Vince

          Re: Sigh

          "Of course if 100% of us block 100% of ads !00% of the time then the ad model fails. A happy day for me and it would be market choice that decided it, not backroom bribes and mind manipulation."

          Presumably then the content that is paid for by the ads you don't want no longer existing will also be fine and a happy day for you? Like it or not, advertising is what pays for a considerable amount of content.

          I'd imagine if there was no advertising on pages, there'd be considerably less content. Whether that is a good thing or not is another debate, much as it would be a different debate as to whether the quality of content would improve or decline. Eitherway, advertising is part of what enables a lot of services and content.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Sigh

            "Like it or not, advertising is what pays for a considerable amount of content."

            Indeed.

            The issue is that adverts over time become more and more obnoxious and banal in order to get our attention. The ad industry doesn't generally do subtlety.

        5. Tony Paulazzo

          Re: Sigh

          Well there is. I don't respond to adverts. Its just an attitude I have. So they just waste my time - adblocking saves my time at no cost to the advertiser. And they haven't alienated me.

          Funny thing is, I watched a prog about advertisers and we fit into a category that they have, a group that despises advertising and will go out of our way to not buy products that we see advertised (except Heinz Means Beanz cause there is no substitute), but it is quite a small percentage of the buying public.

          I whitelist 4OD in Adblock, the site still bitches but then generally plays a few ads and gets on with it, I don't mind a couple of non intrusive ads - if Adblock gets some money from Google etc then good on them, they deserve it for making my web surfing bearable - but a red hot poker up the arse of the advertiser who thought a half screen popup with a tiny X in the top right corner (fine with mouse but half a micron off with a finger clicks you to the advert).

          The problem with Adblock (in advertisers eyes), is that too many people are installing it, higher than the true ad haters that exist, but it really is their fault, they need to pull their excesses back, work with websites to a) be more harmonious with the web site and b) ensure an ad is noticeably displayed as an advertisement, not a trick click bait.

          Until that day arrives: Fuck them to a burning hell where their eyeballs are stung with pepper spray, their testicles electrified and leaking pus filled boils fill their mouths for eternity!

          1. jason 7

            Re: Sigh

            I install Adblock on both Firefox and Chrome for ALL my customers machines whether they ask for it or not. It's just basic computer safety/security now.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I'd rather have subtle adverts... than have to pay a subscription fee

        I understand your point, but paying for subscription does NOT mean you won't see adverts.

        Case in point, cable subscriptions in Brazil (and I guess elsewhere too) -- you'll see LOTS of repeated commercials on the intervals. Most of the weekly magazines are also 25% more adverts, with glossy multi-page spreads.

        1. petur

          Re: I'd rather have subtle adverts... than have to pay a subscription fee

          Indeed, because what you pay is only a fraction of what's needed to cover the cost (the ads cover the rest), and giving it for free would cause even more ads.

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: I'd rather have subtle adverts... than have to pay a subscription fee

          "Most of the weekly magazines are also 25% more adverts, with glossy multi-page spreads."

          Vogue and its ilk are more like 80% adverts. Clearly some people like them.

          1. Tromos

            Re: I'd rather have subtle adverts... than have to pay a subscription fee

            @Alan Brown - not sure why you were downvoted for your comment on magazines. Some people clearly DO want adverts and are willing to pay for them. 'Exchange and Mart' could never have existed if that were not the case.

            I expect that quite a few Reg regulars will remember the days when the monthly computer magazines weighed in excess of a kilogram due to the advertising. This was never a problem as the people with the special interests wanted to know what was available and for how much. The implication is that targeted advertising is the answer, but I have yet to see an effective implementation. When it fails to be on target it is more irritating than a random shot. As an example, I recently mentioned that I had a new kitchen fitted in a Gmail e-mail to a friend. For weeks afterwards I was seeing kitchen adverts in various places. Idiots! I've just had a new one fitted! I'm the last person likely to be interested.

        3. Oldgroaner

          Re: I'd rather have subtle adverts... than have to pay a subscription fee

          Subtle adverts? Oxymoron.

      3. h3

        Re: Sigh

        So how did the content used to exist when I first started using the internet ?

        (It was more interesting / technical and not aimed at selling stuff or any kind of political agenda).

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          Re: Sigh

          But people pay sky TV/virgin/BT et al and STILL get adverts shoved down their throat. I don't see sky living on the poverty line so it is just greed.

          1. Vince

            Re: Sigh

            Right.. so based on some data I can get my hands on without much fuss...

            Sky had an ARPU (average revenue per subscriber) of £548 per annum, excluding VAT in 2012.

            They had 10.6 million customers.

            That's £5,808,800,000 from subscriptions per year before all the other revenue (eg. advertising for example)

            The profit after tax was: £906,000,000 on the entire business, after all the other revenue was added (for example advertising, wholesale service etc), or 15.6% net margin. That might sound like a lot, but it's not that big an amount when everything is factored in and given that a healthy business needs cash in the bank - and a business of the size of sky needs a reasonable amount to continue to exist.

            I'm not convinced you've understood the reason we have advertising still (not saying I like it, but I'm living in a real world).

            1. Looper
              Flame

              Re: Sigh - @Vince

              "I'm not convinced you've understood the reason we have advertising still (not saying I like it, but I'm living in a real world)."

              Are you? Are you really? Are you really living on the real world? Really...?

              No. I don't think so.

              What exactly of what you describe as essential content would exist in a free internet with no advertising? That's right everything worth having.

              The internets were just as absorbing and more interesting before commercial ventures like Microsoft and AOL inserted themselves into the picture against the wishes of the majority of users.

              Advertising and the commercial internet and people like you who think they are big and clever, but really live with their head in the sky can go a take a flying fuck.

          2. Deltics

            Different levels of Subscription

            Yes, you pay a subscription to Sky et al for a basic service for which the subscription cost is subsidised by advertising.

            Then there are the premium subscription services which are NOT ad-supported. i.e. you pay an additional amount for that subscription (movies, sports etc) and the content on those channels is ad-free. There may be ads between the content items, but these are usually relevant content trailers rather than ads.

            Of course, to access this premium tier you typically are required to have the basic, ad-supported tier in place. You can't have the ad-free movies without the ad-supported crap.

            But here's the bottom line: If you don't like the terms on which such services are offered then you are quite at liberty to not take up those services. Keep your money, don't be bothered by the ads.

            Same applies on the web... if you don't like the ads that support the existence of a web site that you use, then don't use that site. If enough people are turned off by the ads then the site won't generate the revenue it needs to keep going and so the site will either change it's model or die.

      4. Turtle

        @DanDanDan

        "Amazon, Google, etc. have really quite modest adverts and provide a means of income for the content generators in the world."

        False. Those ads provide a means of income for content aggregators and for pirates; the income provided will pay for a box of crayons and some looseleaf paper - not a lot of content, in other words, and what can be financed by such income is usually rather basic if not actually primitive.

        The future seems to be like YouTube: an Endless Ocean Of Dilettantes And Amateurs.

        Enjoy.

      5. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Sigh

        "I'd rather have subtle adverts alongside my content that have to pay a subscription fee to use a service."

        The perennial issue is that ads don't stay subtle for long and once they become obnoxious it's easy to just pull the trigger on the lot of them.

      6. Jim 40

        Re: Sigh

        <p>Unfortunately, there's no such thing as a free lunch</p>

        Actually there was. I'm old enough to have been around during the early internet years before it become infested with advertising and before it was stolen from us by the corporatists.

        <p>If you take to banning *all* adverts, then the content generators will have to find another means of generating revenue. Either that or the content will suffer or the content generators will go out of business. I'd rather have subtle adverts alongside my content that have to pay a subscription fee to use a service.</p>

        With respect, what I see here I see here is the ad pimpers self serving spin being regurgitated.

        To be clear, I could not give a fuck if the ad pimps fucked off and gave us back the internet. The sooner they bugger off the better I'll be pleased. Of course I understand that things like the Register may cease to exisit but it's a price more than worth paying as far as I'm concerned. There is nothing on the internet I can think of which is worth my time being wasted on ads or worth paying for.

        I miss the user supported websites and newsgroups from back in the day where I could get excellent advice and a broad spectrum of views on items of interest. None of this moderated shit via websites trying to punt useless trinkets.

    4. Phuq Witt
      Alert

      Re: Sigh

      *"...If I start getting Ads from these companies I'll definitely have to look for alternatives to Adblock Plus...."*

      I recently switched from Adblock Plus to µBlock, albeit for [alleged] performance improvements, rather than any inkling this scandal was going to break. So far, so good. I'm still not seeing the ads I wasn't seeing with Adblock Plus.

      As to the [alleged] performance issues, I've not noticed much change either way. But then I'm not the kind of person usually has 20 tabs open at once [which was supposedly what would cause Adblock Plus to eat memory and resources]:

      https://github.com/gorhill/uBlock

    5. This post has been deleted by its author

    6. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Sigh

      "soon the adverts will take up more time than the actual programme"

      26 minutes/hour isn't at all unusual in some countries.

      1. phil dude
        Facepalm

        Re: Sigh

        In Italy I have seen them insert a micro-advert when the player goes to get the ball for a throw-in...!!

        P.

      2. Jan Hargreaves

        Re: Sigh

        When there is a Pacquio fight on national TV here, you get a 3 minute round followed by AT LEAST 15 minutes of ads. His second fight against Marquez - I was watching on cable live and chatting to my friend who was watching on the national channel. Totally spoilt the result for him. It was unintentional but he didn't talk to me for a week!

      3. DiViDeD Silver badge

        Re: Sigh

        Oh we can do way better than that in Oz!

        What with news and sport reports,, What's on The Block, which corporate has decided it's worth sponsoring (at the beginning and end of EVERY ad break) and then the ads themselves, it's not unusual for Channel 9 here in Sydney to stretch a 90 minute movie to well over 3 hours.

        If C9 advertise a decent movie the next thing you hear is "Is it on YIFY."

        And DON'T get me started on the quarter and half screen crawler ads that pop up through most of the movie itself. Jesus! Some of them even come with their own bloody voiceovers!

    7. Preston Munchensonton

      Re: Sigh

      "There are some of us here who really do not want to see Adverts."

      Sometimes, the best option is using Firefox with the "basic page style" enabled, so I get a printable verison of just the text. Unless it's a really dynamic page with videos or such, that gives me what I need for a lot less bandwidth usage.

  3. Whitter
    Meh

    No Flash and no animation of GIFs does most of the heavy lifting without ad block.

    Alas this html5 thing might screw that up though...!

    1. PleebSmash

      It should be trivial to block <video>, <audio>, and <canvas> but none of my browsers seem to have that out of the box. So the solution yet again is another extension. I think there is a developer tools type extension that comes with all of those options.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      That is what I do, NoScript + FlashBlock works fine for me.

      I don't object to ads per se, they are there to help fund the sites, so I don't have to pay each time I visit, but on the other hand, if I am on battery and sitting in a meeting trying to show some research, the last thing I want is a video or audio ad to suddenly gobble up precious battery power and disturb the meeting.

      Case in point was The Guardian at the weekend. I went there and they started playing 3 video ads with audio, with a 0,5 second delay between each of them beginning! A real cacophany!

      1. billse10

        my "favourite" is when you have sound down really low just so you can hear alerts/alarms etc., but then an advert decides you really want to hear it because it is sooo important ....

        There needs to be a new feature in HTML5 - as well as a href="..." perhaps a nukeadvertiser="..."

        1. Mike Flugennock
          Devil

          Distraction, annoyance, graphics bloat: Web 3.0

          "my 'favourite' is when you have sound down really low just so you can hear alerts/alarms etc., but then an advert decides you really want to hear it because it is sooo important..."

          Perhaps I'm just getting old, but... back when I was first moving over from print to Web design about 20 years ago, one of the first things I learned was that auto-playing media of any kind was a big, fat no-no.

          These days, Web designers just don't seem to give a rat's ass about annoying readers. If it isn't the big-ass fotos or slideshows which take up the entire top half of the scroll and add no information or value, it's the goddamn' auto-playing video.

          For instance: http://www.mediumrarerestaurant.com/

          Big fat full-window foto slideshows, text crawl -- there's hardly anything on this page that isn't useless and distracting. In fact, the only thing missing here is an auto-playing video.

          I guess this would be "Web 3.0", then?

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Distraction, annoyance, graphics bloat: Web 3.0

            " If it isn't the big-ass fotos ...which take up the entire top half of the scroll"

            You wouldn't be thinking of somewhere quite close to here would you?

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "and disturb the meeting."

        I can help you there. Mute the sound until you actually want to listen to something.

        1. Phuq Witt
          Facepalm

          Mute Point

          "...I can help you there. Mute the sound until you actually want to listen to something..."

          Glad that works for you.

          I have the sound on my Android tablet and on my iPhone muted all the time. It doesn't stop f***king YouTube [and various other apps] from turning the volume on and up full without asking me –whenever I click 'Play' on a video.

          Obviously some code monkey somewhere thinks that annoying the f**k out of me like that is good usability. After all, imagine the horror if I started playing a video and realised I had the sound muted. I'd have to turn up the volume all by myself.

          Oh the humanity!

          1. DougS Silver badge

            Re: Mute Point

            Can't speak for Android, but iOS has different volume level settings for stuff like your ringer and text alerts than Youtube. You can turn Youtube down and still have loud rings, or vice versa.

            Well, so long as you aren't using the completely unnecessary and privacy violating Youtube app. Google probably found a way to crank the volume in their app to make sure people hear the ads they're subjecting us to more often. The one thing I wish iOS had real multitasking for is to allow me to background a Youtube video while it plays its ad (silenced when it is in the background of course) so I can return in a minute or two, reset back to the beginning of the actual video, and never have to see the ad.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. big_D Silver badge

          @Doctor Syntax well, it would if you could... I wanted to show a video about pig slaughter on the Guardian site, but landing on the site started the video I wanted + 3 copies of the same advert, each instance of the advert with a 0.5 second delay from the previous one!

  4. Philip Storry

    Paying to bypass an ad blocker is fine by me, so long as the ads meet appropriate criteria.

    I stopped using AdBlock recently, in favour of µBlock, But have used some kind of content blocking for years now - since Opera shipped with a built-in content blocker.

    When switching to µBlock, the first thing I did was disable the ad-blocking lists. Content producers need ads to survive.

    But some adverts are just obnoxious. Animation or even auto-playing sound are a definite no-no for me. I block those manually when I come across them. Depending on how easy that is, that may mean an entire ad network gets blocked. Oh well - that's their loss, not mine. If they had better quality control over their ads, then they'd still have my eyeballs available to them.

    But it's such a shame that the advertisers have managed to be so incompetent that they've made some people completely anti-advertising to the point of militancy.

    1. Wade Burchette

      I don't mind advertisements. There are a few criteria ads have to meet before I consider them acceptable. (1) Absolutely no tracking at all, no exception. (2) Absolutely no geo-location using IP address, no ads like "[my city name] man saves hundreds with the one simple trick" type ads. (3) No auto-play videos, which is especially annoying when there is sound and you don't know where it is from. (4) No blocking of any part of the web page. (5) No creepy or annoying animation; usually these ads are with the geo-location ads.

      I use the ghostery add-on, because it can block all those ads but it doesn't block all ads.

    2. Jedit
      WTF?

      "Content producers need ads to survive."

      Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the efficacy and value of internet advertising was based on either page views or clickthroughs. If it's page views, then the content producer is paid based on the level of traffic to their site; it doesn't matter if I see the advert or not so long as I visit. If it's clickthroughs, then it doesn't matter if I see the advert or not if I don't visit the site being advertised - which I never do. Whichever it is, the hosting site does not lose money if I block the adverts.

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Re: "Content producers need ads to survive."

        If the ad network is blocked, then they don't get any page views.

        It isn't how many times the host page itself is viewed, it is how many times the ad network's ads get displayed on that page / site.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: "Content producers need ads to survive."

        "I thought the efficacy and value of internet advertising was based on either page views or clickthroughs."

        Either way, arranging something to click on the links a few thousand times is naughty and shouldn't be done.

        It does amaze me that the Lizard Squad and friends don't take out ad networks occasionally.

  5. The_H

    I'd quite like Adblock+ to block things on e.g. the BBC news website which are clearly advertising press releases tarted up to look like news stories. I've never got my head around why Blue Peter still insist on covering up logos and brand names, yet Newsround blatantly puffs each and every upcoming iTat product.

    1. frank ly Silver badge

      I think it's because Blue Peter is definitely targeted at an audience of children.

      1. The_H

        And Newsround isn't?

  6. Robert E A Harvey

    Morality

    I agree with Philip Storry, that content providers who depend upon adverts need their cash stream. There is a complex morality issue here, I suppose.

    In my case I object to paying high bandwidth charges for ads on my phone/tablet, and would not mind them at all on my unlimited home broadband. Unfotunately, the practicalities of installing blocking software mean I see them in exactly the inverse of my preferred solution.

    1. Mage Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Morality

      Animation / Video /Sound should be banned in Web Adverts by international treaty, unless the user click on a |> play arrow!

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Morality my ass!

        The idea that anyone could think it is immoral to skip ads is beyond belief. They've chosen that way to make money, if it stops working out for them because people are skipping/blocking them, then they'll need to find another way or another line of work.

        How is this really any different than buggy whip makers put out of a job by Henry Ford, Ford autoworkers put out of a job by Japanese/Korean imports, call center staffers put out of work by someone in India or Costa Rica, or IT workers whose work has been offshored?

        The world doesn't owe anyone a living, they have to adapt to changing conditions, same as the rest of us.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Morality my ass!

          "The idea that anyone could think it is immoral to skip ads is beyond belief. "

          It was one of the arguments advanced in court in the effort to ban home video recorders, so the sentiment has been around a loong time.

          The judges didn't see it that way.

          What's really annoying is the number of ad networks which actively seek to go around or disable ad blockers. This is probably illegal under the computer misuse act.

          1. DougS Silver badge

            Re: Morality my ass!

            I don't see seeking to go around ad blockers as "illegal" any more than ad blockers are immoral. If ad networks are able to get around your ad blocker you need a better ad blocker. If they're able to disable your ad blocker you need a better OS.

            Every once in a while I visit a site that refuses to show me content with a message that you must disable your ad blocker to do so. I never do, as doing so only vindicates that strategy. I'm sure they keep track of the abandonment rate of people who get that message and don't later disable their ad blocker. The closer to 100% that is the more futile they will realize that strategy is.

            1. e^iπ+1=0

              Re: Morality my ass!

              'Every once in a while I visit a site that refuses to show me content with a message that you must disable your ad blocker to do so.'

              I've generally found that a bit of reading the page source followed by tweaking NoScript can disable such 'Adblock blockers'.

              That said, I usually only bother if I particularly want something from such a site. Otherwise I'll just move along too.

  7. adnim Silver badge
    Mushroom

    My Windows/Linux hosts files

    are 34kb and growing. The one on my Android mobile is 154k.

    Most of Google and all of Doubleclick services are at 127.0.0.1

    Why do those with presumed integrity eventually sell out?

    I would guess integrity is an old fashioned virtue now surpassed in popularity by greed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My Windows/Linux hosts files

      I used to run my own cacheing DNS server, and when a new ad network arose, I'd create a zone file for it and restart named.

      1. adnim Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        @thoedore... Re: My Windows/Linux hosts files

        Yup, take control or be controlled.... The sheep, the gun fodder (FFS I sound like a brandy drinking, cigar smoking army general now) can take the flak.

        Why should I care about those without the smarts? I don't.. I rant, I rave, I show an alternative, I try to educate. If I am ignored I shrug and the sociopath inside me laughs it's bollocks off. Whilst the part of me that still cares shakes its head in dismay.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: My Windows/Linux hosts files

      Why do those with presumed integrity eventually sell out?

      You were wrong to presume the integrity in the first place, this has always been the model of the company.

      I'm currently using Ghostery because its runs in all my browsers (don't count IE as one as I only use it for testing) on all my devices. They, apparently, have a different business model which tells ad-firms where there products are failing. Time will tell if this is sustainable. If a site has to close because it runs too many invasive ads that annoy too many people then it closes because it has been trying to sell users to the wrong ad companies.

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: My Windows/Linux hosts files

      "Most of Google and all of Doubleclick services are at 127.0.0.1"

      Doubleclick have been dead to me since long before Google bought them.

      I will never _ever_ let them out of my hosts files. They were one of the first pioneering "privacy stealing obnoxious advert" outfits and should have been left to fester.

  8. BrightSpark

    What about subscription

    There are a number of sites I regularly use and would be more than happy to contribute to the site development and maintenance by a moderate subscription. Why not let me have the choice to support the site AND get rid of Ads. What is frustrating is that on the sites I do subscribe to they still flog adverts at me and hence Adblock+.

  9. bpfh Bronze badge
    Headmaster

    You can add your own filters....

    I added ABP due to the fact I can't use wildcards in the Hosts file. Using fiddler, and visiting a couple of pages of the Daily Fail, Grunard, and a couple of other "social sharing" photo dump sites, I now have an extensive custom list of URL's to block tracking, adverts and Taboola et al's clickbait.

    Just as long as the whitelist does not override my own custom settings, and I'll be happy!

    1. Mage Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: You can add your own filters....

      Is there a friendly website listing filters / domains to block with files for Linux router firewall rules and "hosts" files on clients?

      1. Lyndon Hills 1

        Re: You can add your own filters....

        The MVP hosts file here

      2. charlie-charlie-tango-alpha

        Re: You can add your own filters....

        Yes. Dan Pollock has a very good site at http://someonewhocares.org/hosts/. I uses his hosts file, appended to my own local hosts file on my home DNS server (which runs DNSmasq). DNSMasq reads the local hosts file before consulting a downstream DNS server. Dan's host file listing points all unwanted domains at local loopback.

        Take that you malicious ad-serving bastards.

        1. Havin_it

          Re: You can add your own filters....

          Question?

          I have a similar setup (dnsmasq on the local server) but it's a long time since I've employed the hosts file for basterd-blocking duties; I feared it was adding to latency even when just used by the OS resolver, because of how big the MVPs file was.

          Those of you using it (or the other one mentioned), do you have any observations on how much performance it cost you? I'd be interested in some real-world accounts.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Holmes

    Solution:

    Limit the amount of ads and broaden the definition of an ad to include anything not related to or navigation of content.

    For example: One ad per web page or one 5min ad per hour of media.

    Everyone wins:

    - The content providers will see no change in revenue due to higher competition for the advertising.

    - The advertised product will have a higher degree of customer retention

    - Content viewer will not feel the need to circumvent the less intrusive ads

    - A much tougher world with less jobs for marketing people

  11. Nifty

    Bought it already

    Should have invested the millions in something useful

    Whenever I buy something online I get intensively chased by ads for a week after to buy the identical item again from the same seller. Funny that Google, Yahoo et al are incapable of adding an 'bought it already' button to their ads! Or maybe the seller should have such a button. Now THAT feature would be worth millions.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bought it already

      " 'bought it already' button.....Now THAT feature would be worth millions."

      That would depend on the pricing model. John Wanamaker's famous quote about not knowing which half of his advertising budget was wasted applies here. If Google et al charge per eyeball, then they don't care that you've already bought, and such a button would cost them millions, and that's the last thing they want. If they charged for click through and purchase that would be another thing, but since they can't link "online discovery/enquiry followed by offline purchase" scenarios, I can't see that ever coming to be.

      1. shovelDriver

        Re: Bought it already

        "Google et al charge per eyeball, then they don't care that you've already bought, and such a button would cost them millions, and that's the last thing they want"

        That seems to imply that Google, et al, are deliberately defrauding their customers . . .

        Which times in closely with the business model of supporting the U.S. Gov / NSA while telling the public they're not. Is it any wonder Snowden's on a enemies list? Anyone who costs politicians money . . .

    2. Phuq Witt
      Facepalm

      Re: Bought it already

      Nearly as useful as Amazon's supposedly intelligent targetted marketing:

      *"We see you bought a digital SLR last week. Maybe you'd be interested in these items: <insert huge list of other Digital SLRs>"*

      Er... no Amazon. Because you're not Tesco or Asda and the things I buy from you aren't part of my weekly shop like bread and milk. So the fact I bought one last week means I don't need one any more –you fuckwitts!

      1. BlartVersenwaldIII

        Re: Bought it already

        >Er... no Amazon. Because you're not Tesco or Asda and the things I buy from you aren't part of my weekly shop like bread and milk.

        People who liked [apple] also liked [banana]

  12. themoose

    Old news to me

    Instructions - http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.htm

    Hosts file - http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.txt

    You only have half the story and you are well late with it.

    The acceptable ads thing has been around for ages. I looked at the Addblock+ website and it has changed, it used to be pretty obvious that Google were paying for ads to be white listed and the the Adblock guys would quite like more customers of that kind.

    All this "Acceptable Ads" stuff and "Manifesto" is new fluff.

    I was quite surprised that Google were knuckling under to this sort of protection racket. "Nice ad business - pity if something happened to it." I don't like the white list but bloody good job giving Google a kicking.

    Any how here is the rest of it.

    I objected to the "acceptable ads" tick box so I bitched on the Mozilla ad-on forum thing and my comment was deleted with a line about "people still complaining". So I tried again in a less critical way and that was silently deleted. Finally I tried not passing judgement but just mentioning the new feature and saying where the tick box was. That was deleted silently too. I don't know who was deleting the comments but - who is Mozilla's main sponsor?

    Any way I'm running Adblock+ with "acceptable ads" turned off. I also have No Script, OpenDNS Filtered and my own HOSTS file. Sorry El Reg - no ads here, not even yours.

  13. sqlrob
    Black Helicopters

    Ad servers

    With all the malware being delivered by compromised ad networks and malicious advertisers, why should I trust *any* ad server?

    1. Havin_it

      Re: Ad servers

      This is a huge point. WhereTF is the regulator of these gits? IMHO a network that feeds malware to millions of people due to negligence should, y'know, probably not be in business, or at least paying some serious compo/damages.

      I guess this is the flip-side of the lawlessness that many of us appreciate about the web.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OT, but is Google fleecing US advertisers ?

    Looking for some DIY supplies recently, and was intrigued that the sponsored link was for a US-only company (you know, one of those that lacks a "country" field on the contact form).

    I did vaguely wonder how much they had paid Google (or their SEO team had paid Google) for this wasted ad ? But not enough to actually bother to mention it to Google.

    1. Robert E A Harvey

      Re: OT, but is Google fleecing US advertisers ?

      My local taxi driver used to pay google for advertising. He was paying 3 p per view every time his name was displayed and 11p per click if his web page was opened.

      He is in Stamford, Lincolnshire. He started getting dozens of enquiries from Stamford, Ct. some even by phone. His ad costs went up the same month. He complained to Google who told him it was "not possible" that he had been charged for appearing to a US consumer.

      He no longer advertises with Google.

  15. sisk Silver badge

    If Google's ads are going to get through now then what's the point of Adblock? Might as well uninstall it.

  16. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Functionality

    For a few years I barely noticed adverts. And didn't even think about ways to block them.

    But then came the age of the advert that took over the page. Stupid flashing strips, stuff that floated over the content or broke it up to the point that by the time 'd scrolled down to the next paragraph 'I'd lost concentration. They even stuck ads across the top of the content.

    I don't know how the less informed members of the public manage to use the web these days. Half the stuff must be impossible to even see.

    I unblock ads on certain pages, from time to time, so that they get fed.

    And some need ads unblocked to allow some of their functionality, which I don't mind because the actual ads they sling aren't too bad freewarefiles.com for example.

    But otherwise, I consider that they abused the privilege of putting ads in front of me, so stuff them.

    BTW I notice that in Palemoon I don't have the Tools option to disable Edge, like I did in FF. I don't know why. Maybe I need to try that Latitude thing.

    1. BlartVersenwaldIII

      Re: Functionality

      > BTW I notice that in Palemoon I don't have the Tools option to disable Edge, like I did in FF. I don't know why. Maybe I need to try that Latitude thing.

      You do indeed need to switch to Latitude; this vanishing GUI gubbins was due to a change in the firefox backend that semi-broke a lot of FF extensions running under Pale Moon; there's a thread detailing the technicalities behind this here: http://forum.palemoon.org/viewtopic.php?t=5932

      At first this was fixed with a so-called "static" build of ABE (which incorporated the PM GUID), and then PM forked their own version called Latitude.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Extortion?

    So it's basically ransomware then?

  18. raving angry loony

    Ads?

    Another person here glad to be using AdBlock Latitude, although I was a little annoyed that PaleMoon unilaterally switched me. At the time. Now I'm not so annoyed. But I'm also using Ghostery, NoScript, Privacy Badger, and a few other tools that block things I don't want.

    About ads in general though:

    Technically, I have no problem with ads. Some are even useful for informing me of products I might not have known to look for. What I have a problem with are the page of ads that over-write my screen, the flashy jittery ads that give me headaches, the misleading ads that pretend to be the "next page" of an article, ads with autoplay sound, ads that beat the fuck out of my weaksauce Canadian bandwidth, and the shitloads of utter fucking crap served up by those who feel that since I'm on their website, then I should bloody well take what I'm given, even if it's a rusty chainsaw dildo.

    No.

    So I'll use whatever methods work to get rid of the damn things. I occasionally turn off the blockers for specific sites, because they made what I see as promises that the ads they do run would be properly curated. The second they lie to me, I turn the blocks back on and they can go to hell. Currently, The Register is one such site. So far, they haven't lied as far as I've been able to see. In fact, I'm not seeing any ads? Is something wrong?

  19. William Donelson

    Buh Bye

    "Eyeo GmbH, the German startup behind Adblock Plus, said it did not wish to comment."

    Take the cash and run. You soon won't have anything left!

  20. Ketlan
    Thumb Down

    Pffft...

    'Adblock has said only 25 per cent of Adblock Plus users are strictly against any advertising.'

    Bollocks. A made-up statistic if ever I saw one.

    1. skizzerz

      Re: Pffft...

      They likely derived that statistic by the percentage of people who have the (enabled by default) "Allow some non-intrusive advertising" checkbox ticked. Aforementioned checkbox is the whitelist feature mentioned in the article; if you untick it then the only ads that are whitelisted are those that you manually whitelist yourself (such as by disabling ABP for a page/domain).

  21. Lysenko

    Just so long as they leave manual blocking rules alone. I gazed into the untempered schizm of ElReg with both ads and horrifically huge banner photos in place earlier. The goggles did nothing!!!

  22. idiotsavant

    As an alternative to blocking I like the Clearly extension. I'm sure there are others that do the same thing too.

    Not only do you not get the ads but you get the font you like against the background you like, and multiple pages flowed together into on long scrollable one. No distractions :)

  23. Jonathan 27 Bronze badge

    The option you're looking for is "Allow some non-intrusive advertising", you want that off 100% of the time if you have AdBlock Plus. The last time I installed AdBlock Plus I discovered this option because it wasn't working. It's nice to see that now it will work even worse on default settings which will convince more people to either switch to AdBlock Edge or disable the incorrectly named "Allow some non-intrusive advertising" option.

  24. Lost in Cyberspace

    Taboola etc

    Taboola is exactly the kind of thing that should be blocked - by law. Frequently misleading, often outright bullshit adverts. Fake pictures, questionable products... Those people don't actually endorse those hair products / diet pills at all. Now, if that was an advert for <ISP a, b or c> then someone would have been told not to do it again by now....

  25. Tannin

    Or do it the easy way

    Or you could just use Opera. (Real Opera, not the third-rate Chrome clone one.) If an ad doesn't bother you, fine. If it gets in your face, right click and select "block content". Up to you whether you want to block just that exact content or (more often) all content from that source. (There are also fine-grained choices you can make here but mostly you don't need to bother.) Well-behaved advertisers get to show their stuff (which is harmless and easy to ignore), pushy morons who shove flash animations in your face or play distracting videos get blocked forever. Much, much easier than buggerising around with add-ins and extensions and proxy servers, and it works like a charm.

    Sadly, Opera isn't being updated anymore and won't stay viable for much longer. Vivaldi and/or Otter may yet provide useful replacements, but neither is ready for prime time yet.

  26. Bernardo Sviso

    Tip of the iceberg

    The advertisements are only the tip of the iceberg -- and truly, the least problematic.

    A much bigger concern is the trackers, beacons, "analytics", cookies, Flash .SOLs, etc.. If an Adblocker stops "unacceptable" ads, but still allows the beacons, trackers, analytics, cookies, etc to continue spying on and harvesting data from web users, it's then a merely cosmetic measure, and not a genuine solution.

    I've been using Ghostery to allow ads by default -- ads do "pay the freight" after all -- but by default block anything else (ie. likely spyware components, usually in the form of single-pixel, transparent GIFs, a.k.a. "web-bugs"). Oddly enough, as a side effect this also vastly reduces the number of ads that I end up seeing.

    (aside: I also use a Flash blocker to control Flash auto-play ads, and dump .SOL "flash cookies" whenever I close my browser, just like regular cookies.)

    I consider the fact that, simply blocking the trackers, beacons and "analytics" reduces my exposure to the ads themselves so very effectively, is, in itself, rather revealing and instructive.

  27. billreilly

    My website relies on ads to pay for it, otherwise I couldn’t afford to keep it going… If too many people start using ad blocking software then I’ll lose all my advertisers and I’ll have to close it down.

    The alternative is to start charging people money to access my website.

    There are many websites in the same boat… websites that all of you use every day.

    Are you people who use ad blocking software willing to pay a subscription for every website that you use?

    1. Bernardo Sviso

      I'm willing to unblock adverts* for, &/or pay a subscription to, any web-site that I would miss if it was gone.

      In fact, I do.

      -

      (excepting Double-Click, and other "bad actor" networks whom I don't trust or otherwise object to.)

    2. Lysenko

      @billreilly

      I might pay for access, I might accept ads, if they are relevant[1]. Alternatively I might buy things via your site so you get a few points on the Amazon (or whatever) selling price - but what I won't do is accept random irrelevant and intrusive crap foisted on me because of the advertiser's Google spend. I'm the same with TV. I have Sky and other than BBC I never watch anything "live". Only recorded or on demand stuff so I can skip the adverts.

      [1] 'Relevant' means if you run a site dedicated to Raspberry Pi coding I will put up with ads for Pi accessories and probably closely related stuff like Arduino or BeagleBone. If YOU vet the ads for relevance, I'll look at them - but I'm not trusting Google's opinion - e.g. the fact that I'm looking at a technology site does not mean I want to hear from Carphone Warehouse.

  28. shovelDriver

    Adblock Edge a better choice

    Adblock plus has "acceptable ads" enabled by default. Adblock Edge however does not have acceptible ads and blocks ALL ads by default.

    It's probably time to make the switch . . .

  29. Confuciousmobil

    Maybe it's just me

    I used to use an Ad blocker but now I dont.

    For the first couple of days the adds annoyed me -now I really don't noti them.

    Someone argued that they use bandwidth but that surely only relates to mobile devices and 1Gb/month is more than enough on my iPad and iPhone as I am on wifi most of the time.

    If you have severely restricted bandwidth it might be worth blocking adds but otherwise they really are not that bad - most of the time.

    I used to spend a lot of time tinkering to get things working but now can't be bothered.

    I realise there are a lot of techies here that enjoy spending 90% of their waking hours trying to save themselves 5 minutes but I'm to old for that now.

    I'd rather things just work, and the vast majority of the time they just do.

    Finding out that Ad Block is basically just blackmail makes me realise how glad I am that I don't wor about it any more.

    YMMV

    1. illiad

      Re: Maybe it's just me

      yeah... I guess you dont use youtube or any other flash then??? or are not affected by big flashing ads??

      or you just dont do anything except blindly post .. is that you mom calling you??

  30. J__M__M

    well this seems like a slippery slope

    Some people can afford them, I guess.

  31. BuckoA51

    Extortion racket

    I wish Google etc would just stand up to this extortion racket and remove ABP from their app store, maybe they are too scared people will switch back to Firefox? As usual its the little guys that can't afford Adblocks protection money that suffer, while surfers typically don't give a shit and just watch small and medium sites die, as long as they don't have to have a flashing banner at the top of the page.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Extortion racket

      "I wish Google etc would just stand up to this extortion racket and remove ABP from their app store"

      They did over a year ago. It hasn't stopped the popularity of the app. Many people are rooting their phones simply to be able to install it in full blocking mode.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Signs I'm really, really old..

    I recall a day when we bought computer magazines to read both the articles and the ads because there was so much happening that *both* were interesting. Granted, this was in the days of ZX 80, DAI and other attempts at conquering the personal computer market and those mags were generally a mix of electronics and computing, but they were *interesting*, cover to cover.

    I still have this - I do occasionally kill off ad blockers and see what's out there, but less and less so, not because I don't like the ads per se but because of the intrusive nature of how they behave. I understand advertising is needed, not just to provide revenue for the people that put them in front of you but also for the companies that try to show you their products and services you would otherwise not hear of, but the way this is shoved in front of you reminds me of those loathsome days of popups and pop-unders and the "on exit" crap when you tried to leave a site.

    I'm busy with a couple of new projects that will need some advertising, but the one thing I managed to fight off is ANY reliance of online advertising on the services themselves because I don't think that's right, exactly like some people express irritation that they pay for extra cable channels, only to see them saturated with ads as well.

    I understand the need for advertising, but frankly, the industry only has to thank itself for most people's aversion. Out of the 20 ads I see, maybe 1 has something interesting, and out of a 100, there is maybe 1 that amuses me, but everyone knows the viral "terrorist" ad for the VW Polo or any <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OjkEOdZj3A>ad for Guinness</a>- now there's a hint for good advertising. Ditto for the people who do the Guinness ads - they're just damn well done.

    Maybe there is scope for some rules by which I would be OK to watch some ads. I'll make a stab at some starting points.

    1 - if my device tells you that I'm on a mobile, stop sending me huge ads. I don't want to pay for your benefit, thanks. Even if it's for Guinness.

    2 - on a similar note, please use the right medium and be efficient. If you can tell me the story in a single page of A5, please don't turn it into a 2 minute YouTube clip (MAJOR issue with online instruction videos too).

    3 - please avoid marketing words and association techniques. I see that now with Coke Life again - pic of happy people, pic of product. Yawn. Sorry, even before my early morning caffeine I will consider that insulting - keep it simple. If I grant you some of my time you should really not waste it.

    4 - on the topic of wasting time: IF I HAVE BOUGHT FROM SOMEWHERE I ALREADY KNOW THE SHOP EXISTS. WTF is the point of showing me more (and almost exclusively) ads of companies I just bought something from? Or does that look better for the advertiser?

    As a matter of fact, item 4 is what got me to install an ad blocker (and a changed hosts file) in the first place. So there.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Signs I'm really, really old..

      (my apologies for missing out the quote on the HTML link for the Guinness ad, El Reg's HTML checker probably has too high expectations of me :) )

  33. DrXym Silver badge

    Taboola

    Taboola is by far the sleaziest, scummiest "social" ad service in popular use on the web at the moment. If Ad Block Plus isn't blocking that shit out then it is not fit for purpose.

  34. ShadowDragon8685
    Mushroom

    Ads can FOaDiaF.

    You know, I'm not old, or so people tell me, but I feel like I'm not young, either.

    I don't have great internet, even by American standards, which means I have shit internet by the standards of everywhere in the most-civilized world. But things were worse back in the days.

    You know the days I'm talking about, the days when computer games were bought in boxes, the days when you'd eye a Counter-Strike server with a ping of 600+ as "Eh, I can probably tolerate it." The 56.6 days.

    I was young, and stupid. Those were the days when using Netscape Navigator instead of Internet Explorer meant you were tech-savvy. (I am no longer young.) Advertisements got worse, and worse. Eventually, they became absolutely unbearable; you'd spend five minutes downloading ads and ten seconds downloading content. The ads were insane, they'd jump out at you, scream at you, make pornmoans at you. It was atrocious. It was unbearable. I thought I had to live with it.

    Then came the days of Firefox. The reason I switched to Firefox, in fact, was largely because of a little thing called AdBlock Plus.

    I haven't looked back. The advertisers got out of hand, they were given free reign, and I pulled the trigger on them all. To this day, my reaction to seeing an advertisement is rightclick > AdBlockPlus: Block this Image.

    To everyone who says "Oh, but the content producers need the money," I have to say: I don't care. I just don't. Your arguments fall on deaf ears, and your whinging just hardens me further. I hate being advertised to. I absolutely loathe it.

    I consume hardly anything, I have practically nil income, existing entirely at the largesse of family members, who are themselves on fixed income. I'm not going to be buying anything, so advertising to me is pointless. If I DO keenly feel a need for something, I will search for it on my own terms. There is no such thing as something I needed but didn't know I needed until I knew it existed. I have never, not once in nearly 30 years on this blasted, miserable rock, purchased anything that was being suggested to me by advertisements.

    And it's getting worse, in other corners of life, too. Advertisements are everywhere, screaming at you "Buy our shit!" I don't want your shit. I don't want to see endless commercials on the television, because I don't have any money to buy products. (The worst are food and drug advertisements, which should be banned outright along with tobacco ads. Seeing a food ad makes me hungry, even if I've just ate a full dinner. I'm not saying it's why I'm obese, but I am saying it could be a contributing factor.) Honestly, I just ignore the ads, I read a book on Kindle, or scratch the dog behind the ears, or just tune out.

    The Ad Men know they're on the outs, they know that by and large, people are sick of their bullshit. One of the most common phrases around is "Jesus, why is the TV so loud? Turn it down!" I didn't turn the TV up, the advertisements just have their volume CRANKED ALL THE FUCKING WAY UP so you will PAY ATTENTION AND BUY THEIR SHIT. Or, more likely, you'll just change the freaking channel, and channel-flip - my aunt's solution. (Drives me batty, because I HATE missing a minute of my show. I just ignore the ad.) They're also striking back with their on-demand service: Comcast USED to be okay about this, but in recent years they disabled the fast forward on most viewings of TV shows. Then they apparently twigged to the fact that people were using the scan-ahead button (that skipped five minutes ahead,) to skip the majority/entirety of the ad spots, and rewinding as needed, so they shifted it to ten minutes up.

    It's a battle. One I hope they lose, but as for myself, I will do everything in my power to insulate myself from advertisements. And on my PC, at least, I have the power; they can't FORCE my computer to download and display content. The only question is whether I'm willing to go to the lengths necessary to prevent it from doing so, and I am.

    Because the ads get more obnoxious with each passing minute. They're banal, they're intentionally attention-grabbing, distracting me from what I ACTUALLY want to see. They're information I don't need to see, that is useless to me, and in fact actively hostile to me, because they are attempting to make me part with money I don't have.

    So bugger the lot of 'em with a rusty spoon.

  35. boatsman

    tv ads, internet ads, zapped they will be.

    no one wants them, no one clicks them out of fear for viruses etc.

    the only non intrusive ads are printed on paper.

    unsolicited email advertisement is punishable by law in some jurisdictions. (3500 euro per item ?)

    unsolicited online advertisement is not punishable in the same jurisdictions.

    time to unify the law and thus the experience. Apparently, we the people, do not want ads, so get rid of it......

    and btw, our internet connection is being paid by us, so that is not an excuse for advertising.

  36. Jonathan 27 Bronze badge

    The "opt out" they're paying for takes 10 seconds to disable in AbBlock Plus' settings so they're really paying for nothing. They have to put that there or everyone would immediately abandon AdBlock Plus for a new product, remember what happened to the first AdBlock extension?

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