back to article The Mad Men's monster is losing the botnet fight: Fewer humans are seeing web ads

Figures indicate that web advertisement fraud grew significantly in the last quarter of 2015 – and also showed that the UK’s ad biz is one of Europe’s poorest performers. Fraud checker Meetrics measures the “viewability” of online ads. If an advertisement isn’t viewable, one of several things may have happened, none of which …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Complexity is fraud

    I love this quote and will be using it.

    Before the financial crash, a friend who works in banking was telling me about how he repackaged shitty investments to increase their value.

    To my layman's ears it sounded like fraud ... And it was fraud. Then his bank got a bailout.

    1. Crisp Silver badge

      Re: Complexity is fraud

      We should have copied the Icelandic model and just let the banks fail.

      Do you know what the knock on consequences of that were? Icelandic households will get £750 million of their household mortgage debt "cancelled", spread over a four year period.

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: Complexity is fraud

        Icelandic households will get £750 million of their household mortgage debt "cancelled", spread over a four year period.

        What do people who had already paid off their mortgage get?

        1. sabroni Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: What do people who had already paid off their mortgage get?

          A house.

        2. Suburban Inmate

          Re: Complexity is fraud

          A better economy and thus a far better society than this (uk) puppet regime headed, post industrial, inequality riddled piss pit.

        3. Munchausen's proxy
          Pint

          Re: Complexity is fraud

          "What do people who had already paid off their mortgage get?"

          A stable society.

      2. Fibbles

        Re: Complexity is fraud

        Didn't Iceland's banks mostly hold money of non-Icelanders? It's easy to let your banks collapse when it's other people's money going with them.

      3. Bc1609

        Re: Icelandic banks

        Yeah, you're missing a bit there, I think. Leaving aside the fact that over 300,000 British savers lost their money when the Icelandic banks collapsed, the Icelandic government almost bankrupted itself compensating its citizens for their losses, and they had to take a $2bn loan from the IMF and another $2bn+ from their neighbours. Consequently, Iceland had incredibly strict austerity measures - second only to Greece - with most people taking a 50% pay cut due to the deliberate devaluation of the krona. This devaluation, in combination with inflation, actually caused household debt in Iceland to increase by around £1bn (hard to get exact figures). The £750m debt relief you mentioned is an attempt to compensate for this, though there are quite a few economist who don't think it really covers the difference. Not quite as rosy as you make it sound.

      4. Seajay#

        Re: Icelandic Model

        I've seen lots of people suggesting that we should have done what Iceland did but there are three big issues with that.

        1. Iceland's banks had borrowed heavily from foreigners so it was relatively painless for Iceland to let them fail and let other countries pick up the tab.

        2. Iceland isn't systemically important. If it fails, the rest of the world carries on. If we had allowed the UK financial sector to fail at a time when there was already a global financial crisis we would have worsened it for everyone. Because we are a large economy, we have more of a responsibility than Iceland.

        3. and this is the big one. Look at the results (imf.org)

        The UK economy has now overtaken its previous peak in 2007 and unemployment is within 1% of the low.

        Iceland's economy isn't expected to reach its previous peak until well after 2020 and seems to have suffered a permanent increase in unemployment.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    No sympathy.....

    if they stuck to discrete and subtle advertising, then less people would have installed ad blockers....but oh no, let make them even more fucking annoying and more difficult to avoid, then they HAVE to buy our products.

    1. RegGuy1

      Re: No sympathy.....

      <pedant>

      less people

      you mean

      fewer people?

      <.pedant>

      Sorry, but it just sounds wrong.

      1. BurnT'offering

        Re: No sympathy.....

        @RegGuy - You are absolutely correct. It just sounds wrong. It isn't though. You are just perpetuating an opinion from some geezer in the 18th century.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No sympathy.....

          Start with 100 people.

          10% fewer people, and you have 90 people.

          10% less people, and they either shrunk, or you have a lot of missing limbs and heads etc.

          Simples...

          1. AC Wilson

            Re: No sympathy.....

            Unless, of course, the 100 persons you started with contained a sizeable amount of us lesser people to begin with...

            1. BurnT'offering

              Re: No sympathy.....

              The pedants would say the result would then be fewer lesser people whereas, if we eliminated the hypercompensating pedants, we might say we'd have less fewer people

        2. BurnT'offering

          Re: No sympathy.....

          For the 6 downthumbers, I offer this:

          Here lies Les Moore

          Four slugs from a .44

          No Les

          No Moore

        3. Joe Gurman

          Re: No sympathy.....

          Nonsense: Less describes a continuous quantity and fewer, something denumerable. It has as long as it's been in the language, and there's no good reason to change what's significant difference. The only possible excuse is laziness, which produces bad speech or writing as surely as it does bad code.

          1. sabroni Silver badge

            Re: No sympathy.....

            No, when lot's of people get something wrong it becomes right by weight of numbers!

            1. BurnT'offering

              Re: No sympathy.....

              "Thou, why, thou wilt quarrel with a man that hath a hair more or a hair less in his beard than thou."

              Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet: Act 3, Scene 1

              Wilt thou quarrel with Shakespeare?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: No sympathy.....

                @ BurnT'offering

                Clearly that is just mistranslated from the original Klingon.

                1. BurnT'offering

                  Re: No sympathy.....

                  A klingon would challenge the misinformed pedants in combat - and they would die, gasping, " ... fewerrr ... "

          2. BurnT'offering

            Re: It has as long as it's been in the language

            As far as we have been able to discover, the received rule originated in 1770 as a comment on 'less': This Word is most commonly used in speaking of a Number; where I should think Fewer would do better. "No Fewer than a Hundred" appears to me, not only more elegant than "No less than a Hundred," but more strictly proper. (Baker 1770). Baker's remarks about 'fewer' express clearly and modestly – 'I should think,' 'appears to me' – his own taste and preference....Notice how Baker's preference has been generalized and elevated to an absolute status and his notice of contrary usage has been omitted.

            Merriam–Webster's Dictionary of English Usage

      2. Robin

        Re: No sympathy.....

        @RegGuy1: On the subject of pedantry, you've got the closing </pedant> tag wrong.

      3. BongoJoe
        Coat

        Re: No sympathy.....

        er, pedantically speaking shouldn't it be

        </pedant>

  3. Aslan

    Are these numbers really that surprising?

    Given the annoyance that are ads, and the fact they they're spammed everywhere is it surprising at all that normal human behavior causes a lot of them not to be seen? When an ads blink, move and flash I don't want them on my screen. When it starts making noise or shifts my content around the page I block it entirely. I keep the browser narrow so it doesn't load ads on the sides of the page, I scroll past the banner at the top of the page, and don't look at the ones underneath. Everyone can open lots of tabs these days, and you know sometimes you forget why you cared to open them in the first place and close them without looking at them. Then there's the half page of advertising below the page, why would I ever look at that. I'm sure there's some bots involved somewhere, but what percentage of ads not viewed for at least one second is simply normal human behavior?

    I've seen good ads on the web, one was a single line text ad from Google telling me about a tech conference in my city I was unaware of, it was an open source one. Another time I was trying to fix a pump and again I think it was Google had a display ad for the exact part I needed. So in both cases a bit creepy, but if I and other people were served more such ads I think we'd be more inclined to have a look at them.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Look at all the people that care

    Just look at them..............

    1. bazza Silver badge

      Re: Look at all the people that care

      Do mean, the customers?

      1. John 104

        Re: Look at all the people that care

        No, the marketers.

    2. Mike Pellatt

      Re: Look at all the people that care

      Cats ?

  5. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    I can't see banner ads

    I just don't look in that area of the browser. It's not conscious, as I sometimes find there's a menu bar hiding up there that I need - and it takes ages to find. Website design is mostly very similar though. The top of the page is usually dead space, or worse - is flashing annoying crap.

    And I'm not anti-advertising. I'm happy to enjoy an ad that makes the effort to be funny, or even just has a nice tune. Although I do want to punch the people who design the ones that try to stay in your head by being actively annoying - which just makes me dislike their brand.

    I even don't notice most ads that appear as boxes within articles now.

    I think this is partly because online ads are just so shit. With TV they sometimes make an effort. Online I can barely recall seeing an ad that was anything other than logo+picture+dull slogan. The only ones that are noticably different are utterly obnoxious and launch video without permission or fly shitty banners down over the screen so you can't see what you're doing. And even then, none of those that I've been forced to notice have ever been interesting or funny. And now I employ Flashblock to stop them doing it.

    Finally the quality of online ads is awful. Supposedly respectable organisations will accept flashing ads that say, "click on this to win a free iPad." Or "take this illegal and probably dangerous pill to maigcally reduce your belly fat." Shameful! It makes the other advertising look shit by being associated with it, and makes the website owners look like dodgy fucking spivs.

    The only online ads I click on are on the phone or tablet, when trying to scroll the screen leads to erroneous clicking.

    This is a real problem, as so much of the interent is funded by ads. And yet it's such a hostile environment that the users are coming to hate them more and more.

    1. Blank Reg

      Re: I can't see banner ads

      I've also learned to subconsciously ignore ads. I just don't see them unless it's one of those annoying video ads that start playing automatically, then that's followed by swearing while finding the mute button without ever noticing what the ad was about. Reader mode in the browser is also very helpful.

      I really don't get the online advertising market, I've never intentionally clicked on an ad. Do people really buy stuff because of a web ad?

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Re: I can't see banner ads

        Is anyone who automatically / subconsciously doesn't look at ads on the way towards the next step in human evolution?

      2. Hans 1 Silver badge

        Re: I can't see banner ads

        >Do people really buy stuff because of a web ad?

        Yes, of course .... Mom/pop:

        Your computer is slow, we have detected 7 viruses and spyware! Act now before you lose all your pictures and documents.

        [ Ok ] [ Cancel ]

    2. JonP

      Re: I can't see banner ads

      Finally the quality of online ads is awful. Supposedly respectable organisations will accept flashing ads that say, "click on this to win a free iPad." Or ...

      This. It's got to the point were clicking on an ad seems about as safe as clicking a link in an email from a Nigerian prince...

      1. Rol Silver badge

        Re: I can't see banner ads

        In very same way unscrupulous Indian cold callers are placing the livelihoods of their more assiduous and legitimate citizens in peril, the advertising industry has no one but themselves to blame for the world turning its back on them.

        I can't answer the phone to someone with an Indian accent and believe a word they say, as all of the calls I get from the subcontinent are scammers. Which when you consider India is offering itself up as a base for international call centres, makes for a very negative outlook.

        In the same way, India needs to get tough on the less savoury characters, who are tarnishing the telesales industry, so too, does the advertising industry need to clamp down on the rouges who ruin it for everyone.

  6. Andy Non

    Adblockers

    I wonder if ads blocked still count as shown or not?

  7. JimmyPage Silver badge

    Surely this makes the UK

    a world leader in ad-blocking ?

  8. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Pint

    Best News all week

    However,

    Will the Ad men get smart and stop increasing the number of ads the pump out at us.

    Anyway, in anticipation of Beer O'Clock, have one on me

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm glad!

    Even though ads can and do support much free to web content, I'm delighted to see that the industry are being defrauded. With their crappy, intrusive, privacy-invading, flashy, blinky poppy uppy shitty shit, and their persistent attempts to ram their message down my throat, and steal as much of my screen real estate as possible, then if THEY are feeling hard done by then GOOD.

    I'm no fan of Google benefiting from the fraud, but that's a separate issue. If the on-line advertisers got their act in order, then they'd also have less of a threat from ad and script blockers.

    Sadly, I'm not optimistic this will be sorted out well. Ad companies are too obssessed with glittery, shiney, moving images, and the chances are that we'll see more attempts to force us to watch TV style ads to access content. And still the retards behind web advertising won't see the brand damage done by unwanted advertising.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: I'm glad!

      Yeah, I still fail to understand why "respectable" companies will tolerate being associated with dodgy and intrusive advertising for snake oil, gambling and so on.

      I like to unblock adverts from time to time to give the sites their fee. But I do it less than I used to. Because they are so grim.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Adblockers

      No. Most ad blockers blacklist the entire advertiser domain, so nothing loads. Not even the javascript to tell that it didn't load.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Adblockers

        "Most ad blockers blacklist the entire advertiser domain, so nothing loads."

        Unfortunately with the proliferation of anti-blockers and their increasing hostility to the end user, some of the blockers have moved to pulling down the ad but not displaying them. This is also used to mask activities.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: I'm glad!

      "I'm delighted to see that the industry are being defrauded."

      If I read the article right it's not the ad industry that think they're being defrauded, it's the industries clients, the people whose goods and services are being advertised. For them it should be a rather more complex issue. They're paying the costs of advertising but they're not suffering the downside of annoying potential customers who might otherwise buy from them. As I've said before, the one thing you can be sure the advertising industry is good at selling is their own services.

    4. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Best News all week

      Will the Ad men get smart and stop increasing the number of ads the pump out at us.

      Umm... no. In fact, they're more pissed at us than ever for using adblockers. A bit murky on how the ad monies get distributed but I'm donating all the ads I don't see due to Adblock to the fraudsters. Ad guys deserve that.

    5. Captain DaFt

      Re: I'm glad!

      "And still the retards behind web advertising won't see the brand damage done by unwanted advertising."

      They never have, and never will.

      It goes way back.

      AM radio was full of ads, so when relatively ad free FM came along, everyone ponied up for for an FM capable radio, but the ads followed.

      Broadcast TV was/still is full of ads, so when cable TV came along, everyone jumped to that, the ads followed.

      Everyone used the post office, until junk mail started overflowing the box, and when email came along, everyone jumped to that, the ads followed.

      The early internet was virtually ad free, everyone signed on, the ads followed.

      If an Earth destroying comet was heading straight at us, everyone would be looking at a single patch of sky, and the ads would be there.

      "Enjoy a refreshing Coke before the end comes!"

      "We're all going to die anyway, have a relaxing Boo-yah! cigarette!"

      "Carlton loans sez, Live it up with your last days on Earth with a multi-million loan from us!"

      "Stay in touch with your loved ones up to the last minute with the all new iPhone Gamma!"

      All projected on a screen floating in space, obscuring the comet.

      The weasels would be in a meeting when the comet hit, trying to figure out how to advertise in the frikkin' afterlife!

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm glad!

      I would beg to differ in the assessment of ad companies (obssessed with glittery, shiney, moving images). They are simply obssessed with money. Yes, we all are, to some extent, but if it's BIG MONEY, then it tends to blunt the intelligence (think shark frenzy where there's blood in the water). So, instead of thinking of NEW ways of funding internet (do they care about funding internet btw? - like fuck they do), they're just more and more desperate to stick to their old ways, as it (I would hope so!) slowly dries up. Alternative image, a monkey with a firm grip on the banana inside a box. They'll NEVER use their brain, they'll just keep squeezing, even if they were to lose that hand. And then they'll squeal that the world is hurting them bad...

  10. James O'Shea

    one hell of a metric

    "At least 50 per cent of the surface of an online ad have to appear in the visible area of the browser for at least one second (50/1)"

    By that measure I haven't seen an ad on any of my personal machines for years. There are, for example certain sites which insist on autorunning video (no, not _those_ sites, sites like cnn.com) and which also insist on running ads before running the video. I've had so much practice at killing the video feed at the first hint of an ad that I'm certain that my average exposure is under two thirds of a second. El Reg is (again!) allowing idiots to show full-page ads which obscure the site (naughty, naughty...) and which I only see when I visit from a system which doesn't have an ad-blocker running. Which means when I visit from a system which isn't mine, 'cause I now run ad-blockers on all my personal machines. I kill the full-page ad before it loads when I visit from a machine which doesn't have ad-blockers, so my ad exposure is zero...

    BTW, El Reg: if you want me to whitelist ads on your site, would you for God's sake NOT LET YOUR AD PEOPLE RUN FULL-PAGE ADS? Thanks.

    1. Ian 55

      Re: one hell of a metric

      NOT LET YOUR AD PEOPLE RUN ANYTHING THAT'S NOT TEXT (NO JS) OR A STATIC IMAGE?

      Fixed it for you.

      1. Someone Else Silver badge
        Pint

        @ James O'Shea and Ian 55 -- Re: one hell of a metric

        Gad! I wish I could upvote both of you more than once. Have a (virtual) --->

        on me!

        1. 9Rune5

          Re: @ James O'Shea and Ian 55 -- one hell of a metric

          That beer icon is really just a subliminal ad for beer, isn't it?

          I suppose not all ads are bad ads.

          1. LaeMing Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: @ James O'Shea and Ian 55 -- one hell of a metric

            And if someone paid them to put branding on the Beer icon, I'm sure no-one could reasonably object. That's a definite case of good advertising! (though leave it to the Advertising Industry to take even discrete product-placement to the point of obnoxiousness, I'm sure!)

    2. Arctic fox
      Thumb Up

      Re: one hell of a metric

      Indeed James. El Reg is one of my favourite sites but the eye-crossing ads/videos/popups really piss me off. What can I say?

  11. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Holmes

    You know the situation is getting bad when...

    even Private Eye has noticed the incongruity of the CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau complaining about adblocker creators on grounds of 'freedom' - as they point out, 'the freedom to have your time spent browsing ruined by intrusive pop-ups, banners, interstitials, pre-rolls and the like.'

  12. Warm Braw Silver badge

    Perfect storm

    On the one hand we have increasingly-intrusive advertising and on the other "mobile friendly" websites which fill the width of a 1080 screen with stock photographs and require scrolling through screens of meaningless 64 point text before you realise the content has been omitted in the interests of "good design". The web is disappearing up its own arse.

    I'm beginning to pine for the days of USENET.

    1. Chronos Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Perfect storm

      Usenet's still there. Come on back. We could do with a few more sensible people.

  13. Keith Glass

    Is anyone really surprised ?

    Gassed up on the way to work. The pump has a second video screen, and serves ads. And, since I generally use the same brand of gas. . . I apparently am tracked. Because I get the same local ads, even when I'm an hour or more from home. .

    I halfway expect ad screens in the stall and above the urinals in bathrooms, soon. . .

    1. Wommit

      Re: Is anyone really surprised ?

      @ Keith. How many times have you been told? DON'T GIVE THEM IDEAS!!!!!!!!!

    2. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Is anyone really surprised ?

      > I halfway expect ad screens in the stall and above the urinals in bathrooms, soon. . .

      Hey, that's when you can piss at them finally!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is anyone really surprised ?

        Better hope that mains voltage is not exposed internally, even accidentally.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Is anyone really surprised ?

          "Better hope that mains voltage is not exposed internally, even accidentally."

          I've never seen LCD screens above the urinals. I'm wondering if some people are confused over what the OP meant. In motorway services there is a "picture frame" advert above each urinal with a paper poster advert in it, sometimes with a perspex card holder at the bottom. Or maybe I've just not visited the "right" services.

          1. Shades

            Re: Is anyone really surprised ?

            "I've never seen LCD screens above the urinals"

            You never been in a Walkabout pub then?

            1. LaeMing Silver badge
              Go

              Re: Is anyone really surprised ?

              And the urinal will analyse your pee to determine what adverts to show you.

    3. Loud Speaker

      Re: Is anyone really surprised ?

      ad screens in the stall and above the urinals in bathrooms

      Here in the UK we have had them for years, but since we don't sue the phrase "gassed up" to mean

      anything like refuelled, and we tend to keep our urinals in toilets, I am guessing "you are not from round here, are you, boy!"

    4. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Is anyone really surprised ?

      I halfway expect ad screens in the stall and above the urinals in bathrooms, soon. . .

      When they do, at least there will be plenty of material to hand to ensure that the ads are quickly blocked from view.

    5. Darryl

      Re: Is anyone really surprised ?

      "I halfway expect ad screens in the stall and above the urinals in bathrooms, soon."

      We've had those around her for years already. At least above the urinals

    6. Sureo

      Re: Is anyone really surprised ?

      "I halfway expect ad screens in the stall and above the urinals in bathrooms, soon. ."

      Carry a can of spray paint around with you. The trend won't last... :)

    7. Ali Um Bongo
      Thumb Down

      Re: Is anyone really surprised ?

      Have you seen Terry Gilliam's Brazil?

      There's a scene near the end of that where a truck drives off through rolling countryside. The occupants of the truck can see nothing of the landscape at all, because both sides of the road are lined with a solid wall of billboards. That's a vision of the future for you.

      EDIT. Here it is: http://tinyurl.com/braziladscene

      I've asked it before and I'll ask it again. Why are things like eating an apple, or drinking from a bottle of water, while at the wheel, deemed to be dangerously distracting to drivers, whereas 30 ft high pictures of sexy models in their underwear, placed alongside the road and aimed at the driver's line of sight are deemed acceptable?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is anyone really surprised ?

        "Why are things like eating an apple, or drinking from a bottle of water, while at the wheel, deemed to be dangerously distracting to drivers, whereas 30 ft high pictures of sexy models in their underwear, placed alongside the road and aimed at the driver's line of sight are deemed acceptable?"

        On the motorway M6 near Birmingham, and the A38M from the M6 into Birmingham (and presumably elsewhere) not only do they have huge ads on billboards, the "billboards" are actually LED displays and the ads not only rotate (from one advert to the next), the ads themselves feature moving pictures. Really quite inappropriately distracting. See e.g.

        http://elonexoutdoormedia.co.uk/digital/m6-junction-9-birmingham/

        (other similar suppliers are available).

        1. MrDamage

          Re: Is anyone really surprised ?

          I'll go one further.

          On the M1 motorway in Sydney, not only do they have a giant LED billboard, but they have it as a static advert, complete with white background, to utterly ruin a drivers night vision.

          By the time your eyes readjust, you've travelled 100-150 meters, unless you have ploughed into the arse of someone else whilst blinded.

  14. Terry 6 Silver badge

    And I still don't understand

    why the advertisers think that forcing crass, crude and intrusive ads will make people buy their stuff.

    Does it? Are there people out there who see a flashing banner for a "prize draw" and enter it?

    If so, then the ad blocking makes no difference, because the suckers who do respond to this crap wouldn't want to block it.

    1. Boothy

      Re: And I still don't understand

      No doubt it's the same people who respond to junk emails, and so still make it worth to miscreants to send those out :-/

    2. xenny

      Re: And I still don't understand

      Many of us have met these people who enter that draw. I sometimes call them users.

    3. A-No-Vice-Penguinista
      Holmes

      Re: And I still don't understand

      Actually I don't think the advertizers give a shit, as long as the industries pay!

  15. quattroprorocked

    Metrics and Snowflakes

    "Meetrics uses the ad industry (IAB) measure of viewability: "At least 50 per cent of the surface of an online ad have to appear in the visible area of the browser for at least one second (50/1)"

    Bloody hell. I doubt that an ad is viewable unless 100% appears for at least 10 seconds, but if they measured that then all the ad buyers would wonder why "viewability" was around 5%.

    Publishers should simply say that they will only deal with the client/agency, and vet all ads for being sensible. All ads to be served from the publishers servers.

    At the risk of sounding poetical - show me a beautiful snowflake or two and I'll give you some attention, but serve me up a blizzard and I'm ignoring all of it.

    1. Loud Speaker

      Re: Metrics and Snowflakes

      I only count an ad as blocked if at least 50% of the advertiser's head has been below water level in a public toilet for at least 10 minutes.

    2. Old Used Programmer

      Re: Metrics and Snowflakes

      That is, basically, what drove me to install an ad blocker. It's really a "tragedy of the commons" effect.

    3. Someone Else Silver badge

      Re: Metrics and Snowflakes

      At the risk of sounding poetical - show me a beautiful snowflake or two and I'll give you some attention, but serve me up a blizzard and I'm ignoring all of it.

      Here in the (U.S.) Midwest, we have some experience w/ blizzards. We simply shovel it.

      I got this handy-dandy shovel here with the NoScript logo on it....

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Devil

    Complexity Complex

    "Complexity is Fraud". Reminds me of the times when I've confronted Google Folk about "Do No Evil" and their various Evil ways (such as supporting ALEC American Legislative Exchange Council- the ha! ha! ad supported version of Oligarchy and various other issues) - "The World is a Complex Place..." they say, and it just gets worse from there. Looking forward to Opening Day of Arthur Miller-Lite's "Death of an Online Salesman", but the likelihood of Internet parasites starving to Death is pretty low- they just find a new host, in every sense of the word. Right, Google? Blergh.

  17. paulf Silver badge
    Meh

    Telegraph

    The Tory-graph is the latest to install "No entry if you're Adblocking" technology to their website. Tuesday evening I believe. I guess they felt they were on a roll after installing the Hack monitoring Occupeye devices last month. Messing about deleting cookies to get around their subscription "pay windbreak" was a pain but I'm not disabling ABP so they can fling their malware riddled ads+tracking at me.

    I'm not sure how the adblocker detection works but I'm guessing it figures out whether a beacon is downloaded and if not determines an adblocker is in use. I'm surprised ABP doesn't offer a whitelist for the beacons to fool the website into thinking an adblocker isn't in use. And with that the arms race would iterate again with the adflingers still not getting the message....

    1. Florida1920

      Re: Telegraph

      Telly works fine here with ScriptBlock and uBlock Origin in Chrome.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Telegraph

        I had one blocked page, and then it started loading again. Something changed somewhere, either in uBlock or the T web site.

    2. Fihart

      Re: Telegraph

      My experience of such sites started with a leading industry mag. Tried to block web readers who didn't have a paper subscription. Result, I stopped sending them editorial contributions. Since then I notice that they have unblocked access.

      The fact is that newsprint media are in decline and their best bet is to jump to the web where turnround of news is as quick as TV, costs may be less and audience numbers easier to multiply.

      The key, though, is to replace cover price and newsprint ad income with web ads. The Guardian is a good example of how to transition readers to new media and actually further the reach and influence of the paper. They are losing money, but I'm sure the solution is not to turn away potential readers such as those with ad-blockers.

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Telegraph

      "The Tory-graph is the latest to install "No entry if you're Adblocking" technology to their website."

      It (and the article limit per month) are both easily circumvented by selective cookie blocking.

  18. godshatter

    They won't be counting me because I run an ad blocker. Advertising companies are so far off the rails that ads have become a vector for malware, so I bypass the whole thing. Websites have an easy fix, though. Static ads or text ads hosted on their domain without javascript. I would see those and (if they were related to the content on the page) I might actually click on them once in a while. But, no, they want to double down on "punch the monkey" ads. Well stupid is as stupid does, I guess.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Primary issue

      "Advertising companies are so far off the rails that ads have become a vector for malware"

      Whilst it was originally the popup menace that goaded me into blocking adverts, this is the main driver for keeping them blocked.

      That and when you're in outer bumfuckia with sod-all bandwidth at "screw you" rates, advertising is a major parastic drag and charge. I might feel more friendly about it if I hadn't had recent experiences of pages taking 2-3 minutes to load on unprotected browsers when they only had a few kB of actual text on them, or if the advertisers were paying for the charges they're forcing people to incur to display adverts they don't want.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    We need an 'expert' from the ad industry to explain again why blocking ads is theft, and how we don't know what's best for us.

  20. Someone Else Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Regarding that Gawd-awful graphic.

    The answer tot he rhetorical question posed in the caption is, "Hell no, it's neither straightforward nor transparent" but it does serve a purpose: Athough it's a bit fuzzy*, I know know what websites to blacklist in ABP, NoScript, et al. Thanks, El Reg!

    * If you could republish that graphic in an SVG (or some other vector graphic) format so I could blow it up sufficiently and read all the names of the scum polluting my "browsing experience", I (and others) would appreciate it.

    1. Captain DaFt

      Re: Regarding that Gawd-awful graphic.

      - read all the names of the scum polluting my "browsing experience", -

      Here's a list to get you started, happy hunting!

  21. Shadow Systems Silver badge
    Holmes

    Dear Advertisers...

    I'll stop blocking you when you stop being privacy raping security nightmares.

    Until then, go fuck yourselves.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Not to mention malware vectors.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reputable sites

    Sadly, it was constantly get malvert warnings when browsing The Register that finally pushed me into downloading AdBlock... Please put your own house in order!

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Reputable sites

      "Please put your own house in order!"

      You must be mistaking us for someone else - or your AV was throwing a false positive.

      C.

      1. Grikath

        Re: Reputable sites @ Dio

        Could well be the AC was served something localised through your portal..

        I've had the dangedest times with some T-Mobile/KPN ads served through El Reg that were clearly aimed at the Dutch market ( language and campaign was a bit of a giveaway there..) , which either crashed themselves, crashed the browser, used bugged scripts that went on forever, used unoptimised images, etc. etc., oh, and etc... The Works. Real fun, especially if you're on a less than stellar connection..

        So you do have sections on your pages that can serve localised Bling which might escape the straightjacket you employ to Keep Things Within Reason.

  23. Ineedmorepower

    Don't care for the adverts but more pi**ed witth bandwidth being stolen

    My home broadband is slow enough without all sheer data volume of the ads cluttering up my piece of wet string between my house and the exchange and rendering my sub 2Mb connection even slower than it should be.

    If the advertisers want to give me 10* the capacity on my connection then I'll happily download their crappy data payload if not I'll continue to block as much as the various blockers will let me

  24. ben kendim

    If this is not reason enough to leave the EU, then nothing is..

    The EU is spending 2.5 million Euro for "Transforming digital in-content advertising to deliver global scale"???? Trying to make adblockers less effective, eh?

    Here is the project link: http://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/198800_en.html

    The money is given to an outfit called Kiosked and its objective is stated as follows:

    "Today, digital advertising is dominated by big, US-driven companies like Google and Facebook, who provide the majority of the ads we see online. The old dominant concept has been to sell and show static banner ads in a fixed location, separated from Publisher digital content. The problem with this approach is that ads are placed where they are usually ignored and, being mostly poorly targeted, are not adding value to end users. The next generation concept in digital advertising will be in-content advertising, where advertising is turned into a service in order to enhance the end user experience. It means that advertisements are placed dynamically inside the actual content of the Publisher digital property and served in the right context for the right audience as identified by behavioral data. In-content advertising unites programmatic advertising technology with real-time bidding and performance based advertising.

    Kiosked launched its innovative in-content advertising platform in 2014, generating significant interest from publishers, advertisers and investors. Kiosked has grown over a 9 month period in a highly competitive marketplace to serve over 250 million people with more than 3 billion ads on a monthly basis. Growth continues, however, the current manual sales process has been identified as a limiting factor to growth; the next innovation is to enable a data driven automated online marketing and sales service. In this project, the Kiosked platform will be developed into a fully automated, end-to-end service, thereby allowing any digital publisher to onboard the service at any time. Data drives Programmatic advertising and effective advertising performance delivering enhanced end-user experience. This project enables Kiosked to efficiently connect Publishers’ audience with programmatic advertising buyers delivering greater data driven value and granting Kiosked the ability to scale globally into one of the world’s biggest players in digital advertising."

    1. Someone Else Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: If this is not reason enough to leave the EU, then nothing is..

      The problem with this approach is that ads are placed where they are usually ignored and, being mostly poorly targeted, are not adding value to end users.

      This end-user has yet to have any online advertisement add any value whatsoever! So, Kiosked, your end goal, as couched in this Buzzword-Bingo-esque market-spew, is doomed to failure. FOAD!

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not forgetting "real" but unintended clicks

    Sites, like el Reg, seem to have a habit sometimes of putting very tall ads on both sides of the content, where even the bit that doesn't look like an ad (just has some colour gradation) *is* a clickable ad.

    Result being that you sometimes click on that part just intending to bring a partially-overlapping window to the fore - and find you've just been bumped off to some unsuspecting advertisers site.

    This results in me clicking the "back" button almost before the target page has loaded.

    I bet this still costs the advertiser though.

    1. Hans 1 Silver badge

      Re: Not forgetting "real" but unintended clicks

      >Result being that you sometimes click on that part just intending to bring a partially-overlapping window to the fore - and find you've just been bumped off to some unsuspecting advertisers site.

      Thanks for supporting el'Reg financially ! I also do that, when I am on a system without adblock, support what you are reading!

  26. fishman

    No big deal.

    Eventually, the rates advertisers pay will reflect that half of the ad clicks are frauds.

  27. BobChip
    Flame

    Protection money

    I can see why the ad-pushers are hopping mad about the state of their industry, but they have no sympathy from me. It is their own strategies, their own mess, their own doing.

    Has it not occurred to anyone here that a paywall "pay us money and you won't see our ads or catch the malware" is the exact equivalent of demanding protection money with menaces? Al Capone was pretty good at that, and they only got him for tax evasion.....

    A plague on all their houses!

    1. smartypants

      Re: Protection money

      Honestly, I think this comments section is sliding downhill.

      4 upvotes for a claim that a paywall is "the exact equivalent of demanding protection money with menaces?". Really?

      Surely a paywall is a bit more like a turnstile at a football ground. Pay or you won't get into our ground to watch the match.

      I can't see anything wrong with that really, and whether you think it your human right or not to access other people's content for free, how can it be reasonable to compare it with a world where thugs will injure or kill you if you don't pay them each week?

    2. LaeMing Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Protection money

      Nice computer you have there. It would be a shame if someone advertised all over it!

  28. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Glad to hear that advertisers are feeling squeezed

    It is only just that they get some misery out of all the shite they think they have the right to fling at us.

    I have a solution for this situation, which I have already outlined in the columns of this memorable site. It is called separation of powers. At the moment, ad creators have complete control over the ad. They build it the way they want it, and shovel the end result to the channel for distribution. Thus, they have the power to make it as annoying/vicious/fullofmalware as they want.

    I propose that ad agencies put a stop to this by creating an ad submission environment in which ad creators will only be able to submit images (eventually a video), and set up a script containing only commands from a given set of options. The ad agency would then check the script for any fraudulent commands, build the ad and serve it.

    In that fashion, ads served by a given agency would always be built by that agency and the reputation of that agency would be made following what behavior it allowed in ads it served. Thus, agencies would (hopefully) compete by being graded by customers, while the public would bask in a world where ad blockers would only be used to block ads from agencies you wouldn't like.

    In my view, everybody wins. Except for the scam artists, of course, but I'm not shedding a tear for them.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Glad to hear that advertisers are feeling squeezed

      "I propose that ad agencies put a stop to this by creating an ad submission environment in which ad creators will only be able to submit images (eventually a video), and set up a script containing only commands from a given set of options."

      This has already been done.

      Advertisers and malvertisers have repeatedly found ways around such restrictions.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Well then it hasn't been done properly. No matter, we'll just keep blocking them until they sort it out.

        Given that it's directly linked to the famous bottom line, it'll hit home one day.

  29. Florida1920
    Angel

    Ads on websites?

    I've heard of them.

  30. Suburban Inmate

    4oD (UK TV channel's web streaming service)

    They have an ad blocker nag that means I have to disable AdBlock Plus. That means I would actually boycott the firms that force me to waste my time and CPU cycles having my intelligence insulted, if there were ever anything of any relevance to me being flogged.

    As it is I simply mute that shite and switch back to whatever for a few minutes. Upon my return I can jump back to the start of the program and re-enable ABP to watch the program in peace, as the nag is only applied to the pre-show ads.

  31. Lord_Beavis
    Pirate

    Bandwidth caps

    Is there any recourse for ads eating into your allotted bandwidth? It would be like cable and satellite TV charging you for watching to much telly because of all the adverts.

    Why doesn't the likes of Comcrap go after the advertisers for making sure their ads get through instead of banging on Netflix and whatnot?

  32. Robert Moore

    3 wheel van

    Am I alone in wanting that van?

    Living in Canada, I have never seen one in person. (Yes, I know they were/are the butt of many jokes.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 3 wheel van

      Am I alone in wanting that van?

      Yes. Having driven something similar (my dad had an early Bond, about 45 years ago) I can confidently say you might want to drive one once, or perhaps twice, but living in Canada you definitely do NOT want it. Especially in winter. You might want to visit the bubble car museum if you visit the UK, though.

    2. Swiss Anton

      Re: 3 wheel van

      I suggest you seek a copy of the Top Gear episode where Clarkson takes one for a spin, or more correctly, a roll.

    3. Suburban Inmate

      Re: Bandwidth caps

      Their caps are about fracking the vict... er, customer for every last dollar. Nothing really to do with managing network congestion. They got caught with their pants down a few months ago, a bad case of memo leakage:

      The documents warn employees not to use the term "data cap," but to instead refer to it as a "data usage plan." One memo states: "Don't say: The program is about congestion management (it is not)."

  33. Old Handle

    I'm curious how Project Wonderful stacks up

    If it's automated ad buying that caused the problem, I bet this ad network is doing far better percentage wise. It seems to be one of the least black-boxy most human-centric options out there. Not only that, but I've sometimes even clicked on their ads on purpose! Admittedly it's mostly web comics advertising other web comics but there's no reason other sites can't use it.

  34. BurnT'offering

    If all the people engaged in ...

    online ad sales, SEO and so on, were laid end to end:

    How much diesel would my tank need to run over them?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: If all the people engaged in ...

      Twice as much as you thought because you needs to reverse back over them all just to be sure.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: If all the people engaged in ...

      That would depend on if you were out of ammunition or not... as some might try to get up and run away.

      1. LaeMing Silver badge
        Go

        Re: If all the people engaged in ...

        Use petrol - easier to light.

  35. PaulVD

    How many clicks is fair payment?

    El Reg won't let me pay directly (as I do for various other websites) and with Firefox/NoScript I can't see any ads. So I started up IE, found a couple of ads (only for things I would never buy, unfortunately) and clicked on them in order to feed the vulture.

    I don't mind doing this now and again, but it raised the question in the title. Presumably clicks are more valuable than just views - so does a couple of clicks a month provide fair support?

  36. DeathSquid
    Go

    I would volunteer to see more ads...

    If I were paid, that is. What I'd like to propose is an area in my browser that advertisers could bid for, with a floor price set by me. I would happily provide demographic data and guarantee to not block the ads. My floor price would be around $0.05 per second. Guaranteed delivery to my eyeball for a low, low price. A 20 second clip would only cost advertisers $1. This is extremely competitive compared to television advertising, and I could live in the manner to which I would like to become accustomed.

  37. David 132 Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Unfortunately, the wrong lessons will be learned.

    Don't you just know that somewhere in an advertising agency's HQ, some Bright Thrusting Young Exec is currently giving his pitch...

    "Folks, we all know that advertisment impression metrics are down. But relax! We have a solution! I give you...

    ...ADZILLA!

    TWICE as obnoxious! FORTY-SEVEN percent larger! THREE-X times more difficult to close!

    We'll have these babies on every major website by the end of the month. That'll solve things.

    If the peons are ignoring our adverts, that's because we haven't made them intrusive enough! Yes!"

    ...because these people just don't learn.

    Icon is what I'd do to them. They'll be second against the wall when the revolution comes.

  38. David Roberts Silver badge

    Why do they still serve ads?

    Same reason that the email world is full of SPAM.

    Thinking people filter and ignore. Idiots click through.

    If there was no return at all they would eventually stop.

    Oh, and I do most of my browsing on a tablet. I resize the screen to eliminate everything but the text, if possible. So I don't see the majority of ads even when not using an ad blocker. Does this make me guilty of fraud? If so, under which law(s)?

  39. Cameron Colley

    So, advertisers are being robbed?

    Considering advertising is just legalised robbery* I'm sad it isn't making much of an impact.

    If the sub-human scum in advertising were really under threat we would have heard about it from every available outlet. As it is, sadly, I think the manipulative wastes of life are still around.

    *Telling somebody they need to pay for something they do not is robbery.

  40. jason 7

    So tell me...

    ....if a new person drops by a site like the Reg with no adblocking installed and looks at say 7 pages. Doesnt click on any ads (who would?) How much money does the Reg make from that visit?

    That's kind of important info to know. If it's £0.0001 then really that model might as well just die.

    Maybe the Reg should try a "Fund-raising" week with a donation link and see how much that raises from viewers? I bet it pulls in far more than ads would.

  41. Joe Gurman

    Well

    I use an adblocker than can whitelist individual sites, but I never have. The most useful industry site (a one-man operation) I read is supported by an Amazon percentage link and direct contributions. I believe I can say I've never seen an ad on The Reg site, but, assuming they have them, I'd be willing to subscribe a reasonable amount to keep the site going without them.

  42. Nifty

    Anyone remember the Neil Stephenson book where the character has an ad running permanently in the corner if his eyeball, he can't afford to get it removed?

  43. Christopher Reeve's Horse

    Yer basic problem is:

    I may be stepping in a bit late here, but...

    I've discussed this with several people (in the pub, sensibly) and I can't find a reason to ever actually click on an advert. Say, if I was looking to buy a very particular thing, even if sensible and attractive adverts popped up selling that very particular thing I still wouldn't click!

    As a consumer I build up a trust based relationship with my preferred sellers of goods. An advert is not going to persuade me otherwise. Not now, not ever.

    I'm more likely to trust a company that would willingly state that it doesn't pile money into shitty web advertising. Maybe there should be a consumer label that promises just that?

    I can't wait for this web advertising economic bubble to collapse. Ask me if I care about the effect of this on Google or Facebook.

  44. John Geek

    ublock origin FTW

  45. DaddyHoggy

    Like lots of people I run ABP on all my own devices (and on my kids devices too - so they don't get baited into clicking on shiny, sparkly ads and taken off to who-knows-where on the 'net).

    Quite a few sites spot that you're running an ad-blocker and ask you nicely to turn it off - I will do that for sites I like *BUT* if the page starts loading slowly OR the ads load first OR the ads are intrusive and not actually relevant to me then *BANG* you had your chance - ad-blocker is back on.

    And I'm sorry El Reg, but you're one of the worst offenders for this - the ads you allow on the site are bloody awful and fail on all three of my criteria.

  46. Asylum_visitor

    This years season of South Park was an on-going conspiracy satire about Ads, relevant and worth watching for the Whole Foods debacle :)

  47. Seajay#

    Lack of viewability = Fraud?

    Sometimes I read a paper but I don't open every page and don't see every advert. Sometimes I pass a billboard but I happen to be looking the other way or there is a bus in front of it covering more than 50% of the surface area. Sometimes I'm watching TV and I make a cup of tea in the ad break. Sometimes a website opens a pop-under and I close it without looking at it.

    I had no idea I was defrauding the ad industry. Please let me know how I can make it up to them, I'm racked with guilt.

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