back to article French publishers join Swedish 'Block Party' to pester ad refuseniks

French publishers are joining the “block party” - by taking aggressive collective action to thwart ad-blockers. In August, around 80 to 90 per cent of Swedish publishers will participate in a co-ordinated campaign to nag readers using ad blocking software that they really shouldn’t use ad blocking software. Le Figaro suggests …

  1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    This hard on the news that students are protesting...

    ...because new laws are threatening to make it easier to employ them. Unions are on board.

    This world: a farce

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This hard on the news that students are protesting...

      A farce, indeed, when one can equate "easier to fire" and "easier to employ" while keeping a straight face.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This hard on the news that students are protesting...

        A farce, indeed, when one can equate "easier to fire" and "easier to employ" while keeping a straight face.

        It is the truth though. I work for a US company that, when it starts a new project/product, hires many developers, in various places (US, UK, Ireland, India). If the project isn't successful some of those developers are redeployed, some are laid-off. Granted the US lay-off approach is brutal in execution, but few of those that I know spent more than a month or two unemployed before getting rehired.

        All except the French branch, where laying people off takes 6-9 months, and the layoff comes with a lump sum, a package of 6-9 months retraining, a year's health care, and at least one month's salary for each year of seniority. all paid by the company.

        There, the US managers' attitude is simple. No more hiring in France, it's simply not worth it in an uncertain market. The unions expect "jobs for life", and no sensible (non-French) company will pander to them. Hence the high French unemployment rates, and huge black hole in pensions, health and welfare budgets. If it's too hard to lay people off when the going gets tough, companies simply invest in jobs elsewhere.

        1. John Hughes

          Re: This hard on the news that students are protesting...

          All except the French branch, where laying people off takes 6-9 months, and the layoff comes with a lump sum, a package of 6-9 months retraining, a year's health care, and at least one month's salary for each year of seniority. all paid by the company.
          Total bollocks. Learn what a CDD is.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: This hard on the news that students are protesting...

            Total bollocks. Learn what a CDD is.

            I know perfectly well what a contrat à durée déterminée is. It's a fixed-term employment contract which can be used only to hire someone for a precise and temporary task, such as maternity leave cover. It has very strict legal limitations, and can be renewed at most twice. As for being bollocks, I've gone through the process several times so far, and I can assure you it is an accurate description. I also know that my US-based managerial colleagues simply refuse point-blank to even consider hiring in France because of it.

            1. heyrick Silver badge

              Re: This hard on the news that students are protesting...

              "I also know that my US-based managerial colleagues simply refuse point-blank to even consider hiring in France because of it."

              And to balance this, I know some Europeans that were pink slipped when the company decided it had what it wanted from the employees - as in here's your pay, note the pink bit of paper, get out - and as such they refuse point-blank to work in the United States.

        2. Stevie Silver badge

          Re:and huge black hole in pensions

          Whereas in America, the black hole in pensions is blamed on "unenforceable" contracts made in the "golden age" promising "too much" in terms of retirement benefits.

          But is actually caused by the administering organization not funding the financial instruments upon which those benefits were calculated for years upon years.

          See: New Jersey State Govt., Wisconsin State Govt., [insert state name] State Govt.

          Caveat: Contracts to deliver bonuses to junior officer ranks and above in the Banking sector are considered "Extremely Enforceable" and not subject to debate even by the people called upon to fund such bonuses when the said officers prove incompetent in the highest degree.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This hard on the news that students are protesting...

          > All except the French branch, where laying people off takes 6-9 months

          Your company's French managers may want to brush up on their French contract law, as there are a number of different types of contract to cater for precisely this situation (and I submit that many projects are indeed successfully and profitably started and concluded in France every day).

          Exactly which contract is a better fit depends entirely on the situation at hand, in some cases a contrat à durée déterminée (as mentioned below) may be appropriate, when it is exactly known between which dates a given resource will be needed, in other cases a contrat de prestation de services may be more appropriate, or even a contrat à durée indéterminée. All of these impose certain rights and obligations on both parties, which rights and obligations are known so their relative merits can be judged and their cost can be fairly accurately estimated and budgeted for since day zero.

          In other words, from your description your company's HR people are rubbish. Either that or they expect that because in the US things work (or fail to work) in a certain way, it must be the same all over the world.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: This hard on the news that students are protesting...

            your company's HR people are rubbish. Either that or they expect that because in the US things work (or fail to work) in a certain way, it must be the same all over the world.

            Both true, and both irrelevant. Why hire in a jurisdiction where change is difficult and expensive, when you can hire in one where it is neither?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Both true, and both irrelevant.

              Your companies hr department is rubbish and doesn't understand foreign employment law but you think that means their opinion is valid?

              Posting stupid? Post anonymous....

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Both true, and both irrelevant.

                Your companies hr department is rubbish and doesn't understand foreign employment law

                Where did I say that?

                My company's French HR department understands French law very well, and applies it rigidly. The company, however, is international. It's used to being able to hire staff for a project, and if all goes well it expects to keep them and grow the team. If, however, a new product doesn't do well in the market and is, after a few years, cancelled, the company expects to be able to redeploy, or if necessary lay off, the staff working on the now-cancelled product. That is not difficult in most places, but French law makes it painful, slow and very expensive. So, managers choose not to hire staff in France. It's nothing to do with not understanding law, they understand it only too well, it's simply a case of sensible planning. The recently proposed changes to French employment law would have considerably eased the problems, but the unions won't play. Seems they prefer to have record levels of unemployment, rather than take a risk on a job being less than 100% certain. It's a very "franco-francais" attitude.

                Posting stupid? Post anonymous....

                Says the anonymous poster.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Both true, and both irrelevant.

                  but the unions won't play

                  For the record, the unions are negotiating unimportant details of the law while the vast majority of the population demands its unconditional withdrawal. In other words, the unions are playing along with the government.

                  Seems they prefer to have record levels of unemployment

                  Indeed, we prefer to have record levels of unemployment rather than record levels of poverty among the population as is the case in the US. People's well being comes before corporate profits.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Both true, and both irrelevant.

                    For the record, the unions are negotiating unimportant details of the law

                    I'm not sure they'd agree with that, when the more moderate unions "only" want « le retrait de la barémisation des indemnités prud’homales », i.e. the removal of limits on lay-off packages (despite the fact that the prud'hommes themselves have said that the proposed limits are only formalizing general practice) ) and the removal of almost all the relaxation of the 35 hour week rules. They're happy to go along with the pro-worker stuff like the CPA, not much else. Meanwhile the usual more militant suspects in CGT, FO etc, are calling a strike next week for "pure and simple withdrawal" of the whole thing.

                    while the vast majority of the population demands its unconditional withdrawal

                    Yes, 67% of French people still seem to think that money grows on trees. No wonder the Euro zone is such a bastion of mediocrity.

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Both true, and both irrelevant.

                  > It's used to being able to hire staff for a project, and if all goes well it expects to keep them and grow the team. If, however, a new product doesn't do well in the market and is, after a few years, cancelled, the company expects to be able to redeploy, or if necessary lay off, the staff working on the now-cancelled product.

                  That is exactly what many French companies do, day in and day out.

                  Now, I'm not saying that French employment law is not in many cases a complete arse, or that the unions do not love to shoot themselves in the foot repeatedly, working solely towards their own interests and not those of their members. However, all that is a known quantity and in practical terms, not a major impediment to actually adjusting headcount for anyone who knows what they're doing. Trust me on this.

                  You ask why companies would hire in France as opposed to other places. From my experience I can suggest, for example: 1. France has, by some measures, the highest productivity rate of all of Europe, in terms of GDP/work hours. 2. Certain fields of expertise are well developed in France which makes it easier/possible to find competent people at reasonable rates (e.g., the aeronautical and nuclear industries). 3. Some contracts may simply stipulate that you open an office in a certain location or hire people from a certain region.

                  Do not get me wrong, I hate France as much as one is supposed to, but the attitude of your company does not seem particularly productive.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: This hard on the news that students are protesting...

              Why hire in a jurisdiction where change is difficult and expensive, when you can hire in one where it is neither?

              I rather like the irony here. We have a ban on hiring anyone of US origin, holding a US passport or anyone who can be classed as "accidental American" (no, I didn't make that up, it is an actual term - look it up).

          2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

            Re: This hard on the news that students are protesting...

            All of these impose certain rights and obligations on both parties, which rights and obligations are known so their relative merits can be judged and their cost can be fairly accurately estimated and budgeted for since day zero.

            That's sound theory, but in practice market success is difficult to predict, so that any such budget needs to allow for the potential costs and risks of eventual failure, to make sure that one failed product doesn't bring the whole company down. In a country with rigid, old-fashioned labour laws (like France) such costs tend to be much higher than in more flexible countries (like the UK or Ireland).Fixed-term contracts for aren't going to interest people looking for a career, they do tend to send the message "we don't expect this to last", can be a self-fulfilling approach.

  2. Andy Non
    Meh

    I don't care

    Publishers can block me for using an adblocker if they want; it just means I won't be back to their site again if it doesn't work. Simple as. There are plenty of alternative sites that won't block ad-blocking visitors and this will just drive people there instead.

    1. Credas Silver badge

      Re: I don't care

      That's why it's coordinated - in their national/linguistic niche there won't be an alternative for you to switch your (non-)custom to. A bit more difficult for more mainstream English-language sites to pull off, though.

      1. John Hughes

        Re: I don't care

        But it isn't "coordinated". Liberation are not on board with this suicide pact.

        www.liberation.fr

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I don't care

          > But it isn't "coordinated". Liberation are not on board with this suicide pact.

          I was going to say, I've just come from over there so was a bit surprised to see this. I haven't tried any other French news sites. They tend to be paywalled anyway (well, and one I am actually a subscriber).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I don't care

        > in their national/linguistic niche there won't be an alternative for you to switch your (non-)custom to

        Until someone sees the business opportunity. :-)

        Inflicting shit ads on the consumer is the lazy man's way of funding their online presence. More savvy businesses use a number of other methods, less intrusive and occasionally more attractive to the user. El Reg appears to be one such example, with their partnerships with other businesses such as Outlaw.com and various consultancies.

    2. Bloakey1
      Flame

      Re: I don't care

      Agreed. the most horrendous site I have seen is the Independent. Constantly straining on the seat attempting to deliver it's excrement. It is actually unusable at some times and you have to wait until a straining cycle is over before it decided to give you the content you have clicked on.

      Resource hungry adds and added vectors to infect the machine are unwanted on my part.

      1. Florida1920 Silver badge

        Re: I don't care

        the most horrendous site I have seen is the Independent.

        Just came from there, with ScriptBlock and uBlock Origin engaged. I never go online without them. There is a lot of white space on the Independent home page now, but it's possible to read their typo-ridden content without wading through visual noise.

      2. keebaud

        Even more horrendouser

        I nominate Torquay Herald Express. All the joys of The Independant with added fullscreen popup ads and ads disguised as news articles. It's sites like these that spawned the need for ad-blockers.

        1. Florida1920 Silver badge

          Re: Even more horrendouser

          Torquay Herald Express

          Yep, they need an intervention.

          That's not a foghorn you're hearing, Herald Express, it's the sound of silence when ad- and script-blocking add-ons hit your site. Wow, your home page loaded in a snap. Lots of interesting stuff to read about kangaroos, foghorns, piglets and a gas works. Your pages look a lot better with ads blocked than a few of my local news sites, I'll give you that. But I turned off uBlock Origin and ScriptBlock when I started writing this reply, and the page took for-freaking-ever to load. And enabling scripts for your domain opened the door for 11 scripts from other domains. No way, Torquay!

        2. VinceH Silver badge

          Re: Even more horrendouser

          "I nominate Torquay Herald Express."

          Which I see is a Local World publication - I suspect the websites for all of their publications are the same, with any variation being down to how much advertising they can get for the region covered.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I don't care

      Even some retail sites misbehave with a sane blocking regime, so I keep a separate unblocked browser just for affected valued retail sites, but for all other sites which misbehave I'll either add more blocks to remove their blocking overlays or just permanently firewall blacklist them at my router, like have done for some stubborn newspapers and magazines, to avoid wasting my time later.

  3. ratfox Silver badge
    Angel

    Let's see how it plays out, shall we?

    If I remember correctly, the German publishers had a big campaign at some point asking their readers not to use ad blockers.

    The campaign caused a huge rise in the use of ad blockers.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      Re: Let's see how it plays out, shall we?

      Exactly. The law of unintended consequences...

      It's hard to believe, but there are a lot of people out there who do not know that ad blockers even exist. Let's face it, a lot of people have no idea that their web browser is not "the internet", or that there are other browsers. It's not just the elderly relatives, it's a surprisingly large number of 'generation smartphone' as well.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Let's see how it plays out, shall we?

        ' Let's face it, a lot of people have no idea that their web browser is not "the internet"'

        A fair number have no idea that their browse is not "my computer".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Let's see how it plays out, shall we?

          Yeah try explaining to someone that the monitor is in fact a monitor and the box everything connected to is the computer.

          The computers not working?

          Have you turned it on?

          Yes the light on the front is on.

          On the screen?

          Yes

          What about that big fucking box where all the wires go, did you think it was there and connected to the power just for fun?

          Oh. It is now.

          My gran will get it one day. Bless her.

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Let's see how it plays out, shall we?

            I can top that. Not only does my wife consider the monitor to be 'the computer' but I have given up (after 20 years) trying to explain how a thermostat works.

            Apparently the radiator is 'on' or 'off'. If it's cold - it gets turned up, if it's hot it gets turned down.

            Apparently the concept of setting the thermo-valve such that a median temperature is maintained no matter whether it's generally colder or warmer outside doesn't compute.

            Point-in-case: I come home the other day - all the windows in the living room were open, and yet the radiator was on full blast. When I asked why, my wife said that she had turned the radiator down a bit (but not off) never expecting it to keep on getting hotter the colder the room got. Arrrrgggggggghhh!

            These days I just bury my head in a bottle of spirits straight away - it saves time :)

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Let's see how it plays out, shall we?

              @Sir Runcible

              When did you marry my sister???

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Let's see how it plays out, shall we?

      This just worked temporarily for me (thanks Reg posters, you are really my kind of people):

      Clear browser caches (chrome and FF)

      Install Ad-block Plus (I already used a hosts file, but not good enough)

      Install Easylist subscriptions

      For a brief moment, I could read what I wanted.

      But it only worked for two tries, and now I'm really annoyed. Sometimes the anti-adblockers get confused when you come in through a VPN, but they can eventually figure that out too.

      Perhaps a sandbox background-browser emulation will be the way forward. May the smartest, most motivated win.

      Escalation, escalation, escalation.....

  4. Busby

    As things currently stand ad blockers are a necessary security requirement to anyone with the slightest sense. If the ad slingers get their own house in order and stop spewing malware then maybe they might get some eyeballs back. Until then they go ram a rusty implement up their ringpiece!

    Whole online ad system is a joke anyway as noted many times here, ads sold and placed by bots then viewed by bots only. Time for the publishers to follow the print model and embed something relevant to the site content not constant ads based on one Amazon search back in 2008 as they typically serve now.

    1. Crazy Operations Guy

      "not constant ads based on one Amazon search back in 2008 "

      Several years back I had a flight that went through Manila and I had a 1-day delay due to monsoon season at the destination, so searched for places to stay for the night. One ad network now just spams me with video-based, blinking ads for "Meet Filipino Girls Now!" or other SE Asian dating websites.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    bring it on

    do it worldwide though! And keep up the good work for at least a year. Then we'll see whether the sheep-shearing can be continue, or whether a new approach to internet-funding is (over)due.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    this is dangerous

    think of the productivity levels soaring up across the world! This might give employers something to think about...

  7. Martin0641

    Sensible Alternative

    I use Google Contribute because I'd rather directly pay for content than be advertised to. What is annoying is when sites don't sign up for this service and then complain that my blocking their ads is so horrible as if there were no alternative available to generate money from me...I'll pay directly thank you very much.

    1. Credas Silver badge

      Re: Sensible Alternative

      Unfortunately, for those outside the US of A:

      Contributor is not yet available in your country.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sensible Alternative

      "I use Google Contribute "

      You might want to conribute more data to Google, as far as I'm concerned they can fcuk off. Along with the idoits that link to Google fonts (and the like) instead of putting the miniscule files on their site and caring for other people's privacy. Their shite sites can die as far as I care.

      1. Crazy Operations Guy

        "link to Google fonts "

        I respect my visitor's configurations and let their browser pick the font. If your site requires a specific font you are doing web design wrong...

  8. Credas Silver badge

    And what of El Reg?

    Every now and again I see this site sans-adblocker, and it's not pretty - big, intrusive, animated ads all over the place. Given that and it's audience it must suffer more adblocking than most, so I wonder if it'll be joining the anti-adblocker party?

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Re: And what of El Reg?

      At least the content doesn't jump around like a mexican bean whilst all the ads are loading.

      One of the most annoying things I find these days is when I try to click on a link, and it's hopping about due to the page changing layout mid-load - you never know what you end up clicking on.

      1. Crazy Operations Guy

        Re: And what of El Reg?

        Mobile sites are the worst for content bouncing around. Especially when the ad can;t figure out what your resolution really is, so it displays as 4x as wide as it should be and causes the content to become a series of tiny little dots...

  9. EvilGardenGnome
    Paris Hilton

    Can't this be interpreted as some form of harassment? There's no implied contract that you must consume advertising, so removing it could be seen as similar to dumping the solicitations straight into the bin.

    Am I completely off base on that?

    1. splodge

      You mean I don't have to read every word Virgin media and the local pizza take away send me? I can just throw them in the bin? Wow! :)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: some form of harassment

      Well, yes, there's no contract requiring you to consume advertising. There's also no contract requiring them to give you the content for free. What there is is a business model: they provide free content on the assumption that you'll at least sometimes look at the ads, and if you don't want to play along and give them what they want then they're within their rights to try to stop you from from getting what you want.

  10. calmeilles

    I was amused to find that acquiescing to one nag screen ended the nag but did not reveal any ads which were served from different domains. I suppose they'll get wise to this eventually... but it's been six months so far.

  11. Frank Bitterlich
    Thumb Up

    If you think that's the right solution...

    ... then good luck with that. If you don't want me to see your "quality journalism" without at the same time accepting you to push in-your-face jumpy noisy annoying ads down my throat, then I might not be part of your target group.

    Good luck with those remaining visitors who apparently don't see a correlation between the advertising behaviour and the quality of the "journalistic" content that is trying to sell these ads.

  12. NigelD

    Deal with malware

    The ad slingers are behaving as if they some how created the internet and it's our payment for using it by which we have to put up with this... they did not, and they call us parasites! I have donated to some blogs (where it was possible) I like and get value from. Those who block me for where the value add is marginal, I drop them. You know what I now have less procrastination in my day and it feels better.

    Given we just had the news of how yet another ad network was serving up malware I have no reason to stop blocking these intrusions into my browser. some how I think the ad slingers are unlikely to take responsibility for their lack of security until the first class action kicks off.

  13. Caff

    subscription

    I have yet to see an easy to use subscription alternative to ads. I am aware there are a few services that operate on a pay per article model but none that would offer an all you can eat bundle for various sites/papers. I guess it would be too much like co-operating with your competitor to them.

  14. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    No great loss.

    No great loss as far as I see it...

    ITV.com, Channel 4oD, City AM, The Telegraph and Mirror Group.

    Spewers of ad-laden shite the lot of them.

  15. Bloakey1
    Coat

    Geste?

    That certainly wasn't a Beau Geste! {1.}

    1. Subverted quote from PC Wren re: obfuscating theft / sale of family diamond.

  16. ecofeco Silver badge

    I swear...

    ....the rich and sheltered really don't understand how the Internet works, do they?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    And in other news:

    "Adobe will track you across all your devices with new co-op project"

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/03/22/adobe_will_track_users_across_devices_with_new_coop_project/

  18. tiggity Silver badge

    contented

    Mention of itv & C4 was amusing, I was blocked from them ages ago, I was allowing all their domains (including being generous and allowing their domains to run scripts) but was blocked due to my browser / hosts clampdown on third party scripts / cruddy web sites.

    If they served vetted ads from their own domains they would have retained my custom, they chose to chuck all sorts of 3rd party dross at me & there's plenty of other providers of video content out there to keep me amused, far more content than I will ever have time to watch.

    Ironically I ended up finding the content I was looking for on ITV (Tour de France footage) on a French content provider.

    1. VinceH Silver badge

      Re: contented

      Mention of C4 in particular reminded me why I stopped using 4OD.

      Some years ago (and at least two laptops ago, I guess, since it was when I still had Flash installed) I tried watching something on 4OD. I've never used an Ad Blocker, but I have been using NoScript for a very long time, and I enabled the right scripts to get the content working.

      Now, for those unfamiliar with UK TV advertising, and how that extends to content on 4OD:

      On TV, for an hour long program, there's advertising at the start between the program you want to watch and the one before/after it, as well as three advertising breaks during the program.

      With the online version, then, you get some adverts before the content, and three more advertising breaks to coincide with where the breaks would be on TV. (There may be advertising after the end as well, but I don't know - would anyone leave it running?)

      As I said, I enabled the scripts that I felt were necessary. I saw the first set of adverts, before the content. Then I saw the first part of the content, and then I saw the next set of adverts, during the first break.

      And when it came to play the second part of the program, I got a message saying something to the effect of "you appear to be using an ad blocker" and refusing to show me any more.

      I reloaded the page (didn't change any settings), and tried to skip forward to the second part of the program. It allowed me to do so, but first I had to wait for the pre-show adverts to play again, then the first break adverts, *then* it allowed me to play the next part of the show.

      Thankfully I didn't get a repeat of the problem at subsequent breaks - but because of their (early?) attempts at blocking content to people with ad blockers, I ended up having to put up with the first two sets of adverts twice.

      I have never since watched anything on 4OD (or even visited Channel 4's website). To hell with them.

  19. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Stop

    Crack in the dam ....

    I suspect there are some folk who would pay (I won't over-egg the claim by saying "willingly") to receive ad-free content.

    Let's take El Reg, as an example. How much would we pay for an ad-free Vulture ? £12/year ? £24 ?

    Either way, if it turns out that the number (and more importantly *worth*) of people who would pay to dodge ads exceeds what sites like El Reg make from advertisers, then the chill wind will blow through the world of advertising.

    I return to my hobby-horse of the moment that I can't believe there are people who *pay* Sky, and STILL GET ADVERTS !!!!!! Surely if you pay for Sky, the very minimum level would be fewer, if not no, ads ?

    1. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: Crack in the dam ....

      Let me tell you this - I have no website of my own so I'm not versed in the ad revenue business; but I do frequent Patreon where some people turn these days for a stable revenue stream from their readers, and what I noticed is that those who offer to remove ads from their sites at a certain patronage level per month tend to do so at surprisingly large targets, usually reached with great difficulty or not at all. Which kinda implies that sites with a significant amount of traffic turn out to make a rather staggering amount of income from showing ads, especially compared to what they can make from the contributions offered by the truly minuscule percent of their readers who are actually willing to pay a modest contribution.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Crack in the dam ....

      "Let's take El Reg, as an example. How much would we pay for an ad-free Vulture ? £12/year ? £24 ?"

      I probably, almost certainly, would with one massive caveat. They have to ask ME for more money when the subscription expires. I DO NOT want potentially very many sites automatically talking money from my account unless I remember to cancel. They can email me reminders and if I choose to I will renew, but I certainly don't want to spend the end of every month checking which subscriptions are due so I can cancel the dross I may not have re-vistited in months.

  20. MR J

    HOSTS files are the way to go.

    Until late last year I had all ads blocked on YouTube too.

    Watching YouTube with the adverts really seems shocking to me when I use a computer that is not mine.

    There have been a few sites that I frequent where they now say something along the lines of, "Thank you for visiting, you will make me no money, but I do not want you to go away"... That works much better than the pestering adverts you see these days.

    Long gone are the days of selling a product that consumers want because of quality.

    These days it is about selling a product that you can make Facebook or Twitter users "think" is worth while.

    Save $0.0001 on a cheaper capacitor just so you can add that money back to the advertisting budget, who cares if it dies in 5 years instead of 12... The customer will only have it 9 months before we start pushing them to the new replacement.

    1. John Hughes

      HOSTS files are the way to go.
      AKP, is that you?

  21. jasper pepper

    It's their own fault

    Surely the publishers have only themselves to blame.

    In the case of the paper press the ads are embedded in the page, you see the page, you see the ads, it is one.

    Now, for whatever reasons, publishers have chosen to implement online ads such in a way they can be easily removed. It is a analogous to those "inserts" the paper press put in their publications; the ones I drop into the nearest bin, the ones I don't hear them whining about me or anyone else discarding.

    So, why do publishers expect the consumer to behave any differently just because the content is online?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: It's their own fault

      You raise an excellent point. Our local supermarket has a special recycling bin next to the news stand. Almost everyone holds their paper or magazine over it and gives it a shake to dump out the loose leaflets before they even pay for it. The supermarket provides the ad blocker for the 3rd party junk :-)

      Ads served on websites which are part of the page, don't require scripts and don't get served from a 3rd party advert slinger can't be stopped by any ad blocker unless you block gif|png|jpg etc so why don't they have fall back adverts to show people with ad blockers?

  22. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    The ad industry really should shut up about ad blockers. If they make enough noise they have another hit from the law of intended consequences. The punters - those who pay for the ads - will catch on to the huge negative impact advertising can have and walk away. However the industry is full of people who are so full of themselves they're not going to work that out before the punters; their self-image wouldn't stand the damage.

  23. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
    FAIL

    Hails of derisive laughter, Bruce

    "Ad blocking is a genuine threat to the free availability of quality online journalism ..."

    I assume this means free as in beer, and quality as a negative. For sites whose content I value, I disable my ad-blocker. If the advertising is hideous, then it gets reenabled. Pop-over ads? That's a blocking. Flash animations? That's a blocking. Auto-play video ads? You better believe that's a blocking.

  24. rmoore

    I assume they'll foot the bill and recover the data

    ..if their campaign infects one or more computers with mal/spy/ransom/etc ware and other things because someone actually disables the adblocker.

    I mean, not using an adblocker when lots and lots of computers get infected that way is, well, not recommended.. When someone knowingly tricks somebody into doing it anyway, and as a result they get one of those..wouldn't/shouldn't that be punishable by law?

    If it were physical property it would probably be called willful damage or something, but..

  25. Zakhar

    A better ad-blocker!

    Today, ad-blocker work by not issuing requests corresponding to an ad. When you are a publisher and built a page, you know there is an ad on your page, and thus a browser not blocking ads should display it: the server receives a GET request. Hence, when you do NOT receive a GET for the ad after the page have been loaded, you know there is an ad-block on the way. This is a correlation that works even when the user blocks all scripts.

    What I would do if I had some spare time is code a new type of ad-blocker that would simply issue the GET as expected by the server but not display the ad, like putting it with display:none, or somewhere else in an invisible iFrame or any technique you could come with.

    Doing so, the server would think it served you the ad and would be very pleased! The only drawback is that you generate the same network traffic as a non-blocked page, where current ad-blockers can actually give you a faster browsing experience (because ads are not loaded).

    But then probably ad-makers would come up with some JS technique to remove your display:none or obfuscation techniques... cat and mouse!

    1. hayzoos

      Re: A better ad-blocker!

      And a response to that will be a further GET or other indicator of the ad loading embedded into the ad.

      The missing ad could still be detected. Trying to do everything but display the ad could still result in malware by ad network.

  26. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    An advertising income is not a measure of how good your site is...

    it's a measure of how good you can persuade the advertisers your site is. And when people are turning off your adverts in droves, well, you can deduce that *something* is upsetting them.

    There is *no* website - no, el Reg, not even this one - which I would be persuaded to use if viewing the adverts were the only option. Advertising funding - i.e. selling eyeballs to advertisers - is not the only way to go, and if people won't accept it then the websites will have to find some other way of working, or they will disappear.

    The arguments about avoiding advertising because of bandwidth, privacy, tracking, security, and other grounds have been rehearsed into the ground; I won't repeat them. There are too many sites which are pure clickbait, which exist only to get advertising money. Some of them provide services which many people find useful - social media sites, for example - but without which people managed quite well before they existed and without which they will no doubt manage once they vanish. As people begin to discover the disadvantages of the funding model they may also decide not to use them. On the other hand they may prefer to (gasp) pay for the use in some other way: if the site cannot find that new method then it will disappear.

    As an observation: Facebook had a billion or so users and a turnover last year of around eighteen billion dollars (according to Wiki). So a user is worth an average of eighteen bucks a year to facebook... it's not a lot - would you pay it to avoid adverts? (I don't use it; I can't comment).

    1. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: An advertising income is not a measure of how good your site is...

      Small problem there - I'm absolutely convinced that less than 1% (and I'm being immensely generous here) of users would turn into paying customers unless a) that would be the only way to access the site and b) the site in question would be perceived as incredibly valuable and thus worth paying for (not assumptions most sites would meet). That sort of implies paying users would have to foot a bill of eighteenhundred bucks per year to offset all ad revenues, and I know of no-one who would be wiling to do that...

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: An advertising income is not a measure of how good your site is...

        I'm sure you're right.

        It's a question of what it it worth, to whom... Facebook sells it's billions of dollars' worth of advertising, and the advertisers obviously think it's worth paying even though the click through rate is something like 400 in a million (Google manages 80,000 in a million) - and that's fine, until users start blocking advertisers.

        At which point FB has to decide whether to lose the blocking users, or lose the advertising revenue and find another funding mechanism.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We block ad servers at the firewall

    Our web-block subscription allows us to ad-block at our corporate firewall. I just had to check the category "Advertisements".

    It's funny, we have had a content filter available on our firewall for years, but never enabled it. Management has always been fairly liberal with filtering/tracking here at the company. They have always had the opinion that if they thought they had to nanny employees that much, they shouldn't be working here. In fact, they did terminate an employee a while back for abusing (and I mean really abusing) Farcebook.

    It was finally the annoying ads that made us enable the content filter. So far, the only content we block is ads! It took a while for me to get the okay, but the recent stories of malware spreading via the ad networks finally sold it. Everyone that works here is finally seeing how the web really should be!! People are coming to me to see how to get an ad blocker for home.

  28. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Do any of these erstwhile outlets for all the news that's fit to print c/w fashion tips plus gossip offer a "pay for an ad-free experience" option?

    I'd pay to be shot of offerings of Volvos and croissants.

  29. Unlimited
    Happy

    "It's turtles all the way down"

    No it's javascript disabled and a comprehensive hosts file all the way down.

  30. Oengus Silver badge

    "quality online journalism"

    That one almost had me rolling on the floor laughing.

    "quality online journalism" is rapidly vanishing. The Reg is one of the few "news" type sites that I look at because the quality of the journalism elsewhere, generally speaking, has dropped to the level of a third grade newsletter.

  31. Colin Tree

    addblock block block block blocker

    I had one Australian news web site popped up add banners across the top of the page.

    Depending on the character width of the screen, line wrap would cause the rest of the page to jump uncontrollably. I don't go to that site any more.

    Where can I get the addblock block blocker,

    after which I'll probably need an addblock block block block blocker.

    1. MrDamage

      Re: addblock block block block blocker

      I have one browser set up with uBlock Origin, and another with uBlock Origin and NoScript.

      The browser that just has the blocker sets off the ad-block blocking, but the one with NoScript doesnt.

      Looks like they need to run scripts to have the ad-block block run, but stopping that script effectively blocks their ad-block block.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: addblock block block block blocker

        How many Ads would and Ad-block block,

        If an Ad-block Ad-blocked Ads?

  32. Keef

    Despite the decline...

    El Reg ain't the rag it used to be.

    But it is still better than many other outlets for our daily dribble of news, especially for those of us with the handicap of intelligence.

    I've made this comment before, but I will make it again.

    Please El Reg, let me pay you.

    As it stands adverts are, and will remain, blocked.

    C'mon, let me subscribe and waste my money where I see fit.

    And put an El Reg logo beer glass in the shop.

    Cheers.

  33. nick soph

    Mute button next

    TV remotes often have buttons to change to another channel or mute their TV's. Whilst this is a perfectly acceptable use of the remote control for a TV, I've noticed several people also using these controls to temporarily change channel or mute sound whist adverts are on. This should be stopped and requires only simple reprogramming of the controller to prevent these harmful, unwarranted and unjustifiable acts.

  34. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    I'll make you a deal...

    I'll stop using an ad blocker when you can guarantee me the following:

    - Your ads won't try to infect my computer with malware. Ever.

    - Your ads won't play audio

    - Your ads won't use excessive bandwidth (e.g. playing video)

    - Your ads won't use distracting flashing animations

    - Your ads won't pop up over the content I am trying to view

    - Your ads won't try to open a separate window/tab

    - Your ads won't scroll with the screen, making a portion of my browser window permanently unusable

    - Your ads will work properly on a mobile device, without making it impossible to scroll past them to view the actual content.

    - Your ads won't use flash

    - Your ads won't use cookies, or use unique identifier to try to track me in any way

    What's that - you can't, or won't guarantee me any/all of those? Fuck off then.

    1. Vic
      Thumb Up

      Re: I'll make you a deal...

      Your ads won't use flash

      I like Flash ads.

      As I do not have Flash installed on my machine, they end up being self-blocking. Which is nice.

      Vic.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not as though

    Google is hard-up for a few bob and has to take whatever ads it can get to scrape by.

    They could use some of their income to apply due diligence to whoever pays to serve ads through them.

    I understand companies need to make money, but I don't see they have the right to insist I see their adverts anymore than someone pushing leaflets through my door has a right to come back and check I read them.

    Ad-blockers are surely no more unfair than putting a sign up that says 'no leaflets, ads, or free newspapers, mad cat-hurling person lives here'

    .

    I'll be keeping ad-blockers on my browsers until there's a better solution that works keeping me safe from ad-served malware, and terrible messes of webpages that take my bandwidth and serve me cascades of ads and no actual site content

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