back to article Can ad biz’s LEAN avert ADPOCALYPSE?

Do you trust the ad industry to clean up its act? It certain has an incentive to do so, with adblocking on the rise. Six months ago the ad biz trade association the IAB launched the LEAN initiative to define a basemark “acceptable ad”. The IAB's LEAN principles are “Light, Encrypted, AdChoices-supporting, and Non-invasive”. …

  1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    Internet marketeers

    Internet marketeers (aka admen) and honesty in one sentence.

    I love the smell of oxymorons early in the morning...

    1. asdf Silver badge

      Re: Internet marketeers

      Far too little too late as one can reasonably predict. The marketers lost any moral argument with me long ago when the ads started serving up malware. They didn't clean up their industry and I am not going to the effort to tell them apart as they almost all are ethically dodgy in some way (and with privoxy don't have to worry about someone getting paid to tell them apart for me either). As an aside numerous internet data miners like Lexis Nexis are tracking you right now. To stop it I found this site to be very useful -

      1. theblackhand

        Re: Internet marketeers

        "The marketers lost any moral argument..."

        You really found marketers with morals?

        1. asdf Silver badge

          Re: Internet marketeers

          No the moral issue is the content creators getting fairly reimbursed for their work which often sadly requires marketer scum. As much as I feel for the websites I am not willing to put my peter in the glory hole that is allowing most internet ads.

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Internet marketeers

      ...with emphasis on morons.

  2. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Block all. Always.

    Block all sites. Always. Caveated of course if it's a niche site that I visit for a reason because I choose to.

    TBH I don't really care about "diverse" publishing ecosystems, I really don't. The publishing bottomfeeders are most likely publishing bottomfeeders for a reason and if their advert targetting systems are so good then why do I see such a layer of meaningless drivelware ad-shit spread across the entire internet that I have not one iota of interest in?

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Block all. Always.

      That should be (excluse me for my poor Latin grammar, I am not a liberal arts major):

      Obsepio eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius.

  3. Ru'

    Should be like cigarette packets in some regions; plain white box with simple text in one font, with some maximum character limit.


    "Read the Register"


    "Enjoys Duff beer"


    1. malle-herbert Silver badge

      Re :

      You mean :







    2. Lyndon Hills 1

      in one point font

  4. joeW

    Advertorials, etc

    "Without advertising, many sites would increase the proportion of advertorial or “native content" to stay afloat, peppering the copy with exhortations to drink Pepsi or cure erectile dysfunction."

    Or to adopt something called "DevOps"?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Advertorials, etc

      Beat me to that. Have an upvote AND A SINCERE RECOMMENDATION TO ADOPT DEVOPS.

    2. Long John Brass Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Advertorials, etc

      It haz wut plants crave

      because electrolytes

  5. Rich 2


    The fundamental problem with adverts is that nobody actually wants them.

    It's no different to ads on the telly. Yes they find the station etc etc but that doesn't change the facts - the business is trying to shove stuff out to an audience that is t interested.

    It's quite depressing that 99% of websites have so little imagination that they can't think of other ways to fund their product. As a result the whole internet has become one huge advertising platform to the point where it is pretty much it's raision d'être

    1. zarvus

      Re: Ads

      That's part of the issue with a capitalist system - you usually have to sell or be selling something in order to keep the money coming in. Depending on the goodwill of passers-by to regularly donate money or whatnot doesn't work on any sort of scale. Even "free-to-play" games have to offer some incentives (while hopefully not crossing the line into "pay-to-win") in order to get money flowing in. And even then the ratio of people who pay vs. people who will never pay is < 10%.

      There's no clean one-size-fits-all solution for monetizing internet content other than advertising at the moment. And basing it on traffic (e.g. Youtube) ends up with more and more clickbaity headlines or other dramatic b.s. to drive eyeballs which turns people off over time, or makes them immune to it.

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Ads

      > 99% of websites have so little imagination that they can't think of other ways to fund their product

      Not really. A lot of webcomics used to fund themselves with "buy a t-shirt/mug/cap with our funny thing on it" and discovered that you can only wear so many t-shirts proclaiming you have the sense of humor of a 6-year-old.

      They created "Patreon" which is a bit where you can throw $1/$5/$10/whatever a month at your favorite webcomics artists.

      It seems to be working from what I see.

  6. tiggity Silver badge


    From their detailed spec:

    " For this release, a maximum of 15 file requests for initial file load is imposed to ensure little adverse effect on page load performance.

    This file request limit only applies for the file requests required to display the ad upon initial load.

    No file request limit has been placed on subsequent file loads."

    15 & subsequently potentially lots more requests is not lean

    As for the max (zipped) file sizes allowed - most people would regard them as way too big - their examples often a few hundred K each would still burn through a mobile contract low bandwidth limits rapidly .

    Ad industry, still in their own bubble without a clue about the performance & bandwidth grief their unwanted ads cause.

    1. zarvus

      Re: LEAN?

      That's for _one_ ad? What about sites that have 20 ads on the same page? I've sat there and watched as my ad blocker counts up in the hundreds for blocked scripts whilst trying to read an article on some sites.

      They should also be releasing standards for affiliate and revenue sharing, TBH - simply making the ads less annoying isn't going to solve the problem, the core issue is how sites get money for doing what they do. Without turning the internet into a clickbait-y headline-filled mess, as it is currently becoming. Headline is misleading or has nothing to do with the actual content of the article? No problem, it still generated hits! User leaves site in disgust? We don't track those metrics.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: LEAN?

        "We don't track those metrics."

        Another metric not tracked is the number of real and potential customers who show their displeasure at being pestered (by any medium) and take their business elsewhere.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: LEAN?

        "I've sat there and watched as my ad blocker counts up in the hundreds for blocked scripts whilst trying to read an article on some sites."

        Why do ads need to run any scripts? Why should they be allowed to?

        Serious question.

    2. VinceH Silver badge

      Re: LEAN?

      "Ad industry, still in their own bubble without a clue about the performance & bandwidth grief their unwanted ads cause."


      As far as I'm concerned, the initial file load for an advert should be covered by a single file request - the sort that gets issued when <img src="..."> is encountered. Absolutely nothing else. (But do keep the file sizes down, please!)

      As I've said before, I don't use an ad blocker as such - I use NoScript, Ghostery, and a policy of not letting cookies persist beyond the browsing session (which to some extent negates the value of Ghostery).

      And I am absolutely not going to change that. The only way, therefore, that the ad industry is going to get adverts shown on my computer is if they are served from straightforward <img..> links in the html, with no need for Javascript.

      Do that, and I will see your adverts.

      Think it can't be done? Look at the Krebs On Security website - I haven't had to enable Javascript on that site, and I can see two advertisements from third parties, and one for Brian's own book.

      The pages load fast, there's no delay caused by the adverts being fetched, they don't interfere with the content... And I see them.

      Going back to what Andrew said at the very end of the article:

      "Curing the adtech biz of other nasties might be more difficult. So complex is the digital ad chain, the complexity hides fraud, including malvertising."

      Curing the malvertising problem is dead easy (subject to new vulnerabilities being discovered in browser image rendering or whatever): See above.

  7. royston_vasey

    This could go further. How about a "rate this ad" option? It would be compulsory(non -compliant ads would be blocked in the browser) and it would give feedback to the carrier of the advertising as well as the advertiser. If an ad really upset users, it would get bad feedback. If not there would be no feedback and if it was well liked, it may even get some positive feedback. This feedback could then be used to develop some heuristics to determine what end users find acceptable rather than the IAB defining it.

    Advertisers would be able to see what was acceptable and what wasn't and deign ads accordingly. Web sites could set the level of acceptability to users that they would accept from advertisers. This would be a much more nuanced system than the one proposed.

    1. zarvus

      That'd work for five minutes until the less scruples-focused admen (i.e., all of them) started paying remote employees with proxies to spam feedback on their ads so it _looks_ like people are enjoying it, regardless of the actual facts.

      1. royston_vasey

        Maybe, or maybe they'd value the feedback about what people think oftheir ad without obscuring the signal with a load of noise?

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          "maybe they'd value the feedback about what people think oftheir ad"

          No, they'd just want praise and a free pass for it to be shown.

        2. Triggerfish


          Oh I can see the point of feedback, I am providing it.

          Here it is:

          When the ad industry makes sure the chain that supplies the ads has been vetted and will not deliver any malware, virus or ridiculous level of tracking cookie to my pc, then I will start looking at your ads and judging them on the asthetics. Until then I will not run your ads. This is your feedback, clean your act up.

    2. Triggerfish


      Problem is until they clean up their feeds of malware, would you be willing to let the ads through to assess?

  8. h4rm0ny

    Missing the point.

    Sure, I don't like intrusive ads but most websites I'd visit are smart enough not to show those to me anyway.

    It's the tracking I despise.

  9. Ol' Grumpy

    Any advert involving flash, video and or sound should be destroyed along with its creator.

    1. zarvus


    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      or images, javascript or text.

  10. Ralph B

    Betteridge's Law of Headlines

    > Can ad biz’s LEAN avert ADPOCALYPSE?

    The answer is obviously "No".

  11. zarvus
    Big Brother

    But but... creativity! And visual engagement! And conversions!

    On the plus side, the IAB is at least honest-ish that they've taken it too far. They are pretty slow to react though - ad blocker use has been rising for years - and they're just now reacting because others have been doing it instead of them and making money from it. Which makes their self-flagellation a bit disengenous in context.

    There's a reason they have 40 different standard sizes for ads, though - they didn't start with that many - over time these specifications get more and more complex as people seek to stand out so they complain and otherwise "influence" standards-boards like IAB.

    Their previous solution - which is still ongoing - is to hide ads as "sponsored posts" or other less-obvious methods of getting brand awareness, e.g. buying off blogs or specific bloggers as paid shills for their products, often with undisclosed conflicts of interest. Making these LEAN standards is the public-facing "friendlier" ad unit, while the real manipulation occurs behind the scenes.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Culture Minister John Whittingdale"

    Contradiction in terms there - he's another Jeremy Hunt - nice Dave puts a public face on it, the rest are spawn of hell

    1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      I had to Google "Jeremy Hunt" to see if that was an actual person, or Cockney Rhyming Slang.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "an actual person, or Cockney Rhyming Slang."

        Are these mutually exclusive?

        1. Triggerfish

          "He's a right Jeremy" sounds about right.

  13. andykb3

    What's that in the distance....?

    Oh, the horse has done a runner.

    Shall we shut the stable door now?

  14. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    Dear Advertisers, the solution is simple.

    A static, non flash, non auto-playing audio nor video, no (ActiveX/Java/JavaScript/VB/etc), & *NO TRACKING*.

    Make it something like what we might find in the newspaper or magazines, something that doesn't scream for our attention, demand we read it before we can even FIND the content, nor track us from place to place, and MAYBE THEN we'll consider no longer blocking you out of hand.

    If the ads in our print started playing audio/video at us, dancing & bouncing & obscuring the page we were trying to read, or tried to keep track of us across different pages/publications/activities, your print media that included such atrocities would quickly die from lack of anyone ever paying for a copy; we're not about to PAY to be ANNOYED, no matter HOW much you claim said measures are what pay to provide the publication in the first place.

    A simple. static. noninvasive. noninteractive beyond a simple HTML link that includes a referal ("ad #abc123xyz at site $url"), THOSE are ads we could accept. They make no attempt at tracking, they don't bog our devices down with a metric fekton of back end code, they don't devour our precious paid-for-by-the-meg bandwidth, and they Don't Carry Malware.

    If the link it points to turns out to be spreading malware, we'll quickly make you aware of that fact once our browser security starts screaming about that bit. We'll then turn around & flood your contact/social media with "Hey! that advertiser is spreading trojans!". It's up to YOU to police your ads, not for US to have to do it for you, so too many times where we find it happening & you and your ad partners can go suck a pig.

    Simple, static text.

    Got that?

    Simple, static, text.

    Do you understand?

    Simple. Static. Text.

    We'll keep pounding that through your head until you get the fekkin message.

    Everything else is unacceptable & gets blocked by default.

    Have a nice day absorbing that nugget, we'll certainly be having them as we block your worthless idiotic arses.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Dear Advertisers, the solution is simple.

      even a simple static graphic would be ok with me, NOT in my face, NOT moving, NOT consuming excess bandwidth, NOT tracking my web browsing, and NOT scripted. 'Banners'. they're fine, too. like a newspaper, as you pointed out. They've been in the newspapers for hundreds of years, right? Only recently, when it's possible to have them grab your nose and TWEEK it a few times, did they become heinous.

      and 'targeted' advertising, let's say on "El Reg", would consist of "what people who read The Register might be interested in buying". THAT kind of 'targeting' is OK with me. Like a newspaper or magazine.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do you trust the ad industry to clean up its act?


    1. Captain DaFt

      Re: Do you trust the ad industry to clean up its act?

      Well done! There's everything that needed to be in the article.

      (Does EL REG pay writers by the word?) :)

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    as in user acceptable, i.e. 0% or "ad industry acceptable", i.e. 100%?

    more like... "what's the breaking point where average users reach for countermeasures"?

  17. Patrician

    The advertising industry has forgotten who their targeting their ads at, human beings; and human beings couldn't, in the main, give a rats arse about their "brands". We, pretty much, ignore advertising in our day to day lives, on TV we make a drink or go to the toilet during the ads, in new papers and magazines it's ignored, same on billboards mostly. We have become used to ignoring the ads, but on the internet those very same ads have been designed in such a way that we cannot ignore them, they are so intrusive that they have garnered a degree of hate and we, now, despise their creators; so we block them!

    The advertising industry needs to learn this and make them so we can ignore them on the internet too, otherwise the blockers will continue.

    1. Cynic_999 Silver badge


      The advertising industry has forgotten who their targeting their ads at, human beings; and human beings couldn't, in the main, give a rats arse about their "brands".


      Untrue. You might like to believe that the adverts do not influence you, but every day millions of people will buy "Kellogg's" instead of an unbranded box of cornflakes at half the price, and your teenagers will choose "Nike" trainers over similar footwear simply because of the branding. And I wonder whether, like most people, you call your vacuum cleaner a "Hoover"?

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge


        Untrue but not for the reasons you give. I don't like being pestered and will go out of my way to avoid doing business with people who do it. This isn't an idle threat, in fact it's not a threat at all, it's a statement of what I have done & will continue to do. If the advertising industry had any wit at all it would take adblockers as the most valuable tracking information a user could - an indication that advertising to this person will be counter-productive.

      2. John Robson Silver badge

        "Untrue. You might like to believe that the adverts do not influence you, but every day millions of people will buy "Kellogg's" instead of an unbranded box of cornflakes at half the price, and your teenagers will choose "Nike" trainers over similar footwear simply because of the branding. And I wonder whether, like most people, you call your vacuum cleaner a "Hoover"?"

        Well, I tend to buy the unbranded cornflakes, and choose trainers that fit my feet.

        I do call the vacuum cleaner a hoover, but it isn't, it's a SEBO. That's brand genericide, not a good thing.

        My sellotape isn't, my post-it notes aren't 3M...

        I'm sure I am influenced by adverts - but the main effect has been to cancel my TV license and install ad blockers.

      3. Patrician

        You're, to a degree, correct, however is did state further into my post a proviso along the lines of "in the main". yes, when I go make a purchase of course I'm aware of brands such as Dyson or Kellogs and yes the affect on us is subtle and subconscious. But these only really have any effect at the point of investigating for a purchase or at the point of purchase.

        I don't know anybody that is watching a football match and after watching a half time add for Dysons thinks to themselves "I know, I'll just pop onto Amazon buy a Dyson"; that is what I meant by that first paragraph in my post. At the time of seeing the advert, in the main, human beings couldn't care less about product or brand that the ad is pushing.

        1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          No, of course you don't immediately stop what you're doing and go buy the advertised product. But after seeing the brand "Dyson" many times in adverts (even if you do not consciously read the ads), when you *do* decide to buy a vacuum cleaner, the name will be more familiar to you than similar "Sunrise" cleaners on the shelf, and you'll be more inclined to buy something that is familiar than something you have never heard of.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I think it's pretty funny when advertisers get so far up their own arses that they think people LIKE ads.

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        "I think it's pretty funny when advertisers get so far up their own arses that they think people LIKE ads."

        VERY occasionally they get it right...

        Honda Cog for example...

  18. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    Protection racket?

    Whoever likened ad-blockers to a protection racket has no idea what a protection racket is. The statement would be true only if the ad-blocker company was itself creating the majority of the ads that it was blocking.

    A doorman who is employed to keep undesirables who are not associated with that doorman from your establishment is not carrying out a protection racket.

  19. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    I'll pay for good content...

    ...but I'm not interested in doing it on a site-per-site basis.

    Seems like every subscription-based site wants $5-10 per month, every month, on mandatory auto renewal. I'm not going to buy monthly subscriptions to NY Times, AND Wall Street Journal, AND Washington Post, AND my hometown rag, AND AND AND. I just don't read enough from each site to make it worth the cost.

    However -- I *would* subscribe to a reasonably-priced single-log-on subscription that covers all of them. Call it Web News Network. The member sites could divvy up the revenue amongst themselves based on page views or whatever.

    They get predictable revenue from people who otherwise would not subscribe, which gives operating funds and an incentive to continue providing useful content. Readers become customers, because it's a much better value. But most importantly, there is no further need to bludgeon subscribers about the head and face with obnoxious, distracting, and dangerous ads in order to get enough cash to subscribe.

    Maybe it's just me, but I'd subscribe to something like that.

  20. tekHedd

    This Is Not Complicated

    If it blinks, it's blocked. What's hard about that?

    If I see movement in my peripheral vision while I'm reading a text article, otherwise 100% static content, it goes. Compare to newspaper. After I retrieve the Denver Post from a puddle next to my driveway and open it up, unwrap it from the advertising wrapper and discard the main bulk of the paper (advertising supplements) I can happily scan through yesterday's news, hoping to find somewhere a scrap of useful information in the little columns huddling timidly between the advertisements, but at least, um, what was the up-side again? Oh yeah, at least the damn things don't blink.

  21. ecofeco Silver badge

    Sure they will

    I'll believe it when I see it. But short of law or push-back from the host websites, they will do what they always do which is whatever they want.

  22. Old Handle

    Makes me long for a simpler time

    Remember when ads were just little bumper-sticker shaped images at the top or bottom of the page? People complained about those too, but as long as they didn't flash bright colors or impersonate windows pop-ups I never minded much. It would be nice if we could go back to when those were all we had to deal with.

  23. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    The real adpocalypse won't be the likes of us blocking ads, nor all those millions out there. They'd lose some clicks or views or whatever they're charging for. The entertaining budget might be cut. Some smaller firms might go under or get merged. Some of the cannon fodder might have to go back to selling double glazing, pimping contractors or whatever they were doing before but on the whole the industry would survive to carry on its noxious ways.

    What the ad industry should be really worried about is some of their clients who will undoubtedly be adblocking as well. After all ads get in their faces as much as ours. Eventually some of them will start to realise that they're not special snowflakes and that the way they see other advertisers is the way they're seen by the rest of us. Then they'll wonder why they're paying good money to be perceived as pestering brats who everyone tries their best to avoid. The industry won't worry about ads not being seen as it will about ads not being sold.

    I suspect that the initiative comes from those in the industry who've sussed this out. But they have some problems.

    First they have the problem that not all the industry are going to share this insight. We've had a flavour of the others from their regular cheerleaders who pop up here. They have an impenetrable sense of entitlement. They behave like badly brought up children who believe almost everybody loves them except for a few who are simply misinformed. It may well be that trying to accommodate this faction is why their idea of LEAN is nothing like what would be acceptable.

    The next problem is that once they have their idea of LEAN they have to get it accepted by their industry. Given the general sense of entitlement there'll be a good number (?most) who think it's a good idea in general and if everyone else goes along with it we'll be able to get away with ignoring it. Good luck with the cat herding.

    Then, however, much industry buy-in and even compliance they get they still have the problem of malvertising. These people aren't even in the industry, they're just riding on top of it. They're not going to be brought into the fold.

    So not only are they going to have to bring the actual advert creators, or a good chunk of them, into line, they're going to have to set up much better engineered networks to ensure that only compliant ads get on there and that malvertising absolutely can't; the latter ought to be backed up with a scheme to accept unlimited liability for damage. Given the complexity of their present setup such re-engineering is going to take some doing. I doubt they could succeed without shutting down a lot of the players which seems unlikely to happen.

    If the best that they can achieve would be some "good" networks they then have to persuade publishers to only deal with the good ones. Nobody will trust a publisher who unpredictably slings a mixture of LEAN, non-LEAN and malicious ads.

    Finally they need to find a way in which they can tell the public which publishers guarantee only to use the "good" networks so they could be whitelisted. Nobody's going to turn adblockers off if one site is safe and the next isn't, especially if the bad one is linked from the good.

    Those are the technical challenges they face and have to solve before they can even start asking us to trust them at which point they have further challenges because the ad industry is its own worst enemy despite all our shouts of "Not while I'm alive, it isn't.". By the very nature of their business we regard them as liars. They've also pissed us off to the extent that they have zero goodwill to trade on. And finally I think they still have an attitude problem which isn't going to go away and isn't going to help any charm offensive they might try to mount.

    1. Palpy

      @ good Dr. S: "technical challenge they face"

      Indeed, the challenge of excluding malvertising -- to pick one challenge -- is considerable. But then, the challenge of tracking millions of onine users and targeting ads is also considerable, and certain advertising corporations have tackled that one.

      Overall, though, I share your pessimism. Have a beer, drink up, let sorrow be drownted.

  24. A Ghost

    It's time to pay the piper

    But the piper will not be paid. Not how he would like to be paid anyway.

    Whole organisations and companies have structured their business model around future projected earnings. I'm no businessman and talking out my arse here, but how else are setups like the Guardian, say, still able to trade at a loss. It's not like they will ever make a profit now. Just one example, but a very pertinent one.

    They serve up the head-banner of 'patronise us with a fiver every month' begging us to keep them afloat. Very few will. In fact, they have pissed off so many of their long term users, that they have actively promised not to support it at all, on principle. They had them in the palm of their hands, but they played games with them, then didn't even bother to hide their contempt. In this particular case, I can see no way people are going to dig into their pockets for a fiver a month for their gender based clickbait, every month.

    Then it's a fiver for the NYT and the WP and the Telegraph. Pretty soon you're talking real money. It would be easy to spend a hundred quid a month on subscriptions. And that is now, as the chickens come home to roost and the piper's call to be paid get louder, there will be even more demand.

    Take Wired for example. No pay, no play. Fine. I'd still buy the mag to read on a train journey, but there is no way I'm shelling out a hundred bucks a year, when I don't even do that for stuff I'm really interested in like audio magazines. I also would not subscribe to any audio forum just to post. Because they need us more than we need them. And they get to serve us ads in a form we don't block. They wouldn't get away with moving flashing banners, so they use tasteful graphic design. Mostly we are all happy.

    Pretty soon, if this whole subscription model takes off, and it won't, but it will try its hardest, it would be realistic to be spending over a thousand bucks a year just to read what was totally free 12 months earlier.

    How did those companies survive and make money then? Have they put all their eggs into this basket only to realise that this is just not going to happen for them? I think they have. The realisation will be coming quick enough.

    The mAD men have had their day and their fun. Pretty soon, their customers who employ them will realise that this was a scam all along. Yes I understand that people need to promote products, but this whole thing has turned very nasty very quickly with it becoming extremely personal against those of us whose only (or main) concern, is not being served fucking viruses. We are thieves, though they are the ones stealing our most personal information, that we would never give them - it is a form of rape - We are freeloaders and idiots who expect to get everything for free, when they are the biggest freeloaders going and don't pay for the data that they steal, to sell later on. And of course, not once is the issue of security broached (well it may be skirted around for appeasement), not in any serious way anyway.

    It's all got so nasty so quickly, just coz a few people that thought they could steal from us and freeload off into the sunset, like there wouldn't be any consequences for anyone. Real life is not like that. Cause and effect. Ad men and marketing men are one of the lowest forms of scum in my book. Not to be trusted and one day, hopefully to be punished, in a way that hurts them like they have hurt us.

    They have stolen our beautiful internet and destroyed it. All in cahoots with the government that spy on us. The cancer is everywhere now, microsoft, google, facebook. This is a war no one will win, but they will make damn sure that they destroy what we have in the process. Maybe that was the plan all along.

    1. John Lilburne Silver badge

      Re: It's time to pay the piper

      And with their demise goes Google. Hip hip Hooray.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not sure there's a way back from this position for the advertisers...

    Had ads continued to be non-intrusive and non-blinking etc., then ads may well have made themselves part of the furniture online, much as they have in say, print media or on TV.

    However, unlike print media and TV, users get a say in what they are subjected to on their own internet connection as they can always block it or choose another site, so I can't see anyone who blocks ads simply forgiving the advertisers if they agree to go back to some earlier, less malware infested, less intrusive incarnation (or whatever carrot is promised). As of right now, advertisers should be thinking of compelling reasons to tempt people into permitting adverts on their internet again.

    Maybe 20% of the ad proceeds as a commission for reading/watching the ads may tempt people, but short of making it genuinely worth people's while I don't see anyone who blocks choosing to unblock ads anytime soon.

    It may seem like commercial suicide, but could it be the first one there cleans up with the ad dollars on offer? Just think how much could be charged for *willing* ad viewers?

    1. A Ghost

      Re: Not sure there's a way back from this position for the advertisers...

      Had ads continued to be non-intrusive and non-blinking etc., then ads may well have made themselves part of the furniture online, much as they have in say, print media or on TV.

      But what did they do? I'll tell you.

      They placed not just one, but two, bandwidth sucking videos, with full on loudness war limiting of the audio to deafen everyone in the room. In fact, both videos played at the same time, well as you scrolled down, the second one came into play and the first did not stop. All on a laptop.

      The CPU hit went through the roof. The first video grinding the computer to a halt as it munched all available cores. All the second video did was to totally hang the machine to the point where nothing could be closed down and a fucking cold boot was the order of the day.

      All, for trying to read a single article in the Independent.

      They said the early days of the internet were the Wild West. And they were right in a way. But it is nothing compared to the Wild West we inhabit now every day.

      These boys think they are in Texas!

      That machine that was raped by the mAD men and ground to a halt, was actually a fully-fledged supercomputer by 20th Century standards. Dual/Triple/Quad core working at speeds of up to 3GHz. Three bloody Giga Hertz! I ask you. And still they found a way to cripple it.

      I would say 'there should be a law against it', but there already is. Several. But no, the mAD men get a free pass and we get to go to jail for even thinking about using an adblocker, the scum that we are.

      Gloves off. Good. Take the internet. I don't want it anymore. The only reason I still have it is because the government told me that I have to have it.

      It is impossible to get off the net now. And so they have their number of the beast.

      Give them what they want. Offer up your young. Offer up your first born. Give them the utility of your wife. Your larder is their larder. Doff your cap, pay your tax, and acknowledge who the daddy is. Open up your very veins so that they might drink should they be thirsty.

      Then, and only then, will they think about easing up a bit. But we know they will never stop.

      It's almost like a fight between good and evil. How biblical the times we live in.

  26. John Lilburne Silver badge

    advertising campaigns offer the strongest user experiences.

    Is it from a Google ad network such as adsense, doubleclick, ...?

    Yes -> unacceptable.

    No -> may be acceptable.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The IAB

    I work in advertising and am very much a supporter of adblocking. Frankly, the industry is taking the piss and the only way it will be brought into line is through a boycott. No more ad views until it behaves.

    The thing you need to know about the IAB though, is that nobody in the industry gives a damn about their initiatives, working groups and guidelines. When somebody in an ad-tech company comes up with a tracking idea, do you think they refer to whether it fits the IAB's acceptable ads spec? Really? Not a chance.

    Anon, obviously.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: The IAB

      This goes along with a point which I only touched on obliquely in my long post yesterday. The IAB will have no success with herding the cats until there have been enough bankruptcies in the industry that not surviving becomes a stark possibility for the rest.

  28. John Sanders

    They can advertise all the Futurama they want to me

    More Futurama please!

    (There is an ad for Futurama in the middle of the image)

  29. Mage Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Blocking ads OR blocking potential malware and preserving privacy?

    I have never set out to block adverts.

    Some sites I visit with ads (according to others) are ad free to me.

    The issue is 3rd party hosted scripts and iframes on a site you are visiting. By default I have to white list any javascript. This is to protect privacy and security. I almost never whitelist 3rd party domains. Some 3rd parties may use unique per session URLS to track (thus ANY content can track you) or javascript. Not just cookies or a transparent GIF with unique name.

    Each of those 3rd party servers also will know what page you are on and due to privacy fail in Browser design / HTTP what your previous page was?

    Many websites are now a total mess of different sources.

    Privacy and Security are my issues. "LEAN" does nothing for that.

    Also "cookie" design is the wrong way round. You have to blacklist sites and delete cookies. Why the hell isn't it the other way round for privacy?

    Any adverts that are static and hosted by the site I visit are 100% seen. I don't have an issue with that.

  30. Stevie Silver badge


    Lean? Not hard to define:

    No script payload. No motion. No pop-up or expanding overlay.

    So, a still picture that stays in the sidebar or heading and doesn't follow the scroll or swell over the text in the event of a (usually inadvertent) mouse-over.

    Just like they do in paper magazines.

  31. Geekhillbilly

    Acceptable Ads?

    No such thing -I use an anti Adblock killer with every browser for those sites who seen to think their crap doesn't stink and what they say is holy law. I got news for you folks - Forcing Ads is counter productive.You will be punished for such behavior.

    1. Havin_it

      Re: Acceptable Ads?

      >I use an anti Adblock killer[...]

      Wait, that's a thing now? Let me parse that down.

      An app that prevents their prevention of your prevention of their ads?

      This isn't going to end well...

  32. wayward4now

    ad revenue is vital??

    "the ad revenue is vital to a diverse publishing ecosystem" Since when?? Since when is publishing a web page such a major expense?? Sorry, but we have delivered our precious to the ten-percenters, the very same bastards who used to sell used cars to blue rinsed old ladies, Scruum.

  33. sixit

    Stop Being Creepy!

    The biggest issue I have with ads, beyond being incredibly annoying (It was years before I saw a Flash-based ad), is the tracking. I recently created a new Firefox profile to do some site testing, and forgot that it was a 'virgin' profile without any of my addons. I went to one page, and was blindsided by full-audio video ads, which one in my haste I accidentally clicked on trying to turn it off. The next site I went to, completely unrelated, had ads related to the thing I had clicked on. That was amazingly creepy! I quit that profile, deleted it entirely, and created a new one to do my testing in.

    I don't - and I won't ever - use Chrome, which is worse than IE 5 ever was, which was historically the most universally despised browser. Back then, I used Opera Pro (yes, I paid for it gladly) which had a button on the bottom status bar that had three settings: show everything, show cached images, no images. The latter could be set to show placeholders which would allow you to view the specific image. Naturally, I used this one, choosing only to see the relevant images. The pages loaded fast, my cache stayed trim and lean, and it never drew down advertisements.

    Lately I tried Opera again, and it's just a reskin of Chrome. It's glory days are long since buried and eaten by worms.


    - Don't use JavaScript.

    - Don't set cookies.

    - Don't use Flash or any other multimedia.

    - Don't use audio.

    - Don't use Unique IDentifiers.

    - Don't use popups and popunders.

    - Don't prevent my page or browser from closing.

    - Don't open new windows or new tabs.

    Maybe then I'll consider unblocking your ads.

  34. Havin_it

    I'd tolerate a lot more behaviour in online ads than it seems like most posters here would: I don't object to some canvas transitions as long as they're at a sedate pace that doesn't induce epileptic fits; video is legitimate as long as it doesn't autoplay and I could even tolerate some level of scripting and tracking as long as it was curated and regulated by an independent overseeing body. Makes me a rare breed around here, I know.

    That proviso, by the way, should very much extend to the content of the ads: print and TV ads in the UK are subject to oversight by the ASA (and as watchdogs go, it's actually got some teeth). If they make bullshit claims, they get called on it and often fined. I'd like to see this happen at the international level, as is necessary for the nature of the web. Hell, if such an entity existed, it might even be in a position to take some serious action against spammers as well ... well, one can dream...

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