back to article Will the MOAB (Mother Of all AdBlockers) finally kill advertising?

Researchers from Princeton and Stanford University have developed an ad blocker that they claim could end the ad blocking "arms race" for good. You can put the claim to the test yourself quite easily – proof-of-concept prototype code can be downloaded in the form of a Chrome browser plugin. The researchers claim to have …

  1. Tom 64
    Pint

    nice reference

    Will have to re-watch Idiocracy. If I remember rightly, it was somewhat prophetic.

    1. Lusty Silver badge

      Re: nice reference

      I'm watching it now - it's happening all around me, all day every day :(

      The film is just the abridged version of modern society.

      1. vir

        Re: nice reference

        Yeah, but what are electrolytes?

        1. Haku

          Re: Yeah, but what are electrolytes?

          It's..what they use to make Brawndo.

        2. Chemical Bob

          Re: nice reference

          "Yeah, but what are electrolytes?"

          Electrolytes perform the ceremonial duties at the Electrolial College, which is responsible for electing the President of the United States of Decay.

    2. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

      Re: nice reference

      Hah. Idiocracy is purported to be a work of fiction, set at 500 years in the future, but... this future seems to be approaching rapidly. We'll probably have to re-classify it as a documentary soon enough.

      1. Updraft102 Silver badge

        Re: nice reference

        Welcome to Costco. I love you.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Terminator

          Re: nice reference

          Idiocracy, yeah.

          don't forget that TV screen (it appears prominently in the DVD menu) that has about 1/4 of its area with actual content on it. The entire outer portion is polluted with (apparently interactive) advertisements. Do the 'area math' and that's about 3/4 of the surface area of the TV screen, covered in moving/interactive ads... (I would expect it's at LEAST 3/4 of the bandwidth, too, including the SCRIPTING needed to make sure you actually SEE the ads and block the content if you use an ad blocker)

      2. 's water music Silver badge
        Gimp

        Re: nice reference

        Hah. Idiocracy is purported to be a work of fiction, set at 500 years in the future, but... this future seems to be approaching rapidly

        Yawn. Wake me up when I can have my flying car the new series of Ow! My Balls is on

    3. DeliberatusFreeman

      Re: nice reference

      ro watch it, and notice in the TV scene ('America's, funniest shots to the groin') ALL THOSE BOX ADS on either side ot the centralm2/3 of the screen where the program stream appears.

      When do we have enough? How much is too much? And if the tidal wave teaches us to ignore it, what then?

  2. Korev Silver badge

    Sponsored people

    Can it pick up the unlabelled adverts from sponsored athletes etc. The kind of like "I took out my new $BRAND bike today and it's amazing [Emoji hearts]".

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Sponsored people

      Not just athletes, but people on forums too. And I used to know a bloke on campus who was a paid 'brand ambassador' for shoes with wheels in them.

      The answer is to go to the pub more, and use word-of-mouth when it is delivered face-to-face. Or subscribe (pay real money) to an organisation such as the Consumer Association who buy every product they then test in controlled circumstances.

      But hey, I like my Logitech mouse, my Victorinox knife, Scarpa boots, my local Lidl, my Panasonic compact camera (but I hear Sony RX100 is the mutt's nuts)... I get on well with Ryobi drills, but my mates swear by Makita - and they have a better site radio.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    People DO hate adverts

    I do. Any Product that gets advertised to me is ignored and I'll try my dammedest to NOT buy that product ever again.

    I don't ask for adverts and I respond in only a negative way to them. I regard them as an invasion of privacy.

    I skip TV ads as a matter of course.

    I'm proud to be a fully paid up member of the Society of Grumpy old Men.

    1. nematoad Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: People DO hate adverts

      I have to confess that ads don't really bother me much. I seem to have developed an internal filter so that I don't even see them whether online or in real life. They might be there but they never register.

      Having said that I do use an ad-blocker because of the ways they slow things down and provide a vector for malware. I've got used to ad-free pages and when I went to one newspapers site without an blocker the mess I was presented with was a real shock, absolutely appalling, and I was paying for it all.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: People DO hate adverts

        I have to confess that ads don't really bother me much. I seem to have developed an internal filter so that I don't even see them whether online or in real life. They might be there but they never register.

        The word you are missing on the end there is 'consciously'. This is why you are exactly the target of advertisers. You don't notice the adverts, but they still affect you on a subconscious level. From 'brand awareness' (The subconscious process of hey I've heard of X brand, they must be better than Y that I've not heard of) to finding yourself humming a jingle while stuck in traffic.

        This is my basic objection to most advertising; it's mostly not basic honest, "Buy Johnson's Soap," kind of stuff but designed to affect you on a psychological level. An adept advertiser knows that the human psyche can be manipulated very easily. Just ask Derren Brown if you don't believe me.

        1. JLV Silver badge

          Re: People DO hate adverts

          >I've heard of X brand

          Upvoted and agree about subconscious brand awareness. That's something many of us don't grok about ads.

          You can block ads if you so desire, I don't begrudge you that in the least. I occasionally do that as well though I mostly just ignore them, like @nematoad. What I most certainly do is NoScript the heck out of everything for security reasons, which kills a lot of ads.

          Still, most non-amateur/volunteer content has to pay for its creators' time.

          Seems to me no ads anywhere, for anyone, might mean very little professional content, unless you pay for it or it's self-promotion/freemium. Not sure I'd prefer that to the status quo, though you're welcome to feel differently. As the article rightly points out, be careful what you wish for.

          <rant>far as I am concerned CBC/BBC video ads, often overlong and non-skippable, are the worst. No respect whatsoever for folk's mobile data limits. Even YouTube is better. I will consciously shun advertisers' products there.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: People DO hate adverts

          "You don't notice the adverts, but they still affect you on a subconscious level. "

          And hence you find yourself having a subconscious dislike of some product but can't quite remember why.

        3. Kiwi Silver badge

          Re: People DO hate adverts

          You don't notice the adverts, but they still affect you on a subconscious level. From 'brand awareness' (The subconscious process of hey I've heard of X brand, they must be better than Y that I've not heard of) to finding yourself humming a jingle while stuck in traffic.

          I went shopping yesterday. I purchased based on known quality, place of manufacture and price. Most of the brands I brought from I have not seen advertised anywhere (unless you count the name of the butcher on the signage out front of the shop, and the product/labels in the window), and the rest I've not seen advertised. I got a small gas soldering iron needed for a particular job - brought based on price and that I've had one of that model before. I've seen the product cataloged (in one that lists every item the store sells) but not sure I've seen any of the brand's stuff advertised.

          McD, BK, KFC etc ads don't affect me because I know the product quality - edible but not great. Subway, not bad, good price, but not something I often am interested in. Carl's Jnr stuff just looks disgusting. I've never once seen Burger Wisconsin advertise, but here they do a roaring trade because their product is worth it. Maybe more expensive than McD, but more than worth it. Same for Whittaker's chocolate. Cadbury advertises almost daily, as does foul spewballs (ferero somethingorather IIRC). Cadbury simply make rubbish these days, and now they're closing their Dunedin plant they don't even have a claim to being NZ made. Whittakers advertise sometimes (and even pay Nigella Lawson(? I think, don't watch cooking shows!) to do so), but they don't need to because although the product is a bit more expensive, it's much much better. Lindt seldom advertise (their "gold bunny" at easter is all I believe) but again they do some really nice and imaginative products.

          I'm aware of a lot of brands, but I am patriotic when it comes to purchasing (if more Kiwi's did that more of us would have jobs!), so place of manufacture, place company is owned (so a NZ made and owned place beats Oz owned by NZ made any time) and price are my main considerations. Known quality is also a high factor, but that also means that I will often test new brands where I don't know their quality, and will dump previously favoured brands where the quality falls (eg right now am using Pale Moon, had been with Firefox for a very long time previously).

          As to "humming jingles while stuck in traffic" I don't do either. My Cheapcrap(TM) GPS unit makes sure I never get caught in traffic (while I may spend a few extra dollars on petrol with the extra driving, but it's nice and cheap at BigCorpRipoffGas, which the Cheapcrap happily marks on the screen for me), and with the WouldShowAdsIfItCouldGetOnline(TM) music player app it means I never have to remember music again.

          Word of mouth is the best advertising out there, and often the best brandkiller as well. Do good and people get to know you and you don't need to spend a dime. Screw up (like Cadbury teaming up with a sewerage processing plant for their raw ingredients) and you'll lose the loyalty that no amount of money can buy back. Till a few years back I was quite loyal to Cadbury. And Griffins. Won't buy from either now.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: People DO hate adverts

      This comment was brought to you courtesy of The Society of Grumpy Old Men (TM) (R)(C)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: People DO hate adverts

      I mostly object to long unavoidable ads, noisy multimedia ads, bandwith hogging video over mobile, and random ads for services I wouldn't dream of. Or indeed the stalking ads where I seach for something results in hours of all adverts being for that item/service.

      I don't mind ads, within reason, but they are now starting to detract from actual content in their efforts to be "most eye catching" and I DONT WANT ADVERTS WITH NOISE when I am just browsing.

      Grrr

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: People DO hate adverts

      This!

      I *detest* adverts, mainly because of the assumptions made about me by the wankers doing the advertising.

      TV. muted.

      Web, ad blocker,

      Radio, no adverts on R4.

      Junk snail mail, straight into composter.

      And whatever i need to do to stem adverts completley i will do....Now and until underverse come.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: People DO hate adverts

        Charity junk snail mail (where no previous contact with charity = your details have been illegally sold on) -- back to senders in their reply-paid envelope.

        1. Robert Moore
          Thumb Up

          Re: People DO hate adverts

          "back to senders in their reply-paid envelope."

          This is good, but for extra bonus fun. Add a sprinkling of glitter inside the envelope.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: People DO hate adverts

            "This is good, but for extra bonus fun. Add a sprinkling of glitter inside the envelope."

            And if they just stamp "RETURN TO SENDER" on it and throw it back in the mailbox?

            1. Kiwi Silver badge

              Re: People DO hate adverts

              And if they just stamp "RETURN TO SENDER" on it and throw it back in the mailbox?

              I put a note on the envelope that they will be billed for any future mail processing I have to do. Ends the problem instantly. Also works for debt collectors and government depts sending stuff to former tennants (though I only do that after the second RTS, give them a chance to fix their books).

              Totally legal, they've been notified in writing in advance that they will be billed. Sadly no one has tried my resolve on it. Would love to be setting one debt collector on another debt collector for a fully legally owed amount. Or setting a debt collector onto the ministry of justice or the tax dept...

          2. Captain DaFt

            Re: People DO hate adverts

            "back to senders in their "back to senders in their reply-paid envelope."

            "This is good, but for extra bonus fun. Add a sprinkling of glitter inside the envelope."

            Back in my High School days, one mail order 'tech school' kept pestering me with a daily barrage of snail mail.

            So I trimmed a hefty piece of slate to fit the reply-paid envelope.

            About a week later, the barrage (which had been ceaseless for months) stopped completely.

            1. herman Silver badge

              Re: People DO hate adverts

              These days, a little bit of white flour in the envelope will be even more effective than glitter.

              1. Alumoi

                Re: People DO hate adverts

                These days, a little bit of white flour in the envelope will be even more effective than glitter.

                Do you have a death wish or something? White poweder in an envelope equals to a very trigger happy black squad busting your door (and head).

                1. werdsmith Silver badge

                  Re: People DO hate adverts

                  These days, a little bit of white flour in the envelope will be even more effective than glitter.

                  That's really pathetic.

                  You just mess with the unlucky minimum wage worker that has to open the mail when your real targets should be the bosses of the advertising company who will never even know about your glitter?

            2. Dale 3

              Re: People DO hate adverts

              So I trimmed a hefty piece of slate to fit the reply-paid envelope. About a week later, the barrage (which had been ceaseless for months) stopped completely.

              Did you write your name and address on it, or are you telling us they abandoned their entire marketing strategy and pulled their outgoing mail pipeline, in the space of a week, on the back of a single piece of slate? Nice story, but I call porkies.

          3. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

            Re: People DO hate adverts

            "Add a sprinkling of glitter inside the envelope."

            Also splendid, but did you know that there's no weight limit to those pre-paid business-class reply envelopes? Also, that the owner of the reply envelope gets charged by weight?

            I recommend breeze blocks.

            And all the junkmail that doesn't include a reply envelope.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: People DO hate adverts

              Bad advice, Bernard M. Orwell. The post office will not pass along obvious abuses of the system ... and in fact has been known to prosecute people who won't knock it off. A friend of mine was fined around $3,500 for this practice (in 1998ish), and had to pay all the court fees. (I'm in the US, other jurisdictions may vary, check your local laws etc. etc.)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: People DO hate adverts

          Or, better yet, tape envelope to brick, give to mailman. They must deliver it to the addressee at so many dollars per ounce. Always fun

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: People DO hate adverts

            Why the fuck does this urban legend persist?

            AC, do us all a favo(u)r. Go ahead and tape your business reply mail envelope to a brick. Hand it to your local postman. Report back. We'll be waiting.

            ::crickets::

            That's what I thought.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: People DO hate adverts

      > Any Product that gets advertised to me is ignored and I'll try my dammedest to NOT buy that product ever again.

      So which one is it? If you are actively trying "to NOT buy that product ever again" then you must be making a fairly conscious effort to remember which products you are trying not to buy, which is pretty much the opposite of ignoring it.

  4. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    "People don't hate adverts, just awful adverts"

    That kind of sums it up, along with the observation that the awful sort is basically virtually everything.

    Had the advertisement industry kept to low-bandwidth and discrete side bars that did not distract the user, act as a malware vector or soak up all usable bandwidth/CPU/screen area most users would not bother with ad blockers. But they didn't, and now here we are in a world where many web sites are pretty intolerable without an ad blocker.

    What is the solution though? We have such a race to the bottom in web funding and nothing viable in sight that would make most people chose another means of supporting sites. Many have talked about micropayment options instead of the sordid world of on-line advertisement, but none have taken off.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: "People don't hate adverts, just awful adverts"

      Yes, I don't hate all adverts. But I do hate adverts that go beyond piggy-backing content, discretely, to seeing the content as just being there to host their ads. I don't skip ads on ITV necessarily. I don't even object to ads on athletes. I do object when the announcers ( especially on BBC) have to tell us that they're showing the Acme Gambling Minimum Stake £5 First Game Free Darts Championships

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge

        Re: "People don't hate adverts, just awful adverts"

        " Acme Gambling Minimum Stake £5 First Game Free Darts Championships "

        we get this on PBS stations across the pond... "Major funding for this program by umpty-squat corporation, {insert slogan here}" - a good 2 to 3 minutes' worth of that sometimes. At least they don't break in the middle of the show. Then again, commercial breaks are a good time to take a whizz or grab a sandwich. The problem is that with DIGITAL TV, a lot of the networks figured out that they can keep SHOW CONTENT volume 6db lower than ADVERTISING volume, so if you don't hit the mute button in time, it's blasting your neighbors with advertisement so you can hear it in the bathroom with the door shut and toilet flushing.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "People don't hate adverts, just awful adverts"

          Actually I find the pledge breaks more annoying on PBS stations than the "Major funding for this programme..." bits. I'm frequently in the US when WGBH have their pledge season and hate where they'll spend 5-10 mins telling me how I can support the station with a donation. I wouldn't be so annoyed if it wasn't for the presenters telling me that the current programme is funded by my donation. Well actually that programme is made by the BBC and I've paid for it with my licence fee thank you very much.

          I was working on a laptop years ago that was going to be installed on a yacht and if it wasn't a Toughbook then it had some fancy custom designed case that helped prevent the sea air from damaging things inside. They were going to use it to get their email on board and had to do this via satellite connection when out of reach of land based networks. I had installed Firefox as requested and asked if they wanted me to modify the hosts file and install Adblock Plus to help cut down the advertising. The wife said "What do you mean by that?" so I patiently explained and she said "Yes do all of that it sounds brilliant".

          I said if they collected their email using a dedicated mail program as opposed to doing it through a browser and webmail they'd save even more bandwidth. That again took a bit of explanation but this was waved through enthusiastically. She then phoned her husband and said that the satellite bill might come down a bit. Turned out that they were spending a fortune on using satellite and this (despite having a ton of money) was unpopular. The crew were not allowed to use the satellite connection for personal mail or calls and they had to wait until they saw land.

    2. Whitter

      Re: "People don't hate adverts, just awful adverts"

      True for some.

      Some do hate them all, some hate their bandwidth requirement, some hate being tracked for advertising purposes (or indeed, mostly any purpose) and some hate the increased risk posed by poorly vetted 3rd party "source injection" (for want of a more accurate term occurring to me while I type).

      There are likely others too, but that last one is where the assumption that adverts = insecurity is clear (though tracking and theft/misuse of that data is another type of insecurity too).

    3. nijam

      Re: "People don't hate adverts, just awful adverts"

      > "People don't hate adverts, just awful adverts"

      In other words, "People don't hate adverts, just all adverts"

    4. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: "People don't hate adverts, just awful adverts"

      "Had the advertisement industry kept to low-bandwidth and discrete side bars that did not distract the user, act as a malware vector or soak up all usable bandwidth/CPU/screen area most users would not bother with ad blockers. But they didn't, and now here we are in a world where many web sites are pretty intolerable without an ad blocker."

      The problem with the old days of banner ads was that it stopped working. People got used to them and started ignoring them. And ignored ads get reduced rates, and so on.

      1. Rattus Rattus

        Re: "The problem with the old days of banner ads..."

        That's not a problem, that's a feature. A lot of people, even most people, simply aren't going to pay attention to ads. That's something advertisers need to accept. They fire off a wide spray in order to catch the relatively small handful who will pay attention. The rest of us are not your audience.

    5. hoola

      Re: "People don't hate adverts, just awful adverts"

      What is more critical is the websites that detect the add blocker and then stop showing the pages. You are then in a loop, you have blocked that advert but cannot access the content. At the moment it is usually possible to find it somewhere else but if this becomes prevalent then I am not sure where you go.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        Re: "People don't hate adverts, just awful adverts"

        "but if this becomes prevalent then I am not sure where you go."

        Perhaps a nice long walk in the countryside? :)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No, I really do hate all adverts.

    1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      Superbowl?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        That's what the BBC is for. Content we've actually paid for!

        1. Colabroad

          Unless you deign to step outside our Sceptred Isle and then the adverts come flooding in.

        2. jake Silver badge

          @AC

          "BBC America" is full of advertisements, gets more eyeballs than the BBC in Blighty, and I'm willing to bet that as a result the BBC overall is actually a profit center ... before the accountants fiddle the books, of course.

      2. jake Silver badge

        @Lord Elpuss

        /Especially the StupidBrawl.

  6. Tom 7 Silver badge

    I havent got the bandwidth yet

    but I was hoping someone would just blank all adverts out and intercept any javascript calls to 'visible' so the advertisers have no clue if we are seeing their shit or not. Its my browser - fuck your business model.

    Until I get the bandwidth I shall just block that shit and go elsewhere if necessary.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: I havent got the bandwidth yet

      "Until I get the bandwidth I shall just block that shit and go elsewhere if necessary."

      And if it's something like a manufacturer's driver website where no alternative is possible and replacing the hardware is going to be expensive?

    2. cd / && rm -rf *

      Re: I havent got the bandwidth yet

      "the advertisers have no clue if we are seeing their shit or not"

      You'll like this, then.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I havent got the bandwidth yet

        Downloading drivers from a website is for winlusers. Linux comes with all drivers ever.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: I havent got the bandwidth yet

          Then where are the high-performance graphics drivers in the kernel? The Winmodem drivers? Broadcom and Atheros WiFi chipset drivers? If you're going to say supports everything, prove it!

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: I havent got the bandwidth yet

            The lack of Linux drivers for kit I need to use is one of the reasons I haven't been able to completely dump Windows.

          2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

            Re: I havent got the bandwidth yet @Charles

            <pedant>If you're wanting any graphics drivers in the kernel beyond the console mode drivers, you're going to be disappointed</pedant>.

            What is in the Linux kernel is a series of stub syscalls that allow the user mode graphic drivers to access the hardware, and many of these stubs are actually wrapped in to KMS. The drivers (which I admit may lag the availability of new hardware) are not in the kernel.

            This is the X.org way of doing things. I do not know for certain that Wayland does things the same way, but I think that it does.

            I've pointed out many times that the reason why the type of examples you've quoted are difficult to find is because the hardware manufacturers can't be arsed, or deliberately refuse to provide Linux support for their hardware (although the GPL does raise some barriers if they want to keep their code secret).

            It's unfair to blame the Linux community for the lack of support for these hardware devices. The open-source graphics modules are getting better, but they effectively rely on some clever bods, sometimes working on their own time, to reverse-engineer the support code for new hardware, and this does not happen instantly.

            It's often only niche or bleeding-edge hardware which is difficult (even the mainstream Atheros chipsets are quite well supported now). I've not really had problems with WiFi on laptops from the mainstream suppliers for some time now.

            Aim your scorn at the hardware manufacturers.

            1. Kiwi Silver badge
              Linux

              Re: I havent got the bandwidth yet @Charles

              I've not really had problems with WiFi on laptops from the mainstream suppliers for some time now.

              I can't recall ever seeing a Linux not handle a WiFi card. I did sometimes have a Live Linux hit a snag with some machines, but then we had several netboot and CD/USB-boot options.

              I have seen lots of issues with NIC's in Windows from XP through to 10 (even worse with MS's "we'll dump your proper manufacturer's driver and replace it with our own incompatible drivers" guff). Fun getting drivers installed on a Win machine when it doesn't handle the USB, CD or any of the network hardware - that was in common use a couple of years before 7 was first released so you'd expect the install disks should have it there.

              1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

                Re: I havent got the bandwidth yet @Kiwi

                There are some. I have a PCI card based on a Broadcom chipset, inherited when I got given a Shuttle compact PC, where I could not find any support, either pre-compiled or in source, that would work to get the card to function in Linux (specifically Ubuntu 12.04 - it was a few years ago).

                But then again, the card was so obscure that it took an absolute age to find some drivers that worked in Windows XP, as well.

                I also had some problems with the Atheros wireless chip in the original EEE PC 701 with Ubuntu, because it took some time for the particular chipset to be supported in the repository.

      2. Kiwi Silver badge
        Linux

        Re: I havent got the bandwidth yet

        And if it's something like a manufacturer's driver website where no alternative is possible and replacing the hardware is going to be expensive?

        Might be a silly question, but I am a Linux user.. What is a "driver website"? Does Windows not yet have a system where correct drivers are installed automatically?

    3. BobChip
      Unhappy

      Re: I havent got the bandwidth yet

      Even if I did have unlimited bandwidth, I would still block adverts. I pay for my bandwidth, and advertisers steal it. Simple as that.

  7. Gordon Pryra

    And the choice is ?

    We are supposed to believe that without the massive barrage of advertising in our lives that society will collapse?

    When we went from BBS to HTML the net was mostly free webpages with indexes that returned useful information.

    Then the sales fcukers got involved

    Now the net is a sales tool and little else, indexes are crap and pages often look less advanced than the old 80's animated GIF fests.

    Where pages used to be "generally" info focused, now they are 90% sales tools and 90% of them carbon copies of multiple other sales tools.

    I say screw them and let all the crap content die a death, leaving the good stuff out there.

    1. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Re: And the choice is ?

      "I say screw them and let all the crap content die a death, leaving the good stuff out there."

      Who pays for the good stuff to get made?

      1. NotWorkAdmin

        Re: And the choice is ?

        "Who pays for the good stuff to get made?"

        The answer was in his post - there was good content online before the advertisers so people will produce content even when not being paid. Apache would be my favorite example of something a bunch of people did not because they were getting paid, but because it was cool.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: And the choice is ?

          The problem is that the younger generations are taking over and they are trained from birth to believe the current model of advertising (see the album cover of Nirvana's Nevermind for a visual). Also, the younger generations that are taking over have no idea how the net used to be before the capitalist march, so they may never know how enjoyable the net can be.

          Nobody does anything anymore without money attached. People wonder if machines will take over, but I think they already have.

        2. Adam 52 Silver badge

          Re: And the choice is ?

          I remember that Internet. There were a few freeware and shareware apps and some low-res scans of old copies of Playboy.

          Then came some commercial sites subsidised by conventional sales and, in the case of the newspapers and TV, conventional advertising. Those sites quickly added online adverts to become at least partially sustainable. And there was the tax funded BBC.

          Much as we dislike Facebook et al if you want the modern Internet with Google, Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, The Telegraph, The Guardian, Spotify, Twitter and The Register then you're going to have to pay somehow.

          1. Captain DaFt

            Re: And the choice is ?

            "I remember that Internet. There were a few freeware and shareware apps and some low-res scans of old copies of Playboy."

            I still surf that internet. Oh, and you didn't mention the hobbyists that put their work online to share with other enthusiasts, Amateur artists that share art, web comics, opinion blogs, and even porn, all sites with links* to similar sites or to sites the site authors find interesting.

            For social media there was Usenet and IRC. (IRC is actually still going strong, but Google took over most of Usenet, although there are still private nodes about, if you get an invite.)

            Not to mention webrings, which lists various sites by topic.

            *Google HATES these, and will drop your site way down in the rankings if you have them. (Remember El Reg had them?)

            Want a microcosm of what the web was/should be? Start here It's on guy's accidental discovery and re-creation of the classic web.

            1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
              Thumb Up

              Re: And the choice is ?

              @Captain DaFt

              I'd like to give you more than one upvote for that shout-out to tilde~club, good call :)

  8. Aitor 1 Silver badge

    Ads are just wrong, and in websites, even worse.

    Lets start with tv ads.

    They are designed to be intrusive, as the ad slingers think (in part, correctly) that othewise we wont notice them. But then, I just dont want to buy from people who ruin my experience by all flashing, putting volume up, interrupting my viewing, etc. Ads a major cause for me no longer watching tv anymore.

    Now, ads made the jump to the internet, and in the worse possible way.

    They should NOT be more than graphics and/or videos. The decision to allow them to inject code at essentially run (get in this case) time is horrible. The security implication is terrible.

    So we end up with adslingers paying too little for space (mostly, 0£ per view), and paying basically per click. Yet who pays for bandwidth, cpu/gpu and risk? the user.

    I would rather pay a certain amount of money monthly and the publishers divide it as they agree (per view, or whatever). They would get more money, and I would be less annoyed.

    The publishers are to blame, of course, and The Register is in the naughty list. On my 27" Mac Screen (I had to put this somehow) if I disable ad blocking on the register, >50% of the space is ads.

    So it is ads, with content as bait.

    How come publlishers are content (not happy, and this does not apply to Thereg) to be paid 0,03-0,07 per page view, and then, on a website that you visit lets say daily, 3 times a day (and that is a lot) you ask 7£ per month? that implies 100-250 impressions and not repeating the same customer.. something that would NOT happen as many many campaigns are repeat ads..

    So yes, I am annoyed.

    As for MOAB working, it will kind of work as long as publishers follow the law, something Facebook does not. Ads getting out of the picture or at least being polite would be great, but we have to put something in place to replace the income of content creators.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      TV Ads

      I really hate it when TV Ads come on and the volume goes up by 3dB (i.e. doubling). It is really annoying. Luckily I still have control via the mute button. Then two skips and that's the ad break done.

      Rather defeats the purpose really....

      1. David 140

        Re: TV Ads

        I'm not sure that the volume per se does actually increase - I think that there are rules about that - more that they tweak the Dynamic Range / compression or whatever it's called nowadays?

        1. Bill Gray
          Megaphone

          Re: TV Ads

          At least in the US, there are indeed rules that would stop you from doubling the volume. There is (or at least, there was last I heard) a maximum permitted volume. However, there's nothing stopping you from running at that maximum volume all the time, resulting in a "shouty" effect (hence icon).

          It does seem as if perhaps suitable logic could be added to use this to recognize and suppress at least that particular sort of advertisement...

      2. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: TV Ads

        Under the decibel scale (which is logarithmic), for the volume to double, it would need to be 10 dB higher, not 3, because the decibel scale is designed under that very definition (+10dB = *2 sound intensity).

        1. vir

          Re: TV Ads

          You may want to dust off the old physics textbook and check on that one again.

        2. the spectacularly refined chap

          Re: TV Ads

          No, by definition +10dB is a tenfold increase. For a doubling:

          10 log10 2 = ???

          1. bombastic bob Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: TV Ads

            double volume = 6db (i.e. double amplitude). double power = 3db. approximately, that is. I don't want to search for the unicode character for a wiggly equals sign

            db = log10(ratio) * 20 [for amplitude], or * 10 [for power]

            in the case of measured power, it's related to '0 dbm' which is 1mWatt

            [you're welcome for the electronics lesson, heh]

            1. mad physicist Fiona

              Re: TV Ads

              "double volume = 6db (i.e. double amplitude). double power = 3db. approximately, that is. I don't want to search for the unicode character for a wiggly equals sign"

              Err... nope. I understand where your confusion arises but "power" there is in the mathematical rather than physical sense, i.e. exponentiation rather than wattage. For electrical power the +10 = 10x relationship still holds. +20 is primarily for radiating quantities: I suppose it could also be used with other quadratic relationships but examples don't come immediately to mind.

              So yes, back to your lessons. Hopefully taking rather than giving them this time...

  9. Known Hero
    Stop

    WRONG

    "However, a web where the only content is paid content."

    I happily pay for a server to provide a services for free, believe it or not it costs barely anything to run, I could add even more sites and services if I wanted to, but I don't.

    All this "we loose so much money on hosting webpages" argument is bullshit. It costs very little to host a website and provide content per user/Customer.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: WRONG

      I knocked up a website for a company I worked for - 30,000 customers and 300,000 products. Three months work and customers could see all their orders and order items etc. This was early in the interwebly and it was only when someone though they were going to lose commission did sales get involved. Ended up with a dozen people working on how to stop the customers doing what they wanted - repeat orders that they had been doing for decades in some cases - to pushing shit they would never want and in many cases weren't allowed to buy!

      Last I heard they were employing half of India to re-do the coding the other half of India had screwed up.

  10. brucedenney

    Adverts are evil

    I do not like any adverts, I do not want to hand over my mind to advertisers to brainwash,m however funny or clever their adverts may be, I want to be a free man.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Adverts are evil

      > I do not like any adverts, I do not want to hand over my mind to advertisers to brainwash,m however funny or clever their adverts may be, I want to be a free man.

      Yes, number six.

  11. jonha

    Arms race

    This will lead to another arms race with a lot of resources squandered, no clear winners but clear losers -- the ordinary end-users. (Same comment goes for the news that someone has cracked the Windows10 no-update-for-old-CPUs mechanism.)

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Arms race

      "no clear winners but clear losers -- the ordinary end-users"

      Don't forget the advertisers, the ones who are actually the advertising industry's clients. They're also losers. They're paying the advertising industry good money to piss off customers and potential customers.

  12. Anomalous Cowshed

    The problem is that most ads are coming through a separate stream that is completely unrelated to the content you are viewing, a stream that is sustained by various tricks designed to target the ads published by the huge organisations that centralise these ads to you, by aggressively spying on you and tracking you and misusing your personal information at will.

    A static, "native" ad in a web page, like an ad in a newspaper, would not entail such devious tricks, and it might be even better targeted and relevant, since it could be tailored to the content you are reading - i.e. the thing that you are seemingly interested in. This would be much better, but of course, it requires far more work than simply fitting some generic, invasive components provided by "ad slingers".

  13. A K Stiles
    Meh

    People don't hate adverts, just awful adverts...

    Like the dreadful autoplay video ads for Microsoft cloud that assault my eyes almost every time I load a page on here (also something in red, possibly Linksys? Looks a bit like a youtube frame). Granted they don't have sound on the autoplay, but the swirly, whirly, wooshing is really irritating, like getting capsaicin in your eye or other sensitive areas, but without the subsequent adrenaline or endorphine rush!

    Yes, I know I could adblock them into oblivion, but I like coming to the Reg to read stuff so I'd like them to keep getting paid. It'd be nice if it was a bit less invasive to my eyeballs.

  14. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    Ads Vs Subscription

    Nothing in this world is free. If it appears free, you're probably paying for it somewhere. Adverts are a way of providing free content.

    Personally, I'd like the choice between free, ad-sponsored content and ad-free, but paid for content.

    (El Reg, are you listening...?)

  15. Joe Werner

    I hate ads...

    ... but I do see the point in them. As news websites (aming others) as run as a business they need to generate income to pay the authors, the hosting, etc. Without ads, either it disappears behind a paywall or it disappears completely. Thus, ads can be a good thing (well... necessary evil).

    Also, a new product needs to be sold to people. Ads can help with that, though I largely try to ignore them. If they are really bad I also just won't buy the product. I'm not really sure if online ads really do cut it though.

    Additionally, the more I read about the online ad market the more broken and ineffective it seems...

  16. Gordon Pryra

    Quite ironic

    A few years ago there were all sorts of screams about our browsing habits being sold off to to the highest bidder. I believe BT did a trial but were busted. Westminster police let them off the hook because "BT did not realize they were breaking any laws"

    Fast forward 5 years and people have been told that targeted advertising is a BONUS to them, the installation of various operating systems even ask how they want their Adds targeted.....

    As if it is a good thing.

    As someone who has spent a fair amount of time playing the SEO game since the beginning, by experience is that the only people to MAKE money from the adverts is Google, the actual websites get very little unless they are the big boys, and the big boys are not looking at their websites to make them their cash.

  17. Justin Case
    Black Helicopters

    It's not the ads, it's the tracking

    I really hate how, without an ad blocker, your searches follow you around from site to site, from sidebar to sidebar. By all means put something in front of my face, I probably won't buy it, but keep your nose outta my browsing habits!

  18. Pat 11

    Some people do hate all adverts, they're messing with our heads

    Even unobtrusive advertising is trying to influence me against my will - in fact the less obvious they are the more sneaky I perceive them to be and hate them all the more for it. And as for their attempts to influence my kids, well they can fuck the fuck off.

    90% of the web can die in a fire for all I care, and 100% of the advertising industry. Not the Reg of course, I'd happily pay for the pages I read via microtransactions.

  19. Marc 13

    I've just run the proof of concept plugin... works pretty well, nice big words "AdChoices Identified" etc on the ads... They should write a version to highlight Fake news...

    M

  20. Missing Semicolon Silver badge
    Devil

    Responsible advertising

    There is nothing technically wrong with web advertising. If web sites could be fed the advert selection criteria, and choose adverts from their locally-stored library and then serve them to the reader, that would work well - and probably bypass many ad-blockers.

    This does not happen for entirely business reasons (i.e., rapacious greed)

    1) Ad networks guard their tracking metrics jealously, as they believe it is some kind of secret sauce

    2) Content providers would thus be responsible for ad content, and would be liable for any damage caused. This would also reduce the usage of scripts and flash, as they would incur too much risk for the content provider.

    3) The process of delivering adverts would be greatly simplified, so there would be much less money to skim off.

    So, not 'appnin' . And the "free" web is in danger.

  21. Andy Non
    FAIL

    Backlash on Facebook

    Despite using Adblock I kept getting an advert on Facebook pestering me to give a review of a company I've never had any dealings with. I kept clicking "Hide" to get rid of it but Facebook behaved like assholes and continued pushing the same advert, over and over again, pestering me to review the company. In the end I gave the company a review. One star and an acerbic write up explaining why I'd done it. Now the company are hacked off too and are putting in a claim to facebook as the way facebook are ramming their advertising down people's throats is being counterproductive and giving them negative reviews and ratings. Fancy that. At least the ads have stopped pestering me to review the company.

  22. Cereberus

    Minority of 1?

    Generally I don't have a problem with ads as I can avoid them if I want to - mostly.

    Like it or not and previous comments suggest everyone is in the don't like group, ads do serve a purpose and can raise awareness of a new product, service, etc. which may (probably won't but may) be useful.

    There are 3 types of ads I do hate however.

    Pay day loans and their friends - mainly because these are aimed at the less well off who then have to pay exorbitant amounts back in return. Spot the shark anyone?

    Charities - whilst I support charities and the work they do I worked out once when I wasn't in work that if I sent the £2,3 or 5 pounds to each charity advertised on TV that day I would have nothing left in the bank (including the overdraft I would have taken out specially for making these payment). Why do we have so many charities and how much do they (subsidized no doubt) pay for all the adverts. Whilst I can understand the reasons, why set up yet another cancer charity in memory of my 'special person' who died of xxxxx cancer. Why not fund raise and give the money to an existing charity in memory of that person. In theory more money should feed through to those needing help, or research etc. instead of all the admin costs for each charity. Of course this leads to more questions on how money is spent by the charities, but that is a separate discussion.

    Finally the big one. I have no problem with ads on the web. However, they should not be pop up, pop under, buried, bandwidth hungry, overly intrusive or cover most of the site. If they advertise a product for example and say 'Click Here' for a video with more info and I choose to click then it is my choice to watch the video. None of this should be force on me so I am struggling to get the info I am actually after.

  23. Gavin Chester
    Meh

    I can live with ads, things need to be paid for in one form or another.

    The main reason I use adblockers are I get annoyed by the auto play videos especially when I'm on a mobile, it's my data they are using, or the ads that pop up full screen and you have to play "hunt the X" to get rid of them...

    Annoying the potential customer isn't really a good marketing strategy.

  24. Barely registers
    Flame

    I hate advert(iser)s because

    * They follow me around the web, and my privacy be damned.

    * They show stuff I have no interest in buying.

    * They show stuff I've just bought and won't be buying again for ages.

    * They support sites that generate otherwise worthless content - quality be damned. If sites made content that is valuable to people, then those people will pay to access it.

    * Sites are designed around them, rather than the content the site is providing.

    Anything that diminishes their presence on the web is a good thing, imo.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Backlash on Facebook

      That's easily fixed, don't use foolbook

    2. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Backlash on Facebook

      Yeah I've done that one. You get the emails too. Yes, if they pester me enough they'll get a review- "Don't touch this bunch or they'll nag the life out of you forever - I'd give them zero stars if one wasn't the minimum."

    3. Terry 6 Silver badge

      yes Anon Cowshed. Ads in the paper or magazines don't annoy me. But then they don't jump in front of the page shouting in my face.

    4. Gio Ciampa

      re: Anonymous Cowshed

      Exactly!

      I'm afraid to say - it appears that most people creating websites (in my view) are simply lazy... why spend time sorting out your own advertising strategy, getting to know your site visitors, and giving them something they might be interested in...

      ...when you can drop a widget in any given page in 5 seconds, let some third-party do the work, and risk them putting any old crap on your site (as shown by the recent kerfuffle with Google), with who-knows-what effect on your reputation?

    5. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Minority of 1?

      Amen to the comments on highly objectionable "Payday loan" companies aka loan sharks. I would also include all the betting, particularly sports betting ads. They pay lip service to the idea of "responsible" gambling, but their business model, just like that of tobacco companies, is to target young people and get them addicted. Just as with the loan sharks, their primary demographic is lower-income people, they are simply preying on the most vulnerable.

      With regards to charities, I absolutely hate the type of guilt-trips they try to foist on people, with all the high-definition close ups of people suffering. They only just stop short of outright saying "if you don't donate, you are personally responsible for all this suffering and death, you bastard", but the subtext is exactly that. Trying to guilt-trip me usually has the exact opposite effect, which is a pity because some of these charities ARE really for deserving causes.

      1. Pedigree-Pete
        Unhappy

        Re: Minority of 1?

        @jmch"Payday loan" companies aka loan sharks. I would also include all the betting, particularly sports betting ads. They pay lip service to the idea of "responsible" gambling, but their business model, just like that of tobacco companies, is to target young people and get them addicted. Just as with the loan sharks, their primary demographic is lower-income people, they are simply preying on the most vulnerable.

        Have an upvote.

        Anyone else watched late night/v.early morning commercial TV?

        Funny how these gambling ads seem to increase in frequency then. PP

        1. Kiwi Silver badge
          Flame

          Re: Minority of 1?

          Anyone else watched late night/v.early morning commercial TV?

          I wouldn't know. Here in NZ most channels (no doubt including paid Sky ones) go to 100% advertising shortly after midnight.

          Whose the 'tard who thinks that people coming home from a late shift, or waking up to tend to hungry/upset etc kids want to watch endless advertising? And who are the people who make this "worthwhile" (as in someone makes the decision that showing this crud for a solid 8hours is good value - who and why? I'd love to teach them something about "values"...)

          Aside from lotto and the TAB, I don't think we have much advertised gambling these days (ie only the state is allowed to promote stupidity taxgambling, often under the guise of "See how much we donate to charity! Put your money into us instead of into your kids, get a 1 in 3,000,000 chance of getting this weeks money back so your kids don't have to go hungry!").

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fake News

      That would cut down on content on Breitbart, WND, Fox News etc...

      1. Updraft102 Silver badge

        Re: Fake News

        ...New York Times, USA Today, CBS News, ABC News, NBC News, MSNBC, CNN...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Fake News

          Learn the difference between distorted or slanted and downright fake.

    7. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Some people do hate all adverts, they're messing with our heads

      So you're saying you'd sooner abandon the Internet and go back to the Sears catalog (for however much longer THAT lasts)?

      1. Chronos Silver badge

        Re: Some people do hate all adverts, they're messing with our heads

        What a facile argument. The difference between web commerce and advertising is we actually want what we've been looking for, rather than having it rammed down our throats because whatever it is is either utterly useless, overpriced, shoddy or just plain awful and needs aggressive sales tactics to shift.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Some people do hate all adverts, they're messing with our heads

        "So you're saying you'd sooner abandon the Internet and go back to the Sears catalog"

        No he didn't.

        Think what a catalogue does. It allows you to look for what you want and an ad-free web would allow you to do just that. An advertisement tries to tell you to want what, in fact, someone else wants you to want. And when it's done badly, as is the norm, it ends up with some middleman in the advertising indistry else managing to persuade you to avoid that very thing - and taking money from the advertiser for doing that.

    8. Chronos Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Quite ironic

      This is what I said at the time. Phorm was a diversion. Nobody could have been that stupid, yet it took the eyes and minds of people off what was actually happening. Give them a huge target so they leave your real objective alone.

    9. earl grey Silver badge
      Mushroom

      "People don't hate adverts"

      I call bullshit on that. Reg have been showing me ads all morning for Expedia (which i don't never use and zero plans on using) and yesterday it were dresses (and i'm a bloke - well, last time i looked i was); and i don't wear dresses (and don't count kilts). Since i don't have an adblocker at work, it makes it painful to view and honestly often hangs the browser besides putting those sites on my "don't ever do business with" list.

      1. Adam 1 Silver badge

        Re: "People don't hate adverts"

        > and yesterday it were dresses

        Sorry bout that Earl. We just assumed you were a lumberjack.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Re: "People don't hate adverts"

          "I can live with ads, things need to be paid for in one form or another."

          *Some* things need to be paid for 'one way or another' - it doesn't necessarily have to be with Ads though.

          I don't use ad-blockers (mostly because I am using a work's machine) but if I ever go to a site that offends my eyeballs I never go there again.

          I am therefore perfectly happy for these type of offensive websites to be starved of funds and removed the the interwebs because I'm losing precisely nothing.

          I don't know how much El Reg gets for it's advertising, and I don't know how much it costs to run the place, but there must be ways of introducing an 'ad policy' for your website - even if it means losing some advertisers. Good quality ones will come along and not get barred, they will be tasteful and will probably be made better than the splatter-cast crap we see now.

          On a site like El-Reg, this will probably end up as the 'high end' of the advertising model - lots of technical (and touchy) people, if they accept it they'll stop blocking and be more likely to see your advert.

          There is nothing wrong with setting the bar high and accepting that it will take a while to fill the ad space to capacity. Once you've achieved that status, it's all gravy.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: "People don't hate adverts"

        yesterday it were dresses (and i'm a bloke - well, last time i looked i was); and i don't wear dresses (and don't count kilts).

        Slight problem with the tracking. They thought you were Grayson Perry.

    10. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Re: People don't hate adverts, just awful adverts...

      I only whitelist sites I like that promise to provide only polite (no sound, no animation) ads for products or services that have been vetted by the site admins to be legitimate... and if those promises are ever broken, the blocking is restored.

      1. Captain DaFt

        Re: People don't hate adverts, just awful adverts...

        "I only whitelist sites I like that promise to provide only polite (no sound, no animation) ads for products or services that have been vetted by the site admins to be legitimate... and if those promises are ever broken, the blocking is restored."

        Yah, I did that... Ended up with an empty whitelist after about six weeks.

        It's like the marketeers *cough*Google*cough* hunted down the sites and made them offers they couldn't refuse.

    11. Updraft102 Silver badge

      This is exactly it. Back when I used to read a bunch of paper magazines (car magazines and computer magazines, mainly, but sometimes others), I used to view the ads as part of the appeal of each issue. I wanted to see what was available from whom and for what price!

      Somehow, those paper ads that had no ability to spy on me or target anything were more relevant to me than the stuff I used to see on the web when I used to see ads. I went to Youtube once with my adblocker disabled, and I saw an ad for Airbus. I am interested in aviation, so it is possible I was watching aircraft videos when the ad appeared, but that does not mean I am in a position to be buying any multimillion-dollar aircraft (or any other kind of aircraft)!

    12. Martin-73 Silver badge

      Re: Ads Vs Subscription

      I was vehemently anti-ad till I got android devices (with no ad blocker) and ... the ads weren't that bad on youtube.

      I am reevaluating this opinion in light of their strangling content creators for cash on youtube, because 'it's not kid friendly'. It's the bloody internet, kids shouldn't be on it.

      1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: Ads Vs Subscription

        Try reading a newspaper on mobile. You can't actually click on anything (or even read the article sometimes) for several minutes, while the various chunks of advertiser CSS and javascript resize stuff and mess with the DOM so that the bit you are trying to read scrolls up and down, seemingly at random.

    13. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Re: It's not the ads, it's the tracking

      Come May 2018 you'll have to opt-in to tracking (if you're in the EU).

    14. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Re: I hate advert(iser)s because

      Oh the irony of using the comments section of an advert supported site to moan about worthless content!

    15. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: People don't hate adverts, just awful adverts...

      "Yes, I know I could adblock them into oblivion, but I like coming to the Reg to read stuff so I'd like them to keep getting paid. It'd be nice if it was a bit less invasive to my eyeballs."

      It's up to the Reg to decide what sort of adverts they show - or to decide to offload that decision to some other party who won't be so fussy. So in effect it's up to them to decide whether or not we keep adblocking them.

    16. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Minority of 1?

      "I have no problem with ads on the web. However, they should not be pop up, pop under, buried, bandwidth hungry, overly intrusive or cover most of the site."

      So you do have a problem with ads on the web.

  25. DropBear Silver badge
    Stop

    Ummm, no...

    I'd appreciate if you'd stop trying to speak in my stead. Yes, I do hate adverts. ALL ADVERTS. Where I plan to get the "content" I'm interested in when poor "content creators" have all starved due to lack of "ad revenue" is not your problem. FYI, there are other ways to support the ones I really care about...

  26. Magani
    Unhappy

    The future?

    So in the forthcoming blocker vs adslinger stakes, are we to end up with the internet version of Product Placement a la the movies where the ad is an integral part of the content and not served externally?

    Gee, I hope not, as the whole Interwebs will end up looking like Farcebork.

    1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: The future?

      I realised product placement was a problem when I was driving my old but entirely reliable Vauxhall Nova home one night while listening to the Archers on BBC Radio 4. Ferguson may make the world's best tractors, and the 135 may be the best they ever made, but I do not need to be told that.

      Mine's the Pierre Cardin.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: The future?

        "Ferguson may make the world's best tractors"

        No, that was David Brown Tractors. RIP.

  27. Chronos Silver badge
    Stop

    Trust

    People don't hate adverts

    Speak for yourself. First there was the banner. Then came the blink tag. Then pop-ups. Then the animated Flash ad. At that point I was pretty much sold on the idea of avoiding products based on how much advertising they did on the basis that if they have to advertise so aggressively, their product must be shit.

    Pop over/unders, trackers, contextuals, you can keep the lot, especially now they are malware vectors. It's a matter of trust. The ad bureaux have lost that trust and you never get it back. All any advert is saying to me at this point is "waste your money on this crap you don't need."

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Trust

      Actually people do not like being advertised to. Not the advert itself but the act of being advertised to.

      Only adverts I do not mind internet wise are related to website adverts, which are served locally.

      OK hobby forum website ads at the top of the screen, advertising new products I would like, or a service I would like. As an example why would I NOT like an advert for a new model railway loco on a model railway forum? New producer brings loco X out with no fanfare, no prior warning, lets see it!

      Conversly why would my wife want an advert for something I bought last week from Ebay when she is on farcebook? She moans about it. Not my fault!

      Now to real world, lets say magazines. I really find the amount of silly overpriced watch adverts in car magazines very annoying, I want to read about cars, not about overpriced portable clocks. The mix of advert and editorial is enough to stop me buying a magazine.

      Now look at model magazines, pages upon pages of adverts, but guess what all readers read at least some of them. Because they are 100% relevant to the magazine, things we want to buy, things we play with.

      Now what this says to me is I hate being advertised to, trying to sell me some sh1t I do not want. Yet adverts for relevant stuff if static (like in print) will get read.

      As above I blame admongers not the manufacturers.

      1. Chronos Silver badge

        Re: Trust

        MJI wrote: Now to real world, lets say magazines. I really find the amount of silly overpriced watch adverts in car magazines very annoying, I want to read about cars, not about overpriced portable clocks.

        Amen to that. May I suggest Drivetribe?

        Bit hypocritical of me, that. You didn't ask for an opinion and I offered one, just like the ad men do. Sorry about that.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Trust

        "Conversly why would my wife want an advert for something I bought last week from Ebay when she is on farcebook? She moans about it. Not my fault!"

        Of course it isn't, at least not unless you're making her use farcebook.

  28. James 51 Silver badge

    Whenever I look at belloflostsouls on my q10 I get a popup add that fills the entire screen and is very difficult to get rid of. Then when I click on on article, the ad appear again and so on and so forth. It also slows my browser down a lot. It is really annoying and I don't go there as often as I use to.

  29. maaaaaaaaasomeone

    What utter nonsense

    "a web where the only content is paid content – where literally everything you see or read is itself an advertisement – isn't an outcome they seem to want to consider"

    As if the only motivation anyone had to ever post something on the internet was money. What it will mean, eventually, hopefully, is that the internet will return to being a place where people put stuff up because they care about it, rather than just spinning whatever trash they can get to generate revenue.

    The internet will be a much nicer place when this happens - gone will be the tabloid webrags, gone will be the endless sea of made-for-adsense blogspam. It will be Glorious.

  30. jMcPhee

    It's not so much about blocking ads - it's about blocking superfluous shit. Useless buttons, graphics, CSS, javascript, flash, and all the other garbage is at least as bad as ads.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      And those damned persistent navbars that block 15% of the content when you scroll!

    2. Chronos Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      it's about blocking superfluous shit.

      Like the EU mandated cookie warning, you mean? You do that too? That bloody thing is a right pain in the arse. I've already chosen what I do with web biscuits: Third party never get a sniff, first party get eaten by /dev/null when I shut the browser down.

      Whoever developed "Welcome to our site! We appreciate your visit! Blah, blah, blah" overlays wants shooting with their own effluent, too. I suspect many of these new-age web developers are refugees from Geocities.

      1. Adam 1 Silver badge

        What did <blink>Geocities</blink> ever do to you?

      2. Adam 52 Silver badge

        "Like the EU mandated cookie warning, you mean?"

        That annoying banner isn't EU mandated. There's nothing saying consent has to be obtained like that, it's just lazy site designers.

  31. Delbert Grady

    so er..

    "avoid the TV show or the website – entirely "

    .. suits me just fine, i already gave my TV set away years back (trendy huh)

    and use HOSTS/Proxies/noscript/extensions/element hiding and apps for youtube

    and such like.

    I hate ALL adverts. Yes. All of them. It wouldn't be quite as bad if the advertisers

    could be trusted not to be asshats, but you can't. one pushes the rules, the others then do

    then it all goes into a kind of arms race.

    I also hate the visual noise of it all too, i can filter much of it out in my brain,

    but the problem *is* that you can end up filtering out more than just adverts

    - you can end up filtering your environment out too.. just ask those idiots who walk around

    staring into cell phones - walking into roads, people, objects etc.

    If i want something, i go out and get it. I've been lucky i guess, i've always known what i want,

    though, i'm a minority.. so it seems.

    1. Rattus Rattus

      Re: "gave my TV set away"

      Tch, I wouldn't do that. It's a nice large screen handy for streaming things from my desktop when I'd rather relax on the couch - games, Youtube, anime, etc. What I don't have, and haven't for over two decades, is any kind of antenna or cable service. TV set, yes, TV "service", no.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: "gave my TV set away"

        "What I don't have, and haven't for over two decades, is any kind of antenna or cable service."

        No cable? How does Youtube get there. last time I looked my internet connection came over a cable. A GPO- and Openreach-provided cable (GPO was still a thing when it was installed) but still a cable.

        1. Rattus Rattus

          Re: "gave my TV set away"

          No cable SERVICE. As in cable TV. Which, ironically, would include a (cable-less) satellite service such as Sky. No Foxtel, or free to air TV, or any of that shite. Not even a subscription to any of the TV broadcasters' digital services like Stan or Netflix. I did not mention the complete absence of any physical cables. I do subscribe to Crunchyroll if that counts.

  32. Eric Olson

    Too much conflation of ads with advertising...

    Both the author and the commenters seem to focus a lot of energy on "ads", with only a nominal bone thrown to "native advertising" or what the actual purpose of advertising is: Influence consumer behavior.

    On both the web and on TV, ads are despised. They break up the content in such a way that's jarring, either through commercial breaks or poorly designed and executed "inline" copy. You see less worry about ads in print media, or when it's integrated into the content in seamless ways. Think product placement or promoted reviews, articles, etc.

    Today there's a flimsy wall separating the ad revenue teams from the content/editorial teams. When they mix, you end up with reviews, interviews, exclusives, and other things that look organic, but really are being done because an advertiser or company offered access to one or more places. In some cases it's outright cash, such as when an actor or producer is doing a publicity tour to promote a new or returning show.

    Savvy marketers already know how to influence consumer behavior and do it all the time. Amazon Prime or other subscription programs, loyalty programs, UX, early/first access, etc. all can and are routinely used to guide a person to buy more stuff, recommend to friends/family, upgrade, or shift spending. When the pie only grows so fast and your company is required to increase sales at a higher clip, you have to find untapped consumers (rare) or route existing consumers to you.

    The concern raised about ads being blocked is less about catastrophic disruption and more about antiquated ideas on how advertising and marketing actually works today. The reason they still exist on the web is they are cheap and easy to fling, with little attention or expertise being needed to conduct a campaign. Once those are exhausted or revealed to be the wealth transfers from dumb/lazy companies to savvy ones they really are, the web will be a better place for it.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Re: Too much conflation of ads with advertising...

      "on TV, ads are despised. They break up the content in such a way that's jarring, either through commercial breaks or poorly designed and executed "inline" copy."

      Speaking of which, there's a channel on Sky called 'Talking Pictures' that plays old movies etc.

      When they cut to the splash screen just before the adverts, they tend to cut the movie mid-sentence, and the screen rez. change is quite jarring, then there is a blaring 'Talking Pictures!" announcement.

      My wife and I now refer to it as 'Talking *over* Pictures.

      I'm also one of those weird people that read movie credits (seriously, you think only actors have stage names? Either that or if you want your kid to work in the movie industry give them a really bizarre name) and what I really hate is when, at the end of the movie/show, they shove the credits to one side immediately that they appear and talk over it all, then resume when they're just about done and you get 2 seconds of the credits and music. F&cking hate that with a passion.

      /rant :)

      1. Kiwi Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Too much conflation of ads with advertising...

        what I really hate is when, at the end of the movie/show, they shove the credits to one side immediately that they appear and talk over it all

        If only I could give you a billion upvotes. Not a fan of credits myself, but I sometimes like the ending theme to some shows.

        And even though some shows are running "content" right up to the last second, a few NZ TV stations are still putting their crap over top. Or they show the credits, but for as long as the credits run the show if down to 1/4 screen, the credits are 1/4 screen, and the remaining half screen is advertising (for upcoming shows, but still advertising). And people buying adspace on these shows please note that 1) I intend to be very rich very soon and 2) I intend to never buy from companies who advertise on such shows.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No

    Ads can get in the sea.

    They steal my bandwidth, use up by d/l quota and mess with page layout.

    Their demise shall not be missed.

  34. Bill Gray

    A stupid question

    ("Stupid" = "don't really know much about how on-line advertising works")

    OK, so I've got uBlock Origin installed. Without it, El Reg (for example) is a mess. But I'd be happy to support El Reg.

    If, hypothetically, uBlock Origin (or similar blocker) were set to say: "on the following sites, download all the advertising but don't show it", do those sites profit?

    Or would the blocker need to be modified to say: "on those sites, download the advertising and follow the links for a few ads picked at random, just to make sure El Reg profits and the ad tracking folks get some weird results"?

    I'd assume one or both of the above would also suffice to get around sites that insist you turn off your ad blocker. I also realize that to work effectively, you'd have to trust scripts to the degree that a non-blocking browser would, i.e., more than I'd like to.

  35. heyrick Silver badge

    A chrome plugin

    So let's get this straight... In order to try out a widget that highlights advertising, I need to download a browser created by one of the biggest advert pushers around and then install it so god only knows what information can be sent back for analysis and tracking?

    You're nineteen days late. Better luck next year.

  36. Rol Silver badge

    The Million Pound Page?

    Remember that kiddie, who some years ago sold a page full of pixel space for a million pound, or was it dollars?

    The thing is, none of that page ran scripts. All the advertising was embedded in the page and not served up by some ad-flinging server.

    See where I'm going?

    If the pages you are browsing have the adverts coded into the page, then ad blockers can't see them, but more importantly the creepy desire to track your every click so that adverts can be targeted at you via the page will be a non-runner.

    I don't mind ads. I do mind that I am surreptitiously interrogated every time I visit a website so that I can have "donkeys looking to marry a feeble minded westerner" thrown at me.

    The way I see it. This new adblocker could welcome back old school adverts. Controlled by the site and not tailored at the individual.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Here's why I'm, uh... 'unadvertable'?

    Whatever the word is. I've been awake 2 or 3 days. Anyway...

    Most ads for things I would never ever buy, such as lady products, shit music, shit food, booze (recovering piss artist), shit movies, 'fashion' (a verb), and financial products. Which leads me on to...

    Those ads that slip by uBlock (e.g. 'Ads by Taboola') are the most laughably moronic bollocks of all. Is this what's known as "native advertising"?

    I'm skint at the moment, and unable to work.

    I have a brain that I can use to work out what I need, what I want, and how to obtain it for the best price - which is usually outlets that don't really advertise.

    Perhaps the ad 'industry' needs to accept it has reached peak ad, and might be better off spending money lobbying for living wage laws so we have more dosh to go out and buy crap?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: A stupid question

      But that also costs precious bandwidth. So you still lost out if you have a tight cap.

      1. Bill Gray

        Re: A stupid question

        True, and I'd not use it on a mobile (pay-per-byte) device. If you want to shovel a few megabytes of ads at me at home, and are okay with the fact that they'll all go to /dev/null, I'm OK with that.

        It occurs to me that I don't know if this is a situation where I pay two cents to download El Reg ads, and El Reg profits by five cents. In which case, of course, if El Reg is willing to pay me three cents to do it, I'd be willing to scale it up so we can both profit.

        I'm assuming I'm missing something. I'd expect somebody would have tried to implement something like this, just to provide a way to visit sites that insist you turn ad-blocking off (i.e., "oh, yeah, I'm taking all your ads... no need for you to know they're all getting binned.")

        1. Adam 52 Silver badge

          Re: A stupid question

          "In which case, of course, if El Reg is willing to pay me three cents to do it, I'd be willing to scale it up so we can both profit."

          In most jurisdictions that's considered fraud. One of the reasons that the Ad networks track is to detect fraud. Now under GDPR they won't be allowed to track to target Ads (without consent) but will be allowed to continue tracking to protect legitimate business interests and one of those legitimate interests is detecting and preventing criminal behaviour.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: A stupid question

            "In most jurisdictions that's considered fraud."

            Then why aren't the ad-slingers being charged with fraud? They're taking good money from their clients. They can show the positive responses they get for the ads they sling and claim that as a benefit they're delivering. But do they make any effort to measure the negative response and show their clients the net balance?

            What was being proposed actually benefits the client. Anyone running an adblocker is liable to respond negatively to the ad so if the advertiser gets a zero reaction for his money it's a good deal better than a negative one.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: A stupid question

          "If you want to shovel a few megabytes of ads at me at home, and are okay with the fact that they'll all go to /dev/null, I'm OK with that."

          Everyone would gain. Even the advertiser who's paying for it gains to the extent that although they're still paying out good money they're not risking pissing off a potential customer.

    2. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: A stupid question

      "Without it, El Reg (for example) is a mess. But I'd be happy to support El Reg."

      I have Ghostery (Firefox on Android), and while I have no particular qualms about adverts on El Reg, they're still blocked because it isn't El Reg providing the content. It is doubleclick and addaptive and whoever is behind the scenes there. No matter how much I might want to trust the domain I'm looking at, that's not who serves the advertising content and... No. I don't trust random third parties. Just no.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

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      Anonymous Coward

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  39. Aynon Yuser

    Ads slow down webpage loading sometimes causing a site to never load, they sometimes hop all over the screen following you, and will sometimes move over the "Next" link before your finger touches it.

    On small mobe screens and paid bandwidth it makes browsing at times unusable. When I experience the above situations I simply close the tab and move on. I prefer to not waste my time.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well Opera tells me

    that this website loads 73% faster with it's build in adblocker, and the website doesn't look like dogshite with adverts covering over content...

    opera://speedtest/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theregister.co.uk%2F2017%2F04%2F19%2Fprinceton_perceptual_adblocker_moab%2F

    So for me, until a website can offer

    a) sensible, no clickbait reporting.

    b) reasonable, unobtrusive advertising

    then using a adblocker is a no brainer...

  41. Mage Silver badge

    Ads or 3rd party content

    I block third party content, because that's very effective against malware and saves bandwidth and speeds page load time.

    Many adverts use 3rd party domains and images. Most obnoxiously they use scripts instead of simply being an image with a link.

    When are websites going to stop their stupidity, esp, BBC*, CNN, all the main newspapers etc?

    (*BBC is truly obnoxious if you do not have a UK IP address.)

  42. Luiz Abdala

    May I suggest you train your algorithms over the page http://www.terra.com.br where it failed miserably.

    Even when the frames that were explicitly tagged as "advertisement" by displaying this exact word on the upper left corner.

    Even yours truly The Register still displayed ads.

    So nope, still some way to go.

    http://www.uol.com.br worked perfectly, however.

  43. yiorgos

    zone "unwantedclick.net" { type master; file "zones/blackhole"; };

    ...

    that works like a charm :-)

  44. Herby Silver badge

    Advertising seems to "work"...

    As much as it is annoying to us all, and we all strive to ignore it, it DOES seem to work. This is because we are all talking about it.

    Ad blockers are interesting devices. They are but one item in the never increasing battle between the eyes that look and the people who show. I suspect that eventually the result will be a draw, the declared "winner" keeps going back and forth. With ad blockers, comes web sites that detect them and don't display content, and so it goes.

    As for TV ads, the wife desperately does all she can to skip over them (via TiVo), or mute them otherwise. I on the other hand seem to ignore them altogether, and assume that it is a perfect time for a potty break as necessary.

    In the end, life goes on. If there were no ads, we would have two results:

    1) Everything formerly supported by advertising would be more expensive (Newspapers, US TV, magazines, web content...)

    2) Nobody would buy "new" things since they wouldn't know about them, which would drive up the costs there (supply/demand).

    So, we're stuck with the current imperfect arrangement much as we ALL loathe it.

    Life goes on.....

    1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      Re: Advertising seems to "work"...

      As for TV ads, the wife desperately does all she can to skip over them (via TiVo)

      I'm sure you're aware that Tivo tracks everything you watch and record, in order to "show you more relevant ads (both on TiVo products and on third-party websites)." From their privacy policy:

      Information we automatically collect may include, for example, data about your viewing behavior (such as how you use, watch, record, rate and interact with content accessed on or through TiVo products), device (such as model number, software versions, and unique device identifiers), location (such as GPS data, zip code, and time zone), and cable service (such as cable provider and cable channels).

      There is no escape.

  45. Daggerchild Silver badge

    Magician's Apprentice's Mop.

    This should be fun, and probably inevitable. As a general rule, when toppling a ruler, make sure you have a replacement ready, or something worse will take the throne while you're celebrating.

    I'm putting a fiver on Youtube videos being watermark spliced with adverts at the cellular level. Also, websites that need ad revenue to live will have Captchas that involve enforced interaction with an advert in order to view the site.

    I'm looking for a anonymisable microtransaction system where websites I like I can 'bitmark' and when I visit them they get a smidgen of a penny from a hopper I load.

  46. Chet Mannly

    Too late...

    "However, a web where the only content is paid content – where literally everything you see or read is itself an advertisement – isn't an outcome they seem to want to consider."

    What are you on about - we're already there.

    -News sites run puff pieces all the time disguised as news.

    - Movie sites are just there to get people to watch movies. Even when they bag one they always suggest another readers should watch.

    - Review sites write stuff which make people feel like what they have is inferior and they need to buy the latest gadget which is so much more shiny than the one you were perfectly happy with 5 minutes ago. Again where they do a negative review there's always an alternative they suggest with the obligatory affiliate link.

    I'm a photographer and 90% of photography sites operate simply to generate hype and drive sales via affiliate links. Often these sites are owned (or part owned) by the retailers. Most of the rest are just "don't listen to all those other sites telling you to buy new gear, just improve your technique. Oh and by the way here's my new workshop/video series which you can buy".

    Content which isn't advertorial these days is rare. At the end of the day most of what you read on the net and in papers/mags is designed to make you buy. That's how sites stay alive. Whether it is entirely conscious or not writers have just packaged their sales suggestions into content people voluntarily choose to consume.

  47. Colin Tree

    LOUDER

    Like adds on tv, they are 'LOUDER' than the content.

    Good to see more work blocking this dross.

  48. Kiwi Silver badge
    Boffin

    Hammer. Nail. In.

    It's the intrusive and annoying ads that I block. The rest are collateral damage.

    Ads in the text are fine. Static ads with no pictures are great. Small pictures (bandwith-small) are not so bad. Moving or flashing or whatever that cannot be stopped ads? No.

    As to blocking, well lets see if they can block this.

    I just finished spending a bit of time helping my Uncle get to grips with his new Linux install. Thankfully we're both on 2degrees so the call didn't cost me anything, and I had just brought some data from The Warehouse so I had some to spare. I was able to use Teamviewer to connect to his machine (which we'd installed while he was visiting recently) and spent a little while with that and a while with SSH to get some things installed that he wanted, and convert/configure some other things to get him to rights. He's now enjoying Linux Mint on his machine, has found that Libre Office is visually far superior to MS office, without the horrid "ribbon" cluttering the view (and the mind), and is now enjoying being able to watch Youtube movies again without the MS st-st-st-st-st-st-stutter.

    Lemme see. 2 telcos, an OS, and a few bits of software all in what many would see as an "opinion piece" rather than what it should correctly be called, "marketing". A tool that can block stuff like that when I want it blocked could be nice. A tool that blocks all flashing stuff without blocking all images (or at worst stops them after one complete play though) is also nice. But turning off pics helps, saving both on bandwidth and mindbleach.

  49. Milton Silver badge

    An article for El Reg to be ashamed of

    If you were expecting a sensible description and some thoughtful analysis of the Princeton work ... I guess you'll look somewhere else. The article contains a brief non-explanation, an almost context-free screenshot and then a bunch of woolly pseudo-criticisms that smell exactly like a bloke propping up the bar saying "If I don't understand this technical stuff, it can't be any good". Shoddy "journalism".

  50. N2 Silver badge

    Advertisers

    I'd really like to put a brick through your window with 'Fuck off' scrawled on it.

    Now, thats how I feel, on the rare occaision your badly produced shite pops up in my broser.

    So just fuck off anyway, Im never going to buy it

    A N other grumpy old man

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sometimes I turn of my 9000 adblockers. It's a horror shit show of flashing, playing, shite looking crap.

    Sometimes at work I see people browsing the web with that shit going on - these are tech savvy people. I conclude they must like it.

  52. DrM
    Thumb Up

    Excellent

    Yes, it may not block native or embedded ads -- but the non-native, let me interrupt you or distract you -- are the ones that are bothersome.

  53. UKSP
    Stop

    Disagree

    "People don't hate adverts..."

    Really? I'm clearly not people then because I do.

  54. Brian Allan 1

    A bit too thorough!

    The blocker works very well... A bit too well, marking some web pages as totally advertising!!

  55. sitta_europea

    Bollocks. I hate adverts. The author of this piece is clearly not on my side.

  56. technoise

    Rather than "native" the term I would use would be "in-band." We already see that on Youtube - you've seen Eli The Computer Guy rattling through his list of sponsors, or Hak5 slickly voicing the sponsors' announcements themselves.

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