back to article In defence of online ads: The 'net ain't free and you ain't paying

It's about to get wet. Have some towels ready. Indeed, I anticipate a good soaking this weekend, both inside and out. This is because Friday 8 June has been announced as World Oceans Day. Come on, you know – that famous international day of celebration when we, er, get the day off work? (no) … hold ocean-themed parties? (no …

  1. Dr_N Silver badge
    WTF?

    World Oceans Day

    Heist movies get their own day now?!

  2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "Momentous Time Period of Global Importance of one sort or another."

    Some Hyped International Time?

    1. Camilla Smythe

      "Momentous Time Period of Global Importance of one sort or another."

      Thanks for the in

      I shall now waste this opportunity to reply to a post, almost, at the top of the list which does not have other replies to say...

      We should take this opportunity to go back to 405 line Grey and White Internet delivered via Bell 103 educated Clangers over wet string with Strict GDPR standards enforced.

      and....

      Every time some fucking marketing twat mings on about how much fucking money they are losing because they continue to repeatedly fail to sell me the socks I have already have bought with the expectation that I am going to pay 30% extra for my socks to cover their miserable fucking failure...

      The Clangers on the Advertising Networks get to smoke more Spliffs and another range of cereals/snacks gets added to their inventory along with a new twist on Marmite Soup from The Dragon.

  3. Spacedinvader
    Pint

    World Gin Day

    This, I did not know about. Nice one!

    Pint of gin -->

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: World Gin Day

      Didn't know about it either, but now that I do, Saturday is sorted out...

      Pro tip: you'll only get a hangover when you get sober again.

      1. Thomas_Kent

        Re: World Gin Day

        I'll have to partake in a gin & tonic again one of these days. The last time I had one was at the China Fleet Club in Hong Kong in the 60's.

        1. Flakk Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: World Gin Day

          I'll have to partake in a gin & tonic again one of these days.

          Every few years I try to find my palette for gin, and every few years my mouth demands to know why the heck I'm drinking Pine-Sol again.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: World Gin Day

            "my mouth demands to know why the heck I'm drinking Pine-Sol again."

            1 bottle of gin + 1 lb of sloes + 1 lb of sugar. Allow to mature for several weeks. It improves the gin no end, even the commercial sloe gin.

            1. Ben1892
              Pint

              Re: World Gin Day

              If could add a minor addendum; the bottle of gin should be a Litre not 750ml

              - the trick is knowing where to pick the sloes, and no, I'm not sharing :)

              1. DuchessofDukeStreet
                Pint

                Re: World Gin Day

                Replace sloes with chopped rhubarb, halve the sugar and add a handful of grated ginger - even better.

                To avoid the pine-cleaner taste, try suffixing the words "gin and tonic, please" with "anything but Gordons". Works wonders.

              2. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit

                Re: World Gin Day

                - the trick is knowing where to pick the sloes, and no, I'm not sharing :)

                Miserable party pooper, I'll tell 'em then. At the bottom of my garden :-).

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: World Gin Day

            As an alternative to the _FINE_ option of Sloes/Buckthorne for those from parts of the word where they are not common:

            Juice of a lemon

            Tonic

            Gin to taste

            Optional: splash of Port wine

            You may find that, as many others have, the amount of gin naturally increases over time

          3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: World Gin Day

            my mouth demands to know why the heck I'm drinking Pine-Sol again

            Just tell it you're actually drinking tar-water, the miracle cure discovered by noted philsopher George Berkeley. Tar-water's medicinal value is based on the ideas that noble savages know all the good stuff (particularly when said knowledge is acquired third- or fourth-hand), and that anything that tastes really bad must be good for you.

            Pine-Sol, of course, is a descendant of tar-water. Tar-water was made by throwing a lump of pine tar or sap into some water, then stirring vigorously until you got bored and looked for something else to do. Pine-Sol and other pine cleaners were originally made from pine oil, an essential oil derived from pine tar.

      2. MaltaMaggot

        Re: World Gin Day

        Indeed.

        An oft-muted sentiment round here "it only hurts when you stop"

        1. Paul Crawford Silver badge
          Gimp

          Re: World Gin Day

          An oft-muted sentiment round here "it only hurts when you stop"

          And elsewhere it only hurts when you start.

      3. Montreal Sean

        Re: World Gin Day

        Shouldn't World Hangover Day follow World Tequila Day?

    2. macjules Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: World Gin Day

      Monday 11th is World Rosé Wine day.

      I shall partake.

  4. Christopher Reeve's Horse

    If only I could pay

    I'd be happy to, but the option is rare. And even when you do pay, it doesn't necessarily follow that you don't get hit by advertising and data harvesting anyway.

    1. Aitor 1

      Re: If only I could pay

      Yep, if you pay your data will still be taken/stolen.

      I would gladly pay a premium to have quality content.

      But, and this is a big thing, there are some conditions for that.

      First, I want privacy. And it is quite complicated.. how are they going to track my article consumption if I am not tracked?

      Second, while I would agree with micropayments, history tells me that "micro" gets to be confused with "mini" then just "payments". If you dont agree, just look at DLCs.

      Companies that think it is ok to be paid 0.07$ per article read though intrusive ads, believe 2$ is a fair price for the same article without ads. Madness.

      So I would say that a "premium" subscription would be the best thing. Of course, the problem is that then several competing "subscription networks" would arise, and the internet would get fragmented.

      Don't believe me? look at netflix and all netflix clones. I want to pay to watch content, and do pay for not one, but two three content providers.. and it is at the very least "annoying" that I would have to pay at least 6 subscriptions to watch decent stuff. And the more people pay, instead of becoming cheaper, it becomes more fragmented and therefore more expensive for the user.

      1. Tom Paine Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: If only I could pay

        Netflix? That's easy - I can save you the bother. It's all shit, none of it is worth a second of your attention, and the billions of human cycles wasted on that trash is one of the great tragedies of our age.

        Yes, I realise I'm in a minority of near-to-one-as-makes-no-difference on this. That doesn't mean I'm wrong.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If only I could pay

      I'm happy for there to be adverts, just not the ones that pop-up over the content you are trying to read, or those that start auto-playing video with a deafening soundtrack as soon as the page loads. Then there are sites that are festooned with so many ads that your CPU goes to 100% utilisation while you are looking at it. There's a reason people use ad blockers - because the ads have become so intrusive and annoying.

      1. Dave K Silver badge

        Re: If only I could pay

        Got it in one. I do whitelist several sites that have sensible, none overly-intrusive ads that don't drag my browser to a crawl when rendering.

        However these days so many sites moan about my ad blocker, and yet if you whitelist the site, it's then frankly embarrassing how many of them turn into an absolute and utter dogs breakfast:

        * Pages that used to load in 1 second now taking 15 seconds to load, meanwhile your browser showing connections to about 2,000 different ad-agencies being steadily cycled through.

        * Content that keeps jumping around for 10 seconds after the page has (finally) loaded as yet more ads insert themselves wherever there's more than 10 free pixels of space.

        * Auto-playing videos that pop up slap-bang in the middle of content.

        * Full-screen pop-ups that block the content whilst you desperately hunt for the 5-pixel-large dark-grey-on-black close button.

        * Slow and jittery scrolling due to the thousands of lines of badly-coded Javascript all fighting away to keep the ads ever-present on the screen as I try desperately to read the article I came for.

        And then the site wonders why Ad-blockers are such a hot topic these days. Too many sites have destroyed the user-experience through aggressive and excessive advertising. That's why blocking ads has become the norm.

        1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

          Re: If only I could pay

          I ad-block El Reg because of those awful background adverts that you always manage to click accidentally. I'd happily whitelist El Reg if somebody tells me they don't do those anymore.

          1. Killfalcon Silver badge

            Re: If only I could pay

            "I'd happily whitelist El Reg if somebody tells me they don't do those anymore."

            They're not doing them today, if that's any help.

            I really only check El Reg at work, where I don't have a choice in browser or blockers - stock IE11 - so I get to see all the ads, even the ones that eat all my RAM, lock the entire machine up and/or crash IE. Admittedly the latter two are thankfully uncommon, but it's clear that a lot of 'professional' advertising companies have no interest in optimising their code. Particularly bad given the sorts of companies that advertise here are all ones who should know better!

            Personally, at home, I run NoScript, and whitelist some advertisers (especially on video services). If it's not running scripts, then it gets through by default, and as a bonus I get to see how much of a dependency cluster-f*ck most websites are.

        2. el_oscuro

          Re: If only I could pay

          Back at the turn of the century, Google beat out Yahoo, AltaVista, and all of the search engines. Why? Because all of those search engines had shitty ad experiences just link now, while Google had "sponsored links" which were just text and clearly labeled.

          Besides that there are 2 things about ads today that really get my goat:

          1. Shitty sites like washingtonpost.com which have paywalls *and* shitty ads to their actual paying customers.

          2. Security - The current ad model is literally *designed* in XSS, with a little RCE thrown in. All of those third party domains run whatever they want with no accountability whatsoever. An attacker injecting a BeEF hook into any one of those and do all sorts of nasty stuff to your computer

          If websites want to show me adds, just have sponsored links and host them themselves. Oh, and don't make them shitty. Those "sponsored links" that Google has? Often, they are something I am interested in.

        3. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: If only I could pay

          "these days so many sites moan about my ad blocker"

          I figure that any site that won't let me keep my defenses up while viewing it is a site I want to avoid. It shows such an extreme disregard for the privacy of its readers that it renders the site operators themselves as untrustworthy.

      2. MrXavia

        Re: If only I could pay

        I'm happy for adverts,

        targeted to the content is perfect and appreciated as I'm probably looking for it

        BUT

        No tracking

        No personalised adverts

        And no google analytics...

        I only block the tracking.. but that seems to block every advert aswell..

      3. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: If only I could pay

        Yep. I used to allow ads. I even clicked them from time to time to pay my way. Until the ads became so intrusive that they killed the content, ( and content started being created for the sole purpose of serving ads) And then it was adblocker,r,us as far as I'm concerned..

    3. Tom Paine Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: If only I could pay

      I'd be happy to, but the option is rare.

      *sigh*. Do we have to go over the singular vs plural senses of the English word "you" again?

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: If only I could pay

        singular: you

        plural: y'all

        fixed. heh.

    4. tfewster Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: If only I could pay

      Actually, the model is there, ironically embodied in Googles AdWords and music royalties systems.

      Both you and the website pay for bandwidth used. So if ads are banned, that's a win-win.

      For the content, the website could get paid for page views*. Sites that produce content cheaply (e.g. Wikipedia) make lots of money. Smaller sites with higher costs (e.g. El Reg) make a bit of money.

      Who collects and distributes the money? ISPs take your money, can block content (ads) and track your usage anyway, so it would be trivial for them to do that.

      How much will it cost me to go ad-free? US Internet advertising revenues** were $88Bn last year. Divide that by 70 million households*** = $1200 p.a. or about $100/month for ad-free Internet.

      * If it's really expensive content, e.g. music or original research, websites can continue the paywall model. I'll pay if it's worth it.

      ** I presume that's how much websites take for displaying ads. But if their costs drop, their take could be dropped too.

      *** For simplicity. As well as your broadband, you probably have 2+ phones that you pay for bandwidth for - all would be covered under the pay-per-view model.

      Advertisers will still want to buy ad space, and website owners will still be greedy. Let the Market sort that one out.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: If only I could pay

        How when the market is captive? When it's down to a Hobson's Choice (Take It Or Leave It), and leaving it is not necessarily an option...

        1. Loud Speaker

          Re: If only I could pay

          Or, as someone more famous than me said about having shit flung in his face:

          "No Shit, Sherlock!"

    5. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: If only I could pay

      I don't find enough content on 'teh intarwebs' that is WORTH paying for.

      That's especially true when the "payment" is my privacy.

  5. Martin hepworth

    happy for adverts if....

    They didnt send me malware, werent overly intrusive and didnt generally get in the way of a fast browser experirence - cf lot of US news sites post GDPR stripped all the adverts and they run at 10% of the download size and page load many many time faster

    But the malware is the real issue. Sort out the security, stop reselling the ad platforms 6 layers deep and dont take 20 seconds to page load.....

    1. Doctor_Wibble
      Flame

      Re: happy for adverts if....

      Requiring Flash (autoplay*, loud sounds etc) could be argued as falling into the 'malware' category, and then there's scripts that do 100% CPU by being badly written and/or by going into a spin when encountering a DNS lookup fail or a 404.

      If the gentle hum of the laptop fan cranks up to full-on hairdryer mode then I find the cause and block it. If a site becomes unusable then unless it's unbelievably exceptional it's not worth the annoyance.

      I understand the need for ads and was always OK with 'the deal' but (on top of usability issues) when everyone is using the same ad agency and stats processor (or one from the same tiny handful) everywhere then it feels like that deal changed in ways that neither the readers nor the publishers intended.

      .

      * disabling autoplay in browser settings is remarkably ineffective against determined attackers like youtube

      1. Killfalcon Silver badge

        Re: happy for adverts if....

        YouTube, bless their corrupted mammonite hearts, do at least offer an HTML5 option that'll free you from Flash-based concerns.

        But yeah, the number of times I've thought my work lappy was whining about it's assigned tasks, only to find I've left an IE tab open and a fancy advert is devouring CPU cycles...

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: happy for adverts if....

          I've been using the 'youtube-dl' script for a while, now, to download the actual content rather than view inline with HTML5 or anything else. then block scripting fo youtube in the browser. use its search capabilities and when you find what you want, just DOWNLOAD it. works for me. avoid a lot of irritation that way (including video stuttering)

    2. Wade Burchette

      Re: happy for adverts if....

      I have some sensible rules for ads before I consider them acceptable. These rules are sensible because they were the standard when the internet went from luxury to necessity. If they worked once, they can work again.

      (1) Absolutely no tracking in any way, shape, or form, no exception. Just because you attempt to make it sound beneficial 'by showing ads to my interest' does not make it acceptable. (2) Absolutely no pop-up window, pop-under window, or obscures part or all of a web page, no exception. (3) Absolutely no ad that attempt to determine my location, no exception. i.e. No ad that says '[city name] man discovers shocking secret'. (4) Absolutely no ad that requires javascript, java, flash, or any other plug-in, no exception. Incidentally, obey this rule would kill malvertising immediately. (5) Absolutely no autoplay videos except and only except when I click on a clear link to a video. This rule applies to more than ads.

      My rules are not a burden because websites used to be quite profitable following my rules. But greed took over and advertisers went too far. And instead of realizing they are the problem, they try to guilt us into obeying their perverted point of view. That won't work for me. And whenever I find a website that tries to guilt me, I make it a point to explain that I am not a mooch but I am someone who cares deeply about my privacy and security.

      1. matjaggard

        Re: happy for adverts if....

        It's not greed. Advertising pays a lot less now than it used to.

        Why is everyone so against tracking?!

        1. Tabor

          Re: happy for adverts if....

          “Why is everyone so against tracking?!”

          Everyone ? Most people I know don’t give a sh*t. Me ? I hate it. If you have to ask why, try reading 1984. I assume that you haven’t yet.

          The correct question is : why are you *not* against being profiled all the time by unknown parties that know everything about you, including location in some cases, and that may or may not have adequate IT security protecting all that data ?

          I

        2. Killfalcon Silver badge

          Re: happy for adverts if....

          Tracking? Privacy.

          As a general rule, we want to be able to comfortably compartmentalise our lives - we don't want our holiday plans following us when were buying new ties for the office. We don't want those surprise birthday presents showing up in our feed when we're trying to show someone a cute kitten. We don't want our kids knowing we watch 80s action movies because they will mock the hell out of our terrible taste. We don't want our employers knowing that we use a rival.

          And then, obviously, there's all the really crazy stuff, like pornography, who we vote for, embarrassing hobbies/kinks, your racist relatives, medical problems you don't want to talk about, and so forth.

          Web Tracking is a problem because it has no limits. If you leave the trackers on, Google knows *all* of the above. They know your uncle thinks the world is run by lizards, that all of your favourite porn stars are brunettes who look a lot like your secretary, that your wife loves lilac-scented condoms and that you've never once owned a phone sold by your own company.

          None of that is illegal, but all of it is embarrassing to the right people, and the trackers are happily collating all of it... so they can work out if you're more likely to buy an Audi or a Ford. Better hope they store it all securely!

          1. Doctor_Wibble
            Boffin

            Re: happy for adverts if....

            I agree with the points about privacy but when it comes to blocking ads or stats beacons etc it's less about the tracking or ads than it is about whether I am inconvenienced.

            Most of what I have blocked are the ones that drew attention to themselves e.g. by appearing in log files for doing weird shit or by holding everything up while being featured in the browser status bar as 'waiting for...'.

            1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

              Re: happy for adverts if....

              Most of what I have blocked are the ones that drew attention to themselves e.g. by appearing in log files for doing weird shit or by holding everything up while being featured in the browser status bar as 'waiting for...'.

              I don't even want to waste my time on selection.

              They all go.

              End of story.

              Some websites sometimes run fund drives. Then I throw something in the pot.

          2. earl grey Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: happy for adverts if....

            "And then, obviously, there's all the really crazy stuff, like pornography, who we vote for, embarrassing hobbies/kinks, your racist relatives, medical problems you don't want to talk about, and so forth."

            You left out the tools we use and the hardware we have in stock.

            1. Danny 14 Silver badge

              Re: happy for adverts if....

              tracking ads? I bought a bamboo pagoda and booked a holiday to Majorca. Now all i see on whitelisted sites are holiday ads and bamboo pagodas.

              like i buy multiple pagodas and holidays every day. Morons.

          3. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: happy for adverts if....

            "None of that is illegal, but all of it is embarrassing to the right people, "

            Having that information without your consent most certainly IS illegal.

        3. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: happy for adverts if....

          "Why is everyone so against tracking?!"

          I don't know about "everyone". I only know about me. It's because I want to minimize the amount of data about me that gets sucked into the Big Data machine, for privacy reasons.

          But, really, the reason why doesn't matter. It is sufficient that I don't want to be tracked, regardless of the reasons why. If I'm being tracked without my permission, then I'm being spied on, and I'm against being spied on. Particularly by large companies.

        4. alexandria

          Re: happy for adverts if....

          > It's not greed. Advertising pays a lot less now than it used to.

          Indeed. Gwern recently stated in a hacker news thread the money he got from adding adverts to his website - "Google AdSense: $241 lifetime total (over 269k pageviews)" (source: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5659278).

          At such a rate ($1 to just over 1000) you really have to wonder what the point of internet advertising is. It's clearly more profitable for the advertisers (like Google, who get a couple of thousand from tracking and selling our data to millions of third parties) compared to the actual websites, who get a pittance.

          You act as if advertising is a wonder pill that's going to keep websites afloat, and that's why we need to have it. But it's crystal clear that with payment rates like these any even vaguely _costly_ outfit could not keep afloat from advertisments alone.

          > Why is everyone so against tracking?!

          """Over the last 16 months, as I've debated this issue around the world, every single time somebody has said to me, "I don't really worry about invasions of privacy because I don't have anything to hide." I always say the same thing to them. I get out a pen, I write down my email address. I say, "Here's my email address. What I want you to do when you get home is email me the passwords to all of your email accounts, not just the nice, respectable work one in your name, but all of them, because I want to be able to just troll through what it is you're doing online, read what I want to read and publish whatever I find interesting. After all, if you're not a bad person, if you're doing nothing wrong, you should have nothing to hide." Not a single person has taken me up on that offer.

          Glenn Greenwald in Why privacy matters - TED Talk"""

        5. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: happy for adverts if....

          "Why is everyone so against tracking?!"

          you forgot the 'troll' icon.

  6. Graham Cunningham

    +1

    Upvote for the Genesis video, even if it's the wrong track and won't expand to fullscreen ;)

    1. BoldMan

      Re: +1

      But it is the track that includes the album title ("Selling England by the Pound") in the lyrics.

      1. Chronos Silver badge

        Re: +1

        Aye, but He rides majestic past homes of men who care not or gaze with joy pretty much sums up the bipolar situation with regards online advertising. It's all bollocks, naturally, since the web was meant to be fair sharing of ideas and knowledge but the ad-men came anyway and here we are.

        From the same track, The sands of time are eroded by the rivers of constant change. This, too, shall pass.

        1. Captain Hogwash Silver badge

          Re: +1

          Amidst the battle roar, accountants keep the score

          1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Re: +1

            "I don't belong here", said old Tessa out loud.

            "Easy, love, there's the Safe Way Home."

            - thankful for her Fine Fair discount, Tess Co-operates

            Still alone in o-hell-o

            - see the deadly nightshade grow

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: +1

      Genesis back when they played good music.

      The video played the right track as far as I could tell.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: +1

        Genesis back when they played good music.

        [Controversial Mode]

        They played some good music right up until the end. *Different* good music, but still good..

        (Currently playing: Yes - Heart of the Sunrise. 90% of my playlist is prog of one sort or another[1] and the rest is people like Paul Weller, Sting[2], Linton Kwesi Johnson etc etc. And some folk music. And Jazz)

        [1] Symphonic Prog and Neo-prog tend to dominate. Prog-metal also present in quantity. Scandanavian Prog has a good showing.

        [2] His recent album with Shaggy is surprisingly good, with one one stinker..

        1. Chronos Silver badge

          Re: +1

          90% of my playlist is prog of one sort or another[1] and the rest is people like Paul Weller, Sting[2], Linton Kwesi Johnson etc etc. And some folk music. And Jazz

          No Knopfler? Privateering was a pretty good mashup of most of your eclectic taste.

          1. Alistair Silver badge

            Re: +1

            Knopfler, Straits all over my list.

            Along with a rather heady mix of late 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's, 00's, and current pop/indie/jazz. I retreat into the 60's when the drama lamas of the modern pop scene drive me insane. If I'm really having a rough go, I have a whole wack of gregorian chants recorded in old world castles that make wonderfully calming background.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: +1

        @Chris G; Patrick Bateman would disagree, I'm sure.

  7. LDS Silver badge

    Ads are OK. Data gathering behind my back is not.

    In a desperate attempt to save their lucrative data slurping business, many companies are trying to make people believe the internet will die because no one pays for it. But:

    1) We pay for the communication links - what will suffer would be the endpoints, which take advantage of the comm links, and just pay a part of their cost - the internet existed and worked before Facebook

    2) Ads work and can pay sites even when they are simply shown without trying to slurp any data they can behind their back, while carrying some malware because their systems were coded by cheap incompetent developers.

    3) "Pixels" and other kind of hidden beacons have nothing to do with ads - they are just plain and simple tracking and slurping techniques.

    4) Target ads aren't better than un-targeted ones, despite whatever your ad companies can tell you to extract more money from you.

    I do use ad blockers and the like to block the slurping and malware delivery - I have no issue if you use some of my screen space and bandwidth to show me a simple ad - especially and ad with useful information ("silly" things like specs and prices, for example), and not just stupid animations and effects.

    1. JimC Silver badge

      Re: Ads are OK. Data gathering behind my back is not.

      > the internet existed and worked before Facebook

      On a small scale, and heavily subsidised by government/academia in the early days.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        "On a small scale, and heavily subsidised by government"

        It looks you came late to the party. In 2005 , the internet was already very large, a lot of people already had ADSL always-on connections, and companies like Facebook took great advantage of it. Facebook would have never worked in a POTS modem internet.

        Anyway the communication infrastructure is still mostly paid by telcos and governments. Here the deploy of fiber outside telco-remunerative areas is still heavily subsidized by the government - aka taxpayers money, it's not being paid nor by Facebook nor by Google or whatever entity makes billions filling it with ads, especially since they also pay near to no taxes here.

        1. JimC Silver badge

          Re:It looks you came late to the party.

          Fair comment, I was little involved with the net before 1995.

      2. Outer mongolian custard monster from outer space (honest)

        Re: Ads are OK. Data gathering behind my back is not.

        Speak for yourself Jim, I've hosted content for free on my own servers since the late 90's, and not one single advert has ever appeared on any of the domains I'm responsible for, nor has anyone else ever paid a penny towards their upkeep.

        I did it because I was interested in the subject and it was my way of paying a little back. That's the actual spirit of the earlier internet, not trying to monetarize everything with ad's or spam youtube with stupid clickbait crap videos just to get subscribers enough to get into earning enough to not have to actually work for a living alongside your passions.

        Adverts, meh, if they *have* to be on a site, they better be obvious theyre adverts, and they better not be targetted or mr ghostery and captain adblock amongst others will be deployed. Of the very few that are honest and show relevant adverts I do even lift my adblocking solution.

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Ads are OK. Data gathering behind my back is not.

      "Target ads aren't better than un-targeted ones"

      I do think that targeted ads useful for one thing -- if I see an ad that appears targeted, it would tip me off that I'm leaking data somewhere and I need to hunt down the leak and stop it. It hasn't happened yet, but still...

    3. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Ads are OK. Data gathering behind my back is not.

      Thank you for doing all of the typing for me.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Towel ready?

    I thought towel day was 2 weeks ago

    oh well

    you should always know where your towel is

  9. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    "Me, I plan to mark the occasion by spraying myself liberally with Lynx "Sea Air" and walking around exuding an aroma akin to that of a bladderwrack-infested crab's armpit in a fishfinger factory."

    This is kinda obligatory now, isn't it.

  10. Franco Silver badge

    As I've said many times, I don't mind unobtrusive ads. E.g. I never think when I'm reading the Metro on the train that there are too many of them, but then the Metro doesn't follow me to work and show me what I was looking at on Amazon the previous night.

  11. The_H

    The thing is... it's nothing new.

    I ignored the ads in print magazines too. Take PCW which was the thing back in the day. Did any advertiser honestly think that I was going to plough through a couple of hundred pages of ads to get to the content? Because I didn't. For a while they put in a cardboard subscription form just before the real content which only served as a handy bookmark.

    The advertisers paid, 99% of the world ignored the ads, and everyone was happy.

    It's the same on Sky+. Never, ever watch the ads. That's what fast forward is for. But I, and the advertisers, are reassured that they're there for a dull moment.

    Postal mailshots? That's what the paper recycling bin is for. It keeps the printers in work, but nothing else. Cinema ads? No point, hovering outside the screen until just before the movie starts is an artform which I've developed to a serious skill.

    The only difference between the 1980's and now is that advertisers seem to want to be assured that if they lather my screen with clickbait, loud autoplay videos and irrelevant "personalised" offers, that I'm going to read them. Wrong.

    1. Fred Dibnah

      Re: The thing is... it's nothing new.

      You have to pay extra for Sky+ to give you the ability to avoid ads, which is a bit like paying subs to a website for the same thing. But at least there's an added bonus of being able to record and playback when you like. I can't see an equivalent bonus on any website so uBlock & NoScript are staying.

      1. DuchessofDukeStreet

        Re: The thing is... it's nothing new.

        I can only think of one that I know of and that's FetchEveryone, a small-ish UK-centric website/social forum focussed on running, with a bit of cycling and triathlon thrown in. Free of charge to anyone who registers with adverts on the page (well behaved and monitored adverts, but there anyway). You can take a subscription for a monthly sum that allows you to request all the adverts be turned off to you.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: The thing is... it's nothing new.

        "You have to pay extra for Sky+ to give you the ability to avoid ads, which is a bit like paying subs to a website for the same thing. "

        I don't know about Sky, but on VM cable we used to have the option to skip forward in 30 second increments, so 8 quick clicks of the skip button usually got through the ad break. Then they changed it with an update such that the skip button now fast forwards 30 seconds instead of skipping. Admittedly at the full 16x FF rate, but you still get to see the ads to some extent and some ads do seem to be designed so you still see he relevant bits. I suspect it's only a matter of time before they start selling un-skippable ad slots. But at least we don't (yet!) get the abominations that the US viewers get of animated banner ads over the program proper.

        1. Andy A

          Re: The thing is... it's nothing new.

          The likes of ITV and Channel 4 force their ads when using their catch-up services. They disable the FF key specifically.

          It's doubly annoying if you have a flaky connection, and replay gives up late in the programme. You are then forced to restart from the beginning because of their rubbish coding. Attempt to go to where you left off and you have to sit through the "ad breaks" from scratch again. Hoorah for the Mute button.

          Every Freeview PVR that I've seen allows fast forward in recorded content, where it can't spot the difference between programme and ad, so that's my preferred option.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: The thing is... it's nothing new.

            "They disable the FF key specifically."

            It doesn't take much to block that.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: The thing is... it's nothing new.

      "Postal mailshots? That's what the paper recycling bin is for."

      It's what the sender's paper recycling bin is for when their litter's been posted back to them.

      1. Chronos Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: The thing is... it's nothing new.

        It's what the sender's paper recycling bin is for when their litter's been posted back to them.

        Mix'n'match spam and prepaid envelopes. Keeps Royal Mail solvent and the spammers out of pocket. I'm sure Anglia Windows would like an MBNA credit card and MBNA would like some new-age meals on wheels and a few Farmfoods vouchers¹, so my handy pass-it-on service fills a gap in the market.

        Am I evil? Quite possibly, although all they have to do to stop it happening is leave me alone.

        ¹ The only shop in the world where the packaging is more nutritious than the food therein.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: The thing is... it's nothing new.

          Re: I'm sure Anglia Windows would like an MBNA credit card

          As a side comment, if Anglian Windows were the last glazing company in the world I'd refuse to use them. Spamming bastards of the worst kind.

          1. Chronos Silver badge

            Re: The thing is... it's nothing new.

            That's 'em. Forgot the "n" at the end, which anyway goes to show how much notice I take of spam.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: The thing is... it's nothing new.

          "Am I evil?"

          No.

    3. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: The thing is... it's nothing new.

      "Postal mailshots? That's what the paper recycling bin is for."

      I live in an apartment complex, and they keep the garbage/recycling bins right next to the mailboxes. It makes it very convenient to drop all that crap off.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: The thing is... it's nothing new.

        "I live in an apartment complex, and they keep the garbage/recycling bins right next to the mailboxes. It makes it very convenient to drop all that crap off."

        I had a great business mentor years back that taught me to bin all of the junk mail straight away on the walk back from the mail box. This included any direct mail that I wasn't eager to look at and catalogs for things I don't normally purchase. This has cut down on the mounds of paperwork cluttering up my desk and "in-tray".

        I'm not alone is shedding junk mail. The bin at the post office always seems to be very full at the end of every day.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: The thing is... it's nothing new.

          "I had a great business mentor years back that taught me to bin all of the junk mail straight away on the walk back from the mail box."

          They're getting sneaky, though. They try to disguise the junk mail as government mail, and since there can be consequences for not replying in a timely manner to government mail (say a tax audit notice), it makes things difficult. As for trying to return it, they'll probably just repackage it and RE-resend it. They have the infrastructure you lack to outwait you.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: The thing is... it's nothing new.

            "They try to disguise the junk mail as government mail, and since there can be consequences for not replying in a timely manner to government mail (say a tax audit notice), it makes things difficult."

            I have one sitting here waiting for me to take it to post (PPI bastards). It came in a brown envelope very like OHMS stuff.

            "As for trying to return it, they'll probably just repackage it and RE-resend it. They have the infrastructure you lack to outwait you."

            However it had a return envelope inside to send it back. If everyone did that that they really wouldn't be able to cope. Their infrastructure will be set up to handle a small percentage of returns. Overwhelming that means that they would lose their genuine responses.

            1. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: The thing is... it's nothing new.

              "Their infrastructure will be set up to handle a small percentage of returns."

              As are their bank accounts.

              "Overwhelming that means that they would lose their genuine responses."

              Or worse. Not paying Royal Mail isn't a good idea.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: The thing is... it's nothing new.

          "The bin at the post office always seems to be very full at the end of every day."

          The news and magazine stand at our local supermarket as a special bin right next to it into which you can dump all the loose adverts. It's reduced the amount of litter in the car park by quite a significant amount :-)

          1. bombastic bob Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: The thing is... it's nothing new.

            "The news and magazine stand at our local supermarket as a special bin right next to it into which you can dump all the loose adverts"

            and all of that stuff is easily recycled, so it's convenient as well.

            I worked at a drug store when I was in H.S. and college, and there was a box bailing hydraulic press that was used for recycling all of the boxes. Similar deal, just have them pick up the contents of the 'loose advertising' bins at the same time. Everybody wins (except for the ad slingers).

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: The thing is... it's nothing new.

        "It makes it very convenient to drop all that crap off."

        At election times if a party worker comes delivering bumf when I'm working outside I'm often tempted to point to the green bin.

        (OT A few years back instead of the usual single sheet of most parties the Greens produced a multi-page newsletter. Whoever delivered that one couldn't even be arsed to put it in the letter box or even get as far as the doorstep.. They simply dropped it as litter on the path So much for green.)

      3. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: The thing is... it's nothing new.

        "and they keep the garbage/recycling bins right next to the mailboxes."

        Read or not, by dropping it in your own recycling bin, you're carrying the disposal costs of their garbage.

        Mailing it back to them means they get to eat the cost. Postage due is even better.

    4. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: The thing is... it's nothing new.

      I did/do read the adverts in magazines, when I'm actually looking for something - it's one data source. And if I'm not in the market for a product I might still glance at an advert that appears attractive and doesn't get in the way of my reading the journal. I don't read magazines that force adverts on us by splitting articles into (contd. on page 37).

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: The thing is... it's nothing new.

        "I did/do read the adverts in magazines, when I'm actually looking for something - it's one data source"

        The trade magazines that I get, I generally skip the editorial content and look through the ads. I see them as perfect targeted ads. They aren't being shoved in my face when I don't have time for them and they tend to be more concise. If something catches my eye, I can visit their website for more information.

  12. Alan Sharkey

    Quite a sensible discussion

    For a Friday.

    I agree - I like the internet being "free" and will put up with the ads and data slurping. As I am now a poor pensioner (thank you DEC, for your final salary pension scheme), I do need to know what my outgoings are - and having "free" internet does help.

    Alan

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Quite a sensible discussion

      " I do need to know what my outgoings are - and having "free" internet does help."

      Any budget is easier to manage if the outgoings are fixed. It doesn't matter if some weeks you would be better off with some form of PAYG. As long as the overall amount is affordable then it avoids nasty surprises.

      In the days of internet dial-up any downloads had to be considered carefully. Not only could large ones take a long time - but often they aborted after a long period - and you had to start again.

      Google Maps are going to a PAYG system for even light usage sites. I use about six map loads a week unless I am developing enhancements - then it might go to about 30. Google now want my credit card to cover each map load. They promise a "free" threshold of $200. No way am I going to have my credit card held hostage.

      They could have a PayPal annual subscription of some small amount with a built-in cap which I would choose whether to renew - no automatic renewals.

  13. Warm Braw Silver badge

    Short-lived but well-received

    Sounds like that other over-used euphemism, "critical success". In the end, it doesn't really matter whether you depend on subscribers or advertisers - you have to have a large enough readership * income-per-reader to cover your costs. That's always meant rationing and dumbing-down content in the interests of containing costs and maximising revenue.

    The problem with advertising on the Internet is that it doesn't actually generate much income - either for the publisher or the traditional advertister (the intermediaries seem to do OK...) - so the traditional compromises have been taken to an extreme: clickbait content and scam advertisements.

    I think we just have to accept that journalism is following music down the road to being an almost entirely amateur activity.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Short-lived but well-received

      "The problem with advertising on the Internet is that it doesn't actually generate much income - either for the publisher or the traditional advertister (the intermediaries seem to do OK...)"

      As I keep saying: the only thing the advertising industry sells is advertising. It's the only thing they're interested in selling.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Short-lived but well-received

      "I think we just have to accept that journalism is following music down the road to being an almost entirely amateur activity."

      This, in spades. Applies to basically all forms of publishing. (YouTube's amateur content matches most of the output of "proper" TV stations. Academic publishers are facing a revolt from their own content providers in many fields. Even the porn appears to be free.)

      Yes, you lose the editorial quality control and that does mean you get an awful lot of dross (and in the case of porn, probably a fair proportion that is criminal evidence), but if we can find new ways of sorting or searching by (our personal measures of) quality then this won't matter (except for the criminal bit -- I think we ought to be worried about that).

      You may also lose the possibility of investigative journalism, which would suit the rich and powerful, but the internet appears to be offering a replacement in the form of millions of individuals who are willing to publish and be damned. It is not clear to me that we'll actually be worse off -- just different.

      1. earl grey Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Short-lived but well-received

        "and in the case of porn, probably a fair proportion that is criminal evidence"

        Damn straight. Those dancing bear vids are proof that someone is having a better time than i am.

    3. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Short-lived but well-received

      "we just have to accept that journalism is following music down the road to being an almost entirely amateur activity."

      Hmm... the amateur music scene is producing the best music you can get these days. Maybe the same would happen with journalism?

  14. bobsmith2016

    Incompetent Over-Promoted Wanker Tells Me How To Do My Job Wednesday.

    I work in education. This happens most days.

    1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

      Everyday....

      "Incompetent Over-Promoted Wanker Tells Me How To Do My Job Wednesday."

      Round here it's every day ending in a y....

  15. clayusmcret

    Having adverts has never been the issue. Having so many adverts that you can't find what you're looking at is and always will be the problem. Used to be you'd load a page and there might be one or a couple advertisements along the edges. Then there were more, then there were more than the original article (screen percentage). Then they started also adding pop-ups to the existing number of ads. Then, then, then....... Finally I said screw it and got a pop-up blocker. Then the pop-up blocker got a conscience (read as they cornered him in a back alley) and the pop-up blocker got a huge white list....so I dumped it for another. And will again. Charge me a fee to get to the internet and be done with it. Oh wait, they already do.

  16. Lee D Silver badge

    I pay for content. I paid for shareware. Everything from WinZIP/PKZip to Z80 Spectrum emulator (Gerton Lunter).

    I pay for my movies. I pay for my games. I pay for my applications. I pay all required and proper licensing. Hell, I paid for my AVATAR that I use on websites... literally the image I upload in the "user avatar" box on forums that support that. I paid for it. I literally have the email that proves I can use it for the purposes I use it for, from the original artists. I paid for every artist-created pixel I use in the games I write, every font, every MIDI note, every library that requires it (but I tend to be open-source).

    And I don't object to advertising. But I object to this:

    - Imagine the Internet doesn't exist, but "Internet ads" pervade other media that we used to be familiar with.

    - The front page of your "free" newspaper has a huge headline and "continued on page 3". You can't turn to page 3 of your newspaper without inserting a card that you only get by subscribing. Newspaper goes in the bin.

    - You turn on your TV but before it will let you change to ITV, you have to sit through 30 seconds of ADDITIONAL adverts. If you switch back to Channel 4, they throw adverts at you again. And then back to ITV and you have to wait another 30 seconds. Oh, and the volume control is disabled and you can't do anything else while the 30 seconds is happening. Oh, and the normal program adverts are still in there half-way through the program too.

    - Additionally, 1/3rd of your TV screen is just constant flashing, blinking, repetitive adverts at all times, no matter what you're watching, usually adverts for bigger TVs.

    - The post comes through. It has the usual junk mail. But when you try to dispose of it, it jumps back out of the bin and tries to jump in front of your eyes again. It does this several dozen times. Every time you read the advert, however, it automatically grabs you by the ears and tries to make you stare at other adverts in the area. Sometimes it tries to mug you for your credit card or phone.

    I'm not sure we'd tolerate those.

    Additionally, the simple fact of the matter is: I won't pay just to access a website. Especially not websites that do things I don't care about, and don't cover enough stuff I do care about. It would be like asking me to subscribe to a knitting magazine.

    Honestly, I wouldn't pay for The Reg. It's a nice forum. There's good discussion. The occasional article is interesting. But I wouldn't pay £1 a month for it. I'm really struggling to think of ANY of my usual websites where I'd do that. I bought a subscription to Slashdot once. I bought a subscription to SoylentNews once. I paid for LWN.net subscription once. I reckon it would work out between 1p and 10p a year for those sites, overall, and that was because at the time I was on them multiple times every day and found them really engaging. But... I wouldn't pay 10p a year for any site, I wouldn't pay 10p a year for Slashdot any more, and I wouldn't pay 10p a year to a whole bunch of other things that I use a lot more often. I probably wouldn't pay 10p a year to access BBC News (ignore anything about TV Licence, etc.).

    I might pay a few quid a year to access iPlayer, however. No different to Netflix, TVPlayer, Amazon Prime, etc. But I don't pay to access my Google Play at all. I've paid for titles, but not for access.

    Not everything has a "right" to make money, no matter how much effort goes into it. When a multi-million-dollar blockbuster movie employing thousands of people has me umming and arring over a £5 DVD purchase (hell I even nearly didn't use a £3 cinema ticket recently until I realised I could watch Deadpool 2 with it, and even then it was a close-run thing) what makes you think I'm going to pay fractions of that for literally half-an-hour of a journalist's time on a short, non-techy article that's often beaten by some funny guy pounding out on a blog for free?

    I'm glad The Reg exists, but if it didn't others would. They always did, long before the days of online advertising, and probably always will. It'll be amateurs who get popular and then it turns into a job and then ten years later they realise it's become unsustainable and they move on, and then someone else will pop up, and so on.

    My brother used to make a Scouting site that got more hits than the official Scouting sites for basically all of the 2000's. He never charged a penny, it was a labour of love, and it was serious amounts of expertise and information used to create a very popular and useful resource. Advertising got him a deal with Millets and Blacks and places like that for a couple of hundred pounds a year, and then Google ads knocked it out of the park overnight but still it wasn't more than a few hundred a year. To be honest, I don't think if you added it up it would cover even the hosting costs over its lifetime, even subsidised as they were by a very charitable commercial hosting company.

    Content just isn't in the realm of being worth paying for. People might pay for a newspaper - what? 50p? It's a long time since I had to buy one, as I only ever read The Metro if I'm stuck on a train and otherwise I use online resources. Let's say that 50p a day to one company is the absolute most people will pay for all their news content. It just means that there's too many players for anyone to ever make money on that basis.

    Sorry, but if advertising works: Good for you. Keep it sensible and out of my way and some other mug in an advertising brokers somewhere will pay you to write a blog and call yourself a journalist. Cool, for us all.

    If it doesn't work: Nobody else is going to pay for this stuff.

    Now the exception MIGHT be - and I can't see it ever happening - if a bunch of popular sites/services all got together and said "if you pay £5 a year, you get access to all these sites..." and it included a bunch of things that I could see myself using... then it's possible I'd do it. I'd have to get as many hours of entertainment / information out of it as any other service, but it's more viable that way. And, crucially, it would have to involve multiple rivals sites that are in direct competition with each other - the sites I go on to find the stuff that The Reg doesn't cover, or covers the other side of, etc.

    So... don't complain about advertising. It buoys up a lot. But it's in no way necessary that I have to feel grateful or somehow change how I consume advertising in order to allow that. If advertising changed (and online advertising has been very nasty at times), or the content quality dips even a fraction, then I just stop consuming that content. It's not the end of the world at all.

    And as one of the only people on the planet who bothered to pay for WinZIP or my online avatar, you can be sure I'm one of the people most likely to give money for things I find useful.

    As time goes by, it's only going to get worse. Open communication means that the traditional media etc. industries are going to get more and more stretched. When something happens now, do I just read BBC News coverage and nothing else? Far from it. I will dig into everything from major news channels, to Twitter accounts of those involved, to official statements from those involved, to commentary from random people, etc. I take it all with a pinch of salt but it's the only way to get all sides.

    When Spectre/Meltdown hits, do I just pop on the Reg to see what everyone else did? No. I'm all over multiple resources.

    As children grow up in that environment, they are not going to pay to see things any more. It's already alien to pay for TV to most of them. Podcasts are basically "free radio". They skip adverts routinely. They share Netflix with all their mates. And so on. Nobody's going to pay for content no matter how much you beg.

    When there are millions of content producers, convincing millions of people to pay for even one of them is extremely difficult to do, and not likely to net much. But when the advertising dries up, the only thing that will die is commercially-reliant stuff. All the big business. All the hobbyists/enthusiasts/interesting people will still be around.

    The advertising world toyed with micro-transactions but I can't imagine a microtransaction that you could charge to pay for this article, for instance. Or my comment (which may well be longer than the article - and I did it for free!). You'd literally be into fractions of thousandths of pennies. Because otherwise my daily media bill would be through the roof.

    (Ironically: People are still paying £100 a month for their Sky... I can't work that out at all).

    Enjoy it while it lasts. But don't expect to guilt me into enjoying being subjected to it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: People are still paying £100 a month for their Sky

      Don't you mean 'suckers'?

      There is so much 'new' content these days, you'd have to watch the TV 24/7 just to keep up.

      All my TV is via a Humax Freesat PVR. Pay for Sky or Virgin or Amazon? ROFL. I can go and watch a better game of footie on my local park for free than paying silly money for Premier League stuff.

      {Off to the Post Office to get my pension and then over to the H&G for a pint}

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "and said "if you pay £5 a year, you get access to all these sites..." and it included a bunch of things that I could see myself using... then it's possible I'd do it."

      In the old days newsgroups - rather than web pages - were a major source of everything. It soon became obvious that only a few big players had the resources to catch all the postings in all the possible groups. That was worth a subscription to give access to as many groups as you could afford the time (and ISP dial-up charges) to follow.

      The only advertising was from spammers who gradually flooded the unmoderated popular groups. Some of them were reputable companies who had outsourced control of their internet advertising to less than scrupulous outlets. The damage to their brand names was probably considerable.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "In the old days newsgroups - rather than web pages - were a major source of everything. It soon became obvious that only a few big players had the resources to catch all the postings in all the possible groups. That was worth a subscription"

        Until recently I paid a subscription for a newsgroup service as, unlike the ISP bundled service they did a reasonable job of spam filtering. A few months ago one of my regular groups started to get lots of spam which they failed to filter. I didn't renew the subscription. I do, of course, still pay for newsgroups - it's part of my ISP sub.

        1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

          A couple of weeks ago I found soc.history.what-if blocked by Google Groups and my ISP for "being a source of spam, malware or other malicious content", destroying decades of interesting content.

    3. Anonymous Coward
  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Make a start yourself, El Reg

    I would have far less of an issue with stats gathering if El Reg would switch to Matomo (formerly Piwik) so THEY get the stats (anonymised) and no 3rd party outfit that could sell their mother if there was a buck/quid in it. In addition, it respects Do Not Track out of the box.

    Ditto for ads. Do I mind ads? Yes, because they have gone from an image or animation of something something I could possible interested in to full blocks of uncontrolled code that has way too much control over my browser and insight of what I look at on a site to be permitted to run on my computer - and ad providers have to date made very little effort to clean up their act.

    The advertising world really created their own problem, and greed generally gets followed by karma. Or, in this case, ad blockers..

  18. RyokuMas Silver badge
    Stop

    Nope...

    "People seem to be getting terribly upset at the shocking discovery that Google, Facebook and in fact everyone else online makes money from advertising..."

    As has been the theme so far, it's having their every move tracked that people are getting terribly upset about - just look at the comments for anything on here that mentions Microsoft for example. And the worst thing is that these are often the same people who signed up for all the "free stuff"...

    And, as has been mentioned, there are then the popup/video/full page background etc ads....

    Until ads are blocked from delivering anything more than static text/images positioned below the page content and tracking pixels etc are a thing of the past, my blockers stay on.

  19. ZanzibarRastapopulous

    Beeping, flashing and semi-naked women...

    Are the core reasons for adblock to be honest.

    If the online press had insisted on a straight image with nothing dodgy for ads then we'd still see them.

    1. Killfalcon Silver badge

      Re: Beeping, flashing and semi-naked women...

      As fond as the advert reselling market is of saying "if we can't advertise, sites won't get paid", people have been saying since the 90's "if adverts don't stop being annoying, people will start blocking them".

      They ignored us (because they were primarily concerned with out-competing each other with increasingly effective attention-grabbing techniques), we're ignoring them (because once the blockers got written and worked, people realised that life was suddenly better), and now everything is collapsing in a fire. Moral is: consider your incentives or the system will produce unwanted results.

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Beeping, flashing and semi-naked women...

      Maybe. But for my part, I would much prefer noisy, flashing porn ads that don't track me over small, quiet, tasteful ads that do.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Beeping, flashing and semi-naked women...

      Is it the semi- bit you object to?

  20. Admiral Grace Hopper

    National Shite Day

    Half Man Half Biscuit have had this covered for a while with National Shite Day.

    They have also suggest holding an awareness week for awareness weeks.

    1. a pressbutton
      Pint

      Re: National Shite Day

      Sir, have my and hopefully many other upvotes for that link

      And a beer

  21. fluffybunnyuk

    Too little, too late for advertisers

    The problem is always abuse. Advertising companies have been abusing and spamming for years. Its like an arms race i.e. how can we abuse/spam more. Now its reached a tipping point and people are rebelling.

    At the moment on el reg website im blocking dpmsrv,google-analytics,gstatic,googletagservices ie anything that isnt theregister.co.uk .

    If El Reg dumped the crappy scripts tomorrow and said ok we're going to serve up ads straight, minimally, and not interfering in the direct page flow, i would whitelist them in a second.

    On a side note, any advertising i see, i make a mental note NOT to buy their product. I rationalise it as if they need to advertise it then it cant be much good as a product.

    I remember the day i browsed the entire www in one hour (start of the 1990s). I dont recall any advertising then. I dont recall people moaning about how much it costs to run a web server.

    I do remember the mid to late 90s advert creep when advertisers "discovered" the internet, and i used to add them to my firewall block list. Since then ive had an ad free internet.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Too little, too late for advertisers

      "I remember the day i browsed the entire www in one hour (start of the 1990s). I dont recall any advertising then."

      They were busy spamming the popular unmoderated newsgroups. Big companies outsourced their advertising on the new medium to "specialist" agencies - without realising the brand name damage that would result.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Too little, too late for advertisers

        outsourced their advertising on the new medium to "specialist" agencies - without realising the brand name damage that would result

        Much like the current mania for having major public sites like the BBC hosting their user-facing social stuff on sewers like Facebook. Are they really happy with the reputational damamge that will inevitably be caused when the rancid droppings infesting Facebook get publically outed?

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: Too little, too late for advertisers

          Are they really happy with the reputational damamge that will inevitably be caused when the rancid droppings infesting Facebook get publically outed?

          Since it's all about quarterly profits, they won't care until the crap hits the fan. Then they'll scramble and try something different.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Too little, too late for advertisers

        "They were busy spamming the popular unmoderated newsgroups."

        And email, via unsecured mailservers.

        Spammers were costing ISPs thousands per month in bandwidth charges thanks to the relaying antics but the real attention-getter was when AT&T had to spend around $60million for an emergency rollout of mailservers to cope with the incoming volumes. I was surprised at that point that it wasn't treated as criminal denial of service attacks and prosecuted accordingly.

    2. matjaggard

      Re: Too little, too late for advertisers

      Why shouldn't El Reg get some advertising revenue? And surely they need to know which articles are most popular with various demographics?

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Too little, too late for advertisers

        "And surely they need to know which articles are most popular with various demographics?"

        Why?

      2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Too little, too late for advertisers

        "Why shouldn't El Reg get some advertising revenue?"

        Because the ads they use to generate that revenue actually make the site too slow for my browser to load an article, so I can't actually read the content that is being paid for. At least, that was how bad things had become when I stopped white-listing them. And here's the rub -- I'm never going to switch the whitelist back on to see whether things have got better because, frankly, I have better things to do with my life than act as as unpaid parole officer.

        "And surely they need to know which articles are most popular with various demographics?"

        I don't see why. They may need to know which articles are most popular, but their web server's logs will tell them that. Breaking it down further means identifying and tracking people on this site and then correlating that with spying done on other web-sites to determine the overall demographic. Advertising managed for a century or more without actually having *that* level of detail, so I don't think this is really necessary either.

        And anyway, unless the advertisers control the PC I'm using to browse, they only get the demographic information that I choose to share, so their much-vaunted analysis is basically dividing the population into "can use an ad-blocker" and "can't use an ad-blocker".

      3. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Too little, too late for advertisers

        "Why shouldn't El Reg get some advertising revenue?"

        I have no problem with El Reg (or anyone) getting ad revenue. Just don't spy on me. If a site wants demographics, they can ask people to fill out questionnaires. But they should not provide that data ("anonymized" or not) to any other entities.

      4. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Too little, too late for advertisers

        And surely they need to know which articles are most popular with various demographics?

        Simple solution: page hit count. Been done in the past by many.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Too little, too late for advertisers

          "Simple solution: page hit count. Been done in the past by many."

          An even better metric is the number of comments.

    3. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Too little, too late for advertisers

      > I dont recall people moaning about how much it costs to run a web server.

      Anyone else remember the dire warnings when posting to Usenet?

      "Your message will cost the net hundreds if not thousands of dollars to send everywhere. Please be sure you know what you are doing. Are you absolutely sure that you want to do this? [y / n]"

      Icon is nearest thing to old fart I could find...

  22. Greencat

    No problem with ads...

    ....as I never see any of them. Very occasionally, I'll have reason to load a browser to view a page without an adblocker - and then I'll realise why I've got one installed. There are some utterly obnoxious ads out there.

    The thing is I was quite happy with the early internet banner ads. They felt equivalent to a newspaper ad. Fairly unobtrusive, usually irrelevant and ignorable.

    Between boringly obvious but breathlessly written opinion pieces, lists, clickbait, autoplaying videos etc - most web based digital content is not worth the electricity consumption or your attention - never mind turning off the adblocker/paying a subscription/micropayment for. At best, it's mildly diverting.

    I know a few journalists and it seems something like a Brave New World race to bottom content and payment wise. That's a shame, but I don't see an obvious solution.

  23. adfh

    I wouldn't mind the ads if I knew they weren't potentially carrying malware... there's so much automated brokering going on between publisher and advertiser, that no one can really be sure where something's coming from at a specific instant.

  24. JcRabbit

    This generation has decided not to pay for anything

    Yep, that's why it is called the 'entitled' generation. They think they are all 'special' (yeah, special snowflakes, unique just like all the other snowflakes lol) because their parents kept telling them so, and now they think the rest of the world owes them something.

    As a software developer who makes Windows desktop applications and sells them to the general public, I know this only too well. Well, guess it could be worse, I could be a Linux developer. ;)

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: This generation has decided not to pay for anything

      "As a software developer who makes Windows desktop applications..."

      Oh come on. Up until then it was just trolling, but do you honestly think people pay to put software on a desktop nowadays and that being a viable income stream?

      If it's not web/cloud, nobody's going to bother unless it's something niche and high-end (e.g. needs some serious processing / GPU usage, etc.).

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: This generation has decided not to pay for anything

        "If it's not web/cloud, nobody's going to bother"

        Be careful with that broad brush -- I pay cash money for software, but I will never pay a dime for (or use) anything cloudy. So, someone's going to bother.

    2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: This generation has decided not to pay for anything

      Perhaps they haven't so much "decided" not to pay as "can't afford" to pay - because they're not being paid enough, thanks to the "gig" economy and all that goes with it?

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: This generation has decided not to pay for anything

        Maybe they just don't want to pay for stuff they don't want.

        Like bandwidth allowance being consumed by crap irrelevant adverts that only destroy goodwill for the company trying to advertise.

        I've started experiencing page content that won't load because it's waiting for the ad broker service. So it's a waste of time too. Sometime when the ad covers all the content, I just hit the back button leave forever.

        This is why ad revenue is going down, because it'snot as good an advertising medium as expected. Because it pisses people off.

      2. JimC Silver badge

        Re: so much "decided" not to pay as "can't afford" to pay

        Well, this is how money works. If no one pays for anything no-one gets paid for anything.

    3. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: This generation has decided not to pay for anything

      "Yep, that's why it is called the 'entitled' generation"

      No, it's not. It's called that because of the long-held tradition for each generation to think the younger generation consists of a bunch a worthless shits. It's never been true before, and it isn't now.

      As near as anyone can tell from actual data, the "millennials" work harder, with less complaining and less compensation, than the generation that birthed them.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: This generation has decided not to pay for anything

        As near as anyone can tell from actual data, the "millennials" work harder, with less complaining and less compensation, than the generation that birthed them.

        I believe this, and this is why I'm so disappointed with them. ...... :)

  25. Chewi

    Computer Life

    Didn't know you were involved with that. I bought one issue, the one that was almost entirely about DOOM and it was one of the best magazine issues I ever bought and certainly the most memorable.

    As for your stance on ads, I think you're right on the money. I don't use ad blockers on principle.

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Computer Life

      Was the Doom issue the one where we put a video on the CD of one of our writers running around the office at night, filmed from a first-person viewpoint?

      1. Chewi

        Re: Computer Life

        It included the winning entry for a competition to do the best home-made DOOM video. I recall some kid shouting "you got the super shotgun!" and his Dad doing some heavy breathing while standing on a green piece of paper. *lol*

        The cover disk featured huge a collection of DOOM maps harvested from various BBS's at the time.

        I am starting to wonder whether I've got mixed up with a different magazine. Hopefully not. I definitely got Computer Life at one point at least.

        1. Alistair Dabbs

          Re: Computer Life

          Yes, I was CD editor at the time and sysop for the CLIFE Compuserve forum. The former was well-paid but a legal nightmare. The latter was barely paid but enormously fun.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sorry, but no.

    I'm running ad blockers on all my devices and will continue to do so. No whitelists: I don't like adverts and don't want to see them. If you've got to move to a non-ad funded business model, so be it. As a consumer, I'll decide if you're worth it; as simple as that. If websites have to shut down, then so be it also.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sorry, but no.

      Every ecosystem contains parasites...

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        Re: Sorry, but no.

        You can't be a parasite if people are giving away free food that you choose to eat.

        If you don't want people to consume without paying, make it pay-for. Then watch how nobody cares enough to pay for it.

        Literally, your "value" as this kind of site is greater to the advertiser than it is to the readers.

        And your content isn't good enough for people to pay for.

        This isn't an insult - the same is true of billions of sites. Including all my own, anything I've ever written etc. It would be nice to be paid for the tutorials, software, in-depth researched articles, etc. that I've wrote for all kinds of subjects over the years. But if I relied on that, I would literally be permanently unemployed.

        My father-in-law is a published author. 30-something books to his name, published over 30+ years, with big-name publishers, one of them was a "standard text" for over a decade. It's a game when I got to a bookshop or library to find one of his books and it's (usually) possible, even in foreign languages.

        You know how much he makes? A pittance. He makes more money from Amazon Kindle than any of his agent-published books, and he describes that as "enough to have a coffee in a cafe each day".

        If he can't make a living on selling content, and that's after 30 years of effort, then for sure some blog-writer or article-submitter isn't going to, and neither is a website facilitating that for "free" to its users.

        People won't pay to read an opinion.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Sorry, but no.

        "Every ecosystem contains parasites."

        You mean like advertisers who use the bandwidth that users paid for to send them ads they don't want for things they don't want just so the advertising industry can con the advertisers* into paying them to do that?

        * Strictly speaking, of course, it's not the advertisers paying, its the advertiser's customers who actually want the product, might well have bought it without the adverts but, because of the advertising tax, are having to pay more.

  27. NukEvil
    Thumb Down

    "The 'net ain't free and you ain't paying"

    I'm paying $75/month for satellite internet and $115/month for a dodgy cellular connection with extremely poor signal (and that's with a signal booster) because I literally cannot get any other type of internet connection in the wasteland. Yes, I AM paying for internet.

    1. matjaggard

      But you're not paying the people producing the content, you're paying a reasonable price for a crazy amount of connection due to your location. Move somewhere sensible and stop being a parasite.

      1. NukEvil

        If people want me to pay them for producing their content, they can either throw up a paywall or put their content in a medium that's not readily and "freely" accessible, such as a magazine or a physical storage device, such as a CD. I'm not having ads bog down my connections and waste what little data plan I'm able to pay for just so someone else can make money off of my misfortune. If I want to pay twice just to access a website, then I'll choose to pay twice.

        P.S. That "crazy amount of connection" you refer to? It's not even considered broadband by most industry standards. You think I chose to live here? I'm literally not allowed to leave, except to go to work. So stuff your "parasite" argument firmly where it belongs.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          re you think i choose to live here?

          "You think I chose to live here? I'm literally not allowed to leave, except to go to work. So stuff your "parasite" argument firmly where it belongs."

          Are you in a open prison with dody mobile payg 2.5g connection or something?

          1. NukEvil

            Re: re you think i choose to live here?

            No. I am in a part of a country where mobility and connection options are extremely limited. Sure, the job pays well, but what's the point when what you want to buy is literally not available to purchase?

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Move somewhere sensible and stop being a parasite.

        There's a pretty good case to be made here that the ad industry is the parasite here..

      3. David Nash Silver badge

        Please don't make both a comment I agree with and one I disagree with in the same post...I can't upvote and downvote!

    2. rmason Silver badge

      @NukEvil

      you pay a company to give you access to the internet.

      You don't "pay for the internet".

      That's sort of the point of the article.

      1. NukEvil

        The point of the article is idiotic, as an entire market has sprung up in response to the ads that constantly ruin the experience of those who browse the internet. So those of us who pay hilarious amounts of money for small data plans want those small data plans to last for the month, and we do NOT want those data plans wasted by automatically-loading and loud videos, flashing graphics suddenly appearing and dancing right in front of what I was just reading, and pointless, malware-infested advertisements bothering my antivirus. I pay for access to the internet, I experience the internet how I choose; therefore, I pay for the internet.

      2. werdsmith Silver badge

        I guess that the people accusing others of being parasites are the ones that depend on ad revenue for employment. And the parasites are the ones that are trying to avoid having their browsing experienced ruined by the people who depend on ad revenue.

        Parasites that you would like to force feed. They will only regurgitate it and hate you.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          as the AC who made the parasite comment

          No, I have no connection with the advertising industry and loathe it and all its works. Indeed at best its a arguably necessary evil, and at worse it too is parasitic. One only has to look at lets do evil Google and their desire that creative people should do everything for free and only big advertising is allowed to make money.

          But If I don't want to see advertising the choice is mine. I simply don't visit any advertising supported sites, and there are still plenty around, indeed I run some.

          But if I want to consume the content of advertising supported sites without seeing the damn advertising that makes me a parasite. Arguably if you claim that you hate advertising, but visit sites that rely on advertising to make money then that makes you a hypocrite too.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: as the AC who made the parasite comment

            "But if I want to consume the content of advertising supported sites without seeing the damn advertising that makes me a parasite. Arguably if you claim that you hate advertising, but visit sites that rely on advertising to make money then that makes you a hypocrite too."

            Don't want mosquitos? Throw up a screen. If not enough wish to click through your ad wall, then perhaps your content is not worth keeping on the Web. Either pony up yourself or go away.

            Perhaps if more people start calling out, "Stop the Internet! I want to get off!" and go back to Time Magazine and the Sears catalog, attrition will finally start seeing the Internet cleaned up...

          2. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: as the AC who made the parasite comment

            But if I want to consume the content of advertising supported sites without seeing the damn advertising that makes me a parasite. Arguably if you claim that you hate advertising, but visit sites that rely on advertising to make money then that makes you a hypocrite too.

            No, it would make me a constructive critic. I'm telling these deluded people that their advertising is counterproductive. If they could do their advertising in a way that pleases people then it would be more effective and their business would improve. At the moment the earnings from ads is falling and I believe it is because of their approach.

            Using an ugly word like "parasite" sounds like an attempt to inflame. At the very least it's sanctimonious. And very wrong.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Using an ugly word like "parasite" sounds like an attempt to inflame.

              I studied ecology at college. A parasite can be defined as a creature which consumes from a host and delivers nothing in return. I don't know a better word.

              In many ways I loathe the advertising model for web income, and arguably its a deal with the devil that we, the demos, should never have made. Admittedly in the early days it wasn't the thing it is now. We believed Google's schmuck about "Do No evil" for far too long. Worse still so did they. A bad guy who thinks he's a good guy is quite an issue. However as I choose to consume advertising supported content at home then I believe I am morally obliged to have the damn stuff occupying my screen.

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          "I guess that the people accusing others of being parasites are the ones that depend on ad revenue for employment. "

          That wouldn't surprise me.

          I've spent thousands on "targetted advertising" (print and online media) and I can assure everyone that a small cheap untargetted static advert in the right location will usually get better results than something large, flashy and "editorialised".

          The saying that "half of my advertising is useless" is wrong. It's more like 90%

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm fine with ads as long as they are static and not making any noise. Can't stand anything moving in the corner of my eye!

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "I'm fine with ads as long as they are static and not making any noise. Can't stand anything moving in the corner of my eye!"

      That was my point of view until a site I use quite a lot repeatedly showed a jiggling animated GIF. That's when ad-blocking went in and it's stayed in. It's a shame for that site but if the couldn't or wouldn't curate their ads then that's the consequence.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        " That's when ad-blocking went in and it's stayed in."

        This is a big problem for advertisers. It takes just one bad apple to persuade a user to take the trouble to learn how to block ads and the easiest form of block is a blanket ban. To make it worse, unblocking is a separate job with no motivation, because no-one has ever thought "This ad-free web page needs slower loading times and intrusive distractions.", so it doesn't happen.

        So one bad ad experience means the whole industry gets blocked, forever.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          "It takes just one bad apple"

          There are good ones?

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          "It takes just one bad apple to persuade a user to take the trouble to learn how to block ads"

          It takes more than one:

          There's the one who came up with the irritation

          And the ones (plural) who failed to filter that shit from getting displayed to the enduser.

          The moment you farm out your adverts to a third party (banner farms, etc), you're putting _your_ image at risk. Newspapers/magazines used to be (and still are) fairly careful about what goes into print media and take care to ensure it's not going to alienate readers. They can and will refuse inappropriate adverts. It's still your company's image at stake even if it's "only a web page"

          There's _zero_ excuse for walking away from that duty of care for online publishing and if you allow an advertiser to run offensive adverts or serve up malware then it's _your_ responsibility for the consequences. Your website, you curate it.

          IANAL, but I'm sure there are some here who could weigh in on the liabilties if a 3rd party banner on my website served up malware to visitors - and I'm pretty sure they'd be telling me that farming the banner content out to a 3rd party doesn't reduce my culpability if it occurs. At the very least the legal costs have a potential to be crippling.

  29. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    To ad, or not to vert...

    ..Me, I'd rather pay a few quid to get content I can trust. Failing that, I'll put up with the adverts...

    I'd rather it was all free, and as a result there was far less of it, and what there was was crap.

    You see, in the dim and distant days before the 1980s, I used to go to libraries and educate myself about things. That meant that, in conversation, I knew things and the rest of my friends didn't.

    Sometimes I wondered why they never seemed to hang around for long......?

    But now, EVERYBODY has an opinion dredged up from the net. A wrong opinion, but they come fully supported with biased evidence and inaccurate data, and it takes me AGES to explain where they are wrong. And only then do they bugger off...

    It was easier in teh old days...

  30. AntiSol

    You brought this on yourselves

    The thing is, we didn't install adblock until you started fucking us by tracking our every move and plastering every pixel of our screens with garbage while sucking up our bandwidth and causing our ears to bleed with your autoplay videos.

    In response to your actions, we installed ad blockers. And now we have a vastly improved experience much closer to the one we had 25 years ago before there was advertising on the internet. Note, however, that we didn't install ad blockers 24 years ago, that didn't happen until you abused our trust. We did this in response to your actions.

    And the thing is, now our Internet experience is much, much better. Now, we're used to zero ads. So in order to get us to tolerate any level of advertising at all you're going to have to work very hard. Frankly, I don't know if it's possible - I don't miss ads at all and I can't see any way you could incentivise me to endure them again. One thing I cal tell you is that being forceful about it is NOT the answer - If you're going to put your stuff behind a paywall, No problem, I'll just look at someone else's stuff (assuming I can't get past the laughable security on your paywall in 30 seconds). There's no shortage of content, and despite your predictions of impending doom there never will be.

    Perhaps a better option for you is to start a patreon or similar and concentrate on not being obnoxious and intrusive and instead deliver content of high enough quality that people want to pay for it voluntarily. There are already plenty of creators doing quite well for themselves with this method. I'm sure there are other ways, too.

    Or maybe you'll just die out. There's a term for that: Natural selection. And you know what? If that happens, whatever replaces you in your niche will probably be more fit to survive.

    But your tales of woe and boo-hooing are not going to change anything, they fall on deaf ears. You fired the first salvo in an arms race you were never going to win because you are hopelessly outclassed. We did this in response to your actions.

    1. emullinsabq

      Re: You brought this on yourselves

      exactly.

      "Perhaps a better option for you is to start a patreon ... There are already plenty of creators doing quite well for themselves with this method"

      They don't believe that-- they can't. Then they would have to accept that their own content is crap.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: You brought this on yourselves

      "So in order to get us to tolerate any level of advertising at all you're going to have to work very hard. Frankly, I don't know if it's possible "

      Actually, it's quite simple. Either the site hosts a set of paid for adverts which it serves up, or it hosts server-side scripts which pull in the ads to serve "live". They may not get the same level of "analytics" they are used to but they get to know you saw the ad and if you clicked on it, which all they really need to know to get paid.

      The side effect is that it makes it much harder for the users to block the ads, but it also makes the site directly responsible for the content they serve and so need to choose there advertising broker with care. Got malware from an ad? Blame the site owner who served it. It's up to them to make sure they don't and to have a contract with the ad broker covering this if they want the ad broker to pay the damages. The same applies to any 3rd party javascripts. If you can't write it or buy it in and host it yourself, then don't use it. 3rd party hosted scripts often call scripts from other parties and so on down even more levels. Who is responsible when some malware gets in that way? Or what if one of the dependencies disappeared and breaks your site, especially if you need to left-pad a string.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: You brought this on yourselves

        They may not get the same level of "analytics" they are used to but they get to know you saw the ad and if you clicked on it, which all they really need to know to get paid.

        For which, frankly, the advertisers are probably better off. It enables the advertiser to put the advert on a page where it's relevant to the content. That context is almost certainly going to be more relevant to the viewer than any amount of "analytics" which are, of course, just something for which the advertising industry can con more money from the advertisers.

  31. Teiwaz Silver badge

    In Defence if online ads???

    This was a sponsored article, right?

    More advertising...???? --Shrieks!!!--

    Actually i don''t mind - for the small number of sites I visit, the ads these days are mostly well behaved, So I don't adblock.

    I don't watch TV anymore,I found when I stopped that when I did see ads I was less likely to be numb to the message. I think there's an oversatuation failure that's hampering advertising, but they'll never twig to that, or if they did, acknowledge it.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: In Defence if online ads???

      "I don't watch TV anymore"

      Interestingly, I stopped watching TV many years ago. The reason that I stopped was that I couldn't stand the ads anymore -- the straw that broke the camel's back was when they started overlaying advertising on top of the shows in progress.

      Every so often, I'll be at a friends house and watch TV with them -- and I find my decision to stop watching TV to still be an excellent one.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: In Defence if online ads???

        "Interestingly, I stopped watching TV many years ago."

        I look at the BBC TV schedules and it is 24x7 programming on variations of the same themes - or repeats of same. From newspaper reviews it would appear the other broadcasters are the same. Even Radio 4 is plastered with trailers for programmes on its and other channels. On a Sunday morning they even insert the next programme's trailer between the 9am news headlines and the actual news. Classic FM's inane adverts make me switch to a CD if I want to listen to music.

        A programme that is different is rare - and then seems to take three times longer than it should to convey its information. On factual programmes you get the highlights synopsis - then a recap at every virtual advert insertion point - and finally a grand recap followed by the synopsis for the next episode.

        1. A K Stiles

          Re: In Defence if online ads???

          So much that - 'Factual' programme, scheduled for an hour with, in my instance, 3 mid-programme breaks totalling approximately 15 minutes. So, 45 minute programme.

          But the first 5 minutes is titles and previous programme recap plus basic synopsis of this episode, and the last 5 minutes is the teaser for the next episode. and another 5 minutes or so is spread across the show in reminders of what they told you about 5 minutes ago, before they cut to a different section, so there are places for other networks with different ad regulations to insert even more adverts. Total 'content' time for the scheduled hour long programme, approximately 20 minutes. It's certainly a lot of the reason why I almost never watch programmes at broadcast any more. Hmm, I might have to try and re-cut one of the episodes into a single sequence of content with no self-referencing repeats, just to see how little content there actually is.

          1. Mike Timbers

            Re: In Defence if online ads???

            You forgot the obligatory ten-minute section at the end about how amazing the program makers are and the clever ways they made the program.

            1. A K Stiles

              Re: In Defence if online ads???

              Aeh, I don't mind those sorts of bits on things like Blue Planet - frankly I'd quite like that to be a separate 30 minute programme with more details about the efforts of making the original. In fact, I'd be quite glad if the horrendous recapper ones just replaced some of the repeated dross with more details of the things they allege to be covering in the first place. I'm not (yet) a completely brainless idiot with a 3 second attention and retention span.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'll pay when I get paid.

    Companies mine people for data, sell, share or lose the data they find or steal, and happily claim ownership of user supplied content like these comments, which never forget are "moderated" without transparency to ensure the conversation is acceptable, profitable, and meets the sites political standards.

    Companies want it all, all the time, we have a responsibility to at least attempt some resistance.

    Maybe a solution would be to have a system where business has to follow rules and regs created by a government that answers to citizens? Then companies would be limited in the data they could harvest and held responsible for it's safe handling and those supplying the data would get paid. Money would flow to all instead of being concentrated into the hands of the few and should excessive concentration start to happen, as it tends to do, that government that answers to the people would adjust the rules and regs.

    Until then the least we can do is act in our own interest and try to resist when we can.

  33. Christian Berger Silver badge

    It's not like we don't have a micro payment rich alternative ecosystem...

    ... there are appstores and they are just as full of targeted ads as the web is.

    Also few people complain about ads, what people complain about is tracking and Javascript which are completely different things.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: It's not like we don't have a micro payment rich alternative ecosystem...

      "Also few people complain about ads, what people complain about is tracking and Javascript which are completely different things."

      I complain about all three - or would if I didn't block them.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: It's not like we don't have a micro payment rich alternative ecosystem...

      "Also few people complain about ads, what people complain about is tracking and Javascript which are completely different things."

      People started complaining about ads when the first flashing GIFs adverts arrived. Tracking and javascript just exacerbated the problem.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's not like we don't have a micro payment rich alternative ecosystem...

        "People started complaining about ads when the first flashing GIFs adverts arrived."

        Before then there were spam emails and spam postings into unmoderated popular newsgroups. Big name brands outsourced their advertising on the new medium - seduced by promises of reaching a large audience cheaply. In those days you could complain to the originator's ISP and they were warned or banned.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: It's not like we don't have a micro payment rich alternative ecosystem...

        "People started complaining about ads when the first flashing GIFs adverts arrived"

        Those were irritating, but you could put up with them (there are options to stop animations)

        What _really_ got peoples' goat were obnoxious popups/popunders and later on, adverts with SOUND when you weren't expecting it.

        If you have a web site which loads up audio without warning then you're probably driving customers away in droves. It's even more annoying than animated shit.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ok for decent content

    I'm always happy to whitelist a site that produces decent content. This site and Wired for instance. Basically sites that actually understand what journalism is and aren't just stealing content from Reddit or click baiting.

    For everything else, there's ublock origin, disconnect me, privacy badger, duckduckgo (and others).

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Ok for decent content

      "I'm always happy to whitelist a site that produces decent content"

      I whitelist nobody. There is no site whose content is so valuable that it's worth exposing mysefl to the ad industry spies. What I will do, if it's offered, is pay money to the sites I value -- but I'm still blocking all their scripts.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ok for decent content

        Not even a manufacturer's website which houses the official drivers for the very expensive equipment you use every day? For which any form of substitute is risky because it could be a malware site in disguise?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ok for decent content

          "Not even a manufacturer's website which houses the official drivers for the very expensive equipment you use every day?

          Stanley Tools had a "3 year guarantee" sticker on their cordless drill. However you only were covered for 3 years if you registered online and gave them at least an email address. Their T&Cs offered no assurance that they weren't going to monetise that information.

          If you didn't register in that way then you theoretically were only covered by a one year guarantee. I didn't register and will challenge their guarantee policy if they refuse to repair it within three years.

  35. Milton Silver badge

    Free IS the problem

    Arguably, the "free" model is the absolute heart of the problem. Since "free" is actually impossible, it's the users who have to be "monetised"—by now a euphemism for the surveillance, invasion of privacy and manipulation that underpins Facebook, Google and all the unspeakably shitty adverts that befoul the internet.

    The way to cut through all of this crap in one fell swoop is to prohibit the collection of all and any non-operationally-required personal data, and further prohibit any analysis or derivation therefrom.

    Facebook, Google and the rest then have to turn into "proper" suppliers and charge you a fee. You return to being a customer with rights and dignity and privacy. Competitors will suddenly be able to try and break into the market. And adverts will have to improve their game immeasurably as the throw-shit-at-the-wall approach will become impossible.

    It should always have been this way.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Free IS the problem

      "And adverts will have to improve their game immeasurably as the throw-shit-at-the-wall approach will become impossible."

      Even better, in the situation you describe advertising wouldn't be needed.

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Free IS the problem

      "Since "free" is actually impossible"

      As a blanket statement, this isn't true. I've run a number of reasonably popular websites for over a decade now. I've never charged anyone for them, nor have I ever run ads or engaged in user data collection. I'm far from the only one to do this. So "free" is actually possible.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Free IS the problem

        Actually, it is. Because hosting isn't free. Never has been. Either USERS pay for it, one way or another, or YOU pay for it, one way or another.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Free IS the problem

          "Because hosting isn't free. Never has been."

          https://www.btck.co.uk/

        2. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Free IS the problem

          "Either USERS pay for it, one way or another, or YOU pay for it, one way or another."

          True, but this response is moving the goalposts. People who use my (and similar) sites don't pay for their use in any way, shape, or form. So,to them, it is really, truly free. Therefore, it's possible for something to be actually free.

          That I'm paying costs to keep the sites up is true, but not relevant to the point.

  36. Anne-Lise Pasch

    I don't mind advertising

    But I do mind advertising that has to:

    1. Get my life story to select appropriate products (badly)

    2. Does not conform to sensible sizing policies

    3. trick me into clicking it (moving/takeovers/chameleon)

    I never complained about the ads on ITV. I happily sat through the crap I didn't care about every 15 minutes to watch the badly-made content (eg The Bill) knowing that's how the content is paid for. ITV didn't try to come into my house, observe me covertly, make a list of my firmographics, target me, then hijack the tv when I switched to BBC.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I don't mind advertising

      "I happily sat through the crap I didn't care about every 15 minutes to watch the badly-made content (eg The Bill) knowing that's how the content is paid for."

      Those were convenience breaks - you learned to time them nicely so that you arrived back in your seat as they finished.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: I don't mind advertising

        And reportedly the national grid prepared for the power surges during the ads in Coronation St. in the days when we all watched at the same time. Kettle time.

  37. scrubber

    Ads?

    I love the adverts on El Reg, if only these bloody articles didn't keep getting in the way when I try to click through to the advertiser.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As and when adverts

    arrive on their own and are not carry an extra unwanted, payload, I might put up with them. Are Google adwords malware free yet? Can I trust a website with 30 odd scripts running not to be stealing my data?

  39. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    "all tables, grey backgrounds, blue underlined links and no CSS"

    So, downloaded in sparrow's fart time and was invulnerable to XSS attacks?

    As for paying for content to rid myself of adverts, I tried that. The adverts started coming again six months later. In this case it was "Fool me once, never get a cent more of subscription money from me again and I'll adblock your free content".

  40. JohnFen Silver badge

    It's not the advertising I object to

    It's the spying that comes with the advertising. As long as advertisers are doing that, they can all go fuck themselves.

  41. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    I can never understand why vendors would pay good money to the advertising industry to try so hard to piss me off so I'll never touch their products unless I have no choice.

    1. elawyn
      Boffin

      Targetting the ignorant?

      They aren't targeting you, or almost all readers here. They are targeting those too stupid or uneducated to figure out how to block unwanted stuff. The kind that believe the BS thrown at them (LIke 'Oxyclean', which is really just a few generic ingredients, fancy packaging and advertising at ridicukously loud volume) to convince them that <insert brand name here> is so much better than a generic (or even home-made) alternative. and those too uneducated enough to do a little research and prefer to be 'spoonfed' heaping helpings of BS.

      * OxiClean is sodium percarbonate (Na2CO3•H2O2), an adduct of sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2).[3] This breaks down into hydrogen peroxide when dissolved in water. TAED is often used as activator

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Targetting the ignorant?

        "* OxiClean is sodium percarbonate (Na2CO3•H2O2), an adduct of sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2).[3] This breaks down into hydrogen peroxide when dissolved in water. TAED is often used as activator"

        True, but how many people are capable of safely sourcing the ingredients and mixing them in the correct proportions so as not to cause damage to the articles being cleaned or even to themselves? Everyone is ignorant in some areas of life. I did chemistry at school many years ago and I do a lot of cooking, which is a form of practical chemistry, but I'd need instructions on how to make oxyclean. I'd not even have thought about making my own until you mentioned it. It's far from my area of expertise and I don't know if I can even buy the raw, pure ingredients. Now, even if you tell me that I can easily do it at home with a 5 minute online tutorial, multiply that by all the other products and it rapidly starts to become impractical if I want time for fun and leisure outside of work.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Targetting the ignorant?

          " I'd not even have thought about making my own until you mentioned it. "

          Sodium percarbonate is readily available as a cleaning supply and it's one of the cases of being hard to overdo it ("too much" will simply not break down into peroxide), but as mentioned it's usually easier just to buy it - with the caveat that you should look at the percentages as these powders range from 2% percarbonate up to 30%+ - and pricing gives no indication of concentration (the most heavily marketed ones tend to have less active ingredient, surprise surprise)

          So far I've found that the best "bang per buck" is Tesco's own-brand "colours" oxy powder at 35% - but they also have a nearly identical package "whites" package which is 5% and only a couple of pence cheaper.

          Coming back on topic - you could buy the lower concentration version or just use less of the other product - THIS is marketing at work - convincing you that you need 2 different products which turn out to be the same thing with different quantities of filler inserted.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Targetting the ignorant?

        "They aren't targeting you, or almost all readers here. They are targeting those too stupid or uneducated to figure out how to block unwanted stuff. "

        The difference between those who block ads and those who don't isn't necessarily one of education or of a desire to be targeted, it's just the technical knowledge.

        A few weeks ago a Times columnist, archetypal arts graduate (1st at Oxford apparently) so not entirely uneducated wrote an article about GDPR welcoming the end of spam by not responding to "Please may we continue to spam you" emails but then adding something about ads in terms suggesting he didn't know* about ad blockers. Apparently he'd already posted the gist of this online to great popular acclaim, something those castigating GDPR as yet another unwanted bit of Euro red-tape should not.

        * It could be the case, of course, that as the Times is available online as well as in print, he did know about ad-blockers wouldn't be allowed to let on about them in public.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Targetting the ignorant?

          "should not."

          should note, not not!

  42. katrinab Silver badge

    Just one thing

    I'm not seeing any adverts here for fabric conditioner, I am seeing adverts for cow food. Apparently my cows will be much healthier if I buy this brand.

    Only one problem. The closest thing I have to a cow is a box of frozen burgers in my freezer.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Just one thing

      "The closest thing I have to a cow is a box of frozen burgers in my freezer."

      The closest thing I have to a cow is the neighbour's herd but so long as the wall between us keeps them out that's OK.

  43. Tom Paine Silver badge

    I looked at the comments to see

    Old man talking, gather round, gather round...

    The left-channel vocal track of Gabriel reciting supermarket prices - and even the names (O Wavy Line where art thou? Merged with Fine Fare?) on the reciprocal track of Dancing Out with the Moonlit Knight, "Aisle of Plenty", send me into a weirdly physical spasm of early 70s nostalgia> I was a child in the Essex countryside (yes there still was some then, and very nice it was too for a 6 year old before paedophiles and terrorists were invented) -- I remember being taken round pre-supermarket general grocery stores and independents. The brightly-lit, plastic-fascia'd supermarket chains with the dayglo price flashes and special offers painted on the windows were really exciting. PLUS you got a big cardboard box to play in when you got home!

    English ribs of beef cut down to 47p lb

    Peek Frean's family assorted from 17 1/2 to 12p

    Fairy liquid giant - slashed from 20p to 17 1/2p

    Table jellies at 4p each

    Anchor butter down to 11p for a 1/2 lb

    Birds eye dairy cream sponge on offer this week.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxTS_NZOIlg

    Yes children ha'pennies were a thing, as were Green Shield stamps and vinyl car seats too hot to sit on. I know where my country lies - 1973.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I looked at the comments to see

      "I know where my country lies - 1973."

      Ah - nostalgia - oil crisis, three day weeks, strikes, new cars that rusted very quickly, inflation.

      On the other hand - in the 1970s there was a feeling in the young of a future free from censorship and religion as social control. Short shorts and hot pants suggested eternal summers. Gay and Women's Lib was taking shape - and sex became seen as a pleasure rather than a procreative duty. Then the 1979 General Election turned the clock back again.

  44. Nick Gisburne

    Ads were better in the good old days

    We had proper ads in my day. None of this video and scripting malarky, no dragging your browser and computer down to the point of death. No, they were good, solid rectangles, nothing more than an animated GIF with a quick link to a crappy product page if you liked it, or keep scrolling if you didn't. You could see the content and you could see the ads and (important this) you could tell the difference between the two. Now it can take 2 or 3 minutes to load a page, but in the good old days it took, well, 2 or 3 minutes. No broadband. But when you tell kids these days about 14.4k dial-up modems they just don't believe you.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Ads were better in the good old days

      "But when you tell kids these days about 14.4k dial-up modems they just don't believe you."

      14.4k dial-up? Luxury!!

      1. Nick Gisburne

        Re: Ads were better in the good old days

        You think that's luxury? I've done tech support using a 300 baud modem (no k, just 300), in a corridor (because that's where the only spare phone point was) so cold that I had to bring my own electric bar heater to work. It was often just quicker and easier to drive to the customer site instead.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ads were better in the good old days

          "I've done tech support using a 300 baud modem (no k, just 300), [...]"

          Teletypes on 80-0-80 telegraph lines were as low as 75bps - more usually 100bps? Modem connections were 110bps. Even two fingered typists could get key clash lock-ups on those devices.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Ads were better in the good old days

            "Teletypes on 80-0-80 telegraph lines were as low as 75bps "

            My old Creed 7A was 50 and that was pretty common. RTTY is 45.5

  45. Hstubbe

    Shut up and take my money

    Where can i pay for ad-free el reg access?

  46. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Bean counters

    It's worth bearing in mind that with most modern companies being run by bean counters who think they need to be gouging every penny in the shortest possible term, even if they could get income directly from their web sites' services they'd still want to plant ads and track users to sell their data on. Profit is profit and extra short term profit means improved share value and big bonuses. They might start by using a subscription only model, but then the gouging ad serving data gathering would creep back.

  47. Mage Silver badge
    Devil

    Advertised at.

    That's fine and been going on for hundreds of years.

    It's the underhand, illicit collection of personal data and personal usage of the Internet that's wrong.

    Billboards, Radio, TV, Magazines and newspapers manage without that. Does it even work very well, or just fake snake oil to get the advertisers spend with Google, Facebook, Amazon et al rather than the other outlets?

    Adverts are legal. Snaffling people's personal activity isn't, even before GDPR.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Advertised at.

      "It's the underhand, illicit collection of personal data and personal usage of the Internet that's wrong."

      If not for that [and malware] I would not need to run 'NoScript' . ElReg with non-scripted banner ads [when NoScript is detected] might be an interesting change. Just sayin.

      Better still, NEVER! SCRIPT! ADS!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Advertised at.

      "Billboards"

      Don't forget the "billboards" that have face detection capabilities to register who is looking at them. Wasn't a UK supermarket doing a trial a while ago?

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Misrepresenting history much?

    "The thing is, one way or another, stuff has to be paid for. Since this generation has decided not to pay for anything, least of all for factual information investigated by salaried journalists, advertising and sponsorship is all we have left."

    Interesting theory but history has showed us something else.

    In the beginning news companies decided to put parts of the paper online in order to lure people into reading it. The website itself was the advertisement and the goal was to get people to subscribe to the paper version. Then people decided that the limited online version was good enough for them because free yet limited news is cheaper than paid for full news.

    But it was not "this generation that decided not to pay", it were the companies who decided to give away some of their stuff for free in hopes of luring people.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Misrepresenting history much?

      That STILL sounds like "this generation that decided not to pay" because if it hadn't been for the "free samples," they STILL wouldn't pay for the dead-tree copy, meaning they STILL aren't paying. Because they're not paying no matter what you do, you basically have to squeeze blood from a stone before someone else does, undercuts you, and runs you out of business (and it's happening in the media as well as in retail, all over the place--it's THAT cutthroat).

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Misrepresenting history much?

        "they STILL wouldn't pay for the dead-tree copy"

        In the case of newspapers, I had a dead tree subscription but gave up on it sometime in the mid-late 1980s when it started having as many ads in it as the freebies along with less actual journalism (regurgitated press releases don't count)

        One of the original reasons that newspaper websites were popular wasn't because they were free but because they had virtually no adverts on them. Making someone pay and _then_ bombarding them with adverts or tracking is particularly offensive.

  49. W4YBO

    It may just be in the USA...

    but June is Accordion Appreciation month.

  50. Lorribot

    There are two types of adverts

    Yes really, there are only two. Don't listen to all those advertisers people because they are selling you something.

    Type One, advertise something new that you dont know about, a new way to do something that is better or a new version of something that is less irritating than the previous version but may still look a bit crap.

    Type Two, advertise a supply of something generic, you already own and don't need to replace, have no need for, (this may or may not have individual branding to distinguish, think paracetamol) which may be cheaper than current supply route but is likely to save pennies or ahve delivery costs and be of dubious quality. Often refered to as spam.

    Both of these will come via any medium at any time.

    The first may be useful and is around 5% of adverts, the second is 95% of adverts and is irritating.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: There are two types of adverts

      "Type Two, advertise a supply of something generic, you already own and don't need to replace, have no need for, (this may or may not have individual branding to distinguish, think paracetamol) which may be cheaper than current supply route but is likely to save pennies or ahve delivery costs and be of dubious quality. Often refered to as spam."

      I can't remember when I last saw a TV ad for Paracetamol or Aspirin. But I did see an advert for a well known gel-based rub on pain killer for back pain and the like. The entire point of the advert was NOT about how they had a new improved formula, faster acting, more targeted pain relief or anything even remotely relevant to dealing with your back pain. Nope, the entire advert was all about the new applicator nozzle was designed to spread the gel on your back without getting your fingers sticky. FFS!, talk about first world problems!

  51. Purple-Stater

    On & Off

    I also have no problems with the concept of advertising paying for our time on the internet; provided that said advertising is static, not installing cookies, viruses, or general malware.

    This sentence: "Since this generation has decided not to pay for anything, least of all for factual information investigated by salaried journalists..." is bollocks though, at least the specification of "this generation," and especially since the paragraph it appears in continues to detail that the problem basically existed since the very first internet generation. As the phrase "this generation" typically refers to the youngest generation of adults/consumers, this generation has never been the target audience of salaried journalists, unless you're specifically talking about gaming hardware.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: On & Off

      As the phrase "this generation" typically refers to the youngest generation of adults/consumers, this generation has never been the target audience of salaried journalists, unless you're specifically talking about gaming hardware.

      And "this generation" is particularly ridiculous in terms of el Reg readership's age range which must span at least 40 years.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: On & Off

        "And "this generation" is particularly ridiculous in terms of el Reg readership's age range which must span at least 40 years."

        Judging by some of the nostalgia comments the upper limit could be age 90. Many technical people started in the IT industry in the 1960s and are now retired while retaining an active interest. On the other hand you might expect some teenagers to be regular readers too. So that gives a readership age range of about 75 years.

  52. Claverhouse Bronze badge

    If the ad experience is so wonderful, why even offer ad-free options ?

    They are acknowledging the disadvantages by making people pay to avoid the disadvantages.

  53. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    TVs have a Mute button

    I don't have an ad blocker installed at work. A typical web site has audio playing from an unknown location, animations on all 4 sides of the screen, full-page ads slide in when moving the mouse, an ad covers part of the article, content shifts around constantly so it can't be read, and a whole mess of clickfraud malware off the bottom of the screen is stalling the browser. The same web sites complaining about freeloaders have made themselves so trashy that they literally don't work without an ad blocker.

  54. Deliberatus1

    Rum and Coke, ads make me choke, these evil disruptions need a neck-rope

    What about Rum and Coca-cola day? Perspiring minds want to know!!!

    Tired of pop-over ads, pop-under ads, being distracted by flashing squirming ot moving ads? how about malware ads? think this s ideal capitalist advertising. We don't. Clean up the ad industry and get back to me when you do. until then, blockthis rocks. I do not consent to all that poop in my computer.

    Reasonable small or text ads, static, not blinking or animated are ok. nothing more.

  55. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Simple solution. Host the ads off your own server then my ad-blocker won't even work. That will, of course, mean that you become liable for any malware you serve up so you'll have to take care about what you host.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Or the ad folks could just offer themselves as proxies so that all content becomes first-party to the ad slinger. That's another way to tie the ad part-and-parcel to the article to make it impossible to skim (because you can now even inline the ad with the text of the article--try blocking THAT). Furthermore, they can probably host the proxies outside the EU or any other country that tries to impose ornery rules and start waging sovereignty conflicts until a decision comes to block parts of the Internet wholesale.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "That will, of course, mean that you become liable for any malware you serve up"

      It would be "interesting" what the reaction would be if laws were postulated making website owner legally responsible for malware that comes in via ad banners, etc.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Penny for the guy?

    (Posted anonymously, for the icon)

    The Register is one of the websites that I do visit fairly regularly.

    Let me add myself to the list of those saying that if you had a subscriber/patron option for £1/month, with all third-party tracking disabled for subscribers (which includes almost all ads), I would sign up for it.

    So, why don't you?

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Penny for the guy?

      it's more fun to obfuscate your real life by trolling the trackers to think that you are interested in lots of bizarre fetishes, regularly engage in illegal activity, and never buy ANYTHING. Then watch the fun spam arrive at your e-mail inbox, along with some rather fun targeted ads embedded in web pages.

      (OK, I've only trolled google searches this way - heh - a simple script involving nc or curl, with carefully constructed referral and identification headers, running intermittently for a few days, would do it)

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    Their shout

    But the banks and other institutions said "it would be cheaper to go to the internet to do business" than to go to the counter,

    So in all the Internets cheapness go tax business, for they are making the savings.

    An yeah I pay for access. Twice already.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Their shout

      They tried. Turns out the firms within the law's reach doesn't actually make the money. It's all being made by a branch in a country not subject to those ornery taxes.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Their shout

        "Turns out the firms within the law's reach doesn't actually make the money. It's all being made by a branch in a country not subject to those ornery taxes."

        Which just means that the laws need updating to ensure these kinds of accounting games can't be played by multinationals.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Their shout

          But therein lies your problem. They're MULTI-national, meaning they can play sovereignty against you. Try to change the laws, they'll just pack up and move somewhere friendlier, and thanks to small countries like Ireland with low upkeep costs, there will always be some haven with less need for taxes than the other countries.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Ad industry isnt listening

    Nor are the people placing ads.

    This conversation has been ongoing for years, and given the fact that my machine can be "fingerprinted" by sites - isnt this in effect "personally identifiable data"?

    It would be interesting to see if GDPR could be used against those responsible for setting the tracking beacons and cookies etc.

    Its about time parasites of the advertising industry were taken to task for the excesses of the industry.

    I know people who still have data caps, adverts that are data heavy with auto run video and sound, scripting etc are theft of that data allowance. Sites that allow thier content to be over-run by ad madness deserve to go to the wall.

  59. ecofeco Silver badge
    FAIL

    Meh

    Much of the Internet is useless infotainment anyway.

    As for the ad blocking, that because it's often a bandwidth hog and spyware.

    Optimize the image and turn off the spyware and I wouldn't mind the ads so much.

  60. Alan Brown Silver badge

    The problem isn't the adverts

    The problem is the obnoxiousness of many of those ads, along with the level of secret tracking which would be classified as criminal stalking if a human was doing it.

    Whilst I'm hoping that GDPR rules will curb it, I know full well that most marketing companies will ignore the law until their gonads are being barbequed and the people responsible will simply phoenix the companies to avoid the law.

  61. Michael Habel Silver badge

    Wheres the trust?

    ...And who's to say that the 'News', you are forced to pay for... (TV Licence, Newspaers, Non-Licenced TV etc..), is SOOOO much better than that "Prooganda BS" you claim to spot on Facebook, from time to time. Let us not forget how the MSM got woke over President Trumps victory over that wicked witch Hillery. After being assured of her compleat landslide victory. That thankfully slid itself into the next landfill.

    Surely news is what you make it. And content creators should be rewarded for their work. But, I think your just grasping for straws at this point. when the so-called Facebook BS News blurbs are more often enough as accurate, (ONLY MORE SO!) then say what the MSM would care to have you believe. Well you just have to back the Horse you want to win. and, Pal. That's not the BBC, Sky, or CNN, all of whom would just assume see Tommy Robinson, or Count Dankula firmly behind bars, and forgotten about. But, this is what happens when you don't have a Constitution guaranteeing both the freedom of the Press, and the freedom of Speach, and expression.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Wheres the trust?

      But CNN is in the US (based in Atlanta), which DOES have what you describe in their First Amendment, yet US news is considered LESS reliable than elsewhere, which makes you wonder. Is the Constitution in the end little more than ink on a page?

  62. Potemkine! Silver badge

    In the Good Ol' Days

    No surprise people accessing your website accessing your website in 1995 expected everything being free.

    In those days the WWW was not yet the mix of supermarket, brothel and deathtrap it became later, it was a place where academics, schools and nerds were exchanging knowledge for free in a Star-trek like utopia. It didn't last long, like most of utopias

  63. MR W B Jones

    Or advertise could make adverts that dont move, dont flash dont play sound dont take up so much room i can not see any thing, an dont ruin the experience and then i would not have to block them, the more they get in your face the more you want to block them, to the point where you just dont give a crap about the web site your reading, you just want the adverts gone!

    As for selling my data, i have been opting out of every dgpr web site that has asked to track me as fast as i can.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Or advertise could make adverts that dont move, dont flash dont play sound dont take up so much room i can not see any thing, an dont ruin the experience and then i would not have to block them, the more they get in your face the more you want to block them, to the point where you just dont give a crap about the web site your reading, you just want the adverts gone!"

      Ever thought that is precisely WHY they started to get in your face? Because the returns on static ads were too low? At least newspapers get paid by the customer; not the same for most websites.

      What next? Offers you can't refuse?

      1. Updraft102 Silver badge

        Ever thought that is precisely WHY they started to get in your face? Because the returns on static ads were too low?

        When are the returns on any ad ever not "too low?" No matter what those returns are, more is always better. If the existing ad has worked so well that a manufacturing company is producing its product at maximum capacity and even then just barely meeting the demand, "better" ads would allow the company to raise its prices and still sell every one of whatever it is they make as soon as it leaves the assembly line. There's always more, better, higher, bigger.

        As always, the question becomes one of how much advertising they can get away with before the revenues stop increasing and begin to drop as they annoy the advertising victims enough to chase them away. They don't care if they chase a small number away (or chase them into the waiting embrace of an adblocker) as long as the remaining ones allow themselves to be monetized enough to more than make up for the loss. They kept upping the ante with the ads to monetize the shrinking pool of non-blockers until they reached a critical mass of ad obnoxiousness that drove too many of the non-blockers away, and as someone mentioned before, once a person sees how nice the web is with an adblocker, there's no going back.

        The problem they're facing now is that they've chased so many of us into the waiting arms of various adblockers that they're not making up for the loss, and they've long since convinced themselves that loud, obnoxious, heavy-weight ads with trackers are better than the static ads (whose returns were "too low," recall), so the thought of returning to that doesn't even occur to them. The entire modern web ad industry revolves around third-party, brokered ads placed by companies whose customers are the advertisers, not the end users of whatever the advertiser is selling, and none of them know (or appear to be interested in knowing) any other way of doing things, so the content providers resort to begging and adblocker blockers and paywalls.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          "...and as someone mentioned before, once a person sees how nice the web is with an adblocker, there's no going back."

          Until they makes things miserable for people WITH ad blockers. Like the Mafia. Make an offer you can't refuse (You wanna play? Let us in or no dice, and our content is exclusive) and watch them come crawling back like the drug-addled losers they really are.

          They can't go back without ticking off the higher-ups, so the only alternative is to Wall the Internet and see if people start going, "Stop the Internet! I want to get off!" In which case, it's just back to the billboards, product placements on TV, junk mail, and cold calls from outside jurisdictions...

  64. RobertsonCR7
    Angel

    First, I want privacy. And it is quite complicated.. how are they going to track my article consumption if I am not tracked? This sounds crazy

  65. bigtreeman

    I'm paying

    WTF

    I'm paying my ISP and the FUCKERS just put the money into their skyrockets and not pass it along to pay for content I'm accessing. I expect my ISP payment to cover more than the first 100 meters of connection. I'm paying them to access the whole internet.

  66. CelineDion69

    "The thing is, one way or another, stuff has to be paid for. Since this generation has decided not to pay for anything, least of all for factual information investigated by salaried journalists, advertising and sponsorship is all we have left."

    I'm so glad you used journalism as an example:

    The actual thing is - it's not our damn responsibility to pay the bills of organizations that took a decade or more to finally admit that newspapers are dead and they should probably have a solid online presence. The overwhelming majority of Top Tier papers and news rooms simply refused to do this, then decided to play scramble and just hop on the ad-based revenue bandwagon. Fuck 'em. If they die they die, and you can pin it on our generation all you want, we will proudly take that smoke.

    It isn't our fault that we leverage technology to disrupt industries that refused to do so.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      "It isn't our fault that we leverage technology to disrupt industries that refused to do so."

      Yes it is because we don't recognize how important some things are. We don't care about polluting water until we can't get a drink anymore. We don't care about honest reporting until there's nothing left but echo chambers. As someone once said, "Freedom ins't free," yet no one seems willing to pay. And that can take everyone else with them. What do you propose that won't provoke a potentially dangerous backlash?

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