They were accepting credit cards online before virtually anyone. In fact, I think most innovations in technology come from either the military, video games or porn.
It was one of the only companies where I truly felt that they would let their engineers experiment and grow. If an idea sounded like it could bring more traffic or increase the quality of traffic, they'd let you do it. If that idea didn't pan out in a short period of time (~3 months), then it was canned and they tried something new.
I work at a very large global corporation now and I'm shocked (and bored) at how drawn out their development cycles are, and at how little license they give their engineers to be creative. The risk averseness makes it almost impossible to bring anything into production.
I'd go back to porn if it weren't for the fact the industry as a whole seems to be very secretive and mafia-like.
When you're building software for a specialized field like finance, health care etc., the end-impact is always obscured by layers of product managers, business analyst and the domain where you have no knowledge - web development in porn seems like a good biz to be into where "I'm not only the Hair Club president, but also a client."
One thing about being an engineer there was that you did actually own the product end-to-end. I remember taking systems from development to production without all the bullshit you normally encounter at large corporations. I would put something into production and my boss (the CTO) would leisurely say "Oh yeah, contact so-and-so in ops to have them secure the server." I would do that, and I didn't get a freak-out like you'd experience in more straight-laced companies: "YOU PUT THIS IN PRODUCTION WITHOUT FILLING OUT ALL THE REQUIRED JIRA TICKETS AND APPROVAL FROM 3 LAYERS OF MANAGEMENT?!?! WE'RE GONNA HAVE TO TAKE THIS DOWN AND HAVE A MEETING!" Nope, a dude in ops, who was usually stoned, would log in, add all the necessary protections and even redeploy the whole stack if he had to. No griping.
One thing about it was that you'd have to be okay with some unscrupulous/unethical practices. Copyright infringement is par for the course in that industry. Studios/companies stealing others' content is unavoidable (and encouraged).
I remember when I wrote a tube site and I was given a list of other tube sites to rip content from. For that particular project the product manager (who was also a high-ranking exec) strongly emphasized two things: every action had to be trackable, and it was a necessary requirement that handling DMCA take-down notices had to be a very streamlined and automated process.
Why? They would have people monitor which videos were heavily viewed and which were taken down frequently. If a particular studio's content generated lots of traffic but were frequently taken down, the sales/ad guys would contact that studio to make a deal. If no deal was struck, then an "anonymous user" would reupload the content to the site; starting the cycle again. Eventually that would wear down the studio into cutting a rev-sharing deal. Sometimes the company would buy the studio outright, if it made enough sense.
I mean, I use Libgen and usually get enough books to cost me 5k or 10k €. Hopefully it will bring sanity into that market (Even though it is already blocked in UK, for some obscure reason)
Take my Spotify away and I'll probably just stop caring about music that much at all
> Access to this website has been
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> Any TalkTalk customer affected by the Court Order has a right under the Court Order to apply to vary or discharge it. Any such application must:
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The UK's asinine policy in regards to the internet is why I no longer use any connection that terminate in the UK.
I've been a very happy customer.
London and some other parts of the UK have FTTH now, and it's cheap I am paying 30GBP for a 1 gig symetric connection via hyperoptic.
Fiber to the curb is not fiber, anything below 300MBit should not even be considered broadband at this day and age tbh.
Access to the websites listed on this page has been blocked pursuant to orders of the high court.
More information can be found at www.ukispcourtorders.co.uk
This is totally OT, but during my training at a large corporation, I was building a very simple web application and found it desirable to access the corporate phone directory to augment some of the information I presented to the users.
I looked around a little and discovered that there was indeed an LDAP server that served the phone directory for the entire freaking company. It would even speak to me after I did an anonymous bind. ;-) So I wrote my web application, handed it off to the guy who ended up maintaining it (me being a trainee and all), and the I thought I'd be a good corporate citizen and checked what I had to do to "legally" access that LDAP server. Turns out I had fill out an application form that was something like six pages long.
Unfortunately, filling out that form and sending it to the designated address were my last actions as a member of that team, as my time with that particular team was up. So I never found out if "they" rejected the application or not. (I guess they approved it, because if it was such a big deal, they would not have opened that LDAP server for anonymous access, but you never know - could have been plain stupidity.)
Ruffle a few feathers, but organisational inertia would kill off anything particularly useful for our teams that are 24/7 fighting fires.
I just found it kind of funny that I should fill out a six-page form to get information I could technically access already, anonymously. (Also, it was the first time I saw such a form, that might have been a bit of a culture shock for me.)
I think every service owner should know who their 'customers' are, it's important because of things like Pager Duty rotations for example. Remember that scene from Hackers, "God wouldn't be on this late?"... in a sense, the 6 page form might seem like overkill but it beats sifting through a conversational email thread asking for all the same pieces of information. They could gamify the form I suppose, if that's better than a paper form... but on their end there should be a spreadsheet used for op budgeting etc and they need the info.
It's my first time coming across them - I suppose it's a good idea, but slightly overkill since I write documentation for my code and it's in source control as well.
That made me laugh. The guy in charge of securing a production server is usually stoned...
I do think the porn industry by nature tends to push some limits in terms of tech... It's to the likes of the riaa, mpaa and LinkedIn to be the ones who push the bounds of unscrupulous tech.
I've been saying for years, eventually it will have to come full circle, that ad delivery controls will have to be first party, and that if they continue to push the overbearing, over the top ads, people will just not read the content and leave. That's what will start to come next. FTR, it didn't have to be via websocket, it could still be services, rpc, and other channels... though websocket to a canvas would allow for a different level of control, and less chance for adblock bypass.
All the same, it's interesting and somewhat cool...
I was encouraged to stick with it for a month to see if it normalized, it didn't... I don't even remember the medication, but would never want to experience that again... I'll take the half dozen to dozen stray thoughts in my head at once... I'm far more effective that way. Though stress makes it hard to get/stay asleep.
Thinking slower will make me freak out. I need my mind to be clear and my brain going at top speed every waking moment.
And if I send the former prince of Nigeria $5,000 he will unlock billions and send me half, lol.
Do try to keep up, uh... dad?
For the record, I'm currently working at a financial institution, worked at another previously, and moving into a position with a medical industry company. It's a matter of striking a balance.. and there are others that cope with it far better than I do.
I still find it funny, when you have full github proper access, but can't access gists... and then when searching for things, a lot of programming examples, and even blog articles reference gists... that is painfully stupid.
Do not have the proper paper trail when shit hits the fan? Well there goes your share value, you get a hefty fine from government oversight, and the premium just went through the roof.
Nobody really fined Target for its data breaches - pretty sure that PCI audits had passed repeatedly, in fact. Their stock easily recovered as well. So why are big companies so worried about security? Because breaches are a drag upon everyone and slows down features and improvements. I'm familiar with environments where change freezes are enacted for months after every critical outage, and nobody's regulations say to do anything like that. That's purely a belief in the false equivalency that stability and development velocity are antitheses. Gosh, someone tell Google and Amazon to fire their SREs and stop deploying any new code to get better availability numbers!
Is there an actual word for this type of management stupidity?
How do porn companies continue to handle credit card payments without complying with PCI standards and processes?
My former company solved this problem by simply acquiring a payment processor company. They had total control over their processing that way. As a bonus, they had access to other porn vendors' account activities, since it was one of the 4-5 major high-risk processors used by porn companies. It was a win-win for them.
They just keep getting more clever, devious, and entertaining, don't they? Shit, I'd do my own Braintree for my porn company with the company's positive gains from legit customers covering the losses from the others. Who cares if my bottom line at my main company was good. Success of processor could even pay for better fraud management.
Of course, already having enough cash to buy an established one is always nice. :)
Whether you can find an auditor that will let you get away with merely following the rules is another matter.
Try finding porn while not seeing any male genitals during searching/browsing. It's virtually impossible, and it totally ruins the UX :)
It was actually really exhilarating, if you could overlook the fact that the work you're doing offered absolutely zero value to anyone involved except the bosses whose pockets you were lining if you succeeded. I don't work at a large global corp now, but at a small company (can't really call it a startup anymore, though that's how I would have described it a year or two ago), where there is still a relatively quick development cycle, but it's glacial compared to what I did at that last job. We are also trending toward much slower turn around times as we grow, which there was no danger whatsoever of at my ad industry job.
It's unfortunate that these developer-candy-store development cultures largely seem to be limited to get-rich-quick industries which can be unattractive from an ethical standpoint, or new startups which can be unattractive from a job security standpoint.
I lasted barely a year in advertising, the whole industry is a scam, top to bottom, big players and small, just scam and horrible people. Worked 5 years at MindGeek/Manwin, saw/did some dodgy shit but nothing that made me want to distance myself from the industry.
Come up with a new "widget", implement, push it out there, monitor monitor monitor, if players don't embrace just leave it to rot while you push out the next one.
(I'm not saying that working for a porn company is bad! Far from it. It just seems like it would be really difficult to break back into the corporate mainstream after working for a porn company due to the raised eyebrows during the screening process.)
The more difficult part is tolerating the passive-aggressive culture of "polite society" that exists at most "legitimate" companies. Porn company culture is very aggressive. At my current dull-corporation job it's almost a weekly occurrence where I want to tell my manager or someone else up the chain to fuck off and get out of my way, in regard to getting work done. Porn is the only industry I've worked in where an aggressive (tinged with a modicum of respect) attitude is rewarded. I hate the hypocrisy at large corporations who encourage "take initiative/leadership, get-it-done!" attitudes, but then push back when an employee actually does that.
The funny part was how curious everyone was about what went on there. I never really felt that much stigma about it from others...most of it was actually self generated. The other way I got past the potential stigma, though, was that I discussed how serious the business side was. The analytics we did, how much detailed knowledge we had about what downtime cost us, etc. Our HR training was done by lawyers, not consultants, because if the company got sued they were not going to get a sympathetic jury so I knew what what not to do as a manager there. That was actually pretty attractive to the VP of HR at my next company.
I'm not saying you won't find those that pass on you because of having porn on your resume but I don't think it's that big of an issue. As others have noted before most porn companies do business under a pseudonym that is innocent sounding and it's usually enough to get you past the screening that might filter if it said "Bang Bros" or whatever company it was.
The bigger issue is if you had school aged kids. They'd never have let me talk at career day. :-)
When asked by a recruiter for more portfolio I said "Well, there are more, but they're adult". Her response was "Wow, I've always wondered about who does those and how that all works!"
"That must be great, you'd have all the passwords!"
Mind you, this is in the more liberal Australia.
My boss here in Brisbane keeps seriously considering getting into online adult services of some description. He also wants to build a weed dispensary web app, so we can launch the moment they legalise it!
Then cross-fingers hoping they find that description generic and boring enough that they don't Google it.
Either way, its turned out to be a total non-issue. I always used the innocuous name on my resume, but everybody generally already knew, and nobody cared. Seemed like most people I end up working with have worked there or have had a friend that did or hired someone that did at some point.
I was kind of surprised.
Most coworkers at companies I have worked at know what I have done in the past. Never had an issue. You don't bring it up at the office and you use calibration and gradually give out details and judge whether coworkers would be cool about it when talking to them outside of work.
Turned out I only looked for 2 weeks before finding a good job.
Devs rarely hung out with the production staff. I almost never saw the talent. The production was done in warehouses several miles from where the back office work was done. However, the owners occasionally threw parties where the talent would show up. If you wanted to fuck a porn star you met at these parties, you could, if you were mostly discreet about it. Devs would also go to tech conferences (flying first class no less), but we never shared the nature of our business with people we met (at least I never did).
Compensation was comparable/above average, perks were good (free membership at high-end gyms, fully paid health insurance), but bonuses were meager and there were essentially no equity possibilities. However, after 1.5 years working in the area of the country where I was, I had enough saved to put a down payment on a nice condo. I didn't, and I used that money to move to the Bay Area, where I had to start that process all over. And the Bay Area is definitely not a place where a developer can buy a condo after saving for ~2 years.
Yes, porn stars do get tested for STDs regularly which I believe is generally twice a month. What about the period in between tests? You don't know who they just fucked yesterday or earlier that day.
You must realize for every porn star who has had a long career there are 50 who lasted a minute. There are reasons for that... Yes, many just can't hack it but drug use and STDs are high on the list.
Porn stars are nasty... Period.
I shot on set here and there but the money was unreliable. I did shoot once or twice a week at the agency doing portfolio shoots of all the girls. That was a lot of fun. I couldn't believe I was getting paid to do it.
I had to eventually move into full time programming at various companies (pay wasn't good enough at agency) and they were completely separate from content production, they just bought it from someone else usually.
The vast majority of programmers in the adult industry have no exposure to the production side. An agency or production company is where you need to be at. The really small production companies that have production and programming at the same office would get you exposure to it though.
Everyone is completely open about porn and there's no hiding it. It's quite refreshing not having to worry about being PC about anything. There's porn on everyone's computer at work and nobody bats an eye. Surprisingly, there are about the same number of women in a porn tech office as there is in a typical Silicon Valley startup.
The technology is really archaic though. FTP, PHP, Apache, really? It drove me nuts that I wasn't doing anything innovative and I eventually moved back to Silicon Valley.
Would definitely recommend it if you ever get the opportunity though.
I wonder if you don't mind discolsing the perks? Just curious, not trolling.
Your goal is to keep people jacked into their streams for as long as possible. To do that you basically take advantage of every human weakness ever documented.
There are better things to do with your time and skills imho.
The drawback to driving traffic is that the porn companies are constantly shaving you. You had to track each of your referrals very carefully. Though generally, if the affiliates saw they were getting fucked over, they just switched off their firehose and directed it to another porn company. That always resulted in a face-to-face meeting with apologies and increased incentive to redirect the firehose.
I don't agree with the fact that porn is a frontier of tech anymore. Just read some of the forums on GFY (NSFW). They are all using PHP still and are absolutely clueless about anything that was invented after 2004. Also, read through the API docs for some of the billers. It's amazing how bad the docs and APIs are.
And no, I'm not going to give you FTP access to my server to set up your "script" because I haven't used it in over a decade, and second, I'm not giving you access to my server period. Who the hell still uses FTP? LOL
The porn industry is like the Cuba of the tech world.
Lots of fun times. Lots of horror stories too. Very unethical stuff going on though. Funny thing is, the porn sets were probably more ethical than the programming jobs.
All kinds of shady stuff happen at porn tech companies. Making the favicon look like a lock to fool users into think it was a secure site. Creating fake sites en masse just to get credit card approval because the accounts got shut down so fast for deceptive hidden cross sales.
Front load everything with something like Varnish (Nginx can do some of it to a certain extent) and you'll be handling 15+ millions users a day on a skeleton server stack. Hell back in '09 Pornhub was running smooth on a similar stack with very few servers (when you consider the traffic).
If you ask me most of what was "invented" after 2004 is stuff invented by Google/Facebook who are realistically the only ones needing it, but they saw an opportunity to scoop up market share in dev so they marketed their stack as "bleeding edge". The only thing bleeding is my eyes when I see something that could be wiped up in a standard PHP/Python/Ruby stack but instead is made with so many dependencies and 3rd party library that you wonder if the dude who wrote it actually knows programming or if he just glued cool techs together because Techcrunch and HackerNews say they are cool.
But yes, the smaller players are usually using outdated stuff, then again 99% of the web is. Hence why Wordpress is still a thing.
And as a former Lead Dev of Pornhub, I can assure you that tech peeps definitely are aware of the bleeding edge of tech, just that most have a tendency to not buy the hype. My most recent experience still prove to me that 95% of the cool tech I see mentioned is pure mental masturbation, it makes life easier I keep hearing yet I've never seen it, always a mess, "Goddamnit Grunt!", "Fucking npm", 'Damn dependencies not resolving!", "npm is down", are so commonly heard nowadays I wonder if people who tout it as modern development practice have actually done any "old" school development and realised "modern development" is mostly vendor lockin and provides very little added value to a competent developer.
I introduced Redis to the company after using it for a distributed system (the web scraper I built to suck down other tube site content). There was initially pushback from other devs on using redis, because it was new at the time. I ignored their concerns and used it anyway, then they started using it for future projects.
At my current company I feel that the leads are largely driven by articles and buzz they glean from Twitter. They'll make a technology choice on hearsay and then shoehorn it into a running stack. Or if they start a new project, they suck in a whole ecosystem of janky libraries and frameworks that are so abstract or unstable that they end up in a rabbit hole wasting time solving problems in their dependencies. "We can commit this to open source!!!" says the lead. No, you won't. That code is shit, your code is shit, and you're not being paid to solve other people's problems.
Development at porn companies is actually more like a sprint; development at most other companies is like old people shuffling down the nursing home corridor to get their weekly enema - you don't really want to get there, so you go slowly, only because you've got nothing else to do.
I tried really hard to use Stripe to bill for an adult project I was working on (which was being built with Django so I could learn Python, which I needed to sharpen up on for my day gig), and Stripe wouldn't budge on it because it was an adult site. I was willing to hold excessive reserves, accept chargeback charges at a higher rate, whatever. Ended up having to use a well-known biller instead.
Some of the tools the adult industry ends up using is solely because there are limited options for that business avenue, and because of that, captive audience.
Also, at the company I worked at, they had a sort of level of employee where you were "made". You got to go on lavish trips (the owner had a private jet) and dinners with executives. At that point, you had a job for life as long as you didn't fuck them over.
(To elaborate - strip club owners would often set up dorms where women hung out all day doing cam stuff. They would "import" the women, but eventually the porn companies came up with a less risky idea. They simply went to the origin countries and set up (with the help of the shadier people) these porn dorms. No need to illegally bring talent into other countries.)
I don't know the ratio but there's a lot of pushers.
In the case of Eastern European girls - the overwhelming majority are shot in Eastern European countries (especially Czech and Hungary).
They don't want they employees to be stigmatized for it, I would guess.
I have a couple questions that I hope you would not mind answering:
- Is there a stigma to have such company on your resume? (for a technical position obviously)
- Could you elaborate on the engineering culture, the salaries and the general atmosphere? What do you mean by mafia-like?
The engineering culture was great. Most of the engineers were genuinely about trying new stuff, improving the sites and were heavily into tech outside of the office. Every engineer who made it past the 90-day probation period was solid/competent. Management was very selective during the probation period. I would say about 60% of new hires left or were fired before probation was over. If you made it through, you really had to fuck up to get fired.
They were pretty conservative about their stacks. I see why, because it's hard to hire in that industry. They want to keep their stacks as uniform and simple as possible, so the skill requirements were easy to meet. However, no one was constantly vetting your projects. If you wanted to use something new, and it worked, they didn't care. You owned the whole process. Getting resources wasn't too difficult, if the project was desired by management. A fat pipe to serve content? You got it. Tons of storage for media? You got it. Servers to process large amounts of media? You got it.
There were never any meetings of any sort. I only attended 3 meetings in my entire time there. We had 10-minute scrum-type stand-ups now and then, but it wasn't religiously followed. I miss this aspect the most. I can't tell you, as an engineer, how resentful I am that managers take up 2-3 hours of my week because they need to fill slots in their calendar to prove they're "working."
Salaries were competitive with the area; at least 50% above the median household income. When I was given an offer, they gave me 10% more than I asked for, which has never happened to me before. I actually think I was underpaid relative to coworkers, and could have asked for 20-30% more and gotten it. Perks were okay; raises and bonuses were minimum. Promotions were very rare, but someone told me engineers, in general, don't often get promotions (this is my experience at my current company - one developer out of 20 in my department got promoted last cycle).
The general atmosphere is unlike anything I've experienced before. It's a boys club. The only women in the company were assistants/secretaries - of two types: related to their boss, or fucking their boss. There were women who worked in accounting and HR, but they were located away from the the rest of the company. All the engineers, QA, designers and salespeople were men. Surprisingly there were no real HR issues I heard of. I guess when you're dealing with all men, they tend to work out differences among themselves. I rarely got into the office before noon, because my boss wouldn't come in until after 2pm. Very relaxed and pet friendly. There was a little hazing of new employees, but nothing abusive. It's a culture you wouldn't find at a modern "let's be inclusive and supportive with hugs and validation of everyone's concerns" corporation.
It was mafia-like in the way that there was an inner circle of employees that didn't give you much regard. But if you proved yourself, they warmed up to you and welcomed you.
The whole industry is legitimized by one object: a camera. If you pay someone to have sex, it's prostitution. If you pay someone to have sex and you record it, it's business. This very fine line is one they constantly walk; they're always a step away from criminal behavior.
But they're okay with running a business that depends (in part) on some very bad people using trickery and violence to acquire and control new talent.
I'm not here to berate you. I worked on amusement gaming machines, but started to get cold feet when it would have turned into casino work.
I want devs considering working in porn to consider how their work contributes to human trafficking -- modern slavery.
Thank you for your post
Basically, tobacco is one of the most regulated, taxed and restricted products in Australia. The government doesn't take kindly to them, no matter who is in power, so they have to be incredibly careful to follow the rules as closely as possible. The company I consulted at decided that as they needed to do it anyway they decided to use that to their advantage and did something interesting: they tried to incorporate the regulations into their process improvement model and leveraged the regulations to, rather ironically, increase their efficiency and expand their market share in an increasingky shrinking overall market.
They used over-regulation to their advantage. I've never seen anyone else do this, and whilst I frankly find what they do deadset evil (hence my conflicted feelings on this job) I could not help but to be impressed by the most innovative response to a frankly impossible situation.
joking aside, you never hear about porn companies hiring, how did you get in?
It might have something to do with profitability and margins.
When you make a lot of money, it's easier to justify investments.
But it's completely true that those are the classic 3.
If only we could get them to all combine their powers. Sort of a DARPA-Psyonix-PornHub merger. I'll bring it up at the next G8.
I've got a bunch of projects on that kicking around. Wish I had more time.
Westworld springs to mind
Imagine... World War of Dicks.
Also, finance. Machine Learning for trading algos, Bitcoin/Blockchain etc.
Bitcoin is the exception, not the rule. And the machine learning in finance isn't very innovative at all. In fact, working in the industry I'd say they really don't know what they're doing! They just try stuff and see what works (at a glacial pace no less).
On June 27th, someone pointed out in the Chrome bug tracker that an ad network called RevDefender started using WebSockets to deliver ads.
I used to work as the lead developer of a big adult online store and its associated social network website, at the beginning I was ashamed to talk about it with my non-coworker friends because talking about porn and sex toys is not well seen in my home country because there is a lot of religious people.
It was not until at year later that I realized that I was gaining more experience as a software engineer with the challenges in this project than in previous jobs. Now I am very proud of the work I did there, and although HR people still cringe every time I talk about it during interviews I always end up seeing a face of amusement when they hear about the challenges that my team had to face.
If it weren't because finding the careers page in these websites is difficult I would happily apply to work there. I understand that working in the sex industry is still a taboo (either as a model, manager, developer, etc) we have to agree to what my grandfather used to say: Sex and Food, that's what sells.
My point being that you can see technological innovation from the perspective of pursuing 'base' desires or as an outgrowth of intellectual curiosity or basic research, and make a good argument either way depending on what other points you want to make.
Your friend the chemist might seem to enjoy explosions a lot, but also be systematic and detail-oriented.
- Guy grabs a Magnum Condom and proudly puts it on while girl smiles.
- A couple have a picnic lunch in the bed of a Ford F150 pickup truck and end up having sex
I'm sure you couldn't get a deal with every company (McDonald's probably wouldn't buy in) but there are quite a few adult companies that would work. As long as you could accurately track views across distributors you would be golden. :)
Just an idea.
1) distorts the ad marketplace, resulting in impressions that may be paid and not seen, or seen and not paid, and;
2) anti-consumer experience, as the consumer expects no ads.
Disclosure: Years ago I cofounded a company that offers a private ad exchange to large sites, and recently released a Subscriptions service that is able to blank out ads with good technical hygiene for paying subscribers. 
A good chunk of porn site revenue comes from rebills to people who forget to cancel their subscription after they've joined at 2am Saturday morning, drunk/high, needing to pound one out before passing out. (This is literally the description of a typical customer a porn studio manager gave me.)
That by itself could be a great market. Porn sites are notorious for inefficient, disgusting, and sometimes malicious advertisements. Getting the product without all that for low cost would appeal to many. I'm curious what the actual numbers are on one of the highest, trafficked sites. It could provide a nice, upper bound on what others might expect with their actual results being lower unless they're a niche operator like Kink.
But everything for movie and TV show is available for free easily but still everything is working great for Netflix.
Actually they are available - including 4k, even VR - just not on public trackers :)
Porn is reliably served by many _respectable_ sites.
Sounds like a good thing to me.
The first online orders were processed by Netmarket which had nothing to do with the porn industry.
 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NetMarket
 - http://www.nytimes.com/1994/08/12/business/attention-shopper...
First off, we can dispense both porn and video games as important technological drivers since both are realms of extremely narrow focus compared to the breadth of the military; neither can for instance be credited with driving development of automatic telephone exchanges.
The military has much more diverse needs, and could therefore plausibly drive "innovations in technology" over a large enough breadth of technologies to count. Still, the technology the military directly develops or pay for being developed is of a decidedly military nature, and as we all know the civilian sector of society is quite sizable and contains a multitude of technology unique to it, none of which are directly developed by the military.
Frankly, the fact that the Board of Longitude lead to portable timepieces does not mean the military can be credited with all advances in timekeeping henceforth.
The article also notes that uBlock and ABP have both shipped "workarounds", in the typical cat and mouse fashion
I get that this is a porn site we are talking about here, but why is "just pay for it" never discussed in these kinds of submissions?
Why is it always "how do we keep getting all this content for free without paying" and not "why can't they make it easier to pay" or "how else can I pay for this without losing security or anonymity"?
But don't try and turn a security issue into an ethics issue.
They have a way to pay and get ads 0% of the time, guaranteed. If you really cared about your security, you would both block ads and pay for the subscription to ensure you never get served the code in the first place.
And even if that weren't the case, why is it okay to just take what you want without paying just because you don't approve of the security.
Often times I don't trust a website with my credit card info, the solution is to not use that website. The solution is to not try to hack in and take what I want without paying...
Edit: i've now had threats sent to the email I had listed in my user profile about this. So i'm done talking here.
Hardly. Taking what you want? Hacking in? What in the world are you talking about? Nobody is hacking into their systems.
They are willingly serving up a page to my computer for free. This has absolutely nothing to do with payment. Whether I view the entire page, or only the part of the page I want to see, is none of their business. What scripts I allow to run on my computer, what content I allow to be downloaded to my computer, is also none of their damn business. All of this happens on my own private property.
Personal security easily trumps whatever ethics concern you have.
This seems self-servingly reductive. It sure would be convenient for people who don't like paying for content if the Internet was an amoral technical automaton, but in fact there are human people on the other side of that HTTP request. Your your interactions with them are subject to moral and ethical considerations just like any other, even though they are mediated by automatic mechanisms.
note: I don't think PH is a particularly sympathetic example since most of the content is probably pirated in the first place, but your argument bumped me.
The moral and ethical considerations are simple - you sent data to me, I get to do whatever I want with it, subject to legal limits. I can view the whole site in my browser. Or half of it. Or view it in Emacs. I can run scripts. Or not run them. This is my machine, my execution environment. If you want to dictate how I consume the content, then you have the right to present me with the option and let me agree or disagree. If I disagree, don't serve me the content. Talking morality here is just trying to guilt-trip people into compliance with crappy money-making tactics.
If you also believe that's immoral, then I really think this thread is going nowhere, as it's unlikely we'll find common ground. If you don't believe TV ad-skipping is immoral, then what's the difference between that and web ad blocking?
Because it's automated? Why does that magically change its morality? Does that mean a self-built DVR that automatically skips ads is immoral? You and others are arguing "just because something is technically possible, it doesn't mean it's moral"... but you can't have it both ways. The technical ease (or lack thereof) by which you do or don't avoid seeing ads should have no bearing on its morality.
I enjoy reading sci-fi and fantasy, but it's getting harder and harder to pick the next thing to read, because I'm getting pickier with age. It would be great if I could find a source of information about new sci-fi and fantasy books, so that I didn't have to pick my books blindly and get disappointed so often.
Fortunately, I've discovered a printed magazine being sold at a store a few blocks away from my home. The greatest thing about it is that it's free of charge! I don't have to pay for the magazine, I just have to go to the store and pick up the copy.
However, it's peppered with ads. Some are annoying because they're placed in such a way that I don't realize they're ads. Instead, I think I'm reading a book review and I don't realize my mistake until I'm almost a full paragraph into the ad. Others are clearly ads, but they're a whopping four pages and they interrupt my reading flow because I have to skip them. Others are just half a page in size, but the paper for those pages is much, much thicker than normal, which makes turning pages awkward and cumulatively adds to the weight of the magazine -- so much so that some issues weigh close to an old-school telephone book!
But hell, it's still a good source of information, so I use it and grumble, until one day one of the other readers gets so fed up, that they lock themselves in their home for a couple of months and invent a machine that can examine the magazine, cut out all the ads from it and assemble what remains into a smaller, nicer-looking magazine. So now I can go to the store, grab a new issue of the magazine, come home, feed the magazine into the ad-cutter and then enjoy reading all the information I wanted without any ad-related annoyance.
This works fine for all readers, but not so much for the ads industry. Naturally, something's got to give, so new technologies emerge. The ads industry designs new ads for the magazine to print and these ads have tiny cameras that observe what the reader is doing and tiny wireless components that report what the cameras observed. That way the magazine publisher and the ads industry can know whether I'm actually reading the ads or not. Not only that, they can also know which ads I look at longer, which ones I skip faster, which ones I come back to look at later and they can even know other things about what I do at home, including what other magazines I like to read.
Of course, I don't like that at all. It's my home, you know? Maybe during the summer I like to get up and walk to my coffee-maker clad only in an old T-shirt I slept in -- family jewels hanging freely -- and read the new issue of the magazine while sipping my morning coffee, before getting dressed. Only now I feel uncomfortable because there's a fucking camera catching glimpses of my danglies and sending them to some ad executive up there. Or maybe I'm not that gross, but I still object to intrusive shit being forced on me.
And then it gets worse: the magazine publisher starts complaining if I use my ad-cutting machine. They don't stop me from reading their magazine -- still free, mind you! -- but they send me passive-aggressive letters whenever I put an issue through the ad-cutter: "Ads pay our printing costs and allow us to pay our authors and editors. We're not charging you for any of this. Won't you reconsider reading our ads?"
Since I'm not the only reader and this magazine isn't the only one to use the ads to sustain themselves, things get complicated. Huge discussions erupt about ad-cutting: readers just want to read their stuff without annoyances and creepy surveillance, writers and editors just want to produce content and get paid for doing the stuff they love, publishers just want to retain their readership and keep making money from putting content in their hands, and the ads industry just wants its profits and the rest of us can get fucked, thank you very much.
It's clear that there's a problem with ads, though, so different magazines try different solutions. Some band together and spin off ad companies that promises to serve only "nice ads" that aren't annoying or intrusive. Others say "Fuck it, this didn't work, we're charging you from now on." Others get rid of ads and try subsisting on donations and patronage. Some others get rid of ads by forming a group that charges you a monthly submission and distributes that money based on what magazines you get more frequently from the stores. Still others decide to offer premium content that you have to pay for and don't care whether you cut their ads as much. Some even decide to give you a choice by offering a free ad-ridden edition and a paid ad-free edition for each issue. Not to mention those who go the other way and work as hard as they can on injecting their ads into content in such a way that your ad-cutter can't get rid of them easily.
How does the story end? I don't know, we're all still trapped in it. But it still boggles my mind whenever someone tells me that I have a moral and ethical obligation to leave the ads intact in the magazine that's in my hands, in my home, just because I got it for free and the publisher expects me to use it in a certain way. To me, it's not me who's at fault for "stealing content" and "getting something for nothing"; it's the publisher and the ads industry who are overstepping their boundaries and crossing several lines, just because they don't want to change their business model. Every time someone berates me for cutting ads from my magazines and telling me I can't eat my cake and have it too, I can't help but wonder why they don't think of the publishing industry and the ads industry in same terms.
That freedom was confirmed in the EU for cars, and some other personal devices recently.
If its in your control, its yours to use.
I request a webpage, and receive back text data.
My browser parses and manipulates it into a visual form.
If I want, I can discard any piece of the data before displaying - and browsers frequently do this when syntax errors occur.
Is a browser obligated to serve the user an error if the data is incomplete?
Why is the browser then obligated to display another page in its complete form?
Especially if said complete form contains software designed to break the security of the browser?
Its just not an ethical issue. The ad industry needs to pivot. They've lost their credibility that they can be trusted.
Visiting Forbes today may be as dangerous as visiting a torrent site in the early 90s.
You don't know till you execute the code, so why not stop treating the browser like a sex partner who might just have HIV, but you're not sure, and start wearing a little protection?
No they are not. They are willing to serve you pages with ads. Not pages without ads.
The logic that you guys use is pretty twisted.
These companies exist because of ads.
No ads = they don't exist = no content.
In the long run:
A) They will find a way around it in which case you will see ads.
or B) They will all be about of business, in which case you get no content.
Nothing is free, everything takes time and energy from someone else.
"is also none of their damn business" obviously it's 'their business'. It is literally their business :)
My bet is that companies just find a way around ad-blocking.
It'll be interesting to see just how.
 - rightly so, but that's a feature of capitalism, isn't it?
Demanding that I execute all these instructions without exception is like a subscription service sending me a newsletter in the mail and demanding that if I pick it up, I've somehow agreed to read the whole thing, beginning to end, out loud. Absurdity.
This is an out-and-out lie. They are willing to serve me pages without ads, because they do it every time I browse there with an ad-blocker. I make an HTTP request, their site responds. The HTML code asks me to download an ad, and I, through my ad-blocker, decline. That doesn't stop their server from sending me the content.
If they don't like that, they're perfectly free to design their site to force me to download ads in order to view the content. They have every right to, for instance, show me a video ad, and then have me take a quiz to demonstrate that I viewed the ad and remember it, before continuing on to the rest of the site. If they don't want to do this, that's their problem, not mine.
>No ads = they don't exist = no content.
It's not my job to worry about their business model.
>My bet is that companies just find a way around ad-blocking
Well, they could just embed the ads into the page, such as by serving them from the same domain and making it non-obvious which images are ads and which are not. People have been proposing this for ages. But the ad companies don't like it because they don't trust their own clients to accurately report ad-servings. Again, not my problem. They need to fix their own business model. If they can't do that, and go out of business, that's their problem. They should have done a better job coming up with a viable business model.
This may sound greedy to you, but for you to have the absolute gall of telling people that they need to expose their computers to malware is purely asinine.
You people are naively deluded.
" No ads = they don't exist = no content.
It's not my job to worry about their business model."
You don't seem to grasp the realpolitik here.
No ads = no content - in the long run.
You don't seem to grasp the math here.
If there are no ads, they, and all their peers cease to exist.
Or else they go full paywall.
I'm not even making an ideological statement - although I could very well do that, I don't need to.
Do you know the reason that there are maybe 1/3 the number of foreign correspondents for major news networks - and why there is so little coverage of Middle East etc? Because CNN now competes with click-farms like Buzzfeed. Less revenue = less product.
So it's the 'choice' consumers make.
These things don't exist in a vacuum they are real.
You don't want ads, you don't want to pay - they you are 'de facto' saying you don't want the content in the long run.
There is no argument against this - you can rant and rave as much as you want about side issues such as 'the http stream belongs to me' yada yada yada - it's totally irrelevant.
No ads (or pay, or donations) = no content.
It's as simple as that.
"This may sound greedy to you, but for you to have the absolute gall of telling people that they need to expose their computers to malware is purely asinine."
No - I am not exposing people to malware by suggesting that they 'not use ad blockers'. Because 99.9% of the world does not use adblockers and don't face such malware problems. I'm not even suggesting they 'not use ad blockers'. I'm merely pointing out the reality of the situation.
Denying reality is the only 'asinine' thing going on here.
You didn't mention the other options -- publishers could get together and come up with a micropayment standard so users can pay the few cents for each view that the advertiser would have earned from ads.
I use an ad blocker, not because I am opposed to paying for content I view, but because ads are annoying and distracting, and I'd be happy to pay them the money they are earning from ads.
But what I'm not willing to do is pay "just $3.99 for unlimited access to our site!". I'm not going to pay $50/year for access to a site that I might only visit a couple times a month or less.
But let me fund $10 a month into a micropayment account, and then dole out payment for each page view, and I'll gladly sign up -- as long as it's an open standard so with one funding account I can visit pretty much any micropayment site.
They show cat pictures instead of ads, while still letting you pay a couple pennies to the publishers.
It still fails the 'open standard' test.
It allows you to do what you described as wanting for most sites, and you're not going to use it because it's not perfect? You should try it.
"Here’s how it works: when Contributor users visit a site in Google’s network, their monthly contribution is used to bid on their behalf in the ad auction—so they, rather than an advertiser, end up buying the ad slot."
> It allows you to do what you described as wanting for most sites, and you're not going to use it because it's not perfect? You should try it.
Someone being able to pay extra to get past my ad blocking is not what I want. Nor do I like the way money is allocated from such a system. But beyond that, being adsense-only means it doesn't affect the worst quarter of ads, and I can't even lobby those sites or ad networks to join the micropayment system. Also the system I want has a "this site tricked me, don't give them money" button.
If it could merge with flattr and invite other companies, then it would have a real path forward toward an ad-free landscape and I would be much more willing to use it.
Patreon has a lot going for it in the sense that if you support stuff you like, you will see more of it.
Who's naively deluded now?
No ads = not much for you to download.
Realpolitik will very quickly trump any ideological arguments.
Waiting for it. Because I predict that with ads gone, the content that will be gone is the worthless kind. People are fine with sharing stuff for free out of the goodness of their heart, and they're also fine with asking for money for their services.
The problem with ads is that ad-driven sites serve content created only to support their ad-driven business model.
No they won't. The entire way the web works gives far more control to the client with regards to what they do and don't see. There will never be a way around ad blocking.
It's still, and entirely separately from payments, a very important issue.
The real context here is:
Controlling what my own mechanical device does with the information it receives from other people's machines.
Even if the internet had no ads and no tracking code and no malware anywhere whatsoever, there would still be a need for the technology to block and change the way in which my computer handles the things sent to it by other computers before showing them to me. I have a myriad blocks and css modifications and even site additions and other things set up that have absolutely nothing to do with ads, and being able to do that reliably is important.
"receives from other people's machines" makes it sound like PornHub is seeking you out and sending you stuff you didn't ask for. If you visited their site, you and your computer asked for whatever they sent. If you don't want parts of what they send, they offer you a convenient way of stopping that by paying for their content.
In today's world, running a business on an ad model is just one step above asking for donations. If you want people to pay, make them pay. It really is that simple.
> Similarly, if they don't want me viewing their content without paying, they can setup a pay wall.
I have seen museums, however, that require a paid ticket to see their artwork.
You're not going to sell a lot of wares of any kind if you require potential customers to pay just to come in and look. Even "membership club" places like Costco let people come in and look for free, though they have to ask permission.
There's an even more convenient and much cheaper way called an ad blocker. It also works on just about every site around. Show some control.
This is not true at all.
You see ads all the time in apps you have on your mobile device (i.e. non browser) - and there is nothing you can do about it. Is the world freaking out over the consumers ability to 'control which ads come up in a specific app'? Not really.
They should be. Unfortunately, most people don't understand what a Turing machine is, and so it is difficult to explain why it is important to fight back against the people - like you - who are waging a War On General Purpose Computers.
I'm sorry if your business model relies upon most people not using all of the capabilities of their General Purpose Computer. I suggest updating to a business model that is more compatible with modern technology, because trying to prevent people from controlling their own devices is a civil war that will cause increasingly worse problems into the future.
Never seen an in-app ad on mobile personally. No one is freaking out because it's a solved problem already.
If those don't do it for you, write an Xposed module to strip it like http://repo.xposed.info/module/ma.wanam.youtubeadaway
Don't underestimate people who hate ads, especially video ads.
If you don't want ads - then you have to pay for the apps.
This has nothing to do with technology, ad-blockers, advertisers or anything else.
It's not even at the level of 'economics'.
No pay / No ads = no content.
None of you teenagers have been able to counter that point yet.
> 99% of Apps and Websites with content would disappear if there was no ad revenue or payment.
I can't believe that any of you are finished school and have jobs, because all this talk of 'turing machines' is laughable and incredulous.
Some apps don't even offer an ad-free option. I'll pay if they provide me value, I won't pay if they don't, simple as that. This used to be a more standard model called shareware, but it kind of died out in the mobile app decade.
> No pay / No ads = no content.
> None of you teenagers have been able to counter that point yet.
Why can't I pay them just as much as the ad-revenue they'd earn from me? It'd be fractions of a penny per page, nothing like the cost of most of these sites paid models.
If they offered a reasonable payment model, I'd be much more open to it. But until they're willing to accept their real value per page view, I'm not interested in paying $10/mo for everything I use, when I wouldn't even provide them with $0.10/mo in ad revenue.
For now, blocking ads is the only option if you want to get a full internet experience without the ads, if enough people block ads that advertising is no longer a viable model and more viable models become available, I'm more than open to them. But we have to get the industry to that point where they're at the consumer's whim and not like it is currently where the consumer is at the advertiser's whim. The advertisers having all the power is not a good solution here.
Apps are free to work or not if I kill ads. I just shrug and either buy the app or use something else. I absolutely do not put up with the interface of my mobile looking like the Vegas Strip.
If you paid, this would be a non-issue, as you would never be served the ads in the first place.
If you are okay with ads instead of paying, this is a non-issue as you would be served the ads anyway.
Even if the internet had no ads and no tracking code and no malware anywhere whatsoever, there would still be a need for the technology to block and change the way in which my computer handles the things sent to it by other computers before showing them to me. I have a myriad blocks and css modifications and even site additions and other things set up that have absolutely nothing to do with ads, and being able to do that reliably is important.
That is why this matters:
Besides, as i said, i don't even use pornhub.
Heck, a number of sites i use this stuff on are sites where i pay profusely. My steam expenses are 6000$ at this point, and i block a lot of things there, primarily because they actually make it more difficult for me to find the things i want to spend money on.
I know there are ways around such blocks but I don't bother using them. If a site prevents me from seeing its content if im blocking ads I close the page and make a mental note to not click on links to that site anymore.
I probably would stop using that site, I think it's important to support sites that make meaningful progress possible. But again, that doesn't really have any impact on my decision to make sure foreign code doesn't run on my machine.
Patreon is a big step towards fixing that, since it allows me to pay small amounts to people whose work i enjoy very occasionally. It is however not the end game yet, and i think if that path is pursued further, ads can become a part of the past.
Also the "just don't go there" thing is hard to do in reality. If only because to find out that a site is bad, you need to first go there. Then there's the cost of remembering in the future that the site is bad. Then there's the social cost of getting linked to a thing. etc. etc. etc.
And why should people who can't afford to pay, or wish to not have their money benefit someone, be forced to be opened up to security exploits?
Honestly this really is the problem and honestly when I first read it I thought you were arguing against ad blockers. Having to have subscriptions is ridiculous, which is why ad supported really is the only currently realistic model for the majority of the internet. Everyone seems to be so concerned with security so instead of reaching for the nuclear option of just not paying people who provide us content why don't we actually think about how to make them safer? What would an ad network have to do to make you allow them through an ad blocker?
There's absolutely nothing they can do. If I can hide ads by any means, I will do so. I absolutely hate them. They slow down page loading and rendering, they slow down my browser, and they're tacky and distracting. I a few options:
1. A system of micropayments so I can pay cents or fractions of a cent for page views, ad-free.
2. Blocking content as well if an ad blocker is detected. I'm fine with this; my stance is that if you send me data in response to a GET request, I can do anything I want with that data, including stripping out portions I don't want to see. If you block the content when detecting I'm blocking ads, that's fine; I'll accept that and not try to circumvent it (and will likely just do without your content).
3. A general (monthly-subscription-type) paywall. I'm unlikely to pay for this, as there are few (no?) sites I read often to justify the expense, so I'd again just do without.
And I think that's the thing: there are enough people who don't block ads that they're apparently still profitable enough that sites that would prefer to charge for content can't see doing so as a viable business model. I look forward to the day when selling advertising is no longer viable, and something like my #1 idea takes hold.
Suggesting that it's immoral or unethical to block ads is just hogwash.
1. No videos, flashing animations, pop-overs, pop-unders or audio. Ever.
2. I WILL tolerate text, links, and moderately sized images.
3. No building a dossier on me. I may allow tasteful ads but I will still block trackers and analytics with extreme prejudice.
You're off track. A server sends your browser what it would like you to display. It's not required to be displayed in any sense. Why is not displaying all of it stealing / not ethical? The way advertising is typically constructed gives all of the power to the client.
Not sure why you're getting threats over email for this comment though. I love HN for its comments but sometimes discourse can break down hard for issues people are passionated about.
And to be completely honest, I don't really have an answer why it's okay to do something like look away from ads, but it's not okay to block them.
That's just how I feel, and I know that might be hypocritical, but it is what it is.
The issue here is payment to the content creators. If you mute your tv, the actors/writers/producers/camerapersons/tv station employees/etc get paid. If you block ads on the internet, then the writers/journalists/photographers/sysadmins/etc dont get paid, even though they made you happy, or provided something you obviously valued. I mean, you spent your valuable time consuming it, it must be worth something.
But if you setup a program to explicitly skip every commercial break without any interaction from your part, then it would be a problem to me.
How about if my friend hits the mute button for me?
How about if my friend is an android?
I get that you _feel_ differently about it, and that's totally ok, but the idea that you feel the need to suggest that those feelings are "right" for others baffles me.
This is admittedly an extremist view point on my part but If I even detect a hint of advertising, I am extremely unlikely to ever consider a product. I detest advertising in any form. So in cases like mine, the advertiser is better off not showing me any ads.
Looking away from ads, or hitting mute, or fast forwarding through them all require effort and time on the viewer's part. A small effort, but effort nonetheless.
As an advertiser, I can grudgingly accept my ad being skipped, because I know its costing the viewer to skip them. Since its not free to them, I can assume that one day, or every so often, they'll end up watching my ad because they can't be bothered to skip it.
I experience this myself. Much of what we watch is free to air recorded on the tivo. Sometimes (not often), if the couch is comfortable and the kids have moved the remote out of arm's reach, I just can't be bothered skipping ads.
But ad blockers remove the small effort I must make to skip the ads. The automation they provide makes it effectively free, so there's no reason why I would ever watch an ad again.
I feel that's one aspect of why looking away or muting feels OK but ad blockers are not.
Now on websites EVERYTHING is tracked, and advertisers are seeing it in their face every single day how many people skip their stuff, so they get upset.
Besides, automation for TV exists as well.
Nope, I don't buy it. The publisher doesn't get anything by causing you to do work to avoid the ad (as in, you doing work vs. not doing work to avoid the ad is exactly the same from the publisher's standpoint, financially). Ethics and morality are not about whether or not you "paid" with inconvenience or effort. This is just you feeling like you should be watching every ad put in front of you and assuaging your guilt in different ways depending on the medium.
Payment for services provided. If you dont look at the ads, everyone still gets paid. If you block them, then the people making something you like dont get paid.
You're the one who introduced obligation as a premise. Copyright law is not fictional.
Websites are copyrighted works of art, and you are not obligated to use them copyright free. If the copyright holder intends for their content to be consumed with ads, that means you are obligated to consume it with ads.
Citation needed, because I think the caselaw disagrees with you. See the ruling in Lewis Galoob Toys, Inc. v. Nintendo of America, Inc. or ClearPlay's exemption in the summary judgement in Huntsman v. Soderbergh.
In short, so long as you're not making a permanent derivative work out of the material, but instead changing the way by which you view it, then it's not copyright infringement.
Those cases you cited don't apply for specific reasons:
- For Lewis Galoob Toys, Inc. v. Nintendo of America, Inc., it was premised with consumers having already paid for their game, giving Nintendo a fair return for the copyrighted content. This was clearly stipulated by the judge in her ruling. With websites, you haven't paid a fair return for the content you're consuming so the case isn't relevant.
- Clearplay was only exempt in Huntsman v. Soderbergh because they were purchasing a 1:1 copy of every DVD that they were modifying. This isn't relevant because, for example, Adblockers are not paying publishers for every piece of content that they filter on.
Using AdBlock is more like turning off a TV on commercials break. But I won't be surprised if copyright and ad companies would push some kind of law against it after they have adopted DMCA. Unlike consumers they have money and lobbyists.
> With websites, you haven't paid a fair return for the content you're consuming so the case isn't relevant.
One pays with his attention: he could spend time browsing any other of millions of websites. If the publisher doesn't like users with adblock he might not serve pages to them. Or require a payment. Or he might not use the Web at all.
The Clearplay technology was almost identical in function, implementation, and spirit to an ad-blocker. The same could be said in less specificity to the Game Genie in Lewis Galoob.
Now I understand the underlying frustration expressed in what you are saying, but you are assuming that there is some sort of contract (explicit via TOS or implicit) between the content consumer and the content provider that stipulates that you are receiving the content for free in exchange for also viewing it with advertisements inline.
I have not seen such TOS before and I don't think they are enforceable. At least it hasn't been tested in court in the states.
This is complicated by the fact that most websites do not host ads but merely provide a mechanism by which 3rd party networks' content alongside, and the only concrete business relationship exists between the website and the ad network, where the profitability of it is reflected in the ad network's perception of performance.
It is the responsibility of the ad networks and the content providers to use psychology, technology, tricks, etc. to increase the performance of the placed ads; the consumer has no obligation here. The ability for a consumer to ignore or block an ad must be factored into the numbers or the strategy.
One method that can bypass all of this is to use ad-block detectors that annoy or block viewers not seeing ads, or to self-host adnetwork content and adjust TOS accordingly. This is not popular, more complicated, and reduces overall impressions, but I think it's the right way to go if you want to lean on an interpretation of copyright law.
I still don't think people are violating copyright law if they choose to use technological mechanisms to try to suppress what they don't want to see, but it's a lot harder to implement in that case since you can quite easily change it in ways to increase impression rates.
For example, you can flip through a book if you want to, because it's already been paid for.
Copyright is about distribution and nothing else. It allows a copyright holder to decide if, when, and how his/her work is distributed (which might be payment-free!). It does not govern what you do with the work once you've obtained it, as long as you do not try to redistribute.
The DMCA and similar laws attempt to get around that allowance by making it a crime to distribute tools for circumventing copyright protections. It's telling that no one has succeeded in a DMCA complaint against ad blocking software.
Irrelevant. That's like saying you can't click on a billboard so what's the point?
Not all ads are direct response. Many display and programmatic ads are awareness plays, which pay publishers by the impression or thousands of impressions.
Are you saying that blocking ads on a website is somehow the same thing as hacking the website and taking material?
The other day, on my phone, I used an ad-supported app and I got malware on my phone (5x, latest Android 7.0). I went to the Play page for that app and many other people complained of the same thing.
So, it's not just an ethics issue.
I chose, when I got this phone, not to root and run software that prevented ads from being shown. I'm wishing I had done that, because my likely course of action will be to reset my phone and spend many hours getting it setup like it was before the malware.
Again, I'd like your List of Malware-Free Sites, so I dont get anymore malware.
When every site gets their ads served from the same central location and that location is compromised, everyone is at risk unless they have strict anti-ad rules implemented.
Its as simple as if you don't like games/songs/media with DRM, buy the non-DRM ones and reward the authors.
If a large enough segment of the population uses an ad-blocker it signals a clear and direct message to site-owners and ad network's wallets that you won't put up with ads and that they won't make money from you until they come up with a different business model. What could be better? It's way more effective than just leaving, emailing the webmaster, or writing an angry blog post.
I long for the day when I don't need an incredibly aggressive content filter on the web for it to be usable, safe, and private.
They're going to take the 'easier' route of trying to keep bypassing the blockers than changing the entire revenue model. That's why supporting websites which are founded on a non-advertising revenue model is crucial.
>It's way more effective than just leaving, emailing the webmaster, or writing an angry blog post.
What argument do you present for this?
If you are truly principled then you would avoid going to websites that have those ads and only go to websites whose revenue model is aligned with your interests.
You're still not really completely protecting yourself. So it seems to me like you're hedging your bets by assuming that primarily websites which have ads are a liability, but websites with no ads, but with equal opportunity for exploiting vulnerabilities are not.
Not only that but the ad networks also get all your details which makes Internet advertising quite unlike other advertising.
If the ad networks have no "ethics" I see no reason to feel an ethical obligation back. Sucks for content providers, yeah, but if they have to die to get rid of the sketchy ad networks so be it.
I'd be willing to whitelist ad networks which were sandboxed and could only show me straight up images proxied through the first party site. Anything more than that and I'll show some control of my own hardware and block it. Ultimately, it's my hardware, if it does anything I don't like, I have a right to fix it.
If you're concerned with what's possible then any website that has JS is a potential vector for malware. Then you can just disable JS and browse the web that way. But wait, websites can also attack you with HTML browser bugs with malformed HTML, or PNG or JPG renderer bugs with malformed images, etc etc. At some point, you're going to have to be practical and compromise or something. My point is if you want to be principled, then reward websites with no ads by visiting them and don't reward websites who have ads.
Blocking ads is about blocking ads because ads are horrendous.
I'm displaying content on my screen. It's my screen, and my computer, and I don't see a difference between an ad blocker and, say, putting post-it notes over the screen to physically block the space the ads are appearing in.
In the same way, I can control whether I watch a video muted or at 100% volume. I can control what font I use, whether my browser is fullscreen. I can modify the displayed content so all instances of the word "millennials" read as "snake people". I can choose not to display ads.
I'm not articulating this well, but I hope I got my point across. I view anti-adblockers like I do DRM - it's a program or piece of data (edit: ...that is running on my computer, not remotely) that is causing my computer to behave in ways I do not want my computer to behave, and so fits the definition of malware.
Do you really think everything you can do that takes advantage of legal rights you should totally have is ethical? If that's the case, which of the following do you agree with:
A. It should be illegal to cheat on your significant other.
B. It is totally ethical to cheat on your significant other.
On recording and fast forwarding later since it's a closer analog, the network is being paid to show that ad to people during that time period - generally the numbers used to sell ad space exclude people recording for later (they are broken out). So that is also not ripping them off since the ads are part of the "cost" of watching the show at that time, not in general.
In your case, what's the point? Even though I feel like it's hyperbolic, one of the main arguments is that they are an attack vector - so if they are still running/displaying then it seems pointless. It's not that hard to ignore ads, there are a few sites I don't really go to because I know they have annoying ads (and I don't feel entitled to their content for free, so I just don't go) but otherwise I have never had any issues with ads that are difficult to ignore.
Speak for yourself, especially after years of having them blocked I find them incredibly distracting when I look at someone else's screen.
> I don't feel entitled to their content for free
I don't either, but if your server will give it to me, I'll take it. If they wanted it secured, they should have used a pay wall. That's their fault, not my problem. If you give it to my computer, I get to decide how it's displayed. Ultimately, it's my hardware, if it does anything I don't like, I have a right to fix it and that right of ownership trumps any non-existent contract in my book.
They do offer a way you can pay to not have ads, and they offer a way for people who don't want the hassle of a paywall to consume their content by viewing ads.
There will always be people who just don't feel others should be paid for the services they offer.
In my opinion this is just like grabbing a big handful of Halloween candy that was left out without a sign saying "take one", there's nothing preventing you from taking all you want but the expectation is that you just take one so everyone can have some.
> In my opinion this is just like grabbing a big handful of Halloween candy that was left out without a sign saying "take one", there's nothing preventing you from taking all you want but the expectation is that you just take one so everyone can have some.
Not really, I don't own the candy or anything about it. I do own my computer. Maybe it's just interacting with a machine that you own like that I've heard it makes most people more utilitarian.
The possibility means lack of preventative measures on their part, like a pay wall or allowing only some custom TPM-based browser which forces the viewing of ads.
I own my hardware, it does what I tell it. That's about as far as the ethical side of this goes. Ad companies getting to invade my privacy and send me malware is certainly not ethical. Especially if they use my own hardware against me to do so. If they don't play by any rules, neither do I. So when it comes to getting annoying ads and their related problems out of my face, anything goes.
It's not just a lack of prevention. It's a purposeful, deliberate choice to send this content even if you're not paying or loading the ads.
Closer. Its more like if your friend says you can use his car, but you need to pay him $x per mile. So you use an odometer changing device to make it look like you didnt actually use it.
Maybe a better analogy would be to walk through his lawn if he didn't put a fence up. This probably does about as much damage to his lawn as bandwidth would be wasted on you as an ad blocker.
And wasted bandwidth isn't the real issue, unless the business in question's only expense is bandwidth.
Well then what's the issue? Bandwidth is the only thing I'm costing them really, the only difference between me going there and me not going there is bandwidth. If I legitimately couldn't use the site due to a pay-wall I wouldn't go there. Unless there's some secret way to make me pay for content that I'd only consume if it's free?
No, that would be a DoS attack. Browsing without ads is taking the same amount of candy anyone else does. At worst it's ignoring the stack of flyers next to the candy bowl.
- a right to freely inspect and disassemble the software before running it to make sure it doesn't have any malicious or tracking functions and disable the code one doesn't want to be run on his system
- a right to make any modifications to one's legally obtained copy of software (but not redistribute it)
- a right to distribute tools necessary for disassembling and modifying software
- a right to decide what information can be collected and sent from his device. For example, many smartphones today have preinstalled software (like Google Play Services) that sends data to Google and to manufacturer. The consumer is unable to inspect or disable this unless he is a computer engineer having a lot of free time. Even if it is anonymised data they should not be sent without owner's consent. If you are unable to control this you are not the real owner.
The digital techologies are a new thing and are not yet covered fully with laws so large corporations (and their friends at NSA) try to make the rules beneficial to them. We have a laws like DMCA that restrict the rights of consumer to repair a tractor but we have no laws protecting consumer from spying on him by Google. Large companies just want to have as much authority over consumer as they can.
I see these sites more like buskers than businesses. Perhaps if I could drop 10p in the pot with zero effort I might. I don't know. I'm certainly not going to go through the hassle of digging out the the first, third and eighth digits of my credit card 3dsecure passcode for it. Perhaps if they had a zero effort way of charging 10p every time someone used the site they'd get more people paying.
Also, just comparing specific examples here. The Guardian ask for £5/month to become a supporter. It's almost tempting at that amount. For that you get stuff they've actually created. Pornhub want to charge £10/month for content they've basically stolen from somewhere else and are now serving with a simple tag based categorisation and video player.
> "how do we keep getting all this content for free without paying"
Maybe this is what people are saying, but not what they actually mean. Almost without fail adverts are intrusive, obnoxious, sometimes disgusting, CPU spinning malware delivery vectors.
Perhaps the lack of middle ground between that, and paying more money than we think something is worth, is non-existent, and therefore filled with a workaround; adblockers.
I think it's been done (micropayments), but perhaps being able to pay for a fraction of something is needed these days. Not one whole newspaper (the past) but one article (the present)
The web is a public place where the majority of content is free to consume. Those publishers who wish not to provide content for free are free to demand payment for it. They're free to raise revenue by delivering ads too, but we're not obliged to see them.
It wouldn't (at least in my case) be a problem with advertisement per se.
Adservers with additional adservers behind them (and cascading further down) where only one would have to be compromised to infect my machine is what makes me use hard rules not to let (unknown) third party requests on any page pass.
I try to minimize my flank surface in regards to such online attack possibilities. In my case it is with adblocking, a curated and regularly updated host file, 3rd party request blockage and so on...
OK, the net is mostly unusable and painful nowadays, but that is the price to pay.
I don't block ads to stop creators from getting paid... I block ads because 99% of them are irrelevant, waste my time and are a massive attack vector.
When people make this argument, it sounds to me like they are telling me to just steal my food from a restaurant if I don't think their payment processor is 100% secure.
I know that digital != physical goods in many ways, but the point is why does you not approving of their process, security, or price give you the right to just not do it?
This excuse is so played out it's annoying. You could say this about anything:
That's not how the real world works. Stores offer you things for free on a shelf, you walk up and take the item, and the store responds by letting you have it. How you pay for that item is 100% up to you.
But that's not true. Just like how a store expects you to pay for something, the website expects payment in the form of a subscription/payment, or by running the ads. (and i'm just using the comparison as an analogy, I know digital vs physical is a whole other discussion, and i'm not implying that viewing a page without ads is the same as stealing physical items)
Where do you draw the line there? Is it okay to flip some bits in your bank account and give yourself money because the computer responds letting you? Are you allowed to download paid software for free because someone somewhere served it to you?
No they aren't, if that's what they were doing they would present you with a contract stating that. A contract is not something that happens secretly or implicitly and putting a "terms of service" link in small print at the bottom of your website is not a contract. There has to be a meeting of the minds  where both parties understand the arrangement.
That's not what happens with ad-driven websites.
> Where do you draw the line there? Is it okay to flip some bits in your bank account and give yourself money because the computer responds letting you? Are you allowed to download paid software for free because someone somewhere served it to you?
No, that would be exploiting a bug on their server, knowingly. Blocking ads or changing styles with Stylish is not exploiting a server bug; your browser says GET / and their server says 200 OK. It really is as simple as that.
On the legal side, the store gets paid when I buy something because I risk arrest if I don't pay. On the ethical side, I don't steal because doing so deprives someone else of the good I have stolen.
You claim "I know digital vs physical..." and yet you still trot out that tired analogy... because yes, you are implying that viewing a page without ads is the same a stealing physical items, and suggesting that you aren't is just intellectually dishonest.
> Is it okay to flip some bits in your bank account and give yourself money because the computer responds letting you?
Again: adding money to your account necessarily deprives someone else of that money, so, no. There's also a legal deterrent (a fuzzy one, but a bank could probably get a CFAA violation to stick), and just the futility of it: the bank will notice the error and claw the money back anyway. If you spend it, you're still on the hook for it.
> Are you allowed to download paid software for free because someone somewhere served it to you?
If the creator of that software is the one serving it to me, sure! (Just as is the case with ad-supported web content.)
It is just completely baffling to me how people can equate serving up ads with any other form of, y'know, actual payment, and suggest that it's somehow unethical to avoid seeing ads.
I'm happy to pay for things, even digital files. But my browser is mine and it will do what I want with the content you put on the web.
restaurant payment processing is regulated by ACH/PCI/banking regs and I'll get my money back if their systems are attacked, up to and including a lawsuit if they dont act in good faith.
How about this, I allow ads to be served if they sign a contract making the advertiser liable for any and all damages incurred by the installation of malware ? Oh yeah, and I run Linux so the repair bill for a qualified Linux sysadmin to fix my system could easily run north of $200/hr (double the standard PC repair house rate, since fewer people are qualified to fix it)
My response could be to stop using web protocols and force my users to consume my content using my own thick client.
That might be economical for me.
It would be if my site offered tomorrow's stock prices.
It wouldn't be if my site streams home renovation tips.
So if your assertion is correct, it would result in the decimation of large parts of the internet - which seems unlikely.
Of course, by not using the web you are putting yourself at a disadvantage as far as customer acquisition, but if you think you can compensate for that, then go for it.
The pattern is, intentionally make a service worse, and then charge to 'make it better'.
The doctor analogy would be, "for an extra $1000 fee, your surgeon will wash his hands before the operation".
Agreed; in the tech world, I'd call this the difference between buying a faster processor—the analogue of going to a doctor—and paying to avoid intentionally slowing down a processor (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_80486SX).
If you wanted to block ads, paying for the subscription is not only the ethical thing to do, but also much safer as it brings the possibility of being served ads to 0%
If you are okay with viewing ads instead of paying, this is a non-issue, as you will be served the ads just like before.
The publisher expressly allows the content to be consumed for free - they don't require payment for the content. Therefore it is not unethical to consume that content for free.
That they desire us to view ads is beside the point: we're not obliged to view them, nor is it unethical to choose not to view them.
There is the expectation that you serve the ads along with the content given, and violating that expectation is an ethical issue. It might not be an issue for you, but to pretend it doesn't exist is ignorant at best.
False equivalence. Further, they certainly are allowing the content to be consumed for free.
> There is the expectation that you serve the ads along with the content given, and violating that expectation is an ethical issue.
We violate nothing by choosing not to abide by the wish that we view ads. There is no obligation to do so. It has nothing to do with ethics.
> It might not be an issue for you, but to pretend it doesn't exist is ignorant at best.
I think you mean "ignorant at worst". At best, we are ideologically opposed. :)
Similar to how choosing to not abide by the wish that you pay for products.
>I think you mean "ignorant at worst". At best, we are ideologically opposed. :)
I mean ignorant at best. Pretending that there isn't even a discussion to be had about ethics in this area is just shoving your head into the sand.
So why when I click a link should it be wrong for me to ignore or block the advertising that is sent along with the content. When I clicked the link, there was no contract signed, nor was there any price communicated to me.
If I walked up building advertising "get food here" and asked "may I have a loaf of bread", and the person at the front just hands me a loaf with no other interaction, have I done something wrong? What if the business model of that store is to give the food away for free but allow other companies to place salesmen in the lobby, does that make me a bad person if I just breeze by the salesmen, ask for food, get it, then leave? Or has the person done nothing wrong and what I've described is just a terrible business model?
It is not a "wish" when payment is demanded for a product. You violate a social contract and a legal statute when not paying for a product for which payment is demanded. This is nothing like the situation here where the content is absolutely available for free. This is beyond question.
> I mean ignorant at best. Pretending that there isn't even a discussion to be had about ethics in this area is just shoving your head into the sand.
Perhaps you might advance a rational argument for the viewing of ads as an ethical decision.
Then what if I'm okay with ads as long they're not intrusive (no animation, no sound, no video, no lightbox trickery,...) ?
And there are half a dozen of what if that makes this not so black and white. And whatever way you look at it, the global effortless solution is install an ad blocker preferably ublock origins and forget about it.
"Your failed business model is not my problem"
(also: because they're shady as hell popunder scam ads, so this is by definition a shady actor, and shady actors don't get my financials)
And for all the talk of innovation, they keep putting terrible adverts up. Seriously, porn industry, mistargeted kinks are a turn-off that drives customers away, surely?
There is also a note on the normal uBlock repo that says that Firefox has an extra feature with a link to inline script tag filtering, which says it does not work on Chromium based brownsers: https://github.com/gorhill/uBlock/wiki/Inline-script-tag-fil...
Per-inline script tag filtering is possible for Firefox, but the feature relies on "beforescriptexecute", which is planned to be deprecated in Firefox as well. As a result I have ceased to create "script:contains" filters and favor filter solutions which work on all browsers.
"UPDATE: since this companion extension was published, uBlock Origin has itself gained the ability to blanket-block all websocket connection attempts for specific sites using a new filter syntax."
The real solution is for chrome to add support to their request filtering.
 Used for Pornhub and many others.