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Show HN: AdBlock detection by abusing the streaming parser (shodan.me)
21 points by mechazawa on Jan 10, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 25 comments

This has been done and thought of before. I'll go over why you don't see anyone using it. :)

Now obviously the "2 seconds" would need to be tweaked to be slower. Throttling my internet to 'GPRS' in Chrome results in the site thinking I'm using an ad blocker (for this demonstration, I disabled it). It took 2.10s before my browser tried to download adv.css which resulted in me being flagged for using an ad blocker.

You'll want to serve your site to users quickly or you'll raise your bounce rate (and possibly get less ad impressions as a result). But now you're looking at a 3s~ delay just to serve an image. Imagine if you had a site, more images, some javascript, etc? Would users even attempt to browse your site if every page load took 3-5 seconds to read the content because you were waiting to serve content while detecting if they are using an ad blocker?

If AdBlockers hurt you so much that having a 3-5s delay to serve your website is a realistic alternative you're better off shutting up shop or dealing with the fact your site is simply not profitable.

I saw it more as a way to require users to disable their adblock without having "easy" ways to get around it. If you get bounced because you didn't disable adblock then no revenue is lost. A system can be put in place to only do this check every so often instead of every page load. I understand the issues with this method. This is a very aggressive way of checking for adblockers but highly effective.

Interesting concept, but do we really need to make web sites even slower to load?



If you block ad-blockers (like forbes.com just did to me), I will only share your articles via archive.is .

Sure, your children may starve to death, your wife may leave you but don't blame me because in the end you did all this to yourself. I was happy to use your site when it had a couple of non-intrusive text ads to pay the bills but then you went to fill 60% of the screen with flashing images, autoplaying videos and malware installing flash ads.


I hate adBlockers as much as the next guy. But it's mostly a brainfart to see if I, while stoned, can make a better adBlock detector then companies that pour a lot of money into it.

That okay, just don't try to build an AI while stoned ;)

Or do! But expect it to mostly concern itself with delivery junk food.


Why do people feel so entitled? Don't like the ads on forbes? Pay them or don't visit them at all.

Is it entitlement to not want malware? Or are we really so quick to forget: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20160111/05574633295/forbe...

I don't block ads to prevent companies from getting ad revenue. I block ads for my own safety and malware prevention.

The parent post is not saying anything against adblocking, it says something against copying content to other sites to access it despite the site owner not wanting you to.

Given the context of the grandparent quote - I do not believe you are correct but I can see the ambiguity. I see it as them using the argument of "if you don't like the ads, don't visit the website" which has been argued ad nauseum (pun intended) in nearly every discussion on HN that involves ads and ad blockers.

They aren't visiting the site if they read it via archive.is links. So "Don't like the ads on forbes? Pay them or don't visit them at all." is out of place there if not talking about ad blockers but actually talking about the practice of using archive.is links.

And giving people you know archive.is links, since you may not know if they run an ad blocker or not, also serves to protect them from malware. So my point stands - except I'm protecting my friends/family from malware instead of myself.

Get rid of the user-tracking, Javascript-enabled/Flash-enabled/3rd-party ads that can serve malware and maybe they could convince the security/privacy concerned users (I'm purposefully excluding users who block ads to block ads from my list) to whitelist their advertisements.

Why do you feel they should dictate how content that has already been delivered should be rendered?

OP was talking about content that has not yet been delivered. Forbes is in fact refusing to serve him content (as is their inarguable right) and he's promising to maliciously work around that and distribute it on his own.

It's hard for me to imagine a legitimate defense of this that isn't a wholesale rejection of the concept of intellectual property.

> Forbes is in fact refusing to serve him content

Are they?

A Google referrer gets you the content of the article at most, and at least it gets you some JavaScript. Which is executed client-side.

Forbes serves up code, which the client should be able to parse, render and execute in any way they see fit, as it was served to their machine upon a simple GET request.

The client is under no obligation to behave well, in a programmatic sense, because it is just handed markup and source code, with an expectation of parsing and rendering it in a way fit for the client's user, otherwise you may as well ban screen reader's for doing things in unexpected ways.

> ... distribute it on his own

We both agree here that it would be bad ethics to do this.

I see your point, but I don't agree with it. I think it leans far too heavily on the specific technical details of the web while remaining blind to the higher level reality of the situation.

Put another way, I don't believe the specifics of the way the web operates serve as a solid foundation for an ethical principle. Far better, I think, to look at the people involved and focus on treating them fairly and honestly, abstracting away the medium of communication as an implementation detail.

Whilst people and businesses matter, if you ignore how they do something entirely, it does become purely ethical.

I use an adblocker only for malware protection, and pay many of the businesses I use online.

But I will always defend someone's right to use the content as they were given it. If you give away data, don't be confused if someone uses it in a different way.

Forbes appears to be finding a happy medium, or on their way. Such as disabling error logging caused by adblocking so that the user can have a decent experience.

Edit: And I must say, despite our differing opinions, this has been an extremely pleasant exchange

Sites will just start blocking Archive.is next.

This is a much worse fate than simply suffering through a couple ads for content you did not pay for.

Interesting concept, but I don't expect it to be used commercially anytime soon, because of how slow it makes the page load.

Then again, maybe your site being annoyingly slow for people who block ads is a feature rather than a bug.

The page will remain slow until you disable your adBlock of course. Which is some extra stimulation to disable your adBlock.

LOL. It's extra stimulation to develop better adblock. I already turned on blocking of adblock blockers, because they are annoying.

I love it. Great idea! If people don't want to see ads on my website they souldn't consume my bandwidth.

I think a lot more people than you think would be behind this point of view.

The problem is: right now we are in a weird middle, in which media companies want the text to be fully available (so you can arrive to it via Google and/or social media) while, simultaneously, only visible to those who don't use an ad blocker.

This is of course impossible, but that's how we got stuck in this strange position of "I put it online for free, but I didn't mean free for you".

IMHO, a full all-or-nothing approach would be well received. Whether it would be economically successful, that's another story.

The stupid thing is that the content of most websites is mostly ads, at least from my perspective as a user. (I don't care about the nuances of who is serving the ads) On top of that, a lot of websites waste bandwidth on what I consider dumb shit, like megabytes of javascript needed to make a reactive layout. Said layout is pretty much guaranteed to be so annoying I will disable mobile viewing on my phone.

I work in marketing, and I think the issue is that advertising is a disaster. It's the tragedy of the commons. Highly annoying or misleading ads (CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD) get way more clicks and impressions. Don't even get me started on autoplaying videos. The worst offenders are traditional media companies, who are both the reason why I'm using an ad blockers and also the most likely to block me for using an ad blocker.

I don't particularly feel bad about blocking ads, but I think ads are a good way to support websites. There are very few sites I trust enough to unblock ads on though, and it's because their ads are both unobtrusive and relevant to the content.

Just for example, the Chicago Tribune's print ads are fine. Their website ads are almost entirely link to fake news articles that make the National Enquirer look like the New York Times.


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