Google is the greatest conglomeration of Nobel worthy scientists and engineers in the last century. And their entire organization is built on advertising. After creating the best search engine and email system, they created the best web browser and most popular operating system in the world. All of this for the sole purpose of controlling the advertising platform, their raw intelligence is unquestionable.
Google's open source contributions are unmatched and this is just a small sample of the tech they keep hidden away. As much as I find myself in awe of google, I'm absolutely terrified of the ad laden future they're leading us towards with open arms. Ad blocking has one single insurmountable problem, Google, the smartest and most powerful company in the world.
IIRC both Microsoft and IBM produce way more research than Google. Let's keep things in perspective.
>And their entire organization is built on advertising.
Similarly the entire government is built on taxation, that doesn't mean everyone in the government wants to work on taxation or is good at it.
>After creating the best search engine and email system
Sure engine, sure. Email system, only if you restrict to web-based without privacy.
>they created the best web browser and most popular operating system in the world
Google didn't create Android, they bought it.
>Google's open source contributions are unmatched
Metrics for this are pretty lame, but even they show this is wrong: https://thenextweb.com/microsoft/2016/09/15/in-your-face-goo...
You'd have a better point if you had pointed to the Linux kernel, the many open source libraries, etc that make it up
> Metrics for this are pretty lame, but even they show this is wrong: https://thenextweb.com/microsoft/2016/09/15/in-your-face-goo...
I doubt GP's claim is correct, but that article is terrible. Those counts are any contributors to repos in an org, not number of contributors from those orgs. And you can see the immediate problem with using orgs when you see both Google and Angular are in the top 10.
I don't think "unmatched" is unreasonable.
It wasn't a donation ;)
Also HBase, Hadoop, Guava, GWT, Closure. Tons of others we probably don't know of. I would guess Google has around 500 notable open source projects where they're either major contributors or authors.
>they created the best web browser
opera is not from google
Also I disagree with google search being the best search engine, it used to be very good 15 years ago with pages after pages of relevant results. It has gotten worse over the years to its current state of being terrible and often failing at returning relevant results.
Native ads, integrated or disguised as creative content, are impossible to block. Creative professionals, like film directors, visual artists, writers and even ad executives are the main innovators of native advertising.
I would argue native advertising is where most of the relevant innovation in ads occurs. Not at Google.
Creative content? Not at all Google's expertise. The best engineers are the least equipped to understand appealing creatives.
- Google acquired YouTube, whose basic premise was pirating, not creating, creative content. Despite having the largest video audience in the world, Google could never make something like Netflix's House of Cards.
- They're years away from delivering a compelling experience for Daydream. Never mind a game. Every NYTimes subscriber who received their Cardboard probably threw it away.
- The folks who worked on Make with Code privately describe their Google partners as insufferable.
- The folks who work on Google's creative ad campaigns—video & design—have variously described their Google partners as aloof and stifling.
- Despite its huge penetration, Google Music has no role in music culture. No musician I know thinks about how many plays they get on Google: they worry about Spotify, Hype Machine and other things their manager actually uses. A music manager wouldn't be caught dead with something as uncool as a Google Music subscription.
Indeed, I would argue that Google's culture is toxic to artistic creativity. If they wanted to hire some writers and directors, what would they do: administer a white boarding test? Laughable! That's assuming the people at e.g. ATAP even follow up with their own recruits (which they don't).
Serious creatives are anti-conformist. Google as an institution is something serious creatives criticize and lampoon, not celebrate. Have you seen Silicon Valley? Read Circle?
Listen, I might hate David Eggers's writing. But nobody writes a book about how Netflix is a cult.
Off topic, but even though I have spent much of the last 30 years working on AI and machine learning, I did work for Disney and Nintendo for a while in the 1990s, and I have a keen amateur's interest in the business side of content production. I never would have predicted the amount of money Amazon, Hulu, Netflicks, and HBO would invest in producing their own content. Interesting that Google does not do the same thing. When I worked at Google as a contractor I enjoyed the visitor talks, and Spike Jone's talk about directing movies and the way he does it was very well received by a large crowd.
I am very glad that there are several large companies competing and not just one or two.
EDIT: I am all for decentralization and small groups/companies, but sadly we live in a world of larger corporations.
Contentid is from google after they bought youtube and was added as an afterthought to deal with the "we own this content, pay us now" industry.
Although Google deserves an Economics prize for essentially inventing adtech
Funnily from here the primary fields for google seem to be surveillance, tracking, profiling, lobbying, tax evasion, abuse of dominant position, killing useful services people actually use, buying competitors to close them, killing other businesses by making a competitor product available with no price tag (you pay with your personal data being collected), evading anti-monopoly law, and other things in the same vein.
edit: for those who are downvoting, you might not be aware that the 'nobel' for economics is not issued by the nobel committee but rather the swedish central bank, using the nobel name to appropriate prestige from the better-known prize presented by the norwegian nobel committee. it is not affiliated with the nobel peace prize.
There are more Nobel prizes than just the economics and peace prizes, only the peace prize comes from Norway.
Trying to PR himself into having a good reputation after his death does not change the fact that he is responsible for countless deaths and made a huge profit out of it.
So a pseudo nobel is imho way better than an actual nobel.
And they are probably all wondering when the first Nobel prize will be issued for "the advancement of ad technology".
that does sound about right.
Heck, even with a Republican-controlled Congress, the Republicans can't always get their agenda passed because they don't even agree among themselves what it is.
Nobody can rest easy that Congress will do what they want.
It is unfathomable to me that once brought to their attention (through lobbying and donations) that these kinds of threats to companies like Google and Facebook would not be legislatively blocked.
and how would that affect say me (in the UK)?
EU rules prevents EU members from dealing directly with a part of a EU member so no negociation are possible with any member of the UK until brexit.
Let's see if the scottish referendum happens...
How many of us would hold steady in our own ethics and morals if someone routinely offered something like a $2,500,000 payday and we had no risk at all of being fired or jailed?
Can you provide a source for this? Don't know much about the topic but I've always assumed that, in general, Congressmembers who are wealthy were already wealthy before they were elected to Congress.
> The study found some significant difference based on party membership and seniority, with the Democratic sample beating the market by nearly 9% annually, versus only about 2% annually for the Republican sample.
> And representatives with the least seniority considerably outperformed those with more seniority.
Pardon me, but you sound more naive than the previous comment was cynical :)
Given enough money, I think you definitely can.
If a copyright holder (like Forbes) stipulates that their content is paid for using ads and they won't let you consume it without looking at the ads, then you're neither obligated to or entitled to consume it.
I look forward to seeing that battle play out.
It's a very interesting finding. The appeals court actually did reverse parts of the decision, including the hard-drive-to-RAM argument, ending up in favor of MDY for many of the claims!
But the devil is in the details. Even though MDY wasn't found to be infringing copyright by breaking the covenants of the license agreement against botting (simply copying static code to RAM was not considered sufficient "reproduction" to be infringement)... it was found to violate the DMCA because it was circumventing Blizzard's Warden framework designed to protect access to dynamic server-side materials. MDY therefore had the lower court's "permanent injunction" against doing so upheld.
So if you were to create an ad-blocker detector that detected all current ad-blockers, and required that detector to digitally sign a request for dynamic content, but then someone circumvented that detection by subsequently creating an ad blocker that wasn't detected, would it fall under this precedent and violate the DMCA?
And there's also fuzziness around whether MDY was tortiously interfering ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tortious_interference ) with Blizzard's contracts with its subscribers. In this case, it wasn't, because MDY arguably was behaving as a good steward here. For instance, the opinion cites how MDY "enhances some players' experience of the game, including players who might not otherwise play WoW at all." One could see an argument that an ad blocker would encourage more visitors... but if there's no other revenue source other than ads, does the pendulum swing in the opposite direction in favor of the content creator?
Very difficult to tell. Just because Adblock Plus avoided a lawsuit in Germany, and (as the research paper from the OP http://randomwalker.info/publications/ad-blocking-framework-... points out) most ad embeddings today are "trivial" overlays that wouldn't be considered DRM per the DMCA, that doesn't mean that advertisers won't evolve another piece of ammunition in this war.
(I am not a lawyer; the above is not legal advice.)
You might have missed your calling.
That's that hacking tool, right? I think I saw it in the Matrix. It's used by nmap.
Forbes in this case seems to be able to control it to a certain degree anyways.
The law is so vague everyone technically commits a felony every time they load a web page. Did ycombinator give you explicit permission to use this server? No, they did not. If they want you punished for posting this and they can find a friendly district attorney, you're screwed.
I'm old enough to remember when the conventional wisdom was that sharing music on the internet wasn't stealing because nobody was being deprived of physical media. Give Google a few years to lobby and create PSAs and people will being going to jail for creating ad blockers.
As such, publicly accessible websites are, in effect, no less common areas than storefronts.
Of course, there's a way around this; websites could establish 'membership requirements' such as using a browser that does not have an ad blocker enabled; the content for most of the website would require being a member and volunteering to abide by membership rules to access. Violate those rules, and you would risk losing your membership and access to the content, though I seriously doubt grounds could be established for a lawsuit over it.
Did your local supermarket give you explicit permission to walk on to their premises to go shopping? No - they gave you implied licence to enter their premises which is made obvious by the circumstances.
Similarly, a court would almost certainly find that having a web server which is obviously intended to be publicly accessible would result in an implied licence for use of copyrighted material on the site for typical, expected usage of said site.
This decision means that once a work is posted on a
website where it is freely accessible to the public, the
author cannot control how internet users subsequently
access this work. For example, a website owner will not be
able to use copyright law to ensure that users who wish to
access a certain piece of work would have to go via their
homepage, where most of their advertising space may be
> E-books have the same issue. Because the first sale doctrine does not apply to electronic books, libraries cannot freely lend e-books indefinitely after purchase. Instead, electronic book publishers came up with business models to sell the subscriptions to the license of the text. This results in e-book publishers placing restrictions on the number of times an e-book can circulate and/or the amount of time a book is within a collection before a library’s license expires, then the book no longer belongs to them.
Legally, it does get murky in the U.S. That has nothing to do with whether it's right or not, but it does mean it's not "making shit up about what you think makes sense". It's the actual precedent described in the very article you linked.
Then what if the customer gives a copy then delete the original but the OS being windows on the FAT entry is deleted and the data still lives on the drive ?
How would one distinguish between original copy and subsequent copy when they're all identical ?
Last but not least, if you read the fine print when you buy an audio cd, you don't buy the music but a piece of plastic and a license to listen to music the piece of plastic hold. This license forbids you from allowing other people from listening, so if you play the CD on speaker with you window open and someone happens to be walking in the street you are now guilty of an illegal communication to the public of copyrighted content.
I agree. We shouldn't afford any of the rights we do to 'intellectual property' that we do to real property. Your argument is completely derived from that of the intellectual property owners (aka rentiers).
My argument is that innovation and creativity will continue with very minimal intellectual property protections.
Edit: Therefore, intellectual property protections are useless in the intent:
"To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;…"
6 vs 3 Supreme Court
...that can be regulated:
"After passage of the billboard-regulating Highway Beautification Act of 1965, Vermont moved to ban billboards outright in 1968. All billboards were gone from Vermont by 1974. Vermont is one of four states to have prohibited by law all billboards from view of highway rights-of-way, except for signs on the contiguous property of the business location."
And in the interest of further eludicating those those that are unfamiliar with the nuanced manner in which courts use the term "free speech," I would say:
"That can be regulated, just like all other forms of free speech."
Even protected categories of speech like political speech can be regulated assuming the government interest passes strict scrutiny.
I would imagine that if it was a free speech, then tobacco industry already would have this law thrown out.
Read the first two paragraphs of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_speech_in_the_Unite... ; it also discusses commercial speech.
My question was, wouldn’t this ruling be a basis to challenge the outright Tobacco ad ban?
Before the ban there was still regulation, the ads had to be offset with other content, pro-health etc. Just like with political ads on public airwaves now.
In Canada, for example, the Tobacco ban was successfully challenged in court as violating Freedom of Speech as recently as 1991. Ultimately the ban remained in place because of another backdoor called “peace, order, and good government.”
I think solution will be found, but it more likely will be technological. There's no such thing as "end to the arms race". Never can be, almost by definition.
That been said, the "news" here isn't even that much sensational. Just vice.com, as usual. Journalists, eh. The most obvious thing is that CV-based solution, while being buzz-wordy and fashionable isn't preferable by any means: for me the main point of blocking ads is not "hiding them" (I don't even care that much), but making web-pages faster and less obtrusive, which requires blocking ads before they are loaded.
But this would be limited to chips to be sold in the US, so US sales would take a hit and import of chips from foreign market would get a boost. Ultimately the chip manufacturers would have to swallow the extra cost of adding this to chips towards the US market while facing a drop in sales in the same market. This situation would prevent the move from actually happening in the first place.
 - I'm aware of the hypervisor capabilties of ME but not aware of it being used for DRM yet?
But regardless of whether this was already in there or not, Intel could simply put any code in there to force the display of ads or media and there is nothing you can do about it. Also, although this hasn't been done yet as far as we know, they could remotely update your Intel chip the next time you are within range of a known WiFi router to include this new anti-feature.
EDIT: Adding source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Active_Management_Techno...
"The PSP is a universal computer with it's own CPU, RAM, ROM, clock etc, that can run whatever software AMD wants it to run, hidden from the user. It could load software anytime without you even noticing. AMD controls the PSP by using unique cryptographic keys which are burnt into each PSP." - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13781408
You get all that for free with every new AMD processor, including their new Ryzen chip.
An anti-ad-blocker ad would probably be easy to enforce: arrest the people making and distributing ad blockers.
However, I think the main threat is a repeal of requirements to label ads (which this technology relies on), not to ban ad-blockers outright. I bet that would cause less resistance. Quoth the OP:
> Perceptual ad-blocking, on the other hand, ignores those codes and those lists. Instead, it uses optical character recognition, design techniques, and container searches (the boxes that ads are commonly put in on a page) to detect words like "sponsored" or "close ad" that are required to appear on every ad, which is what allows it to detect and block Facebook ads.
I don't know the answer, but I can certainly see a lower court ruling that way before it is decided by the Supreme Court. To be sure, that's where this would be headed if this kind of technology becomes ubiquitous and effective.
Many doubted that DRM was practical to enforce.
Not to mention that it is fairly easy for government to clamp down on distribution of software that allows ad blocking.
As blockers will still exist, but adoption will plummet if the only place to get a ad blocker is torrent sites and such.
You could still use those to block trackers which are the underwater part of the online ads iceberg. Making an anti-tracking-blocking law would be a different beast because now you're attacking a fundamental human right to privacy and advertisers would still be mad because they lost their ability to upsell their ads that can't be targeted or retargeted anymore.
Alternatively just go back to using the system hosts file, or replace ad blockers by whole website blockers, use a vpn to a country that does not have this law. There are options around such a nonsense piece of legislation
Then there's countries outside the US with different contract laws, so imagine the headache to have a blog online.
Money will be paid and wolves will be invited in the house to essentially bring a legislation that is not enforceable. As a profit hungry business owner that sounds like a real bad move.
If I were google or facebook I would rather have a much more robust plan B that would involve using technology and size to benefit from the strategy.
Corey Doctorow was right about the coming war on general-purpose computing.
If the adtech companies modify the ads enough that the ads are indistinguishable from non-sponsored content, this xkcd applies: https://xkcd.com/810/.
Users do not intentionally make requests for ads or pixels from tracking servers. Browsers do. Automatically.
People writing web pages that aim to cash in on advertising budgets depend on this "feature". However it is optional. I read hundreds of web pages and never see any ads. Because for eading the news I do not use a so-called "modern" browser.
It seems the entire web ad industry requires browsers to operate a certain way. If browsers do not follow these assumptions, then the user sees no ads.
Despite strange notions like the one in the top-voted comment in this thread, there is nothing that requires any user to use browsers written by people whose salaries are paid directly or indirectly from ad sales revenue.
Assuming certain companies were as all-powerful as the commenter suggests, then why not require users to access pages using software written by companies who profit from such web traffic? And make the software proprietary?
Surely no one would complain. Thank you sir, may I have another?
Let us not forget some of these "multi-billion dollar entities" are just websites. If the traffic dies down, the business of selling ads is no longer feasible. And the company disappears along with the website. It has happened before.
98% of revenue from web traffic/ad sales.
Castles made of sand.
If you have the knowledge to implement that kind of not-requesting of ads, I bet one of the fringe/experimental browsers (I'm thinking of Vivaldi) would be a great place to implement what you're talking about.
At some point we will have AI designing and AI delivering ads, and while we may have AI designed to prevent us from having to watch ads we don't want we will also have AI that watches everything, gathering and filtering information that is too much for us to handle but tuned to our needs since it's "our AI". Then the race will be that one AI wants to trick the consumer AI into giving their information more weight and attention.
So instead of the race humans against humans we'll have a race humans => AI ("sellers" of anything, from goods to news) => AI (consumers) => human (us).
It's going to be a lot more complex: Right now all that people on both sides have to know is human psychology. In that future they'll have to understand the potentially far more varied world of possible AIs - and if that isn't enough the complex interactions between them and also between the AIs and the humans.
Are we creating the diversity and complexity that we remove from the biosphere (the ongoing mass extinction and/or reduction of many species) anew but in a completely different space? In addition to technical systems we are also getting much better (and better faster!) in controlling biological systems, creating our own ideas. At least some programmers of the future will write their code in DNA - or possibly even something more complex, something that can encode completely new proteins that the current code can't represent. And then there's combining biology and technology... an explosion of complexity and diversity?
I studied CS more than two decades ago. I kept up to date and continue to do the odd course in my field, but what I consider an amazing experience (for an IT guy) was when I spent the last few years taking hundreds of hours of courses in biology and medicine. Looking for new ideas? Take an introduction to biology and genetics course instead of learning an only very mildly different programming language, for example (free): https://www.edx.org/course/introduction-biology-secret-life-...
Another way to describe GANs is that the loss function, which used to be hand-made, now is a whole separate neural net and can be learned bottom-up instead of dictated top-down.
There was a time when features were hand-made. Now we have deep learning and finding good features is automatic. GANs automate another part of the process.
I see 13 year olds watching their favorite youtube stars showing off the new products they're being sponsored with this week. How exactly would you block this?
Also, your username. lol
Streaming video on the scale of youtube or facebook is not sustainable due to bandwidth cost.
So even today even 100% human "ad blockers" are unable to block a lot of ads because they are unaware they are looking at one.
Ads as content works really well, so well that people refuse to believe it. Huh? It's just a funny picture of a tall, frosty bottle of Coca-Cola!
Soon Adsense will offer server-side content placement instead of just 3rd-party-served banner ads. People act like the arms race is over because they added some entries into a hosts file. Not even close.
I don't object to the existence of advertising. I object to advertising that is intrusive and/or resource-intensive enough to impair site usability. (And malware served over ad networks, of course, but that's a bit different as a problem.)
Ads subtle enough to get past an "AI Guardian" mean they are meant to influence your behavior. That is my issue with advertisements and why I actively refuse to purchase products I'm introduced to through advertising.
I'd like to clarify that by "make good advertisements" I mean as in the goal of advertisements (get people to buy) and not "good" as in "acceptable".
Has the added bonus of fixing a lot of news in the process.
(Okay, so it's slightly more complicated in practice -- you would have to reduce the manipulative content there, and then add back a certain chosen bias so the reduced manipulation is overpowered by the chosen one.)
So, no, we won't have AI tuning the advertisements so that they can't be catch by software like this one because that means it also wouldn't be catch by humans and that a very big no.
I can see this as a paradigm change in the internet it's true, and it's hard to see the full reprecursions of this all.
Then again, I think that if we get back to sane advertisements in web pages, that are just a couple of lines of text clearly marked as such (like Google ads used to be), then people would be ok not using an ad blocker in those cases. The thing is, the marketing companies just pushed it too far...
That said, WRT GP's post, I don't think it's a million miles off. AI will undoubtedly become a cornerstone of modern life and I don't think the scenario they outline is entirely unlikely. Siri is objectively pretty hopeless, particularly when compared to its counterparts but it's been a nice clue as to what we can expect from modern innovation.
The problem with that attitude is that when you are looking for bad things you are looking for intent, which is really not necessary for bad things to happen. This is like looking at individual neurons and not finding psychopathy (or whatever else actually is a system outcome of the network's actions, not of individuals).
So this ultimate ad-blocker would potentially consume twice as much resources as it would have been?
Here is the paper http://randomwalker.info/publications/ad-blocking-framework-...
Here is our blog post about it: https://freedom-to-tinker.com/2017/04/14/the-future-of-ad-bl...
One of the biggest issues (IMO) is the security threat... if there is a second copy that "we" don't see, doesn't that mean that the second copy can do "bad things" still?
Case in Point: Forbes requests you disable ad-blocker... then serves pop-under malware:
I could stomach ads - just like I stomached commercials on TV shows... you get used to them and they become white noise... if the ads were unobtrusive and non-invasive (IE: Google Search Results)... it's full screen, pop-up/under, audio, video, etc. Then throw on top of that malware...
What's to stop the malware from biting on that second copy?
The simple gif banner ads of yore were tolerable enough.
Loading brings all the malware, the tracking, and the bandwidth/load times.
Besides which, the algorithm involved is a computer-vision one, so the ad needs to be rendered before the algorithm can recognize it as an ad.
The best solution here, if you want maximum privacy, would be to use a traditional ad-blocker as a first-line defence, and this algorithm as a second-line, for the ads which make it past regular ad-blocking (and which are therefore probably inline-content ads anyway.)
That only applies to the HTML, which generally is fairly lightweight. They still load additional images, videos, do XHRs for tracking etc.
And the HN crowd is the sharp end of the web. A lot of us ARE likely to support the web in another way. The blunt end not so much. They're also the ones more likely to click on ads.
1. Are from their own domain
2. Are not flash/autoplaying video
3. Don't track me/aren't ad tech
4. Actually have something to do with the content
Run a homebrewing site? Great, run ads for stuff to do with that. I'll probably click on them, I am looking up homebrewing info! Run a homebrewing site that serves me ads for refrigerators, because I looked at one on Amazon three weeks ago? That's creepy, and that's getting blocked. Same with pop ups pop unders etc.
Advertisers seem to be moving in the same direction - Viacom has reported a lot of wins over the ad-tech insanity.
* The ad prevented me from getting to the content (popup modals, youtube preroll ads)
* The ad made noise (I've recently started using an autoplay-blocker which is on by default and helps with this, as well as annoying autoplay videos that aren't ads)
* The ad massively slowed down or crashed the page (for some reason, wikia seems to be particularly bad for this). This is much less common now that I have flash disabled by default.
you could also use random agent spoofer and better privacy or privacy settings.
You should just be able to unzip it.
For Facebook ad detection, it finds newsfeed items by looking for containers within the given width constraints and border on the side; it looks for the sidebar ads by searching for containers with the proper size constraints in a sidebar. It then determines which newsfeed items are ads by searching for the "Sponsored" link within them and checking whether this link ultimately goes to the Facebook "about ads" page.
For Adchoices detection, it runs a content script in every iframe which searches all of the images, (those explicit in an img element, those in the background-image css, and those drawn as an svg) and then uses fuzzy hashing to compare them to example Adchoices icons. If any of the images match, it highlights the iframe as an advertisement.
That won't remove a typical banner ad, or an ad popup.
We can build a repo of images that's used to show ads, and just block by images. There's a pretty big multiplier on number of visitors to the number of ad pictures.
Only selling user data without a way to use it to target ads?
Consumer software that isn't free?
Sock puppet marketing run rampant?
It would sure be a different world.
Probably a lot like the pre-ad-supported web.
I remember talking to a friend who was trying out 21co's "bitcoin" computer and that 402+cryptocurrency payment seemed like something to evolve from that project. It seems to have changed focus a bit since that discussion.
21.co was an obvious scam with near zero sales.
I believe it's two relatively simple servers running the Arc code of HN, and Cloudflare as CDN.
HN does not need much processing power or bandwidth - 5 assets (cacheable+versioned CSS/JS, three tiny gifs) and thanks to gzip usually two-digit KB sizes of content. The only real expense is the manpower needed for moderation.
dang, who would want to do that as their job?
It was possible, even though most people disagreed at the time, to make open source thrive and write the largest, most complete encyclopedia. Stackoverflow filled with answers without pay.
An ad-free world would be ok, people are creative, we can make our own stuff. I, for example, read mostly comment threads, research papers and watch user made videos. We don't need their content and ads at all.
EDIT: Just to be clear, my own opinion is that online advertising is a horrifically ugly, cynical blight on the human experience, which causes huge amounts of unintelligent visual content to be put in front of billions of human brains. But an ad-free future is hugely problematic for the maintenance of a well-informed society, and we have seen where a dumb electorate gets us.
It's very broken though. The whole idea of paying a subscription for a newspaper is outdated -- it's based on the days when the head of household would select a newspaper and have it delivered to the house before breakfast. Most of the time when I'm reading news online I'm wasting time that I would prefer to be using productively, so there's no way I'm going to pay for that. Additionally, there's so much good free material on the internet that there's not enough incentive to pay for it. I think the major newspapers should accept that the days of a single cathedral-like website for their newspaper where devotees will spend hours are gone; if we could pay a small amount effortlessly on a per-article basis, choosing between many different sources, that might make sense.
I'm not sure that a subscription is outdated. It still makes sense for a bunch of editors to make a selection of what is news-worthy in their opinion. Leaving it to algorithms to tailor your newsfeed to your exact tastes risks leading to a feedback loop of reinforcing biases. I like The Economist, once a week, the most important news and a bit more in-depth than most newspapers. Their Espresso app seems interesting, but I haven't tried it yet.
I don't know if you can fund good investigative journalism with micro-payments. Maybe we haven't seen it yet because there is no good system for micro-payments, but maybe the market just isn't there...
My biggest beef with all those newspapers is that they never rethought their product when they went digital. It's just the same content as the print edition, only on a screen. It would be relatively easy to link to sources and more in-depth data supporting the main article, but you hardly ever see that. It's all boiled down to a few simple graphics and tables.
So I think that's where the core Patreon advantage lies; get around 1000 people to give you 1-5$ a month and you're living a middle class lifestyle with some reasonable assurance that next month you're not going to make 1/50th what you made last month. (It isn't perfect, but nothing is. There is not a single person reading this who can guarantee me with mathematical 100% precision that next month they're going to have positive income.)
In fact I'd point out that when it comes down to it, the incentives created by pervasive, automatic micropayments looks almost identical to what we have now. Clickbait, low-effort high-volume articles would rule. There would be fewer trackers, but that would be about it. I like what the Patreon ecosystem puts out waaaay better than that. I think you actually need that bit of detachment between the product and the payment, if you ever want to see a work produced with a thought other than "How many clicks can this exact article get?" Patreon artists are not severed from the need to make sure they stay popular with their base but at least they can go down tangents and be speculative sometimes without it instantly trashing a noticeable portion of their income.
That makes it pretty similar to ad-supported sites now. The difference is, the revenue comes from the user, who is more likely to incentivize good content.
> In fact I'd point out that when it comes down to it, the incentives created by pervasive, automatic micropayments looks almost identical to what we have now.
That's a really good point, and as you mention that's pretty much what we have now. I would think that in a micro-payment based world, where you have to pay a bit to read an article, publishers would gain reputation to protect against this.
If it cost a teeny bit of my own money to look at a buzzfeed quiz, I'd probably stop doing that pretty quickly.
But I do agree that it isn't the best model for all sites, and it would be nice to offer micro-payments along with Patreon-style subscription, for those who know they'll want content from this site a lot. Kind of like how newspapers used to work.
About cryptocurrence, maybe look at steem and steemit.
Maybe something like steemit
What I am trying to say is that, the advantage of ad-blockers is not just the removal of ads but also a significant removal of cruft that adds no value and hogs the system resources. The solution proposed in this article actually renders the page. So, it solves only one of the issues. It could still be beneficial to use it in conjunction with UBlock Origin.
I subscribe to Blendle (currently I have another tab open to a Wall Street Journal article by Garry Kasparov about issues with artificial intelligence - I paid Blendle $0.49 from the funds in my account wallet to read this, so Gary and the WSJ get paid). Many Blendle articles I read are only $0.09 or $0.15 - this was an especially expensive one.
I think the 'war' over ad blocking might have a beneficial effect in moving content providers to easy to use micro payment systems.
Most people I know think that I am crazy for spending small amounts of money to read stuff, but there are costs in life like supporting things we enjoy and charities (I really like Google's One a Day charity clearing house - easy to take 30 seconds and give a dollar or two to some worthwhile cause). The amount many people spend on coffee each day is more than paying for content and donating to One a Day.
The part about defeating known anti-ad blockers seems rather unfair. If this technique did gain popularity I'm sure there would be ways around it (like tricking it into thinking the button used to dismiss a popover is itself an ad).
Definitely seems that way from what I understood. Seems like a novel technique, but not something I'd personally flock to use unless my network/element based rules suddenly became ineffective.
Rather than being used via an extension in the client's browser though, this technology looks like it could be incredibly useful for automatically figuring out rule changes and updating e.g. the element hiding rules automatically.
for all visitors to a specific page, vision analysis only has to be applied once on that specific page and share that post-analytic knowledge publicly. Then all future visitors would benefit from that previous analysis knowledge and block the ad without yet another vision analysis on the same specific page.
to scope with pages changing widly, the system can assign 5% of the visitors to each specific page to perform new vision analysis and update the findings.
That's part of the appeal of this approach, it doesn't matter what domains ads are served from.
My most downvoted comment ever on reddit was concerning not seeing ads. I had forgotten they existed (I didn't use mobile at the time).
It's been a solved problem forever, and yet so few people seem to know about it.
What with foreign tracking cookies and ads and whatnot, the ability to refer to content on another domain within a website seems to be a user-hostile feature in the end, as much as allows for creative infrastructure models for providers.
That's very surprising. I would have thought that would be the first avenue of attack for adblockers.
Also, who wants to help me retrofit this thing to actually block ads?
That's not quite true, uBlock Origin has the ability to block Procedural cosmetic filters  first introduced in version 1.8.0 .
These filters don't stop the network request from loading, but they do have the ability to look for target words. e.g. facebook inline feed ads can be cosmetically removed with the following filter :
That's correct. The lists are maintained here:
This is independent of and in addition to the lists, they are always used. It gives you much greater control. What I do is first load the page with everything disabled, then I enable piece by piece until I get enough of the page working. Most of the time it's obvious, for example when there is a big white space on the page where you expect a video to be and you see that youtube.com was blocked you know they tried to show an embedded Youtube video. If you want to see it you enable that domain and the page refreshes. Etc.
I used the default mode of just the lists for most of my life, but now I can't imagine my life without the advanced mode. (As a Chrome user) I don't miss NoScript any more (yes I know that does even more).
The extension itself seems to do OCR (using Tesseract) on images and look for the string "adchoices", or else the adchoices icon, which yes, is cool: but just want to clarify that the folks at Tesseract seem to be doing the meaty "computer vision" part.
EDIT: oh, this isn't markdown.
He's talking about DRM as it applies to downloaded content, but the same argument applies to web advertising.
I don't entirely agree. Websites have an advantage too: they can withhold the interesting content until a time of their choosing. For example, a blog could
- Serve an ad page initially
- Have the request handler for the text do a sleep(10)
Then there's not much an ad blocker can do.
- They could hide the ad, but then the user is waiting on a blank screen, which is probably an even worse experience for most.
- In some cases they could pre-fetch the text, but you can't always predict where the user will go, so it would only work sometimes.
- A more advanced ad blocker could mirror a bunch of content and serve it with no delays, but that wouldn't work for personalized content like Facebook timelines.
3 things can happen:
- I use firebug to fix this
- I look at source and extract the URL to actual content
- I change my user-agent to that of the bot that indexed the content
But 99% of the time I don't waste my time with this useless piece of crap and move to the next thing.
0,0001% of the time I sent an informative email to the abuse or contact citing the relevant piece of legislation explaining how this is illegal and what the punishment for this could be.
This reminds me a lot of Bayesian spam filters. Those things worked great very few false positives and negatives, once Google started using it on a large scale (GMail) spammers started playing the system and often they are successful.
On the technical side, Google can just close up its browser, prevent ad-blocking malware, require only compliant browsers to connect to its site, and all sites that depend on advertising dollars can jump on board.
Unless they decide to simply change the regulations, which doesn't take the same investment in time, development, and bad PR.
Once faced with having to pay for the internet again, people will be fine with either of those options.
> Once faced with having to pay for the internet again
Don't you have to pay an ISP for your internet connection right now ?
Apart from the ISP when exactly did anyone had to "pay for the internet" ?
The price of the news article or Youtube video of the future is that when you see someone drinking a Pepsi, you can't be sure if they ever actually did that. Or whether your friends saw the Pepsi when they watched the same thing in the other room.
And thus ad blockers cease to make sense; you can no longer tell what you'd be missing if you used them unless you're the centralized corporation that hoards this data.
Maybe eventually we'll feel the same way about ads on the web as we do about ads in film-- a character can't stare into the camera and tell the viewer to go buy a Corona, but if he is asked what he'd like out of the cooler at a barbecue, he can say he wants a Corona.
I personally prefer a middle ground, like when magazines print ads with the text "ADVERTISEMENT" or "SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION"
Additionally: I wanted to plug (not involved with the project) PI-Hole . You route all traffic through the Raspberry PI which points to custom DNS that filters ads on their end, reducing data usage significantly. This leads to ad block on all devices without the need to install custom software on any of them.
Edit: append reference
I'd love to see how effective this is on a Google page like a search for 'free credit card'. The last time I checked that query had exactly 1 organic result on the page, and if this worked as described you'd get a google page with just one result. That would be kind of amusing in its own way.
This war doesn't end until computers pass the Turing test and we build a complete simulation of the end-user into the adblocker/spam filter/marketing call blocker/girl-scout-cookie-seller-doorbell-deactivator.
Google was smart enough to not allow extensions on mobile Chrome. So you are relegated to either 3rd party browsers or weird internal proxy solutions, both of which have downsides.
Still excited about serious resources going into ad blocking though.
Google doesn't block uBlock, for example.
I'm all for supporting them. Its the sites that pose an actual threat or whose ad:content ration is something ridiculous like 2:3 that are the problem. Esp on mobile.
Otherwise you are just landing punches on an opponent who doesn't even know he is getting touched.
It's also not going to be able to be effective against stitched video, especially if the player playlist doesn't let you skip around easily - at best you'd end up with blank screen for the duration of the ad. Sound is another problem.
We need better solutions for advertising, not yet another escalation in blocking that will lead to even more intrusive/annoying behaviors. (Much louder sound from stitched mid-rolls than the content anyone?)
No, thanks, I'll stick with uBlock Origin.
This war is silly.
"A lie ain't a side of the story."
At the point it can be stopped the computer you have is no longer your computer. Like when the car you have is being driven by a computer and Tesla does not allow you to do self maintenance it is no longer your car.
So dont buy computers that restrict you from full access to the software (I dont think this has been done yet). And dont buy Tesla cars. Unless you like the product and dont mind renting or dont value complete ownership.
It is done, right now, on any (recent) Intel computer.
The question is, what is the online ad equivalent of legalizing drugs?
Advertisers annoy 99.9% of us, but there's the 0.1% that demand something that they don't yet know about. There's money to be made, and satisfaction to be had, if only the connection of knowledge could be made.
So I'm saying, perhaps instead of thinking in terms of blocking the knowledge, which will tend to get there one way or another, I wonder if there's a solution in terms of finding a less disruptive way to get the knowledge there. It would make advertising less lucrative.
Use Ad Nauseum.
Color me skeptical.
Now I know that the original authors did not write the clickbait headline or even the article, but working on Ad blocker is a poor use of resources. On a longer time horizon websites that cannot be supported via Ads will turn into Apps that require multiple permissions + FB/Google login. This type of effort is frankly futile, you might win the battle on Ad-blockers but you are guaranteed to lose the War of economic incentives.
But hey in the meantime some clueless reporter writes a breathless article about your imaginary triumph on something everyone likes to hate, so why not.
Also as far as their scheme of detecting "adchoices" icon or container sizes, it can be trivially circumvented. When it comes to circumventing such algorithms, disorganized hackers routinely do that for far more secure things. Organized well paid engineers at Ad tech companies can probably beat them in couple of days if not hours. Worse their scheme penalizes good companies that opt-in into adchoices. So a site operator is forced to choose shadier ad networks (guaranteeing higher revenue) which this scheme won't be able to block. As a result the user gets a worse experience!
As much as it is in vogue to hate advertisers, crippling someone's business model (whatever your cute ethical reasons might be) while using institutional resources is not a great idea. Princeton CS might soon find itself on wrong side of a lawsuit, where upvotes and retweets might not count much.