People who complain about "modern journalism", take note. If this takes off, publications will be less incentivized to post those godawful clickbait articles that have soured the Internet reading experience.
I'll read the Atlantic and Vox, but Buzzfeed is a no-no, unless it's Buzzfeed News. And they should really consider changing the name as a serious news site on a subscription format shouldn't be associated with the ad hell that is the regular Bfeed.
I mean , isn't this essentially the idea behind patreon? You batch the micropayments payments into single transactions on the credit card network to reduce the marginal cost of the fixed fees?
Didn't Google already do something similar with new subscriptions?
Didn't flattr do this a decade ago?
It's not a new idea, and as I ranted elsewhere, is only even required because of the fixed fees on credit card transactions.
I'd expect Mozilla to be more invested in the "pay with $, not ads" approach compared to Google. Mozilla owns Pocket, which has been relatively good at finding longreads type material on the net and rendering it in a reader-mode view, so I think they're a better cultural/philosophical fit.
I don't use Patreon. IIUC, you need to sign up to support different content providers individually. That's not what I want.
Well, isn't the the same thing in the end? Both you and the person you want to pay need to have ths same platform? If someone uses chrome, won't they need to go and "find" the site using Firefox to pay.
What you want is to be able to pay for something once you've found it? I get that, and it's a slightly different model than patreon, but in the end it is the same problem: micropayments are expensive and currently require someone to batch them.
The bigger problem is that requires another shared middle man that some people may not like fot whatever reason.
They’ve repurposed it as an “ad removal pass” service were you pay way more money per month per website that you want to remove ads on. It’s limited to large publishers only.
Based on https://blog.mozilla.org/futurereleases/2019/02/25/exploring... it looks like it's a collaboration with https://scroll.com/ and supports sites like:
- The Atlantic
There's just a button to get it. Well, I want to learn more before I commit to something, and I think others would too.
> "Until October 2018 MBFC rated China's Xinhua News Agency as "least biased", but the rating has since changed to the somewhat more reasonable "left-center bias". Xinhua has been criticized by Reporters Without Borders as being the "world's biggest propaganda agency", and is regarded by Wikipedia as a source "to treat carefully""
Are you sure that Buzzfeed is to the left of the Communist Party official outlet?
They define buzzfeed as center-left.
What I do see here is an assumption of a political agenda based on what may not even be an exhaustive list of Scroll's list of publisher sites, likely based on a single graphic on their frontpage which contains 12 logos, of which four companies were mentioned here. Their about page shows 24. Are all of these "leftist" outlets? Is their only relevant commonality left-wing political ideology?
Show me some evidence of non-crazy non-leftist publishers being rejected by this partnership due to their ideology and I'll agree it's odd. Until then it just looks like confirmation bias to me.
There’s a clear bias and, honestly, trying to pretend it’s not there is doing a disservice.
Whether that’s because Scroll is not interested in serving right-wing customers or because right-wing outlets are not interested in participating in Scroll, that’s going to remain a mystery I guess.
How is Fatherly a "literally leftist outlet?"
The fact that so many of them are Gizmodo sites only tells me that Gizmodo joined the platform and all of the others came as a package deal. That's not furthering an agenda, it's good business, given Gizmodo's popularity.
Fair point. This is unlikely to appeal to anyone without left-leaning politics.
> The Daily Stormer
Very bad example of "the other side" which derails the point you're making. Better: "I wonder if they'll give The Federalist, National Review, Quillette etc. ..."
There are examples of conservative (or just heterodox, in Quillette's case) media outlets that don't endorse genocide.
Let's hope they don't support Neo-Nazis.
"Water is wet, and pointing that out brings absolutely nothing of value to the discussion." That's most of the comments on HN, the only reason I browse this place is because the rest of the internet is even worse.
Thank you for your interest in Firefox Ad-free Internet!
This product isn't available yet, but we're working on it. Would you please click the Next button to take a short survey to tell us what you think? At the end of the survey we'll get your (optional!) e-mail address so that we can let you know when the Firefox Ad-free Internet beta launches. If you don't want to give feedback, click here to skip to the sign-up page.
Click the 'Next' button to take the survey.
> Thank you for participating in this survey! We would like to invite you to a free trial of Firefox Ad-free Internet, a name we used in this survey for a partnership with our friends at Scroll. You can sign up today at www.scroll.com Thank you very much for helping to make the internet a better place!
EDIT never mind, once you click through to subscribe it's that survey. This whole thing seems a bit disingenuous ...
I found one for you 
I do want to block the underlying tracking/fingerprinting/profiling etc.
This is why I'm very much against Brave - I don't really see why they have the right to edit or censor other people's revenue models and replace them with their own. That seems.. unethical.
That said, they may have gone too far with tracking and other excessive bloat that I might just start using one.
I work in ad technology for a publisher. We put in a lot of effort to make the tech fast, lightweight and secure for our visitors - we hate bad ads too. We screen our partners, use whitelists and monitor what JS is running on the site.
This being said - things sometimes slip through the cracks. Somebody with a browser-based 0-day will pay huge CPMs to insert their ad and own thousands of machines. We can't
prevent this - if you have any ideas on how, I'd love to hear it.
You can either: 1) disable JS in ads entirely, or 2) give all users an option to pay for an ad-free site.
Since few publishers do either, I'll continue to use my adblocker and simultaneously pay the publishers I think we can't do without (e.g. ProPublica).
Can you define often? It seems quite rare actually for a malware to be distributed online without user intervention, with the recent Firefox 0-day being one of theses cases and only touched a small proportion of people.
The web is quite secure already and sure ads network is a good vector but so is Hacker News, Reddit and Facebook, which nobody cares about (have you ever not clicked on a link on any of theses platforms and looked at the URL first?).
I seriously hate that argument of security, it's just wrong.
Happened regularly about a year or two ago, certainly more often than every month, haven't seen it since, though.
> have you ever not clicked on a link on any of theses platforms and looked at the URL first?
That's not what happens.
> I seriously hate that argument of security, it's just wrong.
Maybe you should contemplate the possibility that you're wrong.
That's seems more like a browser issue, but none the less, any links on Hacker News could do the same.
I don't consider that malware to have to close an application, just like I don't consider a malware a link that rick roll me (which still force me to close a tab ;) unless I want to stay on Youtube).
> That's not what happens.
Aren't we talking about running malicious JS? Any link you click can contains malicious JS, yet you click on that link without thinking about it, but when it's an ad that may contains malicious JS, you block it altogether.
I don't understands really what you means by not what happens.
> Maybe you should contemplate the possibility that you're wrong.
I contemplate each time I'm discussing with someone about it. I still haven't got any evidence about it.
Each time I ask someone that does it for "security purpose", when they don't answer by "do your own research" (which I always try when they say that even if it's absurd to have nothing to defends yourself), the best example they always have is either link to some report with stats that doesn't define malware, or the Forbes case of when one of their ad was a fake Java update. If that's malware, then here we go, HN now serve malware too: Click on that URL to update Java: https://forbes.com
That's not theoretical (like your "but HN could deliver malware, too), that's reality.
Which happens on any link you click on Reddit, Hacker News or Facebook. Unless you don't click on them and only visit website that you consider trustworthy, you get the exact same risk. Actually even if you may feel that a link is trustworthy, it doesn't even means it actually is, like it happened for the past Firefox 0-day exploit. This guy nearly got it by trusting that .
> That's not theoretical (like your "but HN could deliver malware, too), that's reality.
If you have any example of where an actual malware was spread using ads, I would be happy to learn about it.
I just gave you a first-hand account of exactly that happening, and you keep dismissing that, claiming that it does not happen.
If you don't believe me, google for it. There have been plenty of articles about ad networks as malware services.
I find your behaviour here very dishonest, and for me it's EOD.
You means the popup that force you to force-close your iPhone browser app? I already answered that:
> That's seems more like a browser issue [...] I don't consider that malware to have to close an application, just like I don't consider a malware a link that rick roll me (which still force me to close a tab ;) unless I want to stay on Youtube).
I did get theses kinds of ads on some sketchy website on my Android phone, I can't do back but closing the tab is alright.
To me closing an annoying tab isn't much of a malware. If none of my information were at risk, that's not a malware.
> If you don't believe me, google for it. There have been plenty of articles about ad networks as malware services.
You do this after I even mentioned this happening all the time.
> Each time I ask someone that does it for "security purpose", when they don't answer by "do your own research" (which I always try when they say that even if it's absurd to have nothing to defends yourself), the best example they always have is either link to some report with stats that doesn't define malware, or the Forbes case of when one of their ad was a fake Java update. If that's malware, then here we go, HN now serve malware too: Click on that URL to update Java: https://forbes.com
I'll google with you then: ad network malware
> Hackers Abuse Google Ad Network To Spread Malware That Mines Cryptocurrency
You may not want cryptominers in your ads, but that's not really a malware again, your information are safe. There's nothing dangerous there.
> Malvertising - Wikipedia
It does contains an interesting history, which push toward my theory.
> advertisements telling them their systems were infected and trying to trick them into installing rogue security software
> drive-by download
So theses malware get installed if you download it and run it voluntarily...
> The attack infected users' machines with the ransomware, ‘Cryptowall’, a type of malware that extorts money from users by encrypting their data and placing a ransom of up to $1000 in bitcoins, to be paid in 7 days, to decrypt the data.
That's an interesting case, but doesn't mentions how the payload was delivered, could be drive-by download like always.
> In 2014 there were major malvertising campaigns on the DoubleClick and Zedo ad networks. [...] As in previous attacks the cybercrime involved Cryptowall as the malware infection. This spate of malvertising was believed to have brought over $1 million of ransom money in by infecting over 600,000 computers.
That one is not directly interesting because the source say that:
>through aggressive distribution using a variety of tactics that included spam emails with malicious links or attachments, drive-by-download attacks from sites infected with exploit kits and through installations by other malware programs already running on compromised computers
Again, either by running it directly voluntarily, or by other malware already running....
However after more research from this case, I found another article , which said that:
> now millions of computers have likely been exposed to Zemot, although only those with outdated antivirus protection were actually infected.
So an actual case of infection! Caused by outdated antivirus though and worse than that:
> Zemot is focused on computers running Windows XP,
For something in 2014... Windows XP stopped being supported at all in April 2014. Don't use an outdated system...
I would go into each result, but they are mostly definitions and I already lost enough time. The last result of the page is interesting and probably the first case that I see.
> Malicious code hidden in advert images cost ad networks $1.13bn this year
> "In this instance, the malicious code was an auto-redirect to a phishing site targeting US users."
So that's interesting, usually I wouldn't call phishing a malware mostly because you should always check the URL, but in this case considering it was doing it on the website itself, I would consider it as essentially one. First case I found! Adblock would then make sense on website where you put personal information. I hope browsers/ad-network will fix this auto-redirect issue quick though.
> I find your behaviour here very dishonest, and for me it's EOD.
What's dishonest about my behaviour?
It doesn't matter. It could be 1 out of every million hits, but it's still a source of malware. Most of us don't upgrade to the latest browser version the minute it's released, which makes us vulnerable.
> ads network is a good vector but so is Hacker News
You seem to be arguing that hyperlinks are an attack vector, which assumes such a broad interpretation of "attack vector" that the word becomes meaningless. It's like saying that an airplane is an attack vector because it can fly you into a war zone. Yes, it can... but I get to choose where I'm going.
Regarding that choice: these platforms show you the domain you're clicking through to, so you have a chance to bail. And with an ad blocker, you don't have to be as afraid to visit a malicious site. I have JS and ad blocking on by default, and I whitelist a site when it seems trustworthy enough.
It does matter, you used the word often, that word has a meaning.
You never click on the article link? That page can be anything, thus include any JS.
> I get to choose where I'm going.
Thus you check every link before clicking on it? I feel like that's not the case, but I would applaud you to be consistent if you do.
> And with an ad blocker, you don't have to be as afraid to visit a malicious site.
Ad blockers only block ads, not malicious JS. If you visit a website which include malicious JS, it's just as bad as an ad that contains malicious JS.
> I have JS and ad blocking on by default
Blocking JS that's a good way to stop malicious JS. Blocking ads then is redundant, what does it give you more?
As soon as I can pay for the content instead, I do it.
Ads is just another way to pay... if it's too bloated (thus too expensive) you just don't get it, or go find something less bloated (aka less expensive), that's it.
Although maybe long term this will happen anyway, so Mozilla has nothing to lose. I mean Chrome will have its ad-tech-friendly blocking-lite, Firefox will be the only real ad-blocking available, and sites will start to make moves to directly discourage Firefox use ("I see you're using Firefox, switch to Chrome to view our crappy site").
I like content, and I don't mind paying for it. I'd prefer to pay with money, not via ads. Give me that option.
Further, I don't want a subscription. I want to pay as I go, at the rates ads pay. 50¢ per thousand pages sounds ok to me.
You often get a ecpm of 50 cents? That seems quite awful, even more so from the US. It should be closer to 10x that.
1) it’s based on page views where ads are rendered. So ad-blocked users aren’t in the denominator.
2) most of that revenue is driven by clicks, not ad views. So users like me, that rarely click on ads, ever, probably earn publishers about 50cents/cpm.
At the end of the day, if it cost them more than an ecpm of 0.50$ to produce that content (and I'm pretty sure it does, because most ad-based website never made ton of profit and that was the case even before adblocking became popular), than that just doesn't make sense either to have a price that low.
Subscriptions risk making silos. Once you have paid $5 for site-group-A (one million sites) it's annoying to find that the site you are reading belongs to site-group-B which belongs to some other subscription. This is the HBO-vs-Netflix problem.
Ad-blocking is a lot like using a DVR, or a VCR. Someone sends you data and you have the right to not view all of that data. The company has the right not to send you the data if you don't pay for it, but they don't have the right to tell you that you must view all of it.
Content that is funded by ads is often not content I particularly care about. If it matters enough people will be willing to fund it, if not, let it die.
You are definitely in a tiny minority if that's actually the case.
Clicking the button brings you to a survey where they seem to indicate the intent is to be ad free:
> You clicked a button to possibly subscribe to Firefox Ad-Free Internet for $4.99
* This is yet not available.
* It's not "Ad-Free Internet" but more like "a dozen websites ad-free".
* They expect a monthly payment - which is fine, but the first thing I imagined from the title was a built-in blocker in the browser but this is quite different.
edit: maybe I am being too harsh... maybe this is a starting point to something bigger. Let's hope!
Publishers are already dependent on Google and if Google wants to screw them over, they can. How is this different from that?
Google has the resources to make better products.
True but for the past 5 years or so they have been interested in making more money not better products.
Edit: I appreciate the downvotes, as though answering this question with honesty is undesirable behavior. Keep up the good work /r/svwebdev!
"All my Lubuntu devices" makes it sound like you have a lot of devices, thus increasing the likelihood of being easy to reproduce. There might even already exist a bug report which you could contribute to.
And, again being frank, I don't care enough to bother with scouring that for one that seems related enough to add to it, and then again reproducing the problem and collecting the appropriate logs and etc. And if experience is any indicator it'll just languish in their bug database for months or years anyway. I've got shit to do man, so I'll just use a product that works, thanks. It is not my responsibility to fix yours.
And I only brought it up because someone mentioned how much "better" a product Firefox is and my experience differed.
Unfortunately, the big successful players seem to make pretty good $$ by selling customer data, so they have little incentive to change this.
Mozilla/Firefox is in a unique position to launch an effort like this, since it controls a decent browsing platform with a significant user base.
I'll sign up the moment this becomes available in the EU.
> Our tracking code is installed on more than 2 million sites globally.
Having a low number there is a feature.
One of the biggest fees on micropayments are the fixed transaction fees. Stripe is currently 27‰ + 5¢, which on a $1 transaction is nearly 8%! If those fixed fees could be made to go away for low-cost transactions, micropayments would work within the current system. Most people can accept 3% overhead, but most won't accept 8%.
It just seems like the entire problem is manufactured and not really an issue that can be solved until the banking systems just decided to solve it by changing their policies. I'm not even proposing a technical fix, it really seems to be a problem entirely with the current policies.
Edit: yes, I understand that Stripe is a gateway and processor, not an issuer or network, and that banks are often issures, but not the network. Yes, I understand that cards each have their own interchange rates, but many gateways like stripe have been just "averaging" them to provide low-volume retailers a fixed, predicable coat per transaction. I'm just saying that if the networks. E.g. Visa or MasterCard (or even discover or Amex despite being much smaller) could change their policies and requirements regarding fees for low volume transactions to remove fixed fees, and the vast majority of the issue with micropayments would be solved. I trust that the major payment gateways and browsers could work out a protocol to make use credit-card based micropayments very quickly and in a way that doesn't require additional third parties, beyond the payment gateway chosen by the person accepting the micropayment.
This is not for me.
When left unchecked, advertisers are to websites what kittens are to furniture.
a) no publishers sign up
b) no customers sign up
(as long as they try hard to make it happen).
I have no interest in Firefox's initial selection, but I'd gladly pay a monthly subscription to a collection of my local news sites.
How do we go from 5 american "online magazines" to a global network? I don't know.
If that's more or less than $14.99, I'd be willing to pay it for an "ad-free" internet. This will never happen, I guess, but just thinking about it...
That said, this is a practical implementation of some patterns that belongs on https://userinyerface.com/game.html ;-)
In all seriousness, I seem to remember that there was a practice of testing for viability using very similar means – basically, are people interested enough to click through, then collect emails.
So perhaps this is a path to demonstrate viability by questionnaire.
This is _exactly_ why websites are as bad as they are right now.
> And if it doesn't remove EVERY clickbait and dark pattern in said sites, I won't do it.
Don't let perfect be the enemy of good. If you want to support an alternative source of funding for content, then this appears to be a great positive step towards an internet without tracking and invasive advertisements, promoted by the only alternative to Google in the browser market.
If you want to take a philosophical stance, you should reject the tracker and leave websites that don't adhere to your strict criteria.
I enjoy reading the WSJ Opinion section, but last time I looked at the price, it was way too high to justify based on the number of articles I read.
(I.e. it's not a universal ad blocker that lets you avoid ads on Youtube.)
The Firefox webpage itself doesn't oversell the feature as "ad-free internet" so not sure why writing a misleading title for HN was necessary.
(Edit to also mention Scroll doesn't have some popular news sites such as NYT, Washington Post, WSJ, etc -- probably because getting a fraction of $4.99/month is not enough money for them and it competes with their direct digital subscriptions.)
it's not even that! it's not even something that they have! go on click the link to subscribe and see what happens.
"<title>Ad-free Internet by Firefox</title>"
EDIT to the replies: Yep got it. I can't see the title text on any tabs because they're too narrow when I have 50 tabs open.
>Otherwise please use the original title, unless it is misleading or linkbait; don't editorialize.
But I'm not going to nitpick this thread's title. If "Ad-free internet" is the best representation for HN readers because Mozilla itself used it, that's fine too.
The NYT is one of the co-sponsors that started Scroll, so I'm sure that they'll be on board eventually if they're actually not already.
The only way to make this work is to track your id across
many properties. (I assume)
I do welcome this effort, which is similar to the
Apple News (or whatever they named it, I think)
but it would need a lot more content before I am interested.