I kept forwarding Worldometers’ COVID-19 data site  to friends and families, then later realized it’s full of banner ads if viewed without ad blocking.
Just had a look at it with uBlock Origin disabled, and wow, how do people browse the internet like this?
Edit: elaborated on my final point.
Google actually got that right with their ads - they were non intrusive and fitted in. Facbook started ads well, but these days they are getting annoying.
The web ads tend to bed more intrusive and outside the UX, more irrelevant, and more malware like.
I don't like those apps either, but the UI is definitely better.
I'm not sure why Firefox just doesn't build adblocking into the browser as a first class feature - maybe because they rely on the Google funding?
All of the "ad-supported business model supports creators, ad-supported businesses allow more people to access to the content" just feels like after the fact rationalization.
The same with how good targeting is because the ads are relevant.
If your content is valuable then charge for it. If browsers actually blocked all the ads like users wanted (and made a better product) then sites that couldn't support themselves without ads would die.
Wouldn't that be nice.
They kinda do. They keep building APIs requested by the adblockers so that adblocking can continue to work efficiently/effecitvely. They're also blocking the underlying abuses of advertising by increasing privacy by making it more difficult to track/fingerprint, increased security with the safe browsing checks (phishing/malware), and anti-cryptomining.
I am glad that they do not. I doubt that mozilla would be able to make anything nearly as good as ublock origin.
They already tried something similar with "tracker blocking" - it is uncustomizable and generally inferior to ublock.
I firmly believe that if the users could see what these client apps are actually doing on their device, they would never use them.
The books final chapter concluded by explaining an experiment they did where simply by showing a particular image in the background, combined with a spaced follow up and increased incentive, they were able to sucessfully manipulate people's political and voting preferences in a manner that lasted over a year.
I decided at that point no one gets to screw with my subconscious but my immense amount of childhood trauma. In my mind every other reason pales in comparison to this one for why I adblock and put it on my wife's computer, and every computer a family member owns.
> however later for the subjects favored purchasing a Kodiak camera over competitors products.
Even worse is that when they were purchasing the camera the cost of the ads was embedded in that price. They weren't just manipulated into buying that brand, they paid for the manipulation itself. I now make a conscious effort to avoid advertised products, at least the ones in meatspace where there are no ad blockers. I can't wait for the day that AR is advanced enough to let me block them too.
Some smarter sites ask you to voluntarily unblock their site. If its something I value I will actually do that. If it's forced upon my often I'll try and work my way around it.
The ad-funded internet seems to largely churn out a wealth of low-effort content mill sites polluting Google results. I won't mourn their death in the slightest.
And apart from YouTube, I'm mostly fine with the ads on those services. Clearly I'm not the average user, but I agree with your conclusion that most ads and the services they support can die in a dumpster fire and I won't care.
Ever since then, I just close the tab when a sites asks me to unblock. It is not worth the risk.
If it's to read an article, see a video, or find information: never.
Also: Firefox with Multi-Account Containers is great.
So... tab gets closed, site loses my eyeballs completely.
Some sites intentionally break if you're using an adblocker. It's really easy to argue to not use those sites.
What about government sites? Government sites don't work with strong ad blockers.
What about bank sites? Bank sites don't work with strong ad blockers.
What about your work related sites? My employer's HR site doesn't work with strong ad blockers. Many of my employer's internal sites don't work with strong ad blockers.
Yeah it's much easier to just close the tab. Unless the site is literally required for your continued living.
And if they ever do, well, most people only use a small number of such sites. Whitelisting them would be easy enough.
For these sites I use anonymous mode in a different browser.
I don't disable my adblocker. I wouldn't go walking around dark alleys blind drunk in Mexico City at 2:30 in the morning either.
If it's internal to your company, just whitelist it. They already pay for your time, so it's really their business if they put stuff on their internal sites that ruins your productivity.
I'm actually surprised how they could cause problems? Do you have specific examples?
1) use uMatrix and block all scripts and all third party sites
2) go to your favorite bank
5) good luck trying to figure out which sites to trust
Alternatively, if it's a single page, then either reader view, an archiving service, or flat out editing the offending elements with the inspector works fine.
The unintended benefit of this is I nearly always realize I was procrastinating when I clicked the link anyway... so now I regard NoScript as a productivity tool!
uBlock Origin + DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials is the combination I am using.
Option B: Maintain current number of visitors. Get ad revenue from Y% of viewers.
Depending on the values of X and Y, the ad revenue may go up or down as a result of requiring unsafe browsing. Your conclusion assumes that X is always equal to zero.
I did disable it. I am not proud.
And computers are also used by minors. Some of these ads are really disturbing and not something minors should see. Again, when this started happening, how did the websites respond? They did nothing.
My workstation (E5-2640) has seen multiple generations of operating systems, video editing software, DAWs.
Browsers and web browsing in general is the only thing that I can tell it's getting consistently worse year after year.
I know it's an odd metric but 10-15 seconds to fully render a newspaper homepage is more than it takes for my full DAW setup (Cubase + FL Studio as VST plugin) to fully come up with tracks loaded and play button ready. I don't even recall dialup being this bad.
A really nice Chrome and FF extension to scrub overlays is named Behind The Overlay:
90% of the time I just close the tab, if the content I want isn't immediately visible without jumping through hoops. If the content is hidden by a newsletter popup, the percentage is 100.
Edit: If you miss it, just hit F5, and try again. It’s a good game.
* Should you pirate your school textbooks? Yes, obviously. I did it all through uni and I'm a good software engineer. Oh sorry, that's not right. I meant "It's a travesty that a university I pay money to would force me to spend money on books I could just get from the previous year. The writer barely makes any money on the book anyway".
* Should you pirate games? Yes, obviously. A game that's free is better than a game you pay for. If it's sufficiently cheap then the advantage of discovery and your library makes Steam or Epic worth it. "Store-bought games include intrusive DRM that messes with your system files and is a security nightmare"
* Should you pirate software? Yes, obviously. That's why most paid software is SaaS now. You can't pirate SaaS. "Same DRM argument as above".
Ultimately, the answer to "Should I get something for free which I would otherwise pay for" is always yes.
I mean we still have DRM and shit and once upon a time people grumbled that they pirate games because they don't like always on DRM. Well, Steam is always on DRM and folks love that. To paraphrase big Bill C, "It's about the money, stupid".
I could probably invent a plausible smoke screen for everything from riding on trains for free (why are cars so subsidized?) to not paying for parking (I already pay so much in road tax and income tax) to taking all the Halloween candy someone left outside in a bowl (I never had this stuff as a child, all these kids already have way more than they need).
I think you should block ALL ads entirely, internet and everywhere. They are time sinking distraction and you definitely don't need them in your life.
A specific adblocker somebody needs to develop is podcast ad blocker, just auto-skip or have no sponsored message please.
Heuristically, save yourself time and energy and snap to the game theoretical conclusion. You'll go out of your way and incur personal cost to be a good citizen and prop up this poorly-conceived system that relies on such good samaritanship, but will most people? LOL no. So it's futile anyway. Get the best deal you can and let come what may. :D If all podcasts go belly up and there'll be a post-ad-economy afterscape where all pocasts are somehow paywalled, so be it -- that would have happened anyway, regardless of what you choose to do, and it's hopefully a more resiliently-designed system which doesn't shoulder users with cumbersome ethical dilemmas.
For some time I tried to fight the tide by continuing to publish ads and not using an adblock myself. By being an amateur blogger, I understand that even beer money helps to keep the moral high. However a couple of years ago I gave up and just embraced reality: deactivated adsense and started to use an adblock. I finally acknowledged that nobody likes ads - myself included - specially the ones not related with the content. Did my blogging suffered with it? Certainly it did.
And, well... There's also Yandex with their extension support, they deserve at least a mention. iirc uBO is broken there, but Nano works fine
I would be willing to on the news sites as well if they didn’t spam them so heavily into the page and they didn’t shift content to load them. The news sites also allow a surprising number of low quality ads. I’m willing to see ads for Tide or a bank, but no fake download buttons please.
It's still worth installing privacy add-ons to Firefox but this helps with some profiling intrusions in mobile apps and Chromecasts etc. It also helps protect your less technical family members a little, although it obviously can't keep them completely safe from surveillance. Education is an important aspect too.
No website has a right to exist, same with businesses. Nor do they have a right to my attention. People all cry 'the world will die without ads!'... no. Some of us have been around since the Internet started. All sites were free and no ads (banner ads came later, and were mostly static)-the sites full of passion, hours poured in for no financial gain. The difference is that now we have a generation of young people who feel entitled to make money off everything.
Now, the tracking is most definitely an issue, but first and foremost for myself and many others is the hatred of any and all ads. Life really is different without them. If someone comes up with an ear/eye implant to block all ads (tv, radio, billboards all of it) I'd pay whatever it cost.
Either you block ads or you don't know that you can block ads.
The honest answer to this is “Yes!”, not a 7-paragraph non-answer.
They obviously don't stop a shopping site from selling products or from GitLab.com registering users for GitLab services etc.
If the way a site makes money is by abusing the visitors, adblockers stop the abuse and the money from that* side of things, which may be all the income they get, but not necessarily.
So, this is not a simple yes/no situation.
> Adblockers stop sites from making money
Stop right there. You don’t get to decide the site’s business model. They get to choose it, not you.
And I mean duh, no kidding adblockers don’t stop online stores from letting people buy stuff. Thanks for the insight there.
They can choose any model they like, but we decide whether or not it's profitable.
I didn't say I get to DECIDE the site's business model, I get to JUDGE it. Do you want to argue about my judgment that ad-based business models are harmful?
Somebody needs to take responsibility for the malicious and broken ads. I really don't care who does it; you can contract it out, or do it internally, just as long as the work actually gets done.
The work isn't getting done, right now.
I like buying things. I like seeing ads that interest me. I don’t care who tracks me or monetizes data about me that is 100% worthless to me. I like not paying money out of my own wallet to read websites and watch videos.
It builds its argument around crap like fake download buttons, fake FBI warnings, coin miners, and ads that break the website. These are the reason why University of California and Edward Snowden recommend ad blockers, and they're the reason why I recommend them too.
And how to fund creative work is indeed a complex question. However, "I won't support business model that is itself harmful" is a perfectly fair position. I can both want a website to get funded and also refuse to play along with funding it through third-party ads which are harmful even without the worst problems of deception and tacking etc.
In short, I think it's really important that we not forget that ads-bad is basically true and has been since at least the old penny-papers and yellow-journalism.
See for one good source Tim Wu's The Attention Merchants. A good intro is episode 16 at https://humanetech.com/podcast/
The article tries to address this a little bit with the "Ad blockers do not block all advertising" section, but I don't think it fully acknowledges that if everyone installs uBlock Origin as the article suggests the web as we know it will collapse.
But really, you are conflating "the web" with "megacorps flushed with cash able to hire (tens of) thousands engineers building unprecedented surveillance tools and networks". And the end of the latter
Micropayments are generally considered to be unviable for the general population (edit: business model wise, not tech). People are unwilling to pay even pennies for an article, because now users are facing the burden of choice, constantly thinking about how their browsing is racking up pennies. Not to mention, it boxes you into the pay-per-article model. Sites like Twitter or Facebook don't make sense in this world.
I also think it adds significant barriers to entry, since micropayments aren't accessible, at all, to younger people, or the poor. Information should be as free as possible imo.
If the market decides all ads should be blocked, then sure, things will change, but please don't pretend this won't have huge ramifications - things will not be remotely like they are today. For the news at least, it'll likely just be the expensive megacorp publications that survive.
This is a purely technological problem, not some sort of fundamental problem with the concept of micropayments.
If advertising were really the only way young or poor people could generate value (this is not actually true, but for the sake of argument I'll go along with it), there could be dedicated websites where people intentionally look at ads in exchange for credit in their micropayment accounts (whatever that looks like, be it Bitcoin Lightning or some service from Square). Of course, once you phrase it this way, it becomes more clear that using ads as an indirect monetization strategy kind of doesn't make sense. It's better to have people perform mechanical turk style tasks (the monetization strategy of Captcha clones).
As a parent, I'd be happy to put a few cents in my child's micropayment account so they don't have to get their brain flooded with garbage whenever they use the internet.
> It's better to have people perform mechanical turk style tasks.
I do like the idea, but I still think the barriers to entry are way too high. I'm worried that what will really happen is people will just download content via other means, which will start publishers off the deep end putting DRM into their webpages. Just look at Steam as an example - it very much reduced piracy rates because it lowered the barrier to entry.
> As a parent, I'd be happy to put a few cents in my child's micropayment account so they don't have to get their brain flooded with garbage whenever they use the internet.
Easy enough for someone living in a 1st world country. A child in Bangladesh who just wants to read about maths or video games however... Not to mention, your child is now directly linked to your bank account, whereas before you had pseudo-anonymity.
That's how text messages started, where you paid something per message. Pretty soon everyone shifted to the package model, where you prepaid for a whole bunch of messages - more than you would use in a month.
Says the guy working for one of the largest megacorps that would be most impacted...
Can’t wait! Did you mean for this to talk me out of it?
For the most part, the ad industry is toxic. If their service isn’t worth anything to it’s users, why prop it up by through ads?
First party advertising is more acceptable in my mind. Eg. Facebook selling ads to other businesses to show on Facebook. Where it tends to go wrong is that they are incentivized to track everyone everywhere through pixels on other sites, in mobile apps with Facebook logins, and buying credit card data. Some companies manage to sell high quality ads on their site without resorting to this behavior. If that was the norm, I’d turn my blocker back off.
If ads were limited to a simple image, MAYBE a non-obtrusive animated GIF, it'd be fine. Honestly, I thought Project Wonderful's ads were fine and even had an exception in my blocker for them.
In short, fuck 'em. If your business isn't viable without being hostile to your users, then it isn't viable.
Or do you just want to have your cake and eat it too? It's quite funny to me that the same crowd who blocks internet advertising wholesale is often times the same crowd that bemoans the fact that so many websites are going to subscription models and paywalls versus say 10 or 15 years ago. Frankly, there is little discernable difference between adblocking and theft, but I'm sure that that statement is not a popular one on a forum like this.
That's the problem.
There are plenty of legitimate sites that have run malicious advertising because they used an ad network that ended up allowing one. Like Forbes: https://www.fireeye.com/blog/threat-research/2015/09/malvert...
So as a precaution, no. Today's totally safe ad is tomorrow's malvertising.
I would now, if it meant that I could have an ad-free (legitimately, I use an adblocker) privacy-guaranteed experience.
Would I pay for YouTube? I don't know, I pay for Netflix though, so maybe? I support some YouTube channels on Patreon, so there's definitely money there.
Facebook? Nope, but then I am half a beer away from deleting my Facebook account at any time anyway.
Instead these sites just whine and do nothing. When some ad is malware or very poor quality? They just offload blame to the ad networks like it's not their problem. Users don't like the tracking? They just say they must have tracking for ads to work, which is a lie since ads existed before the internet.
So I will continue blocking ads. Their greed and incompetence is not my problem. If this makes lots of websites go out of business then so be it. Maybe the next generation of websites will learn and start treating ads properly as part of their website content.
I mean, don't get me wrong, I use all of these sites and I see utility in all of them (even the much-maligned Facebook.) Youtube, for all its controversy, is arguably the modern Library of Alexandia.
But with every other business in the universe, you either adapt to changing market conditions or you die. I don't see why the web should be any different.
I believe there is a corollary: Advertising interprets attempts to avoid it as damage and locates your eyeballs anyway.
It's a constant battle with an opponent with the highest order financial motivation.
Let's keep our PiHole tricks a little quiet and maybe they won't catch on right away :)
The web as we know it "collapses" every ten years anyway. The question is what replaces it.
The sooner it goes away, the better. I do not hold to the proposition that there is no other way to pay for the internet.
If the sites collapse, so be it, but it won't because the vast majority of people casually surfing the web do not know how to use ad blockers.