1) free websites and web services need revenue and as long as the ads are tasteful, I don't mind them
2) I actually want websites to annoy me with lots of stupid ads, as I want to stop using such websites, because I want to reward publishers that don't do that
Ad blockers are trying to fix a symptom of the disease and in doing so they only help spreading and growing that disease.
This is the problem: the ads stopped being tasteful. Remember pop-ups? Remember how, when browsers started having pop-up blockers as a default, the response by the advertising industry was to try to circumvent the blockers, resulting in even more annoying ads? Remember how ad companies did not get the message when people stopped accepting their cookies, and now use dozens of techniques to track people? Remember how they said they thought Do Not Track meant "track but do not show targeted ads?"
Unfortunately, the annoying, intrusive, privacy-invading advertising is not limited to a handful of sites. It is all over the place. That's why ad blocking is important and necessary: we users should not have to suffer because of the advertising industry's greed.
I don't do this because ads annoy me (of course they do, but for the above reasons, it feels wrong). I do this because a few years ago, certain less technical members of my family received a nasty bit of malware/rootkit combo delivered -- as best I could discern -- via a song lyric look up site. Another laptop picked up malware around the same time, though its source was more difficult to discern. In addition, about this same time, Microsoft and Google's ad networks were found to have some Flash ads that were malicious.
After spending a few hours reloading laptops (with the offending individual being my first experiment with Ubuntu on a non-technical user's PC), I got fed up and installed a proxy.
My computers all have local firewalls and anti-virus, but I'm sure nobody's surprised that they were still infected.
I wonder, is the state of these ad networks improved at all? Are there advertisement blocking tools that just target ads that have the greatest probability of being exploits (flash, java, smaller ad networks)?
And I had fun from time to time connecting via SSH and making a song or two play when I knew she had to be cheered up. She thought that was a little creepy, but hey.
OTOH, I also feel tremendous sympathy towards websites trying to survive on ad revenue. I'm actually the type of person who still buys music to support artists.
I don't know what the solution is. We are forced to choose between being watched as we browse the web, staying completely offline, or blocking ads but not supporting the websites we visit.
In principle I like the concept of paying a fixed amount per unit time and splitting that across the sites I care about. In practice I don't see any obvious privacy-respecting way to do that.
But I don't think most folks think this way, so practically speaking I don't see micropayments ever working. Would love to be proven wrong.
Is it really that hard to let me pay a monthly fee to turn ads off?
Google is serving the vast majority of ads online and they already have the infrastructure in place to channel part of that fee to the content creators including knowing whom I visit and when.
Users get a good adblocker that they don't have to feel bad about using, and site owners get to sustain the revenue they would've lost.
Maybe it could provide more benefits than just ad blocking? Perhaps it would just be a "premium membership to the internet". Site owners can take even more revenue if they implement even more features. More web app options, custom styling options, social badges, etc. The more a user pays a month, the more features he gets all over the internet.
I'd trust very few web sites to stay ad-free if they switched to a pay model. The money is just too good for them.
Or eliminate it. He provided a small comment afterwards, and the replies to that comment are good. Not what I'd call noise.
Your comment and my response however...
It's invasive, and quite frankly, it's disturbing and creepy that the same advertisements follow me regardless of website. I feel like the guy in Pachebel's Rant, finding Canon in D across modern music, except what I'm finding is invasive Google ads, and I find them on most websites...
So no, I actively refuse the narrow demographic Google placed me into, and chases me around the internet with.
1) You save battery life
2) You save data
3) Pages load quicker
And you lose no content in the process. So why wouldn't you? If you're using a fast machine hooked up to fibre broadband, perhaps it's a different matter, but as a mobile user it's a no brainer. And that isn't even mentioning the content of ads or privacy concerns...
If you think ads are necessary for the health of the internet, then they need to be presented a way that doesn't actively harm the experience of using the internet.
I envision an "ad network" appearing eventually that doesn't display any ads, just distributes revenues from an aggregate subscription. Then sites can still be supported by spontaneous visitors and users can control their exposure to advertisements online.
As I said in reply to another of your comments, I've been working on the technology to make it possible to do this reliably for some time now. It's harder than it looks.
What were the others?
It's a good idea on paper, but actually making the market-building side work is really hard.
In my honours dissertation I identified 9 distinct attacks on the "naive" protocol and developed countermeasures for each. But that design is fatally flawed too. I have another design which ... well, watch this space: http://robojar.com/
I don't want advertising in my face, full stop.
if ( auth.is_subscriber )
If someone could attach electrodes on your cranium and "reprogram" it so that it would permanently increase your propensity to buy product X by 10% in exchange for viewing an article on a website would you do it? Would you justify doing it by statements like "free websites and web services need revenue and I don't really mind the electrodes"?
If websites have a problem with this they can just respond 402 to all my requests and I won't cry to anyone.
Some advertisers are just honest people trying to make money and I hope word-of-mouth will cover those. But for the rest of it, let's just say my life is much better without TV, radio, or magazines.
in addition to
They are like antibiotics creating stronger bacteria?
Now some of my daily news sources will become pretty unbearable ... but I guess I better look out for other websites that don't need to put up full site flash wrap-banners.
I would not mind a solution that provides trusted ads. A system by which I can inspect what the site is trying to feed me and whitelist what I am willing to deal with.
2. Even if they did this would be very unreasonable, either you view adverts and the publisher gets paid or you don't view adverts and the publisher doesn't get paid. If you're triggering the pay-out criteria without actually doing whatever is required (view, click, interact) it's just moving the financial hit to the advertiser, which is still unreasonable.
In fact, several websites show you a warning message, or refuse to load, if you're running an adblocker.
In that regard, it's very easy to detect if someone is using AdBlock or not.
The usual approach I've seen sites take is they have some sort of "Please disable your ad-blocker" image that they load everywhere ads go, and then just overlay the ad image on top of that one when it loads.
Fifteen employees, two of those managers, further job ads are taken out, offices in Cologne's Clusterhaus? And the only product is a free of charge browser extension? How does that work?
Additionally, this part seems important as well:
> Viel wichtiger: das ist also Till Faidas Verstaendnis von akzeptablen Werbeanzeigen: gefakte Testberichte und Auszeichnungen, pseudoneutrale Bewertungen auf anonymisierten Blogs. Artikel, geschrieben von der PR-Abteilung und Geschaeftsfuehrung eines Unternehmens, suchmaschinenoptimierter Content-Dreck fuer das eigene Produkt. Scam nennt man sowas in Fachkreisen!
More importantly: so this is Till Faida's understanding of acceptable advertisements: faked test reports and awards, pseudoneutral ratings on anonymised blogs. Articles, written by the PR-department and by the management of a company, search-engine-optimised content-dreck [i.e. crud] for their own product. Expert circles tend to call this scam!
[the translation isn't the prettiest but hopefully quite close to the original in both meaning and intent]
 The whole "mafia" argument seems to stem from these questionable practices of "anonymous" and thus seemingly neutral feedback, originating from within the company itself.
[edit 2] fixed first translation, since I forgot the half-sentence "weitere [...]"
7. Except as agreed between you and us in a separate written agreement
referencing this Participation Requirement, you will not use any Content or
Special Link, or otherwise link to the Amazon Site, on or in connection with:
a. any client-side software application (e.g., a browser plug-in,
helper object, toolbar, extension, or component or any other application
executable or installable by an end user) on any device, including
computers, mobile phones, tablets, or other handheld devices;
Google translated Google cache: http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&tl=en&u=ht...
(a) Take a "randomly" sourced blog post for a book review:
(b) Check links to amazon:
(c) Click through and check URL:
Looks OK. Anything I'm missing?
typoRules.js downloads urlfixer.org/download/rules.json?version=2 where the redirect is made if you type for an example: amazon.comm, I get (FireFox only) redirected to their affiliate amazon.com link.
For an example, amazon.co.ukk gets redirected to http://www.amazon.co.uk/?tag=uf07d-21
Some of the lines of that file:
If I change the .com to .comm it changes the URL to:
So this is only for mistyped (edit) manually typed referrer URLs?
> In einer Stellungnahme bestätigen die Macher von AdBlock Plus die von Pallenberg aufgezeigten Zusammenhänge weitgehend. "Ein Großteil der Informationen zu der Zusammenarbeit mit unseren Partnern ist korrekt recherchiert, einiges nicht", heißt es in einer Stellungnahme von Mitgründer Till Faida, den Pallenberg in seinem Artikel kritisiert hatte. "Im Gegensatz zu Sascha Pallenberg sehen wir in der Vernetzung keinen Gewissenskonflikt."
The makers of AdBlock Plus largely confirm Pallenberg's connections in a statement. "The bulk of the information about the cooperation with our partners is investigated correctly, some isn't", according to a statement by co-founder Till Faida, who Pallenberg had criticised in his article. "Unlike Sascha, we do not see a moral conflict in this interconnectedness."
>Das Unternehmen ist überzeugt, dass sich Werbeformen wie die "Acceptable Ads" langfristig durchsetzen wird. Das Whitelisting sei für kleine und mittelgroße Webseiten kostenlos. "Dabei haben wir immer transparent geäußert, dass große Unternehmen unsere Initiative finanziell unterstützen." Eine Bevorzugung dieser Firmen gebe es jedoch nicht, die Kriterien seien für alle gleich. Auch die Kriterien der Entscheidungen durch die Community seien "vollkommen transparent".
The company is convinced that advertisement forms like "Acceptable Ads" will prevail in the long run. Whitelisting is free of charge for small and medium-sized websites. "We have always transparently communicated that big companies support our initiative financially." However, preferential treatment of these companies does not exist, the criteria are the same for everybody. The criteria for decisions by the community are also "completely transparent." 
: The whole paragraph is difficult to translate since it makes extensive use of indirect speech, which is marked by the German Konjunktiv, without a clear marker of a speaker. The whole paragraph is a mixture of direct quote and paraphrasing of the company's own words and thus represents entirely the company's view and assurance that everything is fair, transparent and openly communicated.
 tense in the first paragraph [had criticised]
EDIT: I came across this from a few months back: http://www.digitaltrends.com/web/adblock-plus-accused-of-sha...
Seems to be about some similar stuff
(from a few months ago)
And then the oxymoronic "Acceptable Ads" happened, and the painfully bad "typo correction" anti-feature (no, I really mean wikimedia, not wikipedia), and now this which ties into the "typo correction" bits. All of which are either on by default or pester the user to turn them on. And every one of these creates a new support issue for me with people I set up Adblock Plus for.
"AdBlock is not to be confused with Adblock Plus. The developer of AdBlock for Chrome claims to have been inspired by AdBlock Plus, which is a community supported development effort, but otherwise the two efforts are unrelated."
I've tried both and was curious as to why the "Plus" version of an extension allowed tons of ads when the regular "AdBlock" did a perfect job of never showing me ads. I guess that answers that question.
"Adblock Plus will always block annoying ads.
Still, many websites rely on advertising revenues so we want to encourage websites to use plain and unobtrusive advertising instead of flashy banners. That's why the Adblock Plus community has established strict guidelines to identify acceptable ads, and Adblock Plus allows these out of the box. You can always disable this feature if you want to block all ads."
Could this be related?
Link to the guidelines: http://adblockplus.org/en/acceptable-ads#criteria
Edit: I just contacted Till Faida about this, will keep this post updated.
See here: https://adblockplus.org/blog/our-thoughts-on-the-unity-of-ge...
The source code is over there (GPL):
The article seems to say this is related to the typo feature, but https://hg.adblockplus.org/adblockplus/file/tip/defaults/typ... has never changed since the introduction of the feature in 2012-11.
ABP notifies me of the redirection, and I can accept or blacklist it.
However it appears to add that tag only if I typo the name, if I follow a good Amazon link (with or without the affiliate) then it doesn't get 'corrected'.
Although since the rewrite rules are downloaded from a remote location (over HTTP, not even HTTPS!) they could in theory decide to rewrite any links in the future, without many people noticing.
Edit: sorry about that last part. http://amazon.co does exist and does get corrected.
Adblock Edge looks like a decrapified fork of Adblock Plus.
I keep a Git repository with the contents that I update from time to time - this makes it easier to do diffs against past versions: https://github.com/chalst/pollockhostsfork
On Linux, 127.0.0.0 is a broadcast address, while on Windows, it is a sink address.
- AdBlock Edge. Filter subscriptions: EasyList, EasyPrivacy, Disable Malware, Fanboy's Annoyance List, Prebake
- NoScript. Use "allow scripts globally" or otherwise most websites won't work. It will still protect against know attacks.
- Cookie Monster. Then set global/default preference to saving cookies for session only.
- FireGloves. Uncheck "disable plugin and mimeType lists" in Cloak Settings.
- HTTPS Everywhere
AdBlock - Donationware. They also run this http://chromeadblock.com/catblock/download/ It replaces ads with pictures of cats. Hilarious
The allegation concerning rewriting links is on this second page, for example.
I'm a developer at Eyeo, working on Adblock Plus. Adblock Plus is not changing Amazon links. TFA is ripe with FUD, but it doesn't even go this far.
Maybe this was a major misunderstanding of the typo correction feature , which is opt-in, only implemented in Firefox and merely corrects typos in URLs, always telling what it corrected. I was never really sure how it fits into ABP, but I fail to see how this could be considered shady.
Other than that, the only thing Adblock Plus does is block content. Which content that is depends on the filter lists you use. There are defaults, but you're free to use any you like, or create your own. It's usually ads, but ABP is also pretty good at blocking any kind of tracking .
Back to TFA. The main allegations are:
1. The CEO and the angel investor at Eyeo have ties to the ad industry
2. Adblock Plus is letting ads through if sites pay for it
3. Adblock Plus is burning money
One at a time:
1. This is true. Eyeo was founded to find a middle ground between users blocking ads and sites monetising from ads. The idea is that there are decent ads that most people wouldn't want to block, in the sea of horrible ads - "acceptable ads" . "The ad industry" is not a single evil entity that wants to blind us all, some people in it actually want to make ads better. Hence Wladimir joined forces with them.
2. Every site can have their ads whitelisted, and ads that violate the criteria  will not be whitelisted. Some sites are supporting us financially, others don't. I think the main controversy is that this feature is opt-out rather than opt-in.
3. I disagree. More than half of the employees on the payroll are working remotely, deliberately. We wouldn't even all fit into the office, which is nice, but cheap (it's a building that's going to be demolished in 1-2 years). We're barely profitable, nobody's getting rich. We manage the infrastructure that delivers the filter lists - which are used by literally every other ad blocker out there, for free, and that's fine. Everything we create is open source , everything can be forked, and that's fine.
Yup, that's right. This is the URL fixing functionality only implemented in ABP for Firefox. If you type amazorn.com, Adblock Plus will correct it for you (if you activated this feature, it's opt-in), sending you to amazon.com.
ABP does indeed add an affiliate ID to those links, it was a monetisation idea. We've been open about this  (See "Monetization"), nobody's being tracked and nobody's seeing any extra ads.
I had and have some doubts about this making sense as a part of ABP, but I wouldn't consider it shady.
* Update the rules over HTTPS, not HTTP
* Filter preferences should show the typo-correction-rule URL, just as it does for ad-blocking rules, and it should be possible to inspect them by clicking
* typo correction should probably only be used if the target website doesn't actually exist. See elsewhere in the comments, that is what how one would normally expect it to work.
As it is now the fact that typo correction even uses an insecure, remote list of rules is not at all obvious from the UI, instead its hidden away in the code.
Of course its also a bit confusing on why typo correction is even part of AdBlock Plus to begin with, as there is another extension just for that purpose - urlfixer.
If someone wants typo correction you could suggest them to also install urlfixer, but it doesn't really make sense to have two unrelated features in one extension.
Don't try to become an extension that does everything...
As for correcting URLs that do exist, I think the idea was to avoid phishing sites and parking sites. But IIRC we did have a considerable number of false positives, so it's a questionable approach.
I'll argue for removing it from ABP now. URL Fixer is from us as well (it's the same code we have in ABP), so anyone who liked it can just install that. I'd rather have ABP do one thing, and do it well, feature creep is a thing...
Edit: It's decided, we'll remove the feature.
I suppose we could have communicated better. Maybe we should have talked more about our employees and their backgrounds, about who is whitelisted and why. We've made mistakes, and we're trying to learn from them.
> “7. Except as agreed between you and us in a separate written agreement referencing this Participation Requirement, you will not use any Content or Special Link, or otherwise link to the Amazon Site, on or in connection with:
> a. any client-side software application (e.g., a browser plug-in, helper object, toolbar, extension, or component or any other application executable or installable by an end user) on any device, including computers, mobile phones, tablets, or other handheld devices;
Still a lot of people are reporting the extension or looking for alternatives in this thread.
Seriously: Not everything you read on the web is true. This smells like a smear campaign, nothing more - until real evidence or proof is shown of the claims.
In his words the reason for an acceptable ads program seems to be showing acceptable ads (non flashing, blinking, annoying, ...) to the user which seems legit.
Can't understand the 'Mafia' term in this. It's a free product this is their business model. You as a user choose if you accept (or opt-out) this or leave the product behind.
"Adblocklite is a fork of the Adblock Plus version 1.3.10 (classic UI) extension for blocking advertisements on the web. This fork will provide the same features as Adblock Plus 2.X and higher while keeping the old UI but without "acceptable ads" feature."
AdBlock and AdBlockPlus are free to run their company any way they want (within reason). However, this is a serious breach of trust. They should inform me of any change or re-direct they perform - before they do it.
1. What are your personal ethics?
2. Who do you trust?
To put (1) in context, the content on the Internet is largely provided free but is ad-supported. When it comes to display advertising, it's sold almost entirely on a CPM basis (it may be resold on an eCPC or eCPA basis). It is at best only partially sold on an intent basis (meaning it's enticing you to click on the ad or otherwise take some kind of action).
The relevance is that the most common "defence" of ad-blocking is "I never click on ads anyway". While that might be true (let's just say that the people who claim to have never clicked on an ad is a proper superset of the people who have never clicked on an ad) it's also irrelevant since that may not be the intent and the publisher is getting paid to display the ad, not for you to click on it (unlike, say, search advertising, which is intent based).
So the ethical part here is you need to decide if you're OK with denying publishers income yet still consuming their content. If you are against ads for whatever reason and don't consume the content, that's a position I can respect, otherwise it just strikes me as rationalized freeloading but YMMV.
As for (2), the big players like Google who dominate display advertising are regulated and deeply concerned (believe it or not) about privacy and the user experience. That's why you can opt out of personalized ads , for example. I may be biased  but I trust Google far more than I trust some fly-by-night operation. Again, YMMV.
Recently there was a story about Ghostery reselling user data to advertisers . How much can you really trust these basically unaccountable groups (in comparison)?
I should point out that there are two issues here that intertwine:
My personal code of ethics is I don't block ads because honestly I mentally block them out anyway. Going to the Westin site then seeing ads for the Westin everywhere doesn't particularly bother me.
If a site has particularly egregioius ads (I include popups, most interstitials and any ads you need to dismiss in this category) then all bets are off. Block away. Banner ads however? Sure, why not?
But where I draw the line is with uselessly giving away your privacy in a way that doesn't benefit publishers at all. I include all the various "Like" and "Share" buttons here. All of these track for no benefit to the publisher (other than the hope that you might use one).
Those I'll happily block. Likewise if you're Quora and you blur answers because I'm not logged in with Facebook, well you'll get technically circumvented as well and I may just block any ads you have just because you're being offensive.
Anyway, just consider that ad-blockers have access to a wide range of your data as well and ask yourself what they are doing or might do with that data. Is it really worth denying publishers income to not see an ad for shoes? Really?
: Disclaimer: I am a Google engineer working in display advertising
* I cannot tolerate anything moving on the page. It prevents me from reading text, and I'll do whatever is necessary to turn it off, regardless of the effect on the site's advertising schemes.
* I won't tolerate tracking, and therefore turn off requests to domains other than those necessary to read the content on the page.
So, again, I'm fine with ads - they just have to respect my reasonable limitations.
And the line about Google respecting privacy doesn't pass the laugh test. If I'm tracked across the web by Google includes, the privacy violation has already occurred at that point, regardless of what Google does with the data after they collect it (same goes for other data-miners).
Remember when Double Click started building a database of every Internet user and their preferences (and were foolish enough to mention it publicly)? Your employer now owns that database.
Perhaps I should just selectively block ads on the sites that do this, but I've found that tedious in the past.
I don't really feel unethical for using Ad Blockers. I don't think watching ads is the same as paying. I figure ads are about statistics and advertisers count on only reaching part of the audience. Since I definitely never click on ads, I am not part of that target audience (except for the unavoidable minor brainwashing).
I might still help out a site owner by recommending their site, thus attracting other people who might then click on ads.
I am not responsible for a site owners business model, either.
In the age of AdWords I figure pay-per-view ads must be very rare?
Except all the data collected and sold was opt-in and they told you it was anonymized and sold on the page next to the opt-in checkbox
My point is, would your ethics also preclude you from using a readability tool?
Now, one can argue that a tool like Clearly is okay, because it requires you to click on it and it gets rid of the stuff that distracts you, but the ads still get displayed in the first place. What if someone made a tool that downloads the ads, as if to display them, without ever displaying them? By using such a tool, you wouldn't be denying publishers income while consuming their content, but you would still be gaming the system. How ethical would that be?
Again, the hard line would be to either a) suck it up and consume both the content and the crap together, or b) refrain from consuming the content altogether. But the hard line approach doesn't really solve anything, except giving you the moral high ground.
There's a real problem with the ad-supported content and the problem is the conflict between what the advertisers want, which is to force you to pay attention to their ads, even at the cost of breaking your experience, and what the content consumers want, which is to consume the damn content without being distracted or even badgered.
Even most of the so-called non-intrusive ads are annoying, because they're inserted where they're supposed to draw your attention.
If not, what value do you believe AdWords brings to the table, beyond the value of organic search results?
>Whenever typo correction brings you to the site of a large online shop an affiliate ID will be added to the address. This makes sure that if you buy something there we get a small amount of money from the shop.
Mentioned on their website.
(That doesn't mean ABP does not change amazon referral links, though)
EDIT: apparently the 2nd page of the article writes about the possibility of changing links.
Schaut man sich den Quellcode von Adblock Plus an, dann stolpert man ueber die “typoRules.js”" welche Vertipper in der Adresszeile des Browsers ueber eine dann nachgeladene Datei http://urlfixer.org/download/rules.json korrigiert. Den Spass gibt es uebrigens auch als separates Add-On http://urlfixer.org, ebenfalls vom feinen Herrn Palant!
Und jetzt anschnallen, denn dabei werden fuer alle internationalen Amazon-Shops automatisch die eigenen Amazon-IDs angehaengt!
Now fasten your seatbelts, because this automatically adds their own Amazon IDs for all international Amazon shops!
Would be good if somebody could confirm if that is the case.
amazon.com/?tag=someReferrer will not be changed
amazon.comm will be rewritten to amazon.com/?tag=uf024-20
I get value from Pinterest's collection, so I'm happy for them to skim a little bit of money from my purchase. Shopping is hellish, and Pinterest makes it easier for me.
I am aware that they got into trouble for using skimlinks to convert links. (I think they were converting affiliate links to their affiliate links which is pretty dodgy.)