In essence, this has set up two tiers of advertising: those we have paid for white list privileges, and those who haven't. This is heavily in Google's interests as they are the only advertiser powerful enough to get by with only text adverts - nobody else has a platform like Google search where text only adverts are enough to overcome costs and provide viability.
By using Adblock Plus as a weapon against non-Google adverts, Google is removing the ability for other players to compete on level footing. It's very similar to the idea of paying AT&T for prioritization for Google traffic, and it destroys a lot of the foundations that the web is built on. It definitely crosses into 'evil' territory for me, in the same way as paying AT&T to slow down access to Bing would be.
While it's just an add on, it's a bad precedent to set.
Not trivializing your complaint, btw... just pointing out that using money to get your message to the forefront is kind of the point of advertising itself, so the fact that Google is paying to get their advertising displayed is kind of... meta?
I'd love to have a discussion on HN about the necessity of advertising in the Information Age. I think we would all like to live in a world where purchasing decisions are based on reviews from people that have actually used a good or service, and I would think that the ubiquity of the web has made this kind of crowdsourced intelligence quite feasible.
Does advertising provide a valuable service beyond subsidizing information flow? If not, are there alternate viable strategies for subsidizing information flow, such as Wikipedia's donation model? Is a post-advertising world possible, or even desirable?
We need both. Advertising can be unethical at times but its no reason to do away with it all together. Reviews cAn be flawed too.
As far as AdBlock goes, I'm still uncertain of why people dislike advertising so much to begin with. Okay, they collect information about you. I understand the desire to not want to be tracked like that. But lets imagine for a moment that advertisers are collecting your information but they're not doing anything unethical with it. They're just trying to show you add that are relevant. In that situation I really don't care if I see advertisements online at all. I also think the definition of unethical comes into play here too though. For me, advertisers sharing my data with each other is something I don't see as unethical. Others I suspect do. Living the lifestyle I live, I can't think of anything advertisers could know about me that would be at all harmful. I suppose everyone's mileage may vary.
My question is, in the end, what part of online advertising is so distasteful to everyone? Is it the data collection or is it seeing the ads?
I've heard this argument countless times but I'm fed up with it and I want to call it out: the constant and worldwide glut of Coca-Cola advertising suggests this is not primarily what advertising is about.
Advertising never tells me about a new product that I care about and I'm not already aware of: in an age when I can research what I like on the internet and I hear about interesting new products through curated content such as this forum.
If you can, please come up with a better argument in favour of advertising.
Until then, I will continue to believe that modern advertising is perhaps the biggest waste of our greatest minds and resources.
Product advertising is advertising a specific product and the ROI on it is usually closely measured when it comes to channels that can do that such as banner ads. While you are quite well informed and get information about all the new products you care about via other channels, most people are not hence the need to make people aware.
Without making "the masses" aware you end up with product usage/growth spreading virally which while it might be "better" is a lot harder to predict or model production levels or possible ROI on an initiative. For example, the Taco Bell Doritos Taco would have probably become popular after a while but that would lengthen the payback period for redesigning the menus/training staff/etc, alternatively you could do partial rollouts but that defeats the economies of scale.
While its not perfect, or anywhere near, advertising does serve a useful purpose and until the economy changes to not reward advertising initiatives we will sadly have to deal with it.
Its an interesting approach, but that might just be because I'm a data nerd.
> Advertising never tells me about a new product that I care about and I'm not already aware of.
Even if it does that, it does so by interrupting me when I'm doing something else - which is not acceptable to me. Considering that we have search and social recommendations, advertising is not "beneficial for the user".
A very nice consequence of rejecting interruptive ads is that marketers won't need to collect data about me and build huge behavioral profiles. I'll come to you when I need you. And when I knock on your door, you would be certain that I am interested in talking to you. So there is no need to track/profile me.
Your point about product discovery is well-taken. In the case of discovery of new product types, it seems to be a valid issue. For product types that a person already has knowledge of, however, I would think it would be preferable to skip the ads and simply compare reviews. In other words, if I'm searching for a hammer, looking at ads for hammers will not give me the best information.
I do wonder if there are other ways to enable product discovery besides paid placement, but I'm not sure.
I learned about DigitalOcean from advertisements. I saw the ad, read the site, and their advertising convinced me to try them. They were much newer at the time so I didn't have anything else to go on and never heard of them before. To me, for my preferences, DO is a strong competitor to Linode but what kept me from moving my important projects to DigitalOcean was the reputation of the Linode brand. So its hard to separate the advertising from other information from other sources.
Apple's "it just works" campaign led to me getting my first Mac. I identified with the issues they brought up in the ads, switched, and found out I really did like Macs better. Now, Macs aren't without their own set of problems so when it comes to what would make me choose a Mac over a Windows PC, those intangible, marketing-speak little things is what gets me.
A lot of people try to act like they're above all that but I can't believe that. I know we all hate to think we're swayed by advertising because we want to protect our individuality. I feel like I can still be an individual even if I buy into some marketing.
I also tend to buy brands that spend less on advertizing because they end up as a better deal for your money.
My point is that I don't relate to the stress that people feel from advertising. I'm definitely swayed by it but only when it lines up with a real desire I have. The desire comes first and the advertising shows me the way toward fulfilling it. It doesn't both create and satisfy my desires. Well, not always. For example, after I saw iOS 7 I totally wanted it. Luckily I will but if I had to pay for it I might. Now, I'm wondering - did the advertising create the desire for that or did I just see something I liked and it happened to be a good match? Is there always a difference?
The problem is that it does this by interrupting users when they were doing something else. Ads, except those that are shown when the user is explicitly performing a search, are not "relevant" enough - because they ignore the user's context. When I'm reading guitar tabs for a song, I do NOT want to see ads for guitars. Interruptive ads can never be relevant enough.
From my point of view, search and social recommendations are enough to hear about new products and services which might be useful to me. "Interruptive advertising is beneficial for the user" is just advertisers trying to give an ethical justification to the fact that they are basically being jerks.
The second part ("lets the creator point out why their audience would like it") is easily solved by maintaining a landing page. Be accessible when I search and have enough information for me to learn more about the product.
(I had written about this on my blog a few years back: http://www.nileshtrivedi.com/search-results-are-the-only-rel... )
Relevant ads or privacy, choose one.
Search is terrible still, the other day I searched for "cheap mechanical keyboard" and the first two results were basically pure spam. Even then, only the first 5 results get any decent traffic and results on the 2nd page get almost none.
Social recommendations work only if your product is either really damn good or you play unfair and game the system. People are designed to not care about things they haven't heard of before.
There's a saying in selling that says a person needs to see your brand/product 7 times before they're ready to buy. As a new person on the capitalist market I don't see how I'd do that while playing fair and without going bankrupt in the mean time.
Sending advertising to people who actually want advertising is perfectly fine way. Sending advertising to people who do not want advertising, has ended in intrusive, tracking, bandwidth wasting, and CPU hogging mess that people want to escape. If I see advertisement being thrown in my face against my will, I instantly gets a dislike for what ever company/product being displayed. I would never, EVER, click or buy it.
In a world with search engines that know everything about you and can recommended great products and services for you, there's no need for wrong incentives in the form of money to be part of this recommendation process.
And regarding brand advertising : some marketing people say that advertising do offer people some psychological value that gets implanted in the product., which makes them enjoy the product more. For example the axe deodorant ads causes some people to wonder whether using axe did helps with attraction, which changed their internal experience.
The problem again with such claims is the perverse incentives that money play here, which we see in the effects of advertising on female body image.
Really the only case I think ads are usefull are in cases they are used by non profits or the states to achieve public goals, like anti smoking ads.
Would you really like all advertising to move in that direction? You should realize it's impossible to know if a person really owns and likes a product or it's just a sponsorship. Nobody would be trusted anymore.
Would you agree that opinion manipulation in online reviews is already taking place?
If so, would reducing the presence of explicitly-labelled advertisements result in an increase in covert opinion manipulation?
I'm pretty sure there are already issues with regard to the trustworthiness of online reviews. But if we define the value of testimonial by impartiality, then ads are pretty worthless by default. It could be better to rely on sources that at least have the potential of impartiality. I admit this is definitely a complex issue.
I can also understand the ethical argument that it's better to allow sponsored content because otherwise companies would resort to more illegal methods. It's sort of like the drug legalization argument: companies are going to market anyway, so we might as well focus on harm reduction. But it still feels suboptimal in this case. I guess I'd prefer if we focused on preventing misinformation rather than a strategy of appeasement.
This is a shining example of how those with money are able to influence the system by corrupting the very mechanisms that were implemented to protect the "regular people" in that system.
If Google had paid a politician to exempt itself from certain laws, we would call it bribery. For the exact same reason, we should take issue with them paying Adblock Plus to whitelist their ads.
Remember, people have no inherent right to the content they are consuming it, they are getting it because Google is presenting it to them with some expectation that it will benefit Google. That benefit is usually revenue through advertising, in the cases where it's present.
Bottom line: nobody can be forced into seeing ads.
Beyond the ethical considerations, which I think can be clear but aren't always (depending on the type of advertising, such as pop-unders) I'm not convinced there aren't legal considerations as well, which is why elsewhere in this thread I asked for more information when a lawsuit was referenced.
Beyond pop-unders and similar advertising that I think can be clearly defined as outside the bounds of acceptability (see my other post that mentions pop-unders for details), I think this is very clear. When media is presented to you under the condition that you view their advertising, whether inline or before access, refusing to do so clearly removes your rights to the content as well. You have no implicit right to the content, only what they grant you, and under their conditions.
I have yet to see an argument otherwise that sways me in the slightest.
P.S. To be clear, I also occasionally do and have bypassed ads, circumvented authentication to content, and used copyrighted material without right. This doesn't negate my argument, it just makes me a somewhat of a hypocrite when I do so, which everyone is at some point in their life. I just refuse to bury my head in the sand and act like I'm entitled when I do, and I feel bad about it (to varying degrees, depending on circumstances) when I think about what I'm doing.
I believe requiring authentication, or requiring performing some prior action (such as watching/seeing an ad for some time period) are also examples of this.
I do not believe pop-under ads are subject to this. They try to force behavior (viewing of an ad) after the implicit contract is concluded (you are done consuming the media presented) through altering the state of items outside the presentation experience.
I think with the proliferation of ad blocking software, we've only allowed bad behavior to go unpunished more often by continuing to use resources that behave in irritating ways because a large portion of people get to skip the irritating behavior entirely. I think this has the dual negative consequences of not causing feedback for the behavior to reach the originator, as well as causing them to increase the behavior to capitalize more on those that are not immune to it.
I'm a good citizen, in that when I'm offered the opportunity to fund resources I enjoy through means that don't involve advertising I do. Often this comes with extra benefits to entice me. That's why I pay for Reddit Gold, and Strava Premium.
If you as a business owner have decided that advertising is the only way you wish to fund your business, I'm not going to feel like I'm slighting you by refusing to participate any more than I would by muting my television and getting up to grab a snack when commercials come on.
You are, and that's your choice. You always have a choice whether to pay attention or not. To have a third party remove that choice entirely, I believe, is different.
> I'm also free to refuse to use my resources (bandwidth) in the furtherance of your flawed business strategy (ads)
Why is it flawed? It has worked for print media for over a century. It's worked for television for decades. It continues to work, to various levels of success, on the internet. I think the onus is on you to prove that it's flawed (it may be, but I don't think stating it like fact is enough for it to be accepted in this argument).
> If you as a business owner have decided that advertising is the only way you wish to fund your business, I'm not going to feel like I'm slighting you by refusing to participate any more than I would by muting my television and getting up to grab a snack when commercials come on.
Those situations aren't equivalent, and I think that's the crux of my argument. The television ads are still there, you choose to ignore them, but must still deal with them. Would you feel the same way if someone recorded those shows, removed all the ads, and redistributed them for free without consent? What if ads could be removed automatically by a box in your home (beyond Tivo's fast forward, or ReplayTV's 30-second skip). Are your answers to those different in any way?
> There's no implicit contract
Is the problem that it's implicit? Would it make a difference if all page loads went to a landing page that said that said "This page is funded by in-content advertising. If you choose to opt-out of this you are not licensed or permitted to view this content." and required you to click to accept make a difference? Because at that point there IS a contract if you continue, and it's not implicit.
Just apply it to every other area of you life and see how it goes.
Would you agree, that as long as it is implicit I'm free to filter out ads in any way I like? And use any tools that can do that for me automatically?
Of course, some of us still consider "acceptable ads" to be a big, big oxymoron.
Without endorsing the 'payola', something to bear in mind that Google chose to go with text-only ads instead of allowing advertisers to control the format. At the time people thought they were crazy and that text-only ads would not last very long for them. Turns out google was correct and its critics were wrong. Any of the other major search providers could have done this, but they didn't try it - and as a result their brands became hopelessly diluted by the garish advertising content, instead of the ads being part of the branding.
I manually enable adwords and google tracking on things like Ghostery and other software because adwords is the only platform that I don't find obnoxious and ugly.
One takes advantage of market conditions their benefit, the other changes market conditions to the detriment of the competitor.
Also, sponsoring Adblock is changing the market conditions. Adblock can use the money provided by Google to make sure any non-Google ad is blocked more efficiently. They can also advertise their addon better, provide better support, etc. Google sponsoring Adblock directly affects Adblock's ability to block the adverts of other companies around the world.
To me, this is changing market conditions in the same way as my AT&T example. Google paying AT&T enough money for priority could allow AT&T to build new 'Google only' cables that Bing couldn't use. Google paying Adblock enough money to whitelist their ads could allow Adblock to grow enough to block Bing ads on a large percentage of user's browsers. Very, very similar.
As long as others have the same option, what's the problem? The article specifically says "Google is not the only company." (at least the Google translated page does).
> Also, sponsoring Adblock is changing the market conditions
Sponsoring? Maybe you can parse the original article in the language it was written, but I cannot and the translated article doesn't seem accurate enough for me to make assertions as to exactly what Google is and isn't doing, or more specifically, what Adblock Plus is or isn't doing when Google, or possibly many others, give them money.
> To me, this is changing market conditions in the same way as my AT&T example
How is this different than Google taking out a full page add in the New York Times? In both cases Google is paying a third party which does not have complete control of the marker for some advantage (exposure in the NYT case). It's not as if they are paying for nobody else to be able to do as much (and even if they were, that's not a problem as long as a competitor could outbid them for the same right)
Is there any action that Google could take that would appear ethical?
I do see your point that other advertisers are unlikely to have "acceptable" ads because they rely on flash and images, but shouldn't they have to make themselves competitive if they want to maintain a level playing field?
If this pushes advertising further away from flashing, shouting, animated ads then it sounds like a brighter future to me.
In my area, if Charter and CenturyLink both chose to de-prioritize Netflix traffic, that would be the end of it. I would have no economic alternative. But if AdBlock Plus started showing me ads that annoyed me, I could just go download a different adblocker.
 I don't actually use AdBlock Plus. I use AdBlock for Chrome, which is a separate product.
If AdBlock didn't accept payments in part of considering whether a site's ads are to be whitelisted, then Google or any website for that matter couldn't use their monetary assets to give them themselves an apparently immoral advantage over their competitors.
Obviously they(Google) can't outright put out an adblocker of their own, but if someone else puts it out and they support it, and it just so happens to whitelist their ads, you must admit its definitely worth at least questioning. Plus Google is not the stellar company it pretends to be, with the recent news about its tax evasion in Europe and PRISM participation.
If you want to go by that meaning of "funding" then any use of a service is "funding" that company that provides it. While technically true, I would argue that most people would think "funding" to mean "provide capital to an entity without expectation of a service or item which that entity sells as a normal mode of business, and to use it in a different manner without explicit note of your meaning is to invite a misinterpretation of the facts, on purpose or otherwise. I don't believe that leads to rational discourse.
> Obviously they(Google) can't outright put out an adblocker of their own, but if someone else puts it out and they support it, and it just so happens to whitelist their ads, you must admit its definitely worth at least questioning. Plus Google is not the stellar company it pretends to be, with the recent news about its tax evasion in Europe and PRISM participation.
Of course it's worth questioning. But if someone someone states that paying a company to get a benefit yourself is the same as paying a company to cause a detriment to another, a lot of evidence is needed to back that up, otherwise we aren't questioning anything, we are making assumptions.
The ethics of disabling advertising and non-intrusive advertising are another thing entirely.
Adblock was created because advertisers got greedy and took it too far, not because advertising is bad.
Go to "Settings"
Find Extensions in the list on the left
Find AdBlock, select "Options"
Click the tab "Filter Lists"
Uncheck: "Allow some non-intrusive advertising"
Go to the Firefox menu in the upper left corner
Find Adblock Plus, select Options.
Find the "Filter Preferences" Button
Select the tab "Filter Subscriptions"
Uncheck: "Allow some non-intrusive advertising"
I use ad blockers, because so much of the web is a hideous mess without them. But I'm somewhat conflicted about it, because I know that a lot of sites depend on ad revenue. I see this as a kind of collective agreement with advertisers: I don't mind adverts, but I don't want them flashing all over my screen when I'm trying to get stuff done.
After all that's the way Adblock Plus makes most of its money, needed to develop the browser extension, port it to new platforms, maintaining and hosting the filter lists (which by the way are also used by every other ad blocker). I doubt that if Adblock Plus wouldn't have done this step, it would have ever been ported to other browsers and platforms, and that the filter lists (as mentioned, also used by other ad blockers, like AdBlock), would have been that well curated as of today.
So I don't see anything wrong with that. Or does anybody complain, that most free Android apps show adds, and you have to buy the paid version, to get rid of them? No, everybody understands that this is the way they make money. The only difference in case of Adblock Plus is, that you don't actually have to give them money, but just have to disable a checkbox in the options.
Completely unacceptable. I think the answer is a permission based advertising. have a button on every website that turns on Ads. this way engagement would be higher at least IMO.
Save this hosts file in your house's router and be safely free of advertising, shock sites, tracking.... On ALL devices
With no added attack vector as with an extension and not limited to one browser in one device
Blocking at the domain level gives you no control. What if you need to see what a site looks like without ads blocked? I have a few of my own content sites that use ads. By blocking outside of the browser I wouldn't be able to see what they look like to other users.
This is how sites like Compete.com get their metrics.
> Because they could be updated
1. No more browser extensions.
2. Want ad-blocking in Firefox? Request feature.
3. Feature request denied.
4. Fork Firefox.
5. Add ad-blocking to Firefox fork.
1. The bar to adding functionality to a browser has now been raised significantly. With a larger barrier to entry, we will see fewer extensions for trivial things like 'adding collapsible threads to HN', which can make your life easier, but isn't worth a fork of the entire browser to achieve.
2. Trust. You still have to trust the developer of the browser fork that same way that you have to trust the developer of the browser extension.
Yes. So DON'T expand it. The thing is, third party updatable extensions are far less trustworthy than Firefox.
No it is a rally against extensions which have a non-risky (and arguably) superior alternative.
Risk is a gradient and cumulative. The more risky things you do, the more at risk you are.
Host files: as secure as you can get. Whole network.
Browser extension: remote code exploit possibility. Probably not available for mobile. Trusting someone who takes money from Google...
And then they have even less community validation, rising the security tradeof even more
I'd take it more average people don't use extensions either -- if they know what they are in the first place.
But you must realize 99.999% of the population would never do that, and for most people extensions are vital and useful. So giving them such security advice is like saying "oh, personal security is simple - just never have any money and anything valuable and never leave home". Not very practical.
Well, I browse with Chrome Canary (and when it's in it's weird days, Beta), so I'm not any kind of Luddite.
I just don't see any extensions that are that useful. After all, we managed to get by without extensions in the "not using Firefox" camp for ages, until Safari/Chrome introduced them and we could get a taste.
To me they are more like the BS browser toolbars of yore.
>But you must realize 99.999% of the population would never do that, and for most people extensions are vital and useful.
Most people? If anything I'd say most people don't use extensions. From those that use a browser that doesn't support them, to those that couldn't be bothered or don't even know what they are.
Do you have any numbers that "most people" use extensions?
Yes, this is the point of extensions. Extensions are help you and others do things with the browser that the vendor shouldn't really spend time on. Approaching them with the idea that they're useless doesn't really help your argument.
For example, I once wrote a browser extension that extracts class calendar info from the school website and automatically syncs it to the calendar application of your choosing. It turned my class scheduling process from an error-prone 2 hour process to a 3-click 10 minute step. You can label that as a useless, marginal utility, but that's being facetious at best.
But "review the code"? You have no chance.
Won't say ABE's code is compact or easy to read, but it's fairly comprehensible and reviewing it in reasonable time feels possible. It is well possible that some tricky security issue will slip under the radar, but code contains no tricky math or crypto stuff where every single point is crucial for security, and spotting malware/spyware code should be possible.
Maybe I'm wrong about this.
I also use Fanboy's adblock list ( https://www.fanboy.co.nz/ ) in Opera which requires no browser add-on, it's a feature of the web browser (RIP).
I'll pass this on.
It's quite a must-have if you don't want to be the product on the Internet. And a good failover over Ad-block.
If I am not blocking their ads, there is a chance I'll see something that interests me and click on it.
You don't need to explicitly state "I will click ads every day" to make it not "dumb".
2. Adblock Plus has announced on their website that they have introduced "Acceptable Ads", and that it will be enabled by default:
3. It isn't even a secret that they get paid from larger companies, for putting them on the whitelist (they though have to conform to the guidelines for "Acceptable Ads"):
4. Plus the source code is open source, that everybody can read it:
So Adblock Plus couldn't possibly be more honest and fair about its "Acceptable Ads" feature. If you don't like it, it's just 3 clicks to disable it. I don't get why lately, everybody is so surprised about thatfeature and feels betrayed.
The German media went completely insane over the past two weeks, and made a scandal out of that feature in Adblock Plus, which exists for quite a while now and was clearly announced and documented from the beginning by the AdBlock Plus Team, and can easily be disabled.
However the comment you replied to was about the accusation that Adblock Plus would be dishonest, which just isn't true.
In other words, extortion.
You can't have the whitelist without having ads/networks assessed to see if they meet the criteria. Even if you crowdsourced that [which probably wouldn't be objective enough] you'd need to administrate the whitelist and so you need some revenue to cover the overheads at least. Even automating it there's a cost in creating the code. It seems right to pass that cost on and the networks are the ones holding all the money.
You could have users pay for the whitelisting to avoid "misaligned incentives".
Indeed charging the companies for assessment gives an incentive to reject them so you can charge to assess them again ... 4) profit.
If you refer to the blatantly immoral and possibly illegal Amaxon referral substitution, that invalidates your entire comment. But I see that even the shills can't even bring themselves to actually describe the indefensible thing they are trying to defend.
"Easily be disabled" they say, safe in the knowledge that most don't know how.
And stop calling people you disagree with "shills", it's obnoxious.
I want to encourage sites providing me with free content to show me adverts that don't annoy me.
And it was announced well enough that I, a non-user, heard of it, so I think 'sneak in' is frankly disingenuous.
I'd imagine that most of the time people would only consider clicking on ads they found "not annoying" in the first place.
The scammy fake-Download links on this famous page, for example, are provided by Google AdChoices
I'm particularly interested in the implicit information conveyed by the mere position of a search result on the page, and how that compares to the implicit information contained by the presence of sponsored content. I would think that sponsored content would on average contain maybe half the amount of information as an organic result, since the presence of the ad is partially a function of its relevance but also a function of the amount paid for its placement, whereas organic result position is a purely a function of relevance.
Then again, perhaps the amount paid could also be considered an implicit source of information on the content being offered, but that seems less reliable.
It certainly isn't a justification to coerce people and even less so to demand that people allow themselves to be coerced.
- morals. I don't think unsolicited ads are moral. I'd rather pay. But I generally don't get that choice without an adblocker.
- More choice and ethics. Again. I'm the one to decide what I want to see, not adblock people using a revenue model where they're in a position to force companies to pay them to be on a whitelist. That's extorsion.
And.. I'm pretty sure you get revenue from adverts.
chez17's comment implied that the whitelist applies to non-invasive and non-annoying ads, while there are a number of new qualifiers here, including a payment which you have omitted from your post.
>They entered into an arrangement with Google where Google agreed to meet certain standards and be vetted; Bing and Yahoo have not.
..and perhaps most importantly, have paid for it.
The whitelist standard is not just about non-intrusive ads as the title of the setting implies to users, it's about a payment too.
Because it is not relevant. What you said here is true, but no bearing on the thing chez17 and I are walking about (that the ads are not invasive or annoying). I don't have anything against them making money. As long as they are not letting through bad ads, why would I object to them profiting?
> ..and perhaps most importantly, have paid for it.
> The whitelist standard is not just about non-intrusive ads as the title of the setting implies to users, it's about a payment too.
And the relevance is…? Nobody said the transaction did not involve money. A whitelist can only include unobtrusive ads and also charge money for inclusion — those ideas are not at odds. The statement "they are charging money" is 100% compatible with "they are only whitelisting non-invasive and non-annoying ads."
For what it's worth, on Firefox anyways, there's a fork of Adblock Plus called Adblock Edge that has no such ethical issues, and as far as I can tell, works with all the addon plugins that worked with ABP like the element hider and popup blocker.
Firefox plugins auto-update, who's to say the next update won't have something more objectionable?
So Adblock Edge will probably get incompatible with future versions of Firefox, anyway. And if there are security issues in the code, it is rather unlikely that they will get fixed, as fast as in upstream Adblock Plus, if at all.
On the other hand I think it is way less likely that Adblock Plus will add a lot of features that wouldn't be in your interest, in the near future.
Sure it is a change in the ethical background of the product. Adblock Plus isn't a hobby project anymore. It's a business now. That means that it has to be profitable. But on the other hand that also means that there are more resources available. So the product can be properly maintained, further improved, and ported to new platforms.
I think this "ethical failing" (as you call it), isn't more or less serious, or unexpected, than when Google introduced in-app ads in Android. In the case of Adblock Plus, as well in the case of Android, I'm happy that the company behind the product found a way to make the product profitable. So they can maintain and improve the product.
This is analogous to an antivirus vendor taking money from malware authors to avoid detecting the worm of the day, the only difference being that a text ad isn't as likely to frag your computer.
But hey, in both cases, they're getting money to "maintain and improve the product".
So it would be rather like an AV software that lets by default, installers still change your default home page (or stuff like that), if the installer is fair enough to ask for, but would still block any real malware.
You have a disturbing amount of trust for someone with such an amazingly blatant conflict of interest.
By the way Adblock Plus has put Reddit and some other smaller websites on the white list for free to support them. But unfortunately Adblock Plus has also to cooperate with larger companies to make some money, themselves. But still, all ads that are getting on the white list are mild, and not the kind of ad that made once everybody of us that pissed off, that we started to use ad blockers.
Another thing I would like to mention is that, around the same time Adblock Plus introduced "Acceptable Ads", a lot of websites at least here in Germany started to detect ad blockers and asked the user to disable his ad blocker. Otherwise the website refused to deliver content or provide functionality. With the increase of popularity of ad blockers, the people running websites driven by ads will no longer tolerate that their ads are blocked. And there will be probably nothing you can do against that. Considering that, it is actually great that those websites can just get on a white list used by the majority of AdBlock Plus users. So the websites can continue to make enough money from their ads and people that are smart enough to disable "Acceptable Ads", like you and me, still get all ads blocked.
Last commit was in May, and besides, the nature of the product (single purpose app) is that it won't have a lot in the way of code changes aside from the odd bug fix. It doesn't need any other feature.
Most of the busywork is being handled in the block lists, and ABP and ABE use the same source (EasyList and others)
If the Google leads the fight in making ads good citizens on the web and profits from it - fine, all power to them. If they would start abusing it - I'll turn off the whitelist and all their money would be spent for nothing.
However I still normally disable the ads as I really enjoy the increased screen space gained by removing the ads.
Asking for money to whitelist ads it rather poor policy however. If an ad is small and clearly an ad then whitelist it. If it's not then blacklist it. Having to pay to have your non-intrusive ads whitelisted is shitty. I hope they didn't have to pay very much.
Or to put it another way: Typically the ads that do the most annoying stuff are from advertisers that obviously aren't particularly legit. Microsoft and Apple aren't blaring noise out of your speakers or shoving pictures of scantily clad women in your face to get you to play microtransaction games and Amazon doesn't do it to get you to buy books or movies.
Of course the definition of taste and acceptability is subjective, but there is definitely a line between legit advertisers that aren't hostile to web surfers, and the advertisers who will do absolutely anything if it increases revenues - including tracking users or outright lying to them.
Personally I want to try an ad blocker that only blocks video ads, that works in tandem with click-to-play flash, but I haven't found one.
With recent onslaught of attack on Ghostery and Ad-block, I wonder if these two tools are doing exactly what they're supposed to do: help people.
I can't find the news.ycombinator threads, though.
Adwords are just blocks of text. Ugly blocks of text, but they don't distract too much. And promoted search results are a fair tradeoff imo.
Anyway, disabling the display of whitelisted ads is not a complex task.
I donated to AdBlock a couple years ago. Should have earlier. And should do again. Not claiming to be a saint. But I gave them some actual money. I'd like to think that enough people doing this, makes it possible for AdBlock to avoid doing what AdBlock Plus did.
I think this is a variation on the theme, "If you're not the customer, you're the product." Usually we talk about this WRT free web services. In this case it applies to what, back in the day, some of us would refer to as "shareware".
The Google Ads also help them keep a track of where the person has been around the web and also acts as a proxy site stats data for Google (irrespective of whether you use Google Analytics or not).
Now, they "bribe" the author of AdBlock to keep a flawed model alive.
Advertising is a shitty industry, but boy, is Google taking it to the next level. And the nerds are too distracted with their shinny things and job offers to notice.
It does seem to have a lot of google.
It does seem to have a lot of google.
It's more like they have a lot more data and scale to target better ads at individuals. And when you have many many ads competing for X amount of spots, the average ad quality increases. Google doesn't really need to do anything other than create the platform that gathers lots of data on individuals and allow for appropriate targeting.
On the other extreme, I've actually found myself right clicking into an organic search because I feel bad for charging UPS for my laziness.
(Yes I do realize how ridiculous this is on so many levels. However, do not assume that well plassed text ads do not get click thrus)
I'm glad I found out about this though. I always felt vaguely guilty unchecking it, because I thought it was maybe AdBlock trying to support the "Good Guys" of online advertising, but if Google themselves are paying for it, I no longer care.
Google also already knows categories that generally don't get high ad engagement and doesn't show them for those. An example would be "chuck norris biography" - the intent is clear that you're looking for information primarily and even though I'm sure Amazon or others buy tons of ads against "chuck norris movies", etc. Google is smart enough to know not show you those irrelevant ads.
If I'm attempting to research a product or product category, I'll go to an aggregator like Gdgt or an editorial site like The Wirecutter.
I can't comprehend why one would ever click on ads when intending to spend money. The last source I would ever trust to recommend how I spend my money is an advertising platform.
Despite ads being the main source of revenue for Google, it is really cool of them to allow ad-blockers on the Chrome extension store (although Andriod is another story). However, paying to be whitelisted puts the rest of the advertisers at a disadvantage. It is a very well known fact that there isn't a good alternative to Adsense and things like this will only puts a dent into the remaining competition.
Open and free platforms need to allow people to say no.
I assumed this was the case when I installed it, similar to the situation with Firefox using Google search by default while being compensated to the tune of $1B. Why is this surprising or upsetting?
Seems like adblock plus is abusing its position of power to extort money and doesn't care about the user.
Anyone is free to fork AdBlock Plus' codebase and prepare a version that doesn't require that checkbox.
I, for one, am happy that AdBlock Plus is being funded (and will continue to provide a great, reliable product) at the expense of users too stupid or ignorant to click on a single checkbox.