There is a huge irony in that fact that AdBlock's function of keeping ads away from our content will eventually do the opposite. The alternative to ads alongside my content is ads inside my content.
Let's face it: paywalls don't work. The alternative on the horizon is native advertising. Buzzfeed is now famously refusing to host ads. Instead they sustain themselves by publishing content that subtly supports the agenda of any company with deep enough pockets to pay for it. A viewer's ability to distinguish between native ads and regular articles is small and quickly vanishing. If separate ads stop reaching people, the path to monetization remaining is to change your content to reflect someone else's agenda.
I keep AdBlock off by default because I prefer a world where creators can make a meaningful articles and a useful apps without caring about who they are supporting, and can, as the price tag, separately attach an ad.
I do see it as a moral issue. There are good people making content that's being sustained by ads. I am never going to remember to give them my modicum of support if I don't consider them innocent until proven guilty. It's worth the small annoyance. It's worth the 2 seconds it takes to turn it on for the problematic pages. Hell, you can even map it to a shortcut. It sucks, but the alternative is positively bleak.
TL;DR: The bathroom may be dirty, but at least no one's taking a shit in my kitchen.
Consented advertisement, on the other hand, is having a great time. More stores are now using club memberships for advertisements, and when Facebook started to only send out a fraction of news letters, some customers went and asked where their news letters has gone. People are actively seeking where their consented advertisement are when it is being blocked.
I find taking a moral stand in the name of non-consented advertisement to be a bit sad. They had their chance with do-not-track and they collectively decided to ignore consent. Instead of taking a step back, they doubled down on being more intrusive and anti-consumer. Now they've got to live with the consequences, while companies reroute money to consented advertisements.
A false dichotomy if ever there was one. "Paywals" worked in literally every single other sector of the economy for all of recorded human history (I know, I know, who can remember that brief ~6000 year interlude between the Sumerians and the Internet!) The continue to work at your local dry cleaner, grocery store, Home Depot, etc. Really everything that doesn't require a browser. There are all sorts of moral, social, economic, and environmental reasons to be opposed to advertising. I keep AdBlock on by default because I dream of a day when I can pay Google a decent sum of money each month in return for their service.
It goes even further than that. Content I can share with my friends is MORE valuable than content I keep all to myself, in some cases. (Paywalls are most successful where that isn't true -- where there's some advantage to having information that other people don't.)
The recording industry's "good old days" were mostly before my time but producer and musician Steve Albini, who was around back then, called the record industry out in 1993 in an essay succinctly titled The Problem With Music http://www.negativland.com/news/?page_id=17
Here he talks "about the advantages of the internet, the death of the major label system, copyright law and that ‘purple dwarf in assless chaps'" http://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/nov/17/steve-albinis-k...
Article and video here...
In contrast to what almost anyone else will tell you, Albini believes there has never been a better time to be involved in music – as a fan and as a musician (excluding, perhaps, the megastars): “I see more bands and I hear more music than ever before in my life. There are more gigs, more songs available than ever before, bands are being treated with more respect, and are more in control of their careers and destinies.
“I see them continuing as a constellation of enterprises: some big, some small, most small but all of them with a more immediate response from their audience and a greater chance to succeed. It is genuinely exciting.”
For one thing, the quality of recording interfaces and the accessibility of such hardware is really really great at the moment. I play in a few bands and being able to record practices in clear quality and listen back to them would have been unheard of 15 years ago.
As for the quality of that music, that's entirely subjective.
When looking backwards, you have an especial temptation to compare whatever is popular right-this-instant to whatever from back then has stood the test of time, even if it wasn’t the most popular thing in the world.
I’d compare Justin Bieber to The Monkees, personally.
Yeah, but both were in the top charts.
Not that good stuff in the charts nowadays.
>I’d compare Justin Bieber to The Monkees, personally.
That comparison would also make my point, though. Bieber is for teenage girls, period, and bad at that.
60's music for teenage girls were the Beatles or at worse Petula Clark and the like.
But the "mainstreamity" (connecting a society and being a central cultural focus) is also a desirable attribute from music (from art in general), that is lacking today.
That is, there's music that's great but not mainstream and music that's mainstream but not great. The sixties and seventies (up to the nineties maybe) had both.
Modern good music has lost that, and everyone listens to good or even excellent music oblivious on his own little world and niche.
(Oh, and I'm not waxing because I'm some Beatles-loving older guy -- I'm much younger and in fact I listen to tons of new music most people wouldn't even touch, from Nobukazu Takemura to Mount Erie, Four Tet, etc.).
For me it's like great modern music is like some excellent Social Media site, with tons of features, great layout, speedy backends, nice UI et al, but where there are very few people using it. Yeah, in itself it might be a great web app, but where's the conversation and the social aspect?
The point is, for a user of Hacker News, an article he or she can post on this site and share with other HN users is simply more valuable than an article he or she cannot. And that's not just a local phenomenon, it's part of Twitter, Facebook and a bunch of other smaller (sometimes ad hoc) online communities.
For the record, ads existed before the internet too. Remember the radio? Remember PHYSICAL newspapers. Remember TV? Its kind of nice that the lower economic stratus of society has SOME access to all these services without being blocked by a paywall. In a paywall world, you walk into a library to use the internet because you don't have a computer, then are turned away from every site because you also don't have a credit card.
Maybe that kind of world would be great for aggregators. Think Flipboard. They could buy content from newspapers and resell it with a subscription. That would work for Blogger and Wordpress.com too: pay for access to all the blogs on the site. Maybe this is the first step of an Apple's strategy to become a news/blog aggregator. Damage the competition and take over.
Grandparent poster has me intrigued. It's common knowledge that you can't make money off consumers on the Internet, but I wonder if this is just a function of the newness of the Internet and intensity of competition when the main business models that support it were invented. I wonder, if Google were to offer a $5/month plan where they wouldn't show you any ads and didn't collect any personal data on you, how many people would take it.
The stuff they make is fantastic, their services are great and I'd be happy to pay for them. But not on top of them selling my data.
I have good news for you, Google (and Facebook) are not selling your data, they keep it to themselves. They sell ads display, selling your data would be very bad for their business as customers wouldn't need them then. It's like saying coca cola is making money selling their recipe instead of the prepared soda. Can we just stop repeating this misinformation? I'd expect better from HN.
I get an email from a friend inviting me to a workshop Friday evening. When I open the invite it asks me if I am going. I click "yes" and it adds the event to my calendar. After work on Friday I use Maps to find the quickest way home through rush hour traffic. Since I have typed in my destination and run the mapping app, Google's algorithms can tell when I get home. Later in the evening, my watch buzzes and I see a notification that tells me that I'll need to leave by 7:34pm to make it to the workshop at 8:00pm in the current traffic. I swipe away the notification and get ready to leave. Once I leave, my Nest thermostat switches over to "away" mode since I don't need to run the a/c nearly as cool while I'm away. Thankfully, since it's 94 degrees today, it will use the weather info in my area as well as the indoor thermometer to calculate the most efficient time to start cooling again when I fire up Maps to head back home.
This is a scenario that I run into just about every day. I may not use all of those things every single day but I do on some. Other times it's more basic (calendar reminders or HVAC auto-tweaking for energy efficiency). Either way, none of it works without analysis of the data I choose to feed it during the course of daily life.
And as far as I can tell, they haven't "sold" my data to anyone. What they have done is use it to make educated guesses about where I live and what may be of interest to me. That way when they sell ad space on the Youtube videos I watch later this evening or on the sidebar of a web search, they can sell that ad space to others who will pay more in the knowledge that their ad budget will be more useful than just a guess.
I certainly remember the web before this sort of thing. Ad space was worth even less than it is now since the only way to stand out was to make your banners more annoying and more abundant. It was worse than cable/tv where a quarter (or more) of every hour is filled by advertising. The advertising is almost never relevant to my interests. It's loud and stupid and on top of it, I still have to pay for cable. To complete the analogy, if Google started a cable network, they could charge $15/mo, show only 10 minutes of ads during an hour-long program, and the ads would at least be for things I would conceivably buy much of the time.
There's plenty of down sides to targeted advertising but the selling of access to my eyeballs is not the same thing as selling my data. It may not seem like much but it makes all the difference to me. In one scenario I consent to one company using the info I give them to enable the services I use. In the other, I'm giving consent for a company to sell my actual info to unknown and undisclosed third parties.
I keep adblock on all the time now, only adding a few exceptions which i deem worthy. My problem is that i can not stand to have so much BS ads added to the text of the page. Sometimes i even use adblock to remove part of the webpages so i only get the content, when the author has made the page to messy.
However, its not that hard to make a page acceptable, just don't add 10 ad boxes around and inside you article. Also don't add ads inside the text I'm reading, that is going to get blocked in seconds. Flash and image ads (especially ones that try to imitate page functions) are atrocities that a lot of times makes me leave a page and not visit it until months later when i forget why i was not visiting it.
The only ads i approve are small, text based ads that are clearly marked as such and that don't interrupt the flow of information from the page. The moment i have to halt and reason if something is and ad or not, you get automatically blacklisted, and heavily so.
On my home network i redirect several abusive ad networks DNS entries to an internal server that hijacks the ads and replaces them with jolly rogers :P
Its really fun to see some pages with 8 jolly rogers smiling back at you giving me a evil grin thinking of the cents the page is loosing.
[Edit: fixed spelling]
The argument for infringing copyright has never stood up. "Music wants to be free" etc. etc. is all a load of rubbish. "Food wants to be free" is another slogan we could all adopt but nobody would accept it because food has a cost, the same way that creating content has a cost.
So far we cannot have our cake AND eat it. So you have to pick.
* The lack of quality control of their ads displays a "download" button next to real download links and trick casual users to download malware.
* Ads that follow you around and are so creepy that's certainly the number one reason to block ads.
* Pay little money for ad impressions to the website owners. They prefer clicks over impressions, which leads to a lose-lose.
They could improve the situation by doing the opposite of what they do at the moment.
And Apple with its iAds is not much better, they would profit if more websites would cease to provide a mobile version and provide an iAs funded iOS app in their walled garden app store.
It's nicer (imho) than just seeing "get this weight loss pill and lose pounds!" ads, which I am never going to even be vaguely interested in.
The wait over https://www.google.com/contributor/welcome/
Buzzfeed is a poor example; it's just garbage content that is being re-circulated by many different places. There are TONS of sites that have paywalls and/or ads on their sites and their writing is still compromised. So I think paying for content and getting advertisements out of good content is the solution to restore independence, but the price point needs to be right.
I hate blocking ads (I whitelist sites I visit frequently with reasonable ads) but ads have become obnoxious, so AdBlock is a natural reaction to site owners treating users like shit. Sadly, a lot of reasonable sites with unobtrusive ads have gotten caught up in blacklists.
I would pay for good news content if I could pay for a bundle of good content at a fair price. Even something like the NY Times is a hard sell; it feels weird given the wealth of sources and information we have access to these days. NY Times is a great source, but I don't want to only read a single source. And it quickly becomes unaffordable if you want to pay for a lot of sources of information.
Spotify and similar providers solved this with music and I still think a better solution will come out eventually for news. There are a lot of people that want to pay a fair price for good content, but the current options are not very good.
The NYTimes is probably the highest-end as far as content quality is concerned, but if you're not going to pay for that, why would you pay for anything else?
Absolutely no one is paying for content online. People pay for art. They don't pay for commodity, and everything online is information commodity. There's just too much low-value competing sources that are "good enough" for consumer interests.
Given that, I think ad-blocking has largely been overstated as a concern for media sites. Among my own friends, I only know one person that uses ad-blockers. Ads aren't a problem that people worry about. In fact, for a good media property, ads are a draw. People buy fashion magazines and Sunday newspapers for the ads, for example.
"The Financial Times saw a sharp increase in profits in 2014, driven by growth in subscription and digital revenues and a record high circulation.
The FT’s total circulation grew 10% year-on-year to nearly 720,000 across print and online. FT.com subscriptions grew 21% to almost 504,000, with digital now representing 70% of the FT’s total paying audience."
Or to put it another way, you're saying "Sure, subscriptions on the internet can work.. all you need is everyone to be a banker!"
Techpinions, the Information, and Ben Thompson would all disagree.
In other words, people who think the information will pay for itself, or is valuable in some other way, are willing to pay for it. That's a far cry from absolutely nobody.
Is this true though? If you throw a child into the water and thereby force them to either sink or swim, it does not actually force them to swim.
This will filter out those that can't produce content that people are willing to pay for. Hopefully this will kill low quality content. Those producing high-quality valuable content will be recognized by those that know how to make money from quality content those partnerships will be the ones that learn to swim.
Advertising supported content has increased the noise and drowned out the quality. It will be nice to once again hear more of the people with something worth saying.
And they will be constantly fighting against those who know how to write software to get access to the content without paying.
Meanwhile, if we were to let the robot sink to the bottom, the actual creators of the robot, who have a passion for robotics, will find ways to create a robot that swims, and will love doing it.
Might it hurt them in the short run? Yes, and I'm all for working hard at solutions to that problem (basic income perhaps? But that's a whole other issue). But in the long run these creators can and have found ways around these problems. We see some of this in music and gaming, and it's already happening in 'publishing' (individual journalists and writers finding ways to get profit/donations, blendle.com, certain paywalled publications, etc.)
But I for one am tired of working hard at a beautiful site for an 'owner' and then working even harder at turning the end result into a slow, ad-infested, privacy-invading mess. The sooner that solutions are 'forced' into existence, the more likely it will be that I can build profitable things that are not crap.
And I've spoken to many journalists and musicians who feel the same way.
We change from 2 - 6 Mbps ADSL to 10s / 100s or even Gigabit Fibre, we moved from Single to Quad Core / Thread, 2GB to now mostly 4/8GB Memory, and order of magnitude faster with SSD. Software improvements, much better OS etc...
And yet the web is still slow, very slow compared to the technological improvement we have.
So how would a normal user do / think, Anything that is moving, distracting, or have a sense of constantly running, i.e Ads, they blame those. And Since there are likely many of those running, what else to blame that is slowing down the web?
Blocking ads doesn't just make for a faster web experience, it also allows you to have proper attention spans necessary to read and digest two pages of text, and that's true for any kind of audience, tech-savvy or not.
Obviously, privacy invasion, constant and pervasive tracking, malware distribution, profiling and exploitation of personal data in jurisdictions with poor consumer protection laws and over which you have no control or say are all alarming and dangerous.
When people started raising concerns and calling this out a few years back, ad networks (and the tech industry they are living on) came forward with DNT, "voluntary opt outs", privacy policies and "personalized contents and ads".
Most people would probably agree that all these options are equally laughable as they merely try to appease concerns rather than addressing them.
Regardless of my personal opinion, is it really surprising to see people of all kinds start using tools making their experience better? For most people, the web is merely a medium, just like paper books.
I love ads "inside" my content when they are done right.
The most effective advertising for me is when an author I like to read recommends a product by directly writing about it because they were paid to do so and they like to use the product. Ad blockers don't block these because they aren't ads, they show up inline with the rest of the author's content (and the author acknowledges it was a sponsored posting).
I am completely happy with this model. The whole reason I read an author is because I like her style and opinion. So a recommendation from her, as long as she genuinely likes the product, is actually interesting to me.
The same goes for video: algorithmically determined video ads at the start or within video content are rubbish and I will block them. But the presenters themselves recommending something in-line I am totally open to watching.
You're very careful to specify that the author must genuinely like the product. How do you know that they like to use the product? There's a reason that the responsible disclosure and the distinction between content and advertising has existed as an ethical guideline for decades longer than the Web has, and that's because "content creators should get paid by the subject of their content but be uninfluenced by the money" is a horrendously childish view of the world.
Works great for me; it'd never occur to me to even want to block those adverts.
It's very easy to convince yourself you "approve" something if money coming your way depends on that approval.
If they start recommending bad products just for the money, I imagine they will very soon lose their integrity and your trust.
One potential non-ad route for monetization would be an extension for the browser that opens your bitcoin wallet and sends a tip to a page's creator based on how much of your time was spent on that site that day. That'd be better than ads if we could get widespread adoption, as the site's owners wouldn't feel compelled to make deals with entities that may force them to compromise their content. Maybe Firefox can integrate it to counteract Safari.
It's like arguing for big music labels because otherwise music would disappear. It won't, and it didn't!
Now, i sort of wonder, did you get paid for this?
That's not necessarily bad. I can imagine a scheme were advertisers do sentiment analysis on comments, and reimburse users for positive emotions in response to a brand. I think it would be hard to sustain discourse int that environment, but i'd hope you at least got paid.
Everyone is an astroturfer would be a strange world. Real communication would be to subtle for the SA to detect. Interesting indeed.
I make a webcomic. Historically, that's very much an ad-supported medium. I also block ads aggressively; it's one of the reasons I hassle with jailbreaking my iThings.
I put my adblocking mouth where my money is: as long as I'm getting enough money per new page of comics on Patreon, I don't have any ads on my current project. It's been great to not have anything trying to distract people from reading my content. Sometime next year, as the Patreon income rises, I'll turn off ads on all my comics, new or old. There's no paywall; anyone who wants to read my comic can do this for free, with no ads thanks to the generosity of my supporters.
Obviously it's easier for one person to make enough money via the donation box than it is for a large company; this does not necessarily scale. But it's an option worth considering. And hell, it can work on a larger scale - if you're old enough to remember a time before cable, or if you listen to the radio in the car, you may be familiar with the yearly donation drives on your local public tv/radio station; you may even be a supporter. Or hell: last year when an algorithm change at Google resulted in a lot less drive-by traffic to Metafilter, they started taking donations from their regular userbase. It has ended up being a significant portion of their income; https://metatalk.metafilter.com/23721/State-of-Metafilter-an...
(Yes, I am also aware that I am arguably stealing from all the people whose ads I block without supporting them. I've made my peace with that moral quandary. I fast-forwarded over the commercials when I used to watch stuff on TV, too.)
I make a webcomic... I also block ads aggressively... I put
my adblocking mouth where my money is: as long as I'm getting
enough money per new page of comics on Patreon, I don't have any
ads on my current project. It's been great to not have anything
trying to distract people from reading my content. Sometime
next year, as the Patreon income rises, I'll turn off ads on
all my comics, new or old.
1. show exactly enough advertisements to earn what you subjectively feel is a salary commensurate with your investment -- time investment or otherwise
2. block all ads from other sites?
(Disclaimer: I make a portion of my income from ads.)
When I browse the web, I use adblockers.
Bad ads: CPU intensive ads and privacy inversive "personalised" ads that follow you around
Solution: Show us simple text or picture based banner ads with ad content related to the website topic and pay the website owner a reasonable money per 1000 views/impressions called CPM.
AdBlocker should block only the bad ads, and keep the static non inversive ads. Remember as soon as browser vendors blocked the annoying popups the ads industry had to change their ads format. It's time that browser vendors initiate another such forced change. Though blocking all ads is a bad solution, as an internet without ads means probably a bad web walled garden paywall experience - a lose lose situation.
There's hazards, it's true, but I feel like I have seen the future where ads are helpful and don't feel like ads as we have come to know them, and I like it.
I know a lot of (startup) companies are in that market and try to be helpful by big data grinding. But neither Google ads, nor any other personalised ads were useful at all to me. Ads that follow me around just because I visited a site two times is just very creepy and "forces" users to investigate how to block ads in the first place. If you work on a ads network please pivot to a "better ads" that allow website owners to install the ads service on their website - this is the only solution that will work despite an adblocker! So write an ad network in Go/Rust, be it a single executable, and website owners can simply add it to their website.
Only the information on Amazon.com below the product page that shows what other people who bought this product also bought works.
Even worse: the social graph mining derived suggestion systems that recommend wares based on the bad taste of my friends instead of my bad taste.
I'm all for non-intrusive advertisements.
But advertisers abuse
Maybe it's time for 'ad toning down' instead of blocking all of them, block animated gifs, block big images, etc (though in mobile this is not so bad)
The fact that the list is managed privately and that whether a company pays them influences whether they're blocked does muddy the waters quite a bit.
Not all ad blockers do this. Eg: https://getadblock.com/ doesn't (disclosure: creator is a friend of mine and I once worked a bit on the product). uBlock also doesn't do this: https://www.ublock.org/
And I'm sure there are others.
I'm pretty sure that the ad companies measure what kind of ads work, and which doesn't and what you're asking is that they leave the ineffective ads in place and remove the ones you can't ignore.
Honestly I don't believe that online ads work very well, they are a waste of money, but it's pretty hard to prove, so companies keeps buying them, just to be sure.
Is that really true though? Do you want "news" articles to be written by advertisers? Instead of journalism, you have an ad that blurs the line between reporting facts and advertising content. As John Oliver pointed out (and I'm sure others), even the New York Times has done some of these types of articles. Is that the future you want? If an article on juice being sold in schools is really written by Snapple, but you can't tell, do you trust the advertiser to write an article with relevant facts?
It would also be nice if people could decided on a sane and logical system of standard ad sizes, because the current standards are ridiculous and awkward.
They don't want to show me ads for things I'm already interested in, they want to make me interested in things I didn't know about, or more interested in things I knew about but wasn't going to buy.
They don't care about relevant, they want successfully manipulative ads.
It is extremely rare that I ever see an ad that is actually relevant to me, with tracking or not. When I do see ads that are relevant to me they are completely useless (ex: showing me the exact product that I just looked at a few minutes ago and nothing new). Furthermore, I have been conditioned to completely ignore anything that might even look like an ad. I can't think of anytime that I have ever bought something because I saw an internet ad for it. I have purchased things that were recommended and/or reviewed by a trusted source online. Context and qualifications are much more convincing and influential than a box telling me to buy something.
I think it's very easy for different people to mean different things when having conversations on this topic, so it's good to spell it all out.
They sell this data(even if it's anonymized).
You assert that paywalls aren't working; as someone who has worked for two online publishing businesses whose models rely on a paywall, I disagree. There IS an issue with general interest content, but even that, I believe, is being resolved, albeit slowly. I think the market (or at least part of it) is slowly adjusting to the idea of paying for quality content. When micropayments eventually become a thing, this will only accelerate.
There are alternatives to bot those models. Bear in mind that not every website needs to make a huge profit. Many in the early days took no income whatsoever. Donations and merchandising are popular small income streams for many blogs. Not all advertising is objectionable; The Deck ad network, for example, provides advertising that is tasteful and unobtrusive (much like a polished version of Google AdWords).
Finally, content-based advertising CAN work, providing it's clearly demarcated, highly relevant, and entertaining in its own right. I must've listened to many hours of advertising via TWIT podcasts, and I don't really resent any of it.
The moral issue is on the other side as well: Most malware comes from hacked ad servers and the ad industry doesn't really seem to care.
Until that changes, ads stay blocked and I won't even bother evaluating the other reasons (invasiveness, bandwidth/battery usage).
My hourly rate is many times more than the few hundredths of a cent you get for the impression.
It's particularly ridiculous when you consider that there's easy analogies to this that even the most clueless of adblocker users should be able to understand: if Google stopped distinguishing between ads and organic results, there would (rightly) be a huge outcry. One would have to be a fool not to understand that pushing the entire Web in that direction would be correspondingly more devastating.
Imagine if all content sites funded themselves via spam. When you viewed a site for the first time you'd have to verify your email address, which would then be spammed to oblivion. Would we tolerate that? Would we think it was immoral for people to do an end run around the spam?
I'm happy to support creators that I connect to. If we can figure out how to better enable this sort of connection I think there's hope.
The alternative to ads is no ads.
I keep various ad- and tracker- blockers on because I prefer a world that is not polluted by advertising, and in which privacy is respected.
Advertising versus no content is a false dichotomy, just like advertising versus no sport, or copyright versus no music.
It is this sheer propoganda the systematically prevents us from having a meaningful debate on the subject.
I do see it as a moral issue: I find advertising in all its current forms unethical. If you disagree, please have the courtesy of allowing for an honest discussion instead of spreading FUD about how horrific the world would be without advertising.
Also, the advertising industry is not going to draw the line at "native advertising", regardless. It won't stop until it has plastered the planet with advertising. Only the law and countermeasures have ever limited advertising.
tl;dr: There is already shit all over the house, it's naive to think they will stop at the kitchen.
Just because I'm against the pollution caused by chemical plants dumping unprocessed waste into rivers, doesn't mean I have to come up with solutions that allows the chemical industry to retain the same profit margins.
Personally, if I want to get paid for something I create, I ask for something in return, usually money. I could be wrong, but afaik that's the way we have done things for a very long time.
"If you want this, you also have to swallow this pile of shit, hell, if you even so much as glance in the general direction we'll start throwing shit at you" is a relatively recent business model, and I have a problem with it.
The onus is not on me to come up with alternatives for people who don't like the effort and/or profit margins involved in the way we've traded and bartered goods and services for millennia and prefer to throw shit at people.
Note I'm not saying the way we currently deal with ads is great or anything. They violate the users malware, are often infected with malware and sometimes make site plain unusable (usually not something intended by the site's owner)
Since you seem to prefer the paywall, let me ask how many paid subscriptions do you have for websites which are otherwise supported via ads? (e.g. New York Times, Wall Street Journal, ArsTechnica, etc.)
It is obvious, however, that hosting servers is not without cost, nor is creating content without cost.
The solution would therefore be to:
a. not offer content free,
b. attempt to support it with adverts
Since option B is disliked by so many, the only logical option is A.
I believe we should probably have a reintroduction/introduction of HTTP 402. I think that would make sense.
The people employed in that field are not doing something valuable.
And you don't care about Ad Pushers Tracking what you see and where you go ? You have no morality problem there?
What I think you're saying is that "worthless ramblings on the internet aren't (inherently) worth anything and thus no one wants to give them their money willingly", which of course isn't the fault of the paywall but the content.
It comes down to content creation and paying for it. If nobody wants to pay for it then it doesn't get created (unless you're a blogger, or meet your costs in some other way). We shouldn't have any time for people who want to get content for free.
I'm in the unusual position of actually paying for content and use AdBlockers, however I use it because I disagree with tracking on the grounds of consent and privacy. (That said, I will happily disable adblocking for websites who only want to show me banners and not track me.)
Micro-payment system which actually works.
I like the idea of micro-payments for interesting, long-form content because there are various journalists I like who work for newspapers I don't subscribe to. I would happily pay for in-depth analysis pieces. I remain hopeful about non-click-bait journalism.
Thankfully, the FTC is helping in that regard.
I think part of the issue is that most of these services that base themselves on ads are inessential.
I don't care if reddit or gmail or last.fm goes down, I can always get another service that will step up and fill the niche. Grooveshark funded their service by ads, then it got taken down by a lawyer army, now I pay for a Spotify subscription.
When ads are present, they're part of the experience. And that means the experience, for some people, is shitty. People will prefer not to have shitty experiences. Some people decide to start out with the premise that they will make money off of ads, good luck to them. But it's not my moral obligation to accept it.
They don't care if you don't want to pay for it or read it you are not their intended audience.
That said, non-web advertising agencies exert their influence over content too, regardless of whether or not there are separate ads or product placement. Why would the internet be different? Pretty sure you can't run AdSense on a porn site.
it's a good organic balance we're working towards, the optimum amount of gatekeeping and profit-sharing.
as I said in an earlier post, the amount of money regular people lose bc of ads > the amount of people in the ad business pay out to "content creators"
>> Those families are indirectly paying that price today, through their ad-influenced purchases.
>> Not only are they paying for the end-product, but they're paying for the arms-race between advertisers as well, and that's a huge industry.
>> The amount of money the ad industry deals out to "content providers" must necessarily be less than the amount they get paid by their clients, which in turn must be less than the amount people paid to those clients.
>> If the distribution is not uniform, and some people benefit from the ad-influenced overspending of others, the business is then predatory.
You are assuming an invariable quantity of ads, which it is false.
This banning makes advertisement more difficult; and more difficult, or less effective, advertising would push towards giving less valuable "for free* (*advertised)". So it pushes towards having to pay for more things, which is good for Apple.
It's also valuable for us, in the sense that our customers are accustomed to get huge amounts of value for free. That's good for us creators.
The issue is that we are also consumers, and that's bad for us - we will need to pay more.
All in all, I believe too many people in this forum are risking their professional lifes a lot, and having a somewhat safer environment can end up being good for the economy. If there is less risk in entrepreneurship, more people will jump into putting effort into creating something good, as it is easier to sell.
It also works against productizing users information, which might be good for our privacy, too.
tl;dr it's much better for publishers if you see ads but never click them vs blocking them.
A big, high-profile publisher would find it nearly impossible. As soon as they roll out code to lock out adblock uesrs, it would be circumvented in a filter update.
Sure they can. How does the ad network know the ads are being served? It needs some sort of ad detection mechanism, so the ad blocker can implement it too.
I would also encourage new "good ad blockers" that only block bad ads (CPU/memory intense ads that crash your browser on iipad)
How does the ad network confirm the images being served are actually ads and not blank rectangles? It needs to visually confirm their content, which means there's some algorithm the blocker can use to identify ads.
(Why would a site serve blank rectangles? Simple: it'd allow them to serve ads from dozens of ad networks without making the site an unreadable mess)
Adblockers work with regex based on URL and usually block third party files (different domain) from ad networks.
Current adblockers work that way, since it's easier. They'd adapt. For example, Brand Killer (aka Adblock for Real Life) already works by visual detection, and it would certainly be easier to do that online.
Your OpenCV prototype is simply too expensive (CPU, GPU, battery resources) on consumer hardware many more years.
So now when general dissatisfaction with ads seems to rise the choice for content creators is to install paywalls/raise prices (public won't like it either) or accept more surreptitious kinds of ads (morally dubious). Or maybe go freemium?
This is a fallacy. All news agencies are already producing advertorial copy, and have been since before the web: this is nothing new.
They didn't start doing it because ads stopped working. Someone who is willing to show intrusive ads is already willing to plumb any depth for an additional income stream.
> A viewer's ability to distinguish between native ads and regular articles is small and quickly vanishing.
I would suggest that the viewer's ability to distinguish is increasing, since we are more aware of the problem, and we don't have to face the cognitive load of ad-ignoring elsewhere.
Your ability to get rich is not my moral concern.
I'm subsidizing the ads! You say ads are moral, I say as implemented, that's immoral.
As long as people broadcast content, consumers are free to modify it for personal consumption.
The next level filter might filter all brand names from an article or movie.
I think the only major recent change is what we call them. I could be wrong but today people refer to it as 'native' advertising.
And yes, it would be bad if native advertising increases dramatically because everyone has adblockers.
However, the problem I have with your argument is that it rests on preserving something bad and to keep something worse from happening. I think that's generally not the best approach, which is why I'm not 'conservative' in most of my views.
Let's say web content suddenly becomes infested with native ads. Those of us who care, might actually start paying for paywalled content. Those of us who don't, happily read advertising dressed up as proper content.
Or maybe the bigger publishers will not be able to exist anymore, and content becomes either really shitty, or really good with little middle ground. Perhaps we'll finally start paying those individual journalists and writers through donations and crowd funding.
I think a good comparison is music. People started ripping their music, so the industry replied with DRM. People cirsumvrented this, and the DRM became increasingly intrusive. Then downloads and torrents happened. All seems lost. And what do you know? 'Paywalled' music actually starts sort-of working. This may very well happen to video and text once companies get their act together and go with the tide rather than swim against it.
I've been a pretty extreme 'modern', tech-savvy consumer for most of my life. And yet, now that I reached my thirties, and now that I have disposable income:
1. I pay for The Correspondent, a Dutch, pay-walled web-only publication that has been doing well and produces great content by great authors, including some of 'celebrity' journalists here (and soon to be released in English, too).
2. I occasionally buy single articles from any of the newspapers in Holland through Blendle, at prices of around 20/30 eurocents, with the option of a refund that I rarely use.
3. I pay for Spotify, not just because it's convenient, but because it offers (or used to offer) a really nice interface for discovery and curated playlists.
4. I buy ScreenCasts and (e)books direct from programmers/writers in my communities.
5. I've donated to a number of arts/journalistic crowdfunding projects.
While there are many bad things that could happen, I'd argue that the current state of production, consumption, and accompanying advertising is already pretty bad. I'm fine with either: 1) the current models crumbling, and new models coming up that might be worse, so that it might get better quicker, or 2) fighting the fundamental problems and actively working towards a better alternative, or 3) hoping that the changes will end up better altogether.
But preserving a situation that is already pretty shitty just out of fear for something shittier seems like the worse possible approach.
I do realize that I'm leaving out the moral arguments in favor or against bypassing DRM, pirating content, or blocking ads. That's a difficult and perhaps important issue too, but I'd say judging by current behavior it's largely irrelevant to what actually happens.
Artists are getting screwed, while a few middlemen and labels are still making decent money. The whole payment model, forced by the major labels, absolutely fucks smaller artists over - meaning that they get only a tiny fraction of the subscription fees, even those from users who only listen to their content.
It does not work.
Pay walled news sites are always going to lose out compared to more open ones, as it's useless to link to them on twitter etc.
As for paywalled music: artists were getting screwed before. Maybe more so, maybe less so, but many were getting screwed. Either way, maintaining the status quo doesn't seem like a good solution, so why try and maintain that. I'd rather see the whole deal collapse so that new things can be tried.
The rest is not really content, it's entertainment.
The entertainers choose how will they get paid.
The reality is that they work is not valuable enough to be paid directly, so they opt-in for a revenue from adverts.
And I choose to opt-out from paying them, because I think that we shouldn't be paying for entertainment. What is worst is that 'news' increasingly becomes entertainment. You only need so much paid journalist to cover main events. If they choose to make farce out of events, it's up to them. But I will not pay that premium, because I do not care and because I don't even want to reach me. And you dot have to do anything for 'news' to reach you.
Youtube - Ads for free content.
Both seem to be working just fine as far as revenue is concerned. Can you elaborate on why you find only sites like SE or GH "content"? What's your definition? Are you suggesting entertainment doesn't have a value of its own?
Netflix is paywall for entertainment. Youtube does have some educational content. Some of it generates revenue from ads. Although those who actually do create educational content, do it for self expression or as a token to return to community.
Just another day there was a top ranking comment about Apple's music streaming service. The TL;DR was that there are millions of great musicians who do not care about profit, they care about music.
I think art is about self expression, not means to making money. Somehow it is much more prominent in tech community with open source and bunch of free information. The information that is actually valuable.
Of course we do have day jobs, but there we get paid for implementing something that people actually need.
I realize this is probably a unusual worldview, but perhaps we are too much entertained and not enough educated?
Apple hasn't done this entirely out of the goodness of their own hearts. After all, this isn't going to filter ads in native apps, is it? If you're a site that relies on ad revenue you've just been given another reason to live in app-land, not web-land.
Imagine you're a publisher. With one OS release Apple has provided the ability to block ads on the web and Apple News, a charming new platform for you to publish your articles, complete with iAd integration. Which one are you going to prioritise?
Not that this is an either-or thing: just like Google vacuums up your personal data and gives you Google Now in return, Apple will push publishers towards iOS apps while also giving you a great web experience.
These are getting bigger, they're more resource intensive thanks to 'waterfall' design. They push up my data usage.
They spam open the App Store, and are all around broken. Recently I can't watch videos on some sites because ads elsewhere on the page grab the click and pop a new tab open.
They take longer to load than the real content. Then they MOVE the real content AFTER I STARTED READING because it took them that long to load.
I've used a Flash blocked on my laptop for years, but I didn't used to care about blocking on iOS because it wasn't a problem.
That has ABSOLUTELY changed in the last year or two. Reader mode used to fix sites but as they do more stupid JS trickery that often doesn't work.
I keep running across articles I literally CAN NOT read on my phone due to these kinds of issues.
Ignore iAds and Goigle and privacy (all good points). This is starting to seriously degrade my iOS experience and I'm not surprised Apple was moved to do it.
But that's a total red herring. HTTP2 won't help my phone load large image ads from ad networks faster. The connection overhead savings on the real site don't outweigh the giant image downloads either.
It doesn't matter what implementation you use, booting me away from content after the page already loaded is a HORRENDOUS usability mistake. Popover ads are terrible in the first place but waiting until I've read three paragraphs because the cell network is slow is moronic.
And it has nothing to do with Nitro. Safari is the base OS experience. Faster JS for 3rd party browsers wouldn't effect this as it's not an issue of JS speed. And you can't tell your customers "well if you want your experience to not suck download someone else's browser."
There is no neglect here causing this issue.
Of course not. Read the article (or spend a few moments considering the consumer tech coprorate landscape), and it's obvoiusly also an assault on Google.
"An Apple realist might argue that its great rival Google makes more than 90 percent of its revenue from online advertising — a growing share of that on mobile, and a large share of that on iPhone. Indeed, Google alone makes about half of all global mobile advertising revenue. So anything that cuts back on mobile advertising revenue is primarily hurting its rival."
The thought that it's part of a long-game play positioning Apple within the content space also comes to mind.
Except that you're going to get a lot more of them, pointing you towards native apps that serve you articles with unblockable ads.
That said, let me off a non-cynical motivation: remaining competitive. Many users want to block ads, and blocking most web ads on Android is fairly easy even without root. Firefox users can just install an extension. Chrome users need to configure the local-proxy based version of ABP. It's a minor hassle, but my mother uses it, so anyone moderately tech-savvy can too.
It's a major hassle because it doesn't work properly or in the case of Firefox mobile - is a major POS. Chrome with ABP via proxy has some serious issues that make the browser not able to load certain pages at all until it's restarted.
Basically, I tried ABP/Android a few times and it sucked. Maybe things worked for you on your version of Android on the phones you've owned, but the fact that it sporadically doesn't work for people like me and my wife is proof enough that it's no silver bullet.
That's why I do all of my mobile web browsing on a Windows tablet. I get a full OS and full control. Fuck the new world order! They can keep their trojan horse, locked down, shitty mobile operating systems.
I only used ABP-by-proxy briefly before I rooted my phone, but my mother reports mostly good results and only minor hiccups. I currently use Adaway, a hosts-file based solution that requires root. I know some builds of Android on some devices resist rooting, but it's officially supported on my Nexus 5.
I'm not even sure they're selling anything anymore, most web ads seem more like psychological warfare.
How about a subscription service - and it could be a voluntary honor system thing - where you pay something each month and it gets distributed to websites you visit, and in order for a site to register with the service they have to forgo advertising. I'd pay $10 a month to do my part to rid the world of web ads. Somebody steal that idea.
Google already did:
I read somewhere that the number is close to $70/family/month, growing at %10 per year. Would you still pay ? Would this model even fit most people ?
Not only are they paying for the end-product, but they're paying for the arms-race between advertisers as well, and that's a huge industry.
The amount of money the ad industry deals out to "content providers" must necessarily be less than the amount they get paid by their clients, which in turn must be less than the amount people paid to those clients.
If the distribution is not uniform, and some people benefit from the ad-influenced overspending of others, the business is then predatory.
The worst case scenario I have seen people come up with is more sponsored articles but I doubt that is a sustainable business model. Honestly, I never understood why I can read the New York Times online for free. I'm not feeling bad about it, but it's fucking strange. Baby steps, but I really hope something like Contributor (https://www.google.com/contributor/welcome/) becomes popular. Preferably not run by google.
ads have a huge impact on society and on the psych of people.
When tobacco advertising was banned in the UK, tobacco profits soared because they no longer had to take part in the arms race.
So basically just for your own comfort you'd like a big company to become monopolistic and force its views on the web? I am not found of ads myself, but I think they are a better alternative to what you describe.
>of the 316 million people living in the U.S. are online, according to recent estimates by Pew Research Center and Forrester Research, that would equate to roughly $159 per person per year
So yeah about $50 for a family of four per month.
Source? Their product is ad targeting. Selling the data itself would devalue their product.
Plus since then there's been the invention of these Taboola and Outbrain type ads which are like the ISIS of advertising. Because of them I'm sensing a lot more people are ready to declare war on web ads.
For obvious reasons, it would fall apart for sites like Medium, but I was attached to the idea.
My guess is that so many users installed adblockers because of obnoxious ads on a few websites they visit without realising that it removes the non-annoying 'acceptable ads' that support the sites they love. Hopefully something like the acceptable ads manifesto will help stem the tide of quite frankly shitty ads .
AdBlockPlus also charges a fee for whitelisting, which I oppose on principle even though I think I'd probably qualify.
This is fundamentally a usability problem. One of the main reasons I use ad blockers is invasive web advertising often forces more mousing/tapping. Due to many many years of constant keyboard/mouse I have enough RSI discomfort these days that extra mousing/tapping is very noticeable.
It's mind pollution and the world would be better without it.
Endpoints that don't depend on advertising dollars to keep the servers running will always be there (like GitHub, Hacker News, IRC, Amazon, eBay, Craigslist, etc.) if people want them.
As long as it's easy to donate to sites you find valuable on the internet then advertising free sites will flourish.
Can't content creators monetize their shows with other methods than third-party ads? Like selling their own goods and services?
If you even listen to the No Agenda podcast, which is 100% listener supported, you'd know how hard it can be to get people to pay, even for a product they love.
Effort invested in technical solutions to work around ad blockers might just lower CTRs and be worse for everyone involved.
(edit: I don't mean to insinuate that online advertising is anything like a scam; just that there are parallels in terms of targeting the correct audience so that the effort is effective.)
Google could transcode ads directly into YouTube videos, but they don't. They preroll or popover and both can be blocked. If YouTube did transcode pre-roll ads, we'd have an auto-skipper. If YouTube transcoded hard popovers on videos, well, that would probably upset more video authors than consumers.
Even though it's set in the future they manage to sell them as being retro cool. It's almost impressive.
I take the pessimistic viewpoint that ads are going to seep in no matter what. The harder you make it, they more they'll mask themselves. Personally, I'd prefer banner ads.
plus, with a transparent AR setup with proper overlay ability, you can in-reality block photons bounced off or emanated from advertising units (billboards, bumper stickers, old spice commercials, etc) from even hitting your retinas.
It's like how before a movie comes out, all the actors in the movie go on all the talk shows. Think it just happens by magic coincidence? It's contractually part of their job to appear and promote the properties they appear in so it drives up demand for their productions (movies/books/tv shows/congresscritters).
Don't respond to user seek commands until the add is done playing - at that point best they can do is block output and wait - which ends up a similar experience to just watching the ad for classic 2-10 min video youtube browsing or songs - for longer content buffering could work.
As a simple example: it breaks ad networks, which rely on you having a cookie that is shared across many domains to figure out what ads to show you. That doesn't really work if that 3rd party script is blockd.
The industry's dirty little secret is that for all the hand wringing about tracking and targeting, the tech is still really in its infancy and doesn't work very well.
Network ads already don't pay very much (IMHO) and removing the ability to build profiles on demographics would make them worth much less.
You're right that it's not a dealbreaker -- my startup would be OK since we ads direct to clients -- but mostly people aren't in a position to do that. It takes a team of ad sales and support staff, and a very particular kind of niche content.
You (and the ad networks) seem to be under the mistaken impression that you have some sort of a right to that information. You don't, and acting like a stalker should be treated as such.
As another poster said, you target your ads to the content it is being published next to. Seriously, can you not see the damage you're doing by pushing "surveillance as a business" model? If your hopefully-profitable idea relies on a key aspect basically every single dystopian story ever told (fiction and non-fiction), maybe that's a sign you should find another way?
The alternative, if you want to keep pushing stupid gimmicks like that "coupon" thing, it will just push more and more people into treating the advertising industry (and later, internet commerce in general) as the enemy.
That sounds awesome.
This is a very effective response by publishers because many users who would have enabled 'No Ads' simply will not bother to enable 'Do Not Track'
I'm not sure what the problem is - all they need is to ask the publisher to set the cookie for them. Then it's a first party cookie that is relayed on the back end to the ad network, who gets all the same information from it that they used to get.
Here's what it managed to get from my iPhone 6. This would be the same 'fingerprint' as virtually every iPhone 6 user in the UK.
I guess the next step would be to automatically add noise/tiny amendments to the content to get around the checksum...but then you could use object/character recognition to identify content and block the ads based on that.
Publishers have been brainwashed that everything must have: an ad, a tracking widget, and a user survey. Oh, and each page gets ten of those elements and each element comes from 3 to 5 unique externally hosted providers.
Since all of those elements are "as a service" you just block the invading services and all is well again.
This is the primary problem in my opinion. Having ads present doesn't seem terrible to me (and like other people have said, having promotional content clearly demarcated is a bonus). Having ads become an obstacle to the main content sucks, and third-party script injection that makes at least a handful of additional third-party http calls is an obstacle.
Imagine you're a small publisher. You want to spend most of your time creating awesome content and you don't want to put up a paywall. So do you try to hire an ad sales person to sell direct placements on your site? Or do you use some sort of network, which necessarily requires some level of aggregate tracking and profiling to deliver ads that are at all relevant.
I would think that the people savvy enough to install 3rd party ad blocking extensions are smart enough to know that the issue is their extension. Not Apple. But who knows.
Of course I'd never go and raise a bug for such behaviour, as I instantly remembered what it was whenever it struck.
> The publisher won't want those users on their site anyway if they can't be monitized.
Remember if those users with ad block find it a bad experience and never come back, this means less times they click on links to that site which means less referrals to use as ranking in search engines. If it's a large enough group (hell even a small group in a highly competitive area) can make a difference causing the site to lose readers due to search rankings.
You can check for cosmetic filtering (CSS reapplied to your ad-divs) by checking their width or something like that. You can check for blocked domains by getting this information channeled back somehow.
There are only so much relevant filter lists (maybe 15?) out there. They are freely accessible & parsable, so generating an URL on the fly which should be blocked on your domain in one of those filterlists shouldn't be too hard.
So if publishers adopt a freemium model (the most common) and they present a crappy experience to users who block ads then they won't be willing to buy a subscription. That's why most websites today don't punish users who block ads and that position will likely continue on mobile as well.
According to Opera Mediaworks, as of Q1 2015, Android makes up 65% of mobile traffic, 3x more than iOS with 22%, as well as beating iOS out of the top spot for ad revenue. You can read this report here: http://operamediaworks.com/sites/default/files/file_attachme... (page 2)
And I am sure those numbers are worldwide when really US revenue is the most relevant for US publishers (which are the bulk of major news sites). In which case Apple dominates: