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What the ad blocker debate reveals (mondaynote.com)
104 points by eamonncarey on Aug 3, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 155 comments



It's rather simple in my mind.

Putting your content up for free is the same as standing by my fence, waiting for me to ask you to throw your magazine over so I could read it.

You can put ads, but I can cut them out if I want for a better reading experience.

Don't want me to cut out the ads? tough luck, my reading experience, my choice.

Want to make money? try a subscription model.

Why can't you have both? Welcome to the real world.

[EDIT]:

This was the previous opening sentence: "Putting your content up for free is the same as throwing your magazine over my fence for free."

I changed it to a better analogy offered by AndrewKemendo in hope people would stop picking the analogy apart and focus on the message it's trying to deliver.


I think it's simple too, but doesn't need a meatspace analogy like that.

I request some data, you send me some data. My computing device (yes MY computing device) then renders it in accordance with my wishes.

That's it.

(oh, and no, I have no obligation to play ball with your trackers)


That's why in the War on General Purpose Computing, publishers and advertisers are on the side of making the computing device not yours.


I actually think the people running sites are better off with this becoming the norm. Ads are not a great way to make money. Low friction paywalls will be great for everyone.


This comment rubs me in the wrong way.

Content creators aren't "putting it up for free" - they're putting it up with ads attached. They're certainly not "throwing it over your fence." They're not injecting their articles into your browser, you're going to a URL to request them. You seek the content out.

So, you go to a site, and download all of the content. That is what the company offered. Some of that is what allowed the company to create the content. You elect to not display that part using your client. I suppose that's your prerogative, but don't pretend like you're the victim in this.

And also don't pretend like it's the company's fault for not choosing your preferred business model. You don't get to choose other companies' business models for them - you can either accept or reject what they offer. The reason they're not on a subscription business model is probably because that wouldn't be sustainable for 99% of the sites you use.


> The reason they're not on a subscription business model is probably because that wouldn't be sustainable for 99% of the sites you use.

I say, let them die then. It's not that we need those sites but don't want to pay. It's that various "enterprising" folks figure that they can make some "content", fill them with ads and get passive income. If those 99% of sites disappeared overnight, everyone would likely be better off. You'd have a choice between quality paid sites which people would support, or free sites paid by people who think their content is important enough to put their time and money to keep it accessible. Yes, the second group exists and is usually the source of the most valuable and trustworthy content on-line.


I think that's a false dichotomy.

Certainly, there are sites that we could do without; there's clickbait-filled garbage that does nothing but pollute the Internet.

But there's also a lot of really good stuff out there that is supported by ads. Stuff that people put their heart and soul and a lot of effort into, and stuff that I (and probably you) love to read, that wouldn't make it without ads.

I can count the number of sites I've ever heard of that are paid for by their users on one hand.


There is, but I think all they'd have to do to get money is ask nicely. I have high hopes for Patreon as a platform for that. They could also ask nicely to whitelist the site in ad blocker, promising they won't abuse it. I've seen a site that does that and happily complied because hey, I get it, they need the money and I do get some value from their services.

The reason people block ads is not because they don't want publishers to get paid. It's because most ads are actively user-hostile, ranging from merely fucking annoying to malware vectors which can cost you a lot of money. Quoting 'jacquesm from other subthread, "Browsing the web without an adblocker is like sex with multiple partners every day without a condom.". [0].

[0] - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9995396


> I think all they'd have to do to get money is ask nicely.

Having been a part of a lot of media sites in the past, I can safely say that wouldn't have been true for any of them.


Maybe there were not actually valuable to the visitors?


If you open the discussion section of any article on HN that is behind a paywall you'll find a link that bypasses the paywall and a discussion about how paywalled content shouldn't even be allowed on HN.

So even though they created something of value (otherwise it wouldn't be on the front page) but most people still won't pay for the content.


Why doesn't that seem reasonable? On Twitch.tv people stream for free and ask for donations or subscriptions. Most people just watch, and the few people that donate or subscribe so vastly overfund the stream that they can afford to never run ads.

Patreon works the same way. You make money when you produce content that people want to pay for even if they don't have to. If you can't do that, ads are a fine plan B, but you have to go into that knowing that many people will be ad blocking (and even more if you're producing any kind of technical content).


I don't think that's true. People would write us letters and emails saying how much they loved it. But if you asked them if they'd pay (and they were being honest), they'd say no.


Great. If you're better off without them, just stop consuming their content.


> So, you go to a site, and download all of the content.

> You elect to not display that part using your client.

That's not how ad-blockers work. They prevent ads from downloading. And so sites load faster, and mobile users pay less for throughput.


This is not completely accurate - most ad blockers include both request blocking as well as content blocking. For instance it might not be able to block a sponsored tweet since it is returned with all of the other tweets, but it can hide that div on the page.

Check any block list and you will see both rules.


OK, thanks for the clarification.

Nonetheless, many sites do load dramatically faster with ad blocking. That's especially so with high-latency connections. I often use Tor through nested VPN chains, and total latency can be 1-2 seconds. Some sites are unusable without AdBlock and NoScript.


...but you are paying for the content delivery or postage. If the envelope gets too heavy and your postal budget gets used up with a couple deliveries is that right ?


I don't think there's a victim here at all. not me not them.

It's just the forces that be, my need versus their need, the economy, human nature, technological abilities. Nothing more.

Let them choose their business model, I really don't care. But don't go out crying if your business model isn't sustainable, taking into account that ad blocking (which is a my prerogative as you say) is not going away.


> but don't pretend like you're the victim in this

Websites that distribute malware through their ads are definitely culpable. Mobile browsing without adblock is a miserable experience, with every other page opening up the app store to install whatever the malware game of the week is, or shouting audio that I didn't ask for. Plenty of non-tech-savvy people get caught by "your computer is infected!!" style ads. If website operators can't be bothered to ensure they're not distributing malware, I think we have a duty to protect ourselves.


"Here is the deal. I will tell you a story. But not just any story: an amazing story about this one person who did something unbelievable and you can't guess what happened next and also cats.

In exchange, all you have to do is let these people (whom I don't actually know) track you and run their software on your computer, which will present a garish display of images (and maybe also sound and video, did I mention that I don't know these guys?).

All you have to do then is click and I will get paid a fraction of a cent (and you will have to deal with whatever crap comes up afterwards).

So what do you say?"


Sounds like an offer I can't refuse! /i


Putting your content up for free is the same as throwing your magazine over my fence for free.

I think you have the chain of events backwards. You are describing spam. A better analogy is that there are a hundred magazine providers waiting by your fence and then you ask them to throw you their magazines.

You are right though that the consumer is empowered with technology to block or not block - but the broader problem is that consumers have shown over time that they aren't willing to pay for content (at scale) so they are left with making money somehow.


It's like going to the stand and asking for a magazine. You have it given to you for free. Now it's yours, and you can do whatever you want with it, including giving it to a 3-year-old child to cut out the ads and throw them in a bin, so that you don't have to ever see them. It's yours, you have a right.

Giving away the magazine for free was the choice of the person at the stand. If they want to profit, they have various means to do this. Ads are one way. Asking you for money when you ask for the magazine is another.


Agreed. To extend the analogy though the customer sees the free one next to a quality paid one, chooses the free one and then complains about it having ads in it.

At the end of the day, everyone wants a great experience for nothing. It's not possible.


> Agreed. To extend the analogy though the customer sees the free one next to a quality paid one, chooses the free one and then complains about it having ads in it.

To improve it even further, based on my own experience and what I see in comments here, apparently you have like 1 quality paid stuff per 10 paid scams, 10 paid pieces of crap and 100 free stands. Those who want to pay for quality content quickly discover that it's incredibly hard to find.

The analogy breaks down on the nature of the ads themselves. In physical magazines, ads are static and occupy fixed space on the pages. The off-line equivalent to what we have on-line would be ads carried by bugs inside the pages - moving, making sounds, hard to get rid of and occasionally biting you so you get sick and need to seek time-consuming and/or expensive care. Ads on-line are actively hostile.

> At the end of the day, everyone wants a great experience for nothing. It's not possible.

I agree.


I totally agree with your correction to my analogy, though I do not think it changes the conclusions.

I don't think it's a problem that consumers aren't willing to pay for content. That's literally the description of consumers, to decide what to consume, how to use it, and what they are willing to give in exchange.


Except if it came down to it, everyone would be in an uproar about having to pay monthly fee to visit every site on the net.. I'm willing to bet half the people in this thread who say if people want to be paid for their content, to charge for it, not use ads, don't donate to Wikipedia.

It absolutely flabbergasts me the amount of people in the tech world who don't realize to run a top site delivering content to you costs thousands of dollars a month in hosting, let alone to pay the bills of the people who do the work.

Pay $5/mo to all your favorite sites... I visit 10+ sites a day average, that's $50 on top of my internet bill that is already $60/mo.

I'd rather be shown an ad that I've conditioned to block out mentally than pay $50/mo extra to look at 10 sites a day only.

So yeah, you're right, you can block ads, but when ad blocking proliferates to the point that it's not feasible for any of these sites to keep running, then they go away..

Now you're left complaining because none of your favorite sites are around.


So let them uproar! If wikipedia shuts down because they don't have money because people won't donate, it's OK, it's called reality. It would be a pity, but that's life.

I do realize the costs and I do realize they have to make money to put food in their mouth. But it's no different than any other business, it's either you have a sustainable model, or you don't. You can't have it all. The web is not a utopia.


Let's say that a site owner switched to a micropayment model. And they charged per page view what they had been earning on average from serving ads. They'd be fine, right?

I can't imagine that many sites are earning $5 per month in ad income for each of their regular users. But maybe someone could point to some reliable data?


I doubt that you are making a site 5$ per month. Does anyone know reasonable numbers what a single recurring visitor can make you?


I don't know about a single visitor, but for the top sites revenue per 1000 visits is on average around $10. For recurring visitors it's probably more since advertisers have more info about them.

There are a lot of factors that determine the value of a visit so take this info with a grain of salt.


> Putting your content up for free is the same as throwing your magazine over my fence for free. You can put ads, but I can cut them out if I want for a better reading experience.

Uh ? To cut the ads out you need to see them. Adblock hide them as if they never existed in the first place.

Analogies, these days...


You can (and I do) from time to time cut out ads manually from the web with the DOM inspector. It's particularly good for screen-filling modals. Of course I can then make the cutout permanent with a hosts file or user-configurable adblocker ...


you could hand the magazine to a 3-year old who can't read, and he'll cut out all pictures for you.

Nitpickers, these days...


Are you really saying you would let a 3-year old operate that ad cutting physical machine mentioned here https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9995459 ?

Adults, these days... :]


My 3-year-old is perfectly fine with a pair of safe scissors, as long as we keep him away from curtains and other should-not-cut materials.

Luckily, we have no need for ad-cutting on kindle...


Alright i'll bite.

"I can cut them out" can be, as stated in another comment, an ad cutting physical machine.

Your move.


my reading experience, my choice

I'd extend that to say "my eyes, my ears, my brain."

If I have the right to mute the volume, change the channel, or otherwise do something else when adverts appear on the TV, then I should also have the right to block them on a webpage - we're just using available technology to help us do it more effectively.


"Simple" doesn't mean correct.

In practice cutting out ads probably makes you a more valuable customer because you've spent 10x the time most people spend looking at ads inspecting them while cutting. (and don't give any BS about "oh I actively avoid brands that advertise" -- brand advertising works, deal with it)

The better analogy is, you cut out the ads, reprint the paper, and redistribute it to other customers. In the real world, this is not going to be legal.


An even more apt analogy would be if a third party made an easy to use glass overlay that, when placed over a magazine page, obscured all the ads leaving only the content visible.

Considering that is applied voluntarily and "client side" and no redistribution takes place I'm not sure that would be illegal considering current laws.

Despite of that I believe publishing companies would be lobbying for laws to curb that practice as soon as it achieved critical mass and high enough adoption.


All of the analogies given miss some major issues.

Visual adds aren't the problem. Audio adds, adds that consume massive bandwidth that is limited, and add that track are all the problem. Normal visual adds can sometimes be nice, letting me know about products that I didn't previous know about that I might actually want to buy. But being tracked? Nope. Blocked!


As stated in another comment, cutting them out can be an hypothetical ad cutting machine I 3D printed.

The implementation detail of how i'm cutting out the ads is beside the point. The point is that I can offer my ad cutting services for free to anyone.

I can tell all my friends - "Hey guys i'll come to your house and cut the ads out of the free magazines you're already receiving"

Which is definitely not the same as "Hey guys I've received this magazine, and I cut the ads, here's the PDF"

The reprint and redistribution parts are non-existent in ad blockers. the content is not hosted on adblockersite.com.


I don't see where you're getting the "reprint the paper, and redistribute it to other customers" based on how ad blocking works. Ad block is at an individual level, there is no redistribution.


There's no redistribution. Why does your analogy include redistribution?

There's no need for an analogy anyway. It's equivalent of receiving a free magazine and the user putting it through an automatic ad-censoring machine before reading it.


I would pay for the NY Times or Washington Post if I knew having a paid subscription would remove the ads and give me a reasonable reading experience.


People used to say that about cable TV about 30 years ago, that you have to pay for it but the cable channels have no ads. Ditto going to the movies, sure its not free like watching it in a couple months on TV but at least there's no ads at the theater. Look how that turned out.

Maybe the elite that pay the most money for a subset of content will be able to temporarily avoid ads, sometimes, but "the masses" will never be permitted to not be advertised to, as long as its technologically possible to spam them. They are cattle and that is their purpose.


The problem with removing ads for paying subscribers is that it greatly devalues the remaining ad impressions -- who would want to reach just the people too disengaged or cheap to buy a subscription? It also incentivizes the site owner to have increasingly obtrusive and annoying ads for non-paying members.


So how does Reddit manage to have ad-less subscriptions and yet still restrain themselves from creating obtrusive interstitial ads? Superhuman strength? Immortality? Some other heretofore unknown super power?

The truth is, there is nothing on the NY Times or WaPo that is worth paying twice for.


Reddit has its users create all the content for free. And AFAIK they still aren't profitable.


Alright, fine, then how does HBO do it?

If I want to have the NY Times, it's $32/mo [0], plus I have to let them ride my shoulder as I go about the rest of my business online. HBO Now is $15/mo [1], the only ads I get are in between episodes and only for other shows on HBO.

[0] http://www.nytimes.com/subscriptions/Multiproduct/lp3004.htm... they charge different rates for different screen sizes, which I find highly objectionable. If I want it on all of my devices, it's $8/wk

[1] https://order.hbonow.com/ Oh, look, an https site. NY Times redirects from https to http.


I pay $15 a month for the NY Times, and I read it on all devices (laptop, iPhone, iPad). Their webpage is the best in the business, and I find it fine for all devices.

To answer your question: I do not know. But I don't find it a useful comparison; while they both produce "content", the content itself is vastly different. Producing shows with the quality of, say, Game of Thrones, is expensive, but so is having and sending reporters all over the world.


I don't think the nature of the content changes much. They both have employees to pay. They both have infrastructure costs. They both live off of people consuming their stuff. HBO has competitors who use NY Times revenue model. HBO even publishes at least a small amount of investigative journalism.


Because the nature of the content is so different, the costs may also be different.

HBO also just recently changed its entire business model. It used to not be purchased directly by consumers. The old model was they sold themselves to the cable companies, and the cable companies sold HBO to consumers. HBO Now changes that, and it's possible it will also change the nature of HBO.


NY Times creates all their own content. HBO in comparison creates a tiny fraction of their content and licenses other companies content for rebroadcast.


How does paying middlemen save them $17/month vs the competitor that doesn't pay middlemen?

That argument would make a lot more sense, if the NYT, like my local newspaper, were merely a re-wrapped slightly localized Reuters news feed.


You'd hope that the content produced by newspapers would rise above the level of reddit leading to people wanting to pay for the content directly.

Of course if people are looking for entertainment then that's a different story and reddit may be serious competition.


One would hope. The problem is, content produced on Reddit (and HN) is way better than content produced by newspapers, by a very simple mechanism: someone posts an article to Reddit/HN, people start debunking all the bullshit, misinterpretations and lies journalists wrote in that article.

Newspapers have a lot of trust to regain with people. But then again, I suppose the general population doesn't give a rat's ass about the truth, and want to read only something shocking to use as a "social object" (i.e. something you can start discussing with other people you meet).


That's a good point, the value of the comments on articles is often >> the value of the article itself.


Well, Hacker News is the exception, not the rule. Most Internet comment sections are unmitigated dumpster fires. Some are even worse than that. Even if you restrict yourself to the really good comments and discussions on the Internet, if you cut off the oxygen from the articles I think the value dries up real fast.


Reddit is still losing money.


Although true, wouldn't an efficient advertiser try not to pay for ads that target those "cheap people" anyway? Seems like they would be a waste of ad budget in any case.


Paying subscribers have money and get complimentary copy. Non-paying subscribers get complimentary copy and garish advertisements as a punishment to encourage subscription. I'm not sure getting rid of the punishment ads is necessarily helpful to drive subscriptions. My understanding of the complimentary copy marketplace is its informal, "here's this nice news release of ours, now you wouldn't want us to pull our ad budget, would you, so you know what to do."

I'm not aware of any journalistic experiment where readers get to select between ads and complimentary copy. In theory it should be economically possible. Maybe even a slider bar where you can smoothly pick any ratio such as 20% ads and 80% complimentary copy? I'm pretty good at reading thru B.S. so I'd go complimentary copy, my elderly MiL needs help not getting ripped off so she's best pushing the slider to ads... of course putting my best interests in direct opposition to the advertisers isn't going to work well...


Yes, exactly: most advertisers would want to reach the sort of paying subscribers who no longer see ads. By removing all ad impressions from that segment of the audience, you disproportionately decrease ad revenue.

(Also, digital advertising is still very far from efficient)


Why should we bend over backwards for advertisers but not paying customers?


I don't follow the question. I'm not suggesting we bend in any direction, merely pointing out that this sort of "freemium" ad-or-paid site is much harder to pull off in practice than it might seem at first blush. At some point it resembles "nag-ware" style shareware from the 90s.


Most likely because advertisers pay much more.


I pay for the NY Times, but I don't feel like I'm a customer. I'm a supporter. I think the NY Times is an excellent newspaper, and I fear for the future of newspapers. I also think the NY Times' web presence is superb.

For example, this: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/29/magazine/voting-rights-act...? I think it's excellent in both content and presentation. I want to support them so they can continue doing it.


I pay for the NY Times and use an ad blocker. They cover a lot of subjects that wouldn't be covered any other way.

I agree it'd be nice to not have ads but there are other people who find them interesting. That's one of the reasons I don't read magazines anymore - the amount of ads is way out of proportion to the value of the content.


I tried to subscribe to a danish newspaper online (their online version), and I couldn't even pay by creditcard. These companies really live in the past.


Don't try to use credit cards with the "grew up in the great depression" generation. Pull a graph of percentage of the population participating by individual age, and the graph of newspapers looks like pro sports or nightly network news, the majority crossover age is around fifty years old. Something like 80% of people over 70 subscribe to a newspaper and watch major league baseball, and for people under 30 the percentage is about 20%. Probably varies a little by country, but culture is more uniform than most people think.

The problem isn't that a crossover age exists; look at medical ads, young people eventually get old. The real problem is the crossover age has been going up about one year per year for some decades now.


People in their 50s today were born in the late 1950s, early 1960s, which is not anywhere near growing up in the Great Depression. If you grew up during the Great Depression, you were born in the early 1920s. That'd make you 90+ years old today. 90+ year olds only account for about half a percent of the population (http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-03.pdf). 99.4% of the population doesn't remember the Great Depression as a real thing.


To keep with the neighborly analogy what's happening is your neighbor is opening up his garage and lining it with magazines and comfortable seating for you to sit for free and read. However he's also lining his driveway with folks pitching you on goods and services on your way there. You're saying to heck with that and jumping over the fence right near the garage entrance and popping straight in. Your neighbor knows that type of abuse can occur and it's really up to them to decide how they want to handle it. But to pretend that you and he and the advertisers don't understand the implied relationship is disingenuous.

For all those saying "get a subscription model!" remember this. A subscription model, by its very definition, implies that both of us expect a repeat, longer term relationship. Understand if that's the only way to monetize content on the internet it'll change the type and way content is created.


Oh, the memories. I haven't seen this metaphor fight in like 8 years now, since web annotation basically died. And here we finally are with a version of this debate that people actually care about, because there's actual money at stake. Finally my years of prep are ready to pay off!

First, I suggest everyone resist metaphors. Physical metaphors don't work here at all. For one thing, the "free content" may in the future decide that you can't load the content in the page until after the ads and trackers confirm that you have indeed loaded their content and executed it to some degree, which wrecks every physical metaphor you can come up with. Physical content is dead. Web content is code. It gets to do code-y things. No physical metaphor will keep up.

Next, this obviously produces an arms race. The first iterations of this will be stupid and client-side, because it's cheap. When that doesn't work, server-side things can be done so that at the very least, you must download the ad; that can be confirmed fairly well in a non-forgeable way. The ads will also run arbitrary bits of code in an attempt to verify that they've really been shown; the client side plugins will retaliate by simulating the relevant code and not actually showing the ad. With the current state of web technology, this would stabilize in a sort of middle ground, where the client-side correctly doesn't render the ads, but the requisite requests to convince the server that you can see the content would by necessity still leak tracking information in order to convince the servers to show it at all. You could try to do things like use client-side stuff to scramble those values and share them among users or something, but that's fairly easy to detect at scale.

Where that becomes particularly relevant though is that the clients at this point are becoming increasingly outright deceptive and duplicitious. Instead of passively failing to render ads, actively deceiving the remote systems opens a new door both legally and ethically. At some point after this the publishers have both a legal and ethical case that you are not merely "experiencing the content as you wish", but actively defrauding them.

This, of course, won't stop people from arguing they have a right not to be tracked or advertised at, which means that they will essentially be arguing in favor of a right to have their programs make fradulent requests in order to get this "free" content. Which is fine and dandy locally, but consider what that means globally... and in particular, at this point how do you argue that it's ethically wrong to put trackers and ads in content, and for that matter even spyware, if the "other side" is retaliating in kind? If you're not careful with the ethics here you surprisingly find that you end up arguing in favor of the very things you thought you were arguing against, and end up making a "good for me but not for thee" argument, which even if you do end up believing that is still not a very powerful or compelling ethical/legal position.

Pardon if I'm leaping about 4 steps further down the road than most people here are at... I worked this all out about 12 years ago. (It's a bit dated now and I cringe a bit at the writing style, as befits any writer linking to something they wrote 12 years ago, but you can see what I worked out at http://www.jerf.org/iri/blogbook/communication_ethics . Perhaps remarkably, it is dead on topic for this very debate... there's a lot of related issues here.)


Where that becomes particularly relevant though is that the clients at this point are becoming increasingly outright deceptive and duplicitious. Instead of passively failing to render ads, actively deceiving the remote systems opens a new door both legally and ethically. At some point after this the publishers have both a legal and ethical case that you are not merely "experiencing the content as you wish", but actively defrauding them.

Do you think we should still have the right to close our eyes, to look away, to refuse to watch, to put our hands over the screen? Would you consider that "defrauding" too? That's what it ultimately comes down to: the personal freedom to choose precisely the content you want to consume, vs. the desires of publishers to force-feed you what they want.


No.

If you really want to know what I think, I basically linked a book that describes it. The writing may not be my best ever but the ideas have as far as I'm concerned stood the test of 15 years of tech development, which is, if I dare say so myself, not bad. No need to make up strawmen; you've got plenty of content to criticize.


You are assuming the adblockers will enter said arms race, which they don't really have to. What is the provider to do when I refuse to render his add? Block me from content? My guess is, given the necessity of disabling the ad blocking to view content, many users will simply bounce from that content. Content is cheap compared to the scarce attention we pay to each subject when we have so much information so easily accessible.


If it's something you are really looking for I am not sure you would bounce so quickly. What if it's the answer to a bug you are trying to solve? Or a video on how to fix a problem with your car? Plenty of content is valuable and rare enough that people would disable their ad blocker for it - the frivolous stuff not so much though.


Newspapers have successfully used a combination of subscription and advertising for a century now.


Maybe not the best example: http://i.imgur.com/0mgT0AR.jpg


Not how up to the .com bust the newspapers were actually making more money than before. The collapse of the market took a heavy toll, both on newly minted online media as well as on established media that had made the jump to online.


The downturn in revenue also coincides with the rapid expansion of Craigslist, which devoured the previously pretty reliable classifieds revenue.

But print readership was going down for a while before then. TV news was on the rise. I think it was a lot of factors at once.


Exactly and for the subscription model to work provide quality content.


Publishers have done this to themselves with obstrusive intersitals; slow, over-the-content pop-ups; autoplaying video and audio ads; and other extremely annoying and degrading ad implementations. They have destroyed the browsing experience. If publishers were more ethical with their implementations of advertising technologies, fewer people would be driven to use ad-blocking.


I personally never bothered with ad blocking until every other site hit me with stupid landing pages (like on Forbes), exhortations to try their mobile app instead of their site (every Tapatalk-enabled forum ever), pleas to take a feedback survey before I've even seen anything that warrants feedback (MSDN), and modal ads that don't load until I try to scroll down to continue reading the content (soooooooooooo many blogs).


It has really gotten bad. It's all a desperate grasp for ever shrinking ad dollars. Users get wise to the tactics and develop coping behaviors. You can track our eye movements and see we don't ever once even look at the common areas where ads lie. Popup boxes get closed in less than a second, with many people not even registering that it ever opened [0]. I've personally taken to sliding my cursor past the top edge of the page to see if the "subscribe to our mailing list" dialog appears, in some cases bailing on the article completely just because it's not valuable enough to me to bother after that affront. Major advertisers are swooning over 0.5% click through rates! That's not just random chance, that's a set of users highly-trained in the art of dodging ads, with an extremely-low-but-not-yet-zero failure rate!

Advertising is dead. Good riddance.

[0] Which has also killed the modal informational dialog in desktop applications. I've ran training sessions for internal enterprise software and the users literally could not remember there was a dialog mere seconds after dismissing it.


You seem to easily shrug off your conclusion. But it makes me shiver to think about that future. If advertising is dead, what else is Google going to do with all that data it has on us? Sell to the highest bidder?


They have already. That cat is long, long out of the bag. [0]

I'm starting to think it makes more sense to make sure everyone has my data to make sore no one has a competitive advantage because of it. No, seriously though, I don't literally want to do that, but I'm starting to think in terms of that and what can we do about it. I don't think it's avoidable. I don't know how you would manage such a thing. But I think the only thing keeping us anywhere near safe is the basics of competition between these various companies. If one of them can succeed at creating their dream of a walled garden social network from which user activity never escapes, I think we will be far worse off.

Most people don't care about privacy, they only care about getting free stuff. As long as there are almost no consequences to the lack of privacy--or consequences that our culture can easily turn around and use to shame the victim [1]--then nothing is going to change.

The FOSS community isn't helping any. They turn their noses up at such prosaic projects as social media. How difficult would it be to make a decentralized twitter clone? It's apparently impossible, since it has been discussed numerous times and still hasn't happened yet. And how would it be different from RSS? Look where that went.

I think the only hope we have is the complete implosion of advertising income as a business model on the internet. It is heading there, but the response has been to pour fuel on the fire. I think we're going to have to see some companies going bankrupt before we'll see major change. Otherwise, they'll just click-fraud leech money out of the system in a state of equilibrium.

[0] Also, between my prior work in the defense industry and my wife's current work, the OPM hack has destroyed any semblance of privacy for my data.

[1] RE: people losing jobs over things they've posted on Facebook. Millenials didn't invent being a jackass. They're just the first generation to have it broadcast live for their teachers, parents, and bosses to see.


It's a Tragedy of the Commons situation: When we block ads, we do it relatively aggressively, so those that implement advertising in an acceptable way get crushed anyway. You are either using ads people don't see, or doing terrible things like many Minecraft mods, often downloaded by kids, and hosted at a particularly nasty site where the obvious download link gives you malware. To block horrible things like that, we also sink anyone trying to use sensible advertisements. Behaving like a good citizen just gives a website less revenue, and gains them pretty much nothing.

At least one ad blocker tried to avoid this by marking some advertisements as legitimate/unobtrusive, and not blocking them. That didn't fly very well, as the rest of us just claimed that they were in league with advertisers, and just using this unblocking as a different source of revenue.

That's why the good actors are moving towards mixing advertisements and other content to be so similar as to be impossible to filter. Sponsored stories, content modified to add a few links to advertisers and such. Pay people not to post advertisements on their page, but to actively talk about you in the same way they talk about other things on their site.


> That's why the good actors are moving towards mixing advertisements and other content to be so similar as to be impossible to filter.

Which in a way is even worse outcome. It creates a conflict of interests for the publisher and makes it harder for the reader to trust the article - because you often can't tell if at any given point, the author is writing sincerely, or just advertising his sponsors.


> so those that implement advertising in an acceptable way get crushed anyway

I have yet to see any ad blocker that blocks a simple link along with text like "I used this and here's how it helped me". I don't consider any other forms of advertising "acceptable".

> Pay people not to post advertisements on their page, but to actively talk about you in the same way they talk about other things on their site.

A couple of sites I read occasionally mention products they've used, and now that they're popular, they also mention whether or not they're getting any money for mentioning the product. As long as that money gets mentioned, and the actual opinion is genuine, I see nothing wrong with this.


> I don't consider any other forms of advertising "acceptable".

Now, that's not fair. There is no such thing as "if you build it, they will come". If you are building a thing and you want people to come and use it, you have to advertise in some form. Even if you're making a diner on the side of the highway, you have to put up a sign "Eat at Joes" so people know that you exist and will pull over to try you out.

The problem is that online advertisements these days aren't even designed to inform potential consumers, they're just a mechanism to leech money out of paying customers via selling a dream to content producers that they might be able to make a living off of their craft.


> Now, that's not fair. There is no such thing as "if you build it, they will come". If you are building a thing and you want people to come and use it, you have to advertise in some form.

I stand by my statement: the best way to do this is to build something awesome, show it to people, and have them be so excited about how much it helped them that they jump at the chance to show others. Bonus if you build something that gets more valuable the more people use it (even if only by having more people share related tools and tips for it), so people have an active incentive to share it with others.


How do you show it to those people in the first place? I'm working on VR software. None of my friends care about games that much, say nothing about even know what an Oculus Rift is.


A few ideas off the top of my head:

Go to a gaming conference and show it to people there.

Talk to some of the well-respected (note: that's not the same thing as popular) gaming folks on YouTube or Twitch, and let them try it.

Find well-respected gaming bloggers/reviewers and show it to them.

If what you're building is VR but not exclusive to gaming, talk to people in the field it applies to.

Go to a technology conference and talk about how you built the software or how you solved some particularly interesting challenge.

If you're building on some other projects, talk to the authors of those projects, and show them what you've built (along with giving them credit in your own project).

Make a video yourself and post it to YouTube, in concert with any of the above.

Start building a network of people who are interested in what you do, so the next time you can just post interesting things to that network.


I agree that these are good things to do, and I actually do most of them already. But how can you consider these things "not advertising", such that you find them acceptable? These are forms of advertising. These tasks aren't managing the project, they are certainly not building the project. That pretty much just leaves marketing the project.


They're certainly a form of advertising or marketing, but the result isn't "an ad", which is what this discussion was originally talking about. You're not paying to get something in front of unwilling eyes and ears, distracting them from what they actually wanted. Every one of the approaches I mentioned will only work if you've built something people want to use and talk about.

Also, out of curiosity, which of the items on that list aren't you already doing?


I haven't talked to any of the YouTube vloggers about my stuff. YouTube is mostly a black box to me right now. I've been doing some live-broadcasting of my coding sessions, saving copies, then some basic editing-for-time-and-focus before posting to YouTube, so I've been getting some exposure on YouTube that way, but I don't follow any gaming channels so I don't know much about it yet.


Yeah, coding videos are going to hit an entirely different audience than gaming videos. Assuming you have something in a playable state, you're looking for some of the more respected LPers and game reviewers on both YouTube and Twitch. Normally, "please try my game" is something they get a lot of and tend to ignore unless they hear it from someone they already trust, but VR is sufficiently awesome that you could likely get through that filter, especially if you're offering to send them everything needed to play. (Though I do wonder, how easily could what you're doing be recorded in a sensible way for an audience other than the person experiencing it?)


Do a Show HN. Post it on Reddit. Just keep honest - "I'm working on this thing, my aim is to make it do This Cool Thing; right now it does this-and-that. Check it out at http://mysite, I'd appreciate feedback.".


The poster I was replying to said he doesn't consider any form of advertising as "acceptable". So according to him, either posting a Show HN is not advertising, or it's not acceptable. I don't see how it could be consider anything other than advertising.


I'd meant that as a description of what subset of things people normally considered "ads" were acceptable, in the same sense that Adblock Plus started using the term "acceptable ads", so I was referring specifically to online advertisements of the form anyone might consider objectionable in the first place. Almost anything that doesn't involve paying to get your stuff in front of unwilling eyes and ears seems fine.

Word of mouth and genuine self-promotion of a useful product is indeed the best form of advertising, and of course Show HN would be a good example of that. You could certainly call that a form of advertising or marketing, but I can't imagine someone finding it objectionable. Not least of which because you can't game it with money; it'll succeed or fail based on how much people like what you built.


The poster wrote that he accepts "the best way to do this is to build something awesome, show it to people, and have them be so excited about how much it helped them that they jump at the chance to show others". Show HN is a way of doing exactly that.



Except the Tragedy of the Common requires a depletable resource of some kind, and unfettered access to it for people who have a vested interest in protecting their own supply but not the supply of others.

That is not online content one whit. My use of the WaPo does not in any way impact another users use, certainly not to the degree that WaPo is loading down my bandwidth with extra code and content above and beyond what I'm there to read. Seriously, by the time I'm done reading this article (http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/08/03...), they've used up 5MB of my bandwidth, for 5KB of text. Literally 1/1000th. It gzips down to half of that. In the time it took me to write the last three sentences, it's now up to 25MB. I'm not the one choosing to use up their server resources. They're doing it to themselves.

My hosting fees for all the sites I run combined come up to around $50/mo. I can't even begin to imagine what it would be for 1000 times more traffic. I assume it's not linear, but lord help me if it is.

There is no end in site for online content. When I can get a perfectly good substitute to the NY Times just by scanning the plethora of free blogs and social media posts from people who are doing it because they like it, because it's important to them, because they are living it, then there is no end in site to online content.

People will pay for valuable things. The problem is that this age of "you have to play the blogging/social media game to find any relevance in the public conscience" thing has created a functionally infinite supply of articles all saying basically the same thing. But turn on the TV, flip to CNN, and what are they talking about? "What are people saying on Twitter?" Why put up with ads to pay for secondary sources when I can go to the primary, where their advertising is nowhere near as intrusive?

An artist I really like releases a new album and I buy it right away because I want to listen to it on repeat. If I really liked a movie I saw in a theater, I preorder it right away (at current theater ticket prices, plus going with my wife, plus typical Blu-ray prices, I'm spending around $60 a movie, if I really like it).

Oh jeez. The WaPo article is 35MB now, and they just played a little "dink" sound, I'm guessing to try to catch my attention and get me to come back to... what? To an article I've now long disengaged with. These tactics works? This gets people to buy? This is worth all this infrastructure to try to leech out that one converted sale out of every 10,000 people?


> Except the Tragedy of the Common requires a depletable resource of some kind, and unfettered access to it for people who have a vested interest in protecting their own supply but not the supply of others.

The depletable resource is user patience, i.e. how much shit they're willing to take before they start blanket-blocking ads. If every publisher stuck to simple, unobtrusive and relevant ads then readers wouldn't block them. But some publishers/ad creators/ad networks decide that they want more money so they make their ads more attention-grabbing, and then the others do the same, and then users get tired and start blocking, and everyone is worse off.


Tragedy of the Commons just requires sufficient negative externality; depletable shared resource is an example of a source of such externality, but not the only form it can take.


I too don't mind ads, even targeted ones, if it's in moderation and secondary to the content. If it intrudes on the experience, performance, or security, I will filter or avoid it. Unfortunately the prevalence makes it much easier to filter all than just the majority.

If someone knows of something like uBlock with default whitelists, I want to know and try it.


The kind of ads is one thing, but to me the underlying issue is that I don't want to be tracked and online advertising is all about tracking people.


arguably HTML 5 is a co-culprit here - it is the new Flash and has massively worsened the situation. Try running a modern home page on anything other than a fast Intel chip or ARM chip and it's basically unusable (Rpi, low end Arm phones). Browsers are the new bloatware and make Microsoft Office look like vi.


I would add javascript to that list - I have a cheap laptop with an Intel Atom that's my main computer at home, and the biggest thing I did to make browsing useable was install no-script, and only enable the scripted required to make a page work. It's ridiculous how badly some javascript locks pages up, on the most innocuous of pages - For example, Wikimedia pages are unusable, and lots of blogs have badly written javascript (for unknown reasons) which end-up slowing FF to a crawl. After disabling the majority of the scripts on those pages (Which aren't usually necessary to view the page anyway) things are more then usable.


Do you block ads on Google's products?


Google ad networks frequently display ads that are designed to trick you into installing malware. That is true for both the text only Adwords ads you get in search results [1], and the display ads Google runs on other sites[2].

For many years Adwords was probably the biggest risk to people setting up a new computer and wanting to download things like Firefox.

When supposedly the best and most responsible sector of the online advertising market was prepared to profit from malware distribution for years then it's no wonder the entire industry has a reputation in the gutter.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8879229

[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9870479


Let me start off by saying I have clicked (on purpose) on less than 10 ads in my whole life. It's to the point that I have what can best be described as "Ad Blindness", I don't even see them anymore. So much so that sometimes I think I've reached the end of an article because my eyes have determined that below is only ads only to find it's an ad in the middle of the content or actually part of the article (Just to reiterate I sometimes gloss over real content that fits my mental model of an "ad").

I have used blockers a lot before (If I'm not going to click I'd rather not be tracked and deal with the bloat) but recently turned them all off to see what it's like again. It's still the same shit that I don't care about and have no intention of clicking on. 9 times out of 10 its for something I ALREADY PAY FOR (Looking at you DO, AWS, etc) which is annoying because not only do I have to look at it but it just highlights the gross inefficiencies in advertisements.

I do not religiously ready many sites and the ones I do don't offer subscription models. I'd much rather PAY some monthly fee that is divvied up between the sites I actually visit over the course of a month. There are a number of service that have attempted this (Flattr being on the top of my head) but none have made it seamless.

Mobile is the big sticking point. On the desktop I could use an extension that reads some meta data out of a site's head to identify that site and mark it down for receiving a portion of "subscription fee" but on mobile this becomes much more of a challenge as I'm not willing to switch to a single-purpose browser (not that iOS would make it easy even if I did) and there are no browser extensions on mobile and no, I'm not going to do some gross "share" hack to record the sites I visit.

I don't have an answer to all of this, it all sucks. I want to compensate content creators but other than pay-per-view ads (which I mentally block out if not with an ad blocker) I'm never going really help them as it stands currently.


> there are no browser extensions on mobile

Not on iOS. Firefox on Android has extensions.

> I do not religiously ready many sites and the ones I do don't offer subscription models. I'd much rather PAY some monthly fee that is divvied up between the sites I actually visit over the course of a month. There are a number of service that have attempted this (Flattr being on the top of my head) but none have made it seamless.

Lately I'm a big fan of Patreon, and an increasing number of the folks whose work I enjoy use it.

If there are sites, channels, or any regular content you enjoy, and they don't have a subscription mechanism, send them a mail and ask them about adding one.


I find the hardest thing for me related to ad blindness is finding the download link for a software.

We get spammed with so many fake "DONWLOAD HERE!" buttons that it becomes impossible to see the real one.


Let me start off by saying I have clicked (on purpose) on less than 10 ads in my whole life.

I've clicked on hundreds. Thousands probably. For me clicking an ad is a win-win - the site I want to support gets a little money, and the advertiser gets to find out that online ads don't convert to sales so eventually they'll stop buying them. You can support the things you love and drive the ad model off the internet at the same time.

I realise this isn't a workable long term strategy. :)


It isn't me being spiteful on purpose or anything like that I've just honestly never seen anything interests me.


A secondary effect:

ad blockers not only improve the web experience for users (making everything load faster, by blocking unwanted spurious crap), ad blockers are good for the cellcos as long as net neutrality holds true.

Absent net-neut cellcos could in principle charge advertisers for access, but in a net-neut environment there's no money to be gained by carrying the traffic. Traffic which impairs the UX for the paying customers (the smartphone and tablet users).

This is going to be an interesting dilemma for that strong proponent of network neutrality, Google, uh, DoubleClick, right? (Unless they go the third-order route and roll out their own LTE data network, where of course they'll be the advertising gatekeeper and maybe folks who DPI indicates are using ad blockers will get a reduced speed of service ...)


> We also have no ability to screen ad exchange ads ahead of time; we get what they give us. We can and have set policies, for example, to disallow autoplay video or audio ads. But we get them anyway, even from Google. Whether advertisers make mistakes or try to sneak around the restrictions and don’t get caught, we can’t tell. It happens, though, all the time.”

Something's fishy here. Is there any googler here that can respond to these claims ?

> “Print-based organisations were told they needed to evolve, and stop being such dinosaurs, because the web was where it was at…Why should web advertisers be immune from evolutionary or revolutionary change in user habits? …[A]ny argument that tries to put a moral dam in front of a technological river is doomed. Napster; Bittorrent; now adblocking.”

my thoughts exactly. "People" told the same things to the music industry. "You can't adapt, you should die", well let's see how ad networks and content producers survive the adblock revolution.


[deleted]


> what is to stop the ad being switched to something else (video, pr0n eptc) on the 3rd party server?

That's when you're lucky. If you're unlucky it's malware injected via ad networks.

Browsing the web without an adblocker is like sex with multiple partners every day without a condom.


Bad analogy because that could be fun, although diseased. Ads are not fun.

Its more like being a paramedic/EMT and not being allowed to wear gloves on call at blood covered scenes. Well I'm sorry that corporate policy won't let you wear gloves anymore but "we have to" keep profits up for the hepatitis and HIV treatment drug industries so you'll just have to deal with it.

A standard HN automotive analogy would be working as a car mechanic while not being allowed to wear safety gear.


Exactly. People don't block ads because they don't want content providers to get compensated. They block ads because they're actively hostile.


Lost in this debate, for me, is whether online ads actually work and are worth the money. My technical experience with online ads is that it's very difficult to equate the ads with increased sales unless you have a very small sample size.

I've long suspected that online ads are actually more of a scam than anything else. Because you can't easily tie the expenditure to a benefit that ad sellers and hosters (Facebook, I'm looking at you) can promote them without having to back it up with quantifiable results. And that has led to a weird "ad ecosystem" which exists for its own purpose, not for actually trying to sell products (cause it doesn't actually work for that). I think the people most worried about the ad blockers are those that make their money from that ecosystem.


I have a similar impression. Moreover, I think people are actually seriously fooling themselves and each other. There's lot of tracking being done, lots of people looking at "metrics", but when I think about the statistics education of majority of people (including some professional "social media marketers" I know) I come to the conclusion that they don't understand what they're doing and can prove any conclusion they want with the numbers. All those metrics only help people to bullshit themselves and each other.


I want the advertising industry to die.

And I honestly don't care what it takes down with it. If it hurts, we'll find ways around it, Patreon being a good example.


In the current world of abundance, advertising is crucial to content and product producers. Let's say you make an application, how do you sell it if nobody knows about it? You make a nifty product, how do you make people know it exists? Advertising, in principle, is good, the way it is done currently on the Web is awful.


It is human and environmental suicide to keep supporting the advertisement industry which is one of the main driving force behind our society of excess, one that is simply not sustainable.

No matter how much we like to think otherwise, advertisement is barely ethical (it's nothing less than coercion and manipulation). It's time we catch up to it and shut it down, it's a failed experiment that only resulted in bad things, enabling that world of abundance that nobody needed.

I agree with the original commenter, let the advertising sector burn.


I used to think this but I have come around to the opposite opinion. We have tools, these days, to rate and rank products. We have tools to search for them. We have tools to get nifty new ideas out to the public as quick as you can say "gone viral". Buyers don't need advertising at all.

It's purely a system to confound rational consumer choice these days, to maintain the viability of companies that shouldn't be viable, because their product is inferior.


This can work for some products but not for all. For example I rarely do a research on what movie to go to see. If it was not advertised somewhere (e.g.: trailer before another movie, a print ad in a bus stop) then there is little chance I will decide to go and see it. Same goes for applications, yes there are channels for ranking and rating them and most of them are subpar to say the least (with the system often being gamed or skewed because of often lazy users).

I've come to know many of the services and apps I use through channels like podcast and blog advertising. When done right, ads can be enjoyable (for example they are the only thing worth reading in an in-flight magazine)


I can't say I agree.

Advertising is psychological manipulation and in 99% of cases all it does is create a need for something where there was none and where there need not be one.

As a society the West is driven by an obscene need for perpetual and ever-increasing consumption and advertising is primarily responsible for this.

It's a psychological attack on millions, even billions of people that uses their fears, their neuroses and their insecurities against them to generate profits.

They say advertising affects everying whether they know it or not and I do agree with this. The simple act of being exposed to say a Coca-Cola advert is enough to put that brand in your mind.

Here's the kicker though; for many people this is having the opposite effect as intended. I see an advert, for pretty much anything and all it does it make me want to avoid that company's products.

Anything from obnoxious internet ads to cringe-worthy TV ads full of happy care-free dancing actors singing headache inducing jingles. I'll avoid the products they advertise out of pure annoyance and spite.

It seems like more and more people are starting to react this way to advertising and it's a good thing.


As I understand it, they aren't trying to be liked, they are trying to hack your mental PageRank. Name five soft drinks?


Seems pointless when all I do is avoid the ones that are in the forefront of my mind because I saw them in adverts.

I'm not going to buy them either way (I don't drink soda or sugary drinks anyway), so they're not achieving anything other than my disdain.


1) The current world of abundance has reached its peak. 2) Advertising is not crucial to producers, though for commercial producers enough customers to make money is. 3) Advertising in principle is pure evil.


Advertising is also the force that makes the current web free. There are lot of articles, especially on HN, about keeping the web decentralised, keeping it open etc. So far there has been _no_ other way to finance a website than advertising.

Granted, some blogs (stratechery comes into mind) can go behind a paywall but that is because their articles have high value. Personally I like strategies like sponsored posts and similar, however these are not scalable for small producers thus available only for high-traffic websites. I wonder how would sites like Facebook, Blogger, Disqus work if there was no advertising. Also, people clearly want these sites to exist and clearly do not want to pay to use them, what other option there might be?


Patreon is the answer, or things like it.

Potentially, that sort of funding of creators or institutions could permit them to be truly free to create as they please - with no need to answer to corporate advertisers, or anybody else except their most dedicated fan base.


If it's a good product, it will spread by word of mouth. Advertising can help sales, but it's by no means the only way to do sales.


It will also spread by Amazon reviews, Google search rank, positive press, and a great many other means of communication. This is not the 20th century when it was voice, TV, print, or nothing.


Publicity is the lifeblood of commerce. As long as one seller exists, one or more advertisers will also exist to help him sell more. Sad but true.


If all ads get blocked, all advertisers go bust.


There will always be advertising. The point is, we shouldn't tolerate anything but honest, decent one.


why would there always be advertising? there wasn't any for about 400 000 years and we had it for a couple centuries ? a few milleniums at most.


As long as there is more than one product competing for the same application and a benefit for the vendor from getting their product picked, there will be a pressure to convince people to choose in a particular way, i.e. advertising.


I understand why it's a genius strategy from Apple to make mobile browsing free from ads (Googles lifeblood), but I don't see why it's such a huge deal to Google; they already have a mobile platform of their own where ad blocking was always possible and widespread. You could see this step from Apple as an aggressive one towards Google, or just as reaching feature parity with Android on ad-blocking. What will be interesting is whether ad blocking will be widespread on iOS or if it will be like on desktop where it is a power user thing. If it's the former then it will change the web in a big way.

If Apple really wanted to spread ad blocking and disrupt things they should make it an optional install when users first open the browser, "do you want to see ads when browsing", where answering no installs an ad-blocker which blocks all apps not on apples whitelist (which ad networks then pay a sizable sum to be on of course).


> where ad blocking was always possible and widespread.

Majority of people don't root.


Hmm? Firefox and ublock origin don't require root. It won't block in-app ads, but that's not what is being discussed here.


What if I want to use Chrome or default Browser ?


well, let's look at someplace where ads truly work well.

fashion print magazines. buy a vogue and look at the ads. hard to tell apart from the content, glossy, relevant, beautiful. they make up at least 70% of the whole magazine.

i like gruber's ad system on DF, one of the few sites that seem to follow a user/reader centric approach. first you ensure the eyeballs, THEN you show the ads, always paranoid to piss off your readership.

mobile safari adblock in ios9 will hopefully bring movement into this ad game.


Ads can be content. The best ones usually are.


From another thread (still relevant I think):

uBlock, NoScript and RequestPolicy are my tools to control the content my web browser displays. My general rule is that I'll only disable ad blocking on a few trusted sites and never on a site that uses a third-party advertising network.

Most advertising networks have intrusive or annoying ads that actually block my ability to read a site by using pop-overs if my mouse cursor accidentally touches a keyword, divs that obscure content until I've paid sufficient attention to locate and click the "X", auto-playing sounds/videos, etc. If the UX wasn't bad enough, these third-party networks also present a security risk and have been used in the past as delivery vehicles for malware.

In the end if a web site relies solely on intrusive advertising for support and they plead with me to disable adblocking, I'll most likely choose to stop reading/participating on the website rather than make an exception for them.

I really wish the ability to make micropayments to publishers was a thing.


There's a mistake with the bloat diagram, the 8 KB : 6 MB pie chart. Bloat and article slices should be reversed in the diagram.


It's funny how people saying ads should be replaced with a subscription model in different threads are going completely bananas about paywalled articles.

Couple of web newspapers in my country switched recently to 10 articles a month for free and then asking for a subscription. It's awful, it makes me read less and I would prefer to see some ads I'm used to ignoring anyway. Usually I don't know if I like the content before I'm half-way through it. I also don't want to have 20 subscriptions pending every month just to have access to a reasonable portion of the internet.

The web has already killed most of review and proofreading process in press. Lets not kill content quality by taking even more money out of it.


Let me show you a model of a decent web news paper that could get by with ads and no paywall:

     |----------------------------------|
     | MY AWESOME NEWSPAPER             |
     |----------------------------------|
     | category | links | cool | topics |
     |----------------------------------|
     | Article Title         | Ads      |
     |                       |          |
     | Article content arti  | A bunch  |
     | cle content article   | of static|
     | content.              | not      |
     |                       | annoying |
     |  |---------------|    | ads      |
     |  | A cat picture |    |          |
     |  |---------------|    |          |
     |                       |          |
     | Article content arti  |          |
     | cle content article   |          |
     | content.              |          |
     |                       |          |
     |----------------------------------|
     | footer links & copyright notices |
     |----------------------------------|
Simple as that. Just don't shit on your users. If they have ad blockers, kindly ask them to whitelist your site.

> Lets not kill content quality by taking even more money out of it.

What content quality?


This is the basic format that I wish web designers would follow. Also, I wish ad networks wouldn't be sleazy and allow anyone to use their services (scammers, malware producers, and the like should be categorically banned from an ad network). If the latter was fixed then the former would be possible.


Could the push functionality of HTTP/2 worsen the problem ? Ad block could limit the downloaded data by selecting it. With the push capability it won't be possible anymore. Network bandwidth could be wasted with the ads. Thebrowser could still filter its display though.




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