Ads don't generate money · 2007-09-10 04:46 by Wladimir Palant

The Adblock discussion started by Danny Carlton’s half-hearted attempts to exert pressure on Mozilla Corporation continues. Now the “big players” entered the game, in the last few days I was contacted by reporters from NY Times, BBC World, National Public Radio, and several others. Their criticism of Adblock Plus is different — and more convincing. After all, nobody can deny that Adblock Plus is taking revenue away from content providers thus undermining the foundation of the Internet, right?

Well, not really. I found two nice articles that put these accusations into the right perspective: Adblock: Adapt, or die and Adblock doesn’t matter. Get over it. And I have something important to add: advertisements don’t generate money by themselves. There is no rich Uncle Goo who gives everybody a penny for each ad just for the fun of it. The money comes from somewhere else and it is important to keep this in mind.

So, where does the money come from? Basically, there are two possibilities. One is purchases done on the Internet. The other is investments by companies who usually hope that these investments will help their products sell better. Advertisements are only a mechanism to distribute this money (one of many mechanisms). And usually, the idea is to distribute the money depending on how much revenue a particular site generated for the advertiser. That’s right, it is not important how many ads have been squeezed into each single web page, it is not important how many times they have been viewed, it is not even important how many users have been distracted from what they were doing. It is only important how many people actually decided to click through to advertiser’s site and to buy something, thus justifying this ad (I admit, this is a very simplified view but that’s the general idea).

Now what happens if people start to block ads? First of all, everybody who hates ads and wouldn’t click them anyway now blocks ads. And this can make advertisers really happy because instead of wasting their bandwidth (and money) they now only serve ads to people who are interested in them. They also get better statistics and can see which ads people find more interesting — without having to estimate the number of people who wouldn’t click any ad.

But there is also a second group who blocks ads as well — people who don’t really mind ads but decide to block them because they get so annoyed. I think here of ads that start to play sounds when you enter a site or ads that overlay site’s content until you find the “Close” button and click it. But ads are not like popups, there is no simple technical solution that will block every single ad on the Internet. You need to define a filter for each ad server, with the consequence that the ads blocked by filter subscriptions or private filter lists are likely to be the most annoying ones. I really hope that in the long term that will cause annoying ads to generate less revenue, so that we will finally have an economic factor discouraging annoying ads (good will is obviously not enough).

To sum it up, does blocking ads mean that the money streams on the Internet will dry out? I don’t think so, that would only happen if the amount of money to be distributed becomes smaller — and I don’t see any reason why this should happen. But the distribution pattern might very well change, with the effect that those who really deserve it (don’t inflate statistics by putting unreasonable numbers of ads into web pages, don’t trick users into clicking on ads and don’t annoy users in general) would earn more money.

Update (2007-09-10): More interesting perspectives: Why Online Display Advertising is Like Crack, Adblock doesn’t scare me

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Comment [67]

  1. rick752 · 2007-09-10 06:15 · #

    And don’t forget the third group, Wladimir (which was one of the main reasons I started writing filters to begin with) ... the group that simply does not trust the ad or the serving of the ad itself. Whether it is the content of the offer or (especially) the code contained within its deliverance.

    Sites that host ads have never had ANY responsibility for the content that they are serving. Retail stores have to be responsible and make good on the products that THEY sell … ad hosting sites NEVER did. They have no liability at all if you get either a trojan, a keylogger, a tracker or you simply getting ripped off by the company. Unlike newspapers, television, radio, and magazines, web sites have no idea what products will be sold on their sites or how benign or malicious any given code is or how reputable that company is.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    That’s actually the first group – people who will block any ad ;)

  2. rick752 · 2007-09-10 07:07 · #

    Even advertising knows that what they are doing is not right. I find that the following article and the ensuing comments (by what seems to be people in advertisement) is one of the most interesting article and comments yet.

    http://blogs.mediapost.com/spin/?p=1121

    It seems to really capture the spirit of “what’s wrong with advertising” as commented on by advertisers. A VERY fine, intellectual read which places NO blame on ABP. The comments seem to echo that too.

  3. Ricardo C · 2007-09-10 08:12 · #

    I totally agree with your post.

    I’m on the latter group, I mean, I installed the extension because it’s quite annoying to find those nasty ads in the middle of a web page, that expands every time you inadvertently mouse-over them.

    I don’t mind having a couple of banners or text ads, in fact, I DO CLICK on ads on sites that POLITELY ask me to do so (the classic ‘If you like the content, please click on the ads’). But on sites with aggressive ads like those goddamned CSS layers that cover the entire page, I definitely won’t click on anything (but the back button)

    As many persons have said, if somebody is at least vaguely interested in an ad, he/she wouldn’t install an ad blocking program/extension/whatever in the first place.

    Also, this is not the first attempt to block ads!! Many programs do so, like Zone Alarm or Norton (and I used both), and nobody has complained!! But, since yours is free, has had much more exposition.

    Advertisers (and browser-blocking kids) are missing the point: The solution to avoid ad-avoiders is not hostile campaigns, or potential clients will eschew their sites… and their products as well!!!

  4. anonymous · 2007-09-10 12:59 · #

    I can’t hear the topic any more. Those, who think that adblock is evil, will hate it forever. And those, who use it will be happy and continue using it…

    Do you have any statistics of more downloads than before this? Is there an impact due to publicity? It would be nice to see how the ad-addicted cut off their nose to spite their face by blogging/reporting about it…

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Yes, Adblock Plus definitely had quite a few new users. Especially the NY Times article made quite an impact on my stats.

  5. LorenzoC · 2007-09-10 15:26 · #

    But above all… You made a software that everybody likes and uses for free. Your software makes everybody Web life better. Do you need to excuse for that?

    I would like to point out that the ability to filter ads was introduced in all the browsers but IE right because it was one of the best features available in Firefox and actually is a must.

    I am using Opera right now and there a nice “block content” feature.

  6. Joe @ Escape Job Hell · 2007-09-10 18:26 · #

    Thanks, I appreciate the link.

    You make a lot of great points. If a webmaster provides great content, and has a loyal subscriber base, they can make money. Whether or not people block ads, the internet is full of opportunities.

    Webmasters who take offense need to realize that the internet is an ever-changing market, and sometimes you just need to realize that you have to change with it.

    Either way, I love Adblock Plus, and I’m not going to stop using it.

  7. pirlouy · 2007-09-10 19:17 · #

    Wladimir Palant… This name was written very small on adblock home page 2 years ago.
    Now it’s mentionned in NY Times ! What an ascension… Tell us when you’ll be on TV ! :P

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Actually, that’s the second time they quote me in the NY Times – previous article was in May.

  8. Pesti · 2007-09-11 18:52 · #

    I stopped watching TV years ago mainly because I hate having
    5 minutes of hard-sell advertisements shoved down my throat every 10-15 minutes.I remember when cable TV first came out
    and the biggest boon to sales was that they offered the enjoyment of actually watching TV without commercials, for a price yes, but damn, it was worth it. Well that option is no longer there unless you also pay for “Premium channels”. I could go on but everyone understands what I’m getting at. Now
    I pay for Internet use, and Thank God for people like you that
    have given me the ability to not be “force fed” Thankyou Wladimir, and keep up the good works, your one of my Heros!!

  9. netdragon · 2007-09-11 22:17 · #

    I have a little insight on this since it’s the industry I work in. You are sort of and sort of not costing publishers money and it all depends on the type of campaign and the pricing model. If it’s a pure CPM pricing model billed off the publisher’s numbers, for instance, then you won’t be affecting publisher revenue. If it’s billed off the agency’s numbers, then it will affect revenue since the ad didn’t display. Additionally, ROI is considered by agencies based on numbers of served files, clickthrus, surveys, and although people could argue that the numbers are hurt by ad blocking, I imagine these are individuals who would make an effort to ignore the ads anyway. So it’s a mixed boat, and depends on circumstances.

    You can miss out on a lot by blocking some ads. For instance, there are some ads that allow you to take advantage of certain promotions at places you’d shop anyway, or shows you would watch if you knew about. The industry works it’s best to target ads as well as possible so you don’t get what you otherwise be interested in. There are also some very well designed, exciting microsite style ads that you may look at and go “wow, they put a lot of work into this”. However, if it’s a “punch the monkey” type ad, I don’t really blame you. I understand it can get annoying sometimes, even though it is the industry I work in. In the near future, people may want adblock for their eyes when walking down the street (if you’ve seen Minority Report, you’ll know what I’m talking about).

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Even if the metric is files served or similar, in the long term the ads that are blocked only make the ads that are not blocked more valuable – the amount of money distributed through ads will not change. After all, ad pricing isn’t random, it is a result of demand and offer. Of course, some publishers will have more ads blocked than the others, and those will loose money while others win. But that’s a positive side-effect, it creates pressure to choose ads that users will not block.

    As to missing out when blocking ads – yes, you might be right. And targeted ads are probably part of the solution. But as long as ads try to force people to look at them Adblock Plus will increase in popularity.

  10. netdragon · 2007-09-11 23:39 · #

    I forgot to mention, the industry largely ignores Adblocking right now because a large percentage doesn’t use it, and there are much bigger things to concern itself with. If adblock started becoming a standard thing, it’s possible agencies may someday consider ways to detect in real-time when ads are blocked so that publisher CPM values could be re-priced accordingly. It’s also possible new methods to trick adblocking software could be divised (we could have a new type of CDN that quickly shifts between domain names on the fly). A much more insidious, but much more unlikely, result would be publishers blocking content for users who are blocking ads. I don’t think content groups would generally go for that because they’d be, in essence, shooting themselves in the foot. I think, though, the success of adblocking in general will be, unfortunately, tied to keeping it to a small percentage of users.

  11. rick752 · 2007-09-12 05:11 · #

    @netdragon:

    “... the industry largely ignores Adblocking right now because a large percentage doesn’t use it”

    While this is probably HALF-true, there is the other reason … talking or acknowledging the existence of ABP (whether good comments or bad) is a lose-lose situation for ad companies. I will guarantee that the large advertisers are hating ANY discussion about ABP because the articles draw one of two conclusions (and I have said this on other sites). The only conclusions are:

    1. Adblock Plus works great!
    2. Adblock Plus is bad because it works great!

    This kind of publicity, no matter how it is presented, will make ABP even more popular … and the ‘smarter, large sites know that.

    As far as detection methods go, many sites have “tipped their hand” and beating this plugin is becoming even more difficult because of the experience I have gained from other ‘tricks’. I’ve already seen many of the things that you have mentioned and so far I have been able to keep up. I have a pretty good idea now what most of the ‘tricks’ are and how the structure of my filters and the features of Wladimir’s program can combine to pretty much defeat the standard ‘work arounds’. “WhyFirefoxIsBlocked” had to resort to blocking Firefox because his trick (which actually wasn’t that bad) was beaten. I keep telling people that you can’t use my filtering against me (which most try to do) because it is mine to modify and change. They need to find something else.

    I don’t understand all of the press lately about a plugin that may affect 1 or 2% of all internet users. The more press .. the higher the numbers will go. I personally hope that the user-base stays smallish … less work for me ;-)

  12. haX0r · 2007-09-14 02:00 · #

    watch this jerk;

    ...

    we should do something about him.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Sorry but I removed the link – this guy already got much more attention than he deserves. I for sure don’t want links here to the pile of pure stupidity that he calls a weblog. As to doing something about him – I am already at it :)

  13. Paul A. · 2007-09-14 12:57 · #

    I think this discussion is quite simple. If people dont want to see ads then they should not visit ad-financed websites. I think a adblocker is fine. But I also think its fair to block users with adblockers from websites.

    Visiting a site that is ad-financed with a adblocker is the same as taking a newspaper or magazine from a shop without paying for it.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    I am paying for Internet access – and I am paying for the newspapers I buy. But nobody can force me to look at ads (both in newspapers and on the Internet) if I don’t want to. At least the ads in newspapers have the advantage that they don’t jump out screaming on you…

  14. Paul A. · 2007-09-14 13:20 · #

    I also dont look at ads in the newspaper, internet or TV. I dont like ads, they are trying to sell me something I dont want or dont care about.

    But I do like ad-financed stuff, I dont want to pay for online news. If everybody used adblockers then the internet would become a whole lot different, and I dont think it would be in a good way.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    You don’t pay for anything by not looking at ads, with or without ad blocking software. And I guess you didn’t really read what I wrote in this article…

  15. Paul A. · 2007-09-14 14:02 · #

    Yes I read the article :-)

    Not looking at ads and preventing them from being shown is not entirely the same. A free adbased newspaper still gets its money if I dont look at the ads, and that is the same for some ads on the internet.

    I am a little concerned about how adblockers will affect the internet. But I dont think that the blame is to be put on adblockers, they would not be around if some websites wasing putting a unreasonable numbers of ads into some websites or using ads that popup or fly in over the pages.

    But I better stop before I get too much off-topic here. But I think its an interesting topic.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Even if the publisher gets paid by impressions (which is an exception rather than rule nowadays) – if more people download the ads without giving advertisers any revenue (e.g. by clicking and buying something) the publisher will simply get paid less for the impressions in the long term. The money has to come from somewhere, you don’t spend money by simply downloading ads.

  16. Dan Larsen · 2007-09-14 14:52 · #

    This link:
    http://showip.net/adblock.php
    show a very simple way of detecting the Adblock Plus plugin…

    Have fun! :-)
    Dan

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    I know. And I already uploaded a development build that closes this hole.

  17. Gordon · 2007-09-14 22:23 · #

    It seems that people are talking past each other. Some say that blocking all ads will cause problems for content providers who want to avoid subscription costs, etc. And Wladimir’s most common response is that reasonable ads will be more cost effective than obnoxious ads because of the use of his program. So my question is this – how do I easily configure ABP to show me reasonable ads while filtering obnoxious ads. It seems that all of the subscriptions claim to filter all ads.

    I have started building my own personalized filter by right-clicking, etc, but I don’t have the time or energy to figure out the patterns in the URLs to make these much more effective than simply blocking specific obnoxious ads.

    Do most ABP users follow Wladimir’s ideal of accepting good ads? Or do most ABP users buy subscriptions that give them pretty much ad-free browsing?

    I for one appreciate appropriate ads, and click thru occasionally. For a while I have purchased Google ads for my own fledgling business, and I hope that other folks like me see what I offered. It seems to me that all of the subscriptions will block Google ads, which I consider to be the among the least obnoxious things around (even if some pages are obnoxiously full of them).

    I am not so much interested in debate as in finding help configuring my ABP installation.

    Gordon

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Blocking all ads on the entire Internet is pretty much impossible. Subscriptions do a pretty good job right now, but that’s because most ads come from a relatively small number of large advertising servers. Once Adblock Plus becomes sufficiently popular publishers will be forced to move ads to their own servers or comparably small advertising services (this is also one of the preconditions for reasonable ads) – when this happens the subscriptions will no longer be able to catch up (simply because there are way too many web sites out there). It is natural that the most obnoxious ads will be blocked first, those are most likely to be reported.

    However, I also hope that at some point we will be able to categorize filters in a subscription and to leave users a choice about what they want to block. Right now this concept is already partially implemented – e.g. EasyList is only the core filter list, with element hiding rules and filters for tracking servers in their own filter lists. This should be made more straightforward in future.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Oh, and as to configuring your Adblock Plus – you can always disable some filters in the subscription, e.g. the ones blocking Google ads: http://adblockplus.org/en/tips?tip=subscriptions_remove_filter. If you have trouble finding out which filters you need to disable, http://adblockplus.org/en/tips?tip=effective_filter might help.

  18. chewey · 2007-09-15 00:28 · #

    Yes, there indeed is a slight trend towards seemingly random domain names (I guess advertisers noticed that using raw IPs makes blocking them even easier). I am thinking about what to do for a while already. Would it be an option to introduce YANS (yet another new syntax) to block IPs and IP ranges, i.e. to look at every DNS lookup?

    It obviously is not urgent (yet), but may very well turn out to be at some time in the future.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    I guess we need to generalize the syntax somehow :)

    But IP addresses are unlikely to become widespread, they are inconvenient for advertisers – if you move your server to a different data center you are in trouble because you cannot keep the IP address and each site using the service needs to be changed. That’s only an option for really small advertising services.

  19. Gordon · 2007-09-15 05:53 · #

    I am a bit surprised, and definitely disappointed, to read that Wladimir agrees that best current use of ABP is to block as much as possible without regard to whether the ads are “good” or “bad”.

    I will continue to slog my way thru the forums and tips trying to discern if there is an adequate way to do what I would like to do – to be a “good ‘net citizen” who accepts most ads while filtering out the things that I find obnoxious.

  20. chewey · 2007-09-15 09:48 · #

    Well, that’s exactly what I meant ;-)

    The use of IPs backfired badly (from the advertisers’ point of view), so some some of them went for random, often changing domain names, something like lkelrugvb.com, kshgadfui.com, owifguiftz.com etc. – all pointing to the very same server of course. At the moment, I’m still able to catch those via specific strings in their elements’ paths, so this only thwarts “domain name only” blockers in firewalls or routers.

    However, in a case like that, it would be great to have ABP look at the result of the DNS lookup and make blocking decisions based on its result.

    I unfortunately am not familiar enough with Gecko to know if this is even feasible.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    That is hard to say the least. Adblock Plus blocks before DNS lookup is done, getting results of the DNS lookup into the decision is not possible.

  21. LorenzoC · 2007-09-15 10:37 · #

    I still think filtering ANY content from the Internet is my right and I guess it’s pretty silly to try to enforce me to see ads. There are other ways than ADBlock to filter pages. And YES, ALL ADS ARE ANNOYING.

  22. Nikolai · 2007-09-15 19:29 · #

    I completely support the ad blocking and I DO have ads on my website. It is my right (and everyone’s else of course) to see only what I want to see on my computer. HTTP protocol, HTML and all other technical specifications involved in the process allow me to fetch any resources I want and not to fetch anything I do not want ;) So, if someone does not mind to see the ads – fine, if he/she considers them annoying – they have full right to turn them off.

    Ads accompanying the valuable content are ok. Ads blocking the content (like on the TV), ads placed instead of content, abusing the search engines just to show ads instead of the content is evil. The revenue must come from the value at the first place.

  23. Website Design · 2007-09-17 23:08 · #

    I think it’s complete garbage that people are trying to take away my ability to censor what I do and do not see on peoples websites. What If I didn’t want to see any images of cats and someone created a plug in to prevent such a thing from happening. Would anyone care? No. The only difference here are people feel they are going to loose money. The the truth is… people who block ads are people who do not click ads. They only thing that will change are page impressions. And for those of you who get your clicks by confusion and accidentals, you should be ashamed of yourself anyway.

    The sad truth is, as I’ve posted elsewhere before, that most of these people who are complaining about this would not be blogging, having websites, etc if it didn’t pay out as it does. Now do you want to give your time / money to someone like that anyway?

  24. Tim · 2007-09-19 00:36 · #

    How about a compromise between publishers and ad blockers? If you (or someone) could create an option that allows one text ad per page, then:
    1) Publishers will have less reason to complain;
    2) If a lot of people start using that option, publishers will be encouraged to advertise responsibly;
    3) Viewers will have the chance to see ads that might appeal to them, without having to see the obnoxious ads. The reasoning here is that many people say they don’t mind some ads, but too many publishers have abused advertising by including annoying or intrusive ads.

    One thing that’s worth consideration is that not all website publishers are evil corporations who are only interested in advertising dollars. Many of us publish useful websites where the advertisements are secondary, and simply help cover hosting costs and encourage us to keep improving the website.

    I realize this sort of option is easier said than done, but it’s worth thinking about it for the long term.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Then people who use Adblock Plus will see one ad while others might still see a dozen of them. I rather advertise the option that is already there – “Disable Adblock Plus on <site name>”. Hardly anybody will use this option on a site that isn’t respectful of all of their visitors.

    As for the long-term solution, I hope to give people an option not to block text ads. I know many will use it.

  25. Greekchar · 2007-09-19 16:26 · #

    Two things :
    -> thanks Wladimir for your useful tool
    -> just for fun, do you know that the site whyfirefoxisblocked.com uses some piece of a german author javascript ? Strange from the guy that visibly hate them …
    ;)

  26. WhatAreBadAds · 2007-09-22 15:43 · #

    Hi Wladimir,

    Read a lot of your blog posts, and your logic to me as a small time content provider seems to make a lot of sense. I hope that you can understand that content providers are perhaps a little aprehensive about embrassing ABP regardless of what advertising model is used (CPC, CPM, etc) as ultimately if no ads are shown then there is no revenue.

    Anyway, to the point. I know you no doubt have you hands full with ABP, but I was wondering how receptive you’d be to the idea of a some form of ABP certification program for advertisers? Something where content providers such as myself can be certified as being ethical in their use of ads and abiding to a set of rules that specify what is and isn’t acceptable advertising. In retutn for being cetified the content provider would display an “ABP certified” image on the front page of their site (increasing awareness of ABP) linking back to ABP to verify that the site is certified (similar to W3C standards validation). The advertisers would also have thier site added to the whitelist in the default filter list (Easylist unless I’m mistaken?) and ABP user would be able to report non compliant advertisers through a right click function in ABP. Obviously those who outright dispise all types of advertising would be able to subscribe to more aggressive filters.

    My perception (and I could be wrong) is that webmasters who rely on advertising revenue and ABP users seem to be locking heads in arguments that neither side is going to resolve. I’d expect that a good percentage of ABP users don’t hate ads so much as they hate obtrusive/offensive ads. If there where an option to bring ABP user and responsible advertiser together to push forward for a common cause (erradicate obtrusive/offensive ads) then wouldn’t that be a better situation for everyone? It might be a bit idealist, and might not be possible. Just thought I’d throw the idea up there as some food for thought…

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    The suggestion is interesting. Main question is – what is realistic to enforce here? Let’s discuss this in mail.

  27. ads · 2007-09-30 15:34 · #

    Great job, Wladimir! Keep it going.

  28. RaccoonTOF · 2007-10-31 11:00 · #

    re: WhatAreBadAds · 2007-09-22 14:43

    As a new user of ABP, I will say right now, I would LOVE to see this feature implemented if possible – with the caveat that individual ads/sites could still be manually added to be blocked even if they were “ABP Certified”. In fact, I would probably be quite likely to seek out “ABP Certified” sites that I would probably otherwise not even notice, as long as there was some (organized) list of them, just because I would rather frequent sites published and maintained by people willing to go to that effort to satisfy their “customers”. Just off the top of my head and as a place to start with “enforcement”, in order of personal priority:

    - NO Audio ads that play automatically. A link along the lines of “click here to hear a message from our sponsor to find out more” (or whatever phrasing) would be perfectly acceptable.

    - NO ads that react to mouseover, a timer, or in any other way can block any portion of the content of the site when they are activated, except by the user actively clicking on the ad itself as displayed. If you want to place ads on your website, either devote page-space to them, or force “click-to-open” instead of “click-to-close”.

    - Some “reasonable” limit on both filesize and ad server response time, though the latter might be more difficult to put into place and reliably meter, and agreeing on what that “reasonable” limit would be is of course up for debate (or heck, make it/them a user-customizable option in ABP!). Nothing aggravates me more than loading a page that has 2-3 ads on it which it takes 30-45 seconds to even begin downloading the ad to my browser (even though once begun, they download virtually instantly) and the entire pages is held up on loading until those ads are completed.

    - Optional “replacement” ads for users that don’t want to see Flash based ads/animated ads of any kind, but a) don’t want to disable flash/javascript/animated gifs/etc in general and b) would have no problem with having a static image ad in its place instead. This setting should also be configurable by the user from within ABP if possible, with the publisher displaying the alternate static ad in the place of the animated one for those users that desire it. You don’t lose the ad impression entirely, but the user doesn’t get annoyed by the animation either.

    I’m sure there are a lot more that I am missing, but those are the biggest ones I can think of right now. As far as quantity of ads per page, I think that is not a number that can be arbitrarily set. I personally have no issue with a dozen or so static, quiet, unobstructive ads placed within the context of a long page with lots of other content. Seeing those same dozen ads in a page that contains 1-2 paragraphs of content, on a regular basis throughout a site, quickly causes me to avoid that site – even though I have no issues with the types of ads themselves at all!

    P.S. – feel free to contact me directly at the included email address if you decide to pursue this concept further, I’d be happy to either assist in “standards” setting (from both sides of the spectrum) or just to know if/when it will be implemented.

  29. Fred Phol Avatar · 2007-11-10 07:47 · #

    Thank you for keeping the future of Internet alive.

    Lack of a sense of control is one good reason for blocking ads. ABP gives me that sense back.
    Please do not sign any deals like ABP certified if possible (imho, it almost sounds like an oxymoron).

    Sorry, but I do not understand why people use newspapers and magazines as good examples to justify ads. I have stopped all subscriptions to magazines in the past because of ads. There was this moment in history where it was fun to pay for a magazine. Then, there was a trend to fill them with ads.

    Furthermore, just because the ad model seems to work for now it is not an excuse to claim its success. I do like the links in the beginning of this page.

    Ad-financed site is an interesting concept. Sounds like a mouse trap, and I am a mouse. We land at that page without previous knowledge that we are supposed to see or click ads. I wonder what it would look like if there was an option before clicking to the ad-financed site telling me I will be forced to see ads.

    Also, I wonder if we are “trend setters” or “early adopters” instead of a small percentage of “ad-avoiders” that do not matter to the future of the advertisement industry.

    Another thing I worry is the defense for “good ads”. I sort of see their usefulness and pseudo-legitimate usage. However, the only way they can work is by keeping track of habits and an uncanny intimacy with the user (but I guess that takes this comment in a different direction).

    Is there a way for us to make volunteer anonymous donations to people like you so you can keep this kind of work?

    Is anyone out there imaginative enough to create a gadget to show volunteer approval and financial support after the fact?

  30. Ali · 2008-02-09 12:09 · #

    I totally agree with your post, Wladimir Palant. Ads shall never generate any penny, and in fact many ads on the net are total theft and lies (Congrats! you are the 99999999 user! click to claim)

  31. Shagwell Diddykins · 2008-02-19 20:49 · #

    I am one of those that doesn’t ever click on any ads. Ever. If someone wants to force me to see ads to look at their content, I won’t look at their content. It is really that simple. The reason I spend more time on the internet and less watching television is because of advertising.

  32. Andy · 2008-03-17 13:45 · #

    Your argument is based on the premise that there are three groups: one that hates ads, one that doesn’t mind them, but clicks them just for fun, and one that “likes” to see and click ads and buy the advertised products. Sorry, but that’s really naive. Nobody “likes” ads, nobody would buy a newspaper with ads if there was an ad-free version next to it for the same price. The only reason why not everyone is using Adblock is just that few know about it and it doesn’t come preinstalled with Browsers or OSs. If this changed there could be two consequences:
    1) more annoying, aggressive, harder to block ads (“please enter the product name advertised in this ad to proceed”)
    2) the end of free email accounts, free forums, free blog hosting.

    Everyone has the right to block whatever he wants on the web, but please don’t pretend that this won’t have consequences.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    That’s not my experience dealing with Adblock Plus users. Probably the most common critique point is that Adblock Plus doesn’t differentiate – people would like to block the really annoying ads while keeping the static text ads. Most often this is because they actually want to get informed and learn about “the hot new thing”, just not when it comes at the cost of their browsing experience.

  33. Henry · 2008-04-02 20:34 · #

    Hi ! Two things;

    First, I didn’t see this discussed but the main reason I used AB/ABP is speed, because I am in the minority (I think) a place called “Dial-up Hell”. By blocking ads a painful 30 sec page could be reduced to a 20 sec loading. (some pages with flash can take minutes). I can now somewhat enjoy the internet.

    Secondly when I want to buy something online (which I do)I go to the site of my choice, I have done my research and choose a site I want not the many “suggested” sites.

  34. Joel · 2008-04-04 12:12 · #

    @ andy

    I think you’re wrong in suggesting that no one would buy a newspaper with ads if an ad-free one was also available. Saying that “nobody likes ads” is a sweeping generalization, and one that is false. Here’s a real-life example:

    I live in a high-rise apartment building with hundreds of units and nearly every day our mailboxes are bombarded with junk mail. The number of people who throw away these flyers is large because the recycling bin in the mail room is regularly filled with them. However, my girlfriend insists that we keep the flyers for a pharmacy where she has a “points card” and I keep most anything tech-related that shows up. We both keep the grocery flyer each week. These are unsolicited advertisements that we have effectively whitelisted by ensuring that neither one of us throws out ads the other one is interested in. If nobody ever looked at junk mail, people would stop sending it.

    And newspapers are rife with relevant ads of sales and local happenings. Most newspapers even have an entire section devoted to ads called the classifieds. Perhaps no one reads every ad, but the concept obviously works as people sell things, get jobs, and rent apartments using these ads every day. I wouldn’t choose an ad-free newspaper over one with ads.

    Advertising works because all people buy things and most people care about getting a “good deal” when they buy things. My mother will sometimes visit two or more grocery stores in a week if they each have different sales.

    People don’t hate ads, they want ads. But they want targeted, relevant ads. They don’t want to be tricked into clicking on a banner ad online any more than they want to visit a physical store only to find out that their newspaper ad was misleading. Both are a waste of time.

    Do you throw away all your flyers? Do you loathe classifieds because they are ads? Do you hate all tv commercials or just the annoying ones? Do you intentionally arrive later than the start-time of a movie in theatres so you miss the advertisements and previews? Do you know anyone who does all of these things? Of course not, because almost no one hates all ads.

    I don’t want to open my mailbox to flyers with lights that blind me. I don’t want to read a newspaper with ads that cover the text of a story. I don’t want to read a magazine with ads that play music as soon as I turn the page. Yet we are all subjected to these types of ads online. People don’t hate ads, they hate annoying and misleading ads. Hopefully ABP will help reduce these and bring some sanity back into the online world.

  35. Tom Truth · 2008-04-05 14:19 · #

    I block ALL advertisements using a multilayered strategy of which AdBlock is a part. I also block both outbound and inbound traffic from a good 65% of the internet, starting with full class A /8 networks in blackhat regions of the world such as China.

    I didn’t used to block advertisements but started when the annoying dancing flash and shockwave ads started distracting me from reading news reports. I started locking out huge chunks of the Internet when malware started becoming prevalent.

    The only ads I don’t find obtrusive these days are the text ads from Google. If an advertiser wants me to read their ad and possiby buy something then they will serve a small amount to text ads… until that day, SCOTUS says I have the right to block their so-called free speech at MY network perimeter. You see, there is no free speech on private property, my network is my private property. I am the sovereign lord, the merciless god of whatever dwells within, and I punish that traffic which offends me with bannishment.

    It isn’t theft. I wouldn’t click on an annoying ad, I wouldn’t purchase anything from a company that uses them. A company using intrusive advertisements loses nothing to me as I would not support them anyway. It my choice. Get over it.

  36. trademark registration · 2008-04-06 08:02 · #

    Great job, Wladimir! Keep it coming.

  37. dj · 2008-06-10 01:53 · #

    I think that it’s in the site owners best interest to not show their content to anyone who uses ad blockers. If the site has chosen the ad-based model to finance the ongoing existence of their site, as opposed to the subscription-based model, then it’s their right to ensure that anyone who wants to see the content should be required to get the ads served.

    I read in the thread above (from people like Tom Truth in comment # 35) that it’s his right to not have ads come into his own private home network. Sure, I can see that point of view. But it’s the site owner’s right to say OK then, you don’t see their content for free then. You’re free to pay for all your web content and get it ad-free.

    I propose sites offer two models. One is ad-free but requires a paying membership. The other is ad-required and requires no membership. There’s no reason for them to continue giving their content free to people who are determined to try and undermine their existence.

    Sites get their revenue based on how effective the clickthru rates are on their ads versus how many ads they deliver.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Actually, it is in site owner’s best interest to show ads that are not annoying – this way he will both keep his source of income and his users (many of which would either use an ad blocker or go away entirely otherwise). But that requires effort. I already see some sites making this effort – guess which sites will survive in an Internet where a large percentage of users uses ad blockers?

  38. dj · 2008-06-10 17:02 · #

    Did you not notice that you’ve written a plugin for Firefox, which itself can only exist thanks to advertising indirectly via the google toolbar.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Google Toolbar? Where did you pick up that misinformation?

    Clarifications:

    1. Google Toolbar is neither bundled with Firefox by default nor does it have much to do with Firefox funding or Firefox adoption.
    2. Mozilla gets most of its money from Google – thanks to the search bar in the browser which usually defaults to Google (depends on the Firefox locale, in some regions other search engines offer more value to users). Mozilla is paid for the requests originating from this search bar, similar deals exist with Yahoo and other search engines – that’s advertising money of course.
    3. While Mozilla’s income from advertising is impressive, you should also look at the expenses section. Very soon you will realize that this money is “nice to have” but Mozilla doesn’t depend on it.
    4. Finally, please have a look at http://adblockplus.org/blog/mozilla-hurting-google-by-recommending-adblock-plus

  39. Chainsaw · 2008-06-26 21:08 · #

    In the big picture, most people just need to get over the idea that their pastime or hobby is so valuable it ought to be monetized with advertising.

    Large corporations are always going to use the most intrusive advertising possible because it WORKS. It manipulates more consumer drones IN their direction than it does discerning people AWAY from them.

    Look at spam, for example. It exists because, believe it or not, people really DO buy viagra from those ads. And invest in real-estate deals. And download (and pay for) software.

    The thing I like about AdBlock, and similar tools, is that it serves the largest good – that all of us, not just me, get to decide what we view, and we aren’t dependent on some commercial enterprise to tell us what we need to pay attention to.

  40. vidy · 2008-07-02 08:49 · #

    The debate on this article is heating up so I would like to share my opinion on the same.

    I would like to compare websites with and without ADS e.g. consider Wikipedia,

    - does it use ads?? – does it provide quality content???? – is it sustaining itself??? – is it one the most popular website on the web???

    Comparing with Wikipedia i think it is not necessary to have ads to sustain a community, once you get popularity people can donate money to keep your website up and running, you can even get free hosting services from many hosts. Look at Joomla for example

    So I guess it eventually comes down to the quality of information that you provide on your website.

    If however your begin with the aim to make money by hosting ads you are just another fish in the ocean, where is the differentiation?

    Why would people come to your website at all any way if they are bombarded by ads everytime?

    ===============

    Second thought – Bandwidth issues
    It would be a good extension for ABP to show statistics of how much bandwidth is used for ADS compared to the actual content which if often text.

    Results would be astonishing, you will be surprised how much bandwidth these ads consume

    Specially in India or other developing countries bandwidth is still a major issue. So from their perspective I am sure that blocking ads is a good alternative.

    ===============

    Third Thought – Is Content Providers the right term?????

    I see many posts considering content providers as website hosters. but there is a differnce. There needs to be 2 terms here

    1. Infrastructure Providers (Website Host)
    2. Content Providers (can be users who all content)

    So if we look at these two terms, it raises questiosn like – whether infrastr providers are the only one who should get the revenue or should it be shared amongst the users that help to generate the content?

    I am a strong supporter of Revenue Sharing IF Revenue is being generated.

    Overall I think the program is cool. I would also suggest a server side development, which can block the ads right at the tip of my network, so it does not even enter the network and reduce bandwidth significantly

    Cheers
    Vidy

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Adblock Plus cannot show you the statistics, you don’t download the ads so it is impossible to tell how much space the would have occupied. I did some analysis at http://adblockplus.org/blog/anatomy-of-ads however.

  41. passer by · 2008-07-14 19:40 · #

    I used to have a website about my french courses, to give my students and other french learners some lists, tests, exercises, grammar tips and the odd comment. For free.

    Ads paid me very little. Just some dollars over many months. But it covered my website hosting, as I didn’t want to charge the kids for the content. Now I’m remaking the whole site to implement paid content like (locked) download files, subscriptions to grammar chapters etc.

    I only used unobtrusive ads, mind you. I hate loud, obtrusive ads and I wouldn’t include them in my pages.

  42. pyrphoros · 2008-07-21 06:37 · #

    — A tribute for advertisement-blocker softwares.
    — Sorry for bad grammars and vocabulary, I am not native to English.

    I’m against the advertisements

    The more effective the software, the better it is.

    Since – as far as I know – internet was intended for sharing, not commercial-bussiness-big-money thingies. This place used to felt like interconnected libraries, playgrounds, laboratories, worshops. Now, for short, a shopping mall. A chinatown probably. No, more than that, a F1 race car: The ads’ everywhere. On the body of the car, the driver, the helmet, everywhere the ads can flock to.

    Yes, the web has been evolving, and as nature itself evolved, it is natural. Indeed.

    I myself used to attach those advertisements too on my website. Yes they sent me the money. That was when I still in highschool, when they were humble medium-sized .gif animation banners or tiny advertisement buttons.

    Now we can see advertisement banners (or should I call them ‘monsters’) have grown wildly. Now they are flash objects. They are big. Almost a full width of a page. They embedded audio there. They carry tracker-this and tracker-that. Some of those advertisements even can move here and there, resizing themself, covering the content of the web, insisting the visitors to do something with them, hopefully ‘a-click’.

    There were also a transformation of the manner of the banner advertisements: Once they were “I tell you” or “do you want to know?” or at most “click me hey!” type. Now they are tricky, deceitfully, and fraudulently MADE the visitors click them. From game inducement to fake winner-announcement, from false computer alarm to artificial chat.

    Something more important is, maybe those advertisements don’t do any harm to your downloading and loading speed of web pages. Maybe you don’t feel any difference on your internet speed.

    But have you consider, for once, that not every internet user on this planet is using the same broadband super-wide-so-wide bandwidth as yours? That there in third-world countries they are using one single (notso)broad-band line for many computers. Alot of people there even still connect to the internet using telephone line, yes it is 56 kbps, there. That those pretty huge-wide-shockwave-flash-with-sound-and-interractive-animation-plus-sly-spies-behind, that certainly bigger file-size, are very HEAVY to load.

    Finally, if I am not wrong, isn’t it the bussiness world men that always been saying about competition and take ‘survival of the fittest’ (no matter how difference the context are) as the motto? Don’t whine then! You do double standards.

    Long live advertisement-banisher softwares.

    pyrphoros

  43. Alan · 2008-08-07 21:19 · #

    I don’t care if people use ad blockers and I don’t care if websites block ad blockers – I think they have the right to.

    What I don’t agree with is purposfully denying webmasters the right to block ad blockers by “fixing” the detection methods. If it’s part of the conditions of your website to view the adverts to view the content, I believe you should be able to uphold that.

  44. Jimmy · 2008-08-08 08:22 · #

    I have always thought that AdBlock should lose it’s contentious name.

    Call it ContentBlock or WebFilter or something and then allow the filter subscription lists to take all the heat which they won’t because it’s the user’s choice to do with ContentBlock as they wish. Shaping the web as they like.

    In fact as well as filters you could introduce transformations into the add-on. Then people could really shape the web to their own will.

    That’s off my chest now. I am happy :)

  45. Bokaj · 2008-09-14 01:12 · #

    I don’t agree.

    Besides commercial sites I’m also hosting two patting zoo’s and a site to familiarize really young kids with computers. There are no investors to interest or things to purchase on these sites: I pay the bill and decided to put a NOT TO AGRASSIVE BANNER on them.

    Without Adblock these non-profit sites BANNERS do pay a little of costs I make. Maybe I could host more of them! Go Sugar Daddy Go Go! But no.

    If everybody uses Adblock the big commercial sites will make big bucks with serving their ads in-line-as-is of the server with nice deals with the advertising .coms and the small sites…. with nice ideas….and nice content… and no budget….. will be paying.

    And while running Adblock most users will not realize that someone is picking up the tab for their entertainment or whatever but would unblock if they just knew. But they don’t.

    So in the end YOU are killing the non-profit, hobby, free educational, not marketable and not product selling sites. You’re shutting down their only way to get ‘investors’.

    Bokaj

    PS. I’m using Adblock myself and I like it. But things are never easy when you think about them.

  46. Louis · 2008-09-24 07:58 · #

    First of all, thank you so much for this extension. It’s made the internet usable again.

    I’d just like to add to the discussion by saying that until the people who claim adblock is evil stop changing channels during commercials, I’m going to continue to call them hypocrites.

    Protip: if you don’t want people to run adblock, stop putting your bullshit on my screen. That goes for both the advertisers and the website hosts who allow them.

  47. Abhishek · 2008-09-27 21:35 · #

    Hello Wladimir, thanks for the awesome addon.

  48. moshack · 2008-09-30 05:35 · #

    great addon…
    we in indonesia enjoy itnernet with limited bandwith… in most area people using email and browsing just with few kbps… for most uf us.. video streaming like youtube is luxury…

    so your addon realy help us… since (most of us) dont use internet for online transaction.. we dont need any ads. and ABP help us save our bandwith…..

    thx a lot…

    moshack
    Indonesia

  49. Adam · 2008-10-27 18:26 · #

    Why does adblock plus not work on google links on its search page. Seems very unfair to punish publishers running banner ads or text links but not punish google or yahoo.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Because there is nothing to be blocked – these links are an integral part of the web page. You have to download the web page in order to display it, consequently you will always download the links as well. The links can be hidden however, and some filter subscriptions choose to hide them (while others do not – it is the decision of the subscription author).

  50. Joshua Pack · 2008-11-12 17:39 · #

    I find that ABP is a very useful product. I find in my research of website viruses that a large percent of people who become infected is from Advertisements from “TRUSTED” websites. but using ABP to block viruses is not smart either. a good “HOST” definition is needed to block known sites that carry viruses. plus a good virus detector to always be analyzing what you download.

    I feel ABP gives extra protection, and I have tested this personally, and found that i got ~50% less virus detections with ABP installed. (Most if not all viruses were detected by a virus protector.)

    So thank you for this product.

  51. Marcelo · 2008-11-19 20:13 · #

    very well put. Good argument. And it is a very relevant discussion after all!

    Good work, man!

  52. Joe · 2008-12-17 21:51 · #

    I use AdBlock to block the truly horrible ads, but it has the side effect of blocking all ads, including those that may interest me. It’s a pity that obnoxious websites cause everyone to install ad blocking software, which hurts other (more respectable) ad-supported pages.

  53. Andy Hughes · 2009-06-30 09:58 · #

    “I don’t see any reason why this should happen.”

    Hindsight is a beautiful thing.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    I am not sure I can follow. Do you mean the crisis? But it wasn’t caused by ad blocking, right?

  54. Farn · 2009-08-02 06:49 · #

    Why do I block ads? Because a lot of them are scams and phishing. I don’t apreciate having just about anyone sticking their dirty ads on pages. There’s no way to know what ads are legit. Promotions? This is a recession and even before it I never bought things I didn’t need and I definitely will never click on any ads ever. That said, what does it matter if I block the display of annoying ads so I don’t accidentally click on one or just because I don’t want to see them if I will not intentionally click on one anyway? It is wrong to have ads in places people might click on them accidentally. You don’t have that problem on a newspaper. The ad is there and that’s it. No sound, just words. I don’t read anything that’s plastered with ads and that includes websites. You will never have my business, you and your stupid ads. Adblock is just making it easier for those who won’t use ads in the first place to avoid having them flooding their screen.

  55. BlockerZ · 2009-08-04 08:12 · #

    I use AdBlock plus, and I recommend it to all of my friends. I do so because I have a VERY slow computer (It isn’t Dial-Up, but it’s not that much better =/). I also use AdBlock plus because honestly I would never click an advertisement. I don’t have money. I don’t have a PayPal account or a credit card. So I’m useless to these advertisers. And yet every time I go on some of my favorite sites I’m greeted with banners like “Don’t block our ads! That’s basically stealing!!”

    Stealing from who?

    I remember a time when I couldn’t google things because every time I clicked a link I heard “CONGRATULATIONS! YOU HAVE WON AN IPOD NANO/SHUFFLE/ITOUCH”

    So I got AdBlockPlus. And I use it. When more sites learn to use relevant ads that don’t make sites look ugly then I’ll stop using AdBlockPlus. If they never do, then Oh Well. I’ll stick with my add-on. Besides, AdBlock is doing more good then harm (unlike what everyone wants to say about it) People who have the intelligence to find out about AdBlockPlus and install it are not the same people who order viagra out of spam mail, download anonymous attatchments, or sign up for “free” offers.

    (p.s. I’m not trying to say that people who do those tings are stupid. They’re just two different kinds of people.)

  56. Robert Gonzales · 2009-08-08 13:33 · #

    AdBlock Plus sucks. In fact, all ad blocking software sucks. Anyone that uses or contributes to ad blocking software is a thief, plain and simple. T-H-I-E-F. THIEF.

    Advertising is crucial to the survival of content on the Internet. Things aren’t free, people. Unless you all can afford to pay memberships for each and every website you visit (CNN, Myspace, etc.), get over the fact that websites are funded by ADVERTISING. If you don’t like it, don’t browse the web. Period.

    Don’t worry, AdBlock Plus… You will eventually have your day in court.

  57. Kevin · 2009-11-02 15:07 · #

    @56:

    You’re an idiot. There is NOTHING in most terms and conditions that dictate you use ads. Terms and conditions that require ad viewing are completely unenforceable and yes, guess what? If it’s unenforceable I WILL steal it. Because you know what? I WILL free-ride at YOUR high and mighty expense, because you are now paying for my web surfing!

    Guess what, so will everyone… this means that yes, most likely, things will switch to pay-per-use, or be part of package deals that come with your internet access. So much the better. I’d rather pay an extra $20/month not to have ads at all, but of course, I’d rather pay $20 period not to have ads, and have you watching my ads instead :)

    P.S. Yes, I block all ads and I love ad blockers. Can’t count how many times they have drove me insane. Because of abuse I’ve stopped caring about “being nice” and “allowing some ads” – if it’s an ad, it’s zapped. The day those ads disappear is the day I might allow them again.

  58. Olive · 2009-11-14 17:14 · #

    I always use adblock plus and I hope that it will block all ads (well what I really hope is that the developers will try to achieves this end and not to provide exception for “not annoying” ad).

    My opinion about ad blocking is that users are free to decide what they display on their own computers. It would be unacceptable that users should agree to anything (license, conditions, etc…) just to surf. It is not my job as a user to care about the profitability of a company. It is the job of companies. I do not completely agree with this blog in the sense that it tries to justifies that in the end adblock does not implies loss of revenue for companies. Even if it is, it is simply not the problem of the users.

    This opinion might sounds a little hard; but I get really bored with companies calling theft anything that is not in their interest. It would be my interest to receive free beer from my local grocery; but I dot not call them thieves because they do not give it me.

  59. DrPizza · 2010-03-04 21:32 · #

    Ads clearly do make money, or else ad-supported sites would be out of business.

    You might argue that no specific ad view generates revenue, and this may be true, but that is not the same as “ads don’t generate money”. They do, and to argue against this is absurd, as anyone with a cheque from Google would be able to tell you.

    If everyone blocked ads, no-one would advertise online (no point: no-one would see the ads), and many ad-supported web properties would go out of business.

    Your argument is only somewhat plausible within fairly narrow parameters: it requires that ad blocks be sufficiently rare that they do not substantially impact on the success of ad campaigns. As soon as ad blockers make such an impact, advertisers will spend less on Internet advertising, and so ad-dependent sites will receive less revenue.

    This talk of “good” adverts versus “bad” adverts is a complete red herring, because ad blocking software does not differentiate. It imposes no evolutionary pressure, so to speak, on advertisers, because it is essentially indiscriminate.

  60. DrPizza · 2010-03-04 21:37 · #

    @57:

    But that’s clearly not true. You won’t stop blocking ads as soon as they stop doing some behaviour you find offensive, because you’ll never know. You’re already blocking all ads. Even if they stop being annoying and start being useful (or at least, targeted) you will never know.

    There is no incentive to tame adverts to appeal to someone like you, because as you’ve already admitted, you block all adverts.

    If you blocked selectively then your position might be in some sense coherent. But you don’t, so to claim that you’d consider unblocking if only the adverts weren’t annoying is completely disingenuous.

  61. Feklar · 2010-03-11 19:07 · #

    The whole advertising model is idiotic.

    I may have one possible solution. The better model might be for the sites visited to host image ads themselves in a web-wide standardized format: coupons only, 9 coupons per page: no flash, no animation, just 9 standard sized images of coupons.

    And a link: “If you value our content and wish to ensure that we are able to continue providing it, please support this site and potentially save money by clicking HERE to view manufacturer’s and services coupons from Amazon.com, Campbell’s, Firestone, and others”. (And present the current, actual partial list there…)

    The server downloads the coupons from those advertisers and displays them. Each one would have a unique barcoded serial number. When a buy one get one free Whopper coupon gets redeemed at a Burger King, the ad agency pays the content provider because it knows which serial number went to which website.

    Keeps Adblock’s potential as a malware defense and bandwisth conservation and readability tool intact, but also offers a much better alternative for sites than to start hosting the truly annoying animated and flash ads on their own servers and forcing it on those who don’t want to see it.

    The ad agencies might even cut a deal with the King so that they paid the King with either money or free advertising in exchange for “free medium Coke with purchase” or “free medium fries with Whopper purchase” ads so that the King would be listed as offering one of the coupons. Everyone likes to visit the King for a Whopper from time to time, and would tend to want to click to see or print his coupon. The King is a reasonable King, and would likely agree that the principle was sound. And do the same with the Clown and Pizza Hut…

    That way, people would figure there’s a good chance they will get something cheaper that they probably already actually want if they click.

    A famous man once said: “Profitability is not a right, it has to be earned”.

    Adblock is the bomb. Keep up the good work.

  62. reggie · 2010-04-19 18:42 · #

    I use AdBlock Plus because I don’t want to see ANY Ads ever. If this is wrecking some model, then let it wreck. I have several websites where I publish articles and content for FREE with NO ADS. I don’t make others view garbage on my sites that I don’t want to see myself. Television users can change the channel when ads come on and I must be able to do the same with the Internet. If someone says this behavior is not ethical, I don’t hold to your self-defined and arbitrary rules that make the Internet very unpleasant for me. Although I use many expensive and essential pieces of software to run my business and personal life, AdBlock Plus is the most appreciated and frequently used (with Firefox, of course). One hundred thumbs up.

  63. Robert · 2010-07-24 04:27 · #

    It thoroughly aggravates me that some people are complaining about ABP to the extend of seeing some doomsday scenario for free utilization of some features on the internet. I would like to reiterate to these people how this all started, one person connecting with another through a wire, with nothing more than a black screen and a few lines of text, ads are in their most basic form, nothing more than a link. When you visit a website, its content will most likely be categorized so the user can quickly find the information they WANT to find, if there was a demand for punching monkeys in flash, there would be websites with this sole purpose. I do not want to visit a website searching for technical information, only to end up finding out how a new swiffer mop can save me from getting colon cancer, and the world is not going to end if I don’t know or care about it. There is a reason they advertise fast food near the interstate, because driving a lot makes people hungry (can you say relevance?).

    Its simple supply and demand, and you have already seen the exact same thing happen with film and music pirating, the cost of getting the core product without all the razzle dazzle on the internet, is much less than what they want us to pay with all of their crap included that is supposed to entice us as consumers. Forcing them to take measures actually attempt to please the buyer, instead of getting home, watching a crappy movie and thinking “Wow I paid $20 for THAT?”. A lot of the same people that pirate software will go ahead an buy the product if its good enough anyways, regardless of if they have it for free already.

    Personally I’m ecstatic that this monetary stranglehold on our cultural achievements is being lifted from us and put back into our (the common users) hands, forcing those who develop products FOR US to stop selling us crap and provide something worth while or they will be omitted. The rich do not need to get richer, and the poor do not need to be fined for it, there is not much I hate more than listening to a made man complain that he is being ripped off.

    In the end, whatever services decide to prove some kind of point by forcing users to view obnoxious ads to access content will be left in the dust, other smarter individuals will always be there to fill in the gap. In my opinion the internet is and always has been for the exchange of information, you don’t see phone calls getting interrupted with audio ads do you?

    I just discovered ABP today and I will be using it or the next program that comes along aggressively from now on to point of paying for it if that is whats required, because its an excellent product(surprise!), it needs no advertisement. The only way I would consider even looking at an advertisement is if it was relevant to what I was searching for. If I’m looking for desktop memory, and a banner pops up at the top of the page that says desktop memory, then I’ll click there, unless of course I have to play a dumb flash game or win something.

    Sorry for the extensive reply, but some of this reading has got me fuming.

  64. Yakiv · 2010-08-11 21:28 · #

    Many good comments and responses here already. Almost too many to read. I do want to say too that the most important reason for using AdBlock Plus is that ads are not simply ads. Ads are ways to track people. And it is not simply “Oh, they clicked on my link and bought my product! Oh joy!” That may be the result for the typical web-shop owner. But that’s missing the bigger picture. The corporations that actually own the ad software have A LOT of analytics software to go along their “simple” links and banners. And if anyone has seen how much data can be collected on users through Google Analytics, you ought to be frightened by the imagination that 10000 times more is actually being collected that you don’t even see. So, a simple free script like AdBlock Plus and the element hider I think really are critical to the privacy of online users. So, a BIG thank you, to you, Wladimir Palant!

  65. Andrew · 2010-10-02 22:29 · #

    I run a very small companion forum for a free multiplayer game that I program in my spare time. The forum was coded from scratch and has taken me hundreds of hours of work. To offset the costs of the annual domain registration (never mind my time and effort), I added a single unobtrusive Google ad banner to the site.

    There are virtually no clickthroughs since none of the players are really interested in the advertisements (maybe 1 click in 10,000 impressions), so almost all ad revenue comes from impressions (approximately $0.01 per 300 page views). I can compare actual page views with logged impressions, and I see that in a tech-savvy gaming community, the vast majority of users are using adblocking software. The site earns an average of $0.02-$0.05 per day, and I’ve calculated that my annual operating costs (domain registration + electricity) are close to $90.

    Maybe larger and/or commercial product-based websites can benefit from economies of scale, but for me personally, I need every single impression to count and adblocking is killing any potential revenue. If you did the calculations, I’m not even close to breaking even, even though bogus estimates (based on Alexa rank and page views) say my site should be earning almost $300 a month in ad revenue alone. Adblocking forces me to either a) shell out my own money (as I have been) to fund a system that others use and enjoy, b) beg for donations, c) implement a paid subscription system for a product that should be free, or d) shut down the servers.

    It has never been my intention to force people to view ads, and I myself am an Adblock Plus user. Having personally experienced the negative effects of adblocking, I take the time to whitelist websites that I “support”. On my own site, I had previously used javascript to replace the blocked ad with a few lines of text asking people to show their support by whitelisting my site within their adblocker. But now it seems that Adblock Plus is even blocking my “alt text”. I’m not even going to ask if this is justified, but why in the world is this necessary?

  66. weal · 2010-11-21 19:41 · #

    Like many said, websites getting millions of pageviews per day will have no problem with addons such as ABP. But one of real problem is that general public will eventually catch on and will start blocking every, I mean EVERY ads on the web. Look at torrents; it’s way harder to use compared to browser plugins yet now even 10 yrs olds can illegally download content and have impact on industry. All it takes is one geek in a family and everyone in the family will learn how to bypass ads.

    Another problem is that like 65 said, ABP kills website with potentials in early stage. If anyone is serious about hosting a website or two, they will most likely to be moving on from shared-hosting for VPS. VPS hosting can easily cost $20 per month. Websites need tremendous time and effort to take off, or even just to break even for hosting fee. The reality is that ABP kills and hurt early-stage websites with potentials while have a very little/few impact on larger websites where it makes hundred of thousands dollars per month.

    I do believe in democracy, and yes, people should have choices. I also hate those crazy-flashing ads with sound blasting out of my speakers, but I only enter them by mistake or bad search result, maybe one in a thousand or two. If you run into more than couple of websites with obstructive ad per day, you’re doing it wrong.

    Just because you have landed spammy websites by accident couple times a day, it justifies blocking every ads on the web, hurting the industry? Whitelisting isn’t for everyone either; I’m sure there are more people using default lists to block everything.

    I’m not here to convert anyone to not to use addons such as ABP, but I thought people should know the truth before making absurd decisions such as “ads are evil” or “ads don’t make money”. I’m a webmaster and I make money. I should make at least double of what I’m making right now, but now my share will only go south thanks to such extreme measures like spammy websites and ABP.

    Considering using addons to block spammy websites, rather than blocking everything in your path, hurting webmasters.

  67. Todd · 2010-11-24 15:17 · #

    While I can see why viewers like the adblocker, the arguments for it here is actually false. Adblockers are killing creativity and educational sites in many ways.

    1) For small independent sites, ( I produce free educational material) adblocker is a killer because it undercuts the only funding available.

    2) Also for educational sites, many of the viewers do not have credit cards ( they are either too young or do not have access to credit).

    3) Google ads allow people to produce content with little or no administration. Yes, we can find revenue other ways but then we have to allocate time and money to find funding. The beauty of google ads is that it frees up small content providers from having to devote time and money to finding funding, thus allowing more time for developing content.

    What adblock is really doing is making the web more corporate. That may sound odd but it is true. Small independent providers will have no incentive to create content and thus all the content will be made by bigger, more institutional providers.

    While I agree that some ads are way too aggressive or flat out annoying, remember that most of these ads are on larger site that will have the means to alter their advertising policies. Such ads never appear on smaller, independent site with a niche audience. Also, google ads allow providers to filter ad content so it leaves it up to the providers which is where it should be.

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