EnviroChem wrote:ADVERTISING INDUSTRY HAS A BAD TRACK RECORD OF OBNOXIOUS ADS
No question about it, advertisers have been extremely disrespectful of users. Nothing will make me happier than to see Flash ads die (unless they are replaced by something worse). I don't personally use AdBlock, but I do use FlashBlock to block ALL Flash content not just ads. For me this has been sufficient to bring back sanity to my web browsing experience. I understand why users feel compelled to block ads and I'd love to find a way to find common ground.
They also have a bad track record of atrocious privacy practices, which they aren't likely to discard.
EnviroChem wrote:PAYWALLS DON'T WORK FOR SMALL SITES
Small independent websites provide a great wealth of diverse information, content and/or services on the Internet. For most of these sites, the only practical solution for earning a living from their efforts is advertising. They just aren't big enough to create enough loyal users to survive on revenues generated from a paywall. This is particularly true with content sites that users might only visit once for a specific one time question.
Lost revenue fallacy again.
ABP enthusiasts aren't customers and don't convert.
EnviroChem wrote:SELF HOSTED ADS WON'T WORK FOR SMALL SITES
I suspect the extent to which Google Ads has become widespread would make this impractical, and I don't know enough technical details to know to what extent this would mitigate the privacy concerns, but I'd certainly be interested in hearing from someone who could offer some more insight into this.
Third party object requests are unacceptable.
EnviroChem wrote:It only became possible to make some sort of living off of running independent websites when ads were automatically targeted and placed by third party services like Google AdSense. Prior to AdSense, the most common way for small sites to put ads on their sites was to manually place ads from affiliate programs. This was extremely labor intensive as ads had to be manually selected and placed on websites. Typically ads did not generate much revenue because of poor targeting and lousy payment terms. AdSense totally revolutionized the monetizing of websites. Suddenly we could simply put a simple code snip on our pages and Google would worry about everything else. This meant more time could be focused on creating content. It also meant users were seeing more relevant ads.
For Google to do this, it has to ram a microscope up every user's behind.
You can't have automatically targeted ads and user privacy at the same time. They are mutually exclusive.
Because the advertising industry is so scummy when it comes to privacy, and will do anything for even one extra percent conversion, we have to nuke all ads from orbit - it's the only way to be sure.
EnviroChem wrote:PAY TO PLAY IS A BAD IDEA
I agree with many of the comments I've read about it being a conflict of interest for websites to have to pay up in order to get white listed. White listing of websites should be behavior based, not based on their ability to pay up. Only large sites would find it cost effective to pay up to be white listed, thus small sites that need the ad revenue the most couldn't benefit from this option. Besides, such pay to play requirement stinks of extortion.
The project is either loyal to its users or loyal to advertisers. It can't be loyal to both.
See the discussions re: Facebook privacy. Facebook's "users" are in fact its product. Facebook's customers are the advertisers. Guess who wins when the two come into conflict.
If ABP installations shift from being for users to converting users into a product then ABP can no longer be loyal to the userbase.
This is why the FOSS community works so well: users can trust that developers don't have ulterior motives.
When I install community FOSS, I know there is no hidden catch or surprise.
EnviroChem wrote:FULL DISCLOSURE IS A MUST
Users must be easily able to see what sites are white listed and there must be clear criteria for being white listed. These details should be placed in the "about" description on the AMO profile page for ABP.
The best sort of disclosure is an opt-in with informed consent (not merely a "Yes/No" box which most users will blindly click without understanding).
EnviroChem wrote:USERS MUST STILL HAVE CONTROL
Users must have a very easy way of enabling/disabling the white listing of sites. It can't be hidden or buried and they need to clear understanding of the consequences of their setting choice.
Many users don't understand what is happening.
If a user can't make an informed decision to opt in to the nasty, privacy busting world of advertising, then the default should be no whitelisting, for the protection of users who don't understand what they're getting into.
EnviroChem wrote:OPT IN VS OPT OUT
If the ultimate goal of this new feature is to provide a carrot and stick approach to get websites to be more respectful of users in regards to the types of ads they use, then the option must be opt out, not opt in. Time and again users claim to hate obnoxious ads like rich media Flash ads, but you know what? They work. I hate rich media ads, but if I were to opt out of them on my website, my revenues would fall substantially. In order for it to be worthwhile to turn off rich media ads to get white listed by ABP the extra revenue I'd earn because I was white listed would have to be greater than what I'd lose by turning off rich media ads. The only hope of ABP creating the critical mass needed to make being white listed worth while for websites, thus altering ad behaviors, would be for the option to be opt out as most users will use the default configuration. If the option were opt-in it would never gain the critical mass needed to convince websites to change behaviors to be white listed.
I don't care if websites are "respectful" about advertising, because I haven't seen any in years. No matter how bad the advertising cesspool gets, I don't wade in it, because I block the ads.
If we nuke all advertising then we're guaranteed it won't bother us. The current approach is a one-size-fits-all judgment call being made on behalf of the whole user base.
Ad networks are inherently not respectful of privacy, and they never will be. Any ad network which respects privacy will quickly lose market share to its cutthroat competitors, driving it swiftly out of business.
Asking ad networks to clean up their act is like asking the criminals in Juarez, Mexico if they could tone it down a little bit, and be sure to wear smiley face stickers while at work. They won't do it, because if they do, somebody more ruthless will replace them.
EnviroChem wrote:THE BLENDING LINE BETWEEN ADS AND OBJECTIVE CONTENT
One side effect of ad blindness and ad blocking software is that website owners are increasingly blurring the lines between legitimate objective editorial content and advertising. I don't know about you, but I like to know when the content on a webpage is objective or slanted by an advertising motive. Unfortunately, in order to avoid ad blocking and ad blindness in general, many websites try to blend content and ads in such a way that one can't tell the difference.
Unscrupulous websites will do that anyway, because it pays, in addition to graphic and text ads.
The solution is more objective, nonprofit sources of information, like Wikipedia and web forums.
Tech review sites, for example, have been hopelessly biased since even before ad blocking became widespread.
Once again, in the race to the bottom, the scummiest participants win, driving out the honest.
EnviroChem wrote:DO YOU WANT AN INTERNET WHERE ALL CONTENT IS CONTROLLED BY BIG COMPANIES?
I dare say, ad blocking hurts small sites worse than big sites proportionally. AdSense and similar means of monetizing websites have been great equalizers that have allowed small publishers to flourish helping to sustain a great diversity of ideas and options on the Internet. Without advertis their offerings cost effectively, and small publishers being able to easily monetize their websites easily, only the big companies will survive.
Advertising is controlled almost exclusively by big companies. Their code is already pervasive across many small websites.
Do you want a society where the cultural dialog is controlled by big advertising companies and the monied interests they represent?
As hardware gets better, and software frameworks more advanced, the cost for hosting will continue to fall.
EnviroChem wrote:THE GOAL OF CHANGING ADVERTISER BEHAVIOR
When I met Wladimir, I don't recall specifically discussing this new white list option he has be working. However, something we did discuss and agreed upon was that there was a need to try and encourage websites and advertisers to have more respect for users. Providing an option to white list specific types of non-obnoxious ads could convince advertisers to use less obnoxious ads. Like I said, I hate rich media ads, but I use them because they work. If static graphics ads and text ads (which I personally like best) worked better than rich media ads, simply because more users saw them as a result of them being white listed, I'd switch off rich media ads in a heartbeat.
Or, we could just not negotiate with them, period. If we give an inch they will ask for a mile.
EnviroChem wrote:The question for ABP users is, do you use ABP solely for self interested reasons of not seeing ads, or do you want to make a statement to help make the Internet a better place? If all you care about is never seeing any ads, then turn off the white list. If, however, you want to help change advertising behavior to make it less obnoxious and to help foster small independent sites, for whom advertising is really the only viable option, turn the white list filter on and provide constructive feedback as to how to make it better.
Advertising does not make the Internet a better place.
How about those who want to experiment with feeding the advertising crocodile can do so by opting in to this goofy experiment? At least that preserves the intuitive purpose of an addon called AdBlock Plus, namely, that by default, it will block ads. The project is not called AdReducer Plus.