Allowing acceptable ads in Adblock Plus

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Re: Allowing acceptable ads in Adblock Plus

Postby Anti-Ad » Sun Dec 18, 2011 10:14 pm

lewisje wrote:The important difference between ad-blockers and malware-blockers is that while malware is universally harmful, ads are not; while malware serves no legitimate purpose, ads do have some, and as Adblock Plus increases in popularity, it's better to influence advertisers toward less-intrusive ads than shove their customers toward paywalls, the abyss of deactivation, and/or ever-louder lobbying for the final implementation of a long-planned system of micropayments.

Advertising is harmful.

Do you not know of the standard privacy practices in the advertising industry?

Even if you don't let ads influence your thinking you are still at risk if they are being loaded.

Advertising networks are often used as vectors for malware.
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Re: Allowing acceptable ads in Adblock Plus

Postby JohnG » Sun Dec 18, 2011 10:29 pm

Guest wrote:
Hallo,

thank you for your reply! (<- honest gratitude, not ironic)
I admit that I am not a website owner as a result of which I can only speak about what I have experienced as a user. I wrote that ads are not necessary for small websites to sustain. I did not mention that they would not helpful at all. I therefore asked the developers of Adblock either to disable that feature by default or to remove it completely. I did not exclusively asked for its abolition for a reason. Since you do not enable those ads on "your" websites by default (just as I asked the developers to disable their feature by default) I do not think that our opinions are that different than it might seem at first glance. I am sorry to read that someone who is trying to offer good services without using forced ads is having some financial difficulties.
However, I still do not think that an adblocker should be supporting some ads by default. A user of an adblocker would not expect that this tool would allow some ads by default just as someone who installed an anti virus scanner would not expect that that scanner ignores some known trojans by default. That just seems to be absurd...

I think it is different though. I am choosing to disable ads by default because I want to give people the choice to enable them out of the kindness of their hearts. An AdBlocker is taking something away that should be there. I don't mind Adblockers, I use them myself, but as a website developer I can tell you that people will make the minimum effort. The checkbox is under settings you have to fill out anyways on my site, and I think it's not quite the same scenario. I think making it opt-out is fair to those who have been so respectful to the users to already choose non-annoying ads.

The problem is that people always assume ads are inherently evil and as such deserve to be blocked, but fact of the matter is that ads are something necessary to sustain many services. I use project wonderful, and I do not allow animations or flash ads, just flat images. I think the Authors of AdBlock really had no malicious intent here, they were just being realistic. No one is going to bother going through a menu to find a setting that will display more ads on their browsing experience. A lot more people, however, won't mind that it doesn't block the unintrusive ads by default. It seems kinda lame but it makes sense if you think about it. No one is being forced to do anything, after all. The setting is still there and can still be disabled.

I think your analogy doesn't really make sense. I guess it depends on why you install an adblocker. I install adblock as soon as I see a flash ad with sound in my browsing, or something that slows down my firefox. For me, even with this feature, adblock will still perform exactly what i asked it to do. And I'm sure I'm not alone in this. The core of the problem is really just that people are lazy, and if they see the ads, they'll still have the option to get rid of them. If it doesn't bother them, that's good for the actual content providers though. Ads are not all about profit, because the world unfortunately isn't black and white and as such these issues are rarely as simple as they seem.
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Re: Allowing acceptable ads in Adblock Plus

Postby lewisje » Sun Dec 18, 2011 10:46 pm

^:hfive:
Anti-Ad wrote:Advertising networks are often used as vectors for malware.
This is very different from "always" and at any rate, one of the criteria for inclusion on the whitelist appears to forestall accidentally letting malvertising through.

I actually got seriously interested in this extension, and content-blocking in general, precisely because of the scourge of malvertising, but I'm not quite so prone to "all-or-nothing" thinking as the misinformed malcontents ITT.
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Re: Allowing acceptable ads in Adblock Plus

Postby Guest » Mon Dec 19, 2011 2:11 am

pirlouy wrote:@Guest: I think you misunderstand something: Adblock Plus does not block all ads in the world. In fact, it does block 0 ads by default. It's just that you can block some known sites thanks to a subscription.

Blocking all ads is not a good way, not very fair for websites owner/workers. And for those who put thjeir favorites sites in whitelist, that's just bullshits. If your favorite page is full of ads, you won't whitelist it. The best way is to promote ads companies which respect users. I'm glad Wladimir took this decision. Yes, there are not only stealers here, there are some people who try to respect webmasters a minimum.

The difficult part for Wladimir will be to deal with ads companies; they will offer him a lot of money, but if he convinced them to change mentality, I see no problems.


I know that only those ads are blocked which are listed in the subscription I had chosen shortly after I installed Adblock.
I am not too interested in moral discussions about what is fair and what is good for that would lead us nowhere. For example I could argue that it is unfair to force me to see ads all the time and just by seeing them making someone richer who may be a "bad" person etc. But well....that discussion would just miss the point which in my humble opinion is, what Adblock should be and whether it should allow some ads by default or none.

@Lewisje
The comparison I made was about Adblock's task of blocking ads which it starts to fail in my opinion now that it allows some ads by default.
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Re: Allowing acceptable ads in Adblock Plus

Postby Silico » Mon Dec 19, 2011 2:18 am

Anti-Ad wrote:I wasn't referring to news sites, but rather, content farms, splogs, and other similar types of garbage. The criticism was directed against those who churn out worthless or reprocessed content for the sole purpose of baiting search engines. Nobody will pay for this content. Its only value exists in suckering people into viewing advertising.


Yes, this material is often so bad that the ads are more interesting than the content. This gives these sites a huge advantage over those that publish high quality material, where people will be focused on the content rather than the ads. Advertising is not a good way to fund quality content.

Anti-Ad wrote:The Internet suffers from information overload. We need better and easier access to more relevant information, not more raw information.


Right. Note that a professional contribution need not be new material, but can also involve compiling or publishing digests of existing material, including user contributions.

Anti-Ad wrote:People will pay for better information, especially if they don't have to spend an hour Googling their way through garbage to save $0.50.


Getting people to open their wallets is a difficult thing, particularly if they can't first get a hint of what they're paying for, and when there's a plethora of almost-as-good free material.

Anti-Ad wrote:News sites serve an important function and need formal revenue streams. One option is micropayments. Sure, you can get all your news from copy and paste jobs on forums, but is it really worth spending hours trawling for news if a viable cash micropayment system existed for you to subscribe to online news without sharing all your personal billing information with the news site? One of the biggest barriers to sub-dollar micropayments is the traditional paradigm of online billing, which passes along enormous amounts of personal information which is unnecessary for providing the service. A news site doesn't need a name, an address, a phone number, or other such information to provide their service.


Yes, I do think that micro-payments will be a significant part of future media funding, using a pre-loaded wallet system. But at the moment the big sites would rather try to sell subscription bundles, in an attempt to transfer their print readers online.

Media sites only want to know about their subscribers so that both they and their advertisers can better market to them. There's less need for this if micropayments both reduce the news outlet's reliance on advertising and eliminate the need for them to sell subscription renewals, and now that reader feedback can be based on site access statistics and online surveys.

Anti-Ad wrote:Local newspapers can stay competitive by facilitating local marketplaces, such as classified ads, which aren't the same type of ads. A classified section is more of a marketplace (like eBay) where people intentionally visit to transact, which differs from the Internet advertising we're familiar with, being offtopic, out of band noise crammed somewhere it doesn't belong and isn't helpful.


Highly-local newspapers are still doing OK with classifieds, and a lot of websites do well by charging for job postings (one type of advertising that is necessary, hopefully via search-and-browse rather than in-your-face).

But online, local papers lose much of their advantage, since a Google search is often more efficient than searching or browsing the local paper's site. So I think even they are ultimately threatened.

Anti-Ad wrote:FOSS spreads through community goodwill. It doesn't need to advertise. The best piece of software will benefit from person to person advocacy starting with its userbase. Ironically, this is what the ABP project is losing, because users can no longer recommend it as a good piece of software to nuke all ads by default.


Free things propagate well without marketing, and open things can route around damage. But my point in my previous post was that FOSS is ultimately funded through either advertising, or products that need to be sold and marketed.
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Re: Allowing acceptable ads in Adblock Plus

Postby Guest » Mon Dec 19, 2011 2:59 am

JohnG wrote:
Guest wrote:
Hallo,

thank you for your reply! (<- honest gratitude, not ironic)
I admit that I am not a website owner as a result of which I can only speak about what I have experienced as a user. I wrote that ads are not necessary for small websites to sustain. I did not mention that they would not helpful at all. I therefore asked the developers of Adblock either to disable that feature by default or to remove it completely. I did not exclusively asked for its abolition for a reason. Since you do not enable those ads on "your" websites by default (just as I asked the developers to disable their feature by default) I do not think that our opinions are that different than it might seem at first glance. I am sorry to read that someone who is trying to offer good services without using forced ads is having some financial difficulties.
However, I still do not think that an adblocker should be supporting some ads by default. A user of an adblocker would not expect that this tool would allow some ads by default just as someone who installed an anti virus scanner would not expect that that scanner ignores some known trojans by default. That just seems to be absurd...

I think it is different though. I am choosing to disable ads by default because I want to give people the choice to enable them out of the kindness of their hearts. An AdBlocker is taking something away that should be there. I don't mind Adblockers, I use them myself, but as a website developer I can tell you that people will make the minimum effort. The checkbox is under settings you have to fill out anyways on my site, and I think it's not quite the same scenario. I think making it opt-out is fair to those who have been so respectful to the users to already choose non-annoying ads.

The problem is that people always assume ads are inherently evil and as such deserve to be blocked, but fact of the matter is that ads are something necessary to sustain many services. I use project wonderful, and I do not allow animations or flash ads, just flat images. I think the Authors of AdBlock really had no malicious intent here, they were just being realistic. No one is going to bother going through a menu to find a setting that will display more ads on their browsing experience. A lot more people, however, won't mind that it doesn't block the unintrusive ads by default. It seems kinda lame but it makes sense if you think about it. No one is being forced to do anything, after all. The setting is still there and can still be disabled.

I think your analogy doesn't really make sense. I guess it depends on why you install an adblocker. I install adblock as soon as I see a flash ad with sound in my browsing, or something that slows down my firefox. For me, even with this feature, adblock will still perform exactly what i asked it to do. And I'm sure I'm not alone in this. The core of the problem is really just that people are lazy, and if they see the ads, they'll still have the option to get rid of them. If it doesn't bother them, that's good for the actual content providers though. Ads are not all about profit, because the world unfortunately isn't black and white and as such these issues are rarely as simple as they seem.


First thing: sorry for double-post...

The analogy I made seems to be confusing for some people. It was, as mentioned in an earlier post of mine merely to say that Adblock, a tool created in order to block ads, starts to fail by allowing ads by default. I thought it would become more clearly when I compare it with a virus scanner. That was all to it.

I think we are drifting away from the original topic which should be, in my opinion, what an adblocker should do by default. It seems to me that we are now discussing why ads are useful or not useful.

So in order to make it short:
I install an adblocker in order to see as less ads as possible because I do not want to support every website financially just by visiting them and see those ads. If someone makes good stuff and asks for monetary donation, I do not mind helping them and there are a lot of other people out there thinking the same as I (that is why wikipedia still exists). But I seriously do not want to be a supporter of any website full of ads. That's the reason I install Adblock.

I did not write that ads are generally evil and I did not write that the developers had something unmoral in mind when applying these changes.
But I do think that an adblocker is supposed to simply block ads. I do not think that it is its task to judge whether some ads are good or bad.
However, some people apparently think that judging ads should also be the task of Adblock Plus.

And that moral element seems to be the core of the whole discussion that is going on. I want to end this discussion at this point. Discussing moral topics are never ending discussions if the participants do not agree with one another from the start. And in the end hours will be spent with nothing being accomplished...I recognize that some people think of ads as something helpful to them as it helps them dealing with their upcoming expenses.
But as I just tried to point out...I do not think that judging ads should be a task of an adblocker.
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Re: Allowing acceptable ads in Adblock Plus

Postby EnviroChem » Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:11 am

Anti-Ad wrote:Advertising networks are often used as vectors for malware.

This is a major overstatement. I practically live on the Internet and virtually never have ads try to install malware on my computer. In fact, I might only see a few attempts by websites to install stuff on my computer in a year, the attempts don't necessarily come from ads and they are always stopped by Firefox and/or my virus scanning software.

Sure some people do try to use advertising as a vector to distribute malware, but the bigger ad providers are very good at keeping their ad networks free of malware. Claiming ads is a frequent vector for malware is nothing but a fear tactic to justify blocking ads. I suppose if I made a habit of visiting questionable sites that ran ads from questionable ad firms I might see more attempts to install malware, however, the biggest risk from malware comes not from advertising, but infected websites or malicious websites set up to trick users.

The biggest concern with advertising is a loss of privacy due to tracking. Blocking Flash objects (all flash not just ads) and deleting cookies including Flash cookies regularly are two really helpful ways of addressing the privacy issue and needs to be done whether you block ads or not. One must not be fooled into thinking that by blocking ads one is resolving privacy concerns. Website employ many ways of tracking users for many different purposes. Just about the only way to really protect one's privacy on line is to disable Flash, JavaScript, block cookies and disable 3rd party content. Then again, this would make surfing the web pretty boring. I'm not saying folks should accept the pervasive threats to privacy, I'm just saying you shouldn't believe that by blocking ads you are resolving the problem. The loss of privacy is a systemic problem throughout the Internet.
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Re: Allowing acceptable ads in Adblock Plus

Postby Silico » Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:39 am

I decided to turn off "Allow non-intrusive advertising" because:

  • I get distracted by some ads that fall within the current definition of acceptable - colours that stand out, including the light-yellow background on some Google text ads, and
  • Even if an ad doesn't distract too much, I have little use for information written by someone who bid the most for that spot.

As well as objecting to a centrally-imposed definition of acceptable advertising, I don't think there's much point in a definition that only covers non-distracting ads. There will never be many of these on good content sites, because users won't often seek out ads that don't draw attention to themselves, particularly if the content is satisfying. The ads need to be distracting to work.

The real beneficiaries will be sites on which the ads are a bigger part of the content, like search engines and parked domains.

So if the goal is to encourage publishers to use non-intrusive ads, don't think this move will make much progress. For it to make a difference you'd have to get a good chunk of ABP users allowing all but the most objectionable ads, rather than only letting through mildly-distracting ads.

I support giving users as much control as possible, including allowing them to state what sort of ads they find acceptable, and perhaps allowing websites to publish a button that when clicked disables ABP on their site.
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Re: Allowing acceptable ads in Adblock Plus

Postby gabranth » Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:58 am

EnviroChem wrote:
Anti-Ad wrote:Advertising networks are often used as vectors for malware.

This is a major overstatement. I practically live on the Internet and virtually never have ads try to install malware on my computer. In fact, I might only see a few attempts by websites to install stuff on my computer in a year, the attempts don't necessarily come from ads and they are always stopped by Firefox and/or my virus scanning software.

Sure some people do try to use advertising as a vector to distribute malware, but the bigger ad providers are very good at keeping their ad networks free of malware. Claiming ads is a frequent vector for malware is nothing but a fear tactic to justify blocking ads. I suppose if I made a habit of visiting questionable sites that ran ads from questionable ad firms I might see more attempts to install malware, however, the biggest risk from malware comes not from advertising, but infected websites or malicious websites set up to trick users.

The biggest concern with advertising is a loss of privacy due to tracking. Blocking Flash objects (all flash not just ads) and deleting cookies including Flash cookies regularly are two really helpful ways of addressing the privacy issue and needs to be done whether you block ads or not. One must not be fooled into thinking that by blocking ads one is resolving privacy concerns. Website employ many ways of tracking users for many different purposes. Just about the only way to really protect one's privacy on line is to disable Flash, JavaScript, block cookies and disable 3rd party content. Then again, this would make surfing the web pretty boring. I'm not saying folks should accept the pervasive threats to privacy, I'm just saying you shouldn't believe that by blocking ads you are resolving the problem. The loss of privacy is a systemic problem throughout the Internet.



its isn't a fear tactic it is a real threat and big ad companies are the best target as they can infect alot more users sure it doesn't happen all the time but it sure isn't rare also everyone's forgetting email harvesters e.g surveys and scams, phishing ads
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Re: Allowing acceptable ads in Adblock Plus

Postby EnviroChem » Mon Dec 19, 2011 4:40 am

gabranth wrote:its isn't a fear tactic it is a real threat and big ad companies are the best target as they can infect alot more users sure it doesn't happen all the time but it sure isn't rare also everyone's forgetting email harvesters e.g surveys and scams, phishing ads


Bull hockey.

First the biggest ad companies might be a big targets by those with malicious intent, but they also have the most at stake to make sure their networks do not become compromised. They also have the most resources to prevent their networks from becoming carriers for malware. If Google's ad network every became host to malware, it would be a major news event in the tech world, yet you never hear of an incident of Google's ad network distributing malware. It really is the small, not so scrupulous ad networks, where malware is more likely to show up simply because they are less likely to put the procedures in place to make sure it doesn't happen. By far, the biggest source of malware on the Internet, probably come from people downloading and installing crap on their computers from sources they probably shouldn't be trusting.

Second you are conflating email harvesters, scams and phishing with malware. The latter is software that gets installed on your computer. The former are social engineering tactics designed to get people to voluntarily divulge personal information. Blocking ads doesn't insulate one from social engineering tactics because we are constantly bombarded by them (e.g. spam, bogus websites, etc). The only defense against social engineering is education to teach users to stop falling for the next get rich quick scheme from some Nigerian prince.
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Re: Allowing acceptable ads in Adblock Plus

Postby lewisje » Mon Dec 19, 2011 4:46 am

^There are occasional major stories like the New York Times malvertising scare of late 2009 (it ran its own ad network): http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/0 ... ware-scam/

I personally block ads as part of a multi-layered strategy to keep out the drive-by downloads (I also block known malware domains, keep plugin content from auto-launching, and other things), but indeed, there are problems with all sorts of third-party content (including multitudes of attempts to hack the "Like" and "+1" buttons) and with widespread attacks on individual sites suffering from the same Web-application vulnerability.

Then again I also frequently delve into the seedier parts of the Web, where malvertising and other exploits are more common.
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Re: Allowing acceptable ads in Adblock Plus

Postby PalantBlows » Mon Dec 19, 2011 5:07 am

If ANYONE thought ANY ads were acceptable they would NEVER have used this add on in the first place. Now instead of getting a few donations everyone that downgrades to the current version will completely remove the add-on and you will have 0 users and 0 revenue.

Your backwards logic to try to convince people the principle is sound does nothing but make people that were very thankful for what was arguably THE MOST useful add-on loathe it and you so much they want to take a dump on your father's grave.

Congratulations. Maybe someone will re-make an add-on that does what this used to and just have a little tiny button or something next to the adblocking button that says "SponsoredBy:" and then people would buy the sponsors stuff to say thanks to the author and the sponsor for ridding the earth of PROGRAMMING to control what people do, buy, think, and beleive.
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Re: Allowing acceptable ads in Adblock Plus

Postby gabranth » Mon Dec 19, 2011 6:17 am

EnviroChem wrote:Bull hockey.

First the biggest ad companies might be a big targets by those with malicious intent, but they also have the most at stake to make sure their networks do not become compromised. They also have the most resources to prevent their networks from becoming carriers for malware. If Google's ad network every became host to malware, it would be a major news event in the tech world, yet you never hear of an incident of Google's ad network distributing malware. It really is the small, not so scrupulous ad networks, where malware is more likely to show up simply because they are less likely to put the procedures in place to make sure it doesn't happen. By far, the biggest source of malware on the Internet, probably come from people downloading and installing crap on their computers from sources they probably shouldn't be trusting.


google hasn't been targeted?? obviously you don't read the news http://www.h-online.com/security/news/i ... 42208.html


EnviroChem wrote:Second you are conflating email harvesters, scams and phishing with malware. The latter is software that gets installed on your computer. The former are social engineering tactics designed to get people to voluntarily divulge personal information. Blocking ads doesn't insulate one from social engineering tactics because we are constantly bombarded by them (e.g. spam, bogus websites, etc). The only defense against social engineering is education to teach users to stop falling for the next get rich quick scheme from some Nigerian prince.


there the same thing a threat to users be it a download flash explote or delivered by Psychic powers there all a threat to users
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Re: Allowing acceptable ads in Adblock Plus

Postby SpaceFuzz » Mon Dec 19, 2011 9:44 am

There are a lot of strong opinions here on this topic, but I just thought I'd chime in as one of those users who really appreciates the "acceptable ads" feature in ABP 2.0. And as I read the web page on https://adblockplus.org/en/acceptable-ads, I felt it was honest and accurate and explains their best intentions. And Wladimir hits the nail on the head with his blog here: https://adblockplus.org/blog/random-tho ... ommunities.

What drove me to this site is that I've been a 5+ yr user of Adblock (even before it was "Plus"), and have REALLY appreciated the constant improvements and amazing thoroughness it provides in blocking annoying ads. It only took advertisers about a year or two after the creation of "banner ads" before they went nuts with dancing monkeys, flashing black-yellow-black-yellow backgrounds, or misleading "Scan Now" buttons on websites that offered some sort of tool with a similar button (as can be seen now on speedtest.net). Adblock brought immediate relief. I've donated small amounts in the past to the project, but the latest 2.0 with Acceptable Ads actually made me feel like, "Wow, these guys are REALLY on target...I need to donate again." So I went to the site to look for a donation button (which I now see is in the ABP dropdown menu as a "Contribute" button).

Why do I think Acceptable Ads are so great? Because I visit many blog and tech sites in which I find really useful info--sometimes only once or twice, so I never get around to whitelisting them (see the "acceptable-ads" link above for the accurate prediction of my behavior). The same is true for nearly all news sites. But when I visit Gmail, I notice Google's tiny text ads, and truly appreciate that they don't support their email product with flashy, deceptive, annoying ads. If all advertisers were persuaded to not use flashing banners, jumping monkeys, sound, and other annoying gimmicks, then I wouldn't mind them on a useful website so that the website owner gets 5 cents for giving me useful content.

Our surfing habits will change dramatically if a large chunk of Internet content is no longer offered for free, but via some sort of 5-cent micro-payment to the content owner. Acceptable ads are a much more palatable solution.

And if privacy or malware is a concern for you, get the NoScript add-on to prevent nearly all of the nefarious stuff. I work in Cyber Security and I swear by it.
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Re: Allowing acceptable ads in Adblock Plus

Postby anonymous74100 » Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:09 am

SpaceFuzz wrote:So I went to the site to look for a donation button (which I now see is in the ABP dropdown menu as a "Contribute" button).
Since ABP is owned/developed by a company, is it even legal for it to ask/accept donations?

SpaceFuzz wrote:I work in Cyber Security and I swear by it.
No one with at least a half of brain would use the word "cyber", especially when describing their line of work. Only marketing people use that word.
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