[Rejected] An approach to fair ad blocking

Various discussions related to Adblock Plus development

[Rejected] An approach to fair ad blocking

Postby Wladimir Palant » Mon May 11, 2009 4:06 pm

See here: https://adblockplus.org/blog/an-approac ... d-blocking

Feel free to comment here or in the blog comments.
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Postby richardmtl » Mon May 11, 2009 5:12 pm

Hi there,

Well-written post about a sticky issue. Though I am more of a wait-and-see kind of person, and don't usually reply to things like this, I thought that my 2 cents might be useful, if no-one else replies. :)

I agree with you, and think that it wouldn't be a bad idea, but there's always the danger that the site may start to show annoying ads again at some point, so an "undo" option that easily accessible would be pretty important, I think.

As for putting things in the about:config, please don't. :)

Good luck and good work.
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Re: Opinions requested: An approach to fair ad blocking

Postby Alan » Mon May 11, 2009 5:24 pm

There are some Adblock Plus users who just don’t want to see any ads at all.

That would include me, although I do temporarily disable ABP while using online stores, as Rick suggested. http://forums.lanik.us/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=662
An about:config pref for disabling the notification would be acceptable to me.
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Postby Wladimir Palant » Mon May 11, 2009 5:25 pm

richardmtl wrote:I agree with you, and think that it wouldn't be a bad idea, but there's always the danger that the site may start to show annoying ads again at some point, so an "undo" option that easily accessible would be pretty important, I think.

Yes, that's the last requirement I list there - and the one I haven't found a real solution for so far. Currently, the "undo" option would be to click on the dropdown arrow of the ABP symbol and to uncheck "Disable on foo.com" - but I know that for many users this is too complicated and non-obvious.
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Postby Ares2 » Mon May 11, 2009 7:59 pm

Might be a good idea, it definitely promotes the "disable on..." option, but to be honest, I think it's more a sign of good will than a real solution.

It's simply not enough from a webmasters perspective: First he should make sure that he only uses acceptable ads. Then the notification only appears after several visits (otherwise it would be even more annoying than it already is), but from all I know most ad revenue is produced by causual visitors.

And even if some users finally get the notification, a (I think high) percentage will click "No, thanks" (whether the notification has been actually read/understood doesn't matter). Because of only few additional people seeing the ads this way, ad revenue won't increase much and the webmaster doesn't benefit from taking this approach.

You say that this doesn't interfere with the categorized filters idea, and you are right. Nevertheless those are 2 exactly opposite approaches for the same problem and I think fixing it at the source (not block "by default") makes the other one useless if done right.
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Postby Wladimir Palant » Mon May 11, 2009 8:16 pm

Ares2 wrote:It's simply not enough from a webmasters perspective: First he should make sure that he only uses acceptable ads. Then the notification only appears after several visits (otherwise it would be even more annoying than it already is), but from all I know most ad revenue is produced by causual visitors.

That's why I invited some people from "the other side" to comment. So far I've seen only positive feedback from there but I don't want to draw any premature conclusions of course. Sure, they aren't the "average webmaster" and represent large websites - but they also make the trend.

Ares2 wrote:And even if some users finally get the notification, a (I think high) percentage will click "No, thanks" (whether the notification has been actually read/understood doesn't matter).

I wonder whether there is a way to measure this in some privacy-sensitive way. I hate having to guess here, in the end nobody really knows how users will react - because what we see in forums and elsewhere is at most 1% of all Adblock Plus users.
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Postby reepicheep » Mon May 11, 2009 8:21 pm

I think this proposal puts too much trust in the web designer/site owner. Either they'll claim their site has only unintrusive ads when to the end user there are indeed intrusive ads or they'll be ignornant of the proposed meta content and the end user sees ads. For me all ads are intrusive no matter how small and should/will be squelched --- that's why I use ABP in the first place.

And I certainly don't want anything popping up to remind me that I'm revisiting a site; I know that already.
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Postby Wladimir Palant » Mon May 11, 2009 8:48 pm

reepicheep wrote:For me all ads are intrusive no matter how small and should/will be squelched --- that's why I use ABP in the first place.

Sure, you will disable that feature. But I frequently have people asking for a way to support the websites they are visiting.
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Postby Ares2 » Mon May 11, 2009 10:14 pm

Wladimir Palant wrote:I wonder whether there is a way to measure this in some privacy-sensitive way. I hate having to guess here,

Of course we don't have numbers, but just by the nature of this question, there will be a certain amount of people clicking it away, and if it comes back then, click on "no, thanks" because they don't want to get it any more. You will certainly agree that many people don't want to change anything unless it's important/necessary to them.

Don't get me wrong, promoting "disable on..." to support websites isn't a bad idea, but IMHO it's not a solution for the problem that many Adblock Plus users wouldn't mind unobtrusive ads but have them blocked by a filter subscription.
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Postby ecjs » Mon May 11, 2009 10:37 pm

Ares2 wrote:IMHO it's not a solution for the problem that many Adblock Plus users wouldn't mind unobtrusive ads but have them blocked by a filter subscription.


I agree with you.

We could just make the part of the easylist blocking unobstrusive ads a supplement list.
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Postby Ares2 » Mon May 11, 2009 11:02 pm

ecjs wrote:We could just make the part of the easylist blocking unobstrusive ads a supplement list.

Unfortunately it's not that easy, the main general filters like '/ads/*' block all kind of ads. And then "unobtrusive ads" is still very subjective, see http://adblockplus.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3907 .
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Postby Oliver » Mon May 11, 2009 11:42 pm

I have a high tolerance towards intrusive ads: as long as they don't have sound they're fine by me. I am, however, obsessed with privacy, and while layered and animated ads are an annoyance, I perceive a small number of companies documenting my every click as a threat. Therefore, I wouldn't like to see ABP suggest pages for whitelisting just because their ads are unobtrusive. I wouldn't like to think that inexperienced users would be led to make an unsafe choice based on a criterion that seems irrelevant to me.

Of course, that's only me. Also, I'm using EasyList, the 2007-02-27 version of it to be precise, and while nothing is stopping me from weeding out the filters that aren't problematic privacy-wise, I don't because that would mean work. In effect, I'm blocking more ads than I normally should. And of course, most ads are third-party ads, and especially smaller sites are more likely to put themselves in the fangs of the Evil Company than to make their own contracts and host their own ads. Lastly, targeted ads pay better, so the kind of ads that are not served according to user profiles are unattractive, and privacy concerns hostile to advertisers by principle.

Sorry, this isn't helping. I just meant to say that «no annoying advertising» draws the attention towards something that is readily verifiable by any user – you could whitelist a site by default and have a «Those ads are annoying!» button. On the other hand, it seems to draw attention away from something most users I know have trouble to remember at all: «Those ads know what I did last summer!»
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Yes

Postby offby1 » Mon May 11, 2009 11:58 pm

The idea you suggest is an excellent one. Go for it!
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"viewing right NOW without blocking anything"

Postby Torbi26 » Tue May 12, 2009 12:19 am

So that "What would it look like?" button asks the user for the site he is "viewing right now without blocking anything".

Let me tell you, it would be very easy find out with some php-generated javascript to detect:
- first the adblock-block, then
- the eventually following adblock-what-would-it-look-like (and show "nice" ads)
- and at later visits show completely different ads...

I am sure some people would even develop wordpress and similar plugins to get around that.

I like the meta-tag idea, but I see too easy way to fool the users which make use of that feature.
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Postby ShakataGaNai » Tue May 12, 2009 1:24 am

I think this is an interesting idea that is worth pursuing.

I also think it would be interesting if it were possible for a webmaster to trigger something like this through a javascript button. Mainly for those sites that have the "Hey, help out our small website and turn off your ad-blocker" type messages. Instead of having messages that people ignore, they could have a simple button.
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