[Done] Criteria for "acceptable" advertising

Various discussions related to Adblock Plus development

[Done] Criteria for "acceptable" advertising

Postby Wladimir Palant » Thu May 05, 2011 4:05 pm

I would like to try another attempt to improve the state of the web (which is the main goal of the Adblock Plus project). Our best chance is to continue blocking "bad" (annoying) advertisements while allowing the "good" ones. This should help encourage websites to use advertising that users don't perceive as annoying. We had discussions like this one before but I think that this time a solution is in reach. This is not about a technical but rather a regulatory approach, with the final goal of creating a list with ads that don't need to be blocked if the user agrees (details still being worked out).

Question is: what are the objective criteria for "acceptable" advertising that most users will agree to? We can gather some ideas here, and we should be able to get some feedback from the advertisers. This is of course only a question for people who think that some ads are allowed to exist to help webpages make money. The others will simply not use this new list.

Some initial thoughts from me:

Visuals:
  • Static, no animations
  • No sound
  • Clearly distinguishable from page content
  • Maximum number of ad units per page? AdSense allows three, so I don't think that limiting it to five ad units (per maybee's suggestion) is too much to ask for.

Technical:
  • No more than one third-party server involved (no chains of different servers, DNS resolution increases page load times a lot)
  • User can opt out of tracking (respect DNT header, in particular no cookies if that header is set)
  • Maximum download size? 250 kB sounds reasonable given the common page sizes. That's total data transferred for ads if the browser cache is empty. Data that is only transferred on a user action (like clicking "play" on an ad video) doesn't count.

I think that asking for no third party servers (particularly third party scripts) to be used is unrealistic these days, this ship has sailed. Anybody can think of other criteria? Opinions on the ones I listed?

This is only about "traditional" ads, what about full-page ads or in-video ads?
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Re: Criteria for "acceptable" advertising

Postby Till » Fri May 06, 2011 11:33 am

Maybe we could integrate the content of ads as well:

* No deceptive language or images just to grab attention
* No misleading information to trick the user into clicking (e.g. faked system messages)
* They must be visibly tagged as advertisement

This probably can't be checked technically, but still might be an important rule for advertisers to follow.
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Re: Criteria for "acceptable" advertising

Postby TimSchu » Fri May 06, 2011 12:22 pm

Anything which is a distraction or uses considerable space (measured as a % of the web site) I would consider non-acceptable

So to answer your question Wladimir, that would apply to full page ads and almost all larger banner ads, video ads of almost any kind (except static, targeted links next to the video, they're fine).
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Re: Criteria for "acceptable" advertising

Postby fanboy » Fri May 06, 2011 3:22 pm

The definition of good vs bad advertisements can be hard to judge. Personally I block it regardless, not just for the annoyance value but from a privacy stand point also. Any form of limiting functionality of adblock plus would be a bad thing (in reference to labelling good vs bad ads). Personally the status quo is fine here.
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Re: Criteria for "acceptable" advertising

Postby Michael » Fri May 06, 2011 5:16 pm

"Acceptable advertising" is a nightmare to define given the very subjective nature of the qualities involved. There are enough existing difficulties with determining whether an item is an advert, let alone whether it is permissible. Furthermore, filtering unwanted items will be more difficult due to the presumable prohibition on general rules and blocking advertising domains entirely. However, one question that I do have is how the acceptable advertising alternative will be promoted. Will it become, for example, the default in Adblock Plus or simply another option available, such as the reference to privacy protection lists?

Personally, I would never use the acceptable advertising alternative for reasons of security and privacy, and instead merely wish the best of luck to the person responsible for the solution.
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Re: Criteria for "acceptable" advertising

Postby Wladimir Palant » Fri May 06, 2011 5:34 pm

Michael wrote:Will it become, for example, the default in Adblock Plus or simply another option available, such as the reference to privacy protection lists?

That's not really related to this discussion - I have an experiment in mind and will open a topic on it on Monday.
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Re: Criteria for "acceptable" advertising

Postby Ares2 » Fri May 06, 2011 6:34 pm

Michael wrote:Personally, I would never use the acceptable advertising alternative for reasons of security and privacy

Well, the proposed criteria aren't that far from being in accordance with that, we would just have to get rid of the 2 things that are unrealistic anyway:

Wladimir Palant wrote:No more than one third-party server involved

How would a list that can count the number of adservers on a site look like?

Wladimir Palant wrote:User can opt out of tracking (respect DNT header, in particular no cookies if that header is set)

I don't think any adserver that is not lying about it will be able to fullfill that, the big players surely have no interest in it.

Now if only certain first-party ads would qualify as acceptable ads (with the current criteria, that would be quite a few), there would be no problems with security or privacy and the creating of such a list would be way easier as major parts of the exisiting subscriptions could be re-used and some others adapted. I realize that this would require site admins to put considerable effort and resources in managing and hosting all ads themselves and is therefore not likely to find a lot of acceptance, I just wanted to put it out there. :wink:
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Re: Criteria for "acceptable" advertising

Postby maybee » Sat May 07, 2011 3:29 am

I think that users try to clarify the porpose and goals of ABP project before discussing Criteria for "acceptable" advertising.
Image

purpose
changing the whole Internet
  • quantity : Good ads↑, bad ads↓
  • quality : The ads on the web pages harmonize with the contents.

Goals
  • internal goal : solving problem of inconvenience due to intrusive and annoying ads.
  • external goal : making sites to change their Ad Policies.
    • filter subscription policies for creteria and maintenance/management (option : precedent or policy applied case)
    • feedback by blocking/allowing ads




goal : providing sites with creteria of allowing ads. it affects to their Ad Policy and make the Internet to reduce the number of bad ads. that's it will help changing the Internet.

necessity of allowing ads
users properly are need to meet Ads which harmonious with contents of the Internet.
  1. allowing ads makes users to use useful production/service information.
  2. the sites displays good and useful ads will be fairly rewarded for their effort.
  3. advertising profit help sites and users a lot in many ways.

◆ internet service
  • fee internet service
  • free internet service
    profit from :
    • donations
    • advertising revenue
      - focused using content the role of ads
      • providing contents continously
      • improving content-using environment e.g. webdesign
      • make the number of contents increaing and their quality high

It's never easy to keep a banlance between blocking and allowing. At least Filter Maintainers maintain a well-balanced filter list.
because allowed ads give users a help actually. on the other hand excessive blocking wihout proper allowing ads might be not a win-win game in the long term.
after advertising industry is damaged users also might suffer damage. and we should minimize side effect of blocking ads as much as possible.

Image

general principle
  • users have priority
    When Users and site owners' intrests run counter to each other users have prior. that is that filter maintainers select blocking ads instead of allowing ads.
  • technical efficiency priority : the priciple of allowing ads can't be applied due to the issue of technical efficiency even though good ads should be allowed.
    e.g. general filter rules : an blocked ad which is applied by the filter rule can't be allowed due to unavoidable circumstances. filter maintainers need this principle for giving the good reason for not allowing the ad.

acceptable ads criteria
  • third-party ads (which is not intrusive and annoying).
    the number of ads on a web page is a basic and essential creterion which can judge their intrusion and annoyingness. though each ad is good some sites have many good ads. but many ads makes users to feel ill at ease. Users can't controle the number of third party ads on each site. So the number of ads should be controled. I think the proper number of ads is 5 unit at the most. the ad units mean ad sections. for example thumnail image banner have some images. so the ad section is a ad unit.
    • third party adservers : third party ads which we can't control or expect the number of ads should be blocked. and almost the servers host mass ads.
      exceptively good third party adservers should be allowed. but this needs strict conditions. e.g : an adserver which has only desirable advertising method can be allowed.
    • very useful and valuable third party ads should be allowed. e.g. a donation banner for poor countries, shopping section
    * We will leave the decision about allowing 3rd-party ads to filter maintainers' discretion.
    * you would be better to make 'allowing ads list'. it might be domains list related 3rd-party ads
  • first-party ads (which is not intrusive and annoying).
    1. text ads : e.g - google's search advertising (at the right side of the page), google custom search
    2. banner ads which just is image files)
      • Static banners
      • Animated banners(gif formatted files) : If uses click on the ESC key you can make its motion stopped.
    3. first party adservers : condition - limited the number of the ads on their pages at least.
    * exceptively good first party adservers should be allowed. this needs relaxer conditions than that of third-party.
    * If flash banners are not intrusived some should be allowed exceptively. e.g a flash banner is not dynamic it might be allowed.
    * For animated banners If users suffer from them such as visual tiredness they should be blocked.

method of allowing ads
  • Active allowing : whitelisting blocking/element hiding filters. that's add whitelisting filters to filter list.
  • passive allowing : doesn't add blocking/element hiding filters to filter list.

effectiveness
  1. the number of filters should be reduced.
  2. Sound blocking action

the new role of filte maintainer
the role as a consultant. fitler maintainers can be available be at any time for consultation about changing their Ad Policy.
  • blocking is based on filter subscritption policies.
  • filter maintainers should have every reason to block their ads. and if web site owners want to know it they can tell the reasonable reason.
  • For allowing ads on a specific site filter maintainers give them a way for allowing blocked ads.
the good cases will be reference materials for change their Ad Policy. It is useful for them to find key to success by referencing successful case of other sites.
  • introducing exemplary sites or model advertising regardless of blocking ads partly.
  • investigating extensively know-how to maintain sites have low level of dependance on advertising revenue.


* first of all We need to grasp the exact state of affairs regarding creteria of ad-blocking and the Ad Policy of major sites as well. and find out real good ads on many sites(case research).

We want to make the Internet better for everyone. Purging bad ads is a good start.
Adblock Plus is an open-source project addressing the problem of annoying and intrusive online advertising by putting users in control.


and we try to clarify the concept of good/bad advertising as well. I think the concept should be considered with relation with contents on a web page.
of course we should block ads contain bad content which can negatively affect on users. and block advertising expression method like "annoying and intrusive" ads.
especially annoying and intrusive ads mean disturbance of user's using contents. that's the standard of judgment is influence which ads affect on using contents.

problems for solution
this issue affects the way of writing filters. general filters have a wide range of applications. there is quite a possibility that they will block ever good ads over wide sites against our project's purpose and goals.
the side-effect of general filters makes excessive blocking problem on many sites. we should minimize the side-effect. general filter rules are very useful but might be necessary evil.
site-specific filter rules↑ , general filter rules↓

measures
Extension description, to be displayed in the add-on manager "Ads were yesterday!"

  1. For this sentence there is quite apossibility that many users will mistake Adblock Plus for just ad blocker to block all the ads instead of blocking selectively.
    "annoying and intrusive ads are yesterday"
  2. preparing a document about allowing ads on adblockplus.org.

[plus] about animated image banners
Visuals:
Static, no animations


i think these days animated image banners which is gif formmated file is general way. if it is not dynamic, it excessively doesn't disturbance users' using contents.
example site : image rotated banner at the low and right side of the page. its name is "wemakeprice"
[test] rotation speed of banner image : link


Maximum number of ad units per page? AdSense allows three, so I don't think that limiting it to five ad units (per maybee's suggestion) is too much to ask for.

for adsense I agree with you. the ad unit of the ad might be enough to be displayed. althouth there are more than 3 ad units with great layout or in its small size or very good ads it doesn't affect on using contents.
So I think its limit is 5 ad unit. it is important to consider the level of disturbance of using contents than limiting number of it. I think proper number is 3~5 ad unit.

about full-page ads or in-video ads
actually 'annoying' and 'intrusive' is Abstract concept. So I would like to find a shape.
  1. disturbing to access or Navigate contents on a website.
  2. blocking the flow of reading content due to covering or being located in the middle of contents.
  3. Spreading attention due to the number of too many ads.

1. full-page ads
this should be blocked completely. because it clearly disturbes to access or Navigate contents on a website.
a wbsite determines an order that users will view ads and contents. only after viewing ads Users can access to contents.

2. in-video ads
when users usually can't control ads they feel frustrated. the level of intrusion or annoying is determied by its location on timelin.
timeline
intro ad ----------------------- overlay ad ---------------------------ending ad
  1. intro ad : blocking with reserve. because it disturbes to access or Navigate contents on a website. if there is a ad-skip button it might be allowed.
  2. overlay ad : it must be blocked.
  3. ending ad : good! because users can use contents or video without distrubing. and users can decide to view video ads. it can be allowed.
Last edited by maybee on Thu May 12, 2011 1:56 am, edited 15 times in total.
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Re: Criteria for "acceptable" advertising

Postby p2u » Sat May 07, 2011 8:30 am

@ Wladimir Palant

I think you are on slippery ground if you go that way, Wladimir. Since users tend to make the wrong decisions and draw the wrong conclusions anyway (even if you provide them with very clear instructions and explanations of what you want to accomplish), you will meet lots of misunderstanding, false accusations [from both sides] etc., and I'm not sure whether the game is worth the candle. There is no "acceptable" way of blocking or allowing ads since the business model itself is sick.

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Re: Criteria for "acceptable" advertising

Postby Wladimir Palant » Tue May 10, 2011 10:26 am

@Ares2: As I said at the very beginning - we are not talking about a technical solution, that's unrealistic. We are talking about conditions that we can agree on with the advertisers (as in: a contract) and that a human can easily verify (well, Do-Not-Track isn't easily verifiable, at some point you have to believe what's said in the privacy policy). Btw, I don't care what the major players say about Do-Not-Track because their arguments can be summed up as "We are fine supporting an opt-out solution as long as it is one that doesn't work".

@Paul: Yes, communication is a big challenge here. But I don't think that it is impossible.
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Re: Criteria for "acceptable" advertising

Postby maybee » Tue May 10, 2011 11:06 am

This principle can apply almost annoying and intrusive ads.
And it is simple.
All entries are based on the type of disturbing to use contents.

blocking principle (which can minimize the level of intrusion on a webpage)
Image


1. the most important value of the principle "disturbing to access or navigate contents on a webbpage" is users' the right of choice.
when users usually can't control ads they feel frustrated. For intro video ads with ad skip button in its exception users can determine to view the ads.
the controlable ads make the level of intrusion low noticablely.

2. The principle “Spreading attention due to the number of too many ads.” Should be applied first of all. Number of ad optimization.
almost third party ads will be blocked. but allowed third party ads by filter maintainers mean sustainable ads contain good value.
scripts/frames for providing mass ads should be blocked.

3. Protect flow of reading content by distinguishing from ads and minimizing dynamic ads
dynamic ads should be blocked. moving ads which their location move like ads followed by mouse scroll should be blocked or they should be fixed .
Last edited by maybee on Thu May 12, 2011 1:59 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: Criteria for "acceptable" advertising

Postby anonymous74100 » Tue May 10, 2011 11:19 am

@maybee
Could you please use some other image host. Tinypic is blocked for me (don't know if it's the ISP's or tinypic's fault) :(
Edit: Thanks!
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Re: Criteria for "acceptable" advertising

Postby Wladimir Palant » Tue May 10, 2011 1:36 pm

anonymous74100 wrote:Could you please use some other image host. Tinypic is blocked for me (don't know if it's the ISP's or tinypic's fault) :(

Probably your ISP - see http://securitymattersmag.com/security-matters-magazine-article-detail.php?id=460, they probably blocked Tinypic because of this incident and forgot to unban.
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Re: Criteria for "acceptable" advertising

Postby fanboy » Fri May 13, 2011 9:14 am

There has been many privacy and security issues related to adservers, and we feel well protected by most of the issues that occur with hacks against adservers..but allowing any "acceptable" advertising we could be open any number of these issues to the enduser. I'm still unsure why this "feature" is even needed. Would be annoying having people fork the project because its no longer properly blocking all forms of advertising by default. :(
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Re: Criteria for "acceptable" advertising

Postby Till » Fri May 13, 2011 5:00 pm

I'm still unsure why this "feature" is even needed. Would be annoying having people fork the project because its no longer properly blocking all forms of advertising by default. :(


I don't understand why anybody would want to fork ABP because of that. Already two years ago Wladimir has outlined in a blog post (http://adblockplus.org/blog/an-approach ... d-blocking) that the goal of Adblock Plus is not to destroy advertising. With this feature we have a great opportunity here to encourage advertisers to stop annoying people and at the same time allow website owners to make some money so the internet can remain free. If you don't want to accept any ad you don't have to but I am sure many users will support the vision to improve the internet instead of harming it.
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