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French publishers join Swedish 'Block Party' to pester ad refuseniks

Deal with malware

The ad slingers are behaving as if they some how created the internet and it's our payment for using it by which we have to put up with this... they did not, and they call us parasites! I have donated to some blogs (where it was possible) I like and get value from. Those who block me for where the value add is marginal, I drop them. You know what I now have less procrastination in my day and it feels better.

Given we just had the news of how yet another ad network was serving up malware I have no reason to stop blocking these intrusions into my browser. some how I think the ad slingers are unlikely to take responsibility for their lack of security until the first class action kicks off.

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subscription

I have yet to see an easy to use subscription alternative to ads. I am aware there are a few services that operate on a pay per article model but none that would offer an all you can eat bundle for various sites/papers. I guess it would be too much like co-operating with your competitor to them.

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No great loss.

No great loss as far as I see it...

ITV.com, Channel 4oD, City AM, The Telegraph and Mirror Group.

Spewers of ad-laden shite the lot of them.

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Coat

Geste?

That certainly wasn't a Beau Geste! {1.}

1. Subverted quote from PC Wren re: obfuscating theft / sale of family diamond.

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I swear...

....the rich and sheltered really don't understand how the Internet works, do they?

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FAIL

And in other news:

"Adobe will track you across all your devices with new co-op project"

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/03/22/adobe_will_track_users_across_devices_with_new_coop_project/

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contented

Mention of itv & C4 was amusing, I was blocked from them ages ago, I was allowing all their domains (including being generous and allowing their domains to run scripts) but was blocked due to my browser / hosts clampdown on third party scripts / cruddy web sites.

If they served vetted ads from their own domains they would have retained my custom, they chose to chuck all sorts of 3rd party dross at me & there's plenty of other providers of video content out there to keep me amused, far more content than I will ever have time to watch.

Ironically I ended up finding the content I was looking for on ITV (Tour de France footage) on a French content provider.

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Re: contented

Mention of C4 in particular reminded me why I stopped using 4OD.

Some years ago (and at least two laptops ago, I guess, since it was when I still had Flash installed) I tried watching something on 4OD. I've never used an Ad Blocker, but I have been using NoScript for a very long time, and I enabled the right scripts to get the content working.

Now, for those unfamiliar with UK TV advertising, and how that extends to content on 4OD:

On TV, for an hour long program, there's advertising at the start between the program you want to watch and the one before/after it, as well as three advertising breaks during the program.

With the online version, then, you get some adverts before the content, and three more advertising breaks to coincide with where the breaks would be on TV. (There may be advertising after the end as well, but I don't know - would anyone leave it running?)

As I said, I enabled the scripts that I felt were necessary. I saw the first set of adverts, before the content. Then I saw the first part of the content, and then I saw the next set of adverts, during the first break.

And when it came to play the second part of the program, I got a message saying something to the effect of "you appear to be using an ad blocker" and refusing to show me any more.

I reloaded the page (didn't change any settings), and tried to skip forward to the second part of the program. It allowed me to do so, but first I had to wait for the pre-show adverts to play again, then the first break adverts, *then* it allowed me to play the next part of the show.

Thankfully I didn't get a repeat of the problem at subsequent breaks - but because of their (early?) attempts at blocking content to people with ad blockers, I ended up having to put up with the first two sets of adverts twice.

I have never since watched anything on 4OD (or even visited Channel 4's website). To hell with them.

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Stop

Crack in the dam ....

I suspect there are some folk who would pay (I won't over-egg the claim by saying "willingly") to receive ad-free content.

Let's take El Reg, as an example. How much would we pay for an ad-free Vulture ? £12/year ? £24 ?

Either way, if it turns out that the number (and more importantly *worth*) of people who would pay to dodge ads exceeds what sites like El Reg make from advertisers, then the chill wind will blow through the world of advertising.

I return to my hobby-horse of the moment that I can't believe there are people who *pay* Sky, and STILL GET ADVERTS !!!!!! Surely if you pay for Sky, the very minimum level would be fewer, if not no, ads ?

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Re: Crack in the dam ....

Let me tell you this - I have no website of my own so I'm not versed in the ad revenue business; but I do frequent Patreon where some people turn these days for a stable revenue stream from their readers, and what I noticed is that those who offer to remove ads from their sites at a certain patronage level per month tend to do so at surprisingly large targets, usually reached with great difficulty or not at all. Which kinda implies that sites with a significant amount of traffic turn out to make a rather staggering amount of income from showing ads, especially compared to what they can make from the contributions offered by the truly minuscule percent of their readers who are actually willing to pay a modest contribution.

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Re: Crack in the dam ....

"Let's take El Reg, as an example. How much would we pay for an ad-free Vulture ? £12/year ? £24 ?"

I probably, almost certainly, would with one massive caveat. They have to ask ME for more money when the subscription expires. I DO NOT want potentially very many sites automatically talking money from my account unless I remember to cancel. They can email me reminders and if I choose to I will renew, but I certainly don't want to spend the end of every month checking which subscriptions are due so I can cancel the dross I may not have re-vistited in months.

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HOSTS files are the way to go.

Until late last year I had all ads blocked on YouTube too.

Watching YouTube with the adverts really seems shocking to me when I use a computer that is not mine.

There have been a few sites that I frequent where they now say something along the lines of, "Thank you for visiting, you will make me no money, but I do not want you to go away"... That works much better than the pestering adverts you see these days.

Long gone are the days of selling a product that consumers want because of quality.

These days it is about selling a product that you can make Facebook or Twitter users "think" is worth while.

Save $0.0001 on a cheaper capacitor just so you can add that money back to the advertisting budget, who cares if it dies in 5 years instead of 12... The customer will only have it 9 months before we start pushing them to the new replacement.

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HOSTS files are the way to go.
AKP, is that you?

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It's their own fault

Surely the publishers have only themselves to blame.

In the case of the paper press the ads are embedded in the page, you see the page, you see the ads, it is one.

Now, for whatever reasons, publishers have chosen to implement online ads such in a way they can be easily removed. It is a analogous to those "inserts" the paper press put in their publications; the ones I drop into the nearest bin, the ones I don't hear them whining about me or anyone else discarding.

So, why do publishers expect the consumer to behave any differently just because the content is online?

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Re: It's their own fault

You raise an excellent point. Our local supermarket has a special recycling bin next to the news stand. Almost everyone holds their paper or magazine over it and gives it a shake to dump out the loose leaflets before they even pay for it. The supermarket provides the ad blocker for the 3rd party junk :-)

Ads served on websites which are part of the page, don't require scripts and don't get served from a 3rd party advert slinger can't be stopped by any ad blocker unless you block gif|png|jpg etc so why don't they have fall back adverts to show people with ad blockers?

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The ad industry really should shut up about ad blockers. If they make enough noise they have another hit from the law of intended consequences. The punters - those who pay for the ads - will catch on to the huge negative impact advertising can have and walk away. However the industry is full of people who are so full of themselves they're not going to work that out before the punters; their self-image wouldn't stand the damage.

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FAIL

Hails of derisive laughter, Bruce

"Ad blocking is a genuine threat to the free availability of quality online journalism ..."

I assume this means free as in beer, and quality as a negative. For sites whose content I value, I disable my ad-blocker. If the advertising is hideous, then it gets reenabled. Pop-over ads? That's a blocking. Flash animations? That's a blocking. Auto-play video ads? You better believe that's a blocking.

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I assume they'll foot the bill and recover the data

..if their campaign infects one or more computers with mal/spy/ransom/etc ware and other things because someone actually disables the adblocker.

I mean, not using an adblocker when lots and lots of computers get infected that way is, well, not recommended.. When someone knowingly tricks somebody into doing it anyway, and as a result they get one of those..wouldn't/shouldn't that be punishable by law?

If it were physical property it would probably be called willful damage or something, but..

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A better ad-blocker!

Today, ad-blocker work by not issuing requests corresponding to an ad. When you are a publisher and built a page, you know there is an ad on your page, and thus a browser not blocking ads should display it: the server receives a GET request. Hence, when you do NOT receive a GET for the ad after the page have been loaded, you know there is an ad-block on the way. This is a correlation that works even when the user blocks all scripts.

What I would do if I had some spare time is code a new type of ad-blocker that would simply issue the GET as expected by the server but not display the ad, like putting it with display:none, or somewhere else in an invisible iFrame or any technique you could come with.

Doing so, the server would think it served you the ad and would be very pleased! The only drawback is that you generate the same network traffic as a non-blocked page, where current ad-blockers can actually give you a faster browsing experience (because ads are not loaded).

But then probably ad-makers would come up with some JS technique to remove your display:none or obfuscation techniques... cat and mouse!

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Re: A better ad-blocker!

And a response to that will be a further GET or other indicator of the ad loading embedded into the ad.

The missing ad could still be detected. Trying to do everything but display the ad could still result in malware by ad network.

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An advertising income is not a measure of how good your site is...

it's a measure of how good you can persuade the advertisers your site is. And when people are turning off your adverts in droves, well, you can deduce that *something* is upsetting them.

There is *no* website - no, el Reg, not even this one - which I would be persuaded to use if viewing the adverts were the only option. Advertising funding - i.e. selling eyeballs to advertisers - is not the only way to go, and if people won't accept it then the websites will have to find some other way of working, or they will disappear.

The arguments about avoiding advertising because of bandwidth, privacy, tracking, security, and other grounds have been rehearsed into the ground; I won't repeat them. There are too many sites which are pure clickbait, which exist only to get advertising money. Some of them provide services which many people find useful - social media sites, for example - but without which people managed quite well before they existed and without which they will no doubt manage once they vanish. As people begin to discover the disadvantages of the funding model they may also decide not to use them. On the other hand they may prefer to (gasp) pay for the use in some other way: if the site cannot find that new method then it will disappear.

As an observation: Facebook had a billion or so users and a turnover last year of around eighteen billion dollars (according to Wiki). So a user is worth an average of eighteen bucks a year to facebook... it's not a lot - would you pay it to avoid adverts? (I don't use it; I can't comment).

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Re: An advertising income is not a measure of how good your site is...

Small problem there - I'm absolutely convinced that less than 1% (and I'm being immensely generous here) of users would turn into paying customers unless a) that would be the only way to access the site and b) the site in question would be perceived as incredibly valuable and thus worth paying for (not assumptions most sites would meet). That sort of implies paying users would have to foot a bill of eighteenhundred bucks per year to offset all ad revenues, and I know of no-one who would be wiling to do that...

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Re: An advertising income is not a measure of how good your site is...

I'm sure you're right.

It's a question of what it it worth, to whom... Facebook sells it's billions of dollars' worth of advertising, and the advertisers obviously think it's worth paying even though the click through rate is something like 400 in a million (Google manages 80,000 in a million) - and that's fine, until users start blocking advertisers.

At which point FB has to decide whether to lose the blocking users, or lose the advertising revenue and find another funding mechanism.

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Anonymous Coward

We block ad servers at the firewall

Our web-block subscription allows us to ad-block at our corporate firewall. I just had to check the category "Advertisements".

It's funny, we have had a content filter available on our firewall for years, but never enabled it. Management has always been fairly liberal with filtering/tracking here at the company. They have always had the opinion that if they thought they had to nanny employees that much, they shouldn't be working here. In fact, they did terminate an employee a while back for abusing (and I mean really abusing) Farcebook.

It was finally the annoying ads that made us enable the content filter. So far, the only content we block is ads! It took a while for me to get the okay, but the recent stories of malware spreading via the ad networks finally sold it. Everyone that works here is finally seeing how the web really should be!! People are coming to me to see how to get an ad blocker for home.

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Bah!

Do any of these erstwhile outlets for all the news that's fit to print c/w fashion tips plus gossip offer a "pay for an ad-free experience" option?

I'd pay to be shot of offerings of Volvos and croissants.

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Happy

"It's turtles all the way down"

No it's javascript disabled and a comprehensive hosts file all the way down.

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"quality online journalism"

That one almost had me rolling on the floor laughing.

"quality online journalism" is rapidly vanishing. The Reg is one of the few "news" type sites that I look at because the quality of the journalism elsewhere, generally speaking, has dropped to the level of a third grade newsletter.

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addblock block block block blocker

I had one Australian news web site popped up add banners across the top of the page.

Depending on the character width of the screen, line wrap would cause the rest of the page to jump uncontrollably. I don't go to that site any more.

Where can I get the addblock block blocker,

after which I'll probably need an addblock block block block blocker.

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Re: addblock block block block blocker

I have one browser set up with uBlock Origin, and another with uBlock Origin and NoScript.

The browser that just has the blocker sets off the ad-block blocking, but the one with NoScript doesnt.

Looks like they need to run scripts to have the ad-block block run, but stopping that script effectively blocks their ad-block block.

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Joke

Re: addblock block block block blocker

How many Ads would and Ad-block block,

If an Ad-block Ad-blocked Ads?

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Despite the decline...

El Reg ain't the rag it used to be.

But it is still better than many other outlets for our daily dribble of news, especially for those of us with the handicap of intelligence.

I've made this comment before, but I will make it again.

Please El Reg, let me pay you.

As it stands adverts are, and will remain, blocked.

C'mon, let me subscribe and waste my money where I see fit.

And put an El Reg logo beer glass in the shop.

Cheers.

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Mute button next

TV remotes often have buttons to change to another channel or mute their TV's. Whilst this is a perfectly acceptable use of the remote control for a TV, I've noticed several people also using these controls to temporarily change channel or mute sound whist adverts are on. This should be stopped and requires only simple reprogramming of the controller to prevent these harmful, unwarranted and unjustifiable acts.

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I'll make you a deal...

I'll stop using an ad blocker when you can guarantee me the following:

- Your ads won't try to infect my computer with malware. Ever.

- Your ads won't play audio

- Your ads won't use excessive bandwidth (e.g. playing video)

- Your ads won't use distracting flashing animations

- Your ads won't pop up over the content I am trying to view

- Your ads won't try to open a separate window/tab

- Your ads won't scroll with the screen, making a portion of my browser window permanently unusable

- Your ads will work properly on a mobile device, without making it impossible to scroll past them to view the actual content.

- Your ads won't use flash

- Your ads won't use cookies, or use unique identifier to try to track me in any way

What's that - you can't, or won't guarantee me any/all of those? Fuck off then.

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Vic
Thumb Up

Re: I'll make you a deal...

Your ads won't use flash

I like Flash ads.

As I do not have Flash installed on my machine, they end up being self-blocking. Which is nice.

Vic.

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Anonymous Coward

It's not as though

Google is hard-up for a few bob and has to take whatever ads it can get to scrape by.

They could use some of their income to apply due diligence to whoever pays to serve ads through them.

I understand companies need to make money, but I don't see they have the right to insist I see their adverts anymore than someone pushing leaflets through my door has a right to come back and check I read them.

Ad-blockers are surely no more unfair than putting a sign up that says 'no leaflets, ads, or free newspapers, mad cat-hurling person lives here'

.

I'll be keeping ad-blockers on my browsers until there's a better solution that works keeping me safe from ad-served malware, and terrible messes of webpages that take my bandwidth and serve me cascades of ads and no actual site content

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