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posted by Blackmoore on Tuesday December 09 2014, @04:00AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the feeding-the-hand-that-bites-you dept.

Frédéric Filloux reports at Monday Note that two groups of French publishers, the GESTE and the French Internet Advertising Bureau, are considering a lawsuit against AdBlockPlus creator Eyeo GmbH on grounds that it represents a major economic threat to their business. According to LesEchos.fr, EYEO, which publishes Adblock Plus, has developed a business model where they offer not to block publishers' advertisements for remuneration as long as the ads are judged non-intrusive (Google Translate, Original here). "Several criteria must be met as well: advertisements must be identified as such, be static and therefore not contain animation, no sound, and should not interfere with the content. A position that some media have likened to extortion."

According to Filloux the legal action misses the point. By downloading AdBlock Plus (ABP) on a massive scale, users are voting with their mice against the growing invasiveness of digital advertising. Therefore, suing Eyeo, the company that maintains ABP, is like using Aspirin to fight cancer. A different approach is required but very few seem ready to face that fact. "We must admit that Eyeo GmbH is filling a vacuum created by the incompetence and sloppiness of the advertising community’s, namely creative agencies, media buyers and organizations that are supposed to coordinate the whole ecosystem," says Filloux. Even Google has begun to realize that the explosion of questionable advertising formats has become a problem and the proof is Google's recent Contributor program that proposes ad-free navigation in exchange for a fee ranging from $1 to $3 per month. "The growing rejection of advertising AdBlock Plus is built upon is indeed a threat to the ecosystem and it needs to be addressed decisively. For example, by bringing at the same table publishers and advertisers to meet and design ways to clean up the ad mess. But the entity and leaders who can do the job have yet to be found."

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by GungnirSniper on Tuesday December 09 2014, @04:17AM

    by GungnirSniper (1671) on Tuesday December 09 2014, @04:17AM (#124063) Journal

    France and Australia should switch places because zee French are clearly upside down.

    Letting Eyeo determine what is acceptable advertisement while they also make the blocking software does seem a bit suspicious, like a mobster's protection racket, until we realize the publishers will want an industry panel they control. As someone who has seen too many seizure-inducing and useability-damaging ads, I'll take what Eyeo is selling over the anything goes advertising business.

    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday December 09 2014, @05:03AM

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 09 2014, @05:03AM (#124073) Journal

      France and Australia should switch places because zee French are clearly upside down.

      Oy... careful, mate! Here's DownUnder not Topsy-turvy.

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 09 2014, @05:07AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 09 2014, @05:07AM (#124075)

        Oy vey, goyim. Give zee Jews more of your gold.

        - Ethanol-fueled

        • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday December 09 2014, @05:24AM

          by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 09 2014, @05:24AM (#124080) Journal

          Oy vey, goyim. Give zee Jews more of your gold.

          Buddy, really now... did you have to...?

          I mean, look... when it comes with obsessions, there are healthy ones and then there are unhealthy ones.
          This being said, I'm asking you:   what's with your unhealthy obsession on gold?
          I mean, you can't drink it, can you?

          (large grin)

          --
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 09 2014, @04:27AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 09 2014, @04:27AM (#124067)

    Wow, Big Media sure is trying hard to Jew people out of their money.

    - Ethanol-fueled

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 09 2014, @05:31AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 09 2014, @05:31AM (#124081)

      Wow, Big Media sure is trying hard to Jew people out of their money.

      I don't see how they are trying to get my money with ads. Yes, the markedroids will pay for them, but for me (as one of the people), at its worst, it's just an annoyance.

      Jews did 9/11

      I guess they tried to be 2 units better than 7-eleven.

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 09 2014, @05:00AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 09 2014, @05:00AM (#124072)

    I had previously thought it was a community effort - after all, AdBlock prompts for donations.

    Perhaps someone would like to create a free software clone?

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by c0lo on Tuesday December 09 2014, @05:06AM

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 09 2014, @05:06AM (#124074) Journal

      Perhaps someone would like to create a free software clone?

      I reckon it's the "blacklist" that is actually the greatest value, not the software which enforces that list.

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
    • (Score: 2, Informative) by unauthorized on Tuesday December 09 2014, @05:11AM

      by unauthorized (3776) on Tuesday December 09 2014, @05:11AM (#124077)

      AdBlock is open-source. FOSS != free of charge. You can sell Linux CDs for as much as you like and the GPL explicitly states that you can do that.
      However, if you find this practice not to your liking, then there is fork [mozilla.org] which exists for this very reason.

      • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Tuesday December 09 2014, @09:49AM

        by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Tuesday December 09 2014, @09:49AM (#124127) Homepage
        You can also use an ABP from pre-whitelist times, which is what I do on this machine. There's another fork of it too, which I use on one of my laptops.
        Absolutely no need to support the modern ABP ad mafioso.
        --
        I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 09 2014, @06:37AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 09 2014, @06:37AM (#124090)

      adblock edge is the real deal

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Lagg on Tuesday December 09 2014, @05:08AM

    by Lagg (105) on Tuesday December 09 2014, @05:08AM (#124076) Homepage Journal

    The second it looks like Eyeo is in danger two things will happen: Firstly, harassment on a huge scale by whoever DDoS club is doing their rounds this week. Secondly, forks of ABP. Lots of them. I've been waiting for ABP to become prevalent for years for this moment. These companies are pathetic and desperate now that people are starting to give a middle finger to the "internet runs on ads" argument. Enjoy it gentlemen. This is merely the start.

    Oh, and as far as that advert whitelist thing goes. I don't care for it (which is why I disabled it, people seem to forget that you can) but I am happy that it forces companies to actually give thought to their ads. I also enjoy that Eyeo is taking their money. They deserve no less.

    You know come to think of it there are already some forks of ABP because of this silly outrage over the whitelist. I wonder sometimes if people realize that you can remove it like any other filter set. You could even completely gut it from the extension. I also think there is some misunderstanding of how the whole process works. Eyeo doesn't just take money and slap the company on the whitelist. It gets presented to the community on the forum [adblockplus.org] and is also free for small-medium businesses and blags [adblockplus.org]. I've always figured this outrage was fabricated by companies angry that their malware doesn't work anymore. But what do I know. I just keep the whitelist checkbox disabled and go on with my day.

    --
    http://lagg.me [lagg.me] 🗿
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 09 2014, @05:53AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 09 2014, @05:53AM (#124084)

      I don't see anything obvious in the ABP UI.

      Thanks.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 09 2014, @06:39AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 09 2014, @06:39AM (#124091)
        • (Score: 2) by Nobuddy on Tuesday December 09 2014, @09:28PM

          by Nobuddy (1626) on Tuesday December 09 2014, @09:28PM (#124400)

          Still whitelists after you do that. I notice many greens in the blockables list even after disabling whitelisting. Fuck em for lying.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by frojack on Tuesday December 09 2014, @06:57AM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 09 2014, @06:57AM (#124097) Journal

      You know come to think of it there are already some forks of ABP because of this silly outrage over the whitelist. I wonder sometimes if people realize that you can remove it like any other filter set.

      I've watched the whitelist grow as time goes on, and every once in a while I see so many ads creeping in that I have to go on a rampage through the whitelist killing them by the dozens. I suppose I could just turn off the whitelist all together.

      The thing is, there are some ads I actually don't mind. I doubt they pay the for themselves, but if it means a site I enjoy gets funded by somebody, and they aren't intrusive, I'll actually put up with them. I've been known to actually look at a few and (horrors!) click some.

      But there is the nagging problem with the ads buying their way onto my screen by paying adblock plus to look the other way. We hate this when our congress-critters or our police do this, but we some how accept this palm-crossing where ABP is concerned. Couldn't they make more money by charging 4 dollars a year per user?

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 2) by Lagg on Tuesday December 09 2014, @07:35AM

        by Lagg (105) on Tuesday December 09 2014, @07:35AM (#124105) Homepage Journal

        I really doubt money is the issue here in a way similar to Google's reason for charging $10 for a license in the store. Like I said it's free for small and medium businesses and blags but larger companies pay. I assume it's a discouragement while still allowing people who do ads for their personal stuff to have some money. Again, I just uncheck that box and move on with my day so I'm neutral in this matter. But I will say this: Donations exist. Ads aren't your only route for money.

        --
        http://lagg.me [lagg.me] 🗿
      • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Tuesday December 09 2014, @03:34PM

        by tangomargarine (667) on Tuesday December 09 2014, @03:34PM (#124199)

        But there is the nagging problem with the ads buying their way onto my screen by paying adblock plus to look the other way. We hate this when our congress-critters or our police do this, but we some how accept this palm-crossing where ABP is concerned. Couldn't they make more money by charging 4 dollars a year per user?

        In the same way that, though I never thought I would see the day, Mozilla made changes to the Firefox UI that couldn't be disabled in about:config, I expect sooner or later ABP will make it compulsory to abide by the whitelist somehow.

        Nothing lasts forever.

        (or just layer on NoScript and RequestPolicy to solve the problem...but having 3 or more extensions to do all this is wearisome)

        --
        "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 09 2014, @07:14AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 09 2014, @07:14AM (#124100)

    s/t

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by ikanreed on Tuesday December 09 2014, @02:23PM

      by ikanreed (3164) on Tuesday December 09 2014, @02:23PM (#124174) Journal

      Counterpoint: Microsoft has already disabled HOSTS as an OS level tool in all consumer versions of windows since 7. The reason they did it wasn't crazy: malware producers love that little file.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by anubi on Tuesday December 09 2014, @07:44AM

    by anubi (2828) on Tuesday December 09 2014, @07:44AM (#124107) Journal

    In return for programs like AdBlock becoming illegal to use, advertisers agree to accept unconditional and full responsibility of rogueware and system problems caused by their ads.

    Like a restauranteur, they agree to accept liability for what they serve.

    A successful lawsuit against AdBlock constitutes agreement to this liability.

    However, in today's business-oriented world, their "by doing that, you agree to this" will carry legal force for a business, and my set of identical words will be considered meaningless.

    The first three words go: "I pledge Allegiance"; and the last three words are "Justice for All". The last three words are just as meaningful as the first three. If not, there wasn't much sense in making the pledge in the first place.

    --
    "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Nuke on Tuesday December 09 2014, @10:46AM

      by Nuke (3162) on Tuesday December 09 2014, @10:46AM (#124135)

      They will not be making Adblock illegal to use (although the admen would love that), they are "just" pursuing Adblock for damages. Meanwhile, let's pursue the admen for damages arising from their unauthorised use of our bandwidth and time wasted waiting for slow ad servers before being able to see the web pages we ask for.

      You need to understand the mindset of these admen. To them their ads are are the centre of the world and they really believe that we are missing something in our lives if we do not partake of the experience. They are like politicians who believe everyone should hear their speech, or subway wall poets who want everyone to read their ramblings. They think adblock is doing its users a disservice.

      But it will be like TPB, clones will spring up everywhere.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Nerdfest on Tuesday December 09 2014, @01:10PM

      by Nerdfest (80) on Tuesday December 09 2014, @01:10PM (#124152)

      They could actually do it. All they'd need to do is start serving ads that are either plain HTML or images. Stop cramming them with JavaScript. It's a damn advertisement. If they want them to be more, the consequences are their responsibility.

    • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Tuesday December 09 2014, @03:37PM

      by tangomargarine (667) on Tuesday December 09 2014, @03:37PM (#124201)

      In return for programs like AdBlock becoming illegal to use, advertisers agree to accept unconditional and full responsibility of rogueware and system problems caused by their ads.

      And I've got a bridge to sell you...

      The problem with even suggesting this is that I guarantee you it would turn out that ABP gets declared illegal and the litigants still manage to weasel out of accepting any of said responsibility.

      --
      "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @04:59AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @04:59AM (#124515)

        This is a tort. A -civil- case.
        They are looking for monetary damages.

        The map you followed to get to "illegal" is not reliable.

        -- gewg_

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 09 2014, @08:14AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 09 2014, @08:14AM (#124113)
    Does anyone have a list of server hostnames run by GESTE and the French Internet Advertising Bureau or any related companys?

    I'd like to add them all to my hosts file. 32,000+ sites blocked and counting. I'll only see an ad ONCE ever.

    This implied social contract where i get ads in exchange for ??? is bullshit and i never agreed to that.
    And i also remember when the internet HAD NO ADS and only what a person saw as valuable was put online.
    Instead of any old drivel that falls out of someone tweethole like now.

    Signal to noise ratio is off the freakin charts with useless shit. And ads are just yet another thing we really don't need.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 09 2014, @02:52PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 09 2014, @02:52PM (#124184)

      Hosts files work to a point...

      They fail very badly when you get something like this

      http://goodsiteyouwanttosee.com/blahblah/blahblah/adfrom3rdparty.jpg [goodsiteyouwanttosee.com]

      It is fairly trivial to make advertisements look like they are coming from your site when in reality they come from a 3rd party.

      Things like adblock can do the job of host file block *AND* script grepping.

      Back when I actually tested this. Hostfile lookup was nearly 30 seconds of page load time (for 20 loaded pages and about 3 mins total and cold cache). If you use one of those monster host files. With my own custom grep util I was able to get it down to nLog(N) search lookup (down to about 5 seconds of the total). Hostfile is linear lookup. If you do not have a real http server on the other end giving up some sort of graphic or text your lookup times are even worse.

      If you are truly paranoid about the code use something like a pac file and a binary search with some simple regex.

      You probably could still find my binary search lookup on this site. The default for this one is linear lookup (which is equal to host files).
      http://www.schooner.com/~loverso/no-ads/ [schooner.com]

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @01:05AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10 2014, @01:05AM (#124447)

        Hostfile is linear lookup.

        When did you last check this? Because that seems like outdated information to me.

    • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Tuesday December 09 2014, @03:45PM

      by tangomargarine (667) on Tuesday December 09 2014, @03:45PM (#124204)

      Does anyone have a list of server hostnames run by GESTE and the French Internet Advertising Bureau or any related companys?

      *turns on the APK Signal*

      --
      "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
  • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Tuesday December 09 2014, @08:39AM

    by maxwell demon (1608) on Tuesday December 09 2014, @08:39AM (#124120) Journal

    Will they pay compensation for damage done by malware distributed through the advertising networks they use?

    --
    The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
  • (Score: 2) by hoochiecoochieman on Tuesday December 09 2014, @11:37AM

    by hoochiecoochieman (4158) on Tuesday December 09 2014, @11:37AM (#124139)

    A few things about living in a Capitalist society annoy the fuck out of me. About most of them, I can't do much, but about Internet advertising, I can. I use Adblock and Noscript so I can surf the web in peace. I see a very different web than everyone else.

    Advertisement is annoying and, in the end, useless. I don't need to buy the shit they advertise. I don't want to buy it. Even if I wanted to buy it, I don't have the money for it. So, get off my web browser and shove your advertisements up your ass. Get a life. Go and do something useful.

    I seriously doubt advertisement attracts enough buyers to make it financially lucrative to advertise anything. I guess brands only advertise because "everyone else is doing it" and they don't want to miss out. In this case, advertisement is just a tax imposed on businesses for a service that has no value to them. Kind of "protection money" you pay to the Mob. They should do something useful with their money, like paying better salaries, or giving health assistance to their employees. Not paying a bunch of idiots to pollute my eyes and my brain with blinking useless shit that I don't need and definitely don't want.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 09 2014, @02:18PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 09 2014, @02:18PM (#124168)

      I stop buying things I see advertisements for.
      if I see an ad for something, it goes on my buying-blacklist.
      that includes outdoor advertising etc.
      (on internet I ofcourse block all ads, so I don't see any there)

      if more people decided to stop buying things that spend the money on advertising perhaps we would get less advertisement, and that would be a good thing.

    • (Score: 2) by carguy on Tuesday December 09 2014, @02:40PM

      by carguy (568) on Tuesday December 09 2014, @02:40PM (#124177)

      I don't think ads are aimed at you -- sadly you, me and many other innocents are collateral damage. Since the ad wars that rage around us are pretty hard to avoid, perhaps we should get to know our common enemy? Sun Tsu -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Art_of_War#Quotations [wikipedia.org]

      Here is one quick intro to the economic case for advertizing (why advertizing is unlikely to stop anytime soon), http://www.economicswebinstitute.org/glossary/advertising.htm [economicswebinstitute.org]

      More significantly, advertising connects a good to a need, suggesting that by consuming the good the need will be fulfilled. A common method is to link the good to the most fundamental and universal needs, most deeply felt, whereas - without advertising - the good would be considered as of a much narrower application and utility. Indeed many ads promise happiness to the buyer, much overstating the reasonable effect of the product.

      And an interesting intro to the ad business, http://www.liesdamnedlies.com/online_advertising_business_101.html [liesdamnedlies.com]

      ps. I'm not in the advertizing business, please don't shoot the messenger...

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 09 2014, @02:50PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 09 2014, @02:50PM (#124182)

      I once scored a $30,000.00 consulting contract after paying twenty cents for two clicks on a Google AdWords Select ad.

      I used to be in the direct mail business. It worked out very well. Direct mail especially, you can test small "drops" to determine if a larger one will pay off - different offer pricing, different cover letter text, different printing on the outside of the envelope.

      • (Score: 2) by hoochiecoochieman on Tuesday December 09 2014, @03:14PM

        by hoochiecoochieman (4158) on Tuesday December 09 2014, @03:14PM (#124192)

        I once scored a $30,000.00 consulting contract after paying twenty cents for two clicks on a Google
        AdWords Select ad.

        I like to play the lottery, too. Never won any significant amount, though.

        I used to be in the direct mail business. It worked out very well. Direct mail especially, you can test small "drops" to determine if a larger one will pay off - different offer pricing, different cover letter text, different printing on the outside of the envelope.

        That's why my building has a trash basket right beside the mail boxes. All advertisement goes directly in there. I'm sorry, but I can't tell the difference between the offer pricing or the cover letter text, or the different printing. As far as I can tell, me and everybody else in my building dump all advertisement in that basket. It's always full and sometimes overflowing.

        You reminded me of a documentary I saw on TV, showing how those useless pieces of paper are recycled and become toilet paper. Advertisement is not so useless after all. One can always wipe one's ass with it.

    • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Tuesday December 09 2014, @03:43PM

      by tangomargarine (667) on Tuesday December 09 2014, @03:43PM (#124202)

      As a rather engineer-mentality person, I consider any sales position to be an inherently dishonest profession (probably preaching to the right crowd here, huh? ;)

      Technical professions where you're designing or implementing something obviously *can become* dishonest, but in sales, right from the jump you're trying to convince someone to buy something they didn't want before you started.

      Don't know whether I'd label politics with the same name, or whether it's just ~inevitable that entering the profession corrupts you rather than the profession itself being dishonest per se.

      --
      "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
  • (Score: 2) by PizzaRollPlinkett on Tuesday December 09 2014, @04:44PM

    by PizzaRollPlinkett (4512) on Tuesday December 09 2014, @04:44PM (#124249)

    I block ads, scripts, and so on more to block tracking than the ads themselves. I use adblock plus and other add-ons to lower my profile online.

    --
    (E-mail me if you want a pizza roll!)