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posted by janrinok on Monday March 24 2014, @09:44PM   Printer-friendly
from the ads?-what-ads? dept.

An anonymous coward writes:

"Three weeks ago, video game reviewer and online columnist Jim Sterling used his weekly "Jimquisition" video column (warning: NSFW) at The Escapist to address 'the ever thorny issue' of viewers using ad-blockers while watching his content.

As Mr Sterling relies entirely on ads on The Escapist and his YouTube channel for his income and isn't exactly known for pulling punches regardless of topic, it may have come as a surprise to many that he expressed considerable understanding for those who choose to block ads [transcribed and slightly censored by the submitter]:

"No, I don't like it when someone views my work with Adblock, but I get it. I absolutely understand it, and I find it hard to judge anybody who does it. If I'm p---ed off at anyone, it's the advertisers; those reckless buffoons who brought up intrusive pop-ups, auto-playing video ads, and those f---ing banners with the smileys that scream "SAY SOMETHING" at you.

'There is this horrible cycle in place, if you didn't know, where the less ads that get viewed, the worse the ads are, because the less scrupulous commercial companies will go after the more desperate venues. What this means is, the more you ad-block, the worse the ads actually get.'

After asking his viewers to 'kindly consider' viewing his videos with Adblock disabled (and expressing some considerable distaste for those who publicly state that they block the ads and still insists on criticising his work), Sterling willingly conceded that ads on web sites can represent a real problem for users:

'When ads break web sites, when they ruin your browsing or are offensive to you on some level, how the hell can I blame you for wanting to obliterate them? I can't!'

Whether one likes Mr Sterling's videos or not, he no doubt has a point. Ads are the only available source of revenue for many web sites and content producers, but they have little or no influence over the kind of ads the ad provider serves through their site. As we all know, intrusive ads can significantly degrade the browsing experience and even be a malware vector. Besides asking their users to please endure potentially obnoxious ads, are there ways for web sites (like, say, SoylentNews) and content producers to make money from advertisements?

The story ends with an interesting twist: For those who wanted to support him but just couldn't stomach the ads, Sterling briefly published the URL to an Amazon wishlist as well as his P.O. box address at the end of the video. Last week he revealed that although he had done so in jest, several viewers had indeed sent him gifts (from 7:02 onwards)."

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by tathra on Monday March 24 2014, @10:24PM

    by tathra (3367) on Monday March 24 2014, @10:24PM (#20610)

    ads (and tracking, for that matter) absolutely ruin the browsing experience. i have no problem with non-intrusive, non-annoying, non-disruptive ads (no popups, auto-playing videos, flashing banners, etc), but since thats basically the default for every ad online these days, i simply block them all. i know i'm not the only one that feels this way either.

    the advertisers fucked themselves on this one. the 'free market' spoke and said, "we dont want your shit," but then the advertisers got even more forceful in trying to shove down our throats something we made clear we didnt want, which resulted in ad-blockers, anti-tracking methods (since they willingly ignore the "do not track stuff", we had to do that ourselves too), etc. take the hint and stop polluting our internet with shit nobody wants.

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  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Ken_g6 on Monday March 24 2014, @11:03PM

    by Ken_g6 (3706) on Monday March 24 2014, @11:03PM (#20627)

    It's funny, there have been a few sites that requested I turn off AdBlock, I did so, and nothing changed. Why? I also run NoScript. Which means the ads on that page were not simple images - not even animated gifs. No, the advertisers insisted on either the site (sometimes I leave the site blocked in NoScript too) or themselves running a script to inject unknown code into my browser. I might occasionally allow an ad on a page, but not that way.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Marand on Tuesday March 25 2014, @03:58AM

      by Marand (1081) on Tuesday March 25 2014, @03:58AM (#20765) Journal

      That's exactly what's wrong with advertising online that makes it so scummy. It's not the bandwidth use, it's the expectation that they be allowed to run code on your system. Nobody expects the advertisers to be able to enter their homes and change their TV's volume or channel or anything else when a commercial comes on. (Though I bet if any advertisers are reading this, they just started salivating at the idea.)

      So why is there an expectation that they be allowed to fuck with my computer?

      Normally I wouldn't do this, but I posted something a few weeks ago that's more relevant here, so I'm re-posting it:

      The primary problem with advertising sources, and the reason I block them, is that the current design with external advertisers is that you have to trust the advertisers to run executable code (javascript) on your computer. Not only does that enable the option of doing obnoxious things (animations, audio, etc.), but drive-by malware through adverts is an issue, and it's one that's mitigated by adblockers or strict NoScript settings.

      I don't even run an adblocker, I just keep NoScript fairly strict, and I don't see 99% of advertisements because they all rely on javascript. I have no issue with your site generating revenue through advertising, but if you depend on me allowing advertisers to run code on my machine, I won't be seeing a single one.

      Trust is hard to earn and easy to lose, and the advertisers are far into the negatives on that score. Why should they care if you get malware from their ads? They won't be held accountable and the viewers aren't the ones paying them.

      • (Score: 1) by The Archon V2.0 on Tuesday March 25 2014, @04:31AM

        by The Archon V2.0 (3887) on Tuesday March 25 2014, @04:31AM (#20787)

        > Nobody expects the advertisers to be able to enter their homes and change their TV's volume or channel or anything else when a commercial comes on.

        Except commercials do seem to be louder than the shows they accompany, so they are in a sense changing the TV's volume.

        • (Score: 2) by Marand on Tuesday March 25 2014, @04:49AM

          by Marand (1081) on Tuesday March 25 2014, @04:49AM (#20800) Journal

          Except commercials do seem to be louder than the shows they accompany, so they are in a sense changing the TV's volume.

          Apples to oranges. They're just using the same tricks as the music industry in its "loudness war", not actually changing your settings. It still won't exceed the volume you chose and can't negate being muted.

          It's the audio equivalent of using bright colours to attract attention. Neither practice is comparable to arbitrary code execution, which is what I was primarily talking about, and should never be a requirement for advertising.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Ben4jammin on Monday March 24 2014, @11:08PM

    by Ben4jammin (3964) on Monday March 24 2014, @11:08PM (#20630)

    I agree, especially with auto playing videos and flashing banners...that generally results in me not visiting that site anymore.
    If you want people to not use ad-blocks on your site, then YOU have to raise the bar on the ads on your site. I do allow ads on some of my favorite sites, as long as there are no auto plays or flashing banners. I think it is a fair trade. I just want to be able to view your site without unexpected sound blowing me out of my chair and not having an epileptic seizure from flashing ads.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Reziac on Tuesday March 25 2014, @02:35AM

    by Reziac (2489) on Tuesday March 25 2014, @02:35AM (#20701) Homepage

    Same here. Back in the olden days, I might actually notice relevant ads. The old Google text ads were cool, and there were some very clever small banner ads -- I even saved a few of them for my own amusement. But then the text ads became a drag on performance (took forever for the server to respond, and meanwhile the rest of the page wouldn't load) and banners started to sing and dance and grow to fill the page, and swoop across the page or leap out in front of the actual content, and in short order they all entered the depths of my HOSTS file and suffered various forms of death-to-javascript.

    It's their own damn fault. I had nothing against the original ads, and other than occasionally turning images off because 14.4 dialup sucks, they were allowed to do their thing. But when the annoying type became a significant fraction, they all suffered for it, because I don't feel a responsibility to sort the wheat from the chaff when it's all being blown in my face.

    I use one site that has several basic banners. I've become pretty much blind to them, except for the first day that a new one appears, then I will often notice it. This is as it should be -- the ad does its job, but lets me ignore it when I don't care to be bothered by it.

    And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.