Curious -- who blocks Ads, and Why?



  • I've noticed that quite a few visitors use plugins (or whatever) to block the javascript-driven ads that run on this site, and I'm curious as to why they do this. Does anyone do this now and, if so, why?



  • I would assume they do it to block adds on sites were the ads a bit more onerous.



  • @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    I've noticed that quite a few visitors use plugins (or whatever) to block the javascript-driven ads that run on this site, and I'm curious as to why they do this. Does anyone do this now and, if so, why?



    I do.

    It's nothing personal, I block ads everywhere.  I don't like ads.  I don't like ads on TV, I don't like the crap that gets pushed into my (snail) mailbox, I block spam.  Ads on webpages are visual spam.  IMO, of course.

    Simon



  • I do not, because it is wholly immoral.  It's little better than theft, and people who block adverts are scumbags.  If you do not like adverts, stop using sites that depend on them for their existance.

    The web advertising revenue model is not like the TV advertising revenue model; it's based on actual views and clickthroughs rather than projected views, so blocking adverts hurts web sites in a way that skipping adverts on TV does not.



  • @DrPizza said:

    I do not, because it is wholly immoral.  It's little better than theft, and people who block adverts are scumbags.  If you do not like adverts, stop using sites that depend on them for their existance.


    Well, I'm obviously a thieving scumbag then[1].  No need to worry about where your tv remote went, it's not down the back of the sofa; I came round and stole it when you weren't looking.  And that time you were down the pub and thought you had twenty quid to pay for a round but it turned out you only had a fiver?  That was me too.

    Personally, I don't like giving access to my browsing habits to J. Random Advertiser.  I have no agreement with them, I have no guarantees as to where the details of the fact I've seen "ad x" go, or to whom those details will be passed.  So, whilst I understand the reasons for Alex having ads on the site, I won't be whitelisting them any time soon, even if making this statement results in my account being banned.  Sorry Alex.

    I'm not alone in this, either.  NoScript and Adblock (the primary tools for this) are numbers 2 and 3 in the firefox extensions "top downloads" list, and "only load images from originating website" has been an option in most browsers since - well, a long time.

    Sincerely

    A. Scumbag

    [1] On the other hand, I'd rather be considered a thieving scumbag than self-righteou#$^&%^)&#&#)&*$NO CARRIER



  • I use Firefox (latest version) with default settings. For that reason, annoying popups are something that happens to other people. I don't block normal banner ads and I consider it unfair and unreasonable to do so.



  • I should note that I don't take any personal offense to this. In fact, I am very grateful that the advertising that does get through is successful enough to pay for all of the hosting costs and for a fair amount of my time (writing a post is a bit more involved than just copy/pasting an email). This is more of a curiosity thing.

    @tufty said:

    I won't be whitelisting them any time soon, even if making this statement results in my account being banned ... I'm not alone in this ... NoScript and Adblock (the primary tools for this) are numbers 2 and 3 in the firefox extensions "top downloads" list

    The solution for publishers is not to ban or otherwise prohibit readers from accessing their media, it is to have more invasive advertising. It can get to the point where advertising will be so intertwined with content that experiencing it will be unavoidable. This is what worries me as a publisher and a consumer, because I believe it worsens the experience for everyone.

    Have you watched TV recently? I recently broke my "DVD-only" rule and downloaded Season 2 of Lost (Dear ABC: Sorry, the suspense from S1 was killing me -- I'll buy S2, I promise). Even in HD with 700MB/episode it was an awful experience. Nothing kills the experience more than those huge (20%!) corner ads and promos. It wasn't like this ten years ago and I blame this *directly* on the TIVO folks.

    Now, "tufty", you're one of the "TIVO folks" who has ruined the TV experience for everyone, including yourself. All because you couldn't sit through a few minutes of ads while watching free, incredibly expensive to produce television shows. As a consumer, I have to now wait and pay for the experience via DVD and hope that impossible-to-crack DRM reaches the mainstream soon.

    With the plugins you mention, you're also on verge of ruining the free-content experience for the internet. If FireFox ever hit mainstream popularity (which, as a publisher and consumer, I'm glad it won't happen), all of this content you're getting for "extra free" will now have the same exact same type of unavoidable advertising. You either pay for it now or pay for it later.



  • I just have a pop-up blocker. There are a couple that get around FF's standard blocker. One is at www.snopes.com. It's kind of stealthy. It waits until you click on a link (I think) then it pops under. I have a grudging respect for it, almost. :)

    @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    If FireFox ever hit mainstream popularity (which, as a publisher and consumer, I'm glad it won't happen)...



    Can you elaborate on this, please? Is this about the ads, or... I don't get your reasons. Thanks.



  • @R.Flowers said:

    Can you elaborate on this, please? Is this about the ads, or... I don't get your reasons. Thanks.

    From reading articles, opinions, etc., from the FireFox team, I get the impression that they have the same or similar mindset as the "Linux commie" crowd* (note: I am only talking about a small portion of linux users here). This crowd does not believe in "intellectual property" and believes that creative work (music, software, etc) contributes to the betterment of society and should be unencumbered and free to derive from. They do not believe in copyright, patents, DRM, or anything -- including advertising -- that puts restrictions or a price on creative work.

    I don't use Firefox, but from what I've seen of it, it's incredibly easy (just a few clicks) to download and install extensions. Since these blocking extensions are in the top of the list, it means that FireFox has made no effort to ban or block these extensions on their principle, which means that they tacitly endorse them. I would categorically ban such extensions on principle.

    Such endorsement of ad-blockers reinforces my belief that the FireFox leads are "Linux commies" and that the ubiquitousness of their product would be detrimental to the "free with ads" paradigm most of us have come to enjoy.

    * Note that this is a subset of the intersection of Linux users and commies. This does not imply that all Linux users are commies or that all commies are Linux users.



  • @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    From reading articles, opinions, etc., from the FireFox team, I get the impression that they have the same or similar mindset as the "Linux commie" crowd*. This crowd does not believe in "intellectual property" and believes that creative work (music, software, etc) contributes to the betterment of society and should be unencumbered and free to derive from. They do not believe in copyright, patents, DRM, or anything -- including advertising -- that puts restrictions or a price on creative work.



    I think there are good reasons (i.e. patent trolls, monopolism) to dislike patents in the context of software. I'm really glad to live in Europe where we managed to ban those patents - for now.
    Copyright protection is IMO good enough for software.

    As a customer, I hate DRM. DRMs are made to make my life more difficult. For example, if I buy DRMed music, I cannot hear it on my mp3-enabled cellular phone without cracking the DRM.




  • @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    Now, "tufty", you're one of the "TIVO
    folks" who has ruined the TV experience for everyone, including
    yourself. All because you couldn't sit through a few minutes of ads
    while watching free, incredibly expensive to produce television shows.
    As a consumer, I have to now wait and pay for the experience via DVD
    and hope that impossible-to-crack DRM reaches the mainstream
    soon.


    Actually, I'm not.  I don't own a TIVO, I don't own a VCR.  I don't
    bittorrent the latest shows, either.  I make myself a cuppa or grab a
    beer while the ads are on, if I can be bothered watching TV at all
    (this is increasingly more rare, as the quality of programming
    continues its seemingly endless spiral into the sewer)



    As for DRM - We already have a world where the paying consumer is
    forced to endure unskippable ads at the beginning of a film that they
    have purchased, a world in which the paying consumer is being treated like a criminal,
    being treated with complete and utter disdain by the "content
    providers".  Which treatment, of course, doesn't affect the pirates one
    jot. 



    If you honestly think that the advent of "uncrackable DRM" will improve
    the lot of the average consumer, I have a bridge I'd like to sell you.

    @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    With the plugins you mention, you're also on verge of ruining the free-content experience for the internet.

    Bollocks.  The free content experience of the internet has already been ruined, and it has been ruined by the advertisers, not by people "skipping the ads".  The use of ever-more invasive advertising methods and behind the scene data collection has thus far resulted in, and will continue to result in, ever-more hardcore ad-blocking functionality, and more "potential marks" using that functionality.

    Obviously this hurts people like yourself, who are relying on advertising to fund their websites.  Sorry, but that's the way it is.  Find another business model if it hurts too much.

    @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    If FireFox ever hit mainstream popularity (which, as a publisher and consumer, I'm glad it won't happen), all of this content you're getting for "extra free" will now have the same exact same type of unavoidable advertising. You either pay for it now or pay for it later.

    Oh, you teh funneh.  As long as an advertiser is relying on a browser to render the content of an ad, I can rely on a browser plugin to block it.  This will be true until all devices connected to the 'net are "trusted devices" controlled by the "content providers".

    Oh, and Firefox has somewhere between 9% and 25% market share at the moment, and climbing.  There's reasons for that.

    @Alex Papadimoulis said:
    From reading articles, opinions, etc., from the FireFox team, I get the impression that they have the same or similar mindset as the "Linux commie" crowd*. This crowd does not believe in "intellectual property" and believes that creative work (music, software, etc) contributes to the betterment of society and should be unencumbered and free to derive from. They do not believe in copyright, patents, DRM, or anything -- including advertising -- that puts restrictions or a price on creative work.


    Oh, man, you know how to troll.  I am *awed*.

    Simon


  • @ammoQ said:

    I think there are good reasons (i.e. patent trolls, monopolism) to dislike patents in the context of software.

    I agree with this -- software patents have gotten completely out of hand (case in point: One-Click Buy). But in general, patents have been a good thing and have protected inventors and consumers. I do believe that certain classes of software should be eligible for a short-lived patent and I suspect that things will eventually come around to that.

    @ammoQ said:

    I hate DRM

    As do I, but I think it's a necessary evil.

    Let's consider television. As a consumer, I want to be able to watch TV shows in HD at my convienience. I don't mind paying (with eyes or money, but would prefer the choice) for this experience because I believe it's reasonable for what I'm getting in return.

    But TIVO and bit-torrent have made this impossible. Now I have to watch invasive ads and wait until broadcasts are fully monetized before the DVD is released. Wouldn't it be nice if there would be a way to prevent commercial-skipping and DVD-ripping? With DRM, this can and will happen.



  • As advertising technology gets better, so will the tech to block the ads. 

    Personally, I do block ads... on a site-by-site basis.  If the ads are intrusive, slow down the page render, rife with js pop-ups or pop-unders... they're blocked.  I do prefer to pay for the content I'm 'consuming', [or at least the bandwidth], but the ads are NOT why I'm coming to your site, and forcing them at me irriates me.  If you feel I'm stealing from you, feel free to block my IP address.  I consider the turnabout to be fair.  If I do block the ads, I generally ask myself if the site is worth my attention anyway; I can probably find the same information in a different place, without the intrusive ads.  I don't agree with the people who block everything, but I don't find it offensive.

    TDWTF is not on my blacklist.

    Advertisements affect me largely through second-order effects.  When I'm going to make a purchase, I either ask for opinions for $item-in-question, or search for specs online.  The first-order effects are negligable or negative: if I see a company advertising a product, I implicitly question if they're attempting to sell based on emotional context or incentives.  I have a good memory for that type of thing.

    Alex: I haven't watched TV in years... don't even own one.  Are you saying that TV shows now have ads in the corners of the screen?



  • @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    @ammoQ said:

    I think there are good reasons (i.e. patent trolls, monopolism) to dislike patents in the context of software.

    I agree with this -- software patents have gotten completely out of hand (case in point: One-Click Buy). But in general, patents have been a good thing and have protected inventors and consumers. I do believe that certain classes of software should be eligible for a short-lived patent and I suspect that things will eventually come around to that.


    Patents are usefull if it takes lots of money to make an invention, which could be easily copied afterwards. For example, it takes millions or billions to develop pharmaceuticals. Most software "inventions" are actually ideas that take nearly no effort at all to develop. Of course it takes some effort to implement those ideas, but the implementation is protected by copyright.

    @ammoQ said:
    I hate DRM

    As do I, but I think it's a necessary evil.

    Let's consider television. As a consumer, I want to be able to watch TV shows in HD at my convienience. I don't mind paying (with eyes or money, but would prefer the choice) for this experience because I believe it's reasonable for what I'm getting in return.

    But TIVO and bit-torrent have made this impossible. Now I have to watch invasive ads and wait until broadcasts are fully monetized before the DVD is released. Wouldn't it be nice if there would be a way to prevent commercial-skipping and DVD-ripping? With DRM, this can and will happen.


    Nothing can stop DVD-ripping, as long as there is a way to watch them at all without trusted brain implants. DRMs will hurt honest customers, while those who don't care about legality still download stuff from the net. DRM can stop TIVOs, but it won't prevent downloading yesterday's TV shows from the net.



  • Speaking of infringement, etc.

    I wonder how many copyrights this violates?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGnYw-OuCnI





  • @tufty said:

    I don't own a TIVO, I don't own a VCR.

    My appologies -- I misunderstood. You mentioned you didn't like TV ads and I assumed you used a mechanism to avoid them like so many others do.

    @tufty said:

    a world in which the paying consumer is being treated like a criminal, being treated with complete and utter disdain by the "content providers".  Which treatment, of course, doesn't affect the pirates one jot.

    With the introduction of any new paradigm, there will be some bumps in the road (or sinkholes like the Sony Rootkit disaster). But the "content providers" are not evil nor do they want to harm the consumer. They are still trying to figure out how to make media work in the age of lossless duplication and all have the common goal of "pay to use."

    You're right, the pirates work to crack and hack the DRM and will always figure out how to. But I suspect the pirates will be eventually relegated to the crowd who has to go to far more trouble than it's worth to pirate -- consider the XBOX/XBOX360 and the trouble one has to go to.

    @tufty said:

    The free content experience of the internet has already been ruined, and it has been ruined by the advertisers

    When was (professional) content ever free and ad-free on the 'net? I've been here since '93 and, as far as I can remember, there has never been such a thing.

    @tufty said:

    As long as an advertiser is relying on a browser to render the content of an ad, I can rely on a browser plugin to block it. 

    Don't be so sure of that. This post was, afterall, brought to you by Initech Global, the leader in technology solutions for the ever changing marketplace. You see, you were just served an invasive, un-blockable ad. And this is exactly where content will have to go if adblockers become ubiquitous.

    @tufty said:

    Oh, man, you know how to troll.  I am *awed*.

    I am likely prejudicial about the Firefox == Linux Commies, but please, disabuse me of this.



  • @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    But TIVO and bit-torrent have made this impossible. Now I have to watch invasive ads and wait until broadcasts are fully monetized before the DVD is released. Wouldn't it be nice if there would be a way to prevent commercial-skipping and DVD-ripping? With DRM, this can and will happen.


    Respectfully, Alex, you are wrong.

    Ads have always existed, since well before TIVO and bittorrent.  So have "watermarked" TV programs; last time I was in the states was - umm - around 1992 or so - and I distinctly remember seeing them then, as they shocked me.  So did the way the ads were cut into the programmes (ad break 3 minutes before the end of a film, then another one after the credits rolled).  Blaming TIVO and bittorent for this is somewhat facile.

    Ditto "monetization" (and if ever there was a wank word, that's it): there used to be a law in the UK (forced by the "content providers" of course) that you couldn't release a film on video until after a certain time had expired from initial cinematic release.  Same for TV showings of films.  Again, this is all well before TIVO or bittorrent.

    In a related note, in what way would it be even close to "nice", from a consumer point of view, to be able to prevent commercial-skipping?  I have several DVDs here with unskippable ads and trailers.  I own these DVDs.  "Monetization" dosn't come into it, these are films that have already made their money many times over at the box office, and for which I have paid a heavy whack to own them on DVD.  Why should I be forced to repeatedly watch ads which I have no interest in?  What I bought was the film, not the ads.  As I stated before, this restriction does not apply to someone who has "torrented" a given film.  The honest consumer is treated like a a never-ending source of money, to be bled dry.

    And even with the most "uncrackable" DRM, there is always a way to make a copy.  It may not be an exact, bit-for-bit copy, but neither are the majority of files on bittorrent.  Copying will never be beaten.  That may not be a good thing, but it's not the end of the world, either.

    Simon



  • @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    But I suspect the pirates will be eventually relegated to the crowd who has to go to far more trouble than it's worth to pirate -- consider the XBOX/XBOX360 and the trouble one has to go to.



    DRM works (more-or-less) well with gaming consoles because there is only one company that produces them. iTunes' DRM for music works well because of the iPod's market share. In other words: DRMs and (quasi-) monopols go hand in hand. DRMs work especially well with software because you cannot simply record the visuals and sounds to make a copy. I see no way DRMs can effectively work with TV sets or DVD players. Just consider the region code of the DVD players; you can easily buy region-free players at any electronics store (at least here in Europe). Hardware producers have no benefit of implementing DRM; on the contrary, a broken implementation of DRM might be a good selling proposition.



  • @TheDauthi said:

    The first-order effects are negligable or negative: if I see a company advertising a product, I implicitly question if they're attempting to sell based on emotional context or incentives.  I have a good memory for that type of thing.

    So you (and many, many other consumers, according to several APA studies) think. You'd be shocked how much advertising has truly affected your purchases. Remeber that a succesful campaign will introduce you to the brand's image and not necessarily inform you about the product. This image conveys much more than we'd like to think it does -- but you can very easily see how succesful it is with word association:

    • Volvo == _______
    • BMW == _______
    • VW == _______

    @TheDauthi said:

    Are you saying that TV shows now have ads in the corners of the screen?

    Indeed -- they're called "pop-ups" ironically. They're normally promos for other shows but I've experienced some really obnoxious commercials that take up the whole screen (like, maybe a character will swing from a rope advertising Discover card or something).



  • @tufty said:


    I have several DVDs here with unskippable ads and trailers.  I own these DVDs.  "Monetization" dosn't come into it, these are films that have already made their money many times over at the box office, and for which I have paid a heavy whack to own them on DVD.  Why should I be forced to repeatedly watch ads which I have no interest in?


    I have a DVD that includes unskippable ads, including one for this DVD itself.



  • @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    This image conveys much more than we'd like to think it does -- but you can very easily see how succesful it is with word association:

    • Volvo == _______
    • BMW == _______
    • VW == _______

    Do you prefer European cars? ;-)


    Indeed -- they're called "pop-ups" ironically. They're normally promos for other shows but I've experienced some really obnoxious commercials that take up the whole screen (like, maybe a character will swing from a rope advertising Discover card or something).


    "Product placement" (like the guy wearing Puma shoes and clothes, playing on a XBox in "The Island") is a kind of advertising that is already established and will probably grow in importance. But I think even more money is made by selling the license to use the brand and characters e.g. from "StarWars" for toys, happy meals, cereal cartons etc.



  • @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    From reading articles, opinions, etc., from the FireFox team, I get the impression that they have the same or similar mindset as the "Linux commie" crowd*. This crowd does not believe in "intellectual property" and believes that creative work (music, software, etc) contributes to the betterment of society and should be unencumbered and free to derive from. They do not believe in copyright, patents, DRM, or anything -- including advertising -- that puts restrictions or a price on creative work.

    AFAIK Linux Commies do believe in copyright (that's after all the foundation of the GPL). They also believe that copyright shouldn't be valid for a hundred years including and after the final demise of the author. Most "Linux Commies" (e.g., followers of R.M.S.) don't have any beef against copyright but would like to see it's length reduced. They do, on the other hand, have a beef against software patents (as they reduce everyone's freedom and ability to create, and every day shows that they do stiffle innovation in the IT sector if not in the "real world") and against DRM (which... duh... do nothing except reduce the consumer of the freedom i.e., the freedom of the ones who pay for the content in the first place).

    They, on the other hand, never said that you couldn't sell your work, the product of your labour. And quite a few people seem to manage selling GPL'd software while complying with the GPL.

    @Alex Papadimoulis said:
    I don't use Firefox, but from what I've seen of it, it's incredibly easy (just a few clicks) to download and install extensions.

    It is indeed.

    @Alex Papadimoulis said:
    I would categorically ban such extensions on principle.

    Pray tell, on which principle, the principle that the consumer shouldn't have any right in saying what can happen on his property (my browser is my property, not yours)? The principle that the consumer should be mere cattle, a brainless entity swallowing ads and junk food all day long?

    @Alex Papadimoulis said:
    Such endorsement of ad-blockers reinforces my belief that the FireFox leads are "Linux commies" and that the ubiquitousness of their product would be detrimental to the "free with ads" paradigm most of us have come to enjoy.

    Since when is the belief that you should be able to do whatever you want to on your property "commie"? If anything it's libertarian to an extreme. My browser is my property, not yours, and even though i'm indeed visiting your website as soon as the information leaves your server it becomes mine. Period. When a script runs it runs on my machine in my browser using my resources and I should be able to disable or ban it, and when an image is displayed it's displayed in my machine on my browser using my resources and I should be able to refuse to display it.

    And you, as the site owner, are free arbitrarily to refuse to handle the request of anyone if you so wish to.

    Nothing even remotely communist in that, unless communist theories have changed a lot in the last 50 years or so.

    To stay in-topic, as you probably have guessed from my post, I do have an ad blocker, it's Adblock Plus. I also don't block ads in a conscient way, I use the (extremely popular) Filterset.G adblock filter list. My reason? Too many ads on most sites, when you have more ads than content it's unbrearable, and most IT websites are overridden by ads. I should unblock the websites I visit often (even though i never click on ads), but since the ad-blocking itself is now done automagically and behind the scene (including the updating of the blocklist itself) I mostly don't even remember that I'm blocking ads, except when I have to use a browser that doesn't feature ad-blocking and I have to swim in a sea of crappy, flashy, moving, annoying and far too noticeable ads.



  • @ammoQ said:

    Most software "inventions" are actually ideas that take nearly no effort at all to develop.

    Most indeed -- but an example of something that might be a good case for a few-year patent: the new ribbons in Office 2007.

    @ammoQ said:

    Nothing can stop DVD-ripping ... DRM can stop TIVOs

    Are you sure? That new one that's associated with HD-DVD (or w/e) seems pretty solid: devices receiving highest level output need to be trusted. Trusted involves encryption, keys, etc. Of course, nothing can prevent the ol'e "camcorder in a theatre", but I'm talking about a lossless experience.

    @tufty said:

    Ads have always existed, since well before TIVO and bittorrent.  So have "watermarked" TV programs

    The ads I'm refering to are not distinct from the content, they are integrated into it (see the last reply regarding the Discover Commercial) -- they cant be cut out because they're overlayed on the content. These "pop-ups" are a direct result of DVRs.

    @tufty said:

    you couldn't release a film on video until after a certain time had expired from initial cinematic release

    Indeed, but DRM can change this. If there were a way to beam a movie to your HDTV so that it could only be watched once and not recorded (as if you were watching it in the theatrer), I see little reason why the studios wouldn't do that. After a certain time, the restrictions would be lifted. How would that be a bad thing: you can now watch movies in your home theater for cheaper?

    @tufty said:

    I have several DVDs here with unskippable ads and trailers. 

    I'm with you on this, those suck. But the "beat on the street" is that no one likes 'em and that they're probably not going to stay that way. Just a stupid experiment I suppose.

     



  • @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    When was (professional) content ever free and ad-free on the 'net? I've
    been here since '93 and, as far as I can remember, there has never been
    such a thing.

    Ummm.  Sorry?  I guess I'm being dense here, but please define "professional content"

    @Alex Papadimoulis said:
    Don't be so sure of that. This post was, afterall, brought to you by
    Initech Global, the leader in technology solutions for the ever
    changing marketplace. You see, you were just served an invasive,
    un-blockable ad. And this is exactly where content will have to go if
    adblockers become ubiquitous.

    That's already here.  It's nothing new.  But as the content of a site gets diluted by its advertising content, its value goes down; people will stop visiting.

    @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    I am likely prejudicial about the Firefox == Linux Commies, but please, disabuse me of this.


    Well, you claimed that the "linux commies" don't care about intellectual property.  This is far from the case, all open source licenses with the exception of those putting a work into the public domain are infused with the concepts of copyright (and "copyleft"); although the code itself is being given away free for use under certain restrictions, the copyright remains with the copyright holder.  The GPL, in particular, is very strong on this; this is of interest as it is the license under which the linux kernel is released, as well as much of the userland of most unix alike systems.  The Mozilla Public License is somewhere between the GPL and BSD licenses in terms of what you can and can't do with the source.

    I am probably what you would call a "linux commie" (despite the fact I am neither a linux user nor an actual communist); I care deeply about intellectual property.

    There's an awful lot of FUD put about regarding open source licenses (and, in particular, the GPL) from those who have most to lose from their uptake.  Don't just repeat it verbatim, look into it.  Question its veracity.  Question the reasons for those statements being made.  Don't believe what I have to say on the matter, either.  Make your own mind up.



  • @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    @tufty said:
    Ads have always existed, since well before TIVO and bittorrent.  So have "watermarked" TV programs

    The ads I'm refering to are not distinct from the content, they are integrated into it (see the last reply regarding the Discover Commercial) -- they cant be cut out because they're overlayed on the content. These "pop-ups" are a direct result of DVRs.

    Well, that's just plain horrible.  Of course, we have DVRs over here, and we don't have ads like that (at least, not that I've come across)  What does that say?  I dunno.

    Simon


  • @tufty said:

    @Alex Papadimoulis said:
    When was (professional) content ever free and ad-free on the 'net? I've
    been here since '93 and, as far as I can remember, there has never been
    such a thing.

    Ummm.  Sorry?  I guess I'm being dense here, but please define "professional content"


    I would venture to guess that Alex means sites like CNN.com or ESPN.com that pays people (writers, photographers, researchers, etc) to produce their content, as opposed to a website that someone runs as a hobby for free.





  • @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    @TheDauthi said:

    The first-order effects are negligable or negative: if I see a company advertising a product, I implicitly question if they're attempting to sell based on emotional context or incentives.  I have a good memory for that type of thing.

    So you (and many, many other consumers, according to several APA studies) think. You'd be shocked how much advertising has truly affected your purchases. Remeber that a succesful campaign will introduce you to the brand's image and not necessarily inform you about the product. This image conveys much more than we'd like to think it does -- but you can very easily see how succesful it is with word association:

    • Volvo == _______
    • BMW == _______
    • VW == _______


    VW associates with VW Beetle, which is attempting to be trendy.  BMW associates with pretentious wealthy jerks.  I've heard of Volvo, but don't know if they're a manufacturer or a brand-name.

    It's not that advertising has no effect; it's that the first-order effects are either negliable or negative.  I have a strong distrust of anything that attempts to sell itself based on emotional appeal, as I doubt that the product stands up on technological grounds... If something is popular, I'm far more likely to dismiss it as crap.  My emotional contexts are different from the norm, strongly counter-culture; if more advertising cleverly appealed as unpopular, elitist junk with a strong tech backing, it would be much more likely to appeal to me. 
    [Yes, I would love to own an Apple MacBook, why do you ask?]

    Consider it a youth misspent on Phillip K Dick and Frederik Pohl.

    Second-order advertising DOES affect me; I use trusted peer review instead of research on smaller purchases.


  • @tufty said:

    please define "professional content"

    Content provided by professionals whose business it is to provide content. This is in contrast with amateure providers (like bloggers and myself) who do it as a hobby.

    @tufty said:

    Well, you claimed that the "linux commies" don't care about intellectual property....  There's an awful lot of FUD put about regarding open source licenses

    Your explanation is helpful, and gives me some more insight into the matter. A lot of my information/prejudice has been gathered from Slashdot, and I think we all know that those folks live in a slightly different plane of reality.

    However, I think I'm speaking at a higher level than the GPL. Doesn't the GPL apply only to free opensource  software? The philosophy of paying for a licence to use software seems to clash with the "linux commies" who seem to believe that software (being IP) should be free of charge and that only the media and support should be charged for.

    I don't know how prevalent this attitude is, but a friend of mine is a self-proclaimed "linux commie" and has these same philosophies.



  • @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    @ammoQ said:

    Nothing can stop DVD-ripping ... DRM can stop TIVOs

    Are you sure? That new one that's associated with HD-DVD (or w/e) seems pretty solid: devices receiving highest level output need to be trusted. Trusted involves encryption, keys, etc. Of course, nothing can prevent the ol'e "camcorder in a theatre", but I'm talking about a lossless experience.


    "Lossless" is nothing but a buzzword in the context of MPEG-4. Anyway, the "camcorder in a theatre" example shows that consuments don't care that much about quality.
    HD-DVD: Well, DVD was encrypted, too, but see what happened. It will be only a matter of time till professional pirates find a way to crack the HD-DVD DRM, too. All it takes is just one HD-DVD player which is less-than-perfect tamper-proof.



  • @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    However, I think I'm speaking at a higher level than the GPL. Doesn't the GPL apply only to free opensource  software?

    GPLed software is (per definition) free (as in speech) software. OpenSource means about the same like free software, but these are two communities.


    The philosophy of paying for a licence to use software seems to clash with the "linux commies" who seem to believe that software (being IP) should be free of charge and that only the media and support should be charged for.

    "Should be free of charge" is wrong. In stark contrast, if a licence says "you may not sell the software", it is - per definition - not free or open source software.



  • @TheDauthi said:

    If something is popular, I'm far more likely to dismiss it as crap.  My emotional contexts are different from the norm, strongly counter-culture; if more advertising cleverly appealed as unpopular, elitist junk with a strong tech backing, it would be much more likely to appeal to me.


    You're not different from the norm. You're just like everyone else - you don't judge a product based on its merit. You look at what everyone else is doing to determine what you should do. There's nothing special or unusual about that type of thinking.

    sincerely,
    Richard Nixon




  • @ammoQ said:

    the "camcorder in a theatre" example shows that consuments don't care that much about quality

    I've read that this is becoming less and less the case with surround sound and HD becoming the norm.

    @ammoQ said:

    All it takes is just one HD-DVD player which is less-than-perfect tamper-proof

    I haven't thought about this too much, but from a theoritical standpoint, would it be feasible to sign all hi-fidelity media and have TVs that will only display content in hi-fi if it has a valid signature? Would require all DVD print shops would have the key? Or, perhaps, just some central organization that signs the content?



  • @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    @tufty said:
    please define "professional content"

    Content provided by professionals whose business it is to provide content. This is in contrast with amateure providers (like bloggers and myself) who do it as a hobby.

    Okay.  I don't tend to hang about on the big sites, it's true,  but I seem to remember the Reuters site being completely ad-free (apart from links to Reuters' own services, which is fair enough) at least in 1998 or so. 

    The BBC are certainly ad-free, even now

    I'm not really sure when the "rot" set in.  There have been ad-supported sites (mainly "warez" sites with porn banners) for a good long time, of course porn being the leader of new technologies is nothing new either.  I'm trying to think back to when invasive ads on professional sites (as opposed to "dark side" sites and fuck-awful portals) really took off.  Probably around the same time (give or take a bit) that Google came off the google.stanford.edu domain and proved that targetted advertising on the web could really work.  That's a guess, though.  Hell, it's hard to remember back to "before google".

    @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    @tufty said:
    Well, you claimed that the "linux commies" don't care about intellectual property....  There's an awful lot of FUD put about regarding open source licenses

    Your explanation is helpful, and gives me some more insight into the matter. A lot of my information/prejudice has been gathered from Slashdot, and I think we all know that those folks live in a slightly different plane of reality.

    However, I think I'm speaking at a higher level than the GPL. Doesn't the GPL apply only to free opensource  software? The philosophy of paying for a licence to use software seems to clash with the "linux commies" who seem to believe that software (being IP) should be free of charge and that only the media and support should be charged for.

    Nah, you can charge what you like for software, be it GPL, MPL, BSD or whatever license you choose.  Where things like the GPL come in is that they don't restrict what you can _do_ with the software (apart from the obvious "IP" violations of claiming it as your own work etc).  That's what it's about.  Freedom.  Freedom for the end user.  I can't release a piece of GPL software intended to work as a firewall and stop you from using it to, for example, drive a cruise missile.

    And this is where the hatred for DRM comes in.  I purchase a piece of software (for example, a DVD) and I'm told that I can only play it on an approved player, I can't make a backup copy (enshrined in fair use), I can't do this, I can't do that.  I have no freedom in using something that I own.  And it's going to get worse.  I buy a computer, but the manufacturer has decided that I can only run "trusted" software on it.  Not "trusted" by me, "trusted" by the manufacturer / OS cartel.  I have no say in the matter. 

    The consumer, as ever, is going to be treated like a cow, to be milked and forced to consume.  To be put in a cage and told it's for their own good, to protect their freedoms, there's nasty wolves about.

    Bollocks to that, say I.

    Of course, it's mildly offtopic when we were talking about me blocking the ads on your site...

    Simon





  • @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    Let's consider television. As a consumer, I want to be able to watch TV shows in HD at my convienience. I don't mind paying (with eyes or money, but would prefer the choice) for this experience because I believe it's reasonable for what I'm getting in return.

    But TIVO and bit-torrent have made this impossible. Now I have to watch invasive ads and wait until broadcasts are fully monetized before the DVD is released. Wouldn't it be nice if there would be a way to prevent commercial-skipping and DVD-ripping? With DRM, this can and will happen.

    This is not a troll, but an honest question ... with maybe a touch of sarcasm thrown in:

    What planet do you live on where you actually get the honor of watching those TV programs without having to pay some amount n every month for your service?  Especially for HD?  Around here, Basic Cable service (which is needed to get anything more than the local affiliates) runs $50.00 (US) a month.  Plus rental of the descrambler.  Plus even more if you want to get the "Movie Channels."  Every one of the channels/netoworks that I get for that $50 throws commercials at me.  As a general rule, the quality of the programming is getting worse, the adverts are becoming more and more likely to insult my intelligence and put me off of a product than actually want to buy it, and we're getting more commercials per hour.  (I'm too lazy to look the numbers up right now, but I know I'm in the ballpark.  20 years ago, an hour-long show was 50 minutes of content to 10 minutes of ads.  While watching my own copy of Season 1 of Lost, I noticed that the average show was 43 minutes of content; I know from experience fast-forwarding with my VCR that some shows are down to 40 minutes of content.)

    So, the way I see it, we're paying more to get less.  How, precisely, do more things that give more control of my viewing experience to the provider help me?  And precisely how many times do I have to pay for something before I've earned the right to view it?


  • @tufty said:

    Okay.  I don't tend to hang about on the big sites, it's true,  but I seem to remember the Reuters site being completely ad-free (apart from links to Reuters' own services, which is fair enough) at least in 1998 or so. 
    The BBC are certainly ad-free, even now


    The BBC is funded via tax (yes they call it a TV license, but its just a tax at the end of the day).
    Well reuters.com most certainly has ads on it.

    Personally at the moment I don't use an ad blocker, but in the past I have done when easyboard.com went overboard on pop-up ads many years ago. I do use firefox so it does block most pop-ups by default.



  • @Ixpah said:

    @tufty said:
    Okay.  I don't tend to hang about on the big sites, it's true,  but I seem to remember the Reuters site being completely ad-free (apart from links to Reuters' own services, which is fair enough) at least in 1998 or so. 
    The BBC are certainly ad-free, even now


    The BBC is funded via tax (yes they call it a TV license, but its just a tax at the end of the day).
    Well reuters.com most certainly has ads on it.


    Yeah, Reuters has ads now.  In 1998, when I was involved in getting a Reuters feed set up, their site was somewhat different, but most definitely ad-free.

    As for the BBC's source of funding, it's irrelevant.  They have a commercial web presence that they use for making money.  They would be just as justified in having ads as any other commercial web entity, although I suspect their charter might well prevent them from doing so.  As such, they are probably one of the few big "professional" web entities (that aren't solely there to sell you something) that are ad-free; this makes their site a relative pleasure to use.



  • @tufty said:

    Okay.  I don't tend to hang about on the big sites, it's true,  but I seem to remember the Reuters site being completely ad-free (apart from links to Reuters' own services, which is fair enough) at least in 1998 or so. 

    The BBC are certainly ad-free, even now

    I'm not really sure when the "rot" set in.  There have been ad-supported sites (mainly "warez" sites with porn banners) for a good long time, of course porn being the leader of new technologies is nothing new either.  I'm trying to think back to when invasive ads on professional sites (as opposed to "dark side" sites and fuck-awful portals) really took off.  Probably around the same time (give or take a bit) that Google came off the google.stanford.edu domain and proved that targetted advertising on the web could really work.  That's a guess, though.  Hell, it's hard to remember back to "before google".



    Ads have been around long before google.  and lots of sites are supported by ads, it is not "mainly warez sites with porn banners".

    See:  http://www.ec2.edu/dccenter/archives/ia/history.html




  • @Sgt. Zim said:

    What planet do you live on where you actually get the honor of watching those TV programs without having to pay some amount n every month for your service?  Especially for HD?

    There's this thing called "Wireless TV" that works kinda like cable, 'cept, without cables. Basically, you just need to put a large chunk of metal (called an "antenna") on your roof and it somehow grabs shows out of the air and puts it on the TV -- all without wires or cable. You should try it some time ;-)

    But seriously, I know cable was promised to be "TV without commercials," but I think it was just to expensive of an infrastructure to maintain. When you pay for (basic) cable, you're not paying for content, but for the connection. I think of it more like a connection to the internet.

    @Sgt. Zim said:

    20 years ago, an hour-long show was 50 minutes of content to 10 minutes of ads.  While watching my own copy of Season 1 of Lost, I noticed that the average show was 43 minutes of content

    This is true, but shows have also become much more expensive to produce. Anyone remember how shocking it was at the time that an episode of Star Trek TNG was "upwards of one million dollars" to produce? Isn't that what they pay just the talent these days? I know inflation isn't that great since the 80's.

    @Sgt. Zim said:

    We're paying more to get less.

    Don't be so sure of that. Take a step back to 1976 and look at what their media options were. We're paying more for diversity and hi-fidelity.



  • @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    However, I think I'm speaking at a higher level than the GPL. Doesn't the GPL apply only to free opensource  software? The philosophy of paying for a licence to use software seems to clash with the "linux commies" who seem to believe that software (being IP) should be free of charge and that only the media and support should be charged for.

    It's false. The attitude of the "linux commie" majority, at least the ones from the Richard M Stallman branch, is that software should be "free as in freedom". The point is to not restraint the user, and to keep him free from lock-ins and such. While stallman usually gives all his work to the public (Emacs for example, and quite a lot of GNU utils) he never ever required other people's work to be given.

    His philosophy is that software should be free as in freedom, not necessarily free as in free beer.

    @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    I don't know how prevalent this attitude is, but a friend of mine is a self-proclaimed "linux commie" and has these same philosophies.

    He's noticeably misunderstood things.

    @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    @ammoQ said:

    the "camcorder in a theatre" example shows that consuments don't care that much about quality

    I've read that this is becoming less and less the case with surround sound and HD becoming the norm.

    Bling bling is not quality. HD is bling, it's "the screen shines more has more pixel squee" quality, not "i know that i'll still have that stuff in 10 years and that only the paint'll have faded" quality.

    In a word, it's complete and utter junk. Short lived and utterly garbageable. The product of a society based on epileptic consumption instead of rationality.

    @Ixpah said:
    @tufty said:
    The BBC are certainly ad-free, even now


    The BBC is funded via tax (yes they call it a TV license, but its just a tax at the end of the day).

    Which, from the echoes I got, ensure that it's quite objective in it's coverage of the issues (as opposed to, say, mainstream american medias) (note that i'm not talking about fair and balanced but about objective, US medias are at best fair and balanced but not objective, at worst neither).



  • @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    @Sgt. Zim said:

    We're paying more to get less.

    Don't be so sure of that. Take a step back to 1976 and look at what their media options were. We're paying more for diversity and hi-fidelity.

    Diversity is not quality. Between paying less for actually good stuff and paying more for polished dung with plenty o' chrome and spoilers, I'd pick paying less if I had the choice. Since I don't have the choice I've given up on TV altogether a few years ago.



  • @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    We have "Wireless TV"s that works kinda like cable, 'cept, without cables. Basically, you just need to put a large chunk of metal (called an "antenna") on your roof and it somehow grabs shows out of the air and puts it on the TV -- all without wires or cable. You should try it some time ;-)

    We have "Wireless TV"s all around here but not HD-quality though... And the ads here are really annoying sometimes. You're lucky to be able to watch a TV show for more than 5 minutes without any commercial break! Well, at least its free... :)

    Good thing we're on cable, although local shows are still "Ad-infested"...





  • I don't block ads in general, but I do block annoying ads.

    I usually do not return to sites cluttered with ads.

    Regarding ads on TV, I found them so annoying, I have not watched TV for about a year now, unless social life demands it, and that is rarely.



  • @Alex Papadimoulis said:

    I've noticed that quite a few visitors use plugins (or whatever) to block the javascript-driven ads that run on this site, and I'm curious as to why they do this. Does anyone do this now and, if so, why?

    I block ads by domain - if a particular advertiser shows me an ad with flashing neon colors, garbage trundling across my screen, or content I find offensive, it's blacklisted for eternity.  I'm happy to accept ads from your website because they fall under none of those categories.  Looks like they're even well targeted.  Bravo.

    One of my big concerns is security.  God forbid a 0-day flash or jpeg exploit should make it into the {click twice} network.  I'll be calling in sick that day.



  • I don't "block" ads on this (or any) site but since I have scripting
    disabled there are a large number of sites (including tdwtf) where I don't see them. Using client side scripting to display ads puts the control in the
    hands of the client and IMO is an invitation for people to to not
    display them. If a site uses a server-side
    method for inserting ads in a page then they'll be displayed in my browser.



    I'll make tempory config changes on the (rare) occasions that I have to
    in order to use a site (and even then only if have to use [i]that[/i]
    site and no other) which will often cause (extra) ads to be displayed
    but I'm not going to permenantly change my config just to show ads.




  • I am likely prejudicial about the Firefox == Linux Commies, but please, disabuse me of this.


    I use FFX.
    I don't know how to install or use Linux.

    This image conveys much more than we'd like to think it does -- but you can very easily see how succesful it is with word association:

        * Volvo == _______
        * BMW == _______
        * VW == _______


    Um.

    Car
    Car
    Car

    Actually, that's half true. :)
    One desired association only came to me after some thinking. VW == reliable. The others... um... cars? BMW guzzles gas. I've never seen a Volvo advertisment.

    But yeah, cars.

    I have a DVD that includes unskippable ads, including one for this DVD itself.


    That's undeniably fucked up.


    DRM helps nobody except the distributors of content, and anal producers. But that in itself is not a bad thing. Let's help them entertain us, the willing audience! Except "they" came up with a plan to help us help them entertain us, and it limits us severely. That can't be good.

    I don't block ads. I block cookies, on a site-by-site basis. Other than that, I rarely visit ad-ridden sites. I don't mind google ads. They're unobtrusive. I don't mind product placement, as long as it's done subtly. [i]Friends[/i] used PP. [i]I, Robot[/i] also used PP. Never minded that, but the product was indeed brought to my attention -- and in a positive way: implicitly recommended by idols.

    Unobtrusive is the key word. As in, must not get in the way or otherwise disrupt the content experience.
    DRM, window popups, TV popups, loudened ad blocks (here they actually filtered the sound of ads to become louder! Bastards. Stopped doing that after public outrage. :) I often mute during ads anyway.) are [i]not[/i] unobtrusive. Must die. Die die die.



  • Hmmmm, a couple comments.

    I do believe HD content is able to be broadcasted over the air.  I'm sure that if it is the quality will be somewhat degraded.  that being said, I'm never actually seen it.

    as far as the linux commie thing.  Wow Alex, I don't know what your problem is with linux users.  A lot of people at my school are big time linux guys and open source people.  Many of them contribute to open source projects out there.  however, they are ALL interested in being able to make money selling software.  if you want another point of view on this read "The World is Flat." 


    as for unskippable ads on DVDs.  I just hit 32x fast forward and it's basically like skipping them. I get more annoyed by the graphics and shit they put into the menus so when I click "play movie" I have to watch the screen zoom into a tunnel before the movie starts.


    also, as far as making a DVD unrecordable.  the only way to make it un-duplicatable is to make it unwatchable.  someone can always make a device that will make a bit by bit copy of something.  or maybe I could re-route my video to my hard-drive using some software I wrote.

    as far as those pop up ads on TV.  I never watch TV (haven't in like 3 years) but I've seen one.  I guarantee you if I saw one of those I would stop watching that station.



  • thank god I put my foot in my mouth.  I almost said, "I'd wager
    that this website is hosted my open source software. (Apache)." 
    but I booted into linux and ran a little web client I just made and
    this website is infact hosted on a Windows box with server:
    Microsoft-IIS/6.0



  • I had my first TV-pop-up experience a few days ago. Twas a very small overlayed transparent bit of footage of a woman in lingerie kicking a ball. Ad for the World Championship Lingerie, which is a stupid gimmick they invented alongside the real soccer championship, playing now.

    It played on top of Stargate SG-1.

    :(((

    They better not make that common practise.



  • @tster said:

    as far as the linux commie thing.  Wow Alex, I don't know what your problem is with linux users.  A lot of people at my school are big time linux guys and open source people.  Many of them contribute to open source projects out there.  however, they are ALL interested in being able to make money selling software. 

    Please let me clarify: I do not have a problem with Linux users.  I am speaking about "Linux Commies" -- the folks who do not believe that creative work ("ideas") should have a price tag on it or be for sale. These folks can be found in droves on Slashdot.

     

    @dhromed said:

    They better not make [TV pop-ups] common practise

    Welcome to the post-TIVO world. I don't know what's worse, the pop-ups, or Teal'c shilling for Pepsi ...



  • @tster said:

    Hmmmm, a couple comments.

    I do believe HD content is able to be broadcasted over the air.  I'm sure that if it is the quality will be somewhat degraded.  that being said, I'm never actually seen it.



    It works fine.  Here in boston, you can get about 10 channels in HD using a regular antenna.  Free!  Looks absolutely perfect, I was amazed. Now and then it gets pixelated or freezes up when the reception is bad, but overall I couldn't believe it.   I did eventually break down and pay for HD through my cable provider since I am a sports nut and wanted ESPN, NESN, etc.


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