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Livejournal Bans Ad-Blocking Software 434

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-blocking-for-you dept.
Anonymous Emo writes "The community/blogging site LiveJournal recently introduced ads on some pages for free users. More interestingly, they also added a new restriction to their TOS (XVI 17 b.) banning users from using or providing ad-blocking software. The new TOS also permits them to immediately terminate the account of anyone they catch doing this."
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Livejournal Bans Ad-Blocking Software

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  • by Ossifer (703813) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @02:06AM (#15162907)
    I've been expecting this... Now we'll have to modify our ad blocking software to download and discard the ads that are currently ignored altogether.
    • Re:Anticipated... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Alkivar (25833) * on Thursday April 20, 2006 @02:07AM (#15162911) Homepage
      I wonder how long until the FireFox AdBlock guys make a work around (a week?)
      • Re:Anticipated... (Score:5, Informative)

        by geminidomino (614729) * on Thursday April 20, 2006 @03:10AM (#15163127) Journal
        It's been in adblock for a long long time already. (That's the difference between Adblock's "Hide ads" and "Remove ads" options.)
        • Re:Anticipated... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Karl Cocknozzle (514413) <kcocknozzle@hotmail . c om> on Thursday April 20, 2006 @07:51AM (#15163712) Homepage
          It's been in adblock for a long long time already. (That's the difference between Adblock's "Hide ads" and "Remove ads" options.)

          Certainly, I'm glad a technical solution to this is already available, but if LiveJournal succeeds (that is, if they don't back down and people continue to visit their site(s)) the next step is forcing people to listen to the NOISE their ads create. An irritating fad in internet advertising is to have some kind of "audio branding" attached to pop-up/pop-over ads. I mute my computer speaker when surfing for this reason.

          What next? Being banned if you mute your speaker so the ads that make noise don't disturb the people sitting around you? A significant portion of internet usage goes on in office/computer lab settings, and if "using an adblocker" is reason enough for a lifetime ban from a web-site, how long until "Turning down the speaker" (or not having one at all) becomes a "bannable" offense. Sad to say it, but its only a matter of time before advert-supported content goes the way of the dinosaur.

          Look at radio: The ads became so invasive, and took up so much air-time, that now people are WILLING TO PAY for advert-free (or in some cases limited-advert) radio on XM and Sirius. To some extent, they've been doing it for years with NPR and other community supported radio stations on the terrestrial bands...
    • Re:Anticipated... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by daniel_newton (817437) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @03:56AM (#15163254)
      Actually the first version of adblock did exactly that (downloaded the ads but hid them).

      It was a pain though because noone wanted to waste their bandwidth on the stinky ads.
      • Re:Anticipated... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TheRaven64 (641858)
        If I see an advert that particularly irritates me[1], I middle click on it. In most cases, this costs the advertiser a small amount (since most pay for clicks). It doesn't cost me much, since I close the new tab without even looking at it as soon as it has loaded. If enough people did this, then it would hopefully make these adverts no longer cost efficient; assuming, of course, that they have some way of tracking the click to purchase ratio.

        e.g. one of the Google eBay ads where they've just bought r

    • The REAL issue (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mwvdlee (775178)
      The real issue here is not whether such TOS terms are valid, acceptable or moral.

      It is whether companies are allowed to one-sidedly change their TOS in such drastic ways.

      It's not like they're clarifying some previously enforced term or merely extending it a bit in the spirit of the original intent; they're making a U-turn in service.

      I know companies can insert clauses in their TOS that allow such changes, but surely there must be a limit to how far they can go.

      What if they suddenly insert a term that forces
      • Re:The REAL issue (Score:5, Interesting)

        by honkycat (249849) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @05:07AM (#15163402) Homepage Journal
        If they want to start charging you for the service, I imagine they would at minimum have to provide you with a reasonable amount of time to become aware of the change and accept/consent. More likely, they'd have to get a positive indication of your acceptance in order to begin billing you.

        However, unless they'd made an explicit commitment to allow you access to get your files off their servers, I don't see any reason why they couldn't just cut off your access entirely until you agree to pay for the service. Unless you're paying for the service already, it's unlikely they have any contractual obligations toward you.

        Ordinarily, contracts must be two-sided -- it's assumed that no one would enter into a contract if they don't receive some sort of consideration. If you're not paying, the service provider is hoping that your content will attract business through some other channel. I doubt that this very indirect "payment" would be seen as consideration unless there were an explicit agreement in place. I can't imagine any rational free service provider writing their contract to make that the case, either. In the eyes of the law, you're probably receiving a gift -- and the courts won't require a gift giver to keep giving a gift (barring some extremely bizarre circumstances, I imagine).

        Of course, IANAL... but I always assume any free service I use on the web (or anywhere else) is a fleeting thing that may vanish without notice. It generally seems fair to me, given that I'm getting something for nothing.
        • Re:The REAL issue (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Zak3056 (69287)
          However, unless they'd made an explicit commitment to allow you access to get your files off their servers, I don't see any reason why they couldn't just cut off your access entirely until you agree to pay for the service. Unless you're paying for the service already, it's unlikely they have any contractual obligations toward you.

          Sure, I agree it's fair to say they don't have any contractual obligations. But at what point does this become extortion? "Start paying us for our previously free service, or you
        • Re:The REAL issue (Score:5, Informative)

          by pjrc (134994) <paul@pjrc.com> on Thursday April 20, 2006 @11:02AM (#15164944) Homepage Journal
          Wow, this generalized how-the-world-oughta-be post (moderated to +5) demonstrates a complete lack of awareness of the specifics of Livejournal.

          Its parent post is better, but equates this TOS change with "What if they suddenly insert a term that forces all their users to pay $100 a day or leave without even a change of retaining their data."

          Crazy!

          This is SO far off base from the reality of Livejournal.

          If they want to start charging you for the service, I imagine they would at minimum have to provide you with a reasonable amount of time to become aware of the change and accept/consent. More likely, they'd have to get a positive indication of your acceptance in order to begin billing you.

          Livejournal has offered both free and paid accounts for years.

          Livejournal has a long history of giving advanced notice about planned changes, and inviting discussion, and keeping things compatible

          On top of all that, the addition of ads is on an entirely new class of account. Yes, that's the truth. Rather than force ads onto everyone who has traditionally had ad-free accounts, they're leaving all those free accounts as they were, and adding a new class of account with a level of service above the free acct but below the paid acct, which is "paid" by the ads.

          That is the real truth here, which is easily verified by reading the news over on Livejournal.

          They're not suddenly forcing people to pay. They're not even changing the free accounts. And they DID talk about this for some time, in public, and invited discussion.

          My point is, the Livejournal folks are pretty good people, trying to do their best. You wouldn't know if from all this ranting here, but it's pretty easy to see if you go check out the site and read what they're doing.

          However, unless they'd made an explicit commitment to allow you access to get your files off their servers, I don't see any reason why they couldn't just cut off your access entirely until you agree to pay for the service. Unless you're paying for the service already, it's unlikely they have any contractual obligations toward you.

          What if, what if, what if, and so on.

          Livejournal has a very long history of great service. They have a great reputation, and it's a well deserved one.

          Back here in the real world, what matters is not so much what theoretically would or wouldn't matter in a court. Livejournal is one of many free/inexpensive services, which are almost universally used by individuals for personal communication. This just isn't the sort of thing that goes to court over a dispute. Any "mission critical" blog is going to be hosted using its own domain name.

          In reality, what matters is Livejournal's reputation, and that reputation depends mostly on how they treat their users, both free and paid. All this ranting is just nit picking about the TOS. What truly matters is what they actually DO. And I highly doubt it will be evil, given their very long history.

          There's just one last bit of profound-lack-of-perspective to comment on,

          Of course, IANAL... but I always assume any free service I use on the web (or anywhere else) is a fleeting thing that may vanish without notice. It generally seems fair to me, given that I'm getting something for nothing.

          Certainly a business would want to use its own domain name.

          But for individuals looking for a free service, Lifejournal has been operating for 7 years, and they have a successful business model based on maintaining free and paid accounts.

          Yeah, in theory they could vanish tomorrow. But that's about an unlikely as slashdot, yahoo, google, and every other MAJOR successful website offering free services suddenly doing dark.

    • Re:Anticipated... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by moro_666 (414422) <kulminaator@NoSPAm.gmail.com> on Thursday April 20, 2006 @04:11AM (#15163291) Homepage
      you don't have to download and terminate the add :)

      well at least kindof ...

      you make the GET /banner/foo.gif query, but you just don't read the socket after that, you close it. this way there's no way for the server to tell if your connection just broke or you blocked the ad.

      livejournal people, please try to understand that this will never ever work.

      if they make a more complicated system on flash banners and javascript for checking if the user really got it, you can display the banner offscreen somewhere, so it won't be annoying you in the top of the page.

      worthless effort from the ad people. perhaps they should make banners worth to look at instead.
      • by Aceticon (140883) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @06:57AM (#15163600)
        I personally follow the policy of only starting to block ads on a site when i'm confronted with obnoxious ads.

        Until i see moving (flash or gif, makes no difference), sound making or content hidding ads i'll keep the ads from a site visible. As soon as i see one of those obnoxious ads on my browser they (and all ads from the same provider) get blocked.

        Popups that manage to go around Firefox's pop-up protection are reason for me to block the whole site of the ad provider plus the one of the company whose advert is on that pop-up.

        It's a ballance between helping the sites i like to keep going on (and even make a profit) and enforcing the limits i've set for what are acceptable ads.

        To all web-site managers out there i say: Don't use ad providers that (try to) abuse the viewer's good will and you won't have any problems with having a steady revenue stream from advertising.
    • Re:Anticipated... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Splab (574204) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @05:04AM (#15163395)
      Some think it's funny, but you know what? The main reason why I use adblocking software is the adservers are f***ing slow! The whole site hangs while the browser waits for the servers to get around to responding to the request.

      If they want to make sure we watch the adds then dump them in the image dir ON THEIR OWN SERVERS! that way everything gets same speed and I wouldn't care, my brain filters out all the ads anyways.
    • Re:Anticipated... (Score:3, Informative)

      by courtarro (786894)
      Adblock Plus 0.5.11.3* (http://bene.sitesled.com/adblock.htm [sitesled.com]) includes a feature called "Support Site" which will consider any ad from a particular site as a "hidden" ad rather than a "removed" one. In general, you can set it to omit all ads, but ads from sites on this list will be downloaded but not shown. At that point, there's really no easy way for LJ to know if you're actually seeing them.

      *See Wikipedia for an explanation of the competing versions of "Adblock Plus [wikipedia.org]"

  • by hsenag (56002) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @02:06AM (#15162908) Homepage
    A first reading of the ToS suggests that it is just journal *owners* who are banned from using styles etc to hide the ads from everyone. There's nothing to say that people *reading* the journal can't be running ad-blocking.
    • You sure? (Score:3, Informative)

      by coyotecult (647958)

      The relevant clause:

      17. Employ tactics and/or technologies to prevent the full and complete delivery or display of advertisements on LiveJournal pages. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

      1. Making journal style changes, customizations, or overrides that effectively block or substantially impair the display of advertisements on a Sponsored+ account's Content or other pages within the Service.

      2. Employing and/or providing software programs, browser scripts, or other technologies

      • by David Hume (200499) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @02:16AM (#15162959) Homepage
        A first reading of the ToS suggests that it is just journal *owners* who are banned from using styles etc to hide the ads from everyone. There's nothing to say that people *reading* the journal can't be running ad-blocking.
        You sure?

        The relevant clause:

        17. Employ tactics and/or technologies to prevent the full and complete delivery or display of advertisements on LiveJournal pages. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

        1. Making journal style changes, customizations, or overrides that effectively block or substantially impair the display of advertisements on a Sponsored+ account's Content or other pages within the Service.

        2. Employing and/or providing software programs, browser scripts, or other technologies that serve to block or substantially impair the display of advertisements on LiveJournal pages.
        You have to read the entire contract. It appears from the first several paragraphs that these limitations apply only to journal *owners* and not to readers:
        I. ACCEPTANCE OF TERMS

        LiveJournal, Inc., dba LiveJournal.com, ("LiveJournal") provides the following service to you, subject to these Terms of Service ("TOS"), which may be updated periodically without prior notice. You can review the current version of the TOS at: http://www.livejournal.com/legal/tos.bml [livejournal.com]. Failure to comply with these TOS may result in account revocation.

        II. DESCRIPTION OF SERVICE

        LiveJournal is a web-based service that allows its users to create and update online journals (herein referred to as "LiveJournal", or the "Service"). The Service may be used through a web browser or by the use of downloadable clients (the "Software"). Once registered with LiveJournal, each user receives his or her own journal space to post text, data, messages, or information concerning or linked to software, music, sound, photography, graphics, and video (the "Content"). This Content may reside on LiveJournal's servers or on the servers of a third party.
        • by palndrumm (416336) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @02:47AM (#15163065) Homepage
          Also from TFTOS (emphasis mine):

          XII. ADVERTISEMENTS AND PROMOTIONS

          You understand and agree that some or all of the Service may include advertisements and that these advertisements are necessary for LiveJournal to provide the Service. You also understand and agree that you will not obscure any advertisements from general view via HTML/CSS or any other means.


          To me, the bit saying 'from general view' sounds like the key - it doesn't mean I can't use Adblock or whatever to stop me from seeing the ad, but does mean I can't use anything to stop everyone else from seeing it. (Insert standard IANAL disclaimer here.)

          (On another point, if I use Adblock to block ads from a site, how easy is it for them to tell that I've done so, and to narrow it down to a specific ad blocked from a specific site on a specific visit?)
          • (On another point, if I use Adblock to block ads from a site, how easy is it for them to tell that I've done so, and to narrow it down to a specific ad blocked from a specific site on a specific visit?)

            If you are blocking (not hiding) ads and they serve the ads themselves it should be feasible for them to notice that you did n ot in fact download all the content of the page. If they have a separate ad provider with their own servers it's more likely they will only note the aggregate effect of fewer viewed a
        • You have to read the entire contract. It appears from the first several paragraphs that these limitations apply only to journal *owners* and not to readers:

          But then it doesn't make sense, does it. The penalty is possible account termination. So what, if I install ad-block and jump from journal to journal I'm effectively doing a mass journal massacre.

          So, beware, cause I'm installing it right now and coming.
      • Re:You sure? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mcvos (645701)

        The relevant clause:

        2. Employing and/or providing software programs, browser scripts, or other technologies that serve to block or substantially impair the display of advertisements on LiveJournal pages.

        This can't possibly be about users, for the simple fact that that would be completely unenforcable. As far as I know, LJ pages are normal, publicly accessible webpages not hidden behind passwords or anything (isn't that the whole point?), so visitors don't have to agree with the TOS. And besides,

    • by LaurenBC (924800) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @02:09AM (#15162919)
      And above that, it's only if you choose to upgrade to a 'Sponsored+' account. Those of us continuing to use our plain old free accounts will be unaffected.
    • by aevan (903814)
      Mhmm..but (i'm unfamiliar with LJ and such) don't most LJ users login so as to leave comments on other people's blogs and such?

      They would be surfing with thei adblockers on, login to post a comment, and could then be considered in violation.

      Otherwise the only issue I can see with this is how they enforce someone linking an adblocking software- just because someone has an adblocker doesn't necessarily mean it will be used to block all things. (Personally i only block offensive (loud, animated, large) ads
    • A first reading of the ToS suggests that it is just journal *owners* who are banned from using styles etc to hide the ads from everyone. There's nothing to say that people *reading* the journal can't be running ad-blocking.

      Duh. One alienates the "eyeballs"; the other alienates something there is sadly no shortage of- bloggers.

      Thank god this wasn't under "your rights online"; honestly, who gives a damn? Next at Eleven, media conglomerate institutes another policy change on its privately owned website..

  • Employing and/or providing software programs, browser scripts, or other technologies that serve to block or substantially impair the display of advertisements on LiveJournal pages.

    Does this mean they would ban for using Adblock? or flashblock or if i block their ads via my router? Very ambiguous.

    • Does this mean they would ban for using Adblock? or flashblock or if i block their ads via my router? Very ambiguous.

      Yes, ambiguity is the point of law. It is ambiguous to allow for technological and societal changes (advances?) to fit within the mold. This is why the constitution is still relevant today (plus/minus some amendments :)

      Employing and/or providing software programs, browser scripts, or other technologies that serve to block or substantially impair the display of advertisements on LiveJou

    • No. They would ban account-holders for using HTML to hide the ads.
  • by shyampandit (842649) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @02:09AM (#15162920) Homepage
    Well livejournal does need to pay for their bandwidth and running costs right?

    With ad blockers getting more and more prevalent and sometimes getting installed by default with some firewall software, it might get problematic for websites depending on ad revenue.

    Although I guess peopl installing ad blockers on their own, probably would just ignore the ads anyway.
    • LJ has paid accounts and paid for their servers and setup years ago. its just upkeep now.
      • Yeah, 'cause there aren't any expansion or maintenance or bandwidth or colocation facility costs to running a website, are there?

        • GP said: LJ has paid accounts and paid for their servers and setup years ago. its just upkeep now.

          P said: Yeah, 'cause there aren't any expansion or maintenance or bandwidth or colocation facility costs to running a website, are there?

          Well, it's not like memberships are a one-time thing; people have to keep paying for it. Even I know multiple people in a single group of friends that pay for LiveJournal, and it's a yearly thing that they pay it in.

          Of course, that's kindof moot to this whole discuss
    • Well livejournal does need to pay for their bandwidth and running costs right?

      With ad blockers getting more and more prevalent and sometimes getting installed by default with some firewall software, it might get problematic for websites depending on ad revenue.

      Although I guess peopl installing ad blockers on their own, probably would just ignore the ads anyway.

      Yeah, when I'm watching TV I always go pee during the love scene or the chase scene, so I won't miss the commercials.

  • by logicnazi (169418) <logicnaziNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday April 20, 2006 @02:17AM (#15162964) Homepage
    So here is the text of the rule:


    Employ tactics and/or technologies to prevent the full and complete delivery or display of advertisements on LiveJournal pages. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

          1. Making journal style changes, customizations, or overrides that effectively block or substantially impair the display of advertisements on a Sponsored+ account's Content or other pages within the Service.
          2. Employing and/or providing software programs, browser scripts, or other technologies that serve to block or substantially impair the display of advertisements on LiveJournal pages.


    It is clear one thing this rule is aimed at is people changing their journal to block the ads on livejournal. This is perfectly reasonable and even slashdot doesn't let you foil their ads by posting cleverly formated comments on a story (not technically possible here I presume).

    What is less clear is if this is intended to apply to people VIEWING livejournal content. After all you aren't even really acting as a livejournal user when you do this you are just reading someone's blog.

    I think we just need to wait and see if this actually amounts to any changes or is just overbroad legal wording to cover their ass in unforseen circumstances. Remember there are all sorts of crazy conditions in some EULAs/TOS that don't necessarily amount to anything.
    • Actually, the full text of the (first part of the) rule in context reads:

      You agree to NOT use the Service to: [...] Employ tactics and/or technologies to prevent the full and complete delivery or display of advertisements on LiveJournal pages. These include, but are not limited to, the following: (et cetera)

      Golly gee, I'm not using the Service to employ technologies that block ads. I'm using Firefox to employ those technologies. :)
    • What is less clear is if this is intended to apply to people VIEWING livejournal content. After all you aren't even really acting as a livejournal user when you do this you are just reading someone's blog.

      My initial reaction is "of course it doesn't apply to random people viewing livejournal.

      To back up this line of though, I browesed the ToS.

      I. ACCEPTANCE OF TERMS
      "LiveJournal, blah blah provides the following service to you, subject to these Terms of Service ("TOS") blah blah blah. Failure to comply with th

  • by BinaryOpty (736955) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @02:19AM (#15162972)
    Good job, Slashdot, with your bullshit disinformative article blurb. Let's go over this like intelligent human beings and show why it's a non-issue:

    Livejournal just recently added opt-in ads for users that would let them have pretty much all of the benefits of a paid user for the cost of having ads on their journals. After you opt-in to ads you can opt-out at any time and return to your ad-free cost-free journal. Free users viewing another free user's page, their own friends page, or a paid user's page will see no ads but they will see ads when viewing the journal page of someone who's opted for ads. Paid users will see no ads at all. Even so, all I've seen of these ads so far are Google ads. This is article is total FUD and should be tagged as such.
  • by Gorshkov (932507) <admgorshkov AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday April 20, 2006 @02:20AM (#15162977)
    No, the TOS does *not* say that you can't use "ad blocking software". It says that if you have ads on your live journal page, you're not allowed to mess with the layout so that the ads can't be seen by people LOOKING at your page. Not quite the same thing.

    Geeze ........ this is a story?
    • No, the TOS does *not* say that you can't use "ad blocking software".

      Not sure...

      You agree to NOT use the Service to:
      ...
      17. Employ tactics and/or technologies to prevent the full and complete delivery or display of advertisements on LiveJournal pages. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
      a. Making journal style changes, customizations, or overrides that effectively block or substantially impair the display of advertisements on a Sponsored+ account's Content or other pages within the Service.
      b. Employing and/or providing software programs, browser scripts, or other technologies that serve to block or substantially impair the display of advertisements on LiveJournal pages.

      What about b? By the letter, it seems to deny at least some people the use of ad-blocking software. Or maybe it just says that users can't "use the service to employ" ad-blocking. What's that mean? You can't link to it? Talk about it?

      The first one (a) seems reasonable to me. B should at least be made more clear.

  • Nothing new (Score:4, Informative)

    by The Hobo (783784) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @02:23AM (#15162989)
    Geocities has had this as far back as I can remember, this rule just means journal writers can't try and circumvent the displaying of ads on their journal, whether readers block them via say, Adblock Plus and the Filterset.G updater [extensionsmirror.nl] (look for the "Plus", not the original, and filterset is just below it, it is a set of filters maintained by people for Adblock) is another story
    • Ya know, I'm using FF Portable 1.5.0.1, Adblock Plus 0.7 & the Filterset.G filters

      I kinda miss AdBlock's popup window with the list of all the ad-blockable items, because that pop-up list of all the blockable elements is what really got me hooked on AdBlock.

      Does Adblock Plus have a similar feature?
      Cause if it doesn't, I'm going back to using AdBlock & the Filterset.G filters.
  • An important point (Score:4, Informative)

    by Scooby Snacks (516469) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @02:24AM (#15162998)
    Keep in mind that you'll see the ads only if you don't have an account, or if you agree to see ads to get more features on your account. If you don't want to see the ads, you can simply change your account from the new Sponsored+ level back to the standard Free level.

    No one's forcing you to view the ads. You're agreeing to see them to get more features on your (free!) account. You can also pay $20 for an entire year and get even more features and no ads.

  • I count two hours until a Greasemonkey script comes out to just set the CSS "display" of all the ads to "none". Now we can load the ads, and hide them from view.
  • lynx (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mattyrobinson69 (751521) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @02:34AM (#15163033)
    hmm, does lynx count as an ad blocker?
  • by vidarlo (134906) <vidarlo.bitsex@net> on Thursday April 20, 2006 @02:35AM (#15163035) Homepage
    Tools->Adblock->Adblock prefcerences and select hide ads at the bottom. Ads will be downloaded, but you won't see them. Presto!
  • "Terms of Service" and EULAs are interesting from a legal perspective. They say:

    1) You have a contract with us.

    2) You have no control over what the contract says.

    3) We can change the contract at any time. You are bound to the new provisions of the contract, even though you became involved after acceptance of the old contract.

    4) We throw in some terms of the contract that try to show that the contract is balanced, and that we are contracting to do something for you. However, there is no balance;
    • by Anonymous Coward
      > It is a measure of the corruption in the legal system that the issues surrounding one-sided contracts like this have never been fully considered either in courts or in Congress. The rich and powerful do what they like, even though what they like is definitely against the spirit of contract law.

      Congratulations, you just discovered "adhesion contracts"

      Something that has been considered by both the courts and the legislature in depth for a very long time and has been (fairly often) been ruled against big
    • Do most people pay for these services? I assume not. In that case, IMO, you don't have much of a leg to stand on. The TOS make it very clear that they may change in the future. If you aren't willing to accept the risk that you may have to move your content, then pay someone to host it with better terms.

      These "contracts" are closer to being one-sided the other way -- the provider is letting you use their servers for free and only asking that you abide by their rules. What consideration are you providing
  • by stinerman (812158) <nathan@stine.gmail@com> on Thursday April 20, 2006 @02:36AM (#15163039) Homepage
    First, the good people at live journal have made another account option, Sponsored+, where members agree to place ads on their journal in order to have more features that paid users usually get. The member gets to decide if they want ads on their journal.

    Second, the TOS change means that members cannot sign up for a Sponsored+ account and then attempt to jack with the layout so that the ads don't appear.

    Wow.
  • Pot, meet kettle (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Back when slashdot first introduced their annoying large square ads in the body of a story (this was around 2002), you could embed javascript in your own customized box to the right. This was used by some as a backdoor to prevent the annoying slashdot ads from loading. Next thing you know, slashdot prevents javascript from going into your own customized box citing security concerns.
  • by RyoShin (610051)
    17 Employ tactics and/or technologies to prevent the full and complete delivery or display of advertisements on LiveJournal pages. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

    a. Making journal style changes, customizations, or overrides that effectively block or substantially impair the display of advertisements on a Sponsored+ account's Content or other pages within the Service.
    b. Employing and/or providing software programs, browser scripts, or other te
  • One or the other (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bl00d6789 (714958) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @02:58AM (#15163090)
    People who block ads need to be prepared for subscription fees. Any content provider that relies on advertising for revenue will have to resort to subscriptions if viewers block or skip over their ads. In my opinion, if you choose to block ads, that is your choice. It's your hardware and you should be able to decide what your computer downloads and displays. But once you've made the choice to block ads, don't complain when you have to fork up a couple bucks a month for everything you once got for free.
    • by radja (58949)
      I disagree. there is no agreement between me and the content provider that I watch ads. the agreement is between the content provider and the ad provider. if I choose to block ads that is my choice, just like on TV. I have the right to consume less at the same price.
    • Re:One or the other (Score:3, Informative)

      by pjrc (134994)
      People who block ads need to be prepared for subscription fees.

      Why?

      This falacy is called "false dichotomy". Either view ads, or pay subscription. The falacy is the exclusion of other options, such as more sophisticated ad blocking software that tricks the site into believing the ad is shown. Or the site moving to a different revenue model. Or advertising adapting (eg, product placements). Or lowering the cost of producing and delivering the content.

      Any content provider that relies on advertising

  • LJ-nifty (Score:4, Informative)

    by Tollie (717269) <tolliewilliams@gmail.com> on Thursday April 20, 2006 @03:27AM (#15163177) Homepage
    You have to 'get' Livejournal. It doesn't have the buzz that Facebook and Myspace do, but it really needs more credit. It has a huge community of bloggers, but unlike Blogger/Wordpress/MovableType/etc. bloggers, the LJ community is inward facing (like Myspace and Facebook). Unlike Myspace and Facebook, LiveJournal had very early support for APIs and RSS/Atom syndication and they make it possible for even free journals to cleanly insert their custom CSS inside the HEAD where it belongs. In other words, they're pretty unique.

    Most important about that uniqueness was the contempt Brad Fitzpatrick [livejournal.com] (founder) had/has for advertising. See his post here [livejournal.com]. So Livejournal adding ads, even if they are opt-in (the free / no-ads option is still available; the ads just get you the features that were previously for Paid accounts only) - is a big deal for LiveJournal.

    Now, finally my point - the B. part of that ackward ToS means this for LJ users: "Don't post scripts to LJ-nifty [livejournal.com]," a community on LiveJournal where quasi-crafty scripts are frequently posted. That's what they're talking about without talking about it. Lawyers just don't know how to get to the point. ... And neither do I, so carry on.
  • "Wah wah wah wah wah my free lunch is a bit cooler than the other people who pay for the ovens wah wah wah."
  • " Hey kids! [matazone.co.uk] How would you like to be the first person on your block to have a Myspace account? You can post photos, and music, and communicate with your friends, and --possibly win a PSP by clicking on the scarry clown-click here now!-- and write messages. It even has a blog and a photo gallery where --you could possibly win a free pink RAZR if you can save the hostage-- MySpace: An online community for everyone --to click here now and have bigger breast overnight!--"

    /MySpace.com -- A News Corporation --
  • by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @06:07AM (#15163520) Homepage Journal

    XII.
    # ADVERTISEMENTS AND PROMOTIONS

    You understand and agree that some or all of the Service may include advertisements and that these advertisements are necessary for LiveJournal to provide the Service. You also understand and agree that you will not obscure any advertisements from general view via HTML/CSS or any other means. By using the Service, you agree that LiveJournal has the right to run such advertisements with or without prior notice, and without recompense to you or any other user. The manner, mode and extent of advertising by LiveJournal on your Content and throughout the Service are subject to change at LiveJournal's discretion. Your correspondence or business dealings with, or participation in promotions of, advertisers found on or through the Service, including payment and delivery of related goods or services, and any other terms, conditions, warranties or representations associated with such dealings, are solely between you and such advertiser. You agree that LiveJournal shall not be responsible or liable for any loss or damage of any sort incurred as the result of any such dealings or as the result of the presence of such advertisers on the Service.


    There have been instances where the advertisers themselves have been compromised and browser exploits come from them.
    There are also people with epilepsy who cannot view flashing material so disable flashing and moving images without prior approval.
  • News! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Pofy (471469) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @11:06AM (#15164962)
    In the future, subway companies will demand that passengers stop and read all ads on the platform and in the stairs. Far to often people just "run" by them without reading. We reserve the right to deny anyone travelling with us that has not first read every single ad at the station!! After all, we get paid for this advertisment and if people don't read them, we get less money! This is close to stealing when you don't read all ads!!
  • by wuie (884711) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @11:16AM (#15165046)
    The summary is so misleading that it makes me want to cringe.

    Livejournal used to have two different account types: free and subscription, both with no ads. Free journals are limiting in what they can offer, such as no place to store pictures, only 6 avatars, etc. Subscriptions give storage space for pictures, 12 avatars, all that fun stuff. If you just want to have a basic place to put your thoughts of the day, then the free account is all you really need. Subscriptions are for the bells and whistles.

    This new third account type with advertising strikes a medium between the two. It allows users to have the bells and whistles of the subscription member, but for the price of free + advertisements on the journal. For some people, this is their blogging wish come true!

    It has *nothing* to do with switching all free accounts to advertisement accounts. People with free accounts can still have their bare-bones journals sans advertisements. This is just merely making sure that if people opt to have advertisements on their sites in exchange for the goodies, that the advertisements *stay put*. It's the exchange that they make for not paying the subscription.
  • by kniedzw (65484) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @04:59PM (#15168393)

    At least according to Brad FitzPatrick [livejournal.com]. Basically, the lawyers went a bit bonkers, and the people who were supposed to review it didn't.

    For those who don't want to click through:

    Regarding the TOS change to ban ad blocking software:

    Totally our bad.

    We didn't catch that the ad-blocker restriction made it into the final TOS changes. From what I can make of the series of events which led to its inclusion was that we basically passed off our TOS to some lawyers and said, "Update it for advertising". They then mimiced some other sites' advertising policies (which said no ad blockers), and then all the right people who were supposed to review it didn't and it made it live onto the site.

    So this is a pre-announcement that a more user-friendly TOS change is on its way.

    (After all, we can't even detect that you're even using ad blockers to begin with, so there's no point in us saying you can't. Plus you might not even have control over what's installed on your computer, etc.)

    So, yeah, sorry: we messed up.

  • It was a mistake. (Score:3, Informative)

    by AdamTheBastard (532937) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @08:03PM (#15169593)
    Brad has addressed this in a recent post to the lj_support community.
    http://community.livejournal.com/lj_support/629907 .html [livejournal.com]

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