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A Campaign to Block Firefox Users? 1154

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the bad-ideas dept.
rarwes writes "A website is aiming at blocking Firefox users. This because a fraction of the Firefox users installed an Ad Blocker and are therefor 'stealing money' from website owners that use ads. They recommend using IE, Opera or IE tab. From the site: 'Demographics have shown that not only are FireFox users a somewhat small percentage of the internet, they actually are even smaller in terms of online spending, therefore blocking FireFox seems to have only minimal financial drawbacks, whereas ending resource theft has tremendous financial rewards for honest, hard-working website owners and developers.' Be interesting to see where they are getting their numbers from.
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A Campaign to Block Firefox Users?

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  • by HeavensBlade23 (946140) on Friday August 17, 2007 @12:18PM (#20262565)
    Anyone savvy enough to block ads is probably savvy enough to have their browser present its user-agent as Internet Explorer if necessary.
  • by Gordonjcp (186804) on Friday August 17, 2007 @12:18PM (#20262573) Homepage
    Particularly, don't use ads that jitter about by a couple of pixels, or flash bright contrasting colours. Not only do they not make me want to buy from you, they make me want to avoid *ever* buying from you.
  • Some nerve (Score:5, Insightful)

    by crashfrog (126007) <> on Friday August 17, 2007 @12:18PM (#20262579) Homepage
    You can send me the ad; I don't understand why I'm under an obligation to look at it or why you have the right to demand that my computer display it.
  • Huh... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by olehenning (1090423) on Friday August 17, 2007 @12:19PM (#20262601)
    So they are worried about ad-blocking and recommend installing Opera which has an excellent content blocker built in. Seems odd.
  • Hm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tgatliff (311583) on Friday August 17, 2007 @12:20PM (#20262615)
    So is this the point where we starting hearing that blocking ads is just like running out of the store with a pair of blue jeans? I mean really...

    At what point do businesses start realize they they are providers of information and not the gate keepers for information...
  • WTF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The MAZZTer (911996) <> on Friday August 17, 2007 @12:22PM (#20262663) Homepage

    Ok... let's break this down...

    1. If I use Adblock, this implies that I specifically installed it because I do not want to look at ads, so I block them.
    2. It follows that if Adblock was not available, I would ignore ads and not click on them. If they are particularly irritating, I would complain to the webmaster, so Adblock actually does them a favor.
    3. Also, since I know enough to find and install Adblock, I can also find and install ad blockers for other browsers.
    4. It also follows that since I can install Adblock, I also may know about other extensions such as User Agent Switcher, which can be used to easily bypass most browser checks. The rest can be bypassed by using Adblock to block whatever JavaScript file is checking for browser-specific behavior. Yay for irony!
    5. Furthermore, if I see a website which discriminates against me based on browser use, I am likely to go elsewhere where I can be treated more fairly.
  • by Shagg (99693) on Friday August 17, 2007 @12:23PM (#20262707)
    Any website that thinks running Ad Blocker is "stealing" and "resource theft" is probably not worth visiting in the first place. Sounds to me like their only purpose is ad revenue.
  • by thc69 (98798) on Friday August 17, 2007 @12:23PM (#20262723) Homepage Journal
    I use Opera too. I use Firefox where Opera doesn't work, or where the *heavy ad filtering* I have in Opera prevents me from seeing something (which is pretty rare).

    I put my urlfilter.ini on my website so others can benefit from it. It was lovingly butchered together from various lists I found, and it's much more effective than Firefox's Adblock extension.
  • justified (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DreadSpoon (653424) on Friday August 17, 2007 @12:24PM (#20262739) Journal
    Because you're going to HIS site. He gets paid to support said site by your browsing displaying the ads, which is tracked by image requests to the ad server. The ad blocker extensions usually ignore the ads entirely, so the browser doesn't generate any hits for the ad, and the site owner loses money.

    He wouldn't have a problem if the ad blocker would still generate a hit but use CSS to make the image hidden on the browser. Of course, the ad companies themselves would then have a huge problem with that, since they're paying people for "displaying" ads nobody sees.

    I'd think that a better ad blocker would be one that just blocked flash and converted animated GIFs into non-animated images and then displayed them. A static image isn't that irritating, it still generates hits, and so long as advertisers aren't being dumbasses, their ads will still be seen.
  • Yawn. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kadin2048 (468275) * <[slashdot.kadin] [at] []> on Friday August 17, 2007 @12:24PM (#20262743) Homepage Journal
    I guess nobody's showed them AdBlock for Opera [] (or even Opera's built-in "content blocker" [], admittedly not quite as good as the real thing since it lacks regexps, though), or Ad Muncher [] for IE.

    Maybe when they find out about those, they'll do the world a favor and just block everybody from their site?

    Also ... does anyone think this may just be a troll / hoax? I've learned never to question the stupidity of people, particularly people on the Internet, but this seems like it's just a bit of a stretch. It kind of reminds me of an post.

    The blocking that they seem to be advocating that others use is pretty standard "HTTP_USER_AGENT" querying using a PHP script, so it's not like it would be hard to get around. (Incidentally, I've always felt that the USER_AGENT header was something of a bad idea; maybe it's time to kill it, or at least disable replying to it by default?)

    What I'm slightly more interested in is how they're blocking the main page. It's not the same as the script that they're pushing; the page actually loads (you can view the source in FF), but it seems to take advantage of some rendering quirk in IE to produce a blank screen when rendered on Firefox. That actually strikes me as a little more subtle, although it's still dumb.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 17, 2007 @12:31PM (#20262917)
    The registrant/administrative contact/technical contact of the website (according to the whois database) apparently runs his own website development company, and (apparently) uses Microsoft Frontpage as his development tool. My guess is that, in the few sites that he has produced for commercial use, he has embedded an edit for Firefox that redirects to his "WhyFirefoxIsBlocked" site.
  • by Oddscurity (1035974) * on Friday August 17, 2007 @12:31PM (#20262919)
    And I question their other dubious claim:

    Like free television broadcast content supported financially by advertising, much of the content on the Internet today is distributed free to end-users for an indirect exchange of advertisement revenue. When a user loads an ad-driven copyrighted website, he produces a copy of the work due to the inherent architecture of the Internet. If this user is using Adblock to screen out annoying advertisements, he is creating an unauthorized derivative work analogous to skipping television commercials. By the letter of copyright law, this practice would most likely be seen as an infringing use.
    Except that I'm not redistributing this supposed derivative work, now am I? (This bit was copied for the purposes of critique under the fair use doctrine.)
  • Re:Some nerve (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Morgon (27979) <jmy&morgontech,com> on Friday August 17, 2007 @12:32PM (#20262941) Homepage
    Because you're requesting information from their website!

    As a website owner, I know exactly where these people are coming from (though I still recommend people use FF over IE). I've frequently had to explain the difference between the website hits my reporting tools tell me and the actual ad hits my advertisers see (or don't see, in this case)

    I agree that there's "good" advertising and "bad" advertising. I'm very conscious about what types of ads display on my site. Text ads usually have fairly free roam, but when it comes to images or flash, it needs to be somewhat relevant. I have no qualms about telling my advertisers to pull an ad because it doesn't meet those standards.

    However, if you're going to be part of obtaining content or information from my website, then there are costs that are incurred - bandwidth, processing, data storage. Thankfully, these can be soft costs as long as the user does their part by allowing the ad to display.

    You can make all of the excuses you wish, such as "Well I'm not going to look at it or click on it anyway" -- That's a-ok, there's a beautiful advertising model called CPM, which pays me for each 1,000 (Roman Numeral M) impressions. Doesn't really matter too much if you know what it says or click on it, you're still helping me maintain my site by your browser physically requesting it.

    I don't understand the big deal with ad blocking. Just block sites that abuse their right to advertise by running 'spaz-ads' or other intrusive campaigns, allow other people to provide the services you came there to use.
  • Re:Hm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Chris Burke (6130) on Friday August 17, 2007 @12:33PM (#20262975) Homepage
    So is this the point where we starting hearing that blocking ads is just like running out of the store with a pair of blue jeans? I mean really...

    Yes, absolutely. Already we have TV execs and MPAA representatives saying that watching TV -- broadcast or cable -- without watching the ads is theft. Like if you hit the mute button to talk with your girlfriend, or get up to use the bathroom, you might as well have gone into Jack Valenti's house and grabbed a vase off his mantle. The mentality is already there in the heads of the ones who own the media, and by virtue of that they can keep slamming us with the concept over and over until people actually believe it.

    And from their perspective it makes perfect sense. In all these cases, including this website, the "product" they make their money from is your eyeballs pointed at their advertisors' ads. By depriving them of that product you are hypothetically depriving them of their product, which could hypothetically affect their advertising revenue. And you damn well better believe that to these people hypothetical money they could have gotten is the same as money they had in their pocket and then lost.

    Pretty soon billboard owners will start to claim that you are stealing from them for not looking at their billboards while you are driving.

    The funniest part to me? When he says that firefox users are an insignificant number, and spend even less money, so barring them isn't harmful... But the upside of barring them is somehow huge? How is that possible?
  • by hb253 (764272) on Friday August 17, 2007 @12:35PM (#20263015)
    So what. I walk away from the TV when a commercial comes on (I don't have a DVR). If I don't watch commercials on TV, why would I treat web browsing differently?

  • by twitter (104583) on Friday August 17, 2007 @12:36PM (#20263041) Homepage Journal

    This is almost always a mistake:

    Anyone savvy enough to block ads is probably savvy enough to have their browser present its user-agent as Internet Explorer if necessary.

    Necessary is the keyword, and no site dumb enough to do this is necessary. The site authors are misinformed if they think Firefox users are not affluent decision makers with significant if not majority of on line purchasing power. They might get more click through from the IE crowd, but advertising is mostly about brand awareness and click through is a misleading metric. A business that would exclude one in twenty of it's customers for having the wrong brand of anything is insane, and Firefox has way more than that kind of market share. Only a few M$ partners are going to do this and they will be punished with lower market share and revenue. Their advertisers will have their brands further besmirched by association with the lowest of the low and dishonest business practices.

    It's better to punish the offending site by going elsewhere. When you change your user agent, you tell the world that it's OK to do dumb stuff like this.

  • by mellonhead (137423) <slashdot@swbel l . net> on Friday August 17, 2007 @12:38PM (#20263109) Homepage Journal
    "...they actually are even smaller in terms of online spending, therefore blocking FireFox seems to have only minimal financial drawbacks..."

    "...whereas ending resource theft has tremendous financial rewards..."
  • by khasim (1285) <> on Friday August 17, 2007 @12:39PM (#20263131)

    Except that I'm not redistributing this supposed derivative work, now am I?

    No, you're not.

    And his ... point? ... whatever ... is kind of like saying that the ads are PART of the "work" that he created.

    But the ads change. This is NOT like "product placement" in a movie. I cannot "fuzz out" a can of Mountain Dew (tm) in a movie. But whether I have to walk past an ad for Mountain Dew ON THE WAY INTO THE MOVIE or an ad for Coca Cola (tm) does NOT alter the "work" that is the movie.

    The frame is not the painting.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 17, 2007 @12:40PM (#20263147)
    Is that some people are going to realize "Hey, I can block ads?!" and then go install Ad Block Plus.
  • by pla (258480) on Friday August 17, 2007 @12:43PM (#20263185) Journal
    I notice, by the way that you are posting on a free ad-funded Web site.

    Funny example, that - Slashdot probably has one of the highest ratios of users capable of ad-blocking of any site on the entire web, yet manages to pay the bills. Curious...
  • by COMON$ (806135) * on Friday August 17, 2007 @12:43PM (#20263191) Journal
    By the letter of copyright law, this practice would most likely be seen as an infringing use.

    Seems like a lot of speculation to me. As for the small fraction of the internet being firefox users, I can vouch for the fact that everyone I know that use firfox do a considerable amount of shopping online, as for the IE people...most of them stick to Ebay. But that is just my personal groups.

    However on a different note seen here (old article 2004 sorry) s,+report+says/2100-1024_3-5479800.html []

    Yes Firefox users click on ads isnt because they use firefox or ad blocker, it is because in my experience firefox users arent click happy, how many of you out there have spent hours removing viruses and spyware and malware because of a click happy IE user.

    Many many many projects out there make plenty of cash without advertisements what is the big deal with this site?

    I am fine with the site blocking firefox, they simply wont get my business or the business of any of the corporations purchase for, this amounts to a couple hundred grand a year, but what do I know, I am only one lowly firefox user.

  • Re:justified (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fruitbane (454488) on Friday August 17, 2007 @12:46PM (#20263273) Homepage
    When I watch TV I'm not obligated to sit and watch the commercials. I can get up and do something else. I can even, heaven forbid, click the remote and go to another channel for a few minutes to avoid those ads. Furthermore, the way web page technology originated and was designed, there is no rule, spoken or unspoken, that I have to view your web page the way you intend me to. If you want it to look the same way all the time you need to be using Flash or displaying PDFs, not HTML and basic web technologies. The web just doesn't roll that way.

    The firefox blockers are allowed to try and block firefox, but ultimately their problem is that they are demanding others meet their needs instead of adapting their strategies to meet the needs of the modern user on the modern web. Frankly, I would not be unhappy to see any of them left behind as the world rolls forward and they try and hang back.
  • by Shagg (99693) on Friday August 17, 2007 @12:49PM (#20263343)

    Or they are people who, Oh don't know - run a useful and popular free-to-use Web resource and need to raise some income to maintain the service.
    Which means, of course, that they're legally guaranteed to make an income and anyone who doesn't pay them is breaking the law.

    I notice, by the way that you are posting on a free ad-funded Web site.
    I must have missed the part where slashdot was blocking firefox.

    Running a free website and trying to use ad revenue to help fund it is fine. That's not what we're talking about here. The idea that such a site is legally entitled to that ad revenue is absurd. If you can only exist based on ad revenue, and enough people don't want to view your ads that would put your existence in jeopardy... maybe you shouldn't exist. To claim that a user is stealing from you by choosing to not view your ads is delusional.
  • by vorpal22 (114901) on Friday August 17, 2007 @12:56PM (#20263453) Homepage Journal
    I'm jealous of your brain. While I can successfully filter out static ads (e.g. I never notice adverts in magazines or newspapers), these days many web-based ads are animated GIFs or Flash animation, and at least for me, are much more difficult to overlook. The motion and colour changes constantly distract me from the page's content, forcing me to repeatedly have to refocus and thus making me take much longer to make it through an article.

    If the web had stuck to non-pop up, non-pop under static ads, I probably wouldn't have bothered with AdBlock Plus. As it stands now, though, I find many webpages to be unusable without it. Frankly, I blame the advertisers: the entire intention of their ads are to grab your attention, and as static ads weren't cutting it, too many of them resorted to being as obnoxious as possible. They're the equivalent of a child jumping up and down screaming, "Look at me! Look at me! Are you looking at me? Look at me! Look at me!"
  • by jimstapleton (999106) on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:00PM (#20263565) Journal
    This firefox user does a lot of online shopping.

    Maybe they should deal with the soruce rather than the symptom.

    In my case, I don't block ads unless they hit one of four criteria:

    1) The play sound
    2) They show images that I consider NSFW - i.e. naked people, etc.
    3) The drain the resource of my system, with 1GB of memory and over 2Ghz of CPU
    4) They have offensive text (suggesting I'm an idiot for not using/buying from them, etc)

    So, if I'm blocking your advertisers, you need to find competant advertisers, rather than block me.
  • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:01PM (#20263575)

    But if it became popular to install an ad filter on the cable line before it reached your television, it would undermine television's business model.

    Oh crap, is that in the PATRIOT (sic) Act?

    It's pretty obvious that ad-blocking web sites IS akin to resource theft . . .If you don't like a site's ads, don't visit the site.

    Yes, if we were playing "Let-those-you-disagree-with-present-your-only-opt ions", then I would have to pick "don't visit". But since we're not, I'll pick "use ad-blocking". Now, you can either agree with me or send me $5.

  • by hondo77 (324058) on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:02PM (#20263611) Homepage

    It's pretty obvious that ad-blocking web sites IS akin to resource theft...

    Oh, it's obvious, is it? Is it theft if I visit the site but never click on the ads? What if I click on all the ads but have no intention of buying anything? Tell me, what else is obviously theft when I am reading a page on the web?

  • Generalizations (Score:3, Insightful)

    by benhocking (724439) <> on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:05PM (#20263663) Homepage Journal

    I guess nobody's showed them AdBlock for Opera (or even Opera's built-in "content blocker", admittedly not quite as good as the real thing since it lacks regexps, though), or Ad Muncher for IE.
    Yes, but is the typical IE user ... sophisticated enough to use Ad Muncher, or rather to even know it exists? (I'll make no such comment about Opera.)
  • by networkBoy (774728) on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:07PM (#20263717) Homepage Journal

    If you don't like a site's ads, don't visit the site
    If the site did not have burdensome* ads, I wouldn't block them.
    I'm building a site based on ad supported revenue. Since it is going to be targeted towards a largely technical audience I expect most (if not all) of the ads to be blocked. I myself use ABP. My solution is two-fold. I point out to my guests that the site is supported by advertising revenue, and provide a "donation ware" link that allows those who would rather not see ads, but still want to support my site to donate towards my hosting and bandwidth bill. I realize that this may not be viable for others, but for me at least, it is fine.


    * Any ad that tends to blink, scroll, move, clash, interrupt the content, etc. is burdensome. Google text ads are the answer to this.
  • Re:justified (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jkerman (74317) on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:09PM (#20263749)
    Its not my fault your business model doesnt work.
  • by the_other_chewey (1119125) on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:14PM (#20263837)
    However, I hadn't noticed that this was was blocked in ABP until you mentioned it. [...] reading some site tell me I'm stealing money from website owners isn't going to make me uninstall it. Learning that ABP is blocking not only ads but also sites that badmouth ABP, though, might.

    You probably are using the EasyList subscription which blocked that page for a short while,
    mainly because the boycott guy personally insulted rick, the author of EasyList.
    rick has by now realised that this wasn't too smart a move and removed that filter again.

    For the process, see the thread in the EasyList forum []

    JFTR: Adblock Plus doesn't block anything by default, user added filter rules do.
  • by Wordsmith (183749) on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:28PM (#20264097) Homepage
    So Slashdot has an effective business model (due to those three factors and others), where manystart-ups have poor business models. This is someone else's problem why?
  • by harrkev (623093) <> on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:28PM (#20264099) Homepage
    For what it's worth, I thought that your post was somewhat on the insightful (or at least interesting) side. Whoever modded you as flamebait is a himself an idiot.

    Anyways, the average user of Firefox is a lot less likely to "punch the monkey." That does not mean that they spend less money. They just spend less money on herbal viagra.
  • by COMON$ (806135) * on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:42PM (#20264365) Journal
    However, popups drive me nuts. It's annoying, it's extraordinarily rude to their users, and it only serves to amplify the ruthlessness of advertisers

    exactly, if I find a site with a java popup, it is strike one and I get peeved( is notorious for this ad), if I get a site where some music or auditory ad comes up it is strike 2 and I will never purchase the product being advertized), if the ad is still there next time I come to the site I will avoid the site as long as I am able.

  • by TheBigBezona (787044) on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:50PM (#20264535)

    Folks serving ads should consider for a minute WHY people want to block them. It's because of sites ABUSING users with ads. Popups, stupid floating ads moving across the screen, etc.

    Your basic static banners, or AdWords-style text ads are really not a big deal, and if that was all there was, I wouldn't bother with Adblock.

    Unfortunately, some sites think the ad has to be shoved down the user's throat, so therefore I block ads altogether.
  • by dgatwood (11270) on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:56PM (#20264655) Journal

    Attention advertisers! Here is a list of banner ads that I have intentionally clicked on.


    If I need something, I'm actively seeking it. Once or twice, I may have clicked on a sponsored site at the top of a Google search because it was precisely the product or company I was looking for. That's the closest I've ever gotten to clicking into an ad and buying something. Even then, I usually end up price comparing at half a dozen sites (though at least once or twice, I have ended up back at the original site buying it). Quite frankly, I seldom see ads for anything I'm even remotely interested in, as anything that doesn't fill the obvious and immediate need that caused me to search for a product, it isn't interesting at that time.

    Want me to take an interest in your product? Wait for me to figure out that I need something that does X, then build something that does X. That's all you have to do. Anything else is just wasting bandwidth from my perspective, and I doubt I"m alone in that. If you want to make your product be the one I choose over the N other products that do X, send out some freebies to people on bulletin boards that talk about X and get them to write honest reviews. If your product gets a lot of good reviews, it is more interesting than a product that only got a few, as almost no professional reviewer ever writes bad reviews, and thus the quantity of reviews tends to be a good indicator of product quality. On the flip side, if it looks like you're astroturfing one of those store sites' comment pages, I'm going to ignore your company for life, so don't even think about that.

    Marketing for geeks is simple: don't try to market any product to geeks. If something looks like advertising in any way, it leaves a bad impression automatically, as most geeks prefer to go and search for what they need rather than have a list of things shoved at them that they probably don't need. People who turn on ad blockers are mostly geeks, and thus, their advertising would be counterproductive anyway. Unfortunately, this means that supporting geek sites with advertising revenue could bring in less revenue than a non-geek website, but such is the life of a geek website webmaster.

  • by GMFTatsujin (239569) on Friday August 17, 2007 @02:07PM (#20264851) Homepage
    And for that matter, why is the argument for ads always one-way: "I need to fund my bandwidth! Look at my ads!"

    I have bandwidth to fund too, pal: the bandwidth coming into my house. Or office. Or corporation. Your ads take up my resources too.

    If I can free up significant resources on my own network by blocking your ads ... well, it's just smart business isn't it?

  • by OrangeTide (124937) on Friday August 17, 2007 @02:09PM (#20264901) Homepage Journal
    I manage to fund a website without intrusive ads. A colo'd server is not really that expensive. If you want to pull in revenue you could try selling a useful product or service. For example if you run a free forum website, sell "premium" membership.

    Ads that are poorly targeted to my demographic COSTS YOU MONEY. You waste bandwidth trying to send me information about things I won't buy. I would argue well targeted advertising is what is important to the well being of the internet, not all ads. Ad blockers stop the throw-everything-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks sort of advertisements.

    I'm sorry if it's so much work to get customers, but the key to having customers that spend money is establishing a relationship with customers and with potential customers. Just pasting fliers all around town or shoving 4 or 5 pop-unders under my browse window is not going to establish a relationship.

    TV and Radio have advertisements and commercial skipping is protected mostly because running a broadcast station is quite expensive. Putting a server on the net is only as expensive as the number of hits you get (bandwidth/load), it scales very linearly. If you can't figure out how to turn hits into revenue, stopping ad blocker is only going to keep you from wasting bandwidth on those minority of users. It won't actually fix your broken business model.

    The Internet is a very competitive free market, you must adapt to survive!
  • by Hoi Polloi (522990) on Friday August 17, 2007 @02:34PM (#20265351) Journal
    If Firefox users are a small part of the browser population (according to them) and only some of them block ads, then doesn't it stand to reason that they would be a small burden to a website? I don't see how blocking them has any sort of "tremendous financial rewards".

    Since the website seems to be slashdotted I'd say they'd be better off blocking people coming from Slashdot.
  • um no (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bitspotter (455598) on Friday August 17, 2007 @02:36PM (#20265403) Journal
    Why would I want to block perfectly good paying customers who don't have ad block installed, just because they're using the same browser as some who do?

    I don't know what you're selling, but you must not be selling much of it if the bandwidth costs for not serving blocked ads (er... yeah, how's that work, exactly?) outweighs your sales revenue, or those of your ad customers.

    Never mind the ludicrousness of this from the user perspective; this doesn't even make sense from a business perspective.

    Are there any ad blockers for MSIE? Maybe he can block that too - on this site. We won't miss you, and yes, we'll keep making money, unlike you.

    Sheesh, learn to do business.
  • by Sandbags (964742) on Friday August 17, 2007 @02:54PM (#20265751) Journal
    Now they've gone and done it... They went and got /.'s attention. Now there's tens of thousands of /. users who (if they didn't already) are running out and adding adblock to their install of firefox. In another screen I'm composing an email to every single family member in the clan (except 2 which I know are also /. readers) and letting them know they need this extension, how to get it, and how to install it... Get all of us to do this, and in a few days, there will be a million firefox users with adblock installed blocking all manner of sites! The attention from the advertisers being aware of this will cause them to lower advertising pay outs across the board, having a net effect on revenue for ad supported sites many times more than if they kept their mouthes shut! :D I love /.!
  • by secPM_MS (1081961) on Friday August 17, 2007 @02:59PM (#20265835)
    We have another of the RIAA-class advertising madman here. There is nowhere that I signed any contract to watch adds on TV, listen to adds on radio, or pay attention to adds on my browser. The broadcaster or web site made an agreement to display the adds with the advertiser, for which they were paid, in the expectation that some faction of the viewers would watch the adds and that some (much) smaller fraction of those watchers would have their shopping behavior influenced by the add. And contrary to what that fool thinks, IE is quite capable of blocking much of the advertising issues -- I run IE7 in enhanced security configuration - no Java, Javascript, Flash, etc. If I need to go to a website and use Javascript, I use FireFox with the no-script plugin -- and I do not grant running permission to add servers. And if I think that I am going to hostile site, I use opera with everything disabled, including images - in essence I am using Opera to render plaintext HTML on the grounds that it is probably kept more current than Lynx.

    I do expect that they will try to force advertising by integrating content with the advertising in active snap-ins, such as Flash. To the extent they do that, they drop off my radar -- I will never see them nor their associated products.

  • by UnidentifiedCoward (606296) on Friday August 17, 2007 @03:00PM (#20265859)
    Unfortunately the subscription list maintainers have nothing to do with ABP itself and the two should be VERY separated when criticizing one or the other. Therefore, I think it better to put the blame with the subscription and not on ABP directly. Just my .02.
  • by Drachemorder (549870) <brandon@christiangamin g . org> on Friday August 17, 2007 @03:07PM (#20265993) Homepage
    I'm a Firefox user. I use adblock. I use adblock because I never click on ads anyway. This would be true whether or not I used adblock, or whether or not I used Firefox. I still wouldn't click on an ad. The only ads I would click on are, say, Google ads that come up in response to a search, in which case the ad might be what I was searching for in the first place.
  • by anton544 (1142525) on Friday August 17, 2007 @03:47PM (#20266629)
    Anyone considered how a browser actually works? When you break it down, a web browser is not much more than and ftp client which a fancy presentation layer. It fetches files, parses them, and performs an action based on the data contained within a file. So what is a web site? Basically an anonymous ftp server. Now when I ftp to a server and download a file, I'm not required to download all of the other files in the same directory am I? A web site just is offering a collection of files. I get to choose which of those I want to retrieve and/or view.

    Now this owner suggests that viewing a page without viewing the ads is stealing. How? He offered to the public a file free of charge (the web page). If I decided to download it I may as I've been given authorization by the web site owner to do such. There is no stipulation that I also must download any other file and there was never any stipulation that I must view any file just because I've downloaded it.

    Now just because firefox (like most browsers) downloads most inclusive content (images, links, flash, etc file) and displays it as a default behavior does not mean that I'm not allowed to change the behavior of the browser running on MY system.

    Now why would firefox useers generate less revenue from clicking on ad banners and such? Is it ABP? No. Who uses Firefox? I'm willing to believe that most FF users consider themselves fairly computer literate (power users or better). Mostly because you are running a *nux OS and/or manually downloaded and installed it themselves. These people aren't likely to fall for whatever ridiculous claim the ad is making (make your member larger, a hot naked woman will fall instantly in love with you, make money without doing a damn thing, etc) and click on the banner.

    "Remember: there are lies, damn lies, and statistics."
  • by janrinok (846318) on Friday August 17, 2007 @03:59PM (#20266807)

    You are still costing the website money by using their bandwidth without giving anything back to pay for it.

    No, they are using my bandwidth to display their unwanted junk on my computer screen. I pay for my internet connection, not the advertiser. If they want to display their content on my screen then they may do so for a price. Please let me know where to send the bill, I'm looking forward to seeing the money roll in.

    When I visit a website, it is usually to view whatever they are offering, but not necessarily to view whatever their advertisers are offering. If they cannot afford to run the website without support from my funding for their advertisments then they can go bust. If the product that they are offering (be it something for sale, the answer to a query, or even pron) does not make them enough money then they should not be in business. But by visiting their site I have not agreed to be subjected to all of the extraneous crap that adorns their site.

  • by natebarney (987940) on Friday August 17, 2007 @04:36PM (#20267387)
    Is it possible that this is the case because Firefox users are typically geeks who have a much harder time getting laid, rather than having better computers?
  • Aside from the obvious differences between HTTP and FTP which complicate your case....

    I would make the case differently as follows:

    Web severs provide content in a number of formats including HTML, various image formats, and more. While image files, PDF's and other files specify in close detail the final appearance of content, HTML does not. It merely states general intents. The HTML browser is under no legal obligation to present the work using any specific method. For example, consuming the work and presenting it to the user could be done with or without graphics, printed on paged media or displayed in pageless media, or "performed" through a text-to-speech engine found on web browsers for those who either choose not to or cannot view the contents through a standard visual interface. All of these uses are accepted, standards-compliant uses of the content conforming with the content as it is distributed.

    It is therefore difficult to see how changing the presentation of structured information in an HTML document amounts to creating an unauthorized derivative work. Unlike skipping ads on a television show, an HTML document does *not* specify a medium of presentation nor would one be required to present it in a medium supporting the required advertisements (images in pop-ads would be skipped by screen readers anyway-- does this mean that screen readers are contributory infringers and such sites should start suing blind visitors?).

    I would however note that the content purveyors have the right to distribute the content how they see fit. It may be stupid and counterproductive to ban Firefox, but so is the Microsoft Free Fridays Apache module and nobody suggests that this cannot be installed on web servers. If figure that the trend away from requireing IE on sites offered to the public is a response to customer demand, and that fighting this demand is generally foolish anyway.

    If the aim is to block technologies which skip the ads, I wonder if they choose to block lynx, audio-based web browsers, etc. and whether the sites are Section 508 complaint. Picking on Firefox will do nothing but get the sites a bad reputation.
  • by Warbothong (905464) on Friday August 17, 2007 @04:42PM (#20267503) Homepage
    Just as a side note, how effective are all of those Get Firefox buttons that can be found on half of the world's blogs and a lot more besides? Either Firefox users aren't the type to suffer an ad kindly, and thus wouldn't click them ('Get Firefox' to me doesn't sound like 'Try our free web browser which has good ad blocking'), or the impact of those buttons has been massive because all of those click-happy iPod-winner-wannabes have stumbled across Firefox through an ad and are using it.

    Trust me I am all for Firefox (although I prefer Epiphany and Konqueror. Yay choice!) but with trolls like those in TFA about it's suprising nobody has compared Firefox+AdBlock to all of those "Stop spam forever" spam messages (Get Firefox and you won't see anymore ads like me!)

  • Seems like a lot of speculation to me. As for the small fraction of the internet being firefox users, I can vouch for the fact that everyone I know that use firfox do a considerable amount of shopping online, as for the IE people...most of them stick to Ebay. But that is just my personal groups.
    I would concur but for a different reason. I do not think that one can suggest that a work displayed with adblocker is fundamentally a different work than one displayed without, nor do I think that a case relating to TV or video ads can be generalized to cover HTML documents. IANAL, however.....

    One of the key differences between television and video content and HTML is that HTML is a semantic markup tool, rather than a media which *requires* certain media choices. Although most people browse the web on web browsers that support Javascript and images, some users may use tools which do not support either of these, or support them partially. These may be dependant on media (text-only terminals, screen readers), or user choices (user doesn't trust Javascript, blocks images from specific servers, increases font sizes for extra visibility, etc), or even other reasons beyond the scope of the standards.

    I do think that if a PDF reader were to filter out ads embedded in a PDF document that would be another matter, as would a web browser which filtered out *portions of* images, audio files, etc. based on whether they were advertisements or not. In both those cases, presentation is dictated in the format much more clearly than HTML.

    However, with regard to HTML, extneding the idea that skipping ads was creating a new infringing work would be problematic. It would potentially ban screen readers, locking blind people out of the internet because such might skip image and flash-based advertisements automatically. It would also raise the following question:

    suppose you have a television with a burned out picture tube. A company sponsors a silent, video-only ad with no audio track. Is your broken television creating a new work or just presenting an old one differently? It is, after all, skipping the ad. In short, unlike the court case cited, the original work is left intact, but is presented in a way in which some content is lost. This is very different from editing out offending portions of the content.
  • by suggsjc (726146) on Friday August 17, 2007 @06:03PM (#20268469) Homepage
    Just playing devil's advocate here, but what about sites that don't directly sell anything...only distribute/display content? I would think that slashdot would be an example. CowboyNeil's gotta feed his childin's, right?

    That said, there are two problems with internet ads/advertising. First, most advertisements are annoying and distracting to what I am wanting to look at. Those are why *I* use Ad-Block. Second, I am not one of the privacy freaks (I mean that in the nicest way possible), but in order for ads to truly be targeted to me, they will have to profile me. If I could be guaranteed that the information was truly anonymous, then I would willingly let them harvest much more information about me so they could more accurately provide me with potential advertisements that are of interest to me. All that to say, when you combine annoying with useless it equals something that provides *me* with little benefit.
  • by tech10171968 (955149) on Friday August 17, 2007 @06:15PM (#20268569)
    Instead of whining about the fact that people are blocking ads, the industry should be asking themselves _why_ people are doing it in the first place. The fact is, a lot of these ads are annoying as hell (especially those bandwidth-stealing, "Hey Look at me, Damn it!!!" Flash-based pop-ups and scrolling sidebars), and they just plain get in the way of the web experience. If there were a way to incorporate their advertisements into websites without being so grating and annoying then maybe users wouldn't mind seeing the ads anyway. That seems to be a fatal flaw with most marketing types: they feel they must always "shout" loud enough to drown out the competition. The problem is that, on web pages, they often end drowning out the content as well, and sometimes seem either too arrogant or too dense to realize they're doing it.
  • by SL Baur (19540) <> on Friday August 17, 2007 @08:39PM (#20270277) Homepage Journal

    Does it kill you *that* much to have to view an ad now and again.
    Technically, yes. I have a lot better things to do with my time than wait for slow ads to load. The beauty of the internet is that you are free to watch them if you wish. So, go for it there big guy.

    Now, the text of the message on that site equates ad-blocking with theft. Assume this is true, what about other similar situations? Look at Microsoft Window preinstalls on computers. We are being told that the cost of the system is being offset by 3rd party apps affectionately called "crapplets" here and that is why bare metal or Linux installs cost more than equivalent Microsoft Windows-based systems. The crapplet guys are paying for the privilege of being on your desktop. Does that not then make it theft to wipe the machine and do a clean install? Also, shouldn't you feel compelled to actually use them, after all someone paid money for them to be there. They have to recoup their investment, don't they?

    I don't see any fundamental difference in the two cases. If it is theft to block ads, it must also be theft to remove programs from your computer that a vendor has paid to have put there.

    With that in mind, let me fix the wording of your statement:

    Does it kill you *that* much to have to use the stuff that came preinstalled on your computer? Like it or not, the retail computer market is largely driven by 3rd party app support, and a lot of retail computer vendors would either disappear or be less comprehensive if they didn't have the incentive in place to keep providing low-cost computers.
    Be careful what you are asking for, you might get it.
  • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Friday August 17, 2007 @09:00PM (#20270535)
    Are you serious? Honestly, it seems like more and more paid trolls are invading Slashdot every day. That's the price of popularity, I suppose.

    What on Earth are you talking about? Reciprocity? Contract? When did ABC, NBC and the rest start making viewers sign contracts? Contracts are about mutually-agreed upon conditions, usually with some kind of formal recording of said agreement. I think you're confusing the agreement between the content producers, advertisers, and their distributors (the networks and cable companies.) Any agreement between those parties is, well, between them. I am under no obligation to watch anything they spew at me, ad-related or otherwise. Any obligations are between them and don't involve me or any other viewer.

    Broadcasters beam signals into the air and we pick them up ... end of statement. What we do with those signals after that is none of their business. If I choose not to watch their goddamn advertising by looking elsewhere, reading a book, getting laid, taking a leak, or just pressing the fast-forward button, that's just too bad. There's no agreement on my part, implicit or otherwise, that says I have to watch any of it! They are just hoping we will, and hope that it will influence our purchasing decisions. But that's all they get when they plunk down those big advertising dollars: a hope. No guarantee, no agreement, no "reciprocity." I understand that these guys feel threatened by the ability of viewers to technologically avoid viewing commercial advertising, but again, that's just too bad. Not my problem. They don't have a right to force me to watch it, and I don't have any agreement with any broadcaster or network that says they do.

    Why do people continue to buy into this idea that content providers (whether they be TV broadcasters, satellite/cable TV providers, game console makers, music studios, software houses or anyone else) have some intrinsic right to control the use of their products after they've left the distribution channel? They don't, dude, they never have. The mere fact that you are promoting this bizarreness indicates that you've bought into it (or are a part of it.) Really, it's weird and not in the consumers' best interest.
  • by pionzypher (886253) on Friday August 17, 2007 @09:46PM (#20271147)
    Internet ads have had plenty of fair shakes. Remember the late 90's and early 00's? Popups, popunders, huge flashing banners, fake windows alerts. When using computers that don't have FF + adblock I still see very intrusive advertising. That's NOT the way to build goodwill with me.

    Googles ads are truly the only ones I don't mind. Relevant and non intrusive. ( I agree with you on the relevant ads, they are a resource that is useful) As a whole though, internet advertising has burnt its bridges and I have zero guilt over simply ignoring them. This page simply reinforces my feelings on the matter. Blocking a whole browser because a subset won't view image ads. Especially after stating that they make up so little of the population just seems asinine.

  • You are posting in support of people who believe ad-blocking is a crime and you completely miss the point I'm trying to make.

    First they came for the P2P music downloaders, but I stayed quiet because I don't download pirated music.

    Then they came for the ad-blockers, but I stayed quiet because a few ads never hurt anyone.

    Then they came for people who did not support the sponsored software that was preinstalled on their system, but I stayed quiet because it gave me a cheaper computer and I like Microsoft Windows anyway.

    Then they came for me ...

    OK, that's kind of cheesy, but if you want to view ads on your computer, go ahead -- it's your business and none of mine. Please don't force the rest of us to conform to your views.

    I am one of the myriad of programmers who has given away free code for decades so that the internet could be built up in the first place. Wish we'd had a license on the internet like the GPL, but it's too late now. If you think it's fair that advertises must be paid on each web page accessad, pay me royalties for every email message you send (most of the code on your computer that is a derived work of mine would be email related). Fair is fair, or do you mean something else?
  • by Sj0 (472011) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @02:07AM (#20273367) Homepage Journal
    I'd like to flip the logic on it's head too. When I'm driving down the highway to get to the next town, I've got to watch advertisement after advertisement on billboards, for hundreds of kilometers.

    I paid for the roads with my tax dollars. In the logic they're presenting, they're criminals for not providing a good or service in return for my exposure to these advertisements.
  • by aichpvee (631243) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @04:44AM (#20274195) Journal
    So is the site full of ads for users without adblock? Because this might not even be some great big plot by microsoft or something. It could just be another bunch of assholes looking to make a quick buck by getting on slashdot. And I'd assume digg a day or two ago.
  • by J4nus_slashdotter (953890) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @09:11AM (#20275295) Homepage Journal
    If there was no abusive advertising (huge banners flashing and disturbing the user) there was no need to use addon such as adblock..

"Hello again, Peabody here..." -- Mister Peabody