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Ad Blocking is Immoral

After a terrible write up claiming that Ad Blocking is Moral made the front page of Reddit, I felt obliged to respond.

First, a brief response. For lack of a better word, (actually, this is pretty much the perfect word), the piece is drivel. It cases the ethics of Ad Blocking (visitor) and Ad Serving (publisher) in terms of effectiveness, relevancy, and business modeling. While these may all be useful arguments of whether a publisher ought to use advertising to generate revenue, it does not create a meaningful ethical statement on whether subverting advertising efforts is moral.

Examples:

  • Sarcastic Response: “In other words, people should support bad business models because it’s more convenient for the businessmen.”
    Not supporting a bad business model means boycotting the store, not going in and taking all the free stuff.. If you think the advertisements on a site are terrible, email the webmaster or leave it in the comments, and don’t return to the site to read the content until they have been replaced with a better business model. [ I do take issue with the comment that ad-supported content is a bad business model. On the contrary, contextual-ads have single-handedly funded millions of pages of content creation ]
  • Webmaster Responsibility: “Frankly, as far as I’m concerned, if a webmaster runs a site that’s popular enough that the costs become at all significant, the onus is on him (or her) to find ways to cash in on that popularity to keep the site going.”
    Yep, and the webmaster did find a way. Advertisements. And you, are subverting that.
  • Magazines vs. The Web: “Firstly, magazines have almost universally relevant adverts in them.”
    What bearing does this have, to the ethics of Ad Blocking? Are you people not seeing this?

The Case Against Ad Blocking:

  1. The Implicit Contract:
    When a content publisher places ads on his/her website, it is under the assumption that he/she is bartering with you. That barter is, in exchange for glancing over the advertisements (even if for only a fraction of a second), you can read all the content he/she has created. It is that simple.

    Some webmasters make you barter more – flashy advertisements with pop ups and pop unders. If you think this is a raw deal, don’t trade. No, don’t steal the content without receiving the ads. That wasn’t the deal. That wasn’t the contract he/she has put forward. The deal was ads for content. You can accept or decline that single proposition.

  2. The Stupid Response:
    “But I never click on anything anyway.” You’re right, you don’t. You also don’t have a dog, but you have no problem going to PetCo and taking all of their free dog treats at the check out. This is unethical. This is immoral. Even if you have never clicked on an ad in your life, and it causes you great pain and anguish to do so, you are allergic to clicking on ads, you should still leave the ads up and let the publisher get that impression.

There you go. Unless a Publisher Says It’s Ok: Ad Blocking is Immoral and Unethical. It is stealing. Period.

Ad Blocking is Immoral by No tags for this post.

147 Comments

  1. Dork
    Jan 29, 2011

    My sincere apologies for previous post. Have been unable to find a way to edit or remove post from this website. No direction toward any individual or malice was intended. I wish to retract comments completely.

  2. Kevin
    Feb 4, 2011

    The concept of morality is a social construct. You call me Immoral? Unethical? A thief? I could care less. I am a rationally self interested individual. Website owners X, Y, and Z are rationally self interested individuals . We make decisions based upon that fact. They place ads on their website to create revenue. I, thanks to adblock, am able to circumvent these ads and save myself time, and brain cells. Why? I am rationally selfish; just like everyone else. They would like me to stop? Make it illegal for me to do so or prevent me from viewing the content. It is that simple.

    It seems that your claim of the moral high ground has provoked a knee jerk reaction in quite a few people, you won’t get that from me.

  3. admin
    Feb 7, 2011

    It is a social construct – one that has been accepted in one form or another by primates well before humans. I could use your exact argument to justify nearly anything that is short of illegal – if that is a world in which you are comfortable to live, then go ahead. Just don’t get upset when someone creates a solution that auto-installs adware on your machine. They are just being selfish too.

  4. Kevin
    Feb 7, 2011

    “It is a social construct – one that has been accepted in one form or another by primates well before humans.” Argumentum ad populum. This doesn’t change the fact that morality is an arbitrary concept.

    “I could use your exact argument to justify nearly anything that is short of illegal…..” Argumentum ad consequentiam. That doesn’t make my argument any less valid.

    “….- if that is a world in which you are comfortable to live, then go ahead.” Argumentum ad hominem.

    “Just don’t get upset when someone creates a solution that auto-installs ad-ware on your machine. They are just being selfish too.” Argumentum ad hominem.

  5. Janette
    Mar 16, 2011

    Why is it wrong to block ads,I’m glad Firefox blocks all ads for me.And also I have safe surf on.I got tired of losing control of my pc everytime I clicked on something I wanted to buy,or click on an ad I was interested in.Everyone knows now days,you click on an ad and 9 chances out of 10 ya got yourself a trojan,virus,worm or keylogger.If you have your pc taken over enough throughout the past few years,you learn to remove the temptation of clicking on ads,by having ads blocked.If you have a product you want people to buy,make up a normal webpage and advertise that way,it would be alot safer for your customers.

  6. Bob
    Apr 24, 2011

    I block ads. Why? They’re almost universally annoying. The stupid smiley face banner that yells at you, the ad that spreads across the page and blocks the content until you pay attention to it, etc. Intrusive ads drive me crazy. As an individual, it makes no rational sense to just not visit a site because the ads are annoying – you not visiting doesn’t do anything unless everyone else behaves in the same manner. You just don’t get to read the content. I like reading good content and I don’t mind ads that stay out of the way and don’t try to disguise themselves or content or worse, replace it. (IE those sites that redirect you to a full page ad and make you wait 30 seconds to get to the content).

    For that reason, I block all ads except for google adwords, which fit my standards of non-invasiveness. If you find that you’re not making money because users are blocking your ads, try not using annoying ads and maybe users won’t find the need to block them. Flash, animated banner ads, video, pop-ups, pop-unders, etc are all annoying to the user. Only neanderthals actually click them or pay them any attention other than getting rid of them. The onus is not on the user to make the website money – it’s on the website to figure out a way to make money without annoying customers.

    I see intrusive ads online as the same thing as if theaters put banner advertisements in front of the screen during the movie and every once in a while interrupted the movie to pitch Coca Cola. Theaters would go out of business if they tried that, so why do people think it works online?

    Author Response Yes, they would go out of business because no one would show up to pay to watch movies anymore. However, that is very different from what is going on here. You are sneaking into the theater to avoid having to pay at all. You are getting to enjoy the movie without paying and without the ads. The answer is simple: if you don’t like the ads, leave the site. Done deal.

  7. Andrew
    May 7, 2011

    The big issue is that practically all ad-blocking companies track their users using profiling.

    For as long as this happens, I will continue to block them.

    It’s nothing to do with the webmasters – I support them. But I won’t support multi-million dollar advertising/tracking companies which pose a threat to my privacy.

    The other thing is advertisements that are extremely flashy, or move at all. I find these extremely distracting.

    I would be happy to view any still advertisements, but not ads which distract me from my web experience.

  8. lol
    Jun 20, 2011

    lol. ABP FTW

  9. KC
    Jun 21, 2011

    Content on the internet, if it is not locked behind a “pay for me” barrier, is free. If you don’t understand that, you probably own a Mac. If I turn off the volume when a commercial comes on TV, it isn’t immoral…it’s an acknowledgement that I’m getting shafted at both ends. I pay for cable and then I pay by watching ads. On the webs, I not only do not have a mute button for all those banners, but those ads could be coming from sites I do not want loading in my browser or sending anything, sites that might even be malicious, but their url’s aren’t displayed in my address bar when loading a page. It is dangerous to my computer, my personal info security, and unless you tell me that I must view the ads to view the page, I have made no contract with you. Ad blocking doesn’t work if you host the ads locally. So, if you want users to pay for your content (note, it is not the users’ responsibility to make sure your site is paid for), then host those ads on your own server.

  10. Kim Carter
    Jun 28, 2011

    Re: “Author Response Yes, they would go out of business because no one would show up to pay to watch movies anymore. However, that is very different from what is going on here. You are sneaking into the theater to avoid having to pay at all. You are getting to enjoy the movie without paying and without the ads. The answer is simple: if you don’t like the ads, leave the site. Done deal.”

    Blocking web ads is NOT equivalent to “sneaking into the theater to avoid having to pay at all”! I pay our ISP for internet access as do I pay our cable provider for access to TV programming.

    I DON’T like ads on TV and I DON’T like ads on websites. However I’m not going to stop watching TV nor accessing the internet to avoid them. I’M the user – the “customer” – and control of the content of the media that comes into my home is MINE. So, I control what I watch and read by fast forwarding through TV ads and blocking ads on websites. Unless the legality of both ad-avoidance methods changes NO ONE will determine for me the content of the media I choose to enjoy.

  11. admin
    Jul 9, 2011

    This is not a question of legality, it is one of ethics. You are correct – no one will determine the content of the media you choose to enjoy, that is your decision. You just happen to decide to screw the content creators in order to create a better experience for yourself. Just embrace it, stop pretending that blocking ads is somehow your God given right.

  12. Anon
    Jul 14, 2011

    Admin, There is no legally binding contract, and you are floating on the free market. Adapt or fail, if you find a good adaptation then you could be a millionaire. But just because you like spamming everyone and people start having spam filters, does not mean that the spam recipients are immoral.

    It is a shame this is actually an issue and Capitalism is the root to blame. Unless you have a paywall or wall that only lets in people without Adblock there is nothing you can do.

  13. Why is it wrong to block ads,I’m glad Firefox blocks all ads for me.And also I have safe surf on.I got tired of losing control of my pc everytime I clicked on something I wanted to buy,or click on an ad I was interested in. “Author Response Yes, they would go out of business because no one would show up to pay to watch movies anymore. However, that is very different from what is going on here. You are sneaking into the theater to avoid having to pay at all. You are getting to enjoy the movie without paying and without the ads. The answer is simple: if you don’t like the ads, leave the site. Done deal.”

  14. Ollie
    Jul 22, 2011

    Is it then unethical to turn the TV on mute during the ad break? Same logic bro. Not gonna stop me.

  15. admin
    Jul 23, 2011

    I have thought about this one quite a bit. I do believe that it is somewhat unethical, but on scale it is not quite as bad. Aside from the major networks, the channels get subscription fees from cable and satellite services (you are already paying the content creators to some degree). Additionally, with the regular product placement that is unblockable on your part, they are earning further revenue. However, I do believe that you generally should watch the ads, if we were drawing the line at being lily-white perfect.

  16. Paul
    Jul 31, 2011

    That analogy is flawed (about not liking pets but taking the free dog treats).

    Dog treats are material, and limited.
    The information on the Internet is immaterial and practically unlimited.

    Author Response: If the information is unlimited, then whey don’t you go find another source for it that doesn’t have ads? The reality is that quality information online is limited, and your time for finding quality information conveniently is limited. These webmasters are providing a service for you that you value enough to spend time on. If you didn’t value it, you wouldn’t visit it. It has value, it is not unlimited, but you choose to ignore the webmaster’s wishes and block the only remuneration they request from you – a simple advertisement impression.

    You can’t steal information unless it’s classified, and information publicly available is information for free when it’s on the Internet.

    Author Response: Just like you can’t steal a free dog biscuit. This isn’t crime, this is ethics. You aren’t stealing their information, but you are harming the content author and webmaster whether you admit it or not

    I also think it’s nonsense calling web surfing “bartering” between the web surfer and the web service provider. The developers of a web page should take into account that once information is on the Internet, it is no longer theirs- and can’t be traded, but given away.

    Author Response: No disrespect, but you clearly haven’t thought this through. Just because you expose something to the public does not mean you lose your rights to it – in the same way that opening the doors of a charity, church, or business to the public does not make it free for the taking. And, here is the important part, anything less than the most ethical decision is, to some degree, unethical. That is what we are talking about here, that it is more ethical to not block the ads than to block them, therefore it is unethical to block the ads. Nothing more, nothing less.
  17. Jeffrey
    Aug 8, 2011

    As the computer I use to access the Internet is mine, I have a right to decide what content it receives. This means I can alter the content if I want to. There are some families who do not like the bad language frequently heard in TV and movies, so they buy a language filter for their TV sets to block out bad words. This is completely ethical. Others might take it a step further and black out bad words, etc. they don’t want to read in their books. Again, this is ethical. The basis for you argument is that neither of these are ethical–that people shouldn’t have the right to alter the content their devices receive. Because I don’t like ads, I should not be forced to view them.

    Author Response: What you describe is completely ethical, and I have no problem with it. What is not ethical is blocking the payment for the content. The ad is NOT the content, it is the remuneration for the service rendered, which is the content you are consuming. If you can’t understand that simple point, you are going to struggle to understand my basic arguments.

    Also, there are companies who will go through your cookies and sell them to advertisers without your consent. In other words, they are stealing your personal data. In return, I block their ads. As long as they continue to do this, I will continue to block ads in the future. It’s only fair.

    Author Response: No, it is not fair. Instead of blocking the ads, block the content too. Stop visiting the sites that deliver the ads. It is that simple. No one is forcing you to view ads. Simply hit the back button and never visit the site again. That is the ethical thing to do.
  18. Billy
    Aug 16, 2011

    What’s unethical is creating ads that drop down and cover half the screen when the cursor accidently scrolls over them, or making ads that play obnoxious audio or those stupid banner ads that flash all sorts of colors. I used to tolerate internet ads but as they became more intrusive and annoying, I started blocking them because I couldn’t get anything done due to the constant garbage popping up on my screen. I really don’t appreciate ads containing sexual content or advertising porn sites appearing on a site where minors hang out either.

    Author Note: I hate those ads too, so when I see them, I don’t go back to that site. If sexual content is shown on sites that are not adult in nature, I notify the webmaster. What I don’t do is just blindly block the ads and continue to consume the product of different webmasters regardless of the intrusiveness of their ads.

    It used to be that the ads only took up one small corner of the page. Care to explain what was wrong with that?

    Author Note: Nothing. Your point is?

    I first started using an ad blocker after the ads started giving me viruses. I’ve got news for you, bucko. I have a right to secure my computer against harmful malware that these ads install on my computer. When advertising companies stop using unethical/sleezy advertising tactics like that then I’ll stop using an ad blocker. Until then they can go screw themselves. I’ll block their ads and have no shame about it whatsoever. And no, I will not stop visiting sites that I like. Expecting people to avoid the internet is completely unreasonable. And considering that I am the one who pays for the bandwidth, I have a say in what comes across my internet connection.

    Author Note: Yes, you do. And what you can do is stop going to websites with ads.
    1. How will you know they stopped using those practices if you never see their ads?
    2. Who pays for the bandwidth of the webmasters who wrote content that you are reading and enjoying?
    3. Who do you think pays more for bandwidth, you or the webmaster?

  19. Billy
    Aug 17, 2011

    It’s a two way street. Creating ads that install rogue antivirus software on people’s computers in an attempt to blackmail them into buying stuff is not only unethical, it’s illegal but that doesn’t stop people from doing it. Often, they’ll attach these files to harmless ads and when the ad loads, it will install the malware. Expecting people to simply avoid any website that uses ads is ridiculous and unreasonable.

    Author Response: Why is that unreasonable? Your browser sees the HTML code before it is displayed to you. An extension that detects the presence of ads on the page could simply warn you – this page has ads, click back to avoid this page or click continue to see with ads. That would be the ethical thing to do.

    That’s the price the webmaster pays for relying on ads to pay the bills. Also, if I didn’t see anything in the terms of service on any website I visit about not blocking the ads, I go ahead and block them. If the webmaster has a problem with it they they should block people using ad blockers.

    Author Response: When you go into a store, do you ask the manager if they explicitly state anywhere that you have to pay for the merchandise? Seriously, this is a cheap cop out. You know damn well that the author put those ads up so that he/she could get remuneration for the time and effort they placed into creating the website and content which you are now consuming. Sure, what you are doing is not illegal (which violating a Terms of Service would be), but it is unethical.
  20. Casi
    Aug 25, 2011

    I’m actually contemplating adblocking at the moment (though I have yet to decide whether to use it or not).

    For a long time I thought that I didn’t particularly mind the odd ad here and there and just let them sit there in the corner while I ignored them. I thought it’s just nice if the content provider could make the odd buck. The problem is that so many ads are taking the piss these days. (If you’ll pardon the expression.) There are the ones that play noises, the ones that blink and flash in a way that would send your average epileptic into a massive fit and the worst ones… the ones that give your computer all sorts of crap, track you and so on. At the moment I tend to report annoying/noisy/excessively flashy ads to the webmasters. (Which in itself is starting to feel like a job I didnt really sign up, and certainly aren’t paid, for.) In some cases they deal with it, in some cases they ignore the issue completely and in a few cases they essentially tell me to suck it up and sod off. The ones that actually make an effort to keep their sites free from crap-ads are the ones that make me hesitate, unfortunately they are few.

    In my opinion, the advertisers have been shooting themselves in the foot by letting things get out of hand. If ads were generally unobtrusive (and didn’t carry all sorts of crap) most people wouldn’t bother blocking them. I for one wouldn’t be considering it if it wasn’t starting to feel like self-defence.

    But, as I said, personally I’m still on the fence on whether to use it or not.

    Author Note: Thank you for the honest response. The truth is, obtrusive ads piss me off as much as anyone. However, I made the decision that I would simply stop visiting sites that have annoying advertisements. What is interesting is that, in some cases, I have found myself willing to stomach some pretty awful ads because the content was just too compelling to turn down. I guess that is the point – determine what the cost of the content is (how obtrusive are the ads) and then determine whether or not the content is worth that price. Carte blanch blocking all ads, however, is an unacceptable position IMHO.
  21. Nathan
    Sep 4, 2011

    I only use an adblocker because of the irritating video ads.

  22. Briarios
    Sep 9, 2011

    Violating TOS is not illegal, its only infringment. Its only illegal if its proved in court. You are seriously out of your depth in making these comments.

    Author Response: The post of this article is that ad blocking is immoral / unethical, not illegal. There are plenty of legal things that are both immoral and unethical

    As far as ethics are concerned… do you follow a completely ethical life? think back at the decisions you made, each day of your life. You did not.

    Author Response: No, I do not. I make unethical/immoral decisions all the time. I am an adult, though, not a child. I know that I do things wrong from time to time, and I freely admit it. You and others do things wrong as well, but you are unwilling to admit it. Moreover, having done wrong in the past or present does not preclude you from pointing out someone else’s wrong as well.

    Everything has two sides. Sides opposing and sides imposing. Which is what makes the world evolve and competitive. If adblocking wasnt there, ads wouldnt evolve.

    Author Response: What are you talking about? The only evolution caused by adblocking is trying to evade the adblockers.

    As far as webmasters who rely on ads for food.. There s loads of other fields and jobs out there. If a business model is outdated, new business models arrive in its place. If you cant keep up, get another job. End of story.

    Author Response: You might as well just say “As far as restaurant owners who rely on you paying for your food… there’s loads of other fields and jobs out there”. The business model is not outdated – ads for content has been around for centuries, and it currently drives one of the largest companies in the world – Google. Your willingness to take content from webmasters without any remuneration is you being an asshole, not them relying on an outdated model.
  23. Briarios
    Sep 16, 2011

    The response about TOS was made in reply to a post by you, here :

    Author Response: —– Sure, what you are doing is not illegal (which violating a Terms of Service would be), but it is unethical.———-

    Did I say I was on a moral or ethical high ground? No. I really could care less if adblocking was immoral or unethical.

    Google based text ads are less intrusive, and for which many adblock users whitelist them. Hence they have grown in demand. This is a direct cause of adblocking. Also, webmasters are taking a second look at the ads they provide and request users not to adblock.

    Your Restaurant analogy is seriously flawed. In a world of consumer freedom, the consumer gets to set the price of a product, not the person who sells it. If a product is too expensive, it stops getting sold. So, on the so called price, I as a user decide what I want to browse at what price. I don’t like ads. I block them. If you decide you want to not serve me this content on this basis, block me.Or put up a subscription model. This is not me being an asshole. This is being technology at its best to provide freedom of choice.

    And your restaurant analogy with respect to adblockers should be provided like this : Suppose you go to a restaurant, and eat, and the restaurant provides to you the option of payment as a session of really bad music and video to watch and listen…. and suppose you have ear plugs ? and selective vision spectacles ? Its not my fault that technology has evolved. Its your fault for not being able to keep up with it.

    Note: there was some issue with posting . If you see multiple posts, its me trying to repost.

  24. Briarios
    Sep 16, 2011

    Continued :

    I use a particular website on a daily basis. I whitelist their ads and click them too. Thats because I am impressed with what they offer me and I since they have a donation/ad model, and I am not willing to donate, I click their ads. However, The website has proved to me its value over years. I pay this price for them willingly, they neither force me nor attempt to circumvent any adblocker.
    In spite of my unethicality about adblocking, I do this. This is not the case with all websites as you advocate for.

  25. Patrick
    Oct 17, 2011

    My browser sent a request to your web server. That server, having been purposefully configured to serve that request by the owners, sent its reply. Your web server did not present, propose, demand, or acknowledge any contracts or agreements, and an HTTP GET request does not in any way imply that I have agreed to request all resources referenced in the documents I receive, and such a request is not sufficient reason to suppose that I mean to support your means of obtaining revenue.

    Author Response: Your browser sent a request to the server – you solicit the page without telling it you intend on blocking the ads. The web server responds with content, and in that content is everything from text and images and the advertising code. You, Patrick, haven’t seen the page yet, but your browser has. Once again, you are not contractually or legally obliged to not block ads. But don’t pretend for a second that it is ethical behavior. The right, moral, ethical thing to do is view the page with ads. If you find those ads intrusive, hit the back button, and don’t ever come back to the site.
  26. Patrick
    Oct 20, 2011

    “Your browser sent a request to the server – you solicit the page without telling it you intend on blocking the ads.”

    Neither does the browser tell me that I must download the advertisements to view the content.

    “The web server responds with content, and in that content is everything from text and images and the advertising code.”

    You are partially mistaken. The first GET request does not return any images, and the advertisment’s markup is not the advertisement—just a reference to it. When I request a website, the first thing that is requested is the HTML file of the particular page I am visiting. Within the HTML file are references to external resources that my web browser must then proceed to obtain with individual requests. I did not ask for the entire composition of the website, and I did not receive the entire composition of the website—including any resources on an advertiser’s servers.

    “You, Patrick, haven’t seen the page yet, but your browser has. ”

    It has seen the page, but it has not seen the advertisements yet. If it had, you would have no problem with it, as the browser would have already sent the request to the advertiser’s server, and you would have received payment for the impression.

    I am not really sure how that is relevant.

    “Once again, you are not contractually or legally obliged to not block ads.”

    You are contradicting yourself when you tell me that I am not contractually obligated to not block advertisements; you told us in the article that there is an implicit contract that we are obligated to honor. It has been my whole point that such a contract does not exist.

    “But don’t pretend for a second that it is ethical behavior.”

    I am not pretending anything. I honestly think that it is not unethical behavior.

    “The right, moral, ethical thing to do is view the page with ads.”

    Your arguments in support of this assertion have not been convincing.

    “If you find those ads intrusive, hit the back button, and don’t ever come back to the site.”

    Unlike a web server, I am not configured to comply with commands from Internet users.

  27. Bloody Marty
    Oct 21, 2011

    Jesus Christ, this crap again. So long as we’re taking this trip, stumble, and fall down ol’ memory lane again, I’ll just lay it out straight for all you folks.

    Advertisements are not some fountain of cash that sprinkles quarters on the hard-working, industrious writers of every insipid BLAAAG on this here Internet. That money comes from someone’s pocket, and it comes for a reason.

    Ya see, those advertisers have children to feed too, so they cooked up this scheme where they pay you for every time you manage to shove their ads up someone’s port 80. They are only going to pay so much for the service too, as, you know, it’s marketing, not philanthropy. The more people that load an ad without buying something, the less that impression is worth to the advertiser. Make sense?

    So every time someone that wouldn’t buy something blocks an advertisement, it makes each impression that does happen worth a little bit more. Hell, if more non-buyers start blocking, they might even be willing to pay you more for every impression. Or not, but at least I am doing the advertiser a favor by blocking the goddamn ad.

    You obivously don’t care if the advertiser gets the shaft so long as YOU, hard-working, self-sacrificing, and not-at-all-self-righteous content producer that you are, gets a little something. Your “implicit contract” is really a conspiracy to commit fraud–you are insisting that people load ads KNOWING that they will not buy just so you can get paid. You better check that mirror before you start calling me a thief.

    You also might want to check the HTTP spec too, as Patty boy up there has a point.

  28. The Ceej
    Oct 23, 2011

    Adblocking is not immoral any more than putting a spam filter on your Email address is immoral. Circumventing adblocking is not only immoral, but a horrible business practice.

    If you circumvent my ABP, you’re boycotted for life. Period. No exceptions. And I’m not the only one who does this. Forcing someone into seeing your advertisement when they have clearly said that they wish not to is the fastest way to go out of business.

  29. Ankh
    Oct 23, 2011

    If you want to forge a contract on your site, make a page with a button and say “by clicking on this button, you agree to disable any ad blockers and stare at my intrusive advertising for five minutes” or something stupid like that. By the way, by reading this message, whether you approve it or not, you agree to give me a million dollars. You can paypal it to me using the email address I put in for this reply.

  30. avmf8
    Oct 26, 2011

    I have been harmed by adds. I have had rouge antivirus installed on my machine from adds. When I contacts said website about it they will deny it.

    Think about it if I go on a site then bang I have a virus or mallware without downloading or clicking on anything. If I am only vising one site and have no tabs open you can be sure either the site installed a virus or the advertising did.

    I would get rouge antivirus all the time before I installed addblock. In fact I go a step further I have a program that blocks all cookies except ones I whitelist.

    Which by the way tells me this site has 2 trackers in it. Such as Google Analytics which keeps a database on you of the sites you visit.

    What sites I go to is none of any advertisers buisness. That is the dangerous aspects of it now for the other reasons to block. They are annoying, disturbing and sometimes hurt my eyes.

    For annoying I have had adds that go in front of the content and wont leave till I press the x in the corner if I miss it just a bit I end up in a site filled with adds.

    Disturbing here is a good example. I am on a website There is a big add on the side its of a dead guy. The dead guy starts saying how since he is dead he no longer needs his organs. Then his chest and stomach open up in a realistic looking autopsy incision and realistically rendered human organs start actually flying at me over the content I am trying to use.

    Oh and did I mention it had sound. It had the slimy sounds of what an opening of an incision at an autopsy would sound like. I wish I was kidding this actually happened to me. This was actually one of the final nails in the coffin pun intended since they were showing a dead guy.

    Now for painful. I actually had a site suddenly dim and all over an add with a strobe light effect and appearing all over the screen so its hard to click it. This was so bad I think if an epileptic saw that they would swallow there own tongue. Oh and it was loud too.

    Now lastly. I am tired of being called morally wrong for defending myself. I did not block adds till they were annoying and did not start totally blocking them till I found that they were capable of infecting my PC. Which before you ask yes I learned that the hard way.

  31. It's a Knockout
    Dec 3, 2011

    I have always used a Mac so intrusive ad content wasn’t anything like as prominent or annoying as what many PC users describe above e.g. I never got those ghastly floating windows and I never got malware or trojans or whatever. Nonetheless I was getting really fed up with ads slowing down my connection to various websites and since installing ad blocking software on my browser about 2 weeks ago, I have enjoyed a wonderful ad-free transformation to my internet usage. I’ve sent messages about it to numerous friends, family, colleagues etc many of whom have since reported back how pleased they were after they installed similar ad blocking software. No doubt they’ll tell their contacts about it and ad blocking software will continue to spread. I think people use ad blocking software because of reasons noted above and for my own part, it’s just so damned annoying and insistent and repetitive and boring and often slow. And I can’t see how not visiting a site is a solution when the site in question is one which I am quite keen to visit from time to time because I’m actually interested in its content e.g. certain public broadcast websites here in the UK. Whether or not ads are “targeted” (an increasing phenomenon as many internet users will recognise), I’m afraid advertisers only have themselves to blame for bombarding internet users with far, far, FAR too much junk over the years. I can’t imagine ever turning off my ad blocking software. And if as a result, specific sites decide to charge for access then I’ll have to make a decision about whether to pay but it’ll be MY choice only. Before ad blocking software, I had no choice and THAT’S THE POINT!

  32. Almafuerte
    Dec 25, 2011

    It’s immoral? According to whom?

    The internet was here long before you bastards got here with your ads, and it’ll be here long after you are gone. HTTP 1.1 is a standard that allows us to pull files from your server. You honor that standard in your webserver and server the files I request. As long as you offer those files, I’ll GET them, any of those files that I want, and visualize them in any way I want.

    I will download your website and look at the fucking HTML and touch myself with it if I want. I don’t have to render it in a browser and execute the scripts you tell me to execute.

    Nothing wrong about that.

    You don’t understand the web, and therefore you will not survive in it.

  33. Milly Perkins
    Jan 24, 2012

    Ha! I just love how you’re completely ignoring the most recent posts and hiding under the table because you know you’ve lost this argument, not that you ever had a good argument in the first place.

    Author Response: Actually I hadn’t noticed new comments had been posted. Will reply soon.
  34. EnvisionU4ia
    Jan 31, 2012

    Author: “It is stealing. Period.”

    Author: “You aren’t stealing their information…”

    I’m confused.

    Author Response: You are stealing other things – you are stealing the finite bandwidth they have paid for, you are stealing the money they would have earned by your impression on CPM ads, etc. The information itself is not “stolen” any more than sneaking into a concert and listening to the music isn’t stealing the music or even stealing a ticket. That does not make it any less wrong.
  35. Milly Perkins
    Feb 2, 2012

    Awwwwww, my heart bleeds for the wormy little advertisers who put viruses on my PC with infected ads and then try to blackmail me into buying their shit to remove it. How terrible that they’re getting screwed out of their extortion scheme.

    I especially love this poster’s comment which you still haven’t bothered to reply to:

    “You obivously don’t care if the advertiser gets the shaft so long as YOU, hard-working, self-sacrificing, and not-at-all-self-righteous content producer that you are, gets a little something. Your “implicit contract” is really a conspiracy to commit fraud–you are insisting that people load ads KNOWING that they will not buy just so you can get paid. You better check that mirror before you start calling me a thief.”

    Author Response: I hadn’t seen that comment yet. I’ve been approving comments lately without reading them fully, no time to respond to everything. That being said, many advertisers in CPM are looking for brand recognition, not just clicks and conversions. Regardless, it is not my responsibility as a publisher to make money for the advertiser, merely to comply with the terms offered and not modify their ads. For example, if I put a big white DIV over their ads, so I got paid but none of my users had to see it, then I would be behaving as you describe above. More importantly, I would be behaving just like you do. I get what I want without suffering any of the consequences.

    If you put it on the internet then it is fair game as far as I’m concerned. So if you don’t want people blocking your crummy ads, prevent them from using ad blocking software on your sight or make them pay for your services. Otherwise shut up.

  36. adblocker
    Apr 1, 2012

    What’s that drivel about an “implicit contract?”

    I never found a single website that asked me if I agreed to their advertising before trying to load their ads on my computer. Worse yet, websites don’t even tell you in advance that they have advertising, where their ads come from, and what information about you they collect. The hypothetical “implicit contract” is like a shrink wrap license that tries to make you believe that opening the package to read the terms equals agreeing to those terms. Its legal, moral, and practical value is zero.

    Without mutual agreement in advance there is no contract, whether implicit or not.

  37. Roseimar
    Jul 28, 2012

    To be the first to actually defend his arguments…
    There is no implicit legal contract, however, companies (comprised of people) have rights related to the information they place online (if done so legally). For instance, Hulu has the paid for rights to stream certain tv shows. You’ll hate me, but they have the same rights to that info as your facebook page. I could hack your facebook page for instance, I wouldn’t have the right to your personal info, despite the fact you stupidly put it online. You would hate it. A commercial site such as Hulu, a private site, or a small private section of a website, no matter the form, whoever owns it, has the rights related to the content within the page. Many people seem to overlook these rights when its a faceless CEO of a company, but the rights are there none the less. And if any of you say that you don’t think any information on the internet is property of anyone, can I have you bank account number? (<– this is a joke! DO NOT REPORT MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE)

    What's funny is I have never had adblocker, yet at one point a specific problem (of a nature I will not tell you lest you use it) with my system actually caused it to block all ads. It took me several weeks to fix it, having to use information from the internet (some of the sites I visited to find the info may have been ad supported :( ) to fix it. It was an unusually obscure problem, trust me in that you couldn't recreate it.

  38. wtf are you stupid
    Nov 5, 2012

    Are you retarded ? How the hell you can bitching about ads ? Of course that people is blocking them! Stupid retard, go find a job, do something useful, die or something

  39. Dec
    Nov 23, 2012

    I’d argue that advertising is practically ubiquitous, there’s little escaping it, so if I have the ability to limit the amount of advertising raping my eyes daily, I will. Furthermore, the exchange of goods doesn’t really apply to the internet, if we provided exchange of electronic information in exchange to for content (also electronic information) then you would have a point; but since we receive more information than we wish to, with little alternative but to endure it, then that is immoral.
    Lastly, the number of people who may have to pay excessive charges from the internet provider for overusing bandwidth allowances, potentially caused by a combination of factors including bandwidth-heavy advertisements is startling; it is immoral to make people pay to see advertisements they didn’t want. Even if you don’t have to pay for overuse of bandwidth allowance, it’s taxing on your computer’s resources and ups your power consumption to a very small extent.
    I’m not trying to spit venom at you, I’m just pointing out that your arguments are largely invalid.

  40. SpurdoSparde
    Dec 8, 2012

    You’re fucking stupid. There’s a reason ad-blocking is so popular: because advertisements are intrusive and annoying. If it were up to me, it would be illegal to advertise – whether it’s on TV or on the internet. I don’t care how disastrous the effects would be to the economy. I feel completely entitled to block ads because they’re a nuisance, they cost me time, and they prevent me from accessing the content I want to access.

  41. Noof
    Mar 9, 2013

    “The Implicit Contract”

    You misspelled imaginary.

  42. David Harvey
    Mar 11, 2013

    Dear Author,

    You make a compelling case, but I’d be interested to hear you fill out the “implicit contract” a little more. I’m offering a few scenarios and I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on if they are right/wrong actions:

    1. My friend changes the channel every time a commercial comes on during a TV show.
    2. I mute the tv during commercial breaks.
    3. I go get a beer during commercial breaks.
    4. My anti virus software sometimes blocks certain ads because it detects them as malicious.
    5. My corporate firewall blocks most streaming content and imbedded images – is the onus on me to stop visiting sites with ads at work or should my company relax its firewall?
    6. When hulu shows me an ad before my tv show sometimes I don’t watch it.

    In other words, if an implied contract exists to allow the ads onto my computer, is there not also an implied contract to look at them? If so, for how long?
    -David

  43. T L A
    May 19, 2013

    I began blocking ads due to the sheer hassle of having to hard-power down my machine everytime I got one of those rogue AV pop-up ads that begins forcefully installing rogueware. Then having to run a 15 minute virus scan to ensure my system is safe.

    Also, having to put up with all these fake Java/Flash ads? I don’t think so. Until advertisers grow a damn backbone and stop allowing these ads, I will continue blocking ads.

    Not only that, but I’ve got a 1.5mg DSL connection – it’s all I can get out here in the woods. Ads are unoptimized and sluggish, even on my I7 12GB DDR3 machine.

    TBH I laugh at your futile attempt to sympathize with the rogue AVs/Fake updates etc. If I knew where to find you, we’d have a little face to face

  44. Glue Man
    Aug 10, 2013

    This entire article can be summed up as “Ad Blocking is bad because it removes our arbitrary ability to cram as many ads on your screen as we fell like and you are stupid if you disagree”. This is the exact attitude that has driven advertisers to be as intrusive and irritating as they have become which has driven fed up web users to look for a solution. I can understand that webmasters and web users are coming from different places which determines how they see the issue, but just because you don’t agree with someone doesn’t mean they are “stupid”, nor does that automatically make their arguments “terrible” or “drivel”.

    I wasn’t always as anti-advertising as I am now, but it was my countless bad experiences with internet advertising that made me so. Even still, I’m not entirely anti-advertising even though I don’t like them. I understand that webmasters need to make money to run their sites and that ads are one way of doing that.

    The problem is that advertisers seem to believe they should hold all of the power and that they have a right to use up as much of your CPU power, bandwidth and screen area as they please. They also seem to believe they have the right to use the most intrusive, irritating and distracting ads and methods to pry my attention away from the content I actually want to see and that I should have no option other than not browse the web at all (claiming that users could just stop visiting that page is ignoring that such advertising saturates practically EVERY website out there).

    Ad blocking breaks this illusion by giving a fraction of power to web users by allowing them to have some say of what makes it onto their screen. Advertisers and their apologists then stamp their feet and yell “that’s not FAIR” and make ridiculous claims that people having at least SOME say of what content they view are “immoral” and “stealing”, which is just absurd beyond belief. It’s also funny, because the prevalence of ad blocking is a REACTION to such aggressive advertising and that advertisers have no one to blame but themselves. I would have never been driven to look for ad blocking had it not been for the countless pop-ups, pop-unders, mouse overs, flash ads, noisy ads, ads with flashing lights, ads that dance around my entire screen, adware, spyware and malware that I have had to endure for years when I just wanted to read an article.

    So to all advertisers and their apologists, I will the same thing you have implicitly said to me and every single other internet user on countless occasions when we were just trying to browse the web: You don’t like it? Tough. Deal with it.

  45. bill long
    Sep 13, 2013

    To the post author. I think everyone understands your POV. Some agree. Some disagree. But “ethics” are irrelevant. The bottom line is, you can whine all you want, but it won’t make a difference. People will block ads if they can. You can try to employ countermeasures. Whining about it will accomplish nothing for you.

  46. BangoTummba
    Oct 14, 2013

    I do love how people think they understand the world, and adblocking is somehow immoral and ethical wrong. So that would put it on par with raping children and murder and genocide, and now adblocking. Yeah, you have a grasp on reality. Maybe you should just get over the fact that ads are going the way of the dodo, and their is nothing you can do about it. Just because you make a webpage/website doesnt mean you have the right to earn money on it. Deal with it buddy.

    (also, I adblock the shit out of this website :P )

  47. Leaf of Branch
    Jan 17, 2014

    Pretty unrealistic to expect people to not block ads when most people don’t even know they are blocking them, Google chrome seems to block most ads & pop ups by default. Anything of real benefit to man does not need to be advertised for anyway because word quickly spreads when anything beneficial becomes available.

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