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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. Buzz
    Oct 16, 2008

    My oh my. What kind of deluded existence do you live in? Advertisements have *always* been an inherent risk. Advertisers know this. I could repeat so many of the good points that have already been made, but I’ll jump straight to this: STOP CALLING IT STEALING. It is not stealing. No amount of yelling/complaining will change that fact. If I steal your car, you no longer have a car. I enjoy the benefits of your car; meanwhile, you have no car to use. That is what stealing is. When I visit your site and block your ads (which I am doing right now, by the way), I am taking nothing from you. You have suffered no loss. I did not TAKE your content from you; my computer made a copy of it for me to read on my screen.

    You also do not know how to run a business properly. I have never met someone who seriously insisted that customers behave a certain way to maximize revenue. The smart businessman will monetize behavior (what people are doing right now), not DICTATE behavior to customers. There is no “implicit contract”. As has been pointed out dozens of times, I have no responsibility to watch TV commercials; I have every right to mute the TV, change the channel, or turn it off. If you want to force ads upon your readers, make them register on the site (agreeing to a Terms of Use deal), make the ads unblockable (somehow), and THEN get mad at them. You have no right to dictate to me how I have my computer render your site.

    It amazes me that you would rather turn people away than figure out how to monetize behavior. The real problem here is that you cannot get over your “stealing” argument. You repeatedly equate blocking ads to robbing stores because this makes you feel justified in your cause. Get over yourself. Take pride in the fact that people out there even value your content at all because the Internet is an unforgiving place.

    Lemme ask you this (since you’re so obsessed with your “stealing” analogies): would you create a beautiful solid gold statue and then leave it out on the street? That is basically what you’re doing. If you don’t want people “stealing” from you, stop putting your cash on my lawn.

  2. CookieMonster
    Oct 19, 2008

    Mozilla Firefox 3 + Adblockplus + Easylist + Easy Element + NoScript + CustomizeGoogle =

    Pwned. No way around it. If I block your Javascript, I save bandwidth, get my content.

    I pay for Interenet access.
    I do NOT pay for TV access, but If I did, I would use TiVo.. Whats unethical about fast forwarding (essentially blocking the advertisements) there?

    Buzz has it wight.

    BTW, Should we consider firewalls unethical also?

    Outpost Firewall is blocking the referrer AND content form this site + cookies… ALL cookies including image cookies.

    Oh yeah, I am also forbidding google-analytics.com via force HTTPS. Is this unethical?

    Just admit, you need to reinvent the wheel here, tool.

  3. CookieMonster
    Oct 19, 2008

    Mozilla Firefox 3 + Adblockplus + Easylist + Easy Element + NoScript + CustomizeGoogle =

    Pwned. No way around it. If I block your Javascript, I save bandwidth, get my content.

    I pay for Internet access. I pay a LOT for Satellite Internet in a repressive country, that forbids even the most freedom of speech, and you have the audacity to say YOU have the right to it?

    I do NOT pay for TV access, but If I did, I would use TiVo.. Whats unethical about fast forwarding (essentially blocking the advertisements) there? What about all that SPAM in my Gmail account? Is that ethical? Is that what I AGREED upon? Perhaps… but I did not sign anything to stumble onto YOUR internet.

    Buzz has it right.

    BTW, Should we consider firewalls unethical also?

    Outpost Firewall is blocking the referrer AND content form this site + cookies… ALL cookies including image cookies.

    Oh yeah, I am also forbidding google-analytics.com via force HTTPS. Is this unethical?

    Just admit, you need to reinvent the wheel here, tool.

  4. smzz
    Oct 20, 2008

    My thoughts on the matter, there’s nothing illegal about ad-blocking. No law saying I can’t do it. Therefore, advertising on sites is not a bad business model, it is a failing business model. Since you seem to compare hosting a site to running a business, it IS up to the web master to come up with a better one in the event that the current one is not working out.

  5. ephekt
    Nov 14, 2008

    I would love to see your syllogism that shows that ad blocking is immoral. Because form where I’m sitting your claims are pretty much all untenable, and even miss the mark on common business strategy.

    That said, I have no problem “supporting” the sites that place ads in a tasteful, unobtrusive manner but make no qualms about blocking sites that assault their readers with obnoxious Flash ads or ads that break the flow of text.

    “If everyone who wanted to make money from the internet with ads went away, yes, there would be less content. But the content that was left would be more than enough to please most people.”

    Indeed. The internet had a far better content:crap ratio before ads. I guess the editor is young or wasn’t on the net at that time though.

    Also, Buzz’s post is gospel.

  6. Adblockin is great
    Nov 22, 2008

    How is adblocking stealing???? Without adblocking, those fancy gif ads use up all my bandwidth and make me fork out to pay money for how much i go over. Not everyone has unlimited usage, ads cost me a lot of money every month. I found when i got adblock my usage didn’t run out and i didn;t have to pay any extra fees. Go adblock and screw your ads, most of them are false advertising anyway, like “you are the 1000th person, click to win a gift” . I have yet to see a legit ad that doesnt try and install spyware onto your computer to steal your credit card and bank numbers. They steal from us, we don’t steal from them.

  7. Jonathon Pettimore
    Nov 24, 2008

    What about lynx?
    If I use a text based browser which allows me to see text content only (thus avoiding advertisements), is that immoral?

  8. Michael
    Nov 25, 2008

    I’ll stop adblocking when ad companies stop putting malware on my computer. I’ve had enough of trojans and other such BS.

  9. mark
    Feb 16, 2009

    Why do people always make either / or arguments? yes or no… good vs evil (aka George Bush thinking)… lol…

    Not everyone will block ads. Therefore the sites are not gonna fail just because many more tech-savvy computer users block ads.

    The problem would be if companies like MS or Apple that bundle browsers with their OS start to include adblocking software and have it set on by default; but we all know that ain’t gonna happen. Or if Firefox decided to included it as the default during install.

    So web site owners are in a pretty good boat compared to say music labels, since much of their user base won’t be “cheating”. Problem for the music labels is that the same people who (1) are on a budget; (2) use technology more and so don’t mind downloading belong to the same demographics that used to spur record sales (i.e. young people).

    Movie studios don’t have it quite so bad since they make some money from showing in the theatres and some people will still go to buy DVDs / bluray once in a while instead of bothering to download it. Likely many of the people who download the movies currently wouldn’t bother to buy them anyhow. At best they would rent them.

  10. booger man
    Feb 27, 2009

    Ad blocking is one of the greatest inventions of all time, right up there with pizza and condoms. I can and will go to any internet page I feel like going to and display some, but not all, of the content on my computer screen. I’ll display the “meat” but not display the advertisements. Because the advertisements annoy me and frankly I don’t give a flying fuck about the revenue they supposedly generate. I will read whatever internet sites I care to read, and I explicitly reject any so-called implied contracts that make displaying the advertising a condition of reading the sites, and I will not refrain from reading the sites because of my refusal of said conditions. And if you don’t like that you can kiss my white ass. Pucker up, buttercup! Oh, by the way, I blocked the ads on this site, if there are any.

  11. Peter Nelson
    Mar 5, 2009

    “When a content publisher places ads on his/her website, it is under the assumption that he/she is bartering with you.”

    The blogger’s assumption, maybe, but not the web-surfer’s assumption. The blogger can make any assumptions he or she likes but the visitor to the blog is under no obligation to accept those assumptions.

    All the arguments I’ve seen so far against ad-blocking are based on these same assumptions about sharing some implicit social contract. But none of the bloggers taking that position have ever provided any evidence that such an implicit contract or agreement actually exists; only that they WISH it were so.

    Editor’s Note: The stated fact that it is implicit makes it difficult to provide “evidence” of it’s existence. Regardless, while I make the argument that the act of ad-blocking is beyond what we would call “immoral” or “unethical” by stating that an implicit contract exists, it is certainly not a necessary precondition of an act being “immoral” or “unethical”. For example, there exists no implicit contract between myself and a stranger on the street. However, none of us here would consider it either moral or even amoral to come up to this individual and cause them emotional or psychological harm by calling them ugly or fat or stupid. We would consider such an act immoral.
  12. Fiona
    Mar 6, 2009

    The internet is a community. A society, if you will. As such, I agree with you completely that it has its own implied social contract. I hope you will agree that this social contract is defined by the members of the internet community.

    There may be laws related to the internet that are imposed from outside in a particular country. But those laws are NOT part of the social contract agreed on by internet users.

    The social contract of the internet is not what big media says it is. It is not what publishers say it is. It’s what internet users say it is. And if internet users say that ad-block is okay, then the social contract of the internet says that is okay. You can’t impose the social contract of one society on another. It just doesn’t work that way.

    The fact is, literally millions of internet users are blocking adds. They obviously think it’s okay. If that doesn’t define the social contract, then I don’t know what does.

    The internet was designed distributed, to survive the massive damage a nuclear war would cause. You could say that it treats violations of its social contract as “damage”. It routes around censorship. It routes around DRM. It routes around attempts to control it. And it is certainly going to route around unwanted advertising.

  13. Chris
    Mar 12, 2009

    Stealing?! What are you smoking? ‘Stealing’ is when you take possession of something that belongs to someone else, without their consent.

    Blocking ads is not stealing just because the operator will make less money. If I was taking that money and keeping it for myself, its NOT stealing.

    Try this: If someone walks up to you and tries to sell you something, and you refuse to listen, is that stealing? NO.

    AdBlocking is the Internet equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears.

    LALALALALALAICANTHEARYOULALALALALALA!!!!!

    Editor’s Note: It is actually very different. First, you request the page which is offering you valuable content. Someone isn’t walking up to you, you are walking up to them, asking a question, they give you an answer. However, it is even more than that. They are wearing a t-shirt that says “Eat at Joes” with a counter in their hands. You snatch the counter from their hand and cover your eyes so they can’t count you as a person who saw their information. But they tell you the information anyway because it is too hard to prevent people like you from doing what you do. Subsequently, guys like him eventually just stop answering questions, and the only places left are like Experts Exchange, where you have to pay for content.
  14. Chris
    Mar 12, 2009

    TYPO: ” If I was taking that money and keeping it for myself, its NOT stealing.”

    I mean’t “It WOULD be stealing.

    My Bad.

  15. joo
    Mar 14, 2009

    Ad Blocking rocks.

  16. Ken
    Jul 6, 2009

    If you’re just going to state that there exists an “implicit contract” where you have the sole authority to dictate its terms, I think I’ll do that too.

    When I visit a URL, there is an implicit contract between me, the user, and the content provider. The content provider agrees that in exchange for me visiting the site, he won’t intrude on my sound system and play an audio-visual ad without me expecting it, nor will he try to hijack my desktop itself by opening windows I don’t want opened. He won’t try to confuse me with ads that say things like, “Virus detected on your computer. Click here to fix.”

    Author Response: Unfortunately, you are requesting their content, not vice versa. You are not being forced into the site. Your browser receives the contract when it receives the HTML. That HTML includes all the calls to content, ads, audio, pop-ups, whatever. Your computer could easily tell you “this page includes ads, please leave”. Instead, you remove the ads. Thats like finding out the beer is gonna cost you $3, so you pretend you don’t see the bill and walk away without paying.

    In fact, when I visit a URL, the implicit agreement is that I’m going to get content. When advertisers break that agreement, they really should be locked away in a supermax prison. But instead, I opt to dish out a slightly less draconian punishment: I adblock it, as a sanction against bad behavior.

    Author Note: That’s like saying your parents should be locked up because they didn’t get you the exact bike you asked for at Christmas as a kid. Look, you made the request. Your request said nothing about “I want this page if and only if no ads are served”. Your plug-in chose to ignore the code which made it clear that there were ads on the page. Instead, you stripped them out. Sorry, but your response, which obviously in your feeble mind you considered to be “clever”, is poorly constructed. Good luck tying your shoes.

    See? I can make up imaginary contracts too!

    Here are the facts. You can choose to start advertising in a responsible way, and I won’t adblock you. For example, I whitelist http://www.google.com because their ads aren’t offensive. If you don’t choose to advertise in a responsible way, I will continue to adblock you no matter what. Deal with it, but stop whining about some imaginary contract. I don’t OWE you anything.

    Author Note: Here are the facts. You whitelist Google, but you don’t whitelist Google Adsense. You don’t whitelist 7search, Yahoo Publisher Feeds, Miva, and the hundreds of other text-only ad syndication networks that don’t intrude. And, more importantly, you will never know which sites to whitelist, and which sites not to, because your ad-blocking software by default blocks them all. You have no idea when ads are and aren’t being blocked. Its like living your life with a shadow who grabs the bill before you even get a chance to see how much it really cost.

    The truth is simple. You don’t give a shit about the people who make content worth reading. If you did, you would behave like an adult. You would see the ads on their site and make a conscientious decision whether to put up with those ads, or contact the webmaster/author and complain. Instead, you employ nearly undetectable, covert, underhanded tools to hide those ads, usurping pay-per-impression revenue from the authors you depend upon and enjoy daily. You are a leach.

  17. dave
    Jul 9, 2009

    Wrong. There is no implicit contract. You put up the site, you deal with the consequences. You are not entitled to anything. If your business model fails, that’s YOUR problem. All this nonsense about being “immoral” is just whining because you aren’t getting your way. You are fighting a losing battle, just like the people trying to push DRM. Ads, DRM, etc. People don’t want that shit. Get over it. Move on to something that works. And if you don’t, then someone else will, because life goes on.

  18. CaptainReality
    Aug 5, 2009

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

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Whoo! You should join a debating society. It’d be hilarious. You’d stand up at the start, say “My side is right. Period.” And that would be it. That’d bamboozle ‘em!

    I congratulate you sir, for discovering an apparently unbeatable rhetorical technique.

    Call the author a waaaaaaaaaaambulance! Would you like some cheese with that whine?

    The author of this site is a self-entitled oddball who thinks his content is worth WAAAAY more than it is (which in reality is a few dollars less than 2c). The number of times he’s insulted posters for writing something which is different to his opinion is quite high.

    Furthermore, his whining is ridiculous. As George Costanza would say, “you’ve got no hand”. If people want to use ad-blockers, there’s nothing you can do about it. NO-THING. Geddit, you sad little control-freak. Ad-blocking is legal. Period. And it always will be. How d’ya like them apples?

    Furthermore, in order to stop ad-blocking (cos no-one is buying your whining), someone (not you, cos you got no hand) would have to not only change laws to make it illegal, but also turn the whole internet into a walled, proprietary garden. It ain’t gonna happen, ever.

    Get over yourself, site author. Your shitty content is not a trade secret. There are ways to beat ad-blockers, and if you can’t be bothered using them, then that is your problem.

    Author Note: If you know of effective ways to beat ad-blockers, please let me know. I have proposed a few on this very blog, but many of them are easily stopped (such as using no-script along side an ad-blocker). I really don’t know what to say with you because you don’t seem to grasp intellectually the difference between “legal” and “ethical”. For example, I don’t pretend to think that my content or anyone else’s is worth any amount. It could be worthless drivel, or priceless. The value of the content has no bearing on the argument being made, rather, I argue that the creator of that content has the right to determine a price (whether that be free, ads, or pay-for model) and it is the ethical responsibility of the reader to abide by that determination. If you think the price is too high (actual cost, or intrusiveness of ads), then simply go get your content somewhere else.
  19. Eric P
    Aug 6, 2009

    This is just about the silliest thing I have EVER read! By applying your logic to television, it’s immoral that I start hour-long programs 15 minutes past the hour and 30 minute-long programs 8 minutes past the hour so that I may fast-forward through all of the commercials.

    I’ve been on the internet for about 15 years (23-year-old) and have clicked on a total of ZERO advertisements. (And don’t even start with page impressions: the real money is in click-throughs unless you’re advertising a TV program or a movie release.) I do not know anybody who has or habitually clicks on advertisements, as they are either irrelevant, or advertise things you already know about (such as the existence of Domino’s Pizza).

    In most cases, where a website is actually popular, it is the advertisers who have contacted the publisher so that they may have some of that precious real estate on the website of the Daily Mail. They are going to be paying the Daily Mail regardless of whether or not I have Adblock Plus installed (Of course, I do), so I make MY web browsing more enjoyable for ME by choosing to browse AD-free [Just like the way I (and 80+ percent of my friends) watch TV with our DVRs].

    As somebody who uses the internet quite a bit, Adblock Plus is one of the greatest inventions of all time. Websites load faster, adverts that I will NEVER click are automatically filtered, and I, along with the millions of other Adblock users, am left happy and fully satisfied with my browsing experience.

    Trust me, once everybody sees the light and installs Firefox with Adblock Plus, annoying adverts and pop-ups will be no more. Once advert revenues begin to fall precipitously, they will be replaced by a less intrusive, yet more successful advertising/marketing scheme. I’m certain it’s already in the works, as web advertisers are surely aware of the millions of people they don’t even have a chance of contacting.

    Please, get with the times. Your ‘implicit contract’ argument is one of the most farcical statements I have ever read. I very nearly laughed out loud when I reached the part about ‘bartering’ for the right to read their content. You seem to have gotten this all wrong. If Domino’s Pizza (not sure why, but they are one of the only companies whose adverts I remember) is advertising on the Daily Mail, they are hoping that maybe 0.5% of the readers feel like ordering a pizza for dinner. This is where your argument fails, as Domino’s does not make money by having people glance at their ads; rather you’ve only made that point to try and gain followers by persuading them that looking at adverts isn’t all that bad and, “it only takes a second.” I’m not sure you even believe that. Personally, I wouldn’t eat Domino’s Pizza even if it were free. It’s disgusting. So if people are just glancing at Domino’s adverts and not actually ordering their pizzas, there is no reason for them to continue advertising on Mail Online, since apparently its readers do not order pizza.

    Here’s where you’re going to say that we who block adverts don’t even get the chance to be tempted into ordering disgusting pizza, which is true, but that is not the point I’m making. My mission was to disarm your flawed and impotent argument, and I dare say I have. If everybody just looked at an advert for a split-second–as you recommend to mitigate the torturous experience of solicitation–advertising wouldn’t exist because it would have a 0% success rate. Like I stated above, clicks are what matter. Page impressions matter only to the webmaster, as a greater number of them increases his or her ability to negotiate with potential advertisers. And if his or her website hasn’t reached that point (attracting advertisers), I’m willing to bet a huge pay day is neither expected nor deserved.

  20. Central
    Aug 20, 2009

    I…really don’t care what people think.
    It’s my choice if I want to see ads or not – and I don’t. I don’t watch TV commercials either – thank you Tivo, and for shows I want to watch online, I only see minimal commercials (Which I don’t mind), thank you Hulu.

    Commercials are one thing – an abundance of them is another. On some web-pages, their content is on the center, and EVERYTHING around it is an advertisement in one form or another. I like Pandora, and Hulu, because A) They’re very slim on commercials and B) The content is high quality, and still is supported by those few commercials.

    I hate cable television because you get 45 minutes of show in a 1 hour time, and 15 minutes of commercials.

    If I wanted to coddle the poor bastards who made those flashy, obnoxious ads (That can be re-created in all of one hour) I would PAY for the product. But I don’t WANT any product from those ads, I never have, and I probably never will.

    It’s a moot point now, ad-block has removed (virtually) all ads from the internet for me.

  21. Canof
    Aug 20, 2009

    Question for the pro-ad-blocking folks: You crow about some theoretical new and supposedly “better” way of advertising coming up to replace these oh-so-terrible ads on the sides of pages. What exactly is this great new way to advertise? Take television for a moment. Would you rather have a few ads at set intervals before, during, and/or after the show, or would you rather have the characters on your favorite sitcom constantly hawk their wares as part of the dialog of the show or some other obvious plug? Because that’s exactly what networks and advertisers are contemplating because so many people aren’t watching the ads they need to survive! What if the show is a sci-fi? A fantasy adventure movie?

    What is this great new way of advertising that’s oh-so-superior to an ad that sits on the side of a page waiting for those who are interested to click on it? The more people like you block these ads, the more intrusive into the actual CONTENT you wanted in the first place they will become!

  22. Tim
    Sep 10, 2009

    I am afraid your “implicit contract” idea is flawed. If you publish something freely on the web, then the user can, and will, do anything they like with it. They have no legal or moral obligation to you.

    A non-internet analogy would be free newspapers. If I decide not to read the free newspaper, but to make paper masche with it, then the publishers have no legal or moral grounds to object. They have produced something and offered it to me for free. I can do whatever I like with it – I am under no obligation.

    You want to make money by putting adverts in the material. God luck to you, but you have no moral grounds for forcing people to use the material in the way you wish.

  23. Kevin Lin
    Sep 15, 2009

    Sorry man, but the ad-blockers win. I block ALL ads.

    If you provide content I am free to put forth all legal operations – including ad blocking.

    In fact I see no terms of use on your website at all.

    Plus, viewing of ads can be required, but honestly? If you really want people to view your ads so much, require a CAPTCHA to be entered, or something. Then see how many people view your stuff.

    I publish on the web as well, hate to tell you, but CPM will die soon. There have to be better ways to raise revenue later.

  24. Dave
    Oct 31, 2009

    I block ads for performance reasons. My computer simply cannot handle the strain of pop-unders, and flash-ads. I try to keep the ads I can. I don’t block google text ads, or some static images. But is it really immoral for me to block the 5 iframes, 3 scripts, and 2 flash videos which if loaded would bring my system to its knees? On a page like ebaumsworld, without adblock, there is a full 1-second delay, browser-freeze, and redraw that happens every time I scroll. Are the terms of service there “buy a new computer if you’d like to read my content?” Certainly that cannot be the publisher intended.

    Author Note: I know this may sound a little harsh, but should you really be offered a lower “price” for viewing their content simply because your computer can’t handle it? I think of the ads as the cost. If I am unwilling to pay the price because it is too taxing on my computer, or too annoying for me to enjoy the content, then I simply do not return.

  25. Dave
    Nov 5, 2009

    I see your point there. But conversely, I don’t think that I should have to pay a higher price than anyone else viewing the site. If the intended price is an annoying banner on the side and a popunder, then I agree that that is what I should feel obligated to pay. I should not, however, feel obligated to pay the choppy-scrolling, slideshow-video, and browser-freeze fees.

    Suppose I could attempt to block 25% of flash ads 75% of ads that scroll with my browser, and 25% of iframes. Would that be moral? I’m viewing less adds, but my overall annoyance would be approximately the same. In that way, I pay a similar price.

    What exactly would such a scheme do to the authors ability to capitalize on my visit? I want to say that this is morally similar to a 600-pound person using a taxi instead of a 150-pound person. They pay the same fare, but there is less possible profit for the driver of the 600-pounder, because accelerating him requires more fuel.

  26. dlseth
    Dec 22, 2009

    Funny that the author shifts the responsibility to the users. Don’t want people to view ‘free’ content on a publically accesible website? Then implement a membership-style business model and password-protect your content.

    You don’t want to do that? Sure, but explain to me… How is that my fault?

    Author Response: Ok, I will explain it to you. What is the difference between circumventing a login-system (stealing or hacking the passwords, etc.) and circumventing the advertising-system? Both are just ways to make sure I get paid for the content I create. What makes you feel entitled to having my content for free when the method of payment I ask for is viewing ads, but not entitled when I ask you to actually use real money?

    Why should I be forced to deal with advertisements because you’re too lazy and arrogant to conceive a business model that can support you? Face it, if you’ve become dependent on ‘free’ content being supported by advertisements and your audience is smart enough to get around this, you are doing poorly, business-wise, and you deserve it.

    Author Response: How am I arrogant for putting ads on my site? How am I lazy for it? Is Google lazy for using ads rather than making you pay for their search engine? What percentage of the content and services you value on the web is produced wholly for free without advertising-sponsorship? You can go ahead and drop every major search engine from the list, every major news site, web 2.0 site (aside from Twitter, but not for long), every major video services (youtube, hulu, break, etc.). Then drop every Google Adsense user. Now, imagine if you were left with that internet – no search engines, no web 2.0, and almost no video services. And then you realize that Advertising has funded the expansion of the web for the last 5 years. Now, if you prefer, we can go to a subscription model – the whole internet can. You can start paying to use google, or watch a movie on youtube. You can pay in advance before viewing any article even though you dont know what the quality will be.

    Or you can fucking leave the ads up.

    Your users are adapting and so should you. And if you do not want to or are unable too, get lost and make room for those who can.

    Author Note: Can you tell me 1 content subscription you maintain online? 1 site you pay for news or information? Do me a favor. Turn off AdBlock and go through your history. Look at all the sites you have visted in the last week. Notice that the overwhelming majority of them are funded by ads. Then realize that douchebags like you, because you are too pussy to put up with a couple of banners, are putting small publishers under. There will never be enough of you to take ads down from Google, but you will kill the small guy – the one who only needs to make $100 bucks a year to cover hosting and a domain.

    Welcome to the free market on the internet!

    Author Note: The “Free Market” strongly discourages theft.
  27. OP's an arrogant pussy douchebag.
    Jan 8, 2010

    Just another vote for you for Douchebag of the year.
    Pushing your holier than thou morality on people gracing your site and calling them thieves because they don’t agree you have the right to force ads down their throats doesn’t do much for your cause. Your concept of implicit contracts with regard to content is laughable.

    Here’s an idea, treat your readers with respect, and they’ll bend over backwards to support your message. Forcefeed then your drivel and watch as they revolt, and you can” fucking leave the ads up” and look at them yourself ad infinitum.

  28. Jim Lang
    Jan 15, 2010

    By reading this comment, you have entered into an ‘implicit contract’ with me, a contract whose terms I solely dictate.

    See how ridiculous the idea of an ‘implicit contract’ is when applied to you?

    Frankly, I think it is advertising that is immoral. I choose not to view it, read it or hear it. I have no difficulty determining my own desires and preferences without it. I find the idea that this choice is immoral to be absurd.

  29. Dolbyman
    Jan 22, 2010

    Let’s see who of them is whining in some years +/- when the whole internet is only consiting of
    - corporate websites (showing their products)
    - shopping websites (make money from selling stuff)
    - subscription based websites (should be clear)
    - donation based websites (like wiki)
    - and tiny single websites where people create limited content out of their own pocket, as some sort of private luxury (it’s limited because they have to go to work, to finance their hobby elsewhere)

    all those free
    review-, forums- ,social network websites .. gone
    the giant traffic,hardware and manpower costs couldn’t be raised and they went bankrupt

    but maybe this is the way to go and who am I to complain ?

  30. ADs suck
    Jan 27, 2010

    What if the story goes like this:
    A salesman went into your house and offer you some FREE stuffs (Who doesn’t want a free stuff?) you accepted to take the offer. And after that he slapped you in the face saying that that’s the deal if you accept his offer (remember here, you’ve never accepted to be punched and he had never mentioned that to you, you just wanted his free stuffs). And then when you were trying to remove his palm off your cheek. You got another fucking slap by force! Eventually you got your damn free stuffs let’s say candies and he left your house. You took a candy and ate it. When you were chewing it, somehow you got a hallucination of that person slapping you in the face. And who wouldn’t get pissed by that?!!

    What goes on the internet:
    You searched on google lets say “meaning of gay”.
    You clicked on the top link, hoping to get the meaning. But what came next was a fucking page take-over Advertising “wait 10 seconds to get your search content” while the website sucks your internet bandwidth just to make you watch a gay porn movie. OK, you got through that, and got another ad banner saying “10.000 gay porn movies are waiting for you” And you clicked on the X button then a confirmation window popped out saying “Are you sure you don’t want this”, you clicked yes and a pop up window came out still showing you the gay porn web. OKAY! you closed the window and actually got the meaning of gay and when you tried to highlight the meaning in order to copy them, you got another fucking pop up. This time you got it on the same page as the content. A man was talking some shit in animation and you were required to finish some surveys. This time there was no X button. You are forced to do it. So much for the gay meaning.

    That’s how ads nowadays. They come unexpectedly, manipulatively and in the most annoying way ever possible without your fucking concern!! + the site owners don’t tell you anything about that and they will be angry if you complain to them! What a joke!

  31. ADs suck
    Jan 27, 2010

    Oh yea, why don’t you make ads more friendly and have a clear meaning like a small pop up saying “Would you like some information about a brand new Samsung LCD TV?” And when you pressed NO, it will gone forever and you’re through to your content. Or just some low sized static image which related to the content. That would be fine.
    I’m sure a normal person would take a glance at the image and if he’s interested in it. He would click the link.

    Take youtube for an example, their bandwidth usage costs US$ 1.000.000 a day. But they don’t have annoying ads. Wikipedia don’t have any! Why would a mere lesser site have so many annoying ads?

    Author Note? What? Youtube puts ads directly in the video overlays which you can’t block with Ad-Blocker! Wikipedia covers the top of their page with a giant quote on why you should give them money half the time. But what is most important is that your Ad-Blocker never blocked them in the first place. If they did, you would have no idea whether or not their ads were intrusive.. Don’t give me this bullshit that you are making informed decisions. You are blanket-blocking the sole revenue stream of millions of websites without giving the webmasters the benefit of the doubt. You leach their content and bandwidth and won’t even give them an ad impression in return.
  32. Not Important
    Feb 22, 2010

    Just wanted to clarify that with Ad-Block Plus it does completely remove the video overlay in youtube videos.

  33. init1
    Feb 27, 2010

    I’m sorry, but I really can’t stand ads. I’d much rather just block them. Hopefully, you get enough ad money from people who don’t block.

    Author Response: I actually don’t run ads on my site. But you wouldn’t know that because you run Ad-Block so even the least-intrusive ads don’t even get shown. Here is a shocking idea for you. Turn off ad-block and then, when you find sites with ads on them, just don’t ever go back to them. Vote with your traffic.
  34. Rick
    Feb 27, 2010

    We could argue trivialities about YOU stealing from me with regards processor cycles for displaying the adverts you seem so fond of, but that argument fails every time I leave my computer doing nothing so I can get a drink, pee, look out the window, whatever…

    Author Response: You could try to argue that, but it wouldn’t be successful in your favor. The HTTP protocol is not a push model. Your browser makes the request, reads the HTML on my page, and then makes subsequent requests based upon it. Just as easily as you can reject those ads, you could set your browser to refuse to view pages as a whole that have those ads. Instead, you decided to leach my server’s bandwidth by downloading images, videos, text, etc (which is far more expensive than yours) while extracting out the only parts of the page that can pay me back for those costs.

    …however in several internet access models, there is a way to directly “monetize” the loss from advertising, and let me tell you, most of them will add up to more than the fraction of a cent you’d get from people viewing the advert. It is because these models (primarily dial-up and GPRS) are billed by time and/or bandwidth. Some broadband cappings in countries with poor infrastructure are so low that the combined adverts of a month of normal internet use adds up to a not-inconsequential part.
    I’m sure everybody who runs either an adblocker or a cross-domain content blocker (i.e. NoScript) will report on how much faster some sites are now. This ought to give you an idea of the sort of capacity that advertising – especially those fancy Flash ones with audio – are sucking. You expect me to see them always without having the decency to accept the valid privacy and security concerns so you can make your tiny amount of money. And you make this money by stealing from me.

    Author Response: No, I don’t. I have no problem with people hating advertising. No problem at all! I have a problem with people stealing. I have a problem with people violating the trust of webmasters who spend time, money, and effort putting out quality content which you enjoy. You are more than welcome to block the whole page and find content elsewhere.

    FWIW, I have a sprawling nerdy mess of a site, a labour of love for nearly a decade and a half. There are no adverts, and I have no intention of changing that. I consider it unethical to pollute my site with advertising that most people I know do NOT want to view. How do I “monetize” my content? I don’t. How do I pay for my site? It’s one of many bills I pay out of my wages. I don’t complain about the car insurance, I don’t complain about my website. It’s just factored into the expenses. I can afford to be altruistic because the hosting is a lot cheaper than the broadband I use to access the rest of the internet. Everybody is welcome chez Rick…

    Author Response: First, the cost-per-KB is a lot higher on your hosting. You just don’t notice it because you don’t have many visitors. That being said, I would wonder if you would prefer that Google be altruistic and turn off their ads. Do you think Google is being unethical by funding the most important site in the world with advertisements? I have a challenge for you: Turn off Ad-blocker for a week. Every time you come to a page that has an advertisement on it, press stop on your browser and back out. Write that domain down somewhere and make sure you don’t go back to it. See if you can exist on a web without ads.
  35. Andre Stickley
    Mar 24, 2010

    This unique write-up makes i understand that many of us need to take further treatment of themselves and each other.

  36. TrustAvidity
    Apr 22, 2010

    I know the security issue has been addressed multiple times and that if someone finds a site’s ads deceiving they should protest by not going to that site. The problem with this is the type of ads that show up are most often up to the ad agencies and not the webmaster so they change. I know you’re not running ads because I tested the site and whitelisted it but I could go to a different one for weeks on end being okay with their ads but come the next and a deceitful one turns up. I’m not disagreeing with your viewpoints on ads but I do believe the whole ordeal could be handled better. Webmasters should be in higher control of the types of ads appearing on their pages. Browsing elsewhere isn’t always an option since, as I said, the ads can change.

    Author Note: This would make sense if the blacklists only got rid of vulnerable technologies (like blocking flash ads, but allowing textual ads like Google Adsense to go through). It is actually pretty easy to block untrusted flash, but that is not what folks are doing.
  37. Chris
    Apr 28, 2010

    I am going to say that I disagree with your beliefs.

    One of the first comments pointed out that advertising is based on inconvenience of removing the ad. It is true. It is impossible for people to remove billboards and other things (although I have in the past, supported local laws banning billboards), by force, because you are denying other people the right to see an ad and a company their revenue. Technology has changed that. Like the ability to just change a channel on the TV with a remote or go to the bathroom, I can simply install this little addon and problem solved. Why is it not considered theft if I change the channel?

    If you have a message to tell, then if you feel that you compelled enough to post in on the Internet, it is going to cost you, both in time and possibly money. In return, you are entitled to any benefits (ex: persuading people of your views or money from ads) that you get. I fail to see what I have supposedly stolen. You can show the ads to anybody else who does not use Adblock or No Script or any other plugin. Your bandwidth costs are a sunk cost. There is no implicit contract. When I visited a website, I was not confronted by something resembling an EULA on software saying “By visiting this website, you agree to view the ads”. Adding onto that, if you pay for bandwidth to host the website, why should I be forced to pay for extra bandwidth that carries those ads.

    The other issue is security. There are plenty of scams and simply viewing ads sometimes is insecure. Flash has more security vulnerabilities than I care to know. And Windows is not a secure OS. Why should I be forced to risk the possibly of being hacked or scammed by an ad? Have a blacklist would not work because somebody needs to get hacked first.

    Is advertising itself ethical? What about all forms of marketing? I will admit that I do support socialism and view the attempts to psychologically alter people’s perceptions of a product as a highly unethical product of capitalism. About 1.5 years ago, I started university. I did not watch any TV. It was only a few months after I stopped watching it that I realized how subliminal and propagandistic those messages really were.

    Think about advertisements themselves. Their net effect on society is negative on a macroscopic scale. At the end of the day, the consumer is paying anyways. When you buy a product, a portion of that goes towards paying the advertisements. Now imagine a society without such an industry, where people never worked for the advertising industry and instead worked for something that actually contributed towards society positively.

    That said, I am well aware of the fact that companies like Google could never have existed without such ads. I don’t adblock Google nor do I adblock websites that politely ask me to disable adblock plus. That is the problem. There needs to be a way for creativity to flourish without such ads and for information to be free. Then again, I do believe that socialism is the only realistic solution for the world’s problems … provided that the world knows the dangers of socialism.

    Also remember that Adblock is a tool of geeks. Most people are not going to take the time to research possibilities the way that geeks do. As such, unless you are running a website geared mainly towards tech-savvy people, ads are not a real problem. And to the sites that do, most do ask that their users turn off adblock and most users tend to comply when asked.

    Finally, you are not going to win in a war of adblock detector vs adblock war. If you develop a detector, I would bet that somebody is going to develop a way to circumvent it with ease. I suspect that future adblockers are going to use ways like noscript to prevent a webmaster from knowing whether or not they are using adblockers.

    This is a question where there are no easy answers. Yes I do wish to support those who put good information on the web. When I graduate, I do plan on donating a good portion of my money to organizations that I support. At the same time, I do not wish to do so at the risk of something fraudulent happening to me. I do not wish to be scammed, to be given the subliminal “impression” messages that I referred to earlier, and I wish to do my part to remove unethical websites (which adblocking does, by costing such websites bandwidth while simultaneously denying their revenue stream).

    I don’t have all of the answers. Neither do you. For me, as a geek, and as an individual, it is my opinion that I have no obligation to view ads, that I am under no contract when I plugged into the Internet, and that nobody in this world should be forced to view advertisements against their will because ads DO work. Furthermore, nobody should ever be forced into being manipulated to part their money for products or services that they really don’t need. I therefore view it as adblocking as something that people have a choice to use.

    It is not theft, because you have not stolen an object, and identify, or anything else because bandwidth is a sunk cost. People will continue to create content with or without ads. People do create content and license it under the creative commons, the GPL, and other licenses and will continue to do so because it’s what they want to do.

  38. B Caulfield
    May 21, 2010

    So many flawed metaphors! Adblocking is like taking all the Halloween candy that the old lady left out. It’s like taking free samples when there is no chance of buying a product. It’s like agreeing to read a flier and then reneging. It’s like going onto private property without obeying an agreement with the owner. I think the metaphors are not instructive because they are all quite different from the actual situation. There are so many aspects that are unique to online advertising that the metaphors fail.

    More helpful, I think, is the question you ask, “What if everyone did as I do?” This is Kant’s categorical imperative and is connected to the Golden Rule. I’ve found it a good basis for ethical judgments.
    Your answer, I gather, is that if everyone adblocked, almost the whole Web would go behind a micropayment paywall.

    Author Response: No. I do not think it will go behind a micropayment wall. Setting up, managing, and collecting funding via micro-payments is just not tenable. Would you want to authenticate a transaction every time you use Google? I think the more likely outcome is that major search engines and free information sites that depend on advertising like Google, Digg, Reddit, etc. would crumble. Subsequently, major ad networks which small and medium authors depend upon (doubleclick, adsense, etc.) would flounder.

    I agree, and I would be happy with that outcome. The micropayment bill to replace online advertising altogether would be about $35/month/user in the USA at present.

    How would these funds be distributed? Pay-per-impression? If I opened a page with 10 frames on it, would I get paid for each URL loaded in each frame? What about AJAX content? Do I have to click something to make the payment? How many people will actually offer to pay when they can get it for free?

    So adblocking passes this ethical test. Leeching or freeloading would be limited by content producer action and would not result in the destruction of the Web.

    Why haven’t micropayments already happened? Because the Web is still in a land rush phase and sites do not want to lock anyone out. Web access in the USA is near universal but amount of time spend on internet media is still growing rapidly and there are new winners and losers on the Web every year. Accumulating users, fame and trust is more important than maximizing per user revenue. Even the famous successful paywalls like WSJ.com have found it is best to lower the paywall and trade off the loss of some potential revenue in exchange for more linkage, visibility and word of mouth.

    No, they haven’t worked for more obvious reasons. First, if you are WSJ, you can rely upon being the WORLD’S BRAND LEADER IN FINANCIAL NEWS to help people know where to go to find financial information. But for nearly every other publisher, their primary way of getting exposure is via search engines. Giving googlebot access to your content but not users (ie: cloaking) is against their terms of service, and people just like you would simply write yet-another-plugin that allows your browser to browse as googlebot to get by the gateways. Or, you could be like the old experts-exchange where you expose the question, but when visitors reach the site, they have to pay to get the answer. The breadth of publishers who could survive would greatly diminish. You would have to create A LOT of great content to survive and find marketing channels other than online advertising (billboards, tv, radio) to tell people about your site. You could, perhaps, open some of your content to social bookmarking sites.

    Let’s ask, what if all Adblock users made a decision to forgo any site if they are unwilling to watch the ads, as you suggest? An interesting scenario and a challenge to predict but let me give it a try. There are 10M daily users and they make up about 1% of US/EU users. I’d guess they are disproportionately young and/or technically oriented and use the Web more than average, in addition to actively disliking advertising.

    If that technically savvy and advertising-hating group of people were to convert en masse to your ethical prescription, I envision them quickly creating the same usable micropayment system. Existing ad-supported sites would quickly make agreements to accept micropayments to get their little slice of the new $4Bn/yr US micropayment revenue stream. So your idea passes my ethical test as well.

    Go ahead, give it a shot. I would love you to try not visiting any site with an ad for a month. No google, no facebook, no digg or reddit, no yahoo answers, no gmail, no youtube. In fact, you can’t visit nearly any of the top 500 websites. You are welcome to go to Apple.com and buy an ipod.

    My conclusion: to boycott ad sites as you suggest is ethical, but to continue using adblocking is also ethical. Either course could be followed by everyone with positive results.

    I believe Kant would be choking on his vomit right now. For your imperative to work, you have to assume that publishers are willing and capable to switch payment methods with no harm being caused to themselves.
  39. Denfield Rodriguez
    Jun 5, 2010

    In your response to Dave on October 31st, 2009 at 11:53 pm, you say,

    “I know this may sound a little harsh, but should you really be offered a lower “price” for viewing their content simply because your computer can’t handle it?”

    Surely the advertising has then come to the point of harming itself. The advertisement is actually preventing people from viewing the content. Fundamentally, you are saying that even if you are willing to allow the ads, then you still should not view the content. Thus, the advertisement is actually potentially reducing potential views of either the content or the ads. Hence, such advertisements are actually harming the site owner’s income. Additionally, it implies that this user should buy a new computer to view the content with ads. Why should it be the user who bears the cost of this? They may well be willing to view the content with advertisements, but why should they then be forced, indirectly, to pay to view the adverts? Your solution would be to simply not return, and therefore not steal the content, rather than install adblocking software. In doing so, the adverts have then harmed themselves.

    Author Note: You are making an argument that webmasters must decide for themselves – a bad business model is not an excuse for you to steal. Your decision is simple: “Yes, I am willing to put up with these annoying ads to get access to this great content” or “No, I am not willing to put up with these annoying ads, and will get my content elsewhere”.

    Therefore, one could argue that adblocking is, in effect, a way to try to force change upon advertisers themselves. By blocking annoying flash and other scripting adverts, one is forcing less intrusive, non-multimedia versions to become dominant. Essentially, text only advertisements. Thus, adblocking is a way to try to change the flawed methods of advertising. Advertisers like yourself are forced to ‘bypass’ adblockers by using less intrusive methods, which are not so demanding on system resources. Therefore, adblockers actually improve the advertising system itself.

    Author Note: I think you are really missing the point. It is, ultimately, up to the Content Creator to decide what means to distribute and monetize His or Her Content. Even to do so stupidly. If a salesman wants to make you listen to an hour long sales pitch for an otherwise piece of bubble gum, that is his or her prerogative. No matter how stupid this is, no matter how few people will actually take him up on the ridiculous offer, it does not give you a right to take the bubble gum for free without listening to the pitch. You can go buy gum elsewhere, sure. But it is still immoral to steal his. We can debate all you want about whether it is a good business practice to have annoying ads (although you would be woefully incorrect from a business sense, annoying ads still unfortunately work very well), but that is a very different question from the one at hand. Is it ethical / moral to use technology to circumvent the Ads an author uses to fund the work which you are soliciting.
  40. Denfield Rodriguez
    Jun 7, 2010

    In your response above, you did not address the point I made about why the user should have to, indirectly, pay to view the adverts. I may want to make the decision that I am willing to put up with the ads but my computer cannot handle the ads. Why, then, should I pay to make this decision? Should I bar myself from content simply because the adverts cannot run? Why is it my responsibility to take on the cost of viewing adverts? My computer may well be perfectly adequate for most purposes but, in your view, I should upgrade the system simply because of ever more demanding adverts. This could even lead to a person having to waste money on a powerful system simply to use the internet.

    For example, a computer from several years ago may well be completely able to access basic features like e-mail. If someone does not require much more than this, why should they have to upgrade their system because the adverts have become more demanding? Furthermore, being forced to upgrade in this manner (when there is no real need to), is wasteful and extremely environmentally unfriendly. Buying a new computer for no reason other than to be able to handle the adverts could, therefore, be regarded as immoral due to the damage caused to the environment in the manufacture of unnecessary additional systems. Therefore, one could regard using an adblocker to increase the lifetime of an ageing computer as more moral than purchasing a new one able to show the adverts.

    Additionally, I was wondering what your proposed solution is. Would it be to ban adblockers and trace people who use them (in the same way as file-sharers seem to be)? Presumably, you see these two practices in much the same light.

  41. lolio
    Jun 9, 2010

    Ad blocking is stealing. LOL, shit man I haven’t read such hilarious satire in years. What is really amazing is most of the comments here are from people who think you are serious! LOL! Keep up the good work bud!

  42. Only themselves to blame
    Jun 12, 2010

    I have zero sympathy to most of the web host whiners who hate on adblocker, to the small portion of decent ad-run web sites left…I understand your pain.

    5-10 years ago ads were simply reasonable pictures, texts, some had animations, nothing too obstructive, and it never even crossed my mind that I would need to download a program and block them.

    Now…being annoying and obstrutive is the entire point of the ads. You got sites where one flash ad takes up half the page and there is no close button. Or the video requires more memory to load than the entire page and your browser is just waiting on that god dam ad. And the more clever fullpage ads where your entire screen gets redirected and you got to wait for the skip button to show up. Plus don’t get me started on loud videos ads with sound, popup spams, browser trapping ads, and 30 second video ads right before a one minute video I want to watch….seriously?!

    Author Note: If you encounter that crap, then never visit the site again. It is that simple. That is what I do. I, for example, won’t visit the pirate bay for any reason at all these days because the damn evony ads are so annoying. I choose not to go there. What I don’t do is install software that allows me to circumvent those ads.

    Right now youtube makes you watch a 20~ second ad clip right before certain partner videos, while yahoo occasionally does the same thing. And this is just getting started, they can easily extend this to more fields. Imagine if the internet takes after the TV, would you stand having to pause your browsing to watch 5 minutes of ad for every 10 minutes you spend surfing? I long quit TV after I realized you can watch it online without spending a third of your time getting interrupted. Why? Because I, along with a significant amount of the population can’t stand obstructive and intrusive ads.

    Author Note: Then vote with your traffic. Go to meta-cafe, or vimeo. Find another site that doesn’t intrude. And when you realize that a site like Youtube can’t make money without the intrusion, you can ask yourself if you need to reconsider the cost of a 20 second ad versus a pay-for service

    Typically I use IE8 which has no addons and I have no problem seeing some ads and help generate some revenue. Occasionally, I do have to use firefox against pages with ad overload, and even on some popular sites where the idiot webmaster doesn’t even pre-check the ads being run and viruses come through.

    I don’t think forcing people to endure terrible ads is a right. The internet is one of the last somewhat “free” frontier left in this world, and when you release your content into the public domain you can’t control so much as to what program the viewer should or shouldn’t be running.

    It is ironic that adblockers are immoral, by that train of thought I always viewed capitalism as immoral (Don’t even get me started on that). When we live in a world where information is shared not for the sake of it, but to solely generate ad revenue (TV, newspaper, and now sadly the internet) THAT is immoral.

    Author Note: While I share your sentiments to some degree about capitalism, I think that inherently trading ones skills and knowledge for money is not immoral. More importantly, I don’t think making a proposition of “I will give you content if you watch this ad” is not immoral. If I came up to you and offered you a stick of gum for $100, I might be crazy, but not immoral. You have full capability to decide to refuse the gum. What you can’t do is take the gum without paying.
  43. Chad
    Jul 29, 2010

    Ethics/morality doesn’t exist. When you are saying “Ad Blocking is Immoral”, you are saying “I don’t like Ad Blocking, and therefore people ought not to do it”. There is absolutely no reason why anyone ought to do anything (ought in the prescriptive sense).

    A far more reality-based argument would be that Ad Blocking is a net-negative wealth-wise in the economy, and to let people go from there, but this moralistic prescriptionist drivel is just fluff. It’s not an argument at all.

  44. J G
    Aug 8, 2010

    Where you’re fundamentally incorrect is in the belief that I agree to an implicit contract to view ad content when I point my browser to a URL. You’ve simply invented this contract, and I dispute it.

    When I point my browser at a URL, I have no chance to agree or disagree to this contract; the URL simply spits a stream of information at me. I’m perfectly free, and ethically so, to parse this information as I see fit.

    Author Note: See, that is where you are wrong. When you parse the file, your browser has a ton of information now about the content you are about to view. In fact, you have already instructed your browser to analyze that information and exclude the parts you don’t like before you even view it. You DO have a chance to agree or disagree to the content. Instead of blocking out just the parts that you don’t like (the parts that happen to sustain the livelihood of the author of that content), you could instruct your browser to instead provide a pop-up that says “This site has advertisements which you have previously chosen to block. Do you want to see the site with Advertisements or do you want to Find an Alternative Site?”.

    To sum up: You say that there’s an implicit contract. I say you’re wrong. That’s the problem with your “implicit contracts,” isn’t it?

  45. Johnny Fook
    Sep 12, 2010

    Ads sucks, plain and simple ! Whatever isn’t illegal is allowed in a free society… since Congress never said anything about adblocking, I block all the ads using the excellent Adblock Plus ! And if you aren’t happy with it, you always can go flip burgers instead of running this site, I’ll just go somewhere else !

    http://adblockplus.org/en/

  46. martin
    Oct 17, 2010

    first, stealing is not a word to be used in our context. stealing means to take something from one person, which afterwards does not have it anymore.
    obviously nobody (even tries to) take your website of you.

    Author’s Comment: Actually, to steal means “take without the owner’s consent”. Here is the dictionary entry.

    second, i like the metaphor of a newspaper. for me, an adblocker is like a person who goes through the newspaper and cuts out all ads and then gives me a cleared version of the newspaper. is that immoral for you?

    Author’s Comment: Yes, this is. But Ad-Blocking is actually worse. You see, many advertisers are “Paid-per-impression”, unlike newspapers, which receive a flat rate regardless of how many of their users actually end up reading the particular page with the advertiser on it. Ad-Blocking directly and, without question, prevents the author from receiving payment.

    so is it immoral to not click an ad? is it immoral to not buy a new car because of a newspaper ad?

    Author’s Comment: Of course not. But Ad-Blocking stops pay-per-impression ads too, which provides remuneration to the author regardless of whether or not you take an action.

    i could bring up lots of arguments, but i won´t since i guess i won´t persuade you.
    there´s only one thing i´d like you to remember: can you change it? will you change it?
    no, definately not. you can write long articles, how much adblockers suck and how immoral their use is.
    people use them.
    live with it and find ways to earn the money you need. (there are lots of other possibilities too)

    Author’s Comment: “Live with it”. We do live with it, in the same way that a gas station clerk lives with hold-ups and robberies. That doesn’t change the fact that the act is immoral.

    martin

  47. will
    Dec 2, 2010

    I suppose you find libraries immoral also. After all, I get the content without paying the author.

  48. admin
    Dec 2, 2010

    Not really. First, the author at least got paid for the first copy of the book. Secondly, many libraries give time between the release of a book and it’s inclusion in the stack. Third, libraries facilitate the free consumption of a book 1 person at a time over a long time. Finally, I believe many libraries would accept the direct request of an author with an in-print book to have it removed from the shelves.

    Sorry, but the example just doesnt hold.

  49. admin
    Dec 16, 2010

    I don’t have ads on my site ;-)

  50. Dork
    Jan 24, 2011

    There is no such thing as right or wrong – adblock isn’t breaking any laws. BTW, I slept with your wife.

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