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Why Do You Block Ads? 1470

Posted by Cliff
from the because-they-are-annoying dept.
flyingember asks: "With ad blocking becoming ever more popular among users, why do you block ads? And with what? Do you view internet ads as different from say, TV ads? What about in a magazine? Do you not buy a magazine because it has too many? I'm specifically talking about the ads in a webpage, but even popup blockers can cause problems with me using a site."
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Why Do You Block Ads?

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  • My reasons (Score:5, Informative)

    by powerpuffgirls (758362) on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:02PM (#13761459)
    1. Most ads are taking too long to download. Even if I have broadband, I would rather use it on somewhere useful.

    2. Most ads are too big and intrusive.

    3. Most ads are irrelevant.

    See the trend? That explains why Googld Ads is so successful.
    • Re:My reasons (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bilbravo (763359) on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:04PM (#13761475) Homepage
      I agree. Also, it's not the ads on sites that just sit there. It's the ones that take over, either by growing to the size of the web page and getting in your way (while you are clicking a link, etc), or have loud music... like a TV commercial. If it's just there, it can flash, dance, whatever--as long as it doesn't get in my way or scare the piss out of me when I'm not expecting to hear voices from my computer at 3am.
      • Re:My reasons (Score:5, Insightful)

        by pjkeyzer (645364) on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:46PM (#13761877)
        The flashing ones are the worst, in my opinion. I hate having a big blinking red thing at the top of the page that says "you're a winner, click here to claim your prize" (or whatever it says, i've blocked them long ago). I use a hosts file to block ads, but I would not block Google ads because they are relevant, and are occasionally useful. Google ads stay out of the way, and I only notice them if I try.

        Pete

        • Re:My reasons (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Chrispy1000000 the 2 (624021) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @12:25AM (#13762123)
          The ones that I like the least are the ones that tend to lag on loading, , not allowing the rest of the page to be displayed, even if they are not a integral part of the page structure.
          • Re:My reasons (Score:5, Insightful)

            by nahdude812 (88157) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @07:21AM (#13763531) Homepage
            This is largely it for me. Several of my favorite sites have ad services that may take 15-20 seconds to load an ad, and because they are simply <script src="http://someadnetwork.com"> they halt the rest of the page from loading or displaying while the ad loads. Because often I'm using such sites as reference sites, and I might click around 6-8 times to get to the information I'm really looking for, even 10 seconds waiting per page per ad adds up real quickly. That's a surefire way to get in my adblock. The other thing that gets on my adblock is ads which interfere with my information consumption in other ways, such as being excessively annoying, having sound, or appearing over content.

            Honestly I'm more liberal about what ads I'll view and pay attention to on web pages than I am on TV. I skip almost all TV ads immediately (pvr), and very rarely watch live TV simply because of how annoying advertising is.

            I don't buy magazines that are advertising heavy. Why do people spend so much money on those magazines such as GQ which are 75% ads? I prefer small publications which are capable of subsisting on their subscriptions alone, or few relevant ads. I subscribe to several of these, and actually find their content to be more interesting than main stream publications.
        • Re:My reasons (Score:5, Insightful)

          by coaxial (28297) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @01:11AM (#13762390) Homepage
          The flashing ones aren't the worse. The new floating ads that fly around over the main page and force you to click on them to make them go away are the worst. I hate those things. I can't wait until gecko and khtml come up with a new ad blocking scripts.
          • Re:My reasons (Score:5, Insightful)

            by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @06:59AM (#13763483) Journal
            The worst ones are those that use Flash, and eat 100% of my CPU to do something that is more or less the equivalent of an animated GIF. When you are mobile, it's a real pain to suddenly hit one of these and watch your battery life plummet. For this reason I disabled Flash.

            Slashdot take note: I am happy to put up with banner ads if they don't consume too many resources, but I simply will not see anything that uses Flash. Perhaps you should make it a condition of advertising on your site - you and El Reg are the only sites I've noticed missing out from this policy.

        • by rcbarnes (875915) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @02:07AM (#13762609) Homepage
          I propose the following punishment for all internet advertisers who use invasive ads:

          1) Strip advertiser naked.
          2) Nail his (odds are he's male) penis to a tree.
          3) Hand him a butter knife.
          4) Set the tree on fire.
        • Re:My reasons (Score:5, Interesting)

          by mallie_mcg (161403) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @02:46AM (#13762739) Homepage Journal
          I don't mind advertising in the general case, but there are some forms that I cannot stand.

          1) Flashing: if an Ad flashes or wibbles or wobbles it distracts my eye from being able to read the text on the page, which defeats the purpose of the page and the advertising - I find these ones actually painful and headache inducing.

          2) Garish Colours: If an Ad is overly bright relative to the surrounding text/sytle (ie: pages with white text, black background) it can make it overly hard to focus on the text.

          3) Sound: There is absolutly no reason that an Ad should have or play sound. Hell there is no reason for an Ad to be flash - often times the volume is set too loud and it affects my usage of the computer.

          4) Pop-ups: Its my browser, my PC dont run around making windows on it!

          5) Spyware/Deceptive ads: I block advertising that is deliberatly misleading because that content should not be advertisable - the advertisers who allow people to peddle their scumware via that method should be shot along with their clients.

          I specifically allow google and other text based ads, as they are usually more relevant and seem to fit in with the flow of a well designed site better. They get read more than the other crap. I'm sure most of the clicking of the flashing, wobbling ads is out of people trying to get them to sit still or shut the hell up.

          M
      • Re:My reasons (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Total_Wimp (564548) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @01:33AM (#13762494)
        ...or have loud music...

        Nothing is more annoying than looking for some important (or trivial) piece of info at work and all of a sudden everyone hears music/sound effects/an announcer coming from your cube. I've actually taken to surfing with the sound off to avoid this. I shouldn't have to.

        Anyone who puts automatic sound on their web site should be slapped around with rotting chicken legs and left in a kennel naked overnight. I don't even care if it wasn't an ad. Trust me, that MIDI you love actually sucks way more than you think it does. Honest. If you think I'll love it so much then furgodsake at least gimme a button to click on first. I beg of you.

        TW
    • Re:My reasons (Score:5, Insightful)

      by FxChiP (687923) on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:05PM (#13761482) Journal
      4. Many ads are made in Macromedia Flash nowadays, which is a bitch to render on old computers.

      5. Many ads are scripted to invade your privacy without a thank-you note.

      6. Most ads are just plain annoying.
      • Re:My reasons (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AchilleTalon (540925) on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:55PM (#13761939) Homepage
        7. Some ads are masking text from the site you are browsing with sliding panels which don't slide back properly and keep parts of the text you want to read masked. I suppose they are made to work with IE.

        I often e-mailed site owners/maintainers about this problem and was never successful to have them resolved it.

        • Re:My reasons (Score:5, Interesting)

          by B747SP (179471) <slashdot@selfabusedelephant.com> on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @12:19AM (#13762092)
          I often e-mailed site owners/maintainers about this problem and was never successful to have them resolved it.

          This is a little bit off-topic, but relevant insofar as getting site owners to change broken content is concerned.

          A little while ago, my Mum was having trouble convincing one of our older family members to eat properly. I had recently stumbled across a new type of food in the supermarket that my cats really enjoyed, and so I thought that the old cat might enjoy it too...

          So in the course of an email exchange with Mum (I'm Australian, that's how we spell 'Mom'), I figured I'd send her a link to the specific type of cat food I was suggesting...

          Well, I couldn't. As it turned out, the company had a web site that was all Macromedia Flash and bells and whistles and glory, and the only way I could point my Mum at the particular product I was talking about would be to say "go to this site, now click on the 'bleh' link followed by the 'foo' link, then scroll down to 'bar'...."... Or I could just not reccomend the product.

          As it happened, that was the week I was lecturing my Bachelor of Business students on making sure that money you invest in IT actually benefits the business, don't let the IT department run away with cool toys that don't deliver value to customers, etc, etc (I'm a geek, but somehow I've managed to convince someone to let me lecture business students!!!) and I so I got a bee in my bonnet about it and I emailed the cat food company...

          Basically I said look, your web design company sold you on flash because it is pretty and bling bling and looks lovely, but here's a concrete example of how going with flash made your web site sufficiently unuseable that it cost you a sale. I couldn't effectively reccomend your product to my quasi-computer-literate Mum 'cos she would have issues navigating the web site, and I couldn't send her a direct link.

          Lo and behold, a month later, the cat food company [dine.com.au] had a new web site, all standard html with proper workable links that change in the address bar as you work through the site, and now I can send a link to my Mum (and I have).

          What's more, the web site loads faster as well!!!

          .

          .

          .

          .

          (As an interesting aside, slashdot seems to have recently updated it's code. I had to turn off all of my adblocking stuff to make the posting page appear as anything but a black background - it's been like that for about a month now (Firefox, The Proxomitron))

        • Re:My reasons (Score:5, Insightful)

          by StevenMaurer (115071) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @12:31AM (#13762159) Homepage
          8. Many kinds of (flash) ads surprise you with sound. This can be highly annoying for casual browsing at work (or home when the family is asleep).

          9. Some ads surprise you with things that - depending on your work environment - might be considered Not Safe For Work. Surprisingly, this usually isn't porn sites (which I don't surf anyway), but things like risque cartoons and Sports Illustrated body painting.

          10. Because I can. Seriously - if there was a way to delete all ads from TV, wouldn't most people do it?

          This isn't to say that advertising isn't effective with me. I often turn on ads for specialty sites that I'm using to research what sort of product to purchase. Quite frankly, this is the most effective time to reach me anyway, since I've usually made up my mind that I need something and am making decisions about it.

      • Re:My reasons (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Technician (215283) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @01:01AM (#13762338)
        6. Most ads are just plain annoying.


        Especialy those that glue themselves right over the text you are trying to read. I have yet to buy a magazine where an ad was pasted over the article and took 10 seconds to peel up to read the text underneath.

        I started blocking pop-ups when X10 made themselves a pain in the butt. I removed macromedia when Yahoo loaded up in interstitials that covered the content. From there I was on a roll and obtained hosts files. It started when ads got big time IN YOUR FACE
    • Re:My reasons (Score:4, Interesting)

      by David P (170482) on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:06PM (#13761494) Homepage
      Anyone else here blocked Google's ads as well? It's just one more block of irrelevant content that my eye has to scan over to get to the stuff I wanted.
    • Re:My reasons (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pcmanjon (735165)
      " Do you not buy a magazine because it has too many?"

      Magazines shouldn't have any. If a magazine costs 20 bucks a month, why should they have to use ads?
      • Re:My reasons (Score:5, Insightful)

        by leshert (40509) on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:23PM (#13761684) Homepage
        If a magazine costs 20 bucks a month, why should they have to use ads?

        Because it may cost 50 bucks a month to get it to you.

        For most magazines and newspapers, ads are a much bigger source of revenue than subscriptions fees.
      • Re:My reasons (Score:5, Insightful)

        by number11 (129686) on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:58PM (#13761963)
        " Do you not buy a magazine because it has too many?"

        There are magazines I do not buy because of the ads. I do find ads somewhat more tolerable in mags because: they don't move or flash or try to play music; I can flip pages faster than I can load new screens; I can riffle and jump in on page 30 without having to plow through the intervening ads; the load time for an ad is almost always exactly the same.. significantly less than a second); and, the visual page of a mag (and even more so a newspaper) is large enough (and the layout is usually consistent enough) so that it's easy for the eye to avoid the ads.

        TV, being linear, forces the ads to the exclusion of anything else, which is annoying in a different way. At least they're not in your field of vision while the stuff you want to watch is happening. And because they monopolize the TV, they serve as timeouts, time to go grab a beer, run to the bathroom, yell at the cat. I watch very little TV (at home, probably not more than a couple of hours in the last year).
    • Re:My reasons (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Gojira Shipi-Taro (465802) * on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:23PM (#13761691) Homepage
      (in the following post, "you" and "your" refers to the advertisers, not the parent post)

      If it's animated, I block it.

      If it plays sound, I block the shit out of it. (I might be at work. Jeapordize my job by playing a noisy ad at a site that I actually need to go to for work purposes, and I might retaliate beyond blocking your ad) If it tries to install spyware or worse on my system, I'll definitely retaliate.

      If it makes any use of Macromedia technology, particularly Shoskeles, I'll not only block it, I'll shitlist your company, and neither I nor the corporation I work for will ever pay you a fucking cent again.

      If it's nice, static, and pertains to what I'm looking for at the moment, I might actually click on it. If I do, count yourself lucky. You're not entitled to my attention. Consider this like print media. You're paying for page space, and if that page space gets you business, yay for you. If it doesn't... your only recourse is to get over it and find a new page space to advertise in.
    • Re:My reasons (Score:5, Informative)

      by MikeFM (12491) on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:36PM (#13761803) Homepage Journal
      As both a developer that uses ads on many of his websites and a user that blocks ads I guess I feel both sides of the issue.

      I didn't use ads for years because I felt they were to intrusive. Why did I decide to start using them? Mainly because ad blocking software was finally easily enough available and easy enough to use that I felt that being intrusive and adding download time didn't matter as much because users have the power to turn the ads off. Sometimes I even offer a button on my sites that will disbale ads for the user. The secondary reason is because users have told me time and again that they'd rather see ads than be charged a fee (even less than a dollar). Often I offer both as options. Paying members don't see ads and get more features but the basics are paid for by ads. For a long time I ran my websites completely from donations but in recent years (since about the time of the 911 attack) users have stopped donating. I've not been able to pinpoint the why but it seemed a very strong trend despite my sites continuing to grow. Loss of donations has forced me to use ads and charge for membership as loath as I am to use those methods. Oddly enough I've also noticed the more useful a website the less the ads get clicked. This seems a bad trend to me as it encourages websites of crap instead of making good information easily available. Two of my websites.. one gets about 500 unique visitors a day and contains solid Linux information.. the other gets about 100 visitors a day and is down right now and contains nothing but a notice that it'll be back up after I finish recoding it. The first site usually gets no clicks while the later gets about five per day. The same trend seems to hold among my other sites. Sort of encourages the building of dead-end or confussing websites.

      I've tried a couple different ad programs. So far I like Yahoo's better than Google's because it doesn't load quite as slow and the ads pay better per click. On the other hand Yahoo does a poor job of rotating ads but I suspect this is due to their beta status.

      Given that I make a living from ads why do I block them? Because they are freaking annoying. I don't read junk mail, spam email, watch tv, or read magazines that insert ads throughout the content. For myself I'd rather make donations to websites I like than pay for memberships or see ads. I'd be more willing to do memberships if they didn't overprice them. Usually I charge about $5/mo for my sites which is pretty reasonable. A site that charges more than that or that makes signing up painful I just won't use. Ads I'd use more if they weren't so often annoying to look at and inserted in inappropiate spots in the content. My perfered type of ad to see is a small paid sponsorship (~80x30 pixels) at the bottom of the menu or page. If I see such an ad I'll more often click on it especially if it looks well made (flashy but tasteful) and related to the site content.
      • Re:My reasons (Score:4, Insightful)

        by bellers (254327) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @08:54AM (#13763894) Homepage
        You charge $5 a month for membership to your site? I think thats way above my pain threshold. Your site costs exactly 20% of my total monthly internet bill. Do you think your site is worth 20% of the entire internet?



        I don't. Hell, I squick in pain every year when I give Salon.com $20, and thats only a buck and change every month. At $60, they could go screw. There's no website in the world I'd pay $60 for.



    • Re:My reasons (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jim_v2000 (818799) on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:44PM (#13761861)
      I think you forget that Ads are paying for the content of whatever page you are reading...including this one.
    • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @12:07AM (#13762027) Journal
      Like most people I am basically a lazy fat slob. Something may irretate me BUT in order for me to do something about it it must reach a certain level.

      This is apparently a very complex social issue as very few people seem to regonize that this treshhold exists. Certainly not those in power, it explains why our "leaders" are so often confused when we suddenly rebel against something we have quitely accepted before.

      It happens in all sorts of places in our society, from important to trivial, the resistance against immigrants (muslims mostly) that "suddenly" came to a rise in europe. Has politicians totally baffled. The young male "suddenly" no longer watching tv (and more important tv commercials) has tv bosses claiming the world is coming to an end.

      What has simply happened that a constant level of annoyance has grown to the point where people are no longer just content to let it lie.

      When that "okay" radio starts cranking out ad-blocks of more then 5 minutes it perhaps becomes rewarding enough to simply switch the radio off and take the effort to bring in your own music. When that tv program you sorta watch is interrupted beyond the point where you can actually remember what you where watching then perhaps you don't switch back (is there any human out there who can watch a full dutch tv ad-block?). Perhaps you don't switch the tv on at all when all you ever watch are half of a tv-show.

      So I block ads EVERYWHERE because they have grown to irritating. They reached my treshhold where I go from simply being irritated to taking action.

      And just as the current backlash against muslims in europe went from tolerance to hatred in a flash I am now very extreme in my ad blocking. ALL image ads are blocked and screw even those sides where I can fully understand they need ad income to survive.

      My current solution is getting a bit old but for now the ads that do slip through are not yet irritating enough to make me spend an hour or two finding a better solution and implementing it. When it does my browser will once again be totally ad free and many a free site will loose yet another tiny slice of income.

      Then again who cares about sites like those game sites with bloody redirects to full page ads? Or slashdot with it showing a linux user MS ads? Geez talk about adding insult to injury.

      Will I ever go back to unblocking ads? Perhaps. Someday I will buy a new computer and install a clean version of my OS on it and then I will probably be to lazy to install an ad blocker immidiatly (then again the blocker is part of squid so this is only when I replace my "server") and if I find that the ads then are not irritating enough I may not bother.

      Lets face it, that is not very likely eh?

      The response by marketing to the increasing resistance against ads is to make the ads bigger and more intrusive.

    • Re:My reasons (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Stripe7 (571267) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @12:46AM (#13762253)
      I started blocking ads when I started up the task manager one day to discover that 90%+ of my cpu was being taken up by firefox which was sitting in the background while I was working on some other stuff. Turned out to be all those flash ads. Started zapping ads since then. Nowdays if an ad catches my attention it gets zapped and the originating website of the ad get blocked permanently.
  • Ehh (Score:5, Informative)

    by andreyw (798182) on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:03PM (#13761464) Homepage
    Eyesore. Waste of screen real estate. Invasion of privacy.
    • Re:Ehh (Score:3, Insightful)

      by andreyw (798182)
      Also with magazines I do not have a choice - can't remove them, plus at least they don't obscure content as some of the more-annoying popus do.
    • Re:Ehh (Score:5, Interesting)

      by skyshock21 (764958) on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:28PM (#13761735)
      Exactly. I can change the channel on TV when ads come on. I can flip the page in a magazine. But with many websites, they wrap the fucking text around an ad that will give you epilepsy if you look at it.

      Plus, I block ads because it's my perogative to control the content that I wish displayed on my PC.
    • by jd (1658) <imipak AT yahoo DOT com> on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:31PM (#13761762) Homepage Journal
      This is often not an obvious one, but it's probably the biggest difference between web adverts and, say, magazine ads. Magazine ads can't identify you when you go to the page they are on. The very act of downloading the image of the advert, however, will log your IP address, the page you came from, the web browser you are using, possibly the Operating system you are using, and maybe even the language setting you have the web browser on.


      That's a hell of a lot of marketing information that is being trawled for, without permission from anyone.


      Those who view HTML-based e-mail have similar problems - any spam you open with a blank, embedded image link (provided you view images) will result in the spammer instantly obtaining vast amounts of data about you.


      To me, that is simply NOT acceptable. If you think that Big Brother is bad (and not just the show), then Big Ad Exec is far, far worse.


      Besides which, I was born in the UK, grew up on advert-free television, and resent the hell out of having 20-30 minutes of adverts for every hour timeslot on American TV. If I wanted to watch promotional material, with clips of TV show included, I'd go to one of the home shopping channels, thank you very much. I do not choose to go to the lairs of thieves and I never invited those lairs to come to me.


      As you might have gathered, I don't watch much TV in America.

  • UI (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nothings (597917) on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:04PM (#13761470) Homepage
    I block ads so that when I right click on the page to pick "back" from the context menu I don't accidentally click on an ad and get "open link in new window" or some other random crap in the top of my context menu with no "back" at all.

    Oh, and maybe to speed up page loading.

    And to stick it to the man.

    And to save electrons.

  • by danpritts (54685) on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:04PM (#13761478) Homepage
    static ads don't bother me so much, but blinking, flashing, moving junk drives me nuts.

    Flashblock for firefox solves 95% of this problem nicely.
  • Because I can! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:04PM (#13761479)
    If I could block ads in magazines, or stop them on TV I would.
    • using MythTV [mythtv.org]. Strips them out automatically. Sadly misses the odd one, but I have 'skip30' and 'back5' buttons on my remote to solve that - 7 or 8 quick clicks past the ads, then back to the start of the prog.

      I haven't seen an ad in many months. TV has improved out of sight for me.
  • by Raleel (30913) on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:05PM (#13761480)
    flash, popup, anything to catch my attention, and I'll for sure try and block you, because I'm not an impulse shopper. I plan my purchases.

    I hate how some companies feel that making sure you have 10 windows open on your desktop isa good way to do business. Get in the way of what I'm doing on the web, and I'll certainly have a negative image of your company.
  • Sound (Score:3, Informative)

    by EvanED (569694) <evaned&gmail,com> on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:05PM (#13761481)
    FlashBlock with Firefox. I didn't used to block anything but popups, but when they started to use sound in ds, I was fed up.
  • Because I can (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dnixon112 (663069) on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:05PM (#13761483)
    With a DVR you can skip TV ads, and I do. With pop-up blockers and user stylesheets you can remove internet ads. Gets quite a bit harder to get rid of magazine ads, but maybe that's why I hardly buy magazines anymore. I'd rather pay a small fee for quality content if ads were not generating enough revenue.
  • 56k (Score:5, Informative)

    by PhireN (916388) on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:05PM (#13761486)
    I Block ads because they take too long to load on my 56k modem.
  • Mostly for sport (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rebug (520669) on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:06PM (#13761489)
    Whenever I run into an ad online, I'm compelled to view the source, close down my browser session, and tweak my userContent.css/hostperm.1 to block it.

    I don't recall having this aversion to advertising before popups got huge, so I think the advertisers just pushed me enough that I said "you know what? fuck you guys, I'm not going to see a single damn one of your bullshit ads."
  • Annoyance factor (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SpookyFish (195418) on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:06PM (#13761496)
    Personally, I don't block them until they a) blink b) slow down the page.

    Animated crap and poorly designed pages that make the ad-links (ohh, and that damned javascript highlight words BS) get insta-adblock.

    Sure, that policy has led to my adblock filter catching damn near all graphical ads -- that ain't my fault.

    I still see Google's.

  • Computer Shopper (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Vrallis (33290) on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:06PM (#13761499) Homepage
    Back when I was first getting into computers, I always used to buy the Computer Shopper magazine. It was huge (250-350) pages, but only about half of it was ads. The rest of it consisted of, mostly, hardware and software reviews. It was also fairly cheap at the time, at around $2.50 an issue.

    Then it went to $2.95 an issue and consisted of 2/3 ads.

    Then it went to $3.98 an issue and consisted of 3/4 ads, but dropped down to only about 200 pages.

    At that point I never bought another copy.

    (Yes, the numbers aren't exact, but it makes my point.)

    Right now, I only block popups, though I'm considering blocking far more. I used to block all of doubleclick's stuff, but they aren't as common as they once were.
    • Re:Computer Shopper (Score:5, Interesting)

      by shawb (16347) on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:10PM (#13761545)
      If you think that's bad, you should try a fashion magazine sometime. My roomate brought one home once, so I decided to count the pages of ads. Of the first 100 pages, 93 were ads. 4 of the other pages were reviews of insanely expensive products, all glowing. The other two pages? Table of contents. Price? nine bucks. It was there that I realized how horribly idiotic fashionistas are.
      • Re:Computer Shopper (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Reziac (43301) * on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:25PM (#13761703) Homepage Journal
        This isn't much different from most mainstream magazines. Look at a Good Housekeeping or Women's Day or even TVGuide, and often as not the ads outnumber the content.

        [picks random edition of eWeek off the stack of unread IT rags] Even in this relatively content-heavy magazine, 26 of 58 pages are ads.

        Occasionally, ads are a magazine's primary desirable content, such as ComputerUser -- *most* of why I have a subscription is because I need to see local vendors' component prices. I've even been known to complain when there aren't enough ads. :)

        Almost all dog and horse magazines are essentially ad venues, with only token content. BUT -- there again, the main reason people buy these mags is to see ads relevant to their breed(s) of interest.

        Here's the Big Point: when the ads are relevant to the audience's needs and interests, then ads are desirable -- and may even be regarded AS the "main content".

        But on the web, we're typically bombarded with ads we did not choose to see, that are of no interest to us, that waste our time and bandwidth, and that *interfere* with viewing the "main content".

        Small wonder that just about everyone who groks ad blocking proceeds to do so.

        • Re:Computer Shopper (Score:4, Interesting)

          by babbage (61057) <(cdevers) (at) (cis.usouthal.edu)> on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @02:41AM (#13762722) Homepage Journal
          As happens surprisngly often, Douglas Adams had an essay that commented on this very topic [douglasadams.com]. I'll quote a relevant section:

          But what about the magazine publisher? What does she have to sell? What's she going to do now that she doesn't have stacks of glossy paper that people are going to want to hand over wads of greenies to acquire? Well, it all depends on what sort of business you think she's in. Lots of people are not in the business you think they're in. Xerox, for instance, is in the business of selling toner cartridges. All that mucking about they do developing high-tech copying and printing machines is just creating a commodity market in toner cartridges, which is where their profit lies. Television companies are not in the business of delivering television programs to their audience, they're in the business of delivering audiences to their advertisers. (This is why the BBC has such a schizophrenic time - it's actually in a different business from all its competitors). And magazines are very similar: each actual sale across the newsagent's counter is partly an attempt to defray the ludicrous cost of manufacturing the damn thing but is also, more significantly, a very solid datum point. The full data set represents the size of the audience the publisher can deliver to its advertisers.

          Now I regard magazine advertising as a big problem. I really hate it. It overwhelms the copy text, which is usually reduced to a dull, grey little stream trickling its way through enormous glaring billboard-like pages all of which are clamoring to draw your attention to stuff you don't want; and the first thing you have to do when you buy a new magazine is shake it over a bin in order to shed all the coupons, sachets, packets, CDs and free labrador puppies which make them as fat an unwieldy as a grandmother's scrapbook. And then, when you are interested in buying something, you can't find any information about it because it was in last month's issue which you've now thrown away. I bought a new camera last month, and bought loads of camera magazines just to find ads and reviews for the models I was interested in. So I resent about 99% of the advertising I see, but occasionally I want it enough to actually buy the stuff. There's a major mismatch - something is ripe to fall out of the model.

          If you browse around an online magazine (HotWired, for instance, springs unbidden to mind) you will find a few discreet little sponsor icons here and there which you choose to click on. You only get to see the proper ad if you're actually interested in it, and that ad will then lead you directly towards solid, helpful information about the product. It is of course much more valuable for advertisers to reach one interested potential customer than it is to irritate the hell out of ninety-nine others. Furthermore, the advertiser gets astonishingly precise feedback. They will know exactly how many people have chosen to look at their ad and for how long, with the result that an unwelcome ad for something no one's interested in will quickly wither away, whereas one which catches people's attention will thrive. The advertisers pay the magazine for the opportunity to put links to their ads on popular pages of the magazine and - well, you see the way it works. It is, I am told by people with seriously raised eyebrows, astonishingly effective. The thing which drops out of the problem is the notion that advertising need be irritating and intrusive.

          He was being a bit optimistic, perhaps, but he's basically summarized the way things stand, or that they seem to be heading. And this was first printed in the original UK issue of Wired magazine, so that was what, a decade ago? The whole essay, What have we got to lose? [douglasadams.com], is fascinating stuff. Go read it if you haven't come across it before -- you'll be glad you did.

      • by Lemmy Caution (8378) on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:30PM (#13761756) Homepage
        You may not understand fashionistas, but they aren't simply idiotic. They are simply playing an entirely different game than you are - one that has its own rewards and advantages.
    • Re:Computer Shopper (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Octorian (14086)
      Yeah, but back in the day many of us bought Computer Shopper *for* the ads. Prior to the popularization of Internet shopping, the only way to find out about good-price vendors from which to get all our computer hardware was through those ads. (unless, of course, you live in California where all those vendors were physically located, which I obviously didn't)
  • Magazines (Score:4, Insightful)

    by superpulpsicle (533373) on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:06PM (#13761501)
    If I bought a magazine and all the articles were blocked by Ads, I'd be pretty pissed.

    And if I had to pay extra $$$ to read the same magazine with the articles unblocked, I'd be even more pissed.

  • by RLiegh (247921) * on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:07PM (#13761505) Homepage Journal
    Why actually; I don't buy magazines; for pretty much that reason. In 1994 I realised that most magazines on the shelf have very little substance to their articles, are 2/3rds filled with ads and cost (at the time) $3.50 to $5 each. Not to mention the fact that the usual story layouts around that point became really bad (this got worse a few years later when they started making ads which blended in with the story to deliberately cause confusion).

    I don't mind some advertising, but the amount and intrusiveness of modern advertising is obnoxious enough that I do avoid buying magazines and I have had to take the time to figure out adblock and flashblock.
  • by RaguMS (149511) * on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:07PM (#13761506) Journal
    Recently in Barnes & Noble, I remarked to my friends, "I won't buy magazines because they're all full of ads. Why can't they make a magazine with no ads?", to which one friend responded, "What you want is a book."
    • by mph (7675) <mph@freebsd.org> on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:13PM (#13761582)
      Or, maybe you want a magazine with no ads. Like Consumer Reports or Cook's Illustrated, both of which sell for a reasonable price.
  • Why I Block (Score:3, Interesting)

    by NETHED (258016) on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:07PM (#13761508) Homepage
    If it slows my browser down. I hate ads that double my browser memory footprint. There are many doubleclick ads that do this.

    If it is intrusive. I cannot stand within text ads. Never EVER put an ad in the middle of a paragraph. EVER. If you do, I won't look at it, and I'll block it if I can. So does my mother, the demographic the ad is targeted for. Any ad that takes over (pop-over).

    All other ads, I respect. The advertisers must make money, and I do click on ads I find interesting. I feel it is important to support those who support things I like.
  • by UnderAttack (311872) * on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:07PM (#13761511) Homepage
    So who should pay for content if ads shouldn't? Would you "subscribe" to a website?
    • by JanneM (7445) on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:25PM (#13761701) Homepage
      So who should pay for content if ads shouldn't? Would you "subscribe" to a website?

      Mostly no. Because most media is not good enough to be worth paying for. And yes, if that means it will not get created at all, then so be it. Nobody has a right to make a living creating content. If you can't make it compelling enough for your audience to pay for it (whether eyeball time, clicks or cash) then you should "realign" your business.

      There is plenty of content of all kinds out there created as a labour of love, as a loss leader for other stuff or that manages to draw in enough bucks through ads or sponsorship.

      I used to like reading the NYTimes colmunists. They are not always (or ever frequently) right; some columnists are probably a danger to my blodd pressure. But they are always very well written, and at least nominally thought through. Now they've disappeared behing a pay wall. Do I pay? Nope. There's punditry of similar quality to have by the ton out there. I see no reason to pay a substantial sum to read those particular good writers when I could spend all my waking hours reading other writers just as good already.

      Something like Salon I could imagine paying for if the quality was more even. As it is, their "watch an ad" is nonintrusive enough (you see the ad before reading the content, not during) and reasonable enough that I do so instead.
  • by OzJimbob (129746) on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:09PM (#13761528) Homepage
    I block ads on the internet because they are usually completely useless to me. When I watch TV at least, the ads are for things I might buy at the grocery store, or they advertise a sale on at a local furniture store, or they advertise a car I might one day consider buying.

    The vast majority of ads on the internet are either completely disinteresting to me - trying to sell me a server appliance, or telephone deals in another country. Or they are advertising online casinos that I would never visit. Or they are scams - you know, the "Your computer is not OPTIMIZED click HERE" crap. If interet advertising was actually relevant to my every day needs, and didn't all come across as a cheap scam, then I might be more tolerant.

    In fact, I am. I'm quite happy to view the Google ad-words ads, because they have, sometimes, shown me something I might be interested in.
  • Hrmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by oman_ (147713) on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:09PM (#13761530) Homepage
    These sound like the kind of questions an advertiser would ask in order to make more effective (intrusive) ads.


  • Back in the early '90s, we used to buy Computer Shopper magazine *specifically* *because* of the ads. That thing was at least 2 inches thick; not like today's version.
  • why do... (Score:5, Funny)

    by UnanimousCoward (9841) on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:11PM (#13761554) Homepage Journal
    ...dogs lick their balls?
  • My health. (Score:5, Funny)

    by The Ancients (626689) on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:12PM (#13761565) Homepage
    I'd rather not find out I suffer from epilepsy due to a simple bout of web surfing.

    That would just be plain unfair.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:12PM (#13761570)
    Pretty much I use Adblock with the most up-to-date definition from pierceive.com.

    What ads do I see? None, or very close to it.

    What legitimate content gets blocked? None, or very close to it.

    Why? Having IFRAMEs dissapear makes the page shorter. Less to download. Less crap in my way. And nothing is safe either (including Google textads). If I don't like something the definition does, I just change it.
  • Here you go (Score:3, Informative)

    by Kris_J (10111) * on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:12PM (#13761572) Journal
    why do you block ads?
    They're visually annoying and distracting. They're a waste of bandwidth. Sometimes they're even noisy.
    And with what?
    A .hosts file, Firefox's built-in popup blocker, Adblock for Firefox, Flashblocker for Firefox and Proxomitron with the JD5000 ruleset.
    Do you view internet ads as different from say, TV ads?
    Nope. If I'm unfortunate enough to be watching a program live, I mute the ads. If I'm watching it later, I fast-forward.
    What about in a magazine? Do you not buy a magazine because it has too many?
    Yes. There are magazines I stopped buying because they became all ads and no content. The only magazine I currently subscribe to has no ads.
    I'm specifically talking about the ads in a webpage, but even popup blockers can cause problems with me using a site.
    If my ad-blocker causes problems with a site I decide if it's worth turning it off. If not, I move on and typically never come back to that site.
  • by John Hasler (414242) on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:14PM (#13761596) Homepage
    > why do you block ads?

    Because I find them irritating.

    > And with what?

    Privoxy.

    > Do you view internet ads as different from say, TV ads?

    Don't watch TV.

    > What about in a magazine? Do you not buy a magazine because it has
    > too many?

    Yes (but I very rarely buy magazines anyway).
  • The POed Factor (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:25PM (#13761705) Homepage
    I don't ad-block on the 'net (I use Safari and I don't know of an equivalent to Firefox's ad-block extension). But I do have a TiVo and I skip commercials.

    So why? There are many reasons. Lets start with the net. While they take time to download and eat up CPU cycles (I've always wondered how much battery life Flash ads eat up when surfing the 'net on battery), there is a bigger reason.

    What do ads look like on the 'net these days. Are they simple? Are they like google ads or the banner ads of yesterday? No, I see 3 things. I see large moving objects covered with names of states trying to sell me mortgages (peacocks, palm trees, all sorts of crud). I see 20 smiley faces dancing and bouncing like all those stupid pages people put up when animated GIFs first appeared. Last thing? Shoo the _____ to win a _____. DO IT NOW. NOW NOW NOW. TRY IT. WIN A ______. CLICK HERE.

    Yeah, THOSE make me want to try/buy. Some companies ads are fine (the MS ads here on Slashdot are fine with me). But because people don't click them (see reasons above), they have decided to make things worse. Now they open BIG WINDOWS when you mouse over (or just enter a page). They bounce things around your browser window. They play sounds and songs and other crud. I keep my computer muted all the time (unless I'm listening to music) for precisely this reason. I got tired of surfing and randomly having some loud car-screech-peel-out or stupid music.

    TV? I watch more ads than ever. Instead of being annoyed by most (BUY THIS CAR NOW AT JOE BOB FORD), I can skip all that. But when fast-forwarding if I see something that catches my eye I'll stop and watch it out of curiosity. No longer are am I just "watching" the ads (in the sense I'm in the room and theoretically watching TV), now I actually WATCH them. I don't tend to miss any commercials that I wish I'd seen (haven't heard about any good ones recently I didn't already know about). Interesting ads work, but it is only because of my TiVo I even bother.

    As for radio, things have gotten worse also. That is one of the reasons (there are MANY others) that I've moved to listening to NPR so much (and my iPod even more).

    My biggest complaint with mass media has to be how smutty it is. It used to be you could watch TV or listen to the radio. Now if I watch TV I get to see "male enhancement" ads, some of the most appalling and horrifying ads I've seen in my life (Tag body spray, Axe shower gel, some gum brand, and some others). Radio is the same. Everything I watch/listen to wants to sell me male enhancement drugs, recreational sex drugs (Viagra et al), some scan diet pill (that is probably causing millions of people kidney disease), 12 year olds dressed like hookers ('cause it's COOL), etc.

    There are some fun commercials, and I've watched 'em. I enjoyed the iPod commercials, the Old Navy swing commercials from years ago, HP's recent printer campaign with the photos, and many others. The Toyota Prius commercial (from the Super Bowl) and many others have been great. But to watch those I get assaulted by tons of stuff that annoys me (car ads), sickens me (male enhancement), or just makes me want to cry that something like that would be broadcast (Tag body spray, Axe shower gel, etc).

    But the biggest problem, the BIGGEST problem is seeing the same commercial 3 times per show. For every show. On every network. Non-stop play. Same thing over and Over and OVER and OVER.

    I've heard rumblings of going back to "Kraft Foods presents: Medium on CBS". That's fine with me. I can't WAIT. It has GOT to be better than what we have now. And for those of you saying "Just give up on TV and watch the shows when they come out on DVD", I'm VERY close to that. VERY close.

    Whether you agree with my stance on certain commercials being vulgar/etc; you have to admit... commercials seem to be trying to get louder and more annoying (like car dealership commercials are the best thing out there or something).

  • JunkBuster / Privoxy (Score:3, Informative)

    by molo (94384) on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:29PM (#13761745) Journal
    I block ads with JunkBuster, but plan on moving to Privoxy soon. JunkBuster is showing its age (only support HTTP 1.0, etc.). I find adverts distracting and a waste of bandwidth. I've also started downloading TV shows that interest me so that I can watch them without the ads. Cuts down on viewing time by 20% or more.. and the quality is better than over-the-air analog.

    -molo
  • by Jekler (626699) on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:37PM (#13761814)
    I pay for bandwidth therefore I should be able to choose what uses the bandwidth I pay for. The model of ad delivery on the internet is different than a magazine. Before you buy the magazine you can, theoretically, determine how much space is taken up by advertisements and decide if it's a fair trade for your money. With internet ads, you pay first, and you find out how much bandwidth is taken up by an ad after you get it.

    Time is limited, advertising isn't a fair trade for my time. I lose minutes of my life, what do I get out of it?

    I use the adblock extension for Firefox. Before that, I used Ad-Shield for Internet Explorer.
  • by Sax Maniac (88550) on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:39PM (#13761827) Homepage Journal
    I've been using Privoxy since it was Junkbuster, and old habits die hard. Why did I start?

    It all started with animation. There is nothing worse than trying read some articles with dayglo green-on-pink spinning, flashing, !CLICK HERE! on top. I can't... think... with that there! Junkbuster fixed that.

    Then there was cookie management. I only log into a handful of sites, why does every single one need cookies to the end of time? JB again to the rescue: it could convert cookies into session-only cookies, and leave the ones I need alone.

    Then came the spam. Back then I was using Netscape 4, and it would dutifully load remote images off the web, with no way to stop it. Privoxy helped there by letting me blackmail IPs. Not great, but better than nothing.

    Since it's a proxy, all this worked for the times I was also forced to use IE, which I tried to resist as long as possible. Since neither Netscape or IE had any of these features, it was a great add-on.

    As everyone around here has said over and over, text ads don't bug me. I could go militant anti-ad and start filtering text ads with Privoxy, but I don't. Google got it right. God bless 'em.

    These days, things have changed for the better. Mail clients can disable remote image loading, and actually prefer text over the HTML bullshit. Browsers have per-site cookie management and allow you to accept session cookies silently. Firefox has ad-block.

    "Maybe ads aren't so bad anymore", I think, "maybe advertisers have learned their lesson, and I should stop blocking". Then I use my parents' computer without adblock on a Christmas break. The ads now are movies, overlay the entire screen, with swooshing rock soundtracks. Result: adblock not only stays on, but gets installed on permanently on their computer too. And anyone else's I work on.

    At home, I picked up a ReplayTV 5040 (the geek PVR) -- two babies made following "24" impossible, and I was tired of swapping tapes. I dumped the stupid VCR the day we got it. Automatically skipping ads was just a pleasant bonus, and saves lots of time.

  • by vorpal22 (114901) on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:42PM (#13761846) Homepage Journal
    I would like to use Opera, as it seems to run faster than Firefox on OS X, but given that it doesn't offer something like adblock, as far as I'm concerned, the web is unusable with it. I'm a very easily distracted and hyperstimulated person (I suspect that I'm a high functioning person with Asperger's syndrome), and the nature of ads these days is so obnoxious (shaking banner ads, bright and flashing colours that can have no purpose other than to induce epileptic seizures) that unless I block these graphics, I feel physically sick after several hours of using the web and cannot focus on the content of the page I'm trying to read. Because of this, I've blocked all the ads I've come across, and for months now that I have adblock configured to my liking, I've seldom seen a single one.

    I feel similarly about movies and television. The ads on both of these mediums are designed to grab attention and maintain it, but I find them too intensive; the constant movement, colour, etc. makes me dizzy and anxious to the point that I feel extremely unpleasant and need to retreat to my home to relax. I now download ad-free content using Bittorrent and watch all my TV shows sans ads and my movies in the comfort of my own home, free of charge. Is this stealing? Absolutely, but given the psychologically manipulative tactics used in advertising these days, I don't particularly care. I'm fully aware that two wrongs don't make a right, but I feel no inclination to behave with the slightest bit of decency towards industries that treat me in such a vile manner.

    (On the other hand, I fully do support companies that I feel treat me well. I happily pay for their products. I go see my favourite musicians in concert and buy their albums and make a point of saving money beforehand so that I can buy their albums and merchandise there to show my appreciation for them.)

    The whole point of advertising these days is to be as intrusive as possible. For example, in Toronto right now, a movie theatre along one of our major highways, the QEW, wants to erect a huge LCD screen to present highway drivers with movie previews. The problem is that their proposed screen surpasses the size limitations set by the city. They're fighting to change the bylaws. Opponents are claiming that the ad will distract drivers and increase the probability of accidents, while the movie company is stating that there is no evidence of such a thing. The sad thing is that the city is even considering it, from my understanding. The entire purpose of the screen, it seems to me, is to distract drivers as the screen is not visible to anyone other than people in cars on this highway, so I can't even fathom how the theatre's claim has any merit whatsoever. It boggles my mind.

    I mean, we're constantly being bombarded by advertising. Now when I go to the gas station, I have LCD screens ON THE GAS MACHINES blaring loud advertisements in my face. Similarly for the subway stations, which have essentially become painted with ads for TV shows. The hubcaps of taxis are now advertisements for TV stations. It's rare that I have a day where I don't end up using a urinal that forces ads into my face. Often, these ads are so wasteful from a resource perspective that I can't wrap my mind around it; for example, we have a TV show up here in Canada called Canada's Worst Driver. One of their advertising mechanisms is for a tow-truck to pull around a severely decimated car with a huge advertisement for the show printed on the side of the car. This is permissible in an era where gas prices are soaring and smog is becoming a huge problem in Toronto?

    How can I possibly show even the slightest hint of respect for an industry that gladly stomps on my toes at every possible opportunity it gets? As far as I'm concerned, there is no lifeform worth less on the face of this planet than those in advertising, who bring almost nothing beneficial or worthy to the table of humanity, only forcing more mental pollution upon us. I once met someone with whom I was quite compatible, but upon hearing that this person was in college studying marketing, I sent them packing as I could never date someone with those ambitions, regardless of how amazingly we got along.
  • I don't. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NanoGator (522640) on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:44PM (#13761868) Homepage Journal
    I don't block ads. I block annoyances, such as popups. I don't mind the ads. I certainly prefer them to having to pay subscription fees. Then again, ads these days are far less annoying than they were 3 or 4 years ago. Heck, I even find the occasional thinkgeek ad interesting. I don't think advertising is automatically evil. I can understand being against the annoyance, but I've seen so many extreme views here that are really quite obnoxious. "Even though these ads are what is keeping this site I enjoy so much alive, I'm blocking them because of the principal of it." Yeah, right. If you were really operating on principals, you'd pay the fair price for viewing the site. Sadly, this sort of attitude doesn't earn as much karma around here.

    For those of you that think all ads are evil, I have some random bits of info for you to read:

    - I have my dream job right now because of a community site supported by ads. It is a massive site that is expensive to run simply because of the sheer number of users. I know others that can tell a similar story.

    - Slashdot, an ad driven site, has provided me and LOTS of others many many hours of entertainment. (admittedly, it's the extreme twerps that provide the most entertainment for me.)

    - Serenity, the movie trailer that lots of Slashdots tripped overthemselves to get, is an ad intended to get you to spend $8+ at the local theater.

    - Battlestar Galactica, Farscape, Star Trek, Babylon 5, and even Futurama were made for the expressed purpose of tricking you into watching commercials.

    - Any time you get excited by the latest processor or the newest video card or even the whoop-de-shit gaming system coming out, you're hearing about it because of advertising. Despite popular belief, there's really not that much difference between news and advertising.

    Anyway, I'm done ranting. Moving on to a more constructive topic: I think advertising services are missing a critical component here. Opera had it right for a while. Way back in version 5, they actually used a .gif based ad instead of Google's text based ads. They had comics rotating through the ads. I found myself glancing up there regularly so I could catch the latest comic. I miss that. In that sense, it was more like TV. The ads became tolerable because I was being rewarded with content. Fair enough. I think some would-be cartoonists could make an interesting living, there. I think this is the right idea. Unfortunately, most sites try to play it as though the content they're providing is enough. Pity, really. Tripping over ads is not the way to keep your userbase. That's what drives people to block the ads. I can certainly understand that. Heck, even TV isn't immune to this. Lost is very hard to watch without a PVR. Tone it down, dudes.
  • I don't block ads (Score:5, Interesting)

    by esconsult1 (203878) on Monday October 10, 2005 @11:45PM (#13761873) Homepage Journal
    Seriously.

    My eyes gravitate towards whatever article/information I'm reading and completely ignores the peripheral ads. Once in a while, I see something that I like, and if I do, I click on it.

    Many slashdotters think its really kewl to block ads, but ads pay for the sites you are viewing, ads pay for slashdot (not nearly enough of us subscribe to keep this site running).

    On the other hand, we do have the right to block ads, its our computer and bandwidth. But if enough of us do, then most of the sites we know and love will cease to operate. As someone working in the ad-serving and tracking industry, ad blockers (not popup blockers -- popups are evil) are beginning to show up as a serious chunk in the stats. Advertisers and their agencies are now up in arms. Not being able to tell the ROI of an ad, means agencies can't tell if its worth showing or now.

    By us not clicking on the crappy flash ads -- that sends a message. Blocking it does not.

  • by shanen (462549) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @12:31AM (#13762161) Homepage Journal
    Anyway, I haven't read all of the posts (though I spent more time on "insightful" and only saw more evidence of poorly considered moderation), but I didn't see this position expressed, and certainly not clearly, so...

    Actually, I don't actively block the less intrusive ads, but as the advertising techniques used become more aggressive and privacy intrusive, I do respond with increasing vigor. Of course the worst bastards are the jackasses that are trying to infest my computer with browser hijackers and various other forms of spyware, but they are only extremists on the same scale. Therefore I say the fundamental problem is the "free lunch" mentality created by "free" radio broadcasts. Radio broadcasts were not really free, but by having the advertisers sponsor them, the radio stations were able to build a profitable business model. However, the chickens always come home to roost, and the result of this kind of "free" was ultimately very bad, especially as applied to television, and now as it is invading the commercial Internet.

    The interests of the advertisers are NOT the same as the interests of the public. The advertisers do not want people to be well educated and well informed, because in that terrible case (from their perspective) the best product value (in each product category) would be known, and that product would capture the bulk of the sales. Except for the sellers of the best product, the companies who are paying for the advertising want people to be as easily manipulated as possible, so that they can twist as many of them as possible into buying not-so-valuable products. Actually, from the perspective of the "purest" advertisers, selling nothing at the highest price possible is the ultimate goal.

    In conclusion, take a close look at Dubya to see what they can sell. Your children and grandchildren (and more) will be paying for that "sale" for a long time.

  • by sremick (91371) on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @01:14AM (#13762404)
    I block ads because advertising doesn't fit the sort of consumer I am. While I understand the desire for companies to advertise (and the desire for sites to provide free content in return for advertising), that only works for consumers who are sensitive to advertising. I am not like that, however. I am a different sort of consumer. I am the knowledge-empowered, researching sort of consumer. Not only will advertising not get you any points with me, but will probably work against you.

    When I'm online reading stuff on a web page, I'm not in a frame of mind to be advertised to. I'm working on something else, thank you very much. Interrupt me and it's not much different than a salesman calling me while I'm trying to eat dinner or enjoy a good book. If I'm ready to purchase something, I will then do research and find reviews sites, discussion forums, and other such stuff. I could care less what the manufacturer says about its own products. Half of it tends to be lies anyway. So advertising gets a company absolutely nowhere with me. If you have a product worth buying, it's going to have to stand on its own due to its merits, and not because you spent $X million advertising it. Some of my best products I've ever purchased are well-known only to enthusiasts in the field, and usually never advertise. Because they don't need to.

    Not every consumer is like me. So granted there is a market for advertising. I am not that market, however. So why should I waste my screen real-estate and bandwidth for material which will never obtain its desired purpose with me?

    I use AdBlock with Firefox and block EVERYTHING with a ruthless passion.

    However I don't deny the success of advertising and I do use it a tiny bit myself. Other consumers are passive and depend on advertising to proactively notify them about products, vs themselves doing the work.
  • Where do I start? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oneandoneis2 (777721) * on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @04:24AM (#13763068) Homepage

    why do you block ads?

    Well:

    • Most ads are for US products, and I'm in England.
    • Most ads, popups in particular but plenty others too, are incredibly annoying. Advertisers seem to have lost their minds when it comes to the Internet - they throw good sense out of the window and aim for the most obtrusive, annoying adverts they can think of. Flashing colours, animation, NOISE, or just obscuring the parts of the page I actually want to look at. Less annoying ads, such as Google's, I don't block - I even click on google ads occasionally, because they have a high chance of being something I'm actually interested in.
    • Every website I regularly use that offers the option, I'm a paying subscriber of - such as slashdot - or a supporter of indirectly - such as Dilbert.com, which I Adblock with a clear conscience since I own every Dilbert comic strip ever published in a book.
    • I don't buy ANYTHING on the strength of an advert. Advertisers lie. Before I cough up cash, I look for feedback from consumers.
    • Many years ago, before Adblocker appeared on the scene, I made a resolution never to click on any advert that used annoying tactics like pretending to be a system message, flashing colors, whatever. So if I'm not going to click on it, why waste my and the advertisers bandwidth looking at it?
    • Slashdot often links to sites that have posted sensational lies in order to get lots of people visiting their page & giving them a boost in advertising. Blocking the ads on their site means sites I specifically DON'T support don't get money from peddling their tripe.

    And with what?

    Firefox's adblocker, the AdBlock extension, and a list of the worst advertising offenders in a "block stuff from these" file.

    Do you view internet ads as different from say, TV ads?

    • Yes: I hardly ever watch TV, and when I do, I almost entirely watch the BBC - which has no ads.
    • More to the point, TV ads don't use up my paid-for bandwidth, and are kept rigidly separate from the programmes: You don't get banner ads plastered across the top of the screen in climactic moments of the TV show, but you frequently encounter them on web pages.
    • Lastly, TV ads aren't specifically created to be annoying and hard to get rid of. They're generally quite entertaining. Many TV ads have made me laugh, for example. No internet advert ever has.

    What about in a magazine? Do you not buy a magazine because it has too many?

    Don't buy magazines very often. . . But when I do, I'm happy for them to have ads. They don't have "peel off this ad to view the actual content" ads stuck all over the pages, or ads with flashing lights or so-called humerous noises. They have well-designed, undemanding ads that are relevant to the rest of the content.

    It all really boils down to: Most internet ads seem to have been designed for no other purpose than wasting my time and pissing me off. So I block those ads. If that makes life hard for a website I use, then they should either: Offer a "pay for ad-free pages" like Slashdot does; or find advertisers who aren't determined to push ads that will alienate the very users the site depends upon.

  • bill hicks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jbridge21 (90597) <jeffrey+slashdotNO@SPAMfirehead.org> on Tuesday October 11, 2005 @11:11AM (#13765036) Journal
    "By the way if anyone here is in advertising or marketing... kill yourself. No, no, no it's just a little thought. I'm just trying to plant seeds. Maybe one day, they'll take root - I don't know. You try, you do what you can. Kill yourself. Seriously though, if you are, do. Aaah, no really, there's no rationalisation for what you do and you are Satan's little helpers, Okay - kill yourself - seriously. You are the ruiner of all things good, seriously. No this is not a joke, you're going, "there's going to be a joke coming," there's no fucking joke coming. You are Satan's spawn filling the world with bile and garbage. You are fucked and you are fucking us. Kill yourself. It's the only way to save your fucking soul, kill yourself. Planting seeds. I know all the marketing people are going, "he's doing a joke... there's no joke here whatsoever. Suck a tail-pipe, fucking hang yourself, borrow a gun from a friend - I don't care how you do it. Rid the world of your evil fucking machinations. I know what all the marketing people are thinking right now too, "Oh, you know what Bill's doing, he's going for that anti-marketing dollar. That's a good market, he's very smart." Oh man, I am not doing that. You fucking evil scumbags! "Ooh, you know what Bill's doing now, he's going for the righteous indignation dollar. That's a big dollar. A lot of people are feeling that indignation. We've done research - huge market. He's doing a good thing." Godammit, I'm not doing that, you scum-bags!
    Quit putting a godamm dollar sign on every fucking thing on this planet!
    "Ooh, the anger dollar. Huge. Huge in times of recession. Giant market, Bill's very bright to do that." God, I'm just caught in a fucking web! "Ooh the trapped dollar, big dollar, huge dollar. Good market - look at our research. We see that many people feel trapped. If we play to that and then separate them into the trapped dollar..." How do you live like that? And I bet you sleep like fucking babies at night, don't you?"

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten

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