Online ad-blocking attacked

Online ad-blocking attacked

Summary: An Internet advertising firm's privacy chief has claimed that tools that allow surfers to avoid adverts could break the Internet's free content model

TOPICS: Networking

The end of free Internet content will come when Web browsers start blocking online advertisements by default, a DoubleClick executive has warned.

Bennie Smith, the online advertising network's privacy chief, said the popularity of tools like Adblock -- an extension to the Mozilla Firefox browser -- which makes blocking online ads simple was tied to "a negative vibe against advertising in general".

However, only the online arena is able to easily produce and widely distribute such tools, he added.

He said if a similar tool could be produced for newspapers, it would not be accepted by consumers.

"You'd go to your local corner shop and buy the daily paper, and you'd have these large holes where the ads were.

"You'd somehow feel like your 25 cents had not gotten full value," he said.

Part of the Internet's value proposition lies in the provision of large amounts of free content. "But that content is not without cost. And that cost is my eyeballs seeing an ad on a page. Or within an email, or next to my search results, or however it's going to come," Smith explained.

If any browser manufacturer considered implementing an ad-blocking feature as a default option, Smith said they should consider their own position as a marketer [of their own products] and a publisher of content.

"They would be harming their own customer relationships to create a short-term, short-sighted, limited-effectiveness tool," he said. "One that they would probably end up having to withdraw from the market."

If enough people started blocking ads, Smith warned that publishers would start charging for content.

"In an offline world, what would happen in that case is that the 25c newspaper would cost $5," he said.

Topic: Networking

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    The Internet is not a medium to harrass people and create nuisance by unwelcomed ads. The privacy of the surfers is usually violated by the tracking cookies that ultimately results in spam mails and unsolicited advertisements. It would not be unreasonble to install ad-blocking mechanisms.

    Now for every service a consumer is required to pay. It may be domain name, web site space, etc. It would be easy to argue that they must also be made free absolutely. Even when these services are provided partially free, some trade-off in the form of ads is there. A person can have a web site but it is accompanied with ads.

    The argument against ad-blocking is not genuine and reasonable and the content provider must have means and options to remove the unnecesary and annoying ads.

    The increase in cost is a misconception especially where the "content providers" are not commercial but for personal purposes.
  • If the advertisers did not seek to prevent us reading that free content by covering it up with adverts, we would have no need to ad-block.
  • As nobody is forcing me to use ad-blocking, which I use, it is quite OK. And if ad-blockin was inpossible then I would never read the ads anyway.
  • I have to access the internet via GPRS through my mobile phone and I get charged by the amount of data I download.

    Therefore, I greatly resent the idea of having to pay to receive adverts that mean nothing to me and also increase the (already extensive) download time.

    Especially now that a majority of online advertising seems to be in the rather weighty SWF format.
  • I don't mind ads -- as long as they are not OBNOXIOUS ads. I don't need ads flashing away or buzzing in my ear. Neither do I need ads that come sliding across or popping up over what I am trying to read.

    The ad industry needs to clean up their act.
  • Internet ads cost the reader a lot in paying for the number of bytes. Typically 5KB of text becomes 150 or 200KB with ads added.

    This is a heavy load for dialup users.
  • Jon is right.
    I personally also don't mind ads if they are not flashing, floating over the text I'm reading.
    If ads on the internet would behave the same as ads in a newspaper then nobody would mind them I think, but the way that they make noice, float over text, blink/flash annoyingly, introduce spyware and thus spam that's what is turning people to adblock.
    Also by using adblock there is more text visible on a screen than with ads.
  • " the 25c newspaper would cost $5," - but in a 25c newspaper, the ads do not pop up in front of the columns, flash, move, try to hijack my eyeballs, make the newspaper ten times as heavy, track what other newspapers I read or, frankly, annoy the hell out of me. Ads that don't do that, I don't mind. I don't mind Googles ads, for instance - as they aren't offensive or intrusive.
  • Internet advertisers can kiiss my ass. I pay for satellite radio so I don't have to hear ads. I watch shows on my Sonic Blue DVR because it reads the subcodes in the vertical blanking region and automatically skips recording commercials. And I surf with Firefox and a carefully crafted Adblock database so I don't have to see the annoying ads that trash many webpages.

    I don't need to hear about a cure for femine itch or a chance at a lower interest rate on my mortgage while I'm watching Law and Order: CSI.
  • I agree with the article in the most part - people are free to choose which websites they surf and if the content is good enough then surfers choose to look at that page in the most part free of charge (bar connection charges and bandwidth).

    I don't like ads which cover text and hope that site owners realise that they are annoying their users, but I accept that in some case a site cannot run without revenue from advertising.

    Can I just comment to Heywood Jablowme by saying that your favourite TV show 'Law and Order' wouldn't be made without the ads - it's where the money comes from, so if everyone blocked them there would be no point in making the show - or for that matter this website...
  • I don't mind the sidebar or banner ads like you get in newspapers etc. but as others have said, it the ad covers the article, the advertisers should expect to find themselves very quickly excluded from the equation.

    I block pictures and cookies which don't come from the originating site I am looking at, more than that I don't block at the moment, but as the pop-over ads become more common I might take actions against advertising in general...

    As somebody else said, advertisers need to look at their own methods and how intrusive they are becoming, the advertising industry is slowly commiting suicide in the Internet with their current trends of blocking out the site contents...
  • Advertising is beyond the point of ridiculous these days. You are not able to escape sights and sounds, sometimes subtle, sometimes in your face. If I had the time to cut holes in my newspaper to filter out the ads, if there were a way I would. I would be in favor of pushing all the ads to one section. People do in fact buy newspapers for the ads. Why is the Sunday paper bought more than weekday edition? - ADS. people love to shop and buy things -- and they will -- but I don't see how it is ANY right of an advertiser to tell me how I can filter content that I choose to view. I pay high enough rates for cable tv and high speed internet -- I don't think I should have to suffer through so much garbage -- and that is EXACTLY why I don't feel bad using ADBLOCK and the mute button on the remote (too cheap to get a DVR) and have to agree with many of the previous comments
  • Ah, it's the usual cry from businesses which wish to derive revenue from every single click the public makes online. This scare talk of the 'end of the free-content model' deliberately overlooks the fact that the content of the Web has grown less and less 'free' with each passing year, thanks precisely to the efforts of people just like the one quoted in this article. It is important for all of us to remember that corporations don't have a God-given right to own the content of the Web and all of its concomitant transactional/informational value. The vast bulk of content on the Web is still created by the public, and of this, the majority remains free. Online marketers and admen would have us believe that the only 'valuable' content is that which is created and maintained by the companies they represent, which is risible in just how much of a bald misrepresentation it is. And as for this talk of a 25c newspaper costing $5... what a joke, considering that since the dawn of business on the Web many people have been advising companies to consider micropayment schemes by which they could maintain revenue whilst not charging consumers a disproportionate fee for information which is being distributed to a potentially much-larger audience. Advice which corporations have steadfastly ignored.
  • Baloney! My newspaper ads do not 1) steal CPU cycles that I bought for my own use, 2) masquerade as anything but ads, 3) appear unwanted in front of my face when I'm doing something else, 4) install unwanted junk, 5) track my interests and reading habits, or 6) distract me with animation and noise.

    Adblockers are a tool against a sleazy, gaudy parasite on the Internet. I sometimes respond to banner ads; I never respond the kind of crap adblockers block. The Internet will continue to be free and will be much more enjoyable when these sleazeballs go out of business.
  • I watch DVDs rather than TV to avoid the adverts.
    I read news papers and sometimes even look at the adverts
    I have an ad blocker on my proxy so I don't have to put up with noisy, bouncing, jiggling, content disrupting crap.

    Notice the difference... the one medium where the content is not broken up or de-valued by the adverts... I'm happy to live with them and often react to them.

    The two mediums where they are showing less and less respect for the actual consumer I take steps to avoid them.

    If DoubleClick actually started thinking like the print agencies and advised their clients on good, non-offensive strategies then perhaps they would not have dug their own graves...