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EC Commission says that detection of ad-blockers is illegal
Thread poster: CafeTran Training (X)

CafeTran Training (X)
Netherlands
Local time: 22:43
Apr 24, 2016

Since many malware is distributed via ads*), running an ad-blocker is a good idea. However, many website owners don't agree. They try to force you to disable your ad-blocker. Now the EC Commission has written that this detection of ad-blockers is illegal: http://tweakers.net/nieuws/110645/detectie-van-adblockers-volgens-europese-commissie-illegaal.html

*) http://m.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/Nuclear-Exploit-Kit-mit-Google-Ads-ausgeliefert-2596908.html


 

Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:43
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
English language reference Apr 24, 2016

There are several reports on this in English. Here is a reference to one of them:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/04/23/anti_ad_blockers_face_legal_challenges/


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:43
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Who pays? Apr 24, 2016

CafeTran Training wrote:
Now the EC Commission has written that this detection of ad-blockers is illegal

This is an interesting one. If it's a site like Amazon where you may actually buy something then being forced not to detect - and object - to ad blockers probably isn't a big deal.

If it's a news or entertainment site, advertising pays the bills that keep the site running, because clearly subscriptions don't work.

With no advertising, how do these sites support themselves?
No income = no site.
No sites = no internet.
Internet implodes.
Civilisation crumbles.
Mankind reverts to pre-industrial state of grace.
Or something.


[Edited at 2016-04-24 09:32 GMT]


 

Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Germany
Local time: 22:43
Member (2016)
English to German
The solution is simple: Move to less intrusive ads Apr 24, 2016

Dan Lucas wrote:

With no advertising, how do these sites support themselves?


Very simple: Make ads that do not annoy people, so nobody feels pushed to use an ad blocker. I have no problems with ads that simply contain text and pictures. But ads that force themselves to the foreground or try to force my attention to them by using animation or sound or overlays or flash trash or younameit, those ads should be blocked until people finally learn.

And I believe that the risk of malware is virtually nonexistent with ads that just contain text and non-animated graphics.

How's that?


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:43
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Not that black and white Apr 24, 2016

Kay-Viktor Stegemann wrote:
Very simple: Make ads that do not annoy people, so nobody feels pushed to use an ad blocker.

Well, this raises several issues in turn. One obvious problem is that there is no standard for an "annoying" ad. I may get irate at much lower levels of intrusiveness than my neighbour. My neighbour on on side might be fine with sound and video. My neighbour on the other side might lose his cool at even the sight of a simple text ad.

The other issue is that ads are intrusive to get your attention. If they're less intrusive, arguably they're getting less attention. If they're getting less attention, why should the advertiser pay as much? Which again means a smaller stream of income for the site.

I guess the fairest solution would be to implement finely grained access control to a site. Those users that don't care about ads and allow all ads to appear would be able to access all content, with restrictions increasingly imposed for people who use ad blockers at different levels. Currently it seems to be all or nothing.

Ultimately there are no free lunches. Somebody has to pay for the design and upkeep of these sites, directly or indirectly. Personally I think that if destinations such as Buzzfeed and Gawker were to collapse from lack of advertising the world would be a better place but others may disagree.

Regards
Dan


 

Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 22:43
English to Russian
+ ...
Dan, you are missing an important point Apr 24, 2016

Dan Lucas wrote:

If it's a news or entertainment site, advertising pays the bills that keep the site running, because clearly subscriptions don't work.

With no advertising, how do these sites support themselves?
No income = no site.


Not quite. Most advertisers pay per click, not per show. In other words, an advert that's displayed but not clicked on usually earns no money for the media carrying it. The vast majority of people installing ad blockers won't click anyway - they are already jaded. I certainly won't - in fact, when I see especially intrusive advertising, I make a mental note not to buy the product advertised no matter what.


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:43
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Can't have one without the other, right? Apr 24, 2016

Anton Konashenok wrote:
Not quite. Most advertisers pay per click, not per show.

This I understand - I hardly ever click on ads either, just as I hardly ever (knowingly) respond to adverts on the TV. But if the ad isn't shown on a site, how can it be clicked on?

In other words, the showing of an ad is a prerequisite for a click, even if only the vast majority of visitors ignore the ads and only a tiny percentage of visitors click on one. If the site can't show something to the advertisers then the money gets pulled.

There's already plenty of concern about the utility of internet ads. This is probably another nail in the coffin.

Dan


 

Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 22:43
English to Russian
+ ...
Exactly my point Apr 24, 2016

In other words, the showing of an ad is a prerequisite for a click, even if only the vast majority of visitors ignore the ads and only a tiny percentage of visitors click on one. If the site can't show something to the advertisers then the money gets pulled.


Sure, but doesn't the presence of an ad blocker in user's browser clearly tell that this particular user doesn't want any ads shown to him?

There's already plenty of concern about the utility of internet ads. This is probably another nail in the coffin.

Apart from that, the click-through ratio of web ads is fairly low anyway. For example, on Facebook and other social networks, 0.05% is considered very good. In other words, 99.95% users are exposed to ads they couldn't care less about. Personally, I'd categorise it together with spam, which we all hate and which is explicitly prohibited in most countries of the world - the difference is only in the delivery protocol, email vs. WWW.

By the way, it's not much better in the real world, we are merely more used to it, but when ads suddenly start to disappear en masse, the landscape becomes much easier on the eyes. The best example I've seen was the St. Petersburg Metro network in Russia - for example, 10 years ago virtually every vertical surface of the stations and rolling stock was plastered with ads, and nowadays it's probably 1/3 of what it used to be. To someone who only comes to the city once a year or two, the contrast is totally striking.


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:43
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
He who doesn't pay the piper doesn't call the tune Apr 24, 2016

Anton Konashenok wrote:
Sure, but doesn't the presence of an ad blocker in user's browser clearly tell that this particular user doesn't want any ads shown to him?

It does, certainly, but if the user's not paying he doesn't get a choice. I guess the working assumption (correct or not) is that there is some effect from exposure to these ads and that once in a while even somebody who doesn't usually click will click...

My feeling is that the internet, barely 20 years old as an industry, is still groping for workable business models that actually make money. Ads may be part of the puzzle, but it's unclear yet what the optimum form is for targeting and delivery.

Dan

[Edited at 2016-04-24 13:53 GMT]


 

Rolf Keller
Germany
Local time: 22:43
English to German
There ain't no such thing as a free lunch Apr 24, 2016

Dan Lucas wrote:

If it's a news or entertainment site, advertising pays the bills that keep the site running, because clearly subscriptions don't work.


Funny enough, the site (heise.de) from which the OP got the info about malicious actions IS such a free news site.


 

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 23:43
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Images are not for clicking Apr 24, 2016

The best ads are those that you don't even notice. To make people click is very crude advertising. When I read my newspaper I can flip over the pages with ads and only those that are in some way interesting or funny get noticed consciously. But surely my subconscious registers a lot of them while turning the page.
In a browser things are different. I don't flip pages but scroll and click, and the space an ad takes most be actively circumvented. That's why we hate them.


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:43
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Understandable but impractical Apr 24, 2016

Heinrich Pesch wrote:
In a browser things are different. I don't flip pages but scroll and click, and the space an ad takes most be actively circumvented. That's why we hate them.

I understand that feeling completely - I run software that blocks ads myself, though more for privacy reasons - but that space on the page does not belong to you or me. It's a space provided by whoever runs the site. If you're paying, fine, insist that ads are withdrawn, but in most cases neither you or I are paying.

As for "the best ads are those that you don't even notice", how does that translate to a business model? "Come and advertise with us! Our users won't even notice your ad and we can't promise anything in return!" Am I the only one who thinks advertisers may not find that an attractive pitch?

It's reasonable and sensible for companies to be told what they cannot do with consumers' private data or browsers.

It's equally reasonable and sensible for consumers to be told what they cannot do with companies' websites if ad blockers make those them unprofitable.

Regards
Dan


 

Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Germany
Local time: 22:43
Member (2016)
English to German
My browser space is mine. Apr 24, 2016

Dan Lucas wrote:
It's equally reasonable and sensible for consumers to be told what they cannot do with companies' websites if ad blockers make those them unprofitable.


Would you also say that I should be not allowed to tear an ad out of a newspaper when this ad annoys me?

As soon as the content is on my browser on my computer, it does not belong to the company any more, it has been openly broadcast to me and I am free to do with it what I want, the same as I am free to zap to another station when commercials come up.

If this constitutes a problem regarding the business model, the business model needs improvement. I am not required to suffer because the business model of anyone consists of annoying me. There are more intelligent ways to make money, first of all to make good products and to intelligently market them, ideally targetting those for whom they are indeed interesting. If only 0.05% of ads are clicked on, this seems to be an enormous waste of nerves and lifespan (and bandwidth) of those who did not. The comparison to spam is very, very appropriate. I as a consumer have every right to use every defense against this sort of spam.

As an example of intelligent marketing, consider crowdfunding concepts like Kickstarter where consumers directly influence the products they want. And if a website needs funding, people can pay for it by membership or models like Flattr. Or they can design smart and witty and interesting advertisements that make people happy and wanting more instead of dumb, annoying and intrusive ads that people are heartily sick of and want to get rid of as quickly as possible.

Concepts like these are the future, not hitting customers with a sledgehammer until they buy.


 

The Misha
Local time: 16:43
Russian to English
+ ...
That makes two of us. At least. Apr 25, 2016

[quote]Anton Konashenok wrote:

Dan Lucas wrote:

... in fact, when I see especially intrusive advertising, I make a mental note not to buy the product advertised no matter what.


If more folks join in, that'll be the end of the buggers.


 

PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:43
English to Polish
+ ...
To ad or not to ad Apr 25, 2016

Generally if a site, any site, tells me to disable adblock, I spit on their foot and never visit the site again. It's like aggressive begging.
There are a few, very few, which work in some way that cause adblock to over-react. I disable adblock for these sites, but as of now I think I have three or four exceptions.


 
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