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Advertising Businesses The Almighty Buck The Internet

In Battle With Ad Blockers, Ad Industry Fesses Up To Alienating Users (iab.com) 398

itwbennett writes: In a post on the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) website Thursday, Scott Cunningham, senior vice president of technology of IAB and general manager of its Tech Lab, issued what amounts to an apology for "[losing] track of the user experience" and called on advertisers "to do better." But it may be a case of too little, too late as "a report (PDF) released in August forecasted that U.S. websites will lose US$21.8 billion in ad revenue this year due to ad blockers," writes Jeremy Kirk.
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In Battle With Ad Blockers, Ad Industry Fesses Up To Alienating Users

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  • by Bovius ( 1243040 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @12:30PM (#50744397)

    Thank goodness you speak for every advertising agency and website operator in the world. I guess we can expect a more balanced approach from here on out.

    • Re:Thanks, Scott! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Ken_g6 ( 775014 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @12:34PM (#50744443) Homepage

      From what I can tell, most website operators are at the mercy of advertising agencies. Basically it's a case of let the advertising agency have their way with the site, or don't get any ad revenue. Or get another advertising agency, but there don't seem to be many of those that pay well.

      • Re:Thanks, Scott! (Score:5, Informative)

        by Lendrick ( 314723 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @12:43PM (#50744531) Homepage Journal

        This is absolutely true, and it's why I don't run ads on my site. No ad agencies that I'm aware of allow you to screen ads in advance, and I'm not prepared to put something on my site if I don't know what it is, particularly since ads are frequently a vector for malware. Also, accepting donations in return for not running ads has been more profitable than running ads ever was.

        • Re:Thanks, Scott! (Score:5, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 16, 2015 @01:33PM (#50745061)

          Try "Project Wonderful" you have the option to screen all ads and all ad modifications.

          Also the other thing you can do is create a media kit (google it) you can deal directly with the advertised and host the ad yourself if you so chose.

        • My solution (Score:4, Interesting)

          by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @06:17PM (#50747003)
          is to stick with Google. I run a few adds to pay for the hosting fees (it's a few hundred a year, yeah, I know I could do better but my host works and I can email their support directly). You'll know when you're site is serving Malware ads, it'll be taken off line by Firefox/Chrome warning your users that your domain is serving up viruses. It happened to the Angry Nintendo Nerd and it happened to Penny Arcade. Both of those guys do their sites full time. Mines a little hobby site for my Firefox plugin to store help docs and beta version of my plugin. I haven't got the time or the inclination to spend getting my site off black lists. So far google's managed to police their Ad network well enough that I haven't had to (knock on wood).
    • Re:Thanks, Scott! (Score:5, Informative)

      by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @12:40PM (#50744503) Journal
      He's from the IAB, which actually is an important organizing group of advertising. They set standards for various protocols, etc.
      So if he's saying it, it's not because users are thinking it; he's saying it because advertisers are thinking it.
      • They do a certain amount of voluntary-standardization(both things like standardizing banner ad sizes and more PR-driven exercises like their "Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising"; but it is worth never forgetting that one of the sections of the 'About us' page is as follows: They do some lightweight standards work; but are mostly just another industry pressure group; for an atypically odious industry. "Through the work of its public policy office in Washington, D.C., the IAB advoca
      • Re:Thanks, Scott! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Gr8Apes ( 679165 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @01:25PM (#50744991)

        So if he's saying it, it's not because users are thinking it; he's saying it because advertisers are thinking it.

        No. He is saying it because they (advertisers) are seeing so much effective pushback that it is having a real affect on their numbers. The arguments against advertisers haven't changed in the last 5 years, the amount of ad-blocking has.

  • by JMJimmy ( 2036122 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @12:34PM (#50744435)

    U.S. websites will lose US$21.8 billion in ad revenue this year due to ad blockers

    Advertisers saved US$21.8 billion by not advertising to unreceptive customers

    • I was going to say, they didn't lose a dime on me. I never click on ads (except by mistake) so they wouldn't get any real ad revenue from me whether I use an ad blocker or not.
      • by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @12:46PM (#50744563) Journal

        They don't expect you to click on ads in every case. They expect you to remember WXY Corp when you're about to buy a widget or service they offer. Which is why they want their ads to be so obnoxious, so you will remember.

        • by grimmjeeper ( 2301232 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @12:56PM (#50744703) Homepage
          Fair point. Though in many cases it backfires when it comes to people like me. If I remember a company because of their obnoxious ads, I'm actually less likely to buy from that company, even if they have a superior product or a lower price. For me, it's a matter of principle.
          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by PRMan ( 959735 )
            Carl's Jr keeps on showing me misogynistic ads. I keep not going there anymore.
            • How are they misogynistic? I'm not disputing it, I just haven't seen a Carl's Jr ad in a long time.

            • Where do you see those? On television? Who still watches that? I think the last time I saw a Carl's Jr. ad was probably at least 10 years ago, back when I still had a TV.

        • For being remembered, just static images and plain text would be enough, but too many advertisements online have scripts, links and other things that make them treacherous.

          (By the way, I talk about links because of that one time I saw an ad that pointed to ashleyrnadison.com in a portal that is quite popular in my country, and that offered no means to report malicious ads.)
        • They expect you to remember WXY Corp when you're about to buy a widget or service they offer.

          And it works! On the rare occasions that I see ads, I definitely remember the company the ad is for. And I avoid buying anything from that company as much as possible.

        • And by them being obnoxious we remember who NOT to buy from. I, like the guy above, have never clicked an ad but i have refused to do business or buy products from many obnoxious advertised products. And yes Ive seen plenty of storys about poor click through also. so ya they cry about everything. whatever happened to that camera/webcam obnoxious ad years ago? Poof gone no longer in business.
          • by TechyImmigrant ( 175943 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @01:24PM (#50744983) Homepage Journal

            And by them being obnoxious we remember who NOT to buy from. I, like the guy above, have never clicked an ad but i have refused to do business or buy products from many obnoxious advertised products. And yes Ive seen plenty of storys about poor click through also. so ya they cry about everything. whatever happened to that camera/webcam obnoxious ad years ago? Poof gone no longer in business.

            I've clicked on ads many times. Not because I wanted to, but because the ad resized during the page load and I was trying to click on something else, but it jumped under my mouse. IBM, take note.. I only clicked on Ken Jennings twice this week on the Slashdot as because it resized after loading. Consequently I harbour negative attitudes towards Ken Jennings, Watson and IBM.

        • They don't expect you to click on ads in every case. They expect you to remember WXY Corp when you're about to buy a widget or service they offer. Which is why they want their ads to be so obnoxious, so you will remember.

          Web ads are not the only ones that work that way. [wikipedia.org]

        • Coke, Charmin, Tide and other major national brands spend billions on TV advertising, putting their logos on race cars, blimps, and all sorts of non-clickable ads.

          Notice I listed major national BRANDS, not major national PRODUCTS. It's all about branding. When you're ready to buy a router, you look and probably see options in three categories:
          Top brands, Cisco and Juniper.
          Brands you've never heard of, like Raytel.
          Brands you recognize but don't know much about.

          Most people will prefer to avoid brands they'

        • iirc radio stations used to (and maybe they still do, I haven't kept up with it) have a guy in charge of advertising. One of his main jobs was vetting the things and making sure obnoxious stuff didn't get through. The problem was that if an ad spot was too annoying, people just flip the station and now you've lost a listener for the rest of the commercial break.

          The fact that the radio stations were allowed to vet ads basically forced the advertisers to walk a line between annoying and something that the
      • by guruevi ( 827432 )

        They get paid by both views and clicks. The ad industry believes that even if you subliminally suggest brands at someone, even by being obnoxious, you will later on remember that brand and choose it. And even if you don't choose it, if it's obnoxious enough, you might talk about it with other people about how obnoxious they are and then those people have been suggested that brand.

      • I was going to say, they didn't lose a dime on me. I never click on ads (except by mistake) so they wouldn't get any real ad revenue from me whether I use an ad blocker or not.

        The statistics on ad click through suggests that the vast majority of the time its accidental.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by cfalcon ( 779563 )

      Advertisements work on you. Unless you aren't human, or are a retard or something. If your brain functions, ads work on you.


      Wanna argue? You personally never X or Y? Bullshit. Not only would you be very likely to lie to yourself about that, you don't have an objective observer to verify. And lets be real- they wouldn't spend billions advertising if the effects weren't both real and immediate. It's a massive industry for a reason.

      May as well claim cars don't work because you didn't drive one th

      • by Rix ( 54095 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @12:48PM (#50744597)

        “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” - Upton Sinclair

        People give churches billions of dollars a year, too. That doesn't mean prayer works.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much - Jas. 5:16b

          God's promises are conditional. If you haven't had your prayers answered, look to yourself first. If you're sure you are upstanding, then examine what you are asking for.

          Jas 4:1-3 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and rec

          • by david_thornley ( 598059 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @03:48PM (#50746189)

            So, if I pray for something and don't get it, it's my fault, either because I'm not a sufficiently good human being, or because there's something wrong with what I prayed for? You do realize that that is precisely the sort of thing someone would say when they strongly believed in something that didn't work, don't you? And that this attitude can hurt people?

            When religious people talk about religion in ways that can't be tested by objective observations, they might be telling the truth. When they say that religion provides certain objectively verifiable benefits, they're on scientific ground. When they then cover up their lack of success with blaming the unlucky for their bad luck, it sounds like said religious person is rationalizing like crazy.

        • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

          > People give churches billions of dollars a year, too. That doesn't mean prayer works.

          Lets go over how wrong you are.

          Level 1 - "The False Equivalence" - A church is an organization that may or may not be headed by people. We'll assume it is. The people in charge of the church would be the equivalent of the people in charge of a company that purchases ads. The people in charge of a church aren't buying anything, but the people in charge of Hoozle Brand Mooshledooshles sure are. This is a false equiva

      • "Advertisements work on you. Unless you aren't human"

        See my nickname :-D
    • by pesho ( 843750 )
      Advertisers saved US$21.8 billion by not alienating their customers.

      There, fixed that for you. And the adblockers have the right to claim 10% on these savings, so according to my calculations advertisers owe 2.18 billion to Eyeo and the likes.

    • ... and mobile users saved a multiple of that amount in reduced bandwidth costs [nytimes.com].
    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by The-Ixian ( 168184 )

      Yeah. I absolutely hate when people say this stuff.

      I mean, how can you "lose" something before you ever had it?

      You are predicting the future and then saying its a loss when it doesn't come true...

      I mean, if I went around saying that I lost a billion dollars that I never had in the first place, people would think I was insane.

    • by Technician ( 215283 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @01:23PM (#50744971)

      Targeted ads have mostly missed the mark by a mile.

      I tell advertisers to be present when I search for your product and be competitive. Flooding me with ads for a product just after I have made my purchase is futile. How many cases of toner do they think I want to buy after I bought a year's supply?

      Your best advertising is by having an easy to navigate website with real content. If I am troubleshooting a laptop and need to find the hidden latch holding the keyboard in, brands that bury the info are not brands I would buy for myself.

      When selecting lighting equipment for my church, I only bought equipment with operator and programming info readily available so we could see how it would be useful.

      When selecting an ocilioscope, searching for minimum requirements often reveals additional features that used to cost lots of dollars for the propritory value added software. I am done with batteries not included features. Only products with fully functioning features are ever considered. Been down that road before. Bought a scope with a communications module. The software to simply transfer the screen shot to the PC was bundled in a mathlab type application for 1/2 the price of the scope as an option. That is a super fast way to loose sales. If a scope has a communications module, it should work without additonal purchase for basic functions such as a screen capture.

      Too little info is often the reason for lost sales. Cripple ware hardware is useless.

      Be clear in your sepecs. My old inkjet died and needed a replacement. Carts were specified for about 700 pages at 10% page coverage.
      The salesman wanted to upgrade me to the printer that would do 900 pages per cart. Checked online. Cart was almost double the cost and the 900 pages was at 5% page coverage. In short the ink was almost 4X the cost. Salesman didn't bother to tell me the apples and oranges in page coverage. He probably didn't know. I did inform him and got another brand.

      Consumers have noticed the cost of operation of many items such as Ink Jet printers and have opted for lower TCO options such as Laser printers instead, or using the cell phone and not printing at all. If you go though an $80 set of cartridges a month, it is very much noitced and use is evaluated.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Sssshhhhh! You'll wake the marketing people! The last thing that they want to hear is the truth: 99.9% of advertising is ignored - both on the Internet as well as on TV, billboards, movie placements, etc. It gives the marketing people a chance to say "Look! I did something! See! There is my brand name!". But seriously, does anyone pay attention to them?

      On TV these days everyone uses a DVR or similar device and skips over the ads (hence not even seeing them at all).
      On Web Browsers, the ads are either i

  • by grahamsz ( 150076 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @12:35PM (#50744449) Homepage Journal

    Talk about missing the root cause. Ad blockers are only used because publishers have gone so ridiculously over the top in creating annoying, high bandwidth, high cpu-usage ads.

    • by jcadam ( 964044 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @12:41PM (#50744517) Homepage
      This. I only recently started using ad blockers. I truly didn't mind a reasonable amount of non-obtrusive advertising, but the recent trend toward throwing 42 javascript-heavy ads in your face on each page load and freezing your browser for 30 seconds (or crashing it), turned me into a uBlock user. I'm not going back.
    • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @12:42PM (#50744527)
      In conversations that I've had with marketing people, they insisted that consumers want to see advertisements, if those advertisements are relevant. They showed me surveys where consumers were asked if they would want to see ads on web pages, provided those ads weren't intrusive and had relevant content. The results were more in the "yes" category than not.

      How the ad industry got from the results of those surveys to disaster they are doing on web pages is a mystery to me.

      • Any professional salesperson knows people inherently want to please others, so they are more willing to say 'yes,' than 'no.' It is well-known that among experimental subjects, there is a strong will to please the experimenter (see milgram, etc.) so it is unsurprising that the results show an absurdist tilt.

        It's like walking up to a stranger and asking, "do you like my hair this way?" Of course, most people will say, "yes."

      • by PRMan ( 959735 )
        I don't mind relevant ads if they are low-key and don't take over the browser experience. If you get in my way and block me I will make a note and give you a one-year ban.
    • I hate it when I use a web browser that doesn't have an ad blocker installed. I don't know how people put up with it. Browsing the web without ad blocking is a miserable experience.

      • by PRMan ( 959735 )
        I've switched to Privacy Badger. It blocks the most obnoxious and dangerous ads, while leaving some of the low key less obnoxious ones. And it's automated and improving every day. I really like it.
    • And on top of that, because their ad networks introduced massive security holes that malware/crime gangs regularly take advantage of.
    • by Andy Dodd ( 701 )

      A few months ago, AdBlock Plus started getting into a state where there was no blocklist loaded on one machine I use. (Something about my configuration was preventing it from upating, and the old version was having issues with newer browser version I think...)

      Did I notice the problem because I started seeing ads all over the place?

      Nope. I noticed it because I was wondering why my machine was suddenly crawling to a halt.

    • Actually I think he has hit the root cause. The best adverts are the ones that benefit the user. Take Amazon's reviews. They are often quite useful because they are largely uncensored and written by buyers. I often end up buying stuff from Amazon instead of eBay, even if it is a few quid more, because it has user reviews.

      Advertisers are starting to realize this. Rather than the traditional paid reviews (be it money or freebies or after-event parties or whatever) they see that consumers value really independent reviewers who will call a product crap if it is.

      • by PRMan ( 959735 )
        Also, Amazon's return policy is terrific. eBay's is non-existent if the seller is a lying scumbag.
        • eBay's is non-existent if the seller is a lying scumbag.

          I used to make my living selling on eBay. Doesn't matter if the seller is a liar or not, you can pretty much return anything if you just utter the magic words "Not As Described". Unless they have changed thing dramatically it doesn't really matter if the seller doesn't accept returns or not. You just tell eBay it was "Not As Described" and they'll almost certainly authorize a refund if you ship it back. My little company got screwed by a number of shady buyers despite us have a no-returns-ever policy.


  • Bullshit ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @12:36PM (#50744453) Homepage

    a report (PDF) released in August forecasted that U.S. websites will lose US$21.8 billion in ad revenue this year due to ad blockers

    Not making the ridiculously over-inflated revenue you feel entitled to, and which is based on bullshit assumptions is not "losing revenue".

    Acting like you deserved or earned that money in any way shape or form is your damned problem. Having reality bit you in the ass is also your damned problem.

    Sorry, but pulling a number out of your ass and saying you feel entitled to $21 billion dollars has nothing at all to do with reality. Get a real business model and earn your money, don't just decree that you being a parasite embedded on a web page entitles you to a damned thing.

    Digital advertising became the foundation of an economic engine that, still now, sustains the free and democratic World Wide Web.

    No, no it didn't. A bunch of sleazy assholes selling ads is nothing of the sort.

    • by pr0t0 ( 216378 )

      Amen brother Stoddart! Regrettably no mod points to give.

      I'd also like to add that this is also one of several reasons why I no longer watch television in favor of ad-free video models. I'm old enough to remember when there was only about 7-10 minutes of advertising per 1 hour of content, and commercials only happened at the top, bottom, and mid-point of the program. That's now about 18 minutes or more throughout the program.

    • Re:Bullshit ... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @12:53PM (#50744665)

      The cherry on top of this shitcake is that nothing would be lost if they didn't first of all drive people into blocking their ads.

      I mean, let's be honest here. Yes, there have always been the ones that block "on principle". But they were very few and far between. They didn't matter anyway, being the "oh I don't get influenced by ads" crowd anyway, they didn't click them. No loss there.

      Where they are now losing is with the masses. The Joe Randomsurfers that have now begun to use ad blocking. And there is NOBODY to blame, NOBODY at all, but the advertisers themselves.

      Anyone who has ever done any computer work for Mr. Joe R. knows one thing: They put up with a lot. And I mean a DAMN LOT. Usually, when you get called with a description like "Yeah, well, my computer's kinda getting slow and acting funny, could you take a look?" you can't even SEE the damn browser window underneath all those "helper" bars anymore, and starting the computer takes ages because you have to click away like a billion "please buy our software" windows. Yes, they put up with ALL of this.

      Can you even remotely imagine just HOW much you, dear advertisers, had to piss them off to even consider thinking about finding out whether it is maybe possible to get rid of the ads? Do you have a faint idea just how obnoxious you must have been for them to, you know, DO something with their computer?

      And that ship has sailed. You got them to do something, and just like they put up with a lot of crap before they went and installed blocker software, they will put up with a lot of inconvenience and "sorry, this page is not available if you block our ads" before removing it again.

      • Re:Bullshit ... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @01:02PM (#50744757) Homepage

        Exactly. I remember when Google first came out with their ads and they seemed innovative because they were simple text ads. At the time, the "common knowledge" was that you needed blinking Flash ads that played sound, triggered full screen video if the mouse cursor went anywhere near the ad, and spawed a dozen pop-up ads. Anything less and users would ignore the ads. And, of course, as users tuned out your garish ads (even without using ad blockers), you needed to go even more garish to force them to pay attention.

        The advertisers dug themselves into this hole with the types of ads they tried pushing on users and now they're acting surprised that users view ads in a negative manner and try to block them.

  • by hsmith ( 818216 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @12:37PM (#50744467)
    Users: hey can you give us less intrusive and annoying ads
    Advertisers: fuck you here is your ad

    advertisers: hey please don't block our ads thanks
    Users: fuck you
    • +1 Funny
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Exactly! Advertising on the internet has become self defeating.
      Advertisers: Too many people are ignoring our ads...make them more visible and harder to ignore!

      Users: These ads are a pain and are giving me a headache! Time to start blocking them!

      Advertisers: They are blocking our ads! They can't do that!

      Users: Its my computer, I pay for the bandwidth that your ads were wasting so GO TAKE A FLYING FUCK AT A ROLLING DOUGHNUT!

  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @12:38PM (#50744473) Journal
    The biggest problem with ads is malware. The article suggested a plan to avoid malware: encrypt the connection.

    I don't see how that will fix any problem related to malware......the problem is that malicious people are allowed to buy ads. That is the problem they need to fix.
    • by Fire_Wraith ( 1460385 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @12:52PM (#50744653)
      The problem is that they don't want to do anything substantial to vet the people buying the ads. All they care about is the money.

      It seems to me like there needs to be some sort of significant penalty for any ad network found to have let something malicious slip through, otherwise they have very little incentive to clean their act up. They'll just go "oops, well, we won't sell ad space to CyberMafiaMan2000@gmail anymore", and turn right around and sell it to CyberMafiaMan2001@gmail instead.
    • How do you propose to solve that problem? It's akin to a server not wanting to accept a connection from anyone that would hack it, but that's not something that can be known with 100% accuracy.

      You'd have to employ someone to look at any of the content they intend to serve (and hope that don't just change it later) and manually inspect it for nefarious code, which isn't always possible to detect if it's obfuscated sufficiently well or exploits a previously unknown attack vector. That's already more work t
      • How do you propose to solve that problem [of malware in ads]?

        There are a couple ways:
        1) Screen people who want to buy ads. Right now it's easy to do with no human interaction.
        2) Text-only content (still have to worry about xss and validation mistakes, but that's a more tractable problem).

      • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @01:40PM (#50745131) Homepage

        How do you propose to solve that problem? It's akin to a server not wanting to accept a connection from anyone that would hack it, but that's not something that can be known with 100% accuracy.

        Hold sites and ad networks accountable for the shit they serve. If they're serving malware, penalize them.

        You'd have to employ someone to look at any of the content they intend to serve

        Yes, exactly.

        That's already more work than anyone is willing to put up with just to serve some ads, so no one will bother doing it.

        Then we have no choice but to conclude they're a bunch of greedy, self-serving bastards who don't give a damn about our security, privcy, or the perception they're part of the problem.

        Which is what we've done, and why we run ad-blockers.

        Are you suggesting we should be giving the benefit of the doubt or saying they didn't meant to do it and it isn't their fault if sleazy players delivered malware? Why the hell would we do that?

        Sorry, I'm sticking with the conclusion I've already made: I simply refuse to trust the integrity or security of an ad network, and I owe them no obligation to do otherwise, and I don't give a crap about their business model or revenue stream.

        If the ad companies won't take responsibility, then they cannot be trusted even a little. And that becomes their own damned problem.

    • by g01d4 ( 888748 )
      Malvertising [wikipedia.org] is only part of the bigger problem of remote ad servers. As has been stated here before, why should users not only expose themselves but also deal with the overhead to access remote 3rd party servers which the site they're visiting has no control over.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 16, 2015 @12:38PM (#50744475)

    Oh, wait. No, I won't. Because it is indeed too late. I could, and did, put up with advertisements when they didn't take too much bandwidth and weren't too offensive. That time ended years ago. I now adblock on every device / every browser, and install those features for all my clients as a default. I'll never go back. You screwed yourselves and have nobody else to blame.

  • Wrong! (Score:5, Informative)

    by MagickalMyst ( 1003128 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @12:42PM (#50744519)
    "U.S. websites will lose US$21.8 billion in ad revenue this year due to ad blockers"

    No, U.S. websites won't make an additional $21.8 billion in ad revenue due to ad blockers.

    You can't lose what you don't already have. This sounds like entertainment industry economics.
    • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

      "U.S. websites won't be able to injure people to the tune of 22 billion dollars, due to the fact that people own their own machines that they paid for themselves, maintain themselves, and house in their own homes, with their own dollars."

      Great news.

    • It's the same logic that gives us headlines like "Some tech company [usually Apple] misses projections in earnings call". No, they didn't miss a damn thing. If a projection fails to match what actually ends up happening, that's the fault of the projection.

    • That's just what it sounded like to me too. Years back, the music industry was posting record profits. Year after year, they were making more and more money. Then, one year, their profits slipped a bit. Suddenly, they were declaring that "piracy" cost them $X (where $X was the difference between what they made and some value larger than their previous year's record). The concept of the market naturally shrinking seemed foreign to them. It just HAD to be piracy!

  • by Dr. Crash ( 237179 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @12:42PM (#50744529)

    The unfortunate truth is that once someone experiences the speed and cleanliness of adblocking, they simply won't go back. Not ever.

    And, as explained in a previous post, the second thing they do is show their friends. And their relatives. And their social contacts.

    And so it expands, like neutrons in a nuclear warhead; the chain-reaction gain is greater than 1 and the constraint of business models
    ("we don't take your word for the claim that the ad was shown") will either have to break down, or the whole business is "game over".

    My advice to webvertizers: update your resume and find another line of work.

    • The unfortunate truth is that once someone experiences the speed and cleanliness of adblocking, they simply won't go back. Not ever.

      Once you go block, you never go back.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @12:45PM (#50744555)

    Yes, we really do. Thank you.

    Huh? No, we're not going to deactivate our adblockers. What does one have to do with the other?

    Seriously, the whole thing smacks of someone who tried to dick over his business partner, simply because he was used to getting away with it. Then, noticing that he cannot this time, tried to use more invasive, brutal action against him and finally, noticing that even that doesn't work this time, resorts to whining and begging.

    I'm fully expecting getting sued next.

  • Nope, they haven't "lost" anything. This is just like the bullshit "loss" numbers claimed due to so-called digital piracy. It wasn't guaranteed revenue even without the existence of ad-blocking software. Our brains are perfectly capable of "blocking" ads without software augmentation. Ad-blocking software is just a convenience for what our brains were already doing with a bit more effort. Like math.

  • "...U.S. websites will lose US$21.8 billion in ad revenue this year due to ad blockers..."

    It's funny how there's no way I could care less about this.

  • by allquixotic ( 1659805 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @12:54PM (#50744679)

    The ad industry really sucks at their job (especially Internet ads). Their job is to make consumers LIKE them, to WANT to watch the ads and buy their products, but they end up having the opposite effect.

    Imagine if you are a software developer, and instead of writing new code, you find yourself regularly deleting code that others wrote on your team (and all available backups), forcing them to re-do their work. If you were this bad at your job, would you expect to make any money?

    The ad industry is faced with several huge problems:

    1. Ads take up too much bandwidth. They need to use more efficient content formats (yes, even if that means IE6 users can't see the ads), compress ads (yes, even very lossy compression) to reduce their size, and improve caching behavior, so they have absolutely minimal performance impact.

    2. Companies that produce ads or aggregate ads from disparate sources do a very piss-poor job of vetting ads to make sure there is no malicious code in the ad. Hijacking links, CSRF, drive-by downloads, ad chaining from one site to another, opening more ads upon closing existing ones, and links to explicit content are very common. These are malware behaviors, people. Advertisements intended for paying customers should be much more respectful of the consumer's personal space and *not* make every possible attempt to invade their system and prevent them from closing the ads.

    3. Most ads that we view are not relevant to us. We would never buy whatever is being sold, either because we know it's trash, or we're simply not in the market for that type of product (selling women's dresses to single guys, gaming mice to grannies, etc.)

    4. User trust in the ad system as a whole is at an all-time low, mostly due to the past effects of attempted identity theft, personal information exfiltration and malware installation attempts of a large proportion of the ad networks.

    These factors mean that users are left with two alternatives: either don't visit websites that display ads, or use an ad blocker.

    If the ad industry can't come together as a cohesive whole and actively seek to eliminate these bad actors within their industry, their negative influence is going to continue to drive users to block ads, even if a significant portion of the ad industry completely cleans up their act.

    At this point, the only ads I can tolerate are Youtube ads which can be skipped after 5 seconds. Not only are they sometimes relevant, but they're much more pleasant to watch than most of the annoying popups out there, and they come and go very fast if I'm not interested (5 seconds is a rounding error since the video might take that long to buffer anyway). Not only that, but they are also rendered using the same efficient codecs that Youtube uses. I've even stopped to watch one or two full ads.

    Imagine if 95% of car mechanics at car dealerships deliberately tried to screw you by saying things are broken that aren't (deliberate lying, not accidental misdiagnosis). How many people would trust mechanics vs. trying to fix it themselves or asking for a trusted friend's help? Most people would not be willing to bring their car into the dealer in this case. In reality there's still a significant percentage of bad apples out there, but I think it's much lower than 95%. Unfortunately, in the ad industry, the percentage of bad apples is very, very high, and the percentage of people trying to do the right thing is very, very low.

  • There was no ad blocker for broadcast TV way back when. Ads were stupid and annoying and became universally hated, and the audience gradually learned to walk away from the TV during the commercials. A few brighter lights among the ad community realized that to cut through the wall of hatred, they would have to create entertaining ads. Those who succeeded actually got people to look forward to their ads.

    The internet ad community has been too lazy to notice that they could do better. Their ads need to be

  • by JohnFen ( 1641097 ) on Friday October 16, 2015 @01:06PM (#50744809)

    I am a bit surprised that anyone in the online ad industry recognizes that they act like scumbags, but this is too little, too late. They've already burnt their bridges with me.

    Also, I notice that not a single mention was made of doing something about the primary reason I block ads: the spying. Which makes me believe that regardless of their crocodile tears now, they fully intend on continuing with what I consider to be their most objectionable practice.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 16, 2015 @01:11PM (#50744851)

    That scummy platform is the bane of my browsing experience and the worst culprit when it comes to saturating pages in flash heavy bullshit. Enjoy this article from 2013 from suits singing the praises of how much they're going to eyefuck everyone: http://www.businessinsider.com/rtb-or-real-time-bidding-is-the-future-2013-9

    Here's an overview of why RTB or real-time bidding could make the difference in mobile, digital advertising's new frontier:

    It could help solve the CPM problem: The glut of ad inventory as global audiences rush into mobile has dragged on mobile display ad CPMs (CPMs refers to the cost per thousand impressions). That means publishers can't monetize their mobile audiences effectively via ads. Advocates of programmatic — or automated buying and selling — say it can deliver the scale and efficiency needed to effectively match buyers and sellers and boost CPMs.

    - Leveraging location data via real-time bidding (RTB): RTB is a style of programmatic buying in which digital advertising opportunities are auctioned off in real-time. The auctions take place in milliseconds as advertisers bid on the right to show you an ad immediately after you open an app or click to a new web page.

    - On mobile, RTB could be extremely powerful because consumers take their devices everywhere — to the mall, the car dealership, Starbucks, etc. "You have a source of media that's with someone constantly," says Jamie Singer, director of client services at Everyscreen Media, a platform for mobile RTB that was recently acquired by Media6Degrees. "You're working in real-time, and getting information based on location."

    - Helping to reach the holy grail of mobile advertising — controls and efficiencies: Believers in RTB and programmatic for mobile say they are making giant strides in perfecting their technologies, so they'll have the ability to leverage consumer data on mobile and track users as they do on PCs (while still being sensitive to privacy concerns). That will include location, contextual, and demographic data layered on top of real-time ad requests.

    - Some publishers already achieve higher CPMs with RTB than they do with traditional ad networks: As a result, RTB is seeing wider adoption across the mobile ad ecosystem, and positive momentum on both sides of the equation. The sell-side is providing more premium inventory, and larger publishers. And the buy-side is seeing more demand for RTB from advertisers and agencies. Of course, RTB and programmatic are contributing to hyper-efficient markets where ad prices tend to be low. The key is for RTB to bring scale to premium mobile ad marketplaces, bring in scale-focused brands, and lift all boats that way.


  • It took the mainstream acceptance of ad blockers before ad firms finally realized what was already obvious to everyone whose career is not tied to selling ads. Talk about needing to have a house fall on you before getting the point.
  • by gmiller123456 ( 240000 ) on Monday October 19, 2015 @12:07PM (#50758913) Homepage

    Back when I rand ads on my website, the click through rate was horribly low, and that's what the advertising agencies used to demand very low rates for displaying ads.

    The strategy everyone who hates ads has adopted is to never click on ads, and as a result, a website displaying 10000 ads will probably only get a handful of clicks.

    So the strategy I've adopted is to click on evry ad I can. Especially on websites I like. With such low click through rates, just one user can double or tripple a site's revenue, and by the same virtue double or tripple an ad agency's costs.

    It only takes a few seconds to open every ad in a new background tab that I'll never see. And I get the benefit of helping a website I like, while costing the advertisers money.

    I'd think it wouldn't take an incredible number of people adopting the same strategy before advertisers have to change their game.

What this country needs is a good five cent ANYTHING!