Adblock Plus to allow "non-intrusive" ads by default

By on December 13, 2011, 7:30 AM

The popular browser extension Adblock Plus has angered some Webgoers after deciding to stop blocking certain advertisements by default. With previous builds, the add-on would block any ads that it could, but the developer has reconsidered that approach because it discourages users from supporting their favorite sites. The new version will allow "non-intrusive" ads to be displayed, while simultaneously blocking those that are less kosher.

Wladimir Palant has defined some requirements for "acceptable" ads: they can't have any animations or sound, no attention-grabbing images, and at most one script that delays page load times. Adblock also hopes to establish mandatory support for Do Not Track, but it's not in a position to enforce that yet. If you're against seeing any ads, you can block everything again by unchecking the "allow non-intrusive advertising" option in "Filter Preferences."

Palant said he must enable the feature by default because it's the only way to get advertisers onboard. He noted that most users won't enable it on their own, simply because they won't tinker with their settings. "In the long term the web will become a better place for everybody, not only Adblock Plus users. Without this feature we run the danger that increasing Adblock Plus usage will make small websites unsustainable."

According to a survey, only 25% of Adblock users oppose all ads and as you might expect, they're the most vocal about this change. The reality is that many sites exist and remain free purely because of ad revenue -- TechSpot included. When you think about it, it's a vicious cycle. People block ads because they're annoying. That dents a site's income and ultimately forces them to seek more lucrative (read: peskier) ads.

That prompts more people to block the site's ads and thus it grows even more desperate. Before you know it, audiovisual billboards bombard you at every turn unless you rely on extensions like Adblock Plus. That's a dramatization of the Internet in 2011, but it's not entirely inaccurate. Being the tech-savvy crowd you are, most of you probably run some form of adblock filter. Are you willing to let "non-intrusive" ads slip through?




User Comments: 31

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Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

For techspot, yeah, I think the odd ad showing up won't kill me

Guest said:

I'm not using an Ad Blocker however if sites are too painful I just don't use them as there are alternatives.

caravel said:

Everything sells out eventually, and it looks like adblock plus just did in quite a big way... It will simply turn into a "pay us to let your ads through (by default)" money machine. RIP adblock plus.

Anyway, something better will come along soon enough which will still block all ads indiscriminately and the cycle begins again...

Guest said:

As someone who runs websites, I can see both sides. I'd be ok with allowing ads that are TRULY non-intrusive, meaning don't insert an ad in between every other paragraph while I'm reading! Keep them to the sidebars and keep them visually toned-down.

The problem is, if only a few sites violate this and insert ads in the text content, then I'm going to respond by blocking all ads by default. So sites that "behave" still will lose.

The only thing that might be nice is if AdBlock makes a code snippet for website operators to insert with their ads that displays, in place of ads, an option for adblock users to unblock ads for just that site if they want to support it.

ABP could even scan your recent browsing history when it installs, and ask you to select any sites you'd like to support and leave ads on for just those sites.

At the end of the day, no matter what anybody says, technology puts the user in control. Yes, technology can be used to restrict people as well, but as history has shown, it's only a short time before users circumvent restrictive technology.

So advertisers and publishers should take this to heart: don't frustrate and alienate your viewers or they'll punish you hard. Instead, find ways to make them happy and they will reward you and be loyal for life, and they'll help you to the top where you'll beat all the shady advertisers.

Acid said:

caravel said:

Everything sells out eventually, and it looks like adblock plus just did in quite a big way... It will simply turn into a "pay us to let your ads through (by default)" money machine. RIP adblock plus.

Anyway, something better will come along soon enough which will still block all ads indiscriminately and the cycle begins again...

You're overreacting. The setting that allows these adverts to be displayed can easily be changed so as to return full ad-blocking functionality to Ad-Block.

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I for one don't mind viewing non-intrusive ads if it helps a site which I like, it's only the ones which play really loud sounds and hover all over the place which are annoying.

All these people whinging don't really have a clue about business or the effort it takes into running a free website.

caravel said:

You're overreacting. The setting that allows these adverts to be displayed can easily be changed so as to return full ad-blocking functionality to Ad-Block.

No, the default of blocking all ads has been changed to allowing certain ads, it's a sign of a new direction, i.e. not blocking all ads, which is what it was designed to do from day one, but instead allowing select ads.

I for one don't mind viewing non-intrusive ads if it helps a site which I like,

So don't use adblock...

it's only the ones which play really loud sounds and hover all over the place which are annoying.

Which can be disabled by script blocking anyway... also if the site you like uses only annoying animated ads with audio what then?

All these people whinging don't really have a clue about business or the effort it takes into running a free website.

That's an assumption and generalisation on your part.

At the end of the day a program that blocks ads should block ads, it should not pick and choose what to block for you unless you override a hidden option. Yes a setting can be changed to disable this... but I find it hard to agree with any of the reasoning behind this absurd move - if people supposedly cannot be trusted to bother to enable the option to allow these "non-intrusive" ads, then those same people won't bother to disable it either - which is obviously what this is all about - adding this function in by default relying on user apathy to leave it enabled in the majority of cases.

Adblock users are already in a small minority, noscript users smaller still, because most people simply haven't a clue about these add ons, can't be bothered to learn to configure them or are using a different browser anyway. So once again, if someone installs adblock, it's obviously because they want to block ads....

Guest said:

Adblock Plus (change setting so it works just like it used to in 2 seconds and also whitelist all good websites)

Adblock (Chrome only - whitelist all good websites)

NoScript

Ghostery

Better Privacy

Enjoy.

NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

Guest said:

Adblock Plus (change setting so it works just like it used to in 2 seconds and also whitelist all good websites)

Adblock (Chrome only - whitelist all good websites)

NoScript

Ghostery

Better Privacy

Enjoy.

+1 lol.

BlackIrish said:

I use Opera for years without any kind of adblocking. The web looks fine IMO

Guest said:

adblock plus was made mainly for porn and video sites.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

I use Opera for years without any kind of adblocking. The web looks fine IMO

If you change your mind you can get a custom urlfilter.ini to block ads.

treetops treetops said:

Well websites should just be happy people visit them at all. I got ad block plus for yahoo because some of its adds are very intrusive. But all it does is turn yahoo into a wall of text I have to disable it to browse yahoo normally.What I cannot stand is the scroll over text pop up ads. Idk if they are still on techspot or if I got rid of em but yeah. I auto tune out the side ads, unless there a crazy sexy lady.

Guest said:

I don't use ad blockers at all because I think they're important for the site's revenue. However I do HATE a lot of flash ads that have sounds.

Mudvayne819 said:

I always used this addon, its the best addon firefox have to offer and i hope nothing change about this program, i pay for my internet and i have a set amount of bandwith i can use, this advertisment, adds, pubs, w/e u call it use that bandwith, that bandwith is my property and i dont want em to advertise on it. they have no rights to tell me i cant block what i want.

PC EliTiST PC EliTiST said:

The only program I stopped updating is uTorrent ( vesrion 2.2.1 ).

Now, that's seemingly at least, ABP would be the second ( version 1.3.10 ).

Guest said:

I mainly use adblock to disable the annoying youtube ads. I don't mind ads to the side of the web page, but I don't want to wait 15-30 seconds everytime I want to watch a video.

Guest said:

HAHAHAHA... get adblock for free! because its sponsered by ads! great failure..............

Guest said:

"Are you willing to let "non-intrusive" ads slip through?"

No.

baroquer said:

I'm happy with NoScript.

Chazz said:

Since you guys asked kinda nicely, I'll let techspot show some ads.

Night Hacker Night Hacker said:

This sounds reasonable. I don't mind ads, I just can't stand the ones with sounds, noise, or that load up a new webpage or browser window without my permission. This was the reason I got it in the first place so this option sounds good to me. I'll leave it as is and allow non-intrusive ads. Maybe some websites will learn to respect the people that visit their sites.

Guest said:

How about an ad blocker that, to websites, behaved like a clueless user who liked ads, but hid all that from me, and didn't waste my bandwidth, or download malware, while doing that?

caravel said:

I ditched it, now using only ghostery and noscript - still not seeing any ads now except the very occasional "non-intrusive" banner ad...

So script blocking is still the best approach to dealing with ads.

Guest said:

I would be fine with the Non-intrusive if they had listed it openly which these companies are and form my own opinion as an advanced user that set my own "corrections" to subscribed lists when updated.

While as a website owner I do understand the need for ads to pay for webhosting where donations have not helped much or even given any aid when the yearly bill has come to collect, not that "google adsense" has yet to make me any revenue to assist in it I still remain opposed to ads that are an eye sore, create latency issues or tracks you without explicit consent (or otherwise hidden in some TOS somewhere when the common user/visitor just scrolls passed it anyhow...) though as mentioned I would rather like to know what non-intrusive advertiser(s) and ads they refer to in more specific outreach rather then just stating it so to create my own oppinion not just go by their 'promise' that they are such.

To further why I am more inclined to know what non-intrusive they refer to is also by own interest as i have for the last few years invested in gameservers which I also costs almost double what my webhosting plan costs me a year (with domain name and all included) per month O_o and thats not even with the more attractive 64 slots servers (to reference to the 24 slots I can stretch to provide...)

but i am a nice guy and enjoy playing and enabling play for others and i agree from that stand point that non-intrusive ads "might" be a good help for me, but I would not like it if this came at displeasure to visitors to my site in such case :(

Guest said:

An alternate option would be to use AdFender which is also free and uses the same EasyList filters used by many Adblock Plus users.

caravel said:

An alternate option would be to use AdFender which is also free and uses the same EasyList filters used by many Adblock Plus users.

Which is not a firefox add on, is proprietary closed source software and is Windows only.

One other solution to this problem is for someone to fork adblock plus.

Guest said:

I tried adblock, but disabled it as I found it blocked too many ads. I only want to block ads with sound/pop-ups/expanders.

Dimpl Dimpl said:

As someone who runs websites, I can see both sides. I'd be ok with allowing ads that are TRULY non-intrusive, meaning don't insert an ad in between every other paragraph while I'm reading! Keep them to the sidebars and keep them visually toned-down.

The problem is, if only a few sites violate this and insert ads in the text content, then I'm going to respond by blocking all ads by default. So sites that "behave" still will lose.

The only thing that might be nice is if AdBlock makes a code snippet for website operators to insert with their ads that displays, in place of ads, an option for adblock users to unblock ads for just that site if they want to support it.

ABP could even scan your recent browsing history when it installs, and ask you to select any sites you'd like to support and leave ads on for just those sites.

At the end of the day, no matter what anybody says, technology puts the user in control. Yes, technology can be used to restrict people as well, but as history has shown, it's only a short time before users circumvent restrictive technology.

So advertisers and publishers should take this to heart: don't frustrate and alienate your viewers or they'll punish you hard. Instead, find ways to make them happy and they will reward you and be loyal for life, and they'll help you to the top where you'll beat all the shady advertisers.

Yes please! Prompt me to allow ads on the sites I like.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

So, given the new protocols, wouldn't it make sense to change the program's name?

I'm casting my vote for, "Ad-Mit", ("Plus" or otherwise).

learninmypc learninmypc said:

I'm so used to Adblock plus, any website looks cluttered when adblock is disabled. Sorry, I'll continue "not" allowing ads.

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