Weekend tech reading: Ad blocking wars begin (and TechSpot is on the wrong side of it)

Julio Franco

Posts: 8,889   +1,807
Staff member

Please Don't Block Our Ads. Here's How to Block Ads in iOS 9 Before you start downloading, there is one very important thing to understand: By blocking ads, you are depriving content publishers (like us, hello!) of advertising income and insights into what readers want. Wired

Welcome to hell: Apple vs. Google vs. Facebook and the slow death of the web You might think the conversation about ad blocking is about the user experience of news, but what we're really talking about is money and power in Silicon Valley. And titanic battles between large companies with lots of money and power tend to have a lot of collateral damage. The Verge

Let the iOS 9 ad block wars begin! Advertisements, in case you haven’t noticed, are what make the World Wide Web go round. Online ads fund everything from Facebook to Fortune.com. Google gets 90% of its revenue from online ads, and the better part of its mobile ad revenue comes directly from iOS. Fortune

Peace Ad Blocker Pulled & CNET Fights Back The revolution in ad blocking that was ushered in with iOS9 has seen its first pushback. The Peace ad blocker that topped the Apple App Store charts has been pulled, while CNET introduced messages blocking the blockers. Marketing Land

Marco Arment pulls ad-blocking app Peace, the top paid app for 36 hours, citing the unfairness of indiscriminate ad blocking Just doesn't feel good — I've pulled Peace from the App Store. I'm sorry to all of my fans and customers who bought this on my name, expecting it to be supported for longer than two days. Marco.org

Neil deGrasse Tyson chats with whistleblower Edward Snowden The two card-carrying members of the geek community discuss Isaac Newton, the difference between education and learning, and even how knowledge is created. They also dive into the Periodic Table and chemistry, before moving on to the more expected subjects of data compression, encryption and privacy. Star Talk Radio

Google Is 2 Billion Lines of Code—And It's All in One Place How big is Google? We can answer that question in terms of revenue or stock price or customers or, well, metaphysical influence. But that’s not all. Google is, among other things, a vast empire of computer software. We can answer in terms of code. Wired

Intel Invests $67M Into 8 Chinese Companies, Including Segway Owner Ninebot Fresh off a $60 million deal with Shanghai-based drone maker Yuneec, Intel is continuing to ramp up its investment in Chinese tech startups after the U.S. firm revealed it has pumped $67 million into eight companies in the country. TechCrunch

Microsoft Edge will soon be able to make Skype audio and video calls without a plugin According to the Skype team, later this year when Object RTC is fully enabled in Edge, users will be able to make audio and video calls within the browser without the use of plugins. The Skype and Edge teams are also working on bringing this functionality to Skype for Business. Winbeta

Cyclist reaches 85.71 mph on way to human-powered speed world record Aboard an enclosed recumbent bicycle in Nevada today, Canadian Todd Reichart has claimed the world record for human powered speed. The annual World Human Powered Speed Challenge draws cyclists from around the world seeking to push the limits of pedal-powered motion, but it was the 33-year-old who left the competition in his wake to clock a top speed of 85.71 mph (137.9 km/h). Gizmag

Former AT&T Employees Sued for Fraudulently Unlocking Phones Many of these unlocked phones were then resold, allowing those involved to make some cash on the side and pay off the AT&T employees involved in the unlocking. PCMag

Asus launches $229 Zenfone 2 with 4GB of RAM, 16GB storage For the most part, the new model is just like the $199 version, except it has twice the RAM. Other features include a 5.5 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel IPS display, 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, 4G LTE, dual SIM card slots, a microSDXC card reader, a 13MP rear camera, and a 5MP front-facing camera. Liliputing

The Bitcoin Community Disagrees on What Happens Next What is Bitcoin? Is it property, something to be owned? Is it a currency, something to be spent? Or is it a commodity, defined by Webster’s Dictionary as “any useful thing,” and/or “anything bought and sold; any article of commerce.” Bloomberg

Announcing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 10547 We are releasing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 10547 to Windows Insiders on the Fast ring. As usual, this build includes bug fixes and improvements over Build 10532 and also includes some new things for you to try and send us feedback on what you see. Windows Blog

Scientists Develop an Ultrathin Invisibility Cloak A 3D illustration of a metasurface skin cloak made from an ultrathin layer of nanoantennas (gold blocks) covering an arbitrarily shaped object. Light reflects off the cloak (red arrows) as if it were reflecting off a flat mirror. SciTechDaily

Microsoft built its own Linux operating system Yes, really. Microsoft has indeed released a Linux-based operating system. Don’t get too excited about trying it out, though. This isn’t some kind of attempt by Microsoft to steal desktop Linux share from the likes of Ubuntu, Mint, and Fedora. It’s not an OS that’s built for computers. It’s “a cross-platform modular operating system for data center networking,” and it’s made to run in Microsoft’s Azure cloud environment. Geek

Konami ceases triple-A console production on all but PES - report Konami has ceased all triple-A console game production on everything but Pro Evolution Soccer and there are currently no plans for a big new Metal Gear game, while worldwide technology director Julien Merceron has left the company. Eurogamer

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Darth Shiv

Posts: 2,307   +845
CNet blocking blockers? Just don't visit them. Honestly there is so much content around now. Who cares if one blocks you?

Same thing for Flash sites. If they provide video via Flash, find an alternative.


Posts: 174   +183
I don't have adblock enabled on techspot. I click on your ads each time I visit to support you guys. Why? Because your ads are un-intrusive and doesn't affect the browsing experience of your site; not to mention the great articles and context on here. Keep it up :)


Sooner or later the current ad revenue model is going to die. At that point, online content publishers will have to switch to a tiered model (free and subscription content) or face going out of business.
Ads have been abused for far too long. There's no reliable mechanism to determine who is a responsible advertiser and most people don't have the time to audit them all.

Exactly. If they could be streamlined and not create such an intrusion into your browsing experience then I don't think there would be such backlash.

Personally I run an ad-blocker because I find almost every site I go to has some crazy flashing pop up box that you have to find the tiny little x in the corner to close out. Or ads that flash and are huge that stick to the side of the page while you scroll and try to read what you actually wanted to read. They are, in the general, very intrusive and annoying, usually for me that it's so much so I can't even browse the page that easily without all these inconveniences popping up.

Now I'm not saying that is every site, like you say some 'are' responsible and some aren't. But they need to find a way to fix that. Not sure how, but if they did then I think it wouldn't be such a big deal to have them on the page.

Like if they at least blend in with the rest of the flow of the site and don't flash the rainbow. Those aren't too bad but that is not a 'requirement' that is enforced, and not many sites do that. They also need to fix the lag/response time, usually I find it loads my pages probably 2-3 seconds longer with all them popping up making outside connections.

Aand not to mention possible malware/virus/hack attacks from them. I think it was Yahoo a while back that had spread malware to millions by ads (not their fault completely, it's part adobe flash too + hackers...source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2015/08/04/yahoo-ads-accidentally-spewed-malware/ ). And I'm sure there were many in those millions that were 'doing good by yahoo and put the exception into their ad-blocker program' only to find out they got a virus/hacked. Fail.

Ads will most likely fall to the wayside if they can't resolve those major issues, because people are learning the experience is 10 fold (and safer) with an Ad-blocker on.


Posts: 18,831   +7,752
I still think there has to be a saturation point where additional advertising either results in no ROI, or a negative ROI..

My point being, there is only so much "currency in the wild", so to speak.

And most providers of services or goods, have begun to believe they're entitled to the entirety of any individual's "disposable income". Amazon's recent activities with respect to selling you buttons to push so you can buy more s*** from them immediately, is virtually proof positive of this trend.

The tragedy of human greed, is that this phenomenon is ingrained in the healthcare system, as much as anywhere else.

So, you think you're losing share? Insufficient or the incorrect advertising seems to the first at the scene of the blame. So, you advertise more, further dipping into corporate funds. I can't imagine why the system hasn't broken down yet, but I figure it has to happen at some point. Google is this enormous parasitic organism. What they appear to be doing for the consumer with respect to free services, is so they can run back and bleed advertisers dry citing "massive potential customer base" for advertising.

What I completely fail to grasp, is why the consumer can't simply spend his or her money on things that they need or interest them. Instead, they allow jacka**es on QVC to tell them what, they need, like, must have, and can't live without. :D The same is true of the entire internet. If you don't have the strength of character to ignore ads and gambling sites, then look forward to bankruptcy proceedings at some point in your future.
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Cycloid Torus

Posts: 4,858   +1,678
I only installed Ad Block Plus after the 3rd major website started feeding me malware from their ad server. I am not going to drop it until the site owners figure out how to keep malware out of our interaction. I will also have to keep something like ABP because of the excessively intrusive noisy & tricky ads that remain even after putting a permanent cork into the malware feed. I do whitelist a few sites and I hope my trust is not violated again. I'm probably stupid to allow even that.


Posts: 6   +5
I've used computers for almost 20 years now. I've never intentionally clicked an ad, and will continue blocking them until I die. I don't need companies imprinting their brand into my subconscious every time I browse the internet.


Posts: 1,194   +208
The less money to be made the less corporate the internet will become.
It was created by users not business men and should remain that way.

I whitelist the sites I like, Including techspot.

This post was brought to you by ACME™
Mangling coyotes since 1952.
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Posts: 378   +113
I use ABP anywhere I go, but also have a combo knockout with NoScript. In the case I don't want certain site scripts running, I think that's something many overlook because it can look kinda daunting. If I want to let ads run at all, I make sure only those sites are whitelisted. Nothing extra throwing in tracking means, sorry but I refuse to be tracked based on my search results. I don't need 20+ ads all over the place, pointing out what I was searching or overall being very intrusive.


Posts: 3,306   +2,905
I don't mind sidebar ads, or ads in the "middle" of a story. What pisses most people off are the ones that pop up after you read a story, darken the content and won't let you do anything until you X out of them, or the ones with video buried in the page, that after you start reading the site, you have to go looking for the bloody thing to shut it off.


Posts: 26   +17
Until there's a sever restriction/standard put on ads (maybe imposed by browsers, which advertisers would then follow), my adblock stays on.

The ads that are out there now are abusive, and don't respect people that have the generosity not to use adblock. So get adblock!


Posts: 18,831   +7,752
CNet blocking blockers? Just don't visit them. Honestly there is so much content around now. Who cares if one blocks you?.....[ ]....
You know, I could swear we had a thread here about Cnet including "Open Candy" with their downloads. In any event, the reviews are fairly biased, and it's somewhat questionable as to whether you can get a clean, "free" download from them in the first place. The shareware is pretty much toward the top of the stack. So maybe, "once upon a time", Cnet was a worthwhile destination, but I don't know that holds true in the present. I haven't visited the site but perhaps one or twice in several years.

As for blockers, although I would never run one personally...;)..and particularly with "NoScript", (if I were actually running it, of course), it is quite easy to simply click on the "options" button, to see exactly how much cross site scripting going on. So, when you hit a site with a baker's dozen of scripts being blocked, it's probably for the better the blocking is in force.

FWIW, I run a 23" monitor in portrait orientation, and I would swear I've seen script listings that damned near hit the mid point of the screen! (OK, you caught me. I had "NoScript installed for less than a day, and I took it out because it is so unethical). After all, I should know my place, and be willing to sit through any bunch of crap whichever business wants to inflict on me. I am sore ashamed of myself.

As far as "xxx" website blocking blockers, normally all you have to do is issue permission for the primary site and you're golden, and the rest of the leeches miss their meal. (Of course I only know this by word of mouth, not from personal experience).

One local TV channel, 10 WCAU in Philadelphia, actually got a yellow warning from one of the site checking services, as they said they were inundated with spam, after they signed up for something at the site.

Still in all, I'm nobody's babysitter. If someone wants to browse to their heart's content with no prophylactic against script, it's none of my business really if their inbox gets pregnant with spam, or they catch a computer borne STD.

As far as me being willing to care if a bunch of "poor, beleaguered, penniless, advertisers", are butt hurt because of them not being able to get their, "message of hope, opportunity, and a better life for me", to my attention. Well, y'all should know me better than that :mad:
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Posts: 810   +1,074
Well, I'm poor, that's why I'm reading free sites on the internet instead of paper. So when I absolutely need something to buy I don't allow impulses generated by ads to drive Me around, instead I meticulously investigate My options. So ads are pointless from My perspective. And I absolutely hate ads jumping Me without warning, trying invoke epileptic attack or suddenly My headphones being possessed like Linda Blair or simply occupying the text area, breaking the flow of reading and making me scroll. Sidebars are actually the only thing tolerable for Me. Some standards would be nice, I admit. I think advertisers will suffer till they come to the conclusion that they can push only as much as people are willing to endure.


Posts: 39   +7
As so aptly noted on TechDirt: If ads didn't suck so bad adblocking wouldn't be so much of an issue. ABP is how we tell the advert people their ads are offensive.

the basic strategy in advertising is to place the ad in such a way that it interrupts the viewers attention. this is why we suppress ads. if ads were polite we would be more inclined to tolerate them.


Posts: 3,881   +4,387
I have uBlock disabled for this site cause of the way it's implemented. I can barely notice them.


Posts: 254   +107
I use NoScript for security reasons, but blocking ads is a nice side effect. I've never been compelled to buy a product based on an advertisement. Reviews, word of mouth, hands-on exposure via my friends, and past experience with a company's products are what carries weight with me.


Posts: 1,868   +901
I'm fine with some ads up until the point where they play audio automatically. That, is when my line is crossed. I send nastygrams to the site webmaster and as many contacts as I can. Then I stop going to that site.

Mr Mister

Basically, Apple and Google want to the only source for ads. Advertisers will be forced to choose sides or pay both to not only show their ads but to unblock them too. That means eventually, sites like Techspot won't be hurt because they'll still receive money to facilitate the ads. Smaller independent advertiser will have to lease a space through the Big Two; more money for them. Visitor/Consumers will always see ads, maybe less and without malware, virus etc. since there will be great control and restrictions on the type offers and also one ad mammoth will attempt to block the other. Advertisers are already paying some Adblockers to allow their ads. As another ad dealer enters all will seem to reset as before because this is just a tag and pull for power, cash and control.


Posts: 1,168   +836
The thing about advertising is, I can't tell you the last time I've ever bought something because of one.