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    I tried turning off my ad-blocker to see what their ads were like and this is what I got. It’s an autoplay video. So I will be keeping my blocker on.

    I would’ve thought a publication like Wired would understand that the best way to get people to turn off their blockers is to find a way to promise non-intrusive ads.

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      I tried browsing around to see how bad the ads were, but I didn’t see any at all. I don’t have an ad blocker; just noscript. Makes me wonder how they will classify in-between technologies–does failing to run the JS they serve count as “blocking” ads? Are screen readers counted? What about not having the Adobe Flash plugin installed? What’s to stop people from pretending to be screen readers in order to get around the restriction?

      FWIW if you are using Firefox, you can disable media.autoplay.enabled using about:config; if you haven’t done that already now is a great time to do it.

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      You know, I don’t read Wired very often, but I think this strategy might at least convince me to take a look around the site (instead of just landing on it from an aggregator) and think about how much I value their content. I subscribe to several ad-free publications, and if I decide that Wired content is worth $52/year (and it might be) I will definitely subscribe.

      Either way, however, they are never going to convince me to turn off my ad-blocker. I may trust them (I’m not sure), but I definitely don’t trust whichever ad network they’re using this month.

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        I don’t trust anyone’s ad network. They’re all garbage, even some of the bigger ones like the one run by Google.

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        I wonder if Wired knows they announced an arms race between ad blockers and blocker detectors. Their audience skews technical, even if they’re far what they were under Kevin Kelly.

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          I’m starting a betting pool on how long it’ll be until we’re all running window.getComputedStyle = undefined on every pageload

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            What does that do?

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              It gets calculated styles for a node, meaning the actual values used to render an element, which considers

              1. User stylesheet (these are the default styles browsers use)
              2. Page stylesheets (<style>’s and <link rel="stylesheet">’s)
              3. Element attributes (<foo style="...">’s)

              It’s the only way to check for #2 hiding an element besides checking/watching the page for injected styles.

              EDIT: The code snippet itself makes the browser basically pretend like it’s old school IE for this api. You’d no longer be able to call it from any code snippet (hooray JavaScript mutability!), so scripts like FuckAdBlock would be grasping at air when trying to bait adblockers, and most sites shouldn’t break unless the developers behind them are using this api for important things, which would be unlikely, but terrible and make me feel wrong and want to navigate away immediately

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                I mean, the next iteration would be

                if (typeof(window.getComputedStyle) == “undefined”) document.href = “http://google.com/search?q=why+ad+blocking+is+wrong”;

                As you say, only very old browsers would get false positives with this test.

                Arms races aren’t fun for anybody.

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            I also wonder whether they realize that. There’s a reason other publishers have been hesitant to make this move.

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              Have they been? I feel I see it more and more now. Im pretty sure I saw that at The Guardian, for example.

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                The NYT wrote some articles about it in Fall 2015, and you can find some reporting by other news outlets that it was discussed on an NYT earnings call. They made a point of saying, at that time, that they were looking into technical options. Unlike smaller papers, they are very well-equipped with in-house engineering expertise (they’ve got a really cool blog where they talk about the intersection of journalism and engineering, in fact), so I’d expect that the only barrier to them instituting ad-blocking-blocking is the business decision to do so.

                So, yes, if I were a journalist writing about their stance here, I’d say something like “The Times has not provided public commentary on its decision to-date not to escalate the ad blocking fight, but its inaction speaks for itself.”

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                  I think Forbes is probably the most serious offender here.

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              We know that there are many reasons for running an ad blocker, from simply wanting a faster, cleaner browsing experience to concerns about security and tracking software.

              I have to keep repeating this over and over again, because people don’t seem to get it.

              I don’t want ads because I don’t want to be manipulated into buying things I don’t need. I especially don’t want to allow this manipulation while I’m in the middle of something else.

              I’m ok with Wired deciding that either I accept manipulation or I pay. It’s their terms and their website, but I want them to be honest about what ads are supposed to do: convince people to buy things they don’t need. That is their primary purpose. Not some goodwill support of web publishing.

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                The use of “you” wasnt meant to imply this was a personal message. There are also readers that are concerned about speed and security.

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                  It’s not that no-one gets it. It’s that a lot of people feel differently from you.

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                    Judging by the amount of upvotes I get whenever I bring this up, a lot of people feel like me but somehow this point of view seldom gets articulated. Everyone always talks about about privacy, security, and speed of online ads, but few people seem to talk about what ads are really about and if we, as a society, should be having what ads are doing. The proponents of ads usually say something like “I can put up with them”.

                    But their ultimate purpose, is it good? Are ads an indispensable part of our society? Must we inevitably put up with them? Does anyone really enjoy watching as much ads as possible? Would we have some kind of societal collapse if we just banned ads, like the Cidade Limpa initiative did? That’s the conversation I want to be having.

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                      Upvotes don’t necessarily mean people agree with you; it can equally be that your comment is well-written or the like.

                      I think your tendentious description of the purpose of advertising is wrong. It would be more accurate to say that ads are supposed to convince people to buy things and are indifferent towards whether they need them. But even that’s not really true; a repeat customer is far more valuable than a one-off customer. The purpose of ads is to make as much money as possible. To the extent that customer behaviour rewards actual value, customers' and advertisers' interests will be aligned.

                      I think “manipulate” is also misleading here. There is rarely a hidden agenda in advertising; everyone knows what it’s about.

                      We can have that conversation. I think there are good and bad ads. I will sometimes go out of my way to watch ads (in moderation, as with most other things I enjoy) - particularly if you’re including stuff that blurs the line between advertising and content (e.g. native advertising, product placement). My understanding was that that initiative in Sao Paulo had had mixed results and been scaled back?

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                        For what it’s worth, I upvoted because I agree with the statement. My brain is a precious thing, and even its just a small inclination that one product/company is better then another because I’ve seen a funny ad, it’s not worth it to me, It feels gross, my brain real-estate is not for sale.

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                          I think “manipulate” is also misleading here. There is rarely a hidden agenda in advertising; everyone knows what it’s about.

                          That’s the thing, everyone thinks that they are too smart to be fooled by ads. Clearly, everyone is wrong, because if nobody were being fooled by ads, then advertisers would be giving up.

                          The thing with ads is, kind of like placebos, they work even if you’re aware that it is an ad. A lot of the time all that ads want to do is make sure that you’re keenly aware of a brand. It doesn’t matter how you feel about Apple or Nike; all that matters is that by watching ads you’re aware that they are an option at purchase time.

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                            This is a strange argument, that I am somehow better off being ignorant of my options at purchase time. I disagree.

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                              It’s not a choice between ignorance and knowledge. It’s a choice about where that knowledge comes from, and whether your awareness comes from organic factors or is awarded to the highest bidder.

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                                This is why having both ads and and organic factors is required, making ads not inherently evil.

                                Ads tell you what’s available on the market. This is why targeted ads are such a big thing and why people opt out of privacy in exchange for learning about products they need. Or cynically “care about but do not need yet market capitalusm whatever tricks them”.

                                Organic factors like reviews, both by professionals and normal users and your friends' experience with the brand or product are important to make the price/quality or value/utility calculations between the competing available options.

                                We might get by with only word-of-mouth but that would certainly put a high barrier for entry for new companies and products, only strengthening the existing monopoly-like situation.

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                                  Highest bidder ought to be delivering value - after all, they’re making enough money to make high bids. There’s nothing to guarantee that any “organic factor” will have your best interests at heart.

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                                Again, “fooled” is a tendentious characterization. Ads evidently make money (otherwise advertisers wouldn’t bother with them). That doesn’t require there to be any deception going on.

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                        I know WIRED has to pay their bills, I know ads are a good way of income. However, ads must not bring my browser down to a crawl; they also must not track me around the web.

                        As long as that hasn’t changed, I will keep on blocking ads. Instead of defending their filthy ad network monocultures, they should rather start building up some pressure so the ad networks deliver saner ads.

                        But you all know the saying: “Who bites the hand that feeds him?”

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                          A lot of publishers have been saying that they have no way to restrict the incoming advertising to be “polite” (or “not try to install ransomware”). Do they have some kind of new answer to that problem? Maybe they’re just a big enough player that they can sell ads directly to customers, and gain more control that way?

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                            I’d be interested in seeing examples of publishers saying this. It’s a fair complaint, but I suspect they’re not aware of all their options. I’m sure they’ve at least considered switching to ad networks that take security and policy more seriously, and I’m particularly curious whether they’ve actually tried this, and whether they feel it helped.

                            Direct deals are possible for larger publishers, but it’s unlikely that there are enough larger advertisers to give them equivalent revenue with direct deals alone.

                            Edit: Disclaimer: As you may have surmised, my employer runs an ad network. Sorry for leaving that out.

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                              Well, unfortunately I can’t find the blog entries I was thinking of. But in general it’s terribly difficult even for ad networks to exercise consistent control over the ads they serve. Even google has screwed up. More here.

                              Choosing an ad network is probably not an activity that security-obsessed sysadmins typically have a say in, so “we won’t infect your users” is not a very compelling value-add if the ads will provide less revenue. Changing networks is also a very blunt approach to the problem, and a publisher probably has no way of knowing if the change even made a difference, since they don’t audit their readers' computers for malware.

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                                Fair enough. Thank you.

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                                  On the other hand, “we are clean enough to pass an acceptable as policy and get you revenue from users who use Adblock” might be compelling… I don’t know!

                                  On the third hand, a simple image or text ad is probably much more susceptible to click fraud, so that sucks.

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                                    I had to read that thrice to understand what you were trying to say!

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                                      s/as/ad i think

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                              Perhaps there’s an opportunity here for something to become “the clean, safe, polite ad network”. One that is general purpose and not invite-only/niche like The Deck.

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                              Even if we’ll be losing the war on adblocker detection, we still have porn^W private browsing mode, that should minimize correlations via tracking.

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                                Defeating targeting incentivizes ads meant for the lowest common denominator of humanity. Personally, I wouldn’t find that an improvement.

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                                  It is an improvement, if you value your privacy higher than the privilege of exposure to “relevant” advertising…

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                                    Agreed. It is a value judgement.