Adblock from an Advertiser, and Adblock from Me

So it's not surprising that after this weeks episode of Scoops and The Wolf (great video series, keep it up) that both Alex and Patrick's opinions would set the internet world on fire about the discussion on Adblock.

What's bothersome is that writers and journalists are ultimately going to be baised on this topic for the sole reason that most if not all writers and journalist all over the internet rely on advertising to keep the lights on and feed their families.

So ultimately opinions like

this guy

don't see the light of day in charge of having a fair conversation over the topic.

I'm not going to repost the whole thing here, but you should definitely check it out as it's adblock from the perspective of someone who actually works in advertising. Needless to say he represents a strong view from the other side of the debate on this topic.

A quote that sums up the point nicely is this one.

Here’s the problem with all the attempts to shame someone for using Adblock - you as an owner of a computer have an innate right to protect your shit by any means necessary. You have zero obligation to risk viruses and other malicious content on computer, regardless of some pretentious “content creator’s” “revenue stream,” and fuck them if they try to make you feel guilty for it. A large part of web ads are malicious, misogynist, full of malware/ransomware, and are a risk to your computer - the sooner the people behind websites stop playing the victim, clutching pearls and calling everyone on the Internet thieves, and abandon this revenue model, the better off we’ll all be.

Now I come from someone of a different perspective who is interested in computer security systems and the like. Ultimately going to any website in the world all you see coming back are packets of data. You own your computer, you own the hardware, and you have the right to do whatever you want to decide what data you want to filter to your computer. You are the receiver of the packets and it doesn't make any sense how you have some obligation to receive all the packets, instead of choosing to see the packets you want on a computer YOU OWN.

It's just like you have no obligation to open junk snail mail, pick up telemarketer calls, look, see, or hear anyone's advertising.

Alex makes the point that you can justify it 1000 ways but at the end of the day you are just stealing peoples money from their pockets. Guess what though? It's not your problem. It's not your responsibility to get someone else's salery paid, and it's not your problem if the business model they choose is not working. Someone out there relies on telemarketing calls, high pressure used car sales, and even junk mail to feed their families. Does that mean you should pick up every phone call and actually talk to them? Are you a human piece of shit for switching the channel on your TV when ads come on so their ratings clearly go down whenever ads come on? It's not your problem.

If you are relying on a system that requires 1's and 0's to be sent and and actively viewed by another persons computer that they own, and probably don't want to see those 1's and 0's, to pay rent and feed yourself, maybe you should think about a different more reliable system of revenue that isn't so easily circumvented.

After Patrick calmed down it seemed that he realized this.

The other tweet was that people who use adblock should die in a fire before he deleted it.

What's bothersome but predictable is that this conversation shows the double standard when it comes to consumer rights and content providers and that this really isn't about some big moral stance about advertising, it's just that people are looking after themselves.

Even during Scoops and the Wolf I just got the vibe that "Adblock is fine, so long as you don't do it to us."

Which then who cares about the guy down the next IP address right? That's whatever though, looking out for yourself is the normal thing to do, just don't be surprised when your audience does it as well.

And for all of those predicting the doom of the internet if adblock was to be used everywhere, grow up and realize the business doesn't run on sensationalist bullshit that the whole internet shuts down and every website is paid content.

What's more likely to happen is something akin to Free-to-Play games where some free content is placed on a website which subscribers will have to pay more to see more content on the website. Huh, sounds like a business model that is already in place today.

Two: realize that advertisers and websites are not really trying that hard to prevent adblock systems. I mean the way websites run ads are empty spaces that run advertisers URL's on another persons website thus being able to be black listed so easily. Twitch TV video players and how their advertising works on videos have two video players running at once and the other video player is controlled by the advertisers thus making blacklisting so easy. Just making the websites put up the advertisements on the native website would totally wreck havoc on the adblock system because it would be hard to detect if the image is from an advertiser or if it is actually a genuine piece of content on the website. Just that one simple thing alone would cause adblock problems. If Twich instead of running two players, just ran one player that ran ads and the content producer, it would also break the adblock system.

It's the classic armor vs firepower fight, someone's going to make a bullet penetrate your bullet proof vest, and someone is going to make a bullet proof vest to stop your armor piercing bullets. It's just that right now one side is barely trying. I can't really see screaming about the end of the internet when the other side isn't really trying hard to prevent this from happening.

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Edited by Demoskinos

Best write up I've seen on this. Good read.

Edited by themangalist

I run NoScript and I can't use half of the internet, unless i tweak it for which sites i trust. If, as you said, websites implement ads into their systems, adblock would be useless. And I could totally see this coming. Interesting times we live in.

Edited by AlexanderSheen

Bumping this, good read indeed.

Posted by HerbieBug

I run NoScript and I can't use half of the internet, unless i tweak it for which sites i trust. If, as you said, websites implement ads into their systems, adblock would be useless. And I could totally see this coming. Interesting times we live in.

Yep. And ditto. All you have to do to circumvent adblock is host the ads on your own servers. This is effective until such time as the user gets around to manually blocking the folder from which you're loading your ads (if you're not particularly smart about it) or each individual ad (if you are smart about it). I actually welcome more sites to do exactly this as I believe we would see a lot less flagrantly intrusive and damaging advertising if the hosting site had to audit and load each ad on to their site themselves.

Posted by Slaegar

Wow Patrick gets super upset about death threats to bad game writers ruining the things they love, but wants people who don't like viruses and gross images of hot single college girl free to play best deal all you can eat half off two hundred dollars on contract 9.5/10 four more inches to burn to death? That's an interesting message.

I usually turn off adblock on websites I can trust and feel are worth my time. If I don't like the website I'll just leave it anyway.

Jeff is/was right about the game's industry becoming more desperate.

I've been a subscriber for almost two years so I haven't needed adblock on Giant Bomb for a while. The current swath of premium content is certainly lacking though so I may need to return to my plebian advertisements lest I feel the burning wrath of Mister You-Can't-Say-That-On-The-Internet-You-Might-Hurt-Someone's-Feelings himself.

We can't make rape jokes, but what about burn victims are they fair game?

Edited by SharkEthic

Very good read, nice job dude.

Edited by Scampbell

Interesting times for sure. Just checked to see that the Adblock campaign have already reached its goal.

Posted by TechHits

It's nice to see a level headed write up on the internet.

Edited by Fear_the_Booboo

@slaegar: I use adblock and am not a suscriber as you can see, but Patrick apologized for that comment. Don't be that agressive.

And the comparison to designer getting harassed ain't great. Patrick made one misstep and apologized, designer get loads of hate and it's not like all of 'em will take a step back (like Patrick did) and see their mistake.

Posted by DeeGee

@slaegar said:

Wow Patrick gets super upset about death threats to bad game writers ruining the things they love, but wants people who don't like viruses and gross images of hot single college girl free to play best deal all you can eat half off two hundred dollars on contract 9.5/10 four more inches to burn to death? That's an interesting message.

Yeah, that sounds like Patrick. Whenever he gets called on something, he brushes it off a "a joke" as if that somehow makes everything alright. There's a quick look on the site where he makes a "joke" about how it's better to molest young boys instead of young girls, but apparently it was a joke and I shouldn't have got offended.

Posted by Dixavd

Interesting to see that this advertising guy didn't mention any of the many ways in which advertising is being used well, or even the ways in which places are circumventing the issue by gaining revenue through other models. For someone who should know his shit, he's doing a piss-poor job making it sound like that. Anyone who thinks this was a level-headed look at the issue doesn't know enough about the issue to come to that conclusion.

Posted by davidwitten22

Until sites find a way to make non-obtrusive, less annoying ads then I, like most of the internet, will continue to block those bright flashing ads that lead to sites with malware. I don't feel bad in the slightest.

Posted by davidwitten22

Until sites find a way to make non-obtrusive, less annoying ads then I, like most of the internet, will continue to block those bright flashing ads that lead to sites with malware. I don't feel bad in the slightest.

Edited by Brenderous

jpegs are the worst kind of malware. oh wait they're not.

Posted by Akyho

My basic feelings on Adblock is I use it because I HATE and WILL NOT click on ANY ads on a website. Annoying video ads or annoying animated ads even without the sound. Its all just ANNOYING.

Then as you said yourself there is the porn ads the "I lost weight click and find out how!" and the more important ones to block is the exploits, the malware spy ware ad ware ads.

Then I thought about....I subscribe to GB so that dosnt matter. PS Gb has some bad ads, while gamespot has horrible and terrible ads. A little while ago netflix had one on GB that took up the entire screen had a dude from arrested development come out fuck around for 15 seconds and told you the new series was on only netflix. Jeff shut it down because it is horrible. While gamespot allow such.

I then thought about Gamespot....I hate there ads and to be honest I don't care to support them. IGN nope dont care. Little dudes website I am on for 2 minutes nope dont care.

Webcomic site I visit, yeah my adblock would give them a little change...but you know what helps? buying their books and merchandise. That helps ALOT more.

Webcomic people start off relying on ads to pay for the site until they get enough people and money to make then sell merchandise.

So you see even small time webcomic people know "get out of the ad game as your sole income."

I am a mod to a webcomic forums and long time fan of the authors works. He was doing it as a love and needed he ad money. Now he has a webcomic that is soaring high, thousands of fans, going to conventions, two successful kickstarters under his belt, hiring people to help make the comic.

The important thing is to have something people want and make sure A LOT of people want it. If your worrying about ad revenue solely then I think your doing something wrong. Who wants gamespot subscription to get rid of annoying ads? instead of be a GB sub get rid of ads and get all the gooey inside premium videos that are a bread and butter of the site.

Posted by stalefishies

So you're telling me this entire industry is built on a revenue model which, for the end user, is entirely opaque, unexplained and mysterious, and everyone is shocked when nobody understands how the ad revenue model works? Shocking.

The fact is, if you want to get paid for your content on the internet, then you have to come to some sort of deal with the consumer. In the case of this site, it's going through the middlemen of ad companies and CBS, but ultimately, for non-premium members, Giant Bomb is paying its staff's salaries through users viewing ads. But this exchange is extremely ill-defined: I, and the vast, vast majority of internet users, have absolutely zero idea of what an 'ad' amounts to. I have no doubt that a large number believe they're in fact definitely not paying for content by assuming that, if they don't click on the ad, then you don't get paid for it. It's like the worst of the F2P games' stores: you're trying to sell us something without specifically saying how much it's worth. You're slapping a 'Best deal!' sticker on it, assuming that we're not going to know what the best deal actually is. And we don't. Hence, it's worked so far.

But that hardly makes it OK, does it? You're depriving me of the fundamental right of a participant in this business deal we have going on: the knowledge and assurance that this deal is fair. And what's more, is that you're asking the consumer to agree to this deal after you've served up the content.

And yet I'm entirely happy to pay for content: that gold badge under my avatar is proof of that. And with users of the software specifically designed to stop the payment system willing to contribute to it's Kickstarter - where the terms, prices and rewards are clearly stated and defined, it's surely the case that there are plenty of others like me. I'm not here to steal, and I'm not here to pirate. I'm here to get a fair deal.

But if you're not willing to give me one, then the only price I want to pay is the only one I can put a value on - nothing.

Posted by Corvak

Shaming is never right.

Not for the way someone chooses to dress, not for the company they keep, and not for their opinions on media, video games, politics, religion, or anything else you can have an opinion on.

And definitely not for the browser extensions they choose to install.

Great write up, and I agree completely.

Edited by StarvingGamer

So because they're not working hard enough to prevent you from stealing from them, you feel justified in stealing from them? What the fuck is this thread?

EDIT: And bravo to everyone who equates people making private threats to find someone's children/spouses and murder/rape them to Patrick making a general statement about his dislike for a group of people using a meme that could only be miscontrued as an actual wish of bodily harm when taken far out of context by people who don't know what an internet is.

Edited by Corvak

Shaming is never right.

Not for the way someone chooses to dress, not for the company they keep, and not for their opinions on media, video games, politics, religion, or anything else you can have an opinion on.

And definitely not for the browser extensions they choose to install.

Great write up, and I agree completely.

Edited by Kidavenger

I really don't understand why websites don't just monitor who is advertising on their sites; how the fuck does someone that is distributing malicious code ever even get through the front door, it's like taking a picture of a big steaming pile of shit and paying PC Gamer for ad space and nobody ever looks at the ad until it's sitting on the newstand, it would never happen, why is it ok to happen on the internet?

They also need to introduce tiered pricing, if Saints Row 4 wants to advertise here, it should be dirt cheap compared to what "My fat mom sells teeth white for $100,000 a week" has to pay.

As a fairly small online advertiser, I'd rather people that wouldn't be receptive to my ads used adblock so I don't have to pay to advertise to them in the first place, the content creators just need to adjust their pricing to compensate for this and I think you have a better situation overall, only people that want to buy stuff are seeing the ads, the people serving the ads should be looking after my best interest, MAKE THE ADVERTISER HAPPY, THEY ARE YOUR CUSTOMER, adopt this attitude content creators.

Edited by spraynardtatum

@dixavd said:

Interesting to see that this advertising guy didn't mention any of the many ways in which advertising is being used well, or even the ways in which places are circumventing the issue by gaining revenue through other models. For someone who should know his shit, he's doing a piss-poor job making it sound like that. Anyone who thinks this was a level-headed look at the issue doesn't know enough about the issue to come to that conclusion.

How about you address him with your insult. I'd also love to see your level-headed argument.

Posted by ajamafalous

I agree.

Edited by Baal_Sagoth

So because they're not working hard enough to prevent you from stealing from them, you feel justified in stealing from them? What the fuck is this thread?

I think you've already lost any credibility at the point where you're calling an unwillingness to adequately support content you enjoy theft. It's not surprising to see from people inside the bubble that call the illegal acquisition of software a specific form of armed robbery but it's still a bunch of bullshit. Seeing cynical and disrespectful garbage flying out of a person's mouth that works for a website with the priviledge of a fanbase that literally pays them to do what they do is just the icing on the cake.

You can't get obsessed with performing the role of moral arbiter and glorious "thought leader" (Patrick's own words) and get away with any mistake at all. Half-assed and easy apologies don't cut it at that point. Habitually using AdBlock everywhere has shitty consequences associated with it, certainly, and changes will almost definitely be forthcoming. But I don't fear that. I pay for websites I enjoy just as I buy games I enjoy - even if it is on sales if money is tight - but I've got no respect left whatsoever for the overblown egos and self-absorbed hypocracy of far too many people involved.

So, what the fuck is this thread? An attempt to present a counterpoint to the "truths" people that think the world revolves around them take for granted. The great thing about a change of business models will be that many content creators will find out how much their work is actually worth to people when they make a conscious decision to buy it. I imagine there'll be some unpleasant surprises.

Posted by Zomgfruitbunnies

No one is obligated to view advertisement. Ever. If one's only revenue stream is ads, this is just one reality they're going to have to deal with. Feel free to shove advertisement down my throat, because once I'm fed up I'll just stop using the service. If enough people stop, they're only hurting themselves because, let's face it, the internet has multiple outlets for the same damn thing and we're all pretty adequate at entertaining ourselves and looking for shit.

Bottom line: Come up with methods of funding that your audience is comfortable supporting, whether it's ads or something else.

Posted by bushpusherr

So because they're not working hard enough to prevent you from stealing from them, you feel justified in stealing from them? What the fuck is this thread?

Calling it stealing is thoroughly hyperbolic. Is it also stealing to own a DVR, and skip through the commercials on your favorite program? Regardless if one uses Ad-Block or not, or if one is sympathetic to content creator's or not, you can't escape the fact that it isn't going away. Content creator's can either continue to throw their hands up and talk about how unfair everything is, or people will actually have to start making an effort to bring change.

Edited by Ekpyroticuniverse

Until Gaintbomb cares about the quality of the ads on the site then neither do I. I came on here without adblock once, half naked women everywhere. If I wanted that there are websites dedicated to it. Giantbomb does not curate its adverts, so until they do and can ensure me the ads I will see are sfw and nonsexist, then sorry I am going to carry on using adblocker. Patrick was way out of line on this one.

Posted by Hunter5024

@deegee: Which quick look is that?

Posted by super2j

GG. this and the link helped me form a more solid position on how I feel about this topic.

Edited by JazzyJeff

@bushpusherr: You can skip over a TV commercial or change the channel and no one would know the difference (unless you participate to give them info), but revenue on websites are based on how many people actually see an ad. You can justify it any way you like, but they are losing money because your browser isn't loading their ads. Whether you call that stealing or not is your prerogative.

Posted by StarvingGamer

@starvinggamer said:

So because they're not working hard enough to prevent you from stealing from them, you feel justified in stealing from them? What the fuck is this thread?

I think you've already lost any credibility at the point where you're calling an unwillingness to adequately support content you enjoy theft.

A business asks me to pay X for their product. I find a method to take their product without paying X. But because it's the internet suddenly it's not theft, but "an unwillingness to adequately support content [I] enjoy"?

Edited by Petiew

I like that the linked post in the OP has a video of the godawful ads that Giantbomb had a while back.

Posted by bushpusherr

@bushpusherr: You can skip over a TV commercial or change the channel and no one would know the difference (unless you participate to give them info), but revenue on websites are based on how many people actually see an ad. You can justify it any way you like, but they are losing money because your browser isn't loading their ads. Whether you call that stealing or not is your prerogative.

I realize the TV comparison isn't totally similar, but is there no way for television stations to sort out whether their viewers are watching their programming live or instead saving it to a DVR? It isn't a per-viewer system like internet ads are, but that doesn't mean it couldn't still result in a drop in funding if enough viewers are found to be skipping the commercials. I just take issue with the word stealing because nothing is being taken.

It's certainly the prevention of potential money, not the theft of it. The advertising contracts are between the content creator's and the advertisers; not the consumers. A consumer is not obliged to view them, and to put it bluntly, a person using ad-block is really just saying "The content I get from your website is not worth the advertisements that accompany it." Whether it's fair or not is irrelevant to a solution; content creator's have to adapt.

Edited by Petiew

I like that the linked post in the OP has a video of the godawful ads that Giantbomb had a while back.

Posted by Baal_Sagoth

@baal_sagoth said:

@starvinggamer said:

So because they're not working hard enough to prevent you from stealing from them, you feel justified in stealing from them? What the fuck is this thread?

I think you've already lost any credibility at the point where you're calling an unwillingness to adequately support content you enjoy theft.

A business asks me to pay X for their product. I find a method to take their product without paying X. But because it's the internet suddenly it's not theft, but "an unwillingness to adequately support content [I] enjoy"?

Forgive me for using a pedestrian and easily accesible definiton for theft here:

"the generic term for all crimes in which a person intentionally and fraudulently takes personal property of another without permission or consent and with the intent to convert it to the taker's use (including potential sale)."

That is, quite simply, not a solid description for an internet user installing AdBlock. I consider it to be very problematic to accuse individuals of comitting punishable crimes to make a point of (potentially) morally questionable behavior.

Edited by Baal_Sagoth

@starvinggamer said:

@baal_sagoth said:

@starvinggamer said:

So because they're not working hard enough to prevent you from stealing from them, you feel justified in stealing from them? What the fuck is this thread?

I think you've already lost any credibility at the point where you're calling an unwillingness to adequately support content you enjoy theft.

A business asks me to pay X for their product. I find a method to take their product without paying X. But because it's the internet suddenly it's not theft, but "an unwillingness to adequately support content [I] enjoy"?

Forgive me for using a pedestrian and easily accesible definiton for theft here:

"the generic term for all crimes in which a person intentionally and fraudulently takes personal property of another without permission or consent and with the intent to convert it to the taker's use (including potential sale)."

That is, quite simply, not a solid description for an internet user installing AdBlock. I consider it to be very problematic to accuse individuals of comitting punishable crimes to make a point of (potentially) morally questionable behavior.

Edit: Good grief, the double posts. And now I'm getting warnings that I post too much in a row. This site's broken.

Edited by JazzyJeff

@bushpusherr: Your point is well taken. Unless a person agrees to view ads prior to viewing the content, it shouldn't be considered theft.

Posted by SoldierG654342

@starvinggamer said:

So because they're not working hard enough to prevent you from stealing from them, you feel justified in stealing from them? What the fuck is this thread?

Pretty much. The internet has been struggling with this issue basically since it started. How do you get people to pay (be it dollars or time) for something that they can get for free?

Online
Edited by cutyoface

Really good writeup, man. I pretty much agree with what you said.

Posted by l4wd0g

I really enjoyed your write up.

Edited by Nightriff

Very well written and I hope both Alex and Patrick read this, their attitude during this conversation during the AM show kinda pissed me off. I am absolutely willing to turn off Ad Block on sites I enjoy, I turned it off on GB so I know when I was signed out of my account, but in just about every case the ads are intrusive and bothersome to the viewer and really make me want to stop viewing the site all together. I love Sherdog.com but if I don't use an adblock browser, it is ugly and intrusive as hell.

Posted by jimmyfenix

Very good write up. It is a real shame to see so many double standards. Hope the Patrick and Alex will have a read at this blog.

Edited by spraynardtatum

Fuck the man.

Edited by StarvingGamer

@starvinggamer said:

@baal_sagoth said:

@starvinggamer said:

So because they're not working hard enough to prevent you from stealing from them, you feel justified in stealing from them? What the fuck is this thread?

I think you've already lost any credibility at the point where you're calling an unwillingness to adequately support content you enjoy theft.

A business asks me to pay X for their product. I find a method to take their product without paying X. But because it's the internet suddenly it's not theft, but "an unwillingness to adequately support content [I] enjoy"?

Forgive me for using a pedestrian and easily accesible definiton for theft here:

"the generic term for all crimes in which a person intentionally and fraudulently takes personal property of another without permission or consent and with the intent to convert it to the taker's use (including potential sale)."

That is, quite simply, not a solid description for an internet user installing AdBlock. I consider it to be very problematic to accuse individuals of comitting punishable crimes to make a point of (potentially) morally questionable behavior.

Ok, so by your estimation, because it's the internet (or because it's digital and not physical) it's not theft. Got it.

Posted by KoolAid

I don't really agree with this assessment of the situation. The OP compares the ads to junk mail and cold calls from used car salesmen and says we have no obligation to them. But this isn't a good comparison. A better comparison would be if we said we were going to buy the used car, drive it off the lot, and then never paid. See ya sucker!

Giant Bomb is selling something. The content is not free, but there are different ways to pay. You can spend money. or the site can have ads on it. I agree with Alex. You can justify it all you want. You are still a pirate. You are still taking something.

Hell, I'm not even trying to pass judgement. I've pirated games before. But just own up. My iPhone was built off the backs of slave labor. I still use it. The burger I ate last night came from the systemic torture of living creatures. I still ate it. But you're fooling yourself if you think your hands are clean. It's the justification that grinds my gears.

And that article from the advertiser is kinda dumb too. He doesn't seem to think too highly of youtube videos or video game websties and says it is right for market forces to get rid of the lame ones. He's right about that. But that isn't what we are talking about...? Ads aren't keeping shitty let's players afloat. Market forces will already force off shitty youtube channels. No views = no ads = no money. Good content providers are who get views. But that really doesn't help his narrative so I guess he left that part out.

Posted by spraynardtatum

@baal_sagoth said:

@starvinggamer said:

@baal_sagoth said:

@starvinggamer said:

So because they're not working hard enough to prevent you from stealing from them, you feel justified in stealing from them? What the fuck is this thread?

I think you've already lost any credibility at the point where you're calling an unwillingness to adequately support content you enjoy theft.

A business asks me to pay X for their product. I find a method to take their product without paying X. But because it's the internet suddenly it's not theft, but "an unwillingness to adequately support content [I] enjoy"?

Forgive me for using a pedestrian and easily accesible definiton for theft here:

"the generic term for all crimes in which a person intentionally and fraudulently takes personal property of another without permission or consent and with the intent to convert it to the taker's use (including potential sale)."

That is, quite simply, not a solid description for an internet user installing AdBlock. I consider it to be very problematic to accuse individuals of comitting punishable crimes to make a point of (potentially) morally questionable behavior.

Ok, so by your estimation, because it's the internet (or because it's digital and not physical) it's not theft. Got it.

If me not watching an ad is theft then I don't want to live on this planet anymore.

Edited by Nekroskop

To be honest I'd rather hear Patrick whine about ad-block users than "misogyny" in games. He can't go one 'Worth Reading' without mentioning or linking to something that has to do with "sexism" in video games. I'm one step from dropping my resub.

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