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Last post Author Topic: Ars Technica on the problem with adblocking  (Read 19332 times)

Lashiec

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Re: Ars Technica on the problem with adblocking
« Reply #50 on: March 26, 2010, 08:52:38 PM »
More people on the Internet join the discussion, confirming the theory formulated by the blogger I linked in my last post. Yes, companies pay per view, but if not enough clicks are being received, chances are that the same company will not want to work again with you in the future.

IainB

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Re: Ars Technica on the problem with adblocking
« Reply #51 on: March 27, 2010, 08:04:33 AM »
The ars technica article on adblocking was an amazing 1,101 words long, adding up to what some people (not me, you understand) might say was impressively specious - if not downright fallacious - reasoning, with begging thrown in for good measure and all intended as an attempt to substantiate an otherwise unfounded and insubstantial POV whilst at the same time attempting to twist the arms of the readers into conceding to that POV.

Some people might particularly notice the implicit and powerful threat:
Quote
"We've done a test and you know what? If you don't unblock our ads, then we'll...we'll jolly well take our toys away, and boy! - will you be sorry then! Try to read our site then, sucker!"
Those people might go on to add that whatever content they wish to appear on their PC monitors, what is deserving of their finite cognitive surplus and what they wish to pay for with their finite and hard-earned cash is largely up to them and that no amount of coercion or implied threat is going to alter that, so get lost.

TomTrottier

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Re: Ars Technica on the problem with adblocking
« Reply #52 on: March 28, 2010, 10:37:10 PM »
I have the solution! The ad-blockers should download the ads, pleasing the site, and not display them, pleasing the viewer!

TomTrottier

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Re: Ars Technica on the problem with adblocking
« Reply #53 on: March 28, 2010, 11:13:41 PM »
As well as adBlock, there are other ways to allow text/pic ads, limiting Flash, Javascript, GIF repeats and popups, at least in firefox, for viewing or printing or safety or bandwidth. eg:
  • Aardvark - erase page elements
  • Ghostery - deletes beacons, tracing
  • RequestPolicy - disallow off-site requests
  • NoScript - disallow java, javascript, flash
  • BetterPrivacy - control flash cookies
  • CS Lite - control cookies
  • Targeted Advertising Cookie Optout

View Dependencies is nice to diagnose off-site requests



f0dder

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Re: Ars Technica on the problem with adblocking
« Reply #54 on: March 29, 2010, 01:45:28 AM »
I have the solution! The ad-blockers should download the ads, pleasing the site, and not display them, pleasing the viewer!
Interesting idea - but would still waste your bandwidth :)
- carpe noctem

Deozaan

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Re: Ars Technica on the problem with adblocking
« Reply #55 on: March 29, 2010, 02:40:01 AM »
I have the solution! The ad-blockers should download the ads, pleasing the site, and not display them, pleasing the viewer!

I believe that some ad-blockers work that way.

I'm using AdThwart for Chrome and sometimes it will display the ad for a split second and then it will disappear. Almost as if it has to load it first before it chooses to block it from showing up.


IainB

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Re: Ars Technica on the problem with adblocking
« Reply #56 on: March 29, 2010, 04:44:23 PM »
@ TomTrottier and @Deozaan: I could be wrong, of course, but I gather that all current adblockers download the ads and related crap regardless anyway, which consumes bandwidth. They just don't display the crap, that's all. Ars technica, however would seem to be insisting that we actually must have that crap displayed on our screens, which is why I tell them to "get lost".

Interestingly, there was one ad-blocker - defunct now, but the one that probably started it all - which actually sent requests to the server to NOT send specific advertising-related material. It was called JunkBuster (junkbuster.com and junkbusters.com) and was developed by Anonymous Coders and Junkbusters Corporation. This system (it ran as a proxy server on the client) is no longer maintained, but it is mentioned in Electronic Privacy Information Center.

I started using JunkBuster in 1997/8, as I was working as an expat in the Philippines and later in Thailand, both of which had crappy telelcomms infrastructures. Connection to the Internet was usually via dial-up voiceband modem, and connection speeds with the Internet could be incredibly slow, regardless of whether you had the latest newfangled 56K dial-up modem. At that time, the advertisers were starting to flood the web with advertising, and people had started to create web pages with very little real content and lots of whirling and flashing gizmos - these, as now, were all major bandwidth hogs, and I couldn't afford to have them. JunkBuster was a lifesaver for me then. It was brilliantly designed.
With JunkBuster, you could:
  • spoof your http header (mine said I was using an obsolete Macintosh, with the obsolete Mosaic browser), and included my email address as "<spam-me-senseless@sittingduck.net>"
  • update/add to your block-list (using Regular Expressions) to make it just right for you
  • share your block-list(s) with other people (this was very useful, for me)
  • block cookies and control whether you responded to them
  • keep cookies in a "cookie jar"
  • share cookie jars with with other people (clever idea)
  • send someone else's cookies to a server, from a shared cookie jar (brilliant idea; thereby completely frustrating the concept of cookie tracking)

There were various other JunkBuster features, but the above would give you some idea of the scope of it.
The JunkBuster site is no longer maintained, and JunkBuster was largely superseded by GuideScope, and that was later superseded by NoScript and AdBlock - which do not send requests to the server to NOT send specific advertising-related material. That is, they don't help your bandwidth any.

I would dearly love to have the ability to do the same sort of things though - e.g., maintain cookie jars, send requests to the server to NOT send specific advertising-related material - as I still wish to retain my anonymity when surfing and I still have to pay for bandwidth (so I want to be thrifty about that).
I wonder, is this something that the Donation Coder people could help with?

If anyone is interested, you can download the JunkBuster install file of the last version, which includes the source code (JunkBuster 2.0.2 - ijb20.zip) from here. I think it needed redeveloping when SSL was introduced, as it did not work very well with SSL switched on (and we all tend to use that now, by default).
« Last Edit: March 29, 2010, 04:49:33 PM by IainB »

f0dder

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Re: Ars Technica on the problem with adblocking
« Reply #57 on: March 29, 2010, 10:51:14 PM »
"clean" browser:   185 requests, 731KB, 25.38s
W/O ABP, W/noscript:   171 requests, 576.7KB, 1.86s
W/ABP, W/O noscript:   162 requests, 605.5KB, 1.89s
WITH ABP + noscript:   148 requests, 575KB, 893ms
There were various other JunkBuster features, but the above would give you some idea of the scope of it.
The JunkBuster site is no longer maintained, and JunkBuster was largely superseded by GuideScope, and that was later superseded by NoScript and AdBlock - which do not send requests to the server to NOT send specific advertising-related material. That is, they don't help your bandwidth any.
Huh? :huh:

Do you have any detailed information on this? I don't see how you can "tell the server not to send advertising stuff"; there's nothing related to this in the HTTP protocol, and servers don't send stuff they haven't been requested to send - it's your browser pulling rather than the server pushing.

OTOH, AdBlock and friends actually do get you bandwidth savings - this is pretty easy to verify using FireBug's "Net" tab that shows which URLs get fetched, including content size and loadtime. Here's some stats for loading http://www.eb.dk :
"clean" browser: 185 requests, 731KB, 25.38s
W/O ABP, W/noscript: 171 requests, 576.7KB, 1.86s
W/ABP, W/O noscript: 162 requests, 605.5KB, 1.89s
WITH ABP + noscript: 148 requests, 575KB, 893ms
Those are full reloads - if cache had been used, FireBug would should that.

When requesting a page, you obviously grab the entire contents for the requested page (index.html, foo.php, yomomma.asp or whatever) - so if there's embedded HTML ads, those might be blocked but you won't get bandwidth savings... but that's not really the sinner anyway, the external flash/image based crap is. The good news is that for stuff AdBlock filters out, HTTP requests won't be made.

Also, note the extremely long load-time when loading the site without any script or ad blocking - this site is loaded, rendered and ready to use well before that, it's all the background ad-server tracking that isn't done before those 25s have elapsed.
- carpe noctem

IainB

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Re: Ars Technica on the problem with adblocking
« Reply #58 on: March 30, 2010, 11:20:14 AM »
@f0dder: Well, I did preface my comment with "I could be wrong, of course...". However, it does seem that the modern AdBlock does download the crap, display it momentarily (in Chrome) and then remove it from the display. (This has been mentioned by someone else in this discussion thread, above.) As far as I am aware, JunkBuster did not do this.

You ask "Do you have any detailed information on this?" Well, I might have, and it will be in the .ZIP file I linked to.
For example, In the FAQ file, it says this:
Quote
Can web sites tell that I'm using the Internet Junkbuster?
With the default options the proxy doesn't announce itself. Obvious indications such as Keep-Alive headers are deleted, but sites might notice that you can cancel cookies faster than any human could possibly click on a mouse. (If you want to provide a plausible explanation for this, change the User Agent header to a cookie-free or cookie-crunching browser).

But when certain options are used they could figure out something's going on, even if they're not pushing cookies. If you use blocking they can tell from their logs that the graphics in their pages are not being requested selectively. The add-forwarded-header option explicitly announces to the server that a proxy is present, and sending them wafers [a kind of dummy cookie] is of course a dead giveaway.

The key words there are, "are not being requested selectively".

f0dder

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Re: Ars Technica on the problem with adblocking
« Reply #59 on: March 30, 2010, 01:35:40 PM »
@f0dder: Well, I did preface my comment with "I could be wrong, of course...". However, it does seem that the modern AdBlock does download the crap, display it momentarily (in Chrome) and then remove it from the display. (This has been mentioned by someone else in this discussion thread, above.) As far as I am aware, JunkBuster did not do this.
I don't have Chrome installed, so dunno - but is AdBlock for chrome the same as AdBlock for firefox? Addon support for Chrome was added rather late, so it's possible it doesn't have all the capabilities of FF adblock.

Anyway, when checking site load with FireBug for FF, I can definitely see the ad-related URLs not being requested when AdBlockPlus is enabled.

Quote
Can web sites tell that I'm using the Internet Junkbuster?
With the default options the proxy doesn't announce itself. Obvious indications such as Keep-Alive headers are deleted, but sites might notice that you can cancel cookies faster than any human could possibly click on a mouse. (If you want to provide a plausible explanation for this, change the User Agent header to a cookie-free or cookie-crunching browser).

But when certain options are used they could figure out something's going on, even if they're not pushing cookies. If you use blocking they can tell from their logs that the graphics in their pages are not being requested selectively. The add-forwarded-header option explicitly announces to the server that a proxy is present, and sending them wafers [a kind of dummy cookie] is of course a dead giveaway.

The key words there are, "are not being requested selectively".
Yes - they can see that some graphics (stuff-we-want) are being requested, and others (crappy-ad-crap) isn't, hence "selectively". This is in no way different from how things work with AdBlockPlus (I'm ignoring the part about cookies, since I honestly don't care much about them).
- carpe noctem

IainB

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Re: Ars Technica on the problem with adblocking
« Reply #60 on: March 30, 2010, 09:04:28 PM »
@f0dder: I suspect that we have approached a point of relative ignorance in this discussion, beyond which neither of us (well, certainly me, anyway) really knows enough about or is qualified to discuss what we are discussing. Without further research on our part, or input from others who know more, we may be unable to throw any new or useful light on the subject.
I only know what I know about surfing using AdBlocking and anonymity "cloaks" (both serving important principles of freedom to me) from what I have experienced having used or experimented with different software including, for example:
  • JunkBuster
  • Privoxy (which "..is based in part on code originally developed by Junkbusters Corp. and Anonymous Coders.")
  • Guidescope
  • Hoster
  • Proxomitron
  • AdBlock
  • NoScript
As an example, you don't know about how AdBlock seems to affect browsing in Chrome, but I do, having used it. That doesn't make me an expert though.

JunkBuster really did minimise my bandwidth utilisation (as explained in a post above), but it I gather that its technology may have effectively been made obsolete by changes in other technology (e.g., including SSL). I recall reading a paper by a software developer (it might have been for SpeakFreely) where he said he was giving up on the idea of privacy of information because (I think) he said it had all been made virtually impossible by the default use of NAT technology in the modem/router.

My view is that if DonationCoder coders were up to the challenge of picking up the threads of JunkBuster and Privoxy (say), and developing from what the developers in Junkbusters Corp. and Anonymous Coders had done, then that might be really interesting.

Deozaan

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Re: Ars Technica on the problem with adblocking
« Reply #61 on: December 11, 2010, 06:05:31 PM »
This is an old thread being revived here, but I just thought I'd mention that I had very little sympathy for Ars Technica and other sites who begged and pleaded and tried to guilt-trip us into not blocking the ads on their site.

But I just saw this today on SplitBrain.org:

Here Would Be Ads.png

And I thought, "Heh heh, that's kind of funny/cute." And then, "Gosh. Now I feel kind of bad for blocking the ads on this site."

EDIT: Added site where I saw that funny/cute adblock graphic.

« Last Edit: December 12, 2010, 06:34:45 AM by Deozaan »

IainB

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Re: Ars Technica on the problem with adblocking
« Reply #62 on: December 12, 2010, 06:28:55 AM »
@Deozaan: If you pursue that line of thought, then you risk giving something valuable away - freedom of expression.
As per my above post, after their unfortunate article, Ars are still invited to "get lost".
Quote
The ars technica article on adblocking was an amazing 1,101 words long, adding up to what some people (not me, you understand) might say was impressively specious - if not downright fallacious - reasoning, with begging thrown in for good measure and all intended as an attempt to substantiate an otherwise unfounded and insubstantial POV whilst at the same time attempting to twist the arms of the readers into conceding to that POV.

Some people might particularly notice the implicit and powerful threat:
Quote
"We've done a test and you know what? If you don't unblock our ads, then we'll...we'll jolly well take our toys away, and boy! - will you be sorry then! Try to read our site then, sucker!"
Those people might go on to add that whatever content they wish to appear on their PC monitors, what is deserving of their finite cognitive surplus and what they wish to pay for with their finite and hard-earned cash is largely up to them and that no amount of coercion or implied threat is going to alter that, so get lost.
Wow! What have we here? Oh no! Eyes hazing over with red...anger...must destroy...cannot stop...nooooooo!...not that!...not a rant!...
--- WARNING! Start of rant ---
When you consider that this medium (the web) that we are using was originally designed to enable the free flow and communication of scientific information and research, it is not easy to understand why the users would wish to allow it to become so dominated by political or commercial interests - i.e., by Big Brother or Big Business and other commercial entities - that they give away their freedoms and let it be turned into another form of the Commercial v. Paid-for TV business model.

I stopped watching commercial TV years ago because I could not tolerate the incessantly repeated drivelling adverts and execrable quality of programming. I could not tolerate the Paid-for TV providers either, because, if anything, they provided an even worse experience in terms of quality of programming (though a lot of it is arguably due to the sheer volume of Americanised dumbed-down programming).

The Internet has transformed the world of human freedom of communication of information. This freedom is under attack.
The Internet use (e.g., blogging) has caused a slow death in traditional biased and Big Business-driven monopoly newspaper media, with some of those media trying to retire behind pay-walls as a last-gasp strategy for survival, or, like Ars, employing blackmail to get you to "do it their way".

Consider the millions of dollars spent by the RIAA over the last few years as they attack their customers in a last-ditch struggle to turn back the tide and control the medium, rather than develop a new business model to replace their obsolete business model (made obsolete by the use of P2P and other file sharing across the Internet).
Alternatively, consider what is currently happening to Wikileaks as Big Brother and Big Business attempt to attack and muzzle the freedom of access to public information.
It is one helluva sick society that enables and condones such attacks on our freedoms.
--- End of rant ---

PS: By the way, any sarcasm in any of the above is entirely intentional.

Deozaan

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Re: Ars Technica on the problem with adblocking
« Reply #63 on: December 12, 2010, 06:37:35 AM »
Sorry, IainB, I was unclear because I didn't mention that that cute image I saw was not on Ars Technica, but rather on http://www.splitbrain.org/.

Like you, I still don't feel any sympathy for Ars. :Thmbsup: