Jimquisition: The Adblock Episode

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I'm gonna go into rant mode here so bear with me.

Does anyone remember the guys over at Rooster Teeth? I barely do, I remember they made that cool machinima about Halo called Red vs Blue. It was great, I'd go there all the fucking time. And as their popularity grew, so did the ads. The ads got worse and worse, banners on screen ads on popups on intro and outtro ads. So many ads, that the ads would take up all the bandwidth and cause the actual video to not load! And ya know what, I couldn't take it anymore. So in the days before adblock, I stopped going to their site, and since adblock, I've never gone back. I never finished watching that cool shit, because the adds utterly and completely ruined the experience. They could have done a thousand things differently, but no. They rammed adds up the butt and pissed off the client base.

Youtube was on the fast track to do the same thing, and when ever I have to use the internet on a computer without adblock, I quickly find myself asking "how the hell did I put up with this?" It's absolutely inexcusable. Especially when most of the content is just some fedora, or neck beard sitting behind a webcam vomiting exposition. And throwing ads on it expecting people to be ok with using that as a means of them making money so they don't have to get a real job. And when I come home from a real job, with my head hurting and my back aching, just wanting to watch some funny shit on my computer, and then I'm faced with this shit... well, the answer is no. Worse yet, when you pay attention to where viruses and malware come from, it's usually adds. Those adds on download sites, with a hundred buttons saying 'download here.' And guess what they download onto your computer when you click them? Candy? Birthday cake? Funny cat pictures even? No. It's fake antivirus programs, tracking malware, redirecting infections, and god knows what else. They are not good. And the fact that ad companies, AND THE SITES WHO HOST THEM allow this to happen is absolutely unacceptable.

Now, I don't think I'm an unreasonable man. I've long said that if you make cool merch to support yourself, then I'll buy those cool tee shirts or whatever, and if the escapist ever gets its store restocked, then indeed there are several I want. And I've asked the guys over at adblock, is there a plan in the works so I can let ads from, very specific channels or videos play some of their ads. Not the ones that burn bandwidth like your mom, but some. So far I haven't gotten a response there either, but I'm hopeful, and there is the option to allow some non-intrusive adds now, so maybe that's their response.

You and the other content creators can argue that adds are the best solution, or the moral thing to do, or whatever totalbiscuit wants to vomit up in favor of his ad based life. But at the end of the day, nothing that I've found on the internet, that is ad supported, is vital or irreplaceable. And considering the harm they can do; and have done, the 'content providers' are going to need to do a major rethink before I or anyone who runs adblock is going to think twice about it.

I run AdBlock on Firefox by default and then whitelist websites that I use frequently. The Escapist has been whitelisted for a LONG time (I think I first started coming here back in like '06 or something?), but then you guys started the SUPER annoying video ads and quarter page tear ad things that I kept having to X out of.

At that point I was prepared to AdBlock you guys when I noticed something wonderful...you can watch videos on your mobile phone when you join Publisher's Club? AND kill all the ads? With the TONS of video content from you, Yahtzee and MovieBob, along with the great features, $20 didn't seem so bad.

The other thing I liked about the Pub Club option was that it didn't just feel like a "If you pay us some money we'll 'protect' you so those mean ads don't come around anymore" extortion racket because of the extras that were offered. More fine grained RSS feeds, replacing the ads with little comic and quotes and neat stuff like that, getting better quality video that I can watch on mobile or even download? These are all GREAT additions that make it feel like a *service* I'm purchasing, rather than paying off the ad enforcers. So great job whoever designed your Pub Club, because you'll certainly be keeping my money as long as The Escapist keeps producing content that I enjoy. I wish more websites that offered subscriptions put the effort into them that you guys do.

I haven't used adblock, but the Escapist was actually the site that tempted me the most to use it when it started autoplaying fucking videoes with fucking sound, two different modes, so muting the first one would still not mute the second one. I'm sorry, but at that point, I was close to giving up on the site.

Only reason I didn't stop viewing the escapist at all was actually because of you Jim. Keep up the good work, and if you know the person responsible for those horrid video ads, kick em in the groin.

Just for you, Jimmy boy, consider the Escapist white listed.

Without necessarily commenting on my own adblock use or lack thereof, the Escapist is one of the worst sites for ads I've seen, hands down. I mean hell, they run those banner ads that try to lure the gullible into clicking on them by saying you've got a virus or something. When viewing on my tablet, I've been getting popups that redirect me to dodgy-looking sites when I try to close them (and yes, I've checked for adware, and this only ever happens on the Escapist). That's not the kind of shit you should see on a legit site.

I love the content creators on the Escapist and do what I can to support them, but ye gods the site needs to do a better job of screening its advertising partners.

I also really wish we could change the rules about discussing adblockers. We're not going to have many constructive discussions about this very current, relevant issue if we have to rely on Jim asking for an armistice to avoid getting warned.

OT: Great video Jim, thanks for being understanding.

Some sites abuse it, ive been on sites where you watch a 30 second ad just to watch 1 minute trailer. Its stupid. Other sites the time ratio between ad and content is better.

Personally I would rather have an ad in the video than have to turn off adblock (as long as it's distinct and not overlapping either visually or audibly). Partly because it's more 'traditional' compared to TV, partly because it's more likely to be relevant since it's related to the video I'm watching and partly because I don't have to risk the various trickery and dickery of embedded ad's scripts.

I do feel a bit bad about not supporting those I watch. However, I tend to think of using ad-block as more analogous to using a PVR to skip TV ads rather than outright thievery.

I have for a while now. However, ads shouldn't be the only revenue for The Escapist - There's a storefront that's in dire need of a content update, y'know? Maybe it's time to realize that telling us that the imp hoodies are here after two years of, well, being here, maybe it's time to think up some new stuff?

Yes, I should have made more mention of the fact (rather than just a still image) that The Escapist has a reasonable ad-free subscription service. This is also a really good way to support the site if you have some spare dubloons and want the ads gone.

Also, thanks so much for the frank and civil response thus far!

AdBlock and NoScript is a must anymore, sad to say, though I do allow certain websites (SEE: TE) to get on the grey/white list.

However some adds I end up blocking specifically because they autoplay AND crash Firefox.
-ANY ad that can crash my browser, gets blacklisted.
-ANY ad that has ear shattering volume, gets blacklisted.

---EDIT---
I also wouldn't mind if there were ads, that don't have an insane volume hike, before the vids.

Ya'll do it from time to time with games, why not ads for gamer related stuff?

SnakeoilSage:
Hmm, we need a post on this thread to show people how to white-list pages on firefox and chrome.

If you're using AdBlock on Firefox, and you have the widget in your bar, then just click the little stop sign ABP icon and you can select "Disable on escapistmagazine.com" to whitelist this domain. It's really that simple.

I use Adblock to keep the site's formatting clean, but I do make an effort to deactivate it for the occasional video. I understand that content creators have to get paid to keep working, but God if the ad providers aren't making it easy.

What really gets my goat is the ads associated to browser-based RTS games or the occasional translation of Asian MMOs. Nine times out of ten, they try and hook you in with some sort of scantily-clad buxom warrior princess and some stupid line like "She needs a hero!".

My guess is easily-titillated guys go "Fantasy Bewbs, HNNNG.", click the banner and expect some kind of vaguely creepy setting with lots of revealing armor. What they get is a browser-based Civilization or Age of Empires rip-off. Either that or, you know, a MUD or some kind of cow clicker. I have no clue as to what kind of gamer is desperate enough to find Evony and its berjillion clones interesting.

If it's not that, it's the Emoticon and Emoji Brigade, as explained by Jim. Again - who the fuck thinks they just don't have enough Emoji in their average email? Who honestly finds that appealing?

Then, being Canadian, I get a lot of Green Card Lottery bullshit if I don't use Adblock.

"CONGRATURATION! LIVE AND WOKR IN TEH U ESSSS! FLASH ANIMASHUN!"

Um, no. If I do get a break in a community college down south, I'll get my permits legally.

I used to use AdBlock, but I must admit that while I loathe ads with the undying passion of ten thousand suns... I love the content that the Escapist provides, and this video seems to only nail that point further. My hatred for ads shouldn't affect those who I genuinely like. Sometimes, it's good to be reminded while they're evil... ads still are a necessary evil for those who don't wish to pay for subscription fees. For the price of inconvenience, we can keep having the Escapist move forward with wonderful content. :)

Never used adblock, probably never will. I haven't experienced the serious issues with ads like most others, so I don't really see a reason to.
But even if the ads would be an inconvenience, I'd support the creator with ads. A little inconvenience on my end is negligible to the work put into the content. It's the least one can do.

I'm frankly too lazy to get around to download ad block anyway. And the end lesson I take away from this is the classic "It's ok to not like things, but don't be a dick about it."

Kataiser:
Unfortunately, I have to adblock The Escapist. The ads are often intrusive, badly mess up the formatting, and outright crash my browser a lot of the time if I leave them on.

I used to adblock the escapist specifically because it had some of the worst and most obnoxious adverts I had ever seen, tonnes of obnoxious popups, autoplaying videos, fullscreen things that destroy the site formatting. I'm now a pubclub member but nonetheless I get advertisments in the fucking news feed anyway.

I adblock because ads annoy me, and also because they're a rather large source of security gaps in any network.

If possible I support with content subscriptions, or in the case of youtubers such as linustechtips and TekSyndicate I really don't mind a sponsored message as part of the video itself, at the end of whatever episode, and will watch through it provided it is relevant and useful to the audience (which in the two examples I gave it usually is)

I do use adblock but I try to have it off when it counts. Advertising can get intrusive and incredibly annoying at times. Also porn.

I do, however, try to keep it off where it counts and as for the Escapist, I pay the subscription fee. The point is, adblock can have a horribly harmful effect and while I can not expect everyone to use it responsibly, it would be nice if people did. Ad revenue is often the only source of income of content creators on the internet and stripping these people of their income also means stripping ourselves of their content.

Aardvaarkman:
(Snip).

It's an unsustainable system, a quick patch-up rather than a long-term remedy. If adverts become intolerable, people block them, then the adverts become more invasive (to the point of stopping the relevant page from working or even infecting people's computers, if the reports on this page are to be believed), so people feel they have no choice but to block the bloody things, etc. etc. vicious downward spiral. Someone, somewhere, must come up with a better way to deal with this problem, because it's here to stay. I read that AdBlock has a white list that companies can be added to if their advertisements meet a set of criteria (not too intrusive, for instance). Why doesn't Themis Media look into that? If the woes people speak of get sorted out that way, it seems like everybody would win.

I just enabled adblock to see the difference, then disabled it again, and the video I'm watching would play choppy in windowed mode, and with audio lag even.... :(

Should my rig
Core 2 duo @ 2.99ghz
8gb of ram
SLI GTX 260m...

Should it be brought to its knees by overloaded flash so I can't even ENJOY the content unless I'm watching in full-screen?

I don't USE adblock, but the site was MUCH faster loading and ALL the content loaded much quicker.

Thank GOD for you Jim.

DAMN this was fast. Jim, +20 points for true responsibility on the matter to your audience. Shows true concern.

Adblock....is a powerful tool, but it shines a light on the sad fact that the internet is just not as free as we'd like it to be. We'd love to pretend that, because both deep and varied content is available so easily, it costs nothing. And yea, 'consume first, pay...when?' also leaves that matter at least superficially clouded.

Sites that come forward with a reasonably priced, yearly subscription model (like here at the Escapist) I can do with. Even without all the nicknacks like larger avatars, etc., to put in enough support for a site I continue to frequent to cover ad costs (I hope that's what my pub sub does, at least) is enough.

Buuut more and more sites that I like rely on ads, and it's not like I 'surf the web' for as much random shit anymore, so either I expose myself to more ads by visiting the same sites, or I opt for their ad-free sub options, or hope for such methods to crop up. In any case, some lines will have to be drawn at this rate.

I mostly use adblock to keep annoying ads off random sites I visit on my travels around the internet, I do want to support those who produce free entertainment I enjoy. Which is part of the reason I bought pubclub.

One problem I have, though, is that for some reason whitelisting doesn't seem to work properly for me. Me using an outdated browser might have something to do with it, but I am staying on Opera 12 until something forces me to switch or something equal comes along.

I really don't mind ads, just not on every second YouTube video I want to watch, which was my incentive to use AdBlock. Now, it just runs as an extension and I'm kind of used to it. If I remember that the software is running and I like the content I see, I white-list the site that serves that content.

I'm sick and tired of the bullshit advertisers pull to make me watch ads. The irony, however, is that using AdBlock makes advertisers think of even more intrusive bullshit to serve me those ads. *sigh* Kapitalism, ho!

PS Jim: Kudos for the Megabyte Punch footage. It warms my heart to see the big boys show love towards the small developers of my small country!

I don't know that I can agree that more people using AdBlock results in more obnoxious ads. AdBlock was created because of obnoxious ads. They have always been so bad that even browsers now come with pop-up killers included. I think people forget it's there. But it's a testament to how long the ads have been that bad. It's been long enough that we've even forgotten we are already blocking ads without an addon or app.

I don't think it's reasonable to argue that ignoring ads is what makes them worse. They were already worse. Invasive ads created AdBlock, not the other way around.

So, I've often heard this topic come up in reference to adblock, but I've never personally understood how adblock actually works, probably as a side effect of not using it. I do, however, use the NoScript addon on Firefox, and I've often wondered if it has the same effect. I mean, obviously NoScript does block ads (sometimes, it seems kinda wonky in terms of what ads it does and does not block), but I don't fully understand how websites track how many people are actually seeing the ads, so I've never known if NoScript is lumping me into the category that does or does not see ads, again, partially because half of them I still seem to see anyways. =/

Ironically, the sad thing is that I don't even actually use NoScript to block ads. That's ultimately just an unintended (though admittedly not unwelcome) side effect. I run NoScript because it has on several occasions saved my PC from being infected by malicious code when I've naively clicked on a bad link, or worse, when a normally trustworthy website I like to visit has been hacked and had malicious code input into a normally safe venue. And ultimately, that's the reason why, as much as I would be willing to dampen my own experience and suffer through the ads to help the content creators that I like, I still use NoScript anyways. I'm willing to suffer through a worse experience to give money to the people who deserve it, but I'm not willing to jeopardize my PC by putting it at risk when those creators get hit by cyber attacks, as incredibly rare and infrequent as that may be.

:(

Jimothy Sterling:

Phrozenflame500:
Can mods give clarification on how we're to discuss this? Normally adblock threads are instantly closed with participants warned and if there's to even be a comments section for this video they'll have to be some sort of exception.

Briefly discussed with a moderator yesterday that exceptions would have to be made here. I cannot speak for the admins, but I would like to believe they understand that, in order to comment here, an armistice is gonna be needed.

I was about to bring this up myself, but I see it's already been addressed. Unfortunately it seems we don't have full immunity from the CoC here in regards to adblock, but I am sure people can manage to tiptoe around it.

I'll start by saying that if I were to theoretically ever use adblock it would be used intelligently. Browsing the internet at large with it on is actually safer for your computer, as you mentioned and can avoid nasty stuff from bogging down your browser. That said, you should always support sites and content creators of whom you want to continue following and white listing them is the best way to do so. If you want to go the extra mile, you can always support them in additional ways. For me, I've been a fan of this site for years and have been subscribed since the Publisher's Club was created (which turns off the ads). I also use Patreon to support some other content creators out there by paying them $1 per video.

I agree wholeheartedly that this wouldn't be an issue at all if the ads weren't so invasive (and in some cases, dangerous).

Also, slightly off-topic, but I am not sending you any dildos until you wear that Kirby shirt I got you at the last Expo XD (though it may be too big for you these days).

I use ad blocking software and most of the time I don't like using it for I rather support the people making the content that I am consuming and now I will try and white list any website I view regularly that is supported by ad revenue. The problem is when those ads become intrusive to my viewing of those websites.

Most of the time I will white list a site like The Escapist, but for me to turn off ad block I would hope some consideration to what ads are being used would be there, but there are times when I feel burned for trying to support a website because of the intrusive ads or when the include content that I don't want to see.

Just a note if you ever want to be on my perma-adblock list, have an autoplay porn advertisement with audio. I really didn't appreciate that the first time it happened with my six year old nephew around when trying to help him with his research assignment on migratory birds.

Jimothy Sterling:
Please give me money for my work

After years of unskippable, looping ads at the start of videos that would repeatedly crash my computer, I'm never touching the "off" button on AdBlock for the escapist ever.

However, if I think about it, I'd say that this website is worth $20 a month(EDIT: Whoops! That should say year!), so publishers Club HOOOO!!

Thank God for Jim

I find that when the content provider themselves is the one doing the ad read I don't mind as I trust the content provider to make even the ad reads of a high enough quality. However I do find that when the ad is random you get a pretty bad relation between ads and content, for example when I watch a ad for After earth then watched Moviebob rip it a new one.

I never even thought about this, honestly. Have taken the escapist off the block.

The ads I mainly despise are the ones on facebook, which are either depressing stereotypes e.g - "you're a woman, you must want diet pills!" or creepily harvested from your searches "how about those shoes you were idly looking at? you want to buy them now? HOW ABOUT NOW?? Have you bought them yet?? SHOES!!".

Youtube ads are a great example of some of the sneaky crap some ads do that definitely encourage more people to use adblock. There was one the other day for a car insurance company, whose video had a graphic that looked a lot like the 'Skip Ad' button placed just above where the skip ad button would appear, labelled 'skip to your car' or something.

I can't stand stuff like that. Want to advertise your product or service? Go ahead. Just don't try to trick me into clicking your link.

I can heartily recommend not using Adblock on YouTube. The channels I'm subscribed to I'll watch anyway, ads or no ads, but now I also support them (admittedly in a very small way, but support nonetheless). But also, now if I randomly click on a suggested video and an ad starts playing first, I have a few seconds to reflect on my decision. Do I really want to sit through an ad for a video I'm only mildly interested in? Something I only clicked on because it caught my attention for a second? More often than not, the answer is "No", and I stop watching.

So yeah, I spend more time watching ads for videos I enjoy, true. But I also spend waaaaaaay less time watching one random video after another. Added together, I think whitelisting YouTube has actually saved me a lot more time than I lost. :D

as long as it isn't pop ups or automatic audio playing ads (those last once can die in the brightest of fires) I have no problem with ads around the internet.

And to be perfectly honest, I have zero respect and understanding for people how can't manage watching a 15 second add before 10+ minutes of perfectly free content. Get the monsterously oversized stick out of your ass, you're not that busy.

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