Jimquisition: The Adblock Episode

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How many suspensions does it take? Before it becomes wrong? Humm? A hundred, two hundred, a thousand? How many suspensions does it take?!

image

Sites are becoming more like businesses and jobs than they were 20 years ago where people did a site for fun or a passion for a subject. Problem is whats the alternative? Could make it a subscription only site but you would lose a lot of traffic. Less offensive ads would hurt you financially because im guessing the louder and video adverts pay more than a static banner.

On one site i visit to watch their vids if you use adblock the video has a 2 minute blank screen telling you to unblock the site. The argument was, take off adblock and watch a 20 second ad or watch a 2 minute screen. Pretty obvious what people do and they were pretty polite about it. Maybe this is something you could look into? After all your vids (well the three that i watch) are normally around the 7 minute mark so a 20 second ad isnt that much of an issue.

I guess there needs to be a balance of ads that get you paid but doesnt annoy the consumer. Like on Youtube i used to have it blocked until i found Angry Joe Show and he puts so much effort into vids. Same as Jim, Bob and Yahtze. Im happy to support these peoples content. Though there some groups where money has clouded their mind and they release way to many videos, quality goes down because the more vids they do the more money they get. Where once they made an interesting 10 min video about something, now you get five 3min vids about random crap.

I guess its just about finding that balance as i dont begrudge the escapist needing to make money.

Ya know what Jim, you've got a good point, your videos when I watch on the Escapist I shall not be using adblocker. But for others, I cannot do this for.

Bara_no_Hime:
I just find the situation upsetting. This thread is poison and it's hurting a lot of forum members.

Xan Krieger:
this thread set a precedent, when someone working for the Escapist makes something that is gonna cause so much moderation then it should be locked the instant things start going wrong. Do it for the sake of the users please, it's very unnerving to see so much moderation in one thread.

I have to agree.

I've said it before, but it's worth reiterating:
If a forum policy means that a certain type of thread can never be locked, no matter how bad the comments get and no matter how many warnings/bans the thread accumulates, then perhaps it's time to rethink that policy.

Because a policy like that, combined with a thread like this, is nothing but detrimental to the site as a whole.

Thanks Jim for bringing this to my attention, as requested I've whitelisted the Escapist. I'll try it out for a while just to see if I really was as buggered about the ads as I thought I was. Keep up the good work!

*hears about news article, views page*

This whole thing was a mess. I get that the mods were trying to enforce the rules, but now all the users are pissed and a news article has made the Escapist look bad. I don't think anyone benefited from this "discussion."

I still love the escapist, but I feel like there could be a little more discretion used in situations like this...

The Escapist should really try to get more of their ads from the non-intrusive advertising section. Most AdBlock users would have this option still enabled since it's a default. Currently it would appear that no ads on this site fall into the non-intrusive category.

When a big site like your officially disavows any responsibility for the ads on your site (as an admin on here did) and placing the blame on users heads for not informing them of the bad ads...

I'm not going to want to watch or be exposed to your ads because you are completely okay with my computer getting messed up. If you don't care if we can't watch your content or use our computers because of the ads you put on your site, then why should I support your site?

Police your ads before they end up on the site and then I would be okay being exposed to them. Continue your refusal to do even basic checking as in not having ads interfere with the use of your website and well...

What do you really expect of your users? That we are all drop dead stupid and love to have to deep clean our systems every week and not actually be able to view and listen to the videos we came to watch?

Okay Jim, you've convinced me. I even had to register an account just to say this.

I'll consider the minor inconvenience of whitelisting sites to allow addblock depending on how much I appreciate their content and how intrusive their ads are. Escapist is on a beta test. I've been addblocking for so long I really only ever run into them while on my phone, so maybe they've became less obnoxious.

But we'll see. You'll get a few clicks worth of add money from me for the time being.

Aardvaarkman:

How is that not an accurate description of advertising?

How is that anything but a bad thing based on your own use of the dictionary?

The_Kodu:

I'll give you that TBH some of their adverts in the past were just broken. I think they're getting past that now though.

I'm not entirely sure. Blip's ads had the effect of making me watch less Blip content, so I see fewer ads. I'm still seeing some broken ones, but I don't know if they're getting less, or if they're relatively even.

This is the avenue I'd recommend for people anyway. If you object to the use of ads, or a specific service, or whatever, don't watch the content. I think it sends the wrong message to the content creators and the advertisers if you're blocking the ads because they still seem to think that you'd watch the ads if only you didn't have that software available. And, if possible, make it clear why you're not watching. I really don't want to hurt content creators, but Blip specifically made it such a chore to watch them that I stopped watching a good chunk of the stuff from TGWTG that was hosted through Blip.

The Escapist has had a few problem ads, but at least they seem to be responsive when they're reported. Blip took their sweet time if they have resolved the issues. And part of that problem is they appeared to be spending more time fighting ad blockers than providing a watchable service.

And this is one of the reasons I liken it to piracy. I feel like I'm being punished for what other people are doing. And like with piracy, it mostly affects the legit users since the people who bypass the subject....Well, they bypass it.

Sorry to tangent.

KisaiTenshi:
-snip-

Thanks for the info. I had seriously never heard about this. In part because it just doesn't affect me anymore. I rarely miss cable TV, especially since I tend to buy box sets of any show I really like and stream stuff I'm not sure about off Netflix.

Thanatos2k:

Well yes, ad blockers are perpetuating a selfish behavior at heart, so it's no surprise they act petulantly at first when punished for it. However, you'd have to be truly stubborn to waste your time like that over the long term.

In most cases, people will rage audibly while hypocritically caving when no one can see them.

Sounds like gaming consumers.

I don't know about this case, though. The 90 or so seconds seems like a mild inconvenience to not have to deal with the broken ads that Blip was doing. I'm not saying it's right, for the record, just that it seems like it'd be "worth it."

I don't know. Maybe they want their programming more than I do. Like I said above, my response was to stop watching most Blip-supplied content. Your point to selfishness may be an apt one.

Thanatos2k:

Well yes, ad blockers are perpetuating a selfish behavior at heart, so it's no surprise they act petulantly at first when punished for it. However, you'd have to be truly stubborn to waste your time like that over the long term.

In most cases, people will rage audibly while hypocritically caving when no one can see them.

I dont get that attitude, to be honest. At least not entirely. Most cases of "addon which shall not be named" pop up when someone has another banner popping up in the middle of the screen, or overly loud music playing, or finds another bit of Malware on his drive, whereafter someone goes "You know, theres an addon for that."

To give a simple example, 1d4chan, ironically, has very nonintrusive adds. Its pretty much just a banner to the left and at the very bottom of the screen. I would never even consider blocking those, you barely even notice them if you're not specifically looking for them or if something in it catches your eye. And then you have Youtubers or other people complaining about Adblock, while playing ads that are sometimes longer than the content itself, cover half your screen with stuff, or actively try to hurt your computer.

Dont get me wrong, the morally just action would be Zachary's variant of just not going on the site. And its true that a lot of people will just go "lawl watch it anyway.", but if you KNOW this, wouldnt the correct approach to be either fix the ads your displaying, or block anyone with adblock from viewing your content? The last one isnt really feasible at the moment, since im reasonably sure this would outright kill a lot of sites, if not from less visitors, the backlash surely. But why is it so hard to actually get non-bullshit ads, and THEN ask for people to unblock? I'd reckon that would be the variant that nets you the most people unblocking your site, and keeping it that way. Because look at a lot of people in this thread, who unblocked it to only block it again a bit later. There should be SOMEWHAT of a lesson pulled, other than "Consumers are all thiefing assholes."

I hope I don't get in trouble for this.

First off I admit to using the A-Word and No-Script(for safe browsing) but not on The Escapist because it prevents videos from loading and causes formatting errors.

I love The Escapist, and your content. I appreciate what you do, and you deserve money to keep producing more. But the ads do not make it easy. You have a header ad, background ads (That interfere with middle clicking), Autoloading videos on the side, pop ups, and tabs that slide out from the bottom. Firefox and Chrome frequently crashes because of this site, and for the past week I have been unable to access The Escapist on a mobile device because the Guild Wars 2 ad causes the entire page to disappear and load only the ad.

On the other side, I wasn't aware that the Publishers Club still existed/is back. I'll be glad to get back on.

Rather than Ad-Block, i am using Flashblock as i have quite often a few dozen tabs open and flash banners just drag down my pc. So Flashblock blocks all Flash, except that on a whitelist, which i have filled with all the sites where i watch videos on, though only flash from that site is allowed, i still block any third party flash ad banners. So Commercials from the player itself still come through and i dont have to worry about any performance drag.

I dont mind Ads in general, though sometimes i wonder about their decision on how they advertise: Showing a set of the same ad banners over and over again through a period of time is fine since most people dont actually look at them and thus increase the chance of getting somewhat noticed. Ads that come before/inbetween/after a video though make no f***ing sense as people actively see them, they know what they are about so why... why do they keep showing me the same Ad again and again actually making me wish i would use Ad-Block, its like they are trying to brainwash me into buying the crap they offer, which honestly... no that doesnt work.

So in short, my advise to advertisers: stop using flash banner ads and be more diverse with your commercials.

The problem I have with advertising on the Escapist - and this is a problem I only ever encounter on this one site - is the fact that there are adverts that autoplay, unmuted. For me that crosses the line between uninteresting, necessary-evil type advertising, and obnoxious, in-yer-face advertising that shouldn't be expected or tolerated. From the sounds of it, a lot of people share my stance.

So there you have it, Escapist Head Honchos. If you were wondering how hard you can push advertising revenue before it starts negatively affecting site traffic, you have your answer.

ERaptor:

Thanatos2k:

Well yes, ad blockers are perpetuating a selfish behavior at heart, so it's no surprise they act petulantly at first when punished for it. However, you'd have to be truly stubborn to waste your time like that over the long term.

In most cases, people will rage audibly while hypocritically caving when no one can see them.

I dont get that attitude, to be honest. At least not entirely. Most cases of "addon which shall not be named" pop up when someone has another banner popping up in the middle of the screen, or overly loud music playing, or finds another bit of Malware on his drive, whereafter someone goes "You know, theres an addon for that."

To give a simple example, 1d4chan, ironically, has very nonintrusive adds. Its pretty much just a banner to the left and at the very bottom of the screen. I would never even consider blocking those, you barely even notice them if you're not specifically looking for them or if something in it catches your eye. And then you have Youtubers or other people complaining about Adblock, while playing ads that are sometimes longer than the content itself, cover half your screen with stuff, or actively try to hurt your computer.

Dont get me wrong, the morally just action would be Zachary's variant of just not going on the site. And its true that a lot of people will just go "lawl watch it anyway.", but if you KNOW this, wouldnt the correct approach to be either fix the ads your displaying, or block anyone with adblock from viewing your content? The last one isnt really feasible at the moment, since im reasonably sure this would outright kill a lot of sites, if not from less visitors, the backlash surely. But why is it so hard to actually get non-bullshit ads, and THEN ask for people to unblock? I'd reckon that would be the variant that nets you the most people unblocking your site, and keeping it that way. Because look at a lot of people in this thread, who unblocked it to only block it again a bit later. There should be SOMEWHAT of a lesson pulled, other than "Consumers are all thiefing assholes."

The reality is, the "nonintrusive ads" that you don't notice aren't actually very profitable for the reason you can suspect - nonintrusive ads get noticed less, get less clicks, and advertisers pay less for them. The exception here is contextual text ads on things like search engines, because they are typically far more relevant to the intent of the user - the user is trying to find things, and if the ad can help them do that, then it will be noticed.

Display ads sit in an uncomfortable place in the world - unlike a commercial on a television, they only work if they can get people to see them. And they are usually not related to the intent of the user - they want to read an article, watch a video, read a forum, etc etc. Thus they have a wide variety of techniques that most people hate to try and get noticed, from overlaying themselves over the content you really want to see, moving or creating sound to draw your attention, popping up in a separate window, and so on.

It's not an easy problem. You can say "Ok, we're going to make the most nonintrusive ads in the world" and do that and put them on your site, but you're going to find out no one's clicking them and they're not making you enough money to stay afloat that way.

The real dark secret is that irrespective to people blocking ads, advertisers are slowly discovering to their horror that advertising online simply isn't as effective as other types of advertising media. (Television still being the most effective)

This is bad news for everyone.

Sorry, not against you but I want ads gone from the face of the earth.
adding a site to a white list and having to support a mind-raping video about something I don't give a sh**k about can not in any way be an act of support.
I can't really remember a life with ads (no tv for a long time, no car, and I don't notice it in public transport), but I know it's really bad.
I can totally respect that you don't have many options, but I totally despise that some websites block you for using adblock.
Will consider a subscription or using flattr though, as I already have a subscription to a few sites I consider worth.
I can probably even match what they give you for the ad each time I watch the show.

I sincerely hope that the folks in charge of this site have paid close attention to this thread (I mean, other than issuing bans and warnings). If this clusterflock of a 'discussion' has illustrated one thing very clearly, it's that there's a severe disconnect between how The Escapist feels about its ads and how the users feel about them. Obviously SOMETHING needs to change, and with this many users having complaints and admitting they use Add-Blok (TM), it would very strongly suggest that the problem is on The Escapist's side. If I were them, I might pay attention and look at rethinking what kind of ads they allow on this site. Or they could stick their fingers in their ears and sing "la la la, I can't hear you" and pretend the problem doesn't exist or will go away on its own; not the best strategy, because all this thread has accomplished so far is (1) teaching people that they can get away with using Add-Blok (TM) as long as they don't *admit* to doing it and (2) getting this site bad publicity.

Now, admitting that one uses Add-Blok (TM) is obviously getting people in trouble...but I wonder what would happen if one admitted to using something like, say, an alternate 'hosts' file in their Windows system folder that prevents their computer from even being able to connect to sites that host things like malware and intrusive, obnoxious ads. Not that I know how to do such things, but I've heard they're possible. Just curious if that would also result in disciplinary action, since one isn't technically using Add-Blok (TM) or indeed *any* ad-prevention software at all.

After creating an account to chip in over a week after the video went up...

I remember a time, not that long ago, when I never used an advertisement or flash blocker. Then I kept getting bugged by noisy flash ads on different sites and I got a flash blocker. Then I got annoyed about how the whitelisting worked in combination with things like YouTube, so I got an ad blocker instead. And THEN I'd occasionally see messages on websites asking me to whitelist them because they need the money, and if I regularly visited the site I would.

Having said all that... Noisy ads are the biggest problem. The reason people like me run ad blockers is not because we hate all ads, it's because we hate the ones that make you hunt the page for the source of the noise. The worst type, which has happened to me multiple times in the past, is a noisy ad playing while I'm trying to watch a video on the same page, which means I have to close the video to turn it off. And then do it again three minutes later because the ad reset itself for some stupid reason. If you really want people to stop using ad blockers, then sort that kind of thing out, because it's just ridiculous. We'll accept ads in general as the price we pay for not subscribing - that's life. But when they interrupt the very thing we came here to see, right in the middle, that's too far.

And now I shall never mention this topic again.

As most people have, I had adblocked the Escapist. Not out of spite, but with ignorance of the whitelist function. I figured: "Hey, they get money anyway even if the ads aren't showing.. right?"

Well, now I know. From this point on, I'll have the Escapist whitelisted to support you guys. Sorry I didn't do it sooner.
Thank god for Jim Sterling. :P

I know I'm late to the party but this stuff is fascinating to me. As a system admin I closely follow the world of IT security and work hard to secure both my companies networks and my own. Jim, I fucking love your videos, your passionate frankness and quirky humor is a refreshing anomaly. Sites like the escapist beg/cajole/threaten/manipulate users into viewing ads, which is fine in principle(nothing is free, I'm not that naive) but the implementation on the web is repugnant.

A huge portion of all system infections can be traced to Flash, Java, etc. Zero day exploits, not getting updated, coding so convoluted that it would take Deep Thought to effectively bug test it. Yet guess what %90 of web ads are based on? Yup, these very same terrible, buggy, infection ridden programs. Now I'm not so naive as to believe we can do without these technologies(yet), but I'm not willing to give them free reign on my happy box either. No-script and Flashblock give users the ability to selectively allow these scripts from sites they trust, mitigating the danger somewhat and becoming a kind of a generic ad blocking tool. Fortunately for most web companies this is FAR more effort than the average user is willing to go through, what do they care if their magic picture box is part of some russian bot-net, as long as they can still glimpse "Teh Facebooks" sandwiched between toolbar add-ons, they don't give a shit.

On this video there are scripts originating from SEVENTEEN different web domains, only one or two of which are under the Escapist's control. The others? Well, aside from the ever-present/omniscient Facebook there is no way to know if those scripts are safe to allow. SEVENTEEN damn domains...

when someone asks you to watch ads on their web site, THEY ARE NOT THE ONES HOSTING THE ADDS! Some skeezy third party is doing that. It's a bit like they're asking you to let random strangers fondle your reproductive bits, sure it's fun for a while, but eventually your gonna catch something, and when you do The Escapist is gonna throw it's hands up and say "I didn't give it to you, not my responsibility".

So, let a few trusted companies jiggle your junk but for the most part, use a condom.

I've never used an ad-blocker, but the worse the ads get, the more tempting the prospect becomes. I really like The Escapist, but the ads here have been getting grievously disruptive. I have to be extremely careful where I even rollover, otherwise some noisy ad will suddenly fill half the window. The worst ones are the ones that just play on a loop, sound on by default.

I'm perfectly willing to just do without content, rather than struggle to get to it. I really hope the ads here get toned down a bit. If they get much worse, I may have to stop visiting. And no-that's not meant to be some sort of threat. I'm just saying-I'm happy to continue NOT blocking ads, as long as the ads aren't blocking me.

Once it gets to that point, I generally just stop visiting a site.

I thought you needed to click through the video for the sponsor to give money. Is it just a matter of watching?

Phourc:
Jim did have me convinced I should buy a subscription to support content creators I like.

Then... I saw this thread, and the embarrassing forum moderation within. Thanks for saving me 20 bucks, Escapist Magazine Forum Moderators!

I've seen a significant number of people in this thread saying something similar.
Instead of encouraging these people into giving money to The Escapist, this thread has had the opposite effect.

Is this an example of reverse-psychology? It seems a bit like it.

Aardvaarkman:

TopazFusion:

Now you're just being needlessly rude. I'd suggest you tread very carefully.

Is that a threat?

I must note that the tone of this comment, and having "License to Ban" beside your avatar seems highly unprofessional, adopts a hostile attitude, and goes against the spirit of community moderation.

TopazFusion:
Direct quote from Kross:

Kross:
Just don't say THIS IS AWESOME AND I DO IT

This is the exact quote you quoted in your post.
Kross is saying here: "Don't say that you [use adblock]"

No, he isn't he's saying don't say you use adblock and say it is awesome (i.e: advocating) I was referring to simply admitting to using adblock, without the "it's awesome" part.

TopazFusion:
You responded with:

Aardvaarkman:
[they] were only mentioning that they used Adblock. They were not advocating.

And I responded with a correction to your misunderstanding of the rules, by pointing out that admitting to adblock use is still against the rules (same with advocating, too).

I hope this clears things up.

No, that doesn't clear anything up. I was questioning the exemption that seems to have been placed on people mentioning adblock, but also saying that they whitelist The Escapist. The rules do not saying anything about it being OK to mention adblock if you also say you whitelist. Yet those who say they use it and whitelist are not being warned, even when the content of their post is similar to the other party's, and adds the same amount to the discussion.

The initial post in this thread says that discussion of adblocking is OK if it contributes to the discussion. The criteria listed is related to discussion, not to whether one uses adblock or not. What's certainly not contributing to the discussion is handing out warnings to people of one particular opinion on the topic.

And again, I do understand the rules as written. It's a little insulting that you think I don't, especially when you aren't understanding what I am writing.

None of this clears up why there is a double-standard in this "mentioning adblock" exemption for this thread. And also wondering why there wasn't a clearer explanation of what will be allowed. The note on the first post is extremely vague, where it says it will allow discussion of adblocking, but doesn't say exactly where the line is drawn.

Also, who is responsible for writing/authorising these exemptions?

Aardvaarkman you're my hero here on the Escapist. It's nice to see you sticking up for what is right in this thread (without incurring any mod wrath for it). I chose to quote this specific post because I notice TopazFusion never bothered to reply to you about this... I assume since any answer would just paint the Escapist mod team as hypocritical. I'm interested to hear it nonetheless.

Tentacular Timelord:
Aardvaarkman you're my hero here on the Escapist. It's nice to see you sticking up for what is right in this thread (without incurring any mod wrath for it).

Well, actually he did get a mod warning for it:

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/jump/6.843934.20791429

(These are the things you notice, when you read through a thread as thoroughly as I have.)

IceForce:

Tentacular Timelord:
Aardvaarkman you're my hero here on the Escapist. It's nice to see you sticking up for what is right in this thread (without incurring any mod wrath for it).

Well, actually he did get a mod warning for it:

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/jump/6.843934.20791429

(These are the things you notice, when you read through a thread as thoroughly as I have.)

Right you are, I don't think he'd been moderated for that at the time. I must've read this thread or week or so ago (long time lurker, only just made an account). I don't even see the cause for moderation in that post to be honest. Seems a little bit unfair.

AdBlock off for Escapist. Thanks for asking nicely.

I really don't get why some people have to go out of their way to tell you they are not supporting your site. If I don't like someone's content, I just don't watch it.

I don't have adblock, because I'm an adult and can ignore ads, or scroll to autoplaying videos and turn them off. Are they annoying? Whothefuckknows, I'm not that easily distracted.

Great episode, Jim, very fair and balanced as always.
Plus seeing you look a right tit is always a bonus! :P

Joking aside, I did consider getting AdBlock at one point until I became aware of how damaging that would be to the sites that I love & the content creators whose shows I enjoy, like yourself or LRR or Lisa Foiles, Miracle of Sound, Critical Miss or the lads of No Right Answer, to name but a few.

I actually complained to the escapist about being completely unable to view their content one week a few months ago about excessively loud, auto playing ads that screamed into my ear even after I'd shut them off.

I came *exceedingly* close to taking steps on my browser, though, thankfully, within a day or two of avoiding the site the issue seems to have been resolved.

So, no, I won't be adblocking you guys any time soon!

Hopefully the escapist can still host ads to keep going and hopefully the advertisers will respect the users of the site enough to play fair.

You know, it's one thing to not want to see ads, it's another thing entirely to "proudly" proclaim that you adblock stuff because you DON'T want to support Jim or The Escapist. Bleh...

Either way, I watch all the ads on this site, even if they do annoy me. Who knows, I might see something interesting.

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