Jimquisition: The Adblock Episode

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I've never used AdBlock in my life. That said, I've pretty much always used NoScript, which disables all JavaScript and plugins unless I allow the domain hosting the content. I've got that to protect my computer from the filth on the internet, but it has the side-effect to usually block all ads as well.

I didn't pay for most stuff I see online while I didn't have an income. Once I started working full-time though, I started paying whenever there's a site I frequently visit, hence my PubClub subscription. Therefore, I can fully agree with the contents of this episode: if you don't pay, don't complain.

The ads on this site are some of the most obnoxious ads I've ever had the displeasure of seeing/hearing/etc.

With so many people in this thread having similar complaints, here's hoping something will (finally) be done about it.

Anyway Jim, I don't use any piece of software to block such things. (How would I know how bad the ads are here if I did?)

I am well aware of how important ads are for websites. Which is why I make it a point to turn it off on websites that I frequent on. Regardless of how shitty they may be. But I never had a problem with crashing.

I accidentally fell into adblock when my more computer savvy friend installed Ghostery on my computer after I got a malicious plugin installed. I've started whitelisting sites, but there are two that somewhat pain me not to unblock because I like the content producers, but I can't actually watch the fucking things properly without doing it: The Escapist and Twitch.

The site skins on The Escapist are incredibly annoying when attempting to navigate. I've accidently clicked on them dozens of times and found my way into a random site I didn't want to see. Combined with the "scroll over for sound" ads and that goddamned banner ad that moves with you on the bottom of the screen but sometimes gets caught in the middle and blocks everything till you close it, it's just infinitely easier to just run it on the site. Add to it that videos fail to load somewhat frequently, but the ads load no matter what. So on occasion I'll find myself watching an ad 3-4 times to get the video to run properly. This hasn't happened much lately, but it was a pain when it did.

The same thing happened with Twitch.tv: the ads would often break the stream and make me reload, watch another ad, then maybe get back to the stream I was watching. Add to it the fact that Twitch has been running into a ton of stream lag issues for no reason lately and it makes it virtually impossible to watch content I want to watch without adblock running.

That said, I realize how important it is and have whitelisted Youtube, Teamliquid, and other sites that I frequent to attempt to show my support. But if the ads prevent me from watching what I want to watch, it's a safe bet adblock is coming on.

wall of text with bad grammar follows I am sorry feel free to just read the stuff under the "..." for my issues put more briefly and a couple of suggestions.

(oh wow 4 pages of posts in the time it took me to write this well this isn't likely to be read HAHA)

one problem I have with ads is when they are in your face and distracting I've seen ads on sites (most often wiki's) that actually cover up what your trying to read rendering it impossible and you cant get rid of them either.
some even follow you when you try to scroll down.

as for the escapist specifically one time (and I'm sure I mentioned this on a now long dead thread) there was a banner ad on the front page and another as the border for a trailer I wanted to watch and a video ad before the trailer all of which were for Brink and the trailer I was trying to watch was for Brink.

I'm no expert in ads but I'm pretty sure some of those were redundant if anything it made me not want to buy the game and I didn't and from what I hear I dodged a bullet.

...

in short don't have them covering things up don't have them in the way or being obnoxious and just let me watch the video and Ill keep ad blocker off from now on.

here's a thought take it as you will why not have the ad play after the show so people who want to watch the show and not have to sit through an ad can do so and those that want to show support can stick around after for the ad.

another suggestion would be to not put ads on trailers lets be honest here trailers are all ready ads in of them self don't make me watch an ad so I can watch an ad.

"skip ad" options are all ways nice if you have no interest in the product

I'm fine with ads as long as they are non-intrusive on bottom/top/side but what I cannot tolerate are full screen ads, irritating flash ads with sound, false claims on adverts (I'm looking at you, Weather Channel!) and ads within videos.

This is not an admittance, these are my thoughts on what I will not deal with when it comes to advertisements on the internet.

My god this was an awkward video to watch. It felt like that scene from The Office where David Brent begs not to be fired from his job. Truly made me cringe >.<

There was no need to make this one Jim, I don't think. Especially just because of some troll in the forums. I'm kind of embarrassed for you, man. :/

To be fair, anyone with any substantial amount of technical expertise will tell you that Adblock and Noscript are pretty much as necessary as running an antivirus on your system if you spend a lot of time on the internet. I would not recommend browsing without them. Of course, whitelisting content that you want to support and find trustworthy and not too intrusive is also something that you should consider doing, and is not that big of a hassle.

I feel like what you have said in this episode is in contradiction to what you said at the end of the "Early Access" video.

Link:
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/jimquisition/8681-Early-Access

"You don't pay for the Jimquisition. Just think about that. This is free."

I don't mean to take quotes out of context, so I've provided a link; but you can't say that your videos are a free service and expect at the same time we do something for you. In the comment section of that video:

Aardvaarkman:

UsefulPlayer 1:
I feel like I do pay for Jimquisition. I sit through the god awful commercials that seem to plague this site more and more. And I think other people pay to have the commercials removed.

I also feel that "I'm immune from criticism because it's free" is a terrible argument, and one that Jim wouldn't put up with in other contexts. In fact, hasn't Jim done episodes bemoaning "free to play" games?

"Oh sure, our games are crippled to try to get you to buy in-game DLC - but you don't have to pay, so how can you criticise our game?"

I'm glad we had this episode.
I wanted to ask this for long time- are there commercials shown before videos?
Because I don't get them.
And I don't mean as if I don't understand them
I mean that I've never seen a single ad prior to video on Escapist
I'm pretty sure I don't have an adblock installed.
Do Chrome blocks such ads by default?

Glodenox:
I've never used AdBlock in my life. That said, I've pretty much always used NoScript, which disables all JavaScript and plugins unless I allow the domain hosting the content. I've got that to protect my computer from the filth on the internet, but it has the side-effect to usually block all ads as well.

I didn't pay for most stuff I see online while I didn't have an income. Once I started working full-time though, I started paying whenever there's a site I frequently visit, hence my PubClub subscription. Therefore, I can fully agree with the contents of this episode: if you don't pay, don't complain.

I would also like to say that No-Script has been essential for me also as when people have used my computer without it i have become infected with very nasty spyware and adware. People will support things they like; i think an optional pay wall or even a donations system isn't beneath most outlets. The problem is a lot of places get it wrong.

I whitelisted the escapist just for you Jim.

...I'd also fancy some more Khafnir.

Jimothy Sterling:
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!

I'd prefer a mobile site, so I can check out escapist on the go. Happy to look at adds

I've never used adblock, most of the sites I use regularly aren't too bad for ads really, or in the case of the Escapist I have the Pub Club, which I can't recommend enough by the way, for the price of half a bus ticket a month it's well worth investing in if you use the site regularly.

For those who don't have Pub Club, while I don't agree with ad-block I can really emphasise why someone might use it for this site, a few months back my subscription expired and I took a couple of days to renew it and damn, those video-playing ads with sound were horrible. I think just as the end-users have a responsibility to leave ad-block off if they want a site to continue providing them free entertainment, websites also have a responsibility not to host overly intrusive adverts or 'click here for free download!' type scam ads if they expect people to sit through them.

I do have to agree with Jim, Ads are at best a minor inconvience. when I am at home and watching a video and an ad pops up mid stream, I get up and take a piss, grab a cola or play peakaboo with my 10 month old son.

SOME ads on sights are annoying as shit. those don't text and drive ads that would override anything on the site when the slightest pixel of your cursor moves over it made me want to drive to the HQ of that organization and burn it to the ground. or any time I see an add pop up in front of an article and I can not seem to get rid of it by hitting escape, clicking on a box, or dear god clicking on the ad itself. instead I gotta reload the page and go about my business. DAMN HITTING F5 IS SO HARD!.

Carnagath:
To be fair, anyone with any substantial amount of technical expertise will tell you that Adblock and Noscript are pretty much as necessary as running an antivirus on your system if you spend a lot of time on the internet. I would not recommend browsing without them. Of course, whitelisting content that you want to support and find trustworthy and not too intrusive is also something that you should consider doing, and is not that big of a hassle.

Default white-listing for sites without terrible advertising is becoming a practice with some ad blocking services. I think the big people like Ad-Block plus would do well to transmute into a community watchdog; effectively enforcing good behavior by enabling adds on sites that comply with some kind of advertising charter.

Maybe I'm living in a fantasy world but perhaps this might finally bring some kind of voluntary standards to online behavior in regards to plugins. As long a website takes no responsibility for the plugins launching on their pages users will always be forced to block them.

But as it stands No-Script is essential.

Fappy:

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).

How could you Fappy? Withholding your dildos from Jim until he dresses the way you want him too?
-_- How cruel.

Anyway, I don't think I have add block. Is pop up blocker the same thing?
Though I understand why people would want it. Adds get pretty bad sometimes.

That said, the people who use it, brag about it, and complain to people like Jim about their content are just jerks. :p

As for me, like Jim and others have said, $20 bucks a year for no adds, no guilt, and bonus perks on the site.
:D Good deal.

Thank God for you, Jim.

You just convinced me to whitelist The Escapist, Jim! I had no idea so much of your revenue came from the ads themselves.

That being said, would you consider creating some way to have us donate if we feel so inclined?

My two main issues with ads right now are autoplaying videos with unmutable audio, and flash-based "interactive" ads that begin pushing the flash plugin way past what its meant to handle.

A third, but lesser issue is the content of some of theese ads. For example on a News page tab ive got an ad for Virgin Media Internet/mobile phone package. Not only am i not a homeowner, and thus unable to purchase it, but my parents are already paying Virgin for my internet, satellite TV and the landline at a cheaper rate than is being advertised.

I use NoScript on my laptop purely for performance reasons, if i dont have it off then the flash plugin starts consuming all of the RAM until either the laptop doesnt have enough memory for anything else (forcing me to crash it via task manager), or the plugin crashes on its own. Obviously due to the nature of NoScript i must disable it when/if i decide watch a video from the Escapist on my laptop.

For the desktop i normally leave an Escapist tab open, unless theres a video ad that refuses to piss off. In which case i close it.

Okay okay... Escapist is now white-listed... at least until I get tired of the fucking commercials playing all the time

Roggen Bread:
I do block ads. They screw up the formatting, they are noisy and they try to make you click there even if you do not want to. I could live with a couple of silent banners. I could dead with this *click to watch video* windows pops up with embedded video.

What I can absolutely fucking not accept is trying to watch a video, with an add being louder than the video and I have to invest work to close this add to enjoy my video. Or that you want to watch a video and have to watch another advertising video first.

I especially want to address you, Jim. In a way (yes, logic is flawed) the piracy offers better service than the legal way to obtain content (you will recognize this one).

The Escapist doesn't get to choose exactly which ads are played, that goes down to whoever is paying for the ad space. If you see really intrusive ads like that, you should report them to the Tech Team, preferably with screenshots so they can see what you mean.

That way the Escapist can try and get less intrusive ads to buy up that space. Most of the Staff and Mods have the Pubclub option, so they can't see these kinds of ads when people complain about them unless they sign out and view it from that point of view.

One thing that does piss me off though is a 30 second ad that i have to watch before watching a trailer......seriously? The trailers are not HD, and you want me to watch a video ad for that? NO thanks. ill just go to youtube instead.
I dont mind watching ads for the video series like Jimquisition/Big Picture/ZP?Escape to the Movies.
But please dont have 3 different video on autoplay on different parts of the page or i will adblock you by default.

Why don't you remove all ads from every page (ie, forums, videos, articles, etc) and move them all to a dedicated 'support us' page?

That way, I can enjoy my visit to the escapist (or any other website) without being harassed and annoyed by ads, and before I leave I could click on the support page, load all the ads you want me to see, and then close the tab and continue with my day? You get ad views and consumer goodwill, I get a better experience = win win?

Surely something like that would be far less intrusive and obnoxious than bloody ads spewed everywhere!

TheLastSamurai14:
You just convinced me to whitelist The Escapist, Jim! I had no idea so much of your revenue came from the ads themselves.

That being said, would you consider creating some way to have us donate if we feel so inclined?

There is always the Pubclub option, which gives you better quality videos and a completely ad-free experience on the escapist.

Of course that does depend on how much money you personally have spare, but if you're willing to donate, why not get some extra perks while you're at it? :D

This is why I subscribe. I'm not made of money at all, in fact I'm currently looking for a job - but I come to this site every single day to check on stories or watch content and you guys deserve something for the enjoyment I get from this being part of my Internet day. A modest yearly fee seems very reasonable for me for that, because Ads do become a bother very quickly - I also like the larger avatar just because I do.

I don't have Ad Block at all for sites I visit less often, because I visit them less often so it's not really that big of a deal to me to put up with the advertising. It does make my computer run a little hot though if I'm running, say a Google vid chat and a site with a lot of flash graphic ads that just keep going and going and going so I guess I could go that route, but really I can't be bothered for as infrequently as I visit sites that have just a ton of advertising that I don't really go to enough to warrant any action.

TheBestPieEver:
This is plain and simple: I want to turn adblock off here, but there is a recurrent sound based add that won't let me watch the videos if I turn adblock off because it's just so loud. If anyone knows about a way of turning off just that add please tell me how so I can support The Escapist.

As I mentioned to someone above, if you report things like that to the Tech Team, with screenshots or just some way of showing how bad it is, they can look at it and see if they can change that one ad.

Also there are some pretty smart people in that group, they might have a solution for you that'll allow you to whitelist the Escapist without getting these kinds of intrusive ads.

Flatfrog:
snip

Could also be a good idea for you to report these problems as well?

Sorry, but relying on ad based revenue leaves no one to blame but yourselves. Everyone who runs a website thinks they are mining gold and showering it on the masses, that somehow the mere act of creating content entitles you to a revenue stream. Sorry, but no. Imagine going to a rock show, and having the band led in, not by an opener, but rather by a 30 second ad for beer or soda. Imagine the intermission coming with more marketing nonsense. Do you think the consumer would be happy? Nope, but then again, they are paying for the show. So they have an expectation that their money is being spent on entertainment, not ads.

Make quality content and you will find your audience. Sorry but you don't have the right to inundate me with ads, just because you think your content has value. I determine if it has value to me, not you. Make the Escapist subscription based and work based on your true audience. Why is that off the table? Business models based on ads are not sustainable, and they never will be. You have to sell your product, not ad space.

You sell merchandise, you can create premium content, blaming the user because you want to do it the easy way isn't right. We don't OWE you anything for putting up a website. You chose to create this site, to contribute content, if you want to profit from it, you have to do better than assume your content is worth my time in ads, because in most instances it isn't.

I like this site. If it were subscription based, I MIGHT join, but ultimately, you are asking us to pay for a bunch of op ed pieces and a terribly moderated forum. How much is that really worth?

Sorry, I am not trying to be belligerent, but blaming the customer is never the answer. Even when they are wrong.

Meh, I never adblocked the escapist. I tend to unblock sites if I watch more than a couple of videos on there. Even if the ads are bad I know it goes towards giving me knew things to watch/view. Also if the mods go bananas on these posts I am going to be really put off.

Barbas:
Ah, well. Compromise is an important part of life. Also, I agree with the sentiments above - can this comments section be an exception to the rule: Ad Blockers - Do not link to, advocate, or admit to using ad blockers?

The edit on the opening post is our rule of thumb for this thread. There's some mild leniency, by the nature of this discussion, but blocking ads is still damaging to how these sites stay afloat, so it makes sense to not encourage their use. In short, as long as you're discussing why they exist and not talking about sticking it to The Man, we should be good.

Aardvaarkman:

Barbas:
Ah, well. Compromise is an important part of life. Also, I agree with the sentiments above - can this comments section be an exception to the rule: Ad Blockers - Do not link to, advocate, or admit to using ad blockers?

There's another discussion in itself. Why The Escapist feels it necessary to put forum rules in place to deny the existence of ad blockers. That's a whole other level of crazy, like pretending that reality doesn't exist. If they need to resort to such censorship of an increasingly commonplace topic then that's a symptom of a much deeper problem.

Did The Escapist think that by banning mention of ad blockers on the forums, that somehow people wouldn't know that they exist or not use them?

To me, that's more a rule of courtesy than not. I can't imagine you'd go into the house of a director and over polite dinner discuss their movies with the proviso that the only reason you watch them is because you can pirate them and get them free. By extension, the Escapist is just asking that people don't bring them up while you're here.

Phrozenflame500:

Jimothy Sterling:

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.

That's good, although a direct answer from the mods will be nice.

Personally I think the ideal scenario is Adblock Plus' Acceptable Ads initiative where sites which hold their ads to a specific standard can have their ads show up by default on users with Adblock installed. Notably Reddit ads are white listed by default. The majority of ad block users would probably be ok as long as the ads aren't annoyingly intrusive, although I do understand forcing ad companies to a baseline standard will be easier said then done.

That's probably the biggest problem. Sites don't always have the freedom to dictate which ads are shown where. Most ad networks just sell ads, and then transmit them through their system rather than being vetted personally by the sites that employ them.

A new system would resolve that, and I appreciate where Adblock is going with that, but until such practices are more standard, the current system is the one that the paid contributors need today rather than tomorrow. I'd definitely like to see more of these systems in place sooner rather than later.

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

I feel like such a tutorial would be very beneficial. But I think we both know none of our users would ever use adblockers here. ;)

I use AdBlock and a lot of other stuff at home, as it's my gaming computer and I try to keep it clean. I pretty much only go to sites I trust on it, too.

That said, I also have a tablet and browse the Escapist mostly at work.

The tablet is used basically any time I'm not playing a game, as my computer is hooked up to the tv, so the tablet is needed lots. No blocking there. Can't really watch videos on it as it's an HP Tablet (yes, they still exist, I got one when they were $99 and it's a pretty damn good web browser device... but not much else). I'd really like to clean it up and take some crap off it, but I have to plug it into a computer to do that, so I have to hook up an old desktop that's not connected to the internet some time as I have no idea what's on the thing as there's no protection whatsoever on it. But it's also a device and OS no one uses so there probably aren't any keyloggers or anything on it. That said, I don't do anything important on it, ever. Also those rollover for sound ads..? They just play automatically. Dumb, cheap, tablet that allows me to comfortably browse the internet while watching tv. :p

At work it's IE (yay), and heavily locked down to changes so there's nothing to be done about crappy ads. That said, I wish I could block them as sometimes I get work-related ads, but sometimes I get ads that are really not work appropriate. Still, The Escapist remains unblocked and I usually have videos playing while I work. Yay dual monitors.

As for my opinions on it... they pretty much mirror Jim. Ads are needed to make money, but I don't blame people for blocking them. At all. It's a very tough choice.

Sometimes on Youtube, I won't skip the ads for people or content that I like, because I think skipping it means they don't get full pay? I don't even know.

It's basically a catch-22 and I don't know enough to offer any answers.

sky14kemea:

TheBestPieEver:
This is plain and simple: I want to turn adblock off here, but there is a recurrent sound based add that won't let me watch the videos if I turn adblock off because it's just so loud. If anyone knows about a way of turning off just that add please tell me how so I can support The Escapist.

As I mentioned to someone above, if you report things like that to the Tech Team, with screenshots or just some way of showing how bad it is, they can look at it and see if they can change that one ad.

Also there are some pretty smart people in that group, they might have a solution for you that'll allow you to whitelist the Escapist without getting these kinds of intrusive ads.

The fact that the team doesn't know these are present, yet have been on this site for at least half a year is somewhat troubling.

May I humbly suggest the Escapist staff try browsing the site as a regular user for a day to see what the experience is like?

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.

Think ya could contact and encourage the mods to retract Kataiser's warning then?

Gotta say after reading his post that got him a warning it is pretty sad that users reported him and a mod decided to give the warning when he was very upfront, and honest about the situation as to why he uses adblock.

Hell as much as I disagree with your opinions and the FOTM chasing it really sucks seeing people get moderated over nothing when they aren't doing anything wrong at all except for being honest.

Actually I'm noticing most people who are being honest and admitting they are using adblock because they are either lazy once they have it installed(full disclosure since mods are banning people for something that is completely ridiculous and the staff really should slap the wrists of the mods for handing out these warnings on this topic. Also shame on users for flagging users here as well. On my laptop which I am on right now I'm too lazy to install adblock. For my desktop I don't use adblock when using chrome which I use for public surfing(twitch, youtube] and firefox which I do use adblock for private browsing[online shopping and such]) or too lazy to install adblock in the first place.

So Jim, I think it certainly would be respectable if you did actually help the users on this thread to get their warnings revoked with users such as Razer17 and Kataiser. Because if admitting to using adblock is somehow now against the forum rules then I can understand why a lot of the original forum posts of the escapist have been permabanned and why new users don't really want to actually post because of too much forum moderation where users aren't even allowed to be themselves.

EDIT: Fun note to forum techies. Apparently just having twitch in brackets [] will display create twitch feed. Might want to fix that...

Barbas:

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),

Agreed, but I don't think that's the only reason it's unsustainable. It's hard to believe that the advertising dollars spent are in most cases effective at making the advertisers money. We are probably in an advertising bubble that will burst sooner or later. I don't think the advertisers can sustain this level of spending when most people are ignoring the ads, even if they don't block them.

This is true even in other media like TV, where the skipping of ads has led to more in-show promotions and product placement.

As bibblles put it up-thread:

bibblles:

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.

I really like that turn of phrase; "his ad based life." It really cuts to the heart of the matter. People publishing their content under an ad-driven model are choosing this business model. And they do so knowing full well that ads can be blocked. There is no legal obligation for us to watch ads and not to block them. They have willingly chosen a revenue model that they know is easily bypassed. But then they (meaning the likes of Totalbiscuit here, not Jim) whine about people "stealing" their content, when they chose to give it away in the first place.

So, the downside of an ad-driven business model is that it is easily disrupted and not particularly reliable. I wonder how many companies that rely on ads actually state that in their financial statements to investors? Of course, they want all the up-side, with none of the down-side. The up-side is that being ad-driven has few barriers to entry, and having a big hit can quickly rake in a lot of money. In contrast, the subscription model is much more stable, but doesn't offer the explosive growth in audience and revenue.

Essentially, companies are gambling with this model. Of course, when they lose the bet, they would rather blame ad blockers, rather than acknowledging that they were gambling in the first place.

bibblles:
But at the end of the day, nothing that I've found on the internet, that is ad supported, is vital or irreplaceable.

I also agree with this. I'd rather the whole web urn to ashes than to look at obnoxious advertising. There are plenty of things I can do other than look at websites, like read a book. We still have public libraries, and in my city, we still have some great community radio stations where I can listen to great music and talk without a bombardment of ads. We still have independent cinemas to watch interesting movies. We still have local bands playing gigs for reasonable prices.

As much as I enjoy Jim and Yahtzee, it is not essential enough to life to put up with ads to watch them. Fortunately, I am able to subscribe to the Pub Club for now. I will gladly subscribe to any site worthy of my attention that has a subscription option. If they don't have a subscription option, and they want me to watch ads, then screw them - they aren't getting my eyeballs.

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