Jimquisition: The Adblock Episode

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Alright. Fair point Jim. Since you asked nicely and the Escapist's ads have gotten better, I'll do as you ask. *click* Most sites I have Adblock on is for sites that when I have ads running and when I'm in the middle of one my shows, suddenly audio for an annoying advertisement starts blasting in the headset. So I must then pause and dig through my tabs to find the one ad on the one site in the one tab and mute it. That's my only problem with ads on the internet. All that accomplishes is my excluding of that brand, product, or company when I go into that particular market as a consumer.

I'm a Pub Club member because I think the Escapist is worth supporting. And, frankly, because I like to believe my time has some value, and that value is far above what I'd spend watching ads on the Escapist versus what amounts to a quite modest magazine subscription rate. I would pay more to support people like Jim Sterling, Yahtzee, and LRR than I do (and I was part of LRR's Kickstarter, if I need to prove that point.)

I can't speak for the ads on the Escapist, since I no longer see them.

But elsewhere... My freaking god.

I have seen advertisement videos that ran longer than the videos I was trying to access- and those videos were themselves, in some cases, ads. I have played Flash games that involved dragging with "roll mouse over to allow us to hijack your browser" ads immediately in the margins. I have seen ads that tried to upload malware to my computer- and this is not in some skeezy porn site or "warez" page, mind you, but relatively mainstream game and news sites. I have seen ads that made the pages and the content I was attempting to access refuse to load at all.

In some very real ways, Internet ads are actually worse than the ones on television, radio, and print. Such ads rarely make the program, music, or article I'm there to consume completely inaccessible, nor do they tend to insist I sit through an advertiser's pitch before any proof that what I've clicked on is worth the effort (or even what the link claims it is, or that the ad remains while the content has gone 404...)

I get that content creators need to get paid, deserve to get paid. And I don't buy the arguments of "This piece of crap isn't worth the $0.08 they get from this ad, now pardon me while I catch up on the entire archive of this crap" people.

But sometimes I really have to wonder if there isn't another way... Preferably a way that doesn't turn the entire Internet into beggars with Paypal donation buttons on their sites, holding out for that 5% of their viewership that doesn't hold a sociopathic view of the value of their creators' time.

I'd almost be up for something like a bandwidth tax that went directly to the creators, except that of course the creators of a webcomic or article aren't necessarily putting in less work than creators of some bandwidth-eating high-definition video.

I wish I had a simple answer. As it stands, it's pretty hard to feel righteous in siding with the advertisers as they double down on their war with their audience.

I don't block ads, but I do wish the ads on The Escapist would get less intrusive (blasts of sound and being unable to find the source can make me a bit jumpy when they suddenly pop up, seemingly out of nowhere), not to mention the ads that move what I'm reading halfway down the page. Perhaps the mods could consider less obnoxious ads? I'm not going to put Adblock on, but I do hope The Escapist (and, indeed, many sites) will at least reconsider changing up the way they do ads, at least a little bit. I like supporting content creators, and I do enjoy a lot of the content on this website, but when ads cause glitching on a video (forcing me to refresh the page several times), I begin to feel a tad annoyed.

theApoc:
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.

I don't understand this. You're saying we should charge every user a subscription instead of giving them free content and entertainment?

We do have an optional subscription available, that does give people some additional perks and ad-free viewing, but not everyone can afford a subscription for the sites they visit. This is why ad-revenue is currently the largest income source of the Escapist, because, especially these days, people just can't afford to buy merch and subscriptions all that often.

Your analogy of comparing The Escapist to a concert isn't really valid. Those musical artists still pay to advertise their album, or their concert, because if they didn't then people wouldn't know to attend. So yes they do still use ads, just not in the actual concert itself, in the same way that we have ads on the side or just before a video, not during the actual video itself.

If websites were able to pay their employees and other costs with just the revenue made from selling merch and the optioning PubClub, I'm sure they'd be more than happy to. The sad fact is that ad-revenue is still very much essential to keeping the site up and running.

sky14kemea:

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.

Well, maybe that might be a good first step towards improving matters. Why not put the staff by default onto the free version so they can experience the site that way and see how irritating it is?

This discussion has made me slightly more willing to consider the Pub Club option, though. I've never really seen the point as it doesn't offer me anything I'm that interested in and while I do come here pretty frequently I'm still pretty much a casual. But since starting to AdBlock the site for reasons above stated, I suppose it's fair. It just seems very pricey to me and to some extent I feel blackmailed into it - 'why not subscribe? No? What about if we make every page shout something about floor cleaner at you? Will you subscribe now?'

Weaver:

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?

Flatfrog:
snip

The problem is the Staff usually don't have time to do that, especially during their working hours. There's lots of stuff to do that doesn't involve going on the site itself. I can't speak personally about their actual schedule but I'd make a guess that they only really browse the forums when posting videos and checking for feedback. That's why they ask Moderators and users to report these issues, because chances are we'll see them way before they get the chance.

Perhaps once advertising companies and websites develop a standard for how web advertising is supposed to be like, rather than this wild-west type nonsense where everyone does whatever they can (regardless of good/bad and we're just supposed to trust them out of the kindness of our hearts,) people will actually stop needing to block ads.

I do NOT use AdBlock... mostly because I've just never been arsed to install it. Most of the time when I'm browsing the forums I simply turn my speakers off. The ads may or may not play in the background, I don't know and it doesn't bother me enough to care. However, there are many times on the Escapist where I wish I would install it because audio ads play... during the video I'm trying to watch! And almost every time it's at a level that is far above the audio of the video I'm watching, like a Jimquisition, or Big Picture, or Top Five with Lisa, or the few times lately I actually decide to see how Yahtzee is insulting a game this week. When the ads play over the video that's when I seriously consider the adblock no matter what the ad is. (and most of them are entirely irrelevant to me)

But your my favorite tit, and i do love tits.

So, i love the honesty as always dude. The ads are getting out of hand and just somtimes just for a less then a min clip for a teaser trailer your having to sit thru some bullshit advert that lasted longer then the content you wanted in the first place.

But either way for you my fave tit and Emperor ill un adblock you :) Keep up the good work.
BAH WEEP GRAH NAH WEEP NINI BAH

As someone who once worked in advertising, I can attest that it is a horrible industry that tries to make people feel bad about themselves so they buy a bunch of crap.
But seriously, some hacker hasn't come up with a way to block the ads without it affecting whatever bean-counting thats going on? People have been blocking ads for years.

Fat_Hippo:
I don't use Adblock, nor do I plan to, nor do I advocate its use, but by god, The Escapist hasn't been making it easy for me the past few months. Video ads, which play on the sides and bottom of the page, starting themselves, with SOUND, which I then have to close everytime I open a new page, have occasionally made browsing the site a downright pain in the ass.

Those videos are annoying but don't have anything to do with this site. I don't get them for example and I don't use adblock; as crappy a connection as (I think) I have, it's never been a big problem. You probably downloaded something extra with a program or browser you were asked to update. Some free web game sites make you download a bunch of crap like that too. When I start seeing those ads, I just do a system restore to a date before I started seeing them.

I just checked and apparently I do have an ad blocker. I had to check because I vaguely remember installing it at some point, but regularly see ads these days regardless. I guess it's either not working very well or has had a big whitelist patched in at some point. Also, the fact that I noticed the ads and didn't bother to do anything about it suggests that I probably don't need to have it installed at all.

Not that any of this affects my viewing of The Escapist. I've had a PubClub membership since it first became available and will continue to renew (despite my decline in forum reading/participation these days) for as long as there's content that I enjoy. So that's a thing I'd recommend for a whole bunch of reasons. If a straight up 'fund the Jimquisition' thing ever happened, I'd throw money at that too.

I rather like the Acceptable Ads program that appears to be still going through things like adblock. Good standards and practices with the ads, so they're not offensive or outright dangerous to users from malware and the like, and boom, it gets through adblock. Seems to work just fine for places like Reddit, and the like! A potentially happy medium, if nothing else.

Weaver:
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?

When I dropped into the Tech Team chat a while back and mentioned that a lot of people's Escapist profiles weren't linking to their Steam profiles properly (because of a recent change to the Steam community URL layout), Kross said it was the first he'd heard of it. He promptly fixed the problem in short order. I guess the faster stuff gets passed along to 'em, the faster it gets solved.

shephardjhon:
Wait! You actually thought I was DEMANDING something about clickbait?
NO. I was mentioning one huge aspect of an issue that you constantly talk about but ignore that aspect.
I was offering constructive criticism about the fact that you have never mentioned punishment other than talking at ALL male gamers, in a tone similar to yours on this show.
I am sorry if I hurt your feelings(even if you have hurt mine several times in the past) or if you thought I demanded something.

you intentionally and admittedly trolled the guy n he didnt take you or your point seriously. was it worth it?

Time to move on from what ever your intention was, I doubt it'll get listened to.

I never use ad block, I can understand why people do it but simply minimizing the browser so that only the video or text is shown is a very nice solution that still supports the people I'm watching.

I would like to NOT run AdBlock,but those shitty small ads which insist on playing their audio every fucking time a page loads just gets right up my arse, especially when watching the Jimquisition. Admittedly its only been in the last few weeks that I've had to take this action, but really I think the solution is just to get sponsors like Rev3 have and just play a sequence mid show or get a better ad host, because the one The Escapist uses is just awful.

I already had the escapist white listed long before watching this video.
In related news that there is a weird anime ad about psycho's or crap like that. I will never look up what this anime even is about because if did that means the advertisers won.

I turned off my adblock on the Escapist the moment you asked, Jimothy! ~3~

Whitelisted the site, couldn't bare with the ads though..

So i guess i'm part of the "Publisher's Club" now, just for you, Jimmy Boy! :D

Fine, alright! I'll remove the bleedin' block on this site.

Now, how about I'll make the Escapist a deal for a change: remove the unjust warnings from the people in the first three pages of this topic (and any future ones), and I will subscribe to the publisher's club within the week.

I do have Ad Block installed on Chrome for the whole browsing porn thing you mentioned. The last thing I need is virus infested pop ups everywhere but I do usually whitelist things like The Escapist, That Guy With the Glasses, YouTube, sites that generally are some people's jobs.

Of course I realise that, a few days ago adverts were refusing to play on this site for some reason which prevented me from watching videos. So I had to turn Ad Block on to get around that problem. So I've been watching videos on here for a week or two with Ad Block on without realising so sorry about that, guys. :I

I use AdBlock for general browsing, though in light of this video, I think I'm going to start making a few exceptions. I immediately disabled it for the Escapist following this video and got an ad for a Hyundai on the very next page I opened. Might as well keep it off, that's no more intrusive than any TV ad and want to keep supporting my favourite content creators like Jim.

I find it strange that between piracy and adblocking, Jim appears to be more soft on the one that affects him. Either both are theft, or neither.

For the record, I prefer the "neither" answer, and a similar stance would have been more welcome for that episode, admitting that not giving out "hypohetical future profits", is not the same thing as stealing. The important thing is that our content producers make a living, but beyond that, it's a matter of helpfulness and courtesy, versus hanging on for the ride as an extra freeloader but without bringing much extra burden either.

C'mon people white-listing is easy, and the escapist is pretty good with ads (better than youtube at any rate.).

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

Does anyone remember the guys over at Rooster Teeth? I barely do,

You realize they are in the top 15 most subscribed on YouTube and are huge right?

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

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.

To me, this has always been something I could never understand. There is no Ministry of Taste, nor should there be. Whether content is valid or invalid in one's opinion doesn't mean it's universally that way across the board. Whereas I might enjoy a certain video or concept, someone else may not. And that's okay. No one's taste should be the sole gateway of whether or not something is worth existence.

Although I have to question your concept of "vital" or "irreplaceable." If you don't think something has enough purpose to exist, why do you consume it while actively circumventing its payment. I would imagine you don't steal every movie you watch, book you read, or steal every meal you eat. In the same vein, why is it justified that you can have every bit of advertisement-supported content without needing to suffer the advertisements? If it's not vital, and you don't want it to continue, simply stop consuming. And if you like how it tastes, and enjoy the content, why not suffer through some ads or an annual PubClub subscription fee to pay for it?

By your analogy, all you really need is MREs and water to survive, so chefs who make gourmet food should all be provided raw ingredients, then not paid after they've prepared them. Nothing of physical value was lost (except the years of talent that cultivated the result), so it's all fair game, right?

So yeah, it may suck to have ads, but you should reconsider their use. Everyone has different opinions, but at the very least, consider why this helps people. All it costs you is thirty seconds. It costs these creators, by extension, their livelihoods.

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!

Please read the following post as a radio announcer: If you want to support the Escapist Magazine, and its contributors, consider The Escapist's Publisher's Club for ad-free viewing, higher video resolutions, and other benefits!

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

Genuinely, consider a lot of sites you regularly visit, and whitelist them. Especially ones like this, where the contributors literally make or break at the end of the year based on whether or not the company can afford to keep paying them. For some, it is literally the difference between having a job and not at desparate times. Whitelisting is good.

I only ever adblock sites that the ads cause multiple streaming, framerate, etc. problems. I haven't had a problem with the Escapist yet, so I don't adblock.

Really, I don't mind watching your ads, I just ask they don't be intrusive.

So far, I don't purposefully block ads on my PC, though I do regret not having an ad blocker many many times. Ads have gotten so obnoxious that they inconvenience me to the point where I can't even watch the content I came to a site for. It's happened a few times on the escapist, usually with the ads that autoplay videos. Sometimes they slow my browser down to the point where I can't watch other videos without them skipping or stalling. I've gotten to the point where I'll watch videos from "That Guy With The Glasses" on my ipad because it doesn't play ads. I've had ads that crash the video player (usually Blip) so that the video I came to see never plays. The closest thing I have to an ad blocker is McAffee Sitadvisor and, as far as I know, it usually only blocks ads that are prone to have malicious behavior that can harm my computer if clicked on or whatever. I'm all up for supporting content creators. I WANT to support the people that make this awesome content. At the moment, not blocking ads is the only way I can show support, but GOOD LORD it's hard!

I am not going to get into whether I use AdBlock, instead my contribution to the discussion is this:

Everyone has the right to decide what content is displayed on their screens, regardless of where it comes from; this also ties to having cookies automatically installed from ad servers as well as increased used bandwidth (from downloading additional graphics and sounds). That last point might not be an issue for first world internet service, but it is in many other parts.

I see using ad blockers no different from changing the channel during the commercials while watching your favourite TV show, or PVRing a show and then skip through the commercials... or even paying for satellite radio.

There are lots of obtrusive advertising out there, but there is also the need to recognise that content creators rely on some of these ads. I do not think the answer is binary, either a yes or a no to ads, but someplace in the middle: some balance.

For the record, I do have the Escapist on my whitelist. After being a member of the Publisher's Club, going back to ad supported content wasn't bad at all (just don't put commercials in the videos, please)

TiberiusEsuriens:
Oh, it also wants to appear on the empty space on both sides the the website? That's GREAT! You want to click on the forums button? "BUY A JEEP INSTEAD. I know I'm physically on top of the forum button, but IF YOU BUY ME I'LL GO AWAY (I lied, I'll ask you to buy another)"

Being blissfully ad-free for years as a Pub Club member, I had no idea it was this bad. And another poster up-thread mentions things like fake anti-virus software ads, which are usually relegated to the most tawdry cesspools of the web.

Does The Escapist just accept random ads from anybody they can? I would have thought that the site is popular enough that it could have more quality control and enforce some standards on advertisers. There are plenty of sites that curate their ads and make good money without running obnoxious ads from everybody under the sun.

I don't see how this makes business sense for The Escapist. By having such low standards for ads, they are actually devaluing advertising on their site. If they were more strict with who and what they allowed, that would actually increase the price at which they could sell the ads, while probably also decreasing the number of people who block them. You advertising is going to be a lot more effective if it is limited, and related to the interests and demographic of the audience.

I'd like to see Jim or someone address this side of the issue, as it appears to be the real elephant in the room - so many have commented here that they would like to watch ads, but that they are just too terrible to put up with. Unblocking ads in the hope that things will somehow get better does not seem like a reasonable decision. I'd especially like to hear from someone from The Escapist on what their policy is on accepting advertising, and if there are any that they would turn down.

UsefulPlayer 1:
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.

He's not expecting us to do anything. It was a really polite way of explaining his side of a situation and informing us that if we care to disable adblock, Jim and other Escapist content creators will benefit from the ad revenue. His videos are free in the literal sense of the word; no one has to pay a penny to watch them. Ads might be shit and you may metaphorically be paying the price of watching that guy build a fucking red vines robot before each video, but that doesn't change the fact that the content is free.

It's not hypocritical in any way for Jim to say his content is free and ask us to think about the effect of adblocking a site. He's not holding anything over our heads or threatening to be a dick and pull his videos if we don't stop using adblock or don't buy an escapist subscription. He aired this video and absolutely nothing changes unless you decide you want the situation to change. The free to play games he's attacking in that other video withhold content from people that don't pay and intentionally create a game that is essentially unplayable if you don't buy gems to speed up ludicrously long build times. I would be %100 on your side if the Jimquisition videos paused themselves every 10 seconds unless you white listed them or some other contrived way of keeping the videos technically free, but pretty much forcing you to pay to enjoy them fully.

I like the idea of a paid model. Maybe putting the trailers in the middle of the physical cut of the show but allowing a trailer free experience for those who pay something like 20 dollars a year. I know the escapist does exactly that, and I think they have the right idea now all we need is some kind of card kids can buy at gamestop or walmart to help them pay for this.

Phrozenflame500:

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 is a good solution, I must say. And if the Escapist's ads haven't changed in recent years (been a Pub Club member for a bit now), then they need to shape up and get into that mold. I remember once browsing the Escapist on my phone, and seeing an ad slow the browser down to a crawl and taking up half of my screen. The banner even scrolled with the browser. Now, that was just ridiculously intrusive. Ads like that are just unacceptable.

To be honest, the only reason I didn't just stop visiting the Escapist then was because they helped me discover LoadingReadyRun, and that the Escapist was where their new stuff was. And the only reason I signed up for Pub Club was because of the promo going on during Desert Bus where a sign up added $10 to the marathon's total. (Also, Daily Drop was running at the time, and I wanted to see the high-quality footage. The explosions look so much better.) If I was one of those people who only came to the Escapist just for Yahtzee... well, I probably wouldn't pay for Pub Club and my account probably would've been banned for preaching about AdBlock.

I have adblock enabled by default, but disable it on a site by site basis. Youtube is whitelisted, because I watch so much material there, and I have subscriptions to sites like The Escapist or Nexus Mods. So I try to balance the convenience of blocking ads with supporting content creators. Maybe my approach is too selective, but I do try to be aware of the negative consequences of adblocking.

What annoys me with Youtube ads are those which challenge creator content for length. Does anybody watch 13 minute ads? In those circumstances I'll reload the page to get a shorter ad, because I know that pressing 'skip' doesn't generate revenue for the creators. Again, I think that's a fair compromise. But if the ads themselves were less intrusive, it would be easier to stomach them in general.

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