Jimquisition: The Adblock Episode

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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.

I hate ads, but I've no idea how bad they've gotten here, as I've been PubClub since its inception, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I love the site, I love the content (for the most part), but unless the ads are easy to skip around or are silent and unobtrusive I refuse to watch them.

For what it's worth though, I will remain PubClub as long as I can for the sake of my sanity, the site, and the fact that I love the high def HTML5 videos, the Flash player can fuck right off.

Keep doing what you do Jim, you make my Mondays a little better every week.

AstaresPanda:

BAH WEEP GRAH NAH WEEP NINI BAH

image

OT: I do use the software but have specific ads (Jim,Yahtzee and bobs in particular) whitelisted so they still show when I view certain content on this website.

I do however fully block most websites out there because I don't usually care for ads in general, to me they serve no purpose other than to annoy me.

It just happens that some here are the exception but not the rule.

Scrumpmonkey:
Bottom line; advertising on the internet is in most places is out of hand. As a consumer who is given a tool to make their online experience tolerable i will take that opportunity. End of.

Jim keeps talking about consumer rights and he is dead on here; as a consumer i reserve my right to use No Script to control what runs when i open a page and how. No Script is especially a good case because i feel it is so vital to protect you from rouge plugins. It's a security and privacy issue as much as it is a convenience issue. Adds are effectively collateral damage in this regard. All scrips are a way into your computer. The web is simply not safe enough for you to NOT use these tools.

While I agree that safety is a priority, there's a difference between blocking all things, and blocking some things. Whitelisting sites that you frequently travel isn't a bad thing, even if it exposes you to a bit of risk. There is that in all things, risk is the nature of life. The trick is to cover your bases without doing much hard. To suggest that you pre-emptively head off all security risks is somewhat akin to the behaviors you see in games like Day Z. In order to verify that no one will shoot you, you shoot everyone first. Saves everyone the trouble of knowing who's friendly and who isn't: simply make everyone unfriendly, problem solved.

However, collateral damage is a side effect of that approach. Everyone's threshold for tolerable is different, so everyone deserves a fair shake. Adblocking everyone, and script blocking everyone, is not too dissimilar from that. Guaranteeing no issues by always heading off trouble while still getting benefits is a little unfair to the people who make a living this way. That's not to say it's an all-or-nothing approach, but that is to say making this the common, default approach will create problems, at least potentially in the future if not immediately.

Everyone's mileage may vary, but it may help some to reconsider. :3

I do run Adblock and no-script on my browser, but I do turn it off for sites i frequently visit like The Escapist.

That said, The Escapist does not make it easy.

Compounding that, I don't feel like I even have a 'choice' to put up with the annoyance; I have a hyper-sensory disorder, which means that a sudden burst of loud noise, or even something like 2 different audio tracks churning out gibberish by playing over each other that my brain can't interpret causes me PHYSICAL HARM, and in an absolute literal sense ruins my entire day by putting my body into a long-lasting panic-state (and sometimes night as well if I can't sleep due to the pain from said response). Every time this site's ad-network permits this kind of assault, I have to pay for another dose of my medication (which still ruins my day by crippling my mental faculties, but it's my only option to deal with my disorder).

I love the hell out of the escapist content, I'm on here daily, and it's the only reason I'm even trying to tolerate the grotesque ads allowed. but as I simply can not afford publisher's club in my financial situation, that puts me in a major dilemma. I'm not threatening to turn adblock/no-script on because I do agree its a form of revenue-denial for someone I think deserves their revenue, but that just leaves me with the options of a) continuing to put my health at risk if these practices aren't reigned-in, or b) walking away.

Guess which one is going to win sooner or later?

I have no problem turning it off when I am viewing a column or series that I follow (such as The Jimquision) but often times, like you said Jim, sites like IGN have these massive, intrusive, elaborate banners and overlays that seemingly don't want me to even view their content. In addition it's a real deal breaker when 30 sec commercials air before a 1 min video or even better yet, when the commercial loads up and plays instantly but the video I want to view takes 5 minutes to load...and it's only a minute itself. This image sums it up nicely, http://weknowmemes.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/google-servers-for-ads-for-videos.jpg

I first heard of and found adblock shortly after learning about banner ads capable of infecting one with malware simply by browsing to the page on which the ad is located. The problem is I don't know this shit at all and thus can't make an informed decision about whether any website, even in the less dodgy bits of the internet, can be counted on to stifle this shit so I err on the side of caution. Also, I don't always agree with Jim but even when I think he's off his rocker I at least get some enjoyment from having something to be pissed off about and write angry rants on the forums for a while. Can't those who hate him and want him to suffer financially see that he's still providing them a valuable service?

It's EXACTLY what you said, Jim.
I use Adblock because ads have gotten.... just offensively annoying...
Having been on the internet since it's beginning... (compuserve bitches!)
I must disagree....

While it currently might be a vicious cycle...
It didn't start as that.
Ads were annoying and intrusive in the beginning of the internet as soon as people figured out how to make them... those stupid popups... we've had that name almost as long as we've had the internet.

Adblock was born as a response to the BS of advertisers.... if they hadn't been so obnoxious for years... why would I feel the need/want to make them go away?
(also, I am offended at all these tits and vagoos shoved in my face from all the adds... "ooo this person likes video games, clearly it must be a heterosexual male who loves women as big titted, vagoo spread objects... probably is white too!"
......
I'm a gay man, I don't want to see that shit... and it CERTAINLY doesn't make me want to click anything...
There's nothing grosser than vaginas... I don't trust ANYTHING that bleeds for a week and doesn't die... just disgusting.)

So I adblock because I don't want to see that shit.
But since you asked so nicely... and didn't play the victim card... you could have easily just whined about it... but you actually took the time to legitimately examine the issue at hand.
And I respect that.
It's why I watch your show and have always enjoyed it since it's inception.
So I will tentatively whitelist you.
So long as your ads don't play stupid noise and/or have basically nude women... Cause I ain't got time for that shit.

EDIT: AAAAAAND as soon as I unblocked the adds.... a lovely embedded musical add started up mixing with your video producing a cacophonous racket that the word "noise" fails to even encompass.

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.

This is my thought as well. I never intend to use any sort of adblocking. I do, however, place a reasonable weight on simply feeling respected by the content creators who's works I happily partake of. I want to support those who make content I enjoy, and I'm perfectly happy to support them via ads. If, however, I feel that no attempt is being made to respect me by at least choosing an ad service that doesn't intentionally mess up my browsing experience then I will stop partaking of that content.

sky14kemea:

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.

I understand they're busy, I'm the lead developer at my company so I understand what it can be like. That said, only they can ensure the user experience is what they intended. We don't know if those ads are or aren't a mistake, so why would we report them? Not all problems are as obvious as a 404 and those are the ones that require UX validation. It's usually a matter of process, not a task assigned to an individual.

Eri:

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?

And as I mentioned, I watched their stuff like 10 years ago, but stopped. I'm not the kind of person who forgives or gives second chances. They ruined the experience for me, and I have not and will not go back to them for it. So forgive me for not knowing what they're up to these days.

NewClassic:

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.

Firstly, MREs can not be substituted for food, at least not on a long term basis. The damage to your colon would be catastrophic.

Secondly, what I was driving at is that if they suddenly started using negative reinforcement to make me watch their ads or if the blocked me from their website for not using ads or if like above with Rooster Teeth, the website became unusable due to the ads. Then I would have no problem doing something else for 5 - 10 minutes a day then watching their video. I could just as easily be playing TF2, or painting my 40k figs or driving nails into my head. It is to say, there exists an alternative.

And this is the whole thing about ads, they exist as negative reinforcement for the content. And to a point they outweigh the positives of the content. Especially when the site in question starts using ads that host malicious software like megaupload and other such sites did. Ads are not a solution to a problem, they are at best a short term solution to make things work.

As for this 'premium' stuff with the pub club or whatever they're calling it. I've done things like that on some sites. DakkaDakka.com for instance, I'm one of their DKMs or what ever they call it. I paid their fee and got the extra crap. But I'm still undecided about doing that for the escapist. On the one hand, I would be supporting things I like, such as critical miss and jim. On the other hand I would be supporting the things I don't like, such as movie bob and these forums, which are renound throughout the internet for being some of the most stuck up their own ass of all time (I know, people in glass houses). But the point I'm driving at is why should I support something I don't support?

Having actually written for a website, I understand the importance of ads. They generate revenue and allow sites to stay up while also allowing the site owners to continue pushing out content that, for the end-user, is entirely free. Because of that, I tend to whitelist sites which I respect/trust. However, there are three big reasons why I still use adblocking software for the majority of the sites on the internet, with one being a bit selfish and the other two being quite reasonable (at least in my eyes);

1. I use certain sites WAY too much, to the point where I would end up spending 40% of my time starring at ads if I whitelisted them. (The biggest offender of this is Youtube.)

2. I have no idea if scrolling over a specific ad will result in nothing happening or several pop-ups coming out at me. It's easier to me simply remove the ads then try to play a game of computer mouse Frogger.

3. Some ad-heavy sites can, literally crash my browser if I don't have adblocking turned on.

More often than not, The Escapist has fallen victim to the third point. During several times when I decided to whitelist The Escapist and just deal with the ads, my browser ended up crashing because there was simply too much stuff going on in a small handful of tabs. Having just turned off adblock before writing this comment, it seems that The Escapist is not being stuffed with ads. If that trends continues, I'm very willing to keep adblocking turned off for this site. I just don't hope it changes back to very ad-heavy pages.

Alterego-X:
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.

This was pretty much his stance in the video though. Jim said he didn't consider adblocking a video stealing and I consider what you said, "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" to be a perfect summery of what Jim was saying in the adblock video.

xGrimReaperzZ:
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

Lol, just got mine too.

Weaver:

I understand they're busy, I'm the lead developer at my company so I understand what it can be like. That said, only they can ensure the user experience is what they intended. We don't know if those ads are or aren't a mistake, so why would we report them? Not all problems are as obvious as a 404 and those are the ones that require UX validation. It's usually a matter of process, not a task assigned to an individual.

That's fair. I actually know next to nothing about the tech on the site, so I don't fully understand that last bit...

All I know is people have reported those kind of ads before, just 'cause it annoys them, and the Techies are willing to look at it.

I don't adblock "The Escapist". I've seen all the ads, including that one with the bear.

I do, however, admit that I've never clicked on a single ad. Not once. Sorry.

One of said ads (it was one of these dating site ads) managed to trigger a "object blocked due to malicious content" warning from BitDefender. I can't say how accurate this was, but BitDefender doesn't give me hundreds of false-positives like this. That ad was shown on "The Escapist".

There's a general perception that all internet advertising is scamming ("You're the one-millionth visitor to this website! Click here to claim your prize!") that's generally aimed at people too young or inexperienced with the 'net to know any better. Some of them aimed at children (the Spongebob-themed one "shoot the jellyfish to claim a prize" comes to mind) strike me as particularly repulsive. I'm not sure that ALL advertising is like this, but nowadays I wouldn't dare to click even on the ads that name legitimate companies. Yeah, it might SAY it's from a reputable banking website, but so did those e-mails I used to get, before content filtering became a "thing", that wanted my online banking username and password for a "security update".

Jim, I would never want to stop you from being paid for your content. I've received hours of entertainment from it, and with the exception of one video of yours that I particularly disagreed with (the idea that people shouldn't object to you liking stuff that they don't - I think this is a fair point for someone posting on a forum, but not for a professional games critic who's paid to give a fair and unbiased opinion) I've never tried to dictate to you what you should or shouldn't publish. Quite the opposite in fact - you've got popular on the basis of the content that you produce by your own standards, so what sense would it make for you to suddenly give up doing this and start pandering to a vocal subsection of your audience (who might be in the minority anyway)?

Having said that, I think the advertising "revenue stream" is not necessarily as permanent as it may seem right now. It'll only work as long as the advertisers can convince the product sellers that the ads are shifting stock, which may be the case, but it's difficult to see who's buying on the basis of internet ads alone. I wish I had an alternative for you... I just don't. I'm not a "pub club" member (sorry) so I can't say "the subscription model is best".

I just don't want you guys to get wedded to a revenue stream that may turn out to be less-than-reliable, and then turn into the modern equivalent of the horse company who tried to ban the model-T, or the record companies who said that MTV would ruin the recording industry. (Even if it turns out that last group may have had a point there.)

I do not use adblock and haven't in the past, but the content by and large on this site lasts a little over 5 minutes. a 30 sec ad (at most where I am) for a 6 minute video isn't that big of a deal, especially considering how bad it is on other sites. Plus, most of the ads I've seen are at least in the "ballpark" of something I might be interested in, so I can give that a pass. Hell, most of the advertisements are for the Escapist shows themselves.

All I am saying is the Escapist does a pretty good job of keeping adverts to a minimum while delivering consistently entertaining content. I don't know what the alternative will end up being, but I hope sites like this one don't suffer because of the need for advertisement money. I guess I can just become a pub club member :)

Advertising as is a nasty see-saw. Too many ads drive viewers away, too few drive content away.

For the "consumer", it trades a direct monetary cost for an opportunity cost, which is generally much lower risk.
It's such an incredibly effective model, that it's everywhere, and that's the real problem.

I literally cannot leave my neighborhood without being advertised to at least once.
I cannot drive any more than a block without having some advertisement blared to me.
I cannot set foot in any public place without sharing proximity with some sort of commercial.

And I have no control over that at all. But I do have more control over that online.
Which is a blessing and a curse, because ad-revenue pays for bloody EVERYTHING online.

It's awfully damn tempting to just block known noise and focus on the product, but I whitelist my regular sites, and just opt to not visit them when they're pissing me off (I've nearly left the Escapist for good a few times).

It's an "entitled" attitude to take, but like Jim, I cannot judge anyone too harshly for it; because we are practically under siege by advertisements for a large part of our waking hours in real life, and everywhere online.

I think the whole topic revolves around a lack of control over what ads are distributed. Now, I don't think that Escapist staff can possibly go through all the possible ads and blacklist some (partly because different browsing habits and especially countries receive different ads) but I think somewhere in the chain between the people producing shitty ads and between the end users there needs to be control put in.

What Jim said in the episode is true: Most people use adblock because of annoying and intrusive ads.
However, the Escapist is part of that problem in my opinion. In the end it isn't the advertisers damaged by bad ad practices but the sites on which ads are (not) displayed because they are the ones not getting any money. Therefore, maybe switching to other ad distribution services might theoretically be an option but I am told (e.g. on the blog of Shamus Young when he considered switching, though he'd probably get worse deals than the Escapist) that the differences are either too small or that the money is just too little.
So they are really stuck between a rock and a hard place. They certainly don't have the pull needed to get reliable (and well-paying) ad partners and some of the ads really diminish the good content they produce.

As an experiment, I turned off adblock and loaded several pages of the Escapist in different tabs. The ads I received weren't in front of the video but either on the right side or down at the very bottom of the site. Results:

Unacceptable: The first two ads I received were of an auto-playing video posing as "celebrity news" that started playing on a much louder volume than the actual video (and at the same time, too!).

Questionable: Another ad was a "view movies for free" auto-playing video ad (thankfully silent; my Web-of-Trust addon marked the site behind it as deeply orange, which even some porn sites don't get).

Bearable: A third ad is comprised of a auto-starting but silent video ad comprised of several smaller but harmless ad videos (e.g. osteo porosis medicine (???), car tires and other stuff). This one is actually bearable but I am on an unlimited (total traffic, not bandwidth) connection and I'd hate something like that to guzzle up a limited data plan (that I had for some time in the past) while I leave a tab open or write a post just because it doesn't stop loading more video ads.

Ok: Another ad was just a 1:34 (silent) video for "flowplayer". While the ad was unobtrusive and overall ok, it looked a little long for my taste, but meh, whatever.

I'll leave Adblock inactive on the Escapist for a little while longer. However, I'll turn it back on when I'm annoyed by ads again :(

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

Please also consider doing this for other websites you visit. Every little bit helps, for all content creators.

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

Unfortunately, this probably wouldn't really be all that workable. People who visit the sites to watch one or two rogue videos (which is a large percentage of users, especially since direct-to-video links from sites like reddit and slashdot) wouldn't be supporting the site at all. The dedicated Support Us page would likely be the one for PubClub.

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.

In this case, I would have to disagree. That already happens. People who go to concerts often walk into stadiums lined with advertisements. Every concession stand proudly has Coke emblems on their drink fountains and Budweiser taps on the countertops. The drive to the concert hall is teeming with billboards and business names. Somewhere, everywhere, there's an advertisement. Be it someone's branded shirt to a flyer drifting on the floor on the way in. However some may feel, advertisements are everywhere in this society.

That said, "blaming the user" isn't the route this is taking. It's saying to consider whitelisting or not using adblocker so the ads don't get more abrasive. And if you do cut off this man's paycheck, perhaps he shouldn't listen to you as you're not his paying audience. Seems like a pretty reasonable response to me.

Also, there is a subscription system in place, called the Publisher's Club. Find it's benefits here.

NewClassic:

While I agree that safety is a priority, there's a difference between blocking all things, and blocking some things. Whitelisting sites that you frequently travel isn't a bad thing, even if it exposes you to a bit of risk. There is that in all things, risk is the nature of life. The trick is to cover your bases without doing much hard. To suggest that you pre-emptively head off all security risks is somewhat akin to the behaviors you see in games like Day Z. In order to verify that no one will shoot you, you shoot everyone first. Saves everyone the trouble of knowing who's friendly and who isn't: simply make everyone unfriendly, problem solved.

However, collateral damage is a side effect of that approach. Everyone's threshold for tolerable is different, so everyone deserves a fair shake. Adblocking everyone, and script blocking everyone, is not too dissimilar from that. Guaranteeing no issues by always heading off trouble while still getting benefits is a little unfair to the people who make a living this way. That's not to say it's an all-or-nothing approach, but that is to say making this the common, default approach will create problems, at least potentially in the future if not immediately.

Everyone's mileage may vary, but it may help some to reconsider. :3

I do try to actively support people when i can. I will try and pay subscriptions or buy from places i frequent because i know they don't get revenue from me otherwise. BUT From bitter experience i know that, time and time again, when i have had lax security online i have paid for it by having almost irremovable spyware and malware. I'm not being paranoid and i don't think it's akin to being isolationist. It is simply good security practice. Browsing the internet without controlling scrips is like having sex with multiple partners without a condom. It's very risky. Sooner or later your digital crotch is going to drop off.

In two subsequent posts i have talked about whitelising, automatic whitelisting and the possibility of some kind of code of practice. I do maintain a personal whitelist and, again, i am a pub club member.

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.

Spot on jim thank god for you, and thank god for pointing out out that most of us start using that stuff because advertisers/markerters are intrusive asses.

I just wanted to post to let you know that I was moved by your episode, and have officially decided to whitelist websites including, but not limited to, this one, Giant Bomb, and Destructoid.

I've been infected with viruses from ad sites. I work from home. You're asking me to risk my livelihood for yours. Luckily I've been able to afford a tablet. I watch stuff from it without adblock. If I didn't have the tablet or adblock I just wouldn't watch your show. Would that be okay with you? What would you rather have?

I dunno. Just giving you my perspective.

I don't use Adblock at all, because I don't think the ads are bad for the most part. I tend to wonder if this is because I live in New Zealand and they have different laws and/or attitudes regarding invasive adds.

However, there are times, including on the Escapist Magazine, when I wonder if the people running it pay any attention to what's being run on it. For example, the standard "there's a virus on your computer, click to scan" or "you're the one millionth person to browse here, click to claim your prize. I mean, really? Everyone knows those are crappy scams designed to pull in gullible idiots. Crap like that makes me reconsider my stance, because if a website is willing to put that kind of blatant "click here to download your malware" bullshit on it's pages, it doesn't deserve a single cent from me and can fuck right off.

*Waves the Publisher's Club flag*

Okay, so it does cost me a little bit, but honestly? Just over 10? A year? To watch all the content of The Escapist, in HD, without Ads?
I consider that a bargain.

I obviously have a pub club subscription, I suggest other people who hate adverts do the same. It's only $20USD a year and you get a whole bunch of benefits.

The Lunatic:
"If everyone blocked ads from running, there'd be no show."

But... But... I'm a pub club member!

That works too, if you get enough. I enjoy the HD format shows, with no ads. Everything else is just a bonus.

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?

It certainly does prevent people from starting threads "Hey, I need a good adblocker, give me some recommendations" and people actually linking people to adblockers in response to complaints about ad related issues. Preventing the discussion itself is silly though, but they need to specify it in order to actually be able to give out warnings for them.

OT: I have an adblocker that's specific for the Escapist, it's called Publisher's Club and I intend to keep using it. More for the fact that I don't have to watch the shows in flash than for the ads though. God how I hate flash.

I think I'm (un?)fortunate enough to not live in the US, because while there is only 1 or 2 slightly annoying ads, it never gets intrusive enough for me, I swear I DO use AdBlock, but I've whitelisted The Escapist (and Massively and Destructoid and TGWTG) for a few years now (in Destructoid's and TGWTG's case, 9 months, since that's the time I started to browse there), every so often I see comments saying the ads are incredibly obtrusive and annoying, and I just can't see what the heck they're talking about, because it isn't obtrusive or annoying enough to dampen my experience browsing through this site.

Again, I use AdBlock, I admit it upfront, but honest to God, I do whitelist The Escapist*, even if there aren't enough ads for me to even justify enabling AdBlock.

*Nope, you don't have any guarantee I do tell the truth, you only have my word, wich is next to useless, but I promise, I'm telling the truth.

I don't use adblock, actually. I block ad servers through my host file. I don't know which ad servers you guys get your ads from, so it's difficult to actually fix that. I'd remove those ones from the list if I knew.

Didn't even realise they had such repercussions.
Nice to know my lack of an ad blocker is helping these videos.
I'm happy to support ;)

Furrama:
I guess Jim is better than me, because I will point fingers. Stealing is stealing.

Yes, but blocking ads isn't stealing. Are you stealing a TV show when you go to make a cup of coffee during the ad break, rather than watching the ad?

Furrama:
You have people like me who don't turn on adblock because I get how the money flows. The people who are using adblock, you are the guys that are making the ads more intrusive for ME.

That doesn't seem logical. The people blocking the ads are not the ones who create the ads, or run the ads. Why do you not blame the sites that choose to run these ads? They are the people responsible for running the ads, not those who block them

Furrama:
They're getting worse and more interruptive as time goes on because I'm one of the few "paying my dues". And I do remember back when they weren't nearly so bad, especially on higher end sites that weren't what you call "shady" to begin with.

You're going to need to show some evidence for your claim that ads are getting more intrusive because of ad blocking. Do you really believe that ads would suddenly get less intrusive if everybody stopped ad blocking?

There's also many other reasons why ads have gotten more intrusive over time:

1. Technology - people have fast connections today, so streaming video and animation, etc. is a lot more viable than in the past.
2. Audience - the internet has grown very rapidly, so there are many more people online to sell ads to.
3. Competition - the online advertising market has also grown rapidly, so advertisers have to compete with other ads.

The idea that Adblock users have an significant impact on this seems absurd. The vast majority of people browse without Adblock. And because of the growth of internet users, the number of people viewing websites without Adblock has grown over time, not shrunk. So how does it make any logical sense to blame more intrusive ads on Adblock?

I feel that your sense of outrage and blame may be wildly misplaced.

Eamar:
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.

People seem to have an issue with discussing something versus advocating something.

The rule WAS don't encourage or enable other people to block our ads.
It said nothing about discussing ad-blocking as a concept. Just don't say THIS IS AWESOME AND I DO IT AND SO SHOULD YOU and all should be fine.

Of course, many people/children like to do the "so have you heard of Adblock *nudge* *wink*" which they like to insist is discussion rather then encouragement.

So in order to save our very overworked moderators from having to deal with constant sophistry on what does or does not constitute discussion, we've added the line that says don't talk about it at all. Very little of use was lost (people on a non-advertising forum that isn't read by anyone who makes such decisions can no longer talk about a topic that only causes more work for moderators), but threads like this can open the discussion in a more controlled manner.

In response to the multiple people asking if Pubclub is a good alternative, of course it is. That's the primary reason Pubclub exists. For perspective however, while it might generate enough money to pay for a lot of the back-end (recurring hosting/network/power costs), we need significantly more to pay the people handling tech/in-house editorial/art/marketing/project management/contributors.

In response to the people only blocking part of the site. While your favorite content producer often gets paid based on views to their content, the MONEY that pays them comes from everything, not just their content's personal ads.
VIEWING content is what determines how long it lives - content that gets more views will stay on the site longer then content that doesn't. This is due to the ad model as well of course, as high page views support the ads that pay for everything - if we were able to go full subscription then we could support more niche projects.

Speaking of niche!
READING
PEOPLE HATE READING.

When the site started, we were exclusively multi-page articles. We paid for stock photos for our artists to use as a base to make custom layouts for every article, and did it every week for months.
We had great writing in a style rarely seen elsewhere, beautiful layouts, and my stats showed major game studios as our primary traffic (top client IPs were Bioware/Ubisoft/Microsoft/EA/etc).
However, if every active game developer read us... that's still maybe 10k uniques at best. Lots of fantastic and influential people, but none of them are helping pay for the hosting and our 25cent-a-word articles. If we went subscription only, we'd have even fewer readers (both due to effort and most people not actually justifying paying for game articles) that would taper off even more with time.

In regards to the "people hate reading" comment, we had stats for our early articles that would show views per page.
WITHOUT FAIL, we saw the same pattern in viewers, regardless of the quality/relevance of the content they were reading.
If 10000 people read the first page, 8000 would read the second, 6000 would read the third, 4000 would read the fourth page, etc. You might expect people to generally finish an article they were over halfway through, or otherwise show behavior based on the tedium of the content, but no.
The only constant factor was effort to click through to the next page. Every single article had an inverse slope of readers per page over time. How can we have a business model based on reading when nobody can even finish an article because "ugh so many words"

We saw this again with many contests (on WarCry back when it was an active site) that gave away free things where we'd have more prizes left over then contest entries (these days we're big enough due to non readers and more aggressive promotion where that rarely happens). Effort.

So, then we got videos to bring in the page views so we could keep making a website. Which brought in orders of magnitude more people because it's so much easier to sit there and absorb something amusing. We still try and run articles every chance we get, but it's more whenever the higher page view things bleed enough cash where we can pay a writer to make something that won't pay for itself.
This fact depresses me daily. I love our video content, but the fact that we can't support writing because nobody will pay for it...

Due to the above, I personally find it insulting when other sites (occasionally with people who have worked with us and know these facts) decide they can do high-effort pretty long form content for free or ad-supported "the right way." When the many brilliant people I've worked with here sacrificed so much to try and make that model work.
I do admit to personally being smugly satisfied when such projects run out of money and fail (though feel bad for those without prior experience who tried to make it work), primarily because if they succeed it means that all the brilliant people I've worked with just "did it wrong" after years of effort. But it is nice to have some finely produced content to enjoy while some other internet patron's money is still flowing.

Speaking of Patrons, we ran on Venture Capitol for many years. There was at least one point where they forgave our debt and gave us more money to keep doing our thing. There were several points where we had to lay off some great coworkers/friends because of funding being cut and no money coming in. There were several points where our fantastic leader (the guy speaking in the above TED talk video) managed to bring these people back under other job titles to keep them employed. Eventually we managed to get bought by a real media company with successful sites before our investors finally cut the cord (we never made them money of course). While we are still dealing with integrating with a larger entity, it's fantastic to have more connections into both places people can see our content and people who will pay for ads on it.

Oh yeah, I didn't mention how hard it is to actually GET ads on a site. Most ad companies interested in our content will only buy for US audiences (larger paying gamer audience/just don't care about "foreign" markets due to various good and bad reasons). Out of the ones that do, they typically will only spend their limited advertising budgets in very specific places. Requirements like "top 3 trafficked video game related website".

You know what ads the #4 most popular website gets?
So we had many months where even with "decent" traffic, we couldn't even fill the ad space. Which means no money other then what "filler" ads bring in, or "house" ads that just point to our own site.

AS FAR AS OBNOXIOUS ADS are concerned, they come from two directions.
One is from an advertiser saying "hey we know this is obnoxious, but we'll pay you SEVERAL TIMES MORE per view for this because it is so obnoxious.
The other is from "filler ads" that bring in a whole network. When we can't run targeted ads (due to nobody wanting to buy that space or not being selected for the ad lottery that month and getting no real ads) we run filler ads, which are a network that we tell "give us X categories of ads". These networks allow us to retro-actively block certain ads, but we mostly rely on them to block "bad" ads from getting through.

(As a quick aside - first time we tried to use Google Adwords as filler years ago, they kept pushing MMO gold seller ads that we expressly forbade. Our only option was a LITERAL (no wildcards) HAND MAINTAINED BLACKLIST OF SPAMMER DOMAINS that had something like a 200 domain LIMIT. EVERY GOLD SELLER URL was a unique throwaway domain, and later they started using web searches for their URL. We couldn't even ban all the domains we knew about due to hitting the size limit on Google's blacklist.)

These days as we're slightly bigger and can give the companies running these filler ads a harder time, they've been pretty good overall about keeping crap out. However, each region has their own ads and stuff slips through.

I'd really love to self host ads and get rid of the annoying Javascript includes (WHICH ARE SO EASY TO BLOCK, my personal favorite is blocking the "blockmetrics" include) - but A SELF HOSTED AD ISN'T TRACKED BY THIRD PARTIES. Which means ad companies will very rarely pay for it because they can't "trust" the numbers. Which means that they use braindead Javascript that's easily filtered. Also notice that sites you see who host/design their own ads typically have higher quality ads and relatively little user complaints - often the users enjoy the community targeted humor/etc that these kinds of banners tend to employ.

PLEASE LET US KNOW if an ad is playing noise (without you starting it) or won't close/is otherwise obnoxious. Unfortunately the other annoying types of ads (rollovers that do close, flashing idiocy) probably can't be removed because they pay for the privilege. But if it's bad please complain and we will pass it along to our ad people. Most people don't say anything (again, effort or indignation at having seen the ad in the first place generally leads to blocking everything)
Often due to region targeting or not watching a particular piece of content with multiple people to see everything, we don't see the ads at all / in the proper context / only non-technical people see them and don't realize something is wrong.

Pretty much all of us here despise the entire website advertising ecosystem outside of self hosted custom designed things (i.e. effort was taken to make it look good for the target audience - which also costs more money/time). BUT! They are the only way to PAY for a website to run.
Alternate revenue streams are upfront donations by the majority of a site's traffic in a way that doesn't significantly reduce the traffic we'd get from not charging. This is almost impossible to sustain, and even if you do start with a solid audience, the audience will taper off over time for more important expenses unless you regularly give them something completely unique (that likely costs even more money then your average "quality" content due to being a unique expense)

One last note on ad trackers that you see so many of everywhere. These are the trackers ad companies used of "impartial traffic monitoring" - when we tell them we have X traffic, these trackers back up our numbers (or for things like Google Analytics, are often a "modern" website's only form of personal traffic analysis - which also saddens me greatly for various reasons). Or in the case of shit like Comscore, companies pay an unreasonable sum (several thousand) to be added to Comscore's database which is an aggregator for many large advertising companies to pick the top 3 sites in their niche and only advertise with them (I think/hope we're done with them). Anyway, the other trackers are generally how ad companies actually track impressions, so blocking them is sometimes worse then blocking the ads for a website.
I personally block third party Google as often as possible, because while I like their utility, they're too omnipresent now; and I enjoy putting holes in the log files of people who would rather use third party Javascript to give them to Google then keep real logs.

SHORTER VERSION:
Talking about Adblock is banned because too many people like playing with the moderators and the definition of "advocating" something.
We hate browsing with ads, but don't know of other reasonable ways to pay for the people and hosting of the site.

Pubclub helps, but can't pay for enough to run the site by itself unless MANY more people use it. We're always trying to think of ways to make it more attractive, but it's hard to come up with things that we wouldn't enable for everyone.

People as a whole really really hate effort, which is why the only way you can make money on the Internet is from people paying you to show lazy people shiny things repeatedly until they lazily/accidentally click through and give the product flashing in front of them their low effort business.

On a related note, here is a funny picture:
image

(a bit garbled, but hope it's informative for someone and doesn't get us blacklisted from the internet advertising cabal)

DARN! I forgot about my own ABP. O_O

Personally I have no problem with normal ads since for me they're basically part of a web page. Yes annoying or in your face ads do drive me crazy as well and I'm happy to see them go, but those weren't my reason for blocking.
A year or so ago I got a bug on my comp that pops up ads in the lower left corner of all my browsers(Even in the freaking STEAM client!) and they were obstructing important stuff at times so I needed those blocked.(Sadly it doesn't block it all of the times.) :-/

For good sites and creators that I watch -or as you said it if we blockers are ASKED to support then- I'm glad to white list pages. Although I have no idea how much it's worth since I never click them and most of the times I don't even notice ads. :-P

But anyways The Escapist is white listed from now on. Sorry for not doing so before, but I actually didn't notice that ABP was on. :-)
Seriously the Escapist admins should think about adding those "If an ad is blocek then show a text asking them for support." things to the ads since they do work for some of us.

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