Some ad-blockers are tracking you, shaking down publishers, and showing you ads

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male bovine fecal matter

Wired writes about the ad blocking war, the intrusiveness of advertising and a growing business in circumvention and those of us who refuse to turn off our ad blockers are unable to read it.


I turned off my ad-blocker for Wired. They asked nicely.

Here’s the thing about internet ads: they mix media types. I started using blockers a few years back when advertisers decided it was a good idea to put videos on static web pages. Reading an editorial about a complex political or science topic which demands your full attention? Too bad! Here’s a video in the corner which won’t stop looping. It’s like trying to study while someone’s yelling at you. Some of those videos literally yelled at me.

And the thing is, I don’t mind ads that much. I’ll look at your ad, sure. But after a few seconds, I want to get on to reading that article. I can’t do that with a video on the page. Advertisers weaponized their ads for the internet, and now they’re upset that users have escalated back.

Don’t put video ads on print webpages, and don’t give me YouTube ads that are twice as long as the video I want to watch, and I’ll be happy to turn off my adblocker.


To some in the publishing and ad industries, these business models are nothing less than extortion.

Oh poor babies. They’re a Business Model. You guys know about those right? Where you don’t feel bad at all about whatever you do. A Business Model you guys created with your shitty abusive ads.

That said, I have switched to uBlock Origin, because AdBlock Plus does seem increasingly shady.


And then when I turned off the ad- blocker to read the article, they then popped up a thank you window. Which is polite but aggravating.


I didn’t think they had asked all that nicely, since their message takes over midway through the article and cannot be ignored. (Granted, if they had asked nicely, I never would have noticed it.)

For technically-apt Chrome users, I recommend the uMatrix plugin; blocking script from currently lets you read the content undisturbed (except by your conscience).


I wonder if they read my email about privacy badger. Wired appears to currently not be blocking if you’re using privacy badger, but that wasn’t the case last month.

Totally absent from the conversation is when a shitty ad provider, say from Slashdot media, hosting “ads” that are actually offensive hacking trying to install rootkits that are the result of greedy advertisers not giving a fuck about security and the publishers not giving a fuck about the greedy advertisers. The publisher isn’t going to pay for the maintenance of your grandmother’s computer…


uBlock Origin is the bomb, for sure. Plus it’s available for both Firefox and Chrome (I use both).

I pay for the sites that allow me to pay (reasonable fees) for supporting them (YouTube Red, for instance), and use Patreon where it’s available to support the content creators I regularly enjoy, and generally adblock everyone else and hope they get the message.

Another great thing about some adblockers (like uBlock Origin) is that, they also support the ability to block ads that YOU find that it doesn’t block by default. It’s sophisticated enough that you can dig into the HTML to find what you want to block. The upshot of this is that it lets you hide anything - not just ads. So if a site has a very irritating and useless banner that is WAY too big, or a big sidebar with useless stuff, you get hide those. It actually lets you redesign the site with a simple point and click interface. Absolutely brilliant, and even if it didn’t block ads, I’d use it for that feature alone.


That’s odd… I didn’t have any trouble viewing it.

Well, fantastic. If there’s one thing worse than ads; it’d be an ‘ad blocker’ that exhibits all the worst behaviors of ads(eg. tracking, probably sloppy security practices); and doesn’t even remotely align whatever advertising revenue exists with the site operators.

My post-revolutionary wall is getting really, really, overbooked.


uMatrix makes doing basic things a colossal chore but really makes you pay attention to how many calls the average web page casts out to query stuff. The worst is when you install on a new computer or browse on multiple computers and have to set up your whitelists again, as it doesn’t have any kind of functioning sync option.

I don’t seriously believe it makes me any harder to track than if I ran nothing, but at least I can say I tried, and it does allow me to click an icon and see what’s going on.

“Traditional” news/media organizations are just the fucking worst. The list of blocked javascript calls usually comes with a scroll bar they run so many of them.

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Also, Kompressor has a point:

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Another thing, why do I have to watch an ad before watching a trailer for a movie on the internet? Isn’t the trailer an ad? The ultimate ad?


As has been noted by others I didn’t start blocking ads until they became intrusive and obnoxious. Particularly ads with video or animations that perpetually reload.

If the ads were print or static I wouldn’t be running an ad blocker, a pop-up blocker, and a flash blocker, but I run all of that just for intrusive ads.


And no malware. That’s the reason I use ad-blockers. I’m happy to view all the appropriate text and image ads the publisher can sell. But I don’t want a crappy experience. Autoplaying video and audio? Nope. Porn on a non-porn site? Nope. Malware? Nope.


Anybody figure out how to watch Colbert’s free episodes without the repetitive, freeze-prone, occasionally endlessly-looping ads? Adblock seems to be insufficient to the task, but maybe I’m just not doing it right.


If the ads were print or static I wouldn’t be running an ad blocker, a pop-up blocker, and a flash blocker, but I run all of that just for intrusive ads.

Same here.


I don’t have a problem with advertising, I have a problem with tracking and profile building. I especially dislike how companies like Facebook are piecing together online behavior and offline behavior. For example, if you use a loyalty card at a grocery store, FB probably knows why you are so gassy today.


Look at it from YouTube’s perspective. They’re not going to be getting any revenue from that movie. Their only revenue is from the ads they sell.

For whatever it’s worth, note that Adblock and Adblock Plus are not variations on the same product by the same company.