The ethical ad blocker

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How about ethical ads that don’t fuck up my computer at every opportunity? The onus should be on the ad provider to get it right to the point where I don’t need an ad blocker just to have a vaguely secure computer.


That’s my biggest issue. I can’t even support websites I like at the moment without carefully selecting what ads shouldn’t be blocked. There was a time when I would click-through at every website I visited frequently to view the advertisers, but after fighting a mystery string of viruses now blocked by adblock I officially gave up.

They still enjoy their mobile advertisements, but those just serve to remind me how much ads slow down some websites.


Actually, Ad Block Plus and some other providers define what they call “Unobtrusive ads,” and show them to the user by default.

In theory, I think this is great. I have no problem with sites making money off of reasonable ads. I just don’t want ads to ruin my browsing experience. That’s what this aims to do.

I worry that, in practice, what defines an “acceptable ad” is in the hands of a for-profit company. It could be eventually no different from the many, many “ad blockers” that existed in the past, that sold ad-blocking to the customer with their right hand, and ad-blocker-breaking to the advertisers with their left hand.

So far, I haven’t heard of Ad Block Plus doing this, so it seems to be a Good Thing, but I could be wrong.


I feel like this is a BB troll post. Poking at a reaction from the readers.

Honestly this extension and the concept is stupid. That’s all i’m going to say about it.


I liked your post but then thought, ‘in what way would that make this topic different form any other post on the bbs?’ :grin:


The extension is obviously a joke, but it points to a very annoying problem.

  1. Websites need to make money to pay for expenses (and maybe even make a living).
  2. I have money, and am willing to spend it for content.

Why is this insufficient for a business transaction? Somehow it has become internet canon that the only way for an individual to pay for content online is to have their skull rented out by a cabal of advertisers, who bid on that skull rental, and then pay the content creator a small portion of their proceeds.

Here is what I want: I want an extension that, when I bring up a website, says, “Advertisers have bid $0.37 to have access to your brain while you read this article. Do you wish to outbid?” One quick click, a $0.38 micropayment is transacted, I view the article with no ads, and I have outbid the advertisers for use of my own brain.

If I don’t want to spend the 37 cents, then I see a few ads. The extension would still block malware and major resource draining ads, enforcing an internet “common law” of reasonable, unobtrusive advertising.

I don’t reject the idea of the internet as a marketplace, and people’s honest desire to make a living with their writing/music/etc., I just want a chance to participate in that market on equal footing, rather than live with the constant assumption that I am worth nothing more than an ad impression.


You bring up a good point but unfortunately most website owners think it is OK to charge advertisers millipennys for showing me ads but expect me to pay orders of magnitude more than that if I choose not to see those ads. To me THAT is unethical and why I happily use an adblocker.


There are a few sites that will solicit donations if their ads are blocked. They say something along the lines of - “this site costs money to run and pay people. These are provided by advertisers. If you want to block the ads here is an alternative way of supporting us.” However i usually only find those types of responses on sites with a narrower audience.


Part of the problem as well, and it’s not just for advertising but everything else, is that we’re given the illusion of choice by being able to opt-out of certain features or decisions. This is inherently backwards thinking, developers, publishers and advertisers should be asking us to opt-in, and while the execution of that in the real world is unwieldy i would prefer being asked rather than hiding what the real interaction is with the consumer.

  1. Create a site with ads that aren’t overly obtrusive.

  2. Users aren’t frustrated by experiance and don’t turn on ad block.

  3. Profit!

I didn’t use adblock for the longest time until a few sites - both of them video based - made viewing content a noticeable pain in the ass. Ad Block does allow you to unblock any site you visit and frequent and wish to support.


Ironic article considering the huge Urban Daddy bar I see when I visit boingboing without my own custom blocking rules.


Ad Blocker, as I recall, actually runs its own ad network and this is part of the reason UBlock was created (because people found this ethically questionable and an abuse of position).


Would you say that you’re disappointed in Boing Boing?


Nice concept, but do you really want to make a micro transactions for every 60 second browse-by you do on various sites? I mean, I can click dozens of links in a ten minute period. Also–if it caught on and lots of users opt to pay the site and see no ads, the advertisers will pay less, and that screws up the whole premise pretty quickly.


I love it when businesses complain that their chosen business model is short sighted and unworkable.


There’s nothing unethical about refusing to see ads. Especially when, as in my case, they represent something of relevance to you almost zero percent of the time. If they can’t find a business model that works with their “customers’” desires, they ought to be ought of business.

Frankly if we would just eliminate copyright we would all have infinite content forever based purely on people creating as they see fit by their own measure with their own time and money. Subscription fees or pre-payment can handle anything that wouldn’t be otherwise accommodated.


Perhaps take a look at:

What it looks like in action:


This right here. I don’t want to install an ad-blocker. I want the sites I read to get their ad revenue. I even occasionally click on shit I have no interest in, or buy things through affiliate links specifically to make sure the sites I like are getting some action through my patronage. But an increasing number of the good upstanding sites I frequent are loaded with problem ads. Not just the auto play videos, pop-overs, pop-unders, and audio based nonsense. But actually malware loaded hijack and break my computer bad ads. Its certainly not deliberate, they’re just working with less scrupulous ad networks or the bad kind of ad companies are sneaking heinous shit into the respectable ones. Most of the places in question just don’t have the resources (money, warm bodies) to weed this stuff out before it makes landfall, or handle their ads 100% on their own to avoid it entirely. But I think even worse is how much of a struggle most of them seem to have getting rid of that shit once it pops up. Lack of back end tools, and unresponsive reps from the ad networks. All while explaining to users “we don’t understand, our ad agreements specifically ban these sorts of placements”. A bunch of their users get fucked, they can do nothing to stop it for x amount of time, so they lose some of their users. Which brings their overall add revenue down, making it harder to keep the site operating despite doing the ad thing to keep the doors open. Its like a whirlpool of bullshit.

So like I said, don’t want an ad-blocker. Starting to think I need one.