Why Not Block Those Who Block Ads

I used ad block for Firefox and I went to a site today and it said, basically, that I was using ad block and then it said, that the site was supported by ads and they would appreciate if people wouldn’t use ad block.

But it got me to wondering, if they can see I’m using ad block, could they also not just block me from viewing the site? It seems like it should be possible. If it is possible why don’t sites do this?

Also how do they know I am using ad block?

Yes, they could just redirect you to an empty page. Or one that says you won’t be allowed in if you’re using an ad-block addon. I suspect they don’t because they don’t want to completely drive you away.

They know you’re using an ad-block app because their ad-partner reports to them that they’re unable to read their tag data from your browser. Can’t say how they knew specifically which one you were using.

Why would you want to block potential customers who prefer to set their own level of privacy? If a site refuses me access because I use adblock (and I do), that site isn’t worth my business. I know another site with a similar/identical product or service just won my business as a result of the prior site’s lousy business and revenue model.

It is possible, and some sites do it. That is why tools like adblock plus have options to disable ad blocking for a specific site and/or temporarily disable all ad blocking.

On sites that I have seen it, they have blocked some content but not the entire site. For example I have seen it on TV shows where you can still access information about the show but the online video player (which will let you watch a show if you missed it that week) sometimes won’t work if you have adblock enabled.

It seemed to me to be more common maybe a year ago or so. I seem to be turning off adblock on fewer sites these days, but that may just be the specific TV shows I am watching lately.

Not that you’d want to do this, but would it be possible to block the website from reading the tag that says you’re blocking?

You know kind of a blocking war? :slight_smile:

There’s no tag that says you’re blocking ads; it’s the absence of a cookie (or various other things) that leads them to assume that you are. And yes, these can be circumvented to some extent; instead of having the ad blocker refuse the cookie, it could accept it and then discard it when you’re done visiting the site. This would still allow the advertiser to track you during your visit, but at every subsequent visit to the site it wouldn’t be able to identify you as someone who had been there before.

One of the best arguments the site owner has for selling ads is that they have so-and-so many visitors a day. The last thing they want to do is to lower that number by blocking traffic, though they like you to see and click on ads because they generally get money for each click. (I’m no expert on the subject, but from what I know nonetheless this is my guess.)

What makes you think the site in question is selling a product or service? I’m assuming the kind of site the OP is talking about is one which provides content for “free” and makes its money though ad revenues.

Let me say this about my own reasons for using ad blocking addons. To be honest, I don’t care at all about the ads themselves. They don’t bother me in and of themselves. Though in 16 years I’ve been online, I can count on one hand the number of purchases I’ve made via clicking on banner ads.

What bothers me, and this is the one major reason I use ad blocking, is this: Too often, I’ve run into sites that simply would not load properly because of the ads. The reason appears to be that a lot of these sites code their pages so that the ads load before the content. So if one of the ad servers gets stuck, or is down, I end up staring at a page that won’t load up the content I’m looking for because it’s waiting for an ad that isn’t forthcoming. Additionally, there are at least a couple popular browsers (the Mac versions anyway) that often won’t even let me scroll the page down until everything on the page has loaded completely. So even if the content loads, I’ll read the article as far as what appears in the first screen, and then can’t finish it in a timely manner because there’s that one ad or Facebook/Twitter/whatever widget that won’t load and I can’t scroll the page down.

Blocking the ads solves most of that.

If advertisers did not use obnoxious techniques, like those that **Mister Rik **describes, and things like flash animations that can’t e turned off, or popovers that obscure content while you are in the middle of trying to read it, there would be no need for adblocking.

Non-obnoxious forms of advertising can be very effective. Google text ads have made vast amounts of money, and do not bother me at all. The same goes for non-flash banners; so long as I can easily turn off any animation I am fine. Heck, I might even click on one sometimes if it is actually for a product that I might want. I am not going to click on an ad that screws up my experience of site content. The problem is that advertisers are idiots, thinking only of the short term, ignoring the risks of pissing off potential customers and of driving people to use techniques like adblocking.

People who use ad blockers don’t click on ads. Advertisers usually only pay for clicks. They’d gain nothing by preventing you from seeing the content, but would miss out on the possibility that you’ll do something else valuable (like share a link on FB or Twitter).

While this is certainly true for search engine (text) ads and facebook ads, most websites who show banner/popup/rich-media ads charge the advertisers CPM (cost per thousand impression) rates. And in the newer DSP (demand-side-platform) model in web advertising, the advertisers bid on individual impressions.

Interesting, thanks for the correction.

While that is certainly one big reason for adblocking, security is still a big reason I block ads. I might trust the site owner, but the ads on the site are being served by someone else, who are taking the ads given to them by someone else, which are developed by someone else. Way too many “someone elses,” any one of which can be malicious or compromised, and it’s too attractive an attack vector at the moment.

But if all a site is doing is providing you information (e.g., a news site; a message board; etc.), and they are not actually trying to sell you anything, then by using an adblockers you are already denying them your business, and yet are also benefiting from their free content. I’m sure they’ll be absolutely devastated to lose you as a “customer.”

To be clear, i have no problem with people using adblock. But people who use it, and then wax all indignant, like they’re still doing the site a favor, are kidding themselves.

Hopefully the eventual decline of Flash will fix that. The main problem, as I understand it, is that Flash is compiled, so it’s easy for the ad provider to miss any malicious code or obvious holes. The openness of HTML5 could fix this–assuming they don’t obfuscate their javascript. (If I were an ad provider, that would be against the rules. Ads are simple–they don’t need proprietary code.)

What would be the benefit to them of blocking visitors?

I just got a weird result on Hulu. I was watching a television show and seeing all the normal ads as always. Then one specific ad was blocked and I got a message like the OP described. I use Chrome not Firefox but I’ve never specifically set it to block ads.

I’m wondering if there might be some specific ad that’s triggering ad blocking that normal ads don’t.

Depends on the site. Some aren’t trying to sell you anything, and simply derive revenue from ads. If you’re not viewing the ads, you’re a net loss to them - they have no reason to want to keep you around, and actually profit from you leaving (in that they don’t have to use resources serving you pages at no benefit to themselves).

Your “business” from their POV is ad views. If you’re actively blocking them, you’ve already denied them your business. There’s nothing left that you can take away from them.

At least, that’s my guess.