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Old 18th January 2020
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Exclamation Adblock Plus investigation

https://www.theverge.com/2020/1/14/2...-investigation

It's a shame Adblock Plus gone bad.
But uBlock Origin is still safe to use, right?
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Old 18th January 2020
bsd-keith bsd-keith is offline
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I switched from Adblock Plus to uBlock Origin a while ago because it worked better for me.
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Old 18th January 2020
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There is also Privacy Badger from EFF. Does anybody have any experience using it?
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Old 18th January 2020
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Yes I use Privacy Badger, and I thing is works great, you can see who is tracking the site and who they are. For example, for daemonforums I see this:
Quote:
No trackers detected. Hooray for privacy!

Last edited by jmccue; 18th January 2020 at 02:15 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 24th January 2020
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Advertisements have been an important revenue source for the publishing industry for over 100 years, and I'm actually in favour of allowing ads that don't have the tracking and such that most do; at its most basic this could just be an <img src="/ad.png">.

It's easy to just say "all ads bad", but things turn out to be a bit more nuanced once you start building products that are very hard to monetize otherwise. For example, one product I worked on a bit last year is a better recipe site with some novel ideas, but ... how do you monetize that without ads? Not so easy. I ended up shelving it and working on something else that's easier to monetize (hopefully anyway...)

There should probably be more transparency from AdBlock, but having advertisers pay some amount of money to vet their ads by AdBlock is not wholly unreasonable.
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Old 24th January 2020
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Ads in form of static pictures won't bother me at all. But a lot of ads novadays use javascript, videos that autoplay and pictures with src="?something=foo&something=bar&...".
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Old 24th January 2020
e1-531g e1-531g is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carpetsmoker View Post
Advertisements have been an important revenue source for the publishing industry for over 100 years, and I'm actually in favour of allowing ads that don't have the tracking and such that most do; at its most basic this could just be an <img src="/ad.png">.

It's easy to just say "all ads bad", but things turn out to be a bit more nuanced once you start building products that are very hard to monetize otherwise. For example, one product I worked on a bit last year is a better recipe site with some novel ideas, but ... how do you monetize that without ads? Not so easy. I ended up shelving it and working on something else that's easier to monetize (hopefully anyway...)

There should probably be more transparency from AdBlock, but having advertisers pay some amount of money to vet their ads by AdBlock is not wholly unreasonable.
On the one hand I understand it, but on the other hand I respect my privacy and don't trust data brokers and big IT companies, especially outside EU. Many companies engaging in online advertising have been caught illegally sharing users' personal data.
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Old 24th January 2020
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Yeah, I agree it's complex; I have no easy answers either.

Right now my website has some ads from codefund.io – which explicitly advertises itself as ethical ads and is fully open source – which are blocked by default by uBlock origin (and I believe also AdBlock). These adblocking tools do much more than just block requests to third-party data-collectors, they frob with the HTML in an attempt to remove every single last ad, and while there is *some* merit to this for the really intrusive/annoying ones, I feel this is fundamentally a misguided approach which doesn't consider the perspective of publishers/product makers.

I use uBlock origin too, for all the same reasons as you do, but I don't really like it because of this. I'm currently working full-time on open source stuff, and the income from these ads isn't a bit of pocket-money on the side, it's part of my income. Removing these kind of ads kind of rubs me the wrong way. Basically, I'm "collateral damage".

I maintained a "track blocker" (trackwall) for a while, which I think is much more reasonable than an "ad blocker".

The current situation sucks for both users and publishers :-( I understand e1-531g's lack of trust on this matter. A kind-of related thing I wrote about this a few weeks ago: https://www.arp242.net/dnt.html
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Old 24th January 2020
e1-531g e1-531g is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carpetsmoker View Post
Right now my website has some ads from codefund.io – which explicitly advertises itself as ethical ads and is fully open source
Interesting. I will look at this. I am much more interested in enabling open-source ethical ads than ads from big IT companies that try to track everything everywhere.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carpetsmoker View Post
These adblocking tools do much more than just block requests to third-party data-collectors, they frob with the HTML in an attempt to remove every single last ad
Web Request API is a bone of contention for tracking & advertising industry and is going to be removed from Chrome&Chromium according to Manifest V3. Manipulating DOM will be preferred even more after this change to Google-funded browsers.

BTW uBlock origin is by purpose powerful content-blocker and just happens ad-blocking is the most used feature of this tool. It can prevent or minimize tracking much more effectively than AdBlock Plus.
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Old 24th January 2020
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I do not have a big problem with advertising. If it overwhelms the content I'm seeking, I'll look elsewhere.
To me the issues are tracking, manipulation and privacy.
I've set up every browser I use to clear out everything with a click or a couple of keystrokes. I rotate browsers. If this were widely done, it would increase the cost and lower the yield for those sites that harvest data.

Last edited by shep; 24th January 2020 at 06:08 PM.
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Old 24th January 2020
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I use 2 different browsers on multiple user accounts on my *BSD box.

For my news I read https://www.theguardian.com/international quite a lot. Because they don't have a paywall, when. I see an ad that interests me I click on it.

For daemonforums administration I use a dedicated user account

The only "social media" I use are reddit and 2 different Facebook accounts for a couple of private Facebook groups about vermiculture. Actually I cannot stand Facebook, but that is a different story.

For these I also use a different BSD user account.
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Old 25th January 2020
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Unfortunately advertising is necessary. Without advertisements during television shows and in newspapers, TV programmes would not be free and newspapers would be expensive. Many people complain about advertisement breaks during shows, but they would complain much more if they had to pay for the shows. Like other media, websites need revenue. It is either paid by advertising or by people using the sites.

Advertisements are not a problem in themselves. Ads on the sides of a webpage do not interfere with using a site, and to be honest, I usually ignore them. Occasionally one will pique my interest offering something of interest, then I look at it. If it then looks very interesting or useful I click on it. (That is how I found good deals on airfare.) Advertisements are only a problem when they are intrusive: unwanted pop-ups, redirects, too large, etc. Which is why in the past when I used Seamonkey I set Adblock to only block intrusive ads. Nowadays using Otter and Iridium I do not bother with ad blockers.

Data mining and tracking are serious problems though. The solution cannot, and should not, be the responsibility of everyday people using the internet. Such practices need to be eliminated, which requires governments to pass legislation. However, that puts governments in a difficult position. Making data mining and tracking illegal would make it illegal for those governments to spy on their citizens. Bottom line: the solution is easy, but unlikely to be forthcoming.
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Old 25th January 2020
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sacerdos_daemonis View Post
Data mining and tracking are serious problems though. The solution cannot, and should not, be the responsibility of everyday people using the internet. Such practices need to be eliminated, which requires governments to pass legislation. However, that puts governments in a difficult position. Making data mining and tracking illegal would make it illegal for those governments to spy on their citizens. Bottom line: the solution is easy, but unlikely to be forthcoming.
I don't really think that's the issue; it's more of a general paralysis regarding a lot of topics: governments say consumers should choose different and companies should do better. Companies say they act within the law and are just filling consumer demand. Consumers blame companies and say government should pass more legislation.

So in the end ... very little happens. You see this on other topics as well, such as climate change (and environmental protection in general).
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Old 26th January 2020
e1-531g e1-531g is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carpetsmoker View Post
Companies say they act within the law
A few companies in behavioral advertising industry's ecosystem shouldn't say they act within the law, especially GDPR.
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Old 27th January 2020
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If you watch network television, you get ads, whether you want to or not. The broadcasting companies have to make money. I don't know why some think it should be different because you're using the Internet and all ads should be blocked or not allowed.
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Old 27th January 2020
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The problem is not advertising itself, it is in how it's delivered - i.e. when it's targeted and this invariably involves data mining, tracking, profiling and surveillance. Other media, such as newspaper and broadcast TV and radio don't have this and that's the huge difference between web advertising and any other kind.

Personally if a website just showed basic adverts to gain revenue and that was it, I would not have a problem with it - it's when the site is infested with the usual google tracking, which is part of the "advertising" that I have a problem.

I don't use any ad blocker, I do block certain scripts however and it's quite telling that blocking these also removes 99% of ads...
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Old 31st January 2020
e1-531g e1-531g is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carpetsmoker View Post
It's easy to just say "all ads bad", but things turn out to be a bit more nuanced once you start building products that are very hard to monetize otherwise
Another thing that comes to my mind: there is a lot of sites like shops, where you pay for things. They doesn't show ads, except for their own products, but they include a ton of 3rd-party tracking Javascript scripts on their sites. I understand they need some statistics, but they don't need know my whole life to show me the products I want.
Indeed there are companies like ConversionLabs that do really creepy things. You can add something to cart on shop X website, but don't buy it, don't enter any personal details, addresses on this site. ConversionLabs may use data from other shop Y to send you an email about your cart on website X.
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Old 16th February 2020
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Yeah if it were like printed media, specified ads, text only, I wouldn't mind at all. But when I get one of these things, this is an ad supported site, please turn off ad blockers, I want to write them and say, so you guarantee that no ads on your site have malware? This is a problem, maybe google's fault. But the way ads go on a site now seems less up to the webmaster and more up to the ad provider. I would be quite willing to have something like what one sees in newspapers. Static text ads that don't require javascript or anything else.
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Old 17th February 2020
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If you "read" an average retail company's "privacy policy", it is my non-legal opinion that they can do what they want with your information. For example ignore "do not track settings" as well as referring, selling, marketing you in any manner they want.

i.e.
https://kb.newegg.com/knowledge-base/privacy-policy/
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Old 21st February 2020
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I wouldn't be surprised. I do remember paying cash for something and they started asking for name, address, email and such, and I said, I charge $100 for that. (Nicely, as it wasn't the cashier's fault.) She laughed and that was that.

One thing I'd like to say in retail stores, the cashiers are just doing what they're ordered to do, so taking out anger on them isn't fair. Gosh, I've mellowed in my old age.
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