Tag Archives: adblock

How Far Will Online Advertisers Go?

After watching a video recently where I discussed online ads with a caller, Max sent the following email to me. He makes several valid points about the state of advertising on the web and why we should all maybe look at things from a different perspective than what the caller presented.

First of all, I’ll tell you my thoughts on the matter. I don’t know who you were talking to but the part where he says people don’t look at ads are just wrong. Him, you, and I all probably skip ads and ignore them completely. But just because he skips and ignores ads doesn’t mean he speaks for the general population. The obvious statement which you pointed out is that “if advertising didn’t work, they would have stopped a long time ago.”

Obviously it works, and they’re getting LOADS more than a percentage of the population. Secondly, you mentioned how you purchased insurance for one of your dogs, and then insurance ads followed you around. This is part of a flaky system of advertising collection that basically targets YOU for specific ads. NPR recently ran an interesting story about this behavior which is both interesting and scary.

The basic gist of the article is that the Internet advertisers use cookies to target users. Websites can store cookies and those wonderful Google click ads that we love, with many more involved, can access those cookies which simply store a long number string that identifies YOU personally! They then compile lists of what you like and have those special algorithms that kinda sorta work and then target you with ads that will make you buy stuff.

This is avoidable by deleting cookies, other protections, etc. but the majority of average computer users don’t even know what a cookie is (although this is changing with the new generations) and they get followed around by these ads no matter what sites they go to. Not to give you a conspiracy theory vibe, but this is orchestrated, planned, targeted advertisement. Your ad A list is sold to lots of different ad companies without you even knowing about it in the first place.

Overall I hate ads, and would happily pay to get rid of them. Look at it this way: TV and Cable evolved with ads, and then we got premium channels like HBO and Cinemax which have no ads, but cost a lot of $$. Then we got DVRs which cost an extra fee monthly so we can record and fast forward our favorite TV shows. My guess is in the future we will just get TV shows on demand by purchase and advertisement will be phased out of television content. If it isn’t, I’d pay the premium fees for no ads.

Apple is pushing to bring interactive iAds which I love because they’re not flashing and annoying. They’re starting their iAd brand with the idea that you WANT to view these ads because they’re not inherently obnoxious from the start. As we’ve heard from some rumors, Apple is keeping a tight leash on their ad content. I believe their motivations are to move advertisement from something you mute and block to something you see and want to click on.

It seems that companies are used to the easy cheap Internet ads that flash and bother people while they’re trying to read an article or look at some Facebook photos. My point is, companies are going to have to sacrifice a little bit to remain in the advertising position that they are in. I disagree with your caller that only a small percentage of people actually look/click on the ads. However, I feel that if advertising companies continue on their current path for the Internet market, they will find themselves there.

What are your thoughts? Do ads really annoy you that much? What do you feel is a viable solution? Thanks, Max, for sharing your thoughts with us.

Are Ads Really That Bad?

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During live calls the other night, one person brought up the topic of online ads. This usually tends to spark a debate. Some people, like me, don’t mind ads. They help pay the bills for many sites. However, some of you out there become almost violent any time you see an ad on a page.

If Twitter ever became ad-supported, a lot of people will be angry. The caller was surprised that Google hasn’t influenced them into doing it. Just like when Facebook incorporated ads onto their site, people will gripe. However, they won’t leave in droves. Ads are a fact of life, whether it is in print, online, on the radio or on television. Hell, there are ads at the movie theater!

The ad economy only works when everyone wins. For instance, when I negotiate a coupon for the community, all of us win. The vendor may receive sales. You will save money. I may get a little bit of referral money or credit. That’s a complete win situation, no matter how you look at it.

There has to be a good balance between the advertiser and the people who are being advertised to.

Which side of the fence are you on?

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Block Ads in Safari

Many people prefer to enhance their browsing experience by adding features such as AdBlocking. With Safari, that is more difficult to do than it is with other browsers. Several of you also choose to block Flash applications, using plugins such as NoScript. However, Alex wrote in to tell all of you about a much easier-to-use plug-in that can be loaded onto Safari.

ClickToFlash is a Flash-blocking plug-in for Safari on Mac OS X. By installing ClickToFlash, you will no longer have Flash-based applications load automatically on the computer. Instead, you can choose (or not choose) to click just once to allow the Flash object to play. This way, you get Flash only when you want it!

You can also configure ClickToFlash to always allow Flash to load on certain websites. In addition, ClickToFlash allows you to view YouTube videos in QuickTime, instead of Flash! You can also change your settings right in ClickToFlash to always (only!) display YouTube videos in H.264, no matter what video you’re watching! Simply go into Safari and ClickToFlash, then choose the “Settings” option. From there, just check a box to allow the default to change.

Thanks Alex, for sharing this with us. I hadn’t yet tried this out, but you can bet I’ll be installing it today!

What are Five Firefox Add-ons that Can Spice up Your Browser?

Geek!This is Curtis McGregor’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:
As you may know, there are many Firefox Add-ons out there. I’ve come up with a list of five handy but simple Add-ons that are sure to make your Firefox experience more enjoyable. If you have suggestions for any other Add-ons that are top five worthy, leave a comment!

  • SmoothWheel – SmoothWheel is a nice little Add-on that changes the way you scroll. Are you tired of the way Firefox currently scrolls through pages? It can be a bother at times when you are reading something and you scroll down and lose your spot. This Add-on changes all that. Smoothwheel smoothly scrolls through documents and makes text easier to read as it doesn’t skip sections of the page as Firefox does by default. The only way I can actually describe it would be the same way they describe it on the download page: “Kind of like the credits at the end of a movie”.
  • Adblock Plus – Tired of advertising on websites? Adblock Plus is the Add-on for you. When you see a pesky ad that you want to get rid of, simply right click and there should be an option for you that says: “Adblock Image”. This is a very helpful Add-on that doesn’t only block ads, you can even block music playing on a website. Long story short, this Add-on can block pretty much anything that uses flash player.
  • FoxyTunes – This Add-on gives you full control of your media player right from your Firefox browser. It goes right on your Status Bar in Firefox and shows what you are listening to, information about the track, and even an album art thumbnail! It is compatible with mostly all the popular media players like iTunes, Windows Media Player, Winamp and VLC media player, plus many more! If you want to control your music from Firefox then this is the Add-on for you.
  • Download Statusbar – This Add-on does is opens a download bar down by your status bar instead of opening a separate download window like Firefox currently does. This Add-on is very much like the download bar in Google Chrome. It’s an all around good Add-on with a very nice GUI so it’s sure to please.
  • Tweak Network – Do you have a slow Internet connection and it is difficult for you to load pages quickly? This Add-on will speed up the loading of websites. Another feature of this Add-on is the ability to have more than four simultaneous downloads (which is the default). The ability to do this was previously in Firefox, but it was a hassle to do for most people who are not very good with computers but this Add-on should be easy enough for anyone to use. You may notice that you cannot access options from the Add-on window, to get into Tweak Network’s settings, all you have to do is go to “Tools” then you should see “Tweak Network Settings”.

That’s it! Leave a comment if you liked any of these Add-ons and tell us what you think so other people may be interested in using one of them. I hope that I have helped a few people with this top five list, and good luck to anyone else who entered the contest!