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subego
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Sep 22, 2015, 07:08 AM
 
Originally Posted by Cap'n Tightpants View Post
Cordkillers or Night Attack?
Night Attack.

Brag time... I've somehow ended up as their biggest patron. C'mon Merritt... step up!
     
subego
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Sep 22, 2015, 07:35 AM
 
Originally Posted by Cap'n Tightpants View Post
This isn't a slam against you, but why do you think a company is entitled to your attention? While some people have no problem with exposing themselves to whatever Madison Ave is concocting to grab their eyeballs, it's completely okay not to indulge them. You didn't sign a contract saying you'd view that stuff (hopefully) and it isn't your job to ensure their success. The psychological effect of watching so much advertising is chilling and whether the average person realises it or not, giving those companies that much of your mindshare, day in and day out, is bad them.
I don't really feel an obligation to the advertiser, but I feel some obligation to the content producer to play ball with their model, and if I don't, I think it's dishonest to call it something other than theft.

Admittedly, how much this bothers me depends on how stupid the model is. I wasn't bothered in the slightest by stealing music before the iTunes Store, and I'll still do it if you try and pull the album only crap.
     
subego
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Sep 22, 2015, 07:42 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
To be honest, even after re-reading your post I still don't quite understand your rationale, because you call ad blocking theft, yet look forward to doing that. (I'm not trying to pick you apart, just trying to understand where you are coming from.) Are you just saying that because you feel responsibility for not holding up your end of the bargain (“free content for ads”)? (I still would not call it stealing, though.)

What podcast is that? I'm curious (I always wondered how much money you can make with a podcast).
Cap'n Tightpants correctly deduced the podcast is Night Attack.

I'm basically saying:

Ad blocking is theft.
Sometimes I commit theft.
Sometimes the business model is so warped I look forward to committing theft.

Interestingly, haven't turned it on though. My opinion over the last few days has been "if your model sucks that hard, I can live without what you're selling".
     
Thorzdad
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Sep 22, 2015, 08:01 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
But imagine your TV ads play alongside the TV program you want to watch, and they indeed cover part of the video? I'm sure you'd have a very different attitude. Not to speak of all the tracking and the waste of bandwidth on phones.


And, honestly, more and more websites today seem to have this sort of signal-to-noise.
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Sep 22, 2015, 08:06 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Night Attack.

Brag time... I've somehow ended up as their biggest patron. C'mon Merritt... step up!
Podcasts are ludicrously hard to make money on. We use ours as an alternative source for our readers to get the news, and frankly, a vent from dealing with some of the craziness we have to deal with in PR day in and day out. For every one podcast that pays the bills, there are probably 50,000 that don't, and won't.
     
subego
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Sep 22, 2015, 08:09 AM
 
Mac podcast is going to be a tough row to hoe. Very crowded market.

Comedy's crowded too. This podcast is only where it is because it used to be on TWiT.
     
Cap'n Tightpants
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Sep 22, 2015, 12:14 PM
 
B Brushwood knows how to work Patreon and is completely comfortable with self-promotion, that's why it's financially successful.

You're one of the 4 Horseboys of the Apocalypse?

(We've probably been in the chat room right next to each other and didn't even know it. Whaaaaaaat??)
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OAW
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Sep 22, 2015, 04:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
No question.

My point was more in regards to how one reconciles calling ad blocking theft (which I do) yet skips over commercials on a DVR (which I also do).
When I'm paying for cable skipping commercials is fair game IMO. If I was getting it for free OTA that would be one thing. But cable? Nope. Not going to sit through all of that.

OAW
     
Spheric Harlot
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Sep 22, 2015, 04:45 PM
 
Originally Posted by Thorzdad View Post


And, honestly, more and more websites today seem to have this sort of signal-to-noise.
The best things about the Idiocracy reference are that a) that screen right there is break.com and liveleak.com, and b) Donald Trump is running for president.

Hello future.
     
subego
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Sep 22, 2015, 06:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by Cap'n Tightpants View Post
B Brushwood knows how to work Patreon and is completely comfortable with self-promotion, that's why it's financially successful.

You're one of the 4 Horseboys of the Apocalypse?

(We've probably been in the chat room right next to each other and didn't even know it. Whaaaaaaat??)
Unfortunately, I don't hang out in chat as much as I'd like. I've got a restless leg deal, so I'm almost always puttering. Since chat while puttering is difficult, I usually don't drop in unless things blow up. Memorably, if you were in when Brian lost his shit about Chad, we were definitely swapping electrons.

I have the same nick there as here, so if you see it pop up, give me a wave.


Edit: it may be "neogi", like from Spelljammer. Now I forget.
( Last edited by subego; Sep 22, 2015 at 07:22 PM. )
     
subego
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Sep 22, 2015, 07:20 PM
 
Originally Posted by OAW View Post
When I'm paying for cable skipping commercials is fair game IMO. If I was getting it for free OTA that would be one thing. But cable? Nope. Not going to sit through all of that.

OAW
I sympathize with this, but subscriber fees are flat-out not enough to support a basic cable channel. If they didn't have the advertising, they'd die. If no one is watching the advertising, advertisers won't pay for the time, and the network goes under.

Maybe the network deserves to go under, but consuming its content implies one doesn't really think that.
     
subego
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Sep 22, 2015, 07:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
The best things about the Idiocracy reference are that a) that screen right there is break.com and liveleak.com, and b) Donald Trump is running for president.

Hello future.
I'm old school, so it's all about the blipverts.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Sep 22, 2015, 07:30 PM
 
and the hairpiece.
     
subego
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Sep 22, 2015, 07:32 PM
 
You've out-referenced me.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Sep 22, 2015, 08:15 PM
 
Trumped you, I have!
     
OAW
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Sep 22, 2015, 08:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I sympathize with this, but subscriber fees are flat-out not enough to support a basic cable channel. If they didn't have the advertising, they'd die. If no one is watching the advertising, advertisers won't pay for the time, and the network goes under.

Maybe the network deserves to go under, but consuming its content implies one doesn't really think that.
That's because they want to inundate their customers with tons of crappy channels that most people rarely watch and pretend like they are doing you a favor. What if instead of forcing customers to pay for a hundred basic channels that need advertising ... instead allow customers to "pick your own bundle" of advertising free channels as an option? Price it accordingly and see how it shakes out in the market?

OAW
     
subego
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Sep 22, 2015, 09:45 PM
 
I'll be the first person to say the model they use now sucks, I'm not questioning that, and as I said above, the model can suck so hard it isn't worth playing ball with it.

That said, playing ball is binary. Either you're playing ball or your not. If you're not, you're not accepting the terms of sale. You don't accept the terms of sale, yet get the product anyways, I don't know what else to call that other than theft.
     
starman  (op)
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Sep 22, 2015, 10:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I'll be the first person to say the model they use now sucks, I'm not questioning that, and as I said above, the model can suck so hard it isn't worth playing ball with it.

That said, playing ball is binary. Either you're playing ball or your not. If you're not, you're not accepting the terms of sale. You don't accept the terms of sale, yet get the product anyways, I don't know what else to call that other than theft.
It's not theft. Want to know why? Two words: "just browsing".

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subego
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Sep 22, 2015, 10:45 PM
 
I don't see how this applies unless one only browses and never watches a full show.

Even if they did, I can't imagine an advertising based content provider thinking "someone just browsing is not being asked to consume the advertisements contained in the portion browsed".


Maybe I don't understand your statement.
     
starman  (op)
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Sep 22, 2015, 11:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I don't see how this applies unless one only browses and never watches a full show.

Even if they did, I can't imagine an advertising based content provider thinking "someone just browsing is not being asked to consume the advertisements contained in the portion browsed".


Maybe I don't understand your statement.
It's very simple. It goes back to the Napster days of digital vs. physical.

When you walk into a store, and you don't buy anything, are you "stealing" from them? They kept the store comfortable, hired people to talk to you, maybe take time to show you a product or more. I'm sure they had to pay building costs, merchandise costs, building permits, licenses to operate, security, pay taxes, bank deposits, insurance, and a bunch of other things I can't think of right now. But you walked in there and wasted all that. Did you steal from them? No. Although by your standards you did because you wasted their resources.

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subego
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Sep 22, 2015, 11:47 PM
 
I didn't say "wasting resources", I said "play ball with the model".

A store which allows browsing has stated browsing is part of their model.

I give you an example where it is theft, though. You go to a store, browse through the selection, go home, and order on Amazon everything you were interested in at the B&M store. If you do this, you are no longer playing ball with their model.
     
starman  (op)
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Sep 22, 2015, 11:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I didn't say "wasting resources", I said "play ball with the model".

A store which allows browsing has stated browsing is part of their model.

I give you an example where it is theft, though. You go to a store, browse through the selection, go home, and order on Amazon everything you were interested in at the B&M store. If you do this, you are no longer playing ball with their model.
How different is that than going from Sam Goody to Record Town to Tower Records to Virgin to see who has the lowest price? Your argument is irrelevant.

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subego
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Sep 23, 2015, 12:44 AM
 
Originally Posted by starman View Post
How different is that than going from Sam Goody to Record Town to Tower Records to Virgin to see who has the lowest price? Your argument is irrelevant.
I aim to be accommodating.

The question implies you desire an answer, the declarative statement implies you know what it is and have already rejected it.

I can give you the my answer, or we can end it here. Whichever you think would be most productive.
     
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Sep 23, 2015, 12:46 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I give you an example where it is theft, though. You go to a store, browse through the selection, go home, and order on Amazon everything you were interested in at the B&M store. If you do this, you are no longer playing ball with their model.
I think you're using the word “theft” in ways it is not meant to be used. Digital goods do not diminish when they are copied. I can copy a music file from your computer to mine, and you still retain the music file. However, if I take your CD, you no longer have one. That's why if I illegally copy a music file, I'm not a thief, I'm infringing someone's copyright — the damage I do is not to you, but the right holders do not get paid. (That's a big difference to physical goods: if I steal your 911, then Porsche (the company) is not the party that is suffering, but you.) With media the situation is yet again different: publishers put their content out there for the express purpose of it being public (I'm assuming there is no paywall here). They want as many people to read it (= download a copy of the file).

You use “play ball with the model” as if that was some thing both sides had agreed to. Stores already track buying behavior through loyalty cards, but what if one day the store changes the rules (without your knowledge or consent) so that e. g. your Walgreens card lets Walgreens track you to Starbucks and the gas station?

What you call “play ball with the model” is the consumer accepting a company's business model. It is the onus of the business to create a sustainable business model, not the responsibility of the consumer to accept it. The example you gave is just showing that brick and mortar stores are under strong competition with Amazon and other online shops. (That's why most big chains now also have online stores.)
( Last edited by OreoCookie; Sep 23, 2015 at 01:04 AM. )
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starman  (op)
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Sep 23, 2015, 12:57 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Is leaving the room during a commercial break also theft?
(I have the feeling we are just arguing semantics here, but I don't think “theft” is a suitable term here.)
That was going to be my next argument.

Nobody is stealing anything. Watching commercials is a choice because you don't have the option to skip them live. Ad makers know this, so they have to make the ads interesting to watch. You can get off your ass and go to the kitchen, stay there and check Twitter, or pay attention to them. Or, watch the show later on the DVR and skip the commercials. Same with ad blockers, except ads screw with my computer and that was the last straw for me.

Funny how the pro-ad people here don't care about that aspect of it.

You an almost make the argument that web ads that mess with your computer is like the commercials that used to have the louder volume, except the volume isn't really doing anything to your productivity tool. It's still annoying.

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Sep 23, 2015, 01:13 AM
 
Originally Posted by starman View Post
That was going to be my next argument.

Nobody is stealing anything. Watching commercials is a choice because you don't have the option to skip them live. Ad makers know this, so they have to make the ads interesting to watch. You can get off your ass and go to the kitchen, stay there and check Twitter, or pay attention to them. Or, watch the show later on the DVR and skip the commercials. Same with ad blockers, except ads screw with my computer and that was the last straw for me.
There is an argument to be made that the content providers want their stuff to be seen as they intend to (e. g. with the layout and such that they have in mind). For as long as I can think people were able to load custom css files with their browser of choice. In the old times you were able not to load images by default (because you were on a 28.8k modem that was barely faster than your average carrier pigeon). You could use a text-based browser to access popular sites (helpful if you are legally blind, for instance). This is not how the web has worked from the very beginning. If a publisher wanted to fix the presentation, they should offer a pdf for download.
Originally Posted by starman View Post
You an almost make the argument that web ads that mess with your computer is like the commercials that used to have the louder volume, except the volume isn't really doing anything to your productivity tool. It's still annoying.
It's not just annoying, I am surprised there is little discussion about the legality of some of this. I think companies should not have the right to collect all of these potentially very private information and use them as they see fit — even if the user consented. The majority of people are not aware of what they are “agreeing” to by visiting a site. It's hard to play ball if you don't even know the rules.
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subego
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Sep 23, 2015, 01:19 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Is leaving the room during a commercial break also theft?
(I have the feeling we are just arguing semantics here, but I don't think “theft” is a suitable term here.)
We can make up another term I guess, lacking that I posit theft is the closest one already available.

Leaving the room is not theft. Not watching the commercials isn't what breaks the model.

What the ad based television model demands of you isn't watching the commercials, it just really wants you to do that. The way it attempts to make that happen is to demand you wait before you're allowed to consume more content. Leaving the room is complying with this demand, and is hence is playing ball with the model.

Not waiting, which is what you generally do with a DVR, is when you are no longer playing ball with the model. This is what breaks it.

Again, to be clear, I think this is a shitty model, and it's no surprise the people who use it are on life support, while someone like HBO or Netflix doesn't, and are doing pretty well for themselves.
     
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Sep 23, 2015, 01:49 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
We can make up another term I guess, lacking that I posit theft is the closest one already available.
Yes, we should use another term, because “theft” is mischaracterizing what is going on.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Leaving the room is not theft. Not watching the commercials isn't what breaks the model.

What the ad based television model demands of you isn't watching the commercials, it just really wants you to do that. The way it attempts to make that happen is to demand you wait before you're allowed to consume more content. Leaving the room is complying with this demand, and is hence is playing ball with the model.
This explanation is not logically consistent: the TV channel is getting paid by the advertiser for your eyeballs. They're not paying the TV channel for you going to grab a beer from the fridge or for your pit stop in the bathroom. They are not paying money for you to wait. If everybody waited in another room during commercials, then it wouldn't be worth it for the advertisers anymore to show commercials to the viewers. That's why advertisers want to target specific groups, because it is much more likely that Mac geeks will watch a “Mac vs. PC guy” ad than an Android user. Advertisers do not pay for waiting. To me there is zero difference between walking out of a commercial and skipping a commercial using your TiVo's remote.

Moreover, you are still assuming that viewers have agreed to the rules of the game. Viewers vote with their feet whether or not to play a game — that is how the rules are negotiated IMO. This may seem unfair to the content providers (although I think if you enter into this business you have to accept this fact). What has happened here is that the content providers slowly raised the temperature of the water by adding things that most people did not immediately noticed (the brain is pretty adept at filtering out ads, and trackers are invisible anyway). But suddenly the frog jumped out of the pot because it noticed the water was too hot.

What is bugging me the most about your insistence to use the word “theft” is because it suggests that the only damaged party are the poor content providers who no longer have money to pay for their bills. It completely misses the damage done to the consumer, e. g. fees when you have burnt through your data cap, a decrease in battery life and a violation of your privacy.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Again, to be clear, I think this is a shitty model, and it's no surprise the people who use it are on life support, while someone like HBO or Netflix doesn't, and are doing pretty well for themselves.
The success of Netflix significantly depends on being able to offer shows that have been produced (and paid for) by others. (That's not a complaint, I'm a happy Netflix customer myself.)
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subego
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Sep 23, 2015, 03:45 AM
 
I'll take this in reverse order.

The reason the content provider is the only damaged party is because no one is forcing you to consume.

Content providers get to set whatever price they want. Let's say my price is I get to poke you in the eye with a stick. The shittiness of my price entitles you to what I'm selling without meeting my price? How does that work?

This segues into what you argue in the preceding paragraph. If you consume my content without letting me poke you in the eye, then you have not agreed to the rules of the game. You are entitled to vote with your feet, but you're not entitled to walk away and get the product too.

As far as waiting goes, the subject of my post you quoted was "the ad based television model", you've appeared to replaced it with "the advertisers". I never said the advertisers are paying for you to wait. Making you wait is the mechanism the content providers use to provide eyeballs to the advertisers. I'm describing how the model is intended to function. The model functions by demanding (or attempting to demand) you wait for more content.

The operative concept here is: not waiting breaks the model. Leaving the room for every commercial would also break the model despite the fact one waited, but since very few people do that, the fact you have the option doesn't cause the model to cease functioning.

Using a DVR to skip commercials is dissimilar because everyone does it if given the opportunity. That wrecks the model.
     
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Sep 23, 2015, 04:16 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Unfortunately, I don't hang out in chat as much as I'd like. I've got a restless leg deal, so I'm almost always puttering. Since chat while puttering is difficult, I usually don't drop in unless things blow up. Memorably, if you were in when Brian lost his shit about Chad, we were definitely swapping electrons.

I have the same nick there as here, so if you see it pop up, give me a wave.


Edit: it may be "neogi", like from Spelljammer. Now I forget.
Lately I've not been able to make the live shenanigans, it's a little late for me, so I've listened to the recorded show. Are you talking about the episode after Chad was fired from TWiT? I was there. It was especially crazy because it was also at the same time BB was about to have a vasectomy and was overloaded with all sorts of other personal crap, he pretty much had a nervous breakdown on-air. It was almost as intense as JuRY being contacted by his deadbeat father (whom Justin thought was dead) after 25 years. Nearly everyone believed it was BS or a scam, but it turned out to be real, sending JuRY into a rage-fueled, alcohol-soaked, tailspin the likes of which I've not seen before (or since).
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subego
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Sep 23, 2015, 04:30 AM
 
Yup. That was the Chad show I was thinking of, with the final touch of the stream dying just as Brian crossed the "not for air" line.

I'm actually so far behind I'm still watching shows from January, so I haven't gotten to Ghost Dad yet, but I watched the summation videos so I got the gist of the story, but they didn't include the meltdown, which I wasn't aware of.
     
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Sep 23, 2015, 05:35 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
The reason the content provider is the only damaged party is because no one is forcing you to consume.
I think that's the crucial question here, but it's a two-parter: The first is whether or not I am entitled to access the content while running an ad blocker. The answer is simple: No. You can't expect to have free beer whenever you want it. But publishers can and have blocked visitors who run ad blockers from accessing their content. As long as they don't, they permit this to go on. And the reason is obvious: even people who block ads may link to the article and attract other visitors who are not running and ad blocker.

Secondly, there is a limit to what a publisher can get when I choose to visit a site once. I don't think giving up privacy after having left the site is reasonable and should be illegal.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Content providers get to set whatever price they want. Let's say my price is I get to poke you in the eye with a stick. The shittiness of my price entitles you to what I'm selling without meeting my price? How does that work?
But the situation here is that I am not being told in advance that you're going to poke me in the eye with a stick. Even if I adopt your viewpoint, the terms of the agreement are not clear, and they can be changed unilaterally. What is more, publishers can enforce this agreement by not showing content unless your ad blocker is disabled. That's the crucial point to me. To go back to your story, that's like you asking me to let you poke me in the eye with a stick, me replying “No.”, and then you giving me access anyway — you can't complain in my view. (Or to use your analogy: using an ad blocker isn't against the rules after all.)

Note that the situation is different from the TV example: once a TV program has been recorded, the TV networks lose control over how it is consumed (e. g. when you watch it and whether or not you skip ads).
Originally Posted by subego View Post
As far as waiting goes, the subject of my post you quoted was "the ad based television model", you've appeared to replaced it with "the advertisers". I never said the advertisers are paying for you to wait. Making you wait is the mechanism the content providers use to provide eyeballs to the advertisers. I'm describing how the model is intended to function. The model functions by demanding (or attempting to demand) you wait for more content.
And I think you mischaracterize how the model works, because you make a distinction between waiting out a commercial in another room and skipping it. There is none in the eye of the advertiser as you are not watching the ad either way. The reason this works is that there are enough people left (apparently) who actually watch the commercials.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
…, but since very few people do that, the fact you have the option doesn't cause the model to cease functioning.
You don't have to leave the room, you could check Twitter, talk to your spouse or switch channels.

Let me add something else to the discussion here: Let us have a look at the situation of music downloads between 1998 and 2003~2005: There are no good legal options to buy music (especially internationally). Is it morally defensible that I (and probably you, too) was downloading music illegally, even if “just” because it was more convenient and cheaper? (In my case, I was also doing this to pressure the industry to embrace online music sales, I've spent a four-digit amount in legal downloads since then.) Arguably, it was the popularity of illegal ways to download music that forced the music industry to change, and it took years. And without that outside pressure, I don't think we would have an iTunes Music Store today. Would the music industry be in better or worse shape?

Publishers are in a similar (although much more complicated) situation: their old business model is dead (ad blockers only gave it the final blow), and nobody has a clue how to replace it. But they compete with self-publishers (e. g. small blogs), youtube, games and everything else for ad revenue as well as attention.
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Mike Wuerthele
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Sep 23, 2015, 07:38 AM
 
Originally Posted by starman View Post
That was going to be my next argument.

Nobody is stealing anything. Watching commercials is a choice because you don't have the option to skip them live. Ad makers know this, so they have to make the ads interesting to watch. You can get off your ass and go to the kitchen, stay there and check Twitter, or pay attention to them. Or, watch the show later on the DVR and skip the commercials. Same with ad blockers, except ads screw with my computer and that was the last straw for me.

Funny how the pro-ad people here don't care about that aspect of it.

You an almost make the argument that web ads that mess with your computer is like the commercials that used to have the louder volume, except the volume isn't really doing anything to your productivity tool. It's still annoying.
Leaving the room while a commercial is playing isn't "theft" or whatever the term we settle on here is. The ad is still played, as paid for by the advertiser, deal is done - ads are calculated with an expected return percentage per eyeball, and I'm sure this is factored. Ad plays, you walk out the room, deal, as expected, is complete.

Blocking Internet ads is different. While I agree that bad actors cause problems with nasty, system slamming ads, the model is different. The ad needs to be loaded, for payment to the content provider - this is a key difference from television ads. No load, no payment by the ad vendor.

Say we get X thousand site impressions a day. Then, over the course of a month, with the same expenses, salaries and other payouts, we get X site impressions, but X/2 ad impressions. You don't think this causes a problem? Sure. its adjustable, but nobody here is making a load of money, not even management.

We've seen traffic increase, and ad revenue decrease both from the vendor as well as decreased ad impressions. I keep the really nasty ads away, and have purged several of the really, really bad ones. "Driveby" traffic is a pretty significant source of our traffic, and a pretty big percentage of them are universally blocking ads on the desktop, belying the "my mobile is getting crushed" argument, simply because they can't be bothered.

Yeah, I'm sticking with theft.
( Last edited by Mike Wuerthele; Sep 23, 2015 at 07:49 AM. )
     
P
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Sep 23, 2015, 07:41 AM
 
I think that this tweet got it right:

https://twitter.com/counternotions/s...98372166893568

For years, users have tried to use less destructive ways to block tracking, and adtech companies have tried to work around them.

* Requiring confirmation in browsers before setting cookies led to them asking again, a hundred times, until people gave up.
* When browsers started blocking third party cookies, they worked around that (and Google got sued over it).
* When software began deleting tracking cookies, they switched to Flash cookies and HTML5 Local Storage.
* That EU mandate about informing about cookies only lead to innumerable banners about "by using this site you accept that we set cookies".
* The DoNotTrack initiative was sabotaged over and over again - forever stalled and weakened by the adtech companies, almost subverted at one point, and they even got code into Apache to actively ignore DoNotTrack from MS users when MS didn't set the default to allow tracking like the adtech companies wanted.

At every step of the way, they have fought back against initiatives to prevent tracking. People finally got tired of it, and are now beginning to block ads. I don't, with the exception noted above, but I can't blame them anymore. I get that this is a big problem for publishers, and I'm afraid that this will lead to another crash in that business, but the signs have been on the wall for so long by now. People don't want to be tracked, and they're not giving up on that issue.

EDIT: I just want to add that I'm glad that we can have this discussion here, openly and in a civil manner. Many Internet forums ban even the discussion about blocking ads, and on others the pies are thrown with the first ten posts.
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OreoCookie
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Sep 23, 2015, 08:04 AM
 
Adding to P's nice post:
Unfortunately the few honest ad networks (e. g. The Deck) also get railroaded by this heavy-handed approach.
Originally Posted by Mike Wuerthele View Post
Leaving the room while a commercial is playing isn't "theft" or whatever the term we settle on here is.
While I disagree with the term “theft”, I definitely understand the “leaving the store without paying” sentiment. I would say it's an understanding readers must have that the site needs to finance itself somehow, and if you are shutting off the oxygen supply, don't act surprised when it's dead.
Originally Posted by Mike Wuerthele View Post
The ad is still played, as paid for by the advertiser, deal is done - ads are calculated with an expected return percentage per eyeball, and I'm sure this is factored. Ad plays, you walk out the room, deal, as expected, is complete.
I think that's not as important as the bigger picture: the reason regular people have started using ad blockers en masse is that ads have become unbearable. To stay in business, sites had to add more ads and more trackers to the detriment of the overall user experience. I am sure you and the people who run similar sites (e. g. iMore) feel like they are with their backs to the wall. And I, as a reader and member of this community, don't want the sites to go away either.

But what is happening now was inevitable, and I think the best thing we should do is look ahead and find a way out together, publishers and readers. It may very well be, though, that like in a bush fire, a lot has to die for other things to grow.
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Phileas
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Sep 23, 2015, 11:08 AM
 
Originally Posted by Cap'n Tightpants View Post
"Blocking ads is unethical", so is running ads that cripple your visitors' computers/devices. I didn't agreed to a ToS that included viewing non-stop ads. Currently I'm running everything through an encrypted VPN and stripping all advertising before it can even reach my systems/devices and it's so liberating there's probably no way I'd ever go back.
That's exactly what I do. Tunnelbear encrypts and at the same time strips out all trackers before they even reach my browser. I still run ad blockers on top of that, Block Bear on iOS, Adblock for Safari.

If you want to see how bad the tracking business is these days, grab an install of Firefox, then install the Lightbeam extension. This is the result of visiting the macnn homepage:





Visiting one page, connected me with 40 (FOURTY) third party sites, all of them tracking my movements across the web. That's ridiculous and abusive and that's from a reputable site.

90% of all the ad supported click bait sites on the net could go offline tomorrow and nobody would ever miss them. Until that day I will block as I see fit.

Here's what happens when I leave the macnn home page, then move to the Toronto Star homepage:



Oh hi. Are you following me? Imagine the data trail left behind after an evening's browsing.
( Last edited by Phileas; Sep 23, 2015 at 11:27 AM. )
     
Phileas
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Sep 23, 2015, 11:30 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
What podcast is that? I'm curious (I always wondered how much money you can make with a podcast).
The guy producing the (awesome) British History podcast ( a Yank, amusingly enough) quit being a successful (but unfulfilled) lawyer to produce his show. He's got a freemium model going that makes enough to support him. I don't think he's making as much as he used to, but he claims to be much, much happier.
     
osiris
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Sep 23, 2015, 12:25 PM
 
I am so glad I block ads and trackers after seeing those images.


However, I do allow some Mac sites to remain unblocked.
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macdude22
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Sep 23, 2015, 12:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I think that's the crucial question here, but it's a two-parter: The first is whether or not I am entitled to access the content while running an ad blocker. The answer is simple: No. You can't expect to have free beer whenever you want it. But publishers can and have blocked visitors who run ad blockers from accessing their content. As long as they don't, they permit this to go on. And the reason is obvious: even people who block ads may link to the article and attract other visitors who are not running and ad blocker.

Secondly, there is a limit to what a publisher can get when I choose to visit a site once. I don't think giving up privacy after having left the site is reasonable and should be illegal.
Such is the problem eh.

Content providers are in the right such that they need to pay the bills, and that tracking allows you stop seeing unwanted ads rather getting to see ad content which is more relevant to the individual.

Content consumers are in the right such that tracking has a dark seedy black market where content consumers have no command of what is or isn't being done with our data and little to no control
over said collected data except for the current and up and coming ad-blocking technologies (Ad Block Plus, Ublock origin, etc...).

I don't know what the solution is. Programs like google contributor? More patreon style projects? I really do think we are coming upon a great cleansing, a critical tipping point of ad-blocking, where on the plus side maybe all the click bait sites will flounder, but on the negative side many reputable sites will be unable to sustain themselves and close up shop.
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macdude22
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Sep 23, 2015, 12:52 PM
 
Thanks for the heads up on the lightroom plugin, that is really neat for really illustrating how pervasive this problem is. I tested visiting macnn.com and then imore.com 122 third party connections and a big ol cloud of data following me from site to site. This is on a fresh install of firefox, in a vm, not authenticated to google or any services.

I'm pro people getting paid, it's one of the reasons I toss 10 bucks a month in google contributor, but this kind of tracking and third party connections is insane. Honestly I held off from ad-blocking for the longest time, out of any one I personally know but there came a day when a site just completely flipping took over the screen, pegged the cpu, ads on ads on ads *cough cnn* and I started down the path to digital freedom. I've got a healthy whitelist, but it is getting really hard to feel sorry for the folks on the other end with the eye vomit that is being displayed by ad-networks these days. And that's ignoring the tracking argument.

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Jawbone54
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Sep 23, 2015, 12:58 PM
 
What ad-blocking-tracking-etc. extension to you guys use on your browser?
     
osiris
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Sep 23, 2015, 12:59 PM
 
Ghostery and AdBlock
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Mike Wuerthele
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Sep 23, 2015, 01:10 PM
 
The clickbait sites will remain, as Ma and Pa Kettle, with no adblockers, will continue to see WHAT AMAZING TIP MAKES PRESIDENT OBAMA AFRAID. They'll be fine.

Sites for the tech-aware, not beholden to Verizon or AT&T will die, because the readers of said site will utilize the blockers. Google won't hurt much, because of Ma and Pa Kettle mentioned above. Yahoo won't either, so this tipping point hurts nobody but the guys who literally can't do anything about the ad firms' abuse of eyeballs.

Yeah, there'll be a purge, and there'll be a lot of fatalities. Be ready for it, be aware that you contributed to it, and be ready and for the avenues for non-megacorporation bound reporting to keep collapsing.

I'm never going to put a block up on the site, saying "turn off your ad blocker." If that happens, I fought it, and lost the argument. You all know how I feel. Nor am I going to demand that you whitelist us. If you block our ads, you've got your own reasons. All I ask is that you know the consequences. One or two of you blocking us doesn't matter. A good percentage of you? Yeah, that's a major issue.
     
Cap'n Tightpants
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Sep 23, 2015, 01:18 PM
 
What "consequences"? Just put up a contribution method (Patreon), this isn't rocket surgery.
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The Final Dakar
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Sep 23, 2015, 01:19 PM
 
Here's a lovely little rationalization – those who participate in this forum are likely the most proactive. We are greatly outnumbered by lurkers who are probably less proactive.
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Sep 23, 2015, 01:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by Cap'n Tightpants View Post
What "consequences"? Just put up a contribution method (Patreon), this isn't rocket surgery.
I didn't say we were, and I didn't say we weren't running a Patreon. I also didn't say that our death was imminent.

Patreon and the ilk aren't rocket surgery, but there's a right way, and a wrong way to go about it. It can be flipping a switch and saying "LOL give us money," but it shouldn't be. Also, you guys would contribute to a Patreon, but would our drive-by traffic do so?
     
Cap'n Tightpants
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Sep 23, 2015, 01:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by Mike Wuerthele View Post
I didn't say we were, and I didn't say we weren't. I also didn't say that our death was imminent.
Fair enough. But that fits with all other content; if people value it, they will pay. If they don't, they won't.
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Jawbone54
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Sep 23, 2015, 01:53 PM
 
Originally Posted by osiris View Post
Ghostery and AdBlock
I've been using both, but have been suffering some issues in regards to pages not loading.

I deactivated Ghostery, and the issues ceased. I was wondering if anyone else had any issues.
     
starman  (op)
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Sep 23, 2015, 02:11 PM
 
Yeah, there'll be a purge, and there'll be a lot of fatalities. Be ready for it, be aware that you contributed to it, and be ready and for the avenues for non-megacorporation bound reporting to keep collapsing.
I'm going to say this again - I only installed Ad Blocker because of what ads were doing to MY COMPUTER. I have ZERO guilt.

If my computer didn't turn into a snail because of ads, I wouldn't have installed Ad Blocker in the first place. Don't blame ME for other people's shitty ads.

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Mike Wuerthele
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Sep 23, 2015, 02:13 PM
 
I wasn't asking you to have guilt, you can do what you want with your computer. Just be aware that there's consequences, is all.

However, you can't say you're not involved with the problem. Yes, the ad vendors and publishers are too.

In your indignation about no guilt, you missed this part. "If you block our ads, you've got your own reasons."
     
 
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