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starman
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Sep 18, 2015, 03:44 PM
 
While there's a new ad blocker option for iOS 9, I felt this was more of a Lounge thread since this is an old subject that goes back to the days of OS 8.

Generally, I don't mind ads. I understand that people have to make their money. I run ads on sites that I build as well. However, there are more and more sites that abuse ads. This is where I started drawing the line.
  • Ads that cover your content.
  • Videos that play when you go to visit a site to read something.
  • Multiple videos playing at the same time in different ad spaces.
  • Videos that are part of an ad rotation, so you walk away from your computer and LOUD VIDEO AD!
  • Scroll down 1/3 and BAM! Full-page ad.
  • Trackers that haunt you for weeks. Searched for something on Amazon? Now see ads for it for weeks.
  • Flash ads that eat your computer's RAM (this was my tipping point).
  • Sites that load ads from multiple sources, slowing down the creation of the page, and the content is usually last to load.
  • Sites that force you to scroll to the ad mid-read.
  • Messes up the OS X screensaver (doesn't shut the monitor off)

And yet, people think that users that install ad blockers are akin to software pirates. It's not ads I have problems with, it's their abuse.

Let me touch on my breaking point. There's a site called wowhead which is the best source for info about WoW. When they started placing Flash ads on their site, my computer started slowing down. A lot. I would leave a couple of pages up in tabs like I always did because I wanted to reference something later. The next day, the Mac (20 GB RAM, i7) would slow to a crawl. This kind of Mac shouldn't ever slow to a crawl. After a while, I realized that it was the Flash ads on that site that were slowing my machine down. I installed an ad blocker and all the issues went away.

So, if a site's ads are affecting people's machines, why the hate towards people that want their machines to run better?
( Last edited by starman; Sep 21, 2015 at 02:08 PM. )

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subego
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Sep 18, 2015, 03:54 PM
 
I'm 100% pro-ad, and am one of those people who hurl accusations of theft.

Buuuuuut, there are so many sites which are so utterly broken, and thrash the living **** out of the mobile Safari renderer... I'm looking forward to the ad blocker.

I certainly see it from Apple's perspective. These ads break top-of-the-line hardware.
     
starman  (op)
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Sep 18, 2015, 03:55 PM
 
And I have what was once top of the line hardware.

Put it this way: I'm on a site for a total of two minutes, the site thrashes my machine and f*s up my productivity for HOURS. I have to make sure everything is saved, reboot, reload my apps, etc.

Who wins here?

I don't feel bad about installing an ad blocker.

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mindwaves
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Sep 18, 2015, 04:00 PM
 
Not sure why blocking ads is such a talking point these days. I've been blocking ads on my Mac for years and installed Crystal ad blocker for my iPhone on day 1 (back when it was free, now $0.99). I have no issues blocking ads.
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starman  (op)
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Sep 18, 2015, 04:01 PM
 
It's a problem now because there's more mobile traffic than ever. Sites are crying wolf, saying they're going to go under because of this. I have no craps to give. Adapt or die.

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subego
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Sep 18, 2015, 04:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by starman View Post
And I have what was once top of the line hardware.

Put it this way: I'm on a site for a total of two minutes, the site thrashes my machine and f*s up my productivity for HOURS. I have to make sure everything is saved, reboot, reload my apps, etc.

Who wins here?

I don't feel bad about installing an ad blocker.
I'm sort of at the other end of the scale. I like to pace, so everything which doesn't require big iron gets done on my phone.

While I have ethical responsibilities, there's also some ethical responsibility when it comes to utterly crushing a current gen phone... with a mobile site.
     
subego
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Sep 18, 2015, 04:09 PM
 
Originally Posted by mindwaves View Post
Not sure why blocking ads is such a talking point these days.
Apple has thrown down, that's the big change. They're tired of people blaming them for a shitty user experience.
     
reader50
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Sep 18, 2015, 04:53 PM
 
Ads wouldn't be such a problem if they were better. Boring ads that repeat frequently don't attract customers. They certainly don't get me to click through, much the opposite.

Ads that didn't suck would defuse much of the problem. Same problem many movies have - they need better writing. Higher volume is no substitute.
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Sep 18, 2015, 05:06 PM
 
If the current ad climate gets worse, and we don't see an uptick in traffic, we're probably dead. TUAW, backed by a multi-million dollar company is gone, and with it a successful gaming site for similar reasons.

9to5 and Apple Insider will be next, then iMore will fall. We don't do 20-page slideshows of "THINGS YOU WON'T BELIEVE" and we try to present as much data as we can as densely as we can without abusive click-throughs, and be as responsive to your needs ad-wise as we can. Didn't like Onswipe? I killed it. Kontera? Gone. When you guys report a nasty ad, we act as best as we can. All this has a price, though.

I won't go so far as to say that ad blocking is theft, but I will say that it is unethical, and bad for independent press. You want your Mac news from The Verge or CNN with no experience and no context? That's where this is headed.
     
starman  (op)
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Sep 18, 2015, 05:41 PM
 
Ad blocking isn't unethical when ads are killing MY computer.

EDIT: See, this seems to be the attitude I've seen lately. The web sites create the content, therefore they feel entitled to do whatever they want. No. That's not how it works.

If sites were more responsible with their ads, then maybe the need for blocking them would be less.

Also, this also looks like it's a few bad apples that are ruining it for everyone (read: The Verge, WoWHead).
( Last edited by starman; Sep 18, 2015 at 05:54 PM. )

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Jawbone54
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Sep 18, 2015, 06:20 PM
 
Until their is a universal standard for ads, the issue of ad blockers won't go away.

Didn't the FCC rule that advertisers could no longer made their commercials 5,000% louder than the actual content?

Originally Posted by starman View Post
If sites were more responsible with their ads, then maybe the need for blocking them would be less.
Yep.

But how are institutions (especially large media conglomerates) incentivized into being more responsible with their ads? They're not going to do it alone, and since there isn't a universal regulatory commission set up to govern these ads, it will likely never happen.

Besides that, if there WAS a universal regulatory commission, I think that would scare the crap out of me. If we want a free and open Internet, that means that ads will forever suck.
     
mindwaves
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Sep 18, 2015, 06:26 PM
 
Yes, there is no practical reason for a slideshow on a webpage. I know that there is a monetary reason, but I refuse to visit any website with some sort of slideshow that could normally be displayed on a single page.

Ads that block my entire screen or forever occupy the top and/or bottom screen of my phone are super annoying, as are the ads that forever remind you to download their app.

These people have ruined the websites for anyone running a mobile device. I don't care if people lose money because lost of ad revenue. Find a different job or a different sort of revenue stream.
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starman  (op)
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Sep 18, 2015, 06:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by Jawbone54 View Post
If we want a free and open Internet, that means that ads will forever suck.
And a free and open internet also means that I have the right to block them.

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Mike Wuerthele
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Sep 18, 2015, 07:49 PM
 
I'm not saying you don't have the right to block them.

Just realize there are consequences to other people, is all. I know I'm aware of that when I talk to management about what ad sources to allow.

It's interesting that you say The Verge is one of the worst offenders. Its not just that they are, but they also have the most to gain with massive war chests when guys like us get squeezed out.

"Adapt or die" isn't as simple as users (or managing editors!) saying so.
     
mindwaves
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Sep 18, 2015, 07:59 PM
 
{{{ mindwaves }}}
     
OreoCookie
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Sep 18, 2015, 08:03 PM
 
The massive popularity of app blockers on the app store is a clear indication that advertisers went way, way too far. The reason I installed Click to Flash in the old days were all these pesky Flash ads that slowed my system to a crawl. In the recent weeks I understood why I was blasting through my cell phone's data cap of 1 GB when all I did (literally) was open ~3 web pages via cellular data. There were even some internet service providers that replaced the ads on sites the user visits with their own, cheating both sides, the site owner and their customer. Not to speak of all the tracking, auto play video ads and ads that cover content (especially on mobile).

Enough is enough. I have little sympathy for the “content providers”, many of them do not seem to have a great deal of respect for their readers. Two years ago I went to hear a talk by the chief of Germany's Axel Springer publishing group which, among other things, owns Germany's most notorious tabloid. He was asked by people in the audience about tracking, and he denied flat out that there was a problem, that the real problem was Google and its tracking. There are exceptions, though. Even if you think think that people should not block ads, that it is wrong for moral reasons, I think you have to admit that the publishing industry's use of online ads is getting out of control with no long-term benefits to nobody: the ratio of content to ads is skewed more and more towards ads, sites get larger, publishers's revenues are on the decline, the quality of the ads decreases, ads get more annoying and even if users don't block ads in software, they take notice of ads less and less.

However, I also think we, the readers, should accept the consequences, namely that some sites that we like will go out of business soon. As I see it, the reckoning is necessary, because sometimes things have to get worse before they can get better.
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Cap'n Tightpants
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Sep 19, 2015, 01:06 AM
 
"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.

If MacNN is falling short of revenue goals to stay open, I suggest opening a Patreon account. I'd donate, and suspect so would quite a few others.
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Spheric Harlot
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Sep 19, 2015, 05:48 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Two years ago I went to hear a talk by the chief of Germany's Axel Springer publishing group which, among other things, owns Germany's most notorious tabloid. He was asked by people in the audience about tracking, and he denied flat out that there was a problem, that the real problem was Google and its tracking.
How totally in character for that publisher. What an asshole.

I'm pro-ads. I realize that they are a necessity, and I'm prepared to accept them in exchange for a free service.

On the desktop, I use Ghostery to block tracking, because none of your ****ing business, but I don't block ads. I've deleted Flash, and that's made the biggest difference to the bastards who ruin my internet.

On the mobiles, publishers need to realize that I ****ING HATE YOUR SITE. Virtually everything that's linked to via Facebook, for example - I can't click that shit, because fifteen out of twenty seconds I might try to spend there are wasted on scrolling through ads, clicking away overlays, and just scrolling back up as the goddamn page reloads six times as ads are refreshed.

Even worse are those App Store bouncers.

So, my sincere apologies to content providers, but: enough. Ad blockers on mobile. I'm using Crystal right now and waiting a bit until more granular solutions become available.
     
OreoCookie
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Sep 19, 2015, 09:21 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
How totally in character for that publisher. What an asshole.
The talk was at University of Tübingen, and there was a group of students who prepared for this in a seminar. So the question was well-placed and well-prepared on an issue that outside of tech circles was pretty much unknown. Döpfner, as a media professional, of course knows of the art to say nothing when saying something. Even back then I thought that this attitude will bite him in his rear end at one point.

The odd thing was that part of his talk was actually nice (he talked about how in the old times there were people who founded papers because they owned printing presses and people who bought printing presses to print the papers they have founded, and transferred this analogy to today using Bezos and another publisher as an example).
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
I'm pro-ads. I realize that they are a necessity, and I'm prepared to accept them in exchange for a free service.
I would not mind a sensible amount of ads that do not obscure content. Imagine what a magazine or a newspaper would look like if it had the same amount of ads? Ultimately, the onus is on the publishers to create a sensible and sustainable business model. Right now, it is not sustainable. Ben Thomson has a nice piece on this.
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subego
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Sep 19, 2015, 02:14 PM
 
Originally Posted by Mike Wuerthele View Post
I'm not saying you don't have the right to block them.

Just realize there are consequences to other people, is all. I know I'm aware of that when I talk to management about what ad sources to allow.

It's interesting that you say The Verge is one of the worst offenders. Its not just that they are, but they also have the most to gain with massive war chests when guys like us get squeezed out.

"Adapt or die" isn't as simple as users (or managing editors!) saying so.
I like the NN. I think the ads here are reasonable, though I'm a little baffled by how you can tolerate your ad distribution partner(s) "accidentally" losing their muzzle in the couch cushions every few months. I'm a little skeptical static variables are beyond them.

But that's not why I'm going to start blocking ads. As I said, they're reasonable here. When they're not reasonable, I'm more bothered by seeing the site I like get reamed in the ass by their business partner, rather than problems with site usability.

Once I go ad blocker, if I can whitelist MacNN, I'll do that.

That said, I'd seriously consider Cap'n Tightpants' Patreon proposal. It will basically be the free money.


Edit: minus the near wholesale destruction of the site we had from the last two free money schemes MacNN tried.
     
el chupacabra
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Sep 19, 2015, 02:33 PM
 
I dont mind adds but I've despised flash since the day it hit the net. I'd rather open my computer to viruses and hackers than deal with Flash.
I protest flash by using flashblock. So they can advertise to me all they want as long as it's not flash...
I also hate sites that reload constantly or use too much other scripting whatever it may be. Those things aren't as easy to block.
     
Cap'n Tightpants
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Sep 19, 2015, 03:09 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
That said, I'd seriously consider Cap'n Tightpants' Patreon proposal. It will basically be the free money.
There doesn't need to be any recognition (such as naming that person a "Premier Member" or anything like that), no external rewards (except maybe getting to speak w/ admins on Patreon WRT forum ideas and directions), no one else on the forums would need to know about it. It would be a thing that people could pay if they want to turn on their adblockers and be "guilt free" (IMO, feeling guilt for over such things is silly but I realize that some people might).
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Sep 20, 2015, 05:49 PM
 
I've never used adblockers before. I block Flash (and have done so for a decade by now) but not ads in general. To me, it was always a clear tragedy of the commons thing - sites need ads to live, I want the sites to exist, therefore I shouldn't block ads.

What made me think about it was that I am on a metered connection in the summer, and it is clear that the 10 gigs they give you doesn't last very long these days. My phone also comes with only 1GB per month, which I can't easily change, as it is my employer's contract, and that can run out quick.

So I figured I'd give an adblocker a try - just on the phone, to be used when not on Wifi. Wow. All those slow sites are now fast again, as the never-ending tracking scripts were blocked - and this is on a 5s, which never felt slow before. I really don't want to block ads, but that is a so much better experience, it's not even funny. I'll have to think about this.

Sidenote: Content blockers are disabled on iDevices with an A5 or A6. Why? If they make the browsing faster, shouldn't they be used on those slow devices more than anything? I wonder if that is not Apple trying to drive upgrades.

Also note that Firefox 42 will apparently come with tracking protection built-in. That will be interesting to see in action. So far, this follows the pop-up wars closely. Those ended with advertisers backing off and abandoning pop-ups. Is there a way for the ad networks to back off this time? If they're blocked anyway, there is nothing they can do to get back on anyone's screen with les annoying ads.
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Spheric Harlot
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Sep 20, 2015, 06:35 PM
 
I figured the content blocking cutoff for iPhone 5 & 5c/iPad 4/iPad mini 1/iPod touch 5th generation was because Apple didn't want to introduce an entirely new framework for 32-bit processors that have been phased out.

That would sort of tie into how they updated the iPod touch - it sells too well to kill, but they needed to get their entire product line to 64-bit, as new functionality will henceforth be developed only for 64-bit devices.
     
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Sep 21, 2015, 08:50 AM
 
     
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Sep 21, 2015, 09:24 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
I figured the content blocking cutoff for iPhone 5 & 5c/iPad 4/iPad mini 1/iPod touch 5th generation was because Apple didn't want to introduce an entirely new framework for 32-bit processors that have been phased out.
IDK. The new Spotlight frameworks work on all devices, and that seems like a way bigger deal than a Safari plugin that says "don't load that" for certain sources.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
starman  (op)
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Sep 21, 2015, 11:58 AM
 
I wonder how many "AD-vocates" (ha!) own DVRs and skip commercials.

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Mike Wuerthele
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Sep 21, 2015, 01:14 PM
 
I wonder how many advocates own DVRs and try and edit out product placement?
     
starman  (op)
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Sep 21, 2015, 02:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by Mike Wuerthele View Post
I wonder how many advocates own DVRs and try and edit out product placement?
That's irrelevant.

This post brought to you by Apple™.

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starman  (op)
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Sep 21, 2015, 02:09 PM
 
I added another thing that happens because of ads - my screensaver on my Mac wouldn't shut off the screen, so I'd be away for a few hours and the monitor is still on.

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Mike Wuerthele
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Sep 21, 2015, 02:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by starman View Post
That's irrelevant.

This post brought to you by Apple™.
So's the original comment. "Television and the Internet's advertising and revenue challenges are the same because they both have ads" is like saying that a panda bear is the same as a human because they both breathe oxygen. Some vague similarities, but not the same, so similes fail.

Different targets, pricing, and challenges.
     
subego
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Sep 21, 2015, 03:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by starman View Post
I wonder how many "AD-vocates" (ha!) own DVRs and skip commercials.
I don't have cable anymore.

When I did, I'd bloop past ads, unless they caught my eye. Admittedly, they had a smaller window than they used to, but it's not like it closed.

You have a half-second to grab me, you either use it or you don't.

Perfect example were the Hodgman/Long Apple ads. Well done, eye catching, and identifiable within the half-second window. Those got watched.
     
subego
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Sep 21, 2015, 04:02 PM
 
Sad dog with bone anxiety and the "trouble" riff? Got watched. I'd even have bought the song if the rest of it didn't suck. Still remember the red umbrella.


I'd say that's mission accomplished.
     
The Final Dakar
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Sep 21, 2015, 04:05 PM
 
Given the prevalence of ad-blocking, I'm sometimes surprised things have gone on for as long as they have. I don't have any solutions, but the current set-up isn't going to work. There's a reason pop-up blockers come standard in browsers, and people disable flash by default.
     
subego
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Sep 21, 2015, 04:22 PM
 
The solution for most media is voluntary payment.
     
The Final Dakar
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Sep 21, 2015, 04:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
The solution for most media is voluntary payment.
It has its own downfalls. People aren't going to pay for more than a few websites even if they frequent dozens.
     
subego
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Sep 21, 2015, 04:29 PM
 
It's almost like you just described voluntary.

It's one's job as site owner to make that work. Will some sites not be able to? No question.
     
The Final Dakar
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Sep 21, 2015, 04:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
It's almost like you just described voluntary.
No, what I'm describing is the human limitation in giving a **** past a certain point. It's why people use the same password over and over. It's not that people don't value these sites, it's that they won't care enough to put in the effort.
     
subego
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Sep 21, 2015, 04:33 PM
 
Low friction is a very important part of getting this model to work.
     
The Final Dakar
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Sep 21, 2015, 04:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Low friction is a very important part of getting this model to work.
"Hold you phone up to your screen to pay"
     
subego
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Sep 21, 2015, 04:41 PM
 
Bingo! That was the system I was going to throw down with if challenged.
     
The Final Dakar
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Sep 21, 2015, 04:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Bingo! That was the system I was going to throw down with if challenged.
What do you do if your screen is the phone, though? /ijustblewyourmind
     
subego
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Sep 21, 2015, 04:47 PM
 
Assuming the system was QR code based, you just shoot the code straight to the phone.
     
subego
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Sep 21, 2015, 05:04 PM
 
To be clear, this system isn't immune to ****ery either. Extorting your audience with sob stories seems prevalent.
     
starman  (op)
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Sep 21, 2015, 11:26 PM
 
This MacNN user was just a regular guy...what he did next was amazing!

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Sep 22, 2015, 12:39 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
When I did, I'd bloop past ads, unless they caught my eye. Admittedly, they had a smaller window than they used to, but it's not like it closed.

You have a half-second to grab me, you either use it or you don't.
The reason ad blockers are a thing is not because of few, tastefully done ads that do not obscure content (like in a high quality magazine). You can skip them. 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.
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subego
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Sep 22, 2015, 02:41 AM
 
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).

And to be clear, my explanation is only a partial reconciliation, I'd still say there's some theft going on there.

My ultimate solution was to just dump cable. I buy the shows I want, see them on Netflix/Amazon, and all the podcasts I listen too regularly (which is only four) get Patreon bumps.

Everybody seems happy. The two guys doing one podcast I listen to are pulling over $40K/year each for a once a week show.
     
Cap'n Tightpants
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Sep 22, 2015, 04:23 AM
 
I'd still say there's some theft going on there.
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.
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Cap'n Tightpants
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Sep 22, 2015, 04:26 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Everybody seems happy. The two guys doing one podcast I listen to are pulling over $40K/year each for a once a week show.
Cordkillers or Night Attack?
"I have a dream, that my four little children will one day live in a
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OreoCookie
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Sep 22, 2015, 04:37 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
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).
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.)
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Everybody seems happy. The two guys doing one podcast I listen to are pulling over $40K/year each for a once a week show.
What podcast is that? I'm curious (I always wondered how much money you can make with a podcast).
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