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Mozilla The Internet Internet Explorer

Firefox Users Bad For Advertisers 900

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the smart-clickers dept.
rocketjam writes "According to CNET, German advertising technology company Adtech reports that during the months of October and November, Internet Explorer users were more than four times as likely to click on ads than Firefox users were. During the period 0.5 percent of IE users clicked on ads compared to 0.11 percent of Firefox users. Speculation on reasons for the difference in click rates range from Firefox's integrated pop-up blocking to seeing the average Firefox user as more tech-savvy the average Internet Explorer user."
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Firefox Users Bad For Advertisers

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  • AdBlock (Score:5, Informative)

    by ack154 (591432) * on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:05AM (#11016787)
    Having something like AdBlock [mozilla.org] probably doesn't help their click % for Firefox either.

    Hooray for extensions!
    • Re:AdBlock (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:09AM (#11016819)
      Perhaps i should write a AdClick Extension;-)
      • Re:AdBlock (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:24AM (#11016964)
        This is modded funny, it is but is it such a bad idea ?
        An extra button or shortcut labeled "help this site" wich opens all ads in background tabs ? I would use it.
        • Re:AdBlock (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Maggot75 (163103) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:47AM (#11017170) Homepage
          It wouldn't even need to display them. Just issue the right http GET commands, and not even listen for the result.
          • Re:AdBlock (Score:5, Informative)

            by Ishin (671694) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @11:12AM (#11018200) Journal
            I use flashblock [mozdev.org] as well as adblock. I'm not big on having talking flash advertisements sneaking up on me and when I want to view a flash I'll click on the flashplay button.

            They make a great team.

          • Re:AdBlock (Score:5, Insightful)

            by justMichael (606509) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @11:20AM (#11018324) Homepage
            It wouldn't even need to display them. Just issue the right http GET commands, and not even listen for the result.
            By doing this you will ultimately hurt the site you think you are helping.

            When the advertisers look at their ROI and see that all of the traffic from site x is crap, they will pull the ads and the site you were trying to help will need to find another method to support itself.
          • Re:AdBlock (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Sentry21 (8183) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @12:36PM (#11019455) Journal
            To save bandwidth, you could do an HTTP HEAD request and find out the length of the file (say 32514 bytes) then issue a GET request asking to resume from 32510, thus saving the advertisers. This would not only register as a completed image view or page view, but would save the advertisers bandwidth as well.
        • Re:AdBlock (Score:5, Insightful)

          by mmkkbb (816035) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:48AM (#11017179) Homepage Journal
          those will drive down the prices people are willing to pay for advertising. sites will notice that their ratio of paying customers to people who click on ads is lower
          • by TFGeditor (737839) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @10:51AM (#11017880) Homepage
            There was a /. story on this recently http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/12/03/145 0243&tid=217&tid=98&tid=218 [slashdot.org]
          • Re:AdBlock (Score:5, Insightful)

            by nolife (233813) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @11:14AM (#11018235) Homepage Journal
            There is no easy way to verify where and when someone decided to buy your product. Of course before the web, it was always that way. Suddenly somewhere and someone determined that you could now directly measure how effective and ad was with all this digital technology and tracking. Well guess what. It is NOT much more accurate then measuring effectiveness of non internet ads. That is the root of the problem. I saw an ad for the car maker Saturn on Lycos last month, I did not run out and by a Saturn because of that ad. I doubt anyone did, was the ad effective? I have no idea but this ad was no different then the same ad placed in a magazine. How many people would have saw that? How many people bought a Saturn because of the that? The same thing advertisers are complaining about with advertising on the internet are the same exact issues advertisers before them have been dealing with for at least a century. How to measure effectiveness of an ad campaign.
            • by bitingduck (810730) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @12:00PM (#11018907) Homepage
              What you're describing is pretty much the difference between sales and marketing.

              Sales is getting out (by whatever means) and getting people to open their wallet for you in response to your ads/pleas/whatever.

              Marketing is creating an awareness, and hopefully "need" for whatever you're selling, but not trying to close the sale right there, or even in the near future. This is especially true for high dollar items like cars.

              Tracking clicks is in a sense trying to track sales (usually the seller probably only gets some time from the clicker, not money, though) even though a lot of ads are clearly intended to create a marketing presence. You don't have to click on them for them to be effective-- you just have to see them (over and over) out of the corner of your eye while reading something else. Tracking views is what happens in the rest of advertising (how many people watch that show x how many times the ad appears). Eventually internet advertising will use a hybrid of clicks and views to track.
          • Re:AdBlock (Score:3, Insightful)

            by T-Ranger (10520)
            Which is bad over the long term. Over the short term, many banner ad companies wont pay out if your click/sale, click/lead, clik/whatever ratio is out of wack. Sometimes they dont tell you what your ratio is (some places have very detailed accounting information). They are the sole ajudicators of what is out of wack, based on their own definition - usualy not known - of what is normal.
        • Re:AdBlock (Score:5, Insightful)

          by cyfer2000 (548592) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @10:47AM (#11017846) Journal

          But this may not good to the web, the web user and the advertisement business.

          The web has been filled with a wrong idea, which is if I put whatever through the web, at large quantity, some people will click/reply it. The first case of this idea is spam, the second one is banner ad. In most case, those ads are't related with the contain of the pages showing them. Also those ads aren't visually compatible with the pages showing them. More and more of them are become annoying, they are hurting the viewers' eyes and wasting their time and bandwidth. They are diseases of the web and dark side of the advertisement business.

          Advertisement should be useful and enjoyable to the viewers. Otherwise, it will harm the advertiser. Also, harm the advertisement business.

          Thus for the good of web, web user and advertiser, those irrelevant banner advertisement should be stop.

          New smart and useful advertisement will adapt the existance firefox and adBlock.

    • Re:AdBlock (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Proaxiom (544639) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:12AM (#11016857)
      I use Adblock also, and I love it.

      But I've been thinking lately -- is this going to change the Internet dramatically? How many web sites rely on advertising revenue, and won't get it anymore when everybody is filtering banners?

      For instance, I now read Slashdot with no ads, and I'm not a subscriber. Adblock decreases the value proposition of a Slashdot subscription.

      • Re:AdBlock (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Freexe (717562) <serrkr@tznvy.pbz> on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:19AM (#11016920) Homepage
        Turn off Adblock, Adblock will only kill the source of money for most sites. I believe that pop-ups and large overlays and messy flash ads should all die a slow and painfull ad death, but you have to allow some ads through to support the sites that you visit, that and buy their stuff and subscribe. Runnning servers is not cheap/free, and not everyone is nice enough to do it for free/ especially if the bandwidth bills start to mount up. Without ads, google wouldn't exist, and i can think of a few:) other sites that would die if everyone started blocking ads. So dont be so selfish and shortsighted and switch Ablock off and click on a few ads from time to time and buy stuff.
        • Re:AdBlock (Score:5, Insightful)

          by dattaway (3088) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:23AM (#11016956) Homepage Journal
          The internet existed before advertising. I'm sure business models can adapt to consumers who wish to be treated with respect.
          • Re:AdBlock (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Freexe (717562) <serrkr@tznvy.pbz> on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:26AM (#11016984) Homepage
            The internet wasn't as big as it is, and was mainly funded by universities and research teams.
          • Re:AdBlock (Score:4, Insightful)

            by oexeo (816786) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:41AM (#11017109)
            I'm against having people forced to view ads, it's their right to block them should they wish, but I think people should still be more considerate as to the consequences of doing so.

            Take slashdot (as an example), if everyone blocks ads, how would they "adapt"? My guess would be A) they won't, or B) they'll be reduced to making paid subscriptions mandatory, and perhaps increasing the number of advertisements masqueraded as genuine stories (such as the recent Cannon printer promotion). Is that really a better alternative?
            • Re:AdBlock (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Politburo (640618)
              I'm against having people forced to view ads, it's their right to block them should they wish

              Is it? The content provider is providing free content with a catch: you will view some ads. By removing the ads, you aren't holding up your end of this implicit contract. Don't like ads? Don't view the content.
              • Re:AdBlock (Score:3, Interesting)

                by Mr Z (6791)

                What if I can't pay attention to the content because the ads are screaming for my attention? I get easily distracted by stuff moving in my peripheral vision, such that I can't concentrate on an article or whatever. It's not like magazines, where the ads just sit there, waiting patiently for your attention.

                I personally like the Firefox/Mozilla extention "Click to Play" for Flash movies (though I'd like it to have a whitelist option). Also, the semi-hidden "image.animation_mode once" [google.com] configuration tweak'

              • Re:AdBlock (Score:4, Insightful)

                by sqlrob (173498) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @10:51AM (#11017881)
                There's a more binding implicit contract.

                Repeat after me: THE STANDARD DOES NOT SPECIFY HOW CLIENTS RENDER
            • Re:AdBlock (Score:3, Insightful)

              Take slashdot (as an example), if everyone blocks ads, how would they "adapt"?

              Maybe they'll run on top of some torrent-like software. Perhaps the individual comments could be passed around separately. Instead of 'articles', we could have broad groupings to put news in. We could even designate some computers as servers so they aggregate most of the comments, which we could then read at our leisure.

          • Re:AdBlock (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Politburo (640618)
            The Internet (specifically WWW) in its current form did not exist before advertising. To think that the Internet today can continue without ads based on some magical elf business model is simply absurd. Everyone says "Well they'll just have to find a new business model," but no one has any suggestions.
            • Re:AdBlock (Score:5, Insightful)

              by finkployd (12902) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @10:05AM (#11017333) Homepage
              The Internet (specifically WWW) in its current form did not exist before advertising.

              True, the s/n ratio was much more reasonable :)

              Commercial sites that sell stuff will continue to exist. Research sites will continue to exist. I'll bet most ad supported sites will continue to find a way to exist also. Let's face it the good ones started out with no ads then decided "well hell, this got popular so let's see if I can't make a little bit of money". If they go away, oh well.

              If most people want to block ads and that destroys a business model who are we to say that is wrong? There is certainly nothing illegal about and no realistic way to stop them.

              Finkployd
              • Re:AdBlock (Score:3, Interesting)

                by nordicfrost (118437) *
                I work for a very successful Internet news site. We rely almost 100% on the ad revenue generated and have large serious customers.

                We do know that some of the people are annoyed of the ads, but for the most part they are OK.

                In case he ad revenue is gone, well, people have to pay. Simple enough. Our newspaper is the most successful in the country so we will survive even if people have to pay for net access.

                But we don't want to chardge. We love to provide a really good newssite for free and the ads let us d
              • by goatpunch (668594) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @11:17AM (#11018289)
                There is certainly nothing illegal about and no realistic way to stop them.
                No way to stop them? AdBlock currently uses a very simple wildcard to filter out Ads. If it's use becomes widespread, you can be sure that sites will become smarter about strucuring their pages so that it is difficult or impossible to block Ads without blocking text and/or image content.

                e.g.: Take a page at url mysite.com/index.html . This page just consists of a bunch of iframes, which contain the page content, and the ads. The source of those iframes are from apparently random URLs that all look like mysite.com/?2pg904a82n84 . These content/ad URLs also change with each page reload. How do block the ads next time?

                The only reason that a small 'elite' percentage of net users are able to surf Ad-free is that they're not yet a statistically significant group. Whey they become signficant, things will change. Enjoy the Ad-free content while you can!

                • That's indeed how adaware works. But there are other method (other programs) use. Such as the size of the image. Or you could use a white list, rather than a black list. Or look for those random characters strings. Or take all these factors together and automatically make an intelligent determination.

                  Yes, like you said in your title, it might because a "arm race", but it's a race there is no point for a website/advertiser to try to win. Because let's face it, if someone is determined to race you,
              • Re:AdBlock (Score:3, Insightful)

                by kinema (630983)
                There is certainly nothing illegal about
                Yet.
            • Re:AdBlock (Score:5, Interesting)

              by GoofyBoy (44399) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @10:20AM (#11017499) Journal
              >To think that the Internet today can continue without ads based on some magical elf business model is simply absurd.

              Its not a for-profit business model you need to consider. Its the model where a bunch of people want to communicate with each other.

              There is a lot of good information/advice in the slashdot comments and no one is paying posters anything.

              There are gigs and gigs of stuff on p2p and binary newsgroups and, again, no commerical benefit to those that post them.

              The Internet will change, but it doens't have to be a for-profit model.
              • Re:AdBlock (Score:3, Interesting)

                by Politburo (640618)
                There are gigs and gigs of stuff on p2p and binary newsgroups and, again, no commerical benefit to those that post them.

                There sure as hell is a commercial benefit, just not a direct one. By posting items to p2p/ng, one encourages others to post items to p2p/ng. The more items on p2p/ng, the less one has to pay (music, movies, tv, apps, games, etc.). So, yes, no one is making money by p2p/ng, but they are, theoretically, "saving money".
          • Re:AdBlock (Score:3, Insightful)

            by ratamacue (593855)
            There is nothing wrong with advertising on the web. What's wrong is doing it in a way that undermines the user's control of the web browser. Google seems to be doing it right, and reaping the benefits.
        • Actually, my blocking all addverts is of benefit to the advertisers.

          When something is advertised by banner/popup/flash monstrosity/whatever is shoved in my face, at best its a waste of the advertisers paid for bandwidth. At worst, if its a product I'm interested in and they manage to get a brand name over to me then I'll check out their competitors first.

          Essentially banner adverts & popups tell me "Low grade company, low grade product, probably a scam", and I'll no more consider following such advert
        • Re:AdBlock (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ConceptJunkie (24823)
          I only turn off ads when they annoy me. You know what annoys me? Ads that are friggin Flash games. It's really difficult to read text when you all these flying objects moving around in the next frame over. I have no problems with static ads and will happily view them and even click on them when I am interested.

          But some of these epileptic-fit-inducing ads just make me work all the harder to eliminate them.

          This is all part of capitalism. Adapt or die.

      • Re:AdBlock (Score:3, Insightful)

        by wheany (460585)
        I block only annoying ads. Don't have a huge flashing/looping animated ad embedded in the middle of the story and I won't block it.

        Actually it really makes no difference, since I won't click on the non-annoying ads either.
      • Re:AdBlock (Score:3, Insightful)

        by FireFury03 (653718)
        But I've been thinking lately -- is this going to change the Internet dramatically? How many web sites rely on advertising revenue, and won't get it anymore when everybody is filtering banners?

        Exactly - by filtering _all_ ads you're destroying the current structure of the internet. IMHO filtering excessively annoying ads (flash, animated gifs, popups, etc) is fair enough, but don't you want to encourage the advertisers to use non-intrusive text only ads?
        • Re:AdBlock (Score:3, Insightful)

          by MoonFog (586818)
          My adblock does not block google ads or simple ads. I DO block servedby and the likes which provide annyoing flash ads. Some newspapers had ads with sound in them for a while, those got blocked right away! Ads are not the issue for me, but I'd rather have a set of text ads like you suggest than a bunch of annyoing colours running around the screen screaming "BUY ME!!!".
        • Re:AdBlock (Score:3, Insightful)

          by EvilAlien (133134)
          Lets not overstate things... ads have nothing to do with the structure of the Internet. They might have a substantial role to play in the business model of much of the content considered to be of value on the Internet, but the Internet didn't crumble the last time that ad revenue dried up when the whole content portal industry went kaboom.

          We must always have the right of what to view and what not to view, business models built on denying that choice deserve to be undermined whether its /., CNN, or any ot

      • Re:AdBlock (Score:3, Insightful)

        by metlin (258108) *
        I subscribe to Slashdot not because I want to block out the ads but because I want to give back to the community.

        Despite its faults and follies, it's a great site and one of my primary sources of news. In fact, I like to see the ads and there have been several times when I've clicked through and purchased stuff, too.

        And coming back to answer your question - simple non-intrusive methods like Google will make money out of ads, and eventually websites will find a way of getting through the ad-block.
      • Re:AdBlock (Score:3, Interesting)

        by David Horn (772985)
        My website exists solely on the revenue from adverts. Being Pocket PC centric, readers are quite technology literate and hence a good number of them use FireFox.

        The ads are small, suit the page style, and are 100% connected to the site's content. (Pocket PC games). Why do poeople block them? It's OK in my book to block pop-ups, but I think reading a website and deliberately blocking its adverts is akin to going into a shop, reading their newspaper, and putting it back on the shelf.

        We've gone from havi
    • Re:AdBlock (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Azureflare (645778) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:15AM (#11016882)
      My general principle with ads is the following: If the ad is not intrusive, and is not flash, (I.e. it doesn't have lots of motion, doesn't eat up cpu cycles, and doesn't flash horrendous colors at me), I will not block it. Otherwise, I will.

      Also if I don't like the site I'm on, I will typically block as many ads as I can (like weather.com), but I don't bother with most ads on slashdot.

      I just hate really intrusive ads. Unfortunately, the intrusive ads are the ones that get the attention, and thus the clicks, of the users. Maybe if the advertisers actually offered something I wanted, they would see more success.

      • Re:AdBlock (Score:5, Informative)

        by plover (150551) * on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:30AM (#11017021) Homepage Journal
        Weather.com is soo last millenium. Assuming you live in America, try www.noaa.gov [noaa.gov]. They offer point forecasts (within a 5km area), no ads, and you've already paid for them via your tax dollars.

        While I love the thought of using the weather underground for weather reporting (it seems like Open Source Weather Forecasting,) I haven't yet mustered up the energy required to figure a proxomitron filter to block the dozens of ads that litter their site. Until I do, the NOAA is still my first choice.

      • Re:AdBlock-Exactly (Score:3, Interesting)

        by gadlaw (562280)
        I also don't go ballistic in turning off ads. Annoying flash ads are gone. I will not swat the fly and I will not try to shoot the duck and if it has any annoying epileptic inducing strobe it's gone. Click on the 'adblock' tab. Quiet static ads don't bother me so that little 'adblock' tab doesn't get pressed. Any popup that dares to find it's way on my screen get anything from that ad site banned from my computer. I mean you tribalfusion. Thank you Firefox.
      • Re:AdBlock (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jeff DeMaagd (2015)
        I agree. The reason I block stuff is because they are needlessly intrusive.

        I know advertisers and sites will try to get around this as much as possible, now that Firefox has enough of a user base to start paying attention. I know that most advertisers won't take a clue, and rather than backing off so they don't alienate their reader base, they will get more intrusive and alienate even more people.
    • Re:AdBlock (Score:3, Interesting)

      by selderrr (523988)
      Could it not be that clicks on links in Spam HTML mail, which gets displayed with an ActiveX IE control in Outlook, get registered as IE ad-clicks ?
    • Re:AdBlock (Score:3, Insightful)

      by terraformer (617565)
      Think about it. It is a click percentage, or also known as the number of clicks on ads divided by the number of times the ad was shown. Ad block does not show the ads, so it does not screw up the %. What it does screw up is the total number of impressions...
  • by essreenim (647659) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:06AM (#11016798)
    OMG - hello. I expect everyone in /. agree when I say:

    One of the reasons we use Firefox is because it blocks pop-up ADDS. So why would a firefox user go and proactively click on adds after going to all that troubl???
    Sheesh, go figure...

  • The users... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by leonmergen (807379) * <lmergen@nosPaM.gmail.com> on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:07AM (#11016801) Homepage
    ... isn't it rather that the people who use Firefox generally are more 'technical' than the people who use IE, spend more time online, etc, and therefor simply are less likely to click on the advertisements, rather than it being due to Firefox' ad-blocking technology ?
  • Skewed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ntsf (812742) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:08AM (#11016811)
    It seems to me that the reason is fairly obvious. Many users have switched away from IE because of ads/spyware/etc. It would seem to make sense that they would be more aware of how ads function - and not click on them.
  • One and the Same (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jameth (664111) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:08AM (#11016816)
    The fact that the users use ad-blocking tools and that the users are tech-savvy are really the same issue, not different ones.

    (And, aside from that, they can stop most all of the ad-blocking problems by just having the website proxy all advertisement images on it, so they really shouldn't bitch about something with a fairly simple technological solution.)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:09AM (#11016827)
    What ads? Where?
  • Browser ID spoofing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Karrde712 (125745) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:10AM (#11016831)
    Aside from the obvious Adblock extension, there are also extensions available to spoof one's browser id. I usually set my ID to IE in order to avoid a lot of pages' JavaScript popups telling me that I need to use IE to view their page (which is no longer true).

    I'd be curious to see the figures on that.
  • by jago25_98 (566531) <jago25_98&hotmail,com> on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:11AM (#11016840) Homepage Journal
    woah! shh!

    This is one of those things where things have got confused. These 2 facts coinside:

    - If you've used your computer for longer then you are likely to have discovered a new browser.
    - If you've used your computer for only a short time you are experiencing run away popups and all that you get when you click an AD.

    ^ combine these 2 and remove how you made the connection and you can make it seem like firefox users are just tight.

    Don't descriminate against firefox users! I expect the same could be said to any non-windows browser, and any browser that isn't installed already with PCs you buy at Walmart and PC world.

  • Another thought (Score:5, Insightful)

    by q-the-impaler (708563) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:12AM (#11016854)
    I would think that Firefox users are probably the type of people who wouldn't have clicked on the advertisements anyway. So what's the fuss?
  • by mpcooke3 (306161) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:14AM (#11016871) Homepage
    I work for an internet advertising company.

    Many adverts aren't rendering correctly on firefox, including some flash/dhtml combos and some dhtml ads.

    I don't expect this is the main reason, but it doesn't help.

    Also, click through rates and conversion rates are different issues. Probably many more IE users accidentily click on ads or click on them and lose interest than firefox users who are much more likely to only click through on an advert if they are interested in buying. (this is a guess we don't breakdown by browser type at the moment)
  • by kaleco (801384) <greig@marshall2.btinternet@com> on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:16AM (#11016892)
    ...to consider. On Slashdot, I definitely click on ads on more than 0.5 percent of page loads. I do it moreso in Firefox since I can load the advertised page in another tab, but the most important reason for me making that click is that the adverts are relevant to me

    I think it's important to consider which pages are most popular for IE and Firefox users; it's not a matter of browser but more a matter of the interests of the user. This click-ratio metric would only be relevant if we compared visitors to the same website, and know that the users have the same interests and are just as likely to click. This would be more accurately done in a controlled environment than using pagelogs.

    That said, I do accept that Firefox and IE users have different attitudes towards internet use, but the point in TFA about IE users thinking the banner is a system notification made me laugh :)

  • I know there's got to be a better term for them than "inline popups", but I'm not sure what else to call them. I'm talking about pop-up ads that appear *in* the page, on a layer above the page itself, thanks to the wonders of DHTML/CSS/what-have-you.

    I've seen a few of these in Firefox. They were actually advertisements for big-name movie releases. They were pretty intrustive and were usually animated, sailing across the page I was trying to view. They were relatively well-behaved, at least, offering a tiny "Close [x]" button in some corner of the ad. Of course there's no guarantee that future ads will be so generous.

    Since they don't launch in separate windows, obviously current popup-blocking technology can't touch them. I wonder if this will be the next "big thing" since users and browsers are becoming more successful at blocking popups or tuning them out.

    I also wonder how easy they'll be to block. Sadly, I didn't bother to look at the source, but I have a hunch they're served up via a Javascript include file that's hosted on the ad company's servers. If that's how they were done, I guess they would be easy to block... just filter out .js includes from other domains, if that's not something that's already being blocked. If not, they could be really insidious and hard to get rid of.
    • by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @10:10AM (#11017405) Homepage
      It is simple CSS. Create a layer, give it a position:absolute, z-level higher than any other (ie. on top), and have a javascript link to hide it. The actual page would just have a
      <div class=ad>
      <img src=".../banner.jpg">
      </div>
      Even if you disable JS, the only thing you disable is the close button. I've seen pages with this, but not the ads. The ads are still caught by the image filter, but I have to close the empty css layer.
  • by Spoing (152917) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:22AM (#11016944) Homepage

    Begining IE: Ooooo! A button! Why yes, my computer does run slowly!

    During IE: Grr...you wouln't lie to me again, would you? *click!*

    Experienced with IE: Liars! Every last one of you!

    Begining Firefox: I can block those liars? Wo-ho!

    (Yep, I know that you can block adds in IE...it's just not integrated or as well done.)

  • by theM_xl (760570) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:38AM (#11017083)
    Anyone up for quick round of the blame game?

    I blame the advertisers themselves. Ads kept getting more and more intrusive, abusing pretty much everything they could. In response, users started blocking pop-ups, keeping an anti-ad hosts file and generally ignore advertisements altogether. Firefox is merely another thing that makes it easier to get rid of ads. If they'd remained the nice, standard non-moving/flashing/whatever banners, users might not hate them this much.
  • by guidryp (702488) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:39AM (#11017090)
    I realize that Ads are important revenue stream for sites that I visit. So I "generally" don't block ads. I occasionally see something legit I am interested in.

    But I do have pop-ups blocked and I have installed flashblock(great plugin), which stops all annoying flash from playing, and I have shut down animated gifs. So my screen doesn't look like the all singing all dancing crap of the universe.

    After the above settings I do use adblock plugin, to block something crappy that does sneak through. I have about 3 lines in my adblock file. One of them is *newegg* after some hideous unkillable flash they had annoyed me. Newegg doesn't sell to Canada anyway.

    Lately I see more Ads flowed in the middle of text I am trying to read. These I generally just use nuke anything to get out of my way. Bother me enough and I will adblock the server.

    Simple Rule guys: keep your ads from ruining my experience or I will. If you want me to even see your adverts, you better play nice.
  • by MichaelCrawford (610140) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:47AM (#11017168) Homepage Journal
    I've been running Google Adsense [google.com] ads on GoingWare's Bag of Programming Tricks [goingware.com] since september. Overall, it's paying really well, I have found hope that I could make a living someday writing full-time, earning my pay through ads on my articles. I'm so sick of programming, but I like to write...

    However...

    Nearly all of my pay comes from clicks on my article about legal music downloading [goingware.com]. The ads are almost always for p2p apps, and I'm dismayed they often claim what they do is legal. But there is a clickthrough rate of over 20%, which is quite unheard of in web advertising.

    Most of the site has more technical articles. My article on C++ style [goingware.com] is my second most popular (after the music downloading article), and gets ads for obviously useful and legitimate things like software development tools and training courses, but it has a clickthrough rate of just 0.1%. Rates for other technical articles are similar. In the three months I've published adsense ads, I've made only $10 from the ads in the C++ style article.

    My experience running ads on other sites is that a typical response rate is 0.5% - 1%, so it seems technically-inclined readers click ads far below the average.

    In between are some articles on marketing, web design and such, that get about a 1% response rate.

    Although the ads on my music article pay well, I don't like what they're advertising, and feel they call my credibility into question. I've started approaching the manufacturers of mp3 players directly, to offer them ad space on the page, but have had no takers yet.

    I don't think I could come up with another high-response article very easily, so my plan is actually to write more technical articles, with the hope that by posting new content regularly, I can encourage repeat visitors. It is very hard to get someone totally new to visit a website, but I don't think it's so hard to get a visitor to come back for a second time.

    Also I'm going to completely change the page design to use a very nice CSS/XHTML design my wife Bonita made for me. Right now my pages look very homemade, and I expect some visitors hit the back button because my pages look so poor. Here's a peek [goingware.com] at the new design, I think once I have it up all over my site I will get more repeat visitors.

    • Please remember that as per previous comments of this ilk that P2P apps *are* in fact legal in some countries, and not in others. Please don't assume that because you don't think its right to do something, or because something has a potentially bad use in your country that it isn't legitimate to other people with other uses elsewhere.
  • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @10:07AM (#11017366)
    Okay, call me an old duffer but wasn't there a time prior to the commercialisation (Ugh! I hate that word, too much like "commercials"!) of the Internet when military/academic people just used the ARPAnet for the communication of important information? I don't ever recall any business being given the right to make money on the Internet...

    The attitude of big business today seems to be that every human must be forced to stare at billboards, glossy pages in magazines, TV ads and Internet banners displaying product after product after product - even to the point where the 3" diameter circle on the top of a petrol pump at a petrol station has to display an ad for a bar of chocolate...

    So, just as much as big business seems to be given the right to try to force-feed me endless advertising, I reserve the right to read a book on a tube train so I never have to stare up at the ads over the windows, the right to use my remote control to switch to another channel during the ad breaks and the right to use any goddamn browser and asblock program I want to keep this constant assault of visual garbage away from my eyes.

  • http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20041206.html

    And I quote:

    "Summary:
    Studies of how people react to online advertisements have identified several design techniques that impact the user experience very negatively.

    Advertising is an integral part of the Web user experience: people repeatedly encounter ads as they surf the Web, whether they're visiting the biggest portals, established newspapers, or tiny personal sites. Most online advertising studies have focused on how successful ads are at driving traffic to the advertiser, using simple metrics such as clickthrough rates.

    Unfortunately, most studies sorely neglect the user experience of online ads. As a result, sites that accept ads know little about how the ads affect their users and the degree to which problematic advertising tricks can undermine a site's credibility. Likewise, advertisers don't know if their reputations are degraded among the vast majority of users who don't click their ads, but might well be annoyed by them.

    Now, however, we have data to start addressing these questions. At my recent User Experience 2004 conference, John Boyd from Yahoo! and Christian Rohrer from eBay presented a large body of research on how users perceive online advertising. Here, I offer a few highlights from their presentation (my comments on their findings are solely my responsibility)."

    Change the way you advertise (I prefer text ads myself, I'm 100% more likely to click on one of them then any sort of graphical ad) and you'll see more people clicking on ads.
  • by JavaSavant (579820) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @10:11AM (#11017409) Homepage
    As much as the end users like it, isn't this sorta like a TV that blocks advertising and blurs out product placement intelligently? Seems like if such a TV existed, content producers who earn their revenue from advertising would try to find ways to break such a device, or at the very least make their content incompatible enough so that end users would be forced to use a device that could receive the adverts in order to receive the other content. I know as end-users we don't like it, but this is an equation of economics. If Firefix can block all advertising as we wish, and our usage of the sites that generate revenue off of said advertsing continues, what incentives to content producers on the web have to make sure that their sites remain Firefox compatible?
  • by Michael_Burton (608237) <michaelburton@brainrow.com> on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @10:22AM (#11017520) Homepage

    Interesting. People thoughtful enough to select a browser rather than having a browser chosen for them also seem disinclined to click on anything that blinks.

    The solution is obvious. Ban thinking now. Our economy depends on it.

  • Bad thing? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by t_allardyce (48447) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @10:34AM (#11017691) Journal
    IE is a good stabiliser if nothing else, because they (or at least they used to) have a pretty much total share of the browser market, they controlled the basic default browser configuration. They kept the entire net advertising industry stable for years because most people are too lazy to install ad-blockers or change their settings. But a mass migration to firefox will change all that, Mozilla will then control the default configuration and pretty much have the power to shut down the entire net advertising industry overnight. Of course an industry like that wont go down easily: they will adapt and find new ways to push adverts, you would probably have to answer a specific question about an advert to get into a site or maybe something even more obtrusive than even the worst pop ups. Which is why we should probably bite the bullet and keep the market stable - obviously we don't have to look at adverts, but for the sake of making some advertisers happy, we might have to make sure everyone else does?
  • by eno2001 (527078) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @10:42AM (#11017783) Homepage Journal
    The relationship between the advertiser, the producer and the consumer has become so hopelessly damaged and the internet is only making it worse. as soon as some tool that enables a consumer to control the flow of advertising, someone else freaks out about how this is bad for business. We have the asshats in the television industry bemoaning TiVO and other devices that allow you to skip commercials. They even go so far as to claim that you agreed to a contract when you bought your TV that you WILL watch commercials. Then of course at the very extreme end of the asshat spectrum, you have spammers. Anything that is anti-spam is unfairly killing their "business model". Here's a clue, GET ANOTHER FUCKING BUSINESS MODEL. And soon we are sure to have some people who want to break or weaken any software that allows a user to control online ads. I really wish I had access to that gaint /etc/hosts file in the sky so I could redirect ALL ad hosts to 127.0.0.1 permanently.

    Getting back on track here... it's simple Mr. Advertiser. If I want to buy a product, I will. You don't need to MAKE me buy it with your ad, you just need to get it into my head that it might do what I want. If I don't choose to buy it, TOO BAD!! Stop trying to justify your existence by pouring money into advertising and marketing and put that money into research and development to make a better product. Remember, the real hierarchy of the consumer/advertiser/producer relationship is this:

    1. The producer only exists to serve the consumer
    2. The advertiser is simply a notification agent (hmmm... could be replaced with a small shell script)
    3. The consumer is the monarch in this relationship and should have little to do other than make a decision about where to spend their money.
    4. The stockholders are the least important as they should be happy to even get a cent from this deal.

    But it's all screwed up today and people are slowly being zombified by the current corrupted version of capitalism. Resist folks. Resist. You'll be better off for it.
  • Bad metric (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LWATCDR (28044) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @10:45AM (#11017830) Homepage Journal
    The big question is how many click throughs turn into sales. More than once I clicked on an advert by mistake and ended up just closing the ad. I did not buy anything. What we will need is more directed ads for stuff we want.
  • by White Roses (211207) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @10:49AM (#11017865)
    This is probably redundant, but 0.5% of 90% of the browser share so far outwieghs 0.11% of 5% of the browser share that advertisers, who ought to interested in the actual absolute numbers of people who click on the ads, probably don't give a crap whether or not Firefox users click on anything. I'm using Firefox now, and have done for a while. I know I am in the minority. It's nice. I click on ads once in a while. But I also block pop-ups.

    Advertisers should concentrate on what they are doing that only gets 0.5% of the most used broswer out there to click on their ads. Make the ads better (from the point of view of the *consumer*) and more people will click, regardless of the browser.

  • by macthulhu (603399) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @10:58AM (#11017977)
    Is it possible that more IE users click on ads because they A) still pop up, and B) Look like actual Windows messages to the [ahem] average user? Just a thought...
  • by AnalogDiehard (199128) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @10:59AM (#11017986)
    Over the last four years I've been converting IE users to Mozilla/Firefox. The single feature that gets their attention is built-in popup/banner blocking. Like me, they are tired of popup/banner ads.

    I also refuse to install Flash, it is a tool that has been abused by marketers. Transparent animation over page text was the last straw, that went WAY over the line for intrusion. Whenever I visit a Flash-only website, I complain to the webmaster for a non-Flash page. It usually gets results.

  • by Larry_Dillon (20347) <dillon,larry&gmail,com> on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @12:23PM (#11019219) Homepage
    I'm guessing that 'ergonomic' is the correct term. I find most animation very distracting, to the point that I just can't read a site with multiple flash animations and animated gif's. It gives me a headache in no time. It was so bad that I used to have to un-install flash on some Linux distro's (before click-to-play). If I can't block the animation on a site, I usually just go somewhere else. I usually don't block any non-animated ads. Sometimes I'd move a window over a particularly annoying ad if I had to use the site. I used to use privoxy but with the combination of adblock and click to play, the Internet is ussable again for me.

    I wish advertising people would realise that they are totally alienating some potential customers.

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