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Yahoo Mail Forcing Ads Through Adblock? 291

Posted by Cliff
from the isn't-javascript-wonderful dept.
egNuKe asks: "Like some people here, I use Firefox and Adblock. I've blocked the ads that Yahoo puts in my inbox, however the next time I opened it, I've found other ads, and blocked them too. This happened for several times, until I figured out that Yahoo must have some script that checks if the ad is displayed and displays another one, if it hasn't. This is no big problem, I just needed to add several rules to Adblock to block the several ad sources they use. Here is the problem: when Adblock is running and effectively stopping Yahoo mail ads, Firefox would freeze (all open windows and tabs) for about 15 seconds. Then the page opens and there is no ads. The script must be on client side, since it's the browser that's freezing and not the network. Turning off Adblock solves the freezing problem. Is there a cure for this?" This is a touch-and-go issue as it basically boils down to the user's priority (not seeing ads) versus the services priority (displaying the ads it needs to allow the user to enjoy a free service). It was only a matter of time before someone thought to try and work around ad-blockers, and all this will eventually lead to is open warfare (competing Javascript or browser code in the browser) on your machine. Instead of working around the workaround, why not consider another service that doesn't inundate you with ads?
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Yahoo Mail Forcing Ads Through Adblock?

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  • by jfclavette (961511) on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:42PM (#17582508)
    If I had a website relying on ads and a reliable way to do it, I'd terminate accounts of people with an ad blocker right off the bat. You are using a free service in exchange of which they are putting a bunch of advertisement on your screen. By blocking it, you become a free loader, absolutely useless for them as a customer. If you don't like the business model, pay for your webmail.
  • by GweeDo (127172) on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:42PM (#17582524) Homepage
    I personally do have Adblock installed on my machine here, but I only use turn it on for sites that uses ads in a way that are obtrusive. Think of those lovely sites that uses flash to overlay ads that you have to figure out how to get rid of. Those sites, sure. But think of something like /. here. The ads don't get in the way. But they also let the service continue to be free for me. I won't block /. ads unless they start doing something to get them in my way.

    Now, there is a somewhat person reason for this for me too. I am starting up a new gaming company that will depend on ad revenue on the site to survive. If people block it, we will die off. We won't ever put ads in the way, but some people just can't stand to let us make money for a free service to happen.

    I just don't understand some of you.
  • Dear Slashdot, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by The Mysterious X (903554) <adam@omega.org.uk> on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:45PM (#17582560)
    I signed up for a service that is paid for by displaying advertisments.
    I am trying to avoid my side of the bargin by blocking the ads, however, the service provider seems to have prevented me from doing this easily.
    Can anyone help?
  • Re:Gmail (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Threni (635302) on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:47PM (#17582610)
    An advantage of using Gmail is you don't send out emails offering the chance to win tickets for last years World Cup in your sigfile. (Yes, I told Yahoo about this; No, I didn't get a reply). I see no point in using a Yahoo account when Gmail offers much more whilst still being free.
  • by Raindance (680694) * <johnsonmx@@@gmail...com> on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:51PM (#17582664) Homepage Journal
    If I had a website relying on ads and a reliable way to do it, I'd terminate accounts of people with an ad blocker right off the bat. You are using a free service in exchange of which they are putting a bunch of advertisement on your screen. By blocking it, you become a free loader, absolutely useless for them as a customer. If you don't like the business model, pay for your webmail.

    I would disagree for two reasons:

    1. That's not true that adblockers are complete freeloaders on the Yahoo network. Attached to every mail you send from Yahoo is an advertisement for Yahoo Mail. That's presumably worth something- very possibly more than the ads you're blocking (especially as the type of customer who blocks ads is not likely to click on them).

    2. Yahoo simply can't do this. People would scream bloody murder if their email- their online identity- was terminated. Bad, bad publicity and a quick erosion of trust for very little gain.

    Personally? I'd switch to gmail. They've never pulled any shenanigans on me.
  • by Kelson (129150) * on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:52PM (#17582686) Homepage Journal
    I won't block /. ads unless they start doing something to get them in my way.

    Agreed there. If an ad interferes with reading the site, or blares audio without asking me, I'll block it. I remember one site that had a pair of interesting articles (about website usability, ironically enough) that had so many ads it was almost impossible to read. I blocked all the ads, read the two articles, then never returned to the site.

    With most of them, it's just as easy to tune them out.

    Oddly, the only ads I can recall clicking on in the last year or so are on a handful of webcomics that I read. I wonder if that says something...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:54PM (#17582718)
    I just had an ad come up when I clicked on this article. Not a popup, but one of those annoying things that layer across the content. It smacked up right in the middle of the web page and asked me if i wanted to take a survey.

    I had a choice of hitting Yes, or I guess letting the ad sit there blocking my viewing the content.

    There was no close option.

    I don't mind ads, but what is the purpose of annoying me?
  • Re:Dear Slashdot, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LunaticTippy (872397) on Friday January 12, 2007 @07:27PM (#17583288)
    You are painfully loyal to these corporations. They can change the terms of service at any time. They won't hesitate to make the service more annoying and profitable if the mood strikes.

    I don't use Yahoo, but the way I've seen it work at other places is like this:
    1. Offer useful, non-annoying service
    2. Become successful
    3. Make service annoying
    4. Poor deluded users are stuck with it, or they can change providers (which often sucks or is simply impossible)

    I had an account with mail.com many years ago. They had good webmail and lots of neat-o domain names. Slowly they started sucking until now it makes me want to die using their site on IE. Blinding, flashing, musical, interstitial, repetitous hell. That wasn't the deal. They changed the rules. They get blocked.

    Yahoo did the same exact thing, I can guarantee it. They got wise to the getting blocked part, and now they're trying to ruin that too. Fuck 'em. I finally moved away from my mail.com account. I got tired of having to whip up a greasemonkey script every few weeks to deal with their latest retardation. It sucked. I've had that email for 10 years or so. I'll probably lose some important stuff in the future such as forgotten registrations, long-lost friends, etc.

    We don't owe these bastards anything. If they can change the rules so can we. Eventually some honest company will come along with a sustainable business model instead of this bait-and-switch bullshit. I'm so sick of having something useful and good grow ad-fucked time after time.
  • I personally do have Adblock installed on my machine here, but I only use turn it on for sites that uses ads in a way that are obtrusive

    The only ads that are not obtrusive are text-based. Google got it right smack in the center of the bullseye with that one.

    Banner ads suck. (Animated banner ads, of course, go far beyond sucking, and the just damnation that awaits those who use them is terrible to contemplate.) Simple text links that tell me, "this message brought to you by EarthTouch Shiatsu [earthtouchshiatsu.com] and Catonsville Seido Karate [seidomd.com]" don't bother me at all and are occasionally (very occasionally) even useful.

    I am starting up a new gaming company that will depend on ad revenue on the site to survive.

    Then I suggest you take Google's hint.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, 2007 @08:19PM (#17583870)
    Now, there is a somewhat person reason for this for me too. I am starting up a new gaming company that will depend on ad revenue on the site to survive. If people block it, we will die off. We won't ever put ads in the way, but some people just can't stand to let us make money for a free service to happen.

    I just don't understand some of you.


    Let me try to help you understand. First, consider that not everybody blocks ads. If you run a site that depends on
    ad revenue, you will have some people downloading and viewing your ads, but you must accept that not everyone will.
    Some of us really dislike ads, and some of us even believe that the web is a one-to-many publishing medium that exists
    for people to express themselves with, not for people to try to make a go of business ventures that are so pathetic that
    the only way they can survive is if everybody that visits their site views their ads.

    Second, the way that some sites display ads is simply unacceptable. When I point my web browser at www.domain.com,
    I am expressly downloading content from www.domain.com, and from nowhere else. If that site attempts to trick my
    browser into requesting files from any other domain, it is pissing in the wind. I guarantee this behaviour with
    any browser I use via a custom proxy, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. Keep that in mind if you want to
    embed ads in your pages. You had better plan on managing those ads yourself, because some people's browsers are
    not going to fetch them from anywhere else.

    Finally, you need to come to grips with the fact that some people believe that the web would instantly become a
    better place if all sites that depended on ad revenue vanished. Granted, a lot of useful and popular sites would
    disappear, but I assure you that equally useful sites would fill their places. There were excellent free search
    engines before google, and there would be again.

    If you cannot survive with web surfers exercising their ability and right to control what HTTP requests they do and
    do not make, then kindly release your domain name as you die.
  • by Animaether (411575) on Friday January 12, 2007 @08:23PM (#17583910) Journal
    what if he doesn't want the ad to be downloaded at all? For bandwidth reasons ( hello Belgium, you poor saps :/ ) or just for the usual "they're tracking me!" reasons?
  • by LunaticTippy (872397) on Friday January 12, 2007 @08:47PM (#17584168)
    That's the secret. Make it better enough and the ads subtle enough and you can rake in the bucks. Give 'em flash and blink and noise and get blocked.
  • Re:Dear Slashdot, (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Russellkhan (570824) on Friday January 12, 2007 @08:55PM (#17584258)
    Sooner or later, I would have to find some source of funding. One choice is to charge for it. For people who value the principles of open source software and the like, this is not a disireable option. So I have to find another way to support it.

    Ads are an easy way to do this.


    If I'm understanding you correctly, I disagree with your idea of "the principles of open source". I think that charging for a service is much more in line with open source principles than supporting it with the use of ads.
  • by Arker (91948) on Friday January 12, 2007 @09:08PM (#17584422) Homepage
    Yahoo decided awhile back to remove POP access from free accounts. You now have to pay them for that access. While gmail gives it to you for free, then makes the web interface useful to you so you won't want to...
  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Friday January 12, 2007 @10:04PM (#17585026)
    By blocking it, you become a free loader, absolutely useless for them as a customer.

    The math is nowhere near that simple.

    You neglect one important factor - the network effect. It took a lot of eyeballs for a site like Yahoo to become successful, and it takes a lot of eyeballs to maintain that critical mass and stay successful - especially online where barrier to entry is low and users are notoriously capricious.

    Every user of Yahoo's services tends to drag in other users - through popularity and word of mouth. Each 1 of those freeloaders may just very well be responsible for 2 ad-viewing, or even better, paying customers.

  • by supaneko (1019638) on Friday January 12, 2007 @11:14PM (#17585816) Homepage
    What difference does it make if I don't see the ads? I NEVER click them anyway. I never support the ads in any shape, way, or form. And actually, the ads, for the most part, are mostly useless to me. I have never seen an ad on Yahoo that even remotely appealed to me. So, if I never click the ads and I never see ads that appeal to me, what difference does it make if I simply don't see them?
  • daydreaming (Score:2, Insightful)

    by thinsoldier (937530) on Friday January 12, 2007 @11:20PM (#17585850) Homepage
    There should be an official standard for advertising on web pages.

    Advertisers should adhere to it.
    Browsers should adhere to it.
    Webmasters should adhere to it.
    Advertisers should ensure that the webmasters adhere to it.

    Then...
    have the contract you agree to when signing up for ad-supported services indicate that the site uses the official industry standard advertising method. Any attempt on the users part to block the ads is in breach of contract. The browser gets a certificate indicating that it must display those ads.

    Regular sites like .....
    can continue to use the current methods of advertising where it's a constant battle between the advertisers and the adblockers.

    Some foolish site owners will get greedy and try to push the advertising certificate on their users starting at the home page. Their traffic will plummet.
    Others will continue on as the always have with the regular ads and continue generate the revenue they're used to as if nothing happened.
    Some people will change web-mail services to another site that their ad blocker will work on.
    The majority will not really care and will stay with their current web-mail service.
    Even many people that do care will consider the 9 years worth of messages and 9 years worth of handing out business cards with the same address that they have with their current service to be more important than blocking ads.

    What do you think?
    Lets start a discussion and get these ideas worked out implemented and standardized before CSS3 is out.
  • Re:Gmail (Score:2, Insightful)

    by liquidpele (663430) on Friday January 12, 2007 @11:23PM (#17585874) Journal
    "However, Gmail stores all your messages forever (even those explicitely deleted by you). You know how valuable is all that information you are providing to Google?"

    If you care about that, don't use a damn web email system jackass. Store your email on your own server.
  • Re:seconded (Score:2, Insightful)

    by unborn (415272) on Friday January 12, 2007 @11:23PM (#17585876)
    Better yet, add Google Apps for your domain and there'll be no need to forward.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 13, 2007 @01:50AM (#17587282)
    That tortured justification only works as long as you don't also spread the word about ad-blocking, though.
  • Re:Gmail (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ubernostrum (219442) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @03:06AM (#17587816) Homepage

    Got an actual source for that? All the hysteria I've ever seen has been fueled by people who misinterpret the Gmail terms of service to mean "we never delete anything" instead of "this stuff's stored on distributed redundant clusters, so sometimes there's a lag between hitting delete and the message disappearing".

  • by FireFury03 (653718) <{gro.kusuxen} {ta} {todhsals}> on Saturday January 13, 2007 @06:26AM (#17588824) Homepage
    there is a correlation between how many impressions of an ad you've seen and which product you actually get.

    This may be true for "good" adverts (ones that aren't designed to be nothing but annoying), but the converse is true for me when I repeatedly see annoying adverts.

    For example, when shopping around for car insurance, I never even bother to get a quote from elephant.co.uk because their TV ads are so unbelievably annoying. Yes, their advert made their name stick in my head, but sadly for them it was filed in the "never buy from these people" category.

    If you want to make me pay attention to an advert in a good way, make it funny, non repetitive and relevant.
  • by nra1871 (836627) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @02:20PM (#17593140)
    My ISP's mail sucks. Plus Gmail has the single best mail interface I've ever used. I wish there was a desktop client like it available. What makes you think your ISP isn't filing your emails away somewhere?

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