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Mozilla The Internet Internet Explorer

Firefox Users Bad For Advertisers 900

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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  • 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...

  • heh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:07AM (#11016806)
    For example my mom, the noob IE user, clicks on those "Warning: Your computer is broadcasting an IP adddress" banners. People using Firefox are more likely not to be duped by scams, that should account for most of the discrepancy.
  • 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.)
  • Not FireFox... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ReeprFlame ( 745959 ) <> on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:10AM (#11016836) Homepage
    Maybe it is just that most FireFox users don't like ads and all the crap they represent, so they don't bother with clicking on them. I do not think that is a brower dependant factor at all. And if it were, the advertising companies should make BANNER ads that are browser-independant [aka: gifs, not .swf or Java Applets]
  • 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 switzer ( 244132 ) <> on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:12AM (#11016863)
    The article says that over 4 time more people have EVER clicked on an ad. Because FireFox is reletively new, this is far from an apples-to-apples comparison.

  • 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 rokzy ( 687636 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:14AM (#11016878)
    I block google ads.

    if someone goes to the effort of ignoring ads, working around their measures is more likely to piss them off than get their business.
  • 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, 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:What next? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by coolcold ( 805170 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:18AM (#11016904) Homepage
    i disagree

    firefox users are more security conscious generally (where do you know firefox from? friends? or IT news site? whereas ie are preinstalled. A large portion of the population use their computer just for work, searches and such an they won't even have heard of spyware.

    a better statistics would be how many people actually BUY product from ads. Since the clicks in firefox are more likely to be clicked because the product create an interest to the user.

    about your point, you might be better off with "car-savvy are less likely to crash" but you will have to take into account they are also more likely to speeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed.
  • 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.
  • by RikRat ( 834490 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:21AM (#11016934)
    Ah, so you are one of the guys that screws up those browsers polls?
  • Re:AdBlock (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wheany ( 460585 ) <> on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:22AM (#11016945) Homepage Journal
    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: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 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:3, Insightful)

    by FireFury03 ( 653718 ) <slashdot@nexusu[ ]rg ['k.o' in gap]> on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:25AM (#11016974) Homepage
    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: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.
  • by Kman_xth ( 529883 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:29AM (#11017011)
    By constantly harassing unexpecting visitors with numerous popups per page, fake OS interfaces, epilepticly blinking discobanners and after clicking treating them with even more annoyances, no wonder people are trying to avoid them.

    That, and the fact that still a lot of ads badly placed (for example, selling morgages on a britney spears fanpage) no wonder no one clicks on them.

    I do think ads can work in benefit of advertiser and visitor, but now most web users have grown such an aversion to them making ads more and more ineffective.
  • Re:AdBlock (Score:3, Insightful)

    by metlin ( 258108 ) * on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:29AM (#11017016) Journal
    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:What next? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by metlin ( 258108 ) * on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:32AM (#11017035) Journal
    Brings to mind something else - there have been stories of click-through scams in India and China, where people are hired to, well, click the ads and make money.

    I remember reading somewhere that most of them were people like housewives and retired folks, looking to make a quick buck. In which case, it's far more likely that those folks will use IE than Firefox.

    Perhaps you could have a ratio of sorts - 50 clicks of IE is worth 1 click of Firefox ;-)
  • Fake "X" (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Shadow_139 ( 707786 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:37AM (#11017076)
    I'd like to know how many of the IE click were Popups with that Fake "X" or "Close"....
    That most Firefox users know are fake and will not click....

    I've found that alot crap adware/spyware is install by users clicking the fake "X" or "Close" to get rid of the ad.
    And teaching no-tech savy users to click the Real X, is harder then you would think....,

    ---- There are only 10 types of people in the world: Those who understand binary, and those who don't

    ---- "NIPPLES!! I HAVE NO NIPPLES!!!" -- Happy Noodle Boy
  • 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.
  • 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:What next? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Sesostris III ( 730910 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:43AM (#11017126)
    When I used to ride a bike, Volvo drivers (amongst bikers) has the worst reputation! The theory for this was that because they were so safe, they felt able to take risks with impugnity!

    Actually, this might be the same with Firefox. I am much more likely to (ahem) surf to a dubious site with firefox than I am with IE!

    Sesostris III
  • Re:AdBlock (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MoonFog ( 586818 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:43AM (#11017128)
    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: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, 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
  • Re:AdBlock (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EvilAlien ( 133134 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:49AM (#11017190) Journal
    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 other site. Of course, that means the content providers have the right to decide not to provide content at all anymore... mmmm, catch 22.

  • Re:AdBlock (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Politburo ( 640618 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:50AM (#11017198)
    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:0, Insightful)

    by R.D.Olivaw ( 826349 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:52AM (#11017229)
    Interesting idea. It would be nice to have a direct correlation between popularity of a site and the revenue. Maybe the ISPs can act as escrow, they pay the websites directly and collect from their subscribers. They already have a log of every click we make so it won't infringe anybody privary (anymore than it already does)
  • Re:AdBlock (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Politburo ( 640618 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:56AM (#11017275)
    Also if I don't like the site I'm on, I will typically block as many ads as I can

    If you don't like the site you're on, don't go to it. It's that simple.
  • Re:AdBlock (Score:0, Insightful)

    by R.D.Olivaw ( 826349 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @09:57AM (#11017282)
    just to clarify, I still prefer the ad supported model (as a web surfer/consumer) but you have to see the advantage if wesites could get as much money as they are popular/useful.
  • Re:AdBlock (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Voytek ( 15888 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @10:03AM (#11017325) Journal
    Exaclty, and therefore, a more "internet-friendly" adBlock would block the display of ads, but still perform a background download of the ad - direct to /dev/null
  • 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.

  • Re:AdBlock (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Fulcrum of Evil ( 560260 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @10:09AM (#11017386)

    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.

  • 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 rtkluttz ( 244325 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @10:14AM (#11017439) Homepage
    Something changed with the coming of the internet age, but not JUST involving the internet. Advertisers got a big head and started believing that they have some God-given right to force you to see their ads. The mindset that you are stealing something if you don't look at the ads has even crept into their evil little heads.

    Advertising always was, and should go back to being a gamble on the advertisers part. When an advertiser buys an ad in the local newspaper, there is no guarantee that you will see it or if you do, pay it any attention.

    I wouldn't mind seeing an ad or two myself, but they are ALL currently disabled because of this mindset that they have. They don't need to know if I looked at an ad. They don't need to know where I came from when I get to their site. My browser is set to not give any referrer information also.

    Marketing people are pure unadulterated evil. If marketers were all banished to Canada, software would get better. Let us geeks decide about features. Don't artificially limit anything.

    Oh well.
  • Re:AdBlock (Score:5, Insightful)

    by finkployd ( 12902 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @10:25AM (#11017566) Homepage
    However, there's an implicit agreement between the provider and user. The provider will not charge you for content, but the content will include some ads. By removing the ads, you're not holding up your end of the bargain.

    There is no such agreement, as much as some content providers would like to believe so. Furthermore there is no agreement that my browser will accept cookies, or display images, or interpret javascript, or even render as the author intended.

    And if you want to get technical, shouldn't the "agreement" be that the user will click on ads? Simply looking at them does not help the provider one bit.

    And again, even if you destroy the business model, what are you left with? There doesn't currently appear to be a business model that can replace ad-supported websites.

    No, there doesn't. But realiscally they have nobody to blame but themselves. Most people are not offended by text ads or even non intrusive graphical ads (read: no animated gif, no flash, no monkey punching, etc). By flooding the market with annoying, intrusive, and increasing misleading ads, they have drummed up quite a bit of hatred for the whole concept. Witness the results of this. There is nothing anyone can do about it if the population decides that enough is enough.

    Go ahead and block ads if you want, but I don't want to see you crying when more and more sites move to subscription or simply shut down.

    I won't. Subscription only sites will only survive if people consider the site to be worth it. For example why would I ever subscribe to NYT when I can get the same news from and get multiple sources to boot? Google doesn't seem to be in any trouble these days, and they found a clever and agreeable way to handle ads (text based). So either content providers will innovate like this (funny that a text ad can be considered innovation these days, but it is), of they will die. Just like every other industry when change comes their way. Well, either that or they will try to get ad viewing/clicking enforced by legislation I suppose.

  • Re:AdBlock (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ConceptJunkie ( 24823 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @10:28AM (#11017614) Homepage Journal
    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.

  • by bedmison ( 534357 ) <> on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @10:28AM (#11017623)
    than worrying about IE vs Firefox users. Have you noticed that while they say 4x as many IE users are clicking ads than Firefox users, they're still only talking about 0.5 PERCENT?!?! If they really means that 99.89% of all Firefox users are not clicking, vs 99.5% of IE users, then their problems are much bigger than who is using what browser. The bust showed that internet ads were not a viable revenue stream, but this crazy.
  • 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.
  • Re:AdBlock (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ratamacue ( 593855 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @10:32AM (#11017665)
    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.
  • Re:AdBlock (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @10:32AM (#11017667) Homepage Journal
    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, Insightful)

    by terraformer ( 617565 ) <> on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @10:42AM (#11017782) Journal
    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 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 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.
  • 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.

  • by pollock ( 453937 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @10:47AM (#11017853) Homepage
    You can add the relevant ad servers to your hosts file []:
  • Re:AdBlock (Score:4, Insightful)

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

  • Re:AdBlock (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @10:56AM (#11017945)
    Bandwidth costs money. Someone has to pay for it. Even if the content was all P2P, you'd have to give up some of your own bandwidth to make it work, and that effectively costs money.
  • 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...
  • Re:AdBlock (Score:4, Insightful)

    by finkployd ( 12902 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @11:03AM (#11018033) Homepage
    The problem is if ads keep getting more misleading, annoying, and invasive, more and more people will take steps to block them. I'm not saying this is good or bad, I'm just saying that is how it is. You or I cannot change that.

  • Re:AdBlock (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @11:05AM (#11018055)
    There'll always be people who really don't give a shit, or don't mind seeing ads (or even clicking on them to check something out). Slashdot is a little biased since when we're on the Internet, we're likely occupied with something other than 'web surfing'. The web surfer types are on the Internet to just waste time, hang out, and see what they can find. They're the same types who watch TV just to watch TV (and don't really care for watching a specific channel).

    Those types are the majority on the Internet, and while things like AdBlock exist for those of us who don't view the Internet as a TV replacement, that majority still won't give a shit.
  • by Safety Cap ( 253500 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @11:07AM (#11018109) Homepage Journal

    And if you want to get technical, shouldn't the "agreement" be that the user will click on ads? Simply looking at them does not help the provider one bit.

    You're assuming the point of advertising is to make you click. Strangely, many "new economy" ad execs sold their wares the same way. "Yeah, the users will CLICK and GO to your WEBSITE and BUY THINGS!!!11 ON THE SPOT!!!!111"

    Bzzzt! Wrong, Slick.

    The point of advertising is (say it with me) brand recognition. You aren't going to buy a Coke* on line when you get thirsty, but if all the sites you visit regularly have a Coke banner, the next time you're in the MiniMart, you might just say, "Hmmm, if I get a Coke then some hottie will hang off me, and there will be dancing and music and lots of sweat!" Then you fork over your dollars for one.

    Why do you think there are billboards, and they are successful (in terms of getting companies to pay Viacomm and ClearChannel)? Because they build that brand recognition, not because you are going to run out that minute and buy a Hummer. Why are there ads in magazines? You gonna "click" on one of those, hah? Why does your 1 hour TeeVee show have 40 minutes of "content" (to be very generous) and 20 minutes of ads? You can't buy anything on the spot, so why are they trying to hawk "Hot Pockets"?

    Now, it is possible for advertising to adapt to the web, but that won't happen until the ad execs actually figure out why and how the web works. I've sat in enough advert planning meetings (the "token" tech guy) to permanently lose all feeling below my neck due to lack of oxygen, and I can tell you that they don't get it yet. Maybe the current generation needs to die. I dunno.

    *Yes, we're all aware that you can buy your dork-related goods [] on-line by clicking on the ads. We're talking about the average person here, who isn't interested in a new case, binary clock, or t-shirt that says, "Got Root? [please get me a girlfriend]".

  • 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.
  • 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:3, Insightful)

    by T-Ranger ( 10520 ) <> on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @11:21AM (#11018345) Homepage
    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:3, Insightful)

    by kinema ( 630983 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @11:30AM (#11018461)
    There is certainly nothing illegal about
  • Re:AdBlock (Score:5, Insightful)

    by finkployd ( 12902 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @11:39AM (#11018591) Homepage
    I'm not talking about legal agreements here. I'm talking about not being a dick. You don't own the content. If you don't like how the content is presented (including ads), don't use it. It's that simple!

    How sad is it that this is the misguided view people have?

    Let me fill you in on how the web works. You put a process on a machine that responds to requests on port 80 (or 443, whatever). A client sends one such request and if you respond with a document, than the transaction is finished. No more obligations, nobody is being a dick, and nothing else has to happen.

    I am under no obligation to request images referenced in the returned document, or swf files, or even view the entire document. You gave it to me freely as outlined in the various RFCs that document this process.

    Just because one day someone decided that they could make money by putting ads on a site does change the fundamental architecture and process flow of an http transaction. The understanding was always that the end user controlled what and how they interpret this data.

    Nowhere did the contract (implied or otherwise) change to dictate that the user WILL view the site with IE and have all possible plugins installed, furthermore they will view all images. Text based browsers still exist, special need browsers exist (for the blind for example), browsers that let you turn off images, browsers that download just the html for offline viewing. This is all perfectly acceptable but it does not support the (poorly thought out) business model that involved ads. There is no "ad blocking" going on here, all that happens is a client chooses not to burden their net connection and computer resources by not requesting additional files that they do not want.

    And you are right, the client does not own the content, but nobody ever said they did. Conversely if you are giving me data just because I ask for it, you do not have any control or say in how I use the data. Within legal boundaries, obviously I cannot violate your copyright.

    How the content is presented is completely irrelevant, since I control that, not the webserver. This is ALWAYS how it has been. Browsers can change stylesheets, background colors, fonts, choose not to display images, etc. This is how the web works. Trying to pretend it is a print media and that the layout and presentation is decided by the provider is just an exercise in self delusion.

  • Re:AdBlock (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sqlrob ( 173498 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @11:44AM (#11018655)
    You want ads to absolutely go with your content? Don't use HTML, it's that simple.

    Adblocking is no different than picking up a paper labeled "free" and shaking out the advertising inserts.

  • Re:AdBlock (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nuggetman ( 242645 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @11:51AM (#11018750) Homepage
    Why not take all the ads and display them as a flyer, overlayed across the web page for a few seconds - enough time for anyone sufficiently interested in a product or service to investigate it further by really clicking?

    Because people who have an extreme pet peeve for web sites that have the nerve to block all of the content with ads for a few seconds will never come back
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @12:55PM (#11019763)
    I've had to explain to my dad that the "window" claiming that his computer is "broadcasting an IP address" (while technically true in some sense) was just an advertisement and not anything he needed to be worried about.

    Now, this seems kind of stupid to me. I don't remember a time when I would have been fooled by that. But my dad doesn't understand the system. It doesn't immediately occur to him that he could just wave the mouse pointer over the box on the screen and see it change to the hand icon, indicating a link and not an actual system message. He doesn't immediatly know that everything he sees on a web page is suspect. He doesn't realize the level that advertisers will sink to, and probably has some expectation that the law will prevent it from being too bad or too misleading. People like us have seen all kinds of interesting tricks from phishing scams to Google-bombs and other carefully-crafted hoaxs for fun and profit, but many casual internet and computer users haven't seen them, and certainly haven't disected them, analyzed them, and come to expect them the way we have.

    In short, my dad isn't stupid. It's just a completely foreign environment for him. I wouldn't understand everything I saw if I were wandering around at the bottom of the ocean, either.
  • by avdp ( 22065 ) * on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @01:00PM (#11019876)
    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, they are annoyed enough about it that you're not going to profit (through a clickthrough) from you displaying that ad.
  • Re:AdBlock (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dasMeanYogurt ( 627663 ) <texas.jake@gmail.cCOUGARom minus cat> on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @01:41PM (#11020459) Homepage
    I am not required by law to view the ads and I never agreed to a contrac. I never agreed to be abused by pop-ups. I never agreed to have fake system dialog boxes displayed. I never agreed to the extra software installed without me knowing it. That being said, I have clicked on the adds in my gmail. I've never considered blocking them either. They are not "in your face", nor are they deceptive. The ads are relevent to the content and I don't mind being subjected to them. As for the punch the monkey or "your system is insecure" guys, I would never purchase their product and I would never intentionally click on it. I don't feel bad about blocking something I view as unethical.
  • by Sein ( 803257 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @02:11PM (#11020860) Journal
    Hello? Brand recognition? Yeah- that works for mass market consumer products. What if you're not selling mass market stuff though? It's one thing to have a MacDonalds franchise and pay your share of the national advertisiing costs - or to be Dell and have invested a lot into value-added branding advertising.

    The branding model works for products with a defined feature set where the differentiation isn't huge - think breakfast cereals, hamburgers, most modern cars (Any car will get you from A to B - and the difference between a Hyundai, a Volvo and a BMW isn't that huge relative to their price differential. The value consumers derive from the brand explains the price differential. Same thing with having a knckoff or a Gen-U-Whine Luis Vuitton handbag.)

    The purpose of advertising is to drive sales, otherwise it's worthless from a business standpoint. Branding is one way of driving sales - and it works in defined ways in defined markets. The other way to drive sales is the direct marketing model - your "Call now, operators standing by" model. Both methods play off one another. You can call Dell 24/7 and order their brand of mass market computer - and you can call 24/7 to order the latest, greatest in home gym equipment from someone you never heard of with some lump of muscle you've never seen before as spokesmodel.

    Both models work to drive sales, but they work in different ways. To say that the purpose of advertising is branding only, is to overlook the fundamental business reason behind branding and advertising, which is to drive sales. And sooner or later, any advertising model or channel that does not work to drive sales will be cut from ad budgets. If 'net advertising doesn't work to drive sales, it will disappear.

    Brand awareness is overused though - it tends to be the braindead ad execs excuse for any failed ad campaign. "Well, okay, so sales dropped while our campaign ran, but at least you've built brand awareness!"

    Stop by the Direct Marketer's Association sometime - they're Evil and in favour of spam (Opt-out email advertising? You gotta be kidding me!) but their members did $11.8 billion dollars in sales from "Yeah, the users will CLICK and GO to your WEBSITE and BUY THINGS!!!11 ON THE SPOT!!!!111" kind of advertising. Branding is one marketing strategy. Direct Marketing is another. Viral marketing like we had here yesterday is yet another. All three can be used simultaneusly to good effect, as long as there's an overall strategy behind it.
  • by shredluc ( 805905 ) on Tuesday December 07, 2004 @04:53PM (#11023410) Journal
    The question is not "Is Firefox unethical?", but "Is their throwing ads in my face unethical?"

    I see that most people here are trying to defend the practice of ads on web pages. To remind everyone, the net started out for a different purpose than selling stuff, and (to the complete shock of certain individuals) hasn't changed in that respect. Just because a bunch of people are trying to make some money does not give them the right to screw everything up along the way.

    Actually it gives the people who keep this place together the right to kick those adverts in the arse.

    My analogy:
    Imagine the people who built and maintain the internet as contractors. They built a house (the internet).
    Now a bunch of crack dealers (advertisers) barge in and start selling dope (advertisements).
    Is it unethical for the contractor to board up all the windows and lock all the doors (block ads and other junk)??? Or was it unethical for those crack dealers to come in and start selling smack in the first place.

    Think about that when you say that advertisers keep the internet together. In reality the only thing they want to keep together is their bank account and profit.

The rich get rich, and the poor get poorer. The haves get more, the have-nots die.