Author Topic: Ad blocking  (Read 6760 times)

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Offline Maik

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Ad blocking
« on: Friday, 02 October, 2015 @ 13:43:18 »
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Ad blocking is becoming a business. While there are still many extensions out there that are not monetized at all or only slightly, for instance by accepting donations, it is clear that there is a drive towards making adblocking profitable for companies involved.
http://www.ghacks.net/2015/10/02/adblock-for-chrome-sold-joins-adblock-plus-acceptable-ads-program/

Even though most websites are f.o.c. to read they cost money to run, often that money comes from advertising, some of which can be intrusive and popular sites are targets for malvertising.

Ad blockers can be useful but, by depriving websites of funding, there could be less free stuff to read.

A few years ago Adblock Plus, probably the most popular adblocker, took the somewhat controversial decision to whitelist some ads. More controversial was its decision to let advertisers such as Google, Amazon and Microsoft pay to be whitelisted.

In September it was revealed that Google 'banishes' Adblock Plus from Chrome browser.

A few days ago Adblock Plus announced it was introducing an independent board to oversee Acceptable Ads program.

Now Adblock (similar to, but not the same as, Adblock Plus) has been sold and the new owner is turning on Acceptable Ads.

Like websites, free software also costs money to develop and maintain and, once popular, quite a few sell up or, in the case of free AVs and adblockers, accept cash to ignore certain nuisances. A point made at the end of a recent article on slate.com titled Everyone’s Favorite Ad Blocker Is Letting Companies Pay to Get Their Ads Through:

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In the meantime, mourn for Adblock Plus, which isn’t as pure as you thought, because at the end of the day it needs money too.

So far, in Adblock Plus (and probably others that have followed suit) you can disable Acceptable Ads by choosing to opt out.

Not much related to any of this I recently switched from Adblock Plus to uBlock Origin, reckoned to be lighter on resources and a tad easier to use. Available for Google Chrome and Firefox.

uBlock Origin – Better Than AdBlock Plus?
« Last Edit: Friday, 02 October, 2015 @ 13:51:25 by Maik »

Online TonyKath

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Re: Ad blocking
« Reply #1 on: Friday, 02 October, 2015 @ 15:31:38 »
I've just installed Adblockplus.  Not altogether sure I've done the right thing, although I've just turned everything off, as per above.  There are a lot of ads that really annoy and seriously slow down page loading, e.g. going from GGi to links in the Independent or the Telegraph.  On the other hand I agree they have to pay their way.  I might turn back on the "non-intrusive ads. 

Tony

Offline Maik

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Re: Ad blocking
« Reply #2 on: Friday, 02 October, 2015 @ 20:09:20 »
Go to the Guardian and you'll get a little pop-up bottom of screen asking, as you're using an ad blocker, if you'd like to cough up £50 a year to read the Gruaniad online.

If you don't get along with Adblock Plus, uBlock Origin seems to work OK.


Online TonyKath

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Re: Ad blocking
« Reply #3 on: Saturday, 03 October, 2015 @ 19:47:11 »
I seem to have pop ups blocked by FF.  Oops, sorry Guardian! :unsure:

Tony

Online TonyKath

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Re: Ad blocking
« Reply #4 on: Wednesday, 20 January, 2016 @ 14:08:39 »
Just followed a link from here to the Telegraph.  Blocked my access and told me to take my adblocker off.  Did and page full of cr*p and took ages to load.   :rant:   

Hope they count the number of missed page loads and then reach some sort of compromise on the content.  Don't mind some ads to pay for the page but some sites go too far.

Tony

Offline Maik

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Re: Ad blocking
« Reply #5 on: Wednesday, 20 January, 2016 @ 15:58:41 »
I'll see a message about using an ad-blocker on the Guardian with uBlock Origin running and the Guardian (itself) running scripts :



If I block scripts the messages disappear (and I still don't see ads).


I sometimes get this on the Telegraph:



I've found the way to get round that Telegraph pop-up is to delete the Telegraph cookies (Preferences > Privacy > Show Cookies) then refresh the page. If it's any use there's a recent article about various cookie managers for Firefox on ghacks.net. Maybe one of those cookie managers would make it easier, but I prefer to keep the number of add-ons down to a minimum.

The Independent looks naff with NoScript running:



but I can still read the articles and I'm unlikely to get hit by any malicious ads.

Online TonyKath

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Re: Ad blocking
« Reply #6 on: Thursday, 21 January, 2016 @ 12:42:13 »
Thanks Maik

That's very useful.  Do you still use NoScript which I found a more of a hindrance than a help? 

Looks like I'll have to manage cookies a bit more actively.  I have third party disabled in FF and every so often delete everything but then have to log into the sites I want to stay with.  Just checking in FF I must have at the very least 20 different cookies from the Telegraph site none of which are of any use to me even when I return to the site.  If they count your visits and then block you they are a pain.  The ghacks article (and the discussion) is amazingly comprehensive and rather a lot to take in.  Do you use any of them?  I hadn't heard of volatile cookies so will also have to check that out as well. 

Anyone who reads this and hasn't yet heard of flash cookies should read the ghacks article and strongly consider using the BetterPrivacy Add-on in FF - very effective and could not be easier to use.

Tony

Offline Maik

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Re: Ad blocking
« Reply #7 on: Thursday, 21 January, 2016 @ 15:59:49 »
Yes, NoScript can be a PITA, generally I only let the site I'm on run scripts, plus e.g. Brightcove and Disqus (some media sites use Brightcove to handle video clips, Disqus for the comments section). Not much else.

I've never been too bothered about cookies, I've set Firefox to delete them all when I close Firefox. So No, I don't use any of those listed in the ghacks article.

BetterPrivacy works well but I think it only clears 'supercookies' in the Macromedia folder, whereas HTML5 cookies are stored elsewhere (C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\<salt>.<profile name>\webappsstore.sqlite). The Volatile Storage add-on might be useful, it's signed (by Mozilla) as OK but pretty new.

The guy who created and maintains BetterPrivacy recommends also using the Self Destructing Cookies and Decentraleyes add-ons. 

Advertisers, etc, are looking for new, more advanced ways to track users and there's load of privacy/security software, just depends how much time and effort you want to spend on it. uBlock Origin is probably enough for most users and once you've set it up it's no hassle.

JMO.

Offline Maik

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Re: Ad blocking
« Reply #8 on: Thursday, 21 January, 2016 @ 21:40:20 »
Going a bit off topic but here's quite an easy to read article about Flash cookies and other web tracking technologies including browser fingerprinting, HTML/DOM web storage and ETags.

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Browser Fingerprinting – the way in which your browser is configured (especially the browser plugins used), together with details of your Operating System, allows you to be uniquely identified (and tracked) with a worryingly high degree of accuracy. A particularly insidious (and ironic) aspect of this is that the more measures you take to avoid being tracked (e.g. using the plugins listed below), the more unique your browser fingerprint becomes.

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HTML web storage – Even creepier and much more powerful than cookies, web storage is a way analogous to cookies of storing data in a web browser, but which is much more persistent, has a much greater storage capacity, and which cannot normally be monitored, read, or selectively removed from your web browser.

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ETags – Etags are markers used by your browser to track resource changes at specific URL. By comparing these changes in these markers with a database, websites can build up a fingerprint which can be used to track you. They can also be used to respawn (Zombie style) HTTP and HTML5 cookies, and once set on one site, used by associate companies to also track you.

Unfortunately this kind of cache tracking is virtually undetectable, so reliable prevention is very hard.

As you read and click through you'll find various add-ons and programs recommended, including BetterPrivacy. However, I'm still not convinced BetterPrivacy removes HTML5/DOM cookies.

An add-on that might help against browser fingerprinting and eTagging is Secret Agent, I believe it's safe to use but isn't signed by Mozilla so probably won't (easily) install in Firefox, but should work with Pale Moon, etc. Something similar is Random Agent Spoofer, review here.

Not sure how easy it is to clear Flash and HTML cookies in CCleaner but it's pretty easy in Bleachbit:


Offline Maik

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Re: Ad blocking
« Reply #9 on: Friday, 22 January, 2016 @ 12:08:11 »
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Mozilla co-founder unveils Brave, a Web browser that blocks ads by default
...but Brave then replaces blocked ads with its own ads, taking a 15% cut of revenues

The whole premise of Brave, its raison d'être if you will, is that it automatically blocks programmatic online advertising and tracking cookies by default. Programmatic advertising refers to ads that are placed on websites via automated software. Most websites run a mix of conventional display advertising, which is bought and sold in human-to-human advertising deals, and programmatic advertising.

In theory, much like if you installed Ghostery or Adblock Plus, this results in a faster—and potentially safer, in the case of malvertising—Web browsing experience.

In practice, Brave just sounds like a cash-grab. Brave isn't just a glorified adblocker: after removing ads from a webpage, Brave then inserts its own programmatic ads. It sounds like these ads will be filled by ad networks that work with Brave directly, and Brave will somehow police these ads to make sure they're less invasive/malevolent than the original ads that were stripped out. In exchange, Brave will take a 15 percent cut of the ad revenue. Instead of using tracking cookies that follow you around the Internet, Brave will use your local browsing history to target ads.
http://arstechnica.co.uk/information-technology/2016/01/mozilla-co-founder-unveils-brave-a-web-browser-that-blocks-ads-by-default/


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Otherwise it feels pretty much like Google's Chrome running an ad blocker plugin.
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/01/20/brave_adblocking_browser/


 :hmm:

Offline Maik

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Re: Ad blocking
« Reply #10 on: Wednesday, 27 January, 2016 @ 12:31:12 »
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Google says it blocked 780 million bad ads last year

More and more computer users, stung by their experiences of website ads tracking their online activity or infecting their computers with malware, are deciding to install ad blockers – stripping advertising content out of webpages.

People aren’t installing ad blockers because they necessarily find advertising an offensive way for a website to generate revenue, but because having your PC infected by malware for simply browsing a webpage is too high a cost to pay.
http://www.hotforsecurity.com/blog/google-says-it-blocked-780-million-bad-ads-last-year-13309.html

Offline Maik

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Re: Ad blocking
« Reply #11 on: Friday, 04 March, 2016 @ 13:46:28 »
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Adblockers are a “protection racket”, says senior politician

John Whittingdale, the UK’s secretary for culture, media and sport, who oversees the government’s regulation of media, including online media... called adblocking companies a “modern-day protection racket.”

Not all adblockers make revenue from advertisers: for example, the Electronic Frontier Foundation supports an adblocker called Privacy Badger which is free to all and makes no money for the EFF.

But publishing and advertising companies have been sharply critical of the business model of adblocking companies like Eyeo, the creator of the hugely popular Adblock Plus.

Adblock Plus doesn’t make money from the millions of people who use its desktop and mobile browser extensions (like so much on the web, Adblock Plus is “free”).

Instead, the company makes money through an “acceptable ads” program, by charging big advertisers for “whitelisting” ads that meet a murky set of standards.
https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2016/03/03/adblockers-are-a-protection-racket-says-senior-politician/


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Adblock Plus opens up about how 'acceptable ads' work
Publishers with more than 10m blocked ads have to pay 30% of the revenue from previously blocked ads to make it on to whitelist
http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/feb/25/adblock-plus-opens-up-acceptable-ads-work
« Last Edit: Friday, 04 March, 2016 @ 13:56:50 by Maik »

Offline Maik

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Re: Ad blocking
« Reply #12 on: Monday, 14 March, 2016 @ 14:13:43 »
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AdBlock replaced blocked ads with ads for Amnesty International

AdBlock has replaced blocked ads with ads it wants you to see.

The advertising-blocking company on Saturday continued to block ads but replaced them with “banners linked to articles written for Amnesty International by prominent privacy and free speech advocates like Edward Snowden, Ai Wei Wei, and others, instead of the peaceful, blank spaces you’re accustomed to not noticing.”
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/03/14/adblock_replaced_blocked_ads_with_ads_for_amnesty_international/


Note: This is AdBlock, not the more popular Adblock Plus (the one that unblocks ads if the advertisers pay)
« Last Edit: Monday, 14 March, 2016 @ 14:15:19 by Maik »