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Are advert blockers unethical?


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13-Apr-2012, 04:04 PM #1
Are advert blockers unethical?
It is no secret that advertisements have a very real financial value in the information age. Organisations large and small, including Techguy, google, and various TV providers, are often providing services completely free at the point of use and counting on adverts to make up their revenues. I'm wondering whether people would consider it wrong to have systems (such as recording advert domains in the hosts file, using software such as adblock, or making recordings of films so that you can fastforward through the ads) that exploit those services without contributing to the revenue.

Also, does it depend on how the organisations are paid for the adverts in question (pay per click, pay per view, pay for broadcasting the ad)?
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13-Apr-2012, 04:08 PM #2
Compare it to TV. I like to record shows on PVR then fast forward through the commercials. There is no law saying I am obliged to watch them. Why should the internet be any different?

Last edited by pyritechips; 13-Apr-2012 at 04:28 PM..
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13-Apr-2012, 04:21 PM #3
No, not unethical.
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14-Apr-2012, 04:07 AM #4
No more unethical than Pop Up blockers.

As each week goes by, Google (e.g.) becomes even more invasive.

Search one topic and thereafter your surfing experience is littered with ads promoting products around that topic.

The present Internet model is flawed and only has a finite lifecycle, IMHO: mainly since it attempts to cull increasing quantities of personal data and abuse same.

Consumer profiling and other similar initiatives, increasingly interfere with a clean web experience.

Increasingly, savvy users employ a wide variety of strategies and software to protect themselves from invasion.

Hopefully, Sir Tim Berners-Lee's Semantic Web concept will clean things up for serious surfers and businesses: expect to pay for everything, however, including email.

Personally, I am convinced business usage of the web will become a second superior platform; offering fully secure email and transaction using PKI and certified ID (As has been mooted for over 15 years now! About time it was here) and as the impact of virtualisation and the Cloud impacts evermore into the traditional Client-Server business model, the increasing roll out of iXBRL (And other schemas) offers a transparent platform for document and value exchange, seamlessly without corruption as experienced presently with disparate base systems and protocol conversion software.

However, as with any other normal value-added service, it must be paid for.

On the pure consumer end of the stick, the trouble with ads is in order for such as Google to make sufficient real revenues to justify its issued stock values (In terms of dividends and acceptable ROI), the consumer's screen would have to be virtually all occupied by ads!

It is a similar dynamic to the Channel Tunnel: to actually demonstrate a true ROI (Return on Investment) at traditional values, then the Tunnel would have to carry ALL cross-channel traffic; including air and ferry!

Tech stocks and the markets seem to (As always!) have suffered memory loss since the halcyon days running up to the Dot.Bomb crash: the recent acquisition of Instagram by Facebook for $1 Billion shows how distorted tech reality has become: again.

Once again, Facebook operates on a product offering and structured business model around advertising.

Now the trouble with blanket and saturation advertising was summed up many years ago by the Chairman of General Motors: "I know very well that 90% of my advertising budget is a complete waste of cash; only ten percent of my advertising works. My problem is identifying that 10%!"
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14-Apr-2012, 04:33 AM #5
That's all very well, but it doesn't deal with the fact that many much smaller sites survive only on advert revenues. If people block those adverts the site doesn't get paid for providing you with the service it offers.
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14-Apr-2012, 05:10 AM #6
Thus they urgently need to think up a different model, Ent.

The history of business is redolent of failures thru flawed Business Models: all that has happened with the Internet since commercial inception, has been a Me Too stampede.

Consumers expect to pay for normal goods and services as a matter of course: classic TV offerings shifted from a paid-for licence to purely commercial offerings. Funded by advertising revenues; same with radio.

However, today, greater added value has come from satellite and subscription digital: both of which are paid for.

The Internet is no different: it is in transition, presently, that's all.
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14-Apr-2012, 06:04 AM #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ent View Post
That's all very well, but it doesn't deal with the fact that many much smaller sites survive only on advert revenues. If people block those adverts the site doesn't get paid for providing you with the service it offers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paquadez View Post
Thus they urgently need to think up a different model, Ent.

The history of business is redolent of failures thru flawed Business Models: all that has happened with the Internet since commercial inception, has been a Me Too stampede.

Consumers expect to pay for normal goods and services as a matter of course: classic TV offerings shifted from a paid-for licence to purely commercial offerings. Funded by advertising revenues; same with radio.

However, today, greater added value has come from satellite and subscription digital: both of which are paid for.

The Internet is no different: it is in transition, presently, that's all.
Indeed.

I'm personally not concerned when flooded with adverts but I have no contract with anyone that I have to bear them when I don't want to.

If a desired lack of ads would incur having to set up "pay-for" sites, that's one way to go. If site owners are insecure in this, fearing insufficient paying visitors, and thus preferring relative financial safety of ads, fine. But then make up yer mind and don't anybody gripe when consumers decide that you can't have the best of all worlds.
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14-Apr-2012, 07:13 AM #8
My own conclusions, El Buffo, are based on being involved with the WWW and the 'Net since very early days.

And watching how the "Disruptive Technology (Cerf) has impacted the traditional business models.

Same since time began: Archimedes's Water Screw threw many waterskin carriers out of a job: the Luddites realised how the Spinning Jenny et al would take over their jobs.

And so on ad naseum.

Dedicated word processing systems impacted copy typists: my first experiences of the City of London presented whole rooms full of girlies copying documents.

Then dedicated WP systems were displaced by business computers, mainly mini computers such as DEC.

Thereafter, the PC revolution and peer-to-peer networks became the new standard benchmark: and then Client-Server systems allowed corporate downsizing from both mainframes and minis.

Even secretaries have been now displaced; since office workers of 40 and below possess keyboard skills.

The PA and EA is involved more in diary management, client-facing, travel logistics and booking meetings by telephone and email.

Soon, that function will be en Cloud: and almost fully automated.

The Cloud displaces conventional Client-Server networking: online distance collaboration allows all types and levels of employee more efficiency.

'Twas ever thus.........

Our current web-centric business model is subscription services: where the information, service and knowledge offering justifies the consumer cost: like the Financial Times, if you will. Plus certain interactive domains, which offer specific user values, not available elsewhere.

Nowhere do we include "Free" sites, with the expectation of cost recovery +margin from advertising.

The Internet has transitioned from basic "This is us!" type non-interactive sites, thru eCommerce, to eBiz and shortly now (Increasingly) to the next stage eCo-Systems.

Thus the 'Net will become a basic simple offering: coupled with a more interactive and value-added secure service which will tend to be bought at all points.
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15-Apr-2012, 09:59 AM #9
Simply not thinking that someone's business model can work isn't normally justification for actively subverting that model.
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15-Apr-2012, 10:23 AM #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ent View Post
Simply not thinking that someone's business model can work isn't normally justification for actively subverting that model.
It doesn't require active subversion if it doesn't work. The fault is in the model, not in the would-be consumer's behavior.

Are you advocating, by any chance, that ad blockers should be prohibited? Because that was tried (in this instance a case in Germany that I remember) where a TV station finally lost the case.
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15-Apr-2012, 10:31 AM #11
No. I'm concerned with ethics on an individual level, not as a legal matter.
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15-Apr-2012, 11:04 AM #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ent View Post
No. I'm concerned with ethics on an individual level, not as a legal matter.
Whilst I respect your laudatory sentiments, Ent, you must remember Economics is basically amoral.

Plus, the law is all about adhering to the letter of the law: not the spirit.

All of which apart, the Internet is perhaps the most unregulated and unregulable system ever devised on this planet.

It is riven with and by crime, contempt of and for social mores and has driven a coach and horses through nation state's controls.

On a disparate perspective let me ask you this:

Is it unethical that eCommerce businesses have destroyed traditional style businesses, many of whom have been trading and employing people for in excess of one hundred years?

Is it unethical that the impact of technology on processes has already rendered hundreds of thousands redundant? And will continue to do so and with the advent of The Cloud will make even more hundreds of thousands redundant?
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15-Apr-2012, 03:06 PM #13
Adverts are always annoying interruptions when watching or reading something, but in the modern world they are a vital ingredient of any sales enterprise and a necessity of vendors who rely on the revenue obtained by probably reluctantly letting these adverts plague their sites.

I ignore them unless they are particularly unreasonable, then I use ABP, RIP, Flash Killer or NoScript to stop them. But it would be a bad day for freedom if some central authority was allowed to stop or ban them. Any restriction on freedom of speech or press etc. is bad news for any civilized society.

I did read that Obama has asked his wizards to see if they can doctor up a means of "killing" items on the Internet that he and the CIA do not like. I remember another Leader who thought this way and ended up with a totalitarian control over just about everything - Adolf Hitler. Not too far divorced from North Korea and a few other Tyrant run nations of today and in the recent past.

Blocking adverts is just a minute ingredient of the same obnoxious and restrictive pie.

Last edited by yabbadoo; 15-Apr-2012 at 03:25 PM..
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15-Apr-2012, 11:06 PM #14
If one has decent ads then the end user doesn't mind...really cant blame em for blocking garbage.
Some people select ads by hand to be sure they have decent ads.
Dont blame the user for not wanting to see the content{ad} ...blame the ad

Regards
Brett
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16-Apr-2012, 03:17 AM #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by yabbadoo View Post
Any restriction on freedom of speech or press etc. is bad news for any civilized society.
Conflation of two disparate issues.

Unwanted and non-requested intrusion of other's space for purely commercial ends is far from a freedom of speech issue.

The abuse of what ought to be privileged data is a common and increasing issue: hence the furore over Faceook's allowing user's details outside its own purview and control: and others.

Quote:
I did read that Obama has asked his wizards to see if they can doctor up a means of "killing" items on the Internet that he and the CIA do not like. I remember another Leader who thought this way and ended up with a totalitarian control over just about everything - Adolf Hitler. Not too far divorced from North Korea and a few other Tyrant run nations of today and in the recent past.
Wholly different issue: since the earliest days of the internet, governments have sought the rights to snoop, control and prevent. Others (China, Burma et al) have tried to restrict access and/or use the medium for propaganda purposes.

Quote:
Blocking adverts is just a minute ingredient of the same obnoxious and restrictive pie.
Not at all: most commercial practices are controlled and regulated by governments.

Users enjoy the right to prevent unwanted intrusion into their cyberspace.

If such rights were adjudged unfair (To commercial interests) then the next step will be for such as Google, to direct search results to steer users only onto filtered sites, chosen from their existing use patterns.

Which would thereby negate the whole point of true search engine facilities.
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