Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Removing Online Ads

+ Whiting Out the Ads, But at What Cost from the NYTimes talks about a Firefox extension called Adblock Plus which removes "all commercial communication disappear. No flashing whack-a-mole banners. No Google ads based on the search terms you have entered."
or now, the opposition to Adblock Plus has been led by small Web sites who want all Firefox users blocked from Internet sites in retaliation. One such advocacy site,, taunts a Firefox user with the headline, “You’ve reached this page because the site you were trying to visit now blocks the Firefox browser.”

The page includes the following argument: “While blanket ad blocking in general is still theft, the real problem is Adblock Plus’s unwillingness to allow individual site owners the freedom to block people using their plug-in. Blocking Firefox is the only alternative.”

Mr. Palant, writing on a blog related to the project (, lashed out at those kinds of arguments.

"There is only one reliable way to make sure your ads aren’t blocked — make sure the users don't want to block them," he wrote. "Don't forget about the users. Use ads in a way that doesn't degrade their experience."
That last quote is of course, the ideal. But sites like CNN and others have no control over the creativity of the ads which are placed on their sites.

Placing the ads on the website servers is a backwards move. There's a reason why that went out of "best practices" (ugh, shoot me for using that term) years ago. But to say it's stealing or whatever is stupid.

But overall it definitely does raise some interesting questions that will have to be figured out, not only for online advertising, but for all digital media.

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