Ad Exec on Blockers: "Little Piss Ants" Threaten Freedom of Speech

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Flames66:
Here's what I said last time this was discussed:

Acceptable:
-Banner ads on the top, sides and bottom
-Recommending something within the content (sponsored videos/articles (as long as it is clearly stated))

Unacceptable
-Any kind of tracking or targeted ad
-Any sound
-Ads in the way of what I want to look at
-Ads playing before a video
-Ads that link to other sites

- Ads that literally cause machine (or even just browser) lag.

Like, literally. GameFAQs (and quite frankly lately, The Escapist) is terrible about having video-based ads (and sometimes what seem to just be gifs) that are absolute system hogs. I don't know what format they use, but they are horribly optimized. Ads that make it so that I can't even type posts because it takes a few seconds for the letters to actually appear are the one and only reason I've ever considered getting an ad blocker. I haven't yet, but man if ads that make my system sluggish don't make a strong case for it.

Charlie Kelly KOTR:
Given that, is it really smart to keep little Janey and Timmy in a conceptual hole, without an advertising immune system? I'd rather be exposed and call "Bullshit" than think I'm hiding away while reading "Sponsored Content".

My school actually made us all take a course on basic advertising when I was in 5th grade. I maintain that this was one of the best things they ever did to teach us about the real world.

OP: We don't have a problem with the idea of spreading the word regarding a product or service, but ads on the Internet are notorious for being particularly obnoxious, and for spreading viruses. It's really hard to fault people for not wanting to risk their systems, especially as computers become more integral to our everyday lives. In short, if you were really so clearly in the right, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

As noted by many, ads have been noted to outright cause lag and spread malware (the latter of which I have too much experience with), ads are no more free speech than a criminal breaking into my house. In fact by all means it is ads that censor free speech, and they tend to get in the way of typing things on internet forums (often via malware).

Ad blockers don't get in the way of free speech any more than calling the police on a criminal who has tried to rob me.

Saying it limits free speech is like an MMO Troll saying ignore lists limit free speech. How he even thought for a second it limits free speech is beyond me.

I like to think that the age of advertising will pass, like all things. If/when advertising ceases to be the way that people support the creation of content, presumably they will find other ways to fund it. People still pay to go to the movies, to concerts, for Netflix subscriptions, right? So. Make something that people will pay for, then let them pay for it. No law I'm aware of mandates that the advertising industry has to be involved with the entertainment industry after all.

Side benefit: perhaps some ad execs might then have to change fields. Maybe go back to school, take an English class or two? Either that or I've really missed out on my entomology education and Ant Man 2: Age of Piss Ant is going to be waaaaaay more NC-17 than I'm prepared for.

This dude acts like a five year old who just found his first thesaurus heh.

erttheking:
Remember when "threatening freedom of speech" wasn't tossed out every time things got inconvenient for you?

After starting to use the internet and being exposed to the many many many many -many- debates/discussions/etc where americans toss the phrase around like it was made out of candy and gold? Not really no.

kekkres:
you.... dont understand how advertising companies work do you, by cutting off adds are primarily hurting the site your on, as that less clicks for the add company to actually have to pay for. if the amount of 'registered' traffic gets too low the add company will just leave and the site will need to find another who will pay for low traffic, which generally pushes the standards down. And unethical? REALLY? there is nothing ethics related at all here, adds are unethical when they are deceptive, not when they are annoying, to claim that annoying adds are unethical is absurd.

I would be able to better argue whatever point you made, but it was extremely hard to draw one from your broken English and poor grammar. I'll respond to your comment about me not knowing how ad companies work. Yes, yes I do. Companies pay these ad companies to distribute their ads, and they pay the website owners per view or click. Strictly speaking that means these ad companies are the ones who accept and deny which ads they service. I'm stating that these ad companies aren't creating standards for what kind of ads are acceptable because if they do then these companies will stop going to them to distribute their ads. That means that the ad company loses business and money.

Blocking ads does affect website owners since they get less views, and that is unfortunate. Their ire should go to the ad companies for allowing the service of such disruptive ads, not to the users who desire to block them. Furthermore, some websites completely bloat their webpages with ads and in that case I have no issue using Adblock on their website. One could say that I shouldn't visit the website in that case, but that is not how the internet works. It is up to the ad creators and website owners to create monetization methods that the public approves of. It is not the job of the public to cater to businesses, and that is why I believe the guy is unethical. It is not ethical to expect and force people to bend over backwards and support your business practices, especially ones that are more and more intrusive and potentially damaging to the user's computer.

The internet is a free public service by its very definition, and by creating a website you are implicitly giving people the right to connect to your website if it has no password. Any content you display to the public without requiring a direct form of payment is fair game, and the editing of source code on the user's end is within our legal rights. Webpages are open source after all, and the language does not need to be compiled, meaning anyone can freely edit it. There is nothing legally forbidding us from blocking ad content.

All of this aside, I get the impression your definition of "ethical" is extremely shallow.

I don't understand..
Using ad-blockers should probably be a hint that internet advertising as a whole has fucked up.
Seriously, the most apt analysis of internet marketing is probably the last season of South Park.
Even if the Adblock-Plus is cutting into the advertisers profits, it's probably a better idea to try and work WITH them.
Also, how does this make "both sides look bad"?
Didn't all of these silly statements come from just one person with a vested interest in drowning the internet in ads?
Because I don't think his opinion of ad-blockers OR the Brave browser is something you can take as statements of fact.
Looking at the Brave browser, it might actually be a better solution for both advertisers and users.
Overall, it seems that they will mainly function as a safety valve against intrusive and unsafe ads.
Considering Rothenbergs statements, he seems like completely uninterested in the intrusiveness of internet ads.
Keep at it with that philosophy and eventually people will start pushing back.

You know the great thing about free speech? It goes both ways. This CEO is free to say just about anything he wants to say (or advertise) and we're all free to not listen (or watch).

Everyone wins!

I would be completely fine with ads if it was the usual banner stuff. Content creators have to eat, right?

But when it became so intrusive that it was a hassle to look at what I want to look at, they gave me no real choice. It has gotten to a point where it is impossible to enjoy most sites without blocking ads, so I feel not bad in the slightest to improve my web experience.

Wow, that is just... wow. The CEO of a spam company trying to play all high and mighty with no shortage of childish language, I guess that is why they operate the way they do.

I wonder if anyone ever pointed out to him that the only reason people bothered making ad-blockers and continue to update them every single day is because ads got so damn nasty. Dug your own hole there buddy.

Halyah:
This dude acts like a five year old who just found his first thesaurus heh.

erttheking:
Remember when "threatening freedom of speech" wasn't tossed out every time things got inconvenient for you?

After starting to use the internet and being exposed to the many many many many -many- debates/discussions/etc where americans toss the phrase around like it was made out of candy and gold? Not really no.

Trust me, it's far more than just Americans who do it. It's pretty universal.

The whole ad blocking debate is an extremely tricky one. On one hand, advertising has been a necessary evil for a very long time and is the reason why certain services are able to operate at all.

But on the other hand, I think wanting to avoid ads is just one reason why people use ad blockers. I honestly think many people use ad blockers the same way they'd use firewalls or virus scanners, ads can be intrusive and potentially hazardous.

Rottenberg? Do you really want to control what people do with their own browsers, in their own computers, Rottenberg?

Gimme a free PC and you can flood it with ads, Rottenberg, but if I bought it with my money I'll do what I want with it, Rottenberg.

erttheking:

Halyah:
This dude acts like a five year old who just found his first thesaurus heh.

erttheking:
Remember when "threatening freedom of speech" wasn't tossed out every time things got inconvenient for you?

After starting to use the internet and being exposed to the many many many many -many- debates/discussions/etc where americans toss the phrase around like it was made out of candy and gold? Not really no.

Trust me, it's far more than just Americans who do it. It's pretty universal.

Oh I'm aware that some europeans toss it around too while being utterly unaware of their own nations laws on the subject, but the amount of americans I've seen do it outnumber them by a lot. Probably for cultural reasons related to the actual freedom of speech subject being much more ingrained(for the lack of a better way to phrase it) than it is here.

kekkres:

I find advertising in its modern form to be unethical and immoral.

This is due to contradicting what I believe are some implicit assumptions about the benefits of our economic system. One assumption seems to be that monetary gain should bring improvement to society through better products and services (or whatever a company can do). Other assumptions would be that each customer is knowledgeable about all alternative products, will have reasonable alternatives due to competition, and always make rational and fair purchasing decisions. Modern advertising tries to subvert many of these factors.
Marketing "science" relies upon phenomena like the "familiarity effect", where customers will ostensible prefer signals (e.g. brands) that they have seen a lot before. If this influences their decision, and you use this fact, then you subvert the above assumptions. In addition, some of the resources in a company are diverted from other areas to marketing; implying that less resources can be spent on improving whatever the company does, or even paying their workers. I find this behaviour to be a highly immoral and a serious risk to the future of our societies and humankind.

As for me personally, I believe that advertising has a detrimental effect on my decision-making when it comes to purchases. It also distracts, displays things that I have a strong urge to avoid; and it angers me. I am the type of person who will hold personal grudges towards companies based on their actions. Unwanted advertising that injects itself into my everyday life is to me akin to preachers knocking on your door, propaganda and a form of stalking.

I sympathize with good companies that just have to play the advertising game to survive. Sadly, that does not detract from the attack I perceive on my person. Hopefully the manner of advertising that good companies try will differ enough that the sincerity shines through. Those advertisements can be okay.

kekkres:
how are adds intrusive really? ive never bought this argument, i mean sure sound/video adds are shit but otherwise they are just images or gives occupieing the space they payed to take up. I honestly dont unserstand how this actualy inconveniences anyone.

I've seen adds that used gross imagery (medical) that I'd rather not have pushed in my face and especially pop-up and scroll-over adds are a pain in the butt. The Escapist ran a Wildstar add for a while that threw a trailer in your face, taking up a portion of the screen, whenever you accidentally moved your cursor over a certain not-well-marked area. Adds like that are bandwidth whores as well. YouTube also started forcing me to watch full-length trailers in its commercials, sometimes for movies I don't want spoiled as trailers are more and more wont to do. Then there's the whole malware problem.

Those are the sort of things that intrude on my experience too much for my taste. I don't have something against advertisement as such (even though the 'arguments' used by this exec are ridiculous) but when it starts getting rubbed in my face it crosses a line for me.

Going to join the chorus of "you sound like a entitled jackass" toward the Ad Exec. I'm sure ad bloc probably hurts your bottom line, but given that malicious software and scripts can and do exist within those adverts, I imagine the lack of it probably hurts more people overall, to say nothing of the important distinction of those people hurt not acting like petulant namecalling children.

The world is different than before, and online people have greater control over what they want to see. some choose not to see ads or allow scripts, including adverting ones such as banners or autolinks, to run for various reasons. The marketing needs to adjust to this issue, fix the exploits that ads are growingly notorious for, and reduce the aspects of online ads that people hate (noisy, flashy, repetitive, misrepresentative, etc.) Ad block came about for a reason, and the way to deal with it is not to throw a temper tantrum, it is to address the underlying concerns that fuel the use of the programs to both ween current users off it, as well as prevent the frustration and complications in browsing that cause people to learn about the programs in the first place.

You don't solve a problem by calling it names, you solve it by actually examining the thing honestly.

I think the best way I can word this to properly communicate why I think this is utterly hilarious though would be to compare this to television advertisement, and seeing this sort of reaction from a studio exec because people got up and used the bathroom during commercial breaks instead of watching them all.

"Rothenberg" is a saturday morning cartoon villain name.

And the whole thing is quite fishy, just like nobody is forced to watch ads, nobody is forced to use adblock. Some people have been clever enough to provide a useful thingy.

Now, if there were an audio filter which would immediately mute everyone who utters the word "kardashian" I'd buy that in a heartbeat

I didn't start using adblocker until they started making those retarded loud annoying and frustrating smiley ads. But even then I didn't outright start using it. I considered it. But after my anti-virus started blocking connection and they started making the ridiculously loud auto playing video ads, it was too much. I had a 1Mbps download speed then. Sorry but what's too much is too much.

Now I always have adblocker turned on and unblock sites that I find nice, visit regularly and want to support in some way. Except for my alone time sites. I visit them often, but adblocker is always on. I tried turning it off but the moment I did my AV started going insane. I know it hurts the site owner, but they are the ones that allow those ads to be there. If they aren't going to pressure the ad provider into cleaning up their shit, there is nothing I can do. I want a safer and faster surfing experience.

Pop-ups, whole page covered ads that pop up a new screen that aren't blocked by regular pop-up blocker, autoplaying videos, sound ads that can't be shut off and keep repeating the same shit over and over again, ads disguised as parts of an article in order to mislead you to click on them and send you somewhere completely unrelated, malware, literally scam, porn ads on supposedly child friendly sites, bandwidth sucking black hole ads... Yeah, get your shit right.

Escapists, Youtube, GitHub (never saw any ads, so kinda pointless, but still a site I support), Adsfly partially although I keep an eye on them (I download minecraft mods a lot so that's a way of supporting people that have those links) and maybe a few others are unblocked. Everything else? Blocked until proven innocent. I know, I'm a tyrant who oppresses freedom of speech.

That being said, the fact that a moron like that guy is so high up in an advertisement company is a really good explanation of why ads are so shit and are getting worse with each passing second. Can't really expect anything from an industry that's lead by people like him.

Well then. Guess who's not turning off their adblock.

Lilani:
Personally I work in marketing, and though my department specializes in TV ads, and things like DVR, Netflix, and even people distracting themselves during commercial breaks with smartphones and tablets and such are of great concern to us.

Dear Mr./Mrs./Ms. Advertising person,

If you want your advertisements to be watched, make them exceptionally entertaining (specifically to your target audience). Its that simple. If you say "the product I advertise for can't be advertised in an entertaining way," use to google to find those Terry Crews Old Spice deodorant advertisements. I can't think of a more boring product. I watched the crap of out those ads because they entertained me. I don't even use Old Spice, but I bought some just in the hopes they would make more ads.

But, what do I know? I'm sure I am over simplifying things, and there are many many factors I am unaware of. I'm just somebody's target audience. I hate hate hate advertisements. I'm the person who watched a Subaru "They Lived" TV advertisement and immediately said "This ad tells me that Subaru owners can't drive, or at the very least are accident prone." And I used to own a Subaru. And it got totaled in a car accident, and I lived. So... maybe yeah, maybe there is some truth to all that. I'm gonna go watch me some Old Spice ads. Good luck with your industry!

Do ads still serve as a vehicle for malicious code? Yes. Did that Forbes thing happen where they asked people to disable their blockers and infected them with some shit? Yes. Can this guy fucking sit on it and spin? Yes.

If I feel the need to go out of my way to use a program to protect myself from your shit, the problem lies not with me nor the program, but with your shit. Fix your shit.

infohippie:

Bertinan:
Speaking theoretically, I would use an ad-block after the third time an ad, on a reputable site no less, gave me malware.

Theoretically speaking, of course.

THIRD time? I would use it IMMEDIATELY after the FIRST time a site tried to give me malware. In fact, I just use it to begin with as the default starting point, then when a site (such as the Escapist) shows me that it is worth supporting I whitelist them in my blocker.

I started using them the first time I heard you could deliver unwanted programs through ads, screw waiting around for an exposure my anti-virus software may not catch.

How about we try making ads less obnoxious ,device destroying, and malware infested first? I'm sure people will then stop using ad-block then. But hey, that request is far to reasonable. It might mean this CEO has to purchase a Porsche instead of a Lamborghini this year.

Lilani:
I think this guy could have begun a civil and insightful discussion on the effect of adblock on marketing firms, if he had approached the topic in a civil and insightful way. Personally I work in marketing, and though my department specializes in TV ads, and things like DVR, Netflix, and even people distracting themselves during commercial breaks with smartphones and tablets and such are of great concern to us. So I imagine adblock is a similar concern to people who specialize in web marketing.

As it stands he's done neither of these things, and so the response he's going to get (and quite frankly deserves) is not going to be civil or insightful.

If he approached the topic in a civil and insightful way, it wouldn't be news, and no-one would even hear it, never-mind discuss it.

Besides, in a purely practical sense even a non-civil internet argument on the subject is probably a (minor) victory for the anti-adblock cause. Even coming out and debating in favour of adblockers implicitly concedes the point that there is a debate to be had, that there are two sides lining up on an issue and points in each side's favour. That alone will influence people who see it, who might not have otherwise have considered that adblockers could be an issue at all.

Randall Rothenberg is probably on his way to retirement for that idiotic statement.
The primary drive of advertisement is to invent itself over and over, once you start bitching about people not wanting to see your ads, you've shown a fundemental lack of understanding for your own work.
This idiot is most likely a bobblehead CEO, more capable at handling administration and costs than knowing anything about the actual work.

No one wants to watch ads and everyone knows that they're manipulative. It should be enforced by law, that you should be able to distance yourself from any and all advertisements, for no cost.
No spam mail, no companies calling you, no ads on websites, no ads in the cinema, no ads on TV/Digital TV and so on.
Any company breaking this policy should be fined heavily, double the cost of projected income (otherwise they'd do it anyway).

So Randall can go fuck himself, along with his entire industry. They're a plague on the rest of us.
The amount of people who'd outright rather ditch the content entirely, rather than be subjected to ads, is growing. If all of my favourite websites went belly up because of it, I'd consider it an acceptable loss.
I don't care that websites are dependant on ads, it's not my problem - Find alternatives such as subscriptions. Of course that would mean delivering meaningful and competent content.

If ads didn't use up so much bandwidth, and completely dominate a webpage, all while exposing your computer to malware threats, then people wouldn't feel the need to use them.

He says ad blockers diminish free speech, I say he is advocating cyber terrorism.

First off, can the escapist mods or whoever makes these decisions decide how they want to handle the discussion of ads? Right now, there are topics every now and again, often featured topics, bringing up the subject and making it extremely likely that people accidentily break the CoC. You have to risk a warning pretty much by participating in the discussion as the content provider intended, it seems. If discussing ad-block is that much of a problem for the escapist, then it'd be better if its content providers would not bring up the subject. In this case at least one mod has already commented

OT: It doesn't surprise me that advertising executives are painfully lacking in charisma themselves, choosing to hurl insults like a troll in an online game, rather than say something of value. Because most ads I see these days aren't even meant to reasonably convince me anymore to buy a product (telling me it is cheap, or of good quality) or alert me to its existance in a not wholly obnoxious way. That's regular ads. Now most ads I see on the internet are even worse and are quite open in their utter contempt for me, choosing to grab my attention by lying about me having won prices, pretending to be a download button, flashing brightly, etc. And than there is the fact that the guy who sold me my computer advised adblock because it apparently significantly reduces my chances for malware. Ads, as they exist on the internet today are a scummy business, I don't respect it much more than I respect the business of arms trade. It is bad for privacy, bad for the product it is around, and open in its complete disrespect for me. Even if some ads are legal and done decently, they have only my temporary appreciation and still my permanent distrust.

Add to that, that I was never told I was making any kind of transaction to watch set amount of commercial to watch other content. I wasn't aware I had to browse the internet in a certain way so as not to disturb how the content providers organised it. An advertiser and another company made a deal, and I become aware of the deal, when I see their ads. Good for them, but I was never asked what I thought about it. If you want to monetise me directly, you can ask for my money for the product you are offering, like what netflix and many game publishers do, or like how I get my food, for that matter. Then I will decide whether I will pay for your product and if I won't, I won't steal or pirate your stuff. Ads, though, that are just kind of there on content that is freely available. Well, I don't bear ill will to the concept, I wouldn't block it if the ads wheren't mostly vile themselves. But in any case, you can't seriously get mad at me for not going allong with the deal, you made with another company about me.

See here's where I think you're off the mark champ: the use of an ad-blocker is down to the individual level. Ergo by my reckoning I'm not repressing your right to talk, I'm just reminding you I'm not obliged to listen to you. It's more like I'm closing my front door in your face: not gonna stop you from going next door, but get off my fucking lawn.

If you don't want people using AdBlock and the like, the solution still seems really obvious to me- make ads that we don't want to block. Make sure your ads aren't hampering the end user's experience, and people will have no reason to block them. Hell, make a really good ad and people will be glad to see it!

And if you so much as think about making a video ad that autoplays with sound enabled? I will personally hunt you down and fill your rectum with angry hornets, one at a time, until they start coming out of your mouth.

LordLundar:
Oh, are we actually allowed to have a discussion about Ad blocks this time? Or is this going to be like last time where supposedly there was permission to do so only to have the mods go ban happy?

No, I'm not saying anything about this anymore because quite frankly, I don't trust the latter to happen again.

Having recently been told off by a mod for saying I used one on The Escapist and violated the CoC, I'd think that as long as we aren't saying 'using ad block specifically for The Escapist', we might be ok. So far this thread hasn't been closed 😁

Yeah, I'm pretty nonchalant about ads. Banners/sidebars, even in-video ads (assuming they aren't unskippable ads rivalling or exceeding the video itself) don't really bother me. Though the tendency to often repeat the same ad constantly on youtube/twitch/etc is annoying. Even moreso when its clearly miles off the demographic, or targeting the wrong country or something.

Pop ups, autoplayers, scripted (code, not writing) ads all need to go right away. I'm noticing on several sites now they pop-up a "Like this, please subscribe" ad for themselves over the bottom of the page, depending on zoom settings, sometimes covering up to 25% of their own content.

Then you have the broken ads that just make the site unusuable. Whether thats due to excessive loading times, constantly resetting your cursor, coding errors, or outright malware. I distinctly remember last year, Escapist itself had some ad that crashed on almost every page, and I couldn't even use the site to report it, because it made 90% of the site not function.

Best way to fire back at ad blockers is to make them unnecessary. The ad firms made their bed by making adverts so obnoxious that people could not browse without some or all of the following to occur.

Excessive pop up/pop under ads.
Tracking software that stalks you around the internet and targets ads based on your browsing (fucking creepy)
Long load times for all the underlying infrastructure to make these ads exist, at the expense of both the website host and the end user if they have a data cap.
Computer viruses and adware.
Any sound or video ad that starts on it's own (I'll allow for a reasonable exception for a short ad that starts when you click on a video)

This guy wants to make ad block irrelevant he needs to enact some standards on his cronies and start seriously cracking down on fraudulent ads, (fuck these make thousands a day sitting on your ass at home if you pay me money to find out how BS ads that even legit sites seem to love to host) start financially penalizing any ad body that uses any kind of malware and basically have some fucking ethics. This guy railing about this issue nearly as hypocritical as Hitler complaining about Stalin's human rights abuses. (Call me out for godwinning if you want, but I will not take ethical advice from someone who clearly has no idea what ethical means.)

Superlative:
-Snip-

MODS
I have to ask, what are the rules when it comes to adblock and the forums. My current understanding is that we are allowed to say it is a thing. I think we are also allowed to say we use it, just not that we use it on this site. I'm also pretty sure we are not allowed to complain about specific ads on this site either.

Please tell us if we're off base, most of us like not being banned

From the code of conduct, under "Use Our Forums Appropriately":
Ad Blockers - Do not link to, advocate, or admit to using ad blockers.

So, under that, we can talk about them, just don't advocate them or admit to using them.
Edit: Or link to them, obviously.

WhiteTigerShiro:

Flames66:
Here's what I said last time this was discussed:

Acceptable:
-Banner ads on the top, sides and bottom
-Recommending something within the content (sponsored videos/articles (as long as it is clearly stated))

Unacceptable
-Any kind of tracking or targeted ad
-Any sound
-Ads in the way of what I want to look at
-Ads playing before a video
-Ads that link to other sites

- Ads that literally cause machine (or even just browser) lag.

Like, literally. GameFAQs (and quite frankly lately, The Escapist) is terrible about having video-based ads (and sometimes what seem to just be gifs) that are absolute system hogs. I don't know what format they use, but they are horribly optimized. Ads that make it so that I can't even type posts because it takes a few seconds for the letters to actually appear are the one and only reason I've ever considered getting an ad blocker. I haven't yet, but man if ads that make my system sluggish don't make a strong case for it.

this. sweet jesus. I even upgraded my rig recently so I know it's not the rig, and everything else runs smooth as butter besides the escapist when one of those ads pops up.

OH also: -loud video ad that runs 25 minutes later in the background while I'm playing games/doing something else (your video ads are extremely guilty of this escapist)

escapist, I like to give you that ad money, but holy fuck that shit is annoying and it's going to push me to not come here anymore.

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