Ethics of AdBlock

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Tyndmyr
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Nov 12, 2015 10:17 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:but we do not treat the presence of an ad in the real world as something requiring intervention, unless there is something particularly unusual regarding it's content.
Yes we do. We limit size, placement and any number of things. Store signage can be regulated as to size and placement on property. No advertising on interstate highway right of way other than small signs at exits. For pretty much for some of the same things people complain about on the web. Up to including, that too much of it is distracting and ugly.


Store signage? Regulated? Not generally. Your landlord can restrict you, if you're renting. If it's in the lease. The city generally doesn't care, and if it does, it's in a manner that usually isn't advertising specific(height limits, etc). Inside the building, precisely zero craps are given regarding signage unless it poses a safety hazard or similar.

Interstate highways routinely have billboards. They must merely be set far enough back from the road. Like, lots of billboards. It's hard to miss this. The close small signs, why, you can pay the state money to have your name on those signs. The limitation on other signs isn't some noble "no advertising" thing, it's merely traditional anti-competitive behavior. And, at least obstensibly, for safety.

The small bookstore owner does what he/she does. The situation isn't analogous. But neither do they serialize the books on the wall outside their shops. And who would do that anyway, haven't they heard of GoodReads? And coffee shops defend their turf. Seats are money. And they either limit bandwidth or require a password you get with a purchase. And I'm just peachy with sitting in a parking lot and grabbing signal out of space if they don't.


People totally do it, yes. A lot. My shop is small, it gets several such people a day. It's irritating. Other small businesses in the area sometimes resort to more...hostile statements and policies, and mentioning Amazon in some of them can totally get you kicked out. This is because some customers not only cheerfully shop your store and take your suggestion to Amazon, they will suggest to other shoppers that they do the same. While I don't take the same aggressive stance some do, I can see why some owners are incensed by it.

Is it your opinion that morality only applies where a technological or physical restraint prevents you from taking an action? Do you not think that making a habit of sitting in your car in the parking lot and using their internet would be, if common, detrimental to their business? Why is the onus on the other people to stop your action, and not on you?

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby morriswalters » Thu Nov 12, 2015 10:57 pm UTC

Are you reading what I'm writing?
morriswalters wrote:Store signage can be regulated as to size and placement on property.
Tyndmyr wrote:it's in a manner that usually isn't advertising specific(height limits, etc)
Tyndmyr wrote:Interstate highways routinely have billboards.
No they don't. Billboards have to be sited on private property. Because they are ugly, among other things. The 1965 Highway Beautification Act
The act called for control of outdoor advertising, including removal of certain types of signs, along the nation's growing Interstate Highway System and the existing federal-aid primary highway system. It also required certain junkyards along Interstate or primary highways to be removed or screened and encouraged scenic enhancement and roadside development.[1]
I'll let you look it up.
Tyndmyr wrote:Is it your opinion that morality only applies where a technological or physical restraint prevents you from taking an action? Do you not think that making a habit of sitting in your car in the parking lot and using their internet would be, if common, detrimental to their business? Why is the onus on the other people to stop your action, and not on you?
I've heard it argued that it doesn't exist. But no. But if you want a theoretical answer LaserGuy just had to ask if it was unethical to consume IP without compensation. To which the answer would be no. The counter argument would be, what is ethical compensation for that content? If I let you have your way, what you could end up with is a situation where morons like Martin Shkreli, could sell his IP for whatever he wanted and fuck everybody else, and we would be ethically bound to honor it. The seller doesn't have unlimited rights. Your seeing a negotiation in slow motion.

And sad to say I follow the law, which means if they put it out there I will consume it if I want to. So coffee place watch out. There are limits but they very.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Fri Nov 13, 2015 6:48 am UTC

So... my desk overlooks a building with a pizzeria, and that building has a clock on it that is (presumably) paid for by the pizzeria. Because of this clock, I don't have to buy one myself for the office. I can just look out the window and see the time. The clock is on a billboard, the other two thirds of which is an obnoxious ad for the pizzeria.

I don't like the ad. It doesn't matter why. I just don't. The ads work however; the images make me hungry and I find myself at lunchtime sitting in the pizzeria as often as not.

So, I moved a few books and the in-box to partially block my view of the window, and now I can see the clock without being assaulted entertained (sorry Tyndmyr) by the ad. Interestingly, I don't eat at the pizza place all that often any more. I've found another restaurant a few doors down with better food, and a nice deli around the corner.

Is this ethically wrong? Do I need to write a check to the pizzeria for the cost of a clock, or the lost profits from my business?

Is this case any different from adblock on the internet?

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Nov 13, 2015 1:39 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:Are you reading what I'm writing?
morriswalters wrote:Store signage can be regulated as to size and placement on property.
Tyndmyr wrote:it's in a manner that usually isn't advertising specific(height limits, etc)
Tyndmyr wrote:Interstate highways routinely have billboards.
No they don't. Billboards have to be sited on private property. Because they are ugly, among other things. The 1965 Highway Beautification Act


So? Websites are private property.

Nobody is advocating that you can put up banner ads on irs.gov.

Apples to apples, man.

As for Jose...back to the word "assault", eh? Look, if you're not going to continue the conversation without ignoring what came before, there's little point in conversing with you.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby eran_rathan » Fri Nov 13, 2015 1:53 pm UTC

What about television advertisments, then? What ethical obligation do I have to sit through them, instead of muting them, getting up and grabbing a snack or cup of tea?

And why is it different (if at all) from adblocking, when I am doing the functionally equivalent task?
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby morriswalters » Fri Nov 13, 2015 2:14 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:So? Websites are private property.
No. The site is text stored on a server. It never leaves the server. The server is private property. The site itself is an abstraction, it's designed to be transmitted. The content is where the value lies and that value is ephemeral. And I am arguing that the process we are talking about is a negotiation about the price of that content. I believe that the ethics of the situation become clear after that negotiation, not before.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Nov 13, 2015 2:23 pm UTC

eran_rathan wrote:What about television advertisments, then? What ethical obligation do I have to sit through them, instead of muting them, getting up and grabbing a snack or cup of tea?

And why is it different (if at all) from adblocking, when I am doing the functionally equivalent task?


We've covered this, already, about five times.

TLDR: It's different.

morriswalters wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:So? Websites are private property.
No. The site is text stored on a server. It never leaves the server. The server is private property. The site itself is an abstraction, it's designed to be transmitted. The content is where the value lies and that value is ephemeral. And I am arguing that the process we are talking about is a negotiation about the price of that content. I believe that the ethics of the situation become clear after that negotiation, not before.


If you're never talking to the other person involved in your "negotiation", it isn't much of a negotiation.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby morriswalters » Fri Nov 13, 2015 2:52 pm UTC

All negotiations don't happen at a table. The very act of not patronizing a site or running ad block is a negotiation. Two in fact, one with the content producer and one with the ad server. It doesn't require vocalizations at all. Any more than the free market does.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Nov 13, 2015 3:46 pm UTC

Is theft a negotiation under your categorization?

Why or why not?

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby eran_rathan » Fri Nov 13, 2015 4:19 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
eran_rathan wrote:What about television advertisments, then? What ethical obligation do I have to sit through them, instead of muting them, getting up and grabbing a snack or cup of tea?

And why is it different (if at all) from adblocking, when I am doing the functionally equivalent task?


We've covered this, already, about five times.

TLDR: It's different.


I've read through it, and I've still not seen an adequate response of why it is different. So the advertiser is better able to track your movement/habits in cyberspace... so what?
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Nov 13, 2015 4:49 pm UTC

eran_rathan wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:
eran_rathan wrote:What about television advertisments, then? What ethical obligation do I have to sit through them, instead of muting them, getting up and grabbing a snack or cup of tea?

And why is it different (if at all) from adblocking, when I am doing the functionally equivalent task?


We've covered this, already, about five times.

TLDR: It's different.


I've read through it, and I've still not seen an adequate response of why it is different. So the advertiser is better able to track your movement/habits in cyberspace... so what?


That is unimportant.

The ad on your television is being displayed. You can watch it if you wish. Or you can ignore it if you wish. It's on the ad to grab you or not at that point. It is not your fault if 90% or more of the ads are insipid, repetitive, etc.

Pre-emptive filtering prevents even the most clever of ads from being displayed. No chance whatsoever.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby eran_rathan » Fri Nov 13, 2015 4:56 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
eran_rathan wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:
eran_rathan wrote:What about television advertisments, then? What ethical obligation do I have to sit through them, instead of muting them, getting up and grabbing a snack or cup of tea?

And why is it different (if at all) from adblocking, when I am doing the functionally equivalent task?


We've covered this, already, about five times.

TLDR: It's different.


I've read through it, and I've still not seen an adequate response of why it is different. So the advertiser is better able to track your movement/habits in cyberspace... so what?


That is unimportant.

The ad on your television is being displayed. You can watch it if you wish. Or you can ignore it if you wish. It's on the ad to grab you or not at that point. It is not your fault if 90% or more of the ads are insipid, repetitive, etc.

Pre-emptive filtering prevents even the most clever of ads from being displayed. No chance whatsoever.



Why is it unimportant? I am actively ignoring/preemptively muting and ignoring adverts on TV, and doing the same on a website. What is the distinction (and why does it matter ethically)?
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Nov 13, 2015 5:02 pm UTC

Unimportant is the tracking. It's not central here. Some online ads have more tracking than others. TV ads also have some tracking.


Ignoring is different than technically disabling. If some stupid ad starts autoplaying sound on your computer and you mash the mute button, you're fine. No different than a TV ad, really.

But designing a TV to automatically screen out all advertisements in advance is a little different. Why? Because the ad no longer has any chance whatsoever to reach you. There isn't an obligation to pay rapt attention to every ad, and most people don't. The expectation is that you probably don't really care, but if an ad is clever enough(see, super bowl ads for some decent examples), they can get you to care. You can unmute the TV, you can opt to pay attention if it looks cool. If you never can see even a fragment of it, that can't happen.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby eran_rathan » Fri Nov 13, 2015 5:58 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Unimportant is the tracking. It's not central here. Some online ads have more tracking than others. TV ads also have some tracking.


Ignoring is different than technically disabling. If some stupid ad starts autoplaying sound on your computer and you mash the mute button, you're fine. No different than a TV ad, really.

But designing a TV to automatically screen out all advertisements in advance is a little different. Why? Because the ad no longer has any chance whatsoever to reach you. There isn't an obligation to pay rapt attention to every ad, and most people don't. The expectation is that you probably don't really care, but if an ad is clever enough(see, super bowl ads for some decent examples), they can get you to care. You can unmute the TV, you can opt to pay attention if it looks cool. If you never can see even a fragment of it, that can't happen.


But why do I have an obligation, any obligation, to the advertisers?
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby morriswalters » Fri Nov 13, 2015 6:08 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Is theft a negotiation under your categorization?

Why or why not?
I don't know. Is Uber stealing money from taxi drivers?

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Nov 13, 2015 6:11 pm UTC

eran_rathan wrote:But why do I have an obligation, any obligation, to the advertisers?


Your obligation is to content provider. They've made the deal with the advertiser. Relationship chaining is normal, and is pretty much how society functions. Shit, what the hell is money?

This, too, has been covered before.

Morris, Uber is not stealing from taxi drivers. Neither are they negotiating with them. And if you don't know if theft is a form of negotiation or not, you have a very strange definition for "negotiation".

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Twistar » Fri Nov 13, 2015 6:19 pm UTC

eran_rathan wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Unimportant is the tracking. It's not central here. Some online ads have more tracking than others. TV ads also have some tracking.


Ignoring is different than technically disabling. If some stupid ad starts autoplaying sound on your computer and you mash the mute button, you're fine. No different than a TV ad, really.

But designing a TV to automatically screen out all advertisements in advance is a little different. Why? Because the ad no longer has any chance whatsoever to reach you. There isn't an obligation to pay rapt attention to every ad, and most people don't. The expectation is that you probably don't really care, but if an ad is clever enough(see, super bowl ads for some decent examples), they can get you to care. You can unmute the TV, you can opt to pay attention if it looks cool. If you never can see even a fragment of it, that can't happen.


But why do I have an obligation, any obligation, to the advertisers?


Tyndmyr's response is that you have an obligation to the content producer because you are consuming their content and you owe them something since you are using something they provided to you but he is wrong because you don't owe the content producer anything EITHER.

Again, maybe the adjective gracious could be applied to the act of not using adblock so as to allow the content producer to get revenue from your having loaded the ad. But the adjectival phrase to describe one's action in that case would NOT be "ethically imperative".

I swear this conversation is just lacking in vocabulary. For example, one word that could added to this conversation: sucker. The webpages who are losing so much revenue to adblock that it is really causing a problem and they're not doing anything about it when it is fully in their power to do so? They're suckers. Again, this BY ITSELF doesn't exonerate users of adblock, YET it is still the case.

Everyone is just trying to paint it black and white and make big analogies and sweeping statements. Just call a duck a duck and don't overblow the issue.


Anyways, to again try to be more clear about language. I think ethics for me, at least in this discussion, comes down to rights. Content consumers have every right to use adblock and content producers have every right to block ad blockers. I think both parties can and should exercise those rights. Furthermore, I believe that both parties should have those rights because that gives everyone the most freedom. A content producers calling adblock unethical is making the statement that people shouldn't have the right to use adblock. I think that's messed up for many reasons that have been gone over in this thread (not just security reasons before people misrepresent my point.) People should have the right to use adblock therefore it is not unethical to use adblock. Again my stance is that the use of adblock is an anethical matter. I see the compromise of any of these rights as a major step backwards.

edit: Whoops Tyndmyr replied just before me. So now it looks really weird that I predicted the response.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby morriswalters » Fri Nov 13, 2015 6:40 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Morris, Uber is not stealing from taxi drivers. Neither are they negotiating with them. And if you don't know if theft is a form of negotiation or not, you have a very strange definition for "negotiation".
Let us see. Taxi's must follow rules to drive, Uber doesn't. Smells like unfair advantage, very close to stealing. Taxi drivers certainly believe so. Isn't this exactly your argument?
The taxi drivers were protesting at seeing their livelihoods threatened: it costs more than €100,000 (£71,000) for a taxi licence in Paris. Uber drivers, though, pay nothing, using their own cars and just paying a proportion of their takings to the company for the rides they pick up. There has been similar anger, though not riots, in New York where taxi licences, called “medallions”, can cost a million dollars. And regulators, courts and police have been raising concerns around the world, too.
And it isn't even an implicit contract, it is mandated by law. Are you perhaps going to argue that the compensation setup for taxi's is immoral? We could even call the Uber app taxi block.(sorry I couldn't resist) In point of fact we call these disruptive technologies, and traditional taxi's will have to change to compete with Uber. Isn't that a negotiation?

I'll call using ad block theft when we agree on the compensation. Until we do I'm negotiating.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Nov 13, 2015 7:15 pm UTC

Twistar wrote:Tyndmyr's response is that you have an obligation to the content producer because you are consuming their content and you owe them something since you are using something they provided to you but he is wrong because you don't owe the content producer anything EITHER.


We've already covered this.

Does anyone actually read the thread, or just the last post or three?

I swear this conversation is just lacking in vocabulary. For example, one word that could added to this conversation: sucker. The webpages who are losing so much revenue to adblock that it is really causing a problem and they're not doing anything about it when it is fully in their power to do so? They're suckers. Again, this BY ITSELF doesn't exonerate users of adblock, YET it is still the case.


That's a common label for people being scammed, yes.

If only they were smarter, they could avoid being victimized.

That's not a very strong ethical case.

morriswalters wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Morris, Uber is not stealing from taxi drivers. Neither are they negotiating with them. And if you don't know if theft is a form of negotiation or not, you have a very strange definition for "negotiation".
Let us see. Taxi's must follow rules to drive, Uber doesn't. Smells like unfair advantage, very close to stealing.


Unfair advantage is not the same as stealing. It might also be a problem, but it's a rather different sort of problem, not one of negotiation. Uber does not have any reason to negotiate with taxi drivers.

Not all ethical problems are interchangeable. Just because this is also an ethical topic doesn't mean it has anything to do with negotiation or advertising.

morriswalters wrote:In point of fact we call these disruptive technologies, and traditional taxi's will have to change to compete with Uber. Isn't that a negotiation?


Jesus, no. Get a dictionary.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Fri Nov 13, 2015 7:17 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:As for Jose...back to the word "assault", eh? Look, if you're not going to continue the conversation without ignoring what came before, there's little point in conversing with you.

I have reworded the post in question to make it more palatable to you. Try now? The question is just as legit.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Nov 13, 2015 7:22 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:As for Jose...back to the word "assault", eh? Look, if you're not going to continue the conversation without ignoring what came before, there's little point in conversing with you.

I have reworded the post in question to make it more palatable to you. Try now? The question is just as legit.

Jose


The pizziera does not own your business. However, a tower of kleenex boxes or whatever is probably a less than perfect block. It's odd, but it's specific to one ad and likely not perfectly effective, so it's mostly just an oddity, and not equivalent with blocking all ads all the time.

Also, if it's that much of a sticking point that bothers you so much, you might consider the purchase of a watch.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Fri Nov 13, 2015 7:44 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:The pizziera does not own your business.
No, it doesn't. I don't see how that's relevant. A website doesn't own my business either.

But why wouldn't I owe the pizzaria my business (or at least my attention), since I am utilizing their content (the clock) and even benefiting financially from it (in not having to buy one of my own)?

Tyndmyr wrote:However, a tower of kleenex boxes or whatever is probably a less than perfect block. It's odd, but it's specific to one ad and likely not perfectly effective, so it's mostly just an oddity, and not equivalent with blocking all ads all the time.
It's pretty much perfect, and it's effective on the entire medium (or at least this entire channel of the "billboard" media).

Tyndmyr wrote:Also, if it's that much of a sticking point that bothers you so much, you might consider the purchase of a watch.
The pizza place could buy me one, with their ad on the wristband. If they do, would it be unethical for me to change the wristband?

Twistar wrote:Again, maybe the adjective gracious could be applied to the act of not using adblock so as to allow the content producer to get revenue from your having loaded the ad.
Exactly. And "not being gracious" isn't an unethical act.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Nov 13, 2015 8:01 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:The pizziera does not own your business.
No, it doesn't. I don't see how that's relevant. A website doesn't own my business either.

But why wouldn't I owe the pizzaria my business (or at least my attention), since I am utilizing their content (the clock) and even benefiting financially from it (in not having to buy one of my own)?


No. We have already established that the bar is lower than owing business or attention. Merely a chance to draw your attention will suffice.

And the clock tower doesn't have any equivalent to bandwidth. Looking at the clock vs not does not cost them anything. Not very little, actually zero.

Tyndmyr wrote:Also, if it's that much of a sticking point that bothers you so much, you might consider the purchase of a watch.
The pizza place could buy me one, with their ad on the wristband. If they do, would it be unethical for me to change the wristband?


If you make a habit of getting freebies from them, filing their name off, and reselling them, it would be pretty clearly unethical, right? They're in this for advertising, and you're denying that.

If you boil it down to single instances, there's more room for other factors to play. Maybe it's an uncomfortable band, or maybe it broke or something. Then, whatever. But if you start making it a continuous practice to benefit at their expense, it clearly gets shadier, yes?

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby eran_rathan » Fri Nov 13, 2015 8:06 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:The pizziera does not own your business.
No, it doesn't. I don't see how that's relevant. A website doesn't own my business either.

But why wouldn't I owe the pizzaria my business (or at least my attention), since I am utilizing their content (the clock) and even benefiting financially from it (in not having to buy one of my own)?


No. We have already established that the bar is lower than owing business or attention. Merely a chance to draw your attention will suffice.


Why? Why is there any difference whatsoever?

(and operating the clock does cost the pizzeria, even if just the minuscule amount of electricity it requires and the space that could have more advertising on it.)
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Nov 13, 2015 8:32 pm UTC

eran_rathan wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:
ucim wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:The pizziera does not own your business.
No, it doesn't. I don't see how that's relevant. A website doesn't own my business either.

But why wouldn't I owe the pizzaria my business (or at least my attention), since I am utilizing their content (the clock) and even benefiting financially from it (in not having to buy one of my own)?


No. We have already established that the bar is lower than owing business or attention. Merely a chance to draw your attention will suffice.


Why? Why is there any difference whatsoever?


Because that's what the ad itself is for. The ad exists to grab your attention, and to convince you.

If they opt to waste ad space on a crappy ad, well, that's on them. Decision of what ad to place is clearly theirs, not yours.

(and operating the clock does cost the pizzeria, even if just the minuscule amount of electricity it requires and the space that could have more advertising on it.)


It lacks marginal costs entirely. So, you glancing at the clock or not is...fairly trivial. Granted, by providing you with the time, they are providing some service, but we're getting into the realm of particularly minor services, given how pervasive knowledge of the time is.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby eran_rathan » Fri Nov 13, 2015 10:30 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
eran_rathan wrote:
(and operating the clock does cost the pizzeria, even if just the minuscule amount of electricity it requires and the space that could have more advertising on it.)


It lacks marginal costs entirely. So, you glancing at the clock or not is...fairly trivial. Granted, by providing you with the time, they are providing some service, but we're getting into the realm of particularly minor services, given how pervasive knowledge of the time is.



But most websites have near zero marginal costs, and provide you with minor services (information, arguably).

What about pop-up blockers, are those unethical? Almost all advertisers used them, yet they were intrusive and everyone objected, to the point of pop-up blockers being standard on all browsers. The pop-ups are certainly more effective at getting your attention than banner ads, but why is it acceptable to block one but not the other?
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Sat Nov 14, 2015 1:45 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:If you make a habit of getting freebies from them, filing their name off, and reselling them, it would be pretty clearly unethical, right? They're in this for advertising, and you're denying that.

If you boil it down to single instances, there's more room for other factors to play. Maybe it's an uncomfortable band, or maybe it broke or something. Then, whatever. But if you start making it a continuous practice to benefit at their expense, it clearly gets shadier, yes?
Yes, it does. That would be more like taking their content and putting it on my website, which is not what we are talking about.

It's certainly not unethical to change the wristband on the one free watch they gave me so that I don't have to be assaulted entertained by the ad graphics on it every time I check the time. My doing so deprives them of the opportunity to market to me every time I want to know the time, and as a result, I'm eating less pizza. I knew I would replace the wristband when I accepted their gift. I could have declined it, but I didn't.

Was that unethical?

I have completely eliminated their opportunity to market to me while I benefit from their expensive billboard clock and their branded watch. And marginal costs are hardly an issue. Ad revenue is fractions of a cent per impression, on a website that, if it's like most websites, has an unlimited bandwidth / unlimited disk space plan, because most websites never come close to that kind of popularity. If anyone is taking that hit, it's godaddy and its ilk, and they benefit from ad blockers because bandwidth is actually reduced when they are used.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby elasto » Sat Nov 14, 2015 2:13 pm UTC

This is something of an aside but I just noticed that SMBC is running a kickstarter. Target is $15k and donations are currently running at $300k

Not every website can survive on subscriptions/merchandising/donations but not every website will go under if all ads are blocked either. The cream of the web will survive no matter what.

Also, HINT, xkcd should do something similar..!

(Not that Monroe reads here :()

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby LaserGuy » Sat Nov 14, 2015 8:57 pm UTC

elasto wrote:This is something of an aside but I just noticed that SMBC is running a kickstarter. Target is $15k and donations are currently running at $300k

Not every website can survive on subscriptions/merchandising/donations but not every website will go under if all ads are blocked either. The cream of the web will survive no matter what.

Also, HINT, xkcd should do something similar..!

(Not that Monroe reads here :()


Great for them. That would be enough money to keep ad-supported YouTube in business for about 1 hour. Again, we're talking about different orders of magnitude when it comes to donations vs. advertisements.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby morriswalters » Sat Nov 14, 2015 9:33 pm UTC

Yeah and? As of February YouTube didn't seem to be profitable.
YouTube still isn't a profitable business for Google, sources tell The Wall Street Journal's Rolfe Winkler.

Thanks to a premium ads push last year called "Google Preferred," the video-streaming site increased its revenue to $4 billion in 2014 from $3 billion in 2013, but it's still only roughly breaking even.
And why YouTube Red is here.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby ucim » Sun Nov 15, 2015 2:23 am UTC

Google (the owner of youtube) is hardly a white hat in this game. Second to facebook, it is probably the most insidiously invasive privacy invading presence on the internet. I have no ethical qualms about blocking ads from them (and I never let googleanalytics run their scripts, for similar reasons) It is certainly possible to do this kind of analytics without invading privacy, I just don't trust google to do that.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby elasto » Sun Nov 15, 2015 4:11 am UTC

LaserGuy wrote:Great for them. That would be enough money to keep ad-supported YouTube in business for about 1 hour. Again, we're talking about different orders of magnitude when it comes to donations vs. advertisements.

So what if it would only support Youtube for an hour? It would also only support Wikipedia for two days. But do you see Wikipedia moving away from the donation model any time soon?

It's not 'different orders of magnitude': donations/subscriptions/merchandising can scale.

Ads are not the only way for the web to support itself. And I for one am not even advocating a web free of ads - just a web free of dangerous and annoying ads.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby LaserGuy » Sun Nov 15, 2015 5:43 am UTC

elasto wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:Great for them. That would be enough money to keep ad-supported YouTube in business for about 1 hour. Again, we're talking about different orders of magnitude when it comes to donations vs. advertisements.


So what if it would only support Youtube for an hour? It would also only support Wikipedia for two days. But do you see Wikipedia moving away from the donation model any time soon?


Wikipedia is the top recipient of donations of any website in the world, and what it gets is still paltry, both on the scale of Internet commerce, and even on the scale of charities. It's a model that works fine for people wanting to cover their costs on their personal website, if they're lucky and have a decent following, but it's not a model that can support any significant number of businesses. No, it can't scale. People are too cheap--they want their "free" "public" Internet, and don't believe that they have to pay anything to anybody.

It's not 'different orders of magnitude': donations/subscriptions/merchandising can scale.


Orders of magnitude: YouTube annual revenues are $4 billion per year, and barely breaking even. Wikipedia annual donations is $20 million. The idea that donations and merchandising can support the Internet as we know it is pure fantasy. If you were to pool all of the money from every single Kickstarter project that has ever been funded, you would have enough money to support YouTube for just under half a year.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Twistar » Sun Nov 15, 2015 7:44 pm UTC

If websites need money then make people pay to use the website. I vote for paywalls over advertisements.

edit: I make this statement in full knowledge that many websites would fail under this model. There's pros and cons to this but I think the pros outweigh the cons.

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Nov 16, 2015 7:39 am UTC

Twistar wrote:If websites need money then make people pay to use the website. I vote for paywalls over advertisements.

edit: I make this statement in full knowledge that many websites would fail under this model. There's pros and cons to this but I think the pros outweigh the cons.


All websites need to make money. That's the whole point.

Out of curiousity, how many paywalls are you subscribed to?

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby eran_rathan » Mon Nov 16, 2015 1:20 pm UTC

eran_rathan wrote:What about pop-up blockers, are those unethical? Almost all advertisers used them, yet they were intrusive and everyone objected, to the point of pop-up blockers being standard on all browsers. The pop-ups are certainly more effective at getting your attention than banner ads, but why is it acceptable to block one but not the other?



Re-posting this, as no one answered.
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby elasto » Mon Nov 16, 2015 4:24 pm UTC

eran_rathan wrote:
eran_rathan wrote:What about pop-up blockers, are those unethical? Almost all advertisers used them, yet they were intrusive and everyone objected, to the point of pop-up blockers being standard on all browsers. The pop-ups are certainly more effective at getting your attention than banner ads, but why is it acceptable to block one but not the other?

Re-posting this, as no one answered.

Personally I think this is an excellent point.

Pop-up blockers are standard, and yet the web hasn't simply survived but flourished - moving to less intrusive forms of advertising.

When blocking third-party ads becomes standard, I predict the web will continue to not simply survive but flourish - again moving to less intrusive forms of advertising such as first-party, text-only sponsorship and in-article advertising - along with the myriad other ways of covering costs (subscriptions, donations, merchandising, charity etc.)

LaserGuy wrote:Out of curiousity, how many paywalls are you subscribed to?

Why would that have any bearing on anything? Paywalling is currently a kiss of death because so much content is put into the public domain for free to build up loyal fanbases - think of everything from Twitter to xkcd. So chances are good that nothing he's interested in is currently paywalled because there are so many non-paywall equivalents.

Doesn't mean he's not perfectly entitled to his opinion that he prefers making a direct contribution (subscription/donation/purchase etc.) rather than be advertised at though.

---

One other point worth emphasising is just how small website costs are. Wikipedia costs less than one cent per reader per month to maintain. If your readership is so disloyal that you can't persuade them collectively to fork over that amount of support then are you really running a website that would actually be missed if one day it simply vanished?

[Wikipedia could actually be run even more cheaply than it is:

In 2005, the Wikimedia Foundation had 1 employee, and the site’s software was written and maintained by volunteers. In fact, Jimmy Wales proudly told a TED audience then how little it cost to run Wikipedia:

“So, we’re doing around 1.4 billion page views monthly. So, it’s really gotten to be a huge thing. And everything is managed by the volunteers and the total monthly cost for our bandwidth is about 5,000 dollars, and that’s essentially our main cost. We could actually do without the employee … We actually hired Brion [Vibber] because he was working part-time for two years and full-time at Wikipedia so we actually hired him so he could get a life and go to the movies sometimes.”


Bandwidth/hosting costs will have dropped loads in the last decade also due to the huge efficiencies of scale of cloud storage and improvements in transmission infrastructure etc.

You may say that Wikipedia isn't a good example because it's costs are 'hidden' due to all the people working on it for free. But, I dunno about anyone else, but almost everything I view on the web is done by volunteers for free. I use and contribute to open-source software. I browse message boards like xkcd that I'm not getting paid to post on so I presume none of you are either. I get my news mostly from the BBC which is paid for through taxation. The only thing of significance which I use which is ad-based is Google - and I've already stated I for one don't mind how Google do their ads.

Basically, I think my experience of the web would be essentially unchanged even if all dangerous and annoying advertising and its revenue were magically wiped out overnight.]

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Nov 16, 2015 5:25 pm UTC

eran_rathan wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:
eran_rathan wrote:
(and operating the clock does cost the pizzeria, even if just the minuscule amount of electricity it requires and the space that could have more advertising on it.)


It lacks marginal costs entirely. So, you glancing at the clock or not is...fairly trivial. Granted, by providing you with the time, they are providing some service, but we're getting into the realm of particularly minor services, given how pervasive knowledge of the time is.



But most websites have near zero marginal costs, and provide you with minor services (information, arguably).

What about pop-up blockers, are those unethical? Almost all advertisers used them, yet they were intrusive and everyone objected, to the point of pop-up blockers being standard on all browsers. The pop-ups are certainly more effective at getting your attention than banner ads, but why is it acceptable to block one but not the other?


The fact that something is information does not mean that the service is necessarily minor. There are great distinctions between different sorts of information.

The time is something minor enough that it's socially acceptable to ask a stranger on the street. It's also extremely widely available. I view it as comparatively minor. The fact that Jose has taken pains to avoid looking at a ad on a clock is sort of amusing, but it is sufficiently minor on any ethical scale as to not be very import.

I would hold that blocking only pop-up ads is less of an issue than attempting to block all ads. There's a selectivity there, and the effect is that you're encouraging one kind of ads, while discouraging another. This is different for the ecosystem than indiscriminate blocking.

One time events, and blocking based on particular reasons is different from blocking everything all the time.

ucim wrote:Google (the owner of youtube) is hardly a white hat in this game. Second to facebook, it is probably the most insidiously invasive privacy invading presence on the internet. I have no ethical qualms about blocking ads from them (and I never let googleanalytics run their scripts, for similar reasons) It is certainly possible to do this kind of analytics without invading privacy, I just don't trust google to do that.

Jose


They are, however, pretty good with regards to security, which I think is a major point in their favor. They police harmful ads pretty carefully, and their system tends to revolve around relatively simple ads that are not excessive with regards to screen space/strange technologies.

Twistar wrote:If websites need money then make people pay to use the website. I vote for paywalls over advertisements.

edit: I make this statement in full knowledge that many websites would fail under this model. There's pros and cons to this but I think the pros outweigh the cons.


I don't think "kill half the internet" is a reasonable outcome.

elasto wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:Out of curiousity, how many paywalls are you subscribed to?

Why would that have any bearing on anything? Paywalling is currently a kiss of death because so much content is put into the public domain for free to build up loyal fanbases - think of everything from Twitter to xkcd. So chances are good that nothing he's interested in is currently paywalled because there are so many non-paywall equivalents.


I assume the fact that everyone here probably answers with "none" is important. Facebook is alright, but if you put a paywall on it, I'm not sure I'd subscribe. I'm certain that many people I know would not subscribe. As they opted out, Facebook's utility would drop for me. What's the point of a platform to connect to friends if yer friends don't use it? So, eventually, the outcome is "no facebook".

One other point worth emphasising is just how small website costs are. Wikipedia costs less than one cent per reader per month to maintain. If your readership is so disloyal that you can't persuade them collectively to fork over that amount of support then are you really running a website that would actually be missed if one day it simply vanished?


This is because
A. The content is generated by the users.
B. The content is mostly text.

Youtube is video, which is significantly heavier than text. The costs will not be the same for obvious reasons.

elasto wrote:Bandwidth/hosting costs will have dropped loads in the last decade also due to the huge efficiencies of scale of cloud storage and improvements in transmission infrastructure etc.


So, given that the vast majority of the internet is ad supported, what do you think will happen to those efficiencies of scale if those sites go away?

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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby eran_rathan » Mon Nov 16, 2015 5:42 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
eran_rathan wrote:What about pop-up blockers, are those unethical? Almost all advertisers used them, yet they were intrusive and everyone objected, to the point of pop-up blockers being standard on all browsers. The pop-ups are certainly more effective at getting your attention than banner ads, but why is it acceptable to block one but not the other?


I would hold that blocking only pop-up ads is less of an issue than attempting to block all ads. There's a selectivity there, and the effect is that you're encouraging one kind of ads, while discouraging another. This is different for the ecosystem than indiscriminate blocking.

One time events, and blocking based on particular reasons is different from blocking everything all the time.


So what if I had a way to block all banner ads, but left text ads/'supported stories'? Where do you draw that line between acceptable and unacceptable?
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Re: Ethics of AdBlock

Postby Twistar » Mon Nov 16, 2015 5:46 pm UTC

I can't think of any paywalls that I subscribe to right now.

But it's a really good question. It helped me clear up some of my thinking on the issue. I think a major point that hasn't yet been brought up is that I don't really care about the websites in question. In fact, of all of the sites on the web there are very very very few that I care about. So now talking about the advertising ridden webpages that we're discussing:

1) I don't really care about them. Their content is not that valuable to me.

2) If they put up paywalls I probably wouldn't pay. I would take my business elsewhere. If EVERY similar site put up paywalls I would probably just stop going to that sort of site and be happy for wasting less of my life on the internet.

3) In addition to points 1) and 2) I don't care if the content producer goes out of business because of this because again I don't think their content is very valuable to me. If it is valuable to others then hopefully the content producer can live off of contributions from those people. If it is not valuable enough to anyone for anyone to pay for a paywall then the content just straight up isn't valuable and I don't have a problem with people not being able to make a living off of it.

4) Since I wouldn't pay for it if it was behind a paywall I don't feel bad about blocking their ads. This sentiment requires justification. The points below are how I justify it.

5) All of the points made throughout this thread still apply: I have the right to use adblock, I never entered any agreement with the content producer or advertiser even when I visit a webpage. Basically repeating all of the points above. Basically I'm not doing something clearly or inherently ethically wrong by using Adblock.

6) But in addition to 5), I also justify 4) with the following. I have already, before I ever even go on the internet, decided for myself that I am going to pay 0 attention to any ads. I will close them as soon as possible. Turn off the sound as soon as possible etc. The advertiser never has and never will even get a chance to try to grab my attention because I ALREADY decided before turning on my computer that I'm not going to look at her ads. So then at that point the advertiser doesn't gain anything from me having wasted my time and getting annoyed looking at ads. The content producer has also lost something from me because now I am annoyed at their webpage. So what good did come of the interaction? The content producer got a fraction of a penny off of a crooked system. Why is the system crooked? Because the purpose of advertising isn't to make money. The purpose of advertising is to connect customers with valuable products. On the internet advertising is used to make money without regard for value to the customer. So if content producers are making money off of that I don't feel bad about not supporting that system. Hence:

7) I support a system where the internet moves over to a paywall model rather than advertising model.

I think some of these points have been brought up before, but I think taken together as I've presented them here sums up my and maybe others point of view on the issue pretty well. I think the point that I don't really care about the webpages is pretty key. There might be other people who do care a lot about these webpages (content producers themselves don't count) and would be annoyed by my behavior. I guess my stance is, and has been throughout this thread, that if they don't like what I'm doing they should do something about it. This sounds like a dick statement from me but I think it is justified because it is within my rights to use adblock, I am not infringing on their rights by using adblock, and it is within their rights and their power TO do something about it. If there wasn't anything they could do about it things would be different but we've already discussed that in this thread.
Their only alternative to "doing something about it" is whining about it and saying I'm doing the wrong thing but, while that sentiment makes some sense, I just don't think it holds any REAL SUBSTANTIVE water for reasons outlined above.

edit: Whoops a lot of posts went up while I was posting. First, Elasto hit the nail on the head with a lot of the stuff I was thinking.
elasto wrote:Doesn't mean he's not perfectly entitled to his opinion that he prefers making a direct contribution (subscription/donation/purchase etc.) rather than be advertised at though.


Also
Tyndmyr wrote:I don't think "kill half the internet" is a reasonable outcome.


Because of the reason outlined in this post I am honestly perfectly comfortable with that outcome. If half the internet dies as a result of this sort of shift then in my mind it means that half of the internet wasn't really producing value for people so I don't care if those webpages don't get value (money) back.


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