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February 1, 2009

Web advertising fail
Posted by Patrick at 09:42 AM * 103 comments

I’ve never used adblocking software. For a bunch of reasons: Making Light runs ads, Teresa works for a site that’s supported by ads, and in general it seems like a good idea to keep current on the whole business of web advertising if I want to be all new-media-savvy in this brave new world we have no choice about living in. Also, some ads are interesting.

But the sudden presence of the World’s Ugliest Ad on every goddamn site I read has turned me around. Hello, Adblock Plus; so far so good.

I wonder how many other people have finally installed an adblocker because of this travesty? Well done, 2 Rules To a Flat Stomach people. There really isn’t any social arrangement that someone won’t eventually ruin by pushing it to the limits.

Comments on Web advertising fail:
#1 ::: ADM ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 10:14 AM:

The fact that it's associated with Rachael Ray makes it even worse, in my books. Of course, anything associated with Rachael Ray makes it worse. Am I the only person who noticed that she used to recommend tipping 15% on the pre-tax cost of a restaurant meal?

grrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Losing stomach fat the RR way --

#2 ::: JD Rhoades ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 10:18 AM:

Eh. I barely notice any of them.

#3 ::: Alter S. Reiss ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 10:29 AM:

I started using adblock to avoid the offenses to the eyes that live in low end banner ads -- the monkey punchers and the "Visitor 234,853! You win a prize!" type things.

But what sold me on it was the fact that I could adblock blinky icons. Now, if my browser is blinking, it's because I've chosen to allow it to blink.

#4 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 10:32 AM:

It's not just ugly adverts. I've seen too many which hang my browser,or maybe just never finish loading.

They often seem to be bandwidth-hungry flash media selling on behalf of high-tech companies.

#5 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 10:39 AM:

My solution to slow-loading, blinky, noisy ads is to disable Flash and most other multimedia in my main browser. I switch over to IE for Youtube and whatnot.

#6 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 10:42 AM:

Sheesh, what's next? A goatse ad?

I feel sort of apologetic about using Adblock myself, because there's lots of site owners that probably need the money - but I wouldn't be clicking on the ads anyway...

#7 ::: Mary Lou Klecha ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 11:16 AM:

I just remain fascinated that apparently the one rule to a flat stomach is obey.

#8 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 11:17 AM:

One of the perils of internet advertising is that there are very few sites that aren't major league that have high standards for the money they'll accept. With dwindling income, you'll see more and more of the low grade annoying ads out there. Sales execs will pretty much accept anything if it makes the quota. Because it's that, or they get laid off. Sites like the NY Times can afford to make choices, but lots of other sites can't, or at least think they can't.

It's paradoxical, but if advertising wasn't annoying, you wouldn't see adblock used that much. and the more annoying it gets, the more people are going to use it, until the industry decides to self police. And they really ought to - actual decent products with non annoying ads are getting drowned out by bad ads.

#9 ::: Beth Friedman ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 11:25 AM:

It's not the inline ads that bug me so much as the popup ones. Someone one gave a link to a site that had links to kill most of the popups, plus IE's (yes, I still use that; Firefox irks me) own popup blocker.

Of all the silly things, the site that has the most annoying popups, because I go there frequently, is Snopes. I haven't figured out how to beat that one into submission yet. Every single time I go there, I get a popup, though it does have the grace to stay in the background.

#10 ::: David Dvorkin ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 11:31 AM:

That ghastly ad is everywhere.

#11 ::: Adam Lipkin ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 11:34 AM:

I've long run Adblock Plus to avoid ads (and like Dave Bell above, the memory-hogging ones were my initial incentive). But every once in a while I see a post like this (or spend some time surfing on a library or other computer) and am reminded of just how much cleaner and more readable most pages are without the ads. This one goes beyond the pale, though.

#12 ::: Mark Wise ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 11:38 AM:

I've had an ad-blocker for at least two years now. I don't mind ads, people have to make a living, but I =hate= movement on the screen while I'm trying to read.

I only filter out ad servers that send me Flash or gif animations. Added bonus? Opening a bunch of tabs in Firefox no longer slows my system to a crawl. All those little Flash processor hits can add up.

#13 ::: Betsy-the-muffin ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 11:43 AM:

The "obey" part actually really creeps me out. It feels like something being chanted by hood-robed cultists.

#14 ::: Mashell ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 12:02 PM:

The flat stomach ad is really pretty gross. I keep encountering it on livejournal, and each time I find myself carefully adjusting the scroll so I don't have to see it. There is no other ad that triggers such a knee-jerk reaction on my part. I don't know about the 'fail' though - most ads can simply be ignored, but this one sure has got a lot of folks attention.

#15 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 12:09 PM:

Normal popups I can ignore. It's not so easy though when the ad is one of those things that take up the whole screen and you have to wait before you can click on the 'X' in the corner.

#16 ::: Lauren Uroff ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 12:20 PM:

The biggest kicker in that ugly ugly ad is that the pictures are of two different people. The "fat" person has stretch marks, a more mannish rib cage and man-like hands. The second person has no stretch marks (which just don't disappear in one month!), a woman's rib cage structure and no visible hands.

The LA Times online has it on every single page, which is another nail in the coffin of a once-great newspaper.

#17 ::: Matthew Daly ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 12:20 PM:

I'm with Alter S. Reece @3; it was the openly fraudulent epilepsy-inducing Flash ads that made me switch. In theory, I could whitelist a site that promised a higher standard, but it probably wouldn't have much impact because I'm never tempted to do the click-through.

It's a shame that vendors don't pay for the sort of advertising that DOES work on me. If I'm reading Susan's cooking blog and her apple pie recipe mentions how much she loves her Acme apple-peeler, I will frequently follow that link to Acme's online store if I don't love mine (and be infinitely more likely to actually purchase the item). Maybe that's harder to track than the response rate of simple sideboard ads, but we do seem to have computers around that can keep track of it all.

#18 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 12:24 PM:

I haven't installed AdBlock plus, but I do use NoScript (which blocks Javascript, Flash, etc. from running except from sites you allow).

I use it mainly for security and annoyance minimization, and it also does tend to cut down on a number of the more annoying ads, many of which are triggered by Javascript, while not blocking out ads altogether. NoScript does kill the annoying popups on Snopes, for instance.

I have seen the obnoxious ad mentioned in here on a few sites, but not all over the place. If I see it more I might start blocking secondary site scripting more aggressively and see if it makes a difference.

#19 ::: DBratman ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 12:30 PM:

I'm with Mark Wise. I block ads because most of them move. Ads that don't move don't bother me.

At one job I was handed control of some local web pages, including a project status page on which tasks done were marked by little blinky check marks. The FIRST THING that I did was make those check marks STOP BLINKING.

#20 ::: don delny ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 12:37 PM:

Like Adam Lipkin, 11, and Dave Bell,
I started using Adblock Plus to avoid memory hogging ads, but I found that it dramatically speeded up loading on sites that had ads loaded from slow servers.

Ironically, the ads on Making Light were as significant factor: page rendering would fail halfway down the page after comments got too long. Whenever I had adblock (and later, noscript) on, things would work just fine. This was a couple years ago, but I've never thought to check to see if the problem was fixed in one of the subsequent ML overhauls.

Sorry about that guys.

Speaking of worthwhile ads, I do endorse Project Wonderful, though it primarily seems to be used by webcomics and crafters. (That link goes to an explanation of their biddings system, which is the most gaming-resistant setup I've seen yet for ads.)

#21 ::: Leva Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 12:50 PM:

That ad (and its popunder cousin) been running on my site and the CPM is quite high. I've had the best week since September because of it.

(Which means *mutter mutter* I'm not quite breaking even *mutter mutter* this month.)

There's two types of paying banner ads you generally see, by the way -- site targeted high-paying ads that the ad companies aim at specific sites/markets and "filler" ads that ad companies use to fill up unsold ad inventory.

Normally, I'd expect a "diet blog" ad on my site to be a filler ad. (Other filler ads you may see are those annoying punch-the-monkey ads -- which are banned from my site -- and Zwinkies.) That is not a filler ad. It's a site targeted ad, at least on my site. Which means it's comparatively expensive, both from the standpoint of paying for it, and on the scale they're doing, the labor of setting it up.

Makes me wonder if they're actually making any money on that, and if so, how. Or if they'll be another Fanlib ...

(I hope they're making money. The ads are ugly, but they're keeping my lights on.)

(BTW, Patrick? You guys ought to contact Tribalfusion to see if they'd accept Making Light. For Making Light, they'd probably pay a lot better than Adsense did, and you CAN kill the obnoxious diet ads if you want.)

#22 ::: JoeNotCharles ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 01:04 PM:

"Am I the only person who noticed that she used to recommend tipping 15% on the pre-tax cost of a restaurant meal?

grrrrrrrrrrrrr."

What's the complaint about this? That 15% is too high? That it's too low? That it should be on the post-tax cost? That she doesn't recommend it anymore?

#23 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 01:06 PM:

There is a respectable (for some strange values of that word) school of advertising theory (again, for particular values of "theory") that holds that the ads with the most notice and retention are also the ones that are the most irritating. So it's likely the advertisers are well aware of how annoying that flat stomach ad is, and are counting on it.

I'm with John Mark Ockerbloom, I have NoScript installed, and only a very few sites permanently white-listed. That forces me to think whether I really want to allow a site to run Javascript in my browser, which tends to keep Firefox from getting overwhelmed by huge (and often incompatible) Javascript programs. Firefox is still not very good at handling Javascript conflicts; I expect Chrome to be good at that, but I'm still waiting for a general release Chrome for Macintosh.

#24 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 01:23 PM:

That is an impressively ugly ad, in almost every way. I mean, I ain't a graphic designer but I know a little bit about the field, and this shouts to me "bad design".

First up, the fat stomach picture is just plain ugly. Not using it, however, would have required a completely different advertising concept, so I'll give 'em a free pass on this one.

Secondly, the thin stomach picture looks unnatural. It may just be the contrast with the other picture above it, but it looks out-of-proportion with the world.

Thirdly, both pictures are horribly low quality. They're apparently amateur pics, taken with a low quality camera, with the JPEG quality level dialled down as far as it'll go. The lighting is atrocious and the lack of a consistently-coloured background is downright distracting.

Fourth, the text in the ad has blurry edges, again due to poor JPEG compression.

Fifth, the colour chosen for the heading is too bright, and makes it hard to focus on.

Sixth, the white text overlayed onto the images is hard to read, especially where it overlaps white clothing.

Seventh, the font they've used is boring and amateurish. I don't know if it's Arial or Helvetica (can't be bothered to examine it in detail to find out), but whichever it is it just screams "lack of imagination".

If they're paying for wide scale placements, I can only conclude that this advert was intended to look ugly and amateurish. Because there's no way you'd pay for that kind of campaign without making sure your ad was up to scratch, right?

#25 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 01:23 PM:

Also, the copy seems confused as to whether there's two rules or just one. Only just noticed that.

#26 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 01:40 PM:

Another AdBlock Plus (and NoScript) user here, for most of the reasons listed above -- blinkies, popups, ads crowding my content off the page, loading/connection time, memory, CPU overload, wetware overload ;-), lockups, infection risk, and too many scams.

Amplifying on the last: besides the hazard of the ad itself attacking my system, there's so many scams abroad, that I wouldn't dare trust whatever site the ad led me to! If I want to buy something, I'll Google it up myself, dammit, and double-check that any new vendor is reputable!

#27 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 01:40 PM:

don delny, #20 -- No offense taken. The problem was real, but Blogads, which serves the ads in our sidebar, seems to have fixed it.

#28 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 01:50 PM:

I don't usually block ads, but anything that blinks or moves (especially the ones that seem to flash at >10Hz) get the ax. That ad was so irredemably ugly and absolutely everywhere that their whole ad server got the block. Jules @ 24 got it spot on as far as the design goes, but I would also add that the advert is, to me, morally repugnant on top of it all.

I don't understand advertising people who go out of their way to piss off their potential customers. I know that most boring ads just fade into the background for people, but fighting for people's attention is worse.

#29 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 02:04 PM:

I've been using the host file on my Mac courtesy of the software package Hostal. What would be the virtue of using something like Addblock instead?

#30 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 02:30 PM:

Something like AdBlock for Firefox or Opera's content blocking is more fine-grained than a hosts file, and also only applies to that particular web browser. If you want to block everything from a particular domain for all programs, a hosts file works fine.

#31 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 02:31 PM:

Lauren @16:
...no visible hands...

See, this is what Mercata, the incarnation of markets, has fallen to since the crash. Her job as a spokesmodel was downsized, all her friends started pretending they never met her, and now the only work she can get is modeling for cheap web advertisements.

#32 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 02:45 PM:

I am VERY relieved to hear that I am not the only one seeing that advert.

I thought that I'd slipped into some horrible demographic gist slot that pegged me as in need of a slim-down.

* * *

No Script drove me crazy. It made using simple, wholesome, useful sites a chore. Probably the fault of the sites for choosing tools that used the same techniques as obnoxious scripts, but still . . .

AdBlock I use, and this is a good reminder to install it on my new PC.

#33 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 02:59 PM:

Stefan @#32: Note that AdBlock is still being regularly updated (as is NoScript), and part of that is improving the details and specificity of the blocking. If it's been more than six months or so, you might want to try the newest version.

#34 ::: Nix ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 03:00 PM:

Mark Wise, DBratman, seconded (thirded?)

Ads are particularly annoying if like me you have a wandering eye. I can suppress the off-centre input from the non-dominant eye nearly all the time... but not if what's in that visual field is moving or violently contrasts with what I'm looking at: then, both fields dissolve into a blur, and I have to start reading with one eye closed.

#35 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 03:28 PM:

Over here:

* Adblock Plus

* NoScript

* FlashBlock

... And a custom /etc/hosts file from here to block the main advertising servers at DNS level.

I'm pretty much allergic to advertising in general: it reflects a consensus view of society that I find stressful, induces insecurity, and is actively unpleasant. It's not something I can ignore easily (because good advertising by definition is designed to hog your attention).

But more importantly, I'm paying for the bandwdith these leeches suck on.

About 75% of the content commercial websites shove down the viewers throat is advertising. Which translates into time. Even on an unmetered feed, I'm paying for these advertisements in seconds of my life that I will never see again.

I have no immediate answer to the problem of how to fund content in the absence of advertising clickthrough sales, other than to observe that a compulsory license regime seems to work fine for the BBC, and that advertising is not the right answer, whatever the question.

#36 ::: Alayne ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 03:37 PM:

I use the FlashBlock add-on on Firefox to block automatic start-up of ANY flash animation. If I want to see the animation, I can click on it.

Before using FlashBlock, trying to look at certain pages could crash my browser.

So, if your ads use flash, I won't see them -- and because I think that flash ads are disgusting and hurt my eyes and use up MY resources for your ads, I will be glad of it.

I also use AdBlock Plus to block certain ads. Ads get added if they annoy me. I started using it when Bell Canada's stupid beaver ads were blocking real content on certain pages.

#37 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 03:42 PM:

The graphic design is terrible, but I'm also pretty sure that ad is a scam. I mean, you can boil effective dieting down to "consume on average fewer calories than you burn," but that's not going to make you any money, and from Leva Cygnet @21's account, it sounds like they're making money. Which says "rip-off" in large, neon-colored blinky letters to me.

Given that certain sites reliably crash the current 64-bit Linux Flash 10 beta on one of my computers, and the Eee struggles enough to render web pages without the overload of advertising, Flashblock and Adblock are pretty much essential for me. The nice thing about at least Flashblock is that I /can/ see the flash content if I really want it. Google text ads don't bother me in the least, though, and I try to keep them enabled so I'm at least potentially giving the site owner some money.

#38 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 04:00 PM:

echoing mark wise, dbratman, keiths, & nix.

i am not morally opposed to sites supporting themselves through advertising, & i have clicked through to an ad at least once, & ended up making a purchase from that advertiser.

but please, please, no ads that move. at all. ever.

i have the thing where esc works on animated gifs or whatever, which works on here, livejournal & all fantagraphics websites. the only catch there is i have to wait for everything to load before i can stop it moving.

i have one of the ad block thingies where i can block other moving ads on a case-by-case basis, but i have to click "yes" or whatever on multiple little popups (i don't know the computery explanations for what it's doing, & i don't really care to), & then there's those fun ads it won't ever work on.

those make me cranky & want to avoid a page, & i know there was an instance on tor.com at least once. just saying.

#39 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 04:21 PM:

I don't think I ever saw this ad. I'm relatively paranoid about computer security (the more you know about it, the more paranoid you get) so I use NoScript and put up with the inconvenience on sites that I rarely visit. The sites I visit all the time eventually get everything enabled; for sites I really like, I'll enable the ads too.

#40 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 04:22 PM:

I *like* the Google ads. They're unobtrusive when I'm not interested in them, and genuinely useful when I am looking to buy something.

The things that try to hijack my attention, on the other hand, just annoy me. And given that so many of the most annoying types are popular vectors for malware, I'm becoming very tempted to install an ad-blocker even though I know that if enough people do so the content will also go away. It's just not worth the hassle of checking my computer's okay after yet another malware ad has popped up in the hope of tempting me to click it.

#41 ::: Tazistan Jen ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 05:46 PM:

A day or two ago, I was on a blog that had that awful ad three times in a row. I kept scrolling down, and there was another one! Eek.

#42 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 05:55 PM:

Jules, #24: Secondly, the thin stomach picture looks unnatural.

Hilariously, the person with the thin stomach appears to be sucking in their gut.

That's the secret to a thin stomach: walk around holding your breath all the time.

They're apparently amateur pics, taken with a low quality camera, with the JPEG quality level dialled down as far as it'll go.

That's probably deliberate, the idea being that these are real photos of real people, just like you!

#43 ::: Rose White ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 06:14 PM:

I started using AdBlock Plus just a few days ago, because I'd heard about Add-Art, and wanted to try it: http://add-art.org/

From the website: "Add-Art is a free FireFox add-on which replaces advertising on websites with curated art images. The art shows are updated every two weeks and feature contemporary artists and curators."

So far it's mildly entertaining, but the main win has been the lack of Flash and other moving ads. Also, I'd been seeing the World's Ugliest Ad day after day, and it's gone now. :)

#44 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 06:41 PM:

I think we've also seen animated version where the flabby tummy moves.

#45 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 08:11 PM:

don delny at #20 wrote:

> Speaking of worthwhile ads, I do endorse Project Wonderful, though it primarily seems to be used by webcomics and crafters.

I run project wonderful ads on a couple of sites and one of the small pleasures in life is turning down particularly sleazy ads.

#46 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 08:57 PM:

JoeNotCharles @#22:

Just to tie off your loose question: At least here in the USA, it's pretty low, and making a point of "pre-tax" suggests real stinginess.

Remember, the waitrons: (1) are usually getting paid below minimum wage, (2) are often themselves taxed based on "assumed" tips (whether or not they actually get that much), and (3) take a heckuvalot of crap in the course of their work.

These days, a 15% tip for the total bill (before any coupons or discounts!) would be the absolute minimum tip you should be leaving, for merely acceptable service, and that's if you yourself are poor. I'm living on disability payments, and even so, I'd usually take the 15% as a base to round up from, then toss in any loose pennies (or more) I've got in my pocket. (Obviously, I'm not starting with huge tabs -- I rarely eat at real restaurants these days. :-( )

If you can afford it, go for 25%+roundup. My younger sister used to give 25%+ even when she was in college, because she had worked as a waitress!

#47 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2009, 10:17 PM:

David at 46:

Where do you live? I think it's hard to generalize about "tipping in the US," because it's a big country, and there is a lot of variation.

That said, I have never heard of tipping 25%. I have heard 15% (of the total, before discounts, as you say) is standard, 20% for exceptional service.

I make an exception for breakfast - the totals on those meals are lower, and the waiters tend to be poorer, overall.

#48 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 12:27 AM:

David @46:

25%? That's, um, generous. I generally tip 20% (post-tax, which is 8% or more where I live), more for something like breakfast where you stay just as long and spend less, but haven't ever heard of that as being considered stingy.

I've only tipped 15% once in the past few years, for really crummy service, when I made a point of calculating 15% to the penny. And, of course, I don't decrease the tip for the food, or other issues outside control of the waiter.

#49 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 12:54 AM:

I've been tipping between 20 and 25% regularly for the last 4 or 5 years (Pacific Northwest, USA), as real income for everybody, especially people below minimum wage, has gone down. I thought about dropping that down now that I'm "between engagements", but you know what? I'm in better shape financially than a lot of people with low end jobs, so I can afford to continue the same level of tipping. Of course, I go out to restaurants less often these days, but that's all the more reason to maintain the tipping level when I do.

#50 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 01:47 AM:

Like Bruce @ 49, I'm in the US PacNW, and tip 20-25% for normally good service. I'll go higher, though, sometimes significantly higher, if I'm at an establishment where alcohol is a large revenue stream and I'm not drinking that night.

#51 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 02:39 AM:

Patrick: Rather than an ad-blocker per se, I have the Hosts File From Hell. Most of the sites responsible for the truly obnoxious ads are in it, so all I see is a "could not connect to the site requested" message box where they are wont to be. It takes a little more work and fine-tuning, but in the end it's also more emotionally satisfying, at least to me. You can actually look at the message and SEE which asshole spammer isn't being granted access to your system.

#52 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 02:43 AM:

On of the really annoying things about ads was the way Firefox sometimes used to inform me that it couldn't connect to a page on which I'd already read the first couple of paragraphs, and made the text I was reading disappear in front of my eyes, because some ad (or functionally equivalent non-ad element) wouldn't load. Now it usually just stops responding for about a year in that situation, so that I can't scroll down. Still annoying.

So, Adblock is nice, but it would be nicer to have an addon that makes the loading and rendering of pages smarter, in the way that first, the page itself is loaded without any elements (as if Adblock would be on with "*" set as a filter), then, once that is done, all elements from the same host are loaded, and then, once that is done, the software tries to load other elements, skipping over all those that don't load quickly enough without preventing me from looking at the stuff that it has already loaded.

Ok, ideally, that should be the default MO for Firefox, without any addon needed.

David Harmon @26 Another AdBlock Plus (and NoScript) user here and Charlie Stross @35
Over here:

* Adblock Plus

* NoScript

* FlashBlock

-so, does that mean that they get along well? I use Adblock, but I was worried about using other blocking addons at the same time; I thought if I have several addons that filter specific content to block it running simultaneously, they might get in each others way.

#53 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 03:37 AM:

Tonight is the first time I've seen that ad: AdBlocker/NoScript for the win.

If websites used ads that didn't get in the way of reading and are relevant to the topic, I might be tempted to consider them.

But the repeating Acme Rocket Sled ads get in the way of Acme Rocket Sled what I'm trying to do: Acme Rocket Sled learn from the Acme Rocket Sled essay I'm reading. By Acme Rocket Sled making my work harder, I Acme Rocket Sled have less time for Acme Rocket Sled breaks (where I can contemplate Acme Rocket Sled purchases).


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#55 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 05:51 AM:

Raphael @52: the only problem with stacking FlashBlock and AdBlock is that if I want to see a Flash video I have to click through twice. ("You are about to lose several seconds or minutes of your life. Are you REALLY sure you want to do that?")

NoScript ... I'm fairly liberal in granting temporary permissions to sites I deliberately go to, but I do not want any Javascript to run on my machine from any site I do not explicitly grant permission to.

While the plugins occasionally squabble, the improvement in speed (and reduction in annoyance) more than makes up for it.

(Did I mention Google text ads? Well: they're allowed. I find them irritating but I can ignore them. Which I do. I don't think I've clicked through a web ad, other than by accident, in the past five years ...)

#56 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) sees polite and well-spoken spam ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 06:03 AM:

#54 certainly looks like spam, although less annoying than most; at least it had the sense to try to butter up the moderator.

#57 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 07:06 AM:

Bruce: it's weirdly on-topic for this thread.

More so than what I just saw in the spam bin on my main blog: a URL with "lactating video porn" in it. Nearly sprained my thumb on the delete key ....

#58 ::: Dom ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 07:55 AM:

Out of curiosity, I clicked on the ad. The sites it leads to are interestingly scammy. They all try to sell both "acai" and "colon cleanse" pills.

They seem to have a different .com domain for various geographical markets, as well as different names for the same model. Compare www.www-karensweightloss.com (Karen Joyce from Scranton, PA) with emilysweightlossblog.com (Emily Stevenson from Seattle, WA) or thisdietsavedme.com (Nicholle Stevenson from Miami).

The fake blog entry has fake comments, all of which praise the scammy product. There is, of course, no way to actually comment: "Comments have been temporarily closed due to spam."

This blog seems to have kept track of the scammers running the ad. (The scam is apparently so widespread that Google searches on information about the scam carry advertising for meta-scams.)

#59 ::: Tlönista ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 08:20 AM:

Bizarre. I've been using Adblock for years and this is the first time I've even seen that ad.

Dom @58, the list of all the interlinked scam sites is fascinating. I admire that blogger's tenacity.

#60 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 08:20 AM:

In my experience, the least reputable advertising tends to be on the least reputable sites.

Monkey punching is indelibly associated in my mind with websites distributing content with no regard for copyright. Different sorts of dishonesty--some P2P data, such as Linux distributions, is lawful--and some adverts are honest. Maybe we should stick with the better classes of web-page.

(If I self-publish a book, I think I could mention it to my friends. An advert here? I figure we're a rather demanding market.)

#61 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 08:29 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @ 53... Might I instead interest you in Acme Rocket Skates?

#62 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 09:09 AM:

Charlie Stross @55, thanks, that's good to know. I think I've gotten rid of the "several blogs open in several tabs, while each blogger has recently posted several videos" problem now.

#63 ::: Cat Meadors ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 09:31 AM:

I've used adblock for... as long as I've used FF, I think. And at work, web adverts are are blocked, so even though we use IE, all we get are "WEB CONTENT DENIED" blocks anywhere there are ads.

I used to blacklist only the most obnoxious (read: blinky) ads, because I really did want sites to succeed on an advertising-based model. I switched to whitelisting the rare site after WaPo did something sneaky with its advertisers that made that disgusting toe fungus ad show up no matter how many different ways you blocked it. The only time I manually block things now is when someone uses an offensive and/or animated forum avatar.

(And I admit to being a Bad Person re: Google text ads. The ones that look scammy or repugnant, I click religiously every time they show up; one more tenth of a penny that that scammy/repugnant organization has to pay.)

#64 ::: K.C. Shaw ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 09:38 AM:

Oh, that ad! I hate it! It's so everywhere that I thought I was being personally targeted, possibly by a disapproving god ("Remember that diet you started on Jan. 1 and forgot about by Jan. 5?").

I've clicked on two ads on purpose, ever, that I remember. One was a Google ads newsfeed that said something about the loch ness monster, but when I clicked through it was just some random ad-riddled page, as I recall. No loch ness anything. The other was a book ad that looked interesting, but I didn't buy the book. Mostly I don't touch ads; I don't trust them not to stuff my computer with malware.

I need to install Adblock Plus. Maybe I'll do that at lunch for my eee.

#65 ::: Martin Wisse ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 09:52 AM:

What I wonder is how many people follow the same reasoning as Patrick and feel it's their duty to view ads?

In my experience most people get an adblocking app quite quickly or are too lazy/not knowledgable enough to know it's an option.

#66 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 09:58 AM:

(I've never seen a tipping conversation end well, although this one is all right so far....)

I am pretty sure these ads are the new tiny-spy-camera ads. Remember when that was every ad ever?

Also the "after" picture is stretched vertically, unless I'm much mistaken.

I use AdBlock Plus on Firefox and PithHelmet on Safari. I feel guilty about doing this to ad-supported sites I actually like, but not guilty enough to put up with the sometimes blinky, sometimes offensive (to me, not necessarily to all), nearly always annoying ads.

#67 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 10:00 AM:

Patrick: if you can be arsed sticking up a Paypal tipjar for ML, I'll happily deposit a contribution towards bandwidth. (Same goes for 'most every other website I use regularly.)

But I view the pervasive spread of advertising as one of the pernicious besetting evils of western civilization -- perhaps not responsible for quite as much human misery and degradation as the war on drugs or the war on turrr (or war in general), but still a major evil.

#68 ::: ADM ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 10:06 AM:

JoeNotCharles @#22 --

what Dave @ #46 et al. have said.

In the US, tipping is generally 15% on the total bill as a minimum in some areas (coasts and big cities), or the standard in smaller towns. I live in a very small town, and the standard is 20%, but I think that's true of college towns.

In some states (fewer than 10, I think), servers make minimum wage or more plus tips. i live in a 'right to work' state, which means that the servers make about $2.50 an hour plus tips, and minimum wage only kicks in if a server hasn't averaged minimum wage for the week in hourly plus tips. One weekend night shift will usually put you over the minimum wage average, but most restaurants don't have servers working more than 30 hours a week, because it's hard physical work and because many of the staff are working other jobs or are students.

The federal government assumes servers are walking out the door with a minimum of 8% in tips, and servers have to prove that they don't make at least that much.

I used to wait tables at a steakhouse in the PacNW. I was a reasonably good server. So on a Saturday night, I might sell $1500. So the government is taxing me on $120 off the bat. Say I made only 15%, or $225. There are two expediters on the line, and each gets a minimum of $1 per hour per server for their 6 hour shift -- and servers round up, if they want their food to go out quickly and right -- so $15 to the expos. Bussers get 10-15% of the tips -- again, you want to encourage a good busser, because they can make all the difference in the world, so $35 there. $400 of the total was in bar drinks, so the bartender and bar-back get their 5-10%, so say $25-30. So that's about $80 off the top, and I'm down to $145. Most servers actually do declare more than the 8% that the government assumes, because no one wants to get audited. And if the tips are all on credit cards? The server just paid taxes on $225, not $145, because that's documented tips.

I don't even want to get into the evil that is pooled tipping.

So yeah, as someone who tips 20% minimum, unless the service is shite? s someone who has spent time as a server? Yeah, Rachael Ray and her 15% pre-tax (10% in the last two places I've lived) tips offend me.And a

#69 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 10:41 AM:

Oh Ghu, I hate moving flashing ads. I've complained to oen of my e-mail providers, about it, more than once, because they put moving flashing ads on the page where I'm trying to read the mail - which I'm paying for. If it were on only the open-to-the-public pages, I'd let it be, but when I have to provide username and password to access it, I want no f*cking ads.

Yeah, that 'flat stomach' ad is really bad. It looks like something put together at home by an amateur with no graphics skills, and no clue to people's reactions either.

#70 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 10:52 AM:

Tipping, #47, #48:

Agreed, 25% is generous, that's why I said "if you can afford it". 20% is probably more reasonable for most people, but my real point is still to err toward generosity rather than stinginess, as limited by your own means.

In this context, I'd say that regional variations tend to come out in the wash (that is, prices vary roughly with income). I was just trying to avoid getting tangled up with places in Europe etc that have absurdly high VATs or suchlike.

#71 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 11:04 AM:

Martin Wisse @#65: In fact, I started out thinking that way, but rapidly got battered into retreat. Between popups, page freezes, and other blatant intrusions, it was just too much for me.

#72 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 11:22 AM:

Martin @ 65: I don't know if I'm thinking the same way as Patrick, but I have purposely gone with things like NoScript instead of AdBlock in part because I recognize that ads do fund a number of sites that I like.

NoScript and its cousins help me filter the dangerous and more obnoxious ads, which makes my Web experience reasonably harmonious and still helps keep the sites in business. (I haven't seen a popup or ad-triggered page freeze on a computer I control for quite some time.) Mind you, I tend not to go back to sites with particularly obnoxious ads anyway.

One of the sites that is currently running the flat stomach ad is a personal finance blog written by someone whom I like, and who I believe has said rejects ads he finds ethically dubious. I've just written him about this ad, pointing him to the discussion here and the list of fake/scam blogs linked upthread. We'll see if he takes the ad off. (This strategy might also work for other sites that folks like; a number of ad networks will let site maintainers say they don't want particular ads running on their site.)

#73 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 11:40 AM:

Charlie Stross @67: But I view the pervasive spread of advertising as one of the pernicious besetting evils of western civilization [..]

Leela: Didn't you have ads in the 20th century?

Fry: Well, sure, but not in our dreams. Only on TV and radio. And in magazines and movies and at ball games and on buses and milk cartons and T-shirts and written in the sky. But not in dreams. No, sir-ee

By way of citation, copied from here.

#74 ::: don delny ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 12:30 PM:

While I agree with Charlie Stross, 67, on tip jars, what I would really like* would be a way to subscribe to a stream of ads that Patrick and Teresa (or Charlie, or Scalzi) explicitly endorse. I'm thinking of an RSS feed of Amazon affiliate links for books you all have edited/written/reviewed. Or something so I can glance at the front page and see "aha! a carefully curated list of things you think are cool AND that I can actually get."

The problem I have on most sites is that I have no faith that the site owner has any inkling of what they are advertising. It's one of the things I really enjoy about Project Wonderful, the granularity of the ad approval process (when it's used!) adds a layer of metadata. Thank goodness for people like Steve Taylor, 45, who do take pleasure in zapping awful ads.


Patrick Nielsen Hayden, 27,
Ah!
You are now unblocked :) Thank you for hosting us!

*pony, also.

#75 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 03:01 PM:

The few Chinese sites I've seen tend to go in for the blinking, colorful, moving, and otherwise obnoxious ads. I don't know if this is a general tendency or not, as I don't often look at Chinese websites for lack of reading ability. That said, it wouldn't surprise me if it were common, as when I visited China they seem to have embraced television advertising in the cities on buses, trains, and even next to some hotel elevators. If you've already managed to train people to ignore ads like that, then you have to make the ads even more obnoxious to compensate, I suppose.

If this particularly ugly ad is an even worse scam than normal (I view all miracle weight-loss ads as scams), surely CBS and ABC would like to know about it, as their names are being used.

The use of different domains seems reminiscent to me of its use in some MLM ads on television. It could be that I'm seeing the same symptom with a different underlying cause, though. As Dom points out @ 58, it may just be a matter of geographical segregation, or wanting to look as if they are local to their potential marks, er, I mean, customers.

#76 ::: Mishalak ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 03:19 PM:

I seem to catch onto things until much later than most people. I did not know that 20% was supposed to be standard now and my first reaction was outrage. Silly over the top outrage because I thought that by tipping 20% I was being generous and here I find I'm not measuring up at all.

I don't want to be a bad person, but I really dislike the creeping up of the commission on the serving of prepared food. I don't feel old, but it seems like not that long ago when a 10% tip was standard and 15% was generous. Well, okay, that was 20+ years ago in Denver, which was more small town than big town in character then.

And if it doubles again to 40% in another 20 years it won't be the end of the world. If the progression is linear that would mean that the 100% tip won't become standard until around 2055. (Hurm, is there a SF story there?)

But it still makes me unhappy with eating out and I think I'll cut back on it. Maybe limit myself to actual restaurant eating to no more than four times a month or something.

#77 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 03:21 PM:

ADM, #68: You've mentioned the primary reason that I always prefer to tip in cash if possible. Sometimes it's not possible, but I do at least check my wallet before adding the tip on the credit card.

#78 ::: Seth Breidbart ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 03:30 PM:

ADM #68: Are you really complaining that the IRS forced you to pay taxes on $120 when you only made $145? Some (most) of us have to pay taxes on all our income.

If you keep a contemporaneous diary of your income and expenses, you can use that to support your tax return. That means you get to exclude the amount of "your" tips that's paid out to other workers.

Is the evilness of pooled tips the fact that you don't get to evade taxes at all?

#79 ::: Durga ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 04:01 PM:

Totally agree. This ad makes me want to throw up instantaneously and its everywhere.

#80 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 04:28 PM:

Cat @63
(And I admit to being a Bad Person re: Google text ads. The ones that look scammy or repugnant, I click religiously every time they show up; one more tenth of a penny that that scammy/repugnant organization has to pay.)

Way more than a tenth of a penny; charges are in whole penny increments with historically a 5 cent minimum. Around the time I stopped paying attention (ie, when it stopped being professionally relevant to me), Google introduced varying minimums, but with 5 cents still as a floor. Part of the goal of the higher minimums was to price scams out of the market; that obviously hasn't succeeded, but it may be putting an even larger bite on them.

(and no, my professional involvement wasn't on a scam; it was for a large retailer, and we tried hard (but didn't always succeed) to only place actually relevant and non-obnoxious ads.)

#81 ::: mcz ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 06:09 PM:

I seldom see any ads at all because I run Firefox with Javascript, Flash and popups disabled by default. These functions (among many others) are controlled from a customizable toolbar (Prefbar), which makes it very easy to turn on any function as needed.

I like the idea of a tip jar because I can make a silent contribution.

#82 ::: Leva Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 06:26 PM:

Re: the diet ad being a scam.

Oh, *ewww* ... *kills it*

I didn't realize it was a scam. I ass-u-me'd it was leading to something along the lines of Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig. Figures it's a scam. I wondered how they were affording the cost of site targeted advertising because their conversion rate can't be very good.

My bottom line? Not so important as killing a scammer.

Now, watch: Getting rid of it permanently will probably be like playing whack-a-mole, if they're truly scammers.

TribalFusion, at least, is nice in that they provide a list of all ads displaying on your site. Makes it very convenient to kill bad ads.

Hmmm. It might be worthwhile to complain to Tribalfusion as well. I'll point my ad rep at this thread.

-- Leva

#83 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 06:31 PM:

Durga@79

I suppose COULD say that makes it an effective weight-loss method...

#84 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 07:29 PM:

Seth, #78: RFC. The hypothetical waitperson is being taxed on $225, but only actually receiving $145. Oh, and if the expediters and busboys are also being taxed on their distributions from the waitperson's tips, then the government is double-dipping.

#85 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 09:31 PM:

If I were to design a scam ad parody, it would be for the Ab-Slasher Home Lipodripsy Kit; basically, it's a tanning bed retrofitted with surplus Foreman Grill parts and Pythonesque rotating knives.

#86 ::: AndrDrew ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 09:33 PM:

The Ads that forced me to consider an adblocker were all the banner ads that expand to cover the content of the webpage when you accidentally mouse over them (and have to be manually re-minimized). also, the ones that just automatically cover the content you are reading, and often even scroll down with you.

Unfortunately, I just found out the Coraline movie uses the first case. I was tempted to click on it, but when I went to mouse over it and had the BLAAAR! EXPAND AND BE BIG AND UGLY! phenomenon I decided not to... and re-enabled/updated my disused adblocker.

#87 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 09:52 PM:

@58 and scammy diet ads: the [name]sweightlossblog.com and acai berry ads are in fact scams as confirmed by the relevant people at my company. we've been rooting out those things right and left. i feel a little guilty about using firefox with adblock on my work computer when i work in the web advertising business... but only a little.

#88 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 10:31 PM:

Also, the waitstaff is being taxed on presumed income, so all the people who decide to be cheap and not tip at all are actually costing the waitstaff money. Even if they were bad, were they really bad enough that they ought to pay for the privilege of bringing your food? Although, I imagine that's far less likely to happen in a more upscale restaurant than the Denny's where I discovered this from one of the night managers.

#89 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2009, 07:27 AM:

Martin Wisse #65, and several subsequent posters: I would never have said I felt it was my "duty" to look at web ads. What I was trying to say is that by and large I've left ads enabled because I have an interest in knowing about the business side of the web. No sense of obligation is involved, and I have no criticism whatsoever of any of the measures discussed in this thread.

don delny, #74: That's an interesting idea. Amazon Affiliates is something I've avoided for a reason orthogonal to this discussion: specifically, the fact that Amazon is just one of a large number of competing retailers that Tor sells to, and moreover one that many of the others are extremely touchy about. It may be time to revisit that.

#90 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2009, 07:58 AM:

The ad now appears to be gone (or at least not appearing again after several reloads) from the personal finance blog I contacted (The Simple Dollar). And I even see a little "Report an unethical ad" link I hadn't noticed before (though it might well just have been something I missed).

Good for them.

#91 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2009, 08:42 AM:

EClaire @ #88 et alii: a further wrinkle is that I have had an employer under-declare my tips (I reported the amount I received; they declared the substantially lower amount that would barely bring me up to minimum wage). This was so they wouldn't have to pay their share of Social Security on my tips. I sent them a registered letter asking that they correct the error immediately. They did. If they hadn't, I would have turned them in to the IRS.

Years later, while working at H&R Block, I ended up preparing taxes for one of my former co-workers and discovered that the company was still pulling the same stunt.

Don't get me started on employers who classify employees as independent contractors to avoid paying SSI. I've run into that twice. One of them got caught at it, but it was not I who turned them in. (Rule of thumb: IRS says if you're told where to work, when to work and how to work, you're an employee.)

#92 ::: don delny ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2009, 11:14 AM:

Patrick Nielsen Hayden, 89

don delny, #74: That's an interesting idea.
I am totally going to print that out and frame that! Squee!

Amazon is just one of a large number of competing retailers that Tor sells to, and moreover one that many of the others are extremely touchy about. It may be time to revisit that.
Ah, I had not considered that. I suppose you can't very well go around that by letting Tor's employees buy Tor's books wholesale and re-sell them at retail. I mean, talk about dis-intermediation! And I suppose retailers would really, really howl about that!

I tend to think about things from a webcomics perspective where the writer/editor owns the capital and sells directly to the audience. Speaking of, Jeph Jaques wrote an interesting essay schooling print comics/comic strip guys on the reality of how you actually make money on the internet. Sample:

If "the technology existed to prevent illegal copying and distributing on the web" we would be living IN MAGICAL FAIRY PONY FANTASY LAND.
Which should probably be tattooed on the forehead of any number of "content industry" CEOs.

Anyway, the recapitulation of the exact same thrashing about in each new industry that faces the problem of OMGzorz! free stuff on the internet is interesting, and Jacques froths with a nice balance of wit and vulgarity.

#93 ::: Inquisitive Raven ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2009, 11:19 AM:

I think the thing that prompted me into using adblocker software was Seed Magazine's penchant for animated ads on Scienceblogs. Those ads, which often featured animations that left the apparent ad space to wander over parts of the page had a tendency to freeze my browser (Seamonkey and later, Firefox). You'd think that after this happened a couple of times, and Seed got a lot of complaints about this from readers, they'd learn better, but if they did, it was only after I'd started using Adblock and wouldn't able to tell, which was after rather more than two incidents.

#94 ::: Seth Breidbart ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2009, 09:32 AM:

Lee #84: I carefully specified that a waiter who keeps track of actual tips received can report precisely that amount and pay taxes on it, even if it disagrees with what the company claims.

If the company is reporting improperly (e.g. $225 to the waiter, nothing to the bussers or expediters (in some states, I believe it's illegal to require sharing tips with non-service personnel)), that should be fixed, perhaps with a report to the IRS that the company is under-reporting for those people.

#95 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2009, 04:01 PM:

As far as I'm concerned, if it moves, it dies. If it doesn't move, fine. It may be <Person X's> site, but it's my screen, and I decide what goes on it. I tend towards "false positives are okay, but not false negatives", which is perhaps mean, but advertising basically doesn't work for me, so it's an eyeball that doesn't notice the grab; shouldn't matter for the advertiser.

Yeah, it sucks for PPI websites; PPCers don't gain or lose anything from me. However, the webserver has the final say; if Person X doesn't want to serve me pages if I won't accept their flashy things, that's their right (some sites do, and I don't visit them).

And yes, I've been known to click with brain disengaged once or twice (and only once or twice) on ads displayed on sites I feel are worthwhile. I feel a bit mean for that, too, because it screws over the advertiser; but then I remember that they don't care about me (just my eyes and wallet, neither of which they're getting) and I choose to return the favour. The site owner - she I care about.

#96 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2009, 04:06 PM:

...and interestingly, I can't see "the ad", as it's blocked at the proxy at work.

#97 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2009, 04:40 PM:

In contrast, when I went to check out the tigers in snow particle, I saw the Berlitz "matador" ad, which was delightful. My daughter wants to show it to all her friends at school. (Here it is on YouTube.)

#98 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2009, 04:51 PM:

Lila - In case you didn't spot it on youtube, there's at least one other in that series that is equally delightful, about the ceiling. (I can't look for it to link, sorry. YouTube is blocked from work.)

#99 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2009, 11:25 PM:

Inquisitive Raven @93: I think the thing that prompted me into using adblocker software was Seed Magazine's penchant for animated ads on Scienceblogs.

Same for me; specifically, a Discovery channel ad with an animated tornado on Pharyngula. PZ Myers wrote a post apologizing for it (complaining that it was a Seed thing he had no control over, which would continue to run for the time it had been contracted for); in the comments, links were provided for ad blocking freeware to defeat it.

Like several people who have commented, I dislike animated ads because they distract me when I'm trying to read. That animated tornado, which left the ad column and slid over the text, was a whole new class of obnoxious behavior.

#100 ::: Leva Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2009, 12:05 AM:

From a web design/web developer's standpoint, you have to be very careful with animated ads that leave their ad space and go walkabout on the rest of the page. If they go walkabout over the top of an Adsense ad, you can be banned from Adsense -- it's against the TOS. Being banned from Adsense is a bad thing -- it's for life with no chance of pardon, generally speaking. (No element of a page can cover an Adsense ad, including pulldowns, or other ads.)

BTW, I told my TF representative about the diet ad and linked here. He said he'd escalate my concerns up the chain of command. (Tribal Fusion -- the ad vendor that is hosting the ad in question that Patrick linked to -- is one of the more respectable ad companies out there. As far as I can tell, they're white hats, and I like them lots.)

-- Leva

#101 ::: Luthe ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2009, 04:01 AM:

I default to leaving AdBlock and Firefox's pop-up blocker on, but I have whitelisted Google text ads. I have no problem with people trying to sell me things that are targeted, relevant, and unobtrusive.

#102 ::: Rob Rusick spots spam ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 01:52 PM:

Or at least something spammish @102.

#103 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 16, 2009, 02:00 PM:

If not great, at least pretty good.

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