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If You're Blocking Ads While On ATS, You Get A Big Ugly Message

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posted on Feb, 29 2016 @ 11:41 PM
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Yeah, it's getting ugly here folks.

First some background that brought us to this point.

The business of ad-blocking extensions/plugins for your browsers has turned into that of extortion. I went through significant pains to revise our entire ad delivery system to use delivery technology that qualifies for white-listing from these companies. Meaning, the way we place ads onto ATS should qualify AboveTopSecret.com to allow "approved" ads to appear. Next, nearly 70% of all our ad providers have white-listed alternatives -- meaning, if an ad-blocker is detected, they select a (lower paying) pre-approved ad to appear.

And even the ad networks that show unapproved ads in the ad-blocking companies eyes are the best of the best. I've spent time reviewing their code, their policies, how often they scan for malware/viruses, what code they disallow, etc.

Good. I did everything a site owner/publisher can do. So I applied for White-Listing.

Given our traffic, that would cost us over $5,000 per month.

Yup.

White-listing from these shake-down artists is not specific to the ads, it's specific to the domain on which the ads appear. So even though we have ad alternatives available to use that would comply with their "behaving ads" standards, we still need to pay in order for those to appear.

In fact, their code has gotten so strict over the past few months, I can't even swap out a static image (JPG/GIF/PNG) to replace an ad they block.


THIS IS A SIGNIFICANT PROBLEM

It's hurting us and lots of small independent publishers really bad. These companies aren't really "giving users what they want," they're taking the life-blood away from sites like us, then trying to extort us to get some of it back. That's evil.


IF YOU"RE NOT LOGGED IN

For now, you get the big ugly message, and none of the links on the page will work. It's not quite as drastic as the measures many other sites are taking. Many are starting to block ad-block users altogether. In our case, for people who come from a Google search and land on deep-content, if they're using an ad-blocker, at least they can read the material they expected to find.


IF YOU ARE LOGGED IN

You get the big ugly message. And some features (like image uploading) will likely be disabled for you. Still deciding what features to disable, but that one makes the most sense.




posted on Feb, 29 2016 @ 11:48 PM
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Ouch. For me, adblocking is about bandwidth with my poor DSL, with 100 year old wires covered in woven horse hair.

A page with ads can take 2x as long to load....if at all. Hardware to play the flash-y ads is not a problem, but it really can cause mucho problemos for users with marginal equipment.



posted on Feb, 29 2016 @ 11:49 PM
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Before the discussion heats up ( as I assume it will ) I want to take a moment, remove my ATS staff hat and make a very sincere statement.

Thank you S.O.

As a person who's been puttering around the Internet since it's infancy I know how rare it is for a site admin or owner to take the time to try and include the community in such discussions - much less to actually care deeply for how the community feels.

Most sites would simply change the code and never speak of it or allow any such discussion to happen.

So again. Thank you for proving, yet again, that we, as members, matter here.



posted on Feb, 29 2016 @ 11:52 PM
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The Ads here have "calmed down" immensely over the past 2 months or so. I didn't visit ATS much at all during the last half of 2015, because both Edge and IE-11 browsers would freeze, or the Ads were the kind that made the window jump around, or strange pop-ups occur when the mouse pointer simply passed over certain hyperlinks.

But for 2016, everything appears to be rock steady when browsing ATS, which makes this forum far more enjoyable! Instead, I'm seeing some "targeted" banners, but they are not intrusive in any way.
-cwm
edit on 2/29/2016 by carewemust because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 29 2016 @ 11:54 PM
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a reply to: Hefficide

agreed. cheers for the heads-up S.O



posted on Mar, 1 2016 @ 12:05 AM
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What a lot of people don't seem to understand is that whether we like it or not, ads are a necessary evil to keep most websites functioning. There's nothing wrong with running ad blockers to filter out some of them (I certainly do), but if you have a site that you like and that you use frequently, white list it! Otherwise it may not be there tomorrow...

Thank you for explaining the situation and allowing discussion on the matter, S.O.. As Heff said, not many admins/site owners would even consider doing such a thing. It's very much appreciated.

As for what to disable when an ad blocker is detected, I would suggest disabling the ability to create new threads (instead of disabling uploads) or disabling videos (in addition to disabling uploads). I wouldn't go so far as disabling posting all together, as that would likely result in people just leaving, but I think either of the aforementioned ideas would be more effective than just disabling uploads alone.
edit on 3/1/2016 by AdmireTheDistance because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 1 2016 @ 12:05 AM
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a reply to: SkepticOverlord

Your efforts are appreciated. My son installed some pretty big guns on my apple yesterday and am still in the process of customizing it. I can hardly believe what gets blocked from my computer even when my browser is closed. WiFi, the yellow brick road into our personal lives.

Best of luck with your efforts.



posted on Mar, 1 2016 @ 12:09 AM
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a reply to: Witness2008

Actually, a stock Mac running the current OS doesn't need any additional protection. All those malware/virus/optimization apps for Mac are pretty much a scam... unless something goes seriously wrong with your disk, and you need DiskDoctor (or similar) to fix it.

I've always used Macs. And never had any issues.

However, you should make sure your WiFi router is very secure. Only allow known MAC addresses to connect.



posted on Mar, 1 2016 @ 12:15 AM
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Sounds to me like you need 5k a month...



posted on Mar, 1 2016 @ 12:16 AM
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I'm of the "Don't f%&$ing tell me what to buy" anti-marketing crowd. Meaning, I've never clicked on an ad. Ever. I don't even bother looking at them in magazines, and mute the ones on TV. If I want something, I'll get it. I don't need an ad to tell me I need it.

So keeping that in mind, as far as I know, you only get revenue when someone clicks on an ad. How are you getting revenue from people like me who won't click? I'm only asking because this doesn't logically add up to me as a solution.



posted on Mar, 1 2016 @ 12:19 AM
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originally posted by: Nyiah
I'm of the "Don't f%&$ing tell me what to buy" anti-marketing crowd. Meaning, I've never clicked on an ad. Ever. I don't even bother looking at them in magazines, and mute the ones on TV. If I want something, I'll get it. I don't need an ad to tell me I need it.

So keeping that in mind, as far as I know, you only get revenue when someone clicks on an ad. How are you getting revenue from people like me who won't click? I'm only asking because this doesn't logically add up to me as a solution.
That aint how ads work nowadays. They pay out per load, not per click. Advertisers want you to see their brand at the very least. I'm with you, though.



posted on Mar, 1 2016 @ 12:23 AM
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originally posted by: Nyiah
as far as I know, you only get revenue when someone clicks on an ad.

Incorrect.

The vast, overwhelming majority of our ads are impression-based. Meaning, if you see them, we get paid.



posted on Mar, 1 2016 @ 12:24 AM
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a reply to: SkepticOverlord

Sad to hear that ad-blocking have become a racket.

Personally I use a personalized block list targeting specific annoying and offensive ads, not related to the site I visit but blocking URL/IP directly inside the hosts file of the system.

No big ugly message, so I assume your ads master won't penalize you.

If I were you, I would be carefull and watch my steps about generating annoying "things" to deter utilization of ads-blocker, I undertand these peoples suck up your expensive bandwidth for nothing, but there is always the risk they will not come back if their ads-blocker is rendered useless. As usual, moderation is suggested.

For my others layer of security/ads blocking, you know, they are Above Top Secret ...


edit on 2016-3-1 by PeterMcFly because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 1 2016 @ 12:27 AM
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originally posted by: AshOnMyTomatoes
That aint how ads work nowadays. They pay out per load, not per click.

Not sure if I follow here, but that sounds like a type of mass tracking then?

I got to thinking, what's stopping someone from creating an anti anti-adblock? Turns, out, not much. A quick google tells me there's already things to circumvent SO's approach available. I really don't see what's going to be accomplished when there's existing circumventions out there.



posted on Mar, 1 2016 @ 12:27 AM
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a reply to: PeterMcFly

I just think ad-blocking in general is unethical and overly-paranoid.

I've never blocked ads. I've never had problems.

Of course, I have intimate direct knowledge of how the ad technology works, and it's nothing like the FUD the ad-blocking companies feed you.



posted on Mar, 1 2016 @ 12:28 AM
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a reply to: SkepticOverlord

Hasn't there been any discussion of a nominal membership fee or donation amount to flag a
No ad option for an account?

I must feed money to 8 or 10 websites..
I'd do the same for ATS for that feature for a psychologically appropriate price point.

Hasn't online based ad schemes taken a big hit globally in recent years? Maybe time for a new
Monetization model?

Kev



posted on Mar, 1 2016 @ 12:29 AM
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a reply to: SkepticOverlord

Is there still the thing where members with a certain amount of posts get less or no ads?

I haven't seen an ad here for years while logged in.



posted on Mar, 1 2016 @ 12:31 AM
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a reply to: SkepticOverlord

What's ugly is constant autoplay ads and constant pop-ups, so many that it's no longer worth participating here.

I pay a fortune for my access, for every gigabyte, but as a business entity you've stated pretty clearly that you don't care.

Thanks a heap.



posted on Mar, 1 2016 @ 12:31 AM
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a reply to: KellyPrettyBear

80% of our bandwidth is eaten by non-members who will likely never become members.

That being said, I'm looking at a possible solution.

I'm also working with someone at Google on their Google Contributor program. Right now, the way it works, is that you pay $10 into the bucket, and no matter where you go, you see no ads until your $10 is eaten up. I've convinced them to consider allowing people in the program to specific they sites where it would work -- we're first in the list of sites where that would be tested.



posted on Mar, 1 2016 @ 12:35 AM
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a reply to: SkepticOverlord



I just think ad-blocking in general is unethical and overly-paranoid.

I've never blocked ads. I've never had problems.

Of course, I have intimate direct knowledge of how the ad technology works, and it's nothing like the FUD the ad-blocking companies feed you.


If I were not overly-paranoid, I would not be on ATS.


As a suggestion, maybe you should create a two tier login structure, free subscription got all the ads, but paying subscribers (low fee would enroll lots of subscriptions) would be completely ads free.




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