pagefair-adobe-2014-report-title

2014 Report – Adblocking Goes Mainstream

Sean Blanchfield Acceptable Advertising, Ad News, AdBlock 76 Comments

We are proud to announce our 2014 report on adblocking in partnership with Adobe (press release here). This report reveals for the first time the actual facts concerning the size and growth of adblocking, including an analysis of the demographics of adblockers and a survey of adblock user attitudes in the United States. It has taken a mammoth effort from team members at PageFair and Adobe to compile, analyse and present this data. We believe that we have uncovered a major threat to the digital media industry, and hope that this report will help mobilise advertisers, publishers, and technology providers to form an appropriate and constructive response.

Quick Facts:

  • There are about 144 million active adblock users around the world.
  • Adblock usage grew by nearly 70% between June 2013 – June 2014.
  • Growth is driven by Google Chrome, on which adblock penetration nearly doubled between June 2013 – June 2014.
  • Adblock usage varies by country. In some countries nearly one quarter of the online population has it installed.
  • Adblock usage is driven by young internet users. 41% of 18-29 year olds polled said they use adblock.
  • Adblock usage is higher with males, but female usage is still very significant.
  • A majority of adblockers expressed some willingness to receive less intrusive ad formats (however they strongly rejected intrusive ad formats such as interstitials and popovers).

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If you are worried that adblock may be affecting your business, you can get an instant free audit of your website traffic by signing up with us. You can then choose to use PageFair Ads to show adblock-appropriate advertising to your adblock visitors. If you want to discuss this matter in person, please feel free to get in touch. You can also find us at Dmexco 2014 (10th & 11th September) in Hall 6 at booth F.023.

  • Matthew Roberts

    Looks great Sean.

  • Tinfoil 2.0

    Obviously many people use adblockers to block annoying ads. I suspect an increasing number are more like me, who are much more concerned about the tracking than about the ads per se. Especially when users indicate privacy intent by clearing cookies and other state, and by using the Do Not Track (DNT=1) header, and they see industry ratcheting up the arms race by using browser and/or device fingerprinting and other sneaky methods to continue to surveille users who clearly do not want to be tracked.

    • Mark

      Privacy is my own major motivation for blocking all ads, and where possible tracking. The notion of ‘acceptable’ ads is a misnomer; most of these still facilitate tracking, even though the ad format itself may be somewhat reasonable, and the requirement to opt out at a specific site is just not on – a simple browser setting should be enough to inform that I do not wish to be tracked or have my data pimped to third parties. Which leads to the next problem; I simply would not trust any opt out available. This is entirely the industry’s own fault, as time and time again they have been caught failing to honour opt outs to which they have agreed, and since the user really has no way to check what is happening behind the curtain, the only option is to ensure no requests are sent. While this still leaves browser fingerprinting, I’m extremely confident this will addressed sooner rather than later.

      I’ve used the web since day one, and I am frankly utterly sick of the ads industry and its endless abuse of users, and perhaps even more sick of the sheer arrogance that drives it. Circa 1998, the only means of getting rid of the pests was banner blindness, however killing ads and tracking is now easier than ever, causes few problems in everyday use and requires on a bare minimum of config. Unfortunately for the industry, this is one of those rare cases users really do have the capacity to fight back on almost equal terms. I’m perfectly happy to pay for sites (or even pages – micropayments??) that I use regularly, and do so where it is available and the price is reasonable. Unfortunately I’m rarely given the choice. And I will ALWAYS pay to get rid of ads in apps, and uninstall immediately if the option isn’t available.

      Personally, I’m quite happy to see sites go bust. There is a serious conversation to be had, and regulation needed, and it seems the only thing that will drive the industry – and lawmakers – to engage honestly is catastrophic loss of revenue, and in pushing to achieve that I’m delighted to do my bit. The move to try and punt adblocking as theft is simply hysterically funny; sure it is, provided you also apply the same definition to riding roughshod over my privacy by either failing to disclose the extent and manner in which you use my information, or by simply riding roughshod over my expressed preferences and rules to which you have a greed.

      Enjoy making hay while the sun shines, because the chill of a long hard winter is just around the corner if you refuse to change your ways.

  • Jason

    Advertisers only have themselves to blame. You make annoying, intrusive ads and you give motivation to people to go look for ways to block them. Don’t pop up ads. Don’t flash ads. And definitely don’t auto-play audio/video ads. Don’t intrude on my silence! And stop tracking me as I traverse different websites! Oh wait, never mind, I have AdBlock, I’m all good.

    • Pvblivs

      With ad blockers becoming more prevalent, the sites that you love to steal from are becoming less inclined to leave the blockers be. If 5 percent of your users block ads, it’s not a big deal; you’re more interested in getting more users. If 95 percent come, take your content, but block your revenue, it’s a big deal.

      And the fuss ABO users made when there was talk about “acceptable ads” really shows that it’s not about intrusive ads, or malware, or tracking. Those just make for better sound bites. People use ad blockers because they don’t want to pay the listed price (displaying some ads) but they still want to take the content offered at that price.

      • Daniel Plain

        Find a way to generate revenue without littering my brain. If you can’t, someone else will.

      • Lucid Meaghan Dhabolt

        That makes no sense at all.

        • Pvblivs

          It makes no sense to you that the people that produce the content you enjoy want to be paid for their efforts?

          • IntQrk

            I have no problem with them being paid. What I take issue with is the obtrusive and obnoxious ads they allow to be placed on their content. If the ad were a simple text ad or a simple image, that is fine. But when I have to load up 5-10 flash or silverlight ads per page on your site (none of which I have the intention of clicking – I search for what I want to buy, I don’t rely on ads), I have a problem. Even a moderately powerful system, you can watch the performance impact this has on page load time, system performance, and generally readability of the page.

            So no, I don’t consider it stealing or unethical. If you want to treat your page as one big ad, fine. Users will find a way around it. If you want to be respectful of your user base and use tasteful ads (which I allow through my blocker), then I will support you. Additionally, as this report calls out, I will not pay for “premium content”. What will I do? I will simply Google what your article was about and find it elsewhere. The “Pay for news model” is destined to fail. I’m watching it more and more as sites that once adopted this model are moving away from it.

          • Pvblivs

            It seems to me that the appropriate “way around it” is not to visit the page in question. If people find that less intrusive ads get them the page hits and the revenue, that is what they will start using. If people find that visitors are using adblock to consume their content while denying them revenue, they will decide they have a security problem.

            The complaint about the drain on system resources becomes a lot more compelling when you are willing to do without the content on the page. But when you use an adblocker to take the content anyway, it looks like an excuse.

          • Mark

            It looks like the industry’s problem is going to need addressing sooner rather than later, and it had better be more radical than pushing the immorality of adblocking. From the Guardian (http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jun/16/news-outlets-face-losing-control-to-apple-facebook-and-google):

            “Almost half (47%) of the US sample, and 39% of those surveyed in the UK, said that they regularly use ad-blocking software to screen out pop-up ads and banners.”

            And from an excellent recent survey by the University of Pennsylvania:

            – 91% disagree (77% of them strongly) that “If companies give me a discount, it is a fair exchange for them to collect information about me without my knowing.”

            You can bet that 91 percent are not dead pleased with being tracked across the web either, and Adblock, Ghostery etc are the ways they’re likely to do something about it.

            You may see adblocking as unethical, but a great many people now view the endless tracking and resale of data that is closely associated with advertising to be equally (possibly more) unethical. So its not a great leap to view adblocking as a perfectly reasonable response to unethical behaviour – the lack of respect is definitely not one sided.

          • Pvblivs

            I see adblocking as roughly equivalent to shoplifting. And I see the claims of “reasons” why people do it as excuses not dissimilar to excuses for shoplifting.

          • Thee Pie Man

            Really? How do you see it as the same as walking into a store and stealing a product; furthermore you keep saying they will consider it a “security issue”? It has nothing to do with security, if they find no one is reading their ads they will see it one of two ways.
            1. They will feel the ads they are allowing on their site aren’t something anyone is interested in. Changing them and seeing what happens next.
            2. They will realize ads are being blocked- meaning that people just don’t care to see ads and they will either insert them into the product which is a bit wiser but no less brainwashing; or they will figure out a better solution.

            Most of the problem with all this isn’t even the ads themselves; a lot of people don’t care about ads given they were always on TV in the middle of programs. If the internet was a free place I think I’d be more on the side of Ad companies; but for the greater majority- I know that there are those that get free internet.- You have to pay for the internet, the system (computer) already which takes out of fun time; why should you have to spend something- such as your life, waiting for ads to load up on the page on top of the content you’re trying to view? Just because you want to view it- so are we a consumer is what you’re trying to get across with your argument?

            I see Ads as ineffective from the get go. I’ve never bought anything an ad has shown me before I got an adblocker. Much less from anything on TV past the 2000’s. I’ll admit I always enjoyed watching commercials for Sock n’ Boppers (Inflatable punching toys.) That I can still remember the theme song and what not today. I believe that’s also part of the argument as well; Advertisements that intrude on things are more effective but ethically.., they are brainwashing. You go to see something ELSE, but see the ad in place of what you WANT to see, it’s like a small trick into getting you into wanting crap. Psychologically it works better on kids than adults.

            Now *I* personally love comics online, and if I find a good one after several pages I’ll turn off my blocker and allow them to get whatever revenue it is from me seeing the images on the page or videos or etc. I don’t mind “paying” for things that take only a couple seconds for my crappy Sony Vaio to load up. Things that take up no additional time to the webpage? That’s great. I’ve never met any comic site that has intrusive ads and most have links to get support and report ads as such. Pretty nice.
            If the comic isn’t good I just leave usually, I give it a few more pages to change my mind but usually if the beginning isn’t that great the rest isn’t that good. I’ve only seen a couple comics like that; they seemed more focus on illustrations than actual story. Which is fine- just not the reason I’m “reading” comics.

            There’s also the terms of “privacy” that other users have been bringing up and I’ll bring up in my argumentative statement; if you go into a grocery store, and buy a product with the name of said product on the bag, the label, etc it’s absolutely free advertising for the company in question. That’s why everything is so flashy on MT. DEW, Pepsi, Coca-Cola. ETC, you know what it is from a glance even from a major distance. Depending on the kind of person you are ultimately determines if you act on wanting to get one of those products or water or whatever. However when you go to a website; it’s like a bunch of men come out of every nook and cranny and offer you a “Free samples” (Cookies) in the supermarket; usually without your consent, these “free samples” allow not only tracking but feedback towards the “market of information.” (Advertising companies etc) Allowing them not only to know what your preferences are due to the site and what it’s offering itself; but anything outside of the site as well. Meaning these men offering you free samples might be gone but their disgusting food still lingers in your system.

            While your argument might be “Don’t use the sites that do such things.” While that might work in changing the system, or preventing these free samples into my own system; no one else will follow the lead of one person. Everyone needs to do a group effort or it will be for naught. That’s just how it is with humans and their mentality. My lack of traffic to those sites doesn’t matter and on that note; if I wasn’t going to visit those sites anyways due to intrusive things- there’s no reason I shouldn’t use the adblock to see the content I wanted to see to begin with. If I wasn’t going to use the site at all- there’s no reason for me to hold back using an Ad blocker due to the fact that my view on it was. They weren’t getting Ad revenue in either case. You’re totally allowed to go into stores, eat free samples and leave; that’s a choice. Going in and not buying anything from anywhere is a choice; yet you have to see everything; all the candy at the front of the store- another effective way of getting money out of people I might ad(d).

          • Virtualgod2009

            Funny how the MPAA, RIAA etc see piracy the same way. Notice how many internet users actually care? Even if Adblocking were somehow made illegal I’d bet practically everyone would still do it given the continued popularity of the Piratebay. In case you haven’t noticed when it comes to the internet practically no one cares about what the law is. In the real world if shoplifting were as common no one would have to worry about legalities since nothing could be done about it with literally billions of shoplifters other than either shut down all businesses (ie shutdown the internet backbone companies and effectively disband the internet) or declare Martial Law (ie crap like SOPA). Simple solution is simply don’t rely on ads for revenue. If no one is paying a subscription then your site isn’t worth a crap anyway.

          • IntQrk

            While that sounds good in theory, me stopping as a single user will not get rid of the thousands of users who are blocking ads without caring. The real world takes over in place of idealistic values. The user-base will ultimately determine what is ethical and what is acceptable. When companies start seeing that none of their advertising is even being viewed, perhaps THAT will be an eye-opener to them.

            I am not making an excuse. I will not tolerate ads that are intrusive or obnoxious. I make no excuses for it, I simply won’t deal with it. You can tell me its stealing but as of right now ad blocking is perfectly legal and ethical given the number of breaches that are occurring in ad-hosting companies. It is no longer a matter of shear annoyance, it is a matter of security when someone like doubleclick is compromised.

          • Pvblivs

            When companies see that their pages are being viewed but their ads are not, they will see it as a security problem. They will look for ways to make the pages inaccessible to people who use adblockers.

            Think of it as 90 percent of people going into a grocery store taking products without paying for them. No matter what message they claim to be trying to send, the one they are really sending is that security needs to be improved.

            The only way companies will see the ads themselves as a problem is if people are willing to do without the content in order to avoid the ads. As long as they try to take the content anyway, it can only be seen as a security issue.

          • Virtualgod2009

            They are welcome to do that and some in fact do. My solution (and probably most)? Simply forget the website. When forcing users hands only hardcore fans will probably turn off Adblocker just to visit. I for one simply block them as well and get my information elsewhere. If it’s a store (which shouldn’t have ads anyway, reselling is their profit source) I go to a different store. When most Adblock users do that, blocking the Adblock users is just another form of suicide since that would kill their traffic. Best change to a subscription. If no one is willing to pay a few bucks a month then your site sucks and people can live w/o it anyway.

          • Virtualgod2009

            I’ve actually spent a few thousand of my own money making youtube videos. If I make nothing I don’t care, I do it for fun, not money. Same should apply to everyone. My philosophy: You want paid for some content that can be had elsewhere for free? Then I hope pirates rob you blind (if you can even call that theft, debatable). Do it for free (like I do) or not at all.

    • Or… you can not go to those sites that you feel don’t have ads to your liking. But since you’re still visiting and reading content, you’re obviously getting value from that content, but taking it without letting the publisher earn any revenue.

      AdBlock basically means you don’t want content creators to earn any money.

      • Jason

        Funny, people are still commenting on my post 8 months later. I have a choice of watching ads or not watching ads. You don’t get to decide. I do. If you want to benefit from the content you create then be respectful of those that you want to pay for it.

        • You’ve shown you don’t care about paying for it. If you find the ads annoying then just dont go to that site, but you still want the content.

          • Jason

            ad infinitum

          • Whatever makes you feel better. Easier to just ignore the morality then admit it.

          • Virtualgod2009

            Morality is for morons anyway.

          • Really? You either don’t understand what morality is or don’t see it’s importance in life.

          • Virtualgod2009

            Never been that important to me and I live just fine. It’s boils down to one’s opinion of right and wrong.

          • Virtualgod2009

            Not important at all to me.

          • Vincent Pride

            That’s millennials for you. You can’t politely ask them to pay for content – they will show you middle finger and mock you to death. You literally have to grab them by the throat, make them addicted to your content through clever psychological tricks, then extort them and nickel and dime every penny from them. That’s the price they will pay. Be smart, make them pay.

          • I don’t think the millennials label is helpful, it’s just demographics and very vague. People are more complicated than just an age segment (of which technically I belong to as well).

            The bigger issue is that the internet has given lots of control over access and content to the user compared to older mediums. Everything is on-demand now and this is a good thing. However, at the same time this control can also be used to subvert the existing value exchange.

            Adblock is just software so it’s not inherently bad in itself but rather what it’s used for, which is basically taking content without letting publishers earn. I agree on the reasons why people use adblock: privacy, security and performance need to get better and at the very least this is forcing the industry to change.

            But a brute force block everything approach will also cause long-term harm because the reality is that publishers need revenue and ads are the only micropayment solution that’s worked. So if adblock continues, we’ll just start seeing paywalls, walled-garden access through Facebook and Google and much of the mid-tier publishers either going away or becoming mostly sponsored content.

            That’s not a good thing.

          • ᅠᅠᅠ

            The question of whether someone is willing to pay for online content or not is made largely independently, though. Paywalls work moderately in very specific cases such as established editorial publications. In almost all other cases, you’ll just make 99.99% of your potential visitors go look for content elsewhere, because they *will* find a replacement that offers something similar without the paywall. Models that give users the choice to pay for removing ads are moderately more successful.

            Many website that are aware of the issues have started refusing to partner with ad serving networks that allow pop-ups or auto-playing audio/video ads. That’s a good way to encourage users to add their site to the ad blocker’s exceptions list. The problem is that a lot of the damage has been done, because the general state of web ads, at least a few years ago, made the radical full-block almost a necessity to keep the web usable. I personally never had a problem with having ads on sites. That changed when the auto-playing audio and video ads started. Browsing with multiple tabs was impossible because you’d instantly have a cacaphony of audio ads playing on top of each other. It blasted speakers when they were set too loud because I wasn’t expecting any sound at all. And not in the least – with advertisers having mostly learned how audio ads are a terrible idea now, this has become the primary issue – the prevalence of Flash and other resource-hungry types of ads, slows down browsers to a crawl and makes memory consumption and data transfer explode. I would love to see those ads if they were text or image based, I was even in the habit of clicking a few that looked interesting to me.

            Bad practices messed it up for everybody, as the IAB admitted recently. “We lost sight of our social and ethical responsibility to provide a safe, usable experience for anyone and everyone wanting to consume the content of their choice.” If you want to bring morality into it, don’t forget that the advertisers’ side showed a lack of it, too. I’m a patron of several websites, supporting them with monthly payments. I paid one-time fees for ad-free access on several other sites, and I do spontaneous donations to selected others. But not having a default ad block active is not an option if I want to keep my browser from freezing or crashing. The problem is that I’m not given a choice, and I don’t know what nonsense a website will load before I actually visit it. So as a visitor, I don’t even have that hypothetical choice to not visit content if I don’t want the ads.

          • These are valid comments, I do agree that the industry has certainly caused many of it’s own problems and the lack of regulation and enforcement mean there’s no clear end in sight.

            However this is what I was referring to regarding a brute force approach. Rather than whitelisting sites, it should be networks themselves. Perhaps allow “good” networks running simple, fast and privacy conscious ads while blocking the unwanted autoplay video providers. This would go a long way to letting publishers know what’s acceptable without putting them out of business before they can do anything.

          • ᅠᅠᅠ

            That sounds like it would be a good approach, I’d be very happy if something like it manages to get established. And it’s a solution that acknowledges how online advertising is different from traditional channels, rather than trying to roll back technological development. It’s a fact that on the web, surfers ultimately have control over which parts of the content they want to have delivered to the screen. So the way to make advertising work has to focus on showing visitors that ads do them more good than harm; that they will respect their browsing preferences while trying their best to stay relevant, interesting, and non-disruptive.

          • Sean McCartin

            That’s a strawman argument. Most people will put up with ads if they’re not annoying.

          • You should look up the definition of straw man argument, which is exactly what you used. I’m talking specifically to the parent user who I replied to who clearly showed no interest in compensation for the content owners.

            I know less intrusive ads are better for users, so what? If a site has annoying ads then leave until they have better ads, don’t block them and continue to consume the content. Vote by refusing to visit. If most people actually did that then everything would change pretty quickly.

          • Sean McCartin

            You’re under the assumption that every website has an alternative. Thing is, that’s often not the case, particularly with forums and social media. If someone has a bunch of friends on, say, Facebook, and suddenly Facebook starts throwing a bunch of full-page animated flash ads that can only be exited after 30 seconds or something, they’re going to be extremely hard-pressed to convince their friends to switch services.

            The whole point is to disincentivize intrusive ads. If your website has a captive audience, the only thing that audience can do is block the ads.

            There’s also the fact that a lot of businesses that specialize in online services are subject to the “Dilbert Principle”. If you’re not familiar with that, it’s the idea that incompetent employees end up in management positions to reduce the amount of damage they do to the company. In that situation, there’s nothing to guarantee that they’ll realize that it’s the ads that are the problem. They may just think their content is no longer interesting.

            Also, as I said to a few other people, Adblock Plus still allows non-animated “image and link” banner ads through by default, and many websites in turn have a script that displays these non-intrusive ads if the flash banners and other crap don’t render as an alternative. As a result, a lot of people still see the “image and link” ads and the websites still get revenue. They just get it from advertisers that use those kinds of ads, like Google Adsense, and not advertisers that use flash animations.

            If that’s STILL wrong to you, then all I can say is that you’re making a false dichotomy out of this.

          • It’s not that simple. Forums and social media are user-generated content and have 0 production costs for publishers. They are just providing software and (social) network utility that they monetize with ads. They have a network effect as you described that keeps users there. These types of sites are doing just fine.

            Publishers with actual original content have much higher production costs (usually the majority of opex) and most of the time lack user retention since there’s so much content out there already, especially with news.

            The only way to disincentivize is to reduce traffic in response to a bad experience. Blocking ads will just cause the users who aren’t blocking ads to get even more ads on their page to make up for revenue numbers, this is exactly why there’s so much terrible autoplay video everywhere.

            Publishers recognize that ads are a problem but they also have very little power to change. It’s the buyers (marketers) who control the money and spend it on vendors with the most intrusive formats because they naturally tend to show the most “engagement” and this carries through all the layers. Some sites are now taking a stand against this but it’s not easy.

            Adblock Plus is a unethical adblocker that exists not for the consumer but to tax ad companies with their pay-for-whitelist scheme. They have an acceptable ads standard that also prohibits the very companies that they whitelist, so it’s not a great example in any case.

            Also as mentioned in my other comments, most adblockers today just use a brute force approach of blocking everything, which doesn’t do anything but harm. These blocking lists are already crowdsourced so there should be a list of good ad companies that users like that are allowed through. This would be the best short-term option to let publishers and adtech vendors start moving towards better options while still staying in business. I don’t see that happening though and hearing the same complaints about how “all ads are bad” just gets old.

          • Sean McCartin

            Well, to be fair, you’re using the same “all ad blockers are bad” argument over and over.

            Anyway, with community driven content, if that content isn’t available anywhere else then there’s no alternative except to not access that content. And if it’s practical info relevant to a project you’re working on or something, especially if you yourself are running a company, then it becomes a choice whether to access that content and put up with productivity and resource draining ads or not visit that website at all and potentially cause the project to fail resulting in lost revenue for your own company and a chance of losing your job. Pick your poison.

            As for Ad Block Plus being unethical in that regard, I don’t see that at all. Ad Block Plus is a business just like any other advertiser. If advertisers want people who use Ad Block Plus’s product to see their ads, then they need to pay the company that makes that product and make sure that their ads meet the requirements set by that company. If that’s unethical, then it’s also unethical for cities to charge for public parking, or for the FAA to charge registration fees for pilots and aircraft.

          • I never said that, feel free to read all my comments.

            Not compensating content producers is bad. Using a brute force approach (which is all adblockers) is bad. Security and privacy as a result of adblocking is good. Adblockers as potential change agents to fix the industry are also very good.

            It’s the intent and implementation on both sides that needs work. If access to a site is necessary because of unique information then they should put up with the ads, especially if that information is so important that your project or company might fail from a lack of access. Why discount the value of the site that provides that to you just because you don’t like the ads?

            Regardless there are always edge cases like accessibility screen readers, printing out content or using read-it-later services. It all comes back to the intent of the user and how they go about it.

            Adblock Plus is unethical by being a gatekeeper and taxing networks and publishers while their whitelisted companies do *not* hold up to their own standards. These rules are also created without any input from the community and basically nullify 99% of ads on the web.

            They can make money by just selling their software (like iOS ad blockers do) or just be free (like so many great open source ones). It’s not really a valid business if it wasn’t for the tax they put on the industry. They even use community produced block lists. They claim their fee is for “certification” but at best that should be a one-time charge, not a continuous cut of revenue upwards of 30-50%. That is nothing but pure extortion. There is nothing about that business model that is ethical.

            Cities and FAA are government agents that actually use fees and taxes for various complex reasons, these reasons do not apply to some private internet company affecting an entire industry.

          • Sean McCartin

            Well, I’m done here. I’m not going to continue debating with someone who says the same things over and over without actually backing their argument.

            There’s a reason why ad infinitum is considered a logical fallacy.

            I will say this, though. If we ever encounter each other in real life and I spontaneously decide to hold a magazine ad in your face for several minutes, you have no right to complain.

          • That’s disappointing. What do you seem to think I’m repeating? All my arguments have clear examples.

            I’m still unsure what major debate you’ve made outside of saying that non-intrusive ads are good for users (which is universally agreed) and that it’s ok to block ads rather than not visiting, especially if you can’t find that content anywhere else (which actually means that the content is worth even more to you and the site should be compensated).

            And if you’re using the adblock plus whitelist filter, then all you’re doing is rewarding the companies that are the richest, not the ones that are doing the right thing. Just take a look at the whitelist and see for yourself.

      • Thee Pie Man

        They don’t earn anything unless you click on the ad in the first place. All you’re doing when you run adblock is limiting how much your computer has to work so you can view content. A lot of sites are using patreon now anyways.

        Currently I’m on a free Student internet through our apartment complex. It’s slow enough as is without having Ad’s take up extra unasked for bandwidth. If their product was worth anything I would have heard about it through a review, if it’s not worth enough to be spread by word on this huge fucking network of computers and websites then really- is what they are selling needed/warranteed to take up my time as a consumer?

        Probably freaking not. I don’t ever see any of the major corporations having tons of ads- and don’t tell me because they already have a foothold in the market/economy, they obviously didn’t ALWAYS have that, they however introduced products people WANTED, if you’re not offering that kind of thing then you shouldn’t have the right to take up space. I’m not trying to be mean but there’s businesses that literally sell shit (manure) and get along just fine. If you’re not offering a service that people want/need then there’s really no reason to be around. That should be proof enough, pay someone to review your content on YouTube (sorry, if someone reads this it said Ebay, I was half asleep), sponsor them with all your money you’d be putting into advertising anyways. If it’s a good product it will get shown well, if it’s not then it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.

        You’re acting like people should feel guilty about it; when really unless you physically click the ad/want the stuff then you’re bloody not doing anything more than calling the kettle black; Mr. pot.

        • 1) The vast majority of ads are priced on impressions, not clicks. Publishers earn on many ads are seen and how much attention has been exchanged. Very few ads are billed on clicks and those are usually low quality or direct-response stuff (like click to get coupon).

          2) A lot of sites are not using Patreon. Outside of a few independent publishers, the major media companies cannot run on donations nor can people afford to pay what it actually costs to produce the media they enjoy.

          3) Companies that produce stuff that people don’t want or need do not stay around. They do need customers at some point so the market already takes care of that. This has nothing to do with advertising.

          4) There are too many things in this world that discovery doesn’t just happen efficiently through word of mouth. Online search is probably the fastest way to find something but Google also has the biggest ad network and takes more than 50% of the ad market with ads against search results – precisely because those search results still do not offer all the product discovery that’s necessary in the market.

          5) Advertising doesn’t make you buy anything. You’re in control of that. It makes no sense to blame advertising for bad products when people are in charge of their own decisions (accounting for instances of false advertising and scams which exist everywhere).

          6) You’re conflating your general dislike of advertising with what’s being discussed here about ad blocking – mainly that publishers need a way to earn to continue what they’re doing. There are only 2 methods available: indirect via ads, or direct via payments. Ad blocking will only bring about more direct payment models like paywalls and subscriptions that will reduce the amount of content on the web that is free and easily accessible by everyone. I never mentioned guilt, only that as a consumer you should be aware of how that content you enjoy is actually produced for you and what funds it.

          • Thee Pie Man

            Only two? That’s a joke, I didn’t realize I was talking to such a bigot, my mistake.

            There’s no more reason for me to waste my time here. You’re clearly not going to accept any other opinion or facts presented aside your own. Good day and happy holidays. I’ll be having mine Ad free.

          • I haven’t seen any facts presented. Direct vs indirect is binary, there’s no middle ground, but please enlighten us if you have a 3rd option. There’s a ton of profit and potential if you really know of a better way.

            Also I don’t think you know what “bigot” means as I’m not refuting any opinions. I’m actually trying to bring change to this industry for both consumers and advertisers alike but don’t let that stop you from throwing around names without context.

            Happy Holidays

  • Corpus_Innominata

    Some sites claim they use ad revenue to pay for bandwidth, but the ads themselves consume about 90% of all the bandwidth. Why does the ad have to be a 5 megabyte load and max out the CPU on the user’s computer. Without Flashblock reading the news would be technically challenging with even some newer machines. It seems frivolous.

    • The publisher needs to pay for far more than just bandwidth. Ad bandwidth is paid by the ad networks.

      And yes, lots of bad ad networks out there because it can be so easy to start one with bot traffic with crappy inefficient ads that waste MBs of bandwidth on every page. However this isn’t everyone and there are lots of top-tier networks that don’t do this. Unfortunate that a few bad actors ruin it for everyone.

  • Ben

    This report completely skips over the major reason why me and others I know block ads: Malware

    Several of the 2013 threat reports (such as those issued by Kaspersky, MalwareBytes, F-Secure, etc) speak of either “drive-by” downloads or “forced” downloads which leverage advertising networks to distribute malware. Several of these use insecure plugins such as Adobe Flash. As far in 2014, the Adobe Flash plugin has resulted in seventy (70) seperate Common Vulnerability and Exposure (CVE) security notices. That is averaging over 5 security issues per month found with using Flash. And the year isn’t even over yet!

    Even worse, Adobe still has no bug bounty to help find these problems faster. While both Google and Mozilla Foundation will pay to encourage security bug reports for Chrome and Firefox, Adobe has no such policy to reduce the security issues in their popular plugin.

    When I uninstall or disable Flash, I have run across several websites that when thewill display a large gray box over the article. The only advantage to me to running Flash on these sites is to be able to close the advertisement which also closes the gray box. The disadvantage is that I expose myself to any new unresolved Flash security issues. However, by running an advertising blocker, I am usually able to get the advantage of not having the gray box without the disadvantage of getting malware.

    What I would like to see from an advertising network that I would willingly accept advertisements from is:
    (1) Disclose the advertising network providing the advertisement and how to contact them
    (2) Encourage reports of malware distribution on the advertising network by paying a bounty on legitimate reports
    (3) Provide a disclosure policy on how the advertising network will notify those effected by a malware distribution

    I have yet to find *ANY* advertising network that provides the above requirements. While several advertising networks will use tracking cookies, I have yet to find any such network which will disclose that a drive-by/forced download was previously offered and what steps to verify infection and how to remove the malware. Instead, usually if there is any statement regarding malware on an advertising network it is in the context of an indemification clause where they advertising network claims no responsibility at all. When that is combined with Adobe Flash’s own indemification clause, you have a dangerous mix where the end-user is the only party responsible for the drive-by/forced downloads (while not being in a position to stop them from continuing to infect other users). Installing an advertising blocker is the only reasonable response by an end user forced to take responsibility for the lack of credability of the ad networks.

    My experience has been that it takes the average power-user over 3 days to get a system back to having all their required applications installed and configured after removing an unknown malware infection requires re-installing the operating system. Even if the time spent was calculated at minimum wage, there can be over $150 worth of lost time attributed to just a single drive-by/forced download. When you add up the total number of infections which no advertising network has held themselves accountable for, I believe end users have already indirectly paided enough.

    • Sean Blanchfield

      This is a very good point Ben, and an oversight on our part. Security is a very legitimate concern, and there have been some appalling instances of ad networks propagating malware (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-14/self-regulation-fails-to-curb-web-ad-abuses-panel-says.html).
      Another reason that has been raised is many ads are not appropriate for a family or workplace setting. We will make sure to additionally survey users on both these concerns next time.

    • llama duck

      http://www.skivecore.com/support.php?location=howadshelpus this covers a lot about the ads they use and how there used.

      • Ben

        First, I wanted to say that a four month legal battle in Germany against AdBlock Plus has resulted in the courts decided in favor of AdBlock Plus.[1] The method of trying to use the legal system to force ads on people has been a mistake.

        Regarding Skivecore, I think it is good they openly publish their policy.[2] But this is a site that barely registers at all on Alexa[3] with limited reach, impact and probably limited resources. I feel bad they are the ones getting singled out in this discussion.

        However, I think it is important to point out that the Skivecore policy regarding malware is full of doubletalk due to a clear conflict of interest in overselling turning ad blocking off. The SkiveCore ad malware policy as of April 22, 2015 is:

        “SkiveCore is always working to make sure that users are safe when using our website. And we made sure to get our advertisements from a trustful source that we know wont let any “questionable” ads through there systems, so we got our advertisements from Google. Google is big on making sure that they don’t give there users poor ads, annoying ads, or ads that could possible hurt there users computers. We want to be sure that our users can feel safe and at ease when using our website. So we make sure to give the best quality, and safest website that we can provide. If you feel an ad is harmful in some way, please contact google here.”

        I feel the only honest line in that entire paragraph is the final statement where they wash their hands of the problem and tell the customer to contact Google directly.

        Statements that they “make sure” and “[they] know won’t let any ‘questionable’ ads through” imply a 100% success rate in blocking malware. This is claims that go beyond what Google themselves claims and are also false. While Google does take several steps to reduce malware, it is not 100% and there have continued to be recent problems with malware from the Google Ad network.[4]

        Given that Google can’t guarantee their ad network is malware free, then Skivecore can’t guarantee that a visitor of their website wasn’t hit with a drive-by download malvertisement. This malware has a real cost in terms of privacy and time to clean up after. This cost is carried by the victim unless someone else is willing to reimburse the victim. For Skivecore’s part, they just say to contact Google. Hence, Skivecore has nothing to lose by misrepresenting the level of security provided. Leaving the customer to pick up the cost of any malvertising when Skivecore claims to have made sure the site is safe seems to me to be a clear conflict of interest. Outside of offering a Google contact forum, what exactly is Skivecore offering to be “sure” of anything?

        So, even when a website is trying to be open about their malware policy, my point from four months ago still stands. Using AdBlocking is the only reasonable way for visitors to take responsibility for the risk of malvertising when the ad networks themselves don’t take on the full cost in cleaning.

        References:
        [1] http://venturebeat.com/2015/04/21/german-court-rules-adblock-plus-is-legal/
        [2] http://www.skivecore.com/support.php?location=howadshelpus
        [3] http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/skivecore.com
        [4] https://blog.sucuri.net/2015/01/adsense-abused-with-malvertising-campaign.html

  • Rajat Suvra Mukherjee

    ……..”Research shows that very few people find advertisements in more established media annoying,” he continued. “So why can’t that be replicated online? Why shouldn’t online adverts, just, uh, grow up a bit? Indeed, they must – because as opposed to the rather solid spot adverts occupy elsewhere, users call the shots online.”

    That`s correct…here users calls the shots instead of ..” More established media”, like TV or radio where the users do not have the power to turn off the annoying ads after every few seconds……!!!! Its time the advertisers need to grow up…!!!!

    • tz1

      The dish network DVR where you could skip through the ads created some controversy.

      But if an ad would play in a loop, and you couldn’t resume the TV program until you pressed something on the remote (do you want to visit the vendor site to order your new super ultra deluxe thingy? yes/no), I think there would be more blocking.

      Even now, I think one of the moves to “streaming media” where you can watch whole seasons past is you can do it on your schedule and have control.

    • Virtualgod2009

      That research has to be bogus. I used a DVR to skip ads from 2000-2009 and quit TV altogether after that, mainly due to ads eating 20 minutes of every 60 min show. These days if it’s worth a crap I can just get the torrent of the latest episode.

  • duy zoro

    ads helps funds content creators. without ads you’ll wound’t see all the cool video that youtube have, or those sites that you visit for entertainment or information.

    • Lucid Meaghan Dhabolt

      Most people don’t mind some ads. Sites however gotten irritating with the ads in recent years.

    • Virtualgod2009

      Most of Youtube is garbage anyway. If it’s not free don’t make it at all. There’s plenty Tubers making their content with their own money and don’t care about profits afterword (I’m one). As far as information there’s Wikipedia (free and no ads either) If the entertainment isn’t free I make my own entertainment. Whole reason I quit watching TV was because of wasting my life watching ads. I will not simply do the same on the internet. Do it for free or not at all, don’t care if 90% of the internet is dead tomorrow and all that is left is subscription sites (that are probably worth subscribing to otherwise they would not exist)

  • nerdrrage

    From the advertiser’s perspective, the solution to ad blockers is simple: only do pay per click deals. If an ad gets a click (discounting the inevitable mistaken clicks), then that’s a sign it was actually viewed. Otherwise, how do you really know?

    Sites are the ones who will be squeezed by advertisers demanding PPC deals, and paying only tiny amounts of money because of the tiny number of clicks.

    • That’s not a solution… ad blockers completely stop ads from loading. You won’t be able to click on ads that don’t load in the first place.

      • Thee Pie Man

        You have to enable the ad for it to even show the content; that totally is a solution that is being practiced. Half of Rooster Teeth’s videos will not load if you have Adblock, because you have to go through the ad first before seeing the content. I only know because I forgot to whitelist the site.

        • The original comment says the solution “the solution to ad blockers is simple: only do pay per click deals.”

          That doesn’t actually deal with ad blockers though. The pricing of the ads doesn’t change anything. If you have adblock, you don’t see the ads – regardless of how they’re charged.

          Video sites using preroll ads have an advantage because they can have the playlist require the first item (the ad) be completely viewed before ever sending along the main content video. This doesn’t work for editorial content because that’s already sent to the browser.

          Also gating content by requiring an interaction with an ad isn’t a great user experience, just like paywalls. It’s a smaller interaction than paying for a subscription and it’s something more sites are moving towards but I don’t think it’s an improvement over passive ads now (although I do agree with the amount of bad and annoying formats that exist).

          • Virtualgod2009

            I simply skip annoying sites like that where ads are force fed. I imagine most would as well and the site would still die just by lack of traffic instead of revenue.

          • This is the best option for both sides. If you don’t agree with the site experience then don’t visit and let the traffic results show the publishers that their site and ads aren’t wanted.

        • Virtualgod2009

          Sounds like just another site I’d blacklist and move on.

          • Thee Pie Man

            The point is, that you won’t get content eventually if all sites do this; not many, if anyone- is solid enough to block the content completely and “move on.” While it sounds fine for random sites we may stumble upon once in awhile, to black list and to get on with our lives… I’m talking about if every site employed this tactic; it would have to be accepted because we want stoof/to see stoof.

            This isn’t a stab at anyone in general, I don’t feel like I could go on without certain things online because they became a routine, would I enable an ad for a few seconds to allow the rest of the content to play? I might do so; honestly I’ve not been put into the situation but the vast majority- I feel, would also do so. You may be confident in yourself to say you’d boycott them all, good on you, if the majority doesn’t though it isn’t going to go away.

          • Virtualgod2009

            Well, everyone I know is simply getting their information elsewhere. Forbes is the latest I tried to read a story on. They block Ad blockers so I simply clicked the back button and then the next one in Google. No one has a monopoly on information (not even the gov’t, Ed Snowden proved that). Hell if I can find pirated movies before they are even in theaters I can find some news story that everyone will forget about in a week.

  • Jeff Liu

    Mobile adblocking doesn’t need root. Try NoRoot Firewall, FilterProxy, ba.net DNS, etc.

    • PageFair

      Thanks Jeff. We weren’t aware of ba.net, though we’ve been expecting DNS adblocking to emerge. DNS-level adblocking means turnkey network-wide cross-device adblocking. If someone makes it easy for non-technical users to configure, it could be the future of adblocking.

  • FreedomFighter

    autoplaying YouTube video ads are intrusive and highly annoying. Overlay ads and right side ads are perfectly fine. Dont force me to watch an ad. even on pandora its annoying. Thanks adblock.

  • Great Britain’s last stand

    Been using adblock for years,could never imagine using the internet without it. got at least 100k ad blocks on one of my browsers.

  • I’m completely against Adblock. I feel sites should be able to display the ads but in a more limited fashion. New sites like , http://minestatus.co or http://skivecore.com already struggle with revenue from ads. As more people join ad block these smaller sites lose their income, as so larger corporations, services can disappear people.

    • Virtualgod2009

      Who cares? The bottom line is if they aren’t good enough to charge a subscription for to cover costs then people can live without them and probably not notice anyway. 40% of the internet sites are porn, another 40% is sites like Youtube, Netflix,Hulu, various news sites, store fronts, etc. the other 10% are sites most people don’t care about enough to notice if they stay online or not. Of all the sites I hear about daily very few are even worth visiting and fewer still worth paying money for. If the whole internet were subscription based (ie nothing at all for free) there’d be maybe 5 sites I’d pay $10/mo for and 5 more I’d pay $5 for. The rest I couldn’t care less about and is mostly junk.

  • Virtualgod2009

    Ads are stupid anyway other than Superbowl ones. One of the reasons I quit broadcast tv back in 2009 (moving to digital just gave me the push needed to trash the tv, 33% of time spent on ads just got ridiculous, 10 minutes per hour was all I could stand). If they are more annoying than entertaining like most forget it. I rather just pay a fee for website access than free then have to deal with that crap every 5 minutes interrupting my Youtube video or there’s so many banners (that I never clicked anyway even before Adblock no matter what was being advertised, that just finances the annoyance) that it even slows down page loads on broadband. Thankfully since there’s Adblock the premium version of anything is now pointless. The internet will eventually have to either be financed by gov’t or the sites worth a crap will have to start charging subscriptions (if visitors aren’t willing to pay then your site probably sucks anyway). I give it 10 years and the current ad-supported internet will be dead. There are a now a few sites that simply won’t allow you to visit if you have Adblock active. I simply return the favor and put them on my block list as well since I have never heard of one worth putting up with the annoyance for.