AfterDawn: Tech news

Ad blocking blocked

Written by Petteri Pyyny (Google+) @ 15 May 2002 15:23 User comments (12)

As of today, we have implemented a method to block users who are using so-called "ad blockers" from entering our site. At all.
This is due the fact that by using ad blockers, you're getting content for free, without compensating us, publishers. We can't provide this content for free -- our server costs for two dedicated servers are extremely high with hundreds of gigabytes of traffic a month. And this is paid by our advertisers -- however annoying their ads might be (we have blocked 99.9% of popup requests from our advertisers and have only allowed popunders -- and even allowing popunders took 2.5 years to decide), those ads pay our server hosting bills.

If you can't tolerate this decision, feel free to find the content and software from other sites. Only thing what I ask from you, is to understand our situation -- we don't like ads either, but they're necessary for us to survive.

-Petteri 'dRD' Pyyny, webmaster

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12 user comments

122.5.2002 17:47

You have Defective Business Model syndrome. You want to claim you are providing a "free" service, but are frustrated when people won't view your annoying ads. If you think you have valuable content charge for it. Why don't you? Because you fear no one will value what you offer. Your offering is either free or it's not. Yes, it really is this simple. If it truly is free then you ought not complain about a users browser software or any other display by the user. Free does not entitle you to compensation. If this is challenging I invite you to use one of the big word books on the internet: If, on the other hand you wish compensation for your product then you can neither call your product "free" nor can you expect compensation from your users in a form they will not condone. As the power is with the buyer ultimately, you'll shortly find that blinking, flashing objects are not desired. Clue in. Ads and similar annoyances are insufferable.

223.5.2002 3:17

Ok, if your defination of free is that, I'm happy with that one. One thing what I'm asking you to consider, would you rather get TV with annoying ads every now and then or would you want a situation where you have to pay $5/channel/month in addition to your basic cable bill, with nothing but the PBS for free? There's a difference for "free" and "free" -- at the end of the day, someone pays for the content. If you have a free website, totally free, absolutely no ads or anything like that, you end up paying for the ISP hosting from your own pocket. So it's not free -- it's free for everybody else, except you. I don't call it free, I call that as a charity that you pay for. In our case, we pay several thousands of dollars to two ISPs to maintain our level of service -- i.e. fast servers, locally mirrored downloads in case that original dl site goes down, etc. I'm still willing to believe, based on the fact what we see in TV, newspaper, etc worlds that people are willing to get something without taking cash out of their own pocket directly (or not as much as they would without ads) if that can be compensated by allowing advertisers to use the medium to show their commercial messages. Sure, I agree. Communism is a one way to go, where everything is free, everybody is equal, everybody has same amount of food, medicine, bandwidth, content, etc and money is totally non-relevant. Only issue with the thing is that Marx kinda forgot to add human behaviour to his ideas and by observing what happened in our (Finland) dear east neighbour, we can see that it actually didn't work very well. At the end of the day, I and rest of the people who work with this site, have poured couple of thousand dollars into this site that we're still waiting to come back from the advertising. And seriously speaking, I wouldn't do this stuff if I didn't see any way to monetize the site eventually -- without this ambition, I don't think I would have the energy and the passion to run the site, update the content and develop new features to the site on daily basis, over 10 hours a day, 7 days a week without getting paid. As I said in the original article, I know that there are individuals who are more than happy to run a website without any promise whatsoever to ever make money out of the site. Even some excellent sites can afford to do this (they _also_ have to get the money for the ISP fees from somewhere, days of the "free web hosting" are over), and I appreciate their determination. The thing is -- I believe strongly in certain type of capitalism that allows people with ideas and passion to monetize with their ideas. And I consider people who use the content we produce, without even having the decency of allowing our advertisers to advertise their products, thieves or in most of the cases, just people who haven't thought their actions from the webmaster's point of view. The idea that "if I do this, it doesn't matter, because they're a big filthy rich corporation who deserves to die, but I need their content" is probably something most people are willing to take -- but by doing the same stuff for the little guys is like kicking a 2-week-old child -- we depend our existance on users, their visits and the fact that they're willing to use our content in the way that we intended it to be viewed (i.e. with advertisements).

Petteri Pyyny (pyyny@twitter)

324.5.2002 10:15

I'm not opposed to non-intrusive ads like the ones on your site. But I do think a lot of sites go over board with bombarding the user with annoying pop-ups. People like having the choice of ignoring ads. When a commercial comes up on TV, I usually flip around other channels or take a bathroom break. If the commercial catches my attention, I'll watch it. If it's something I like, I'll buy it. Same for the web. If a banner or button interests me or meets my needs, I have no problem clicking on it. Why was Ad blocking software created? Mainly because people are annoyed of intrusive advertising campains. Your decision to block 99.9% of popup requests from your advertisers and only allow popunders shows me that you care about what the users experiences on your site. For this I commend and support you. It's really sad because many good sites will suffer financially because of annoying advertisers and scam artists.

427.5.2002 10:55

I use a firewall software package which contains build-in ad blocking. I've set the paramers to block all adds. The reason for this is that I'm just tired of the whole of North America trying to bombard me with their ad's. Here's an example of an average day. (1) Listen to radio on my way to work and have to endure advertisement for 30 mintes in between content. (2) Arrive at work and check e-mail. Even with filters, I still have to go delete a bunch of spam mails. (3) Try to read the news on the web which is surrounded by flashing, moving ads and pop-up windows. (4) Come home and guess what's waiting on the doorstep.. nice fresh load of junkmail. (5) Empty the mailbox and receive more junkmail. (6) Around 7PM in the evening, forget about answering a phone without checking which marketing campaign has targeted me. (7) Turn on TV and try not to get irritated by a movie being broken up in 5 minute ad-blocks. (8) Clean my PC before going to bed of all ad-ware software that seems to creap in somehow. No matter where I go or what I do, ad companies are present. So why are you people so surprised that I do all I can to block advertisement. It's the combined effect of all marketeers with aggresive and sometimes below the belt actions that have caused their own downfall. I think more and more people become numb to whatever ads appear on a site. I already close any pop-up window without ever looking at it and cannot remember having clicked on a banner this year. Mathieu

527.5.2002 11:06

Mathieu: I definately agree with you, but as I've said before: Someone has to pay the bills, whether it is consumer directly from his/her pocket, or it is advertiser (which obviously is indirectly from consumers' pockets). Charity, in terms of publisher paying for publishing his/her own content without getting anything back, doesn't really exist now nor it will exist in future. Most annoying thing is that blocking ads is possible (virtually) only in Internet -- TV stations get their money anyway (you can ignore them, but not really block them), because you can't block them; newspapers can show their ads and you can't demand newspaper with all the ads cut out of it (you just can ignore them), etc. But for web, you _CAN_ actually strip the ads away instead of ignoring them. And the "funniest" thing is that Net advertising pays least -- its like kicking the dying dog.

Petteri Pyyny (pyyny@twitter)

627.5.2002 11:09

And I would like to mention to this whole "saga" that our users generally speaking _don't_ use ad blockers. I just personally object the idea of ad blockers in general, because I know what situation it is for the webmaster who tries to struggle in current advertising recession, where some companies abuse our situation totally, demand ridiculously low ad prices and intrusive ad formats -- and we don't have any other choice but to agree, because the market _really_ sucks at the moment.

Petteri Pyyny (pyyny@twitter)

728.5.2002 4:32

For those sites that don't have a commercial goal, I think times will be tough since you have to either find industry sponsership (an excellent example of such a site is or rely on advertising. If the goal is a commercial one and the product offering is a service though the internet (so no physical product is sold), then I think the current trend which is to implement a 2 tier system i.e. a "free" zone with added content in a "fee" zone will be implemented more often. Don't see that working to well either since not many people can afford to sign up for a dozen or more websites at one time. I agree with you that the situation is difficult and that the market is being further endangered and spoiled by some. I think a combination of offering a good unique service in combination with limited and not to intrusive advertisement as is the case for your site would certainly make me switch of any ad-blocking. Mathieu

822.7.2004 1:11

Funny, I got on this site. Better implement a better method.

929.7.2004 12:47

I can get on this site and still not view a single ad here. Can you say M-O-Z-I-L-L-A? <center><IMG SRC=""></center>

1029.7.2004 13:04

In addition to the fact that you apparently can't understand the reasoning behind the decision that I posted above, you also failed quite miserabely to see the dates of the posts. You're commenting "haha, i managed to do it" to a feature that was implemented back in 2002 and removed over a year ago as the situation improved and people generally started understanding that there's no such thing in this world as "free content" -- it has to be created and paid for somehow; and we think that it is more fair for users to make the advertisers to pay for the content rather than make the site a fee-based entity that requires users to cough up $10 a month for an access to the site.

Petteri Pyyny (pyyny@twitter)

112.8.2004 18:29

There is always a price to pay. Ads are just another form of cost. If you do not like the cost at which something is supplied then you will not have any demand for it. That it basic economics. So instead of bitching about it ask yourself "is the service this page supplies worth the cost of watching banners?" If not, stay away. In reality what you are complaining about is that you can?t rip the system of any more using Ad-blockers. This like complaining when the police comes and takes your pirate cable away.

1217.9.2006 12:06

I think that the publishers should sue the ad blockers. Who are they to change the content of my website? As far as free. You are free to view on not view my site. Do not like ads, than freely go somewhere else. "Selling" a product that changes the content of my copy righted site... We should sue for loss of revenue. Freely sue them of course.

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