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EC Commission says that detection of ad-blockers is illegal
Thread poster: CafeTran Training (X)

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:11
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Imagine a small and dexterous robot Apr 25, 2016

Kay-Viktor Stegemann wrote:
Would you also say that I should be not allowed to tear an ad out of a newspaper when this ad annoys me?

That's not an apt analogy. To tear an ad out of the paper you need at least be aware that it is there and presumably glance at it. That counts as exposure from the advertiser's perspective. Mission accomplished.

Here's a better analogy: ad blocking is like using a diligent robot with a pot of glue to paste perfectly sized pieces of paper in your (free) newspaper that perfectly cover the ads before you open it in the morning. You never even see the ads.

If this practise (and these miraculous robots) were to become widespread, how long do you think it would be before companies stopped advertising in newspapers? And how long before these newspapers stopped doing business?

Would you say "My home is my home - I have a right to cover up newspaper ads in my own living room!"?

Would you say "If this constitutes a problem regarding the newspaper's business model, the business model needs improvement."?

You have every right to say both, of course. We all do. But we have no right to expect free content if we prevent the newspaper from gaining revenue from other sources. Something has to give.

If the internet advertising industry contracts, I suspect we'll see many news and entertainment sites close and fail, leaving a very small number that are either subsidised by the state (BBC, for example) or that are driven by subscriptions.

Dan


 

Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Germany
Local time: 04:11
Member (2016)
English to German
It's like a sticker on my mailbox Apr 25, 2016


Would you say "If this constitutes a problem regarding the newspaper's business model, the business model needs improvement."?


Good morning Dan,

yes, I would absolutely say that. In fact, we see this happening right now, not because people have robots removing ads, but because the newspaper ad market is crumbling. And this means that newspapers need a better business model or they will be out of business. Such a thing happens all the time, it is not the end of the world, it is just the replacement of one business model with another. Similar things will happen if the online ad market has to adapt to readers who refuse to be spam victims any longer, and use intelligent tools like ad blockers for that.

And yes, that means we might lose some free content. Not all, because as I said, intelligent and interesting advertisement is possible. Regarding the rest, I don't think what we lose will be such a great loss. If you compare it to newspapers again, the worst papers are those that are free and exclusively funded by ads. I will gladly lose this sort of junk anytime, in fact I have a sticker on my (snail-)mailbox to please refrain from dropping this junk into it. And again, there's a fitting analogy. (Yes, a robot spitting this stuff out would be even neater, but where I live, the people who deliver those free ad-papers are able to read and comply with my wish, in most cases.)

Have a nice, spam-free day.
Kay-Viktor


Kaspars Melkis
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 04:11
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
No, the EU Commission didn't say that Apr 25, 2016

CafeTran Training wrote:
Many website owners don't agree [with running ad-blockers]. They try to force you to disable your ad-blocker. Now the EC Commission has written that this detection of ad-blockers is illegal...


Alexander Hanff, a privacy campaigner and programmer, says he has received a letter from the European Commission confirming that browser-side web scripts that pick out advert blockers access people's personal data (ie: the plugin stored on their computer). Thus, just like you need to give permission to EU websites to access and store your cookies, ad-blocker detectors must ask for permission before probing your browser.

Hmm, well, I have googled for various ways that web sites detect the use of adblockers, and I have found no solutions that claim to detect which plugins are installed on the user's computer. And that, if I understand correctly, is what the EUC is against (i.e. having a web site ask a user's browser "what plugins do you have").

Web sites usually use other, non-intrusive methods to detect whether you have an adblocker installed. For example (and this is the simplest method), they check whether an advert actually loaded. If the advert didn't load, then there is likely an adblocker installed, and this information is gained without "probing" the browser in any way. Or, they use a script to create an interactive element on the web site, and then check if the element loaded or not. Neither of these methods involve gaining any information about any specific plugins installed on the user's computer.



[Edited at 2016-04-25 10:53 GMT]


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:11
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Ha ha Apr 25, 2016


No income = no site.
No sites = no internet.
Internet implodes.
Civilisation crumbles.
Mankind reverts to pre-industrial state of grace.
Or something.


That would be great! I've had enough!

Seriously though: web advertising has become so all-pervasive that almost the entire website of "news" sources are actually clickbait stories that are designed to make the advertising work. So the advertising is not an add-on; it's the editorial content that's an add-on to the advertising.

[Edited at 2016-04-25 10:00 GMT]


 

PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:11
English to Polish
+ ...
Loop-de-loop Apr 26, 2016

Most people want THE INTERNET to be free, and yet they deplore the advertisements.
However, if free content would become paid content overnight, most people would not buy it, I suspect. That's where the fallacy lies.
Imagine paying for facebook access.


 

Daryo
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:11
Serbian to English
+ ...
advertisers paid for my computer? My broadband? Apr 26, 2016

not to speak of my time?

so they have all the rights to invade my screen?

Dan Lucas wrote:
He who doesn't pay the piper doesn't call the tune
Anton Konashenok wrote:
Sure, but doesn't the presence of an ad blocker in user's browser clearly tell that this particular user doesn't want any ads shown to him?

It does, certainly, but if the user's not paying he doesn't get a choice. I guess the working assumption (correct or not) is that there is some effect from exposure to these ads and that once in a while even somebody who doesn't usually click will click...

My feeling is that the internet, barely 20 years old as an industry, is still groping for workable business models that actually make money. Ads may be part of the puzzle, but it's unclear yet what the optimum form is for targeting and delivery.

Dan

[Edited at 2016-04-24 13:53 GMT]


"He who doesn't pay the piper doesn't call the tune"

Sure about that?

So let's go back to census - whoever pays less than X amount in tax / owns less than Z in property to be scrubbed from the electoral role?

Laws to be shaped according to which lobby puts more money in lobbying?

BTW, if you get bored of translating, try being PR to cold-callers


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:11
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Internet Town Apr 27, 2016

PAS wrote:

Most people want THE INTERNET to be free, and yet they deplore the advertisements.
However, if free content would become paid content overnight, most people would not buy it, I suspect. That's where the fallacy lies.
Imagine paying for facebook access.


It's so simple that I'm surprised no-one has twigged it yet:

Think of the Internet as walking along the streets of your town. There are newspaper shops. You can decide to go in and look, but if you want to read what's in a newspaper or magazine you have to buy it. I expect that this common-sense approach will come to be the norm on the Internet as it is in "real life".

But not the paywall system or the "article by article" system. It should be exactly the same as on the village/city street: if I want to know what is in the "London Review of Books" this week, I should buy this week's whole edition of the "London Review of Books". I might not necessarily want to buy it next week.

[Edited at 2016-04-27 13:03 GMT]


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:11
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Again, weak analogies Apr 27, 2016

Daryo wrote:
advertisers paid for my computer? My broadband?
not to speak of my time?
so they have all the rights to invade my screen?

"Invade" is entirely the wrong word. You're the one entering their space. You're on their website. Of course they have the right to use the screen given that they created what you are looking at. If this is a problem, you can avoid the situation by not visiting that website.

Let's run with Tom's "town" analogy. The managers of the newsagents in your nearest town didn't pay for your car or your petrol, but they still get to decided what you do in their shop.

While you're in the newsagent the staff may approach you and try to sell you things, ask you not to read the merchandise, direct your attention to marketing materials, ask you to leave, invite you to sign up for a subscription and so on.

This is all entirely normal and part of the unspoken quid pro quo that drives retail trade. I don't see why similar rules should not apply to the internet.

Equally, badly managed bricks-and-mortar retail outlets often fail because they cannot attract customers. I don't see why this shouldn't apply to internet sites as well, if those sites fail to attract customers.

Regards
Dan


 

LegalTranslatr2  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:11
Portuguese to English
+ ...
I am willing to let the ads run in the background... Apr 27, 2016

... I just turn the sound off and ignore them.

However, with some sites, such as Linguee and WordReference, the video ads slow down the site (and your computer) so much that it becomes impossible to keep them open in the background.

Still, it is kind of scary when I browse books on Amazon on my desktop and then later ads for those same books will appear on my cell phone (different internet provider).

Related article: Fake Audience. Marketers thought the We
... See more
... I just turn the sound off and ignore them.

However, with some sites, such as Linguee and WordReference, the video ads slow down the site (and your computer) so much that it becomes impossible to keep them open in the background.

Still, it is kind of scary when I browse books on Amazon on my desktop and then later ads for those same books will appear on my cell phone (different internet provider).

Related article: Fake Audience. Marketers thought the Web would allow perfectly targeted ads. Hasn’t worked out that way:
http://www.bloomberg.com/features/2015-click-fraud/



[Edited at 2016-04-27 14:14 GMT]
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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:11
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Not that it bothers me Apr 27, 2016

Not that it bothers me, you understand.

Maybe I'm better than most at using adblockers but I never see any ads anywhere except the ones that are actually built into web pages, such as the ones on Proz, e.g. the ones in the right-hand column of this page you're looking at.

I don't see any ads on Facebook either.

[Edited at 2016-04-27 14:40 GMT]


 

Josephine Gardiner  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:11
Spanish to English
+ ...
Advertisers and websites have sabotaged themselves Apr 27, 2016

I don't object to adverts so long as they don't stop me doing what I came for - to read the content of the website.

But adverts that jump and flash, make noise, pop up or spread themselves out over the text prevent people from reading and browsing the site at all. People then leave and never come back. So the result is that nobody sees the website or the adverts - a sort of shoot-yourself-in-the-foot business model, very strange.

In the meantime I use adblockers, but
... See more
I don't object to adverts so long as they don't stop me doing what I came for - to read the content of the website.

But adverts that jump and flash, make noise, pop up or spread themselves out over the text prevent people from reading and browsing the site at all. People then leave and never come back. So the result is that nobody sees the website or the adverts - a sort of shoot-yourself-in-the-foot business model, very strange.

In the meantime I use adblockers, but I can't understand why more websites don't consider micro-payments. Somebody further up this thread asked 'can you imagine paying for Facebook?' Well, if you use Facebook, would it really bother you to pay, say, 5 pence a year? Facebook has around 1.5 billion users. That's a lot of 5 pence pieces, or am I missing something?
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Daryo
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:11
Serbian to English
+ ...
You are missing something, I'm afraid Apr 28, 2016

Josephine Gardiner wrote:
...
Somebody further up this thread asked 'can you imagine paying for Facebook?' Well, if you use Facebook, would it really bother you to pay, say, 5 pence a year? Facebook has around 1.5 billion users. That's a lot of 5 pence pieces, or am I missing something?


You are missing something, I'm afraid ...

Facebook hasn't got 1.5 billion users - Facebook has got 1.5 billion free sources of marketing data, available to be sold to the real users - the advertisers ...

and also free "user-generated content" to be occasionally sold to newspapers, whether you like or not ... (as per "you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License)..."


 

Daryo
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:11
Serbian to English
+ ...
a small fly in the ointment ... Apr 28, 2016

[quote]Dan Lucas wrote:

Daryo wrote:
...
Let's run with Tom's "town" analogy. The managers of the newsagents in your nearest town didn't pay for your car or your petrol, but they still get to decided what you do in their shop.

While you're in the newsagent the staff may approach you and try to sell you things, ask you not to read the merchandise, direct your attention to marketing materials, ask you to leave, invite you to sign up for a subscription and so on.
...


there is a small fly in the ointment, in fact a very serious question that is far from being resolved ... namely where exactly is "visiting a website" happening? If you look at applicable laws, it tends to be considered as the place where the web user is, not the website ...

in the RealWorld v1.00 to be in a shop you have to be yourself physically there, no doubts that you are in their shop;

but when you are surfing the Net you are physically in your own place the owner of the site could be in any other place anywhere in the world and with the "Computing in the Cloud" fade the website itself could be spread in bits and pieces all over the world - so on the basis of which criteria "the visit to the website" is not happening where I am?

On which grounds I should not consider a website full of intrusive advertising on par with a pushy salesman who just showed on my door and let himself in on fall pretences and wouldn't leave?


[Edited at 2016-04-28 20:28 GMT]

[Edited at 2016-04-28 20:38 GMT]


 

Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:11
French to English
+ ...
Samuel: I think he is targeting a specific script Apr 29, 2016

Samuel Murray wrote:
computer. And that, if I understand correctly, is what the EUC is against (i.e. having a web site ask a user's browser "what plugins do you have").

Web sites usually use other, non-intrusive methods to detect whether you have an adblocker installed.


Samuel -- I think what is happening here is that he has identified a *specific* script, used by some web sites, that does indeed look at the user's list of plugins. As you rightly say, web sites could, and in the majority possibly do, use other means, e.g. looking at the position of DOM elements. But the script that relies on browser plugins is probably a "softer target", and that's why the activist is going after web sites using this specific method: it's slightly less of a stretch of reality to argue that "the list of installed browser plugins" constitutes "personal data", compared to trying to attach that label to "the on-screen position of a rendered DOM element".

The situation is of course muddied by the fact that the "privacy" card is being played when the actual issue is more of a security issue (or "I don't like to see ads", "I want everything in the universe to be free" etc etc).


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:11
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Pay up, Mr Z Apr 6

PAS wrote:
Imagine paying for facebook access.


I hate FB. They would have to pay ME if they want me to use it. However I agree with your general point.


 
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