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RCBH928
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Is it legal/ethical to use an adblocker?

by RCBH928 Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:39 pm

I was thinking about this, we all hate ads, but we also get all of this free services because of the ads. Think of YouTube, we watch as many videos as we want assuming that we are watching their ads. If we don't, then thats not part of the deal for getting the free service. If everyone uses an adblocker their whole service will shut down because income will be $0. So there is two ways of looking at this:

1) Blocking ads limits the revenue income for people who worked hard on content presented free for you on the assumption that you will be watching/clicking the ads. This is literally on the level of stealing. Think of all the websites you browse and read articles from for free. If the content creator does not care/want ad revenue , just like Racketboy, then his website will be ad free in the first place.

2) Do not use an adblocker and continue to have heavy loading website, less than pleasant browsing experience, intrusive ads, and maybe malicious links and telemetry about you.

So how do you view this? What if you were the content creator? What about large corporations that live off ads like theverge.com and ign.com.
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Gunstar Green
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Re: Is it legal/ethical to use an adblocker?

by Gunstar Green Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:12 am

Obviously it's not illegal. There is no law that says you must be subjected to someone's advertising. Unethical though? Probably.
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Re: Is it legal/ethical to use an adblocker?

by ElkinFencer10 Fri Aug 30, 2019 7:37 am

I only use an ad blocker on EXCESSIVELY ad heavy sites like KissAnime. There's, like, a solid half dozen ads every time I load the damn page. But like YouTube, CNN, NintendoLife, etc? Na, I don't bother on those sites. Those ads are typically pretty unobtrusive (except YouTube's fucking 30 second unskippable ads).
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dsheinem
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Re: Is it legal/ethical to use an adblocker?

by dsheinem Fri Aug 30, 2019 7:42 am

I’d disagree that it is unethical. If you are trying to monetize web content then you are doing so on a platform where users have (and can create) tools to choose how to consume your work. It’s part of the nature of the medium, and a feature which attracts audiences in the first place. I actually think it is far worse (though not unethical) to force tons of ads on a viewer that may disrupt their browsing experience. Sometimes these ads have malicious code in them, steal focus, are designed to be loud, cause loading problems, etc. Fuck that.

In any case, the percentage of people who use adblocking software is actually relatively low (usually ~20-40%, depending on the site) and is especially low on mobile devices (where it is only ~10-20% of users, depending on the site). Globally, I seem to recall that adblock usage across all devices is only about 10% across all platforms. Content creators can/should track adblock usage and adjust their expectations/pricing/etc. accordingly...
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Re: Is it legal/ethical to use an adblocker?

by Ziggy587 Fri Aug 30, 2019 7:51 am

It's not illegal or unethical. And about the ethics, there's a few points to make.

1) Ad blockers can choose to block all ads, but they can also whitelist individual sites. This allows people to support the sites that they want to.

2) Most ad block extensions these days have a nifty feature that will allow "acceptable" ads. This is an effort to find a middle ground. Website designers will be encouraged to make their ads non intrusive and not annoying. Use this feature if you're concerned about the ethics.

3) Websites can choose to block your access to their site if they detect you are using an ad blocker. That is totally up to them, just as it's totally up to you if you want to block 100% of ads. If YouTube had a problem with you using an ad blocker, then they would do something about it.

4) Content creators haven't really relied on ad revenue for a while now anyway, since there's things like Patreon and YouTube demonetizing videos hardcore anyway. If you want to support a YouTube channel, there's ways to unblock ads for individual channels but not all of YouTube. But they'd be better off if you use that channel's Patreon instead.

5) As for YouTube losing revenue for offering a free service... Don't worry, YouTube is Google. I think they have enough money.

Personally, ad revenue sounds good on paper but it leads to too much bullshit in my opinion. News sites that rely on ad revenue end up relying on "click bait" articles in turn, which are usually garbage articles that aren't worth ready. There are YouTube channels that are the same way. Look at Racketboy articles, they're written from the heart. If our articles were written specifically to get ad revenue, then we would have bullshit articles like "PS1 Classic Is Horrible, Here's Why" and "The Thing Nintendo Is Doing That You Should Really Know About..."
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Re: Is it legal/ethical to use an adblocker?

by MrPopo Fri Aug 30, 2019 10:55 am

dsheinem wrote:I’d disagree that it is unethical. If you are trying to monetize web content then you are doing so on a platform where users have (and can create) tools to choose how to consume your work.

To go into more detail. When you watch a TV broadcast or read a magazine, the ad is part of the content delivery. When you visit a web page the actual content being delivered is an HTTP payload; it's up to the requestor to interpret it in a way that is meaningful. All the graphics require additional requests to fetch, and ads are usually implemented as a separate call to fetch that content (with the ad container being the static part). So on a web page the onus is technically on the person browsing the webpage to request the ad from the server. Now, in practical terms this all happens automatically thanks to how browsers are coded, but it fundamentally is separated from the content.
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Re: Is it legal/ethical to use an adblocker?

by Nemoide Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:01 pm

I mostly use Opera as my web browser, which has a built-in adblocker. I don't feel like it's unethical, though I'll allow ads on sites that I really like. I feel like the landscape of advertising has been changing, thanks to both the prevalence of adblockers social media sites that build ads into an unavoidable part of the experience.
Maybe I'll stop blocking ads for a while and see how different the internet becomes...

ElkinFencer10 wrote:I only use an ad blocker on EXCESSIVELY ad heavy sites like KissAnime. There's, like, a solid half dozen ads every time I load the damn page. But like YouTube, CNN, NintendoLife, etc? Na, I don't bother on those sites. Those ads are typically pretty unobtrusive (except YouTube's fucking 30 second unskippable ads).


Well, since KissAnime illegally profits off anime and doesn't pay a cent to the creators anyway, I'd argue that using an adblocker on that site is the *most* ethical way to do it.
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ElkinFencer10
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Re: Is it legal/ethical to use an adblocker?

by ElkinFencer10 Fri Aug 30, 2019 3:10 pm

Nemoide wrote:
ElkinFencer10 wrote:I only use an ad blocker on EXCESSIVELY ad heavy sites like KissAnime. There's, like, a solid half dozen ads every time I load the damn page. But like YouTube, CNN, NintendoLife, etc? Na, I don't bother on those sites. Those ads are typically pretty unobtrusive (except YouTube's fucking 30 second unskippable ads).


Well, since KissAnime illegally profits off anime and doesn't pay a cent to the creators anyway, I'd argue that using an adblocker on that site is the *most* ethical way to do it.

You know, I hadn't thought about it that way, but I like that! It makes it a lot easier for me to rationalize things.
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RCBH928
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Re: Is it legal/ethical to use an adblocker?

by RCBH928 Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:54 pm

dsheinem wrote:I’d disagree that it is unethical. If you are trying to monetize web content then you are doing so on a platform where users have (and can create) tools to choose how to consume your work. It’s part of the nature of the medium, and a feature which attracts audiences in the first place. I actually think it is far worse (though not unethical) to force tons of ads on a viewer that may disrupt their browsing experience. Sometimes these ads have malicious code in them, steal focus, are designed to be loud, cause loading problems, etc. Fuck that.
.


I think it really comes down to the agreement with the content creator to clear things up. Does the content creator does not mind if you block the ads? Or does he insist on you watching the ad for you to get the content? Its a little bit like the freemium model. You can play the game for free and they make money if you choose to buy items. Can you choose not to watch the ads by the creator's will?

We discussed this in another thread, how you can subscribe to cable tv and record the shows for personal viewing and tv networks are happy with that (its legal), but if you subscribe to Netflix and do the same they will be upset. I think it breaches their terms of service.

A similar example is how you would be in Egypt and pay $10 for Netflix, and in the USA and pay $10 for Netflix. Although you pay the same amount for the same company, they still won't allow you to access cross-country libraries. I know why they do it, but its all about the terms between you and the content provider. Its not as clear with online ads

Ziggy587 wrote:3) Websites can choose to block your access to their site if they detect you are using an ad blocker. That is totally up to them, just as it's totally up to you if you want to block 100% of ads. If YouTube had a problem with you using an ad blocker, then they would do something about it.

5) As for YouTube losing revenue for offering a free service... Don't worry, YouTube is Google. I think they have enough money.

Personally, ad revenue sounds good on paper but it leads to too much bullshit in my opinion. News sites that rely on ad revenue end up relying on "click bait" articles in turn, which are usually garbage articles that aren't worth ready. There are YouTube channels that are the same way. Look at Racketboy articles, they're written from the heart. If our articles were written specifically to get ad revenue, then we would have bullshit articles like "PS1 Classic Is Horrible, Here's Why" and "The Thing Nintendo Is Doing That You Should Really Know About..."


You make a very good point about blocking access if they detect an adblocker, if they were not ok with it they would have blocked access to the site altogether. I still guess they are wiling to let it slide in the hopes that the majority choose to watch the ads. Can they detect a DNS sinkhole?

As for Google, Google is Google because of the ads. No ads, no Google, no Money. I believe Google's only paid service is their online storage and some hardware.

I agree with your point about ads turned websites into click baits, but I did refer to websites that helped me out like mobygames which serves ads. I know the solution is to whitelist them, but when you have adblock on for so long you don't know they even have ads. This happened to me, I used a browser without uBlock Origin and was surprised how different websites looked!

Nemoide wrote:Well, since KissAnime illegally profits off anime and doesn't pay a cent to the creators anyway, I'd argue that using an adblocker on that site is the *most* ethical way to do it.


but if you do that, KissAnime will shutdown and you won't get their service. The only reason they are putting the effort into building this website and streaming these shows is because they are hoping to gain from the ad revenue. No ad revenue no service, which makes you lose in the end. Same with torrent trackers, someone has to pay the server bills and etc.

Of course, if you just did it they won't care but if like 40-60% did, I guess they will take it down. Its not worth their time.

Nemoide wrote:Maybe I'll stop blocking ads for a while and see how different the internet becomes...


You are in for a treat, I did this and surprised how horrible the internet really looked. I had adblock on for years.
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Ziggy587
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Re: Is it legal/ethical to use an adblocker?

by Ziggy587 Sat Aug 31, 2019 7:13 am

RCBH928 wrote:No ad revenue no service


Not necessarily. Look at Backloggery, for example.

https://www.patreon.com/backloggery wrote:I loathe ads. I've turned away 11+ years of ad revenue on the Backloggery because I hate ads that much. We briefly tried putting them on the site for about a month, but I just couldn't stand it. We make a bit off of affiliate links, but the vast majority of our revenue has always been donations straight from the community.


RCBH928 wrote:
Nemoide wrote:Maybe I'll stop blocking ads for a while and see how different the internet becomes...


You are in for a treat, I did this and surprised how horrible the internet really looked. I had adblock on for years.


Yeah. I've been using an ad blocker for years. Recently, I used the internet briefly without one and found it to be unbearable.
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