Auto-Start Videos

I’ve heard isolated reports of auto-start videos on the site. I hate them every bit as much as you do, but I haven’t seen one and I can’t track down its source (we use multiple ad networks) without more information. If you see one, please get a screenshot of the ad for me. That might help me track it down and root it out. Thanks.

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  • Wes

    I’ve seen one video ad on the site. Wish I’d got a screen cap at the time, because it’s definitely happening. And it’s annoying.

  • Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    I’ve seen two in the past couple of days, but they’re apparently lying low now that they know they’ve been spotted . . .

  • Francisco Bacopa

    Most pop ups never appear. Sometimes I get a warning there was a pop up, and about one in ten visits gets me a pop up for the Economist.

    Running Firefox on Ubuntu 9.4 something. All is good.

    Why aren’t there banners for Assassin Actual and other bloggers on the man Freethought page?

  • Infophile

    I actually saw one as I read this post, though it’s rather tame. It played once after the page loaded (and the “video” was little more than transitioning between frames; no sound), then stopped on the last panel. I’m not even sure if it’s worth reporting to you, but here’s a screenshot of the last frame of it, just in case it helps out.

  • I am seeing very few ads. I think they are being blocked by “noscript” (a firefox extension).

  • Hercules Grytpype-Thynne


    That’s not really what people are complaining about. We’re talking about complete, TV-style video ads with sound. At least one of which goes on from ad to ad and apparently never stops.

  • I saw one of the auto-audio-full-motion ads people are talking about, but I haven’t seen any lately. I did see one ad box that just displayed error codes. Here’s a screenshot.

  • I’ve seen numerous ads that have no “off” button. One of them was for “Tide”–a product I won’t use in any case–others have been running.

    Just now I had to kill the window and re-open it as the page kept locking up when I was trying to type.

  • jshaffer

    I’ve only ran across one such ad so far but that was when FtB was just starting. However, I usually read this blog at work with the sound off so I may have just not noticed them.

    The ads that I really notice are the ones trying to get me to support Allen West, Rand Paul or Michele Bachman. There’s also the one urging me to try Christian Singles or the power of prayer.

  • Chiroptera

    What I didn’t like about the ads is how long it takes for pages to load. Sometimes my browser will even hang up as it gets stuck trying to load an ad from some site or another.

    Some people have suggested the NoScript addon for Firefox. I’ve decided to give it a try; not only do the FtB pages load much quicker and without hanging up, but the same can be said for a lot of other sites that I check a lot (like!). Thanks, people!

    I am sorry, though, if preventing the ads from showing on my computer is denying FtB needed revenue; I don’t mind the ads themselves, just the annoyance when sometimes I have to go get a cup of coffee while a page finishes loading. (I’ve also stated before that I especially liked the fact that so many of the ads were for conservative politicians or religious woo — Ed and PZ getting revenue from these sources was pretty funny to me.)

    If you do need the revenue, say something and maybe we can work out an alternative way I can pay my fair share.

  • lordshipmayhem

    I’ve seen a fair number of these auto-run videos, mostly for Tide. You can’t shut the blasted thing off, and I don’t think there was a Mute button. I haven’t seen any recently.

  • Ellie

    I haven’t seen any since I started visiting here via Firefox. When I come via IE, I get pop ups by the dozens and the videos.

  • Parse

    Ed, try using proxies to view the site. I’ve heard of ad networks using IP addresses to determine which ads to show – and if it’s an address of an administrator, they don’t include the really obnoxious ads. (In this case, it’d be the autoplay ads).

  • Larry

    I haven’t seen one but then, I’m using Firefox with Adblock Plus

  • Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    Just now saw one for Wonka. The screencap is here.

  • heathanderson

    I just saw the Wonka one too. The ‘Your Ad Here’ link goes to adBrite.

  • ogremk5

    I didn’t get a screen shot, but one autostart video was for Wonka candy.

  • anandine

    I haven’t seen any autostart videos, but yesterday I did have autostart audio that I couldn’t get rid of.

  • Chris from Europe

    I didn’t want to use Adblock for this site, so I also installed Flashblock. I haven’t seen any ads that use HTML5 elements.

    P.S.: The FTB favicon doesn’t work with Firefox and the pages should contain the following in the head section:

    <link rel=”shortcut icon” href=”” />

  • Chris from Europe

    Okay, the problem is that all release versions of Firefox don’t support the Vista ico format. If you save the favicon in an older version of the format (the XP variant should keep the transparency), it should display again.

  • Chromium on Linux. I just saw an ad that asked me to download XVid to run the ad, and showed me one of those yellow bars like in IE when they want you to install a plugin — only it was inside the ad frame itself.

    The culprit is definitely adBrite. It’s rather annoying that I tried to dig into the situation a bit further and it tried to make me download XVidSetup.exe — like that’ll do anything on Linux.

  • Trebuchet

    Ed, I don’t know if you’re still following this but I just heard one. Didn’t see it though, just “Congratulations, you’ve won!” coming out of the headphones on the table. I didn’t actually see any ads that looked as if they’d have been responsible.

  • Trebuchet

    And it just happened again, when the updated page with the previous comment loaded. The culprit seems to be something called It’s not a video, just an annoying flashing ad with a smiley face.