Some Useful Tech if the Ads Bug You

Some Useful Tech if the Ads Bug You January 30, 2012

A reader writes:

I’ve noticed in the comments on your blog some complaints from a few readers about the ads that show up on your site. I don’t know how to address that from your end, but you might want to check out and recommend to your readers the plug-in AdBlockPlus, which is free and available for Firefox and Chrome. It blocks all of the farmed-out ads that show up on sites all over the internet, and I’ve found it extremely helpful. It blocks out all ads, including the objectionable and annoying ones, and also seems to speed up my browsing. I’m not sure what sharing it will do to your click-throughs, but I’m not a huge fan of that model of the internet economy to begin with…

Just something you may be interested in.

Now you know!

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  • kate

    I love AdBlock Plus for Chrome. The Beta version I use lets you right click on any remaining ads – or just page elements that you don’t want to see, like the sidebar on Facebook – and add it to the block list as well.

  • I would also like to add a couple of more options for other browsers. Maxthon and Opera have ad blocking built in. Maxthon’s blocker is activated by default, while Opera’s has to be manually trained which is not so bad, since you can focus on particularly nasty and annoying ads while leaving other revenue-generating ones intact (many ads support websites, services, and bloggers directly, which is healthy for the internet ecosystem). If you want automatic blocking from the start, there are Opera extensions that should do the trick.

  • Mary Kochan

    This is amazing: “I’m not sure what sharing it will do to your click-throughs, but I’m not a huge fan of that model of the internet economy to begin with…”

    Mark, you should have asked him exactly what model of internet commerce he does favor. Would that be the one where he pays for content? I doubt it. It is readily apparent that Catholics geenrally favor the model of internet commenrce whereby Catholic content creators, such as yourself (and yours truly) just work for free. I have written more about this issue here:

    • Linebyline

      Can’t speak for anyone else, but my preferred model is either freemium or an advertisement-based one.

      You know, instead of the scam we have now that pretends to be ad-based but is in reality just a way for advertisers to get free ads while paying site owners a pittance, and/or deliver malware.

      Get rid of the tracking. Go contextual instead. Post an ad for a company that provides a service related to the site. I don’t want to buy shoes or domain names or a college education when I’m on a Catholic blog just because I Googled those things recently. But I might be in the mood to buy Mark Shea’s book while reading Mark Shea’s blog.

      Get rid of the Iframes and the middlemen. Site owners have every right to control what content is shown to viewers of their own Web sites. Not to mention that unscrupulous or lazy middlemen are pretty much constantly letting ads through that deliver malware. (And you don’t know what middlemen your middleman is using, so bet on getting some malware eventually.)

      Most of all, get rid of the pay-per-click model. Advertising is about brand recognition. No one cares if you make the sale directly from the ad–that’s just icing on the cake. Sure, you occasionally see print ads with coupons or “present this ad for a discount,” but by and large it’s about having people see a brand name later and think “hey, I remember seeing that somewhere.” If site owners only get paid per click, then ad advertisers are getting the most important aspect of their business for free.

      Here’s a follow-up thought: Advertising is getting more and more pervasive because advertisers keep looking for ways to force people to look at ads that they would rather skip. Duh! The solution is to make ads not so annoying (or worse, outright harmful) that people want to block or skip them in the first place.


      Sorry. Guess I’m feeling a little ranty today.

      • Click through is not the only payment model. Some advertisers are paying for impressions. And you don’t know which are which.

        If you think that Mark could sell enough books from the site to support his family, you are living in a dream world. However, his books are good and you want them. So scroll down until you see them on the right hand side and order away.

        • Linebyline

          Sadly, those books are already in my library, so it would be imprudent for me to buy them again. Maybe if Mark released By What Authority 4S with support for Siri, I’d consider it.

          And “you don’t know which are which” is exactly the problem with the proliferation of middlemen in the current model. Though that has as much or more to do with the malware problem than the scam-to-get-free-eyeballs aspect.

          When you have to put a disclaimer on your site telling people how “Most of the ads below were selected by complex algorithms and are not endorsed by the author,” I’d question the wisdom (and moral legitimacy, if you really want to push the issue) of continuing to use that ad broker.

          For that matter, if your viewers are being shown content that is in neither your control nor theirs, I question the extent to which it still counts a “your site.” But at that point I’m just being a purist.

          Finally, I understand that being a writer isn’t exactly the greatest way to earn a living. (I’ve heard it described as “like vagrancy, but less lucrative.“) And as I said, I’m all for the ad-supported model. But if people pay big money for print, TV, and billboard ads that are based on context rather than per-user tracking and don’t get clicks (and, oh yeah, don’t put malware on people’s computers!) then they should be willing to do the same on the Web.

          Bonus: Since they come through Mark’s site and not an ad network, I can actually see the ads you mention for his books even though I’m running AdBlock+.

  • Tim

    Is there a way I can block that picture of that bearded fellow in the glasses that always pops up on the side? There is something fiendish and disturbing about him.

  • trespinos

    Thanks for the info. The need for an ad-blocker hit me the day that the prominent ad for Seattle University showed up above Mark’s picture. That was wrong in so many ways.

  • Rosemarie


    It must work because I’ve been using the plug-in for a month or so and I’ve never seen these advertisements that others here complain about.

  • Do your best to protect your privacy.

    I admit to running ABP. It protects me from some seriously objectionable content, and web beacons built into GIF images. I also run Beef TACO (Targeted Cookie Advertising Opt-out) and BetterPrivacy (removes Flash cookies, which Firefox cannot by itself affect), and tick the “Tell sites I do not want to be tracked” box on the Privacy tab of Firefox’s Options dialog.