Ad Blocking Scum

So while browsing around on the Bethesda Softworks forums, I ran across a topic that's been going for a bit. It started off innocently enough. The guy wanted to know what was causing him some lag over at TES Nexus ( an Elder Scrolls fan site ). For about 14 posts or so ( I jumped in at #10 ) it seemed to be going ok. Then someone zeroed in on a cause we're all familiar with for unexplained lag. Trashy flash ads that chew up CPU. Specifically in this particular case, the "Stronghold ad" whatever that is. Vorians then suggested the use of Adblock Plus, and all hell broke loose from there.

The very first opposed opinion instantly leapt to the ridiculous conclusion that users of ad blocking software are thieves. That we're out to cause financial harm to the sites we visit, and are essentially stealing bandwidth from the hosts. Uh... hold on there. That's just crazy. I surf the internet a lot. Some people might well say too much. But there's one thing I won't tolerate when I do and that's pushy advertising. Nexus may not be that bad, but there are sites out there that are far worse - and no, they're not porn sites either as was suggested by some people in the thread. Ever visited CNN? MSNBC? Then you know damn good and well that this kind of thing infests the internet as a whole. So what are users supposed to do?

Well. What do you do when you don't want to be bothered by commercials while watching TV? If you're actually watching the show as its broadcast, your only real defense is to mute the sound. I do this all the time. Everyone I know does. Everyone THEY know does too. The mute button is there so you can use it exactly for that purpose. Consumers demanded it decades ago, and there it is. So is everyone who watches TV and mutes the commercials now a thief out to steal air time? And what about when you record a show? Are you going to honestly sit there and try to convince me you're WATCHING the commercials you taped? Of course you're not. You're doing like every person I've ever known does and fast forwarding through them as fast as you can. It has two benefits. First, you don't have to hear it. Second, you don't even need to see it except at super speed. So are we thieving scum now?

The argument put forth is that we're using the site to download TES mods. While it is true that the vast majority of members are there just to do that, there wouldn't be anything there to download if it weren't for those of us who create mods. I count myself among those creators now after having taken over the Open Cities project, as well as contributing several compatibility patches to go with it. I've also got a few other little things on the burner. So where did I go to offer this content to other TES players? To TES Nexus, of course. Along with Planet Elder Scrolls, but that's beside the point. So anyway, apparently even those of us who contribute are thieving scumbags if we don't pony up for a premium account at the site. So not only do we spend the time to create the mods, but now we're also morally obligated to pay for the bandwidth our users are using to download them? There's something wrong with this argument.

Checked your inbox lately? How much of it was spam? Are you filtering your email? If so, then you're probably a thieving scumbag, right? Does your ISP screen mail for it's entire customer base? Uh oh, look out, it's an evil corporate entity out to screw us all! What does that then make companies like Symantec who sell products with the specific purpose of both blocking email and filtering web advertising? Does that make them the equivalent of the OPEC cartel? The Russian mafia? Satan himself? No. It doesn't.

Take the argument a step further. How much do you pay for your cable or satellite TV hookup? $10? $20? $100? On average, the cost of cable or satellite runs $50/month for the basic packages. What do we get for that $50? Station after station after station of absolute bottom of the barrel crap. What do we get for the money? Advertisements. Just like on the free airwaves nobody uses anymore because cable and satellite have a virtual stranglehold on the market now. You're paying these jackals all this money for nothing. They're making money hand over fist just from the commercial spots alone. A 30 second spot sells for an average of $100,000, and you're seeing 10 minutes worth of it for every 30 minutes broadcast! Excuse me if I decide I don't wish to watch the shit you're forcing down my throat!

The one big fundamental difference in web advertising vs other forms is that on the net, the user foots the majority of the bill. Newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, billboards, snail mail, and even telemarketing all place the cost burden squarely on the advertiser to pay. Junk mail is kept in check as a result. Magazines aren't 90% ads. Newspapers actually carry news ( well, when they're not carrying lies instead ), radio and TV still have some glimmer of content. But email is a total loss, the entire cost burden has been wrongly shifted onto the users and their ISPs. Websites aren't far behind. Why? Because for some reason on the net the USER is expected to pay the cost. They either pay higher fees to their ISPs to cover the cost of all the filtering that's going on, or they get bullied into paying for site memberships and other subscriptions. Website operators are still able to make the advertisers pay to put the content through their sites, but this won't last forever. He who controls the money has all the power and eventually it'll come down to advertisers cutting back how much they pay. Whether or not the users are filtering the ads.

In the US, we've become so saturated by advertising and other commercial interests that the poor youngins born today have no clue that this isn't the way things used to be. They simply accept it as normal when at some point in the past I recall there being far FAR less of it going on. It's a sickness, a cancer upon our entire system. So it's no wonder that there are folks on the net who are fighting back. The internet is the last battleground left for this war. If we lose here, it's lost everywhere else.

BTW, if you missed the link earlier, you really need to read this:
It's quite an insight into the thinking that's going on behind the scenes.

Oh yeah, and this is the official 200th post here! Yay for the Empire! Or something.
"It is pointless to resist, my son." -- Darth Vader
"Resistance is futile." -- The Borg
"Mother's coming for me in the dragon ships. I don't like these itchy clothes, but I have to wear them or it frightens the fish." -- Thurindil

Well. I guess that's that then.

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Posted on Jun 10, 2008 11:02 pm by Samson in: | 1 comment(s) [Closed]
Gratz to the Empire! :)

As for the rest of the post.. wow! Utterly amazing (and entirely laughable) that someone could be ignorant enough to assume that folks blocking internet ads are stealing bandwidth. But I'd hardly qualify that [without reading more of it than you've directly shared] as "an insight into the thinking that's going on behind the scenes" for the general internet user (Joe Average with an IQ that's higher than their favorite pet's...), much more of a glimpse into the minds of the few that are too uneducated/unintelligent (?) to realize that they're making fools of themselves.

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