Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

News in the Age of Ad-blocker Blockers

Have you noticed that more and more news outlets are using software that blocks ad-blockers? I happen to hate pop-ups and babbling panes and things that flicker and flash at me, so as soon as a reliable ad-blocker came available for Firefox, I installed it. Works pretty well: 99.9% of ads are squelched, even on YouTube.

But of course, news media make their money by selling you, so it’s not in their interest to allow any ad-blocking shenanigans. At first just a few news organizations had ad-block killer — notably Forbes. Now at least 30% to 50% of them do — and they’re signing on in increasing numbers. Washington Post, one of my stand-by news sources, now makes itself unreadable to people who don’t care to be subjected to distracting ads.

You can install an anti-adblock killer. But there’s a limit. How many counter-counter-counter nuisances do I have to load into my computer? A lot can go wrong with these things…and when it does, what a time-suck! Consider the degree of farting around required to cope with this mess:

  • Check if you have only one Adblocker enabled. (Adblock, Adblock Plus or uBlock Origin)
  • Check if the script manager is enabled (Greasemonkey, Tampermonkey, NinjaKit, etc…).
  • Check if you have installed the latest version of Anti-Adblock Killer Script (Step 3).
  • Check if you have subscribed to Anti-Adblock Killer List (Step 2).
  • Check if Anti-Adblock Killer Script is enabled.
  • Check if Anti-Adblock Killer List is enabled.
  • Try update or re-install Anti-Adblock Killer Script.
  • Try update or re-subscribe Anti-Adblock Killer List.
  • Check if you have another userscript that might interfere with Anti-Adblock Killer.
  • Check if one of these extensions is problematic (Disable Anti-Adblock, Ghostery, Online Security Avast, Donotrackme, Privacy Badger, Disconnect, Blur, TrackerBlock, Kaspersky Anti-Banner, Freebox (Anti-pub), No Script, YesScript, HTTPS Everywhere).
  • Check if, your JavaScript is enabled Test.
  • Remove duplicates Anti-Adblock Killer (Script/List).
  • Remove or disable personal filters.
  • Enable only the filter lists you need, too many can make your browser unresponsive.
  • Force an update Adblocker lists
  • Force an update Script Manager
  • Check if the site is in “Supported Sites” or in “Changelog”.
    • If the site is not in it, please report it here.
    • If it exists, but the script does not work, it probably means that the antiadblocker has changed, please report it here
  • Try with another Browser.
  • Try with another Script Manager.
  • How to disable the update check Settings
  • How to disable the list check Settings
  • How write Adblock filters here
  • Where can report an advertisement here
  • Consult Discussions or Issues

So…no, guys. I don’t think so.

I’m not turning off the ad-blocker: I refuse to subject myself to advertisers’ garbage or allow it to soak up bandwidth that I have to pay for. There’s an easy alternative: don’t go to sites that block your ad-blocker.

Since more and more sites are doing that, what that means basically is I read less and less news.

And y’know what? That’s a good thing! Cruising news sites is one of my worst habits: I waste hour after hour after uncountable hour reading the news in its many Web-based iterations.

Fewer functional news sites = more time for living

The trick to getting the news, then, is simply to go to PBS, NPR, and BBC. I’m willing to donate to PBS and NPR. But I cannot afford to pay to read every news outlet that is required to get a full, reasonably balanced view of what’s going on in the world, nor am I going to subject myself to endless, intrusive nuisance advertising.

NPR’s national website has a news section that covers the nation, the world, politics, business, technology, science, health, and race & culture. Separately, you can go to your local NPR station’s site, and also to local NPR stations in other parts of the country. These often provide superior news coverage — of course, it’s not hard to get superior to a local news station’s play-nooz, but…just sayin’. Just Google NPR plus the local city of your choice; click on the “news” tab at the station’s website.

The daily update of PBS Newshour comes on at the PBS website late in the day — hereabouts, it appears around 5:00 or 5:30. And it’s a yakathon — I personally don’t have a lot of time to listen to talking heads. I can read a news report two or three times faster than a pretty woman or studly man can yap it at me. PBS publishes some transcripts of the Newshour’s content, which is useful.

BBC News is excellent. Coverage is superb, and you can get US and Canadian news at their website, as well as other international reporting.

Of course, this lets out reportage on the talking cows and the two-headed babies. But, alas, truth to tell, we can do without those lurid time-sucks. If you want lurid and freakish, try your local “news” stations, which are usually full of fluff and time-waste. By and large local news outlets do not report news well, but it’s more or less sort of better than nothing.

Heh. Maybe it is nothing. Maybe “nothing” is better than that stuff.

What you get in a blackout…

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Author: funny

This post may be a paid guest contribution.

6 Comments

  1. Thanks for the news site recommendations. I get so frustrated with “play nooze” sites that used to be pretty good, but now are just ridiculous.

    • There’s a GREAT deal of excellent content to be had at WBGH (Boston Public Radio): https://news.wgbh.org/ When you go to the “news” page, click on the “Menu” link at the upper left. This brings up a list of a slew of first-rate programs. Most of them, when you get into their pages, will give you transcripts as well as the podcast form, so you can either listen to or, if you don’t have time to waste, read their content.

  2. I couldn’t agree more. It infuriates me when sites insist that I allow their ads or they block their content. It actually makes no sense. If I’m reading the Sunday paper, am I somehow forced to look at the ad for Bob’s Mattress big clearance event before I can read Page 2? No, Bob get limited views. A huge chunk of the subscriber base never sees his ad…yet somehow it works just fine for everybody involved. Yet that’s not good enough for online? Somehow now every reader has to see the ad for Bob’s mattress blowout because they’re reading online? It’s senseless and insulting. And I’m with you, I simply stop going to those sites altogether. And I’m just fine with that.

    • Well, there’s a reason for that phenomenon: a print publication sells ad SPACE. An advertiser pays, up front, for a page or half a page or an eighth of a page…or whatever. The publisher gets that money usually before the publication even goes to press. Advertising — not direct revenue from subscriptions and news-stand sales — is what supports a print publication.

      But an online publisher sells EYES ON SPACE. It does not sell the amount of space on a web-page devoted to the ad. It sells the number of people who see the ad, and/or the number of people who click on the ad. This is a different thing from print on paper. And as an online publisher, you do not get paid until someone appears to have seen or clicked on your ad.

      It allows the advertiser to buy ad space much more cheaply — because she’s not buying ad space; she’s buying the number of people who can provably be expected to have seen the ad. Thus if you block the ad, you block the publisher from selling the ONLY thing he has to sell. Well, other than link juice, which is something Google tries to prohibit.

      In a print publication, yeah: you can ignore the ads. But its surprising the number of people who don’t. Some people even subscribe to publications SO AS to get the ads. In a web page, advertising is intrusive: it flashes, it pops up in your face, it makes a noise. And it costs the reader money: it absorbs bandwidth.

      Hence the desire among web users to install ad-blockers, and the desire among publishers to thwart them…

  3. Ooh, thanks for the recommendations! I’ve been feeling very cut off from news of the world, and many news sites are all but unnavigible for me, even without popups and yammering distractions that take forever to find and turn off.

    I have nothing against ads in principle. Publishers gotta keep the lights on somehow. But when the ads become intrusive and obnoxious and get in the way of actual content, I get annoyed. As you say, some sites just aren’t worth visiting, regardless of great content, for that reason.

    What’s funny to me are the number of ads that are absolutely meaningless to me–and, presumably, other blind readers. A web page ad will read like: “Frame. id=[long string of numbers]. Out of frame.” I know I’ve just “seen” an ad–no clue what it was for/about. Many YouTube ads are just 15-30 seconds of catchy music or dialogue from a movie or show. Sounds cool, but I have no idea what’s being promoted to me. Almost makes me want to contact the advertiser and say, “Do you know you’re completely missing 1% of your audience?” Almost.