It's about time we stopped buying into the propaganda phrase "ad blockers", and started calling user-protection tools like and what they are; spy blockers. If I display ads on my website using HTML and CSS, spy blockers won't block those. As far as they know, the text, images, audio, or video that make up the ads could be anything. So what's really being blocked is not ads, but tracking. Thanks to the authors of this site, for pointing this out:

"... blockers will definitely not block advertisements that are completely integrated with the content that you wanted to open, but when that sort of thing happens, it means that the author of the content knew about what they were advertising, instead of just having a banner ad automatically stuck to their page. Figuring out if you can trust the author of the web page that you opened is something you had to do anyway."


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@strypey Good point. There is no reason ads cannot be served as a simple image, gif or video, with HTML and CSS.

@ashwinvis @strypey Actually, it's difficult to prevent publishers from tampering with plain HTML ads and defrauding the advertisers (with clickjacking, for example).

I personally think iframes without JavaScript are the best solution.

@strypey The problem is not the advertising itself, but that they are concentrated in two big monopolies - Google and Facebook. The lack of competition leads to abuse.

@clacke @strypey @den

TBH I don't even mind non obtrusive ads for local businesses in the language of the site I am reading (as they improve my language skills) - it does annoy me (or would if I didn't have ublock etc) to see ads in English (or worse, random articles in English inserted into a news site), which immediately give away "ad reinsertion" techniques. Even my local news group (Archant) has websites that are unusable without blockers (they literally crash some browsers)

> The problem is not the advertising itself, but that they are concentrated in two big monopolies

Why do you think that happened @den ? Do you think it would have happened if governments had passed laws like GDPR when the concept of user-tracking ad networks were first being proposed?


@strypey @clacke Until recently, the government did not understand what was happening, and now it is throwing itself at another, no less dangerous way - overregulation.

@strypey I find "user protection tools" a very good, refreshing alternative term for ad-blocker software, but "spy blocker" much less so as it may communicate a narrower set of use cases to ppl that are not familiar with ad-blockers. Like "Spy blocker? Isn't that for journalists, intelligence officers or the tinfoil hat types?".

Good point. But it also invites co-education, like "actually most online ad technology spies on you, so spy blockers protect you from that, but don't stop people selling static ads space on their own site to known advertizers". I'm not attached to any particular phrase, but "user protection tools" seems too clunky to catch on.

@strypey yea, "user protection tools" is more of a good general category to place things under.

Could also call them e.g. 'privacy guardians' or something. That has positive connotation, but less descriptive of what it does. Spying Ad Blocker? Idk :D


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