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Wanted: A Firefox plugin that automatically scrolls pre-selected web pages down a certain distance to automatically cover the ubiquitous banner ad. It could be called “curtains.”

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30 thoughts on “Wanted

  1. Ummm… why don’t you just use Adblock Plus and then you don’t have to worry about any adverts…

  2. Maybe that is what I’m looking for! Does it make the ad go away so the space it took up is returned to me, or does it just make the space where the ad was go blank?

  3. Usually adblock “returns the space to you” although there are exceptions if the page is formatted unusually.

    I wouldn’t dream of surfing without adblock plus. After several years of using it, seeing the internet without it was jarring and horrifying.

    I also use noscript to prevent malicious stuff and get rid of other annoyances, but it’s a little more work, you have to build a whitelist, and new sites you visit often don’t work right until you allow certain scripts to run.

  4. ABP, Add-Block Plus will block a lot of it.

    Request Policy further seals the gaps and allows you to control the cross-talk and blocks a lot of trackers and counters. On my slow connection it saves my having to waste time on nonproductive content.

    Request policy can be a bit of a pain until it is trained on the sites you visit because it blocks off-site content until you tell it to allow it in. I suspect also might interfere with web commerce and how sites get paid and ranked. Which might be problematic, or not. I’m still up in the air as to the virtues.

    IE: On this page certain sites are automatically blocked by default: addtoany.com, quantserve.com, googleapis.com, google-anylitics.com, and scorecardresearch.com.

    On one hand this speeds up my download and may be helping keep the sites I see uncluttered. It may also mean that advertisers and people using counters for pay may not be registering my visit. The five blocked on this page are pretty common to all the Sb pages but some bloggers have many more. Girlscintist had close to twenty on her blog pages.

    I’m kind of up in the air as to the ethics of blocking such counters but then again I’ve heard no complaints. I would be interested to hear your take on this sort of thing.

  5. SciBlogs has ads? I’ve sure never seen one.

    Yeah, Greg, Adblock Plus will do everything you want, and more. Install it in Firefox and, when you’re prompted to subscribe to a list, choose Easylist if it’s not selected by default.

    It’s also worth installing Flashblock, which blocks Flash content by substituting a blank rectangle with an arrow. If you want to watch the Flash content, you just click on the arrow.

  6. I’ve got a better idea. Why don’t people stop putting so much advertising on their sites. It looks like cluttered junk.

    Advertising should be tastefully done, and done with restraint. The site still needs to look good! But some sites have ads placed all over, with pop ups and adds that follow your mouse.

    If I ever use that kind of advertising I hope someone shoots me in the head just to put me out of my misery.

    Just my 2 cents!

  7. Particularly for those who run Windows, there’s an even better reason to run Adblock/Flashblock/NoScript than simply eliminating ads. Most or all of the major ad-serving companies have, albeit presumably unintentionally, distributed ads that contain “drive-by” malware. Simply having the ad display on your system is sufficient; you don’t have to click on it or take any other action to allow it to infect your system. Not using Adblock/Flashblock/NoScript is the computing equivalent of having daily unprotected sex with a skanky crack whore.

  8. Greg, Adblock+ works by not not downloading ads rather than not displaying ads.

    What this means is that when someone with Adblock+ visits this, or any scienceblog (or any ad supported website), Seed, and consequently the blogger, does not get the ad revenue.

  9. And I’m supposed to be happy about that? Seed doesn’t get the ad revenue anyway. They don’t pay me much, but from what I know of the ad market, they are giving me ALL the ad revenue plus some extra, presumably hoping for the ad market to come back some day.

    (I’m guessing, but I’ll be I’m close.)

  10. A couple of things I do to avoid ads: find a hosts file (install in place of your current /etc/hosts, but be careful to retain any actual entries in your current hosts file) that specifies the widely known ad image servers as, and right click on images from ad servers and select “block images from…”

  11. Art –

    I unblock certain pages, so that I am sure they get the ad revenue. I figure that makes up for blocking so many others. I also like having the ability to block ads on pages I am visiting because they’re Teh Evile!!!11!

  12. I just want something that lets me know where sound is coming from.

    Every few days, one of my many open tabs is playing sound or video with sound (usually an ad), mashing up with what I’m actually trying to listen to, and I can’t find the damned thing.

  13. I had to take scienceblogs off my adblock plus whitelist after getting flashing strobe ads. I whitelist sites that I frequent to make sure they get the ad revenue. I can live with the screechers but flashing ads can trigger migraines for me, so I have no tolerance once those pop up.

  14. Our policy at scienceblogs is no moving/flashing ads or ads that move out of the right sidebar or top banner where they are supposed to remain, and no noise. Those ads happen anyway (because Sb does not serve it’s own ads, obviously) and then we report it.

  15. I mean, I donna wanna be that guy that repeats things…

    But flashblock+adaware make the web palatable. I want information from the web, and these apps make it so that I get the information I want w/o the bullshit I deplore. Just run them.

  16. Greg, there’s an add-on for Firefox and Chrome called “Readability”. It renders whatever page you’re on as plain text. ALL the trash goes away. It doesn’t work for home pages, but it cleans up individual pages beautifully. You can toggle right back to the original page if you want another look at that lurid whatever-it-is you saw earlier.

  17. BTW, I should say that I don’t use ad block on my main computer for you (my readers). I’m the guy who has to be aware of what the ads are doing. (This is how, for instance, I spotted the Russian Bride ads, allowing to alert my colleagues who use adblock or did not notice). But I should probably install it on my laptop for a better browsing experience (or the opposite, as long as I have the occasional view of ads).

    But what YOU need to do, dear reader, is look at the ads now and then, and click on one now and then, follow the link with your credit card in hand and buy whatever product they are selling. The, write a note to the seller thanking them for placing an ad on this blog, because otherwise you would never have learned about your product, because this is pretty much the only ad that you (and your family and friends and coworkers) read.

    Maybe once a week or so.

    John: I’m going to look at that now. So far, text-based approaches that i’ve used don’t work because they spit out several down-pages worth of stuff like the contents of the left sidebar before getting to the post, which is the opposite of what I “want.” But It sounds interesting I’ll certainly have a look.

  18. Following up to Robert at #11:

    NoScript is an absolute necessity for anyone running Windows. There’s too much “drive-by” malware being served by ads these days.

    My Windows system at work got infected by visiting a local news web site and getting served an ad. This was before I’d (re-)installed AdBlock+.

    Yes, you really can get infected by these things. Our tech support wound up re-imaging my laptop. That was an afternoon wasted.

    It can be a bit of a pain to start using NoScript, since you have to explicitly add sites to a “whitelist” by clicking a button in the bottom of the browser’s status bar. Any new sites you visit may not work correctly until you whitelist them, or temporarily allow them for the duration of your visit.

    Interestingly, NoScript also blocks Flash (YouTube, Vimeo, ..) in the same way as FlashBlock. So if you run NoScript, you don’t need FlashBlock anymore.

  19. I’m surprised no one has mentioned the wonders of GreaseMonkey (aka UserScripts if you use Chrome). Yeah, AdBlock+ is probably what you want, but if you really wanted a page to scroll to a certain point when you load it, that would be easy to do with a user script.

    A user script is a simply a javascript you write which runs atop whatever pages you tell it to (you give it a list of pages, wildcards work). There is a hell of a lot of power there to do whatever you want.

    As for ads generally, there are really two camps of people making ads… The very very annoying “get your attention” people, a lot of which are (or at least were back in the day) advertising professionals with training/experience in other media. And the much nicer (IMO) *relevant* ad folks who operate under the premise that less is more if the product/service being advertised is actually something the viewer is likely to be interested in. The old type go for a large number of views, the latter go for a higher percentage of click-throughs (and maybe even buys).

    Anyways, just blocking ads will monetarily screw a lot of websites. If you have a fast connection, you might consider just not displaying ads from annoying places (but still loading them). Try not to block ads that aren’t annoying… they serve a purpose and might even tell you about some useful product or service you didn’t know about. Reward (or at least don’t punish) the folks doing it right.

  20. BTW:
    Some pages load in a way where the ads come in last and the page renders before they arrive (ajax-y goodness). This is the *right-way* to do it, since far too often ads take a long time or fail to load.

    Other pages will block until the ads respond… this is evil and should be punished. Emailing webmaster@where-ever used to be a good way to complain about such evilness. Blocking ads on those sites or even just not going to such sites is a-ok in my book.

    If you’re a developer (or perhaps a blogger), it would be a good thing to make sure the site people are aware of this issue. They tend to work on a very very fast connection, so they might not notice such potential problems.

  21. What is needed is this: A script that inserts an HTML link code in the stream of data at the place that is the beginning of the first blog post title in any blog. That is almost always a header level 1 or 2, or the first heading after a div named “body” or something like that. Then, the script re-calls the tampered with URL by adding the #code to the end of it.

    I’m sure that would be easy for a grease monkey monkier.

  22. I’ve got a better idea. Why don’t people stop putting so much advertising on their sites. It looks like cluttered junk.
    Advertising should be tastefully done, and done with restraint. The site still needs to look good! But some sites have ads placed all over, with pop ups and adds that follow your mouse.
    If I ever use that kind of advertising I hope someone shoots me in the head just to put me out of my misery.
    Just my 2 cents!

    without ads, they won’t have any revenue from the website

  23. For more fine-grained control over what portions of a site’s screen space get nuked, see Adblock Plus: Element Hiding Helper.

    It’s quite powerful, and you can nuke all kinds of annoying layout problems with it, especially if the site has lots of helpful CSS ids or class names. (If it doesn’t have good CSS, it’s a bit trickier but still doable for advanced users, although more likely to break or hide the wrong things if the site design changes.)

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