Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Why FireFox is Misguidedly Blocked.

Went to read a blog this morning and was instead rudely redirected to some page with a bunch of hysterical bullshit about Why FireFox is Blocked.

The funny part is that in principle I agree with everything the page says about ad blocking being content theft but going to war against all FireFox users over this is fucking stupid.

People run ad blockers in Internet Explorer, why not block them too?

Most of the traffic is Internet Explorer so cutting of your traffic is stupid.

Why aren't they rallying against Norton Firewall which blocks all the same things by default?

That's another easy answer, because Norton Firewall users are a substantial amount of the traffic too but they can't easily detect a firewall. However, the FireFox user agent is an easy target to make a stand and piss off all the FireFox users and people are buying into this hype which is idiotic.

Hell, I'd suspect there are more people running ad blocking at the firewall level than there are copies of FireFox in actual use.

Will I do as they ask and go yell at Mozilla to take AdBlock Plus off the plug-in list?

Fuck no, it's fucking stupid.

However, what I might do is continue working on some ad blocking buster code that I started tinkering with because of Norton Firewall and ad blocking firewalls in general.

Shouldn't be that difficult to embed some javascript in the page that checks to see if Google AdSense created the iFrames for the ads or if the banners were actually loaded and punt the page elsewhere to a nice message telling people nicely:


Worded purposely to sidestep even discussing the fact that the blocked content was ads so it doesn't call direct attention to the ads and shouldn't violate the AdSense T&Cs.

You could just turn off javascript to stop any ad block checking but then the site navigation won't work because they're both in the same file.

Cute, eh?

Additionally, server side embedded ads seem to still work just fine so as long as you aren't serving up some 3rd party ads you can still show the ads.

Yes, your embedded ads COULD be blocked but the current filter technology requires a specific path or file name so as long as the image names vary constantly per banner and they appear to be served from the root path of the web site it's pretty hard to filter out with the existing technology.

The easiest way to defeat ad blockers which I've experimented with in the past is to simply make all the code server side. I once experimented with CJ's code by downloading the images to the server first and embedding them into the page directly, then redirecting clicks to the proper tracking location. The only 2 issues is that the impression tracking and 3rd party cookies didn't work well in that scheme, but it's obvious to me that a server side work around is possible that defeats all the ad blockers.

Don't expect to see server side code anytime soon though as most people operating a web site simply aren't capable of installing the code unless it comes pre-packaged as a blog or CMS module that can virtually install itself.

Remember, it's not a war on FireFox, it's a war on AD BLOCKERS, so get over the fact that FireFox has a plug-in, stop stupidly penalizing FireFox users, and start dealing with the root of the problem which is the blocking technology itself. Your ads can fly under ad blocking radar or stop visitors that don't download ads, your choice, but deal with the problem and not taking pot shots at a random poster child which in this case is FireFox.