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Re: Why no "Banner Ad Eaters"?



On Thu, Jan 22, 1998 at 03:19:11PM -0800, Brad Threatt wrote:
> There are several examples people have mentioned here:
> Roxen, junkbuster, etc.
> 
> I happen to use one called WebFilter, a patched CERN httpd
> (http://math-www.uni-paderborn.de/~axel/NoShit) which allows
> program filtering based on URL regexp matching.

In addition to all of the ad blocking software mentioned on that page,
If you're running the Microsoft Proxy Server, I wrote an ISAPI filter DLL
plugin that can be used for blocking ads based URL regexp matching.  See
http://www.eskimo.com/~weidai. 

> Of course, now that Netscape's releasing their source code, what
> would *really* help the practice take off would be integration of 
> one of these systems into Netscape. 
> 
> On the downside, this is sure to trigger an ad Arms Race, with content
> providers melding together content and ads.  Right now, I can view the
> web with almost no ads, but if a million people are filtering ads off a
> site, you can bet there will be countermeasures, and lots of them.  It's
> difficult to imagine the filters winning, without more advanced support
> (for example, cropping images to remove ads, and collaborative filtering
> pools).  But if a million people are using the system, and 0.01% are
> coders committed to making it work, well, you can do a lot with 100
> brains.

It seems to me that blocking ads is no different from blocking porn. All
of the technology being developed for the latter purpose (PICS for
example) will eventually be used for the former. Filtering technology in
general will advance as the net becomes more diverse and people seek to
protect themselves from unwelcome information.

I think the long-term outlook for content providers is pretty bleak. How
do you make a profit when your copyrights are not enforceable and your ads
are easily filtered?