View Full Version : AdSubtract threat gets a little more real

Ralph Slate
06-28-2001, 12:45 PM
From the Boston Globe online edition, 6/28:

"Boston-based Zoom Telephonics includes the free version of AdSubtract with its modems, and CEO Ed English says they're working on a contract with a major PC manufacturer. Even though it's no help against pop-ups, this version of the software could become standard issue on millions of computers."


06-28-2001, 05:06 PM
Like I've previously have stated in my earlier posts, ad-blockers are not a threat, assuming that you:

Have text based ads.

That is the key. Users like text based ads, and they have higher conversion and click-thru rate. The are better in all ways - adblockers will just force all this popup-flashflash-lookatme advertising off the internet - that's all.

[This message has been edited by intellected (edited 06-28-2001).]

Ralph Slate
06-28-2001, 06:08 PM
Text links are not ads. They are attempts at leads. An ad brings about brand awareness. A text link tries to sell a product.

First, no one sells CPM text links. They rarely sell CPC text links. They're all CPA links.

Next, how will you rotate text links? Campaigns don't last forever -- they seem to run for a couple of months and then end. That means you'll have to change your code every time the programs change. You'll have to reintegrate new programs into you site on a regular basis. In other words, stop focusing on developing content and start focusing on how to sell different items through your site.

Last, if I'm Ford, how do I advertise using text links? What am I selling other than brand awareness? How many cars get sold over the internet?

Although text links have a place, they will not replace true branding advertising. Therefore any product designed to remove advertising from the internet should be seen as a legitimate threat, especially when it will come pre-loaded on computers.


[This message has been edited by Ralph Slate (edited 06-28-2001).]

06-28-2001, 06:19 PM
If you're pages are dynamic (php, shtml, asp, etc.) you could incorporate text link ads pretty easy without modifying your content. You could even pull the current links out of a databse, rotate em, and all the other stuff you do with banners.

I did have a CPM deal on text link ads once, but Ralph is right that most text links are CPAs.

On the subject of fighting back, I've been wondering if this program can detect ad-subtract (or if not, maybe they be persuaded to add this feature given I think we know there is market demand): http://www.browserhawk.com/

I don't consider myself intensely interested in the fight-back, but I know some are, so maybe this is angle that you want to research.

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[This message has been edited by WildComputer (edited 06-28-2001).]

06-28-2001, 07:56 PM
how does adsubtract work? I know it blocks ads, but how does it go about doing it?

I'm willing to bet there is a way of detecting it, and you could check for it and give them a page that says something along the lines of "no ads no page, try again without blocking content. This site is paid for by ads, and without them we would not be here. Since you don't want to see ads, here is a preview". Then show them nothing. While if 1 person does it, the surfer probably will just go to the next site(unless you have really valueable and unique content). But if everyone does it, they will get the picture.

I don't think alot people realize how much they are hurting sites by doing this. If they did, and they liked your site, they probably would stop in order to keep your site alive. Now there is something in it for them.

I don't think it is that much of a problem now, but if it does become a problem, the only way to fix it is to for webmasters to come together in some sort of way. Sure you can just use text links, and keep avoiding the problem, but what happens when someone builds something that will check for affiliate programs by the links destination(can be done), and blocking those from showing up, or warning the person that someone might make a buck off you(that they don't actually pay) if you see this.

You can't just ignore it, you can avoid it for awhile, but sooner or later you will run out of room, and have no way of making money. Don't forget, they are taking away from you if you are using them or not. If you wanted to use them, you couldn't.

Of course, the people doing this may not ever click on an ad anyway, and could be saving you money on resources. However, I'd bet with the right ads, on the right site you could probably get them to click.

I'd like that company a whole lot more if they would switch from blocking ads, to blocking porn from kids.

Ralph Slate
06-29-2001, 05:15 AM
I was under the impression that some of those ad blocking programs also had the ability to strip affiliate links from your site too. I might be making that up, but it seems I saw that somewhere.


06-29-2001, 06:48 AM
I agree clay, and am hopeful that someone will be able to post on how to do that (redirect those who have an ad blocker) - and I'm sure it will be posted on this great board first http://geekvillage.com/ubb/smile.gif

06-29-2001, 07:53 AM
I assume those things look at image width and height to determine if it's standard ad size?

How could a program like that tell whether this is an ad or part of my content?

<a href="mysite.com/phpscripts/out.php?link=1"><img src="images/link1.jpg" border="0"></A>

06-29-2001, 08:01 AM
Maybe the answer is to put your ads inside JavaScript so they are less detectable and have a NoScript message making them turn JS on to view your site.

90% viewed ads(Avg who have JS on) is better than 0%.

06-29-2001, 08:06 AM
You can easily fight back if you have apache. I use the first set of code to direct people from one of my adult sites to an adult sponsor that has an optimized WebTV program (it will not even work on regular computers)

The second code is my guess as to how to do it for ad subtract. It SHOULD forward anyone with "deleted by" in the refferer or "ad subtract"/"adsubtract" in the user agent to a page specified. As I am no expert on apache - you should verify this before using it. All you shoul have to do is copy the text and put it in a file name .htaccess in your root directory.

Again - I am no expert in Apache - you need Mod Rewrite for this to work (It was already on my server). All I had to do with the WebTV thing was make the file. It took 60 seconds. I verified it with a WebTV emulator - so I know that works.

#---Begin Copy---
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT** ^.*WebTV.*$
RewriteRule /* http://www.somesponsor.com/ [R,L]
#---End Copy---

Could be modified to the following

#---Begin Copy---
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER** ^.*deleted by.*$ [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT** ^.*adsubtract.*$ [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT** ^.*ad subtract.*$ [NC]
RewriteRule /* http://www.yourdomain.com/adsubtractpage.com [R,L]
#---End Copy---

There may be a simpler way to do this (ad.subtract) may take care of both cases - or something else. Remember - I do not really understand this stuff - I am just modifying some things I already use. I do this with IPs, AOL users, and WebTV users - and that works, but I can't guarantee the above will work.

06-29-2001, 08:15 AM
Oh, and just to clarify - I KNOW it will work, what I am not sure of is I have the sytax correct. I have never used the HTTP_REFFERER and the examples I saw were for urls. I am not sure I have the wildcards, spaces set up correct and such.

It will absolutely work - someone that knows more about apache may have to make some slight modifications. I am 80% sure it will work as is.

There is nothing the Ad Subtract user can do, unless there is an option to get rid of the "deleted by".

06-29-2001, 08:41 AM
Heres a thought on how it could be done.

img tags don't have to call images, they can call scripts that then passthru an image. What you could do is set the banner img src to be the script and for the script to set a cookie or something similar before it passes through the banner image itself.

Then your main site could check for the existence of the cookie.

Combined with a header redirect or something similar you could then decide where they were sent.

The drawback is the extra bandwidth, as you would be basically pulling in the ad and serving the ad (so you are looking at 2 x banner size bandidth per imp) and of course the ad company would have to agree to this.

06-29-2001, 09:00 AM
Welcome to the forum and BB, safesys. http://geekvillage.com/ubb/smile.gif

Some great suggestions thus far.

Feel free to also review the proposals/solutions put forth within a few previous discussions regarding this issue:

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06-29-2001, 01:39 PM
I noticed the http connection, when webwasher is shut off, is keep-alive, but closed when it's running. Also, there's an option to remove any mention of webwasher from the user agent feild, or even replace it with what you want. That's what makes them hard to block.

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08-01-2001, 05:29 AM
Originally posted by Ralph Slate
Text links are not ads. They are attempts at leads. An ad brings about brand awareness. A text link tries to sell a product.

First, no one sells CPM text links. They rarely sell CPC text links. They're all CPA links.


some exceptions is the sprint-about text ads... i think they are pay per click
directleads is also using those sprint ads posted by someone eialer.. this i bleive is embeded using iframe... it could also be done wiht a .js file...
of course once this is done they probaly would just then start blocking iframe tags or script source tags grr but the .js files are used alot this might not happen... more and more the the problem is they block off ip or domain name like blocking
ad.doubleclick.com or qkrst? whatever cjs ad servere is....

however seems pretty disperate if some one is using a anti ad software that reads your html page then alters it for the user.. not sure it will go that far.. the companys would have to be pretty evil to make something get rid of text ads.. I guess i can understand the need to stop annoying pop ups or save bandwigth getting rid of images but text ads don't annoy people.... anyways i the banner ads aren't that much of a slow down for mdoem users for getting a site free...

it is possible they could sell CPM text ads but highly doubtfull in my opinion

08-01-2001, 10:15 AM
I'm sure all this program delete or will delete text-ads. I remember I had "Atguard" installed and It had erased all sponsor links and even link to page within site which says "Sponsors".

So I don't recommend You to rely on text links.

08-01-2001, 02:01 PM
It also erase everything that is linked to :

Ralph Slate
08-01-2001, 02:19 PM
The banner blocking companies always say "people don't like to spend time downloading useless ads", but by blocking text ads, they're showing their true colors -- they're against advertising in general.

They claim that the proliferation of ads is why they're doing this, but they allow no middle ground -- their rules are "no ads period".


08-01-2001, 04:43 PM
Originally posted by SearchNerd

Again - I am no expert in Apache - you need Mod Rewrite for this to work (It was already on my server)....

Could be modified to the following

#---Begin Copy---
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER** ^.*deleted by.*$ [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT** ^.*adsubtract.*$ [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT** ^.*ad subtract.*$ [NC]
RewriteRule /* http://www.yourdomain.com/adsubtractpage.com [R,L]
#---End Copy---

Thanks for posting that stuff about AdSubtract, SearchNerd. I wasn't aware of them until recently, and I didn't know what to put into Apache to match their software.

The rules above just need a slight change to make them viable, since apache coughs if you have a space in there (or at least mine did). Here's what I used:

#---Begin Copy---
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER** ^.*deleted[[:space:]]*by.*$ [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT** ^.*adsubtract.*$ [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT** ^.*ad[[:space:]]*subtract.*$ [NC]

RewriteRule /* http://www.yourdomain.com/adsubtractpage.com [R,L]
#---End Copy---