And so it begins

With a content blocker enabled, I followed a link to a story on Here’s what I saw (tap to embiggen):


The battle lines are defined. Will people disable their content blockers so they can access CNET’s content? Other sites are following the same path as CNET. Many are not. Is solidarity required here? Will this strategy work unless all, or at least most sites block content blockers?

I’m torn. I get where CNET is coming from. They need to pay their bills and, at least at the moment, advertising is the only way they have of doing that.

On the other hand, so many sites are abusing the privilege, content blocking became necessary. Something has to change.

Perhaps there is a middle ground, a protocol that web sites and content blockers can follow that allow the web site a reasonable amount of advertising (perhaps a limit on the amount of data in a page’s ads).

Short of that, it’s going to be a bloody war.

  • This is not a good strategy. All that will happen is that anyone hit with that will start completely ignoring all CNET links.

    • freediverx

      Lol, who isn’t already ignoring CNet? That site is a clueless relic from Microsoft’s glory days, long since over.

      • Ah, fair point. I just visited CNET for the first time in years purely to see that message, not had any other reason to look at it.

        • Doug Trace

          Yeah, really good point. CNET used to be the standard long ago. Not at all now. Once they were bought up it was game over.

          • freediverx

            Sites like CNet, ZDNet, PC Mag, and eWeek remind me of the Dark Ages of computing when Microsoft ruled and 90% of the tech news revolved around enterprise and networking. Still gives me nightmares.

          • Macayabella

            And their (pathetic?) attempts to come into the 21st century mostly aren’t good.

          • jalabi

            Just out of curiosity, who would you consider “useful” tech publications, since you’ve dissed CNet/ZDNet/PCMag/eWeek?

          • berkus

            arsetech, wired, ?

          • davebarnes

            The Register The Inquirer Trove (with custom feeds) DigiTimes

          • Digi

            DigiTimes…. really???

          • davebarnes

            Ignore the rumors. Concentrate on the news.

          • reso

            A and D Tech, the Verge and maybe Wired

      • GoonWaffe

        CNET still has millions of daily visits. There are still people search with Yahoo! and still people who connect with AOL.

      • I’ve come to associate CNet’s with malware which crossed over to it’s published content.

        • u asian prick y do u deserve more followers whilst other people are more amazing than you huh and yeah i know u expect haters but i tell the truth

    • jfutral

      What did they think would happen? That customers would just keep merrily along putting up with crap? This says more about the site than the readers.


    • gregmaletic

      I disagree: it probably is a good strategy, one that sites you actually care about will likely adopt.

      • If they do, I quickly won’t care about them anymore. Either get your shit together or get ignored.

        • gregmaletic

          “Get your shit together”

          What are you referring to? What don’t they have together? They have a payroll to meet: what would you do in their position?

          • I know this may sound a little callous, but I expect that they will either find some other way to support what they do, or they will layoff writers and shut the doors.

            In this scenario, “Get your shit together” = find some other way to advertise in a way that is respectful to readers. It is possible. Kill the tracking, hard code the ads right onto the actual page and make them relevant to the content/audience.

            I – and I expect, many others – have no interest in reading content from sites that don’t take this as a blow across the bow to the old way of doing things.

          • gregmaletic

            Certainly, it is possible to advertise in a way that is respectful to readers. But people who have content blockers don’t care; they’re just going to block everybody’s ads, respectful or not. That ship has sailed.

            How is installing an ad blocker not “a blow across the bow to the old way of doing things”? That’s exactly what it is.

          • I value what content blockers do primarily for this reason. When I visit a site, it is with the understanding that the site owner is serving me content that contains their voice, their editorial vision and perhaps most important, their scrutiny over anything that might be harmful or sneaky.

            The very presence of code which is not controlled, and in most cases, not previewed by that site’s owner before it auto loads on a page I visit is just a non-starter for me and qualifies as creepy. It means I will develop less trust in the site owner/publisher.

            If a site owner wants to include advertising they have fully approved, natively on their site, without it loading as a separate item from somewhere else.- Content Blockers will leave it alone.

            The idea of sponsor’s posts comes to mind. I can skip them if they aren’t interesting, but they are almost always very relevant to the content and/or article, and they aren’t creepy. I know the site owner chose to include it and that it doesn’t contain anything I didn’t agree to.

          • My understanding is that ad blockers wouldn’t block ads hosted by the web site. If websites stopped relying on ad networks and formed relationships with their sponsors it would stop being an issue.

          • gregmaletic

            In concept, that’s nice; in practice, “forming relationships with sponsors” is more than a full-time job on its own, including finding the sponsors, billing them, etc. It’s not something that’s financially viable for the vast majority of online content.

          • Reading your statement makes it abundantly clear to me why this bothers me. Any publisher who is sending me ads from someone they haven’t “Formed a relationship with” is creepy as hell. Maybe the way it currently works isn’t scalable with actual sponsor -> publisher relationships and I’m ok with that.

          • Sure it is. Podcasters have the ability to do it. Guys like John Gruber do it. Stop making excuses.

          • gregmaletic

            That’s not a great example: Gruber has one of the top blogs in the country, partially because he’s good, partially because he got lucky in that the company he followed turned into the most interesting company in the world.

            Of course he can raise money. How should others do it?

            Put yourself in the shoes of a blogger: you need to get someone to pay you, say, $1,000 a week to run an ad on your blog. Describe how you might accomplish this.

          • Adam Carolla talks about this type of thing quite a bit. Really, it’s like any other undertaking: you need to work hard and hope it pays off. It’s going to involve working for free for a while.

            Say you’re a no name, just getting started. You have your own blog, but you need to develop some skills. Get in touch with better known blogs, tell them you’re looking for some experience, and that you’d like to submit some stuff to them on a regular basis that they can do with as they like.

            Once you’ve gained some experience and developed a voice, focus on your own blog. There are plenty of free or inexpensive hosting solutions out there, so it’s not going to cost you much. Eventually you’ll build up an audience, and gather some data about them that you can present to potential advertisers; age demo, how often they read, yadda yadda. Chances are you’ll be approached by advertisers as well. And now you’re rolling.

          • Tracking is part of the price you pay for “free” content/apps. Do you think Google offers Gmail and a ton of other apps free of charge out of the goodness of their hearts? Facebook? They probably have more data on people than the NSA.

          • cranial33

            I LOVE this! a “blow across he bow” WAS literally the “old way”- across the bow of a sailing SHIP… with a CANNONBALL… from a CANNON!!!

            ya cant tell me that cannons fer godz sake were not way more fun than messaging and commenting and wondering if you are even being heard-

            ya wanna know what people hear? cannons, by god, cannons!

            Co-incidentally, I read that the first cannons were adapted from huge, deep iron bells, which amazingly were ALSO an old-school communication and signalling device! I guess when people felt the bells were no longer being listened to, they had to amp it up a bit- with gunpowder and chunks of iron- ya know what im saying? Amp it up, B… AMP IT UP!!! (can you hear me now?)

          • Tom

            Google has been advertising almost from day 1, but nobody complains about ads on Google sure isn’t hurting for money, either.

            Clearly users have no problem with tasteful ads that don’t interfere with the value of their content. Websites like CNET need to “get their shit together” and take a lesson from companies like Google that know how to serve useful content and reasonable ads.

      • PeterWimsey

        No; they are essentially removing themselves from the mobile Internet. It’s a horrible strategy that will fail, as earlier ham-handed attempts as paywalls generally failed. People interested enough in adblockers to download and install one will simply go to another site. There are very very few sites with compelling enough content that people have no other alternative.

        • gregmaletic

          Same question I asked to Dan Hawk: They have a payroll to meet. What would you do if you were them?

          • Jehosiphat

            Charge a modest subscription fee. If their content is worth it, people will pay.

    • I think it’s a great strategy. It’s called natural selection.

    • crichton007

      Exactly. When I see a message like this I stop visiting the site altogether.

    • Sean Forman

      But why should cNET care if you leave. You use their resources and provide no value. I don’t see the harm to a publisher from using a user who is reading their content and not (in effect) paying for it.

      • SubstrateUndertow

        Isn’t ad valve based on page views ?

        • Sean Forman

          Ad value is based on ads being seen. No ad seen, no value.

        • Ads

          I love to read comments of angry readers who claim to know how things work, but are totally clueless….

      • Tom

        How would CNET’s advertisers know which users view ads or not? Do they currently tell potential advertisers what their percentage of their readers have ad-blockers?

        This new way provides more value to CNET and their advertisers. After-the-fact blocking eats up more bandwidth, and doesn’t provide any signal to CNET that you’re just going to ignore all their ads. Before-the-fact blocking saves them bandwidth money.

    • BrundleSh_t

      I agree. I disabled my adblocker to view some content on Forbes; only to be assaulted with a commercial for cereal. I was so offended I turned my blocker back on and added Forbes to the Sh*t list in the back of my head.

  • rattyuk

    A couple of thoughts.

    Firstly, this says more about how powerful iOS actually is and not what the Fandroids claim.

    Secondly will the high spending iOS users just stop reading these sites?

    Looks like we’re living in Interesting times.

    • iOS is powerful. Just look as the sales stats.

      But that may not translate to widespread content blocking usage. It requires people to install an app and activate it.

      Low bars to jump through for sure, but ones that mean it won’t necessarily be a widespread phenomenon. This may not be a war, but a skirmish. Though skirmishes can be influential to behavior.

      • skullboy0

        Just fired up the App Store on my iPhone, 3 of the top 5 paid apps overall are content blockers (Peace at #1, Crystal at #2, & Purify at #5), so I’d say after not even being available for 2 days content blocking is pretty widespread.

      • rattyuk

        I was kind of suggesting that if the content creators needed to jump this fast then they are probably scared. But if iOS “has so little marketshare” why the panic?

        • jameskatt

          The panic is because iOS users BUY THINGS. They more freely SPEND MONEY than other users. They are the most valuable demographic.

          • Poor users

            You, rich iOS guys, will not be valuable demographic, if there are no ADS. The industry doesn’t care about you if you block ads… sad, isn’t it?

      • arthur

        Sales stats are good for a single company, but are bad for an OS, only 15% or so…

        • darkcrayon

          Sales stats and usage stats are two different things. Also, US stats are what’s most important here as they represent the majority of advertising targets & revenue for US based web sites, and iOS is far more than 15% of sales in the US.

    • Robert Sfeir

      I can get every article on news sites over RSS with no ads (sorry Jim). That the ads will stop iOS users from getting news is a false perception.

      • Sigivald

        Remember that RSS is for geeks.

        Normal people don’t even know what RSS is.

        • Scott Lewis

          Normal people don’t need to know what RSS is. Upgrade your iPhone or iPad to iOS 9, open the News app, and understand that it’s chock full of RSS.

          • tfd2

            doesn’t it also have ads?

          • arthur

            Yes, The articles themselves can have ads

      • Marble Peak

        RSS provides a description or a “teaser” description of the article. Once you visit the article, you are right back in the “debate”.

    • Sigivald

      Bet you a dollar if you use an Android ad blocker you see the same popup. (Or a Windows one.

      In fact, I got the same message on a CNet video from Windows using Firefox.)

      • Spruce Cycle

        U’d lose that bet cuz Google won’t allow ad blockers in their app store.

        Downloading the ad blocker outside the app store and getting it to actually work requires means wi-fi only as well as a great deal of tweaking with ports and jury-rigging.

        • Scott Lewis
          • Spruce Cycle

            U a moron or something? Mozilla != Android u stoopid fuck.

          • Scott Lewis

            That was a link to the ANDROID version of AdBlock for the ANDROID version of Firefox. So I guess “or something” was the correct part of your comment.

          • Spruce Cycle

            Moron is it in the app store? NO. My point stands now go throw ur sorry self off a bridge and let the adults talk!

          • Scott Lewis
          • Spruce Cycle
          • Spruce Cycle

            Douche that is a web browser and not the extension boy u r stoopid.


          • Scott Lewis

            If you consider that to be a “you win” situation, enjoy. All I know is when I had my Android, I didn’t root or sideload and yet I had ad blocking. And there was no tweaking of ports, jury-rigging, or WiFi only restriction either. But yeah, you’re right. You totally have to download the browser from the app store, and then install the plugin.

            PS: That’s identical to how it works on ANY other platform. AdBlock for Mac in Safari, Chrome or Firefox. AdBlock for Windows in Chrome or FireFox. But yeah, good victory. And nice mouth, by the way.

          • Spruce Cycle

            Douche mong there are NO adblocking extensions allowed in the Google Play store, NONE.

            In order to use an adblocker u must dl from the devs site and after considerable amount of tweaking and jury-rigging can only be used on wifi–that if it works at all.

            You r STOOPID. Go die now. #burn


          • Spruce Cycle

            From Adblock Plus itself u stoopid fuck: “Adblock Plus for Android only works via Wi-Fi and requires proxy configurations to install”


          • Scott Lewis

            That’s totally true. Of the completely separate product you linked to that’s a proxy to block adds for the built in browser. Adblock Plus for Firefox, of which there is a Android version works fine over cellular. But hey, you’re right, some products aren’t the same as others.

          • Scott Lewis

            Sorry everyone. I’m done feeding the trolls for the night, carry on.

          • BlueTreeLux

            Whatever issues you were trying to manage with Spruce Cycle …. he’s right abiut the fact that Google does not allow add blockers for the Chrome browser in their store. Not taking position, it’s just a fact. Google is not allowing something in it’s own store that would kill ir’s entire business model.

          • Spruce Cycle

            Ura douche mong fucking moron. There are NO ad blocking extensions avail for Android in the Play Store, NONE.

            That was the original point and it remains absolutely correct. Ur just some stoopid fuck who enjoys having his asshole ripped to shreds when posting shit that has nothing to do with the convo.

            Ignoring ur fagget ass now Go die now preferably in a fire.


            Wish you lived in my town with that pretty mouth of yours.

          • Spruce Cycle

            Yeah I got a 15″ baton with ur name on it. #fagget

          • Scott (or “Scotty” as I’m guessing your Mum still calls you, while she’s telling you off for leaving dirty underpants on your bedroom floor) you really need to find a better way of expressing yourself. I’m also guessing this is the last time Jim will let you write anything on this site. Adios.

          • Spruce Cycle

            ^whining fag or…?

          • …or, I dunno, you’re desperately trying to conceal your homosexuality by throwing aggressive ad hominems instead of giving reasoned arguments to support your point? (You did have a point, right?)

          • Spruce Cycle

            ^Confirmed: HUGE fag. haha

          • That’s the best you can do Scotty? I rest my case 🙂

          • SubstrateUndertow

            If only Disgus had a Vote-to-ban abusive-user bottom you would be long gone buy now !

          • Spruce Cycle

            Whine moar bitch.

          • Brrr

            The post you replied to never made any claim about the Google Play store, you made that part of up all by yourself.

          • Spruce Cycle

            Eat shit ura dollar short and a day late gtfo with ur bogus replies.

          • Brrr

            My mistake, I thought I was talking to an intelligent human being.

          • Spruce Cycle

            ^Huge fag.

          • SubstrateUndertow

            Come down your “got to win at all cost ego” will soon recover from this beating !

            Treating other with respect by adopting a civil tongue would also help you moving forward 🙂

          • Spruce Cycle


          • SubstrateUndertow

            Adults don’t talk like that so who is being childish here !

          • Spruce Cycle

            ^HUGE FAG

  • Doug Trace

    The ads aren’t the problem, it’s the abuse that you mentioned. On my iPhone, if I visit Cult of Mac with an ad blocker enabled, the site loads fast and free of clutter. Without the ad blocker, I have a GIANT freakin taco flying across the screen advertising who knows what and it takes twice as long to load. That’s just ridiculous. Regulations are sorely needed.

    Either way, lots of content providers will have to quickly adapt or die. Consumers are sick of being taken advantage of.

    • freediverx

      If you use a configurable ad blocker, careful with the settings. If you elect to block clueless clickbait this will hide most content from Cult of Mac.

      Here’s a prescient quote from their site back just before Apple introduced MacBooks milled from a solid block of aluminum:

      “Does Apple have a game-changing laptop in the wings that will reinvent the MacBook and MacBook Pro design language? For their sake, they’d better. Will it be milled from a single block of aluminum? Not in this lifetime.”

    • brucej

      Well, simply put: lots of content providers are simply going to go away, or move to an ‘advertorial’ model like Buzzfeed, Some content will just be ads, and they’ll be pushed to make that distinction less and less visible.

      Consumers will end up having to pay for content if they want it; content isn’t free. Site hosting isn’t free. Writers gotta eat; we cannot have * everyone* ‘working for exposure’.

      This will ultimately crush the diversity of voices on the web and concentrate it into the hands of a few, who will determine what content you can get.

      I understand the intentions behind ad-blocking, I just wonder how you think content would be generated and served in an ad-free world?

      • Doug Trace

        I don’t think anyone is advocating for “ad-free”. At least I’m not. What I want is ad regulation.

        A small ad (like on the Loop) is great. Even a banner ad at the top. Not a problem. But a giant flying taco covering ALL of the content for 5-10 seconds is unacceptable. A video that begins to play (that you didn’t start) with audio blaring, is not acceptable.

        The ad’s need to be regulated somehow so there’s a more even balance of content to ad. I think most consumers understand the trade off, but most consumers are also sick and tired of having pervasive ad’s shoved down their throats.

        Perhaps the pendulum needs to swing the other way for a while before things level out.

        • jfutral

          A bit OT, but the funny ones are the ads before movie trailers. An ad just to watch an ad. Go figure.


        • Spruce Cycle

          Only morons with mush for brains think theyre on equal footing with these data collecting companies. Ad-free must be the goal or ur just whoring ur brain out to anyone who can code a tracker.

          • freediverx

            That’s a very myopic point of view. It costs money to design, host, and manage a website, and writers need to make a living just like the rest of us.

            The vast majority of the websites you visit every day are funded through some form of advertising.

            I’m going to take a wild guess that you’re not the sort of person who is willing to pay a subscription fee, so what business model do you propose to replace web ads?

          • Spruce Cycle

            Idgaf what it costs to design crap. No one asked u to put ur crap up on the web and u surely don’t deserve to be paid for it! Put it behind a paywall if ppl want it then they will pay for it.

            Anyone who thinks renting out their brain to advertisers is somehow reasonably fair doesn’t have a brain to begin with.

          • pe8er8

            Please don’t feed the trolls. After wearing out his last victim he’s looking for new sport.

          • jfutral

            “so what business model do you propose”

            A business model not built on the premise that just because they spend money to publish they are somehow intrinsically entitled to make money.

            A business model where the material and content is compelling enough people are willing to either put up with the ads or pay money. Just like the rest of the business world.


        • jalabi

          Any site with auto-loading, auto-playing videos: instantly and permanently blocked.

      • Fine. I’ll pay. There will be much less absolute junk on the web.

        • freediverx

          There aren’t enough people willing to pay a subscription fee to sustain most larger websites.

          That concept only works for certain sites with specialized, premium content that attracts a smaller audience who are willing to pay. For instance techpinions has some paywalled content available for $10/month. Would you pay $10/month for every website you visit often?

          • jfutral

            “There aren’t enough people willing to pay a subscription fee to sustain most larger websites.”

            That’s not the public’s fault. That’s because they aren’t writing material worth paying for.


      • jfutral

        “Consumers will end up having to pay for content if they want it”

        Maybe that will motivate them to write something worth reading.


      • Sigivald

        This will ultimately crush the diversity of voices on the web and concentrate it into the hands of a few, who will determine what content you can get.”

        Bloggers often work for free, because they want to say something, as a hobby; it’s no less a voice because it’s not a career

        What diversity of voices do we have now, really, that only ads can keep going?

        (Indeed, truly diverse voices can survive even better on donations – they offer something unique or interesting, or serve a market better, right?

        Gruber doesn’t need ads, because he’s providing enough value that people will actually pay.

        Yet-another-reposts-with-a-rewrite-viral-site? Can’t die fast enough. Burn them all to the ground with their business model and their noise.)

        • Alex Zaharov-Reutt

          Gruber does have ads, via the Deck. People have to pay Deck $8900 per calendar month to advertise on the Deck ad network. Gruber makes his money from advertising as far as I can see.

    • Sigivald

      Regulations. Yeah. That’ll work.

      Can you figure out how to write them so that they can be followed, won’t require an entire compliance team, allow ad revenue, and somehow prohibit a flying taco?

      And all this only needs a multi-billion-dollar Federal bureaucracy to enforce it, and will have no effect on anything offshore!

      No, no.

      As you say, yourself, the market is the solution: bad site advertising is punished by the consumer.

      • Doug Trace

        Can I figure it out?….well, no. That’s not my job. I’m the consumer who has an ad blocker installed.

        They’ll have to figure it out.

      • r00fus

        Regulations or at least some industry standard. Before the clean water act, polluted rivers in the US occasionally caught fire.

  • Shaun Seymour

    I’m using Peace and its showing up fine on my iPhone

    • Meaux

      I’m using Crystal and I don’t see that image either.

      • crateish

        Same here.

    • I was about to say the same thing. I wonder if Peace and Crystal are somehow “smarter” in the way they block ads to circumvent this type of message. I really like Peace so far.

      • GS

        Not seeing it (yet) with Crystal. Odds are good that many websites will push their “Apps” even harder. Unless of course those annoying banners get blocked too.

  • freediverx

    So far I’ve seen this behavior reported on:

    1) CNet 2) PC Mag

    Two worthless sites I never visit, except for lols when someone references a stupid article.

    If a site whose content I value attempts hard line tactics against ad blocking, like completely hiding content in the presence of ad blockers, then I will stop visiting that site and mock them on Twitter.

    If the site politely asks me to consider disabling ad blockers, my response will depend on the invasiveness, offensiveness, and intrusiveness of their ads.

    The first response by publishers should not be blocking users or admonishing them for ad blocking. it should be an honest attempt to curtail abusive advertising tactics, and perhaps to consider switching their ad network/platform.

  • ZanzibarJoe


  • There’s going to be a lot of people, like my parents, who don’t even know about content blockers, let alone how to download and enable one. But let’s say I help my parents out and walk them through the process, putting up a notification like this will only confuse them. They won’t know how to turn the blocker off and I’ll get the same question I got from my dad years ago when he visited Flash sites and got similar errors.

    • Wild

      Well, it is easy – do not put AdBlock to your parents computers/phones and they will not be confused!

  • vandancd

    Interesting… I don’t see this on my browser yet. I see with all the ads blocked on my iPad.

  • vandancd

    and blazing fast.

  • donmc123

    You could always just reload the page without the content blocker by pressing and holding the refresh button. Will be interesting to see how many people do this or just ignore the site. It depends on how much you want to see the content!

    • freediverx

      True, but patience is not a quality normally associated with your typical mobile user. A three second delay is often enough to send users scrambling for an alternate source of information. What do you think their reaction will be when visiting pcmag and encountering a blank page?

  • Macayabella

    There isn’t an article that isn’r regurgitated somewhere else – within minutes. So this approach won’t win. Brought it on themselves imo.

    • freediverx

      The only exception would be really good writing and in-depth pieces. Of the sites I normally visit, the only one that presents a conundrum is iMore. Great writers, informative stories, meticulous analysis, and yet… weighed down by annoying and intrusive ads – entirely out of the control of their editorial staff.

  • It seems like most content blockers have few options to how it blocks. Its mostly “block all” or whitelist a page for “allow all”. Some exceptions for TypeKit style font serving are in some.

    I’d like blockers that either show some curation to only block the worst offenders, and allow some finer grain of control to users.

    On the desktop, I’m using Ghostery, I’m not blocking all stuff. I block most stuff that is categorized as “beacon” or stuff that via trial and error, seems to serve up the most annoying ads (overlays, auto-run video, and the ones that turn random words into links to ads)

    Just this alone speeds up sites incredibly, and I still get some ads, avoiding the “all or none” problem.

  • jfutral

    As far as I’m concerned this is a business blaming the customer and thinks just because they exist they deserve to make money. That never turns out well for the business. A business that cares about their customers does two things—makes great products that people will want to pay for, i.e. be willing to put up with ads, and do advertising in a way that doesn’t get between their product and the customer.

    As soon as a site blocks what I am trying to read with an ad (more prevalent than it used to be, especially on mobile devices) I ditch. Advertising is becoming a paywall. That’s not the point of advertising. The sites are advertising because no one wants to pay for their content because their product isn’t unique enough to make a difference. Making ads the paywall will not change their fortunes.


  • justmewhoelse

    I always just leave the site when happens on computer. They don’t want me to read it? I oblige them. Make a mental note of it. If it happens again and the site is bookmarked I always delete my bookmark. Too many other sites carrying or deliver the same or similar info.

    Haven’t gotten it yet on iPhone. but I did buy all the adblaockers on the app store and trying each to see which works best.

  • VRSmiffSteen

    Ignoring CNET… Sounds like a reasonable plan !!

  • Moeskido

    There is a middle ground, but abusive ad networks and the sites that have chosen to rely upon them aren’t going to pursue reasonable compromises. They’ll likely instead lobby Congress for special protection, claiming some sort of “restraint of trade.”

  • Franko65

    Having an iPad 2 Content blocking is unavailable to me but I,d suggest this middle ground: you want to push ads, fine but have them be related to your website content. Ex. don’t advertise crock pots and expensive razors as I’m visiting a tech website.

  • owmyheadhurts

    Hopefully CNET is able to tell how many visitors are served that pop up and dart.

  • Anthony 

    All I think this will do is convince readers to just stop reading CNET. These sites need to come up with a different strategy to make money or start charging for content access. If they die off, such is life. That said, does anyone still read CNET?

    • freediverx

      To convince a reader to stop reading CNet one must first find a reader who reads CNet.

      • Anthony 

        This is true…

  • Steve__S

    So…. the blockers block both the ads and the annoying auto-play videos on CNet? Sounds like a win/win situation to me.

  • Tim Shock

    They may have already stopped it, I’m using the free version of 1Blocker and I’m not seeing it. Still, the need to pay the bills is understandable, but the number of ads has been absolutely insane. Honestly, I can live with ads, ads are fine–it’s the mess of ads that force you to the app store or blindly open web pages that’s the problem.

    If websites wouldn’t allow questionable things like that most people wouldn’t be concerned enough to install content blockers.

  • To a very large extent, websites have done this to themselves. If I click to your site to see an article, I really do NOT need to see 20 ads, with the actual article taking a small bit of screen real estate in the middle. I agree that they need to pay their bills. But I can’t count how many sites I’ve left after just 5 seconds there because the ad content was so blatantly in my face, covering the entire screen, or because there were so many animated ads that it made the site completely unusable and unresponsive.

    Show ads, fine. I don’t have a problem with it, truly. But put them on the side. Or on a mobile device, put them in a rotating widget at the bottom. But if you block me from using your site because the ads are intrusive to my experience, you do NOT get to be surprised when I use an ad blocker, or simply stop coming there at all.

  • Mike O’Neill

    That was what DoNotTrack was designed for, they have to get user consent for tracking but “contextual” or brand ads are OK. Trouble was the AdTech community decided they wouldn’t go along with that so people have voted with their feet (or their AdBlockers). It is almost too late, but not quite.

  • Robert Sfeir

    yeah, way to go C-NET… you’re already mostly irrelevant and your content is no better than any other site, so great move preventing the current users who are annoyed by your ads from looking at content.

    Not a good strategy, people will revolt via social media and band together. Instead of blocking people, why not be innovative and find better solutions than slamming users with worthless ads, javascript that slows viewing down, and invasive 3rd party collaboration?

  • Robert Sfeir

    Also, I’m using Crystal and it’s showing up just fine on my iPhone. So perhaps it’s the blocker’s method that’s triggering it.

  • J Eckert

    No I will not disable my add blocker, I will read about what ever some where else. As we know same topics often exact articals are available from multiple outlets.

  • Sigivald

    Funny thing.

    All that does is make me want to look at CNet content even less than I already do.

    Their content isn’t worth clicking on, let alone disabling ad block for.

  • Laura Dodson

    content is repeated many times over the net, you don’t need to read a particular article to get specific info.

  • BigTelephone

    Hey, if CNET had anything worth reading anymore, I’d disable the blocker. Their best writers and editors are all gone.

  • rick gregory

    I don’t have any issue with them doing this, but the only sites where this will work are sites that generate differentiated content – something I can’t get elsewhere or from a writer whose writing I respect so much that, even if the content is available elsewhere, I want to support.

    But it won’t work for CNET and most other commodity content sites. Sure, I can choose to go away and yes, CNET will have saved a little bandwidth… but if they make their money from ads then telling their audience to go away is silly. No audience, no ads. Obviously, they do not want the audience to go away, but to disable ad blockers… which I’d do if they weren’t so abusive of my time, privacy and resources.

  • Yay, arms race! A competent developer can bypass this in < 5 minutes. CNet will be able to get around that with an equally trivial output. Shampoo, rinse, repeat. I’ll bring the popcorn.

  • johnnygo

    Ads are a fallacy: too many bots, too many bait clicks, etc. On the net, on “free” apps, etc ‪@marcoarment‪ ad blocker, Peace, as others, allow users to whitelist any site they deem worthy of their patronage That does not take away the responsibility of sites to “handle” ads and particularly ad networks and hold them to decent standards The amount of speed and data caps being wasted on ad-filled web pages is ludicrous

  • I will not disable any ad blocking, I would however be willing to give my credit card info to select sites I like – if AND ONLY IF they make it easy and transparent to manage my subscription. Otherwise I’d rather go without the content, there will always be more forward thinking sources than those who block you outright.

    I’ve bought digital magazines before through stores besides Apple’s options and I have no clue how to access that content anymore.

  • Mikey

    CNET is not a site that provides good enough journalism for me to care about viewing their content with this type of request. Simply put, they have always been the National Enquirer of Tech News.

  • Mayson

    Really ironic is this article: “Get started with ad blocking apps on iOS 9”

    Personally I use an ad blocker, but enable ads on a number of sites which have asked me to (especially my RSS reader).

  • Ben Boyd

    close the cnet tab and move on, nothing to see here.

  • Jeff Safire

    I click on 2-3 ads per week. I don’t always buy but, if something is interesting, I click it to see more. However, CNET is one of those sites (as well as ZDNET and many others) that makes the experience so aggravating – and sometimes even infuriating – I often feel like I really don’t want to be here. If I’m in a coffee house with a slow connection, click on a video link in Tweetbot, and a news or blog site starts to load but, then I have to wait 15-30 seconds just for a video ad to load in a popup, I’m outta there right now.

  • That isn’t all that new. Hulu has had a similar nag screen for a couple years now (longer?)

  • jamesgowan

    I think Ad Blocker is the wrong approach and is completely unfair to content providers. I watch Youtube content and when they serve up an ad, I turn the volume down and wait patiently for my video. If the video seems interesting, I hit the volume button and check out. If people want me to truly pay attention to ads, they need to make them interesting. If I am enjoying content/news free, I need to be willing to pay the toll — and the toll is ads.

  • sl149q

    CNET can simply deliver the ads directly and then they will not be blocked.

    • Spruce Cycle

      ^does not know how the web works…

      • sl149q

        There is nothing that can’t be fetched directly by a publisher and fed to a web browser that could have been fetched by the web browser directly.

        Think of it as a proxy.

        If you are thinking that is not how the advertisers want the web to work, you are possibly correct. But that is not technical reason. And long term if the advertisers are faced with no ads or ads sent out via the publishers their attitudes will change.

        • Spruce Cycle

          U do not know how the web works, go play with ur iPhone.

  • Rishi O.

    I wish sites would either tell me I get free content in exchange for ads, or charge me if I want the content with no ads. If I get free content with ads, I’d like to know what kind of ads I’m signing up for.

    I just don’t want ads sucking up my data and brain without my knowledge. I hate hidden agendas. F*ck that.

  • John

    I used to read CNET for tech news. But in those days Altavista was my search engine.

  • bowerbird

    ok, now we need an app that, once we have said “hell no” to such an obstacle on a site, will disable all links to that site from that point on.

  • Craig Jacobs

    When I hit a site that does that, or autoplays audio or video, I close the tab and I don’t go back.

  • jameskatt

    I think this is a fair request by CNET. It has to make money. And it is requesting the user help pay for it. So users who want CNET will at least temporarily pause ad blocking when they visit CNET.

    This makes websites more interactive with their users. It is certainly more friendly than paywall websites who tease you with content only to block it when you don’t want to pay them real hard cash.

    • jfutral

      ” It is certainly more friendly than paywall websites who tease you with content only to block it when you don’t want to pay them real hard cash.”

      How is this any different? They just use ads as their paywall instead of charging a fee.


  • there is not a single website in the world that is worth putting up with advertising … advertising is a disease, it demeans the human spirit, its practitioners are manipulative, unable to see human beings as humans ..

  • JohnDoey

    If you were to set a limit where up to 50% of a site’s bandwidth can be advertising, many of the sites that are complaining would still fail.

    This is not the first challenge like this that has faced the advertising or publishing industries. Advertising has to be constantly managed like this. If it is not, the CEO’s of ad companies would all be hypnotists, and people would constantly be waking up from 3 hour subliminal online shopping binges and disputing charges with their credit card companies.

    Keep in mind that WorldWideWeb is not a broadcast medium. You do not push content and ads out of your site. The client pulls what they choose to pull from your site. I can choose to show up with a text-only browser that won’t look at any of your JavaScript or CSS. I can choose not to visit your “about” page. I can choose not to read any ads. That is my choice. I’m well within my rights.

    Further, the browser-maker is well within their rights to build me the features I want to improve my Web-reading experience going forward. They are building tools for the Web reader to use when they pull content from a website. They are not making tools for advertisers to push content through. And Apple is also a device maker who is well within their rights to improve the experience on their devices so they can sell more devices. They are not signed up with corporations for free software subscription money like Microsoft. Apple has to ship a next generation of devices that are actually better than the previous and the competition. The fact that the Web is so bad that Apple can sell devices based on a usable Web is another indictment of the sorry state of the Web.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that the Web has competition now from other platforms. If you are a Web publisher, you should expect the Web to be dead by 2020. Don’t have it in your mind that it goes on forever. There is no reason to expect that. We have to earn that now. Maybe nothing can save it, but we should notice that content blockers is an attempt to save it. So if you don’t like content blockers, what is your alternate idea to save the Web? How are we going to get the experience to be something that can compete with apps and on-demand TV?

    If you want your readers to want to look at your ads that is easy: MAKE OR SHOW ADS THAT THEY WANT TO SEE. The Superbowl is primarily an advertising event for like 30% of viewers. Twitter is 100% advertising: every feed is a way to publish ads about yourself. People watch a ton of TV commercials on YouTube, with their own time, and spending their own bandwidth, and they don’t look at any actual non-advertising content at all, and they are watching ads that are inserted into the ads they are watching. So why do you have to trick users into looking at your punch the monkey ad? Everybody knows the answer already.

  • Stirlol

    Lol good luck there CNET…

  • BGC

    No, we don’t mind the message from your sponsor, but we do mind the 10mb of privacy violating sniffing trackers you push upon us to display an 4kb sponsor message.

  • Chris Dunning

    Well, considering that CNET has ranked as “bottom of the heap” in tech journalism for years, I guess this is just another in the long list of reasons to avoid them.

  • font9a

    Just disable JavaScript to go to CNN. So much better / cleaner than ad blocking.

  • bioglassmusic

    people still use cnet?

  • mansky

    It’s in the same category as the blast ads they offered in the first place. If you make your web page ugly and unreadable, or interrupt content with irrelevant ads, or scold customers for not being sheep, or degrade the loading of your content, you mostly piss your customers off. None of those sound like good ways to get, or to keep, customers. When you make the battle line between you and your customer, you almost always lose.

  • Since uninstalling flash in Safari I haven’t once gone out of my way to view a video that was missing the plugin in another browser. I just installed Crystal on iOS. If I see the message above I’ll just skip visiting that site.

  • Ricky Webb

    Yeah, the war is gonna be bloody but CNET and others are gonna lose. I close the page whenever I see “held at gunpoint” demands like that.

  • Ruurd Pels

    Maybe finally eventually ‘they’ will realise that their content is worthless. If they need to live from the ads then they themselves do not add any value at all. Write a good article or provide me with valuable information and I’m perfectly willing to pay for it. If someone wants to be an asshole and put up that kind of disruptive popups if I choose not to be inundated with crap then hey! I’ll happily take my business elsewhere. I do not want to pay for bandwidth that is being wasted on traffic I don’t want and do not find interesting.

  • Cycling Hamilton

    What’s more interesting? If you hit CNet (honestly, I had no idea they were even still in business until I read this post) with your content blocker set to block ads but NOT trackers, the pages load just fine (sans ads, of course). In other words, CNet doesn’t care about delivering the ads per se … as long as they can track you they are apparently just fine with it. Which might give you an idea as to where the REAL revenue stream is

    Sleazier and sleazier …

  • Merckel

    Anyone going to CNET’s site is their first mistake.

  • davebarnes

    Why I use my iMac with Ublock. No interference for me. I do not understand why people insist on using these “tablets” to visit websites.

  • crateish is still a thing?

  • dfooter

    When the iPhone first came out, sites that had Flash were unusable. So I stopped going to those sites. Eventually those sites killed Flash as a matter of survival. Why would it be any different this time? Ad blockers will win, sites will be forced to a new (and hopefully better) monetizing model.

  • the Ugly Truth

    Kinda reminds me of the time when you had to buy a record and it came with 12 shitty tracks that you never listened but had to buy because of the one song.

    This was a long time coming. Huge difference in the browsing experience. The good publishers with compelling content will flourish. Hopefully sh1tty sites like Business insider with that crook running it will go down in flames!

  • Skeptic9

    Ah, CNET. The folks who took Versiontracker and ruined it. I can’t imagine why I am the least bit interested in them.

    In the larger picture, let me just remind CNET: A business model that makes your customers hate you is not sustainable. That applies to CNET and all the other purveyors of obnoxious ads and trackers.

  • Prof. Peabody

    The root of this whole situation is the undeniable fact that journalism and capitalism are irredeemably opposed to each other. The minute money comes into the situation in any form, you are not “doing journalism” any more. For this reason, the cries of foul play from the web site owners is just crocodile tears to me.

    If you want to be a journalist or a reporter, fine. If you want to make money, fine. If you want to make money being a journalist, find people willing to pay for your insights.

    If, on the other hand, you just want to host a cool and popular web site about the tech stuff of the moment and make money doing it, then you aren’t actually a “journalist” in the first place. You are closer to being a promoter.

    And promoters are some of the shadiest guys on the planet.

  • Here is the link to the article:

    On Chrome on Mac with Ghostery installed, it does not message anything.

  • lycaass

    I just loaded this page with Ghostery and this comment section was blocked.

  • I don’t fault individuals who opt to use ad block. Publishers have driven them to it. And for that, publishers can only blame themselves.

    My company is a small/medium-sized publisher. We follow Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) standards for creative file size. We block (to the best of our ability) auto-play, auto-sound ads from 3rd party networks. We drop cookies on our visitors so that we can deliver relevant ads across the web. Again those ads follow IAB standards for file size. They are static files. This is a good and effective way of advertising. It is unobtrusive. It is the equivalent of a traditional print-ad with some intelligence built in that delivers ads that have some correlation between users and their intentions.

    The IAB has been ineffective at industry self-regulation. They are probably best positioned to provide a framework for this. They’ve failed do anything but publish guidelines without a framework that rewards good participants and penalizes poor participants. Until meaningful self-regulation exists, the tragedy of the commons will continue. The collateral damage will be increased barriers to market entry, and fewer quality publishers.

    CNET’s response seems silly. Adding their clout to calls for better industry self-regulation would be a better use of effort.

  • dit j.

    ehmm what is that?

  • marcoselmalo

    Hey, has anybody seen any pop up ads for ad blockers yet?

  • Matt Smith

    This is such a bad idea by web creators. It’s basically an ultimatum: do this or you don’t get my content. What about competitors? As a consumer I’d be happy to go to the site that is okay with my ad blocker.

  • Ron7624

    It is frustrating when trying to follow a story, as you get to the third word, a pop up covers the content. Does that advertiser actually think I will stop reading my article and buy his item? Oh, he** no. That type of action requires a Command+w from me, which closes that tab. Not only will I not buy, but will not return to that site. Even if it is an Item I want or need, there is no way in the world I would buy from the company that thinks they have the right to infringe. Don’t they get that? This is the reason why content blocking is becoming necessary.

  • manicdee

    Visited CNET with Peace installed and turned on. Still got ads.

    Has Marco gone full 180º and disabled Peace globally?

  • lucascott

    Folks still read cnet

  • ZinkDifferent

    This makes it easier. Apple thought of this. CNET apparently hasn’t.

    How to disable content blocking on a page per page basis.

    1.Visit the affected site in Safari. 2.Tap and hold the Refresh button in the URL bar. 3.Tap Reload Without Content Blockers.

  • Zeno Popovici

    We’re just blocking garbage. Not Ads. I have Ghostery on my Mac and Purify on iOS. But I do whitelist networks like “The Deck” and sites like yours. If publishers would be considerate to their readers we won’t have ad blockers in the first place.

  • Here’s what I see when I visit The Loop: The biggest losers won’t be publishers, but rather jackass ad-networks. Learn to serve ads politely if you want to survive.

  • jameskatt

    CNET might as well do a paywall.

  • jameskatt

    I’m not getting this request to unblock the site using Safari on Mac.

  • schwabsauce

    This is a business technique from the CNet era. I think most modern businesses understand that it’s not going to be effective in the way they want. Hopefully patience will pay off as we figure out which publishers are meant to survive.

  • MakingMrLincolnProud

    This will be the beauty of the internet. When the commodity is information, the free market will take care of this for us. Sites that don’t have as voracious an ad appetite as CNET will fill the void. DO NOT TURN OFF YOUR ADBLOCK FOR ANY SITES PEOPLE. There’s always another option.