Greedy Goblin

Friday, December 4, 2009

The most annoying pictures

You come to some blog or news site for information. But instead you get a nice advertisement:
[If you see no annoying picture, you are most probably reading this via RSS reader, please visit the blog in your browser].

The picture is annoying as the guy in the PuG with 1000DPS and the uncontrollable need to be funny and nice on chat? Not just that. It's not placed there by trolls. They are created by professionals to make you do waste your money on crap. The biggest enemy of having money (besides wasting it on social events to show off) is impulse buying crap.

You are not without protection. Greedy goblin Inc proudly presents you the simple method to make them leave. Since 52% of you are already visiting this site on Mozilla Firefox, and since I use it too, I show you the method to cleanse these pesky ads using this browser. There are similar methods to all browsers, google is your friend.

First, you have to install the addon called "Adblock plus":

Just by installing it you can get rid of lot of ads, by subscribe to adlists (they are like virus lists) and use these lists to filter the most common ads. You can change what adlist to subscribe in the options:

However the disgusting picture in my post stayed. The reason for that is that I placed it in an unusual site for ads, so common filters can't find it. You have to teach your adblocker to get rid of it by rightclicking it:
You can select different options. The first is to block just that picture. The one below block the directory on the server where the picture was, the one below blocks the whole server. Be careful when selecting. This case if you block the server, you block several images on this blog and on several others (as the server belongs to Google's Picasa web albums). If you're unsure, just block this one. The directory deserves blocking if it seems that the site holds only adds there.

The server blocking is good if the ads are served by an external server. Most of them are already blocked via the common adlist, however if you are not English speaker, it's quite possible that your native language ad-servers are unknown to the mostly US-maintained adlists.

You can later change or undo these filters on the options page.

If you see someone saying "adblockers rip the well-deserved profit of content providers", well, you just found a "don't undercut me" class moron letter. They just cry for their lost money they made via pushing people into stupid impulse buys. They just get what they deserve!

Note to really big morons: No, I'm not the creator of Mozilla Firefox or Adblock Plus filter, nor they pay me for this. I just increase hits by providing useful tips to users to protect their money.

PS: There are other ads than images, like javascript or flash code ads. Blocking them is a bit harder and not subject of this post.


Vredesbyrd said...

Opera users have a similar function - right click & 'block content'. With the power of google at your side I'm sure you can produce similar results... or just careful browsing. I can't remember the last time I saw a flashing banner ad.

Daniel said...

Well - the tips are nice. I am sure that there are still few people that dont have the addon. And all 3 of them will be grateful.

@Gevlon - flashblock is the addon you need for more annoying ads.

Gevlon said...

@Daniel: assuming that most people already have adblockers is like assuming that most people can DPS over 2500K. They SHOULD, yet they don't.

Just think: why there are ads at the first place if nobody sees them.

Zeran said...

Very nice tips. I'm still looking for one for my phone, but school eats too much of my time.

Lemontree said...

Just to disagree with Hyperion, I have found almost everything on this blog very interesting, and his blog has always had things unrelated to WoW and that is part of the appeal for me.

About adblocking: I think that advertising on websites is a reasonable thing to do, many companies make profit this way and I don't think there is a problem with that. Some people are stupid and use these ads, which makes the website free for me to use, so I am fully willing to put up with reasonable advertisements. However I am against obnoxious advertising that disrupts what I am visiting the website for. Flashing ads, noisy ads, and pop-up ads all do this and if I can't avoid these then I will not go to the website at all.

For one or two days there was an ad on that popped up and forced me to look at a new window and listen to a long story by some guy trying to sell something. I sent an email saying I would never use Wowhead again if I saw another advertisement like this, and I meant it because there are other websites that are nearly identical that I could use. I have not seen the ad since, but there are still many ads I see on Wowhead which I don't mind because the site is very useful and free to use.

Orcstar said...

If you're on about firefox: noscript+flashblock does wonders.

Daniel said...

@Gevlon - it is a bit more complicated. first - we must take note of firefox market share. Which means that 3/4 of internet users don't have access to it anyway. Mozilla is preinstalled browser only on Linux systems - and the linux guys most probably is safely to assume that have it installed. As is almost all of the IT sector.

So we come to firefox users on Win/Mac - since it is not default browser there - means that they either installed them themselves or someone else installed it for them.And if you are competent enough to install firefox for someone or yourself you most probably know about this addon. here the data gives pretty nice usage of it - I wouldn't be surprised to see it have maybe 80% penetration.

Anonymous said...

@Daniel - Your leaps of logic about Firefox, its availability, and the competence of Internet users... are kind of astounding.

I'm what most people consider an advanced computer user. From hardware on into software, registry editing, etc. But, I was COMPLETELY unfamiliar with Firefox when I first installed it. I had no idea what its capabilities were, except that it would be less of a pain in the rear than IE was being at the time. In order to learn about the addons available and what they do, I had to do research.

A good number of people who might get Firefox as an alternate browser will NEVER look beyond the initial install, because they simply want something besides IE.

Wojtek said...

I've found the following way for getting rid the ads. Ok - not all of them but quite a big chunk, plus it's browser-independent:

Please read manual method's section.

Junk said...

I also use Firefox as a browswer, but I was not aware of this addon. Thanks for pointing it out, and the step by step instructions on how to implement it.

I find it quite a pleasant improvement to be free of those pesky adds.

It was another nice little gem to find when browsing your site.

I did not enjoy the adds on sites, and was not aware of how easily they could be blocked.

I often learn something useful while reading your blog, but this was an unexpected treasure.

It was most appreciated!

-thanks Gevlon

Carra said...

For flash and javascript ads: noscript.

And really, do you need to explain how to block adds? I've been using addblock for years now. It's common knowledge.

Addons are what makes firefox so great as compared to IE.

Chelm said...

I psychologically block any non-invasive (popup) ads out. I don't feel a need for an addon.


daf said...

The generic windows solution is

There's plenty of ways to block advertising, but it does raise an important issue. What will happen to those websites dependent on ad revenue if most visitors just block them out?

Gevlon said...

@daf: hosts file blocks full sites and unable to block directories or pages. For example hosts file couldn't remove my annoying picture without removing half of the pictures of my site and all blogs on

About the sites: some would live as someone's (or a group's) own project, like my ad-free site. Some would require membership, getting their money from readers. Some would disappear.

Rugus said...

> I psychologically block any
> non-invasive (popup) ads out.
> I don't feel a need for an addon.


I really do not see the problem with ads. You're visiting a free website that offers free info.

You should try to understand why you're unable to just psycho-block ads, instead of finding a desperate way to remove them from a page.

Wooly said...

First, I've been using adblock and noscript for ages. But that has only been because of advertisers going to far, like the example you're showing. This one isn't even that bad, unless you're epileptic. There are those with sound that get's activated even when you're not mousehovering over them, which is already bad by itself.

But that doesn't take away that using (needing) an adblocker a bad thing. And I only block what I don't like, I keep what's decent.

If you see someone saying "adblockers rip the well-deserved profit of content providers", well, you just found a "don't undercut me" class moron letter. They just cry for their lost money they made via pushing people into stupid impulse buys. They just get what they deserve!

Are you kidding me? Are you just being silly or overemotional for some reason? This is borderline retarded and I suggest thinking twice about what you're saying. It IS true that you're taking away the content providers' (only) income by removing the adds. If you deny that then your either clueless, or in denial. I know you're not clueless, so I presume you're just acting overemotional for some reason. And yes, you're also taking away money of the ones advertising, but there is NOTHING wrong with advertising something. If you buy stupid stuff because of a flashy banner, then YOU'RE the moron and YOU deserve to get ripped off, like paying 200g for spicebread. Advertising is the base of the commercial system. How do you think this blog's hosting is being paid? By government funding? Or do you chip in?

Come on

dozenz said...

It's off topic for the post, but it was interesting to note that one of your "morons of the week" actually found out he had been called out as one.

Flamybank from your last post:

Decided to call in for some sympathy and justification for his idiocy over at JMTC:

So I guess some people never learn

Strutt said...

Or you can just NOT CLICK the ad... Is that really that hard? Maybe its like when your mom told you not to touch the hot iron... and you just had to touch it to see for yourself if it was hot.

Sweetiebird said...

Wow, I never thought I'd see it.

Gevlon protecting the ms.

Posting information to help the ms protect themselves since they are too stupid to make up their own mind or work it out themselves?

Seems very un-goblin like.

QuickGoat said...


So people aren't allowed to prevent themselves from receiving unsolicited advertisements through other methods, by phone for example?

Brian said...

I never quite got the anti-ad blocking argument that you're depriving the website of revenue by blocking their ads. So far as I understand, visitors to a site need to CLICK on ads to make any money for the site. If you're the type of person to run ad blocking software, you're probably also the type who isn't going to click on the ads anyways. Running software is just a more blatant way of ignoring the ads.

So the complaint that we're evilly depriving the website operators of income isn't because we're blocking their ads, it's because we're not CLICKING on their ads. Or, more generally, they're mad that we're not just blindly following their business model. They are EXACTLY like the "don't undercut me" auction house folks in WoW.

Business is supposed to be about providing a service people want at a price they are willing to pay. It is NOT about deciding how you want to make money, and then trying to bully your customers into playing along. That sort of thing leads to your stuff getting copied on bittorrent, auction house undercutters, and adblocking software.

tyra said...

What brian said: if you willing to DL firefox and the addon, you wouldn't click the add in the first place.
Gevlon, I would recomend looking into noscript, I've heard good things about it. It also. Provides extra security against keyloggers/harmful software, or even just an accidental misclick.
I don't mind unobtrusive ads, but I. Despise popups that get in my way. I've accidentally clicked more than one that didn't load fully on my screen, or had a hand twitch.
To the "id never click that!" People, go to the wow customer support forums. An ad accidentally got through that contained a keylogger, and it activated while still on the blizzard site, without touching it. The threads are still there.

Gevlon, I've mostly dealt with popups/adpics. Its when people like markco advertise in txt that I can't avoid. Midway through an article, and he went into some sponsership BS. Added benefit for him, the RSS people had to see it too.

Nielas said...


Ads on websites are hardly 'unsolicited'. The person chooses to go to a website of their own free will in order to receive info/service from the person running the website. If the website owner wants to you to look at adds in exchange for providing that info/service then that's a business transaction with an easy opt out clause (ie leave the site).

Anonymous said...

As a web developer who works with some clients who have ad-supported free content web sites in the "millions of visitors per month range" I can tell you exactly what happens when ad revenue goes down (due to blocking, a crash in the ad market, etc). They start to move content that was previously free behind a pay wall. They also generate new content less frequently. I'm not arguing that this is a good strategy or wise in the long run, but it's always their first instinct.

I would certainly hate to see the seemingly limitless supply of quality, free content disappear. (Sure there's more crap, but there's more quality stuff than I could sift through in a lifetime.) Individuals such as Gevlon will always be glad to post their thoughts and analysis for free, but more in-depth content that requires a team to produce or purchasing equipment (review sites, etc) typically requires some kind of up-side for the posters. So far, I don't think any method other than ad-supported has worked on a large scale. (The exception being those websites which provide some content for free online, but are designed more as marketing for paid offerings online or off.)

Anyway, I'm all for a model other than ad-supported, but like almost everyone else on the Internet, I certainly don't want to shell out cash for the content I read.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should (if you haven't already sometime earlier) also post some help for NoScript. It's what keeps most of the sites clean for me (EXPECIALLY those Javascript things) and I saw that you already have it installed on your browser.

Good article anyhow!
a daily reader from Switzerland ;)


Another reason to block those annoying adds is to make browsing faster.

I don't have any problems with my actual computer but my old one used to agonize with those suckers.

Anonymous said...

Something about your blog just makes me want to click on everything... Regardless of how obnoxious it is. By the way, that banner ad you have to make the point is the awesomest.


Derek said...

Longtime firefox user, and I've used adblock for a quite a while...

Just recently I've become aware of
the firefox addon NoScript which allows you to block/unblock ads that are scripted base (as well as malicious scripts.) I actually tend to think it's more powerful than adblock, and it nice to have that kind of control over what my browser is downloading onto my system.

Derek said...

I should elaborate on the "Just recently." I had been aware of NoScript, but never thought about trying it as I was already using Adblock. Both are great tools, and I'm not familiar with Noscript as to know if I still need Adblock.

But non the less, running Noscript while running Adblock is just as much of an improvement as switching from a vanilla firefox to a firefox with adblock.

Nielas said...

Funny sidenote:

NoScript will actually try to prevent you from posting comments on this blog since it interprets javascript from the comments section as a possible attack. It's easy to tell it to proceed so it's no biggy.

Molinu said...

The NoScript addon works wonders in Firefox for those other adds you mentioned, as well as adding an extra layer of protection against malicious code.

Terra said...

I clicked on it just to see what you'd planned for such a contingency. right back, scanning computer to avoid wrath.

Xaxziminrax the Second said...


Everyone who is willing to learn should be taught.

Nees said...

Arguing for adblockers is the same as arguing for illegal downloading.

"If I didn't block the ad, I wouldn't click on it anyway. And if they made me pay for the content, I wouldn't read it anyway."
"If I couln't download that movie for free, I wouldn't watch it anyway.

You just want stuff for free.

There's an extremely easy solution to avoid annoying ads on your screen: don't visit the websites that have such ads. Or contact the owner and ask if they can provide an ad-free subscription.

Anonymous said...

The NoScript addon allows you to block Flash/JavaScript adds. Unfortunately it can also disable legitimate features on some sites.

You can 'allow' sites on a case by case basis.

Tonus said...

"You should try to understand why you're unable to just psycho-block ads, instead of finding a desperate way to remove them from a page."

I find those flashy neon-sign ads to be annoying and a distraction. And with AdBlock and NoScript, I don't have to worry about training myself to "psycho-block" them. As an added benefit, I don't worry about having a site or ad infect my system with malware.

I sympathize with people trying to pay for their web sites via ad revenue. When they come up with ways to make web ads effective without being invasive, annoying, and potentially dangerous, I'll stop blocking them. I suspect that I'll continue to use Adblock and NoScript for a very long time.