A Popular Ad Blocker Also Helps the Ad Industry

Discussion in 'privacy general' started by ronjor, Jun 18, 2013.

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  1. ronjor

    ronjor Global Moderator

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    http://www.technologyreview.com/news/516156/a-popular-ad-blocker-also-helps-the-ad-industry/
     
  2. TairikuOkami

    TairikuOkami Registered Member

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    Well nothing is for free (Disconnect), users help to collect data to bust users without Ghostery and by the way, it asks during setup, if the user wants to be tracked, so. :)
     
  3. m00nbl00d

    m00nbl00d Registered Member

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    It's the GhostRank thing. By the way, I recently tried Ghostery, as I was curious about the reason many dislike it, due to GhostRank, and I was surprised to see what TOMxEU mentioned, that it asks whether or not you want to send the data back to them.

    It's a transparent process, if you ask me. There are lots of security applications that make disabling bundled software, etc a lot harder, and those options come enabled by default, and I have to wonder if the same people who dislike Ghostery because of GhostRank actually support/use those security applications/vendors. Curious. :D
     
  4. aigle

    aigle Registered Member

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  5. Tyrizian

    Tyrizian Registered Member

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    If a Software maker gives me the choice to Opt-Out, then I see no problem in using their service, including Ghostery.
     
  6. LockBox

    LockBox Registered Member

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    I do. On principle. I don't want a big web ad company giving me my anti-ad products. Opt-in, opt-out, opt-whatever. It's a no go.
     
  7. Tyrizian

    Tyrizian Registered Member

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    You have companies that depend on ad-revenue and if an ad-blocker is installed, then it can potentially hurt their business.

    I think Ghostery and other tools have this Opt-In/Opt-Out option in place to simply be universal to businesses and people who simply hate ads.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, But I believe AdBlock Plus has done it this way as well.

    I honestly think Ghostery is trying to please all people and not just one side over the other.

    In my opinion, what is so hard about selecting one of these options?

    Opt-Out = No advertisements
    Opt-In = Limited Blocking

    I do respect your reasons behind this concept though.
     
  8. m00nbl00d

    m00nbl00d Registered Member

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    There's some confusion there. Evidon, Ghostery parent company, is not an ad/tracking company.
     
  9. inka

    inka Registered Member

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    FWIW, opting in (enabling GhostRank data to be submitted) does not change the blocking behavior.

    If you do opt-in to GhostRank participation, the details of submitted data include which sites you have whitelisted so that ads aren't blocked,
    as well as which advertising domains you've (manually, per the Ghostery config settings screen) whitelisted.

    Months back, I downloaded the firefox plugin, renamed it to *.zip and unzipped... and reviewed its content (non-obfuscated javascript) line-by-line.
    The code was squeaky clean ~~ exactly as described in the addon's documentation.
    -=-
    To be clear:
    The Ghostery addon doesn't create a GUID when you install it.
    The addon doesn't try to sniff/report the install date (timestamp) when GhostRank data is sent.
    The addon doesn't try to sniff/report the install date (timestamp) when a "check for updates" request is sent.

    Technically, theoretically... on the ghostery.com server, when you install the addon
    (default settings are configured to "yes, automatically check for updates")
    a datetime record of that update check, along with your IP address and user-agent (per your browser's http request header)
    COULD be maintained, toward "fingerprinting" your client...
    ...but you can (and I did) perform the addon install while offline.
    The addon ships with a self-contained copy of the current blacklist (as of the addon's latest version release date)
    and, without EVER being able to access ghostery.com, it works fine.

    "yes, automatically check for updates"
    ^--- Arguably, in terms of usability, this is a "sane default" setting.
    I can't recall with certainty, but I think the addon even asks for permission/confirmation prior to initiating that first-time (triggered by install+default setting) "check for updates" outbound request.

    Although I have Ghostery installed, I actually keep ghostery.com and evidon.com blocked (via DNS proxy). When I occasionally want to check for updates of the addon's blacklist, I visit the "check update" API url using a different PC then paste the content of the json response into a txt file, manually review it & merge whichever changes/additions suit me. If Ghostery ever turns evil (?), I would simply forego its GUI and port the remainder of its code into a Scriptish/Greasemonkey script. In the meantime, I can attest that (without GhostRank opt-IN and without "check for updates" checkmarked) the addon NEVER phones home (never initiates an http request, period ~~ it just proxies/marshals outbound requests).

    My sole gripes about ghostery are:

    -- lameass outsourced support forum (getsatisfaction.com ...which I've permanently blocked)

    -- lotta blogosphere PR hyping the addon across 4 years.
    It's simply 980 (or so) lines of javascript, and IMO hasn't evolved remarkably since its inception.
    (OTOH, avoidance of feature bloat is probably commendable in this case)

    Evidon hopes to sell GhostRank stats (which sites, and which advertisers, are being whitelisted) to interested parties.
    As comedian Jeff Foxworthy would pointedly say ~~ "Bless Their Heart"
     
  10. Pinga

    Pinga Registered Member

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  11. CloneRanger

    CloneRanger Registered Member

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    @ inka

    Thanks for your testing :thumb:
     
  12. Baserk

    Baserk Registered Member

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    Indeed, AdBlockPlus has it's 'Allow some non-intrusive advertising' option.
    But they're not 'universal' to business.
    When allowing that option you'll likely see only Google ads as Google is one of the major financial partners from AdBlockPlus company 'Eyeo GmbH'

    From german 'HorizontOnline',
    -AdBlockPlus has marketing power link / Google Translate link
    -Google is financial contributor of AdBlockPlus link / Google translate link

    Edit; I see this is already discussed extensively in this thread, here on WSF.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2013
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