Trading Security For Advert Clicks

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The other day, I was unceremoniously dumped from a website I'd chosen to visit, being told to clear off because I happened to be using FireFox. Some more information has come to light courtesy of a thread here, and I can't say I'm impressed. If you happen to visit any websites running a particular set of code while using FireFox, you'll see this instead of your chosen website:

http://blog.spywareguide.com/upload/2007/08/ff_blocked_expl-thumb.jpg
Click to Enlarge

The code used to do this is available in various cut and paste formats:

http://blog.spywareguide.com/upload/2007/08/ff_blocked-thumb.jpg
Click to Enlarge

The reason for this boils down to supposed revenue being lost because people use Ad Blocking tools in conjunction with FireFox. References are made to "demographics" stating that FireFox users only represent a "small percentage of online spending" (without citing the source of these demographics), hilariously OTT statements claim Mozilla are "empowering internet theft" and they effectively accuse FireFox users with adverts blocked of both infringing copyright ("to the letter of the law") and being common theives ("Accessing the content while blocking the ads, therefore would be no less than stealing").

That's a little strong, isn't it? The site I was booted from was running ads that needed to be clicked to generate revenue, simply viewing them wasn't enough to make money. That being the case, how am I "stealing" from a site when they're making the presumption I'm going to want to click their advert to make them their money in the first place? Sure, if there's no advert there at all due to a blocker then nothing is going to be clicked anyway. But the reasoning behind this is pushing a line of ADVERT ON SITE = INSTANT MONEY, which just isn't the case.

Yes, we have a right to say what we do and don't want on our PC. And yes, the guy behind this idea does have a right to block you from his website if you don't want to see his adverts.

But wow, it's still stupid and decreasing your web traffic for the sake of a few clicks on random adverts. This says to me that the only thing on the site the creator thinks is worthwhile are the adverts themselves. If they'd rather keep you away from their actual content to keep their precious adverts intact, what does that say about the worth of the material on their homepage in any case?

You're probably better off without them.

Mind you, this does have obvious bad-guy potential. How long will it be before we see someone create a bunch of exploit sites, slap their "no FireFox" code on it and instruct you to come back with a Browser they know they can hijack using x, y or z exploits?

1 Comments

What I really find funny is how they continually misspell "Firefox" as "FireFox."

--- Mr. DOS

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This page contains a single entry by Christopher Boyd published on August 18, 2007 1:33 AM.

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