(courtesy ophtek.com)

Last month, Google announced that they will enable ad blocking software for Samsung smart phones. Google will soon only scrape one ad from linked sites. Same deal for Facebook. Meanwhile, surfers are turning to ad blockers in record numbers. Websites like TTAG — ad supported and smart phone dependent — are under the gun. To keep the cash and information flowing, we’re looking at a number of solutions. You may have already noticed . . .

our Blue Force Gear Quote of the Day and DeSantis Gun Hide Question of the Day. While these sponsored posts only deliver incremental revenue, it’s a start.

You may also noticed (how could you not?) TTAG’s auto-play ads. We’ve been informed that we can’t ditch them until we clean-up our code with the new site design (due in the next month or two). Sorry about that, chief.

At the same time, we’re finally working on creating reader emails. We’re negotiating with a software company that generates customized communications, which we can offer to advertisers for highly targeted (i.e., reader specific) campaigns.

We’re not considering some of the more aggressive ad-blocker blocking techniques used by other websites, such as curtailing content for readers who use them. Or paying ad blockers blood money to “white list” our ads.

We welcome any suggestions from our Armed Intelligentsia on how to maintain and expand our income while providing a non-intrusive user experience.

UPDATE: Having read some 100 comments, I can definitely say that the TTAG team is out of denial. As I mentioned below, we’re having an emergency meeting on our ads and code and other site issues tomorrow. We’ll report back. Thank you for your input. I promise you we will sort out these issues STAT.

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225 Responses to Housekeeping: How Should TTAG Address the Challenge of Ad Blockers?

    • Why does TTAG NOT vet ads from their advertisers before allowing them to be displayed on its website? In particular, why would ANY website allow its REPUTATION to be tarnished by allowing ads that have embedded malware in them or allow ads that auto-redirect the users browser? Who owns your website, you or your advertisers?

      Then there’s your attitude of trying to “blame the user” by positing that a users’ ad block software constitutes “changing original art” and therefore might be a crime? REALLY? As others state these problems have existed and been complained about for a long time on TTAG and TTAG has done NOTHING to fix these issues.

      You’ve only yourselves to blame for users having to implement ad blocking in order to make your site readable/useable. After all, if a site is not readable/useable because of intrusive, highjacking ads, why would anyone in their right mind come to such a site?

    • Autoplay means adblocker, or a burned ex reader…
      Run ur own adds that you create, that are hosted on ttag… add blockers won’t have any add server to block… if you let people pipe in autoplay shit, readers fight back…

  1. Have you ever walked away from a commercial break on TV? Well, then, you’ve consumed commercial product in a way the network did not intend and have deprived it’s creators of money.

  2. Lose the damn autoplay ads and I’ll stop using them. Until then, it renders your site unusable to me. When I try and discreetly view and suddenly Springfield is blaring advertisements over what I was already doing, it’s more than a little irritating.

    • We’ve tried to get rid of them. Our next site redesign (coming soon) will eliminate them. We apologize for the hassle.

      • With all due respect, I complained about the autoplay ads weeks, maybe months ago while trying to watch a video on one of the links… You know what the consensus response was from the AI on this site? “Get and use an ad blocker.”

        Whether or not to auto-play videos, sounds, etc are all just simple settings when you agree to use advertisements…

      • Get rid of the autoplay ads and the borderline NSFW ads and I’ll turn off my blocker again.

        It was off for the longest time until the stupid Springfield XDM ad began its autoplaying.

        • +1 I don’t think I’ll ever buy a Springfield now. I think the adds are so bad that they actually hurt the product.

        • JKATX’s comment exactly mirror mine. Autoplay and the NSFW type ads. AND the ads that are carrying malware…

          Yes, you do have ads that are carrying malware. The software I am using tells what it is and where it came from. As long as that continues, I’ll continue to use ad blockers.

      • Your business model is busted, especially so if you think email marketing is a solution to your money woes. It’s like you paused the internet in 2005 and you’re stuck there.

        1. You use ad servers that have, many time, served up malware. Do you feel responsible for infecting your reader’s PCs?
        2. You have a horrid history of censoring any comments that are critical of you (talking to your farago) or calling out inaccuracies (remember that end of watch video you posted).
        3. You’re a blog only. No video, no merchandise, and you’re not getting appearance fees. You’re missing out on key revenue streams.
        4. The site is so clunky on mobile devices that it’s unusable. More than 50% of web traffic is mobile. It’s still not 2005.
        5. Ditch the proprietary commenting system, again leave 2005, and integrate Disqus or Facebook commenting.
        6. Your writing is becoming less “truth” and more “opinion”. Pick anyone of those ridiculous OC stories you publish and there’s your example.
        7. Last year your site got blacklisted by BlueCoat, because of malvertising, and you jumped up and down screaming that is was some foggy bottom like gov’t conspiracy. Maybe you should learn how content filters work so that you don’t get blacklisted again.

        Times and revenue models are changing, TTAG is not. The internet is leaving you behind. Websites and blogs come and go. The sun is setting on TTAG.

    • Auto play adds, especially those with sound are my biggest complaint. Also, when the site content is still loading but all the adds are all proudly displayed, you have a problem. I run ad-blockers, paid ones, to stop the 2 aforementioned annoyances. I don’t mind adds if they don’t interfere with the site, as quiet adds are easy to ignore. If no auto play and no sound bearing adds were guaranteed to me, I wouldn’t use ad-blockers.

      Also, a really, really big thing to me. Sites that block ad-blockers go right on my list of sites to NEVER visit again. And I am very vocal about it to everyone I speak/type to.

    • Yeah, i don’t mind the regular ads, but the auto play are obnoxious and slow down my browsing. And those springfield “how do shoot a pistol?” ads are just idiotic.

    • This is really the issue – autoplay ads that suck up computer resources and slow everything to a crawl. Banner ads or static ads or videos that you can watch or ignore, that’s the way to go, IMO.

      I run adblocker for the sole reason that without it I cannot navigate the site without annoying delays loading high resource consumption ads.

      • “This is really the issue – autoplay ads that suck up computer resources and slow everything to a crawl. … I run adblocker for the sole reason that without it I cannot navigate the site without annoying delays loading high resource consumption ads”

        This!!! One million times this!

        Ads and scripts often literally max out CPU utilization for several seconds. Consider a famous news website (that will remain nameless). With scripts and adds enabled, it took about 19 seconds to fully load on a notebook computer. And during that time, I could not even scroll up and down because the scripts and ads maxed my CPU resources. After disabling scripts and ads (and flushing cache to make sure the site loaded again from the website and not cache), the site loaded in 1 second.

        And everyone seems to forget that many people do NOT have unlimited data. For those people, it really is a big deal when visiting a simple site (whose landing page would only constitute downloading something like 50 kilobytes) actually pushes 20 Megabytes worth of scripts, ads, auto-play videos, etc.

        We often talk about a free marketplace making better products. Well, all of these poorly written scripts and ads that max CPUs and blast auto-play videos that disrupt a workplace or unnecessarily push ginormous amounts of data … are now starting to cost site operators a lot of money in lost advertising revenue. (Consumers have responded to this poorly delivered advertising with script, flash, and ad blockers.) This should be incentive for advertising providers to make far better and far more efficient scripts and ads. It might cost a little bit more money for site operators to have better advertising software. And it would stop driving people to block scripts, flash, and ads.

    • I use the FireFox browser. It has multiple add-ons available that prevent auto-plays. I never get them any more from this site. Problem solved.

      • You, sir, are my hero! I was unaware of the ad blocker on Firefox up until now & I will never go back. Piss on these auto-play ads!

  3. People wouldn’t be using add blockers so much if the adds where not so intrusive to the experience. The auto play adds are a terrible idea, the adds that block the entire screen are terrible.

        • You should do something along the lines of Soldier Systems dot Net. Clean, professional. I only look at your site with adblockers on computer. Your sight has pretty much killed my phone browsing. Seriously tried to lock up my phone with buzzing and “claimed” my phone was infected. The only way I could make it stop was to hard reset my phone. Thanks. That was fun.

    • Ditto. I use adblockers because many ads slow down the machine, and/or deliver malware. I actually like ads that target my interests, but I cannot allow my computers to be damaged by malicious and poorly-designed ads,

      If website owners would responsibly protect their visitors from evil ads, and shun the shady ad feed networks, then the “problem” would go away, But instead of doing the responsible thing, some sites like Wired have decided to block access for visitors using adblockers. I can live without sites like that, and I remove them from my favorites.

  4. So here’s a fascinating (to me) thing… After reading this article, I disabled my adblocker, to see what the poor unfortunates have to see. When I reloaded the page and attempted to scroll down, my browser simply ignored my scroll, and the spinny wheel on the tab that indicates the page is loading spun, stopped, spun, stopped, and then froze for five solid seconds. During that time the tab was completely unresponsive. When I was finally able to scroll down, it went in fits and starts, not at all fluidly, such that I scrolled further than I wanted, and then overshot again going back up. Finally, while I’m typing this comment (at about 80 words per minute), the text that I’m typing continuously hesitates and then catches up, over and over again. I don’t even care about the ads themselves, even if they’re non-topical and complete clickbait — but seriously, “Badass CIA Tips For Men” and “The Secret ‘Brain Pill’ Millionaires Are Using In FL” – give me a break — what I care about is the performance hit that happens when I turn off the blocker. (For the record, the entire last half of that sentence and through the end of the italicized text was typed without seeing a single word appear in this box. Then a brief flash, as the browser tried and failed to open a popup, and all the text showed up at once.)

    Until those performance issues are addressed, my adblocker will remain in place.

      • +1

        I have a relatively slow internet connection out in the boonies. Those ads often have videos or lots of images that must download as part of the page. Loading a single page takes 5-6x as long without an ad blocker.

        Solution: keep the ads to images and hyperlinks only. Videos really drag it down.

        • +1. Rural internet user as well. Until I switched to DSL recently from Satellite, the spam gobbled up my bandwidth and my monthly allotted usage.

        • Boonies net user as well. Unless google fiber blesses this hole in the desert and you run a kickass gaming rig with 16gb or more of ram, you will have issues.

          Also consider a patreon dot com account. I sponsor a youtube channel at $1 per month. I know turning TTAG into subscription only would kill it dead, but ever since youtube started giving its content creators the shaft, it will not hurt. I’d sponsor ya.

    • All completely accurate. I deal with this experience regularly. It’s as if we’ve moved into the bad old days of the turn of the century, when ads became annoying, intrusive, and resource-hogging.

    • +1!

      Its not just that ads are annoying, I could deal with that, but they make it hard for me to even use the webpage at all.

    • Well said Matt.

      Not to beat a dead horse a day later, but I basically can’t view TTAG from a PC without AdBlock, it literally crashes the browser every time if I have multiple tabs open (common for how I view the page).

      I have gun-loving friends who won’t view content here if I send it to them because of the huge quantity of ludicrous click-bait. I hesitate to post TTAG links on my personal Facebook because the site looks so shady from all the ads.

      There are other ways to make money than more ads. Finder fee links to Amazon or Brownells, patches/stickers/shirts/mugs, host training classes, the sponsored posts are pleasant (& content appropriate), seems like many other blogs & YT channels find ways (though they do have less overhead I’m sure).

      Anyhow, thanks for looking for feedback, and good luck finding appropriate solutions!

    • Same for me, Matt. Annoying content (autoplay/sound) and NSFW are bad enough, but CPU hits can really tank the experience. Often the performance and responsiveness can be bad, but I’ve seen sites (this and others) where the responsiveness withers to the point where even closing the browser is difficult. The way the laptop heats up, though, saves on heating during the winter.

  5. No… People use Ad blockers on your website because you’ve whored yourselves out to too many companies (That have nothing to do with guns) without thought of how it changes viewership. Videos are unwatchable due to autoplay content. “Marvel Contest of Champions” redirects make it impossible to view your content on iOS.

    I, for one, will never visit this website again if I ever see even one targeted email that I can link back to your website. I understand the need to make money, and do appreciate the work you put into content creation. But don’t you think you’re going a little far by saying that an ad blocker is “modifying original art and using it for commercial gain?” I believe you should rethink your stances on massively cross-linked ads, autoplays, and redirects.

    /rant

    • I’m a little lost here. How do web browser ad blockers use blocked (altered original art) ads to commercial gain? How do web host sites/servers using ad blockers do so to commercial gain? I get the removing art/ads from web pages where the ads were paid to appear on the hosting site is some sort of wrong thing. But blocked ads being used for commercial gain is puzzling.

      • I believe that what RF is alluding to is that if you are using an adblocker that charges a fee and that program alters the original content of TTAG by blocking out the ads, then they are altering the copyrighted material for monetary gain. A little convoluted, but I can kind of see the point.

        If some adblocker company was taking money (ad revenue) out of my pocket and putting it in their bank I think I might be a little miffed as well.

        • That’s like saying that selling earplugs outside a concert is modifying the concert for monetary gain. That’s really pushing the bounds of logic.

        • What Chief Master said. That’s just not how it works. It’s more like a DVR that lets you bypass advertisements.

    • I don’t allow auto play, scripts or flash. If there is something on the page I want to see that uses one of those things I will reload with these things enabled.

      RF I appreciate your attention to this and understand your need to generate revenue, but what I allow to download and run on my workstation is my business.

      If you’d rather I not visit the site at all with these restrictions then I will honor that request.

    • I completely second the horrible “Marvel Champions ad” on iOS. I’ll try looking at TTAG via iOS and suddenly the Marvel ad will pop up and cover the entire screen and you can on dismiss it by using the back button to get out of TTAG. If i return to the page, 80% of the time the sam flippin’ ad will return and cover the page again. I have entirely stopped browsing via ANY iOS method (browser, Twitter, etc). If I find something interesting, I have to wait until I can get back to a desktop OS and use a browser (with an Ad blocker) to view the site with.

      • I read TTAG exclusively on iOS. But the the last two months I began having the page hijacked by Marvel Tournament of Champions ap ad and made unusable. I solved this problem by going to Advanced Safari Settings and turning JavaScript off. Now every time I want to peruse TTAG I disable the JavaScript, then when I’m done I turn it back on. Result?

        • This is what I do on my PC… I don’t even look at the site on mobile because I don’t want to deal with it.

  6. TTAG is one of the few sites that I visit regularly without the use of ad blockers. I use flash block (prevents auto-play ads), but all of the ads display. The biggest problem is the frequency of malicious ads that get through, especially on mobile, causing browser hijacking/redirect to the Play Store.

    Bottom line: if ad companies aren’t going to play nicely, don’t expect site visitors to put up with them.

    • Sigh. We know about that problem too. Suffice it to say, we’re addressing ALL ad-related issues RIGHT NOW. Thank you for your patience and feedback. It increases our motivation and sense of urgency.

      • May I recommend ACTUALLY resolving the issues before pissing and moaning about ad blockers? These issues have existed for quite some time. As yet another example, something on this page stole focus twice while I was typing this.

        • By “quite some time,” you mean years right?

          When I first started using the ad blockers I apologized for it, but the site got to the point where browsers would crash and the amount of garbage this site was dumping into temp storage would blow your mind.

          Now I just chuckle at the fact that TTAG is whimpering because they’re losing money due to ad blocks when their readership has bitched and begged LITERALLY for years for them to fix basic problems. Frankly, the quality of content around here has gone into the toilet anyway. Clickbait videos with no content, another article from Sara about what it’s like to be a girl with guns (never without photos of her ass or bare midriff,) or reprints of someone else’s original content.

          Fact of the matter is profits are down because the value isn’t in the product.

        • Matt Richardson, you are 100% spot on. About the only reason I still come here is because maybe 1 out of 30 “articles” is a decent one and I usually saw it here first.

      • RF, along with your recent commetary on various websites attempting to become “FaceBook for Guns”, it seems to me that someone is missing a great business opportunity by not creating an advertising application that addresses the issues mentioned here and focuses on gun-related themes. Even FUD stuff.

        Hell, once someone developed such an app they could probably set it up to work with any specific industry or topic related websites and leave all the porn and annoying off-topic autoplay videos out.

      • Advertising pays for everything we do in our capitalistic society. They are a good thing that can always be done better.
        I don’t have any ad blocker.
        At times it’s very frustrating. Other times not so much.
        I put up with it because this site is very valuable to me.
        The boys and girls at goggle “got theirs”. Now they are trying to prevent others from achieving success in their life’s work.
        I trust this will be worked out somehow. I’m into TTAG for the long haul.

      • I like your site and sympathize with your dilemma since you did not create the environment but are just trying to work in it.

        My Apple Safari allow me to see a description of the files that are put on my computer and identifies the internet source and tells me what kind of files they are. I clean my computer multiple times per day while on a safe benign hobby site (not guns) which does nothing. When I came on TTAG I had one cache file on my computer. After reading this article (the second article) I had 81 files on my computer. While still on this story and writing this response I have 126 files on my computer. Also when I started to write this an audio ad started (that’s what the mute button is for). Fortunately there are no plug-in files there since clearing them may require a reboot. And there are hidden plug-in files which do not show in Safari, but I have a way to find them on my computer, but I won’t tell.

        I hope this is helpful in understanding the problem.

      • Are you going to actually try to fix these problems this time? Lots of people have been complaining here for months about the awful ads, the malware, the autoplay videos, etc, etc. I’m glad you seem to feel a sense of urgency now, but given TTAG’s history with these issues, I certainly won’t be holding my breath (or turning off AdBlock or Ghostery any time soon).

        I have no problem viewing the ads so you can make a few pennies, but if they’re all about toe fungus or “11 Celebrities You Won’t Believe Had Their Anuses Bleached!” or try to hijack my phone and make me buy apps, or send me a dozen or more tracking cookies and scripts so the ad company can try to track my browsing habits, I’m going to continue to opt out.

        • Dude, those ads are based on your prior search preferences. We don’t all get them.

          Time to google gun stuff if you want gun ads. Celebrity buttholes! Priceless!

        • Actually, I run Ghostery to block the 15 or so trackers that TTAG’s ad service uses, I haven’t used Google as my search engine for years, and I meticulously manage the cookies and other data my browser stores, so I’m quite confident they have no access to my search history. When I turn off the ad blocker, I’m getting the default ads that any first-time user would see, and they’re all click-bait trash.

          If a site served me ads tailored to me based on information I didn’t explicitly provide (such as my previous search history), I wouldn’t spend another second there, as that’s a pretty serious privacy violation. If you’re seeing such ads, that’s a sign you might need to tighten up your security game.

    • Yes the mobile experience is the worst. I don’t mind seeing ads on the desktop version but when viewing on a phone, and ads/links to the play store take up NINETY FIVE PERCENT of the screen, I don’t even care about reading the article anymore.

  7. The responses you’ve received this far indicate the source of problem – Resource consuming ads. There are other ways to advertise. Use brighter colors, for instance. Is there a way to filter the type of ads you accept? Maybe schmooze non-firearm type sponsors? Just my 2¢

  8. The problem is not ads. The problem is intrusive ads that create pop-up windows, autoplay videos and otherwise redirect people from the website. This is why ad blockers were invented.

    • Yep. Agreed. A banner on the bottom of your site is one thing. An in-my-face, cookie tracking, format destroying ad bomb is the issue.

  9. The biggest problem I have with ads and mobile devices (iOS) is that they often crash my web browser. Many times while trying to read an article here on my iPad the screen goes white and I get “There was a problem with this webpage so it was reloaded” Sometimes this happened over and over again. Once I started to use a mobile ad blocker I no longer have this problem.

    • I have had the same trouble quite a lot recently. Ad blocker solved it. At this point if I see that error once I’m gone. I won’t stick around to try to work through it.

    • Make sure you update to IOS 9. It made huge difference for me here and just about every other website that touches google’s ad network.

      • The last time I updated iOS on an iPhone it damn near bricked the phone.

        Slowed it to a *crawl*. Never again will I update like that again.

        I swear Apple does that deliberately to force you to a new phone…

        • Accually they really do it deliberatly. There is code in some updates that will slow down older devices, so youre motivated to buying a new one and that will seem much faster than it really is compared to the old one. There is more than design reasons for the inability to replace batteries. Apple dont make any profit from you keeping an old device working, and there are reasons for their hugh profits.

  10. I have two computers, one has ad blocker and the other not. The one without, I cannot address TTAG on, since it runs so slowly and constantly locks up whenever I’m on the site. So, without major improvements in the amount of voluminous garbage, disabling AdBlocker would simply stop me from visiting, which certainly won’t improve revenue, either. Ads should be small billboards (no sound or motion) which attract me to click on them, taking me to their own site, not 20 gig 30 minute videos taking the whole screen which will not shut off. I am sure technology will solve the problem eventually, seems like direct payment for the number of times such an ad was clicked might work, as opposed to unlimited access to people uninterested in what you’re selling, like porn for example, degrading the performance of the site in delivering what the customers came for.

    Sincerely wish you luck.

    • You and Cliff hit it on the nail: my choices are run blockers and visit the site, or not visit. Last time I tried reading a column with no blockers, between the time I clicked to visit and the time I could actually scroll through and read I took a shower, made and ate breakfast, took out the trash, and played four games of Spider Solitaire. Since I like to read as many as five items some days, without ad blockers I would spend all morning just mostly waiting to read TTAG.

      And if I try it on the old office desktop machine rather than my laptop, TTAG lands in a select group of sites (which includes Daily Kos) that just freeze the computer for an hour or altogether.

  11. As a mobile user this site is unusable when not running ad blockers, between the pop-ups, redirects and auto play videos it just gets silly. Maybe if those (long time) issues get fixed we wouldn’t be using ad blockers.

  12. I can’t wait to see the new face of the website!

    Y’know, without the auto-playing pop-up ads that would otherwise hijack my browser and forcibly redirect me away from this website and drive my anti-virus and anti-spyware/malware programs nuts with keeping out the computer AIDS. 😛

    Then, there’s the actual content of your ads (many of which are completely unrelated to guns n’ stuff), which Matt in FL addressed above.

  13. Thanks to the TTAG team for addressing this issue.

    As many have stated above, don’t mind the regular ads too much but the intrusive/noisy/NSFW ones that weasel into the browser and suck up all the resources must be killed with fire and buried before I’ll even consider shutting off my scripts & pop-ups blockers.

  14. If a site has ANY of the following, I ad-block them. Auto-Play audio or video (which sounds like you have addressed), pop-ups or re-directs, forced ad before content viewing, more ads than content, annoying and un-optimized ads that drag performance down. As long as those things are not present I will keep a site off ad-block. As soon as they appear, the site is ad-blocked, usually forever. I’ll white list TTAG once the new format is out and take a look. Hope I don’t have to block you again.

  15. Pop ups, pop unders, roll overs and auto play ads all suck. They make the user experience suck, and they suck bandwidth. And then there is the bonus of some ad links that have a drive by viral payload. That’s always nice, especially when it downloads ransomware

    If the ads consume more bandwidth than the content, you’ve probably lost the user. Just sayin

    A web specific version of the site with all of the ads in the side bar, static ads only, no autoplay ads would be a good start. And vetting the ads for relevance and malware would be good

    Amazon shows me “suggestions” that are unobtrusive, and I generally click on them for comparison purposes while I shop. But what does Amazon know about driving online revenue?

  16. Better ads would be nice for companies and services that are interesting. The ads I see are clickbait and literally not a single thing I am interested in or want to see. No autoplay would be nice. Putting the ads either on the side or at the very bottom of the content and comments instead of in between where they appear on my phone would be nice. Then if you periodically asked people to disable their ad blockers for this site I bet they would (or show a request to disable ad blocking in place of the ad). The sponsored posts are a good idea too so long as the post isn’t a review of the sponsor’s stuff.

    -D

    • Yeah that’s another thing… if you put up simple, targeted ads to things like gun deals and holsters it’ll see a lot more clickthroughs. I’m guessing that takes too much work on a blog that gets updated every few hours?

  17. Most likely no one will make it this far down in the stream and most people have already said this however these are my two cents:

    Ads are fine and they are the only way to keep content coming to the consumer in a free webpage such as this BUT if the ads are too intrusive, make the website an issue to access at work (naked or disturbing photos and ads) or so bad that it makes the website annoying to navigate, they are a problem. Having banners on the side of the screen is not an issue so long as they are not disgusting.

    Auto play is an issue and I’m sure that TTAG is addressing this as they have stated, but that is also an issue when you have an ad start screaming at you over your speakers while at work or in class when you just wanted some gun related news. I don’t want to have to check my speakers for fear of something screaming at me every time i refresh the page.

  18. Someone needs to code an ad-blocker that makes the ad company think the ad is being watched, while not actually playing the ad. Then TTAG would get their money and I wouldn’t have to look at the ads. Everyone wins. I’m code-illiterate, so i don’t know if that’s even possible.

    • In reality most ‘views’ online are actually by bots apps like you mentioned. Yes, we live in a world where computers generate ads that are primarily viewed by other computers.

      • …and so ads are worth almost nothing so companies try and put more and more of them up and they get even more obtrusive.

        The internet is broken. And the war was started by ads.

  19. Figure a way around the ad networks. They may be the easiest to set up and use on your end, but they are one of the most common malware vectors.

    Get rid of ads with animation or sounds. Not only are they annoying, but they burn through data for mobile users. The sponsored posts are unobtrusive, get past ad blockers, and I actually remember the name of the advertiser (despite not specifically paying attention to it).

    Get rid of trackers. The gun community in particular is pretty averse to being monitored. Giving all of my browsng history to a marketing company is not a price I’m willing to pay to read TTAG.

    • +1
      I couldn’t have said this better myself.

      “Get rid of trackers. The gun community in particular is pretty averse to being monitored. Giving all of my browsng history to a marketing company is not a price I’m willing to pay to read TTAG.”

      • As I have said repeatedly on here– it’s not the ads, it’s the privacy and security aspects that are the problem. They track you. They collect and sell what you read, and click on. And there’s nothing you can do to stop that, once they have that info.

        I run adblockers– several. And a hosts file. And various other bits of misdirection. Does it work? I don’t know. But it sure can’t hurt.

  20. For me it’s the ad block that takes up half the page. Miracle boner pills, smart brain pills for the rich and the cut away penis. It really takes away from a once great website.

  21. One of the biggest problems for me is all the ads in the middle of the page as I scroll down, off to the side or at the end I understand but half-way down the page is annoying, it makes it worse that the ads are the terrible click bait ads.

  22. I haven’t had much problem with autoplay ads but it’s the trashy clickbait links about dead celebrities who aren’t actually dead and people of Walmart that irk me to no end. I read Townhall regularly and it suffers the same problem as well. All I’m saying is the products are nice but the storefront looks like a tire fire in July.

  23. I would be interested if you started a Patreon for the website. I would much prefer to donate a small amount every month than to enable ads on the website. That way I could support a website that I frequent and enjoy, while also keeping annoying and malicious ads away.

    • I’d consider donating a small amount each month if they got rid of most if not all ads. But the content would have to get much better for me to do that. Save for a few good comparison tests every now and then, a handful of expert articles or opinion pieces, there just isn’t enough interesting original content here. Other gun websites, or even YouTube channels, have had much better Shot Show coverage, for example. They also have many more video reviews of stuff most of us actually would / do use. I mean, Cabot guns are nice, but that’s sort of ’empty calories’ when it comes to useful content (most of us won’t be spending $7k on a 1911). Lately I scan The Gun Feed for headlines a lot more than TTAG, simply because most of what I see here is recycled material. Often times I’m actually more interested in the comment discussions that follow the articles, but I don’t think that’s enough reason to donate money.

  24. I am a full time rver and have only a wireless internet connection that is not as fast as home wired connections. And the data usage is metered so I only get so much each month before huge overages.

    Due to that and the intrusiveness of ads, I use a strong ad blocker and DO NOT visit any site that forces me to disable said ad blocker. I really like TTAG, but will stop using the site completely if you resort to the disable to enter method. I usually also avoid any site that sells/shares my email address. And I use a strong spam filter to cover those that fail to keep to their privacy statements and sell my email address anyway, and then if I discover that has been done to me I blacklist the web site that violated their privacy statement.

    The surest way to lose me is to lie to me or violate the trust I place in you.

    Thanks for listening.

  25. I never click on Internet ads, so ad blocking software would not change a thing except relieve some annoyance.
    It’s like people who pirate movies that they’d never pay for anyways. Doesn’t affect cash flow.

  26. >> While I understand and appreciate the advantages of ad blockers, by removing ads from websites, browsers are modifying original art and using it for commercial gain. This strikes me as a copyright violation. Just sayin’

    That is rich coming from you guys.

  27. Speaking as one of the last dinosaurs on the internet, I’m aware that ads are the only way that sites such as yours can keep operating without turning into a paid subscription service. So, I don’t mind all the ads that appear on the sides, or the ones that sort of stick themselves out and make you look for the X cancellation mark. But the ones that play a video and won’t let you scroll down or leave are the most annoying. That’s when I yank the power cord out of the wall socket. Hopefully, you can do something about that.

    • Advertisers think the solution to the problem of us not responding to their ads is to scream in our faces. In reality it’s causing us to slam the damn door on them.

      • If only that were true.

        If people…all people…rejected obnoxious advertising, it would have ceased long ago. Instead, we get idiots who actually *respond* to loud, obnoxious “no credit needed” used car ads.

        • No, because advertisers can’t tell if a bot is watching their ad or a real person — they probably could, but if they did that they’d have to face the reality that well over 90% of all hits on ads are from bots

          I have a friend who gets a kick out of that sort of thing. He has a cute app that when someone clicks on an ad he’s hosting, it goes to their site and bot-clicks on three of their ads. He tracked some of that activity once and gleefully reported that if I were to go to his site and click one of the three top ads, it would result in bot clicks on nearly a hundred ads as other sites like his fired their bot activity back and forth — so I as one person would generate four score or more ghost hits for my one real one.

          But to the bean counters, a hit is a hit.

        • Roymond,

          I wasn’t talking (primarily) about internet ads. Obnoxious advertising on TV is paid for and provided by the actual business in question…and they clearly think they are effective. Beancounters on the internet probably have some rule of thumb to turn (measured) hits into (expected) actual business on the site. Even if they divide by 1,000,000 they’re happy when an obnoxious ad gets twice as many (measured) hits as a non-obnoxious one. It does better. In spite of our attitudes.

  28. Ok, honesty time: With how cell companies are charging for data, ads increase the cost of people browsing using mobile devices.

    The more you push, the more people will push back.

  29. Robert – I used to disable adblocker on TTAG.

    Like some have mentioned, I browse TTAG at work, and actually have to have my audio on (since I work on DSP..) so they really were a problem.

    I realize you guys are going to get rid of them. I will try disabling adblock again at that point – and hopefully some others will, too. (Not all will accept a slew of advertising though.)

    The other problem, which was something a few of us mentioned too, was that there was ad in rotation that would *repeatedly crash browsers*. I was never able to identify positively which one it was, but I believe it was a Flash ad for a 3rd party Amazon reseller.

    These are the primary reasons I run adblock on TTAG, and as far as I know, the reason some others do, too, since I’ve seen the problems mentioned repeatedly.

    It’s understood that ads are how you guys make revenue. But what the advertisers and lots of media companies do not understand and refuse to understand: it’s not the presence of ads ‘at all’, its how absolutely over-the-top intrusive, obnoxious and invasive they’ve become.

    If ads were just -images-, like they used to be, I think a lot of sites wouldn’t be having this problem. I know I never ran adblock until the ads became loud, flashing, vibrating, autoplaying, focus-stealing, screen-covering monstrosities. At that point I said ‘enough’.

    What sites like this have to do is push back at their ad networks for being too intrusive. If they want to stem the tide of people turning on adblock, the ad networks need to cut out their bad behavior, instead of chiding the end users.

    We’re just voting with our keyboards that we don’t want exploding screaming full-volume involuntary “experiences” in our face.

    (It’d also help to lose the clickbait trash. I don’t need to see a grainy JPG of an open wound just to be alerted to ‘ONE WEIRD TRICK’ I can use to cure a disease I don’t have.)

    In agreement with what Steve said above – advertisers are pushing too hard, and now complaining when they’ve “turned it up to 11” and end users are saying “enough”.

    The solution isn’t to chide the end users. It’s to turn it down a few notches, because internet advertising, like the ‘popup days’ of the 90s, has gotten out of hand.

  30. Wait: I missed this:

    While I understand and appreciate the advantages of ad blockers, by removing ads from websites, browsers are modifying original art

    Wrong. It is the browser that parses and interprets the language that the site sends it. It is the HTML/CSS/JS that is the copyrightable work, not the browser-rendered version of the HTML/CSS/JS.

    Are text-only browsers violating your copyright? Are text-reading browsers for the blind violating your copyright?

    …and using it for commercial gain.

    What commercial gain? The browsers are free. The ad blocking extensions are free.

    This strikes me as a copyright violation. Just sayin’.

    I would not recommend testing that theory in court. You’d lose. Not only on the above misunderstanding of what your copyrightable work is, but also on established case law regarding fair use. Under established fair use doctrine for similar content (e.g. television), consumers can time-shift delivered content, consumers can fast-forward through ads, and consumers can ignore ads.

    I would counter, also, that serving such intrusive, resource-hogging ads that my browser/computer are lagged, merely as a condition of consuming the legitimate site content, is inappropriate use of my browser/consumer resources. The ads cost me money (electricity) and time.

    Blaming the consumer for circumventing a piss-poor consumer experience in order to consume legitimate site content is not a recipe for success.

  31. I turn off the sound on my computer before I visit your site because I don’t want to listen to or watch your autoplay ads.

  32. Have a paid version. I am guilty of using ad blockers myself. I do not subscribe to a paid service where I have to watch ads, like cable or satellite television. If the service is free (like TTAG is now) one should expect to see ads. Maybe providing an ad-free version where subscribers can pay a fee would be an option. If you want to support the site, pay the fee or watch the ads. Just don’t get mad when the content quality degrades or the site quits even operating. There is always gonna be those that complain, but TTAG has to pay the bills and the writers need to make a living.

      • If the paid version structured the comment section like the Usenet newsreaders did (like rn), as in allowing individual comment threads to go many deep, that would be a *huge* plus for when the comments are flying thick-and-fast. (In TTAG, they certainly are wont to do…)

        The current code only allows 3 or so deep threads. The comment junkies would likely be happy to pay for that feature (I would).

  33. I don’t mind ads.
    What chaps my hide is the redirect malware when I open up TTAG on my phone.
    Grrrrr

  34. I’ve used ad blockers and cookie self destruct add-ins for a while now. Without them, many sites – TTAG included – are unusable. Pop-ups, Redirects, weird flashy banner adds, and autoloading videos kill the reader experience. The only people that put up with that crap are too stupid to figure out how to get rid of it.

    I recognize I suck as a traditional web reader, but I’m happy to throw a couple bucks your way in the form of a subscription – I do that for Wikipedia ($20 x twice a year), the Wall Street Journal ($300?), DamnInteresting ($20), Netflix ($12 a month), Amazon ($100 per year?), and others. I’m willing to pay for content I care about – and I bet others are too.

    With respect to other sources of advertising, I actually enjoy the ads in many of the traditional magazines and actually seek the ads out. If you can make the ads interesting (and clearly label advertorials) that could work too.

    Unfortunately, web ads as currently constituted are intrusive, irrelevant, and useless.

    • I’d be inclined to the subscription model, as well. Hell, I’ve paid $15 a month for an MMORPG for about 8 years now, and I haven’t even loaded the game in six months.

        • I imagine it would thin everyone out more than a bit, unless it was simply an option (in which case it wouldn’t thin trolls out).

          I’m not saying TTAG couldn’t work as a subscription based service (although I will say that) but it would be very different and with a much smaller userbase.

    • This isn’t the first time that this topic has come up in discussion. I would be happy to be a paying/supporting member of TTAG+P(premium.) Along with being ad-free, what other benefits could members receive?

  35. Matt in Florida summed it up quite well.

    Perhaps you can do more of the DeSantos Question-type advertising, I find that very unobtrusive to me, at least.

  36. “browsers are modifying original art”

    Is it even “original art” if you (admittedly) have little to no control over the ads that are even being posted on the site?

  37. Ad blocking definitely doesn’t constitute copyright infringement.

    Even taken at face value (that ad blockers “modify content”), if you go with that argument, then someone tearing out a page from a book they own would infringe on the author’s copyright. Even if that is legally true (which I find very dubious), do you really want to be in the company of people making such a claim and threatening to go after people doing that?

    However, even that is hypothetical, because speaking from a technical perspective, you’re wrong. Ad blockers don’t modify the content, they modify the way that said content is rendered. To continue with the book analogy, imagine that there’s a book that has an ad printed at the bottom of the page. An ad blocker for such a thing would be a stencil cut out such that the text is visible in the window, but the ad is covered. It’s pretty obvious that it doesn’t modify the content itself.

  38. This site was THE REASON I started using ad-blockers. After seeing nothing but “click-bait”, and plenty of ads that I would consider NSFW, I decided I had enough. I’m barely allowed to get on this site on my work computer as it is. I definitely don’t need filth showing up on my computer screen because y’all have awful advertising.

    • Yeah, the same for me: I hadn’t used an ad-blocker until I frequented this site (and I’m not exactly an infrequent user of the internet). Every now and then I turn off my ad blocker on the off chance that it’s gotten better, but it seems like my overclocked gaming computer runs even worse than the last time I took it off for TTAG.

      I have it turned off for most other sites and I like Full30’s ad method – big ads flanking the content (doesn’t bother me at all), but non-auto-play and they don’t slow my browser down at all. Hell, they even have ads that play before the video starts; you could have a 15 second ad play (once clicked on by a user – don’t make it auto-play when I’m busy opening every article in a new tab before reading) before the article content is loaded. I also like that their ads are more about what I like and less “top 2000 tips to get malware from a guy pretending to be Delta”.

      Also what Chip said above was perfect.

      Edit: Just to add; if you would like, you could make a new article and request people turn off their ad-blocker or leave. I will leave if so.

      • Holy Crap! I just turned off Ghostery (which I run alongside my ad blocker) and I didn’t ever think it was going to stop listing the trackers detected on the sight. You know what I see when I whitelist the other well known blog about firearms???? Lucky Gunner, Springfield, GUN STUFF!!! Not “You won’t believe these celebs are transgender!” or “Tricks to stop toenail fungus in 10 minutes!”

  39. Simple stop using video adds. That’s what I am blocking, because they auto start. That is anoying when you are reading something or watching one of your videos. Just my 2 cents worth.

  40. I have already walked away from TTAG once because of virus laden ads. Ad blockers have made this site bearable again & I won’t disable them. Period. I understand the need for advertising & have no problem with it except for when it becomes more abundant than the content I come here for.

    TTAG will have to decide whether it’s main purpose is to provide content to it’s readers with some advertising on the side or to provide readers to it’s advertisers with a web site on the side.

    If you choose the latter, most of us will probably walk.

    • Same here (and Sara’s narcissistic “articles” that supposed to be “women friendly” but just piss my wife off). I’ve resorted to using an RSS feeder to read TTAG articles, and only actually visiting the site to read AI comments or to comment myself. If I share an article with my wife, I’m copying and pasting text and emailing/texting it to her because the ads kill our mobile data, are pretty much NSFW, and are constantly hijacking everything, making what could have been a pleasant experience thoroughly unenjoyable.

  41. You have my empathy. I myself run a fairly popular web site and I face pressures related to ad revenue as well because of the prominence of ad blockers. Its not like I was eating lobster stuffed with the second best lobster before they came along, but they paid the bills and occasionally allowed me to buy software or services to make the web site better. Those days are long gone. Its to the point I may just kill it off and spend my time elsewhere…like more time at the range.

  42. How about a subscription version of the site with no ads (unless they are specifically related to firearms)?

  43. If people like what you do, they’ll understand your position. I have white-listed this website because I like the product and want it to stick around.

    • I must correct my previous post. I white-listed this page and the ads impacted the sites performance to such an extent that I had to block them all again. Sorry. 🙁

  44. I have a fast internet connection, but on TTAG the page is so badly slow because of how many adverts are on the right side that I had to enable the Ad block to browse the site without hiccups. Once I got the ad blocker I could focus on reading what you and the contributors are saying and not having to refresh the damn page.

    Keep in mind the people who come here who have slow connections like DSL or God forbid, dial up, who can barely read the articles because of the graphic heavy adverts.

  45. A truism in general, but especially on the Net-“if you aren’t paying for it, your aren’t the customer. You’re the product.”

  46. Gee this site is free. I’m getting what I pay for… I haven’ t used a smart phone on here for more than a year. That was hell. Got anti-virus on computer/adblocker and it’s running sorta’ ok. I AM driven nuts by posts not posting or glitches when I type. And I almost always have sound OFF so I don’t notice much. When I perused via Cell phone I nearly quit coming around. AND you did get better. I have no problems(major).

  47. Blue Falcon Gun Hide of the day: It looks like you have already got your marketing planning solved. Integration of content is the key, ad blockers don’t stop your headlines or actual content.

  48. I’m old. I started reading things off paper, not a monitor. There were always ads, but a person generally could “read around them.”

    I could live with ads on TTAG if they just sat there and I could read around them, or past them, or whatever.

    Too often the ads try to grab the focus of my browser, and often succeed, so that I can’t even scroll the page until the ads have had their way.

    The fact that some take so darn long to load that I’ve already started reading a piece and suddenly my browser whips me away from where I am and I have to regain control of my focus an navigate back from whence I came is even worse.

    That’s why I use an ad blocker. Static ads with thumbnail pictures wouldn’t slow down or hijack access, I would turn off my ad blocker, and the ads when relevant might even get a click from me.

    Frankly, TTAG isn’t worth it to me to visit without an ad blocker. And, I’m not sure how much of a subscription I’d pay for my daily dose of pocket name(brand) dropping dumps.

  49. How much do you get per click?
    Would a subscription side of TTAG work? What would go there?
    Where are all the gun advertisers? Full30 got Henry to pony up.
    We love free but perhaps some would donate through Patreon.
    Or, insert ransomware into an auto play ad and all your problems are over.

  50. Throttle back your greed factor.

    As TTAG has become more “successful” they are less appreciative of individual readers.

    The more readers there are, the less each individual is valued.

    The mission used to be the truth about guns, now it is the truth about cash.

    • I believe Carl has posted three times on this thread.
      He has been spot on in every case.
      You guys figure out what you want to be. Don’t pretend to be “fixing” a problem people have been complaining about for years.

      I really want to be an active participant here as well as show others the value of your posts but you’re making it an insulting and embarrassing experience. There are many antis I want to steer your way for education and awareness.
      But not until you clean up your site.

  51. I white list site that I read in my ad blocker software that have a stated policy promising to maintain unobtrusive ad use, or at least as unobtrusive as possible, and live up to it. As a graphic designer I am confronted with this issue on a regular basis and have done a bit of reading on the subject.

    Ask for the white list and let it be an individual choice. Run a poll to find out what your readers will accept and stick to it. If we find the content is worth a minimal amount of advertising, especially if it means the site will stay free, users will probably be willing to accept that.

  52. This site is on my list of slow loaders due to ad & video junk so the ad & element blocker
    remains.

    BTW what are you doing with all that money you are saving by not having to buy
    ammo all the time seeing how you mention ammo being donated quite a bit?

    • We don’t have a regular ammo sponsor yet. We are in negotiations. TTAG spends all of its money on a few salaries and content.

  53. On my mobile devices I turn off Javascript because I have an older i-Device and if I leave Javascript on, the site crashes mobile Safari (and performance sucks).

    On the desktop, I use NoScript because ad networks have become a vector for malware distribution. Does your ad network accept responsibility for the content they serve? Will you (or your ad network) pay the ransom to get my files decrypted? No? Then why should I let you execute arbitrary unvetted code on my hardware?

    I get that you need to make a living, but the current advertising model is fundamentally broken, and I don’t think it’s fixable. Everyone is going to have to come up with something new, and a lot of things advertisers like now (tracking, profiling, permissive code execution) need to go away.

  54. The clickbait is getting less offensive and that improves the credibility of the site. Still have issues with the page loading and some malware getting imported thru it. Adding AVG free helped, but like this post, I can’t easily type in the words as some other traffic keeps blocking the exchange of characters. Only on this website.

      • I only look at this site with JavaScript turned off on my iph*ne. Wouldn’t dare on my laptop or work computer. Other sites I will periodically click sponsored links to help pay for content. Bought a Desantis holster last week over a comparable Galco because of the daily post.

  55. Auto play ads, pop up and pop in ads and App Store redirects are ruining the Internet. When I open a website and spend the first minute silencing ads or trying to find out how to close a pop up, I get pissed pretty fast. I’m not opposed to advertising, but stupid click bait ads by the dozen become irritating as well. Find a way to place ads without irritating people. It can’t be impossible.

    • Great content AND a great user experience. To that we are committed. Look for improvements soon. We’ll keep you posted.

  56. Recently the clickbait ads showed THREE distinct ads for what car you shouldn’t buy.

    I have to second the complaints most of the people have raised so far. I like the content, but the site over all as a programming and browsing experience, absolutely SUCKS without a blocker.

  57. I don’t run adblocker on this site, but I do have applets and plug-ins off by default in browser settings which curtails much of the hijacking that occurs with certain types of ads and content. Sure, sometimes it can be a hassle, but right-clicking a Youtube video to manually start it is a minimally grating trade-off for control of my browsing experience.

  58. I’m going to be really blunt, and I apologize. You can’t chase profit. If for some reason the readership has declined (e.g. The rate of mass shooting have declined, no amazing breaking news lately, some guy named “anonymous” keeps scaring away the readership, etc.), you can’t compensate with more ads. Especially high paying garbage ads. The more garbage ads that are applied the lower the quality of the experience, thereby reducing readership further. A cycle begins that is destructive in order to maintain a fixed profit. Hence the term – chasing profit.

    Make a high quality product/service at a low cost and people will come to you.

  59. Charge for using the site, 1$ per month 12-15 dollar yearly subscription… If the number of individual users are here, and I believe they are, this should solve the problem, regular as filled site of u don’t pay the subscription, as free site for subscribers.

  60. As a computer information security expert i can tell you that one of the favorite attack avenues for malware and virus is add networks. Guarantee me clean, non intrusive, non auto play, low bandwidth ads and Ill white list your site. Good luck on that guarantee.

  61. I’ve seen websites (Forbes is one) that use some sort of script to detect that someone is using an ad-block (or in my case, noscript) and asks them to whitelist; in exchange, they get a lighter ad-print (no autoplay, just a few fairly non-annoying ads). Might look into that.

    Personally I use no-script because of the security risks in script ads as much as how annoying they are. I can still see some ads- the static images, for example, which are not a problem security-wise.

  62. Instead of worrying about how you can better display your ads, you should be considering that this type of advertising Revenue shouldn’t be your only source of monetization.

    Anyone can serve ads, but you need to focus on what your value really is to an Advertiser.

    There’s so many other strategies you could be using that would not only bring more value to the advertisers, but also allow you to offer more targeted avenues for advertisers to utilize. Instead of panicking about display ads and ad blockers Kama I would literally grab a white board and start exploring the options that are right in front of you.

  63. Don’t act surprised. This isn’t a new problem. It has plagued this website for YEARS. I’ve been reading since late 2010-early 2011. I visit virtually everyday, sometimes multiple times a day. I find it rich you guys can’t seem to figure out how to make good money and provide an enjoyable end-user experience. Dozens of other websites I frequent do IT EVERYDAY.

    I’ve heard the “we are committed to fixing this” and “we are working on it” and “stay tuned, fixes coming.” It has always been bullshit. (I can think of three times you had to issue an “oh shit, sorry about the malicious script we have been broadcasting” post. Anyone remember the time the comments section DISCLOSED individual’s email addresses? Yet TTAG still chose to dance with the devil after that.) Perhaps this time you “really mean it.” Who knows? “The Truth” is you haven’t wanted to fix this known issue for years.

    I’ve been an active internet user for nearly 20 years. TTAG alone forced me to install ad-blocker software for the first time late last year.

    Someone else will have to tell me if things change around here. I won’t be turning my ad-blocker off anytime soon.

  64. There are three problems:
    – Ads and other mangled content get in the way of what people want to see.
    – They consume resources that one may not have: time, screen space and scrolling.
    – They are attack vectors.

    Anyone who wants to make themselves completely crazy consider: code snippets to integrate with this ad network or that read in other code snippets from … where, exactly? The common add-ins like comment systems, surveys, or even shopping carts often pass you around like a loose joint in a high school kid’s van. (I’ve heard this happens. Perhaps read it in a book one time.)

    All these “freebies” make money selling info on you. The more of a demographic profile they assemble on you, the more it’s worth.

    It’s not even limited to mobile code. What’s it take to assemble a “browser signature” that’s unique to you, from “harmless” information the thing simply reports to anyone who asks? Then collate on that, and whoever did it has a complete history of everything in your life that you care enough about to get some info on.

    The fundamental problem with ad-supported “services” is the users aren’t the customers, they’re the product. So, the site-wranglers and the people who show up are fundamentally at odds.

    I’d pay a nominal subscription. I’ve offered this before on a couple “social” sites where I was drawn by the content. Please, let me support you. They couldn’t, or wouldn’t. Over time the site(s) became intolerable. And the content eroded as they went for a more “general appeal” to get clicks, hits, unique visitors, or other mass-market metrics higher. That’s what the adware & etc. pay for, more, undifferentiated “events.”

    Somehow the interweb builders have forgotten that Google got ahead of all the other search engines by producing more relevant results, faster, without clutter. So, let’s do the opposite of that. (Including Google any more … don’t get me started.)

    The common “roll your own site” tools all assume the standard ad-supported, digital panopticon, “all your computer belong to us” model.

    There’s an opportunity there. There’s enough mass and frustration, I think, for a simple, respectful subscription add-in for content-driven sites. I’m seeing the feature popping up on sites occasionally. They look “roll your own” per site, or spread across sites with common ownership and infrastructure.

    I’d pay for premium content, and “personalization” meaning “personalized by me.” Rather than have the big compute engine in the sky “personalize” for me what they think I should see (to their best advantage), let me construct a personalized experience. There’s plenty of compute power to make it go.

  65. TL;DR make TTAG subscription based, no ads whatsoever.

    Stop the mADness. They’re a drug that the Internet has been hooked on since the 90’s. Aside from the whole tracking, privacy invasion, etc, they make websites look like garbage and waste valuable screen real estate and bandwidth. I would (and do when I can) whole heartedly pay for the content I use.

    Case in point: YouTube Red, I love it, it’s worth several times what it costs.

    Another example: The Old Reader, then Google shuttered Reader for lack of revenue, The Old Reader was created as a replacement and has been successfully monetized.

    Micropayment platforms like Google Contributor are also an option, but the website operator is still left at the whim (and TOS) of the ad networks who could ban firearms sites at any time. Being that this site, and others like it, are venues for speaking freely on a contested topic, not betrothing yourself to anyone is a good idea.

    The problem is moving the mass herd of folks to this model, since they’ve all been trained that most things online are free. But in the end someone has to pay for the hardware, power, and bandwidth, and I prefer to not do so with my personal information. Sigh.

  66. Why don’t you sell t-shirts and stuff for 3x what you pay for them and pocket the difference? Make sure you get a good deal and I’m game for a hundred bucks worth or stuff, rounding down, every year.

    I’m not going to turn my ad blockers off just for you: there’s so much other malware involved in shady ad networks that I want to stay as far away as possible from that. I’m actively trying to stay away from trouble, not actively trying to deny you some coin.

  67. Honestly, I’ve never *not* run adblockers when browsing this site, so I don’t know what it’s like without them. That being said, if you have to sink to the level of click-bait websites to generate profit…Well, that’s the glory of capitalism, isn’t it? If that’s the only way you can think of to monetize the website, then I guess maybe building websites isn’t for you *shrugs*.

  68. Set up a TTAG+ site that’s ad free for a small monthly subscription fee. Something like Fark’s “TotalFark” for $5/mo. Don’t pay to whitelist your site on AdBlock. First, I don’t think your ads are non-invasive enough to pass the whitelist criteria. Second, a lot of us moved on to better adblockers when the original AdBlock starting taking money for whitelisting. After getting infected with serious malware (like the kind that makes the computer unusable if you don’t pay up) from bad ads on my work computer, I never surf without a good adblocker or two. (My employer doesn’t mind some casual surfing, but I think they’d frown on malware/virus infections from it)

  69. This issue came up in marketing meetings in Silicon Valley literally 20 years ago. I know it seems like the ‘net hasn’t been around that long, but it now has.

    I remember getting into dust-ups with the sales & marketing folks, who were telling us how they were going to do advertising on “other people’s money” (ie, the customer was going to pay for the computer, the screen, the bandwidth and hopefully buy the product) and I, as one of the few engineers in the room, told these people that “you do realize that people who write code for a living won’t put up with this, right? The same sorts of brains that allow you liberal arts majors to enjoy web browsers, fast internet connections and ever-faster computers will simply create tools to filter out your ad content, right? You do understand that, right? Sort of the same way that hackers over-clock CPU’s, right? You do understand that there’s a class of people who will refuse to sit still and take your crap, right?”

    You’d have thought I broke wind in a church during the sermon from their reaction. Oh, the indignant howls. Oh, how they acted as tho such technical prowess would be breaking some sort of ‘contract’ with the content provider. Oh, how the S&M people lectured us nerds. How the whole advertising industry was here before the tech industry, blah, blah, blah.

    Oh, how we engineers laughed and laughed and laughed.

    The S&M people promised that they were bigger than a bunch of nerds. They said they knew that the public was stupid, and only a small bunch of nerds would be opting out and gaming their computers to cut out the ads.

    Well, here we are 20 years later and the S&M people have had their way – to the point where people are truly pissed off and opting out in droves. The delivery of malware in ad streams I think is what has finally tipped the balance among the general population. That’s wholly due to the advertising companies. They could have designed their ad delivery systems to have security, but they didn’t. They could have protected their systems better against being hacked. But they didn’t.

    The ad companies and their S&M people have done this to themselves. They’ve earned their rewards.

  70. When I visit sites on a machine without ad blockers, its clear the ad content is intended for morons. I can only assume anyone stupid enough to click on “the device power companies hate” is too stupid to install an ad blocker. Therefore I use ad blockers without guilt, secure in the knowledge that the ads are likely getting to the dummies they were intended for.

  71. Your site is the reason that I have an ad blocker. The ads were so invasive they would slow down my whole system. About that time, I started noticing the problem on other sites too. I stopped coming here for a while because of the problem. Then I read about ad blockers and I have been visiting quite regularly since. Strangely, the ads for The Texas Firearms Festival are hosted by you and I see those. I have gone both years – 2 people for 2 days each time – while I will almost never pay attention to ads on most sites.

    Use some of the techniques that other sites are using to push your horribly aggressive ads down my throat and I won’t be here. It’s that simple. There is more content out there than I have time to consume now.

    • You see some ads and not others because the ‘seen’ ads are not autonomous. TTAG puts them there. With the others ones I bet they just have an open space and the ad companies can put whatever they want in there. That second option is the kind that are the problem but they’re easier.

  72. I used ad blocking software, have disabled flash and activeX & block all popups as well as a few other things to enhance my browsing experience on all websites. Yes, it can be a bit of a pain but pages load faster, I’m not bombarded with obnoxious ads and it also reduces the number of attact vectors hackers can use to exploit my computer. Even TTAG has had problems with malware on their site (which they took care of) so I’m going to continue to do what I have to do to increase my safety and browsing experience. If that means walking away from sites that object to me using ad blocking software then so be it. But, that’s just me.

  73. As many others have already stated, it is the autoplay adds that ruin this site. Depending where I am and what device I am on they make the site unusable. You remove all autoplay adds, I can happily remove my add blockers. I had never installed one before becoming a regular here but it is a requirement to get the site to work reliably. I can think of no other legitimate site that has this issue as bad as TTAG. It’s sort of embarrassing.

    On a side note, your advertisers should reconsider their static adds too. I’m not sure a website that draws this crowd cares much to click on the “top 10 celebrity diet secrets” or “look what kim kardashian tweeted today!” Some of them are on target but some are so far off base i feel like I am looking at a tabloid website.

  74. The mobile ads for this site are obscene garbage. I’ll be running a blocker. When you start running it on a subscription you’ll get my $10 a year.

  75. AutoPlay ads pissed me off to no end. I used an add-in to block entire sections of this website from rendering. There is nothing like an audio blasting unexpectedly at 2am or during a meeting. Also, a while back, some of the ads from this website had JavaScript routines with runaways that crashed browsers. I am surprised that malware blockers did not list TTAG to be blocked entirely because of that. I do not mind having ads on a page, but intrusive ads will get blocked. If intrusive ads cannot get blocked, I won’t come back to the site, period. Ditch the AutoPlay videos or find another line of work..I think those are TTAGs choices if I am not mistaken.

  76. My ad blocker is set to only allow unintrusive ads. Anyone allowing intrusive ads on their website can be damned. I dont care about your revenue if you dont care about my privacy.

  77. I don’t mind the ad’s related to firearms. I prefer how SoldierSystems does their ads as a sidebar but as long as its relative to the content I’m surfing I don’t mind.

    What I DO MIND is the X-Men Cyclops pop-up I keep getting? WTF is that?

  78. Sell products like hats and shirts. Get a Patreon. Create a paid app that doesn’t have ads, lets readers pick and choose what they read by author/topic. Switch to a subscriber website model. You guys aren’t the first to have this issue, and there are websites out there that have successfully navigated the problem.

    The thing that irritates me the most about this whole situation, is that you’ve known for a long time that it’s a problem. This isn’t the first time that you guys have said, “hey, we know our ads are doing shitty things to you, we’re on it.” I’ll believe it when I see (don’t see) it. I’ve resorted to accessing your articles through a RSS feeder, because it gives me just the content with none of the extraneous bullshit. When I can finally figure out how to filter out Sara’s “articles,” it’s gonna be a glorious day.

    I used to have a friend back in college who, every time he came over, would wreck the place. He was a nice guy, fun to be around, but good lord he could not respect personal property worth a damn. It was worse when he was drunk. You know what happened? I stopped inviting him over, because I just could not tolerate what he was doing. You guys are becoming like that guy. Get your act together, get some rehab, maybe some therapy, get your shit together, and then we can revisit whether this friendship can continue.

  79. Your domain acts and looks like a scam domain. You have the most obnoxious advertisements, whether it’s absurd huge pictures that link to scam sites, auto playing videos, and redirects which open applications on mobile devices. There is nothing about your domain that says professional or legit.

  80. THIS is the problem:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/py2wtkaxzd36l40/Screenshot%202016-03-28%2010.13.28.png?dl=0

    That’s a screen grab of my ad block and Ghostery icons. That’s how much junk is on your website.

    In contrast to, say, Ars Technica:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/oe1mgm161c1asbe/Screenshot%202016-03-28%2010.14.16.png?dl=0

    Or Yahoo:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/o8rj104sot0esz3/Screenshot%202016-03-28%2010.14.38.png?dl=0

    All that crap makes the experience just completely terrible. For something with a few stories and a some comments, this site is painfully slow.

  81. I never used an ad blocker until motion and flashing ads came along. If you’re A.D.D. or A.D.H.D. those just distract you so much there’s no point in going online. A STATIC ad is no problem at all.

  82. I dont mind ads, but make them actually pertain to the subject matter. No autoplay crap. No malware crap.

    Right now Adblock in blocking 14 ads on this tab alone in Chrome. That is WAY too many.

  83. Every time I go to browse TTAG from my phone, not only do I get popups to the point where I cant close them and view the site but I get redirected to the freaking app store. Unable to go “back” to the TTAG.

    Have to browse directly to the site 2-3, sometimes 4 times before I can actually get to content.

    Insert frustration here.

  84. I stopped watching live tv since 2005, because I hate commercials. About 6 years ago I discovered ad blockers and never looked back.

    oh wait, whats that at the bottom of this page…
    .
    .
    .
    Ok, one slipped in, took care of that
    Ad Block Pro and Ghostery are your friends.

  85. I’m curious how this flood of negative user experience stories has to come from the users. Do you guys not view your own site without ad blockers? Do your own systems not get bogged down and infected by all of these ads? How are you missing this experience yourselves?
    It takes a single pageview for the rest of us to recognize that an addblocker is necessary, what configuration are you using to avoid these negative experiences?

  86. I WANT TO SCREAM! AdBlock Plus and Ghostery for me.

    You bozos have known for years that you have all of the problems mentioned here. How many times have you promised to get rid of these problems over the years? How many times have you actually done it?

    When you say the new site design will fix some of these issues, I just don’t believe you, and I won’t be holding my breath.

    • On Msoft’s new browser, at least, it is unusable already. TTAG is specifically what finally drove me to Chrome, which at least makes an effort at blocking redirects.

      So not only is TTAG’s ad company destroying TTAG’s user base, they’re ruining Microsoft’s as well.

      The real question not being asked, nor answered here, is “exactly how much do you guys think you should be pulling in from this little venture?” Like, were it not for ads, how much would each user of your present user-base need to drop in the coin slot for a peepshow? Is it some huge, unreasonable number we would never be willing to pay? If so, a better course than figuring how to squeeze the bloody turnip harder or strangling the golden goose, is to re-evaluate your business model so your overhead is more in line with the revenue you could expect to generate from a simple gun-oriented news blog. I get the impression there’s like a hundred thousand dollars a year going towards the creation of, what, two page’s worth of content each day? Content that isn’t usually even ‘generated’ so much as ‘reacted to’ by the writers (i.e. not researched, just written in response to a news article generated by someone else)

  87. “TTAG has one central ad supplier: medialodge.com. We have a multi-year deal with them and it’s that ad revenue that allows us to pay our writers and bring you the content you want at no cost to you. That said, one of their ad partners has an entirely regrettable tendency to feed the site with ads that auto-play audio. We know that’s a BIG no-no. In fact . . .”
    http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2015/05/robert-farago/housekeeping-annoying-autoplay-ads-and-you/

    BIG no-no, indeed, lol. The most hilarious joke of all this is ‘Media Lodge’ marketing materials are more gun-oriented than this website often is, and yet the ‘product’ they deliver is the same click-bait/bate-bait crap you see on the most low-rent news blogs, forums, & international pages. Either they are unable to find gun-oriented partners to sell ads to (ie. a failed business model) or they were a scam from the start. Methinks TTAG was the one who got swindled by a slick marketeer’s pandering, this time.

  88. showing up late to add my 2 cents, which I’m sure after the drubbing from the regular crowd, probably won’t get read- anyway.. I’ll just say “Me too” to all the posts about adblock and ghostery, this site being the reason, autoplay, malware etc.
    I’ll say “ditto” to the eye rolls and “yeah yeah” at the promises to fix it ‘real soon now’

    The thing to remember is- all the work you put into site design ( such as it is ) and upgrading your bandwidth and server space for an enjoyable reader experience is instantly f*&^d up by letting the white trash hillbilly ad sellers shit all over the page, leave their trash on your front lawn and vomit on your guests ( readers) shoes and rape their phones. You get a terrible reputation and not much to show for all the damage to your brand ( TTAG ) from the shyte seling ad houses.

    I will try to add value: I don’t mind ads RELEVANT TO MY INTERESTS. what does that mean? Well, TTAG is about guns, I’ll leave it to the editors as an exercise what my ‘interests’ are.
    ( HINT : I like guns. hoslters. ammo. holsters. guns. gear. ammo. more gear. aftermarket gun stuff. guns…. spot any trends here? ) I don’t want to see ads about “This one weird trick to lose body fat” and “Find out anything about anyone now” and “You’ll never believe what happened next..” ads.

    Why not this: Sell static ad space. directly. No flash, no JS, no trackers. Just some banners down the side. Go ahead and use affiliate market links to Amazon. Local shops ( I shop online but I don’t care where the shop actually is.. so sell ad space to the LGS or holster maker or beef jerky vendor or t-shirt guy. )

    THESE ADS I WANT TO SEE. How’m I supposed to find the latest greatest holster or ammo if I never see ads for them?

    Ditch the ad aggregation clearinghouses and being back local ‘back of the page’ ads. I’ll happily unblock and buy stuff and you’ll get your much needed revenue.

    • I’ve read all the comments on this thread.

      This morning, I met with the team. We’ve instructed our ad providers to remove egregious code before. We’re doing it ourselves this week (it should be done by tomorrow or the next day).

      I apologize for the non-relevant ads. And, especially, the auto-play audio. We have the non-gun stuff because it pays. We’d love to have more static, gun-specific ads. The challenge: gun companies are still print-heavy. Our ad agency is working on it. Again. Still.

      Meanwhile, we’re making some SIGNIFICANT changes to the website which should improve the user experience. Your patience and patronage are much appreciated.

      • Dear Overlord…

        Good on you. There’s some good market research, and good advice in these comments. False humility aside, I think I nailed at least part of the problem: mass, 3rd-party ad networks money stream is in direct tension with the value readers get from select, curated content. It’s fundamentally unstable.

        For myself to put it plainly:

        1 – I’ll happily pay a fee for this content, if you’ll let me.

        2 – You’ve barely made pennies in ad revenue from my visits, because *for my own security and privacy* it’s all blocked on my end. Including mobile.

        2.1 – I run every blocker named in this thread, or something similar but better, plus several things nobody mentioned. (I’m not advertising the other stuff because really, it’s an arms race between users and the ad-injectors. Why help them out? For example, before I went with Verizon as my mobile carrier, I figured out a likely defeat for their “universal tracking cookie.”)

        2.2 – Generic ad-injection *degrades the content experience.* Targeted ad-injection is actually value-add information. Find an ad network that gets this.

        3 – There’s some hybrid of mass-clickable content plus curated content for curated communities that fits, I think. I’m not aware of a tech stack that does this, but I haven’t looked. I’d investigate the “white box” social network / community / content management stacks, of which there are several.

      • Robert – check out artofmanliness.com as an example of non-intrusive, classy, targeted, and SFW ads that provides a good living for several people. The proprietor of AOM gets it.

  89. Assuming you are considered a “large” site (not small or medium, who do not have to pay), I definitely would not characterize paying EyeO to evaluate your site and be on the acceptable ads list as “blood money” any more than I would characterize the fees diamond companies pay to make sure their diamonds are not blood diamonds as blood money. I’m not sure how much the fee is, but I’m certain that, if you can get your site in order enough to actually meet their criteria, then you will almost certainly make up that fee and more in actual ad revenue. I know many, many people use ABP, and very, very few of those turn off the “Allow Acceptable Ads” setting. And for good reason; the ads that it allows are not trashy horrible crap; they actually do the vetting to make sure the site sticks to the agreement.

  90. Robert, being a small business owner myself, I am sure that your business model is to maximize profit. I am convinced that your model is balancing maximizing ad income with the number of users that each next level of ad platform drives off. Your website is one of the most annoying I have found on the Net. Your website has inspired me to switch to Chrome with Adblocker Plus and to install Adblocker on my iPhone. You proceed your way, I will proceed mine.

  91. I also think a crowd funding thing would work. Like patreon if it can be used for such a thing. I’ve seen YouTube channels that aren’t nearly as popular as ttag that are getting hundreds per month. It seems like a great way to get some extra revenue and that way you won’t feel like you need as many ads that annoy the users.

  92. I know this story is basically dead… I mean, RF went back and removed his little quib about how ad blockers are violating his copyright several days ago now. I just tried loading the website on my mobile and got the browser hijacking “Marvel” ad twice in a row. You’ve had four days to fix your most basic, unethical advertising practice (ads that hijack). So now: I’m done with your site. If you change your model to a subscription plan, I don’t care. I won’t be coming back. I know you probably don’t care about one user, but you should. Good luck. Soldiersystems and thefirearmblog will be getting my views.

  93. I was once a several time a day reader and now I cannot visit at all. Freaking x men pops up and redirects me several times a visit. I still try to check in every week or so to see if the site is unusable.

    Whatever revenue this is generating has to be a wash when everyone stops coming.

    • We’ve contracted with a coder to completely rebuild the site from the ground up. Two weeks. This will solve all the ad issues. We apologize for the aggro and appreciate your patience.

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