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VERY Annoyed by Flash Targeted Ads -- PLEASE GET RID OF THEM

Trying to load a thread is now very slow. It seems that the ads are now flash movies and they are clearly related to sites I have been on recently. For example, I looked at a hotel on Booking.com yesterday, and now all your ads are showing shifting, scrolling, and otherwise moving Booking.com ads for hotels near my previous searching. Visually annoying, and loading them slows down every page on this site that has an ad.

Should I stop coming to Chowhound? Or should the site shut down this stuff?

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  1. It's a free site brought to you by the ads, What do you think will happen? (Hint CBS owns the site as well) There are ways around the ads, depending on which browser you use.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Quine

      What are the ways around the ads? I use Safari and Firefox.

      1. re: Lcarper

        I don't know about Safari but with Firefox you can use Adblock.

        1. re: Quine

          what a GREAT TIP! thanks Quine - done!

    2. I don't have any of these issues as far as pages taking a long time to load. Perhaps there's something you can do at your end to speed things up. I'm sure someone will chime in.

      I also hardly ever notice the ads either. They don't bother me in the slightest and am glad they're paying for this because I sure wouldn't.


      1. I agree with you that they're annoying and they slow everything down. I block every one of those flash ads as they appear using AdBlock Plus.

        1. I'm with you, Doc. When I go to click on something, it turns into a moving target. Very annoying! And when I see ads clearly targeting me based on websites I have visited, I feel invaded.

          1. There are ads and then there are ads. If a site has to make itself annoying in order to stay free and if it costs $30 for an ad blocker to get it to be comfortable, how does that benefit anyone except the adblocker company? Channeling ads that are so annoying that they will be blocked cannot in the end benefit this site, as blocked ads are worthless and lost site users are worse than useless. And, the site removed the restaurant module to save money, making the site less useful. Will the site be destroyed in order to save it?

            11 Replies
            1. re: therealdoctorlew

              When I installed Adblockplus, it was free. Where are you seeing $30 (or have they eliminated the free version)?

              1. re: L2k

                As I stated above. I use nothing and have no problems.


                1. re: L2k

                  AdBlock is still Honorware, free but honor system of asking for a donation. I chipped in for the April Fool's Cat block version which always gives me the giggles.

                  To get back to the OP's rant, There is "no such thing as a free lunch" not even CH, you "pay" for it by sitting through ads, or some other way. There are pop-up ads, which might be the offending vehicle here, and those are usually browser based blocks (i.e. find the No pop-up option on the browser you use) and the static ads, that Adblock deals with.

                  1. re: L2k

                    The free version is limited. It only blocks a certain number of ads. The pai version is not.

                    1. re: therealdoctorlew

                      Er, that is not true. I have been using Ad Block for years (free) currently using AdBlock2.5.33 in Chrome and never ever had *any* limit on number of ads.


                      You must have some other software confused with this one, Which is totally free honorware.

                      Personally, I pay $6 a month now so I can have the April Fool's Day version. That one replaces all the blocked ads with Cat pics, it will be updated to allow any photo to replace the ad from what I understand. But that is my choice, I find the plain vanilla AdBlock easier to use than the AdBlock plus, but have both installed. Again free Honorware.

                  2. re: therealdoctorlew

                    "And, the site removed the restaurant module to save money, making the site less useful. "
                    Where did you get that information?


                    On that thread it is stated that they were removed because:
                    "Why the change? We originally offered restaurant information in order to make the Chowhound boards more useful. We thought we'd forestall the slightly annoying need to continually reply to a post with the question, "Where is this place you're talking about?" However, those good intentions have not been well served. We have heard that our restaurant listings have not been particularly helpful to most people most of the time, and they've slowed down the performance of the site."

                    Not used and slowed performance not cost it seems.

                    1. re: Quine

                      i'm not going back into that thread, but i think they said it was the restaurant reviews part of the restaurant DB wasn't used, not the DB iteslf.

                      i believe it was implied (and not denied) that there may have been an upcoming license renewal that they didn't want to do because of the integration & performance issues.

                      and yes, the removal of the DB did make the site much less useful.

                      1. re: drewskiSF

                        I did not read the thread myself either, that was what was said in the thread head topic.

                        I am of the the opinion that CH and Chow are canned software, and any change made to it must be purchased, not written and implemented by in house. It would explain a lot of the "can't do it, maybe, down the road and we are exploring the idea" sorta answers we always get about needed and /or wanted changes.

                    2. re: therealdoctorlew

                      you really just need to read up on web browsers and the various ad-blocking software (mostly freeware) and make a few changes to your setup.
                      But, as someone who has worked in the media/web field, good web developers/designers/managers do think about how annoying the end product will be and make prudent choices, sometimes even ones that cost a little (and I mean little) bit of money in favor of having a nice site.

                      1. re: caganer

                        Easier than adblocking software is software the blocks flash all together. I keep multiple versions of browsers depending on where I am surfing and what I am doing. I used the flash free version for browsing chowhound. No problem with flash ads.

                        I would like to echo the sentiments that others have expressed. While there are volunteers on the site, this is a site that should at the least be revenue neutral if not profitable to cbs. While the user experience may be diminished with ads, the user experience is completely ruined if the site were to go away. Ads are here to stay or we are going to be forced to some other revenue model to at least pay for the costs of maintaining the site.

                        1. re: cwdonald

                          If the monetary considerations damage the site, why use it?

                    3. The flashing lottery ad is hugely annoying. Never bitched about the ads before, but this is out of place here.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Bobfrmia

                        Hi, Bob: I wud hv respoonded soner, bt am tiping wiyh blondfld becuse Lottry ad gave mee seizur. Agree tootaly. EScuse tiping.


                      2. I'm not surprised this still happens but I am surprised ad geniuses still think flashing ads in a Lily Pulitzer palette is actually going to gain positive attention. so 1999. god I don''t even notice the sidebar ads anymore after those years, pisses me off when someone is over shoulder and quizzing me about the crap to the side - "sh^T not why I'm here and didn't even see it. - I'll ask you about the Depends commercial you're watching some day"

                        behavior modification is an easy fix.

                        1. I use NoScript -- I was shocked when I used a different computer the other day and saw how much crap it actually blocks.

                          1. these flashing, shaking ads are totally annoying. just AWFUL!!!!!!!!!

                            18 Replies
                            1. re: alkapal

                              Ironically, it JUST popped up as I was reading this thread. I blocked it with Adblock Plus.

                              1. re: alkapal

                                Agreed. Most annoying thing I have ever experienced on this site by a long shot.

                                1. re: alkapal

                                  Thanks for bringing these ads to our attention - the screenshots really helped. We're investigating, since it seems like some of these ads may not conform to our standards.

                                  Thanks again!
                                  Dave MP

                                  1. re: Dave MP

                                    Still there, Dave. Can you Investigate faster??

                                    1. re: Bobfrmia

                                      I haven't changed anything and so far they're gone for me...

                                    2. re: Dave MP

                                      Hi, Dave:

                                      FYI, I just added Flashblock. It solves the problem, but it also "solves" a good portion of your other advertisers' (the ones who don't use the obnoxious siezure-inducing flickers) ads. If I were in the finance department or one of your advertisers, I would want to keep the flickers off, so the users don't block all your ads. Bad for biz.


                                      1. re: kaleokahu

                                        amen Kaleo, why anyone would think they're a good idea beats the hell out of me.

                                      2. re: Dave MP

                                        Am I the only one that finds it disturbing that Chow and Chowhound do not screen nor know what ads are being sold and displayed on site? That no staff nor volunteer mods use the site as if they were a new user (i.e. no adblocks) to QA the user experience? Leaving it to savvy, caring or concerned (or in this case angry) users to report what is happening on site?

                                        Especially since the ad in question is a "smishing" ad/scam per

                                        All paid staff should log on as a real "user" at least once each day, to QA what users see and all Mods should be highly encouraged to do so as well.

                                        1. re: Quine

                                          I think there are only a few paid staff. CBS marketing/accounting could, I suppose, lay guidelines before accepting a contract, but IIRC this site's moderators are largely unpaid.

                                          I'd guess it's hard to turn down an advertiser when the page is running on a shoestring.

                                          1. re: hill food

                                            CH can't be proud for having signed up an advertiser that proved to be a scam, and I'm sure their vetting process will improve. I doubt that many here thought they had won a $1000 gift card. I was deleted for making fun of the scam.

                                            1. re: Veggo

                                              all of my smish/spam are related through something else. my associated e-mail and FB that is only vaguely mentioned are not aligned with my cell# and honestly they are all under different names and passwords that make sense only to me. (yeesh I'm a walking Don Delillo/Thomas Pynchon character)

                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                I don't know if it's the case here, but often ads are bought through an Ad Network and not directly from the advertiser.

                                                I imagine, with CBS running the show, that most of the ads here are not through a general Ad Network, but remnant inventory may be sold to networks.

                                                1. re: drewskiSF

                                                  I never thought of it that way. I'd buy that. if Wall Street trading can be automated why not website ad space.

                                                  1. re: hill food

                                                    Based on what I'm seeing when I log in, the targeted ads know where I am by ISP address very well. On the eastcoast we would refer to that as the "easy pass of website surfing.

                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                      ahh like the toll road gizmo. I almost never tell the exact truth when registering for a site, yet get useless 'suggestions' (not just on CH) for something nearby.

                                          2. re: Dave MP

                                            Thanks again to everyone who helped identify these ads. Sometimes problematic ads will slip through, so notifying us and providing screenshots helps us get them down more quickly.

                                            1. re: Dave MP

                                              OK so we CAN report any off the wall ads - that's good to know. I figured we were stuck with them.

                                          3. re: alkapal

                                            I completely agree -- these are ridiculously annoying ads.

                                          4. this one has a pulsing numeral "#1" -- right here at the bottom of this page!

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: alkapal

                                              freakin' "lottery" one flashing now…on this page -- mocking us!

                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                Yep, it's there right now. I think this is the same @#$!$%^ company that sends me phone texts about free $1000 Walmart gift cards.

                                                To install Flashblock, go to: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/fire...

                                                1. re: kaleokahu

                                                  Thanks for that Flashblock link Kaleokahu...works like a Charm.

                                                2. re: alkapal

                                                  Yep, that lottery one is the pits.

                                              2. I have very low bandwidth, living in the country; so I long ago went to Firefox and I use an add on called Flashblock. By default, all flash content is blocked, but I can click each flash item to enable it.

                                                I also have FlashKiller, that I can use to kill flash items after they load.

                                                Both of these are free.

                                                Sometimes flash heavy shopping sites I have to use a different browser, but flash usually uses so much bandwidth and runs my processor hot that I avoid sites that use it heavily.

                                                1. I don't see the ads (which I loathe, BTW)... I simply stop scrolling all the way down a page. But, I have noticed pages are noticeably slower to load and from time to time I get a "Sorry timed out" or server cannot find, etc." or some other error statement. None of which ever happened before the dang flash ads...