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

therealdoctorlew May 7, 2012 07:28 PM

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. Quine RE: therealdoctorlew May 8, 2012 06:40 AM

    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
      Lcarper RE: Quine May 19, 2012 04:24 AM

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

      1. re: Lcarper
        Quine RE: Lcarper May 19, 2012 06:59 AM

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

        1. re: Quine
          mariacarmen RE: Quine May 25, 2012 11:53 PM

          what a GREAT TIP! thanks Quine - done!

    2. Davwud RE: therealdoctorlew May 8, 2012 06:50 AM

      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. CindyJ RE: therealdoctorlew May 8, 2012 08:12 AM

        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. s
          Sharuf RE: therealdoctorlew May 8, 2012 08:21 AM

          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. t
            therealdoctorlew RE: therealdoctorlew May 8, 2012 09:06 AM

            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
              L2k RE: therealdoctorlew May 8, 2012 10:55 AM

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

              1. re: L2k
                Davwud RE: L2k May 8, 2012 11:24 AM

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


                1. re: L2k
                  Quine RE: L2k May 8, 2012 12:59 PM

                  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
                    therealdoctorlew RE: L2k May 9, 2012 05:59 PM

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

                    1. re: therealdoctorlew
                      Quine RE: therealdoctorlew May 9, 2012 06:20 PM

                      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
                    Quine RE: therealdoctorlew May 8, 2012 01:05 PM

                    "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
                      drewskiSF RE: Quine May 8, 2012 05:28 PM

                      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
                        Quine RE: drewskiSF May 8, 2012 06:15 PM

                        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
                      caganer RE: therealdoctorlew May 8, 2012 01:06 PM

                      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
                        cwdonald RE: caganer May 8, 2012 07:39 PM

                        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
                          therealdoctorlew RE: cwdonald May 9, 2012 06:01 PM

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

                    3. b
                      Bobfrmia RE: therealdoctorlew May 9, 2012 07:31 PM

                      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
                        kaleokahu RE: Bobfrmia May 9, 2012 07:56 PM

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


                      2. hill food RE: therealdoctorlew May 10, 2012 12:39 AM

                        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. sunshine842 RE: therealdoctorlew May 10, 2012 01:26 AM

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

                          1. alkapal RE: therealdoctorlew May 10, 2012 03:44 AM

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

                            18 Replies
                            1. re: alkapal
                              CindyJ RE: alkapal May 10, 2012 05:52 AM

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

                              1. re: alkapal
                                GretchenS RE: alkapal May 10, 2012 01:03 PM

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

                                1. re: alkapal
                                  Dave MP RE: alkapal May 10, 2012 02:15 PM

                                  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
                                    Bobfrmia RE: Dave MP May 10, 2012 07:48 PM

                                    Still there, Dave. Can you Investigate faster??

                                    1. re: Bobfrmia
                                      hill food RE: Bobfrmia May 10, 2012 11:24 PM

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

                                    2. re: Dave MP
                                      kaleokahu RE: Dave MP May 11, 2012 08:51 AM

                                      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
                                        hill food RE: kaleokahu May 11, 2012 06:36 PM

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

                                      2. re: Dave MP
                                        Quine RE: Dave MP May 14, 2012 09:45 AM

                                        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
                                          hill food RE: Quine May 14, 2012 07:19 PM

                                          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
                                            Veggo RE: hill food May 14, 2012 08:12 PM

                                            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
                                              hill food RE: Veggo May 15, 2012 04:20 PM

                                              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
                                                drewskiSF RE: Veggo May 15, 2012 05:15 PM

                                                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
                                                  hill food RE: drewskiSF May 16, 2012 12:41 AM

                                                  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
                                                    HillJ RE: hill food May 16, 2012 07:30 AM

                                                    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
                                                      hill food RE: HillJ May 16, 2012 09:13 PM

                                                      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
                                            Dave MP RE: Dave MP May 15, 2012 01:56 PM

                                            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
                                              Veggo RE: Dave MP May 15, 2012 02:56 PM

                                              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
                                            escargot3 RE: alkapal May 22, 2012 05:41 PM

                                            I completely agree -- these are ridiculously annoying ads.

                                          4. alkapal RE: therealdoctorlew May 11, 2012 05:09 AM

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

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: alkapal
                                              alkapal RE: alkapal May 11, 2012 05:10 AM

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

                                              1. re: alkapal
                                                kaleokahu RE: alkapal May 11, 2012 08:24 AM

                                                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
                                                  Gio RE: kaleokahu May 11, 2012 11:39 AM

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

                                                2. re: alkapal
                                                  GretchenS RE: alkapal May 11, 2012 11:18 AM

                                                  Yep, that lottery one is the pits.

                                              2. p
                                                PenskeFan RE: therealdoctorlew May 11, 2012 05:16 AM

                                                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. Gio RE: therealdoctorlew May 11, 2012 05:26 AM

                                                  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...

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