The animation in Web display ads is outta control, outta control, I tell ya! They slither and shake and squirm and flash and jitter and morph and I’m gonna start bleeding from the eyeballs. I’ve always eschewed ad-blockers and Flash-blockers, because advertising should be part of the ecosystem; but things have gone too far. Ads in magazines don’t offend me in the slightest, I even enjoy some, have even been informed about something I might buy. But on the Web... my instinct tells me that these things not only hurt my brain, they can hardly be achieving the intended effect.


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From: Tim Coulter (Dec 01 2006, at 17:33)

Magazine advertisements aren't all gravy, either. Those ads on cardstock make it difficult to thumb through a magazine, and they seem to be getting more common. I'm all for advertising, just not when it gets in my way.

And I totally agree with you: those animated ads are getting ridiculous.


From: Brian (Dec 01 2006, at 18:04)

Over on Vladimir Vukicevic's blog, someone commented on the Gecko 1.9 plans thusly: "Bug 253051 is a nightmare for publishers who want to serve expanding flash ads. I guess many users give up using firefox just because of this bug since expanding flash ads become quite common."

Someone thinks that people give up on firefox because they *cant* see this crud properly? Cannot...comprehend...brain...exploding! Surely they install noscript and /never see this ever again/.


From: Bob Aman (Dec 01 2006, at 18:43)

Ditto what he said about cardstock ads in magazines. I really hate those. I started using the Firefox Adblock extension recently because, like you, I also feel that advertising should be part of the ecosystem, and it allows me to more selectively block just some ads and not others. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to work for some of the more especially annoying ads.


From: Jay Carlson (Dec 01 2006, at 19:24)

If I had more of a brain at this hour, I'd track down the name someone applied to the web that the lusers see. It's a pretty different experience than what the 1337 get. It starts to get a bit gibsonian, the difference between consumer and pro grade cyberspace decks....

One of my coworkers is interested in the full *text* of various alien web cultures, and whines at me whenever I suggest flashblock. He says that the jiggling things are important to his understanding of the zeitgeist.

In any case, most of the GIF pain goes away with:


image.animation_mode = once

I feel it's a useful compromise.


From: Lee Capps (Dec 01 2006, at 20:05)

Wait'll Estée Lauder and Chanel get a whiff of the new Adobe Spritz authoring environment. It's going to be an all out assault on the senses.


From: Don Park (Dec 01 2006, at 20:41)

And we are lucky to be merely swamped. In broadband-happy countries like South Korea, each popular destination page comes practically covered with ads, each weighting in hundreds to megabytes of pulsating pixels. And users are not avoiding such ghastly sites like that in favor of better behaving websites because there aren't any. But then South Korean streets are filled with buildings covered from top to bottom in ghastly flashing ads so I would say the tolerance level of spam is culture dependent.


From: Rudi Gens (Dec 01 2006, at 23:26)

I fully agree with you. Ads are fine as long as they don't distract from what you want to read on the web. And distractions certainly include everything animated and moving around the screen.

The only counter measure that I came up with using Firefox was to set the filter in the adblock extension to remove '*.swf'. That currently takes care of most of it. It obviously brakes some functionality once in a while but when you hit a page that really does not work, you can always temporarily take the filter out.

This is far from ideal but there does not seam to be anything out there that would do the trick.


From: Dustin (Dec 02 2006, at 00:18)

Some time ago I got fed up with blinky-flashy web ads, so I nulled them out using my hosts file.

When I look at some sites (YouTube) on other computers now I am SHOCKED by the crap ads everywhere. I just can't believe it. I was going to email all my friends with my hosts file for their ad-blocking pleasure, but the permissions and location make it a non-trivial process to drop in a replacement.

Anyone with the technical knowledge to edit their hosts file will find a nicer, cleaner internet for themselves.


From: Aristotle Pagaltzis (Dec 02 2006, at 11:38)

I have never used an ad blocker, other than to blacklist a couple of hosts like and via /etc/hosts, mostly due to privacy concerns.

However, I cannot recommend FlashBlock (<>) highly enough to Firefox users. It replaces any Flash object on a page with a button you have to click before the object will be loaded – very handy. It has a lot of other benefits besides keeping the ads at bay; like keeping the browser stable when you inadvertently stumble into a page with 30 embedded YouTube movies; like preventing any “guess which tab just caused the computer to start blaring at me” games when someone thought it a good idea to put background music in their page; etc.


From: Rafe (Dec 02 2006, at 17:20)

The term Jay is looking for is "hinternet".


From: karl, Grange (Dec 03 2006, at 19:05)

Hmmm… you should pick up a "woman" magazine, and you would smell how much advertisement can get in your way and your nerves.


From: Norman Walsh (Dec 04 2006, at 12:50)

Step 0 in reading most magazines is to spend a minute or two finding every odd-stock page and, provided there's no content on either side of it, tearing it out. You can have exactly as much of my attention as I'm willing to give you. Trying to trick me into giving you more is rude.

I wouldn't browse the web without Flashblock. Text ads, even graphic adds that aren't too garish, I don't mind. Waving sh*t in my face is rude.

(Hey, Tim, that green "thank you" copy over there on the right overlaps the text box in a really annoying manner if you have your browser window set much less than full-screen width. How about putting it below instead of beside the form?)


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