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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador Georgie Peri's Avatar
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    Question AdBlock Plus - Blocking Images
    Greetings,

    I've been noticing 'AdBlock Plus' blocks images/banners from Shareasale, Linkshare and CJ (maybe the other networks too but I didnt really dig in that much).

    Alot of people use this plugin, what is one to do?

    Can I download all the images and host them on my owm domain? I assume this will cause more problem.


    Thanks
    OpA! Giasou Ti kanies!

  2. #2
    Outsourced Program Manager John Jupp's Avatar
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    You can but there's no need. A simple line of text saying If You Are Using AdBlock Plus please disable when viewing this website is more preferable.

    AdBlock Plus is there for a reason. I use it constantly. Helps protect me and enhances my browsing pleasure.
    Flambi Media Limited - USA/UK/EU Affiliate Management Expertise

  3. #3
    Full Member bobby131313's Avatar
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    I've been considering blocking people that use it.

  4. #4
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    Never really considered its impact on products, mostly with Google AdSense. There are, of course, techniques designed to detect it, but I haven't really seen anything that measures whether forcing users to disable it is really helpful or not.

    I myself use Ad Muncher which is remarkable for what it does and I notice it completely breaks using sites like PepperJam and LinkShare administratively (I have to add a personal filter not to block on those sites), but it never seemed to have an issue with my own site (at least rarely) (but I suppose AdBlock would be different).

    I am a bit confused though.. I just looked at a sample of product databases I have locally -- a merchant from each of CJ, Pepperjam and LinkShare, and all of the images are hosted on the merchant's website, not the network's site. Only the purchase links are on the network's site.

    Is this your actual issue? Linking the image through the network? So for example the link is one of CJ's URLs and the image is on the merchant? I can see where that would be an issue, but it should be simple enough to just hide the ultimate destination URL through a redirect (I use a free plug-in for WordPress for example, but have also written small PHP redirect scripts as well).

    One other potential thing Ad Muncher does is block images based on known banner sizes. So if the image size matches a common banner/ad size, it may decided to block it as well.

    As far as hosting images on your own server goes, I suspect this isn't the issue anyway, but if I recall correctly, many merchants' terms don't allow this for whatever reasons. So I wouldn't recommend it.

  5. #5
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    I wish someone answered the question about downloading and hosting images on the web site?

    Does this break the terms of service? Will merchants terminate sites that copy their creatives, etc?

    I know the networks prefer hosting the images and that merchants want to retain control over their creatives; So I have not taken this step yet myself, but have considered it.

    If there are people out there who've taken this step; did it affect conversions?

    It is a very interesting question. I wish it was answered.

  6. #6
    Outsourced Program Manager John Jupp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yintercept View Post
    I wish someone answered the question about downloading and hosting images on the web site?

    Does this break the terms of service? Will merchants terminate sites that copy their creatives, etc?

    I know the networks prefer hosting the images and that merchants want to retain control over their creatives; So I have not taken this step yet myself, but have considered it.

    If there are people out there who've taken this step; did it affect conversions?

    It is a very interesting question. I wish it was answered.
    Ask the merchant directly and explain why you need this.
    Flambi Media Limited - USA/UK/EU Affiliate Management Expertise

  7. #7
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    The two reasons I would want to host my own images are:

    1) To thwart adblock style products.

    and

    2) To reduce the ability of ad networks to track the browsing habits of my users. (Were I to host the ads on my site, I could declare a more stringent privacy policy).

    Some merchants are drawn to networks like CJ for their ability to track the behavior of consumers. Since the networks sell the data they collect from our sites, the networks say we must run the images from their servers. Personally, I think the cut the networks take from sales is sufficient for their services. I don't want want networks selling user data from my site!

    As for asking the merchant ... My experience is that when I ask merchants annoying questions, the merchant is likely to respond by terminating my affiliation.

    Clearly, you were annoyed by my post. If you were the AM of a program, I think it likely that you would by terminating my affiliation.

    A general nugget of wisdom for affiliates is that it is better to spend hours reading through ABW to a answer questions than asking merchants directly because merchants are likely to respond to annoying questions by terminating the affiliation.

    Also, if an affiliate has a good question, readers on ABW benefit by reading the question and response.

    This thread was started by Georgie Peri who asked an insightful question: "Should I download and host images on my site?"

    People who read this thread would benefit by a discussion about the pros and cons of affiliates hosting the ad images locally.

    I've contemplated doing this. Surely, there are affiliates who've experimented with the idea.

    The question was not answered. There were two offhand comments about adblock; so, I decided to re-ask the question largely because I think it is an interesting question.

  8. #8
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    BTW: I was looking at a page on my site. The page was called 50,000 times. Linkshare reported that the ad on the page was displayed only 400 times and clicked a dozen times ... no sales.

    The other images on the page show that they were displayed tens of thousands of times.

    I was wondering how much of this discrepancy was due to adblock. This is why I was reading ABW and why I was interested in the question: "Should I host the ad images on my site?"

  9. #9
    Outsourced Program Manager John Jupp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yintercept View Post
    The two reasons I would want to host my own images are:

    1) To thwart adblock style products.

    and

    2) To reduce the ability of ad networks to track the browsing habits of my users. (Were I to host the ads on my site, I could declare a more stringent privacy policy).

    Some merchants are drawn to networks like CJ for their ability to track the behavior of consumers. Since the networks sell the data they collect from our sites, the networks say we must run the images from their servers. Personally, I think the cut the networks take from sales is sufficient for their services. I don't want want networks selling user data from my site!

    As for asking the merchant ... My experience is that when I ask merchants annoying questions, the merchant is likely to respond by terminating my affiliation.

    Clearly, you were annoyed by my post. If you were the AM of a program, I think it likely that you would by terminating my affiliation.

    A general nugget of wisdom for affiliates is that it is better to spend hours reading through ABW to a answer questions than asking merchants directly because merchants are likely to respond to annoying questions by terminating the affiliation.

    Also, if an affiliate has a good question, readers on ABW benefit by reading the question and response.

    This thread was started by Georgie Peri who asked an insightful question: "Should I download and host images on my site?"

    People who read this thread would benefit by a discussion about the pros and cons of affiliates hosting the ad images locally.

    I've contemplated doing this. Surely, there are affiliates who've experimented with the idea.

    The question was not answered. There were two offhand comments about adblock; so, I decided to re-ask the question largely because I think it is an interesting question.
    Seriously bs answers your side. You need to ask a merchant because of something called "copyright". A merchant may ask you to ensure you have the images no-indexed to avoid duplicate content or the images may become out of date or the product may be limited availability and hidden and an affiliate datafeed will be updated to reflect this product and image change, whereas you would not if you tried hosting yourself. If you speak to networks you see what they do to ensure no-indexing (not all networks do so). As for banning you then no I would not, unless you broke affiliate terms and conditions. If for example you hosted merchant's proprietary images without consent, you'd be asked to remove and apply for consent. If you still refused then you'd be kicked off. It's something called communication and it's a 2 way street.

    Quote Originally Posted by yintercept View Post
    BTW: I was looking at a page on my site. The page was called 50,000 times. Linkshare reported that the ad on the page was displayed only 400 times and clicked a dozen times ... no sales.

    The other images on the page show that they were displayed tens of thousands of times.

    I was wondering how much of this discrepancy was due to adblock. This is why I was reading ABW and why I was interested in the question: "Should I host the ad images on my site?"
    Again a very typical mistake by you. How many were bots or repeats? I usually find 90% can be non user interfaced, or automated traffic like crawlers. Deduct your own access to the particular page as well. Then deduct repeat visits by the same user. Maybe you will find you are down to the 400. Also as you mention a banner ad, the stats will only display within the cookie period so how many additional viewed outside the period?
    Flambi Media Limited - USA/UK/EU Affiliate Management Expertise

  10. #10
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    Wait a second, you consider yourself a communicator?

    You are a lousy communicator. Communicators provide answers to the questions asked.

    In this thread, Georgie Peri asked an insightful question and you diverted it with the unsatisfactory answer that she write "If You Are Using AdBlock Plus please disable when viewing this website" on her pages.

    Writing that sentence below ads would attract unwanted attention, reduce sales and negatively affect the SEO for the site.

    The diversion aside, Peri's question is insightful: "Does hosting the images locally increase ad displays and conversions?"

    This test is difficult to perform because hosting the images on the site violates the terms of service and will get an affiliate booted from the program.

    Let's see in my post I specifically wrote: "Does this break the terms of service? Will merchants terminate sites that copy their creatives, etc?"

    Anyone who's read their ToS knows the answer both questions is "yes."

    Quote Originally Posted by John Jupp View Post
    Seriously bs answers your side. You need to ask a merchant because of something called "copyright".
    You called my post BS because I referenced the "Terms of Service" rather than copyright law. You just demonstrated ignorance of contract law. An affiliation is a contract ruled by the "Terms of Service." The ToS of this direct contract supersedes copyright law.

    To run a test to answer Peri's question would require creating a new contract with the merchant. Creating a new contract with a merchant just to run a test is expensive.

    In all likelihood other people have run this very test.

    Before even considering running a test affiliates are wise to come to a public affiliate forums like ABW to learn about other people's experience.

    Who knows, if one is lucky they might find real communicators who actually answers questions rather than non-communicators who divert threads.

    My posts keep repeating that it would be great if someone answered Peri's question.

    As for the data I mentioned, you wrote:

    Quote Originally Posted by John Jupp View Post
    Again a very typical mistake by you.
    I had a Linkshare ad on a page that I displayed over 50,000 times to over 19,800 unique IP addresses (I recorded timestamps and IPs). Linkshare reported only 406 impressions. Questioning how much of this discrepancy was due to adblock does not show my ignorance of bots and webcrawlers.

    A sampling of user agents of site visitors shows a high percentage of Firefox users. Firefoxes pushes adblock. Wondering if this was a big reason for the low conversion rate is a totally legitimate question.

    BTW: Since I don't use adblock and see the ads, my personal viewing of the page deducts from the impressions. twenty or so of the reported ad impressions belong to me.

    The best way to answer my question would be to run the banner ads from my server giving me the ability count the impressions myself ... but that violates the ToS!

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    I've been doing this ten years and I've never heard of a merchant booting an affiliate out of a program for asking a question. That's ridiculous. Kicked for slow or no performance, kicked for abuse, kicked for breaking rules or terms, sure. But never for asking a question.
    Daniel M. Clark
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    Greg Hoffman Consulting


  12. #12
    Outsourced Program Manager John Jupp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yintercept View Post
    In this thread, Georgie Peri asked an insightful question and you diverted it with the unsatisfactory answer that she write "If You Are Using AdBlock Plus please disable when viewing this website" on her pages.
    The first words I wrote were "You can but there's no need". So that answered the question.

    Quote Originally Posted by yintercept View Post
    You called my post BS because I referenced the "Terms of Service" rather than copyright law. You just demonstrated ignorance of contract law. An affiliation is a contract ruled by the "Terms of Service." The ToS of this direct contract supersedes copyright law.
    No Terms of Service supersedes the Law. The Law is an absolute argued in Court to create amendment through precedent. Terms of Service does not have primacy over the written Law.

    Quote Originally Posted by yintercept View Post
    I had a Linkshare ad on a page that I displayed over 50,000 times to over 19,800 unique IP addresses (I recorded timestamps and IPs). Linkshare reported only 406 impressions.
    So instead of *****ing about it here, did you speak to Linkshare and ask them for a detailed explanation? If you did, would you care to share with everyone exactly what they said after analyzing your traffic?
    Flambi Media Limited - USA/UK/EU Affiliate Management Expertise

  13. #13
    Outsourced Program Manager John Jupp's Avatar
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    Moreover, if a ruling by the merchant is not in the T's&C's regarding imagery and hosting, don't assume you can just instantly do as you wish. That's why I alluded to communication. It's polite to ask. It's also polite to remove if asked. What you don't do is arbitrarily decide to host images for the sheer hell of it because it's better and easier for you. You ask first. Moreover how are you getting the images? Are you for example collecting product images from the merchant using automated means? That's scraping! That is not acceptable practice. Are you doing it selectively? Then ask them for permission.
    Flambi Media Limited - USA/UK/EU Affiliate Management Expertise

  14. #14
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yintercept View Post
    The best way to answer my question would be to run the banner ads from my server giving me the ability count the impressions myself ... but that violates the ToS!
    I'm confused.

    Are we talking product images or banner images?

    We've been hosting merchant banner images on our ad server for YEARS without anyone even muttering a word...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

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  16. #15
    Outsourced Program Manager John Jupp's Avatar
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    Me too. I assumed you also meant merchant content. If banners supplied by merchants to networks for affiliates to use, that's a completely different ballgame.
    Flambi Media Limited - USA/UK/EU Affiliate Management Expertise

  17. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Jupp View Post
    Me too. I assumed you also meant merchant content. If banners supplied by merchants to networks for affiliates to use, that's a completely different ballgame.
    Peri's post read "I've been noticing 'AdBlock Plus' blocks images/banners from Shareasale, Linkshare and CJ."

    I assumed Peri's question was about images hosted on the networks. Since she said "images/banners"; I assumed that she meant both product images and banners.

    This is a very easy test. Create a page with a banner and a locally hosted copy of the banner. View it with AdBlock. If the local image shows and the hosted image does not; you proved that adblock blocks network hosted image.

    Delete the test page before anyone finds out what you did. IMHO: You do not need to ask a merchant to perform that simple test.

    You would need the merchant's approval if you wanted to run this test in production.

    I think it is highly likely that running the banners locally would increase conversions; If 30% of your users use adblock, it could be a 30% increase in sales.

    Peri's question is a worthwhile question, which is why I wanted to see an answer.

    Doing so violates the CJ Terms of Service. I know for a fact that CJ datamines information from banners. I dislike this, but accept it as a cost of doing business.

    Back in 2002, I had the crazy notion that I would write a letter of introduction to affiliate merchants. I sent out 33 letters. The letters showed the pages with the ads and described the site. 4 of the affiliations were terminated within days of the letter.

    Personally, I would not risk an affiliation to ask permission to copy the banners for a test. I suspect that many of the merchants use the CJ data and that they would dislike affiliates who try to block that data.

    Although I wouldn't perform a test, I suspect that other people have performed this test.

    A decent test might involve 2 million page views. If the IP is even, you display the network ad. If the IP address is odd, you display the local ad.

    You'd would want a hit counter on the image you host which you would compare to the impression count for the network hosted image. You would want to run the link through a local redirect and compare the redirect hits to reported hits. You probably would want to record the user agent and source of the links as well.

    At the end of this test you should have about 1 millions page views of the local image and 1 million of the network image. Comparing sales of the locally hosted images to sales from the network hosted image should give us a good idea about how many sales we lose from adblock and related products.

    I have no idea how much locally hosted ads would increase revenue. Because i am certain adblock users do not see the network hosted banners, I strongly suspect that the change would be positive.

    I think Peri asked a great question. Imagine if caching banner ads locally increased sales 10%. If this is the case, it might be worthwhile exploring this as an option.

  18. #17
    Newbie waynezazz's Avatar
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    One of the main topics on my site from some of our most heaviest site use members is about Ad Block. Many of the members use it and of course I can see this significantly reducing ad impressions.

    What about text links? Does an Ad Blocker program effect affiliate text links?

  19. #18
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    No, it only blocks images. Text links are unaffected.
    Daniel M. Clark
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  20. #19
    Newbie waynezazz's Avatar
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    Thanks Daniel. That is great to know. I wonder if that is a partial factor in why statistically text ads outperform banners.

    As for placing banner images locally I would be concerned about upsetting my site members who have Adblock for a reason. We are very much about building relationships with our site members. It does suck that so many of them choose to use ad blockers. A definate problem.

  21. #20
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    I would be concerned about upsetting my site members who have Adblock for a reason.
    A primary reason that users block banner ads is because network hosted banner ads track their usage.

    Hosting the ads locally would get rid of a main reason for AdBlock.

    Conversely, the primary reason that networks don't want affiliates to host ads locally is that the networks want to track the user's click history. Some of the networks sell the ad tracking data!

    As a publisher I dislike that some affiliate networks sell information collected from my users.

    BTW: There are other reasons for adblock such as avoiding annoying popups, saving bandwidth and general distaste for commerce. But protecting privacy is probably the biggest selling point of adblock.

    ADDED: Quite frankly, I like using network hosted ads because it helps draw the distinction between what is my content and what is paid content from advertisers; but there are other ways to draw this distinction.

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  23. #21
    Full Member bobby131313's Avatar
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    A primary reason that users block banner ads is because network hosted banner ads track their usage
    Hogwash. The average user has no clue they track usage. They just don't like ads and want everything for free.

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  25. #22
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobby131313 View Post
    Hogwash. The average user has no clue they track usage. They just don't like ads and want everything for free.
    I don't think it's quite as simple, or as nefarious, as all that. I think it's more that we marketers abused them for so long that once a tool was available to alleviate the annoyance, some users jumped at the chance. Years and years of sites with more banners than words per page, pop-ups, pop-unders, Flash banners, whack-a-mole style "game" ads, animated gifs that would give you a seizure if you looked at them too long, autoplaying video ads - is it really any wonder that users were happy to kill off those kinds of things?
    Daniel M. Clark
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