Random Thoughts

Banning Opera?

A mere hour ago I discovered a new site – or new for me, at least – Stop Targeted Opera RADs. I was directed to this site, or more specifically this page, when I tried to visit Environmental Chemistry, because I used Opera. Apparently, the owners of the site really doesn’t like targeted Google ads. (From when I hear, they don’t like Adblock in Firefox either…)

Since I heard they blocked access for Firefox users with Adblock, I first assumed they were just scared of competing ads. The first thing I read on the “banning” page shows this, too: Site owners being afraid of visitors seeing ads for their competitors, and that they can’t prevent it as it’s outside of their website and control. They may call it unacceptable misuse of their content, but – is it?

There are other services that does what these site owners are afraid of much better than the Google ads in Opera: There are sites that gather information from many competing sites, compare the products and prices, and give users many alternatives, without even showing ads from any of the sites in question. Scary thought, eh? Especially for those who are afraid of users comparing them with competitors…

I also thought a bit further. When visiting the sites with the Google ad banner in place, Google read the pages to see the content and serve related ads (unless it belongs to the exceptions defined in Opera). If the page isn’t in Google’s index, Google want to add it. Therein lies another problem: What if the site doesn’t want the pages indexed?

I must admit I can’t understand why someone don’t want publicly available pages that they want people to visit not to be indexed by Google. That however isn’t something I should speculate over, and it’s not really a point touched upon. It should be interesting enough to read what is written on the site I was redirected to, right? And the menu contains hints that I can find some answers and useful information there.

Someones brain must have been short-circuited. I was sent to the site because I use Opera, right? But – as an Opera user I’m prevented from seeing other pages than the one I was redirected to. Why? Afraid of showing Opera users the arguments? (The ones I read on the single page didn’t convince me of their view.)

Conclusion

All in all, all of this leave me with one impression: It’s better to ban Opera users and have them definitely visit competitors, then to allow them in and risk that they may be tempted by a competitors ad that may be shown in their browser.

If they’re afraid of being compared to their competitors – maybe their products aren’t worth the asking price in the first place anyway?

Who knows? Not Opera users…

27 thoughts on “Banning Opera?

  1. Well. I use Firefox with adblock, and I’m definately not going to bother switching the blocking off for sites that try to force me to view their ads. At least, not until a whole load of websites start doing this…

  2. I understand Opera users’ concerns, but this isn’t about user choice. It is about a for-profit publicly held corporation misusing copyrighted materials that do not belong to them for their own profit and web publishers’ right to protect their intellectual property rights.

    Opera Software is trying to extort web publishers into allowing Opera Software the corporation to profit off of the intellectual properties of web publishers or face the backlash of users like your self. This is immoral. Web publishers should not be forced to cede their intellectual property rights to another for profit publicly traded corporation or face the wrath of users.

    The guilty party is not me in this matter. The guilty party who is acting only in their own greedy self interest is Opera Software. It is Opera Software that Opera users need to complain to not me. Users who take their anger out on me or my sites or protest my sites because of my defense of my rights are guilty themselves of acting like Opera Software thugs making sure Opera Soft ware is able to extort web publishers into ceding their intellectual property rights.

    I’m sorry you and many users are denied access to the content of my many sites. If, however, I do not take a stand on this issue, other for profit corporations will follow Opera’s lead and slowly one by one these corporations will eat away at my rights until I am left with nothing.

    Technically, I think Opera the web browser is one of the best browsers on the market and I used to use Opera as my exclusive browser. I even registered several copies of it for my various computers. I changed to Firefox after Opera changed their revenue model to use the content of web pages being displayed to target their ads.

    I saw other publishers upset over the targeted ad issue, and after a great deal of debate, I began to see their points. I tried to contact Opera on the issue to find a solution that would address everyone’s needs. Not only was I ignored by Opera, but when this issue was brought to the Opera Forums, Opera users flamed me and the publishers who brought their legitimate concerns.

    After 18 months of trying to find a solution to this problem I have come to the conclusion that Opera will not change their business practices unless they are forced to. This is why I have initiated my protest.

    I encourage Opera users broaden their view of this issue beyond their own self interests and begin to see why what Opera is doing is wrong. Remember, I’m not a zealous Opera hater, I actually like the web browser, I just don’t like what Opera the corporation is forcing upon me and other web publishers and I don’t think what they are doing is right.

    Yes I do block those who block my ads on my content sites, and this is for a simple reason. Those sites exist because advertising revenue supports those sites. Without the stream of revenue advertising provides I could not buy articles, generate content or operate those sites. Every user who visits one of my sites consumes bandwidth and server resources I have to pay for and they benefit from content that I expended time money and resources on to produce. It is not unreasonable for me to expect those users who want to benefit from my resources to help pay for those resources. For those users who really don’t like ads but are willing to support my efforts directly I do provide them a very low cost ad-free subscription option.

    I am not some multi-million dollar publicly traded company out to plunder the Internet. I am a small time web publisher who is simply trying to make a living and am doing what is necessary to protect my interests. Those who don’t like my stances on these issues are free to use other people’s resources. Nobody forces people to use my websites, users do have a choice to go elsewhere.

    Sincerely,
    Kenneth Barbalace

  3. The webmaster (me) doesn’t want you to change your browser, he (I) wants Opera Software to change their business practices.

    I don’t expect Opera users will change their web browser to access my sites. Rather I expect they will simply visit somebody else’s website (probably my competition), but my point will have been made and Opera Software won’t have been able to make use of my copyrighted material.

  4. Thanks for a nice comment, Kenneth. Now, you have obviously thought a lot more about this than me, but I honestly can’t see the problem with Opera’s revenue model here. Well – apart from the point that very few (I guess) would enjoy having their own customers exposed to a competitors ad. But misusing your copyrighted material?

    It looked to me as though there are arguments on the site I was sent to that explains these arguments – but I couldn’t access those, as you know. 😉

    (That you block those who block the ads on your sites I can more easily understand though.)

  5. You’ve got to be kidding me. The web is a public medium, your pages will be handled a bunch of different ways by a bunch of differnet machines. While it’s your right to abuse the medium and alienate your visitors, your argument is pretty flawed. Free ISPs such as Netzero show banner advertising at the desktop level, Google and MSN index your sites and serve advertising on the result pages.

    What next? I won’t be able to listen to the radio or watch television while browsing your site because I might hear an advertisement for a competitor?

  6. I’ve read the website through, and I must say, the arguments are pretty weak. But I guess it doesn’t matter to you. You feel that Opera (with a market share of 1%) is somehow affecting your bottom line. Well, it’s your choice, ban my Opera browser from your websites, so I won’t ever be tempted to click on an ad that would help you generate revenue. Honestly, anyone who has ever used the free version of Opera has learned to IGNORE the ad bar in a week.

  7. Ken,

    Opera users are a discerning breed.

    They have chosen to use a browser which they think is better than all the others and, to do this, they either (a) pay money or (b) they accept a permanent advertising banner in their browser. Either way, they’re sacrificing something to use the browser of their choice.

    And the reason that they do this is because these sorts of people know a quality product when they see it. That’s why they *chose* Opera.

    Ken, if your websites are advertising quality products, then Opera users are the very people that you should be *encouraging* to view them. Opera users *pay* for quality products. They get their wallets out and they *buy* things. They’re not freeloading around the web using the cheapest browser that they can lay their hands on.

    Ken, unless you’re selling absolute rubbish on your sites, your revenues will fall if you block Opera users, because a single proven customer is worth 1000 ‘No, just looking, thanks’ visitors.

  8. Well, I have to say this is stupid. Not just because the arguments are rather specious, but because the problem is google, not Opera. Opera bought ads from a reputable ad vendor. Now, I suppose you could say that google is not a reputable vendor, and Opera should not use them. But that is not your argument. You are mad that Opera choose to use the same vendor as you did. That’s BS! and you know it. What, do you get pissed at someone who bought the same model of car as you did, or the same model PC?

    It’s also stupid technologically. I’ve visited your site in Opera 8.01, with proxomitron blocking all the ads. Guess what, your site was none the wiser. You can’t beat proxomitron, and I doubt you can beat Opera’s UA.ini + Userjs either.

    You know what it took to get proxomitron to totally defeat your site? One line in a text file. That’s it.

    And for the rest of you who are worried you might be missing out, the site has all the charm and information of a home page circa 1997. YAY. How exciting. Buddy, your content isn’t worth it, in fact it was your senseless ranting that caused me to see if I could beat you.

  9. Well all the hype about th ads I have a simple thing that most people dont relize in firewalls have ad blocking and do work so why do all those freaking tweaks in opera when a firewall can block this stuff even entering in to you cpu. There is a Free yes a free type like all your expensive firewalls but this one at RTT has the ad blocker,image,content,word filter and other great stuff that other firewalls have and this is FREE so that browser ad crap on oera will make it without that dam bar but be an text [adblocked]. This is very easy and close relative of the Outpost . R-firewall has e-mail support andthey do report back in a day or less.

  10. brianlj Says:
    Opera users are a discerning breed. . . .

    ———

    Yes they are and indeed they sacrifice something to use Opera (I know because prior to the targeted ads issue arose with v7.23, I registered Opera on three separate occasions).

    With that said this does not make them a more valuable user to my advertisers. In fact it makes them a less valuable user, because they are better than average about ignoring ads. Thus they are of less value to my advertisers. Sadly, the most valuable users are regular MSIE users because they are most apt to click on things and they are less suspicious of things on the Internet.

    This, however, is not the point of the blog entry. I also don’t care if users ignore my ads, as long as they don’t block them. Yet this wasn’t the point of this blog entry either. This blog entry was about my blocking Opera users because of Opera’s use of ads that are targeted based on the content of my webpages. Opera is a for profit publicly traded corporation that is trying to maximize their profits for their shareholders. To do this, they are doing something no other web browser provider is doing. They are forcing me to accept their targeting of their ads based on my content whenever their unregistered users access my site. This is what I’m protesting. If Opera wants to display ads in their browser fine, I can live with that. I simply want the ability to stop Opera from displaying ads that are targeted based on the content of my web sites.

    On many occasions, it has been proposed that Opera include a meta-tag that allowed websites to tell Opera to not display ads targeted based on the content of the page being displayed. This would be a relatively easy fix for Opera to implement, it would abide by W3C specifications and it would be easy for web publishers to implement if they so choose (I’m sure most wouldn’t). Is it really that hard for Opera to address legitimate concerns of web publishers and in the process generate a little good will?

  11. Pingback: Random Thoughts
  12. Ken,

    Interesting that you’ve found that MSIE users are those most likely to click on ads. (I presume you’ve compared percentages and not just total numbers.) Yes, Opera users are likely to be more experienced than MSIE users and that may account for their tendency to ignore ads. But surely, if they were ignoring /your/ ads, they’d be also ignoring /their own/ ads?

    Regarding ad-blockers in general: as an ex-Opera user, you must be aware that Opera users have frequently lobbied Opera Software for some form of in-built ad-blocker in the Opera browser and their request has been repeatedly turned down by the company. Opera Software’s reasoning has always been that, as a company, they are not in the business of blocking advertising content.

    Yes, there’s an unrequested-popup blocker built into the browser, but all that does is temporarily hide the popup. That popup is available and still accessible if the user wishes to see it. That doesn’t strike me as the actions of a ‘predatory’ company.

    Finally, have you considered that Opera users may be browsing a site which is a ‘rival’ to one of yours and suddenly their browser will provide them with an ad for *your* site?

  13. brianlj,

    In regards to Opera users ignoring Opera ads, I’m sure they do. The point isn’t the extent of revenue I lose because of competitive ads. The point is that Opera as a for profit corporation is making use of my works for their own profit in a manner that I do not find acceptable. The beginning of “Banning Opera Part II” (linked above) I think really explains my point of view very well.

    In regards to ad blocking, Opera does have some ad blocking ability beyond just pop up blocking via their customizable CSS and their CSS file that is designed to block certain sized objects. I do, however, look at ad blocking from a different angle than Opera’s content targeted ads.

    Blocking ads is not about profit. Blocking ads is about removing annoyances. I am willing to allow users of ad blocking software to access my site ad free as long as they pay my subscription fee (which is very low). By using ad-blocking software, the user is saying “hey I don’t want ads.” In turn my ad blocking page is saying “if you don’t want ads, that is fine, however, you will need to pay a subscription fee for access to this site.” The moment a user goes beyond simple ad blocking to trying to defeat my requirements that they pay a subscription fee to access my site ad free is the moment the user goes from simply trying to express a preference not to be saturated with annoyances to being a thief who is stealing from others.

    In regards to Opera advertising my site on one of my competitor’s sites, this won’t happen because I don’t advertise my sites via Google AdWords. In addition even if I did, it would mean that Opera would be profiting off of me via my purchasing of content sensitive ads and then potentially profiting by being able to then turn around and display content sensitive ads for my competitors to the same user. So the very user I would have spent money to gain, I could be quickly losing to yet other websites thus it would have been money wasted.

  14. Wow. Classic supervillain psychology. Point the gun at the hostage while explaining that it’s your enemy’s fault if/when you pull the trigger.

  15. Well Kenneth, you have a negative side effect. I have a registered version of Opera which has NO ads and does not block any ads. I am still blocked from visiting your site. Your site discriminates against my choice of browser for no apparent reason, since I am playing by your rules. Which leads me to just ignore your websites existence, which gains no revenue for you.

  16. “As such, my protest against Opera has ended and I have disabled my Opera blocking routines…”

    So what? I’m STILL not going to visit your sites. Your attitude to this has been highly spurious and has possibly lost you income. Opera users have had to deal with the sad blocking tactics of MS and work that through. Their arguments were just as dodgy as yours and generated bad feeling among potential consumers. And as you ought to know, when someone has a bad experience they tell everyone.

  17. Pingback: Random Thoughts
  18. Even if Opera no longer has banner ads, just wanted to say that Ken is a complete and utter fool. If I want to block ads, I will. Before I purchased opera 6, I blocked their banner ads with a firewall. It is my computer my property and will do with it as I want. If I want to see ads I’ll allow, if I don’t I won’t. For someone to try and force the issue is just stupid beyond belief. It is like I took a taxi to theater A and a rival theater B had ads on the taxi so theater A was setting road blocks so taxis with theater Bs ad were blocked from reaching theater A. If ken can’t understand how stupid that is his site and his business deserves to go out of business.

  19. I love Opera I have been using Opera for ages and I will never stop using it. I dont care about ads and I have no clue what people are talking about but to me Opera is the best and fastest browser on earth:) If some one blocks me I just google and find another site with the same content:) Long live Opera. DIE MS

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.