adblock into fairblock

I’ve been sitting on this idea for many months, and a few times i considered posting about it or contacting others about it some other headlines took over the news cycle. As things seem to be getting pretty heated in this space. I recently read that wired magazine website was going to prevent adblocking users from viewing articles, yahoo mail may not function if adblock is installed. Some larger ISPs are starting to block ads at the network level for mobile users, and some ISPs are injecting ads and other things into what people receive.

Wow things have gone too far both ways.

So for many months my idea has been to create a fair-block system.

Not just a browser extension to block ads in a more fair way , like adblock plus is saying they do, but a system that includes server side things as well.

I am sure others will be able to expand on my ideas here, as I have thought mainly about my issues as an internet user, and as a webmaster, and as someone who creates and sells ads for various industries in different places around the web. Certainly there are others who will think of or who have already thought of additional things that should be considered or added to this kind of system.

The basic idea:

I visit a web site, I have a fairblock plugin

The fairblock plugin will block ads and third party script things unless certain conditions are met – by default. Default settings are easily changeable by the end user.

That sounds simple enough, and for those who know how things like disconnect and ublock origin work – does not sound like anything original I guess.

Here’s the thing that I think will make this fairblock thing a success for publishers and users.

A web site can have a server side script that abides by fairblock’s terms…

Similar to an adblock detector that can display a notice when users have a blocker installed, a fairblock friendly site can display a message asking for permissions, maybe get an animated icon or something in the browser bar. When a site has a fairblock script on their server, the end user can select settings with their plugin to allow certain things on a per site basis that will allow a saved override for certain parameters.

I am not talking about a “disable your adblock on our site” thing.

My initial thinking on this is something like this:

I hit a fairblock site, it alerts me it is fairblock ready and will offer unique options should I choose to engage further than the defaults with their site.

If my fairblock is set to defaults, I am probably blocking and not seeing most ads on their site, but I am willing to support a site by getting some ads, and even willing to share some basic info, but I am not going to disable.

Of course there will be an option to disable fairblock completely for a site you want to white list, but I think an end user should have a couple of fairblock profiles saved to make some switching faster and easier.

example

I visit a page / article at whatever-times news site.

My fairblock plugin is auto-preventing third party scripts, tracking, ads, etc – unless the ad is served from the whatever-times server itself and does not include auto playing video or animated gif / html5 stuff.

The whatever-times site has a fairblock script on it’s server, it detects the fairblock plugin, checks to see if any special settings allow for more tailored ads. It also chooses a non animated ad to be served in place of the lazy third party crap that may be served to most users.

Some kind of alert is displayed notifying me that this site is fairblock enabled, and I have additional options for supporting the site with a couple clicks if I want.

I appreciate the articles of said site, and I know that I can do more to help with whatever-times ad revenue by enabling more info in my fairblock profile for this site, without having to choose to disable it completely and loose the protections that come with ad blocking. So I click my fairblock icon.

It shows a couple of previously saved profiles and their changed settings. I choose my vanilla profile settings, and some things change.

Now whatever-times fairblock script sees that I am willing to share my location at a city level with them, my sex, and age range. Now the whatever times script can check it’s ad inventory and see if any ads have bid higher to place a local ad in my city, or want to display for the extra criteria I am willing to share.

This could work as a huge advantage for publishers and users.

At first I think only big advertisers looking for branding will get the advantages of this system, for example a simple script server side could offer to display a non-animated ad for coke or pepsi that is server from the server when fairblock is blocking the third party ads from tracking and displaying. This kind of thing works great for global brands, and for publishers that can charge for impressions in places that they would of gotten no ad revenue at all for previously.

As more and more people and publishers adopt this kind of fair block system, and places people want to support alert that they can do more to support them by providing some more info, I think we’ll see regional places taking advantage of the option to display ads based upon city as users click to allow that kind of sharing.

Future upgrades of the plugin could show a sandboxed version of what a page could look like if certain parameters were changed in the plugin for that page – maybe a little window preview of how the page may look if google fonts were enabled for example.

Would also be cool to have options for categories of ads end users want to avoid, like blocking alcohol or gambling ads, while also providing categories for things they are okay with (or not). When users select ad categories they like, all parties can benefit, as someone checking off shoes and hats for example as things they like, this can be a setting that gives the publisher more money for a more targetted ad impression, and the end user can actually get a relative ad they enjoy like the ad industry keeps trying to say is true – but not executed well for most people I imagine.

This is not going to be easy for publishers and ad selling places I know – but actually it can be.

With a few smart people putting the pieces of this system together and giving publishers access to an easy to use backend, it can be easy. Sure it’s not going to be as simple as adding a line of javascript to your footer sitewide that allows google’s big data center to do all the thinking for you, but the power that comes with this kind of system may actually make more money for the publishers than the ads they were trying to server before.

This also does not have to be a fairblock only plugin – other plugins could be certified as fairblock enhanced and offer the same thing.

So adblock, disconnect, ublock origin, and all those Apple Iphone / IOS adblocking plugins out there could adapt the fairblock system as well, it’s not going to be proprietary.

I’ve seen a lot of debate about these issues in the news, and in discussion forums. Sometimes i wonder if some of the comments on hacker news are being made by ad people trolling like they are regular users.

My initial idea was a basic browser plugin like adblock, but I think this kind of plugin and it’s settings would be an awesome addon for routers, and perhaps some ISPs as well.

Different people have different reasons for using ad blockers, so we need a system that caters to the various needs of the individual end users.

I myself use ad blockers mainly because I regularly surf with 80 tabs of pages open, my computer can only handle so much. Removing the animated ads in windows i am not watching is necessary. I am also very aware of the possible virus infections by ads not just on porn sites, but places like yahoo and many others. blocking ads helps keep my computer safe from these malicious malvertising campaigns that are allowed my lazy publishers. another issue I have is data collection and combining. I think it’s find for a city paper to include ads relative to my location in the city. If my local newspaper combined data with other third party data brokers saying i spent 6 minutes on a page that included ads and articles for hpv and herpes i would likely not be reading that paper if it was free or cost 2 dollars.

There must be a better way.

Publishers had an opportunity to respect the do not track settings of browsers, but instead stayed greedy for whatever reasons.

However I can say that having so many places not following the do not track setting, and the utter shock of reading an article in a doctors office and having a nice loud auto playing video ad interrupt the whole office and make me look like an inconsiderate ass, makes me consider something like the disconnect vpn service that strips all ads and all chances of tracking.

We can move to a fair block system that gives users more choice to share and more security, or we can continue the escalating war of ad industry vs users vs publishers. It’s a war where we are all losing, no matter if you get a few ads snuck through a block or not.

Why did I install adblock plus?

It was the only was I could find to turn off yahoo’s auto playing videos on their home page. I searched and searched. I looked hard. I wanted to keep using the yahoo homepage dozens of times a day, but I could not bear the auto playing news(y) videos slowing down my system when I opened links in other tabs, they even kept playing when I scrolled them off out of view, or opened yahoo links in a new tab and went to that new window. It blew me away that i was paying for data cap overages to one company while getting served news videos (not even ads) – that i was not watching.

There were some other sites doing this auto video play thing that caused the same stress. Some of them I just now refuse to open any articles, no matter how compelling the click bait may be, there are a few web sites i will never go to again. Sure I may pull the page via a proxy service or do a search and see comments about what others may say. But the shady “restart the autoplaying video after a certain amount of time even if the end user has paused (stopped it) – even if in a tab that is not active.. even if the end user has left the house and gone. To come home after 9 hours and find an auto-playing video stream running with audio, eating up bandwidth, annoying others, and adding to my over the data cap fees… it’s shameful.

Sure I guess some publishers are gaining some kind of metric / bragging rights or some other benefit, maybe some extra ‘time spent on page’ because I had to come back to that tab I was ignoring and find a way to pause it – not to continue reading or watching your video – but those short term metrics that helped you last quarter are going to cost you all year. There are three or four of your sites now that I had visited on a regular basis that I will never again..

Well, unless this fairblock thing kicks off and you all start using this system that guarantees you won’t play loose and free with end users bandwidth, privacy and security just to post some numbers for this quarters metrics.

This post will likely be re-written and edited, likely without notice. If anyone wants to see previous versions send me a note and I will be happy to bring it up from the archive.

I am looking for others who would like to work on this project in any way – add to the ideas, write some code, whatever. I’d like to see this happen as an internet user, and as a publisher.

Perhaps some graphics would help get the idea across?

Maybe some more fields that people could consider sharing or not sharing. There are so many things to this idea, but I was hoping others would have already worked on this and rolled it out by now.

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Squeaky dog toys made with dog whistle squeakies

I have 5 dogs and they love the heck outta there squeaky toys and i love buying them because they love them so much but I had a great idea on how to make a new type of dog squeaky toys using dog whistle squeakies instead of ones humans can hear this way the dog still heres the squeak and the humans do not which after about an hour of the squeaky noise I am ready to go crazy. So if there is anyone in the industry that sees or hears about this post please try it out and see if it is even possible.

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QR codes for assembly instruction manuals

What i would like to see is  a QR code on all instruction manuals that directs the owner to a how to video on how to create the things in the manuel. That way a lot of people like myself never fall into the pit falls of putting things together wrongly and the wasted time that goes with it. A video instead of crappy text instructions with lame drawings is what is needed. For the price it cost to have a artist draw the designs we could have a video done on the whole assembly of any product.

All is needed as a warehouse and about 20 camaers and a manufacter to send you the products or in house product of the construction could be done. ZThe videos could be all YouTube video URLs so that once a user swiped the code with there smartphone or tablet pc it would take them to the video on how to make or assemble the product. Could be a cool app one day.

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The flat screen television airbag

Have a cool idea since buying a flat screen television recently i wanted to ensure that if it ever got knocked over or off the wall or mount than when it falls it would inflate a airbag to cushion the fall enough to not break the television when it hit the ground. A simple wire attatched to the wall or television would pull out the airbag cord and inflate the airbag fast enough that before it hit the before the airbag would deploy.

I thought about using simple co2 canisters you find in bb guns and other things like little toy wooden race cars and would probably need two to fill the airbag fast enough.All said and done i think it would cost less than $10 to make for every television and could potentially save thousands of dollars each used.

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A car maintenance reminder app for my cell phone

Wouldn’t it be car if my car could sync with my cell phone and remind me about upcoming maintenance? Okay, I know it’s impossible right now with my current car, but I could imagine a cell phone app that still reminds me about the scheduled maintenance. Of course it would be cooler if my car could blue tooth info to my phone for additional updates.

My vision – a cell phone app, it syncs with my outlook, and it reminds me that I need an oil change next week. It reminds me that I should be getting new tires soon. This could be as basic as estimated the miles I drive based upon a few things, and syncing with the manual for my Toyota Solara. The big issues like timing belt replacement and stuff like that happen should all be all included.

htc-mobile apps needed

htc-mobile apps needed

I don’t think about these things, usually until it is too late. I would love to have cell phone reminders so I would get it done before it’s a bigger problem. I would love to know in advance so I can budget these things before it needs to be done. I would love to know my manufacturers recommended maintenance before I am in the jiffy lube or other shop and they are suggesting I get all this extra work done.

I would pay a dollar for this in a minute. Here is another one of my cell phone /  iphone app / mobile app ideas that I am giving out to the world for free – someone please develop this. (And note my creative commons license for this info!) – If you can make some money from it, perhaps you can send me some cash to upgrade my car to bluetooth – then maybe I could know what that check engine light is really about without having to go to the auto parts store.

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Made in USA cell phone app – we need this

Most of my cell phone app ideas I am keeping a secret until we get a non-disclosure agreement and funding, but this one I am posting on the internet. Please note the creative commons license associated with this information (and all content here at ideas and writings).

We need a made in the USA cell phone app. If we could take a picture with our camera phone of the bar code of things we buy to learn about how much of the product is made in the US, if any, people could make better informed purchasing decisions.

Maybe we should also be able to text the bare code and get info texted back, similar to google’s text information service. Maybe it should also work with a mobile browser. I’d like to get info about products when I purchase them to see if they are made in the USA, or if portions of the product are. I think there is a lot of confusion about what products are actually American made and from American owned companies for that matter.

I am not sure if our “American” car companies are even owned my Americans, or how much of them are. I am not sure how much of a given car is made in the USA and how much of it is imported. There are many brands that were once American made that are now being outsourced to Mexico and other places around the world, and people need to know. For years fluidmaster was a trusted brand name that had American owners and American workers created these important parts for toilets, but recently I learned (when a good friend was laid off) – that the new owners have outsourced most(?) of the parts making to Mexico and have moved shipping to cheaper places as well.

In this economy and with jobs being so important to our American economy, I believe people are genuinely interested in knowing more about the product and services they buy, and where the money is going when we buy them. I think a lot of us would be surprised to learn this information, but we really need a better way to find it! A cell phone app is perfect for this.

I would love to see QR codes being used along with bar codes to learn about a product, and it’s company. Who owns that company, where is the product made?

I imagine this could be funded with links to “find this item you are inquiring about on Ebay and Amazon”, etc.

It would be awesome to have a one click – tweet about the info you found out about this product – share with your friends that the fluidmaster part your plumber is replacing with another fluidmaster part is not made in the USA, etc.

Links to company info, and have people able to add additional information about products would be great to.

This idea is still in it’s development phase, I’m sure it can be made better, but I just thought of it today – it will take some time refine it. If you’d like to help, feel free to add comments, or send me an email – perhaps we can develop and market it together.

There is a web site I read about that let’s you type in information to get info about what is made in the USA – not sure if there is a mobile version, or if it would work on a cell phone browser. I am also not sure how complete their database is. Either, but if someone finds this post looking for the info – you may want to check there:
MadeInUSA.com

The cellphone application may need to be a wiki so people can add information, (moderated of course) – so we can all develop this info together.

Isn’t there some kind of certification, like ASO something or another for products that are 100% made in America? I can’t think of it right now with all this other code and ideas floating through my head.

Please note / disclaimer – information here about Fluidmaster, and any other company please realize I am not 100% sure of. I have just heard these things, and am using some company names to post examples. If I am wrong, please comment here and I will update.

Update 04-2011: I have really enjoyed seeing more web site popping up that offer information about made in America products. I have not had the time to check them all out to see how they are doing thing, and how accurate they are or are not. I am also really happy to see that world news is doing several stories about finding products that are made in America.

I have also responded to some of the comments below. I look forward to seeing this come about.

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Thinking about pitching Google Ventures for investment

I have been thinking about going to Google ventures with one of my ideas ever since I saw the blog post on TechCrunch talking about the new venture capital program that Google has launched. I think it’s a good idea, and the fact that we may be able to get some google geeks to work with us in the development of this one idea, well it would be perfect.

I am nervous about approaching anyone with this tech idea though. It costs money to patent and copyright, and even then we are not guaranteed to have protection for our idea or inventions. I would like to think that Google of all people can be trusted, but who is to say that someone there doesn’t forward the info to someone else who runs off with it. I just don’t know.

It’s the one question I did not get answered when I was at the last barcamp seminar about angel investors, how do we protect our idea from theft when we pitch it? Of course I am sure that a big part of that equation is knowing who you are pitching it to, and at least Google ventures lists the people who are most involved in it, so we can do some research.

Unfortunately there is nothing in the FAQ page about protecting an idea or how the process works. I guess they assume most people looking for seed money or venture capitol know all this by the time they seek it. Should I run to the library first and read some books on the venture capitol process? What if my idea really needs to get to market ASAP, before someone else tries to launch something similar? I can’t afford to pay the money for patents and patent attorneys and do all that waiting. I’m nervous, but really considering just doing – just writing them to see.

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Testing wordpress upgrade

This is a test.
This is not only a test, but a reminder to myself that this is a great web project for bringing together ideas and inventions from around the world.

Now that wordpress has been upgraded, look for us to add more to the site that so that potential investors will have a better understanding of the business plans, inventions and ideas that we have been developing.

We plan to offer more information publicly and privately with password protected posts by the end of 2008 and it is our goal to go public with a few of these ventures in 2009. Partnerships are currently being considered, contact or comment for details.

Steve

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iRobot CEO Colin Angle talks about the future of robotics

In an article found on Crunchgear:

Angle foresees that robots will soon become omnipresent and amazingly useful in aging populations.

His main point, that robots will soon do the jobs we don’t want to or can’t do, is a quite cleary coming to pass. I asked him if there was a cave mouth epiphany in the home robotics industry and he shook his head. We’ve sold 2.5 million robots, but that’s 1 to 2% of market penetration. The digerati love robots, but our real audience is middle American homemakers.

I can see this as a future goal, but I still believe that the main focus of the robotics industry needs to be better funded segments of the the population for a while. The robotic ideas that I have been working on do focus on machines doing the jobs that humans don’t want to do, or would prefer not to do. Jobs that would be healthier if a machine could do them. I have two robot ideas that would sell well because they will make jobs faster and easier. These ideas should sell well to industries that have the funding to purchase them, and the speed issue alone will give them a great return on investment. Focusing here first will get the whole “robots among us” thing started. People will be talking about how they use a robot in their job, and after a few years it won’t be an unusual thing to want a robot or two at home. This would be the easier transformation of taking robots from the digerati and into the mainstream American households, which is where iRobot and many other companies want to go.

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Quarterlife highlights Web role and control issues in writer strike

In a recent article from Reuters, one group that is taking advantage of the recent writers strike to make in impact on the web. I was surprised to see that there are similar issues with writers and musicians in relation to rights and ownerships / royalties and such. It seems like as much as musicians have been complaining about these issues that hollywood writers have been given a much tougher deal over the years. I hope this all changes soon, there are several shows I would like to get pilots made for and production started so we can start shopping them around to the various networks myself. With articles like this one from Tech Crunch and the following, perhaps a webisode would be the best first start to get investors serious about development.

Article found via yahoo news / Reuters

“Quarterlife” highlights Web role in writer strike

By Bob Tourtellotte 1 hour, 11 minutes ago

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – As a strike by Hollywood screenwriters throws dozens of television shows into production turmoil, a new series aimed at TV’s target audience of young adults is headed for launch on the Web — not television.

On Sunday, Emmy-winning TV show creators Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick (“thirtysomething,” “My So-Called Life”) begin Webcasts of “Quarterlife,” a weekly saga of six young artists carving out careers in a big city.

The debut of “Quarterlife,” the first original “Webisode” from A-list TV creators, comes as the Writers Guild of America presses studios for a bigger share of revenues generated from movies and TV shows delivered over the Internet.

“Quarterlife” differs from network shows like ABC’s “Desperate Housewives,” which can be downloaded from Apple’s iTunes. It is an original series made exclusively for the Internet, presented initially on MySpaceTV and a day later at quarterlife.com.

The Web-based drama points to the Internet’s growing prominence as an outlet for mainstream entertainment, and highlights the importance of the Web to screenwriters and the broadcast networks.

Herskovitz and Zwick developed “Quarterlife” outside the TV networks and studios, investing their own money in the venture to maintain creative and financial control over it.

“That is the whole reason we’ve done this,” Herskovitz told Reuters on a recent visit to the set of the Web series before the WGA’s 12,000 members went on strike on Monday.

“(Studios and networks) own the whole product and exert way more creative control than they did in the past,” Herskovitz said. “They took away our ability to be entrepreneurial.”

The major networks and studios are getting into the digital game themselves. The producers behind the ABC hit drama “Lost” are creating a spinoff of that show tailored especially for mobile phones, with the first “mobisode” due to show up on Verizon Wireless in the next couple of weeks.

WHAT TV NETWORK?

“Quarterlife” cast members, who are in their 20s, do not view the Web as substandard to TV, and like many of their peers, are excited by the possibilities of Web video.

“We’re reaching an audience that is not necessarily watching on a TV network,” said Bitsie Tulloch, who plays the lead role of Dylan on the show, and worked on the Web sensation “lonelyGirl15” as well as on such TV series as “Lost.”

Herskovitz and Zwick have tailored “Quarterlife” for the Web, blending the personal relationship stories they did best in programs like the high-school drama “My So-Called Life” with a saga centered on Dylan, a blogger, and her best friends.

Other key characters in the 36, eight-minute “Quarterlife” episodes include filmmakers Danny and Jed, actress/bartender Lisa, geeky Andy, and Debra, who still lives with her parents.

Herskovitz said “Quarterlife” will be free of constraints on language and other risky content TV networks often censor. On quarterlife.com, characters and fans will interact with the goal of building a tight-knit social networking community.

“The response from advertisers has been way beyond what I thought. We’ve already made deals to cover production costs,” Herskovitz said. “They believe it is going to take off.”

He declined to offer details, but Dina Kaplan, chief operating officer of Web video site, blip.TV, said Webisode ad revenues range widely from hundreds or thousands of dollars to tens of thousands depending on the type of ad.

In the first half of 2007, online ad spending overall surged 27 percent to almost $10 billion, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau. Industry analysts expect it to grow at 25 percent to 30 percent for the whole year.

“It’s the wild, wild West,” Kaplan said. And everybody wants in on the action, especially Hollywood’s writers.

(editing by Steve Gorman)

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