Tag: advertising

A fairer, more conscientious alternative to AdBlock Plus

Having just stumbled across an article advocating against AdBlock Plus (via Lea Verou), I decided to revisit my settings for relatively nuisance-free browsing in Firefox.

For a long time I’ve done development work and writing for a site that keeps its lights on through advertising, so I sympathize with content-creators’ need for (and frustration with) ads. It’s a necessary evil, and I’ve always found it a bit disheartening to see AdBlock Plus at the top of every “Popular Plugins” list (whether for Chrome, Firefox, or Safari). Worse, there seems to be a sense of entitlement among savvy internet users, telling them that they shouldn’t have to endure ads. Commonly this might be veiled as being “anti-corporate” or some other such vague excuse, but the real reasons are usually the same as those behind piracy: it’s just nice not to have to pay for things, whether through eyeballs, bandwidth, or dollars.

(None of this is to say that I am entirely innocent on these points.)

Still, there are some troubling common practices among the more insidious of these JavaScript embeds, and I think there is some justification in circumventing them. But one doesn’t need to block every advertisement to severely diminish advertisers’ ability to, say, keep track of one’s browsing habits.

Here are the things you can do to make your browsing a little more private and safe, while still (mostly) allowing the sites you love to pay their bills. These tips will be written for Firefox users (though the equivalent plugins are readily available in Chrome and Safari), and won’t include things that readers of this site will probably already know about (e.g., avoiding “watch movies free” sites and their ilk, and disabling pop-ups).

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Video: That MTV “Vertebrae” Commercial

Hey, I didn’t say it was good.

I guess what I find so fascinating about it is: When did MTV ever condone being unpopular? Between the Spring Break programming and drunk girls crying on The Real World, it was an odd change of pace, but one that reminded me of the attitude MTV used to have, in the ’80s, before they became shameless culture-mongers. Still, it’s important not to ignore that this guy actually is attractive, and dressed fashionably, and — at least at my school — probably would have been popular. I guess it would have turned too many viewers off to have presented him as acne-ridden, overweight, without any sense of style, and listening to black metal?

Something I forgot to mention last time is that this was part of a series of commercials, if I remember correctly, that played on the “V” in “MTV,” although I forget the titles of the other installments.

Thanks to La fille des montagnes (“The girl mountain”?) for sending me the video.

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SubstantialisciousThis word is used in Snickers’ new ad campaign, wherein they plaster these long, awkward neologisms (e.g., “Peanutopolis,” “Hungerectomy,” etc.) on buses and billboards and on their candy bar wrappers themselves.

What struck me about this one is that anybody reading it would promptly assume that it is a fusion of “substantial” and “delicious”; but wouldn’t that produce “substantialicious,” not “-scious”? In fact, the only words that end in “-scious” are “luscious” and the various forms of consciousness. I don’t think they meant to evoke lusciousness, and even if they did, shouldn’t they have coined “Substantialuscious”?

Things got worse when I opened the wrapper:

Substantialiscious \sub-'stan(t)-shu-'li-shus\
(noun). The weight of something when you weigh it with your tongue.

It is, of course, an adjective, a fact that a contributor to Urban Dictionary even tried to point out, albeit incorrectly.

It’s an easy target, I know, but I’m just genuinely surprised that they let something like that get out the door; it’s a fairly clever campaign, and “Hungerectomy” in particular presupposes that the average person is smart enough to know what the suffix “-ectomy” means. And wouldn’t somebody who knows that also know an adjective from a noun? It’s just confusing.

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