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At the very worst end of the scale (that is, not the ones that simply act like hit counters), they’re being used for what’s called a .
Ghostery maintains a glossary of all the known tracking scripts and the companies they belong to – it’s comprehensive, and I applaud it.
But educating people and blocking them are different, and given that the majority of users simply leave it blocking everything, the end result is the exact same as No Script or Adblock – users enjoying our content, without creating revenue.
Apologies if you think my definition of free is defective, but you’re arguing over semantics and kind of missing the point.
What makes me angry about the Ad Block plugin is that the author – while happy to destroy our revenue stream – is also profiteering from the very same free content model by asking for Pay Pal donations when the plugin is installed. I understand that some adverts can be annoying – and we do try to remove any that auto-play a video or make noise on page load as soon as we identify them (contrary to popular belief, site owners do not choose the ads that get displayed, but we can kill them off if we find inappropriate or annoying ones, and we have requested that no such video ads be displayed as a general rule) – but the free content model is entirely what keeps the online world afloat.
It tells you exactly what companies, ad networks, and tracking services are being downloaded from a site, and allows you to selectively enable them.