Product-comparison and deals widgets

Discussion of EasyList subscription policy

Moderator: EasyList authors

Post Reply
Guest
Guest

Product-comparison and deals widgets

Post by Guest » Sun Nov 27, 2011 5:42 am

Hi,

What is Easylist's policy regarding blocking product-comparison and deal widgets?

In my view, a deals widget, or a deals section of a widget, are clearly ads because they almost always involve paid placement.

The decision is less clear with product-comparison widgets.

Although just about all these earn affiliate fees for both the website they appear on and the broker site, some will guide a user through an large and unbiased set of options, some will only suggest products that earn them income, while others will accept payment for making an option more prominent (which is the essence of an ad).

I've already suggested two filters for deal widgets: here and here.

In the first one, I left alone the comparison parts of the widget. Should these be blocked?

A third one I'm looking at is the "Compare broadband plans" widget on the RHS of this page. Should this be blocked because of its content? Should it be blocked because of its annoying animation?

arflech
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 77
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2011 5:49 pm
Reputation: 0

Post by arflech » Sun Nov 27, 2011 11:02 am

My guess is that they're blocked by the Adversity Antisocial and Fanboy's Annoyances lists, but no EasyList subscription specifically targets such web annoyances. (The two aforementioned lists are both compatible with EasyList, but you should only subscribe to one of them.)

Ares2
Emeritus Contributor
Emeritus Contributor
Posts: 4572
Joined: Thu Sep 27, 2007 12:49 pm
Reputation: 0

Post by Ares2 » Sun Nov 27, 2011 3:55 pm

I have always been unsure about those things and I can imagine that my actions regarding those can only be described as inconsistent (sometimes I block them, sometimes I don't).

Personally, I consider all "deals" by definition as ads, regardless of whether it's a widget or somehow mixed with the editorial content. For the other stuff (price comparison, job, classfieds, ...), I consider the widgets themselves as ads, but I'm fine with a navigational link to them so you can access the feature if you decide to do so (see smh - if you explicitly want to use their compare and save sponsored! feature via the navbar, it should still work, but the sidebar widget is an ad for me). Therefore I would remove all the 3 widgets you mention. I know for a fact however, that in EasyList we have decided to leave things very, very similar to this alone, or even blocked them before and then decided to remove the filter again.

Famlam
EasyList Author
EasyList Author
Posts: 1782
Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 11:37 am
Reputation: 0
Location: The Netherlands

Post by Famlam » Mon Nov 28, 2011 6:26 pm

I'd personally would consider them ads. Also comparison widgets are mostly meant to sell third-party products, often not related to the site at all. For example, on a Dutch news site, there is a comparison widget for mortgages.

MonztA
EasyList Author
EasyList Author
Posts: 8117
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 4:19 pm
Reputation: 0
Location: Germany

Post by MonztA » Mon Nov 28, 2011 6:45 pm

Ares2 wrote:I have always been unsure about those things and I can imagine that my actions regarding those can only be described as inconsistent (sometimes I block them, sometimes I don't).
Same here.

I would also consider them as ads and block them.

Khrin
EasyList Author
EasyList Author
Posts: 3420
Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 8:50 pm
Reputation: 13

Post by Khrin » Mon Nov 28, 2011 9:03 pm

Famlam wrote:I'd personally would consider them ads. Also comparison widgets are mostly meant to sell third-party products, often not related to the site at all. For example, on a Dutch news site, there is a comparison widget for mortgages.
The same on a lot of Italian sites (and probably also on some English sites, besides smh).
I strongly agree to consider these "widget deals" as advertisements, but there isn't the risk to make more blurred the difference between adverts and self-adverts?

Famlam
EasyList Author
EasyList Author
Posts: 1782
Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 11:37 am
Reputation: 0
Location: The Netherlands

Post by Famlam » Mon Nov 28, 2011 9:26 pm

Khrin wrote:but there isn't the risk to make more blurred the difference between adverts and self-adverts?
I don't think there will be a huge 'risk'. For deals, I'd just say it's identical to normal ads: deal for own product -> self advertisement | else -> ad.
For those comparison widgets, I think I would mostly filter on 'is it related to it's own products'. In case of a new site, that site has no other reason but advertising for showing mortgage stuff (or in case of smh: cellphones) -> ad. In case of a mortgages 'seller', it's very likely that it's just to compare it's own product to different products -> self-advertisement. Which is basically the same as for 'normal' ad blocking...

Khrin
EasyList Author
EasyList Author
Posts: 3420
Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 8:50 pm
Reputation: 13

Post by Khrin » Mon Nov 28, 2011 9:38 pm

Famlam wrote:I don't think there will be a huge 'risk'. For deals, I'd just say it's identical to normal ads: deal for own product -> self advertisement | else -> ad.
For those comparison widgets, I think I would mostly filter on 'is it related to it's own products'. In case of a new site, that site has no other reason but advertising for showing mortgage stuff (or in case of smh: cellphones) -> ad. In case of a mortgages 'seller', it's very likely that it's just to compare it's own product to different products -> self-advertisement. Which is basically the same as for 'normal' ad blocking...
My worries were about if when an hypothetical widget it is integrated on the same site (with widget links redirecting to the site itself, on a different subdomain), but probably also if is a first party element could be easily considered as advertisement.

Guest
Guest

Post by Guest » Tue Nov 29, 2011 4:03 pm

I think a sensible rule is that any widget that lists individual products or product makers (before the user has interacted to express a choice), is an ad that should be blocked.

By this rule this filter I suggested should be added. As should the "Deals" and "Popular" tabs of this widget, but not its "Compare" tab.

Ares2
Emeritus Contributor
Emeritus Contributor
Posts: 4572
Joined: Thu Sep 27, 2007 12:49 pm
Reputation: 0

Post by Ares2 » Sat Dec 03, 2011 7:51 pm

Well, it looks like we all have a pretty much have a similar opinion on this after all. :-)

I have now blocked all the widgets mentioned here in EasyList.

In the case of smh it actually isn't that hard to identify those compare and deals stuff as ad anyway, as the widgets are clearly from partners, correctly marked as such and just hosted on smh.

However there are other sites which integrate such "features" deeper into their site and make it appear more like a site function than an ad, so I think there will still be cases where we are unsure whether to add it to EasyList or not. For example especially @MonztA heise.de##.teaser_preisvergleich is also just a "geizhals.at" partner feature without editorial content, but it's very integrate. According to this topic, I would get rid of it however.

MonztA
EasyList Author
EasyList Author
Posts: 8117
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 4:19 pm
Reputation: 0
Location: Germany

Post by MonztA » Sun Dec 04, 2011 12:23 pm

I think you meant heise.de##.gh_teaser & heise.de##.teaser_geizhals, right?

https://hg.adblockplus.org/easylistgerm ... 1ab7a32612

Ares2
Emeritus Contributor
Emeritus Contributor
Posts: 4572
Joined: Thu Sep 27, 2007 12:49 pm
Reputation: 0

Post by Ares2 » Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:08 pm

MonztA wrote:I think you meant heise.de##.gh_teaser & heise.de##.teaser_geizhals, right?

https://hg.adblockplus.org/easylistgerm ... 1ab7a32612
No? I meant that the price comparison widget on the main page on heise is just like the price comparison widget on smh that we now hide and should therefore be hidden as well? (Actually it's really exactly the same thing as on smh: The comparison is a third-party sponsored feature and can still be rached via the page navigation).

So I would add heise.de##.teaser_preisvergleich , not remove some other rules. :-)

MonztA
EasyList Author
EasyList Author
Posts: 8117
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 4:19 pm
Reputation: 0
Location: Germany

Post by MonztA » Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:27 pm

:oops:

I should probably be totally sober when I do commits. : D

anonmouse
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2011 2:14 am
Reputation: 0

Post by anonmouse » Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:37 pm

^^^ :D

Ares2
Emeritus Contributor
Emeritus Contributor
Posts: 4572
Joined: Thu Sep 27, 2007 12:49 pm
Reputation: 0

Post by Ares2 » Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:55 pm

No, that is NOT a requirement. :mrgreen:

Guest
Guest

Post by Guest » Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:08 pm

Ares2 wrote:Well, it looks like we all have a pretty much have a similar opinion on this after all. :-)

I have now blocked all the widgets mentioned here in EasyList.
Many thanks Ares2 for doing that.

I understand your decision to completely block these widgets rather than to leave alone those parts that are offers to use their partner's comparison service, and which don't directly advertise products. They are effectively ads for their partner's services.

Would it make any difference if the user could interact with the widget to compare products without leaving the original site? Then there's no ad-like click-to-visit. All the content and features are right there.

I'm just thinking that there's a continuum between first-party product-comparison editorial content, syndicated content, partner widgets that work like part of the original site, and partner widgets that are more like ads for a partner. At some point on this line editorial become advertising.

Ares2
Emeritus Contributor
Emeritus Contributor
Posts: 4572
Joined: Thu Sep 27, 2007 12:49 pm
Reputation: 0

Post by Ares2 » Mon Dec 05, 2011 11:20 pm

Guest wrote:Would it make any difference if the user could interact with the widget to compare products without leaving the original site? Then there's no ad-like click-to-visit. All the content and features are right there.
I think the best we can do is to decide that on a case-by-case, widget-by-widget basis, but I wouldn't make a decision based on how the widget works (e.g. whether it works on it's own or just links to a subpage) but more on what the content is and other less technical and more semantical factors.
Guest wrote:I'm just thinking that there's a continuum between first-party product-comparison editorial content, syndicated content, partner widgets that work like part of the original site, and partner widgets that are more like ads for a partner. At some point on this line editorial become advertising.
Indeed, it's definitely not always easy to decide. At some point it might also be interesting to see what our users actually want us to block and what direction we should lean towards in such borderline cases between ad and non-ad. Stuff like this is going to get more and more relevant in the future, the easy cases of big animated flash banners might become more rare, which is of course good, but it might not be the only reason why somebody wants to block ads.

Post Reply