My post about a pop-up ad block-clicker has generated a bunch of responses. There are some that make good points about why a block-clicker would be difficult:
I dunno — do you really think that a handful of webheads installing a plugin (think a double-digit percentage of Firefox users is possible? I don’t) of a minor-league browser (wow! 5%! let’s be honest here) is any sort of competition to armies of Indian clickers?
most/all pop-ups are bought on a cost per impression basis (CPM). not a cost per click basis. so, your plan wouldn’t piss off advertisers. if anything, you’d give them more clicks and their alexa/nielsen netratings would go up, which would help them sell more cpm based advertising.
Brilliant! When my boss asks why the corporate proxy logged me clicking through 23 pages of BarelyLegalTeenCoolWhipWrestling.com, I can blame it on my FireFox extension.
Although I hate to be a nay-sayer – but I really don’t think that this could work in practice for a broad scale or time period – there are just too many easy ways for the ad companies to get around it with simple changes on their ends.
spamblogging lists a couple ways that advertisers could get around it, but there’s an even easier way: put links in a popup that people wouldn’t click. A 1×1 transparent .gif that’s hidden in the corner, linked to a script that logs who clicks it. If someone clicks through the transparent .gif and the pop-up ad, then they’re obviously automated click-fraud and should be ignored. Project Honey Pot does something similar to detect email address spiders.
Still, there’s a certain visceral thrill in installing a plugin that costs annoying advertisers money. SpamVampire constantly reloads images referenced in spam in the hopes of driving up their bandwidth bill. Block-clicking has the advantage of not participating in what could be considered a DDoS attack, it costs money by hacking the advertising market instead of sucking up a shared resource.