The Firefox browser might be the darling of anti-Microsoft Internet users, but that hasn’t stopped it making an enemy of a previously unknown campaigner who wants websites to block it.
The self-styled anti-Firefox campaigner, writing under the name Jack Lewis, claims the browser’s ability to block ads using the Adblock Plus browser plug-in undermines the legitimate business model of websites that depend on advertising revenue to survive.
He suggests that websites actively block visitors using the browser, and publishes some helpful html for anyone who doesn’t know how to do this. Anyone visiting his site with Internet Explorer is greeted with an opinionated blog on a variety of esoteric issues, typical fare for today’s devalued Internet. Mozilla Firefox users, however are offered a rambling lecture on why they are not able to view his real blog because they are using the wrong program and should fire up IE instead.
Blocking Mozilla because it has an anti-ad plug-in? It’s a valid position, certainly, albeit one wrapped up in some incorrect claims about the legality of ad blocking (which is perfectly legal in the UK and US, of course, because it’s a consumer right and discretionary).
Assuming the blog is genuine (it looks to be real), the reaction of the forum visitors on Slashdot is the real news, a mixture of “shoot this man” to indulgent tolerance. But a large number of /. users still took the time to visit his site, apparently crashing it for a while.
How do you get noticed on the Internet? Make outlandish claims about a relatively obscure piece of software held in high regard by a small but influential set of users and then stand back while the hits roll in to no ultimate purpose whatsoever. It’s the Net’s version of empty calories.