After investigating the AdNauseam extension's behavior and the results for web publishers, the extension has been added to the Pale Moon blocklist with a severity level of 2 (meaning you won't be able to enable it unless you increase the blocking level in about:config to 3). For those unfamiliar with this extension: it generates false ad "clicks" to ad servers in an attempt to generate "noise" for the ad networks in a protest against the advertising network system as a whole.
While the premise behind this is similar to poisoning trackers with false fingerprints (which we are proponents of, ourselves), and we normally let users decide for themselves what they want to do with their browser, we are strictly against allowing extensions that cause direct damage (including damage to third parties). There is a subtle but important difference between blocking content and generating fake user interaction.
As such, this decision to block was made because of the following reasons:
- Generating fake clicks on ads will flag publisher accounts with "invalid traffic". If this kind of traffic persists, it causes damage for the website owners who run ads:
- One facet of damage caused is direct devaluation of ad locations on any and all websites visited by people who have this extension active. This lowers the direct revenue website owners receive for legitimate clicks.
- Another facet of damage caused is direct punishment of publishers who generate more than a minimal amount of invalid traffic - ad networks will in response cull anything that can't be strictly verified as legitimate clicks (often in their sole discretion).
- In extreme cases, publisher accounts may even be shut down entirely.
- Generating this kind of traffic does not achieve its intended goal (providing protest against ad networks or causing advertising to fail for ad networks) since the ones punished are the publishers (those who rely on this revenue) and not the ad networks.
- While it is not considered "click fraud" (because the publisher isn't benefiting from users generating false clicks with AdNauseum -- the opposite, in fact), it is causing problems for the overall health of the Internet economy, especially those who need this kind of revenue to keep their sites and services free to the public.
This won't be reconsidered unless and until such time as the "ad click generation" feature has been removed from the extension.