Flash ad (newegg xmas add) insanely CPU-hungry!

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Flash ad (newegg xmas add) insanely CPU-hungry!

Postposted on Thu Dec 09, 2004 9:15 pm

I can barely visit TR anymore! My poor 700MHz system is almost completely maxed out by the flash ads.

This appears to be a problem with *some* specific flash ads and is reproducibly across multiple browsers (Firefox, IE, Opera, Konquerer) and OSes (SuSE Linux and WindowsXP with and without SP2). Scaling with CPU frequency is, as one would expect, linear, which keeps the problem from being noticed (too much) by people with more modern systems than my pathetic system.

BUT COME ON!

There is just no excuse for a simple flash ad to consume more than twice the CPU power of a 640x352 23.97fps XVID movie with 5 channel AC3. That's just plain dumb!

I first noticed this problem about two months ago - and it's not like the sites I was visiting weren't using flash ads before that (although it likely is becoming more widespread).

Every system I was able to test on (or had people test on) have used the same version of Macromedia Flash (7.0 r19), so there's no reason to expect this to be the source of the problem.

My best guess at this stage is a **** authoring application somewhere, but unfortunately, I have no idea how to find out which apps were used to author a given flash ad (if this info is even embedded in the file). I tried opening it in a hex editor, but there was nothing in clear text (becoming increasingly unlikely as people are converting to unicode).

Clearly, something is very wrong. And this is *extremely* annoying. It also wrecks havok on my plans to replace all my computers (and those of my parents) with fanless mini-itx systems, since a 1GHz VIA processor isn't likely to be much faster (if at all) than a 700MHz K7.

Any ideas? (How to solve, who's to blame etc)

Sincerely,

One PO'ed fyo
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Postposted on Thu Dec 09, 2004 9:27 pm

The Crucial Ballistix ad (which used to appear frequently in the right-hand sidebar, but seems to be less common now) is even worse. Two copies of it are enough to max out an AXP 2100+.
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Postposted on Thu Dec 09, 2004 9:34 pm

This is an authoring issue, and we have let our advertisers know it's a problem. I've switched the ads that I can back to GIF for the time being, until we can work out some more reasonable flash ads. I'd have switched them all sooner, but I've been traveling all week. Sorry!
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Postposted on Thu Dec 09, 2004 9:43 pm

yeah, it's a bit of a shocker by whoever's making the ads. Especially given the minimal amount of animation etc that is going on with the flash.

Anyhow, not enough to deter me from visting TR. Keep on rollin 8)
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Postposted on Thu Dec 09, 2004 9:49 pm

It's not restricted to TR by any means.

nfl.com have had some ads for Coors (beer) for about 2 months that do about 65% of my 700MHz CPU each (and some pages have two, so...).

Does anyone know what authoring app is to blame?

I'd like to give them some constructive feedback ;-)

Sincerely,

fyo
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Postposted on Thu Dec 09, 2004 10:00 pm

Posts recommending ad-blocking software will be deleted. We are working hard to fix this; no need to steal from us.
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Postposted on Thu Dec 09, 2004 10:03 pm

so in the last 2 months, the 5 orders I placed through newegg, by clicking through the newegg banners on your site would be considered stealing becuase I filter them when I'm not interested is viewing the content?

or are you saying you get credit every time an annoying flash banner ad is loaded and ignored?
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Postposted on Thu Dec 09, 2004 10:11 pm

You block our ads, you take away our source of support, and you break the rules. Simple.

I suppose stealing was a harsh word, but you are using our server, bandwidth, and resources without allowing us to support ourselves. How our advertisers value our ad space is a multi-faceted thing, but blocking the ads is a sure-fire way to hurt the site.
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Postposted on Thu Dec 09, 2004 10:14 pm

I support the site by using the newegg click throughs, I fold for the team like crazy. I don't steal and I'm not aware of such rules? If I chose to opt out of viewing the spam when I don't have the cash flow to purchase something thats one thing.

However, if you're saying that you are defiantly going to lose revenue due to me not allowing those adverts to load I'll stop blocking them right now.
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Postposted on Thu Dec 09, 2004 10:20 pm

If you don't view our ads, it hurts our revenue.

I can't tell you the exact relationship between a single ad view or a single readers' ad views and our compensation, mainly because I can't get inside the head of each of our advertisers and understand how they perceive and evaluate things. Also, some ads are paid per click, some per view, some in other ways.

I can tell you, though, that blocking our ads hurts the site, unequivocally.
Last edited by Damage on Thu Dec 09, 2004 10:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postposted on Thu Dec 09, 2004 10:21 pm

b3n113 wrote:I support the site by using the newegg click throughs, I fold for the team like crazy. I don't steal and I'm not aware of such rules? If I chose to opt out of viewing the spam when I don't have the cash flow to purchase something thats one thing.

However, if you're saying that you are defiantly going to lose revenue due to me not allowing those adverts to load I'll stop blocking them right now.


I asked this same question many months ago and Damage told me that all blocking software hits his pocket. I stopped using same at that moment. As soon as AdBlock and FlashBlock incorporate a whitelist (i.e. TR ads/Flash ads are served, but no-one else's) I'll go back there. Until then, I just deal with it.
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Postposted on Thu Dec 09, 2004 10:34 pm

It may depend on your browsers.

I'm on 866 mhz right now and all is well, using IE6. The newegg xmas ad is right there and runs fune.

Firefox on the other hand, despite being loved by so many is utter crap when it comes to running anything even slightly more complex like Flash.

So you may have more problems if you're using Firefox which is only good for the most basic, text and images browsing.
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Postposted on Thu Dec 09, 2004 10:35 pm

Damage wrote:Posts recommending ad-blocking software will be deleted.

To go along with this, I've added a new forum rule regarding this issue. Please read the new rule #12 (#11 was also added a month ago if you haven't checked the rules recently).

So when it comes to the forums or comments, ad-blocking (not pop-ups) is now treated like warez.

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Postposted on Thu Dec 09, 2004 10:45 pm

On the bright side you can use the flash ads to benchmark your system.
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Postposted on Thu Dec 09, 2004 10:58 pm

I have a 333Mhz P2 laptop that I finally had to just uninstall Flash from. Good Flash stuff never ran that well on it anyway.

My belief is that most of it has to do with the amount of acceleration done by the video chip. In the case of this laptop the only driver that is available now is the one with Windows. No way to even try to get better acceleration out of it.

I'm saving my pennies for a better laptop.
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Postposted on Thu Dec 09, 2004 11:27 pm

Flash doesn't use graphics card at all. It's 100% dependent on your CPU.

That's why it slows down low end machines.

But., again, Netscape/ Mozilla/Firefox plug-in architecture crap is just that, crap when it comes to flash.

Same animation or flash game ( lets say medium complexity ) will always run much faster in IE because of activex than any browser using the plug-in architecture. That may be the problem you're experiencing because on 866 mhz ( ancient machine I'm on right now ) these pages run just fine with all the ads, including the newegg xmas ad.

I know the original post mentions IE too, but atr 866 mhz my machine here is not much faster than yours and everything is silky smooth.
Last edited by hellokitty on Thu Dec 09, 2004 11:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postposted on Thu Dec 09, 2004 11:30 pm

Kevin wrote:
Damage wrote:Posts recommending ad-blocking software will be deleted.

To go along with this, I've added a new forum rule regarding this issue. Please read the new rule #12 (#11 was also added a month ago if you haven't checked the rules recently).

So when it comes to the forums or comments, ad-blocking (not pop-ups) is now treated like warez.

Seems reasonable to me.
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Postposted on Thu Dec 09, 2004 11:44 pm

I just checked with firefox. Not that bad, but definitelly gets stuck when scrolling up and down, and when I reach the upper portion of the page, where all the ads are ( browser pauses for 1/2 a sec. or so ). with IE there's no pause/stickiness.
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Postposted on Thu Dec 09, 2004 11:46 pm

Perhaps you should look at it somewhat differently, or state it differently anyway, Damage.

It seems proper that you won't allow people to point to ad-blocking software, etc. That is your choice for your property and expenses. Though some could be overzealous in enforcement, such as if someone mentions the existence of such software and their posting was edited or deleted. I suppose an editorial comment wouldn't be too much, though.

But those who use such blockers would seem to me to be like one who comes in out of the cold or rain and opens the door to a store, costing the proprietor more to heat the place, even though he doesn't buy anything. You may get him in the future because you've shown him hospitality.

It's not a perfect analogy, though, because they're not going to buy from you, and it may be a one-time choice which lasts for years without them considering the consequences. But that's the business you're in.
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Postposted on Fri Dec 10, 2004 12:01 am

Regardless of whether there's a particular authoring software to blame, there's no way a well-designed player should be that much of a CPU hog. There's either a problem with the coding of the flash player or the design of the plug-in architecture. Or both.

With regard to adblocking software: I don't use it. As someone who can't stand junk mail, spam and telemarketers, I'm actually surprised at how immune to ads I am: frequently when someone mentions an ad in a post (because it's particularly witty or provocative or whatever) my first thought invariably is "hmmm, I haven't seen that one"... and then I scroll up and notice it is actually playing on the page I'm currently looking at. So ads aren't very effective at least as far as I'm concerned (other than using the banner at TR as a shortcut to get to newegg) and I have little need for adblocking software.

I do, however, have a hosts file. And I use it. Generally if an ad is so intrusive, annoying, or offensive that I actually notice it and hate it it, I look up who is serving it and add them to my hosts file. It's not a long list, but I never take anything off it. I'm happy to say that I only rarely see a blank space on TR where an ad should be, so clearly TR rarely takes money from these people either. But I fully reserve the right to inflict my "digital death sentence" on these companies. Hopefully that isn't in violation of Rule 12.
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Postposted on Fri Dec 10, 2004 12:23 am

I actually find it pretty easy to ignore banner and Flash ads for stuff I'm not interested in. Popups are another story though. I enable popup blocking, but allow other ads through.
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Postposted on Fri Dec 10, 2004 1:00 am

Ragnar Dan wrote:Though some could be overzealous in enforcement, such as if someone mentions the existence of such software and their posting was edited or deleted.

I'm planning on moderating this in much the same way as warez. Talking about ad-blocking in general (much in the way we are doing now) is fine. Suggesting that people use it or linking to it will get moderated (hints included).
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Postposted on Fri Dec 10, 2004 9:53 am

As to the people saying it's not the ads problem since it works in IE....the people at Newegg should realize that a good portion of the people they're trying to advertise to aren't using IE, though on the other hand those people most likely don't need to be advertised to if they're using Firefox they probably already know Newegg is where you get stuff...in the US at least
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Postposted on Fri Dec 10, 2004 10:20 am

[tangent]
What's up with that guy in the vertical Newegg ad (the "email grandma your wish-list"/"your source for PC4400")? He looks like George Michael, and he has this kind of "I'm in pain" look on his face. I'm just really puzzled by why this guy's picture is there, or how he relates to Newegg.
[/tangent]
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Postposted on Fri Dec 10, 2004 10:28 am

I was one of the baddies....i looked on my adblock list and saw some TR on there. I removed everything. Love givin ya back some revenue, but damn. The Pentium IV 2.4b is sitting at about 33% usage.
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Postposted on Fri Dec 10, 2004 10:44 am

Curiously, what is the advantage of flash over the .gif format for ads? I just wonder why advertisers push flash ads so much more these days.
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Postposted on Fri Dec 10, 2004 10:49 am

i use Opera and i have no problems with this type of thing. this even does fine on my old AXP 2000+ and my old as can be 366Mhz Celeron.by friend Matt with a 566Mhz Pentium says his comp runs fine too. so it must be a FireFox thing.glad i dont use FF.
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Postposted on Fri Dec 10, 2004 10:49 am

kvndoom wrote:Curiously, what is the advantage of flash over the .gif format for ads? I just wonder why advertisers push flash ads so much more these days.

Smoother/longer running animation without bloating the file size too badly. GIF is very inefficient for animations, since you basically have to download a complete bitmap of each frame.
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Postposted on Fri Dec 10, 2004 11:38 am

I've been blocking ads for a long time, and I feel guilty now. Though I don't have anything in my filters specificly for TR, between my normal filters and the fack that I don't use flash on Firefox, I almost never see an ad.

So I've just become a contributor, and for a good whack of money to make up for my past. TR is really worth it.
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Postposted on Fri Dec 10, 2004 11:49 am

What would be a fair donation, based on my usage? Let's see, I've posted 600+ times in about 10 months, I access the site over a dozen times a day, read most articles and peruse the forums regularly. I dunno what bandwidth costs, but if I had a way to calculate what I as an individual cost TR, then I'd see if I could give that back.

I don't have a problem with the concept of donation. I've given to the Kx project for freeing me from Creative's drivers, to DeJap for some of the best SNES fan translations ever, and others I don't remember.
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