Adblock Plus and (a little) more

Adblock Plus user survey results [Part 2] · 2011-11-07 15:03 by Wladimir Palant

Previous parts were: survey set-up, general questions. Now we want to look at questions about Adblock Plus functionality.

Why do you use Adblock Plus?

Reasons to use Adblock Plus

We can see that distractions through animations and sounds are by far the most important reason (based on 1543 valid responses), with performance being a distant second. Ideological reasons don’t seem to matter much.

This question also had a free text field and 123 people actually used it. I didn’t have the time to analyze this data numerically but most texts just repeat/emphasize the answer possibilities already listed above (subjective impression: mainly annoyance and distraction with some ideological anti-ad remarks). As far as I can see, the only websites mentioned are YouTube (two people hating their in-video ads) and Facebook (two people want to block ads on Facebook and another two want to block Facebook integration on other websites). The only ad provider I see mentioned is Google (both times as an example of acceptable ads).

Which Adblock Plus features do you use?

Usage of various features

Here I find it remarkable how many people (based on 1488 valid responses) add or remove filter subscriptions. Why do they need to do that? Beats me. It is interesting that 55% of the users apparently know about the Issue Reporter but choose not to use it — maybe they don’t see any issues? Filter list authors are probably pretty happy about that, they already get more reports than they can process. And we also notice that filter hit statistics aren’t very well-known, no surprise here.

But the high usage of Element Hiding Helper is actually surprising, more than 33% say that they are using it. Yet the usage statistics show that only 10% of all Adblock Plus users have EHH installed at all, yet another indication that the survey respondents are more experienced than the average Adblock Plus user.

Most of the EHH users are Russian-speakers for some reason, yet in our survey only 26% of the Russian-speakers answered that they use EHH — below average. The high numbers in the survey are mainly driven by the English-speakers, here 36% use EHH. I don’t really know why that is but one reason might be that English-speakers tended to choose “What is this?” far less frequently (that’s visible on all subquestions, not only this one).

Where could we improve Adblock Plus?

Improvements requested

The last subquestion was intentionally provocative here but the level of agreement is astonishing. 26% of 1514 users agree that nothing needs to be improved? I don’t think that you can find many software products where you get the same response to this question.

Other than that it is quite clear that people want more ads to be blocked. This is apparently far more important than avoiding false positives. And surprisingly few people think that Adblock Plus should be easier to use.

This question was also followed by a free text field and roughly 100 people decided to use it (hard to tell exactly because many of them chose to use this field for praise). Again I didn’t analyze this data in depth but there is again some repeating of the already listed answers (mainly complaining about false positives). As additional points go, I noticed two remarks on the Chrome version being behind. One person asked for a way to selectively block annoying ads only, another for a feature we already have (Firefox Sync support), and a third one for filter list upload to a web server. And a bunch of other more or less relevant requests.

[To be continued…]


Comment [10]

  1. Vineeth · 2011-11-07 15:20 · #

    Close to 70% feel that we need to block more ads !

    On a different note
    Wladimir, do you think it is a good idea to offer Combined privacy and adblock lists of fanboy and easy to users by default after installation ?

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    By default: no. As an easily selectable option: yes.

  2. Havvy · 2011-11-07 15:40 · #

    Congrats on getting 26% saying it is perfect. Quite a feat.

  3. Bob · 2011-11-07 16:03 · #

    Perhaps not many people use the issue reporter because reports never seem to get processed? I have reported a couple ads (Which even say “display your ad hear” underneath) and they all remain “unknown”.
    On a different note why is EHH a separate add-on instead of being built in?

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    As I said, the filter list authors get more reports than they can process. This means in particular that they won’t always change the status, they won’t look at reports for obscure web sites and they will prefer “good” reports (usually the ones with screenshot and email address and not more than one filter subscription). You are free to help (ask at for EasyList and for Fanboy’s List).

  4. Vasilis Vasaitis · 2011-11-08 00:54 · #

    About the Firefox Sync support: I guess it’s always a problem when features are silently added and disabled by default, it’s easy for people to miss them in that case. I should know: I’ve been using both Sync (back from when it was Weave) and ABP for ages now, and I hadn’t noticed this until now! So thanks for mentioning it, I just enabled the option. :^)

  5. Bret · 2011-11-09 01:01 · #

    I have been using adblock for a long time, and I wasnt aware of the issue reporter! I’ll start using it. I was not aware of the strong integration between the list team and the addon itself.

  6. Guest · 2011-11-09 14:31 · #

    >And surprisingly few people think that Adblock Plus should be easier to use.
    It’s easy enough – install and forget.

  7. idiot101 · 2011-11-12 20:58 · #

    Assuming 25%of the world’s internet users (say 1 billion) run Firefox. And we know that Approximately 13 million use the plug in. That means that about 1 in 20 are savvy enough to know about it and use the plugin. That should also mean that they are already comfortable in handling the plugin features. I am not surprised that people consider it to be perfect. I do.

  8. Jesse Ruderman · 2011-11-12 22:40 · #

    “It is interesting that 55% of the users apparently know about the Issue Reporter but choose not to use it — maybe they don’t see any issues?”

    One possibility is that survey respondents chose “Never” if they could understand the feature based on the name, and otherwise chose “What is this?”. The name “Issue reporter” is simple, so it got more “Never“s.

    If you want more people reporting issues, perhaps you could have the regexp manager say “You can help improve this filter set by explaining why you’re disabling this regexp.”

  9. sravan · 2011-11-15 19:51 · #

    i appreciate your effort…… are making the web clean…….and secure………..that to its open source…….ABP rocks…………OPEN SOURCE rocks……….

  10. zaidgs · 2011-12-06 10:47 · #

    I never used the “issue reporter”, when there are ads not being blocked, I manually handle the issue by adding a custom filter (usually with the help of EHH). It seems much quicker than waiting for someone else to do that for me!!

    However, I am writing this to support Jesse’s suggestion. Maybe there should be an easy way for users to share their custom filters with filter-list maintainers.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Filter list maintainers aren’t too keen on custom filters because they lack the context. Usually, the way you would solve a problem is different from how a filter list maintainer would do it – so they need more data to check what the best solution is here.

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