Adblock Plus and (a little) more

Important changes coming to the Adblock Plus project · 2010-08-22 18:42 by Wladimir Palant

Note: If that post is too long for you there is an executive summary at the bottom.

As I indicated before, there is much work to be done in the Adblock Plus project to keep it relevant. How are we coming along? Well, very slowly. The main problem remains my availability, too many of the tasks still hang on me. I tried delegating work, quite successfully in some areas, but that’s not enough — and moving some other areas out of my hands (like website localization or bug reports handling) requires some work on my part first. We are currently getting into the “interesting” phase with the Adblock Plus project where we actually get a chance to influence something and I think that moving faster is essential now.

At least as far as my availability is concerned — I think I found a solution. A while ago I started talking to somebody who shares my passion for the web and agrees that the current advertising model needs fixing (no names for now, he first wants to see how things work out). We had many discussions on how to do it and on how to move Adblock Plus further. One thing that came out of this: he raised some capital, enough to let me work on Adblock Plus full-time the next two years. And there are also some ideas on how to make the project self-sustained by the time this money runs out. I agreed to that proposal and am leaving my job at Songbird by the end of August. Actually, I am already working on Adblock Plus part-time this month (which isn’t much due to vacations).

So, what changes should you expect in detail?

  • I get more time to work on Adblock Plus. Given that my estimate for the current plans turned out to be 6 months of work full-time this is very much necessary. This is finally the chance to stop pushing out the hard things which has been a repeating pattern lately. If any of the volunteer contributors out there feel less appreciated now: don’t, there is still much work to be done and I need all the help I can get.
  • I still have the final decision about what happens in the Adblock Plus project. However, I get help from people who have better business sense than me. This is particularly important to deal with business offers that I pretty much had to ignore so far — while some of those remain off limits (like bundling unrelated extensions with Adblock Plus or replacing ads with other ads) others might be interesting (like bundling Adblock Plus with applications that need its functionality). As mentioned above, one of the goals is to make the project self-sustained — but not at the expense of the users.
  • The other goal is to bring Adblock Plus into a position where it can influence the web as a whole. There are some ideas to increase market share of Adblock Plus which will be pursued actively now. Also expect to see more discussions on specific mechanisms to influence the web in a positive way. Some of the old suggestions which were too hard to implement might turn out realistic now.

Executive summary:

  • Your Adblock Plus developer will have more time to get things done now.
  • Yes, I am now making money from Adblock Plus, all the sudden my hobby project became my day job. This is a big change but I consider it an opportunity.
  • No, the project hasn’t been sold — I am still in charge.
  • There is significant interest in Adblock Plus from businesses — other people will help me manage this in a way that benefits all parties and doesn’t hurt Adblock Plus users.
  • We want more market share. And we want to use it to fix the web.


Comment [24]

  1. ecjs · 2010-08-22 19:15 · #

    Money: well, this is an important change. But time is money, so let’s just hope everything goes as great as usual. :-)

  2. BenoitRen · 2010-08-23 03:18 · #

    I find it weird how some guy can suddenly raise capital for two years. And to work on a FLOSS project, at that.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    It’s not just “some guy”, as I said it’s a guy with a good business sense ;)

  3. Havvy · 2010-08-23 04:55 · #

    I doubt it was raised suddenly, and it is for a 2-year salary of 1 person, so it cannot be more than $100k, and that is an extremely high estimate.

  4. user · 2010-08-23 12:28 · #

    will adblock plus appear in safari extension gallery?

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Adblock Plus doesn’t support Safari – only browsers using Gecko engine.

  5. Marijo · 2010-08-23 14:23 · #

    Maybe these 2 years will turn into 30, right until your pension! :D

    Good luck!

  6. Alex · 2010-08-23 15:31 · #

    Changing the way the web deals with AD is just as important that if you don’t ask me to pay for ADB+ or scramble things or sell the business I just don’t care about your money thing.

    Get rich and live long ;) course after you did your job for Gotham Mr. Bruce.. :D

    Just putting more pressure on you to get even better software out of ADB


  7. MonztA · 2010-08-23 18:06 · #

    Wow, sounds great! Wondering who your “partner” is… :D

  8. Peter · 2010-08-23 19:45 · #

    This is great news! Finding a few people willing to sponsor you for substantial amounts seems to work better than trying to get many people to donate a little. The trick seems to be to make them feel involved. Have you thought of Kickstarter? It worked really well for the Diaspora guys.

  9. Anonym · 2010-08-24 00:11 · #

    An add-Blocker in the hands of commercial people,
    that’s the terrible bad news we knew would happen one day.
    Goodbye ABP, I will miss your honesty !

  10. LorenzoC · 2010-08-24 00:24 · #

    My best wishes.
    But you know, I am worried.

  11. Matthias · 2010-08-24 00:57 · #


    sind Bedenken angebracht, dass Adblock Plus demnächst dann unter einer anderen Lizenz veröffentlicht wird? Meines Wissens wäre ja vor allem die Verschmelzung von OSS und kommerzieller Software (bei zweiterem vermute ich den Mäzen) in diesem Bereich kritisch und ich hoffe, dass Adblock Plus später dann nicht kommerzialisiert wird. Meines Erachtens würde hier auch ein moralisches Problem lauern, wenn für den Anbieter eines kommerziellen Produktes andere kommerzielle Anbieter (wie z.B. eben Werbenetzwerke) geblockt werden.
    Des Weiteren meine ich mich zu erinnern, dass bisher Spenden mit der Begründung abgelehnt wurden, Geld sei keine gute Motivation und würde den Spaß an solchen Projekten verderben. Daher bin ich etwas überrascht von diesem Schritt.

    Dennoch beglückwünsche ich zu diesem neuen Projekt und hoffe, dass die Bedenken zerstreut werden können und sich Adblock Plus in eine Richtung bewegt, die das Netz zum Guten verändern kann.

    Liebe Grüße,

    Short Summary on English: – Will the license change (especially due to the future bundling with commercial software)? – Why is money suddenly acceptable when donations haven’t been so far?

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Nein, als Lizenz wird weiterhin die MPL verwendet – das ist sogar im Vertrag so festgeschrieben. Es ist und bleibt ein Open Source Projekt.

    Spenden wurden abgelehnt, weil sie mir bei einem Hobbyprojekt nicht geholfen hätten, das Projekt voranzubringen. Auch mit Spenden hätte ich auf einen “normalen” Job nicht verzichten können. Das ist jetzt anders – mit dieser Investition kann ich mich vollständig Adblock Plus widmen.

  12. BenoitRen · 2010-08-24 03:13 · #

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I find it quite rude when someone here posts in a language that isn’t English.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Not everybody is comfortable speaking English – that’s too bad but it’s just how it is. Google Translate does a pretty decent job when translating from German.

  13. James Edward Lewis II · 2010-08-24 09:16 · #

    Palant replied that AdBlock Plus will remain an open-source project under the MPL, and I guess he wants just one income stream at a time because his reason for rejecting all donations is that they wouldn’t have been able to allow him to quit his day job.

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  15. Simon · 2010-08-25 14:11 · #

    I’m sure you may have posted this elsewhere, but I was interested in this comment:

    “I started talking to somebody who shares my passion for the web and agrees that the current advertising model needs fixing”

    It seems to imply that you may have some thoughts on alternative advertising models that aren’t ‘broken’? If so, I was wondering what you thought they were?

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    I’ve written a number of blog posts on this topic over the years, this one might be a good starting point:

  16. Matteo G.P. Flora · 2010-08-25 14:16 · #

    Hi, nice news!

    Why don’t you contact us too?
    We’re dealing with the same problem (advertising and profiling lock) at DNS level, with some scores thousands users since 2009 with a free and commercial product named FoolDNS:

    We’re playing around in unifying the locking lists in multiple services, coping with different FTC and EU-WP29 recommendations and would be overjoyed to talk about an integration between the DNS locking and protection and the plugin.

    Hope to hear you soon!

    Matteo G.P. Flora
    CEO & Partner
    THE FOOL s.r.l.

  17. Viktor Krammer · 2010-08-26 21:10 · #

    wow, very interesting news and congrats! very curious how this will affect/change the entire online advertisiing business.

  18. SR · 2010-08-26 21:38 · #

    Could you consider making Kylo browser ABP compatible… I think I have a workaround(not tested) though – Which is to add it as a <em:Application> in install.rdf file. But is this the right way?

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    That’s how you mark Adblock Plus as compatible – but I would guess that more is required to ensure that Adblock Plus user interface works. Anyway, see – this one probably falls into category 3 or 4.

  19. Jonas · 2010-08-27 20:15 · #

    You have previously mentioned that making a version of ABP for IE is not an option for you. However, the guys at have made a very good ad blocker for IE. It uses the same filter list as ABP. What are your thoughts on it?

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    I don’t have any – this isn’t open source software so I cannot see what they have done. But I would imagine their source code being full of hacks and rather painful to maintain. The “simple” part refers to the user interface, not to the source code.

  20. DavidC · 2010-08-31 13:50 · #

    Congratulations, Wladimir – always nice to see someone rewarded for open source work they did without expectation of payment. Good luck for the future – I am confident we will all continue to benefit from your work.

  21. Software Santa · 2010-08-31 23:12 · #

    Your fine project is now most liked over at the Mozilla Add-On page: VERY SOON – in a week – over 100,000,000 downloads! The Statistics are VERY Impressive!

    Total Downloads
    Since Jan. 17, 2006 91,607,152
    Last Day Count
    Monday, Aug. 30 120,558
    Average Daily Downloads 79,108
    Downloads in the last 7 days 956,372

    Active Daily Users
    On Monday, Aug. 30 10,983,080
    Change from previous count
    9,579,167 on Aug. 29 +14.66%
    Average Daily Active Users 7,770,977
    Average Daily Users this Week
    +2.34% from last week 10,253,684

    You are now linked to by another freeware site:

    And the Comment is:
    “Our collective thanks to Wladimir Palant for developing this fine Open Source project!”

    Fine Work! Thank You!

  22. Johnny · 2010-09-04 19:45 · #

    Please, make adblock for Chrome (or even IE), I HATE Firefox so much ! Adblock is the ONLY reason I keep using this slow, unreliable browser that crashes every 5min and sucks 2+GB of memory after 15min web surfing :( Firefox is an abomination, it lives only because of great plugins like Adblock !!! :’(

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Well, that’s bad luck for you because I love Firefox (also: And – no, it never crashes and the memory use is stable (250 MB even after weeks). You problem is either a bad extension or some security application (firewall, anti-virus, they often cause stability problems) or something else – not Firefox itself.

  23. Ashish · 2010-09-04 22:39 · #

    Hi, Are you consider switiching to jetpack for the next version, because jetpack will allow extensions to be loaded instantly and in future they’ll be able to sync extensions too. That would rock, unlike the current scenario, where I have to reinstall my abp everytime I clean up the firefox profile, to get rid of the bloat.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    No, I am not considering switching to Jetpack – there is nothing that a Jetpack extension can do that a regular extension cannot. However, I consider making Adblock Plus install without a restart, see This change is currently being blocked by a Mozilla bug.

  24. Ashish · 2010-09-11 13:55 · #

    Thanks for the reply. I don’t really know the date of your reply, but I’m assuming its before
    Does it change things? And do you have any plans to move to jetpack? Or will you even consider moving jetpack? Like consider now, move later or consider later, move in future, or No, will never, not just for the restart issue, but might if some other issues arise. Anyway, I don’t think I have a right to say anything, as I’m just a cheapstake :P, though I must sincerely thank you for your excellent add on.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    I usually reply within a day. And – no, it doesn’t change anything. JetPack doesn’t offer any new capabilities, it is simply a different framework to use the features Mozilla platform offers. And it has even more limitations than restartless extensions, moving a complex extension to it would require even more hacks. In other words: not any time soon.

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