Adblock Plus and (a little) more

Mozilla hurting Google by recommending Adblock Plus? · 2007-02-01 15:12 by Wladimir Palant

Quite a few blogs picked up the idea that there is something strange about Mozilla recommending Adblock Plus. They quote Mozilla’s financial statement saying that Mozilla earned $50 million in 2005 from search engine cooperation (mostly Google though at least Yahoo contributed as well) which is indirectly income from advertisements.

First, lets clearly state that Mozilla’s behavior here is neither absurd nor hypocritical. Regardless of whether Firefox generates revenue or not, the reason why Mozilla builds it is not money — that clearly separates them from Microsoft or Opera or Apple. Firefox is a browser built for the users, and the user always comes first. Despite some conspiracy theorists thinking that Mozilla has been bought out by Google, Mozilla’s goal has always been to do what is best for their users — and not what is best for Google. If allowing to block ads will help users (which is clearly the case at the moment), Mozilla should allow it. If Google decides to withdraw their support because of some decision Mozilla made, Mozilla will be able to continue without them.

It is the comments that got me pretty angry.

Users are using my website which I pay to have developed and run. It’s totally my right to have ads on it if I like and not the users right to block them.

That’s exactly the unbalanced situation I wrote about before — this guy thinks that he as the website owner has every right in the world and the visitors that pay him indirectly don’t have any rights at all. He would probably prefer if ad blockers were forbidden by law. And the hosts file. And the remote control because it allows you to zap away to another TV channel when the advertisements come. Actually, I don’t think you have the right to turn away from your TV when the advertisements come — you watched the show so now you have to pay.

Wake up, guys! It is this attitude that brought us where we are now. Why does everybody who puts up a site on the Internet assume that making users watch as many ads as possible is the best business strategy? It isn’t Mozilla who is pushing Adblock Plus into mainstream — you are. And don’t come wining when your bad business strategy fails. It is up to you to make sure that your income source doesn’t dry out. And yes, it means more effort, but after all — you want us to give you our money (directly or not).

As I wrote down earlier, there is only one reliable way to make sure your ads aren’t blocked — make sure the users don’t want to block them. Don’t forget about the users, use ads in a way that doesn’t degrade their experience. There is still lots of people out there saying: “I don’t use Adblock because I don’t mind the ads. They are even useful at times”. Don’t make them change their opinion.

To come back to Google now: Google does it right with his ads, at least the part that is under his control. Google ads are mostly on-topic and often prove useful to users. They are also meant to be non-distractive, plain text ads as they should be. That’s why I personally don’t block Google ads, and I know many do the same. So Google is the one who is least likely to suffer from Adblock Plus, it might rather get a competitive advantage out of it. That’s because they made an effort to improve the user experience and I think they deserve it.

Not all is good however. There is lots of things out of Google’s control, like how websites place the ads. For example one of the blogs I linked to above displays four blocks of Google ads that are almost indistinguishable from the page’s content. It even made it quite hard for me to find the “Post Comment” link. Yes, the AdSense FAQ tells you that ads near the primary content of the page are most likely to be clicked. But it also tells you to ask yourself:

  • How can I integrate ads into this area without getting in the users’ way?
  • How can I keep the page looking clean, uncluttered and inviting?

Unfortunately not too many follow this recommendation. My opinion is that you should not have more than one block of ads. You should also make sure to clearly separate it from the page’s main content. If you make users read the ads simply because they can’t distinguish it from the main content, you might get more clicks at first. But it will annoy the users and they will leave.

Finally there is one important point I didn’t see addressed in the AdSense FAQ: you should always try to serve all content from your own server, including ads. Even if you are a member of an advertising network, you should download and cache ads on the server side so that the user doesn’t have to do it. For the user it has the advantage that it speeds up page load times considerably, having to contact several servers (and especially do multiple DNS lookups) might be a major reason your site is perceived as slow. That’s also the reason why I tend to block all external visitor counters — they are a waste of my time, and webmasters who can’t analyze their own web server logs probably don’t really need the data anyway. I should also note that everything your site loads from external sources (especially scripts) is a privacy concern, something you eliminate as well by serving ads from your server. And there is one advantage for you: ads from your server have a different address so that they are not automatically blocked by general rules. That won’t stop users from blocking them if they turn out to be annoying but you get your chance.

Of course you don’t have to do what I wrote above. You have some alternatives:

  1. Ignore the problem, simply continue as before. Just don’t complain when you notice that everybody using your site has Adblock because all other users simply left.
  2. Detect ad blocking software (it really isn’t that complicated) and lock out users who don’t see your ads. You can even boycott Firefox if you think it will help. Just don’t expect anybody to turn off Adblock, it is far easier to leave. As you might know, satisfied users on average will only tell four other people about your service, dissatisfied users however will tell seven people. For you that means that you will loose more than just the Adblock users, probably much more. But I guess you can live with that.

Personally, I don’t mind if a few sites choosing the alternatives above will die. New sites will come to replace them, and those won’t forget who their money comes from.


Comment [36]

  1. dArkPL · 2007-02-01 18:23 · #

    Great article.
    PS. One question: please explain me, in new art, why using Filterset.G can be bad. I don’t suffer no delays because of it, and I don’t think that other lists are good enough. Filterset.G simply blocks all ads, and I don’t need to watch and block manually some more annoying pictures.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    I don’t claim that everybody will encounter issues with Filterset.G. Quite a few users do however, most severe being whitelisted ads. Filterset.G has a number of scary whitelisting rules that will match just about anything, and when this happens people are usually very confused why Adblock Plus wouldn’t let them block the ads – but you can’t block something that is whitelisted. Unfortunately getting G to fix issues can be problematic. Not so the maintainers of the subscriptions I recommend – if you have examples of ads that aren’t blocked you should simply tell them.

  2. Doug · 2007-02-02 02:25 · #

    “Firefox is a browser built for the users” – not sure what users asked for the 3rd party cookies option to be removed in FF2, or the users who asked for “ping”, or asked for prefetching of google results to be the default action. I’m also sure the keyboard users didn’t ask for accesskey functionality to be practically broken.

    Yes, if I knew c++ and understood the bizarre complex build process, I could make my own build

    Mozilla may have started with the intention of being “for the people, by the people” etc, but their actions in the past year or more definitely show signs of being for business, if not just for Google itself. Their business style zeal in releasing v2 on time, albeit just being 1.5 with proper tabs and a newish theme, is a definite indicator that a pointy haired boss is wielding some form of unfluence somewhere in return for $m :)

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Ah, speaking of conspiracy theorists – welcome. There is not much point in blocking 3rd party cookies, it is easy enough setting 1st party cookies via script (see Google Analytics for example). Whoever understands the limitations of this option will find it in about:config, having it in the options UI is misleading however. Prefetching has been there for years, long before Firefox – Google just happens to be the most prominent site using it. As to <a ping> – you shouldn’t always trust the non-sense you read on SlashDot. Read – this feature doesn’t allow websites to do any more than they already do, it only improves the accessibility.

    I wonder what “business” asked to “break” access keys? I didn’t know about this issue so I searched – and yes, invoking website-defined access keys with Shift+Alt looks like a great idea, having website’s access keys conflict with browser’s access keys was the reason I was always against using access keys on a website. That means that I can finally press Alt+B on and I will really get the bookmarks menu. I also found a mention that numeric access keys wouldn’t work but this bug was fixed in Firefox I guess nobody noticed this bug before Firefox 2.0 was released – too bad you weren’t helping testing.

    Firefox 2.0 is a significant improvement over 1.5. People seem to expect new gimmicks from each new version, and I hope Mozilla won’t give into the pressure. Most changes in Firefox 2.0 aren’t visible at the first glance (as it should be), like dozens of memory leak bugs fixed, session restore after a crash or phishing protection (we experienced users don’t need the latter that much but don’t forget that we are a minority). Both application and extensions update have seen huge improvements and I find the “Recently Closed Tabs” feature extremely useful at times. I also know about the improvements for web developers that came with Firefox 2.0. Heck, I would really love to drop compatibility with Firefox 1.5 in Adblock Plus to be able to use new JavaScript features (the “let” operator above all) but unfortunately it is much too early.

    But I guess you expect Mozilla to turn Firefox into bloatware, with many new features in the user interface with every new version…

  3. bizzyb0t · 2007-02-07 21:36 · #

    I agree with your assessment of the Google ads. They never bother me, and I’m pretty easy going about text ads. Flashing banner ads however really grind my gears. Just to let you know, Adblock Plus allows an epileptic friend of mine to browse the web again. Those flashing banner ads give her headaches, and even worse could happen.

    Thank you for such a great FF extension. It’s always the very first thing I install after installing FF.

  4. Włodzimierz Stary Palant · 2007-02-09 17:00 · #

    Cześć Stary Dziadzie! Jurz tu nie pracujesz!

  5. Robby · 2007-02-09 22:20 · #

    Although I can clearly understand why people might want to block annoying pop-ups and ads of the sort… I know people will end up blocking even the nicest ads just because they can. All this does is hurt the Internet’s economy.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    That’s the same people who wouldn’t click the ads anyway, don’t you think?

  6. ultravioletu · 2007-02-13 09:37 · #

    “Users are using my website which I pay to have developed and run. It’s totally my right to have ads on it if I like and not the users right to block them.”

    In a related tongue-in-cheek article, one says: if you flip to a specific page in a magazine and read the content while bypassing the advertisements, then you are a thief. I thought it was supposed to be fake news, but it seems that some people really think this way.

  7. tarkan · 2007-02-17 20:51 · #

    I don’t have to be nice to Google. And, to its customers.
    I don’t want to provide for business practices allegedly worth billions and backed by shoddy technology that takes just one guy to circumvent.
    I ruthlessly block ads to the maximum extent, maintain my own filter set (yes, I write regex) and distribute it as widely as possible.
    This is the way it should be. Thanks Wladimir.

  8. Adi K. · 2007-02-25 18:22 · #

    I do block Google ads, because besides the fast loading times, there is another huge advantage of blocking ads: the page layout. Ads often mess up the page layout much. I don’t like any ads inbetween articles (example), forum posts (example) or news portals (example) whether those are Google ads or not…
    Anyway, I’ve never clicked any ad since I use the internet nevertheless—especially for software, there are often better freeware/OSS alternatives ;-)

  9. Ram's · 2007-04-10 23:36 · #

    It’s a good article the business strategy is more useful to people If you are interesting visit the site business strategy

  10. Site Reviewer · 2007-05-02 07:38 · #

    I hate Google Ads personally. And thank you my clients pay enough for the ads on the search engine that we are doing our part funding the monolith.

    Google has far too much personal information about us all. Google is not some benevolent hand of heaven, protecting us all.

    It is now a publically traded company working in the interests of its shareholders. That they give pocket change to Mozilla is a good thing. That they share data with the NSA is not a good thing.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Heh… Don’t be envious: Google earns money because Google gives something in return. As long as what I am looking for is always on the first page of the search results I don’t mind them getting rich, Google saves me insane amounts of time. Yahoo earns far less because everything that Yahoo produced so far is either crap or a bad copycat job.

    That probably comes as a shock, but yes – Google is a company and companies need to turn out profit. I can even say more: Google is not above the law. If the law demands that they give out data they will. And everybody else will do as well, so be aware of all the traces you leave on the Internet, Google or not. The difference so far is that Google exhausted their legal options before giving in. Judging by the news, Yahoo and MSN didn’t even have second thoughts when giving out their data (smaller sites don’t have any options anyway but these two had). If it weren’t for Google, you probably wouldn’t even know about this incident.

    What I mean to say: you should not judge somebody based on suspicion and envy. So far I haven’t seen anything suggesting that Google deals with our data in an irresponsible way. But they started several waves of innovation on the web and I have to give them credit for that. And when I reported security issues I noticed that they care about their customers – simply sending a mail to worked, they fixed the issues ASAP. And believe me, that is unusual. Neither Yahoo nor Microsoft fix bugs unless you have an inside contact or you publish an exploit thus threatening the company’s reputation (and its profits of course). Of course, gaining customer’s trust might be part of the strategy to get even more money – but that’s at least one company that recognized that customers are more than just a milking cow.

  11. Site Reviewer · 2007-05-02 23:28 · #

    Interesting perspective, Wladimir. Best of the worst sort of theory. Carry over from political science.

    To date, you’re right.

    I have one site banned in Yahoo (for very little cause) since two years. After two complete rehauls and two years and many reinclusion requests, nothing but cut and paste form letters or illiterate nonsense from people somewhere near the Indian Ocean.

    Google actually answers their email eventually. They do allow redress.

    So I’ll grant you that.

    But let me warn you that Google work hand in hand with the highest state security organs in the United States. It is much better that they indicate publically (even to the point of disputing standard supoenas in court) that they do not cooperate with security organs.

    There’s a reason that there is no delete – ever – in GMail. I don’t advise using GMail if you value your privacy at all. I try to avoid even maintaining a correspondence with someone using it. But as GMail can be masked behind a mail forwarder, even that’s not a sure thing.


    PS. BTW, thanks for the tip about dropping Adblock G List. I’d had to reluctantly get rid of AdBlock as Firefox was so slow opening new windows. Now I’ve got AdBlock Plus + Easy List and quick Firefox. FYI, NoScript works a treat with AdBlock Plus for completely peaceful browsing.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    There is no delete in Gmail? That’s new, I delete mails there all the time and none has ever come back. The point is that you don’t need to delete because usually you have no chance to ever fill up 2 GB.

    And – sorry, you will have to give me more than suspicions before I believe that Google/Gmail is worse for privacy than the alternatives. Hushmail? Don’t make me laugh, what use is a “perfect privacy” mail service if they don’t manage to make it secure? This doesn’t mean that Google is absolutely trustworthy – just that you will have a hard time finding anybody on the internet who is really more trustworthy. And until then I will make my decisions on which services to use based on quality, something where Google is leading by lengths in several categories.

  12. freeporn · 2007-07-28 04:34 · #

    Veru well done.

  13. Gofromiel · 2007-08-25 05:53 · #

    Thanks for your AdBlock extension, I couldn’t live without now. The real problem about ads, are intrusive flashing in-the-way ads. Bad ads come with bad webdesigners.

    Thanks for making the web a clean and enjoyable place again.

    Keep up the good work !

  14. Suom Y Nona · 2007-08-25 20:21 · #

    This extension troubles me a little. I came across a website that was basically a place for webmasters to redirect people who were using firefox, because of Adblock Plus.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Well, blocking all Firefox users only because 2% (very rough estimage) of them have Adblock Plus installed is a ridiculous strategy. Not to mention that you can block ads with any other browser as well. I don’t think many webmasters will be stupid enough for that. But at least this campaign promotes Adblock Plus…

  15. Mark Palley · 2007-09-03 21:45 · #

    I love the ad-blocking program (could it be integrated with the flashblock program that blocks intrusive flash ads?). I also agree that Google deserves credit for improving the experience of webusers. I trust them so much more than their competitors. (I’m particularly exasperated with a certain competitor based in the Pacific Northwest, having just had a difficult transition experience with its new operating system, but that’s another story.) Anyway, I don’t mind the Google ads; they are not intrusive and can at times lead me to helpful sources. So what can I do to unblock Google search ads? Must I modify the standard US adblock library? Thanks for the great work.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    You disable the filter that blocks Google ads –

    If you are using EasyList filter subscription, disabling these two filters should do:


  16. Romane · 2007-12-25 15:37 · #

    I think this argument about “good AdBlock/bad AdBlock” will probably continue (or is the correct word “rage”) for a while yet over a number of your blog postings, not to mention elsewhere, Wladimir :)

    I am one of the “good AdBlock” people. That said, there are some sites where I am happy to leave every ad in place. I have noticed something interesting – the sites I am happy to leave advertising alone are unaffected by the aggressive blocking filters I have in place on another couple of sites. Because the ads I am being exposed to on those sites are targeted, clearly seen but not obtrusive, do not slow my access to the site and do not get delivered by the mass-ad-delivery sites. I actually willingly read some of these ads, and sometimes even click on them for more info, as distinct from the ones I aggressively block which are gaudy, intrusive, obtrusive, band-width wasting unrelated garbage delivered from an ad-delivery site that takes more time to load than the content I want from the site being visited.

    So no, the issue is not in the delivery of ads, but in the type and style of the ads being delivered. Google learnt their lesson and applied the results. I wonder how much of the sniping at Google is just another part of the “tall poppy syndrome”.

    If a site I go to visit blocks me because I am using FireFox/using AdBlock, then I will go elsewhere to find the information. Regardless their self-importance in their own eyes, they are now and will remain a miniscule minority in a global community of content delivery, and will eventually be left behind and forgotten.

  17. Pirahna · 2008-01-02 04:44 · #

    I believe that every website i own is like a house.
    When you come into my house, you have to obey my house rules.

    If i have ads, no matter what the reason behind them, you’ll have to let them load.
    You, as a visitor, are coming on my website without me forcing you, you’re coming willingly, so if you don’t want to see banners on my page, don’t enter my website at all.

    Easy and fair.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Do you let everybody come to your house? What happens when somebody comes to your house and disobey the rules? Do the same on the web and you will no longer worry about misbehaving visitors – they will always obey to your rules, all three of them. So much only to say that you are using a wrong analogy.

    Many web sites are trying to force rules upon users – like which browser they should use, what their browser settings should be etc. These web sites are misunderstanding the whole concept of the Internet, it is all about openness. I can use any browser e.g. Lynx, and web sites should not make any assumptions about how the users will view them. The Internet is definitely not there for the single purpose of you making money, that’s something you should realize.

  18. Pirahna · 2008-01-03 03:39 · #

    Many web sites are trying to force rules upon users – like which browser they should use, what their browser settings should be etc. These web sites are misunderstanding the whole concept of the Internet, it is all about openness.
    Well … if my website needs javascript enabled, i should force the user to enable it so it’ll run as smooth as possible. If my website doesn’t work properly in Safari, i should ask the user to use another browser because Safari is not supported.

    I can use any browser e.g. Lynx, and web sites should not make any assumptions about how the users will view them.
    Sure, make a corporate website and tell the designers not to care how the users will view them.
    You see … you can’t use lynx. Check out YouTube with lynx.

    I stand by my point, it’s my website, i write the content for it and i pay the hosting … i can either hide all the content from people that haven’t got a paid subscription, or i could show it to everyone and get about the same amount from banners.

    Ok, maybe you don’t get this because you’re too deep into Internet theory, so i’ll make another point.

    Let’s say you have a website like deviantart, with free accounts and paid accounts. The paid accounts have the banners disabled while the free ones are stuffed with banners. Would it be FAIR for a user that uses your website (you pay the hosting, domain name, bandwidth, etc) to block the ads and have the same banner-free option of the paid account ? It’s not fair to you, or to the other paying users.
    Openness has nothing to do with Business.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    What you are talking about has nothing to do with fairness, it has to do with business models. And as I said before, users are not obliged to make sure your business model succeeds, that’s something you have to worry about yourself:

  19. jon · 2008-03-14 22:49 · #

    While I am one who enjoys the beauty of the opposite sex, I am also a happily married man. As I visit (reputable, and clean) sites, I don’t enjoy being forced to look at half dressed women in ads that are meant to entice me away to their site. I don’t need find anyone on a “singles” network.
    Thank you for AdblockPlus. It has eliminated that problem for me.

    However, I do wish to view textual Adsense Ads. How can I turn ON Adsense ads, while disabling the others?

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    You will have to disable the filters that block Adsense ads ( In case of EasyList I disable “&affiliate=$subdocument”, “/ads*.php$subdocument”, “/adsense_$script”, “http://pagead2.$~other”. In general, you can press Ctrl+Shift+B and looking through the list of blockable items to see what is blocked. Double-clicking that line will bring you to the filter responsible.

  20. ales · 2008-04-03 05:41 · #

    I installed the beta 5 of FF3, and I have to report that AB+ is not yet supported/qualified. I had to upgrade because FF2 become a huge memory hog, and all actions were being delayed by up to 5 seconds :-(

    I second an above-poster: AB+ gets installed first! Thx.

  21. Ales · 2008-04-19 05:40 · #

    Thanks, Wladimir. FireFox3-Beta5: AB+ now works!

  22. Ze Noob · 2008-07-29 20:37 · #

    Kudos for all the great article and all the excellent replies you’ve made. Your writing and intelligence is pretty impressive I must say.

  23. Bruce G. · 2008-08-12 04:20 · #

    Wladimir, I just kept reading your blog (after my IE adblock comment) since you make some very good, clear-headed points here.

    To all of the wannabe internet businessmen out there: Freedom goes both ways, it is your right to put banners on your page, it is my right to block them.

    You cannot bitch about the ‘naughty’ users wanting your content for free. If you are in business, find a business model that works, guilt-tripping users into seeing your ads is certainly not one.

    The house analogy is simply ridiculous. Do you keep your house open 24/7 and let anybody come in and out?

    Btw, I do have a Devian Art free account and I block all the ads (har, har, har :))

  24. Julius · 2008-08-12 13:45 · #

    Hi Wlad,

    Love your ABP extension for Firefox. Indeed, it’s the first thing to add after installing FF. I have been complemented for making my parents and close friends aware of it. They are happier with the internet than they were before. They also feel more secure by the way.

    As far as I know there are two websites in the Netherlands where its commercial managers are utter idiots: and
    They’ve gone as far as blocking my home-DSL IP-address because I refuse to NOT use AdBlockPlus. Pretty pathetic indeed. I was, like you, stunned at their arguments for this, and it got me pretty angry too. Since when is it out of the user’s hands what software he or she prefers to browse the internet with? In fact, I have never been as disappointed in some people online as I am because of this. It’s sickening to even ponder what goes on in such foolish minds.

    My freedom will prevail. Thanks!

  25. NoEffinWay · 2008-11-10 02:51 · #

    Wow, lots of friggin tards. “OMG Ad-Block is a tool of the internet Satan”
    1: ABP is NOT a default addon
    2: If one downloads ABP do you really think they will click on the ads?
    3: If your site is so damn pro that is making you coin, why the hell don’t you just write a script that detects it.
    4: APB Friggin rocks.
    5: FF also friggin rocks.

  26. Bren · 2008-11-15 00:51 · #

    good blog

  27. Rednedfred · 2008-12-17 14:32 · #

    Interesting response to ABP. I use and recommend ABP to anyone who will listen. Many ads are inappropriate and I just don’t want to see them. I will never click anyway so nobody really loses. If I want a service I use google to find it. No adverts will make any difference. Many times the offered sites are just traps anyway. I also use WOT and Flashblock for a seriously unhindered view of the web content. Any web site owner who does not like this can just bugger off! ABP + easylist beats the hell out of the hosts and router block options.

  28. Matt · 2009-03-06 13:54 · #

    Thanks for the great plug-in. Its the first plug-in I install, when ever I have to install/reinstall Firefox.

    I don’t mind a few ads on web sites. It is, after all, the owner’s site. But, that doesn’t mean I have to download 2mb for a 1 page, and on the page see 3 lines of text from the owner, and the rest being [click me] ads. What is the point in having site over loaded with ads? What do you gain from it? I, personally, leave such sites within seconds. Someone else’s site, with fewer or no ads will have the information I seek. Sites overloaded with ads also look stupid. Incorrectly placed ads look just as bad. I rarely click on an ad banner on any site, as I fail to see the reason. Sure, some ads are perfect for the site, and provide excellent information from other sites that may (or may not) be based on what the viewer is looking for. But for the most part, ads are becoming more of a nuisance the useful. If more then 10% of the page is ads, something is wrong. If the page/site author doesn’t like me blocking his/her ads, then they don’t deserve a web site. No one is forcing them to view the ads on other sites, TV, newspaper, road signs, or even the listen to radio ads. They are not going to force me to look at their ads.

    As a site owner, I, as well, have ads on my site. How many? One ad, just one. From Google. Decently placed, and altered to fit into the site theme. A non-obtrusive ad is worth more then 100 ads that, in the end, kill the site content. If a visitor blocks the ad from my site, they are more then welcome to do so. It my site, but its their eyes (and software, computer, bandwidth etc). The ad is their in hopes someone will click the ad. But I’m not forcing anyone.

    The internet is becoming a crap yard containing more ads then information, with adblock plus, we can return the seeing what we want to see. One comment about adblock plus I herd, that never leaves me (but its oh so true): With Firefox and adblock, the internet looks really bland and a bit boring.

    Adblock plus is the best plug-in available for Firefox.

  29. infused · 2009-05-26 02:34 · #

    That’s cool. I’m just blocking Adblock plus users from my page.

    Fair approach eh?

  30. Farn · 2009-08-02 07:02 · #

    Am I committing a crime by ripping or blacking out the ads in a newspaper or skipping the commercials when I record TV? I NEVER in my life bought anything I saw on an ad. Ads make me sick.

  31. Ian Kemmish · 2009-08-07 20:48 · #

    I think it’s disingenuous for content authors to cast the argument in terms of “paying” for content. The truth is that I am paying for the content, whether I view the ads or not.

    How so? To see the answer, you need to draw the boundaries of the system a little wider.

    The author has already taken the decision to make the content available for free. In return for this, he is asking for a subsidy to provide him with income. (Americans usually cringe at the mere mention of the S-word, so it’s ironic that it’s mostly Americans who so enthusiastically embrace this particular form of subsidy.)

    This subsidy has to be paid for somehow. The content authors would have you believe that it comes from the advertising fairy, costing you nothing. The truth, of course, is that it comes from manufacturers’ and retailers’ advertising budgets (after Madison Ave have taken their cut), and therefore it pushes up the prices of the advertised goods and services in the shops. For all of us: for you, who read the ads, for me who doesn’t, and even for my neighbour who isn’t even connected to the Internet. We all of us pay for your content, even though most of us have never read it. Perhaps only by a fraction of a cent for each impression, but there are an awful lot of subsidised authors out there, and it all adds up!

    Now, there is something fundamentally unfair about a subsidy which the people do not have the power to remove. (Again, something you’d expect to be close to Americans’ hearts.) For a government-imposed subsidy, of course, we can remove it at the ballot box. For a single company, we can buy 51% of the shares and replace the board. But for a whole non-government economy of interlocked companies and subsidies, it’s a lot more difficult. Hence, ad blockers.

  32. David · 2009-11-16 19:43 · #

    I dont care whatever or how many ads are there to support the “free” content. users should have the right to decide they want to see it or not. Let me put it this way, if a web owner decides what contents are “free” on their site, then we uses should be able to block their ads. If we cannot block the ads then users should determine what the “free” contents are.

  33. Drac · 2010-02-06 04:28 · #

    Actually the reason I use Firefox is AdBlock Plus and not the other way around. It’s funny how the plugin became more important than the main application.

    Let’s look at this form different viewpoint – how many decent browsers? Plenty – FF, Opera, IE, Chrome to name the main ones. They are all performing the same function and are slowly becoming very similar to each other in terms of functionality.

    What I and other internet users that use ad blocking mechanisms need is JUNK free experience. Web ads are the new form of email spam. Since access to information is so easy on the internet through search engines, I feel ads should be restricted to the extent of having to opt-in as a user. If anyone needs a buy a pink shirt – google the term “buy pink shirt” and you’ll get all necessary websites etc. This was not available many years ago when ads came to press, radio and TV. Now all is just a click away. Internet ads are no different to what ends up in my post box. I never read this unwanted JUNK and it ends up in the recycling bin before I enter my house.

    All in all Wladimir, thanks for the world’s 5th best “new generation” invention – Adblock Plus is just after Internet, mobile telephony, email and web browser.

    Could you think about a AdRetaliate extension to ABP as well? Generally the idea is to “take the junk and stuff it back to the person that sent it” :-DDD.

  34. jimmy · 2010-08-10 18:37 · #

    on all pages i create with ad’s, i place a div the exact same size as the ad under it named something completely different and then put a message in it stating “all ads are loaded last in the scripting of this page and are text based ads, please disable your ad-block application for my site to help pay for web hosting” or something along those lines, i don’t mind if users still decide to leave them on, but quite a few ppl iv asked about weather or not they would disable there apps for my site have said yes as long as the ad’s aren’t to distracting EG “WINNER” or “FREE PC SCAN” ads. also i always place my ads in non content areas EG i place them between header and main content in a box with a heading to say its an advertisement.

  35. joana · 2010-08-13 09:46 · #

    Earning money has online never been this easy and transparent. You would find great tips on how to make that dream amount every month. So go ahead and <a href=“”>click here </a> for more details and open floodgates to your online income. All the best.

  36. Dal · 2010-11-23 21:34 · #

    Thank you, Sir. I appreciate ABP in my FF use, and I appreciate your user-first philosophy.

Commenting is closed for this article.