Adblock Plus and (a little) more

Allowing acceptable ads in Adblock Plus · 2011-12-05 12:19 by Wladimir Palant

Edit: Welcom, Reddit users. Comments are now closed but feel free to read this post and the links – you might no longer feel the need to leave a comment then. Btw, offensive comments are removed, as usually.

The development build last Friday introduced a new feature that took many people by surprise: Allowing acceptable ads. Sorry about that, I am usually trying to announce large functionality changes in a timely manner but that didn’t work this time. As of Adblock Plus 2.0b.3277 the current state is:

  • “Allow non-intrusive advertising” option is enabled by default for all users but the ones using privacy filter lists (EasyPrivacy, Fanboy’s Tracking, Adverisity Privacy). The documentation explains why it has to be enabled by default.
  • The first-run page notifies users about this change, opt-out works by clicking “Filter Preferences” and unchecking the option there.
  • On the technical side, this option simply represents an additional filter subscription. The documentation describes how to view this filter subscription or disable the special treatment for it.
  • There is a forum topic with lots of my replies to questions concerning this feature.

Other changes since the previous announcement:

  • Filter search is now possible in the Filter Preferences.
  • “Collapse blocked elements” option has been renamed into “Hide placeholders of blocked elements”.
  • “Count filter hits” is now a visible option.
  • Added “Reset hit statistics” filter action.
  • Added warning for filter subscriptions requiring a newer Adblock Plus version.
  • Updating all filter subscriptions is now possible using Ctrl-Shift-T keyboard shortcut (not visible in the user interface).
  • Fixed: Filter groups should also have “Show/hide filters” in their Actions menu.
  • Fixed: ABP menu still has the old “Preferences” menu item.
  • Fixed: Dragging a filter subscription might display as a button or menu being dragged.

To the install page


Comment [46]

  1. Marijo · 2011-12-05 12:39 · #

    Thanks for bringing back CTRL+SHIFT+T, Wladimir!
    I hope you can find a way to get the HOME and END keys working again.

  2. Ninnit · 2011-12-12 02:58 · #

    Shouldn’t you rename it “This use to be a useful piece of software until I got paid by ad companies”? At least then it would be an accurate name as “AdBlock” implies that it will block ads.

  3. Curtis Feilds · 2011-12-12 03:52 · #

    Sell-out. What a dick move. The whole point of an adblocker is to BLOCK ADS, and now you’re (for all intents and purposes) selling ads.

    Dick. Your project will be forked and replaced.

  4. Likes Free Contect · 2011-12-12 04:15 · #

    Well I Love this new setting.
    I want free, ad-supported content but really dislike the way ads are becoming more intrusive and bandwidth heavy. There has never been an incentive for revenue focused pages not to serve increasingly intrusive ads on their pages.
    Now there is a reason.

  5. Tom · 2011-12-12 04:50 · #

    By eliminating ads, we are hurting those who create content. But then, I absolutely hate loud, visual and sound wise, ads. Thus Adblock for me is an essential feature for my browser. If you can provide us with a happy medium, this is good.

  6. Match · 2011-12-12 05:09 · #

    Adblock just jumped the shark.

  7. Ross · 2011-12-12 05:20 · #

    How can commenters here not understand that much of the internet is free BECAUSE OF ADVERTISING?
    As much as people like sharing their work a lot of sites wouldn’t exist without support through ads.

    I see the value in allowing non-intrusive ads, in fact I ONLY use adblock on specific ads that play noises unprompted. I wholeheartedly agree with this move.

  8. Jason Winters · 2011-12-12 05:24 · #

    Go !@$% yourself Curtis you retarded hillbilly, this move lets us support content providers while keeping out the more annoying obtrusive ads. If you want free entertainment so badly go play outside of your trailer with your tin cans

  9. Name · 2011-12-12 05:27 · #

    well, fuck you man. Project will be forked. Deal with it

  10. Paul Lemur · 2011-12-12 05:31 · #

    This move seems counter productive, then again this isn’t my first line of defense against ads, my host file is.

  11. saikyan · 2011-12-12 05:34 · #

    Why this has become some kind of philosophical argument is completely beyond me. The software is called “AdBlock” and the purpose is to block ads. For sites we determine are desirable, there is a whitelist that will allow advertising in, literally, two clicks.

    What purpose does this “acceptable ads” feature serve that the whitelist doesn’t?

    This feature is simply not in the best interests of the userbase. I don’t care what the survey says.

    ABP, don’t pull a Qwikster on us.

  12. yep · 2011-12-12 05:34 · #

    Well as long as I can opt out it’s fine I guess…

  13. Bob · 2011-12-12 05:35 · #

    AdblockPlusPlus here we come

  14. Hawke · 2011-12-12 05:52 · #

    for sites i dont mind supporting with ads i simply have ABP turn off on that site. Not a feature i will use but it’s off for me by default with my filters. Also, this rage is hilarious.

  15. r00t4rd3d · 2011-12-12 06:09 · #

    I will not be using adblock if I can not disable this new feature. I dont use adblock to allow ads someone else thinks are non-intrusive. I am not paying a stupid monthly fee for bandwidth to have it be sucked down by junk ads loading.

    Who ever made this decision should no longer be making these types of decisions.

  16. Xavier Antoviaque · 2011-12-12 06:13 · #


    I have two questions relative to this change, which the blog post didn’t answer for me. In the interest of transparency on an already very controversial change, I hope you can answer them Wladimir.

    1) Does AdBlock developers get, directly or indirectly, any benefits from a third party because of this change? (Including, but not exclusively, donations/jobs/whatever by an entity supported by ads like Google, continued inclusion in the Chrome store, etc.)? Or any negative consequences if the change wasn’t implemented?

    2) If the goal is to allow people who would like to see ads to see them, why not have asked if people wanted to see them (ie, neutral “yes/no” question), rather than pushing a default setting which shows those “non intrusive” ads?

    Thanks – I appreciate the work you’ve done so far, and hopefully the answer to those questions will help to sort out the rationale behind those changes.


    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Hi Xavier, please see the documentation here:

  17. DiMaestro · 2011-12-12 06:17 · #

    Seriously, allowing unobtrusive ads? ad*BLOCK* (I think*block* is the keyword here)

    Seriously, ad*BLOCK* is gonna allow ads? Did I miss a memo here? Did I miss an important part of english, mainly the definition of BLOCK being changed?

    In short, fuck you.


  18. OccupyAdblockPlus · 2011-12-12 06:19 · #

    Thanks for selling out.

  19. B^U · 2011-12-12 06:23 · #

    There should be a prompt after the update (or a fresh install) where it clearly asks whether or not the user wants to let someone else decide what advertisers to whitelist for them. The default selection here should be NO.

    I use AdBlock to disable ALL advertising on websites. If there’s a time when someone using this add-on wants to see ads they can either whitelist a site manually or remove AdBlock.

    Oh well, I’ll just move past it and heal. It’s not like being a sad sack of tears is going to do any good.

  20. tehmurpeh · 2011-12-12 06:25 · #

    Quit calling him a sell out. The option is still there to block the ads if people would learn to read.

  21. M · 2011-12-12 06:27 · #

    I like how majority of the comments seem to fail to read the entire forum post.

    ““Allow non-intrusive advertising” option is enabled by default for all users but the ones using privacy filter lists.”

    If you don’t like ads regardless of its form, then you’ve been given the option to disable it. It’s enabled because otherwise majority of the users wouldn’t bother to enable it manually, and that defeats the purpose of having implemented that option to begin with: supporting and advocating sites with non-intrusive ads, which is used to provide revenue for such sites that otherwise have none.

  22. DiMaestro · 2011-12-12 06:32 · #


    It’s enabled by default. By default one expects ad*block* to block, you know, ads. Not have to open config/prefs and disable this.

    This is nothing short of a money grab, pure and simple. Hey, it’s the American way, fuck over your long term supporters to make some coin. I can accept this.

    However, this goes against the entire theme behind ‘adblock’ which is, to block ads by default. As odd as it sounds, this goes against the core geek customer base. Remember, we geeks promoted adblock plus to users, and we geek users will now vehemently tell users not to use it.

  23. Johnny · 2011-12-12 06:34 · #

    This is a good thing. It encourages those who design ads to create less intrusive ads which won’t be blocked instead of trying to find ways to get their huge flashy noisy ads past adblock. Most the websites online can only afford their bandwidth through advertising.

  24. felix · 2011-12-12 06:35 · #

    “acceptable ads” is an oxymoron—
    i accept no ads.

    you fail; goodbye.

  25. sysprv · 2011-12-12 06:36 · #

    I think it’s a good idea to meet ad companies halfway like this. If this pans out and more companies do less irritating ads, it will benefit everyone – even those hordes of people who have never heard of of ad blockers.

    Bandwidth is still an issue – I wish you could block an ad from loading (timeout the request) if it doesn’t load within 0.2s or something similar? ;)

    Interesting to see retards using the ability to fork an open source project as a threat.
    This is why we can’t have nice things.

  26. Not Dev · 2011-12-12 06:40 · #

    Dear users, I give you a product free of charge and you have the audacity to bitch about a setting you can easy revert if you weren’t lazy fucks? I wish I could go back in time and sterilise your parents. Loving regards, Dev

  27. DiMaestro · 2011-12-12 06:43 · #

    Dear Dev,

    You’re only important because we, the geeks have given you the opportunity to be important.

    You performed a service that we felt was worthwhile. Some of those geeks supported you. They gave you money.

    You have decided you can get more money from advertisers. This is your prerogative. Don’t expect us to support you in this. We will, and are, kindly telling you to fuck off and die.

  28. Pyrofallout · 2011-12-12 06:46 · #

    Many of the comments here are just sad. I’m not 100% sure how I feel about this, but the response by others towards these developers (of this free software) is just disgusting.

  29. Youfail · 2011-12-12 06:47 · #

    Sellout. You are pathetic bastard. But hey, your software is gonna be forked, so who cares. Ahahah

  30. random_luser · 2011-12-12 06:52 · #

    I’m sure advertising-funded content providers will be thrilled with this feature. How many of your users are advertising-funded content providers?

  31. b l u e · 2011-12-12 06:53 · #

    I really don’t understand the rage from some people.
    Between 1 and 10, how high is your IQ?

    This option is like an automated whitelist for harmless, non-bandwith sucking ads, which will help websites that give us free content and are supported exclusively by ads. You wanna help them great, you don’t wanna help then don’t. You can still choose if you want this enabled or not.
    Put with simpler words, ABP WILL STILL BLOCK ALL ADS IF YOU WANT IT TO.

  32. Bertha · 2011-12-12 06:56 · #

    So, what’s the name going to be of the new, forked, completely functional ad-blocker? Developers, please post here so we can find it (although I’m sure word will get out somehow).

  33. Rena · 2011-12-12 06:57 · #

    So how come you get to decide which ads are acceptable to us? I notice your criteria considers static banner images and scripts that do god-knows-what acceptable. Mine certainly doesn’t. How can we trust that your definition of “acceptable” won’t become more relaxed as time goes on?

    I already have a simple method for deciding which ads are acceptable (which to me is very few as I’m easily annoyed), and turning AdBlock off on those sites. I don’t need someone else making those decisions for me. Especially not if they’re “partnered with advertisers” (read: deciding based on how much they’re paid).

    Encouraging sites to use less annoying ads? Yeah, AdBlock already does that too, by blocking the annoying ones. It forces them to find less intrusive ways to advertise (or even other revenue streams that don’t rely on annoying your userbase). The less annoying the ad, the fewer will block it. All this change does is let them go back to some of the annoying crap they’ve been using before.

    Really nice of you too, to enable this by default and only mention it on the annoying splash page that nobody looks at.

    Oh and yes, I did notice that there – for now – exists an option to disable this “feature”. That doesn’t change the principle of the issue, that a program we trust to run in our browsers and block ads is now controlled by the advertisers and trying to worm out of doing its job. And what’s the next step? Browser extensions have a lot of power to do malice, which is why browsers put so much emphasis on only installing trusted addons. This is a major sign that AdBlock may not be trustworthy.

    In conclusion, go sit on a durian.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    The criteria we worked out seem to be very strict already and meet the requirements for most users. But we realize that it won’t work for everybody. As usually, feel free to disable this feature if it doesn’t work for you.

  34. Kiall · 2011-12-12 07:00 · #

    Has anyone else noticed that there only appears to be 1 real person hiding behind a set of different names posting abuse over and over?

    The change is a great move for respectable ad supported websites.

  35. smarty pants · 2011-12-12 07:03 · #

    Grats on making bank on this move. No seriously, if I was the writer of this software and someone offered enough money, I’d sure take it and run. And then secretly fork my own code so that the original becomes obsolete anyways, all the while I remain rich….

  36. Cardboard_Boxer · 2011-12-12 07:17 · #

    To quote my post on Reddit:

    “Personally, the reason I block ads is less about the intrusiveness and more about choosing which websites I’m going to support via advertizing. IE, I browse Facebook and Reddit equally but I don’t want ad money going to the former.

    That being said, I agree with ((your)) reasoning. I’ll still change the settings back as soon as the update rolls around despite this.”

    …I just hope that you still make it clear to new users that they can opt out of allowing the ads. I’d feel tricked if I downloaded this program and wasn’t told about the ability to opt-out of all ads up front.

  37. sell out · 2011-12-12 07:19 · #

    Already removed your extension, good to know you can be bought. But my real question is, will you refund everyone their money who donated for your work BLOCKING ads, since now you are in the position SELLING ads?

  38. Renamer · 2011-12-12 07:26 · #

    So are you going to rename the project “AdBlock Sometimes” or “AdBlock Minus”?

  39. tom · 2011-12-12 07:45 · #

    Chiming in to say this is a terrible idea. I know you “quit your job to mantain adblock” but dude, it’s a relatively simple piece of software. We’d all like to live the dream but doing so to maintain what is basically a big fat regular expression isn’t realistic – start editing that CV.

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Lol. Regardless of the main point, you seem to have a very simplistic idea of what it takes to maintain this project.

  40. Anonymous · 2011-12-12 07:52 · #

    Good business decision, bad personal decision. This may bring you profit, but it will be your undoing. I wish you the best.

  41. john · 2011-12-12 07:53 · #

    now show the contributors ads in place of blocked ads and your master plan will be complete

  42. Anonymous · 2011-12-12 07:55 · #

    wtf. Don’t you realize why anyone uses your addon? Jesus christ how can people who run these companies be so stupid?

  43. Steve · 2011-12-12 08:35 · #

    “Allow non-intrusive advertising” is bullcrap. I don’t want ads from anyone, period. I bet this will be the default setting and will be forced to all new users who won’t know how to change it.

    I bet evil Google paid ABP developer some cash to add this setting.

  44. Daniel · 2011-12-12 08:39 · #

    I for one support this move, you people don’t understand how ABP can hurt some sites that attempt to show legitimate, non-intrusive ads.

    In any case, to all you faggots having a whinge, you can DISABLE THE FEATURE. If you don’t like it, you just change a setting and all ads are back to blocked. Where is the problem?

  45. Daniel · 2011-12-12 08:39 · #

    Why is everyone so upset? It will be an option to allow less intrusive ads. For me, that’s fine. I mean, I do after all want to support the websites that I like and visit.

    If you manage to pull this off in a clever way, more power to you. But if in the end it becomes a “pay us money to have us unblock your ads” then you can be sure people will leave and leave quickly.

  46. Andrea · 2011-12-12 08:43 · #

    This decision will mark the end of a great software.
    I feel like a stupid as I supported your software with a donation, year ago.
    Will uninstall and spread word.

Commenting is closed for this article.