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The Evolution of Ad Blocking


The Evolution of Ad Blocking

Over 615 million devices worldwide have an ad blocker installed.

That’s a lot of ad blocking. uBlock plays its part by helping users stop ads on Chrome, Firefox, Safari and on Macs. But ad blocking is an arms race among entrenched forces with vast pools of resources. Our small team can’t rid the web of scammy, disingenuous, and malicious ads by ourselves.

We’ve been keeping an eye on the state of ad blocking and advertisement in general. And we weren’t the only ones to notice the sad state of some corners of the online ad ecosystem, where autoplay audio ads and incessant pop-ups were commonplace. Earlier this year, Google introduced its ad “filter” in its browser, Google Chrome, which was its attempt (and a successful one, at that) to reduce the proliferation of annoying ads on your favorite websites. But Google is the world’s largest advertising company, so there were valid questions about whether Google would block pop ups, block all ads, or just ones that interfere with Google’s own ads.

Adblock Plus completed an investigation into the types of ads Chrome blocks compared to the ones blocked by standalone ad blockers like uBlock and Adblock. They learned Google used the standards of the Coalition for Better Ads (CBA) as guidance. Though the CBA identified 55 types of ads, they only deemed 9 of them as intrusive enough to merit blocking, labeling categories such as autoplay video ads (without sound) and ads that appear before you can see the content you came for as “acceptable.”

Our thoughts? Well, it’s a start. Last year, the advertising market saw more money spent on digital advertising than on TV for the first time in history. Almost $200 billion worth of pop ups, banners, and autoplaying videos shooting out to every corner of the web. With that kind of money involved, you can imagine just how enticing it is for publishers to display as many ads as they can. Unfortunately, this much money also comes with the nasty side effect of new and dangerous scams being developed every day.

However, we should give credit where credit is due. Google eliminated some of the most aggravating types of ads, even going so far as removing its own ads on sites that use ads with the annoying “pop-under” format. Literally billions of people use Chrome, often on a daily basis, so any work done to clean up the messy current state of online advertising benefits everyone involved.

Granted, we can’t forgot that fact that Google alone covers approximately 42% of the US digital advertising market (about $35 billion in 2017). We won’t be holding our breath to see if Google blocks many ads beyond those that receive the highest numbers of consumer complaints.

So what if you like Chrome’s ad blocking capabilities but want to take things one step further? uBlock, the best ad blocker for Chrome, can help.

  • Facebook: Sick of mountains of sponsored posts or ads full of irrelevant info in the sidebar? uBlock blocks these annoying features, and our team is always working to fight back when Facebook insists on forcing ads onto your news feed.
  • YouTube: We all hate having to sit through the same advertisements every time we want to watch a video, but they’re a thing of the past with uBlock. Better yet, you can whitelist ads for specific channels, supporting only the content creators you love.
  • Internet Privacy: Privacy on the internet is increasingly difficult to find, but uBlock is committed to protecting you from ad companies who try to track your movement online.
  • Cybersecurity: Hackers continue to get smarter, taking advantage of vulnerabilities and even hijacking your computer for cryptocurrency mining. To protect yourself from malvertising (malware-infected ads) and other cyber attacks, experts recommend installing an ad blocker like uBlock as part of your comprehensive cybersecurity plan.

Google has nudged the industry in the right direction, but no one company can completely solve the problems we’re facing. Here at uBlock, we aim to be the best ad and pop up blocker for Chrome and beyond by arming consumers with the tools and know-how to block ads so they can browse the web on their own terms.