Adblock Plus and (a little) more

Getting rid of the vampire-zombies · 2015-08-07 14:46 by Ben Williams

In the recent media hubbub about ad blocking, many have forgotten the reasons that users want to block ads in the first place: because the vast majority not only provide zero value but often steal value – like your battery power, your attention, your speed or even your personal information. It’s a double downer, because ads can suck valuables from you and give you nothing in return. Kinda like a vampire-zombie.

One recent example demonstrates both, and because it relates to mobile devices it shows that ad blocking will have as solid a spot there as it already enjoys on desktop. It also shows why we need responsible ads and ad blockers in an Internet that is moving toward total user control.

A few weeks back Forensiq published a study on fraud detection. It revealed thousands of mobile applications in both of the big app stores that misled marketers by loading invisible ads that cannot be seen by users. This ended up costing the ads industry an estimated $1bn a year!

The findings suggest that fraud is spreading rapidly from online to the mobile app advertising market, which is expected to grow by up to 50 percent to almost $21bn this year in the US alone.

In addition, earlier this year a survey from YouGov revealed that 72 percent of consumers in the UK felt concerned about their private information online, including the safety of their emails, files and pictures. As users start to place a greater reliance on mobile technology for viewing, storing and sharing data it’s likely these concerns will transcend across. If so, mobile advertising fraud is clearly another example of why ad blocking is arriving just in time for the ongoing shift to mobile devices.

The answer, the A-word and the Tech River

Adblock Browser for Android (stable) and iOS are coming in a few weeks. These will provide annoying ad-free browsing straight out of the box, no questions asked, no extra download necessary. Just download and go (Android is already in beta BTW).

But what about the … A-Word?!! Well, there is the forthcoming Adblock Browser for iOS (see above). Also, I can now make it official: we are planning to develop a solution for iOS, ie the whole operating system, with the new tools Apple has promised. We’ll just have to wait and see what tools they give us to develop with.

Apple’s iOS announcement is a sign of the times. Times that are changing, and the fraud example above is just one more reason for us to give you the best solution we can in every format available.

All that said, many of pieces predicting a changed Internet with little upside miss a critical point: ad blocking is innovation, so why wouldn’t the Internet evolve with it? … and get better? Former Guardian tech editor Charles Arthur seems to get that. He recently asked, “why should web advertisers be immune from evolutionary or revolutionary change in user habits? …. Any argument that tries to put a moral dam in front of a technological river is doomed. Napster; Bittorrent; now adblocking.”

So, yeah, let’s not make the same mistakes as the past. Let’s not make banner ads 2.0 the standard for mobile. Instead, let’s make better ads that users can live with or live without (if they choose to block them). This is the way the technological river is flowing.

And we’re on the river. We are the ones who flow.

Comment [9]

  1. Penny Haulman · 2015-08-07 17:42 · #

    I can hardly wait.

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    I’m pretty excited myself :)

  2. Pro Privacy and Security · 2015-08-08 12:59 · #

    Blocking ads on a whole OS in all applications ?!

    Ambitious plan based on a very good analysis.
    Go for it!
    Hopefully you’ll succeed!

    All the best & truly yours

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Thanks for the encouragement!

  3. Harry · 2015-08-10 15:43 · #

    Have been using AdBlock Plus in Firefox for years, can’t wait to have it on my smartphone!

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    You can already try the Adblock Browser for Android on beta:

    If you use iOS, the browser is coming soon … Get notifications on our progress here:

  4. Lars Klougart · 2015-08-10 16:54 · #

    When will Adblocker be available for “Microsoft Edge”?

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    As soon as they support extensions, we plan on developing an extension as fast as we can.

  5. Em · 2015-08-11 09:36 · #

    Hi Ben,

    A lot of sites and publishers are funded by the ad space they sell- what’s your view on this? Ad blocking could really affect the quality of sites out there and also the way advertisers work with sites (ie alot more sponsored content, which could be equally annoying and affect the authenticity of the site).


    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Hi Em,
    You’re right — ad blocking can lead to worse ads. But ad blocking is a reaction against bad ads in the first place. That’s why we started the Acceptable Ads initiative (, namely, because we believe there are better ads out there.

  6. Howard Goodchild · 2015-08-13 13:04 · #

    Hi, just a quick word of thanks, i was at my wits end with the constant bombardment of ads, including some very aggressive ones. In some tv programmes there are warnings about flashing images, its well known strobing can have a detrimental affect? on people with epilepsy particularly. But when you are just reading your mail or otherwise, the animated videos are there in your peripheral vision, and for me its very disturbing and completely invasive. All that has ceased with ADBlock. one recent browse blocked over 800 elements. keep up the good work and more thanks. hg

    i happened upon your company, and since

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    800 elements? Not bad … Thanks for the kind words, glad you’re getting a lot out of ABP!

  7. Mike Fox · 2015-08-18 06:07 · #

    Hi Ben,

    First off thankyou for your hard work with ABP, it has made the internet a more peaceful place :)

    I just wanted to ask if it will be possible to apply ABP across the whole Android OS in a similar way to what you are proposing for iOS? While I’m sure your browser will be ok to use I have become accustomed to Chrome and would prefer to keep using it, that and the ads in apps are more of a headache for me as they seem to place them in the way of needed functions most of the time.

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Hey Mike,
    Thanks for writing. ATM we aren’t developing something for Android that would allow use in Chrome mobile. If the possibility were out there we’d be interested in doing pursuing it … so for now, maybe give Adblock Browser a spin.

  8. Ryan · 2015-08-21 20:32 · #

    Adblock Plus with acceptable list should be default for the majority of OS’s, please Microsoft, Apple and Google!!

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Thanks for your comment! For the moment we don’t run on the OS level, but rather in your browser. ABP is available for every major browser …plus a few that aren’t so major.

  9. lahcen joumaili · 2015-09-01 23:28 · #

    Ne neveux lapublicite

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