Adblock Plus and (a little) more

Let’s not f*!@ up mobile: prudence on the small screens · 2015-08-20 17:21 by Ben Williams

Global mobile ad revenue grew 65 percent last year – up from $19.3bn in 2013, according to a 2014 report from the IAB, IAB Europe, and IHS Technology. Let that sink in for a second as you play Angry Birds or Candy Crush or read your Quartz Daily Brief on the train to work.

These new figures highlight the focus for the industry for the next year. This is not a surprising path when you consider the gradual continued shifts in consumer media usage patterns that we have been seeing over the past couple of years. All across the world mobile devices are now at the center of people’s lives. The IAB’s new data reflects the power that this medium holds and will continue to hold.

At the same time we are living in an online culture that increasingly inspires users to demand control and preferences online. Ad blocking growth has been a natural response to invasive advertising, and users have spoken against this with their ad blocking downloads. Almost 200 million people worldwide now regularly use ad blocking software, according to the newest numbers available from Adobe and PageFair.

With mobile ad blocking still in its infancy, the mobile market reflects a gamechanger for the industry – a new place to battle for attention spans. We’re fast approaching a time when many of the ads we see will be on smaller screens. The shift to mobile usage could undermine the revenue for advertisers that used to come mainly from ads on desktop. Plus many are still trying to figure out how to get the most from mobile devices – the smaller screens hold fewer ads and the ads they do hold command lower ad rates. As ad blockers become more common and more popular on these devices, advertisers and publishers will be facing another challenge. Over the next year, advertisers, publishers and ad blockers are going to find themselves in a new arena. The prize for Adblock Plus will remain the same, of course: a non-invasive user-determined internet environment.

So isn’t it refreshing that ad blocking is getting so much attention? It used to attract doom-laden headlines about the death of free stuff, but now its innovative effect and the power it gives users are finding spots in the conversation. Let’s not forget that this didn’t happen in 1994 when we began crossing over from print to web. As the New York Times piece above says: “for better ads tomorrow, block ads today.”

Comment [3]

  1. Franco Esposito · 2015-08-20 18:12 · #

    mi auguro che possiate metterlo anche per gli smartphone .
    sono invaso da publicità inutile e qualche volta offensiva
    grazie x l’attenzione ….
    N:B: purtroppo la traduzione con google non è molto utile
    *** I hope you can put also for smartphones.
    They are flooded with useless publicity and sometimes offensive
    thanks x attention ….
    N: B: unfortunately the translation with google is not very useful

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Adblock Browser is already on Android smartphones in beta ( It will be coming out of beta in a few weeks, as will Adblock Browser for iOS.

  2. Michael Seeds · 2015-08-21 20:36 · #

    I maintain extensive files of articles on paper for reference in writing, and many ads cover text when a web page is printed. AdblockerPlus makes it possible to print most of these sites for my files.

    I don’t object to ads; rather I object to ads that cover important text, that take control of our computers, that generate audio. We need responsible ads.

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Couldn’t agree more! Ads fuel free content, but they’ve become intrusive over the years in exactly the ways you point out. The industry as a whole needs to work with users to find ad formats that do not intrude on content.

  3. Walt T · 2015-08-24 22:52 · #

    Ads are out of control, so is tracking software. I would pay a monthly fee to any site that allowed me to watch commercial/ad free. For example, you want Google with no ads and no tracking, you pay 5$ month (or whatever amount). The ultimate goal of ad blocking software should be to eliminate a company’s desire to use any ads by making it financially impractical to waste money making them. A world without ads would be a much better place.

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Hey Walt,
    Thanks for the comment! I agree to a certain extent. A world without ads seems idyllic, sure, but the world we’re in is dependent on them. So if we’ve got to deal with them, why not make them better?

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