The War on Ad Blockers Has Begun

Adblock Plus blocked

But our beloved Howard Forums is safe… I think?

I’ve become aware of an escalating pushback against ad blocking technology. It may or may not have began with Apple supporting Safari extensions like Adblock Plus in iOS 9—if you didn’t know, the iPhone’s default browser is said to be responsible for over half of all mobile web traffic in the USA.

We’re now at a point where some sites and advertisers have become openly hostile towards ad blockers. Read on for the grisly details.

No Ads, No Content

Forbes and WIRED have begun blocking content for browsers where ad blocking is detected. Forbes isn’t exactly known for their technology reporting, so no big loss there. And unfortunately for WIRED their restricted access has had pretty much the same effect—I’m not going to whitelist their site, I’m just going to stop linking to WIRED.

Oh, and by the way, the ad blocker blockers on both these sites are easily defeated with AdAway on a rooted Android device

Court Battles

German digital publishing giant Axel Springer SE has taken Adblock Plus to court no less than five times, claiming that blocking ads is illegal. And for the fifth time Adblock Plus has prevailed. But I don’t think for a second that ABP’s days in court are done just yet.

Threats Against Brave

The Brave standalone browser isn’t the Brave-branded Link Bubble, a mobile app that the company bought from developer Chris Lacy. The Brave standalone browser is a new desktop product already receiving legal threats from The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. To be fair this is less about ad blocking and more about ad substitution, a practice that Adblock Plus is also guilty of.

About These Forums

Yours truly is in a bit of an awkward position here. On one hand I feel very strongly that users should be in full control of their Internet experience; as such I block all ads from my computers and mobile devices. On the other hand, display ads on these forums very clearly allow me to get paid a modest salary for writing the content that you (hopefully) enjoy reading every weekday.

There is at least another revenue stream that can keep the forums running, a paid membership that not coincidentally provides you with an ad-free HoFo experience. Or, at the other end of the scale, there’s AdAway for Android.

And the arms race continues…

Sources: WIRED, Techdirt, Android Police, CNET

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