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Ad blocking: A budding concern to the free online contents

Author: Charles Smith
by Charles Smith
Posted: Aug 10, 2018

Despite Ad servers and net-workers suffer indirect ad revenue losses, they choose to avoid the issue altogether leaving it as the publisher’s exclusive concern. Therefore, ad publishers found themselves alone facing the most damage, and forced to confront the issue and to regain the control of their online ads.

If you’re an online ad publisher, properly, like millions of online ad publishers and website owners, you already started using or thought of using ad blocking’ common solutions:

  • Ad Block Walls, where a website asks a visitor to disable the adblocker on their browsers,
  • Paywall, conditioning viewing the website’s contents to a paid,
  • Using AdzSafe tools to disable ad block instantly.

Many people already know that it is no longer an exaggeration that the free online contents are on the brink of slow vanishing if no solution is found to disable the growing impact and damages of ad blocking. This as today, one thing that really matters to the online ad publishing industry is 'ad blocking' software and extensions which are been gaining more and more attention over the past few time. Some people consider ad blocking software as a devastator, a savior or a budding problem to online ads depending on whether you’re an online ad publisher or an online ad viewer, it affects to some extent in both aspects. Apparently, ad blocking is a proliferating concern which is been climbing at an alarming rate and is expected to rise even more in the future and has the potential to negatively impact both advertisers and online ad publishers. The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) UK believes in an ad-funded internet.

History of ad blocking

  • Ad blocking for TV Commercials: An American inventor named Robert Adler experimented with a process which would enable remote control of a television using radio waves and produce high frequency tones in order to change channels. This remote device got modified to allow ultrasonic signals to communicate complex commands to television sets thereby enabling the operator of the remote to block ads by changing the channel during a commercial break and got perfected in the 1960’s.
  • The 1st Ad Blocker for the web: the first web ad blocker originated in the 1980s which was created especially for a portal named Prodigy used to provided news, weather forecasts, games, expert content, and other services, as well as ad banners.
  • Ad Muncher’ popularity: the first relatively mass product came in market was ‘Ad Muncher’ that became popular in 1990's. It needed no installation and was used to remove ads in all the applications. Light, modest in system requirements, needed no installation, executed in Windows and removing ads in all applications.
  • The 1st adblock browser extension: First adblock browser extension was ‘Ad block’ which was created in 2002 for Firefox browser, which was used to hide already downloaded ads instead of blocking page requests to ad services. Ad blocker use started to grow fairly dramatically in late 2012 to early 2013 when the estimated number of ad blocker users jumped from around 39 million users to 54 million users from mid-2012 to January 2013, according to a 2015 report by PageFair and delegated by Adobe. This project was given up by the author of this extension and taken by Wladimir Palant who entirely changed the program code and make the extension capable of blocking the page requests and called it ‘Adblock plus’. It particularly makes commercial revenue as a money-making company by charging larger publishers to get their ads white-listed.
  • Paywall debuted in industry on 28th may, 2011. It facilitated for monetizing online and other digital information by preventing visitors from accessing web sites and similar content providersfrom where access is restricted to Internet content via a paid subscription.According to Peter Marsh, most publishers with hard paywalls average as low as 15-20% on retention ratesand retention rates for newspapers using metered paywalls average 58.5%, with some reporting as much as 90% reader retention.According to one survey, 73% are currently charging readers to access online content, and almost 40% of them have erected a hard paywall and remaining 60% use a soft or metered paywall.
  • Controversy: ‘Adblock’ joined the Acceptable ads initiative. It is a set of criteria developed by Ad block plus for identifying non-intrusive ad formats that are accepted by ad blocking users and allow content creators to monetize their content. Around 92% of Adblock Plus’s users have joined Acceptable Ads.Eyeo is the parent company of Adblock Plus which decides who will decide which online ads some of the world's most popular ad blockers will white-list. Eyeo gets large fees from known advertising companies like Google, Criteo, Taboola, and Amazon to white-list their advertisements.
  • The 1st browser plugin: In 2012 the first browser ‘plugin’ that hides ad blockers from detecting technologies found.
  • Launching of ‘Imonomy’: In 2012, one ad blocking solution ‘Imonomy’ got launched which was an effective monetizing platform. It provides viewable ads, enhances user’s experience and offers mobile-friendly in-image ads thereby ensuring ads being served are relevant to their users. But it is not able to crush the adblockers completely. This ad blocking solution was not able to work in the presence of ad blockers in the user’s browser.
  • Launching of ‘Sourcepoint’: Ad blocking solution named ‘Sourcepoint’ came in 2014. It creates compensation choice for publishers and consumers and provides the data needed to make informed decisions about content compensation. It helps publishers to activate messages to give clarification about value exchange when people consume content. But it do not work when an adblocker extension is being downloaded in the browser, it do not work. Hence, it proved an ineffective ad blocking solution.
  • Release of ‘Secret media’: In the same year the ‘Secret media’ launched, one another ad blocking solution came into market named ‘Secret media’. It amenities for developing a better user experience around the ads by restoring blocked ad impressions, especially video ad impressions, and offers analytics that help publishers to overcome ad blocking. This solution is able to regain blocked ad impressions only. It seems unproductive because it is not capable in terms of removing ad blockers completely.
  • Release of Adblock plus as an android mobile browser: In August 2015, ‘Adblock Plus’ released as an Android mobile browser of its own and stepped in Google play store thereby fought against ad blocking apps.
  • Apple’s announcement: Apple announced in early 2015 to enable ad blocking for users who have upgraded to iOS 9, its latest operating system which added fuel to an already growing hunger for ad blockers.
  • Release of ‘NeverBlock’: Another ad blocking solution released which maximizes revenues instantly. It bypasses ad blockers to recapture all your ad revenue losses and works on all browsers and on all platforms and devices. But only when the user disables the adblocker extension. It is not capable of providing protection to ads in the presence of adblockers.
  • Survey by Hubspot and Adblock plus: According to the survey by Hubspot and Adblock plus, In June 2016, 18% of the ad blocking users in the US, UK, Germany and France said they whitelisted sites that served what they considered a reasonable and appropriate ad experience.
  • Use of Adblock walls: A stronger step some publishers are taking is to set up ad block walls. These walls notify users that unless they do whitelist the site, they won’t be able to access any of its content. If the user is using ad blocking software, typically it show an ad block wall that asks the user to turn off the ad blocker or whistle list the visited website. Then whenever the user view that website and he/she has some kind of ad blocking software enabled, the website shows a little banner saying the users that the ad revenue supports the website or project instead of showing the actual ads thereby considering that adblock is being turned off.According to Page Fair 2017 Report, 74% of adblock users say that they leave websites when they find such an Adblock wall. This makes Adblock walls ineffective at motivating most adblock users to disable ad block software, even temporarily. Unless the website in question has valued content that cannot be obtained elsewhere, an Adblock wall is likely to be ineffective at combatingadblock usage at any significant rate.
  • Banning Ad Blockers: In 2016, Google banned for ad blocking apps from their store after so many warnings to ad blocking developers about the rule.
  • Ad Blocking Increase in 2017: According to Pagefair 2016 mobile adblocking report, people had started to use blockers for mobile devices at an increase of 102% during 2015. Adblock usage grew 30% globally in 2016. By March 2016, there were about 298 million users of mobile adblocking browsers that block ads by default and 16% of all mobile devices already had blockers installed in June 2016. An estimated 30 million users have been using it for Firefox for Android and 24 million users have been using it for Opera Mini and Maxthon for blocking ads.
  • The first Ad Block Solution: In 2017, AdzSafe launched "Free Internet Protection" tools that successfully evade being detected by Ad Blocker, and instantly disable Ad blocker software. It was praised for its ability to subside Adblocker software fully, and for not requiring online ad publishers to change their ad providers.
  • Ad Blocking in 2017: almost 615 million people have downloaded ad blocking software. Mobile adblock usage has grown by 108 million to reach 380 million devices whereas Desktop adblock usage has grown by 34 million to reach 236 million devices according to 2017 adblock report.

What is ad blocking?

Purpose of ad blocking: the main purpose of ad blocking technologies is to interrupt online ads on desktop and phone apps from being displayed. The technologies behind adblock efficiently make users unreachable to online advertisers, so they do not receive any pop-ups; banner, large sticky and prestitial ads; online video; re-targeting etc. Ad blocking software doesn’t block anything by default and it can target not only display online ads but kind of video and native ads too. The vast issue surrounding ad blocking is not of necessity how it affects small businesses or even consumers, but how it affects publishers and therefore, access to the web.

Adblock options range from browser add-ons to various applications. Online advertisers are anxious to find a solution that reducesAdblock impacts on marketing, as well as ad Publishers seeks crushing them with any possible solution. Advertisers only pay for online advertisements that have been served. Publishers don’t get paid for the advertisements until they appear on desktop or mobile device. Every time your online ad interacts with Ad Block without being protected by a sustainable solution, you lose one opportunity for your ad to be seen by an end user, advertisers will find another ad impressions against which to serve the same.

How does ad blocking work?

Understanding how ad block works is important to help you choose the best solution for your website or phone app. Ad blocking software works at various levels and is commonly called as an ‘ad blocker’ which is a piece of software that usually comes as a browser extension or an app which can be downloaded by consumers in order to remove ads. It is usually installed as an adblock extension or adblock plugin into a browser like Mozilla Firefox and Google chrome. These browsers have thousands of extensions. They have been since 2002 and 2008 respectively. Microsoft edge has 23 extensions. Ad block extensions work inside a web browser and block ads on web pages which are being visited in the browser they are installed in. These extensions are to be installed for each browser you’re using.

Black List: Regardless of the names of the extensions, most of them rely on a black list and a filter to block the URL of the ad providers to your website before the online ads appear on the browser. This starts by their efforts to include a large data in their black lists about online ads and the URLs of ad providers. Then, at the moment an ad provider sends the ad to your page, the filter blocks the ad provider’s URL instantly. Namely, online Ad Block simply blocks the connections between your website or phone app with the ad provider’s URL, and instead, it replaces the online ads with a blank space. Ad blockers use effectively pre-determined blacklists to identify which types of ads are blocked and which publishers are affected.

Blocking Ad Placement: Websites have dedicated spaces for the component of online. Ads, which seem like ad containers hidden within the site, and are called Ad Placements. Ad Placements tend to have certain names and tags which make them easily predictable and detectable by Ad blockers so they can hide their online ad component. More troubling, with this method, ad blocker software mistakenly block other non- ad components of your website or app.

The web address URLs which load the ad requests and their file names tend to have certain parts that are consistent and predictable. Those are targeted and blocked by ad blockers to not load.

Blocking Anti Ad Blocking scripts: A third method is blocking tracking scripts which in turn prevent third-party ad networks from serving advertisements. Ad blocking software is mostly configurable by the user. Hence, anyone can white-list a site they support or blacklist a site that isn’t on the default list.

Using anti adblock killer: This extension allows to keep Adblock software active, when you visit a website which has scripts or other countermeasures set up to block access and it asks you to disable. It essentially trickswebsites into thinking that you aren't running ad-block at all times. Through anti Adblock killer, ads will be blocked on more than 99% of websites that ask to disable the adblock tool thereby removing annoying and sometimes horrifying ads such as pop up or pop under ads.

They can’t block all type of ads. Most in-app, in-feed native ads tend not to be picked up by ad blockers, as most ad blocking software intercepts calls from third-party ad servers. However, in-app advertising could also be affected with the emergence of mobile ad blocking companies which operate at the mobile network level; in-app advertising could also be affected.

Causes ad blocking

People use ad blockers due to obnoxious, offensive, loathsome and extremely excessive advertisements and use of heavy JavaScript codes that can slow down a device. Sometimes online ads take over the whole screen and have a tiny close in a random place along the edge of an advertisement. Websites are being developed around the ads to pull in an ungodly amount of online ad views instead of the content and to distribute malware via ads leading to poor user experiences. Some online ads also cause security challenges as they are served by third party sites whose authenticity might be questionable and in many cases, it’s a lot of intrusive and sheer amount of them is overwhelming. According to Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) UK, "The primary motivation for blocking ads was that they interrupt what people are doing." Other reasons for ad blocking in this survey showed that people think ads slow down the web experience, and that digital ads are not perceived to be relevant to the individual.

Ad formats have been grown to the height of unwelcoming with things such as video which appears instantly in between the paragraphs or in the middle of web pages which infuriate exasperate users and disrupt the content from being viewed which leave adverse impact on advertisers and publishers. For that, people do use ad blockers for improved privacy, for more protection against malware, faster loading websites, for saving data on limited connections, for insulating themselves against a relentless barrage of advertising while browsing the web and for having streamlined and safe internet experience.

Repercussions of ad blocking

Ad blocking is not a long term internet-friendly solution. Ad blockers block pop-ups; banner, large sticky and prestitial ads thereby hurting the site revenue which discourages publishers to create freely accessible content. The impact can also have repercussions for hundreds of authors, bloggers, journalists, columnists, content creators, researchers and editors, who earn from the online content industry by providing insightful ideas and knowledge. It’s the revenues of ads that pay them. There are many cases where million-dollar businesses shake hands with popular ad blocker companies for getting their sites white-listed which allow ads to appear in order the user to support the channel by giving view time to ads. Small online ad publishers might not have that bandwidth hence they keep to take the hit with eventual results of being shut down. Therefore, blocking may result in an uneven field of competition in these cases. The impact of ad blocking is affecting online ad publishers earning through cost per click (CPC) based advertisements and ad impressions (CPM) suffer from revenue losses. These impressions translate into money which is paid to authors, bloggers, journalists, columnists, content creators, researchers, editors and to itself if presumably they have any profits left. Each time an advertisement is displayed on the screen, it is counted as an ad impression. According to HubSpot Product Manager Lars Osterberg, "Google Adwords ads are often whitelisted by default by many popular ad blockers since they're seen to be useful."

Due to proliferation and strengthening of ad blocking technologies, the online advertising is no longer a viable solution for profiting revenue. In accordance with Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) UK study, "56% of respondents were not even aware that blocking ads meant that websites would lose revenue."According to PageFair, adblock usage is driven by specific problems with the delivery of online advertising and is not a rejection of digital advertising itself. Many critics of have argued that by viewing online content, users enter into an ‘implied moral contract’ with the publisher in which by agreeing to view the content, user is also agreeing to view the advertisement that pays for it according to eavi. Blocking ads limits the ability of internet users to explore and get to know new things though they amenities the users to choose what to accept as users might filtered away with them. Actually not all users find ads as annoying or waste of their time. Many advertisements are informative and have insightful knowledge with which users can get to know about new things. Another drawback of ad blocking is that if online ads don’t get downloaded, the publishers won’t be able to determine how much money they should make from their advertisement.Forbes said, "The escalating battle between ad-dependent publishers and ad blocking has a new front."

Counter-measures against ad blocking

Ad blocking is an internationally proliferating issue requiring a cross industry global approach. Some publishers have opted to employ software which detects ad blockers as a way to communicate with consumers about the effects of using ad blocking software, which prompts consumers to unblock in order to access content. Another option some publishers are trialing is to redirect users to a subscription or donation page.

Adblock detection: Itis the observed action of the script that detects whether the user is using ad blocking software when any website is being viewedAdblock detection works by putting bail content within the website pages and performs a range of tests to identify if the content is still visible. The ad blocking detector code checks the properties of bail content which is being implemented and identifies whether the content is visible. Although invisible to the user, this bait content is implemented so as to appear to ad blockers as advertising content. After the web page has finished loading, the detection code checks the properties of the bait content to ascertain whether it is still visible. The detection code knows that an ad blocker is active if the bail content has been hidden.Then the code will give a message to the browser’s JavaScript console to indicate whether an ad blocker has been detected.

Anti adblocking software: Anti ad blocking technologies are stepping into anti ad blocking software which is designed to counteract the effects of ad blocking. Anti ad blocking software has Anti adblock scripts which do not report specifically which ad blocking plugins are installed on a user’s system but report what users have installed on their systems. Adblock scripts guess based on the performance of a user’s browser. Those guesses are made by using the same standard JavaScript functionality that is used by millions of websites which don’t detect Adblock JavaScript. Anti adblock scripts do not require persistent storage or installation on a users’ system to function. JavaScript feature detection is a vital part of most modern web pages. JavaScript knows only what it is permitted to know by the browser. JavaScript can’t give information whether the user is blocking ads or not. It knows only what is allowed to know by the browser.

The only exception is known so far to push anti ad block scripts to new boundaries, comes from AdzSafe, where the anti adblock script automatically disables adblocker software once it is dedicated. Unsurprisingly, this is the main reason that many online ad publishers already abandoned the traditional ad block walls, to use AdzSafe trend. Correctly, the goal is not only to detect adblockers, but to stop them completely from interfering with online ads. Counter adblocking software also exists, in the form of companies such as AdDefend. It effectively reverses the internet user’s choice to opt out of ads thereby replace the ad by circumventing the ad blocker.

The battle of publishers vs. ad blockers is a long-term problem as ad blockers have been improving and publishers have been responding in kind. Advertisers and publishers will be forced to find new ways to reach their targeted customers and to make up their loss in revenues as adblock usage is increasing as a response to privacy concerns and advertising overload. Ad blockers could cost an estimated 21.8 billion dollars of loss in revenue a year according to BBC. According to one survey of Forbes, 81.7% of users would disable ad blocker under some set of conditions. In which 44.5% of them said they would disable ad blocker then and there, while 22.3% of them said they would disable ad blocker as long as annoying ads weren't shown. And 14.9% said they would disable ad blocker if the ads were relevant to the content.Only 16.9% said they'd never disable their ad blocker. That is promising and it shows clearly that there's a path forwards. Global economic costs of the ad blocking trend are going to continue to rise in 2017, but there are few popular ad blocking solutions such as Ad block wall, paywall and AdzSafe. In addition to this, there are some more ad blocking solutions which are PageFair, Adrecover, Sourcepoint, Secret media, Imonomy and Never block. These solutions enable a publisher to decide how to present a message to a web visitor who has an ad blocker installed.

AdzSafe: when it is compared to the current available methods and solutions, AdzSafe proved itself as the only effective and reliable ad blocking solution that fully and instantly disable ad blocker software from operating in the browser. It does so without asking ad publishers to replace their online Ad providers with a different one, like other anti ad block methods require. AdzSafe allows online ads to be loaded and be seen, regardless if the visitor’s browser includes an ad blocker or not. It squashes the ad blockers completely from interfering with online ads. It ceases the ad revenue losses. When AdzSafedisables ad block instantly, it simple supported Ads safely loaded and viewed without interference by Ad Blockers and turns bare and fragile online ad into an ironclad online ad.

Ad block walls: It amenities for hiding your website contents or minimizing functions or services and demanding from visitors to first disable the ad blocker in their browsers. A stronger step some publishers are taking is to set up ad block walls. These walls notify users that unless they do whitelist the site.

Paywall: It amenities for paid subscription to view your content and providestrusted insights and markets coverage. It helps to manage, sell and protect online content, products and services by premium subscription.

PageFair: It is an authorized analytic tool that helps publishers to measure adblock.It understands the way to make a difference by listening everyone’s needs and find win-win solutions thereby helping publishers to improve the ad blocking issues. As a result, advertisers don’t have as much competition on each page and users have less clutter. In addition to this, PageFair enables them to use first party data and create a premium sector for readers who are willing to pay for content.

Adrecover: It helps to measure and monetize ad impressions being lost to adblocking. It helps to display fast-loading UX-compliant ads to your website's adblock user traffic.It strictly adheres to very high UX standards for ensuring that the ads are visitor-friendly and not obtrusive in anyway. It keeps a constant check on the ad media, with a zero-tolerance policy.

Imonomy: It amenities for effective monetizing platform, provide viewable ads and enhances user’s experience. It offers mobile-friendly in-image ads that ensure a great user experience for readers. It uses big data, plus contextual and behavioral analysis for ensuring that all the ads being served are relevant to their users.

Secret media: It helps the premium publishers to develop a better user experience around the ads.It restores blocked ad impressions, especially video ad impressions, and offers analytics that help publishers to manage the rise of ad blocking.

Sourcepoint: It creates compensation choice for publishers and consumers. It provides the data needed to make informed decisions about content compensation. It helps publishers to activate messages to give clarification about value exchange when people consume content, and it offers the multiple options for the consumers for paying for the content they want whether prefers a free, ad-based experience, or another way to compensate the publisher.

Never block: It is a proven circumventing ad blocking solution that maximizes revenues instantly. It bypasses ad blockers to recapture all your ad revenue losses and works on all browsers and on all platforms and devices. It places a line of code on website thereby ensuring that advertisements still get shown even if a user has ad blocking software installed and switched on.

About the Author

Myself Charles Smith. I love writing articles and blogs. Here I am writing about publishers major concern, ad blocking. Have a look at for getting the best ad blocking solution.

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Author: Charles Smith

Charles Smith

Member since: Apr 05, 2018
Published articles: 4

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