AdBlock Plus is a free piece of software that blocks adverts as you browse the web. Versions are available for most popular browsers.
In the same way as I find it perfectly acceptable for TV programmes to have advert breaks (even if I do fast-forward at 30x speed), I’ve never had a problem with the idea that websites make money by carrying adverts in order deliver content to us for free.
If sites and their advertisers had just stuck to non-intrusive advertising, I would not have bothered finding out about and installing AdBlock Plus in one of my browsers. In fact I want companies producing informative and interesting content to earn well from advertising revenue, so that they continue to produce the posts & articles I enjoy.
So, for most sites I use a browser that does not include the AdBlock Plus add-in.
Unfortunately, some less responsible sites have introduced highly intrusive advertising, including:
- Automatically playing unsolicited sounds or video clips.
- Pop-up adverts that hide the text you were part way through reading and that you have to manually close (usually with a close button that is hard to spot).
- Ads with animated characters that move around your screen – very distracting!
- Pop-up windows that force you to answer a question about the advert before you can return to the article.
For sites that treat their readers with such disregard, I use the browser with AdBlock Plus installed: it has proved quite effective at blocking these ads. It is true that this may well cause that company to lose revenue, as their adverts are no longer presented to me.
Experience tells us that often companies only act in the interest of their customers when it is financially advantageous to do so. My view is that if they are hit in the wallet by public reaction to their bad behaviour, perhaps that loss of revenue will cause them to review their advertising policies and behave better in future.
A particular bugbear is the abuse by such irresponsible companies of my laptop’s speakers. I have not given them permission to play sound through those speakers, yet they seem to be quite happy to use them without consent to play audio/video advertising their products. Then they wonder why people install products like AdBlock Plus to stop them from doing so.
Some companies are fighting back. Two German broadcasters recently took the company (Eyeo) to court that produces AdBlock Plus. Fortunately, the court rejected their claim and found in Eyeo’s favour.
You can download AdBlock Plus by clicking here.