Tag Archive for ‘Ad Blocker’

Say Hello to 1Blocker X ➝

Salavat Khanov:

Soon after releasing 1Blocker in 2015 and adding more features (Whitelist, Hide Elements, Make HTTPS, iCloud sync, etc.) and extending our rule sets, we found out that we are about to hit the limit of total number of rules allowed for a Safari content blocker extension. Apple set the limit at 50K rules, and we were already at 49K. […]

The only solution to that problem is to create multiple extensions within 1Blocker that independently manage blocking in Safari. However, that requires rewriting the app to handle all these new extensions.

This looks like it’s going to be a great upgrade from the current version of 1Blocker, which I’ve been using since Ben Brooks declared it as the best content blocker shortly after iOS 9’s release. I wish the team would have spent a little bit more time on the icon, but let’s be honest, it’s just going to get tucked away inside a folder anyway.

Roadblock, a Powerful Content Blocker for Mac ➝

From the application’s product page:

Roadblock has a comprehensive and optimized built-in block list for blocking and hiding different types of content. You can easily block ads, tracking, social media, and web resources.

Custom Rules provide a powerful yet simple way to create, manage, and share your own rules. You can create custom rules to block resource and website loads, hide webpage elements, strip cookies from web requests, and whitelist websites.

This is a great looking content blocker for the Mac. If I used OS X on a regular basis, this would be an insta-buy.

Ben Brooks Continues His Ad Blocker Testing ➝

Based on his latest testing, 1Blocker and Adamant are the two ad blockers he recommends the most with Purify following closely behind. Personally, I’ve primarily been using Adamant since it launched and have been very happy with it. In addition to Ben’s recommendations, I’ve also tried Ad Control — which I was drawn to because of its philosophy and 1 Ad feature — but nothing has been able to beat the speed and simplicity of Adamant.

Samantha Bielefeld Interviews Dean Murphy ➝

Developer of Crystal, Dean Murphy, when asked about his decision  to give up some level of control over his ad blocker’s whitelist:

I don’t possess the resources necessary to hand pick, and arbitrate what ads are acceptable. It would require making sure they meet a certain criteria, and I would have to then monitor the ads in order to ensure that standards had been met. It would also require me to form business relationships with advertising networks, etc. It would be a massive time sink and would involve a hell of a lot of work that would distract me from everything else. I’ve spoken to Eyeo, and they have many customers who support their vision. They have set a great standard for acceptable ads, and are backed by some sites that I truly admire.

I’d also suggest reading Dean Murphy’s sort-of FAQ about his partnership with Eyeo and what it means to Crystal users.

Safari Content Blockers Cause Some Online Retailers’ Websites to Render Improperly ➝

Dan Primack, writing for Fortune:

A Fortune investigation shows that an iPhone enabled with Crystal — the top paid iOS app right now – is unable to fully render the e-commerce sites of many major retailers, including Walmart, Sears and Lululemon.

I’ve noticed similar problems on a handful of websites while browsing with content blockers enabled. Luckily it’s easy enough to reload the webpage without them — tap and hold the reload button and choose “Reload Without Content Blockers” — but it’s unlikely that the average user is going to know how to do that. How many potential customers are just going to leave and purchase elsewhere when they encounter problems like this because “the site doesn’t work?”

I guess online publishers aren’t the only ones who could be hurt by ad blockers.

Ad Blocker Crystal Allowing Ad Networks to Pay to be Whitelisted ➝

I do think ad blockers should show “good” ads by default, but I’m uncomfortable with the developer accepting payments from the whitelisted ad networks.

Adamant, Content Blocking for iOS ➝

I was offered early access to Adamant before it went live in the App Store and I’ve been very happy with it. If you’re still looking for an alternative to Peace, I’d suggest giving Adamant a try.

Why Peace 1.0 Blocks The Deck Ads ➝

Marco Arment on whitelisting good ads by default in Peace:

In Ghostery’s desktop-browser plugins, users can selectively disable individual rules, so you could, for example, whitelist The Deck if you find their ads acceptable. Peace 1.0 doesn’t offer this level of granularity — you can whitelist individual publisher sites, like Marco.org, but not ad rules across all sites. That wasn’t an opinionated decision — it was simply cut for 1.0 to ship in time, and I’ll likely add it in the first update.

Whether such “good” ads should be unblocked by default is worth considering. In the past, ad-blockers’ attempts to classify “acceptable” ads have been problematic, to say the least. I don’t know if that can be done well, but I’d consider it if it could.

I hope Marco makes an effort to find a way to whitelist the good guys by default — he’s a very smart developer, if anyone can do it, I expect he could. In my eyes, the primary reason for installing an ad blocker is to improve the browsing experience, not to punish publishers who are trying to make an honest living. That is, unless those ads eat up outrageous amounts of bandwidth, kill battery life, and get in the way of content.

The Deck doesn’t do any of these offensive things and instead simply hangs out on the side of many of my favorite sites’ webpages while displaying tasteful and respectful ads — I think most reasonable internet users would consider them one of the “good guys.” But I can see why Marco shied away from whitelisting The Deck out of the gate. He would be leaving himself open to criticism for favoring The Deck in his very popular ad blocker while running a site that generates revenue from the same ad network.

As for future versions of Peace giving users the ability to decide what ad networks are acceptable, that’s a big step in the right direction. And at the very least, I hope the app encourages users to allow ads from networks like The Deck and Carbon Ads.

I’m beginning to feel a bit more hopeful about this “cause.” John Gruber proclaimed that ad blockers should display The Deck ads by default, Marco is open to the idea of doing so in Peace, and the developer behind Purify plans on adding it in the 1.1 update. Maybe publishers won’t have to uproot their entire business model and can just start displaying more respectful ads — writers will be able to continue making a living and readers will be able to browse the web without being bombarded with junk.

Update: Marco has pulled Peace from the App Store. He’s also published an explanation as to why he made the decision on his weblog:

Peace required that all ads be treated the same — all-or-nothing enforcement for decisions that aren’t black and white. This approach is too blunt, and Ghostery and I have both decided that it doesn’t serve our goals or beliefs well enough. If we’re going to effect positive change overall, a more nuanced, complex approach is required than what I can bring in a simple iOS app.

I completely understand where he’s coming from. I’ve never used ad blockers until earlier this week because I’ve always felt that online publishers should be able to earn a living through advertising. I’ve installed and tested several ad blockers over the past five days, but I haven’t felt comfortable about it.

That uneasy feeling I’ve had is what sparked my interest in the conversation and why I’ve come to the conclusions that I have — ad blockers should whitelist networks like The Deck and Carbon Ads by default and only block ads if there are more than three on a single page. But that’s based on my level of tolerance and interests in ensuring that folks who publish on the web are able to make money doing so. It’s going to be different for everyone and I agree with Marco that a much more nuanced, complex approach to the situation is required.

I wholeheartedly respect Marco for making a decision like this. He’s leaving a lot of money on the table and many of us wouldn’t have been able to do the same. I hope that the developers behind other content blockers take notice and think deeply about whether or not a blanket, all-or-nothing approach to ad blocking is really best for everyone.