Google, Amazon 'n' pals fork out for AdBlock Plus 'unblock

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Google, Amazon 'n' pals fork out for AdBlock Plus 'unblock

Postby mardybear » 2015-02-04 07:18

Internet giants Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Taboola have reportedly paid AdBlock Plus to allow their ads to pass through its filter software.

The confidential deals were confirmed by the Financial Times, the paper reported today.

Eyeo GmbH, the German startup behind Adblock Plus, said it did not wish to comment.

So far more than 300 million users have downloaded its software, it said.

The add-on is free to download, with Eyeo generating revenue through its "whitelisting" programme. Companies can request their ads to be unblocked as long as they comply with AdBlock's "acceptable ads" policy. Large companies pay a fee for the service.

Source: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/02/02 ... s_unblock/

Well that sucks. Came across this today and wanted to post in case others are interested. Haven't used adblock plus in years. Initially switched to adblock edge and now just use bluhell firewall add-on, which seems pretty good with minimal overhead. Seems anyone can be bought, problem is i've never created anything anyone wants :lol:
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Re: Google, Amazon 'n' pals fork out for AdBlock Plus 'unblo

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2015-02-04 07:37

Damn...

Time to start using hostsblock.
http://gaenserich.github.io/hostsblock/

Thanks for the info mardybear!
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Re: Google, Amazon 'n' pals fork out for AdBlock Plus 'unblo

Postby kreemoweet » 2015-02-05 20:39

Why is this being treated as "news"? It's been an established part of AdBlock Plus for quite some time.
And remarks about AdBlock Plus being "bought" are just plain ignorant.
Please inform yourselves: https://adblockplus.org/en/acceptable-ads
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Re: Google, Amazon 'n' pals fork out for AdBlock Plus 'unblo

Postby mardybear » 2015-02-06 04:28

AdBlock Plus allows acceptable ads, that is well known. It is the primary reason i stopped using it. To me there is no such thing as an acceptable ad. I can shop for a product or service myself, nobody needs to prompt. That aceptable ads are enabled by default is sneaky. Why would someone install ad blocking software to block some, not all ads. But this is not the core issue.

According to AdBlock Plus' survey, 52% of respondents felt all websites should provide their content for free without ads and 71% indicate they have no problem blocking ads because they never click on them. While 70% apparently indicate "i can imagine allowing some unobtrusive ads to support free websites", it sounds like a soft sell or a PR campaign. I have a decent imagination, so to answer this survey question honestly i would have to answer 'yes, i could imagine allowing some unobtrusive ads to support free websites', but in reality i would choose to block all ads - every single one.
Source: https://adblockplus.org/blog/adblock-pl ... lts-part-3

Here's the first public comment:
Ryan Farmer · 2011-12-11 06:49 · #

I’ve already responded about the acceptable ads nonsense on my blog.

In short, I smell a rat. There’s no way you weren’t paid well to do this. I think it’s kind of sneaky that it will sail over most users heads what you’ve done and they’ll just passively accept what is going on as Google profiles them (even if they don’t use Google). (Among others)

Had to dig down to the bottom of the linked page for this, so i guess AdBlock Plus isn't hiding everything:
Do companies pay you for being added to the list?

Whitelisting is free for all small- and medium websites and blogs. However, managing this list requires significant effort on our side and this task cannot be completely taken over by volunteers as it happens with common filter lists. That's why we are being paid by some larger properties that serve non-intrusive advertisements that want to participate in the Acceptable Ads initiative.

Source: https://adblockplus.org/en/acceptable-ads-agreements

How many hours does it take to manage a filter list once the initial setup is complete? Can you imagine someone humped over a desk in a dinky cubicle for days at a time, week after week? ...please.

So if you don't like the phrase being 'bought out', what would you call it? AdBlock Plus maintainers are paid sub-contractors of Microsoft and Google? Are they owned by Microsoft and Google - who's your Daddy? If the article claim is true and AdBlock Plus receives payment from these deep pocketed companies to allow their ads, doesn't that strike you a little odd?

If you already knew all this then it's not news to you but it was to me. Had no idea money was being exchanged in regards to manipulating, sorry managing, a filter list.
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Re: Google, Amazon 'n' pals fork out for AdBlock Plus 'unblo

Postby Hallvor » 2015-02-07 22:20

emariz wrote:https://github.com/gorhill/uBlock


Nice!
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Re: Google, Amazon 'n' pals fork out for AdBlock Plus 'unblo

Postby JLloyd13 » 2015-02-07 22:28

https://adblockplus.org/en/acceptable-ads#optout

Scroll down. This isn't news. They've been whitelisting ads for years, all you have to do is turn it off and then it'll block all ads. Some tech writer decided maybe actually reading the fine print was a good idea and now what most people knew, never noticed, or fixed if they did notice is all over the web like it's been a conspiracy the whole time. No, it's been right there the whole time, and you could turn it off, the whole time.
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Re: Google, Amazon 'n' pals fork out for AdBlock Plus 'unblo

Postby mardybear » 2015-02-07 23:09

Yes whitelisting can be enabled/disabled. You make no reference to my main point...AdBlock Plus developers are getting paid by deep pocketed corporations to manipulate the whitelist. Nevermind, believe what you want.
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Re: Google, Amazon 'n' pals fork out for AdBlock Plus 'unblo

Postby JLloyd13 » 2015-02-07 23:54

No, the whitelists are not 'maniquluated' anyone can get their ads white listed, there's a form right there, in fact the deep pocketed corporations are the ones who have to pay where as regular people can get ads white listed for free, under the acceptable ad policy.
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Re: Google, Amazon 'n' pals fork out for AdBlock Plus 'unblo

Postby mardybear » 2015-02-08 00:47

Didn't say they were being 'maniquluated'...said they were being manipulated.

Here's wikipedia's definition of whitelist:
A whitelist is a list or register of those that are being provided a particular privilege, service, mobility, access or recognition. Those on the list will be accepted, approved or recognized. Whitelisting is the reverse of blacklisting, the practice of identifying those that are denied, unrecognised, or ostracised.

Large corporations are paying undisclosed amounts of money to AdBlock Plus to manage the add-on. It would be naive to believe they are paying out of the goodness of their hearts, to help out those who can't afford to pay. The more likely explanation would be that the corporation(s) believe this is likely the easiest and least expensive solution to ensure their ads are viewed.

Have you ever noticed in life that there is usually a connection between those who have money and those who are privileged and receive preferential treatment? Let's just agree to disagree and leave it at that. After a couple more exchanges it will become difficult to establish who may be the fool and who may be ignorant.
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Re: Google, Amazon 'n' pals fork out for AdBlock Plus 'unblo

Postby JLloyd13 » 2015-02-08 02:50

Typo man, let it go.

Obvouisly money=power in so many situations, and obviously adblock plus is using corporations paying them to fund itself. Google is paying adblock plus to be white listed, and to protect its profits, not out of goodness.

What I'm saying is this:

1. Even though Google and others are paying money to adblock plus to be white listed, they are not receiving perferential treatment as anyone can be white listed, if any thing they are receiving harsher treatment as smaller companies do not have to pay to have ads white listed

2. All white listed ads still have to meet the 'acceptable ads' requirements as decided by adblock plus.. They are not given blanket white listing

3. It does not matter as the project is open source, you can turn it off, and there is already many many forks.

4. This is not news. The white listing policy of adblock plus has been publically available for a long time.

Frankly you can chose to believe that this is some under the table fooling of the user, or you can actually read the policies adblock plus relating to acceptable ads and whitelisting. I don't care, I'll agree to disagree. All I'll say is people should go to the website and read it themselves before passing judgment based on this FUD
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Re: Google, Amazon 'n' pals fork out for AdBlock Plus 'unblo

Postby mardybear » 2015-02-08 04:06

Thanks for your thoughtful response. I will agree to disagree on some points and agree on others. Although this corporate payment issue is not specifically Google related, it is well known that the majority of their revenues come from advertising. In these unaudited numbers, 2014 revenues were $59,056 million out of a total $66,001 million. Non-trivial, big bucks (https://investor.google.com/financial/tables.html). So needless to say there is a lot at stake when a popular browser add-on can quite easily block the vast majority of internet advertising.

1. Even though Google and others are paying money to adblock plus to be white listed, they are not receiving perferential treatment as anyone can be white listed, if any thing they are receiving harsher treatment as smaller companies do not have to pay to have ads white listed

Partially agree. Unless you are an insider, neither you or i will ever know whether there has been any preferential treatment. Even though the acceptable ads policies appear thorough, there can always be grey areas. When money is exchanged, it is difficult to remain objective, and this could easily become a conflict of interest.
2. All white listed ads still have to meet the 'acceptable ads' requirements as decided by adblock plus.. They are not given blanket white listing

No blanket whitelisting, okay. Google and the other large corporations paying Adblock Plus certainly have the resources to create acceptable advertising to ensure their ads are whitelisted.
3. It does not matter as the project is open source, you can turn it off, and there is already many many forks.

Most certainly agree. This is the main purpose for starting this thread, to notify other forum members about these issues. Obviously most members are quite internet savvy, so maybe i shouldn't even have bothered to post. There is certainly no shortage of alternative ad blockers or tweaked configurations to keep out ads.
4. This is not news. The white listing policy of adblock plus has been publically available for a long time.

As already mentioned, Adblock Plus' whitelisting is not news. It's only apparent when you dig down to the finer print, however, that money is being exchanged. Too bad Adblock Plus wasn't a publicly traded corporation, as i would definitely like to peruse their financials. Not too many browser add-ons can claim >300 million downloads and financial payment from some of the largest corporations in the world.
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Re: Google, Amazon 'n' pals fork out for AdBlock Plus 'unblo

Postby pylkko » 2015-02-09 18:46

Adblock Edge is a fork of the Adblock Plus version 2.1.2 extension for blocking advertisements on the web, without sponsored ads whitelist.


https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefo ... lock-edge/
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Re: Google, Amazon 'n' pals fork out for AdBlock Plus 'unblo

Postby mardybear » 2015-02-09 18:56

Thanks Head_on_a_Stick, emariz and pylkko for suggesting alternatives. I used Adblock Edge for quite a while and really liked it. My present favourite is Bluhell Firewall, as it runs very well on old hardware and keeps most ads away (5/5 star rating based on >200 reviews).
Bluhell Firewall
Lightweight Ad-Blocker and Tracking/Privacy Protector.All we know the availability of popular AdBlockers lying around... but frankly, these are too bloated with several features and options which most of us don't use beyond the defaults. So, this extension was made for those of us who don't care about all that stuff but does about just getting rid of all the nasty resources being loaded by websites.

This is a lightweight extension (ie, 30KB compared to ~700KB of other popular adblockers), which was made with performance in mind. No configurable options, subscriptions, additional features, etc It just block what can go to hell ;-)

How this is achieved is thanks to just seven hard-coded blocking rules covering about 8400 .com and .net domains, these were auto-generated from Easylist. That means, every time a certain resource wants to be loaded we will have to iterate through a list of seven compiled patterns, rather than for each entry from a common Easylist which contains hundreds of different items to check... You can now figure things out for yourself...

Next i'll let you decide if this is for you... as long performance is in your mind, it should.
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Re: Google, Amazon 'n' pals fork out for AdBlock Plus 'unblo

Postby emariz » 2015-02-09 22:06

mardybear wrote:Thanks Head_on_a_Stick, emariz and pylkko for suggesting alternatives. I used Adblock Edge for quite a while and really liked it. My present favourite is Bluhell Firewall, as it runs very well on old hardware and keeps most ads away (5/5 star rating based on >200 reviews).

Out of curiosity, I searched for more information about Bluhell Firewall. This was the eighth link from Google:
http://www.wilderssecurity.com/threads/ ... ll.364244/

This comment is particularly interesting:

gorhill, on May 25, 2014 wrote:The description on Firefox is misleading [...]

There is a suggestion in there that Adblock Plus does iterate through "thousands of different items to check" each net request URL, while Bluhell iterates only through five.

It's just nonsense. Adblock Plus of course uses a dictionary to avoid going through thousands of filters, there is no other sensible way. I myself measured the dictionary efficiency of Adblock, and it's more like 107 filters/URL when EasyList and EasyPrivacy are used.

The "just five hard-coded blocking rules" described are actually seven gigantic regular expression, and I am entirely unconvinced these are more efficient than a well structured dictionary.

Also, Adblock Plus filters take into account more than just what is in the URL, there is the first-party/3rd-party status, request types, domain specificity, etc. and I doubt this is taken into account by Bluhell.

So there is some kind of not too honest marketing trick going on with the description.


After reading the whole thread, I realised that the author of that post, gorhill, is the developer of uBlock. And even though he is "defending" AdBlock Plus in that discussion, he started his project precisely because he was unsatisfied with ABP. Yet he criticises it for the right reasons.
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