Ad blockers have been much discussed online in the tech world lately. Starting with iOS 9, Apple’s allowed ad blockers to be installed on its phones. Of course, desktops and laptops have been using ad blockers for years, with AdBlock and its fork AdBlock Plus the most popular ones.
On Friday came news that AdBlock has been sold, for an unknown amount and to an unknown buyer. AdBlock’s also now updated itself to display “acceptable ads,” or whitelisted pre-approved ads, by default. (AdBlock Plus has had such a feature for awhile.) If you wish, these pre-approved ads can be turned off, at least for now. However, the fact nobody knows who has bought AdBlock is, in my opinion, reason enough to not use it anymore. While I have a few Google ads on my site, I don’t have a problem with running ad blockers, especially given the number of ads that’re animated, eat up bandwidth (on smartphones), might be a security issue (thanks a lot, Flash), or are otherwise annoying. However, I prefer being able to find out who’s written the software that I use. There’s no reasons I can think of for software’s owners to hide who they are, so I can only assume the anonymity is for less-than-trustworthy purposes.
Thus, I recommend AdBlock users to switch to another ad blocker. AdBlock Plus works well, though some might object to the “acceptable ads” aspect, or the amount of RAM it uses. A lighter alternative I’ve been trying is uBlock Origin (a fork of the original uBlock), which does most of what AdBlock/AdBlock Plus does, but uses much fewer system resources. So far, it works quite well.
Do you use an ad blocker? Or have any feelings about “acceptable ads?”
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Alejandro Pinto (CC BY)