Ad Blockers

2016 was the year of the ad blockers as their availability, and use expanded beyond the desktop computing market and onto mobile devices.

What is an ad blocker?

An ad blocker is software you install on your device, that detects advertising code embedded within websites, and blocks the code from executing.  This effectively removes ads from webpages you visit.

Why are ad blockers becoming popular?

Ad blockers are exploding in use for many reasons:

  1. People don’t like ads.
  2. Ads can slow down a website considerably.
  3. Ads can introduce malware such as viruses and trojans.
  4. Ads can infringe on privacy by tracking your behavior around the web.
  5. Ads can drain your mobile device’s battery.
  6. Ads use bandwidth that has to be paid for on metered connections.

What are the drawbacks of using ad blockers?

Besides hurting the website owner who derives revenue from advertising, ad blockers can present issues for you when attempting to use website features and software.   Ad blockers allow you to “whitelist” or add exceptions for certain websites, which is recommended for services that you use daily (email, shopping, CRM, social media).

How do I find and install an ad blocker?

Ad blockers on the desktop are typically installed as an “extension” or addon to the browser.  Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox both offer a marketplace to find and install these extensions.  On your mobile device, search the app marketplace to find ad blockers that can be installed and activated on your specific device (older phones typically don’t offer this feature).

What are some of the best ad blockers?

  • uBlock Origin:  The most trusted and used “wide spectrum” blocker.  Chrome, Firefox.
  • 1Blocker: iPhone only, very simple interface (must have iOS 9)
  • Ghostery:  While not an “ad blocker” per se, Ghostery allows you to see and block website tracking services. Chrome, Firefox.

After installing an ad blocker keep in mind that websites might stop functioning, or may function differently than before.  You might also find website owners prompting you to disable your ad blocker, or actually blocking you from the site completely.  Weigh these cons with the benefits of blocking ads.  You might fall in love with this new lean-mean browsing experience, or find it a pain to manage – send is your feedback!