AdBlock founder says the goal is to promote better online advertising for all


Yesterday we reported exciting news that AdBlock Plus is available for mobile devices running Android. Tablet, smartphone or anything in between, you can bust all those website ads that you don’t want to see. The great thing is that the app is fairly browser agnostic, so you won’t need separate plugins for each browser (a godsend considering not all browsers support plugins to begin with).

There are still some exceptions to take heed to, though, and we were curious to know why such limitations were placed on an otherwise straightforward experience. Speaking with AdBlock’s Till Faida, we learned that Android 3.0+ devices had to be rooted to use automatic blocking because of limitations in Android beyond their control.

If they had a choice in the matter they’d give everyone the easiest and quickest route possible toward an ad-free device, but some users will have to do some minor proxy work on their side if they find themselves on the less fortunate side of the street. More information about how to set AdBlock Plus up on your particular configuration can be had upon downloading the app.

Blocking ads is not about hurting the bottom line…

But the more interesting bits of this conversation came when we asked Faida what the company’s goals were. On the outside looking in there doesn’t appear to be many revenue generating opportunities for AdBlock Plus. For starters, it’s completely free and open-source, and they don’t ask their users to pay anything to use it. There’s no “premium” unlock, and not even as much as a donation link on its site: it’s just free.

So what do they want out of all this? Well, believe it or not, they just want to help people. First on their list are users — they want to help the everyday, average Joe block all the ads in existence if that’s what they truly want.

It’s even deeper than that, though. The AdBlock Plus team wants to help the web as a whole. They’re on the side of content publishers just as much as they are users. It may seem strange and counter-effective to take this stance with an app that could kill most sites’ source of income, but it really does make sense when it’s broken down.

Faida says they want content providers to be able to make money off of their work. Ads help provide services and content at no out-of-pocket cost to users. Us Android users know all too well how Google’s ad-driven business allows them to provide tons of great services for no initial cost to anyone who wants to use them. Still, much of the online advertising industry is broken and ad providers and publishers tend to go overboard.

…but rather helping users and publishers alike

Simply put, they want to kill obtrusive ads. Users can’t really “vote with their wallets” in a traditional sense for free services, so blocking ads on sites which abused advertisement is the only effective voice they have outside of those feedback forms tucked away inside obscure, hidden links (which many sites probably won’t pay attention to in the first place).

It’s one of the many reasons why AdBlock started “Acceptable Ads,” a program that allows them to outline which ads users are more likely to consider “acceptable.” A certain list of criteria is still being worked out, but so far it’s believed that static, text-only ads with sensible placement (ie, not breaking up the main text of an article or making users scroll unnecessarily to get to the page’s main content) fit the bill most accurately.

With this, they’ve started a partnership program with ad publishers who want to ensure their sites have “acceptable ads.” Sites that sign up will be reviewed by the AdBlock team, and if they maintain their status AdBlock will whitelist the site in a list they maintain. Users can enable this list if they want to applaud and encourage those who approach online advertising with sense, style and class. AdBlock monitors the sites in this list regularly, and should they find one of their partners violating the “acceptable ads” movement they will be removed with no hesitation — total win, I’d say.

This feature isn’t yet available on Android, but we’re told that it will be one of the main new features they’re looking to bring in future upgrades. A general user-maintained whitelist setting wouldn’t go unappreciated, either.

Are publishers hurt by blocked ads?

Interestingly enough, though, Faida believes content providers’ pockets aren’t hurt by those who wish to block their ads, stating “the real loss is happening because many websites are sticking to the old approach of annoying their visitors with intrusive ads instead of offering real value to them which would be a much more profitable approach in the long run.”

The idea is that a user doesn’t care to click on the ads anyway, so that revenue was never going to be generated in the first place. You could argue that other revenue models, such as CPM, will be affected, but considering how many variables there are to figuring these numbers out in the first place it’s difficult to know what might really be happening. Long-term frustration could set in, as well, as intrusive ads could drive a user away from your site for good.

Those are all very good points, but we must maintain a degree of objectivity here. After speaking with AdBlock’s co-founder, though, it’s clear to us that their motives and ambitions are as genuine as anyone’s, and we don’t mind supporting a better future for online advertising one bit. Try AdBlock Plus for Android in the Google Play Store.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Somd men just wants to see the world burn

    1. Ads are for the poor/stupid/iphone-hipsters to view…

  2. Adblock for Android is rubbish. Had it for a week and all it did was drain battery and take up task bar space.

    1. That smile when you see someone say “rubbish”

      murrican here.

  3. I would never visit a website with obtrusive ads, so why would I need this app? Oh wait, Phandroid is one of those sites *goes to download*

    1. I’m interested in knowing how you would know a website has obtrusive ads if you never went to it. =.o

      1. go once, see it, vow to never return.

    2. Lol when I view Phandroid on a device that doesn’t have an adblocker I get bombarded with the most invasive ads I’ve ever seen.

      1. Ya, and I like how Phandroid staff are MUM about this….

    3. The best part is that when you resize the window to be able to accurately tap the x button… it resizes and you click the add accidentally…. well played phandroid well played…

      1. Same with XDA. I Hate those ads with a fu@#ing passion!

  4. I block ads that offend me. Normal ads are okay. Just don’t want me or my son to have to look at some of the ads. You all know what I’m talking about.

  5. I’ve always used the root host file to block ads but a way to block them for my kids age appropriate would be better.

  6. I uninstalled it after a couple of days – it clogs up the status bar with enormous icon, and hogs up the battery and internet speed.

    1. Agreed my ping goes from 50 up to 550+ and my internet speeds are all over the place but once I disable the proxy that this is using things return to normal and my ping drops back down and my internet speeds go back to their normal numbers.

      And this is on my home wifi imagine what it would do to my crappy mobile ping that sees numbers of 500+ already.

  7. Slow news day, Huh?

  8. I turn OFF adblock in Chrome for sites that only have regular bar style ads. If a site uses pop ups or annoyingly placed ads, I most certainly let adblock do its thing.

  9. I hate Ad’s. Many people don’t even realize that ads use up their data allowances.

  10. Works like a charm even added to my firefox browser

  11. If you’re rooted, just install Adaway. Problem solved :)

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