WHAT IS 'Ad Blocking Software'

Ad blocking software, often known colloquially as Adblock after the most prominent brand, comes in several forms, the most common one being a browser plugin. It maintains the function of disabling advertising content on visited webpages on computers, tablets and smartphones. The use of this software is increasing, as it is easy to obtain, generally free, and nearly effortless to use. However, as many webpages depend on advertisements to generate revenue, ad blocking software can be harmful to online businesses. In response to this, some websites deploy countermeasures, such as software which automatically detects the use of ad blocking software and does not allow the page to be viewed unless the user disables their ad blocking software temporarily. One notable website which uses this method is Forbes.

BREAKING DOWN 'Ad Blocking Software'

Ad blocking software blocks ads on webpages, so the ads aren't displayed when the viewer visits the page. This software provides multiple benefits, including security. There have been several cases of advertisements on high-profile browsers such as Safari, Google Chrome and Firefox using advertisements to disseminate computer viruses, steal personal information and even spy on users. By blocking advertisements proactively, ad blocking software acts as a prophylaxis against viruses. Another positive effect of preemptively disabling advertisements is the ability to avoid annoying or obnoxious ads, which can often block portions of the screen, play audio, or flash in a distracting manner.

The average person sees over five thousand advertisements daily. As of 2018, the overwhelming majority of these are from online sources. Sometimes, these ads can, subconsciously or otherwise, influence people, as is alleged to have occurred during the 2016 US election. These problems can be avoided by using ad blocking software. On the other hand, ad blocking software tends to negatively affect revenue for online businesses. Many websites rely heavily, and often completely, on advertisements to generate revenue, and the rising popularity of ad blocking software has taken a significant slice out of their advertisement revenue. This negatively affects everyone, because websites have begun charging for premium services in order to compensate for the drop in revenue. Some websites and online content creators politely ask their viewers to disable ad blocking software.


Ad blocking software first came to prominence in 2004, when one of the early developers and proponents of ad blocking software, Michael Gundlach, crowd-funded a $55,000 advertising campaign, including a billboard in Times Square in New York City, to promote the concept. Gundlach is the developer of one of the most popular advertisement blocking plugins, AdBlock, which he sold to an anonymous buyer in 2015. Since then, AdBlock has participated in an event with Amnesty International, where, on March 12, 2016, instead of blocking ads, AdBlock showed ads linked to Amnesty International’s anti-cyber censorship campaign.

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