Are Ad Blockers “Breaking the Internet”?

ad-blockRecently, there has been a lot of discussion regarding the rising use of ad blockers like Adblock Plus, Ghostery, Peace (iOS), the Brave Browser, and more  (more info: here, here or here).

One of the issues not often discussed regarding the use of ad blockers is their tendency to “break” webpages. In many instances, ad blocking software not only blocks ads on a site but will block functionality the user would like.

For some media-sites, this might be perceived as a good thing; in effect, punishing users who are seen to be “stealing revenue” from advertising.  In other cases, such as an e-commerce site who might easily see 10-20% of their traffic from ad-blocking users, if these users can’t view certain content or hit a “buy now” button because of ad-tracking conflicting with ad-blocking, that is a different revenue problem.

As this article points out, conflicts between web site functionality and ad-blocking are frequent.  This is largely because ad-blockers have little incentive to be subtle and typically “block every request they can” from known ad-tech companies.

At Abine, our former “tracker blocker” called “Do Not Track Plus” – which is now integrated into our software Blur (for protecting your passwords, payments, and privacy) – handles this exact problem better than current ad-blockers.

This is where our software Blur comes in. The beauty of Blur is that it was not created as a crude “ad blocker” software. Tracker Blocking is one of Blur’s most popular features amongst our millions of registered users, but it is built with customization and the user experience in mind, unlike most other ad blockers.

Not only does Blur allow you to see exactly which companies are trying to track your online activity, it also gives you the ability to “allow” individual trackers when you might want to allow them – either on a specific site, a group of sites, or everywhere – all combinations are possible.

To allow individual trackers, first click the Blur icon in your browser’s toolbar:

tracker1

 

Then, click the “Tracking” icon inside the Blur pop-up window:

trackerOff

 

Once you’ve clicked “Tracking”, you’ll be able to see the list of trackers that are on the current website that you’re visiting:tracking_details

To “allow” a specific tracker, just click on one of the trackers listed on-screen:

tracking_details (with indicators)

Why would I want to allow any trackers? My Ad Blocker software can’t do this?

Great question, and no, it can’t. Unfortunately, sometimes companies infuse their website’s core functionality with trackers. For example, a company may require you to sign in, or register, before you can use any portion of the website. However, they force you to sign-in or register using your Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter accounts. While this may seem like a great idea from a convenience standpoint, by doing so, you’re giving this website unlimited access to all of your social media interests (likes, followers, friends, occupations, etc…), allowing them to create hyper-targeted ads.  Sometimes we don’t mind being tracked. In these cases, you can pick and choose which trackers you want to allow using Blur (Allow individual trackers in Blur).

Occasionally, we’re able to tell that blocking specific trackers will disable a website’s core functionality. When this happens, you’ll notice the Blur tracker blocking counter change from green to yellow.

green to yellow tracker

This color change is simply an indicator to let you know that we are aware that we’re allowing some trackers through. Of course, you can always pick and choose which individual trackers that you’d like blocked or unblocked.

tracker allowed

Additionally, you can always override our default tracker settings if you’d like. For instructions on how to disable our suggested tracker settings, refer to our FAQs page.

Finally, some websites are becoming “smarter” about the use of ad blockers and tracker blockers. For example, when navigating to Forbes.com with Blur enabled, you’ll see a friendly message that reads “Please turn off your ad blocker in order to continue. Thank you for doing so, we’re happy to present you with an ad-light experience.”

Forbes (ad block)

 

For more information about Blur’s tracker blocking feature, check our page about Trackers.

 

Register for Blur today.




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