AdBlock Plus, a popular ad-blocking plug-in for the Chrome and Firefox browsers, has decided that it will allow some ads to be shown, prompting an existential crisis of sorts among some of its users.
AdBlock announced last Friday that it now allows “acceptable ads,” or ads that the service deems to not be unnecessarily intrusive. That option is now turned on by default, meaning that a product called “AdBlock Plus” now chooses not to block all ads.
AdBlock’s lead developer, Wladimir Palant, has previously characterized the team’s purpose as a mission to make the Internet better by purging “bad ads as a start”.
So what defines a non-intrusive, “acceptable” ad? Palant has said that static ads that don’t use animations, sounds, or images at all are the best, while ads with no “attention-grabbing images” and with at most one script that will delay the loading of the Web site are also deemed okay.
Palant explained in a QA that the justification for adding non-intrusive ads was consistent with AdBlock’s mission. “By doing this you support websites that rely on advertising but choose to do it in a non-intrusive way,” he said. “And you give these websites an advantage over their competition, which encourages other websites to use non-intrusive advertising as well. In the long term, the Web will become a better place for everybody, not only Adblock Plus users.”
Turning the option off by default, he added, would not provoke the type of change Palant hoped to encourage, since most users do not change default settings.
User reaction ranged from the outraged to the understanding. In addition to simply allowing users to block ads, some took issue with an additional caveat: because acceptable ads can not be automatically recognized, AdBlock Plus now includes a whitelist of ads, based on agreements with specific advertisers.
“Shouldn’t you rename it, ‘This used to be a useful piece of software until I got paid by ad companies’?” “Ninnit” commented in response to the change in direction. “At least then it would be an accurate name, as ‘AdBlock’ implies that it will block ads.”
Others recognized that ads pay the bills for their favorite Web sites. “How can commenters here not understand that much of the Internet is free BECAUSE OF ADVERTISING?,” “Ross” wrote. “As much as people like sharing their work, a lot of sites wouldn’t exist without support through ads. I see the value in allowing non-intrusive ads, in fact I ONLY use AdBlock on specific ads that play noises unprompted. I wholeheartedly agree with this move.”
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Article source: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2397541,00.asp