Ad blocker

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

As ad blockers (also advertizement or English ad blocker ) a program is called, which ensures that on sites included advertising the viewer is not displayed. Such advertisements can appear in a number of ways, such as images, videos, text inserts, and pop-ups .


Ad blockers came up for television in the 1990s by simultaneously signaling commercial interruptions via a parallel transmission path (e.g. RDS , later through the WWW ). The TV fairy application was the first to remove advertisements from video recordings in real time in 1999. She gained fame above all through the injunction that the Association of Private TV and Radio Broadcasters sought. The manufacturers resisted and after a trial marathon , RTL lost in the summer of 2004 before the Federal Court of Justice . In April 2013 TC Unterhaltungselektronik AG again launched a live TV ad blocker, this time based on Android in the form of a satellite receiver . In December 1998, the Webwasher program was the first commercial ad blocker for the PC that was free of charge for private use. This removed advertisements from web content.


Final filter process

One method is to recognize advertisements based on their internet address ( URL ) e.g. B. by programs like uBlock Origin . Mechanisms such as black lists and regular expressions are used for this purpose. Exceptions such as unobtrusively rated advertisements, on the other hand, are defined by additional white lists . B. in Adblock Plus already by the developer.

Images, scripts and other embedded objects are blocked if their HTML content contains an expression in the filter list used , for example / adserv / , / ads / etc. B. in the URL . Here, the "ad" stands for English advertisement = AD . However, due to the counteraction of the advertisers, the blacklists must always be adapted or intelligent heuristic procedures must be used.

Pre-filter process

The blocking of entire advertising networks according to a tracker library or the ability of the advertising networks to not only display advertising, but also to track the behavior of the surfers on the website, is also efficient, as no large blacklists have to be loaded and checked, and almost each advertisement comes from a larger data-collecting advertising network.

Deactivation procedure

Since advertising on the Internet today is often technically complex ( Flash animations , layer ads ) and therefore can not be displayed without supporting programming languages , turning off JavaScript using a script blocker such as NoScript or uMatrix or selectively turning on Flash often helps against moving advertising Animations. The general blocking of Flash and JavaScript also stops many embedded video players. However, depending on the needs of script blockers, the blocking of each individual script can be switched on or off temporarily or permanently for certain individual websites. HTML5 is, however, also suggested by developers as an alternative.

Application and installation

In browsers such as Firefox and Chrome , the advertising filters can be installed later using the add-ons function, individually or in a combination. B. Adblock Plus or uBlock Origin together with Ghostery . The use of several advertising filter programs, some of which overlap in their function, can, however, also slow down the reaction times of the browser. Another add-on is usually required to filter pop-ups, e.g. B. the Simple Popup Blocker.

Many ad blockers allow finer settings, such as the ability to deactivate the ad blocker on certain pages. Adblock Plus, for example, allows feedback - you can notify the developer if the ad blocker does not remove all ads as desired.

Advertising Industry Countermeasures and Response

Some websites use defense techniques to exclude users of ad blockers from the service or to inform them of the disadvantages for the website operator.

Some website operators such as B. bypassing some advertising filters through dynamic URL changes that are generated for the advertising with every page reload. Also ProSiebenSat.1 currently and other high-reach sites rely on the technologies of tisoomi and AdDefend that deliver advertising despite activated ad blocker.

As of 2015, however, there are also certain 'Anti-Anti-Adblock' or 'Disable Anti-Adblock' tools that, in combination with the ad blocker, ultimately remove the advertising. In this area, there is currently an arms race between ad blockers and the advertising industry.


Better usability of websites

The direct benefit of an ad blocker for the user lies in a website display free of distracting advertising. In addition, the page load is accelerated and fewer resources are used, which is reflected, for example, in longer battery runtimes. If the transmission of advertising is already prevented, there is also a capacity saving in Internet traffic - after all, the Internet user actually pays for the transport of the advertising to himself.


If the advertising content is prevented before loading, ad blockers can also prevent the automatic collection of visitor data by advertising companies and other parties and thus contribute to data protection . The latter point is particularly important, since advertising revenue can only be increased by either selling more advertising space or by analyzing visitor data to enable more targeted and thus more expensive advertising. Ad blockers can thus help to break the vicious circle of more and more thorough research of website visitors.

Protection against malicious software

Ad blockers can also protect the user from harmful software ( malware ), as website operators often do not have the resources to thoroughly check advertising banners for their content and functionality. The so-called "malvertising" offers the attacker the advantage that he does not have to bring the website that serves as the carrier under his control. In March 2016, for example, it became known that the websites of the BBC and the New York Times were transmitting a blackmail Trojan in this way .


Decreased web service provider revenues and countermeasures development

The disadvantage of ad-financed services is that ad blockers can deprive them of significant income. The proportion and extent of the loss is difficult to quantify. However, there is a charge that online media are being threatened existentially by ad blockers. Various campaigns by online media against ad blockers provide an indication of the not inconsiderable extent of damage. In October 2015, became known for blocking all offers on its website for Adblock users, whereupon the publisher took legal action against people who distributed instructions on how to bypass the block. In addition, the Axel Springer Verlag has obtained an injunction against the Eyeo company , which offers "Adblock Plus". However, it was about the allegation of unfair competition . Springer had accused Eyeo of exempting commercial website operators from ad blocking for a sum of money if they only show "acceptable advertising". Ad blockers, which block all advertising, were not part of this procedure. In August 2017, a judgment by the Munich Higher Regional Court recognized that Eyeo's business model was not unlawful; the paid whitelisting does not violate the provisions of copyright or antitrust law.

Publishing self-determination is hindered

Furthermore, an ad blocker unbundles the medium into its editorial and advertising parts, whereupon the publisher loses control over how this medium is perceived. One response to this is that the functioning of the web is anyway different from that of a newspaper or TV show: Depending on plug-ins , activated JavaScript and other factors, browsers interpret the data supplied and combine them into a website . In any case, there is no certainty about which data the browser is displaying - and which it is discarding.

To counter this fact, publishers can offer their content in a suitable, non-unbundling format - for example as PDF files or via their own app .

Development of new services is hindered

Financing through advertising enables small providers and start-ups in particular to do without payment options such as credit cards and bank accounts for the time being, and still open up new markets with an innovative service. For example, it is possible to profitably develop and market a new browser game without having to run complex, international customer management.

Desired content is also filtered

Ad blockers can also filter out content that is not advertising. The visitor does not notice this, but the homepage does not have the full scope of content and functions for him. However, it depends on the web browser used and the installed plug-ins which content and functions are available on a website - for example, the text-based browser Lynx will not display any advertising graphics from the start.


Add-ons and plug-ins

Well-known ad blockers are for example AdBlock , Adblock Plus , uBlock Origin (all add-ons for web browsers like Firefox, Chrome or Opera) or Proxomitron ; Privoxy is also suitable for filtering and modifying websites, especially on central computers.

Greasemonkey is suitable for modifying individual, frequently visited pages in order to remove fields that remain empty and which have previously been advertising banners (such as the Yahoo webmailer ).

Ghostery is a tool that prevents the tracking of Internet users. This indirectly helps against Internet advertising, since profitable Internet advertising is based on the most precise knowledge possible of the website visitors. Provided appropriate filter lists such as EasyPrivacy, protection comparable to Ghostery can also be achieved using common ad blockers (in the case of uBlock Origin, for example, this is already the case in the default settings).

The Privacy Badger browser extension logs which external domains a website opens in the background. If an external domain is used by several Internet pages, it will be blocked or at least no more cookies will be allowed. Privacy Badger is supposed to achieve roughly the same goal as Ghostery. Since advertisements are usually downloaded from external domains, Privacy Badger also blocks a large part of Internet advertising.

Web browser

Since February 2018, Google Chrome has integrated an ad blocker that filters ads that do not comply with the guidelines of the industry association Coalition for Better Ads . These are particularly annoying advertising formats that are available on around 1 percent of the websites. Thus, the integrated ad blocker cannot be compared with ad blockers from other providers that filter any advertising.

The Brave browser has a built-in ad blocker which, however, replaces all advertising with "acceptable advertising" from its own advertising service. The browser users are to be compensated with 15% of the advertising income. However, Brave has met with criticism, and not just from advertisers.

Server-side solutions

Central advertising blockers can also be used to equip entire networks with all devices active in them and in all programs used on them. An example is pi-hole .

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Hanno Beck : Internet and Multimedia Applications, Heidelberg 2011, p. 251.
  2. ↑ Ad blocker: TV fairy 2.0 comes with Android - . ( [accessed November 7, 2018]).
  3. Hanno Beck: Internet and Multimedia Applications, Heidelberg 2011, p. 232.
  4. heise online: Ask news websites: turn off ad blockers. Retrieved on November 7, 2018 (German).
  5. heise online: Adblock Plus wins in court against ProSiebenSat1 and RTL. Retrieved on November 7, 2018 (German).
  6. Youtube-Kurzanleitung - Make pages completely ad-free with the Firefox advertising filter combination pack. May 30, 2015, accessed November 7, 2018 .
  7. Alex Hern: Major sites including New York Times and BBC hit by 'ransomware' malvertising. March 16, 2016, accessed November 7, 2018 .
  8. Adblock Plus: advertising marketers want to block adblockers - . ( [accessed November 7, 2018]).
  9. GULLI | come back! is coming home! ( Memento from July 20, 2014 in the web archive )
  10. heise online: Ask news websites: turn off ad blockers. Retrieved on November 7, 2018 (German).
  11. Adblocker block: Image threatens with all attempts to circumvent with warning - . ( [accessed November 7, 2018]).
  12. heise online: Axel Springer: preliminary injunction against Adblock Plus. Retrieved on November 7, 2018 (German).
  13. Adblock Plus: Munich Higher Regional Court declares ad blockers permissible. In: . August 17, 2017. Retrieved August 18, 2017 .
  14. Eike Kühl: Google's ad blocker wants to abolish ad blockers., February 7, 2018, accessed October 15, 2018 .
  15. Adblock for Chrome: Google activates its own advertising filter. t3n, February 15, 2018, accessed October 15, 2018 .