Wow. That was easy. I just got rid of all the ads on the internet.


Guardian homepage with ads

Guardian homepage with ads


Guardian homepage without ads

All within 20 seconds of installing the Chrome extension AdBlock which is apparently now “The #1 most downloaded extension for Google Chrome and Safari”. reported that over a fifth of internet users are using some form of adblocking and that this number is growing by almost 50% a year. It quotes from a study by breaking the numbers down by online sector and browser type showing that, perhaps unsurprisingly, Internet Explorer users looking at travel sites are the least likely to block your ads.

AdBlock is only copying the functionality that is now native to the Firefox browser and is only one of many such tools that can block everything from Google AdSense to YouTube and most standard ad servers in between. The recent publicity surrounding the launch of the crowd-funded gizmo AdTrap which plugs into the network blocking ads to every device connected to it shows that ad blocking is certainly flavour of the month and probably here to stay.

The AdBlock extension is exactly what I was looking for in order to limit the amount advertising my kids are exposed to when browsing but it is hard not to adopt it for yourself. It really calls into question the sustainability of the current online publishing model and will no doubt force more quality publishers to install paywalls and may drive low-quality content off the web if it cannot find other ways to generate cash.

It certainly reinforces the growing consensus that Brands need to develop compelling user experiences through the services they provide and the content they produce in order to make their mark on consumers instead of relying on paid media to convey messages that are increasingly being obscured.