Popular web browser add-on AdBlock Plus will stop blocking all “non-intrusive” advertisements by default, the company reaffirmed today — despite large backlash from large online communities like Reddit and Hacker News.
AdBlock Plus is among the most downloaded add-ons for Google’s Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox browsers. It works by scanning each website visited and blocking out all the content from ad servers, traffic counters, auto loading survey widgets and more. Until now, the tool didn’t take into consideration how intrusive each piece of blocked advertising or marketing was.
The latest version of the add-on, released last week, lists non intrusive advertisers under a whitelist of acceptable sources, thus allowing them to appear when you browse the Internet. This setting can be toggled off, but will turned on by default, according to the developers.
“By doing this you support websites that rely on advertising but choose to do it in a non-intrusive way. And you give these websites an advantage over their competition which encourages other websites to use non-intrusive advertising as well,” said AdBlock Plus developer Wladimir Palant in the blog post. “In the long term the web will become a better place for everybody, not only Adblock Plus users. Without this feature we run the danger that increasing Adblock Plus usage will make small websites unsustainable.”
So, what exactly constitutes as a “non-intrusive” advertisement? Well, static ads without animation, sound or video are acceptable. The advertiser also has to support Do Not Track, which allows individuals to control what information they allow others to collect about their traffic usage. The AdBlock team said it was working with larger advertising firms to ensure their advertisements met the criteria for getting included on the “non-intrusive” whitelist.
The AdBlock widget grew out of a desire to push back against big advertisers that didn’t care how intrusive or unpleasant their ad and marketing campaigns were to users. Because of its popularity, it now has clout against those big ad firms, which is nothing short of amazing.