I’ve been very tolerant of internet advertising over the years. I understand how ads promote the free web, and I’ve trained my eye to avoid all blurbs on the right. Lately, I’ve found internet advertising to be even more distracting than usual. Facebook’s timeline sandwiches ads for mystery weight loss fruit in between the posts of my friends. And, I am increasing disturbed by tailored ads. Clearly the information I’ve input has led the web to believe that I should get a master’s degree in IT security and buy more shoes. While there are strategies for protecting my privacy, I’ve found an easier solution to my dislike of ads.
Adblock Plus. Moments after I downloaded Adblock Plus as a Firefox extension, the ads went poof. I see an icon in the bottom, left corner of my screen reminding me of the software that is making this white-space possible. From this icon, I can adjust preferences and enable and disable blocking features with ease. (Internet shoppers may have to enable ads on select pages to be able to see pictures of items for sale.) You can opt to block all ads, or just those that are deemed “bad” based on posted review guidelines.
Adblock Plus is conveniently available on numerous devices. The web browsers Chrome and Opera join Firefox to freely offer Adblock Plus as an extension. It is also free at the App Store for iOS devices. Interestingly, as of March, the product is no longer available from Google play for Android devices. PC Mag shares a sideload method, however, from its Security Watch page at http://securitywatch.pcmag.com/security/309241-how-to-block-ads-on-android.
Some criticize Adblock Plus and other ad blockers for slowing down browsers, especially for users with multiple add-ons. I haven’t experienced this slow down, but it’s a caution for those that have a need for speed.