March 15, 2004

Blocking Flash

I have just discovered this awesome extension of FireFox called adblock, which is filling a gap I have been complaining about for a long time now.  Blocking images coming from a particular server is already a very useful feature, but as you may have noticed, Flash ads are slowly becoming the norm in advertisement, and unfortunately, FireFox (or Mozilla) doesn't let you block them.

Nor does it allow you to add Web sites manually to the "blocked" lists, so the only solution is to view the source, locate the URL of the ad (not always easy) and alias it to "localhost" in your hosts file.

These days are gone.  adblock does all this and will let you specify any arbitrary filter on the URI you want.  No more unwanted animated GIF's or Flash.

The Web the way it's supposed to be.


Posted by cedric at March 15, 2004 07:58 AM

Salut Cedric,

adblock ne serait-il pas un crack qui permet de profiter d'un logiciel sans payer sa licence ?

Ceci me laisse penser, que nous allons bientot voir apparaitre des sites qui interdiront de supprimer la pub sous peine de poursuites ;-).


Posted by: didier at March 15, 2004 09:04 AM

Cedric, didier is acrually right. You better keep nice adblock quietly and enjoy it for yourself only (like all we do already for months ;-)).

Posted by: eu at March 15, 2004 10:34 AM

I have no idea what you guys are talking about. adblock simply blocks Flash ads from Web pages, what does this have to do with using software without a license?

If you are talking about software that embeds the IE renderer and are free but come with adware, this is a totally different story. It's also completely irrelevant since adblock only works for Mozilla, so it only applies to the browser.

Posted by: Cedric at March 15, 2004 10:36 AM

I think if you're visiting a website and blocking its ads, you are stealing its content and you don't deserve to view the site.

Posted by: Keith Lea at March 15, 2004 10:46 AM

Ah, I see. This is an interesting concept.

So I am breaking the law if I fast-forward ads when watching a show on my VCR?

And I suppose owning a TiVo makes me criminal as well.

Posted by: Cedric at March 15, 2004 10:58 AM

Hey, if you're calling me a criminal, then where's the part in the EULA of those ad-ridden websites that state that I should not use the website with a text browser?

I can see blind people being called criminals, too, after all, they don't see the ads, and most of the text readers has lots of "skip junk" features. What's next?

Posted by: Carlos Villela at March 15, 2004 11:22 AM

I didn't call you a criminal and I didn't say you were breaking the law, if you're going to respond to me I think you should respond to what I actually said.

How do you think the sites you visit should pay for the hosting they need to provide that free content for you? I don't think most people, maybe including yourself, would pay money to visit a single website. I don't like ads probably as much as you don't, but I think it's unethical to block them.

Posted by: Keith Lea at March 15, 2004 01:34 PM

I don't block the vast majority of ads.

But pop-(up|under|whatever) ads are taken care of by firefox. Large obnoxious flash ads are taken care of by click-to-play.

Basically, if the site has nice, relevant ads (i.e. google text ads) or discreet non-annoying ones. Then I see them.

Otherwise I take their content, see no ads & rarely return.

Posted by: Koz at March 15, 2004 04:10 PM

Alternative solution: Don't install the Flash plug-in.

Many benefits, two examples of which are: 1) no Flash ads, 2) impossible to waste countless hours playing stupid Flash games. ;)

Posted by: Joe Duffy at March 15, 2004 06:07 PM

Another solution : nVidia provide ad-blocker in new nView :)

Posted by: Denis at March 16, 2004 12:46 AM

There is a perfect browser based on IE core named MyIE2, check it out, you will love it.

Posted by: pawa at March 16, 2004 01:25 AM

For more discerning treatment of Flash, use the Flash Click To Play plugin as well. That way when you find a necessary flash embed (some sites do have them unfortunately) you can still get at it.

Posted by: Chris Harris at March 16, 2004 01:29 AM

Check out Privoxy at http:\\

It's an open source, stand-alone proxy server that blocks ads, flash, pop-ups and tracker cookies for any browser.

I haven't used adblock in awhile but last I knew it still downloaded the content it just didn't display it. Privoxy doesn't download the stuff it blocks.

Posted by: at March 17, 2004 08:11 AM

Keith said:

> I didn't call you a criminal and I didn't say you were breaking the law, ...

And also said:

> I think if you're visiting a website and blocking its ads, you are stealing its content and you don't deserve to view the site.

So you said he's stealing, but you DIDN'T say he's breaking the law. Interesting, subtle, and meaningless.

Posted by: Mike C at March 31, 2004 06:47 PM

The basis of ethics is this: are my actions harming someone else (or even just annoying them). If so, my actions are unethical. I fail to see how blocking ads when I view a website is harming anyone. The person who owns the site is still getting paid by the advertiser and is still getting credit for a page view. There's no way for the advertiser to know that I didn't look at the ad. There isn't even any way for the owner of the site to know whether or not I looked at the ad--my browser downloaded it, that's all they know. To other people my actions are opaque. I'm the only one affected by my actions in this case, therefore my actions are not unethical. Legality is a separate issue but I will personally always choose ethical action over legal action.

Posted by: Brad at May 7, 2004 09:22 AM

Brad you are so right.

If decisions are justified based on whether something is legal rather than moral, you have already entered the first circle of hell.

Posted by: derick at May 11, 2004 08:56 PM

Found your site from another blog and wanted to see where I could find more info

Posted by: pop ups at August 6, 2004 01:39 PM

I happen to agree; this is one of the more welcome Firefox extensions to surface. As for 'stealing content'... to use television as an analogy, how many of us actually sit through the commercials (as opposed to taking advantage of them to get snacks, tap a kidney, etc.)? The advertisers are paying for the exposure - not a guarantee that people will watch ads - so saying that people who tune out ads in whatever manner are thieves is ridiculous and insulting.

Posted by: Firefly at January 28, 2005 10:46 AM
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