AdBlock, one of the most widely used browser extensions, allows users to block the majority of online advertisements. This free (and legal) extension has been downloaded tens of millions of times. On its website, AdBlock estimates the number of users at over 80 million. Last month, it launched a crowdfunding campaign that asks users to help spread the word about AdBlock by donating money for an advertising campaign.
Supporters of the campaign will receive prizes based on their donation. Some of the prizes include a t-shirt and a special chat with Michael Gundlach, the founder of AdBlock. The campaign has already hit its initial goal of $25,000 and its first stretch goal of $50,000 (buying a Times Square billboard). The next stretch goal, at $150,000, is a full page spread in the New York Times. Contributors will be given the ability to submit and vote on the final ad images and videos.
According to AdBlock, 7 out of 10 Internet users still see ads. Their goal, according to their crowdfunding site,
“is to use ads to get rid of ads. We will use the money raised to make AdBlock banner ads and video commercials, and we will show these across the internet to people who don’t have AdBlock. If we raise enough, we will implement our craziest advertising ideas and capture the whole world’s imagination.”
I use AdBlock, and for me, the best feature is being able to skip ads that delay my browsing or video viewing experience. For example, those pre-roll ads you have to sit through on YouTube really add up! AdBlock harms advertisers and websites that rely on ad money to run. I run a YouTube channel, and I know that AdBlock affects the number of people who see the ads that I run on my videos.
Many people love AdBlock, but others believe it does more harm than good. I’m not pro or anti-AdBlock, but I do know one thing – If AdBlock becomes disruptive enough, major advertisers will react en masse and try to find ways to circumvent it. If advertisers are able to find new ways to display ads then someone else in the world will develop a new ad blocking technology to block the new ads. It’s a never-ending cycle.