Many websites are silently deploying anti-ad blocking measures

Polycount

TS Evangelist
Staff member

Since ad blockers first surfaced on the Internet many years ago, there's been an ongoing struggle between users who find ads intrusive and webmasters who need them to keep their sites afloat.

Some website owners have given up the fight entirely and moved on to other means of monetization, including the implementation of "paywalls," subscriptions or affiliate links throughout their content.

However, other websites have chosen to fight back by implementing ad blocker detection into their websites. According to a study performed by the University of Iowa and UC Riverside, roughly 30.5 percent of the top 10,000 websites on the Internet use the technology in some form, though its purpose differs greatly from site to site.

Some publications use the tech for little more than the gathering of data or the occasional polite pop-up that asks users to turn off their ad blocker. Others take it a step further and implement more subtle anti-ad blocking measures. These can include "bait" content engineered to trigger ad blockers, allowing a site to silently re-deploy ads and effectively avoid detection from most modern ad blockers.

Though these measures have seen increased adoption recently, the battle between ad providers and ad blockers is far from over. The study details a number of ways that developers of ad blocking software can retaliate against the changes, one of which could involve rewriting their software's code to fool a website's anti-ad blocker detection into thinking there is no ad blocker in the first place.

The study notes that the Internet may soon find itself in the middle of a "technological battle" between ad blockers and ad providers as both sides continue to develop increasingly sophisticated detection and blocking systems.

Researchers claim ad blockers keeping pace with anti-ad blocking efforts will be "crucial" to preserving the security and privacy of safety-conscious Internet users, with the potential for further reform in the online advertising industry down the line... that is, if ad blockers can keep the pressure up.

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cliffordcooley

TS Redneck
The study notes that the Internet may soon find itself in the middle of a "technological battle" between ad blockers and ad providers as both sides continue to develop increasingly sophisticated detection and blocking systems.
I don't care. What these morons need to get in their pathetic heads is, I buy based on my needs not what I see plaguing my view on a monitor. Whether or not I see the ads is not what gets me to pay. If a site needs ad clicks they can take it up with whoever is paying them, I'm not the one doing it.
 

axiomatic13

TS Maniac
Block ads on your router. I use Untangle NG Firewall as my router, added all the ad domains and now ad's just show up as an empty white box in my browser. No ad block extension needed. Also sites with this ad bock detection tech do not give me the pop-up to ask me to whitelist. No annoyances. All win.
 

jobeard

TS Ambassador
For ages now I've been using the HOSTS file created by MVPS. I've found it manages both Ads and nefarious scripts by controlling access to Domain Names. One of the latest is coinhive dot com which loads crypto mining scripts.

The technology used here is to redirect *.nefarious.com references to your PC 127.0.0.1 which:
  • a) gives the browser a 404 if accessed
  • b) and speeds up your browser by not waiting for the junk to be loaded
Until recently, no CDN sites were impacted, but I have had to allow the following for techspot:
#127.0.0.1 cache.fimservecdn.com
#127.0.0.1 cdn.flashedmail.com
#127.0.0.1 cdn.gigya.com
#127.0.0.1 cdn.gumgum.com
#127.0.0.1 cdn.mochiads.com
#127.0.0.1 e1.cdn.qnsr.com
#127.0.0.1 l1.cdn.qnsr.com
#127.0.0.1 cdn.advertserve.com
#127.0.0.1 cdn5.specificclick.net
#127.0.0.1 cdn1.eyewonder.com
#127.0.0.1 cdn1.smartadserver.com
#127.0.0.1 cdn.springboard.gorillanation.com
#127.0.0.1 cdn.triggertag.gorillanation.com
#127.0.0.1 cdn.optmd.com
#127.0.0.1 download.cdn.shareazaweb.com
#127.0.0.1 cdn.turn.com
#127.0.0.1 cdn1.adsdk.com
#127.0.0.1 cdn2.adsdk.com
#127.0.0.1 img-pcdn.adtech.de
#127.0.0.1 aka-cdn-ns.adtech.de
#127.0.0.1 aka-cdn.adtechus.com
#127.0.0.1 aka-cdn-ns.adtechus.com
#127.0.0.1 cdn.atwola.com
#127.0.0.1 images-cdn.azoogleads.com
#127.0.0.1 cdn-businessweek.com
#127.0.0.1 cdn-gamingahead.com
#127.0.0.1 cdn-justin.tv
#127.0.0.1 cdn-ovguide.com
#127.0.0.1 cdn-thestreet.com
#127.0.0.1 cdn-transworld.net
#127.0.0.1 cdn-veoh.com
# [Cdnetworks][AS36408][174.35.0.0 - 174.35.127.255]
#127.0.0.1 cdn1.adadvisor.net
#127.0.0.1 cdn.complexmedianetwork.com
#127.0.0.1 cdn2.ads.datinggold.com
#127.0.0.1 creative.ak.fbcdn.net
#127.0.0.1 rmcdn.2mdn.net
#127.0.0.1 rmcdn.f.2mdn.net
#127.0.0.1 motifcdn.doubleclick.net
#127.0.0.1 motifcdn2.doubleclick.net
#127.0.0.1 cdn.brsrvr.com
# [Net Access / Cdnetworks][AS8001][66.114.48.0 - 66.114.63.255]
#127.0.0.1 cdn.at.atwola.com
#127.0.0.1 cdn1.adbard.net
#127.0.0.1 cdn.amgdgt.com
#127.0.0.1 cdn.valueclick.net
#127.0.0.1 cdn.fastclick.net
#127.0.0.1 cdn.winsoftware.com
#127.0.0.1 download.cdn.drivecleaner.com
 

TadMSTR

TS Booster
Block ads on your router. I use Untangle NG Firewall as my router, added all the ad domains and now ad's just show up as an empty white box in my browser. No ad block extension needed. Also sites with this ad bock detection tech do not give me the pop-up to ask me to whitelist. No annoyances. All win.
Pi-Hole may be easier for most people. Runs on a Raspberry Pi but can also run on anything Ubuntu or Debian. Basically just a DNS server with blacklists for ad networks. Has a nice admin dashboard for managing blacklists and whitelists. Also shows you metrics of what is getting blocked.
 

yRaz

Nigerian Prince
Ads on websites have gotten so rediulous I just refuse to go to those sites anymore. To many websites have a click bait title and content that doesn't cover more than a paragraph but it's split over 12 pages each with multiple pop up full page ads.

If ads weren't so forced and predatory we wouldn't have looked to ad blocking. What was their response? More aggressive advertising followed by our response of more aggressive ad blocking. Make a site I want to use that I don't NEED ad blocking on. Whatever happened to banners to the side? Now many websites are unusable.


And now, once I see the message ad blocker detected, I hit the back button and go somewhere else.
 

war59312

TS Booster
What ads? ;)

Proxy (Privoxy) + AdGuard + ScriptSafe + Ghostery + uBlock Orgin + Privacy Badger + Tamermonkey = Ad FREE.

Everyone (every device on the network) is forced through the Privoxy and gets my ad blocking set up for "free".

I also black ads and malware, spyware, etc. via DNS using BIND 9 with https://pgl.yoyo.org/adservers/ and http://www.malwaredomains.com/

I also force Microsoft SmartScreen Filter and Google Safe Browsing on every device.

Easy way to test if Google Safe Browsing is working btw: https://testsafebrowsing.appspot.com/

I force the proxy (Privoxy) via my router which is running OpenWrt. Privoxy is running as a Transparent Proxy, see: http://blog.bodhizazen.net/linux/how-to-transparent-proxy/

And yes https traffic too on most devices by using a valid self-signed cert installed on most devices that allow SSL traffic to pass thru and then be filtered. Sadly I cant install the cert nor proxy on my TV for example. But at least it still gets DNS filtered which blocks 99% of the ads just by itself. Http traffic of course still gets filtered thanks to the transparent proxy, I was just talking about https traffic. Like Gmail, facebook, etc.

If running your own DNS is too much, then I highly recommend either Adguard DNS @ https://adguard.com/en/adguard-dns/overview.html or OpenDNS @ https://signup.opendns.com/homefree/

Hope the helps.
 
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wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
What ads? ;)

Proxy (Privoxy) + AdGuard + ScriptSafe + Ghostery + uBlock Orgin + Privacy Badger + Tamermonkey = Ad FREE.

Everyone (every device on the network) is forced through the Privoxy and gets my ad blocking set up for "free".

I also black ads and malware, spyware, etc. via DNS using BIND 9 with https://pgl.yoyo.org/adservers/ and http://www.malwaredomains.com/

I also force Microsoft SmartScreen Filter and Google Safe Browsing on every device.

Easy way to test if Google Safe Browsing is working btw: https://testsafebrowsing.appspot.com/

I force the proxy (Privoxy) via my router which is running OpenWrt. Privoxy is running as a Transparent Proxy, see: http://blog.bodhizazen.net/linux/how-to-transparent-proxy/

And yes https traffic too on most devices by using a valid self-signed cert installed on most devices that allow SSL traffic to pass thru and then be filtered. Sadly I cant install the cert nor proxy on my TV for example. But at least it still gets DNS filtered which blocks 99% of the ads just by itself. Http traffic of course still gets filtered thanks to the transparent proxy, I was just talking about https traffic. Like Gmail, facebook, etc.

If running your own DNS is too much, then I highly recommend either Adguard DNS @ https://adguard.com/en/adguard-dns/overview.html or OpenDNS @ https://signup.opendns.com/homefree/

Hope the helps.
Interesting. I'll be looking into your suggestions since I run a separate Linux PC as router, firewall, and DNS for my home network. Thanks for the tip.
 
J

Jibberish18

I use ad guard and ad blocker plus and ghostery's and firefox normal popup blocker and it works very well
Geez man. You're not worried about them eating up a ton of resources? Couldn't UBlock Origin just replace all of those?
 

wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
The study notes that the Internet may soon find itself in the middle of a "technological battle" between ad blockers and ad providers as both sides continue to develop increasingly sophisticated detection and blocking systems.
I don't care. What these morons need to get in their pathetic heads is, I buy based on my needs not what I see plaguing my view on a monitor. Whether or not I see the ads is not what gets me to pay. If a site needs ad clicks they can take it up with whoever is paying them, I'm not the one doing it.
It has been pretty much proven in the past through multiple studies that TV advertising, which, as I see it, is very similar in style to internet advertising, does not work. A quick search will reveal this. Unfortunately, those that depend on advertising revenue for survival either do not realize or refuse to believe this - regardless of the delivery medium, I.e., TV, internet, etc.

What may be even worse is that advertisers do not realize this, or do not want to face the fact that advertising does not work, so we get perpetual advertising attempting to create a market for products that we do not need or care to buy. I find it amazing that I see TV ads for the latest greatest smart phone that attempt to make it look sexy and by doing so, expect that people will buy it.

The thing is, if advertisers faced the reality that most advertising does not work, it would cause quite a bit of chaos - not that I care.

I wholeheartedly agree. I will not buy based on an ad. If I am in the market for something, I research it heavily and make a decision based on my research. And my research does not include advertising since many marketing departments cannot be trusted, IMO, to make reasonable claims about their products.
 

Namtrooper

TS Enthusiast
Block ads on your router. I use Untangle NG Firewall as my router, added all the ad domains and now ad's just show up as an empty white box in my browser. No ad block extension needed. Also sites with this ad bock detection tech do not give me the pop-up to ask me to whitelist. No annoyances. All win.
Mind sending me your list? As I am running untangle for home as well.
 

Cubi Dorf

TS Booster
I think most people ok with ads on web page. I am. But not ok with the tracking that is associated with it. Ad blocking is over reaction to trackers (ad block makes the tracking useless). I happy if web company get paid for the good work. but not if the payment is for selling the privacy.
 
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cliffordcooley

TS Redneck
I think most people ok with ads on web page.
That's partially due to the fact they don't know any different. I was that person for a long time.

I might would be fine with ads, if there were half as many. And they didn't fly out in your face or start playing sound. I was willing to deal with them until they became an annoyance. Now that I've had a taste without them, I don't want them back at all. I would hang up my coat and never browse again before turning off my Adblock.
 
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D

DavidBailey

I use AdBlock + & the native AdBlock for Opera.
If a site refuses access because I use ad-blocking measures I just don't visit that site in the future.
No ads here---

 

Progamer

TS Rookie
I use armorfly browser on my cell. It blocks ads and pop ups. I use brave on laptop also blocks ads and pop ups
 

BSim500

TS Evangelist
As others have said above, a lot of this effort is on the wrong side of the war. People who tend to use adblockers are the ones who don't "click-through" / impulse-buy no matter what. And the kind of people who do, don't use adblockers, so trying to force ads to those least responsive is naturally backward by design vs how marketing is supposed to work. The most effective adverts are the ones I ask for ("Items on your wishlist are on sale", "New game releases this week" opt-in alert emails).

Anti-adblock features which rely on yet another script being loaded slow down the web even further for everyone, and ad-blockers will respond with counter-anti-adblock features / drive people to use "The Nuclear Option" (NoScript + whitelist) which amusingly blocks client-side scripts designed to detect ad-blocking. Server side detection (usually based on the server monitoring "If this IP address hasn't also accessed the related advert files within 5 seconds of grabbing the main content, then Adblock = 1") relies on detecting adblockers not loading the ad files and can be fooled by adblockers going back to the "pretend to load then hide" method. All this does though is increases wasted bandwidth and page load times for everyone because the person in question won't be seeing the ads either way. A router block list / "PiHole" is another option.

The real absurdity of "surely ads aren't that bad" is this link:-

https://www.raymond.cc/blog/10-ad-blocking-extensions-tested-for-best-performance/

Page load time increases over base content due to ads:-

- Airliners.net = +443% Bloat (8.7s No-Adblock vs 1.6s UBlock Origin)

- Moviemistakes.com = +392% bloat (12.3s No-Adblock vs 2.5s uBlock Origin)

- Sourceforge.net = +266% bloat (5.5s No-Adblock vs 1.5s uBlock Origin)

- Tomshardware.com = +400% bloat. (22.2s No-Adblock vs 4.4s uBlock Origin)

^ Literally, 70-80% of what the CPU spends time on rendering modern web pages are adverts or tracking scripts (even if the ads themselves are "unobtrusive"). Just like the fallout (ad-skipping PVR's) from TV advert breaks increasing from 1-2 min decades ago to 5-8mins today - it's ironically the advertising industry's "saturation" and marketing industry's obsession with "Total Information Awareness" (and zero sense of self-awareness in knowing when to stop), that's the bottom line that created this stuff in the first place...
 

captaincranky

TechSpot Addict

captaincranky

TechSpot Addict
....[ ....I might would be fine with ads, if there were half as many. And they didn't fly out in your face or start playing sound. I was willing to deal with them until they became an annoyance. Now that I've had a taste without them, I don't want them back at all. I would hang up my coat and never browse again before turning off my Adblock.
The "ad wars" officially began in earnest, with the introduction of the television into the American home. I can vividly remember my grandparents complaining aggressively, whenever the TV shows would go to commercial. "Those ads are so darned loud, turn that darned TV down"

Analog TV used FM for the picture, and AM for the sound (IIRC). So the FCC fixed power output of the AM carrier wave (*) for commercial networks. (Let's call that "bandwidth" in geek jargon).

However, AM (amplitude modulation), varies the width of the signal when the sound signal is added (modulated onto the carrier), and you can push the transmitter output past the legal limit, if the modulation signal goes over 100%. But yet the commercials still seemed so much louder than the shows. How the heck did they do that? (Stay tuned, we'll be right back)..........:(

Well, through the use of compressor/ limiters. The limiting function prevents signal width / power to go past the legal limit, while the compressor function, drags the quietest parts of the audio source up the the same level as the loudest, and there you go, getting your point across big time! :eek:

(*) For AM radio stations, the final amplifier was limited to 50,000 watts, and all the radio station that people wanted to listen to, were transmitting at that 50 Kw, and letting you know about it every 10 minutes or so.
 
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p51d007

TS Evangelist
If ALL sites, were PASSIVE with their ads, I would never use an ad blocker, but when you go to a website,
start reading and scrolling down, and 30-45 seconds later a video ad launches with VERY LOUD sound and it makes you jump out of your chair, then have to scroll back up to find it, to turn it off, THAT is the reason I use multiple ad blockers!
 
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