How to Remove Advertisements from Websites

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Google Adsense is a program is run by Google. The program allows the publishers around the Google network of content sites to offer automatic text, video, images, advertisements to name a few. All of this is directly targetted towards the site content and the audience.

Web users divide online advertisements into two types:

  • Good advertisements: those which are available only to people who actively want to see them, like the classified ads in the old Yellow Pages.
  • Bad advertisements: those which are forced onto people’s computer monitors without permission.

Unsolicited Advertisements are Annoying

Surveys show that most web users very much dislike most types of unsolicited advertisements on websites. There are several reasons for this:

  • Unwanted advertisements are considered to be intrusive.
  • They can be difficult or impossible to skip past, especially on mobiles.
  • They are often unrelated to the material on the web page.
  • They can be a real nuisance if you have a slow internet connection or an old computer, or if you need to conserve your mobile phone’s battery.
  • In effect, they are a form of junk mail that the victim has to pay for, a particular problem for those on limited mobile internet tariffs.

The majority of print and television advertisements are also unwanted, but they are less strongly resisted than their online equivalents, perhaps because they are easier to ignore.

Where do bad ads come from?

“Bad ads” are a result of bad actors who are able to leverage programmatic resources and ad platforms to distribute their spammy or malicious advertisements across publisher properties worldwide. There are few sites on the web that don’t deal with this issue to one extent or another. It is a non-exclusive problem that all ad platforms and providers deal with.
You’re probably wondering, what’s the incentive behind these ads? Well, it’s a simple arbitrage game for most of the bad actors. They can hack or take advantage of platform settings to distribute their ads across the web for a short period of time for a low-cost. This enables them to make a profit off of the installation of their malware or conversions from their spam.

It ends up being a pretty crummy game of numbers for these scammers. Unfortunately, the nature of how self-serve ad platforms, programmatic advertising — and ultimately digital advertising — operates makes it nearly impossible to close-off the ecosystem completely to these types of strategies.

Advertisements are Easy to Eliminate

Just like other browsers, Chrome is prone to annoying ads or pop-up windows – many of the ads are actually from Google, placed through its advertising networks. If you want to get more work done with the Chrome browser, install an ad-blocking add-on or application to stop ads on Chrome. In some cases, you may want to enable ads on a particular website, which most ad-blocking software will support. Make sure to only install an adblocking extension you trust to block ads on websites with Google Chrome, since it may have access to your personal data as you navigate the Web.

1. Stop Ads on Web Pages

Advertisements on the Web can be annoying, monitor your online behavior and even at times spread malware. Many people install adblocking software to eliminate ads and tracking code, making their browsing experiences faster and more pleasant

Some websites will ask you or require you to either pay for a subscription or disable adblocking tools on their sites. If you encounter such a site, you can usually click the extension’s logo in the Chrome extensions tray to quickly toggle the software off for that particular page.

If a site is loading strangely with adblocking software installed, you can try disabling it to see if that solves the problem.

2. Installing AdBlock on Chrome

Launch Google Chrome

Launch Google Chrome and click the icon with three dots in the upper right-hand corner of the browser window. In the drop-down list, click “More Tools,” then “Extensions” to open a new Extensions tab.

Search and Add the Extension

Click the settings button and then the link in the Extensions tab to open the Chrome Web Store page. Type “AdBlock” in the “Search the Store” text box and press “Enter.” Click the “Add to Chrome” button next to the “AdBlock” label after the search results page appears in the browser window.

Confirm the Installation

Click the “Add” button when the Confirm New Extension window appears. Wait a few seconds for Chrome to download and install the AdBlock extension. You’ll be prompted to make a donation if you wish to the creators of AdBlock. Restart Chrome. AdBlock prevents ads from displaying in the browser and disables pop-up windows with advertisements.

3. Installing Adblock Plus

Find the Extension

Open Chrome and click the icon with three dots in the upper right corner of the screen. Click “Tools,” then “Extensions” on the drop-down list. Click the settings button and then the link in the Extensions tab to open the Chrome Web Store page. Type “AdBlock” in the “Search the Store” text box and press “Enter.”

Add It to Chrome

Scroll down through the search results, and then click the “Add to Chrome” button next to the Adblock Plus extension label. Click the “Add” button in the new Confirm the Extension window that appears. Wait for Chrome to download the Adblock Plus extension and install it in your browser. Close Chrome and restart the program to enable Adblock Plus blocking features that disable most advertisements and pop-up windows.

4. Eliminate the Source: Use an Adblocker

Most advertisements are hosted on web servers other than the servers on which the web pages themselves are hosted. You can prevent these web servers sending their advertisements to your computer by using adblock software.

(Technical note: adblockers actually make use of the difference between domains, not servers. For example, a web page from the domain www.theguardian.com might include adverts from the domain www.some–advertising–company.com. An adblocker will block files from the advertiser’s domain while allowing files from the domain of the web page you are visiting.)

Adblockers Give You a Choice

It’s worth pointing out that all decent ad–blocking software will allow the user to tweak the settings, usually with just a couple of clicks, in order to permit adverts on specified websites. If you are not bothered by unobtrusive adverts, you may want to allow adverts by default and only block those you find annoying. If you want to support a particular website, you will be able to disable adblocking for that website.

Adblockers are more Popular than Advertisements

More and more people are choosing a largely advert–free web, according to a variety of surveys:

  • The use of adblockers on mobile phones in the UK increased from 16% in 2014 to 38% in 2018.
  • Overall, the use of adblockers increased by 30% in 2016.
  • According to the New York Times in 2017, the use of adblockers “in countries like Indonesia has already reached roughly two–thirds of the internet population.”
  • Around 40% of laptop users in the USA browse the web using an adblocker, although the same survey shows that only 15% of US mobiles benefitted from an adblocker. From the same New York Times report: “In the U.S., ad–blocking on mobile is slightly immature … but there’s no doubt that people’s use of it will skyrocket.”

Most of the people who do not yet use an adblocker are probably unaware of their existence (in 2017, only 63% of online Australians were aware of adblockers), or perhaps think that you need to be a technical genius to install one. In fact, you can install an adblocker with just a few clicks, and sometimes you don’t even need to do that.

Built–In Adblockers

Some web browsers have an adblocker built in:

  • Brave: find out more at https://brave.com/.
  • Maxthon: find out more at http://www.maxthon.com/.
  • Opera: find out more at https://www.opera.com/.

Other Adblockers

There are many other adblock add–ons, some of which are not what they seem. These three appear to be reliable and safe:

  • AdBlock Plus: works with all major browsers, including mobiles; easy to install on Safari; by default, it permits some unintrusive adverts, but this can be over–ridden. Download from https://adblockplus.org/.
  • Ghostery: available for pretty much all browsers; able to block trackers as well as advertisements. Download from https://www.ghostery.com/.
  • Simple Adblock: for Internet Explorer only. Download from http://simple–adblock.com/.

5. Disable the Mechanism: Use NoScript

Most advertisements are inserted onto web pages by JavaScript. NoScript allows the user to block JavaScript, as well as Java, Silverlight, and that greatly abused source of animated annoyances, Flash. NoScript is probably the most useful single addition to any web browser.

Download NoScript

NoScript is currently only available for:

  • Firefox and other Mozilla–based browsers, such as SeaMonkey: Download from https://addons.mozilla.org/en–GB/firefox/addon/noscript/.
  • Chrome and Chromium: Download from https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/noscript/doojmbjmlfjjnbmnoijecmcbfeoakpjm.
  • Tor: NoScript is included in the privacy–conscious Tor browser; see https://www.torproject.org/.

Security Benefits of NoScript

JavaScript and Flash do not just place advertisements in websites and thence onto visitors’ computers. They are also used to transmit malicious software. The use of NoScript and ad–blocking software will prevent a lot of nasty stuff ending up on your computer, and should be part of everyone’s internet security practices. For the majority of knowledgeable web users, NoScript in particular is more of a security tool than anything else.

If Adverts are Eliminated, Who Loses?

There are lots of pros, but very few cons:

  • Purveyors of malicious software will get fewer victims.
  • Some tech companies would go out of business if the number of people subjected to online advertisements were to be substantially reduced. 87% of Google’ annual revenue and around 96% of Facebook’s comes from selling web users’ data to online advertisers. Of course, not everyone would see this outcome as an entirely bad thing.
  • Advertisers will lose, but not by much. Unwanted, speculative advertisements have a much lower success rate online than in print or on television. The average click–through rate for display advertisements is less than half of one percent. In other words, fewer than one in two hundred website visitors will actually go to the bother of clicking an advert in order to visit the advertiser’s website. The main problem is not that the advertisements are not relevant to the page on which they appear, but that most of the people who see adverts don’t really see them; they are so accustomed to avoiding adverts that anything which looks remotely like an advert usually gets ignored.
  • Website owners who host advertisements won’t lose much either. The low click–through rates, combined with typical rewards of just a few pence or cents per click, mean that revenues for non–classified advertising are poor. Because intrusive advertising often causes visitors to leave a website, the widespread use of adblockers may well benefit the website’s owner by increasing the number of pages viewed on each visit. Any website containing genuinely informative material should be able to persuade its more dedicated and sympathetic visitors, the ones who are most likely to click on relevant and unobtrusive adverts, to disable their adblockers.

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