Blocking Firefox – N00b Response to AdBlock
Many people have seen the Digg article on blocking Firefox in response to Adblock, which blocks inline ads and shows the webpage like the ads never existed. The owner of this site argues that it is stealing because the ads are what pays for and maintains the site. While that may or may not be true, blocking all Firefox users is a bad response to this “issue” that a select number of people have made of it.
First, I don’t understand that the owner of whyfirefoxisblocked.com thinks that Mozilla is responsible for the extension and actually encourages people to contact Mozilla about it. Here’s the reality to that false statement, taken from Mozilla’s site:
“Mozilla is providing links to these applications as a courtesy, and makes no representations regarding the applications or any information related there to. Any questions, complaints or claims regarding the applications must be directed to the appropriate software vendor.”
The owner of whyfirefoxisblocked.com carelessly states that Mozilla is responsible, which Mozilla states they are not on the extension page itself.
Why Blocking Firefox Doesn’t Work
Let me start of my reasoning with two major flaws that applies to most every type of filter – honest people are offended by it, and the target people get around it. In this case somebody using Firefox without Adblock will not get the right to use their browser on the sites they want, and the people that do use Adblock can easily get around the filter by changing their user agent. That in inself is reason enough not to block all traffic from that browser.
Also, the people all for blocking FF apparently did not notice that Adblock Pro is available for MS Internet Explorer as well.
I was blocked! What can I do now?
If you were blocked just from using Firefox, don’t worry, they can’t really keep you out. The first thing you need to do is download the User Agent Switcher. Then, after restarting your browser, click on Tools > User Agent Switcher > Internet Explorer (or other browser if you wish). That’s it, you’re in!
If you want to make it more interesting, I suggest you get more creative with your user agent when browsing these specific sites. Change your user agent to say something like “IUseABP_YouCantBlockMe”, or maybe link to this article or others that are out there. Be creative and let these site owners know that they can’t block us!
If ads are blocked on my site, how am I supposed to pay the expenses?
Well there are a couple of methods to either getting your ads noticed or earning revenue some other way.
- Kindly ask people to disable it on your site, and only use non-intrusive ads.
Pretty much the only ads I don’t mind seeing are Google’s text ads. They are non-intrusive and are relevant to the page. If you, the site owner, assure me that your ads aren’t annoying, I will disable it for your site. The reason I have Adblock running is because I’m tired of seeing banners like the one I posted below. This is my textbook example of “annoying”.
- Have paid sponsors and list them as normal links or images.
Adblock shouldn’t block them as it can’t tell the difference between those and normal links. Plus, it’s probably better for you to take out the middle man and offer ad space yourself. PracticeBoard is one example, and their ads aren’t even blocked on my browser.
- Have a donation button, and say something like “Since you see no ads, how about $5 for the useful information?”
I pay sites like wunderground.com $10 a year to not show the ads even though I know AdBlock blocks them anyway. I understand they have to eat, too.
So to sum this all up…
Blocking Firefox is fruitless because 1) not all Firefox users use Adblock, and 2) not all Adblock users use Firefox. By blocking Firefox, you show that you don’t know how to design a website that is appealing to your visitors the way it is. I suggest that you, the site owner, take another hard look at your website and take some tips mentioned above in making your ads more appealing and less intrusive.
I should also note that a rumor is going around that the site was hacked. Although it would be funny, the original site (whyfirefoxisblocked.com) is alive and well. People were just confusing it with a similar domain, whyisfirefoxblocked.com.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 21st, 2007 at 10:31 am and is filed under Entrepreneurial, Internet. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.