THE BIG IDEA: How Ad Agencies Bypass Blockers



You know when I surf the web, I hate—hate—hate those intrusive ads that make the page load slowly. That’s all they really accomplish with me. I’ve installed ad blockers on both my browsers, on both my computers, and even on my iPhone. So, yes, I get the last laugh in this annoying battle for my attention and my dollars; and I’m not alone. More and more people are doing this, and in turn cutting down on ad revenue for companies that basically depend on online audiences.

E-commerce online shopping or delivery concept. Home appliance in shopping cart on the laptop keyboard. 3dAd agencies and corporate entities are not happy about this. Not happy at all. So developers are actively trying to bypass the ad blockers. Is that possible?

Yes. Yes, it is.

There are “content delivery services” online that are actually “ad delivery service” utilizing technology which disguises third-party network requests as first-party network requests. What that means is your browser, designed to only accept a cookie from the browser and not a cookie from a third party, are fooled by software into thinking the incoming cookie is coming in from the website you are on. This is how ad agencies are bypassing the security model that the browsers have set up.

This does not mean that those developers offering new and improved ad blockers. In response to these tricky bypass systems, uBlock Origin – a content blocker – updated their software and modified their codes so that content delivery services could not get around it.

Welcome to the constant cat-and-mouse game going back and forth. Ad blocking technology first became an issue for websites when Apple introduced support for Content Blocking with an official API in the Safari browser. It made ad blocking very easy on the iPhone. This does not mean that all online vendors are willing to block ads. Facebook gets 80% of its revenue from mobile traffic, and are working constantly to work around ad blockers. Some tactics include special JavaScipt code that bypasses all content blocking, detecting when an ad is blocked. The JavaScript, all in the background, fully recreates that add and communicates its information to the servers, resubmitting it in a different way to get by the ad blocker.

There is another solution that not many agencies or vendors have cared to explore: cleaning up ads. The ads are far too intrusive. They download slowly. They prevent you from seeing the content you really want to see, and on mobile devices totally destroy the browsing environment. Mobile advertising as it stands presently deserves to be blocked. If advertisers devised a better, less intrusive way to market their wares, because I get it – you have to pay to keep the lights on – then maybe we can all get along; and there are some good ideas out there, developers trying to find a happy medium. Some ad blockers will whitelist ads that meet specific specs agreed upon by both the receiving and sending end of the ads.

It’s not the advertising I mind seeing because, being a business owner myself, I understand why they are there. I don’t mind, so long as an ad loads quickly and doesn’t destroy my viewing experience. I do think legitimate websites that create valuable, relevant content thanks to experienced, professional writers, actually deserve ad revenue.

Just don’t stymie my online experience. That’s just bad all around.




shurtz.jpgA research physicist who has become an entrepreneur and educational leader, and an expert on competency-based education, critical thinking in the classroom, curriculum development, and education management, Dr. Richard Shurtz is the president and chief executive officer of Stratford University. He has published over 30 technical publications, holds 15 patents, and is host of the weekly radio show, Tech Talk. A noted expert on competency-based education, Dr. Shurtz has conducted numerous workshops and seminars for educators in Jamaica, Egypt, India, and China, and has established academic partnerships in China, India, Sri Lanka, Kurdistan, Malaysia, and Canada.