The Acceptable Ads Platform: A Dissection

AdBlock Plus made headlines today on the reveal of its new Acceptable Ads platform, wherein sites display ads that meet certain criteria for ad blocker users. As the leading voice of ad blockers, Eyeo making this move at this particular time seems like relention; the debate between ad publishers and ad blockers has reached a head this year, and, for better or worse, Eyeo’s been the go-to voice for our community in headlines and conferences. By stamping its name on an ad platform, it’s like they’re making a plea deal.

The real shocker here is the lack of user input. It doesn’t seem like anyone knew that this announcement was coming, and user reactions have reflected this. This isn’t a very popular move. Their stake in this platform has really made this surprise announcement garner as much vitriol (justifiably or not) as possible. When ad blocker users have still yet to have any cemented motives, the reactions to this move could be used to label them as unfair thieves. If there’s a mass migration away from Adblock Plus, what will the repercussions be?

Taken at face value, this is a company, at the expense of its user base, reversing its business plan to enter an industry with heavily established players (featuring the biggest company in the world) who are already looking to reform their advertisements. Tracker removal seems to be a major point for Eyeo, but as of now, they’ve made no statements about this network being able to stop malware intrusion. Malvertising has plagued both Google and Yahoo’s networks, and we’re skeptical to believe the Acceptable Ads program has the answers. The vetting process for these ads would need to be stringent on a level that would require significant resources to monitor were the platform to take off. This is irrelevant though, as advertisers would never sacrifice the clear advantages they have to join this network.

Of course, what this comes down to is the ramifications on a debate that’s still in its infancy. Is the change on the internet that we’re fighting for just about trackers and clickbait? Has it not evolved to villainy on the internet in general? Why are ad blockers now offering additional privacy and security services?

You can block ads, trackers, and more on your Android device by using AdClear, available for free from our website. We also recently released the AdClear Lite extension for Safari and Samsung Browser.

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In Blocking Ad Blockers, Facebook Misses the Point

A recent revelation has been online advertisers acknowledging public disapproval of their strategies. They’ve stated that they will need to make the ad experience rewarding for the consumer. They’ve also mentioned that it will take time to change things, yet they deride and punish ad blocker users with paywalls or content restriction. The usual suspects have been news sites or content aggregators, like Forbes or Wired. Now the big dogs are involved. Facebook is now claiming that their ads are unblockable.

Facebook has tried to make their ad experience less noticeable. For some time now, users have seen ads for companies whose pages a few friends like rather than one that relies solely on targeting, but it’s only putting lipstick on a pig. None of these ads are the revolutionary user-friendly experiences that advertisers have alluded to creating. In an ideal world where Facebook’s unblockable ads have permanence, this would only reset the bounds of the argument and allow users to once again become frustrated.

Google’s AMP initiative at least has a defined goal: to keep ads from harming loading speeds and revising how ads are served. This refreshing of online advertising still has yet to be defined, as Silicon Valley has the resources to wage a war of attrition against us and win, but they are competing against consumer attitudes rather than ad blockers. Consumers are aware of how morally corrupt online advertising is, so beating people over the head with uncompromised capitalism is only going to cause trouble.

In fact, ad blockers–both on home computers and mobile devices–have achieved symbiosis with the open source community. With many circumvention breakthroughs, what’s been good for the goose has been good for the gander. Ad blocking apps, plugins, and browsers are all guaranteed to make use of some type of open source tools. This is a peaceful environment for all involved, and from our experience, users have even felt inclined to help us out of good nature. Maybe the real battle is ideological; corporatism versus individualism.

Over the course of writing this article, Facebook’s ads have already been circumvented. We are making progress on a fix ourselves. Coming from us, it is always a game of chess with the biggest online platforms, and the ad blocking community will never face an insurmountable challenge. To take control over how you browse on your Android phone, download AdClear. It’s free, and it blocks encrypted ads, primarily used on major sites like Facebook. We also recently released the AdClear Lite extension for Safari and Samsung Browser.

For inquiries, contact:
Christian Sandlin
csandlin@seven.com

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China Could Ban Ad Blocking, and You Might Be at Risk.

#AdClear #AdBlocker #Android #China

There’s recently been some frightening news out of China about consumer rights. The Chinese government just published its new Internet Advertising Interim Measures, which seem to be a response to hacking campaigns. The HummingBad virus is particularly alarming because Yingmob, the hackers behind the virus, are actually a subsidiary of MIG Unmobi Technology Inc. Having access to considerable financial resources increases the power of hackers tenfold.

The new rules center around injecting legitimacy into the advertising model and keeping each party honest. If illegal advertising is creeping into the actual market, China should feel justified in putting its foot down for the sake of the world. HummingBad alone has stolen thousands of people’s identities and has the computing power to commit large acts of cyber terror.

Where does this concern ad blockers? Though the wording is vague, Article XVI can be interpreted as a ban on ad blockers, as it prohibits blocking (or otherwise stopping) another business’s legitimate ad. This could also be about malvertising, but the language may be broad in scope to cover both. This could spoil what was a decent set of rules to protect and empower consumers.

Despite all the nefarious activity, internet advertising in China is experiencing a golden age. eMarketer predicts Chinese digital ad spending for 2016 to be 30% higher than last year; they also believe that number should double by 2020. This comes in spite of China’s recent period of economic stagnation.

Article XVI has yet to change, and there’s still a month before these rules go into effect. A lot can change, and an outcry from ad blocking users and companies should be expected. Whatever the end result may be, the combination of a booming industry, bear market, and large-scale malvertising spells trouble for Chinese citizens. The necessity of smartphones in daily life is allowing advertisers and the government (if taking Article XVI at face value) to remove any semblance of choice from the internet user. Banning ad blockers will free up millions of people to be infected with malware.

We will continue to update users on the Interim Measures as we move closer to its September 1st implementation. The safety of Android phones around the globe is at an all-time low for the next month, as hackers will make use of the business resources they have while they still can. If you are an Android user, you might want to download AdClear. It’s free, and it blocks encrypted ads, noted for being a hotbed for malware. We also recently released the AdClear Lite extension for Safari and Samsung Browser.

For inquiries, contact:
Christian Sandlin
csandlin@seven.com

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Mobile Ads Will Only Get Worse

Many of our users download AdClear as a last resort, a recognition of the anti-consumer experience that is mobile internet browsing. Tracking, targeting, and infecting consumers make advertising models so valuable, but this is nowhere near the precipice.

The 2016 Internet Trends report by Mary Meeker highlights how little the mobile platform is indexed. Compared to legacy media, mobile advertising is where a quarter of advertising media is targeted, but it only makes up 12% of total ad spending in the U.S.. There’s around 22 billion dollars worth of opportunity in that difference.

That is to say that this is going to get much worse. This has always been about money, and there is a large pot waiting to be claimed. Look at humming bad, which we mentioned last week. They were able to defraud advertisers for 300k a month. Sitting money will bring in all types of parties to try and claim it. This is why ransomware and infected ads are so prevalent. Expect the trend to continue.

To remain safe from advertisers on your Android device, download AdClear. It’s free, and it blocks encrypted ads, noted for being a hotbed for malware. We also recently released the AdClear Lite extension for Safari and Samsung Browser.

For inquiries, contact:
Christian Sandlin
csandlin@seven.com

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HummingBad: The Latest Example of the Failure of Mobile Advertising

It seems like we drive home the same argument week after week. We’ve mentioned the lack of safety and protection for consumers in mobile advertising several times now. Malware has been able to infiltrate ad networks run by Google, Yahoo, and more, and there has yet to have been a significant investigation into fixing them. We now know that more than just hackers are committing foul play on these networks.

The HummingBad malware virus is running on almost 85 million devices worldwide since its discovery in February, and a Chinese advertising agency is behind its creation. Yingmob, a group of cybercriminals that work alongside an advertising agency, generate $300,000 a month in fraudulent revenue. By utilizing that agency’s resources, they are able to gain control of thousands of devices each day. With a consistent stream of money, these hackers can further develop HummingBad to be even more effective. They can compartmentalize devices to run attacks or sell information they gather.

All of this info is made available by Check Point, who recently released an impressive report titled “From HummingBad to Worse.” HummingBad essentially takes control of a user’s device and installs hundreds of applications on the device, many of which are malicious. The apps serve up to 20 million ads a day, practically robbing advertising networks of money. For more technical details on how the malware affects Google Play, host files, and more, download Check Point’s report.

We’re at the point where malvertising should be a legitimate concern for any demographic on Android. Millions of people around the globe are at risk. HummingBad is able to log financial and personal info. People’s’ livelihoods are at stake. Will this be the kick in the ribs for advertisers and ad networks to do something besides offer platitudes?

To remain safe from advertisers on your Android device, download AdClear. It’s free, and it blocks encrypted ads, noted for being a hotbed for malware. We also recently released the AdClear Lite extension for Safari and Samsung Browser.

For inquiries, contact:
Christian Sandlin
csandlin@seven.com

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Block YouTube ads with AdClear

As an ad blocker, YouTube is the heavyweight champion of advertising. Since video ads are the most effective, Google puts significant time and resources into ensuring that end users see these ads. These video ads are encrypted and shown on any video, regardless of length. So the effectiveness of these ads relies very little on user enjoyment.

AdClear prides itself on blocking YouTube ads. Our Advanced Protection was the first of its kind for non-rooted Android users. As other apps adopt our model, YouTube becomes more aware of ads being blocked. In the past few months, the certificate has seemed to work under fewer conditions. With the multitude of apps and browsers with which to visit YouTube, there are a similar amount of methods with which to deliver video ads. Users of YouTube apps, especially, have found our certificate to be inconsistent. No longer.

Our programming team has recently found a breakthrough way to block ads on YouTube across all platforms. Users will notice consistent performance from AdClear. The average amount of time spent on YouTube for mobile users is around forty minutes. Our goal is to ensure that you see zero video ads each session. YouTube is sure to fight back, but we are committed to improving upon this feature in the coming weeks. We’re excited to offer our users an ad-free experience.

AdClear is available to download for free from our website. We also recently released AdClear Lite for Safari and Samsung Browser. Stay tuned for more updates!

For inquiries, contact:
Christian Sandlin
csandlin@seven.com

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Red Herring: Ad Blockers Aren’t Harming the Rampant Growth of Digital Advertising

It’s pretty much confirmed at this point that advertisers are crying wolf. The debate has always been centered around reduced profits as a result of ad blocker adoption, but that loss appears to be exaggerated.

We like to use the latest published research in our articles, and this is no different. Juniper Research has found that digital ad spending will exceed 285 billion dollars by 2020. For a more than 20% annual increase, advertisers sure seem worried about ad blockers. This is whitewashing, plain and simple. At every public conference, advertisers acknowledge their malicious practices while calling ad blockers a brash response.

Meanwhile, content deliverers continue to combat ad blockers, and advertisers are continuing to offer no solutions. Why should they? From their point of view, they’re raking in cash, and they seem more than willing to hedge their bets on pro-business capitalist sentiment. And that’s honestly a smart move; though privacy concerns have become more mainstream, those willing to take action are still the minority.

The fault isn’t on the user, though. Breakthroughs in user targeting are supposed to be the boon to growth advertisers are expecting. That means even more tracking than the near-hundreds that litter some of the most popular sites. With advertisers acknowledging that ads need to be rethought and less invasive, look for buzzwords like “rich media” and “simple formats” to guise the same behavior most vilify.

While we continue to wear the title of “bad guys” with honor, join the dark side and download AdClear on your Android phone. We also recently released AdClear Lite for Safari and Samsung Browser. We will continue to protect our users from nefarious tactics they have little say in.

For inquiries, contact:
Christian Sandlin
csandlin@seven.com

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