The Great Ad-Blocker War of Firefox and Chrome

The Great Ad-Blocker War of Firefox and Chrome

The Ad-Blocker war between Firefox and Chrome rages on, with each browser coming out with new extensions to undermine the other’s blocking capabilities. The extensions are getting sneakier, as well,

so it’s harder than ever to tell what’s real advertising and what’s not, or if an ad is being blocked at all. Both browsers claim that their way of blocking ads is fairer to websites that rely on ad revenue; but how fair are they? And why do they need to be so sneaky in the first place?

Why is Google against Ad-Blockers?

Google wants to be the place where advertisers go for their ads because it gives them the most money and advertising on Google AdWords brings in tens of billions of dollars. With Firefox installing ad-blocking extensions by default, many Firefox users will no longer see ads on any site, Google’s included.

To counteract this, Chrome has a built-in ad-blocker extension which it turns on by default. Meanwhile, Firefox is looking into using a hard block that prevents all ads from loading so even if someone with an ad blocker installed visits a site there would be no ads whatsoever. And yet another player in this game, IE (I won’t even touch).

The situation is a clash between freedom (the users) and capitalism (the company). Users are looking for more control over their experience online, ad-blockers give them that control but advertisers don’t like it. The advertising industry has been around for decades, in an era before online advertising became so common;

ads are now essential to many websites’ business models. Without ads, they would no longer be able to provide their content free of charge. As a result, many sites have either introduced paywalls or sponsored posts, or both. Google as we know thrives off ads on YouTube while Microsoft also wants to show you adverts as well.

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What is Mozilla’s Argument Against Google?

Mozilla argues that ad-blocker extensions are helpful and should not be removed as they can help eliminate distracting or unnecessary ads. Additionally, they say Chrome shouldn’t have the power to take away an extension from Firefox users who have already installed it.

On the other hand, Google is arguing that adding an ad-blocker to their browser will decrease the number of unwanted ads for Chrome users and free up their computers’ memory by blocking content that does not serve any function.

Mozilla doesn’t mind if Google blocks or bans ad-blockers from its browser, but they are concerned with how it did so. Not only was Mozilla unaware that Google had plans to ban ad-blockers from its browser, but it also thinks users should be able to make those decisions for themselves.

This could have potential ramifications for other browsers like Safari or Internet Explorer. It seems more likely that Google will bring its approach to banning ad blockers to other browsers instead of allowing Mozilla to decide what is best for its user base as a whole.

How Could This Affect Us as Website Owners?

Blocking ads can negatively impact a website owner’s bottom line by reducing the ad revenue generated, impacting digital marketing and monetization tactics for business owners, and it can affect their visitor’s user experience. Mozilla and Google have put their competing browsers, Firefox and Chrome respectively, at odds over a disagreement about blocking ads.

Mozilla argues that while they provide advertisement-based services as well to support the browser development costs, it is also up to website owners to diversify their streams of revenue if they want to survive in the digital age of today where data theft is rampant and all too easy.

The Chrome team contends that advertisements are too intrusive with popups that cause lower conversion rates than when advertisements are served outside of the browser.

Mozilla’s concerns about data collection aside, website owners need to be aware that their websites will lose an opportunity for monetization as more people continue to use ad blockers. It is expected that in 2017 alone, ad blocker use will increase globally by 33% over 2016 levels, so we could see more developers creating extensions like these for all popular browsers such as Safari, Opera, and Microsoft Edge.

While Mozilla has yet to act on its threats of blocking rival extensions from using Firefox’s browser market share to grow an ad-free experience even further across multiple browsers, it can only mean that fewer advertising dollars are coming our way while data theft increases across free services due to lack of protection.

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