I sent an e-mail message to a friend telling him about Adblock Plus, an easy-to-use free addition to the Firefox Internet browser that deletes advertisements from Web sites. That subject line of his reply summed it up quite nicely.What happens when the advertisements are wiped clean from a Web site? There is a contented feeling similar to what happens when you watch a recorded half-hour network TV show on DVD in 22 minutes, or when a blizzard hits Times Square and for a few hours, the streets are quiet and unhurried, until the plows come to clear away all that white space.
The larger importance of Adblock is its potential for extreme menace to the online-advertising business model. After an installation that takes but a minute or two, Adblock usually makes all commercial communication disappear. No flashing whack-a-mole banners. No Google ads based on the search terms you have entered.
Firefox-Google marriage on shaky ground?
Yes, Firefox reached a major milestone this week, surpassing 400 million downloads worldwide. But that’s just the good news. There’s another story swirling around the famously open source web browser – and it’s a little less sunny.Last week, The New York York Times questioned whether the growing popularity of a Firefox extension called AdBlock Plus poses a threat to the ad-driven business models of entertainment, media, and search sites across the web. If enough people install the extension and other ad-killing browser gizmos, The Times asked, could they chip away at the bottom line of companies like CNN, Microsoft, and Google?