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Ad blocker tech used for stealware?

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Tuesday January 27, 2009 )

It’s somewhat ironic that code from a very popular ad blocking software application that removes ads from sites is now a component of a questionable bit of software that displays its own ads in place of the originals. In other words, it’s stealware/parasiteware (in my opinion) – but with a “green” twist.

I’m not even going to mention the name of the application, but it’s another thorn in the side of web site publishers who rely on programs like AdSense for revenue.

The Firefox plugin in question “incorporates some functionality from the popular open source project AdBlock Plus (ABP)” according to the creators.

I’m not sure how the creator of AdBlock Plus might feel about his creation, after all, ABP’s goals is to make ads on sites disappear!

Anyhoo, the hook with this latest plugin is that it claims to offset your carbon footprint while you surf the web. With the environment being such a hot topic (and one close to my own heart), this is likely to reel a ton of folks in.

Basically, these guys are starting up their own ad network and serving up their own advertiser’s ads which will be viewed in *your* slots by people with the extension installed. They would have to have started up their own ad network, no quality affiliate network would have allowed this type of thing in.

Revenue they generate will supposedly will go to environmental projects.

Exactly how much of those proceeds they receive will go to environmental projects is anyone’s guess. At the time of writing, there wasn’t all that much detail on their site about the $$ side of things, nor the projects themselves.

Affected publishers will of course get nada.

Just what we needed; another sales leak avenue, but with the added sting of it wrapped up in the premise of saving the planet. Surely there’s a copyright or IP suit in this? After all, the content of publisher’s pages are being manipulated with the intention of not only depriving them of revenue, but re-routing it elsewhere.

I trialed the plugin and it might of been that I’m in Australia, but all it did was to block the ads. The result is the same though, no revenue opportunity for the publishers of the sites I viewed while using it.

Nasty, nasty, nasty stuff in my opinion. Let’s hope that it doesn’t become a popular application, but supposedly Mozilla listed it in the Firefox plugin archive! Isn’t this basically just stealware or parasiteware? I’m surprised Moz allowed it in.

… and think on this – what if more similar “enterprising” types start doing this sort of thing in a variety of industries?

UPDATE: Some further information about the addon and the company’s response to criticism of how it operates can be viewed in this followup post.


The effect of stealware on affiliate commissions

What affiliates want


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