Blocking web-based ads continues to be a battleground, as YouTube has found a way to get around Adblock Plus, while at the same time the company behind the popular advertising blocker has launched a mobile version.
The good news is that YouTube is only forcing ads on Chrome users. Chrome users viewing YouTube videos not only have to watch ads before the video, but the "Skip Now" button that would normally appear after a few seconds of viewing the ad is no longer available.
It sure looks suspicious, since Chrome and YouTube are both Google properties, but Adblock Plus designer Ben Williams told The Inquirer that it's a bug in Chrome that only affects "a small subset of users," and that he expects Google to fix it. That's one heck of a convenient bug, though.
Meanwhile, Williams has announced the availability of Adblock Plus for iOS and Android. This is interesting because Apple has teased the potential for ad blocking when it releases iOS 9, while Google booted Adblock Plus from Google Play two and a half years ago.
Williams notes that users can save up to 20% on battery life by blocking ad downloads, and that the software will also spare you from malvertising, malicious ads that try to steal information. By blocking the ad from ever being downloaded, it never gets on to your phone, an argument I have made for the PC version.
Adblock Plus is enormously popular, with an estimated 200 million users worldwide. This has drawn a huge bull's eye on the company behind it, Eyeo. Google, Microsoft, and a variety of ad publishers have all targeted the company, and some publishers took it to court, saying people should not be allowed to block ads.
The group that sued Eyeo ultimately lost in a German court, but that's not the end of the controversy. One study by Adobe and PageFare estimates $21 billion in lost revenue due to ad blockers, although that's said to be over-exaggerated. Still, one group of French publishers with their legal sights set on Eyeo said its members lose 20% to 40% of revenue due to Adblock Plus.
This problem is not going away anytime soon.