Today I’ve stumbled upon an article on Medium (which is getting to be an extremely popular platform), about bypassing AdBlock.
The idea is pretty simple, using PHP (or any other programming language actually) one can generate a base64 string of the image file:
$url = 'image.png';
$result = file_get_contents($url);
echo '<img src="data:image/jpeg;base64," . base64_encode($url) . '/>';
In fact, the entire thing can be done via JS, if one creates a canvas, loads the image, and grabs the URL (complete solution here).
This is an interesting idea, and I’ve seen this before in the form of using eval(base64_decode()) to hide copyright lines for plugins/scripts (sometimes for viruses ).
The major issue I see with it, is that most websites are using 3rd party services (Adsense, Chitika, Bidvertiser), in which case there’s not much they can do.
Another problem would be that most of what made AdBlock so successful was the community help with updating the Filter Lists / Rules for every popular website known to man.
Even if there’s a potential way of hiding your ads, it’s very tricky to do it in such a way that would dynamically change their location on the page, as well as have dynamic selectors (because AdBlock blocks using CSS-like selectors), to avoid the AdBlock community from blocking your base64 ads.
Another option I’ve seen for fighting AdBlock is blocking the user completely until they disable their plugin.
I find that a bit too aggressive, not to mention at the end of the day it’s a cat and mouse game: there’s already a Hide My AdBlocker plugin, or my favorite: Anti Anti AdBlock.
What about AdBlockUnBlockBlock ? Catchy, I know.
There’s a balance that needs to be achieved between people who don’t want to see the internet filled with Ads, and bloggers who want to make a living writing.
AdBlock Usage Statistics
So what are the numbers? It’s difficult to say, the only solid report I’ve seen about this is from 2012 (not THAT old):
- 9.26% – Overall ad-blocked impressions in the US & Europe
- 17.79% – Overall ad-blocked impressions on Tech websites (makes sense – savvy users)
- 22.5% – Average Ad-Blocking rates in Austria, number one in the world (Germany 19.44%, USA 8.72% & UK 7.61%)
- 17.81% – Average Ad-Blocking rates with Firefox, number one browser (Chrome 10.06% and surprisingly Safari 11.3%)
- 29.04% – Average Ad-Blocking rates on Linux (shocking.. 9.25% on Windows)
The full report can be found here
I’m just thankful I don’t have to make my living only by blogging, it’s not easy.