Please Whitelist MakeUseOf In Adblock: A Plea From a Former Adblock Filter Developer

shutterstock surrender flag   Please Whitelist MakeUseOf In Adblock: A Plea From a Former Adblock Filter DeveloperIt’s no secret that we’re not huge fans of Adblock here at MakeUseOf. But we know that some of you won’t let go of Adblock until it’s pried out of your cold, dead hands. If you must use Adblock, you can still support MakeUseOf and other websites you love by whitelisting us.

It’s time for a truce between Adblock users and respectful advertisers. Go ahead and block ads on websites that abuse your browser with pop-ups and videos. But help support MakeUseOf and the websites you love by letting our ads through. We hate bad ads too, and we don’t allow the worst offenders on our website.

Let’s Call a Truce

I have a confession to make. I once was involved with EasyList, the default advertisement blocking filter list used by Adblock Plus at the time. I helped drive the development of EasyList’s initial set of element-hiding filters, which remove even unobtrusive text ads, like the ones on Google. It would have eventually happened without me, but I was still involved.

Those were heady times. With the integration of pop-up blockers in every browser, we – well, at least I – felt we were pushing back at advertisers who had abused their power over us, and that advertisement blocking was the next front after pop-up blockers. It didn’t matter whether it was a video ad that played sound or a tiny advertisement link on a web page, we would remove it.

The Adblock Plus project is stepping back from this approach with its new focus on allowing unintrusive ads. MakeUseOf’s ads don’t qualify at the moment, but Adblock’s developers realize that blocking all advertisements is a mistake.

screenshot 04   Please Whitelist MakeUseOf In Adblock: A Plea From a Former Adblock Filter Developer

We Hate Bad Ads, Too

There are good ads and bad ads, websites that respect users and ones that abuse them, and it’s a mistake to treat them all the same way. Pulling the trigger on even the most unobtrusive of text ads was a push too far – and I’m ashamed to say I’m the one who pulled the trigger.

We don’t like bad ads here at MakeUseOf. We don’t have pop-ups or video ads. If you see any, let us know and we’ll block them. We can’t vet every advertisement before it appears on our website, so an occasional bad one might slip through. But we do our best to keep our ads in line.

“But I Never Click Ads Anyway!”

Many people think that, because they never click on ads, it doesn’t matter whether they block them or not. This is far from true. Some ads pay websites per impression, so every time the ad loads, the website makes money — a tiny amount of money that gradually adds up.

Whenever you load a page on our website, you cost us money. Advertising helps defray that cost and pay us so we can keep working on MakeUseOf.

“Your Business Model Isn’t My Problem”

Websites need money to survive. Even if we writers, editors, and web developers could work for free – and we can’t; we all need money to live – web hosting and bandwidth aren’t free. I know you’ve heard this a million times before, and the comeback is always that it’s not the readers’ problem that our business model depends on advertising.

But what are some alternative business models we could use?

  • Paywalls – We could charge you a monthly subscription fee to read our website, like the New York Times does.

nytimes paywall   Please Whitelist MakeUseOf In Adblock: A Plea From a Former Adblock Filter Developer

  • Microtransactions – You could pay a small amount – maybe five cents – to read each post. How fun would it be to pay for every article you read on the Web?
  • Sponsored Content – If the advertising and the content is the same, there’s no way to block the advertising. How would you like to read a review of Windows 8 that was sponsored by Microsoft?
  • DonationsWikipedia provides a website free of advertising, but they have to ask for donations to do it.

We get paid to create awesome content, you get to read it for free – and advertisers and big corporations foot the bill. Doesn’t that sound like a good deal?

We Have a Choice to Make

Here at MakeUseOf, we believe passionately in giving you high-quality free stuff. Advertising makes that possible. We don’t want to charge you money or engage in the blog equivalent of product placement.

If you like our website and want to preserve a Web that’s free to use, without paywalls all over the place, please whitelist us. This doesn’t just apply to MakeUseOf — please whitelist every site you love and want to support.

If you want paywalls and product placement, then use Adblock on every website. It’s your choice. Every time you load a website with Adblock enabled, you’re casting a vote against the kind of free content you’ll find here.

shutterstock 65046409   Please Whitelist MakeUseOf In Adblock: A Plea From a Former Adblock Filter Developer

How To Whitelist Us Right Now

Whitelisting MakeUseOf is simple. Just click the Adblock icon in your browser and select “Disable on”

screenshot 01   Please Whitelist MakeUseOf In Adblock: A Plea From a Former Adblock Filter Developer

Uncheck the “Enabled for this site” check box if you’re using Chrome.

screenshot 02   Please Whitelist MakeUseOf In Adblock: A Plea From a Former Adblock Filter Developer

Let us know what you think in the comments. We love our readers – you’re the ones who make this website possible.

Image Credit: White Surrender Flag via Shutterstock, Hand with Ballot via Shutterstock

The comments were closed because the article is more than 180 days old.

If you have any questions related to what's mentioned in the article or need help with any computer issue, ask it on MakeUseOf Answers—We and our community will be more than happy to help.



What about when I am using Google Reader? Are you getting any ad revenue from that?

Chris Hoffman

I just checked the RSS feed in Google Reader and I see a single ad near the bottom. So yes, we are!


.. Not really. Not a significant amount. RSS is a service to loyal readers, though it might be monetized in future I guess.

Chris Hoffman

Well, at least it’s something.

Joshua Clarke

I used to be a fan of AdBlock, but now, not so much. I realized that I’m basically “cheating” each site I visit, (including this one) by blocking these ads. OK, some sites have lots of annoying ads and popups – I blacklist them – but blogs like this (and Engadget) that have non-intrusive advertising, I keep un-blocked. I would be sad if these sites went away, and even more sad that it may have been partially my fault, due to my (and others) AdBlock extension. I totally agree with this post, so I would encourage people to whitelist their favorite sites so they can keep providing them with entertaining content.

Chris Hoffman

Thank you so much, Joshua.

No one really likes advertising, but it’s what makes this possible.

John Penland

Instead of barraging your twitter followers and readers with pleas to quit blocking your intrusive ads, why don’t you fix your ads so you qualify to be whitelisted by default? I mean, I’ve had it off on this site for a while, but still, there are times that the ads make me regret that decision. This site isn’t as bad as some, but its in the  bottom 10 of sites I typically visit for obnoxious advertising practices. 

I like the site, I like the features but the advertising needs to change. The obnoxious red banner doesn’t always go away when you disable adblock, it likes to make itself at home and stay a while. 

tldr; The first two or three days of the begging were ok, now its getting to the point that its annoying. Much more, and any sympathy that you might have gained is going to be lost. 


I agree with you 
Way to tell ‘em

Chris Hoffman

Hi John,

We had a reader ask us how to whitelist a website in Adblock, so this post was born out of that.

Have you checked the whitelist? You can see it here: It only allows five websites or so — it’s early days for this experiment on Adblock Plus’s part.

As I said in the post, we can’t vet every ad that appears. That’s just the way the ad networks work, unfortunately. When a reader tells us about a bad ad, we can block it.

I’ll pass the comment about the banner along — it shouldn’t be doing that.

John Penland

Hi Chris, thanks for the response. If there’s only 5 websites on there, then I only have a couple more than it does white listed in the chrome version of ABP. 

Partially I’m a hold out to the old risk of ads containing viruses. Then there is the over the top ads, and the fact that ABP is a quick way to remove elements of a website that you don’t like. 
Google has come a long way towards removing the threat of malware from their ads, but other such networks aren’t always as vigilant. I view blocking out ads and tracking cookies as being part of overall internet safety. I do allow sites that I visit frequently to show me ads, because, well, I’ve run a site before that needed some sort of revenue scheme in order to keep it operational. I did go a different route other than ads, but that is because I had low overhead, and people willing to donate to keep an ad free experience. 

Chris Hoffman

Thanks for understanding, John. Blocking tracking cookies, resource-hungry Flash ads and websites that treat you badly is definitely understandable.

My point is that we should think about what we’re doing when we Adblock — not just install Adblock once and ignore it, blocking ads on even the most well-behaved of websites. It sounds like you’re already doing that, and that’s awesome!


agreed make the ads plain and unobtrusive then ill un ablock  you but until then no.oh and i hate being forced to sign up to get an article thats just as bad then my e-mail gets spammed. it’s gotten to the point that i dont even really use this site anymore.i do a “drive” by once in a while,hoping to glean a useful article but rarely find one ….

Chris Hoffman

We’ll never force users to sign up (well, not if I have anything to say about that), so don’t worry bout that.

I’m sorry that you feel the content isn’t useful — What kind of articles would you like to see? I’m always looking for new post ideas.


What do your stats look like? Our site provides free content that we create and we have 94% of pageloads that are generated without any ads being displayed due to the usage of noscript and adblock.
I have seriously thought of just closing our doors, but instead opted to block all users of adblock and noscript :D


If you didnt use adblock, then the site would not be forced to use obtrusive ads which pay more as they have so few people viewing the ads due to so many people using adblock. DOH!

Chris Hoffman

Sadly, it’s true. Adblock just encourages worse ads because it doesn’t reward the good ones. A “BadAdblock” that only blocked bad ads and left unobtrusive, reasonable advertising would improve advertising on the web, I think


Dave, that’s the stupidest argument I’ve ever heard – AdBlock was created -BECAUSE- of obtrusive ads, and it’s obviously effective, because I’ve seen half a dozen of these plaintive “Don’t Block Us, Bro” requests in 2012 alone.

Chris Hoffman

Yes, but that’s the problem — it blocks all ads, even the tiniest, least obtrusive text links.

That means there’s no incentive to produce better, less annoying ads.


Did it :)

Chris Hoffman

Thank you so much for your support!

Dasani James

Done.  I wouldn’t want to lose this site or have it become a pay site.

Chris Hoffman

Thanks a lot, Dasani! We appreciate your support.


I used to have 2 muo adresses on my Opera urlfilter. I took them out but the website (answers section) claims I still have AdBlock.

How should I enable it?

Chris Hoffman

Hi Alex — I downloaded Opera to check this out for you.

Try right-clicking on the MakeUseOf website, selecting Edit Site Preferences, clicking the Content tab and unchecking “Enable content blocking.” That should work. Let us know if it doesn’t!


somebody call the WAHmbulance

Chris Hoffman

I’m not trying to whine — just asking Adblock users to stop and reconsider their decisions.

We’re not going to block you. I hope you’ll reconsider one day, but feel free to keep reading the website!

Bryant Piedrahita

 Did it.

Chris Hoffman

Thanks a lot for your support, Bryant! We appreciate it.


Could it be that advertising shouldn’t be considered as a sole means of revenue for a website? Maybe you should find other ways of income as well?

Personally, on my own website I don’t run any advertising at all. It costs me $9 a month to run and I don’t know any job that doesn’t pay less than that amount.

Chris Hoffman

We’re actually working on that, although that sort of thing is out of my job description.

That’s the thing, though — this is a job for us. It’s how we can put the time into putting out this high-quality content.

And being a top-1000 website, it costs way more than $9 a month to run MakeUseOf!


Instead of having all those annoying ads (which increase the time to load any page and often stall during the loading process), you could adopt a more reasonable approach like that used by Daring Fireball: one small sponsored ad that appears on every page for an entire week or month, or whatever you choose.

That ads are about 75 x 90px and appear in the lower left of the page, well away from any text. They are static and silent.

That’s an approach I could embrace.

Chris Hoffman

Thanks for the comment, Mulder.

The ads are ultimately a compromise between revenue and not annoying users, of course. To be honest, it would be nicer if we could only have a single tiny ad that wouldn’t slow down the page. But I’m not sure this is possible. That part isn’t my job, though.

Still, we do draw a line — no full-page ads. No video ads. No ads that start playing audio.


I find it (contradictory; confusing; bewildering; odd; insulting; bizarre – pick one or more adjectives as appropriate) for you to provide full content RSS feeds free of advertising but then post articles such as this – unless you are getting paid by the sites, software, and hardware products you review, that is. Of course, if the latter is the case, I’m out of here because your reviews are then useless.

Nevertheless, should you wish to adopt traditional journalistic standards and not include ads in the middle of articles or ads that suck up my bandwidth, I’ll consider your request.

Chris Hoffman

Thanks for commenting and sharing your thoughts. 

I just checked our RSS feed and I do see a single ad at the bottom of each post in Google Reader. It is very interesting, I agree.
We absolutely do not take any money from the software and websites we review here. I can assure you of that. We make money from advertisng, and we don’t even know what advertising is going to show up next to the article, so we couldn’t try to please advertisers if we even wanted to.

I wish the ads were a bit more lightweight, too. But they’re much worse elsewhere.


Companies don’t pay to get reviewed on this main site. They may sponsor giveaways, but those are clearly labelled as giveaways.

As for the RSS, I personally consider that a service to *loyal* readers. If you subscribe via RSS, there’s a good chance you click through to the site time and time again, commenting etc. It’s a choice not to fill the RSS feed with ads, and we thank you for subscribing.


I was going to say “This is quite pathetic MakeUseOf” but I do get what you’re saying. It’s just not seeing ads is SOOO nice :) Even the most simple ads are very distracting for me, and I come here to learn. I disable Adblock for now and see if I like it.

Chris Hoffman

Thanks for at least giving it a try! I wanted to take a different tack with this post, since I know it’s been done many times before, both here and elsewhere.

I used to be a big Adblock person myself, obviously. It’s nice, but supporting websites is nicer — in my opinion.


i never used them anyway

Chris Hoffman

Thanks a lot, ComboCaster.

Ricki Ohana

I love Adblock but I am a huge fan of MakeUseOf so no blocking here.
Now that I know what the ads are for, I’ll be clicking away…………
Awesome article!!! Didn’t know some very important facts, especially the
“But I Never Click Ads Anyway!” part. 

Now that I know the TRUE meaning of Adblock, gotta get my favorite sites OFF the list. Thank you very much for this important article.

Chris Hoffman

Thanks so much, Ricki! I’m glad I could inform you.

For the record, I didn’t mean to ask anyone to click the ads — just not to block them. Asking for clciks is actually very much against the terms of service. We could get in big trouble if we asked for such things.


No thanks.  I don’t know whether you’ve noticed, but almost every website is telling us to disable AdBlock Plus.  It would be easier to remove AdBlock Plus all together.  Sorry, but MUO doesn’t have my support.

Chris Hoffman

I used to agree with you, Anonymous. So I know how you feel. We’ll never block you for using Adblock — not if I have anything to say about it, at least. Using Adblock is ultimately your choice, and, as the banner says, we respect that.


I’ll make a deal with you.  You guarantee on the condition of shutting down your site that no one is tracking me around the net or gathering information on me because I’ve visited your site and I’ll whitelist on everything.  

I don’t mind ads that treat me like a newspaper ad does and simply shows me things.  It is all of the intelligence gathering I object to – which another one of your recent articles basically said was “no big deal” – this in spite of the fact that a recent Pew poll said 2/3 of Americans considered tracking and intelligence gathering to be an invasion of privacy.

Chris Hoffman

I wish we could guarantee that. We’re certainly not tracking you here at MakeUseOf — but I think every advertising network does that.

There are ways you can block the tracking while still allowing the ads.

Chris Hoffman

Sorry, I should clarify — the advertising networks we use are tracking you, I imagine. But MakeUseOf doesn’t get that data — we don’t track you ourselves.


I clicked the adblock plus icon on my firefox browser and set it to “disable on” but it’s still blocking all the ads on the site. Is there any other way to whitelist this site?

Chris Hoffman

That’s odd — whitelisting should trump all the blacklists. One of your filter lists is probably blocking MakeUseOf’s ads anyway.. but it shouldn’t be doing that.. You may have to disable adblock or a filter list entirely. Sounds like a bug, though.

Robert Howitt

Okay makeuseof i’ll whitelist you. But only because I love you.

Chris Hoffman

We love you, too!


Fair enough – I have white-listed this site and will leave it that way unless it gets out of control. Of course if that happens I am sure you will be hearing lot of complaints :-)

Chris Hoffman

Thanks, Slywlf! We take complaints very seriously.

The last time a reader reported a full-screen ad, Aibek (who runs MakeUseOf), even emailed the reader back personally. We discuss bad ads on our internal mailing list.


I whitelisted this site when the Q&A part had the huge red banner saying to disable adblock. Unfortunately, that banner didn’t go away when I whitelisted the site, so that might be something to look into (in fact, I’m not even sure where teh ads are on this site so I’m not sure if whitelisting worked or not haha)

You know what? This post has inspired me to disable adblock completely (again..) and see if I can live with ads. I remember Youtube was really annoying because they offset elements of the page and were too flashy, but I’m going to see if I can live with them again (since I haven’t tried it with the new layout).

Chris Hoffman

If you see ads, maybe whitelisting didn’t work for some reason.

Thanks a lot though, Lee! I can see keeping Adblock around for really bad websites and particularly annoying websites, if it comes to that.


I’m convinced. Thanks for explaining all of this. Consider yourself whitelisted. :-)

Chris Hoffman

Thanks a lot, ReeseTee! We really appreciate it.

Richard Norton


Chris Hoffman

Thank you, Richard!


A couple options to consider, although I’m certainly no expert.  But what about making your site https so you can get around some ad blocking?  Then have sponsored ad pages and paid/membership version with ad free content for people who do not want ads?  Personally I don’t like ads because they are a security risk.  Compromised ads are almost always found out after they have infected some users.  I would rather have to pay a membership or donate some amount to keep the ads away.  Besides, when a site relies on ads for revenue the integrity of the product reviews is compromised.  Write a bad review about a product and there’s suddenly no more ad revenue from them.  Write a good review and that product gets lot of traffic, which means more click through revenue for the site.
I think a lot of people are really getting burned out by the facebooks and googles of the world that track people all across the web.  There seems to be a story in the news everyday about some ad company secretly stealing info about web users by exploiting some web browser vulnerability.  And we haven’t even got to the problematic privacy issues with the flash, super cookies. 
Blocking ads on the net are just a symptom of a larger problem: ad companies behaving badly.  I don’t think the remedy is for consumers to make amends.  It’s the ad companies that created the problem, so it’s the ad companies that need to fix it.  Sorry if I sound insensitive.  But allowing ad companies to run the web is not a good policy.

Chris Hoffman

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

I agree that ad companies are behaving badly. The problem with blocking all ads is that it doesn’t encourage them to behave better. Blocking only the bad ads encourages ad companies and websites to behave better. That’s the crux of the issue.

HTTPS wouldn’t really get around ad blocking. A paid membership with no ads is an idea I personally love, but it’s been ruled out for the moment.


The reason I asked about https is because I use Ad Muncher and whenever I am on an https connection the ads show up anyway – such as using https on Facebook or in Gmail.  I believe Ad Muncher has stated they have trouble filtering ads because of the https connection.  Maybe this is just specific to Ad Muncher but for some reason I was thinking the inability to block ads in https connections was a problem for many ad blocking strategies.  But like I said earlier, I’m no expert by any stretch of the imagination.  Thanks for the info.

Chris Hoffman

Ah, right! I remember Ad Muncher.

Here’s what’s going on: Ad Muncher sits between your browser and the web server. The web server and browser establish an encrypted connection for security — no one else can see what’s in that traffic, not even Ad Muncher.

Adblock browser extensions can block ads in HTTPS traffic because they work on the web page after it reaches the browser. Ad Muncher works on the traffic before it reaches the browser — the browser hasn’t decrypted it yet, so Ad Muncher can’t understand it.

Chris Hoffman

Sorry, I should have also mentioned — ads don’t affect our content at all. There are so many possible ads that could appear — even if some companies started pulling ads, it would be no problem.

For example, we’ve had an opinion piece that slammed Android really hard, yet there are still ads for Android phones on our website.

????(???? Amy

Sadly, I am unable to whitelist anything…AdBlock wants me to upgrade my browser (Safari 5.0.5) to the most current version.  And I have 2 reasons why I refuse to use Safari 5.1 (or any incarnation at the moment) (memory leaks (not as bad in 5.1.2, but still definitely there) and it randomly refreshes everything, losing any entered text and randomly losing pages that I needed open…).

It’s sad when a few sites ruin everything.  I never minded MUO’s ads…just a few sites where ads tend to run over text and I can’t get to what’s underneath and such…

Chris Hoffman

I hope you’ll whitelist us when you’re able to!

Some websites are really bad.


Done, but get rid of Spokeo ads. That company is awful.

Chris Hoffman

Thanks a lot, Paolo!

I’m not familiar with the company — never heard of it.


Please, what if we use FlashControl in SRWare Iron (based on open-source Chromium, closely related to Google Chrome)?

Chris Hoffman

Ad networks should ideally fall back to non-Flash versions. I think a lot of them are doing this now, since people browsing on iPads and iPhones can’t see Flash.

If our ad networks aren’t doing that, they should be.I can definitely understand blocking Flash.

Denis Paley

Been turned off. Keep up the great work. Definitely one of the best sites on the Web

Chris Hoffman

Thanks so much, Denis! It’s awesome to get such positive feedback.


I just want to add that I’ve disabled FlashControl for now.

Chris Hoffman

Do our ad networks still serve Flash ads when you use that? That’s too bad. Flash is definitely block-worthy.


I use Gmail and I don’t use Adblock.
I typically like the ads Gmail gives me since they’re based on what my emails say (mostly emails from blogs I subscribe to, including this one)

Chris Hoffman

Me too, to be honest.

Even when Gmail messes up, it’s good for a laugh.

Ashutosh Mishra

The ads on this site are fairly modest, so I don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want to whitelist the domain.

Personally, I use Chrome’s click-to-run-plugins feature instead of ABP. The former works pretty well as it refuses to load the annoying ads, most of which are Flash content anyway.

Chris Hoffman

Thanks, Ashutosh.

I can understand that. I remember when I used Linux, Flash would take over the CPU and grind the system to a halt. I wouldn’t dare ask people to live with that.


Okay. Whitelisted. I appriciate the tone of this article much more than others I’ve read on this subject.

Chris Hoffman

Thanks so much, Greggem! That’s exactly what I was trying to do!

Most articles criticizing Adblock scold readers. I can understand how they feel, but it isn’t helpful.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been on the other side, but I have no ill feelings for people who adblock, or even people who develop adblock. I’ve been there along with them. I just think they’re making a mistake.

Indronil Mondal

 ok from now i am gonna use ie for make use of…..
i dont have adblock installed there.. :D

Chris Hoffman

That’s one option!

I’m not an IE fan, but I’ve heard it’s gotten better.

Rey Aetar

better ???????? not in xp


Microsoft forgot about XP users :(
Although we really shouldn’t be using anyway, it’s 2012

Chris Hoffman

At least XP users still have Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari — and, well, everything that’s not IE?

(At least, I think all those browsers still support XP)

Chris Hoffman

Internet Explorer 9 is certainly better than IE 6!

I mean, I don’t use IE. But it’s improved some.

Gideon Waxfarb

Ok, I’m going to speak my peace about this subject, and I hope somebody reads this, because I’m going to tell you how you can get most people (like me) to unblock ads.

For starters, I’m sure you know why most people got into blocking ads in the first place… it is because they got very obtrusive and annoying. So now we’re seeing a lot of sites asking for an exception, but when we ask them if they could refrain from showing certain types of ads (such as Flash ads), they always tell us that they’re at the mercy of some ad agency, who is apparently beyond reproach. So, instead of blaming users for your loss of revenue, why don’t you place the blame where it actually belongs and go after the ad companies that are responsible for ad blockers in the first place?

Or better yet, since many of you website devs seem to be in the same quandary (needing to show ads to readers without beating them over the head with them), why don’t you form your own ad network, and make it a coalition? You could set yourselves up as being the ad agency that readers can white list with confidence, because you guarantee that any website that is a member of this group will not show certain types of ads, such as popups of any kind, no blinking/animating BS, no ads that make noise or cover the content, etc. And if they do violate these policies, they get booted from the group forever.

On top of that, once you have set up an ad network that people know they can trust, as an alternative to user tracking, you could let people set up accounts so that they can pick and choose what sort of ads they would like to see, such as sports, tech, etc. And if I click on one of your ads, give me an option that says ‘I’ve seen this ad already, so don’t show me this one anymore’. That way, the next time I come to your site, I know I won’t see that same stupid ad ever again :) Hell, you could even have a thing like where you offer the 1000th reader to click on an ad some sort of prize.

I do believe that if something like this were set up, it would draw a lot of buzz on the tech blogosphere and catch on like wildfire. Failing that though, if you have to go to a paywall, the way to do it is the same way that the porn sites do it; find a few ‘sister’ sites to team up with, and give users access to a handful of sites for one monthly/yearly fee. And none of this ‘$50 a year’ BS that other sites are trying. Actually make it reasonable :P 

Chris Hoffman

We definitely read all the comments on the site, Gideon! Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

I don’t blame the users. The ad networks created ad blockers by abusing users. But if ad blockers are used against even the good ads, ad networks have no incentive to clean up their act. If we’re going to block ads, let’s at least be thoughtful about the ones we block.

Your suggestion would be a great idea. I love it. It would be a huge undertaking, though. I would love to see something like that happen.

A flashblocker is a stopgap that will block the nasties, though. You can also block tracking cookies separately.

I can’t see MakeUseOf ever going to a paywall. It’s not our style. Optional, ad-free premium version, though? I’d put that in place, if it was up to me.

Nile Jones


Chris Hoffman

Thanks, NIle! We appreciate it!


I understand why you ask for this, but this sites ads are pretty bad.  Sorry but Adblock will indeed have to be pried from my cold dead harddrive.

Chris Hoffman

We’re sorry you feel that way, Vick.

What’s bad about the ads? We don’t allow video ads or full-page ads, so if you see those, that’s a problem we will fix.

Susendeep Dutta

I had unblocked MUO earlier,and I liked that most of the ads were of Google Chrome and of carriers of my country.But they all run on flash and take a lot of RAM(~250 MB) and I have only 1GB RAM.I’m left with only 50MB which makes impossible to load any more pages as Firefox takes ~300MB.

Is there any way to reduce this as I really want to support you fully?

Is there any way I can get ads of my choice?

I would also like to whitelist Engadget and other great sites if I can solve this problem.

Chris Hoffman

I understand. Flash is terrible.

Try enabling click-to-play for plug-ins in Chrome.

(Wrench menu->Options->Under the Hood->Content Settings->”Click to Play” in the Plug-ins section)

Flash won’t play until you click on it and allow it to play. That will help a lot.


I read this site via RSS reader, I won’t see any ads anyway.

Chris Hoffman

Heh, well, I did see one ad in the feed — but I suppose that’s true, for the most part.


Oh wait. You’re serious. Let me laugh even harder.

Personally I subscribe to the viewership support model. If there’s a site I truly care about (e.g. wikipedia, or in my case fark), I will support it directly with an individual donation of some sort. I do not otherwise want to see commercial messages on any subject. Sites that I don’t explicitly care enough to support directly aren’t worth the even the tiny effort it would take for me to whitelist them, especially multiplied by the dozens or hundreds of sites that could in theory make some kind of plea for users to do so. I just don’t care about them enough to accept the inconvenience of advertising or all the other crap that goes with it.

Find other ways to earn money or monetize your talents. If you really want something different, try offering options for direct donations or memberships. $5 from an individual is undoubtedly worth many thousand ad impressions anyway.

Ads suck and I plan to do everything in my power so that I do not have to look at them.

Chris Hoffman

Yup, we are serious. In a perfect world, there would be no ads, but this is the model the web is based on. Websites and even online newspapers are struggling with it.

I don’t think we could run a website on direct donations and memberships alone. Very few websites could — people want stuff for free.

Thanks for reading, anyway!


I have been using adblock not only because I find the adds annoying but it also makes the page load much slower. I did not realize that you were paid per ad ‘appearance’, I figured once the ad companies paid you to post something on your site that was it. I have whitelisted MUO because I love your site and spend almost as much time there as I do anywhere else on the web. I would hate to see you suffer!

Chris Hoffman

Thanks, CW!

I know the ads slow things down a bit. We don’t like it either and we’re working on it — I’ve noticed a page loading speed increase recently, personally.


I appreciate your request. I’ll have to think about changing my settings on MUO.
However, you seem to have missed my number one reason for using Ad Block Plus — one never knows if an ad on a site will contain malware. Nowhere do you mention this huge issue.
Now you can claim that such things don’t happen, but I’ve seen the reports about the problem. It is real, and it is growing. Even good, reputable ad networks have been compromised for a time, by incredibly sophisticated scams using all sorts of deception. The ad networks were tricked in the first place, and they simply passed on the malware through what seemed like ordinary advertisements. How can one tell if an ad is “good” or “bad”? Who knows? I just block them all.
Until that problem is solved, I continue to run ABP on almost every site. I also keep NoScript and Perspectives going just in case.

Chris Hoffman

Thanks for considering it, bc. It’s good to have people thinking about Adblock, even if they continue to use it.

I agree that malware is a problem. If you have an up-to-date web browser and browser plugins, hopefully that won’t be able to hurt you. An antivirus helps protect you even more.

0-day attacks do happen, though. It’s a real thorny issue. I don’t know if it can ever be solved 100%. Hopefully, with better browser/plug-in security and vetting by ad networks, we can improve the situation.

AJ Foyt

Cause you asked nicely it’s done. They aren’t that annoying and maybe I’ll click on one from time to time just to see how many ways I can get re-directed.

Chris Hoffman

Thanks a lot, AJ! Of course, we can’t ask you to click ads. That is against the terms of service and could get us in trouble!


Just uninstalled the extension. The Reason I love this website

Chris Hoffman

Thanks for your support, Gamaware! We all appreciate it.


I love MakeUseOf enough to do this. The ads on this site don’t bother me at all, in face, they are non-intrusive. On other sites though, they have all these flash ads that are just a nuisance. Especially the one’s that play sound or video.

Just a quick question though. There is other ways to make revenue for a site like this, correct? I’m pretty sure a donation button would be great. I would donate to this site, considering I read it everyday. Why would I receive great articles and not leave something generous in return? All though it’s great on my side, it’s unfair. I don’t see enough ads to the point where me viewing this site would make $0.01 of revenue I think…

Plus there is other options of course. I’d be glad to purchase a MakeUseOf t-shirt if you guys would sell em. Merchandise is a great way to make revenue. Or paying a membership fee to see no ads would be great too. $20.00 a year like photobucket seems worth it.

Whatever the case is, I enjoy this site a lot, ads or no ads. Keep it up Chris! (Hoffman, not me haha!)

Chris Hoffman

Thanks, other Chris!

I’ve passed your comments along on the internal mailing list — some good ideas. I’d already suggested a donation button, which I think is a great idea.

I’ve never considered MakeUseOf merchandise though — that’s a really cool idea!

Subscription fees are also an interesting idea that’s been thrown around.

Thanks for reading!


Awesome! Glad my other comment helped out as well!

Diego Espinosa

It’s done :) Love reading you guys, thanks!

Chris Hoffman

Thanks a lot, Diego! It’s great to have your support.


The problem seems to revolve around technology. Why not find a way to make the ad content appear to ABP as regular site content? Personal appeals to readers is sisyphean. It seems that instead of trying to change your faltering model you’re trying to change your audience.

I once worked for a company that ditched ad networks alltogether, implemented our own ad serving, and sold the ads directly. If that sounds like a lot of work, it was. But you get to keep 100% of the ad revenue, so there’s that.

PS – I unblocked MUO.

Chris Hoffman

Thanks for the thoughtful comment (and whitelisting us!)

The thing is, Adblock also blocks ads inline. Even if we were serving our own ads (and I think that would be awesome, but that’s a huge undertaking), Adblock would still block us.

We could try to tie the ads even deeper into the code and make it harder to block, but that would only start a back-and-forth war with the Adblock filter list developers. They’d update their filters, we’d change the code, and we’d go back and forth forever.

I should know — I was one of the people doing that. Websites that played games like that were seen as challenges!


If Fx ABP’s unobtrusive ads rule will allow your ads to come through, then that’s the extent of my support. I will never whitelist out of principle. Sorry.

Chris Hoffman

At the moment, the whitelist only allows five websites out of the entire internet. It’s very early days for this experiment.

Thanks for at least not disabling that setting, though!


There are three reasons I block ads:

1) They’re popups of some kind, or play audio or video, or the ads are offensive.
2) The ad to real content page real estate ratio is too high. For me if the entire sidebar is ads, that’s too high.
3) This is the kicker, and someone I don’t think anyone else has pointed out: if I cannot tell the difference between an ad and content at a glance, I will block your ads. Make it clear that what I’m viewing is an advertisement, or I will block you, or stop visiting.

And can we try to stop whining about how people want things for free? Everything offered here is offered for free, on someone’s personal website somewhere. or on hobbyist forums…for free. People like sharing with other people, and complaining about how people are cheating by wanting to share information freely makes you look bad. You’re a marketer. Stop asking us to bend over to make your lifestyle easier. You worked for adblock, and now you’re whining about adblock, which means your morals are already more flexible than a weathervane, and tied directly to your income.

Chris Hoffman

Hi Alex,

I didn’t mean to whine here — just to get people thinking about the issue. I’m glad you’re already thinking about ads and not wholesale blocking them — which is the point of the post!

As I mentioned in the article, I feel I made a mistake then. I was a young teenager and I regret what I did.

Personally, I think people can change their minds without being immoral people. Have you not changed your mind about anything since you were a teenager? Maybe not, I guess!

Thanks for reading.


Just did what you said, this great website really deserves it from everyone. Keep up the good work.

Chris Hoffman

Thanks a lot, Humza! We’re thrilled to have your support!


Hey there, i’ve been a loyal reader of MUO since way back and i’ve recently whitelisted your site since i read this but it is testing my patience. I can live with most of the ads but the ones right under the article title is really obstructive and ugly. A commenter below had a good point, if you cannot tell the difference between an ad and content at a glance, it will be blocked. This is how i feel at the moment.

Chris Hoffman

Hi Alvin,

Thanks a lot for giving it a go! I’m personally not thrilled about those ads either, to be honest. So I understand how you feel.

Personally, I think those ads stand out from the content. However, less ads would always we ideal, in a perfect world.


I understand it not ideal, but i think the website will struggle to attract news users if you continue to put ads at where the content is. IMO the ads do not stand out because they are text based.

Another annoying ad i’ve noticed is the Video Converter ad at the bottom of the page with a giant DOWNLOAD button. It was also intentionally designed to blend in the article. Very misleading.


From a recent study: “Having a triple-threat combination of protective software on your computer greatly reduces your chances of identity theft, according to a study led by a Michigan State University criminologist. In a survey of more than 600 people, the researchers found that computer users who were running antivirus, anti-adware and anti-spyware software were 50 percent less likely to have their credit card information stolen.” See!+Science+News+-+Popular%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

And you write: “We can’t vet every advertisement before it appears on our website, so an occasional bad one might slip through.”

And I’m supposed to trust your “non-vetting” why, exactly?

Chris Hoffman

Well, sure — antivirus and antispyware are important. How much did anti-adware software contribute to the protection there? Dangerous advertisements should only cause problems if you’re running outdated software, generally.

When I said we can’t vet every ad, I meant that bad ones with video or ones that steal the full page might slip through.

And why should you trust us? Well, because no website can vet every advertisement. That’s just the way ad networks work. I’m sorry, but there’s not much else to say — your accusatory tone makes it sound as if we’re a disreputable website, but we’re doing the same thing every other website is doing. We try to choose good ad networks and hope they’ll do their job well, but nothing is perfect.


And until you, as web developers, start holding advertisers accountable for their poor service and refusing to show their ads, the end-users will be suffering the consequences, while you get paychecks.

Sound fair to you?

Chris Hoffman

I agree with your sentiment. I’d like to see us take more control of the advertising and work with better advertisers doing relevant stuff.

This is something we’ve talked about. But it’s not my call as an individual — and anyway, we’ve cleaned up the advertising a lot here recently. I’m proud of that.

So I agree. But blacklisting all ads isn’t the way we’re going to get to a place where good websites are rewarded.


I disagree, the more people who blacklist, the more websites and advertisers who squander the goodwill of their end-users will go under.

I’ve had it with ads, just as more and more people have. It’s really to late now, time to adapt or die.

Chris Hoffman

I’d like to see us offer a cheap, ad-free premium membership (ideally with other benefits), personally.

But advertising is still big business. Lots of people would rather have advertising than shell out a cent.

Varun Nagwekar

I was an avid user of adblock softwares because:
a: It helps reduce useless clutter from websites
b: helps in saving bandwidth
c: helps in loading the websites faster.

But recently through your and different tech sites I visit, I realized what I was doing was actually wrong and harming the sites I love. So I quit using adblock to show that I care.

The only problem is that viewing videos in YouTube is a big pain in the *** and is the only reason why I sometimes, from time to time, out of frustration enable adblock again. And disabling adblock on each site that I visit is also a big pain too.

Varun Nagwekar

I would prefer if there was a working solution to disable ads on just YouTube (I know they need to generate revenue too, but their ads are way too intrusive for my liking)

Or if there were a method where in the disabling methods you mentioned in the article would work in reverse i.e. ads enabled on all sites by default, but I could manually disable a few by choice.

Great work on the site. You guys rock!

Chris Hoffman

Thanks a lot, Varun!

A lot of people have asked for ways to only block ads on a specific website. Hopefully one of the Adblock programs will offer that soon.

YouTube ads are obnoxious, but at least they let you skip them sometimes. And, given that YouTube was losing tons of money a few years ago, it’s hard to blame Google too much. They’re doing what they need to do to make YouTube profitable. Some people weren’t sure if they could run it profitably.


Varun, its not wrong. They’re just playing on your guilt to get you to turn it off in hopes that you will buy some bit of shit that they have advertised on their webpage. People who use adblock do not buy products from web adverts. People who use adblock are tired of the shiteious websites being developed by flash happy idiots who find more and more ways to annoy you with stupid popups and garbage advertisements. I shop online from well known national retailers and that is it. These companies do not need to advertise because their name is a brand. I’m not saying that all online adverts are scum bags looking to screw you but many are just that. Honestly, if this website cared so much about making money then they should charge people to use the site. OR stop bitching.

Chris Hoffman

Hey Timothy,

We actually don’t care if you buy the stuff that appears on the page. I don’t believe we make extra money even if you do. Advertisers pay for their ads to appear and for users to click. An advertisement for a product on MUO is in no way an endorsement or recommendation of that product. We can’t even control what appears on the page.

As I pointed out in the article, advertisers pay for their ads to appear. So even if you don’t buy anything or click the ad, we get paid.

I respect your strong feelings on the subject, though. I’ve been there, myself.

Tijuana Brass

Wow! I’d forgotten that I have Ad-Block Plus activated (yes, I’m one of those horrid ‘set-and-forget’ type users!) so after reading this article I deactivated it… what a difference that made!

Apparently I’m the 999,999th visitor to this website, so I can get a $2,000 shopping voucher IF I CLICK THAT AD! Sounds great, but I suspect it’s not really the case.

It’s for ads like that (which is bright and flashy [not Flash-y, mind you] and irritating) that I installed Ad-Block Plus to begin with. Although I consider myself savvy enough not to be fooled into clicking it, others may not be so savvy – like my wife’s 88-year old grandmother, who I have to occasionally rescue from such pitfalls.

But I don’t want to keep leeching from the good authors of this site… so I’m switching ABP back on – and not returning to MUO. I object to being labelled a thief, an idiot, a commie, a conspiracy theorist, evil etc, and since whitelisting won’t stop the annoying ads coming through, I shall bid you farewell.

Let me be clear – I sincerely support your right to get paid for your content. I don’t however, think it should be up to end-users to come up with a business model that satisfies advertisers, content producers, website owners, users, etc. Also, it shouldn’t be up to end-users to alert a website’s owners to every misleading ad that appears on THEIR SITE.

Hopefully though, some day a balance will be struck and add-ons like ABP won’t even be necessary!

Chris Hoffman

Hi, Tijuana.

I don’t mean to label you a thief or evil — I used to be a big adblocker and even helped block ads, as I mentioned in the post. It’s the advertising companies’ fault for driving users to use such things. I don’t blame or look down on any individual for that.

I’m not thrilled about the ads you mentioned either. Nevertheless, we need to move towards a world where ads are better and users don’t need to block them. That should be our end goal — not the idealistic and unrealistic elimination of even the best ads from the Internet.

I hope you’ll reconsider an continue to visit the website, anyway. We don’t want to alienate any readers.


I have whitelisted MUO, Ars and other tech sites that I like. Alas, wouldn’t be better to use Google Ads-style text-only or text-and-small-static-image-only simple ads? Those I find quite pleasant and I see no reason to block.

Chris Hoffman

We’d love to use even more unobtrustive ads, but the image ads pay per impression, so we get money even if people don’t click them.

We’d also love to block Flash ads, but the ad network does not make this an option.

J.P. Howde

Just read James Bruce’s “Tactics For Dealing With Ad-Block Users On Your Site” article.

The truce is over then?

Chris Hoffman

It’s up to each site owner what they want to do with AdBlock users. Showing a pop-up saying “Hey, please disable AdBlock if you like the site” is hardly an attack. As his post says, we recommend against blocking adblock users. AdBlock filter developers will just see that as provocation and try to get around it, anyway. It’ll also annoy users — it’s not helpful.

Personally, I’d still like to see better, more relevant, less obnoxious ads, and we’ve been talking about this internally (it’s not my call, though).

If you don’t use AdBlock, you’ll notice that various advertisements on MUO have been removed and streamlined in recent months.

Concerned mom

I use adblock because reciently my kids came to me screaming “Mommy, Mommy,Mommy! there’s a naked woman on the computer!”

So I went up to their room and sure enough, there was a picture of a woman posed in a sexual position on the side of the game website.

I closed it and went back downstairs.

Ten minuets latter, another scream and more running down the stairs!
another unsightly image of a different woman was on the top of a “Hunger Games” site!

Finally both me and my kids were fed up!

I knew we didn’t have a virus that was causing the issue (The kids have an “EMac” and Avast! is installed even though it has mac OS)

So I got Adblock and the erotic images stopped appearing on my kids computer.

While I find ads annoying I usually just tell my kids to close or ignore them. But there comes a time when enough is enough and I must put my foot down!

Chris Hoffman

That’s a good point. Websites and ad networks really need to vet ads better.

I definitely respect your decision there. Very understandable.


There is no such thing as “unobtrusive” ads, or “well-bahaved” websites. When you actually figure out how to show me an ad that’s relevant to my interests, let me know. Until then, I’ll be blocking the shitty browser-parodies of real games I already play, crappy top-40 album ad’s and Swiffer commercials.


p.s “Single 22 year old women that want to have sex tonight in your town!” Doesn’t count.

Chris Hoffman

It could definitely be better, but it’s not necessarily as bad as people think.

Right now, all the banner ads on the page are advertising Intel processors to me. That’s relevant.

Anyway, I’d like to see us totally re-imagine the ads on this website.


What a depressing group of comments. Most reflect such a selfish, ungrateful group of people who believe that the Internet should revolve around them.

If you don’t like the advertising in the articles, don’t read the articles. Nobody is forcing you to do so. If there was an option to pay makeuseof just $2 a month to read the articles, which you enjoy and which people work to create and feed their families, would you pay it? I’m guessing a tiny fraction of you would pay for it.

Now if all of this would go away, including your local newspapers, but might stay just to keep the ads where they are, would you be happy that you don’t actually have to pay one penny to be able to read all this content? Any reasonable person would be thrilled.

It seems that the new generation believes that anything not nailed down is free or should be free. The problem of adblocking being available is that it has become thought of as a “right.” Perhaps all browser developers need to block ad blocking plugins and then people will begin to appreciate the hard work of other people and to respect their right to display their web pages as they created them.

Chris Hoffman

Thanks for the comment, Law. A refreshing perspective!

Personally, I think websites (including ours) need to take advertising to the next level and make it more relevant, less distracting, and higher-quality. I don’t see low-quality ads on MakeUseOf — but apparently some people have, which could be related to their region. If I saw terrible ads (“one weird tip to a flat belly”), I may be more tempted to block. I agree with Google that making ads better is the solution.

On this page, I see ads for a local credit union, on-demand parcel pickup with the postal service, and a cheap Internet connection offer for my area. These are not low-quality ads.

Adblock rules

Oh yes, and I forgot. Freedom to block ads on my computer. Too bad, suckers. It’s my computer, my display, my time.

Chris Hoffman

Sure, and we have the freedom to ask you nicely not to.

(We’d also have the freedom to block you, because you’re using our servers, our computing resources, and increasing our bandwidth costs. But we’re not doing that.)


I agree with you and just added this site to my whitelist. Now, I see your ads.

However, Ad Block Plus is not compatible with the FF v11 and up. I am using v13.0.1 and had to get “Updated Ad Blocker for Firefox 11+” and now I have ads on Yahoo — BIG ones.

I will be trying out various other ad blocker add-ons.

Chris Hoffman

Thank you, DIx.

I believe Adblock Plus is compatible with those Firefox versions — I just checked Mozilla’s add-ons site and it says it’s compatible with versions up to Firefox 16.

I’m not linking it here for obvious reasons, but feel free to visit the Mozilla add-ons site and try to install it yourself. Maybe you’re stuck with an older version for some reason?

John Loot

Thanks, just unblocked in adblock plus!

Chris Hoffman

Awesome, thanks for your support!


I just disabled AdBlock for this wonderful site too! Keep up the great work, MakeUseOf people! We will always support you! :)


Thank you, Tarzan!


I’ll give it a go, I just whit-listed the site for now, let’s see…

Chris Hoffman

Thanks a lot! We appreciate it!


Isn’t that interesting that you write this and other articles alike (, but in the same time you recommend the very same stuff ? ;)