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Popular Porn Website Claims Brief Victory Over AdBlock Plus

Popular Porn Website Claims Brief Victory Over AdBlock Plus

The online adult entertainment industry has a history of pushing the envelope in digital ad innovation, and a recent victory against AdBlock Plus could be its latest contribution - if not set to last long.   

As reported by The Stack, the popular adult website, Pornhub.com found a way to unblock its ads on Chrome without engaging its users with block screens or “blackmail” - news likely of interest to fellow publisher heavyweights concerned about a decline in clicks.

At the time of writing, Alexa ranked the adult site as the 62nd most popular website globally, while last year Quora estimated daily impressions at 20 million. AdBlock Plus’ head of operations, Ben Williams told The Stack, November 2, “We’re aware of this problem, and are currently working on a solution to tackle this.”

Workaround

A post by bug reporting tool BugReplay explained how ad blockers anticipate ad traffic to enter the page request via Chrome’s webRequest API.

“When Pornhub detects a Chrome adblocker, it routes the commercial through the WebSocket channel – which Chrome enabled in 2009 – as a base64 encoded stream, which is then reconstructed on load.”

While it’s not been determined whether the workaround is still active for users of AdBlock Plus, the measure was only effective on Chrome; Firefox, for example, filters WebSockets by default.

The increasingly popular ad blocking competitor uBlock Origin has also already discovered a fix, so it would appear to be only a matter of time before AdBlock Plus is able to address the issue if it hasn’t done so already. 

Martin Anderson, editor of The Stack, said, “Sites may know how to recognise an ad blocker from failed load requests and perpetuate the current stalemate, but until someone learns how to serve advertising from localhost, the war is set to continue.”

Update: Ben Williams (head of operations, AdBlock Plus) has since informed PerformanceIN that a fix has been implemented.  

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Mark  Jones

Mark Jones

Editorial Executive at PerformanceIN. Mark reports performance marketing news and manages PI's network of guest contributors.

Originally from Plymouth, Mark studied in Reading and London, eventually earning his Master's in Digital Journalism- before making his return to the West Country to join the PI team in Bristol.

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