Saturday, July 07, 2012

Banish Annoying Video Ads From Your Internet Experience


Few things are more annoying on the web than hitting a video site to watch a 30-second clip of something funny only to discover you have to sit through a 30-second advertisement first.
There are currently two types of video ads on YouTube, Hulu and their ilk: The first is the in-movie pop-up — the annoying box of text that covers the subtitles in your French film preview with an ad for floor cleaner. This breed is marked by a tiny X conveniently located right next to a link so marketers can prove they were right all along, that French people will jump at the opportunity to buy floor cleaner.
The second and far more annoying type of ad is the pre-roll ad, the actual video ads you have to sit through before you get to the content you want. It's like someone turned your internet into television. Terrible.
Naturally there are ways to stop both sorts of ads, though dodging pre-roll ads is, in our experience, much more difficult. In fact, if you really want to banish every in-video ad, you'll need the Firefox web browser. But even if you don't use Firefox and don't want to switch browsers you can at least stop the in-video popup ads and enjoy your subtitles uninterrupted.
Here's our guide to blocking video ads on the web.
This how-to was written by Scott Gilbertson, a writer and web developer living in Athens, Georgia.


Firefox offers add-on developers very low-level access not found in other web browsers. That means add-ons made for Firefox can do much more than those made for other web browsers. If you really want to avoid ads, Firefox is your best bet.
To block most ads in Firefox just download AdBlock Plus. That will take care of pretty much everything except pre-roll video ads. For those you'll need AdBlock Video. AdBlock Video will stop video ads within movies on popular sites like YouTube, DailyMotion and all the major news websites like CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, and more.
AdBlock Video also blocks ads on Hulu, though Hulu and the extension are waging something of a war over ads. It used to be that AdBlock Video allowed you to skip ads completely and get right to the content, but as of this writing it's no longer possible to skip them. Instead AdBlock Video merely blocks them. That means you have to sit there for 30 seconds (or longer depending on the ad), but at least you don't have to sit through the ad.


There's a version of AdBlock Plus available for Chrome that will block the in-video text or image ads, and even the pre-roll video ads on YouTube. The extension also works on Hulu, though again, you'll have to sit through the 30 seconds of silence.


There is no AdBlock Plus for Safari, but there is an ad-blocking extension from another developer that covers most of the basics. Safari users can grab it from Apple's Safari Extensions GallerySafari AdBlockdoesn't block pre-roll ads, but it will get rid of the annoying little pop-ups.

Internet Explorer 9

If you've got the latest version of IE installed you can use Simple AdBlock, which will stop text ads in videos, though in our testing pre-roll ads aren't blocked on any sites. Also note that Simple AdBlock is the only one of the bunch that isn't free. Simple AdBlock will set you back $30, though there is a 30-day free trial available.


While it's possible to cut down on ads in videos it's very difficult to get rid of them entirely unless you switch to Firefox. And since most websites (including this one) depend on advertisements to cover the bills there's typically something of a cat-and-mouse game between advertisers and ad blockers. That means that what works today will not necessarily work tomorrow.

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