AdBlock launches crowdfunding campaign to create ads about blocking ads

The popular AdBlock extension is fighting fire with fire to spread the word to people unaware of its website-killing power.

Prepare to have your mind blown: This weekend, the creator of the popular AdBlock software--which kills the ads you'd normally see while trawling the Web--launched a crowdfunding campaign to pay for ads encouraging people to use AdBlock and block Internet ads.

Whoa.

As brain-bending as the concept sounds, AdBlock isn't dreaming small. The US$25,000 minimum fundraising goal will oh-so-ironically go towards the creation of banner ads to spam the AdBlock ethos, and AdBlock founder Michael Gundlach promises to spread the word via a Times Square billboard if the donations hit $50,000, or a full-page ad in the New York Times if the campaign raises $150,000.

If the crowdfunding really takes off, AdBlock has the white whale of advertising in its sights: At $4.2 million in donations (ha!), Gundlach says he'll buy an AdBlock TV commercial during the 2014 Super Bowl.

AdBlock recently started bugging users of its extension with ads about its campaign to create ads about blocking ads, in yet another bout of delicious hyprocrisy. Here's what the campaign page says about fighting fire with fire:

We're going to use ads to get rid of ads. We will use the money raised to make AdBlock banner ads and video commercials, and we will show these across the internet to people who don't have AdBlock. If we raise enough, we will implement our craziest advertising ideas and capture the whole world's imagination.

With ads about blocking ads. Welcome to the Matrix!

Ad-blocking or site-killing?

While ad-blocking technology is indeed highly handy-dandy and borders on necessity on some of the most annoying pages on the Web, it's not without its share of critics. A large swathe of the Web--PCWorld.com and TechHive.com included--relies on advertising to monetize content provided free of charge to readers, and ad-killing software such as AdBlock deprive websites of that revenue. Penny Arcade's Ben Kuchera recently wrote a superb article detailing just how harmful ad-blocking software is to websites.

Simply put, without ads, many Websites couldn't exist. Creating quality content costs money, and a truly ad-free web would be a mostly empty web.

Is there a middle ground? AdBlock rival AdBlock Plus whitelists ads that don't scream at you or autoplay or steal your browser's focus, which seems like a reasonable compromise. Some people manually whitelist the majority of the Web, blocking only sites that betray their trust with obnoxious selling attempts.

Attempts to offer ad-free content behind a paywall, meanwhile, have seen hit-and-miss success. While Netizens hate ads, few seem willing to pay to remove them.

But in a bout of irony so hard that it hurts, people are tripping over themselves to fund ads about blocking ads. AdBlock has managed to raise more than $22,000 of its $25,000 minimum goal in just a couple of days, with 28 days of fundraising left. One thing's for certain: It's going to be interesting to see where AdBlock's ad campaign goes, and what--if anything--it accomplishes.

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

Against Net Promoter: A new way of interpreting the customer data deluge

One thing that frustrates marketers is the sloppy use of digital research.

Jason Juma-Ross

lead partner, PwC Digital Intelligence

How to better value your data

As digital marketing techniques matured over the last few years, the momentum to collect and utilise data has rapidly gathered pace.

Mark Cameron

CEO, Working Three

5 essentials for leading digital transformation

While each business will have a unique digital transformation agenda, there are five essentials every CMO can pick up and excel at to ensure a smooth transformation.

Jacki James

strategic planner, Zuni

You think people are annoyed with marketing messages now? Wait til they start getting them on their pill bottles. That's not "engagement...

Len Diamoond

Marketo CEO: Mass media is dead; embrace engagement marketing

Read more

I'd love to hear an update on how this trial went and any stats that are being released. Have looked around and doesn't appear to be anyt...

Valentina Borbone

Melbourne Cricket Ground to give away pies during Beacon trial

Read more

Thanks

Veri kurtarma

How data is driving the customers of a lifetime for BaubleBar

Read more

I love the article and feel it's right on. Only thing I don't agree with is ..'“If a marketer starts to pigeon-hole themselves as just b...

Scott Sundheim

CMO to CEO: Virgin’s David Scribner talks growth

Read more

Kind of ironic this was posted on the day that Target closed in my home town. They obviously didn't get customer experience in Canada.

Carol Wain

Target: Emotional social vital to customer experience management

Read more

Sign in