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

How to keep your B2B marketing job for the next 5 years

B2B marketers are in the hot seat. As the customers’ buying journey shifts online, B2B marketers must exert influence and build trust with their prospects in a new way.

Collective Intelligence: The power of smarter, quicker team thinking

When we think about the bottom line in business, the immediate jump is fiscal performance. But if you're serious about future-proofing your business, then you need to be ready to think outside the box of traditional success measures.

Janine Garner

Founder and CEO, LBDGroup and author

Can the data-led creative please stand up?

The data land grab is full steam ahead. Media agencies, brands and tech players are all scrambling over one another to develop data and insights capabilities and to own the space.

The most successful start of any change is the recognition of its need. Australia is by no means the only country struggling with custome...

Denyse Drummond-Dunn

Report: Aussie CMOs strive for customer centricity but hindered by pace of change

Read more

Chris - good list for a staff marketer. But a CMO must become conversant and familiar with strategic corporate finance. This is now a c...

Ed Marsh

How to keep your B2B marketing job for the next 5 years - Marketing leadership - CMO Australia

Read more

Hmm ... another pondering example of VR technology's use for place-teleportation.http://www.virtualrealitytimes...

VirtualReality Times

Virtual reality provides platform to showcase Brisbane winter experiences

Read more

Hi Nadia, I think it will be interesting to see how this space evolves since, as you mentioned, more and more brands will be getting in o...

Lauren Jung

How to engage in influencer marketing: The controversy and the opportunity

Read more

Thanks for the feedback Lauren. The big question I have is whether consumers will continue to inherently trust in the blogger's commentar...

Nadia Cameron

How to engage in influencer marketing: The controversy and the opportunity

Read more

Sign in