I keep mentioning Greasemonkey but haven't yet had a chance to write up why I think it's important. Luckily I keep running across others who are doing a pretty good job. Ryan's Greasemonkey Stole Your Job (and Your Business Model) is one such example. It's where I learned that a trivial Greasemonkey script exists for blocking AdSense Ads (actually it just hides them).

Scary stuff, huh? :-)

He speculates that companies like Google and Yahoo would use their toolbars to re-insert content that Gresemonkey scripts remove. I hope both companies are smart enough not to fight that particular battle.

Posted by jzawodn at May 16, 2005 01:40 PM

Reader Comments
# VA said:

Well, the "popup" business model was killed (I guess) by a combination of toolbar and browser enhancements, right.

This reminds me of the innovative ad that Yahoo finance had last weekend where the new BMW 3 series bought the prominent "E"s on the page and turned them into "3"s! I had intuitively ignored the big banner for the same product, but ended up clicking on the the "3" :)

So, the other question is, will the ads evolove fast enough to stay ahead of this cleansing.

on May 16, 2005 03:22 PM
# Adam V. said:

You can also block GoogleAds with AdBlock, though AdBlock could use a better UI. (So could Greasemonkey, I suppose.)

on May 16, 2005 03:59 PM
# Pat said:

Why would they fight that hard to piss people off? The number of people who go out of their way to install GM scripts should be insignificant enough to ignore...for now at least.

Oh, and pop-unders are making a comeback thanks to Flash.

on May 16, 2005 04:18 PM
# Mike said:

Hopefully it'll be possible to detect which visitors are leeching off sites by using these scripts and block them.

on May 16, 2005 04:32 PM
# Nicole Simon said:

He is talking about bright kids - I am sure, there will be bright kids to make evil stuff also :(

But I think most of the users are not savy enough to use something like GM, so no worries there in general.

As for Google and Yahoo - I would have said 'they will be smart' some months ago, but now, I would bet on Google going down that path (and loosing more credibility on it's way).

Yahoo? They seem a bit more clever in the last months. ;)

on May 16, 2005 06:03 PM
# Wilson said:

I don't see anything wrong with scripts to block ads, be them from AdSense, DoubleClick or whoever, even though I display AdSense ads in my blog. Anyone who goes so much out of his/her way to block the ads wouldn't probably click on them if they were visible, so that can't possibly count as "lost revenue".

I also think a web publisher has the right to block access to people who choose not to view the ads (if technically possible, of course). It is an unpopular stance to take, I think, but well within the rights of the content owner.

Neither of these are "the end of the world" for either technology (ads and ad blockers).

on May 16, 2005 08:43 PM
# Steve Romej said:

Greasemonkey is nice, but it's easy to confuse a monkeyfied page with the original page. If you had an ad blocker that was applied to every domain you eventually come to feel that ads no longer exist, in the same way most people feel popups aren't there (open IE and you'll soon remember).

I run a few scripts against Amazon and find myself wanting to tell friends "click ASIN" or "open the Burro" only to realize that's not the Amazon *they* see.

on May 16, 2005 09:26 PM
# Swaroop C H said:

Hey Jeremy,

Have you looked at Pilgrim's http://www.diveintogreasemonkey.org/ ? :)

on May 16, 2005 10:33 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

I have. In fact, I think I mentioned it last week in my "20 posts in 1" post.

on May 16, 2005 10:38 PM
# Fabian said:

I doubt any company has to fear extreme things from Greasemonkey, even if there are some that will use it to remove Ads from pages, most will use it for other stuff.
There are many ad-removal tools out there and they have not yet killed anyones business.

On the other hand, expect companies to start fighting against greasemonkey scripts that remove content they do not want removed. I have already seen pages which simply stop working (on purpose) if ad-removal apps are installed in the browser. They have to make money someway...

on May 17, 2005 06:32 AM
# Danny Howard said:

Huh. I have always found the Adsense ads inoffensive and have taken to clicking on them when I like a particular web page in order to "tip" the author.

Some day there will be a broad implementation of microtransactions that will allow us to cut out the advertizing middlemen.


on May 17, 2005 10:48 AM
# James said:

Greasemonkey and Platypus and all that are very nice, but I have yet to see them catching on in a "mainstream" way. It's been possible to hide ads just as easily with user CSS for years (Firefox's "tips and tricks" area includes a very comprehensive ad-blocking user stylesheet), and it hasn't made a dent.

on May 17, 2005 04:41 PM
# Satz said:

Here is a way to disable Greasemonkey, I didn't chk that yet, Will do it soon :P

on May 18, 2005 05:16 AM
# Satz said:

Didn't know that it doesnt support HTML
here is the link: http://dean.edwards.name/weblog/2005/03/ungreased/

on May 18, 2005 05:18 AM
# James said:
on December 20, 2006 08:16 PM
# Joshua said:

I use Greasemonkey and look for more and more scripts to utilize to make my surfing and browsing as hassle free as I can. As was previously stated, those who go out of the way to block these ads will probably never click on them anyway. TRUE. I have never clicked on ANY ad nor will I ever do so in my existence. Therefore my free will to deny those ads to appear and annoy me on my personal, private computer, will continue to the day and beyond.

You really want to turn me away as a potential customer? Force your product on me or down my throat and you will lose every chance you ever had of me becoming part of your consumer base.

Companies as well as ad people need to listen to this.

on April 7, 2007 06:55 AM
# trendfans said:

Cool Script! Works very well.

on February 6, 2009 10:20 AM
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