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Adblocking and Counter Blocking: A Slice of the Arms Race

Nithyanand, R; Khattak, S; Javed, M; Vallina-Rodriguez, N; Falahrastegar, M; Powles, JE; Cristofaro, ED; ... Murdoch, SJ; + view all (2016) Adblocking and Counter Blocking: A Slice of the Arms Race. In: Proceedings of the 6th USENIX Workshop on Free and Open Communications on the Internet (FOCI '16). USENIX: Austin, TX, USA. Green open access

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Abstract

Adblocking tools like Adblock Plus continue to rise in popularity, potentially threatening the dynamics of advertising revenue streams. In response, a number of publishers have ramped up efforts to develop and deploy mechanisms for detecting and/or counter-blocking adblockers (which we refer to as anti-adblockers), effectively escalating the online advertising arms race. In this paper, we develop a scalable approach for identifying third-party services shared across multiple websites and use it to provide a first characterization of antiadblocking across the Alexa Top-5K websites. We map websites that perform anti-adblocking as well as the entities that provide anti-adblocking scripts. We study the modus operandi of these scripts and their impact on popular adblockers. We find that at least 6.7% of websites in the Alexa Top-5K use anti-adblocking scripts, acquired from 12 distinct entities – some of which have a direct interest in nourishing the online advertising industry.

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: Adblocking and Counter Blocking: A Slice of the Arms Race
Event: 6th USENIX Workshop on Free and Open Communications on the Internet (FOCI '16)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: https://www.usenix.org/conference/foci16/workshop-...
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1508430
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