Why Ad Blockers Won an Add-on Popularity Contest (When One That Replaces All Images With Nic Cage’s Face Exists)
Whether you’re a longtime fan or new to Firefox, you probably know that add-ons have a special place in our hearts / navigational bar. To the uninitiated, add-ons AKA extensions are like apps that you install to customize your browsing experience. And we can’t get enough of ‘em.
To celebrate our users’ undying affection for add-ons, we recently hosted a March Madness Twitter poll showdown to toast to old favorites and spread the love for up-and-comers. Some matches nearly tied while others were runaway hits.
In the end, the people spoke and longtime MVPs uBlock Origin and Adblock Plus emerged victorious by popular vote. With over 24,000 add-ons in the Firefox ecosystem, we were dying to find the answer to this pressing question: how did a pair of ad blockers win a popularity contest when the likes of NicCage (an add-on that replaces all images on the web with the actor’s face) exists?
To understand why ad blockers continue to top the add-on charts — and why there are so many in the first place — one just has to ask anyone online.
According to one report, ad blocker usage surged 30% in 2016 with survey participants citing “security’” and “interruption” as the main reason for using ad blockers, which is a nice way of saying “I‘d’ rather be looking at the thing I clicked on than this ad, thank you.”
At the same time, ads are part of the business model of the internet. They’re needed for the web to function and to remain free for everyday users. It’s a compromise that’s still being sussed out between companies that serve ads (so they can reach customers) and the customers who, ultimately, don’t mind ads as long as they’re relevant to their interests.
Users who want more control over what ads they’re served have options in ad blocker add-ons. Why so many? We asked Scott DeVaney, our resident add-on specialist, to weigh in.
“Ad blockers are incredibly varied, and one of the reasons why we have so many ad blockers and tracking protection add-ons is because most of them offer distinct feature sets and customization options.”
If you want to ‘go nuclear’ on ads across different platforms, check out this one that only blocks ads for webmail clients, or this one that strips away Facebook’s Suggested Posts, or this one that blocks all video and banner ads on YouTube.
As for the face-off between NicCage and adblockers? The thing about extensions is that you can have as many as you want (and, unlike your last Tinder date, they’re easy to remove if the relationship isn’t working out). So go forth and check out our Mozilla-curated collections to get your add-on.