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AdBlock Chrome Extension sold to unknown buyer, the add-on will now have Acceptable Ads enabled by default

AdBlock Chrome Extension sold to unknown buyer, the add-on will now have Acceptable Ads enabled by default

by AshwinOctober 3, 2015

AdBlock for Chrome users, we have just come across some really bad news.

AdBlock Chrome Extension sold to unknown buyer

The developer behind the extension, has apparently sold the company.

The news was spotted by a Twitter user, who noticed a pop-up from AdBlock in Google Chrome. (refer to the screenshot above).

What’s interesting is the last part of the screenshot, which says:

“…. As a result, I am selling the company, and the buyer is turning on Acceptable Ads. My long-time managing director will keep working with the new company.”

And the worst part is that, the buyer is unknown. According to The Next Web, AdBlock  refused to say who the buyer was, as they had specifically requested to be anonymous. The developer behind the extension, Michael Gundlach, apparently will have nothing to do with AdBlock anymore.

The report also reveals that the previous director of Adblock, Gabriel Cubbage, is the new chief under the unknown company’s banner. AdBlock debuted 6 years ago, in 2009, and grew into what is considered as the most popular extension for Google Chrome. It is said that the extension boasts around 40 million users.

Interestingly, we may have a theory of what is happening behind the scenes. A major rival of Adblock, is the very similarly named AdBlock Plus. ABP has been in the spotlight for some wrong reasons before, with several rumours claiming that the add-on allowed ads from major advertisers to slip past its ad blocking filters, under the “allow some non-intrusive ads” option. This option was enabled by default in the add-on, and it was up to the user to disable it. For this reason, AdBlock Plus was accused of being paid for by advertisers who wanted their ads, to be displayed as “non-intrusive ads” ones. Of course, ABP has denied this over the years.

And now, the AdBlock Chrome extension will be joining the “acceptable ads” program, which will be enabled by default. This sounds very similar to ABP’s option, doesn’t it?

This totally bypasses the very purpose which users use the extension for, blocking ads because of limited bandwidth and also for security and privacy reasons.

Naturally, the fact that it has been sold to an unknown buyer is very unsettling. So, what do we do now?¬† Do we continue to trust it? Use your judgement people. Would you trust an anonymous company which bought the add-on? Will that be a secure solution? Or will you move away to a different and trusted one? I’ll leave that to you to decide.