Reply to post: One thing that people seem to be missing

AdBlock blocker biz bought

Steven Roper

One thing that people seem to be missing

All these adblockers use standard blocklists. Whether it's Adblock, Adblock Plus, Adblock Edge, UBlock, UBlock Origin or whatever, they are only as good as the blocklists they employ. Without a blocklist, an ablocker is useless.

Most adblockers use lists like the EasyList, ABPindo list, Fanboy's Ultimate Block List, etc. EasyList is the most commonly deployed one and the first one to come up when you set your filter subscription. These lists are updated whenever the ad companies set up new domains and servers, to keep those servers blocked. But the bottom line is, it is the list, not the adblocker, that controls the actual blocking.

So my thought is, when an adblocker company sells out to advertisers, they must set up a hidden "counter-blocklist" that disregards whatever blocklist is subscribed when it comes to certain ad servers (in much the same way Windows 10 ignores the hosts file for certain Microsoft telemetry servers.) It can't be the blocklist itself that's compromised, otherwise it would be impossible to turn on total blocking of all ads in the adblocker.

Which leads inevitably to the conclusion that sooner or later the ad companies will approach the blocklist maintainers, rather than the adblocker makers, and dangle some cash. If they can compromise a major blocklist like EasyList and get their ad server taken off it, that would affect ALL adblockers that use that list, Adblock and UBlock alike - for the price of one bribe instead of several to different adblocker makers, and at the same time remove the ability to turn on total blocking of all ads in any adblocker.

Of course, the moment EasyList sells out it opens the door for an alternative list to take over. But even if it did, this would mark the beginning of yet another endless update war that we'll have to fight to keep control of our computers and internet experience.

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