Adblocking tools continue to rise in popularity, altering the dynamics of advertising revenue streams. In response, a number of publishers have ramped up efforts to develop and deploy tools for detecting and/or counter-blocking adblockers (tools we refer to as anti-adblockers), effectively escalating the online advertising arms race. In this paper, we leverage a novel approach for identifying third-party services shared across multiple websites to present a first characterization of anti-adblocking 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.
|Title of host publication||USENIX|
|Subtitle of host publication||Proceedings of the 6th USENIX Workshop on Free and Open Communications on the Internet (FOCI '16)|
|Place of Publication||Austin, USA|
|Publication status||Published - May 2016|
|Event||6th USENIX Workshop on Free and Open Communications on the Internet - Hyatt Regency Austin, Austin, United States|
Duration: 8 Aug 2016 → 8 Aug 2016
Conference number: 6
|Conference||6th USENIX Workshop on Free and Open Communications on the Internet|
|Abbreviated title||FOCI '16|
|Period||8/08/16 → 8/08/16|
Nithyanand, R., Khattak, S., Javed, M., Vallina-Rodriguez, N., Falahrastegar, M., Powles, J., ... Murdoch, S. J. (2016). Ad-Blocking and Counter Blocking: A Slice of the Arms Race. In USENIX: Proceedings of the 6th USENIX Workshop on Free and Open Communications on the Internet (FOCI '16) Austin, USA: USENIX.