AdBlock To Take Over The Internet?

If you frequent technology news sites, it’s easy to get the impression that AdBlock Plus – the popular Firefox extension that can block most forms of online advertising – is a big deal. Any news article, blog post or forum thread that happens to mention advertising will inevitably get several comments expounding the benefits of AdBlock. Even seemingly unrelated topics will often get that treatment : Web pages loading too slowly? Use AdBlock. Worried about privacy? AdBlock. Unsure which web browser to choose? Get the one that can run AdBlock.

With all this commotion and ad-blocker evangelizing going on, one has to wonder – is AdBlock on the way to becoming the norm, and thus completely devaluing online advertising?

No. Not even close.

I’ve run the numbers. If current Internet usage trends persist, people who use AdBlock Plus (and other ad-blocking plugins) will always be a tiny minority. Sure, it might have some impact on the ad revenue of websites that target the tech-savvy crowd. But advertisers in general will probably always see AdBlock as just a minor annoyance – if that.

See the stats below.

AdBlock Plus Popularity

By last count, there were ~1,734 million Internet users in the world. AdBlock Plus, the most popular ad-blocking plugin, has ~10 million active users. Thus, only about 0.6% of all Internet users have AdBlock installed.

Growth Rates

In the last two years, the number of Internet users has been increasing by about 19.7 million each month, and this growth is accelerating. I wasn’t able to find complete historical data for AdBlock Plus, but judging by these stats (see the monthly view) the number of AdBlock users is currently increasing by about 315 thousand per month. And it seems to be slowing down lately.

With a growth rate disparity this huge, AdBlock will never catch up.

Sources :, AdBlock Plus usage statistics

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5 Responses to “AdBlock To Take Over The Internet?”

  1. asf says:

    Most people are idiots, no news there

  2. Fugs says:

    U only took account of firefox adblock downloads, how about chrome and safari….

    Even thou I believe that the result will be the same, the figures would be at least more accurate

  3. flabtastic says:

    I run adblock plus because the page rendering is 2-10x faster – combine that with ghostery and pages are snappy. I miss the old days with a website was contacting 2-3 servers – now with all the widgets/crosslinking/tracking/doodads – pages lock up on slow ad servers, then render for another 10 seconds as stuff ajax’s in. Plus its hard to read an article with stuff moving on the pages.

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  5. Ad Blocker Forever says:

    You fail to mention that roughly 60-65% of the internet actually make purchases on the internet. That is the figure that should be the total, not the entire internet population. See:

    Also, your total internet population figure takes into account mobile browser usage too, so you cannot compare desktop ad blocking to a total internet population that includes mobile.

    You also don’t take into account other ad blocking add-ons for browsers like Chrome. With Firefox, other add-ons like Noscript and Flashblock count for nearly 95 million users . Given that there will be user duplication of add-ons here, it is still at minimum 30% higher than the figure you present for Firefox.

    Remember that AdBlock plus has alone grown over 40% since April 2010. This is clearly a scary trend for Advertisers and Publishers alike. Once ad blocking becomes more mainstream, publicity around the benefits of ad blocking or say a browser decides to commit “online monetization” suicide and include ad blocking as a standard feature, the tipping point to block ads will be reached.

    For the consumer, ad blocking is a very positive and beneficial feature, that will never deprecate.

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