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04 May 2009, 10:12

Firefox add-ons and troubles with ads

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In recent days, various web forums have seen whole heaps of complaints that popular Firefox add-ons AdblockPlus and NoScript no longer appear to work properly together. The recent update to version 1.9.2 of script-filter NoScript appears to have resulted in AdblockPlus allowing increasing numbers of banners to slip through its ad filters.

On his blog, Wladimir Palant, the developer behind AdblockPlus, identifies the cause of this problem as NoScript. According to Palant, NoScript, which is advertising-financed, goes to great lengths to ensure that the advertising on its own website gets displayed. For example, after each Firefox update, it opens the NoScript website to display a list of changes and advertising. In the normal course of things, a range of banner ads will fall victim to the script-blocking software – not, however, on the NoScript website itself. It, along with various other websites, is on a whitelist.

Users who wish to be spared advertising on these websites could until now rely on AdblockPlus – although the NoScript website has, according to Palant, been using various tricks to try to slip its advertising past its filters for some years. The latest version of NoScript released two weeks ago reportedly contained code which deliberately disables some AdblockPlus functions. Following protests, this code was removed from a subsequent update. Version instead adds the NoScript domain to an AdblockPlus whitelist. According to the NoScript developer, this was necessary, as otherwise important elements, such as download links, would fail to work.

Wladimir Palant, however has a different take on this, stating that it is a misinterpretation to say that the ad-blocking software restricts website functionality, and that the problem is rather the result of the website attempting to impede AdblockPlus. Version of NoScript, released yesterday, brings an end to the saga by removing the exception rules from AdblockPlus. The NoScript FAQs state that this was carried out as a sign of goodwill after previous changes caused complaints and controversy in the Firefox community.


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