Obviously, AdSubtract doesn't come with a tin. It's software. But if it came with a tin, which it doesn't, it would do exactly what it says on the tin, even though since there's no tin this is a fairly academic thought, and moderately pointless. Shall we start again? AdSubtract CE (which I use) is the cookie edition of AdSubtract. You'll probably already know what AdSubtract does, but you might not know how well it does it. So. Let's show you. Today, I've been surfing the web for about two hours, and it reckons it's removed 567 ad banners. Good thing? Well, kind of. More on that below. CE also lets you control and delete cookies. You can block cookies from particular sites if you like, delete all cookies except the ones you trust, and also delete your internet cache too. It works as a proxy server for your browser, so all your internet traffic gets put through it to remove the ads. Now, for the bad news. Bad news 1: AdSubtract seems to slow down my browsing slightly (but then, I'm on ADSL, so slowing my browsing down slightly still means it's very quick). It does make it a slightly more pleasurable experience, particularly with sites which have huge adverts blocking much of what you want to see. Bad news 2: Sometimes it breaks sites, particularly my bank, but switching it off is just a case of right-clicking the icon in the task bar so no major problems there. Bad news 3: By using this product, or others like it, you are actively putting sites out of business. Why is AdSubtract a bad thing? Companies like dooyoo depend, up to a point, on advertising. It's not their only revenue stream, but it forms a major part, and dooyoo (like many sites) may get paid per IMPRESSION, not per click. If you surf 20 pages on dooyoo, you might earn them about 50p. But if you don't allow the ads to show by using AdSubtract, then you actually just cost them money in band
width. Now, true, a lost 50p won't kill dooyoo - but if 50% of people used this software, it would mean that the amount of money sites like dooyoo earn from advertising would halve: or worse, depending whether the reduced number of available impressions means that advertisers won't touch sites anyway. That's not stopping me from using AdSubtract, but it's certainly worth bearing in mind. It could well be said that you're stealing from sites by not allowing their advertising to appear. But, if you want ads to disappear from your screen, it's just what the doctor ordered. Except obviously you haven't got a doctor who'll order this for you anyway, and even if you did, chances are it wouldn't be available under the NHS. So, it kind of isn't what the doctor ordered at all, but if it was the kind of thing that doctors would order, and if removal of ads would benefit your health, then this would be just the kind of thing that doctors would order, except they wouldn't in real life because doctors don't order this kind of thing. Shall we start again?
~ ~ If, like me, you’re totally fed up to the back teeth with all these pop-up ads and banners that seem to be on almost every site you visit on the Web these days, including our own beloved dooyoo, then I suggest you go and have a look at this new programme that I found through a recommendation in a computer mag. ~ ~ It’s called AdSubtract, and quite simply, it stops in their tracks all those uncalled for and unwanted advertisements, and as a result also speeds up your system considerably. I got a new computer recently, so I wasn’t particularly unhappy with the speed I was managing anyway, but having only downloaded this programme a couple of days ago, I have to say that there’s been a marked and noticeable improvement even on the good speeds I was achieving previously. If you’re using an older system, or a 28K modem, then I’d say you would achieve even better results than me, and would speed up your connection times enormously. ~ ~ A lot of sites these days pay their way by selling advertising space, (dooyoo included!!) but there is no doubt that, while they are a necessary evil in order to make money from the site’s point of view, they have the capacity to get right up the nose of most users after a time. The first few times they pop into view is OK, but when they keep on and on doing so endlessly, it begins to become a real pain, and to detract from the enjoyment the user gets from the site. ~ ~ A lot of Web users now enter hundreds of the competitions that are advertised at online sites. You know the type of thing; win a million dollars, a weekend in Paris/Florida/the North Pole (joke), a free mobile phone, and so on. Be careful! This is often simply a way to get you to reveal your personal information, (email address for one) so that they can then “track” you on any other sites that are running their ads, and also sell on your email address to other companies who will
then swamp your mail box with the universally despised “Spam” mail. Another fact that some people don’t realise is that a lot of these sites also store “cookies” on your actual hard drive. Not only do these take up space, but they can sit there for a long time, (sometimes a year or more) and some even send back information about you and your surfing habits to the company involved. ~ ~ Once you have installed the system it basically runs itself, and simply sits on your toolbar working away quietly in the background. It automatically configures itself to whatever browser you happen to be using, and is totally compatible with Internet Explorer, Netscape, AOL, and Opera, to name some of the most popular. It doesn’t even matter what way you access the Internet, as it will work with a dial up modem connection, or with cable or ISDN. ~ ~ You can check at anytime how many ads or cookies it has blocked and from which website. I use it now while browsing both dooyoo and Ciao, (amongst others) and was totally astounded at the numbers of ads and cookies it had blocked. I’m not going to spoil your fun by giving you figures; (it was a LOT) go and try it yourself and you’ll very quickly see what I mean. If you do want to support dooyoo by responding to some of their advertisers, (and remember that this helps to pay the wages at dooyoo and also our own payment for reads) then this is no problem. There is a facility to customise the programme so that it will allow ads and cookies from up to five sites of your own choosing. I now enter dooyoo into the “filters” box for about the first half hour or so I am on line, in order to view any new “pop-ups” or banner ads, then simply go back and block them once I have done so. This facility is also very important if you use an online banking facility, for example, as many of these sites actually REQUIRE to download cooki
es to your system in order to work at all. ~ ~ You can even ask AdSubtract to give you an audio warning each time it blocks something, but to be honest, this was only fun when I first started to use it and I very quickly disabled this function, as it becomes very annoying after the first few times. ~ ~ Now for the good news. This programme is free, and not a trial version, so once you have downloaded it it’s yours for as long as you want. The download itself is fast, as the programme is only 2.5 MB in total, and very simple to install and get up and running. If you’re interested, go to www.adsubtract.com. Go on. Give it a try, and see what you think. All you have to lose is your slow browsing speeds and all those annoying pop-ups and banners.
This is a brilliant piece of software – and it’s free! AdSubtract is a little program that works along side your web browser (proxy server for techies!) and filters out banner adverts & cookies from web pages before you download them. Now, I have to admit, I was a bit sceptical that a program could just remove banner adverts from web pages without causing any problems (e.g. blocking a real part of the website or something), but it works – and it works very well! This big advantage of this, is that it speeds up the time taken to download a web page, and, of course, gets rid of all the distracting flashing adverts and such like. This dooyoo site for example, AdSubtract has blocked 16 adverts so far & I’ve only been on the site for a few minutes. On my current connection this equates to about 1 minute of download time purely for adverts. The other thing that AdSubtract can do is block cookies. Most people at this point will be wondering what on earth cooking got to do with the internet! It is a sad fact that the majority of internet users do not know what cookies are & more importantly, the implications of them. Right now, you probably have hundreds of cookies on your PC. So what is a cookie & why would you want to block them? Well, a cookie is basically a small file created by a website. Each time you visit the site, the cookie is sent to a fro from your PC to the website. The cookie is used to store various information relating to your usage of the site. Some cookies can store useful data, such as your ‘favourites’ or account information so that you don’t have to keep entering it into the site. However, by far the most common use for cookies is to keep track of your internet activity. Advertising agencies use this to keep a continually updated database of your activities, if you enter your name & address details to a site connected with that agency, this
can then be cross-referenced with this database & you are likely to find ‘targeted’ junk mail heading your way! Of course this does raise questions of privacy, I think that all users should be informed that their activities are being monitored. AdSubtract can block all, some or none of these cookies. It also has the option to automatically blocks the most common ad agency cookies while leaving all others free. You can specify sites to block & sites not but that will take a little initial work. All this functionality works seamlessly & you soon forget just how many adverts websites used to have! It does put another icon in your task tray (which I don’t really like) but it’s certainly not going to stop me using it! AdSubtract has 3 different versions, these are… SE: This is the free one (a full product, but with a limitation of 5 custom sites, i.e. for cookie blocking) CE: ($14.95 - <£10) As above but without the limitation PRO: ($29.95 - <£20) As above, but has the ability to stop pop-ups, animations, sound, & can highlight the more dangerous online ‘profiling’ cookies. I’m happy with the SE version at present, however may well be tempted by the PRO version as I like the idea of stopping those annoying pop-up windows that many sites have. If I go for it, I’ll be sure to update this opinion! It’s not often a truly useful utility comes along, but this is certainly one of them – a must have – at least the free version! Thanks for reading (sorry if it’s a bit long!) **UPDATE** Ok, so I did it! I bought the full version! Worth it? Well, not really, wish I hadn't now - it's all very good but most options you have to turn off or most sites simply won't work properly, the free version had the most useful options in. The only thing is does give me of real use is the stop pop
-up windows - which on some sites are very annoying. And you can also stop cookies for all sites, only enabling the few you need to (free version limited to 5 sites for this). So then, get the free version but unlesss you don't mind configuring just about every site you go to or just turning off the other options, don't bother with the PRO version.