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I was annoyed today by the content of some ads on Facebook, so I decided to see if I could get rid of them. It was astonishingly easy. I used a Firefox add-on which makes it easy to add site-specific CSS styles. I know this technology has been around for years. However, it made me wonder what ramifications that bodes for advertising-only business models for Web 2.0 companies. Will tools soon become popular amongst the general Internet population that will allow them to add a single browser add-on that wipes out virtually all advertising on the Internet for them?

If you're interested here's how I did it to Facebook:

1. Use the Firefox browser.

2. Install the "Stylish" add-on:
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/2108
(requires browser restart)

3. Go to a Facebook page.

4. Look at the bottom-right corner of the browser and click on the icon of a pen on a document.

5. Mouseover "write style..." and select "For facebook.com ..." in the sub-menu.

6. Under "Description" you can name this style rule anything you want (e.g., remove facebook ads).

7. Down below in the style code box use this code:
@namespace url(http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml);
@-moz-document domain("facebook.com") {
#ssponsor, .home_main_item .social_ad { display: none !important; }
}
All you have to do is copy and paste in the code the is bold into the appropriate place in the box.

8. Click "Save" and you're done! Ads are gone!

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Comment by Chris Runnells on July 2, 2008 at 12:04am
For some reason the ads on Facebook never bothered me. At least they don't allow those "You're the 100,000th viewer and you won a prize" flashing banners.

I think in the long run advertisers will have to focus on targeting their ads better (somehow). Ads that are relevant to the viewers interest are more likely to be paid attention to and/or clicked on.

Greasemonkey (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/748) allows users to edit Javascript on the fly, which seems to me like it has much worse ramifications for advertisers and "Web 2.0" sites in general.
Comment by Daniel Leuck on June 30, 2008 at 7:08pm
However, it made me wonder what ramifications that bodes for advertising-only business models for Web 2.0 companies.

Having worked for a few of these companies I say with confidence they are concerned. If ad blocking becomes a standard browser feature that is effective and widely used we will end up seeing a lot more customer pay models. Of course, the ad networks will fight back by changing the way ads are served and a technology battle will ensue before this happens.
Comment by Scott Murphy on June 30, 2008 at 2:41pm
I no longer use facebook because I was getting tired of all the 'super-poking' but here is a firefox addon that blocks ads. Really helpful to get rid of those adsense ads. I'm not sure if it works for facebook but it might be worth looking into.

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/1865

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