Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Using uBlock, an ad blocker, to block newsletter signup popups

There are millions of websites out there trying to get and keep your attention. Someone figured that prompting users with a popup asking them to sign up for an e-mail newsletter is effective in driving traffic and conversion rates. Here's a typical example

For the most part, it seems uBlocker's ruleset seems to either have grown to encompass these newsletter ads or websites have abandoned them. For the sites that still use them:

Here's an imperfect way of eliminating them. You have to do it on a per-site basis and it isn't foolproof, but if you are used to browsing without popups, it can be worth it.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention my go-to first method for blocking popups and annoying content in general. Disable javascript. In Chrome, click on the small icon next to the URL and the option to enable or disable javascript is there. This also bypasses more primitive paywalls.

Step One: Install uBlock Origin. Here's the link for Chrome and here's the one for Firefox. This method will probably work for Adblock/Adblock Plus although I find uBlock superior.

Step Two: Right click on the ad and click "block element"

Step Three: It's best to first click on the background until you see the whole page selected. uBlock will name the element being blocked. If it says something along the lines of "ad wrapper" or "ad container", block it.

Step Four: Again, right click on the ad and click around until you see the whole ad selected. Sometimes it isn't possible and you will have to repeat the process for all the parts that remain. But if you do are able to click such that the whole ad gets selected, that makes it easier.

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