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Data privacy and adblocking: the death of cookies?


One of the true joys of growing older is that you can start whining about new technology that didn’t exist when you were a child. Take the humble “cookie.” How simple were the times when “cookie” was just a way to refer to diet-destroying disks of dough. Today, cookies also serve as the carriers of nearly infinite amounts of identifying information across the internet.

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South Park demands transparency from ads, adblockers

south park popup ads adblock 2015

The internet can be a truly wonderful place. For example, did you know that by taking this quiz you could win a trip to Jamaica on a private jet from anywhere in the world?

At this point it almost doesn’t matter what I say because most of the people who came to read this article are off chasing that link across cyberspace. That’s exactly the point South Park made in the final three episodes of the most recent season; the worst part about ads is not that they exist, it’s that we’re losing the ability to tell where they are.

The hilarious three-episode piece on ads starts with the episode “Sponsored Content” in which South Park’s school newspaper becomes one of the most popular in the country, simply because its editor, Jimmy, refuses to allow advertisements of any kind.

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Adblocking 101: How Adblockers work

Adblocking adoption among Americans is expected to rise in the next 3 months, according to a new report from Digital Content Next (DCN), a trade group representing online publishers. Their findings indicate 33 percent of U.S. consumers are very likely or somewhat likely to try adblocking software in the next three months, which may convert into a 9-percent success of adblocker installs.

With all this talk about adblockers, we’re starting a series on the issue. In the coming weeks we’ll be diving into the adtech industry and how we’re transforming the user experience – so be sure to subscribe to our blog to stay up-to-date!

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Goodblock: adblocking the Gladly way

When Kevin and I first set out to build Tab for a Cause in 2011, we wanted to use online advertising to make donating to charity simple, fun, and free. To date, Tab for a Cause has raised nearly $200k for charity and boasts a growing and energetic community of Tabbers. Along the way, we have learned a ton, but a few things really stuck out to us:

  • Many internet users open a truly astounding number of tabs every day (well over 100)
  • About 50% of Tabbers are using an adblocker in their browser
  • When we asked adblocker users to allow ads on Tab for a Cause, nearly 70% did
  • When selling banner ads as a small website (through networks), it was difficult to ensure the quality and relevance of the ads shown
  • Tabbers are interested in helping curate their own ads, and often write in to let us know about irrelevant or particularly good ads

In response to these findings, we are launching Goodblock, an adblocker with a purpose, which we hope can begin to rebuild what we see as a broken online advertising ecosystem.

Just like Tab for a Cause, Goodblock creates an easy and free way to raise money for charity by viewing online ads. However, Goodblock takes it a step further by making those ads beautiful, safe, and completely optional. With Goodblock, you will never see an ad when you don’t want to.

At its core, Goodblock is an adblocker that will remove ads from all of the websites that you visit. This dramatically decreases the page load times on your favorite websites, and also keeps your personal data out of advertisers’ hands. If you already have an adblocker, we think you will find that Goodblock is faster, prettier, and most important, more charitable than any of your other options. 

In addition to being an adblocker, Goodblock gives the option (through our delightful mascot, Tad the butterfly) to view an ad completely outside of normal web browsing. Since the ads have been specially crafted by us, we guarantee that they will be beautiful, honest, and unique. Like Tab for a Cause, each ad viewed earns “hearts” which can then be donated to one of our partner charities. Why would you opt-in to see an ad? Our goal is to make ads you actually enjoy. If you don’t we will keep improving them until you do.

We envision a future where you choose to see ads because they are helpful, beautiful, and on your own terms. Please try out Goodblock today and see for yourself just how great that future can look and feel!

You can read more about our beliefs on advertising here and learn about how Kevin and I started Tab for a Cause here

We’re celebrating Giving Tuesday and our new adblocker, Goodblock, by letting you choose which charity gets today’s donation!

goodblock-giving-tuesdayTo celebrate #givingtuesday, we are giving $1,000 for every 1.5M hearts donated on Tab for a Cause! Which charity you might ask? You tell us!

Here’s how it works:

  • Donate your hearts on the campaign page on Tab for a Cause
  • Get 1000 additional hearts by downloading our new adblocker, Goodblock
  • Post a link to your favorite charity in the comment section below. If you like, add a short description for why you think they are awesome!
  • Whichever comment receives the most upvotes will get a donation from us equalling the amount we raise in the campaign!

What’s Goodblock?

Goodblock is an adblocker with a purpose; by blocking all the ads you would normally see (yep, Facebook and YouTube too) and all third-party data tracking, your browsing is kept private and distraction free. Then, choose to see a beautiful ad that earns money for a charity of your choice. Or don’t. That’s your call. Read more about Goodblock here.

What’s Giving Tuesday?

We have a day for giving thanks, and two days for shopping deals. Now we have one for giving back. Charities, businesses, families, communities, and students around the world are joining together to raise money and awareness for causes that really matter. There is no limit to the possibilities for how to participate: just gather your friends and family together and find a way to give back to this world of ours. Then join the discussion and tell us what giving back means to you!


Campaign Spotlight: Action Against Hunger

Action Against Hunger Blog Cover

Each year, around 1 million children under five years old die from severe acute malnutrition, a disease that is predictable, preventable, treatable and affordable to cure. And every year, Action Against Hunger (AAH) saves hundred of thousands of young lives from malnutrition through several lifesaving programs.

It’s for their amazing work that we’re donating $1,000 for every 2 million Hearts donated toward Action Against Hunger from now until November 25 at 11:59pm PST.

Thanks to their innovative programs, AAH has reached more than 13 million people in over 45 countries, restoring self-sufficiency to vulnerable populations throughout the world.


Action Against Hunger Programs

Nutrition and Health
Evaluate, Treat, Prevent
The nutrition programs save the lives of severely malnourished children through emergency interventions and long-term preventative measures. Action Against Hunger identifies those diagnosed with malnutrition, treats them through inpatient care and community-based programs, and helps communities prevent malnutrition outbreaks.

Food Security and Livelihoods
Evaluate, Respond, Empower
Aimed at preventing future outbreaks by providing vulnerable communities with long-term solutions to hunger, AAH determines what is causing hunger in an area and supplies people with the tools, capital and training for income-generating activities.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
Provide, Promote, Ensure
Aimed at providing communities safe water services, AAH works to provide access to safe water, promote healthy habits and train community water committees to ensure long-term success of water infrastructures.

Emergency Response
Evaluate, Respond, Reduce
When humanitarian emergencies happen, AAH determines what programs are needed, responds immediately with local partners and NGOs and works to predict disasters to prevent further damage to vulnerable communities.

How you can help
Whether it’s making a donation or sharing on social, learn how you can take action against hunger. And join us in donating by telling your friends about Tab for a Cause during this campaign!

New tabs establish a new library in Vietnam


Last month Tab for a Cause was proud to partner with Room to Read and their #thankstoeducation initiative to run our biggest campaign of all time: the Back to School Charity Challenge. Over 500 middle and high schools around the world competed to see who could open the most tabs for charity, with several rounds reducing the field until only 20 remained in the final sprint to the finish.

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