If you're the type to use an ad blocker (we don't judge), then you probably picked one out of a hat months or years ago, and you just use it habitually without needing to think too much about it. They work largely in the background, after all, and one isn't drastically different from another.
As a rule, ad blocking providers don't charge their customers any fees, but this can prove difficult if the provider wants to turn this tool into a retail product. For that, you need cash flow. In the past, some ad blockers have done this by arranging whitelist partnerships with ad networks that behave themselves, but Ghostery is trying something else with "Ghostery Plus," announced today as a subscription version of its popular web browser extension.
For exactly $2 a month, you get all of Ghostery's current features, plus advance access to new features, priority tech support, customizable interface colors and Ghostery Rewards, "a feature that delivers unique offers and discounts from leading brands hand-picked for Ghostery users."
The company says that the regular Ghostery browser extension will continue to exist -- it just won't have the Plus perks.
Would you pay for an ad blocker?
This will be an interesting test of the market, since we're not aware of any other legit ad blocker that offers a paid version, let alone one based around a monthly subscription. However, at $2 a month, some users may be willing to cough up the fee to get something with proper tech support and early access to new features.
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But if one of your goals with an ad blocker is increased privacy, it may be difficult to reconcile that with giving an ad blocker provider your payment info or even your email address. Even one that's demonstrated extensive interest in overall digital privacy and anonymity. We'll see what 2019 holds in store for Ghostery, and for ad blocking in general.
- Ghostery has just announced Ghostery Plus, a subscription version of its ad blocking browser extension.
- Ghostery Plus will cost $2 a month and includes advance access to new features, priority tech support and customizable themes.
- The regular Ghostery extension will continue to exist, just without the extra perks of Ghostery Plus.
- DuckDuckGo now integrates Apple Maps into its search engine results
- Does Facebook ad targeting ignore your location privacy settings?
- Firefox version 69 to disable Adobe Flash by default this fall
- Fortnite had a security vulnerability that let hackers take over accounts (CNET)
- New Ethereum version postponed after discovery of serious security flaw (ZDNet)
- Why 2019 will introduce stricter privacy regulation (TechRepublic)