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MacKeeper StopAd Technology
- What are the basic principles of ad blocking and antitracking?
- Why does StopAd use EasyList and how does it work?
- How MacKeeper StopAd builds on Safari content blocking mechanism?
- How embedded ad images are blocked
MacKeeper StopAd is a browser extension that provides an interruption-free web experience by:
- Blocking annoying adverts and unwanted content, including static and animated advertising, push notifications, and so on
- Stopping advertising trackers from following your browsing and search habits
What are the basic principles of ad blocking and antitracking?
Whenever you visit a certain website, a lot of processes happen in the background. You may be unaware of them, but these processes influence your browsing experience both instantly and in the future.
Alongside the website content that you are looking for—useful texts, images, videos and so on—additional elements are loaded, including ad and tracking elements. Each component has different objectives.
- Ads encourage you to leave the page you’re currently viewing and proceed to the advertiser’s page or at least pay attention to the promoted products. They may significantly distract you from useful, native content by covering what you came to the page to see, flashing, and playing sounds automatically.
- Tracking elements, such as scripts and pixels, gather information about your IP address, location, operating system, device, browser, plug-ins, cookies, and more. This way, it is possible to track your online activities and some personal characteristics. Based on this information, companies are able to complete several actions, like serving more, specific ads to you, selling data to third-parties who want to sell to you, and even raising prices for those interested consumers who use an expensive device or come from a high-income country.
The good news is that it is possible to check the URL addresses of the web resources that are loading to a webpage and compare them to a list of previously detected adverts or trackers.
This is the ad blocking technology that MacKeeper StopAd uses, by preventing unwanted elements from loading then comparing them against a list of ad and tracker indicators. The reference list StopAd uses is EasyList.
Why does StopAd use EasyList and how does it work?
EasyList is a filter list project that has been in development since 2005. It is maintained by four authors who are assisted by a large online community. EasyList contains filter rules that allow removing unwanted items from webpages. The accessibility of this list and the length it has been in development make it a powerful resource for blocking ads and trackers.
Within the project, there are a few filter lists. The primary list is called EasyList and is aimed at removing advertising. This is what it looks like. MacKeeper StopAd refers to it to prevent ad elements from loading on your browser at all. Additionally, a number of language-specific lists are used, so that the local ads on Dutch-, German-, and Italian-language websites are covered as well.
Another list is EasyPrivacy; it is aimed at removing all forms of tracking from the internet. Here is the list itself. MacKeeper StopAd’s Anti-Tracking function uses this list.
In both cases, MacKeeper StopAd compares every HTTP request from a loaded webpage to the filter lists. If the URL of the request matches one of the filters, the request is blocked and the resource isn’t loaded.
How MacKeeper StopAd builds on Safari content blocking mechanism?
MacKeeper StopAd is available as an extension for Safari and Chrome browsers.
MacKeeper StopAd for Safari on OS X 10.11 or higher has special capabilities.
In 2015, Apple introduced a content blocking mechanism for Safari that allows extension developers to set specific rules for blocking, which will be performed by the Safari engine itself. This way, Safari content blocking is performed inside a web engine allowing it to work faster and drain less battery. In addition, it allows for Flash content filtering, which is missing from the “regular” non-content blocking method.
MacKeeper StopAd utilizes Safari content blocking technology on OS X El Capitan and above, and thus your browsing experience will be the fastest possible.
How embedded ad images are blocked
Usually, images with ads are displayed on a webpage after they are loaded from an external resource. The mechanisms described above make it possible to block them in such cases. But sometimes the image data is embedded directly in the HTML of the page.
To overcome this, MacKeeper StopAd injects a stylesheet with selectors that hide these images on the page.
On top of all these functions, MacKeeper StopAd also removes ad placeholders and optimizes page display. Making browsing faster and more pleasant overall.
Moreover, with MacKeeper StopAd you can turn blocking on and off for any specific page. This is handy if you want to support a website that earns money through its advertising or one where you enjoy the ads you see.