Forget adblockers – one local newspaper site has inspired a ‘content blocker’

Evening Mail News Blocker Chrome Web Store

The Evening Mail News Blocker is available in the Chrome Web Store

What we need in the adblocking debate is a fresh perspective. Cue Birmingham website Paradise Circus, which has today released a browser extension to get rid of all that pesky journalism slowing down your daily advertising consumption:

“The ads are really getting bogged down by all that news… what if we could just turn that off? Surely we could hand that 9.3% of processor time back to the stuff that matters… back to ad trackers, and flash popovers.”

The extension strips out all the ‘content’ on the Birmingham Mail website so that advertising can load quicker.

As for the 9.3% figure? It comes from a tweet from Simon Howes which inspired Paradise Circus to create the extension.

Howes pointed out just how much processing capacity was being used up by the Birmingham Mail’s advertising: when ads were not blocked, usage soared from just 9.3% to around 65%.

pageload grabs

Screengrabs show the Birmingham Mail using 65% of CPU when not using an adblocker

A spokesperson from Trinity Mirror responded:

“When it comes to ad-blocking there is a quid pro quo in users understanding that ads are part of the ecosystem and value exchange. Creating and publishing content costs money so an ad-funded model allows us to provide that content to users free at the point of access. However we of course recognise that usability is important and so we are working with advertisers and our tech teams to look at the issue of advertising load times and are actively discontinuing some formats.”

You can download the Evening Mail News Blocker at the Chrome store.

UPDATE: The Birmingham Mail is far from the worst when it comes to page bloat. Simon later tested the Bolton News website (which I’ve found regularly fails on my tablet): the homepage came in at 117 MB compared to just 4.7 MB with an adblocker. “I tried their site in Chrome,” he wrote, “and the browser crashes.”

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