Banishing RSS Feed Ads From Your Mac
Over the past few years RSS readers have become increasingly popular with people trying to tame the constant barrage of information and news brought to us by the Internet. They allow us to aggregate the latest headlines for many sources and to filter that information, showing only the subjects that interest us. As people master the RSS reader, the need to visit the homepage of each web site becomes less necessary. This poses problems for content creators who rely upon online advertising as their source of income. Who wants to be bombarded with flashing banner ads when all of the useful information can stripped out of the page and be cleanly displayed within an RSS reader?
To combat this trend, content creators are deploying new tactics in the form of “embedded RSS advertising”. These adverts are displayed within the RSS feed (usually at the bottom of each post). While there are numerous ways to block ads in the browser window, there hasn’t been an easy way to tackle RSS advertising.
Enter Glimmerblocker, an open source project that takes a new approach to adblocking. Instead of being application specific, it intercepts online ads systemwide using an http proxy to capture all network traffic entering your Mac. This affords Glimmerblocker a few advantages over more traditional ad blocking techniques. Firstly, any ad blocking carried out in this way affects every app of the system whether they be a browser, an email client or an RSS reader. Secondly, because Glimmerblocker doesn’t rely on hacks like input managers or application enhancers, programs can be safely updated without running the risk of breaking the ad blocking tool and/or the application in question.
Glimmerblockers default settings already block many of the most insidious ad networks like Doubleclick and Mediaplex. By adding a few more domain names to Glimmerblockers blacklist you can banish the majority of embedded RSS adverts. Of course, different users have different interests and therefore subscribe to a wide variety of feeds. My own personal experience has taught me that by adding the following domains to the blacklist, 95% of embedded ads are successfully blocked…
Adding new domains to the blacklist is relatively easy (although I hope in the future that the developers behind Glimmerblocker will simplify the UI a little).
– Once installed access the Glimmerblocker settings from the preference pane in Mac OS X System Preferences.
– Select the ‘Filters’ tab and using the top left pane add a new filter group.
– Then, using the bottom pane, add each of the domains list above.
– Finally, turn on Glimmerblocker by selecting the ‘Setup’ tab and then checking the ‘Activate Glimmerblocker’ checkbox.
This should go a long way towards removing adverts from your RSS reader.
Filed under: Miscellaneous | 3 Comments