Imperial College London


Faculty of EngineeringDyson School of Design Engineering

Senior Lecturer



+44 (0)20 7594 2584h.haddadi Website




Dyson BuildingSouth Kensington Campus






BibTex format

author = {Nithyanand, R and Khattak, S and Javed, M and Vallina-Rodriguez, N and Falahrastegar, M and Powles, JE and Cristofaro, ED and Haddadi, H and Murdoch, SJ},
title = {Ad-Blocking and Counter Blocking: A Slice of the Arms Race},
url = {},

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - Adblocking tools like Adblock Plus continue to rise in popularity,potentially threatening the dynamics of advertising revenue streams. Inresponse, a number of publishers have ramped up efforts to develop and deploymechanisms for detecting and/or counter-blocking adblockers (which we refer toas anti-adblockers), effectively escalating the online advertising arms race.In this paper, we develop a scalable approach for identifying third-partyservices shared across multiple web-sites and use it to provide a firstcharacterization of anti-adblocking across the Alexa Top-5K websites. We mapwebsites that perform anti-adblocking as well as the entities that provideanti-adblocking scripts. We study the modus operandi of these scripts and theirimpact on popular adblockers. We find that at least 6.7% of websites in theAlexa Top-5K use anti-adblocking scripts, acquired from 12 distinct entities --some of which have a direct interest in nourishing the online advertisingindustry.
AU - Nithyanand,R
AU - Khattak,S
AU - Javed,M
AU - Vallina-Rodriguez,N
AU - Falahrastegar,M
AU - Powles,JE
AU - Cristofaro,ED
AU - Haddadi,H
AU - Murdoch,SJ
TI - Ad-Blocking and Counter Blocking: A Slice of the Arms Race
UR -
ER -