Now you see it – check your HTML code for vanishing acts

In the interest of experimentation I’ve been using the AdBlock extension for Safari lately. It’s amazing how peaceful the web is with most of the advertising removed, but as a marketer it’s useful to know what and how is being advertised online. That and the quasi-moral reasons people argue about mean I’ll be disabling the extension.
That’s not the real reason for this post though.
The main reason is that using AdBlock has highlighted some interesting aspects of the way it works. It works in a couple of ways – by using a list of adservers (like Google’s Adsense servers, Doubleclick and many others) and by blocking out parts of web pages.
It’s this second method that can lead to unintentional consequences due to the way a page is marked up. If you’re creating a web page and using CSS you might create something like this:
<div id=”sidebar-ad”>…</div>
So that you can style it using CSS. You may well put advertising in it, but this might be ‘navigational’ type ads, for products, articles or features on your own site. But AdBlock doesn’t really care about where those links go to, it sees a declaration that this is an ad container and nixes it.
Now might be a good time for you (or your web team) to check that an AdBlock extension isn’t removing useful parts of your website and if so, give those parts of the page new css ids or classes.
Image credit: brotherxii via Creative Commons on Flickr