Why Adblock Plus Could Cause You To Lose Customers

I was recently writing a review on Swedish web hosts over on my Swedish version of this blog and realized that Adblock Plus was preventing me from making a purchase at Surftown, one of the swedish hosts. The problem occured because Surftown uses a site called adform.net to track events on their site it seems and since this ad network, or whatever adform.net is, also displays ads it is then blocked by Adblock Plus. This resulted in a error on their checkout page which made it seem like nothing happened when I clicked the order button. The page was just blank and nothing changed, no error, nothing.

At first I thought, oh well, I can move on to another host and just skip my review of Surftown but the error got me interested and I had to go back. I suspected the error might be caused by Adblock Plus and tried disabling it for the checkout page and then everything worked. I then went back to see what errors I received in my web console when nothing happened. It seems like the page tried to create a object from the adform.net page and since it could not reach that page the object failed to initialize causing the errors. A good implementation of this would have a fallback for this but Surftown does not, which causes them to lose any customer using Adblock Plus who doesn’t know why it’s not working and doesn’t bother to find out why. I put the blame here on adform.net however since I assume they either did the implementation or provided the code, but I have no idea if I am right and it was hard to find anything concrete on what adform.net is.

How does this affect you?

If you run an ecommerce site which uses ajax during checkout which has implemented tracking or any calls to a site which might be blocked by Adblock Plus you may want to take a look at your code just to make sure you are not also losing customers. If you see the same issues on your site you need to consider adding a fallback for when the tracking doesn’t work so that your checkout page always works.

About Markus Tenghamn


Markus Tenghamn is a programmer and entrepreneur currently studying computer science at M√§lardalens University (MDH), Sweden, in addition to being a big part of several new and innovative startups. Markus has pursued web development for over 10 years and started his first ecommerce website at the age of 17. At the moment Markus is responsible for developing MDH Schedule iPhone app (unofficial) and sync server which let's students see their course schedules right on their phone. In addition to other projects, he is a volunteer for SFSFUM (Meeting for student unions in Sweden) where he developed an app for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone 7 which gives participants maps with direction and event information. He has also been a finalist for the Rising Star scholarship awarded by √Ėstsvenska Handelskammaren for course projects at MDH.

Markus's latest startup is called Anveto AB (Anveto.com), an innovative analytics and marketing platform which will bring truly unique and new ideas to companies looking to increase revenue.

In his spare time Markus prefers to write about web development, app development and startups on his blog at MarkusTenghamn.com. When he is not doing that he loves to read about AI, chaos theory, space and quantum mechanics.

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