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Some ad-blocking software can remove text from a web page.
So, be warned that it may alter the meaning of its content inconspicuously.

Test Your PC for Ad Blocking Software

Try this test to see if content blocking software is running on your computer:

Step 1 : Look at the circles, below, and click on the largest circle:


Click here if you can't see any circles

How to turn content blocking off

Note: Norton Internet Security 2007 is a massive improvement on previous versions and a pleasure to use. It, apparently, does not have an ad blocking feature. This is great news.

In Norton Internet Security 2005/2006 :

Open Norton's main menu > Click Norton Anti-Spam > Click Ad Blocking > Click the 'Turn Off' button (if it is showing). After doing this you may need to remove any cached pages from your internet cache to ensure that you are viewing 'fresh pages' (that are being displayed as intended).

In Norton Internet Security 2004 :

Open Norton's main window > Double Click on "Ad Blocking" > Uncheck "Ad Blocking". (Leave "Pop up Window Blocking" checked or unchecked as you wish). After doing this you may need to remove any cached pages from your internet cache to ensure that you are viewing 'fresh pages' (that are being displayed as intended).

Other Content Blocking Software:

Check the software's documentation for instructions on how to turn it off. If you are struggling to find out how to do this, search its help files and online FAQ's for phrases like: ad, blocking, ad-blocking, ad blocking (without the hyphen), advert blocking, content blocking, etc.

Why should I turn content blocking off?

As a computer owner, you have the right to choose what you see on your computer screen.

But, please don't forget that 'content blocking software' or 'ad blocking software' can alter the appearance and meaning of the content of a website. Some 'content blocking software' (such as Norton) has even been known to reverse or nullify the meaning of the information that a website provides. Also, the terms 'advert blocking' and 'pop-up blocking' are often, and wrongly, interchanged on many web-forums causing (or reflecting) confusion amongst internet surfers. Furthermore, 'adware' is another thing that confuses the issue even more, as explained below.

The following, lighthearted, example shows how ad blockers can radically alter
the meaning of a web page's content:

First, the text on a web page is displayed as intended...

Content Example 1:

Next, we turn the ad blocker on...

Content Example 2:

Now, imagine this conversation in a restaurant:


Did you know that monkeys never eat?


Wow. Let's sell the dog and buy a pet monkey instead.


What a great idea. I'll search the internet tomorrow.
I'm sure I'll find plenty of monkeys advertised online.


We could use the internet to advertise our dog for sale too.
Oh, by the way, how's the house-hunting going?


Ok, I guess. I've been browsing through property adverts on the internet
but I have a strange feeling that I'm missing out on some of the best offers.
Oh, that reminds me, did that nice couple make an offer on our house?


You mean the ones who saw our house advertised on the internet?
Yes, they put an offer in this morning. How's your soup?

Advertising: Good verses Evil
On the internet, there are 'good' adverts and 'evil' adverts. It is obvious when you see an 'evil' advert because you feel violated by the fact that someone is, unexpectedly, attempting to pursuade you to do something that you have no desire to do. However, a 'good' advert is less obvious because it provides relevant information and encourages you to perform an act that you are willing to consider doing. Thus, it matches YOUR expectations, YOU have no negative feelings towards it and may forget that, even though YOU think it's a 'good' advert, others may well see it as an 'evil' advert.

Most ad blocking software blocks 'good' adverts along with the 'evil' ones because it has no idea what YOU desire and expect. It may also block genuine content (not adverts) if it falls under the software's definition of 'an advert'. This could be a page about advertising legislation, for example, or a weblink to an online shop that uses a 'banned' text-string/variable within its URL. Where's the AIntelligence in that? ;o)

As a general rule, if you are viewing a 'specialist interest' website, turn ad-blocking off to view it. Then, if you find that the adverts on the site bear no relation to its content, turn your ad-blocking software back on again and remember that the TEXT within the content may be being altered by your software inconspicuously.

ADWARE: IT IS IMPORTANT TO BEAR IN MIND that, when judging a website's ad content, the ads that you see may not be what the publishers intended you to see if you have nasty adware running on your computer. Adware is the term used to describe nasty software that downloads itself onto your computer and proceeds to display pop-up adverts for smilies, and such like, at regular intervals. In my experience, when I used older versions of anti-virus software, it didn't seem to prevent adware from downloading itself onto my computer. I had to use a seperate software package, called Ad-Aware, to do that job. This may explain why some users have ad-blocking turned on.

So, if content / advert blocking software is installed on your computer, please:

  • turn it OFF (scroll to the top of the page to find out how), or
  • set your preferences to NOT BLOCK CONTENT from : (this web site)
  • Leave your pop-up blocker ON if you wish.
  • Leave your adware protection software ON if you wish.

Spot the Difference

Example : Showing how Norton removes affiliate hyperlinks

The following screen grabs were taken from this page:

What's a screen grab? : Screen grabs are snapshots of a computer's monitor screen. If you have some kind of graphics software on your computer you can probably grab screens too - it's not just a boffins' thing. So, if you've ever wondered what that 'Print Scrn' button does on your keyboard, you can start putting it to use.

The first screen shows a web page with 'content blocking software' disabled on the user's computer. The second screen shows the same page with Norton Internet Security 2005 running on the user's computer.

Note that, in the unblocked page, we mention 'PC World' (retailers of Norton Software).
Then, in the second screen, if you look carefully, you can see that the software that PC World sells is purging the retailer's name from the web. What an ironic twist!

Screen 1 : Norton's blocking feature disabled. Content is displayed as authors intended.

Screen 2: PC World's name blocked by Norton Internet Security 2005

What are the consequences?

We don't mind the fact that the Norton Software is helping to rid the World of the most annoying examples of dastardly, evil, online advertising - some advertising tactics can be a burden to the users in terms of time and data transfer costs. Webmasters will just have to 'tone down' their advertising methods and consider charging subscription fees to heavy users of information, services and support.

We do mind, however, about the fact that the software makes us sound like we are writing with, like, a gert lush Bristolian accent, like.

More importantly we, now, have the added responsibility of conspicuously informing ALL our users about these issues because a FEW may have forgotten that they have ad blocking software running on their computer.

Need Anti-Virus Software That Does Not Block Content?

If you are a home user you can download some FREE* anti-virus software called "AVG":
Go to:
On that page > Click "AVG PRODUCTS" > "AVG Free Edition".

*The AVG software is free for non-business use; see their terms and conditions for details. AVG Free Edition is for private, non-commercial, single home computer use only. Use of AVG Free Edition within any organization or for commercial purposes is strictly prohibited. Your use of AVG Free Edition shall be in accordance with and is subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the AVG Free Edition License Agreement which accompanies AVG Free Edition.