Photo via Sarah.Marshall (CC-BY)
Facebook made a bunch of extra cash last quarter, and it did so by finding a way around ad blockers, much to the dismay of millions of social network users.
Advertising on the internet can be pretty annoying in some cases, and open-source apps and browser plugins designed to crush invasive pop-up ads, like Adblock Plus, have been flourishing because of it. But rather than taking Adblock users as a loss, as many companies are forced to do, Facebook fought back.
Like all the major social networks and the vast majority of news sites, Facebook depends largely on ad revenue to keep itself afloat. It makes most of its money on mobile ads, but ads served to desktop users are still a meaningful chunk of cash, and by circumventing many of Adblock's tricks, Facebook managed to rake in 18 percent more revenue from desktop users, year-over-year. That's twice the growth that investors are accustomed to.
The battle to serve ads on Facebook is largely being fought between the Adblock developer community and Facebook's own engineers. There's been plenty of back-and-forth, and even when Facebook announced earlier this year that it had beaten Adblock, it took just days for Adblock Plus to find a way around the Adblock-block. But Facebook closed that loophole rather quickly as well, and it's been able to serve ads in a big way ever since.
So, at the moment, Facebook is winning the ad-blocking war, and it has roughly $1.1 billion in desktop ad revenue to show for it. Your move, Adblock.