Use Adblock to block those Around the Web sites (Outbrain, Taboola, Zergnet)

Has this ever happened to you? You go to your favorite site, click on an interesting article, scroll down, and are soon bombarded with crappy ads from “Around the Web” that are borderline NSFW and mentally insulting? It seems every site is employing Outbrain, Taboola, or Zergnet to deliver your terrible content in java applets that jam up your browser. Heck, Outbrain was even hacked by Syrian hackers, who then redirected pages of The Washington Post, Time, and CNN to their own pages.

The articles linked are usually the basest form of linkbait. Top ## lists, behind the scenes “secrets”, celebrity gossip, Miley twerking, women wearing tiny bikinis (or less!). The ones on the entertainment sites I frequent always have an article about Batman, another about a Marvel movie, and often untrue casting rumors. They are, quite frankly, embarrassing and ugly. I hate them, and I want them dead.

As luck would have it, AdBlock can kill those terrible thing! No more “Around the Web” features and Top 7 Miley Twerking Batman Diets. So here is how:

The Outbrain/Taboola/Zergnet scourge looks like this:
block around the web

If you use Chrome (Firefox instructions below, they are almost identical), the adblock is set up here as default. Click on “Show the resource list”
block around the web

The red stuff is already blocked ads, the black are active files of everything loaded on the page. Search for “taboola” or “outbrain” or “zergnet” in the filter.
block around the web

Here are all the results for “taboola” on this site. These are the files associated with the embedded code. The one that ends with “loader.js” is our target, as it is the file that produces all the other files. Outbrain and Zergnet will also have a .js file as their backbone, though the exact name might vary.
block around the web

Selected the “loader.js” file, and then select blocking the entire “taboolasyndication.com” domain
block around taboola

And make sure to set it to block it on every site, because you never know where this stuff will come up. You can always customize AdBlock to not block ads on specific sites later.
block around taboola

Success! Celebrate by buying some tea!
block around taboola

Here is a shot of the site where the Taboola panel used to be. Now it is just an empty box. Woo-hoo!
block around taboola

On Firefox, the default AdBlock location is on the bottom. Select “Open blockable items” from the menu and proceed as previously instructed.
block around taboola

The Firefox filter looks like this:
block around taboola

An example of an Around the Web panel
block outbrain

An example of an Outbrain panel
block outbrain

Here is OutBrain’s file getting blocked from my web browsing forever. Bye-Bye OutBrain!
block outbrain

An example Zergnet panel:
block zergnet

And, yes, I am well aware of the irony of explaining how to adblock things on a blog post that has ads. Feel free to AdBlock this site, I won’t be offended. Or whitelist it so ads appear, I won’t be offended, either. Having been to enough sites with adblock off that I now use it regularly everywhere I understand completely if you do as well.

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Written by Tars Tarkas

Tars Tarkas

Runs this joint!