Ad-Blocker blocking non-ads


I’m a web developer. I’m building a site for a radio station, and have run into a weird issue with Brave’s ad blocker blocking content it really shouldn’t. The site has a section on a page that talks about advertising. The section details things like who to contact for advertising with the station I’m building the site for, and also talks a little about advertising strategies. The page itself contains no ads whatsoever, it merely details how to advertise with the radio station.

I couldn’t figure out for the life of me why Brave was not showing images on the page. It worked fine in other browsers, but Brave was converting them to 1px x 1px squares. Yet if I visited the images directly through Brave, not on the page but navigating to the image’s url, it was fine.

Eventually I figured out what it was. The images had the word “advertise” in the file name. (Because they were images on a page about advertising). For example, advertise-img.jpg. Therefore, they were being blocked by the ad-blocker.

It seems a little silly and somewhat overkill to block a static image just because it contains the work “advertise” in the file name. I mean, even if it was actually an ad, if it’s a static image coming from the same domain as the page itself, it’s definitely not a privacy-invasive 3rd-party ad that creepily follows you around the internet, it’s likely related to the page content. Not to mention a person could easily get around it by just changing the name to a random string.

So, yeah, I just figured I’d let the developers of the browser know. It seems like having such a wide blocking rule like this is more likely to break sites and cause problems than to actually do much good.

Did the issue present with default Shields settings? (yes/no)
Yes, I have not changed any settings whatsoever from the default install.

Default states are:
Block: Ads/Trackers, 3rd Party Cookies, 3rd Party Fingerprinting Allow: Encrypt Connections (HTTPS), Scripts

What Brave version/Build are you using? (See the About Brave page in the main menu)

Hi @dmjtdi,

Welcome to community, and thanks for your post! What OS are you on? Can you provide some screen grabs?

Thank you again for reporting.

I’m using Windows.

This is the current work-in-progress site in Firefox:

This is the same section in Brave:

Just tested on my end and yes, you’re correct – simply having the word advertise in the name of the file causes Brave to block it as a tracker. Great catch!
I’ve reached out to some team members to get this worked around – I agree that the name of the file itself shouldn’t entirely dictate whether or not the element gets blocked.

Would be easier to change the filename, avoid using “advertise” if not advertising.

Yes, I can of course change the file name. I do feel like it’s a problem that the file name would even matter though. I chose the name advertise-img.jpg because it was descriptive of what the image was, an image with content about advertising. Being forced to use a less descriptive name for a file to circumvent an ad blocker for something that isn’t even an ad just feels wrong.

It’s not the first time I’ve asked sites to change filenames*. Avoiding unnecessary bloat in Easylist_whitelist when a simple rename of a filename would resolve it.

I would say it doesn’t seem okay to block content merely for the crime of containing the word advertise in the URL.As those topics you linked indicate, there are a lot of reasons some online resource could contain that word other than being an actual ad. Other webdevs that don’t test with Brave might not have even noticed this problem, and their sites would be broken by the adblocker.

I would suggest that the blocking rule should focus on metrics other than a simple word-match in the URL. What would make sense to me is a rule that says something like, “Well, yes this URL contains the word advertise, but it’s only a JPEG, not javascript or embedded HTML, and it comes from the same domain as this page rather than a 3rd party, and the domain isn’t blacklisted as an advertiser, therefore we score the likelihood of being an ad as 1/10 (arbitrary example number, but you get the idea), therefore not a high enough score to block it.”

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