Some very popular services, Hulu and Netflix for example, restrict access to their services to users from specific countries. If you try to access the services from another country, one that is not officially supported, then you will receive a message that contents cannot be made available to you.
That is the case even if you live in a country where the service is available. All that matters is the location you are connecting from.
One way to get around those restrictions are virtual private networks. You connect to a network that more or less acts as a proxy for you. All sites you connect to while connected to the VPN will communicate with it first, and not with your computer system directly. The connection flows through it so to speak.
There are paid VPN services that you can subscribe to and use, but also browser extensions that make the functionality available.
These browser extensions are very convenient. All you have to do is install the extension in your browser of choice to activate it whenever you need to access blocked sites.
Hola Unblocker is without doubt one of the more popular choices (another is Media Hint). It is available for Chrome and Firefox among other devices and programs, and can be enabled or disabled with two mouse clicks. That's very convenient.
The extension has recently been heavily criticized by part of its userbase as its parent company has started to use it to inject advertisement on Internet websites.
What most users who have left a review on Google's or Mozilla's web store object to is that this has been implemented in a sneaky way in the extension.
If you have the browser add-on installed and noticed recently an increase in advertisement on pages you visited in the browser, you now know why that is the case.
Some users have probably uninstalled the extension by now and moved to Media Hint or a comparable extension instead for the same functionality. Others may have had issues to pinpoint the source of the advertisements.
It is possible to remove ads so that they are not injected when you use the extension. You can either upgrade to a premium account, available for a reasonable sum of $2.99 per month, or use the option instead.
Visit this page on the hola website to disable Hola Shopper.
Once you have done that, you should not see any more ads pop up on websites that you visit.
Additional information: Hole seems to inject Superfish contents in the browser you are using. Some users reported that it added a huge ad bar to the bottom of the Chrome browser that suggests to install software on the system.
It is also interesting to note that ads will still be shown even if you disable the extension in the web browser, and that some users have mentioned that ads are displayed some time ago.
It seems that quite a few extension authors have discovered this form of revenue generation. Some companies have even started to purchase popular add-ons to earn revenue with them using this or similar methods.
The user outcry over this practices would be less if companies would be upfront about the monetization method.
Have you encountered extensions before that inject ads on websites?
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats (video ads) or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.