AdDetector reveals sponsored posts on websites you visit

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 15, 2014
Updated • Aug 15, 2014

You find different types of sponsored posts on the Internet. Those that are clearly labeled as such, those that have a label that is hard to find, and those that don't disclose that a post is sponsored at all even though it is.

Most Internet users may agree that the first kind is just fine, as the site is not trying to hide that you are reading a sponsored post. The second type is in a gray area, it may be fine for some while others may dislike it, and the third type is definitely not okay at all and may even go against rulings in this regard.

While you may be able to tell that a post is sponsored by looking at links or images used in the post, or by going through scripts loaded on the site, it is not something that many users may or even can do.

The free Firefox add-on and Chrome extension AdDetector changes this by highlighting sponsored posts so that you know right away if a post is sponsored or not.

sponsored post highlighter

You are probably wondering how it is doing it. If you check the source, you find several rules that are used for detection. If you take the New York Times website as an example: any content loaded from is flagged as being a sponsored post.

Here is the list of sites that are currently supported by it:

  • New York Times
  • Buzzfeed
  • Deadspin
  • Fastcompany
  • Forbes
  • Gawker
  • Huffingtonpost
  • Mashable
  • Slate
  • The Atlantic
  • The Onion
  • Vanity Fair
  • Washington Post

Not that many but several of the most popular US-English news and gossip sites out there. According to the author's Reddit announcement post, he is open to adding new sites to the rules and considers adding a user-based reporting or flagging option to the extension to improve the discovery of new sponsored posts and the inclusion in the rules.

For now, it is an interesting extension that has a lot of potential. If you happen to visit at least one of the sites supported by it regularly, you may find it useful, especially if that site is not disclosing sponsored posts at all or in a way that it is easily overlooked by people reading the article.

Follow the links to download the extension for Firefox or Google Chrome.

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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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