Ads are ubiquitous — when you're trying to watch a movie, listen to music or read news headlines. They've become so entrenched in how we consume media that an ad-free web sounds like a '90s utopia.
That may not be the case anymore with a little box called AdTrap. The device completely block ads from websites, videos, music streams and mobile apps that use a Wi-Fi connection. It doesn't require any software or configuration — just plug it in between your router and modem. The firewall box works with all browsers and devices. Users can also enable AdTrap anywhere on their mobile devices, which enables ad blocking over cellular 3G and 4G. Cellular traffic from the device routes through their home AdTrap, which blocks all ads on the device.
Looking back at the ad-free "glory days" of the Internet, Chad Russell and Charles Butkus were inspired to develop a tool for more content-focused browsing with fewer privacy breaches from advertising companies and websites that may track the private information of users.
Anticipating legal backlash from advertising companies, Russell and Butkus have secured a Silicon Valley law firm. But the two aren't advocating for total ad exclusion; one of AdTrap's features is a "whitelist" function that allows users to enable ads on certain websites.
"We haven’t received a single letter or complaint. In fact, at our launch party, we had two separate advertising representatives show up to work with us," Russell told Mashable. "We want to work together to have a happy medium." "We want to work together to have a happy medium."
AdTrap launched a Kickstarter campaign last year that raised more than $200,000, and backers began receiving their devices this past August. Now, each device retails for $139 on AdTrap's website. The developers are currently working on getting the little white boxes on shelves at major stores like Best Buy and Costco.
There have been a few reported glitches for sites that AdTrap doesn't work on, such as Hulu, but Russell said they are working on solutions. He told Mashable that as of Wednesday, Hulu ads are now blocked.