The Art of Adlessness

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The rise of the Firefox browser has been remarkable from many viewpoints, but one of the least-appreciated aspects is its extraordinary customisability through plugins. These range from the indispensable to the indescribable, but all contribute to turning Firefox into a platform for third-party addons.

Here's one that I hadn't come across before:

Add-Art is a free FireFox add-on which replaces advertising on websites with curated art images. The art shows are updated every two weeks and feature contemporary artists and curators.

Leaving aside the usual problem that such add-ins undermine one of the main sources of income for web sites, what interests me here is the fact that it involves a creative re-use of existing Web pages.

It's easy to imagine all kinds of similar add-ons that replace ads intelligently – for example, swapping them for relevant Wikipedia entries, or Flickr pix. These could be done on a varying basis to ensure that you see different replacements each time you visit sites that show the same ads. I think it could be a fascinating way of discovering new info/sites, as well as an interesting programming challenge in terms of coming up with new variations on the theme.