= the internet without ads

A message to my fearless users

Thank you so much for being one of the early testers of Retheme! While I would selfishly make this extension for myself anyway, your support and encouragement will go a long way to keep me motivated!

While this extension is still rapidly evolving, I'd encourage you to pin the extension to your toolbar. This allows you to see when a site is being themed (you'll see a green "T" badge over the icon), and gives you access to the extension controls to turn features on/off, or to request a theme for a site you're visiting.

If you're a fan, consider sharing it on social media or telling your friends!

~ Kevin Whitley | @kevinrwhitley

a browser extension that

Removes ads, banners, popups, and overlays from popular sites and...
  • costs nothing
  • tracks nothing
  • sells nothing
transforms ad-heavy sites:
Before Retheme
into clean, ad-free content:
After Retheme

Why another ad-blocker?

Most ad-blockers approach the problem of ads from a *very* different angle than Retheme. Simply put, they block the sources of known offenders (ad servers, malicious domains, etc), preventing them from being served to the page.

These are awesome at:

  • Drastically cutting down on the crap that gets downloaded - speeding up your experience.
  • Blocking even video ads without blocking the main video itself. Handy!
  • Protecting you from malicious sites. That's kind of a big deal.

But not-so-awesome at:

  • Fighting the infinite resources of the ad agencies. For every IP that gets blocked on an ad-blocker, they can spin up a hundred in its place. It's a losing battle.
  • Cleaning up specific sites. They approach things in a global manner, targeting the sources of the ads, but not the regions of the ads themselves (within the page). This may leave unsightly gaps and empty boxes where ads once were.
  • Removing bespoke or unknown ad sources.
  • Removing distracting elements on the page that *aren't* ads. For example, huge newsletter signup forms, or alerts that keep popping up.

What does Retheme do differently?

  • Serves a generic global theme to *ALL* sites, removing the common regions they use to display ads. It's not great, but it may help a bit.
  • Serves highly customized per-site themes, if available. These are hand-written to clean up a specific site and improve the experience. I've mostly targeted high-traffic news and content sites (as we spend a fair big of time clicking into links like that).
  • Targets the site itself (code/styles), rather than the endless pool of ad servers. Ad agencies may move faster than ad-blockers, but a typical news outlet engineering team can't combat my themes faster than I can make them.
  • Ads still get served (although hidden), allowing site owners to keep collecting "impression" revenue - this wasn't my goal, but it's a bonus.
  • Shouldn't trigger the "remove your ad-blocker" messages from sites.

Should I keep using my other ad-blocker?

Yep! It's kind of like having a seatbelt AND an airbag. They solve different things, so you probably want both in a crash!

Frequently Asked Questions

question How do I use it?
answer Install the extension! That's it (for most users).
question What's the catch?
answer There is no catch. It's free. I track nothing, and sell nothing.
question Do you track my usage/browsing habits?
answer No! I send no information whatsoever (personally identifying or otherwise) to either, or anywhere/anyone else.
question What exactly does it do?
answer Retheme injects site-specific themes, hand-written for that site, to deliver a cleaned-up experience. Usually these simply remove ads, banners, popups, overlays, etc. Sometimes it goes as far as restructuring the page for better readability.
question Can I request a theme for a site?
answer Yes! You'll have to open the extension while on the site (I recommend pinning it to the toolbar), then hit the blue request link. I'll prioritize sites by number of requests, so ask your friends to pitch in and vote on the site as well!
question Can I turn it off the theme for a particular site?
answer Yes! Open the extension while on the site, and you'll find controls for managing the default and per-site behavior.
question How is Retheme different from AdBlock?
answer Retheme approaches ad-blocking in a custom per-site way that's simply not possible with AdBlock, and does so via styling, rather than universally blocking known ad-offenders (which is why AdBlock is still great).
question Should I use AdBlock as well?
answer I recommend using both! AdBlock blocks (some) of the major ad-campaigns across all sites, while Retheme applies very custom themes to specific sites (namely high-traffic news/content sites). They both have their place!
question Does it remove paywalls (e.g. news sites)?
answer If I can remove them, I do. I believe blocking basic knowledge of world-events behind pay walls is incredibly anti-consumer, and anti-equality. A less affluent person should not be *forced* to be less educated.
question How does this make you money?
answer It doesn't!
question Will you get in trouble for making this?
answer ...
question I love this! How can I help?
answer Help me spread the word by sharing it with friends and on social media! Eventually, I may accept donations if there's enough interest in supporting this. I'll even name my someone else's child after you as thanks!
question Will the name stick?
answer Nah. I doubt it will have any legal binding, plus the parents would keep calling them their old name, so...

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