The acceleration of the “software vs software-blocker” race

As software gets everywhere, as it gets more and more automated and as its gets more and more intrusive, we’ll increasingly see specific software markets branch in two parallel paths: the players building / leveraging these software and the players building the ‘software-blocker’ version.

Let me illustrate this by giving a couple of examples:

Adblockers vs anti-adblockers

People are increasingly using adblockers which translates to a loss of revenue for many publishers. Naturally some entrepreneurs saw a great opportunity to build technology which that will help publishers display their ads despite of these solutions.

Ex: Sourcepoint, SecretMedia

Drones vs anti-drone solutions

Drones are getting cheaper, smaller and accessible to anybody, which leads to potential abuse and security threats which range from your neighbor spying on you to terrorists flying their drones over sensitive areas. And at both end of this (wide) spectrum there is space for anti-drones solutions.

Ex: Cyborg Unplug

Web scrapers vs anti-web scrapers

60% of web traffic comes from bots:

As web scrapers get more accurate, there are used in more and more use cases from content theft, to competitive monitoring, lead generation, marketing monitoring etc… And whether it is to protect websites from fraudulent scraping or just for privacy reasons, we’re seeing the emergence of products which help detect a real visitor from a non human one:

Ex: Distil Networks, ShieldSquare, Scrapedefender

Email trackers vs anti-email trackers

Our email inboxes are probably the last place on earth where we should expect a bit of privacy. But, well, that’s not a reason not to care about it and to get rid of all the email trackers which brands (or even your friends) use. This is why products like Trackbuster let you remove these unwanted invisible trackers (yes I’m looking at you Sidekick)..

Various comments

  • this “software vs anti-software” race is especially true for tech which impact user privacy (so it will grow)
  • this race between the two sides of the same market has always existed. The difference with races such as payment vs fraud, email vs spam or security vs hackers (etc.), is that it does not necessarily involve “illegal” uses. Email tracking, adblocking or web scraping (in some cases) are not illegal activities.
  • The bigger the market will be on one side, the bigger it will be on the other as well
  • yes, software controlling other software can lead to problems as well...
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