Adblocking software is a response to abusive activity by advertisers.
It’s the continuation of what amounts to an arms race between advertisers and adblock software developers. If the cycle of ad blocking and more agressive advertising continues, ultimately we all lose in a classic “tragedy of the commons” scenario, where overuse of a common resource can cause it’s ruin.
At adblock.org, we’re interested in discussing the issues, and pushing for all parties to stop the battle and work toward cleaning up the advertising mess that’s been created on the Internet.
They hit the nail on the head. Ad blocking software came into existence because of bad advertising practices. Badly designed ads, once that were intrusive and useless to the reader, drove people to a method of escape: Block the ads.
But not all ads are bad. The ads most people think of are the ones from major banner ad networks, and the Pay Per Click ads from providers such as AdSense. Those are the ones most people have a problem with, because they all too often provide little value to the end user, and lessen their experience on the website.
What of the other ads? Not every ad is as bad as the rest. What of the unobtrusive ads sold directly to advertisers, without a middleman ad network, ones carefully approved for lack of annoyance. What of the ads from the new breed of smaller, caring ad networks, such as Buy Sell Ads?
Not all ads are created equal, which is something people don’t seem to understand. Yet it is vitally important. Websites are supported by the advertisements that they run. Without the ads, many sites would cease to exist, and they certainly would if ad blocking went fully mainstream.
I have no quarrel with people who block ads that fly across their screens or shout through their speakers. I have a problem with people who block every single ad on the internet as they surf, and selfishly expect an ad-free experience. That is simply trying to get something for nothing, freeloading.
In the 1990s, there was a major outbreak of a heinous form of advertising that came to be known as “pop-up advertising.” Few ads can get your attention as well as a new window opening up in your face, and the ad networks knew that. That particular form of advertising became very widely used, and universally despised by computer users everywhere, yet it continued despite the protests of the users. It took the development of special tools designed to stop the ads to restore the internet to a tolerable state. Pop-up blockers are now so commonly used people forget they are there. The major browsers all include them now.
Now tell me, why did pop-up blockers come into existence? Because irresponsible advertisers, ad networks, and website owners didn’t give a thought to how the ads would affect user experience, or if they did, they did nothing about it. Pop-up blockers didn’t appear because people thought they should be able to get free content and not see the ads, they were developed because of abusive advertising.
A very large percentage of the free content you get online is payed for by advertisements. If you cheat the system and block the ads, you hurt the advertisers, and then the websites as a result. The “I don’t click them anyway” argument is not valid, as many ads are not Pay Per Click, but billed by pageview or by the week.
I am perfectly fine with people blocking ads that, like pop-up ads, are simply unreasonable. I do that myself. I selectively block ads myself, some entire networks. However, I am against the blocking of ads simply because they are ads. Think about it, it hurts the people producing free content for your consumption. You could be costing people their income by blanket-blocking ads, directly if they are self-employed web authors, or indirectly by contributing to the cause of layoffs at a larger company they work for.