The Devastating Effect of Ad-Blockers for

The Devastating Effect of Ad-Blockers for

(Via Guru3D.)

As I’ve said and written elsewhere, everything that’s happening with adblockers is just a war that definitely had to happen sooner or later, and will leave the world in better shape. Part of the problem has been that websites with terrific commercial content have never charged for what they publish.

And by that, I mean that they never explained the transaction. If there’s a paywall up, well, that’s crystal clear, isn’t it? “If you want this, here’s what you need to do.” If not, then the site is simply “free” and the users lack any sort of awareness about what the publisher needs to have in order to keeps the site operational.

The upsides of adblocking (controlling the threat to personal privacy, making browsers run faster and more reliably) have always been obvious. Thanks to posts like Guru3D’s, users are being educated about a big downside that affects writers to whom they probably feel a great deal of affection and gratitude.

As for the publishers, I hope they change their site scripts to clearly lay out the “deal” they’re making with readers. If you want to read our stuff…you’re going to have to whitelist us.

When I found out that Teslas cost $70,000 I didn’t scream “unfair!” I nodded and simply acknowledged that the price of admission wasn’t something I was willing to pay. Similarly, there will be readers who, on a case-by-case basis, are fine with enabling trackers and blockers on certain sites but not others.

I’m not saying that this will usher in a new era of peace and prosperity for all. But it’ll surely replace the old, unworkable foundation with one that will let more people succeed in publishing.

And finally: thank God that the ad industry is finally seeing large-scale pushback. That’s often what’s necessary. An industry (or a business, or even just a person) assumes that you’re OK with certain behavior and policies unless you somehow communicate that you aren’t. Let’s see if all of this leads to some new self-restraint.

2 thoughts on “The Devastating Effect of Ad-Blockers for

  1. B. Scott

    I suppose the difficult part is deciding how to approach this on a personal level. I am strongly opposed to web advertising due to the reasons listed above, in addiction to other reasons I find important:

    – Security/malware issues
    – Aesthetics
    – Diversion of attention (ads that pull your eyes away from content)
    – Page load times and data usage (especially on mobile)

    But I do understand some sites need this to survive. My initial emotional response is to refuse to whitelist sites until they’ve proven that they can solve the above issues and to allow sites to die if they can’t find a new business model. I suppose this is a tough position to take, knowing it is affecting businesses’ ability to stay afloat, but is the onus on the user?

    This is a difficult sea to navigate, because I personally feel that as a user I have a right to determine how the page reaches my browser, meaning I can disable images/javascript/etc at will and should be able to, along with blocking ads.

    Will the ad industry ever move to a more user-friendly, less-tracking, more-secure, more aesthetic approach? Aren’t ads to some extent, purposely annoying and ugly so they catch attention? Something tells me the status quo on behalf of advertisers will not change. Nothing has really changed yet despite the large news time adblockers are now getting.

    I’m stuck in the middle, ethically, because I don’t think I should have to feel bad for defending myself from a page that wants to steal my resources, time, and attention in ways that I do not approve. Then again, I hate to see people lose their business or jobs because of it.

    I suppose I will continue to block ads until sites can prove, or join/create some kind of “certified/safe” ad network, or in some other way show that their ads will not ruin the user experience in any way. Definitely food for thought from both sides of the issue.

  2. Ihnatko Post author

    It’s complicated. For me, the huge hair in my soup is marketing profiling. An annoying ad is out of your life in a second or two, but if some bonehead analytic tool based on lousy analysis and junk science lumps me in a category that businesses (or the world I choose to travel in) considers undesirable, that could have an impact on my life.

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