I’m not ashamed to say I carry a particularly strong distaste for Internet advertising. It’s irritating and out of touch, and the core premise of most online advertising models is fundamentally broken. For every advertisement I saw that caught my eye; every well-designed, unique, creative marketing campaign, I was treated to about twenty which made me grit my teeth and rub my temples in irritation.
Now that I have an ad blocker, I’m happy to say I get to browse in relative silence, without having to deal with all that aggravating white noise. It’s nice.
Of course, some people would have you believe I’m a mean, bad, terrible person for using an ad blocker. That having such a browser extension installed means I’m essentially stealing information, using bandwidth and consuming data without providing a shred of revenue to the site. Essentially, I’m causing them to lose money on every click: I don’t see the ads, the advertisers don’t get a return from their investment, and the site doesn’t get money from the advertisers.
It’s a pretty nasty idea, isn’t it? The thought that using an ad blocker is somehow unfair to the websites you frequent, somehow cruel and unethical is a rather bitter pill to swallow…but is it true? Are ad blocking extensions really going to kill the Internet if they become widespread? Are we really causing that much damage by browsing in peace and quiet, without the headache-inducing clamor of bumbling, incompetent marketers trying to sell us products we care nothing about?
Yes, but that’s not the whole story. There’s a little bit more to it than marketers would have us believe, you see. The funny thing is, all these websites that moan and groan and wax poetic about how terrible ad blockers are, are neglecting an integral issue- the reason that all these people use ad blockers. More and more, advertisements are getting louder and more distracting, More and more, many of them are using scripts and features which, for lack of better terms, completely spit on privacy.
More and more, advertisers and marketers are treating their users in a way that can only be described as downright abusive. Is it any wonder we’ve had enough? Is it any surprise we tune them out?
Techdirt (which, oddly enough, manages to remain quite well-to-do without forcing advertisements on its users) likens businesses complaining about ad blockers to the RIAA and MPAA complaining about piracy (though with considerably less legislation laundering and unethical business practices, of course). It only hurts them because they can’t be bothered to change their business model. Something is inherently broken about Internet marketing at the current juncture, and until it changes, people are going to keep installing and using ad-blocking extensions. Perhaps if marketers were actually held to some standard, it’d be less of an issue. But as it is, they aren’t, and they don’t seem to understand why that’s problematic.
Essentially, they need to own up to their bloody mistakes. Instead of complaining about people blocking ads, they need to figure out why they’re blocking ads. Until they do that, I’m going to keep happily browsing with my ad blocking extensions installed, thanks.
Image Credits: [i-jr]
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