More people are using ad-blockers. Here’s one reason why.

An article over on Mashable talks about the increasing number of people using ad-blocking apps in their web browsers and how various sites are fighting back against the trend:

Websites know you’re using ad-blockers, and they’re coming for you.

Thanks to software that can detect whether a site visitor is using a blocker, websites can now direct messages at these readers, jam ads through to them anyway or even withhold stories. Uneasy publishers are increasingly turning to startups that give them the ability to detect and pierce through ad blockers, such as Sourcepoint and Pagefair.

Now, as a general rule, I don’t run an ad-blocker because I understand that it costs money to run a website in part because I maintain several myself; not the least of which is this blog. In fact the account I maintain to host blogs for my mother, sister, and a couple of friends costs me about $120 a year and its annual renewal is due this week and that’s not counting the monthly cost for the virtual server for SEB. You may also note that I have a couple of ads on SEB including a promo for Amazon on the sidebar and some Google Adsense ads at the bottom of each page. I also make use of Amazon affiliate links when talking about a product. None of that generates enough revenue to pay for the sites (I’m lucky if I get any money from them in a given year), but it makes for a couple bucks here and there.

So I can understand and I’m fine with a page having ads on it, but I’d be lying if I said that I never run an ad-blocker. I keep one installed because advertisers aren’t satisfied with having a rectangular banner at the top of the page or a square ad in the sidebar. Increasingly there’s been this trend of slapping a huge, full-screen ad right in the middle of whatever the fuck I’m trying to read 5 to 10 seconds after I started reading. I’m talking bullshit like this:

YOU WILL WATCH THIS AD FOR TEA REGARDLESS OF WHETHER YOU WILL EVER BUY OUR PRODUCT!

YOU WILL WATCH THIS AD FOR TEA REGARDLESS OF WHETHER YOU WILL EVER BUY OUR PRODUCT!

I don’t drink tea. You could come up with a tea that causes multiple orgasms and piles of gold to spontaneously appear at my feet and I still wouldn’t drink it because tea is disgusting, but you’re going to insist I watch your fucking tea ad.

HEY! STOP WHAT YOU'RE DOING AND WATCH THIS PROMO FOR A COMPANY YOU WILL NEVER DIRECTLY DEAL WITH YOURSELF!

HEY! STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND WATCH THIS PROMO FOR A COMPANY YOU WILL NEVER DIRECTLY DEAL WITH YOURSELF!

I’ve never understood why Boeing feels the need to advertise to the general public. Do they sell anything to the vast majority of people? They seem to have a rather niche market. What the fuck happened to the idea of targeted ads?

WE'RE KFC! CHECK OUT THIS HILARIOUS AD WITH OUR NEW FAKE COLONEL SANDERS IN IT! WHY IT'S SO FUNNY IT'S LIKE WATCHING A MOVIE!

WE’RE KFC! CHECK OUT THIS HILARIOUS AD WITH OUR NEW FAKE COLONEL SANDERS IN IT! WHY IT’S SO FUNNY IT’S LIKE WATCHING A MOVIE!

I like KFC. I shouldn’t because I’m fat and it’s not healthy, but I like it just the same. You don’t need to hard-sell me, or probably very many other fat people, on KFC. All this does is make me not like KFC as much because they’re getting in the fucking way of the article I’m trying to read.

The first link is bullshit just from the headline alone and I couldn't give less of a shit about some billionaire's girlfriend.

The first link is bullshit just from the headline alone and I couldn’t give less of a shit about some billionaire’s girlfriend, but this is still better than a full screen ad.

It’s bad enough that a lot of the small, square ads these days feature auto-playing videos with the sound at full volume. That’s annoying enough without it taking up the ENTIRE FUCKING SCREEN. When I come across these ads the first thing I look for is the close button and I hit it before it has a chance to get more than 5 seconds into its spiel. I don’t care what you’re advertising. Even if it’s something that I might be interested in, the surest way to make certain I don’t hear about it is with a giant popup ad in the middle of a webpage. No close button? Then it’s the reload page button. Ad comes up again? Out comes the ad-blocker and now you’re not getting any revenue from my page visit because fuck you and your giant fucking ads in the middle of the content.

This is coming from a guy who will put up with multiple ads along the top, bottom, and sides of a webpage. Hell, I’ll put up with them being wedged awkwardly between every two or three paragraphs of the content itself — like some sites I visit currently do — so long as I can still read the content I went there for in the first place. I’ll even put up with the obvious bullshit click-bait ads being repeated over and over and over again on so many sites like the one here to the right despite the fact that I will never, in a million years, ever click on that ad.

According to one estimate sites are losing out on some big cash thanks to the increase in ad-blocker usage:

A widely cited report from Adobe and anti-ad blocker startup Pagefair estimates that ad blockers could cost the industry $21.8 billion in lost revenue this year — though the figure may have been overinflated by faulty economic reasoning — and that usage grew 41% in the last year.

So it’s no wonder they’re trying to fight back, but surely there’s a compromise that can be found between no advertising at all and loud and obnoxious full screen unstoppable auto-playing video ads. There are a handful of sites I’ve stopped going to altogether because it’s such a pain in the ass wading through all the popup advertisements to get to the content I went there for in the first place. I don’t want to turn my ad-blocker on, but some of these websites are making it harder and harder not to do so. And that’s not even getting into the topic of how many ad services these days are doing a piss-poor job of keeping malicious malware spreading ads out of their systems.

Scale it back a bit and I think you’ll find more people will shut off their ad-blockers. Keep going the way you’re going and it’ll just be an arms race to see who can out program the other.

5 thoughts on “More people are using ad-blockers. Here’s one reason why.

  1. There is zero chance I will ever click an ad so there is no point allowing them on my screen. If a site obstructs my use because I use an ad blocker, I will just use a competitor or live without their shitty services.

    Ads are the only reason I don’t own a TV and I BitTorrent everything I want to watch. The only notable exception is Adult Swim on Cartoon network. Some of their shows are in 15 minute format; the content is played in its entirety with ads after the show. If more networks followed this block format I would buy a TV and cable service. The current 5 minute show/3 minute ad format is extremely annoying and actually HURTS their shows because it encourages channel surfing to get away from the ads.
    But with BitTorrent shows, there are zero ads. Perfect.
    And don’t try to give me that “illegal/pirate/stealing/immoral/wrong” bullshit. I don’t care. If the networks made it watchable on broadcast I wouldn’t do it.

  2. I’ve been running ad blockers, script blockers, and HTTPS-Everywhere for as long as I can remember. Not only because ads are annoying and eat expensive bandwidth, but because they are insecure. I should mention that I also run in private browsing mode all of the time; no saved cookies. Again, security.

    At one time I did allow Google Adsense ads on my own blog, but since I could never see them, I didn’t know what was there. For a while I turned off the ad blocker and didn’t like having some of the ads associated with my site. Never got a penny from any ads and discontinued Adsense. Of course, Blogger is free so I have no hosting costs to try to recoup.

  3. You could come up with a tea that causes multiple orgasms and piles of gold to spontaneously appear at my feet and I still wouldn’t drink it because tea is disgusting

    … feel free to direct advertisers offering this my way.

  4. I’ll also have some of that tea.

    Seriously – I feel guilty about using an ad-blocker, and go through on/off cycles. But when the page is taking forever to load because it wants to run a video, and when I open a page in a new tab to move on after I’ve finished with this one, and it starts playing music, overwhelming what I am listening to, then eventually the blocker goes back on for a few weeks until guilt levels creep up.

  5. I’m not buying the rhetoric of the online ad industry; their case seems to boil down to: We have a right to be profitable. The technical arms race between ad blockers and the ad industry misses a simple point: Forcing ads on readers who demonstrably don’t want any is a losing strategy.

    Taking the general view, if I site doesn’t lend itself to focused viewing, it better be an incredibly valuable resource.

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