Friday, 1 July 2016

Blocking the ad-blockers

There are a number of websites - and they often seem to be news sites - which are now blocking content viewing if you have an ad-blocker installed. Two websites which now do this are Forbes magazine and Computerworld.

As my Google news feed often includes these sites, these are the main sites that I have noticed blocking those of us with ad-blockers installed in our browsers thus far.

When visiting to a site which blocks browsers using an ad-blocker extensions, you are unable to see the content which you have come to see. You will usually get some kind of 404 page which tells you that you need to turn your ad-blocker off before being able to view the page.

I have been using an ad blocker for a least a decade. As I live in the country with extremely dot-and-carry-one internet, internet sites take a long time to load. Unwanted advertising is one of the biggest consumers of data: and one of the biggest choke-points. 

However, even I was surprised when in late 2015, Apple announced that they would support the development of an ad blocker for the iPhone. 

But when you think about it, Apple's motives were sensible. They did this because of the additional data-load on mobile devices from unwanted ads: consumers are aware that a big chunk of their data plan is being consumed advertising that they don't want to see (see the Wordstream image above, illustrating that around 50% of your screen real estate is lost advertising on your mobile device). 

I can understand Apple's stance on now developing ad blockers. They are providing the product - iPhones - to the customer, not to the media.

Needless to say, Apple's move has thrown the media industry into disarray, with cries of Armageddon. Of course, it hasn't been that bad, but ad blockers are bound to decrease media company revenues over time. Apparently Google - one of the largest advertisers on the web - is down about 7% each quarter from advertising for the last three quarters; and that is bound to be a global trend.

Perhaps it is time that media companies started rethinking their hard-sell approach with advertising. If advertising were actually pleasant to watch, and well-targeted to our needs, then we wouldn't block it. Instead it would become information.

The trouble is, advertising is rarely useful, is often invasive, is regularly distasteful, and usually talks to us as though we were idiots.

No wonder we don't choose to have advertising on our devices.

So now, I also choose not to go to those websites which are blocking ad blockers.

Block the blockers of ad-blockers!


Sam

References:
  • Thielman, Sam (3 October 2015). Rise of ad-blockers shows advertising does not understand mobile, say experts. Retrieved 21 March 2016 from http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/oct/03/ad-blockers-advertising-mobile-apple
  • WordStream (2 October 2015). The Rise of Ad Blockers: Should Advertisers Be Panicking? Retrieved 21 March 2016 from http://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2015/10/02/ad-blockers

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