On Ad Blocking

I was reading this blog post on Planet Mozilla feed on the moral dilemma on using Ad blockers and I left a comment that is the idea behind this post. I use an Ad blocker and I’m aware that I’m not doing good to the sites that I visit. I agree that Ads build brand recognition and by not looking at them, I might be taking away revenue from those sites.

This is why I disable my Ad blocker for almost all the sites that:

  1. I use regularly and want to support.
  2. Their ads are not an assault on my eyes or doesn’t offend me.

I think that the reason this ad blocking started is because the ad providers (and indirectly the site owners) took unfair advantage of their users and threw all the crap that they could find at them (remember the good old days of pop-ups).

Ad providers are doing a terrible job in matching sites’ content with ads. You go to a website to read a serious article and find an ad that is completely different and unserious just because this user’s profile at the ad provider indicates that they might be interested in this ad.

Content is subtle, but visual distraction can’t be ignored. Ads give no regard to the page’s colors and insert a foreign object with completely different colors. Some ads don’t even care about having the correct size. Example is below (Click for bigger picture).

Some sites don’t even care and display ads that are stupid and offensive. Here’s an example of a (supposed to be respected) newspaper web site displaying (what is practically if not really) ad for a porn site. Some web sites don’t care about their users as much as they care about ad revenue. I understand that it’s a tough business, but I know a bad business strategy when I see one. Having no minimum when it comes to what is an acceptable ad is a bad business strategy.

Some content provider think that “Content + Ad = Money” without thinking through what content or what ads. Those content providers will never imagine that one good option sometimes is displaying no ad at all. Users will respond to those providers by using Ad blockers.

Instead of considering whether or not ad blocking should be a moral dilemma (which I can actually agree on), we should ask ourselves ‘Why are users blocking ads?’.