Adblockers have become very popular in recent times as ads have started becoming more and more obtrusive. These ads come in various forms including pop-ups, embedded audio and video, animations, text, pictures and auto-playing videos. Advertisement agencies always find ingenious ways to deliver ads to their target audience by mining their geo-location and browsing history. As a result, the user’s online browsing experience is hampered. This leaves users annoyed and violated and hence, they have no other choice but to resort to installing an Adblocker plug-in on their browser.
It might seem that an Adblocker is a boon for today’s internet users. However, there is always another part of the story that users usually tend to ignore. So, it is only fair that we, as rational beings, must take a look at both sides of the coin before making a decision to install an Adblocker.
When to use an Adblocker?
So, you have the power of blocking ads by just installing an ad-blocking plug-in. But, is it ethically correct to be using one? Hmm, let’s see.There must have been a countless number of times when you opened a website, and some video started playing out of the blue, annoying you to the extent that you decided to close that video in frustration. There must have been certain sites where you were bombarded with a gazillion pop-ups and an equal number of fake download buttons. How many times have there been grotesque ads about belly flattening, skin whitening and others that have tried to play on your insecurities? Don’t you think it’s unethical on the part of the advertisers to be advertising in such an obtrusive way?
There must have been a countless number of times when you opened a website, and some video started playing out of the blue, annoying you to the extent that you decided to close that video in frustration. There must have been certain sites where you were bombarded with a gazillion pop-ups and an equal number of fake download buttons. How many times have there been grotesque ads about belly flattening, skin whitening and others that have tried to play on your insecurities? Don’t you think it’s unethical on the part of the advertisers to be advertising in such an obtrusive way?
There are also sites that often collect logs of user activity along with their location, without even asking for permissions. This allows them to deliver more meaningful, targeted and location-based advertisements. However, this practice of theirs compromises the user’s privacy. Some ads also carry malware with them, which could potentially harm your computer. Isn’t this a breach of ethics as well?
Going through the above arguments, I think it is fair to use Adblockers at certain times. Thus in short, ad blocking in the following cases may be considered okay,
- When a website forces advertisements by playing videos and audio clips automatically
- When a website opens several popups on its own
- When a website promotes ads with fake download buttons or surveys
- Ads that are fake (the ones promising thousand dollars a day and lose weight instantly)
- And websites that try to install malware on your computer or phone through ads
However, there are times when Adblockers have an adverse effect on the internet as a whole. There are instances when we shouldn’t turn them on. Let’s take a look at that as well.
Why Should You Avoid an Adblocker?
Bad for Honest Publishers
Be it your favorite blog or your favorite YouTube channel, they all face the consequences of Adblockers. There are so many honest publishers out there who toil away day and night, developing the best content for you. So, be wise and turn off Adblockers for certain genuine sites and help out these honest publishers. After all, when they are providing you with free stuff, you can return the favor by bearing through a few ads.
Internet access is not free anymore
The internet is a free environment at the moment. You can browse your favorite sites and blogs for no cost at all. But, these blogs and sites need money to keep them afloat. So, in order to generate revenue for themselves, they post ads on their web pages. Adblockers filter out these ads and hence, cut off this small revenue stream the publishers had going on for themselves. As a result, they are now forced to charge for all their content to counteract the effect of Adblockers. This no longer maintains the freemium model of the internet that users love and are accustomed to.
Quality of content takes a hit
Content writers work really hard to come up with the content you enjoy reading. They are paid quite nicely by the publishers for doing so. But, seeing how their source of income has declined due to ad blockers, publishers now start experimenting with alternative ways to generate revenue. Published content now contains blatant product placements to entice readers. This just renders the article unreadable. Many publishers now start outsourcing content which helps in reducing the cost incurred for publishing a single article. However, this causes a decline in quality as a lowly-paid writer’s work can never match that of a seasoned writer.
The Bottom Line
It just requires a few mouse clicks and keystrokes to install an Adblocker plug-in, and the plug-in does its job perfectly for the user. No more obtrusive pop-ups or irritating video ads.
But, it does mean that your favorite publications take a hit, especially the independent ones, whose only source of income is through these ads.
So, finding a middle ground is of utmost importance. Websites should do their bit by not making ads overly obtrusive, and deliver simple, clean and relevant ads to the users. End users on the other hand, should do their bit by not blocking such ads so that they can help out their favorite websites monetarily thus, ensuring their sustainability. This benefits the producer as well as the consumer in the long run. Therefore, in such an Adblock-free scenario, the user indirectly pledges to keep the internet a free environment.