Why Adblock hurts business, consumers
Published: Monday, September 9, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 00:09
If you go to a store, you pay in order to buy a good so the store will continue to operate. In a restaurant you pay in order to compensate the establishment for a meal, and so that in the future you can eat there again. There is a flourishing industry filled with small businesses who are knowingly being deprived of their pay because internet users aren’t willing to deal with the slightest inconvenience that would let them thrive.
It’s as if Adblock was a means of getting away with dine and ditch and once successful restaurants are dropping like flies. Adblock is a program stops banner and pop-up ads from appearing on websites which, while certainly convenient, is absolutely lethal to websites because it deprives web developers of profits, encourages more pervasive advertising, and incentives websites to restrict more and more content to paying users all in the name of a few moments of convenience.
Imagine some of the websites you access regularly like Facebook, Blogger, Google, Yahoo, or Amazon. These big sites, like their thousands of smaller peers, are all run on advertising revenue and without that revenue would not be able to operate. These sites make most of their money through advertising like the kind that Adblock interrupts.
Advertising on the internet is not based on number of times the ad is clicked, like some people seem to think, but rather on total page views and tools like Adblock prevent the ad from acquiring page views, depriving the website from as much as 15 percent of their due profits. For a massive electronic empire 15 percent is not necessarily vital to their day to day operation but for independent users on YouTube, Blogger, or WordPress that 15 percent can be the difference between making rent or not.
Over time advertising has tended to improve. Ads on TV used to be simply statements of facts and now they are affairs with massive budgets, plots, and clever scripts all meant to entertain as well as inform. Ads online similarly have tended to improve in quality over the years. With the advent of Adblock the focus of online advertising is no longer on quality and is strictly focused on bombastically getting a word in edgewise. Sponsored posts on social media sites, video gate captchas, and full site redirects have all become commonplace in a world where they would not have been needed a few years ago, all due to revenue lost to ad blocking programs.
With less and less reliable revenue stemming from ads websites have had to look elsewhere for revenue. Many site which were once completely free now have “members only” features or entirely “members only” sections of their sites. Deviantart is notorious for restricting site storage, content access and other tools for users behind a wall of “premium membership”. All these features were fully unlimited and open when the site originally launched in August 2007.
ArsTechnica, one of the sites largest tech content aggregators, recently had a 12 hour “experiment” during which they linked all content in as ads, so that users running Adblock could not view any content. Their site manager posted an article about the damage that Adblock had done to the site, saying about their users “while [some] showed up to support our actions, there was a healthy mob of people criticizing us for daring to take any kind of action against those who would deny us revenue even though they knew they were doing so”. ArsTechnica declared their test an experiment gone wrong, but I for one think that websites should not feel ashamed for protecting themselves and their writes livelihoods by cracking down on people who would see their profits flushed for the sake of convenience.