There’s an article on Bloomberg today discussing Google answer to the stalemate between consumers with ad-blockers installed on their browsers, and site owners who need the revenue from ads. Google will add a filter to its Chrome browser to block all ads that utilize Adobe Flash Player.
It’s an interesting article filled with complaints from the usual suspects about Google abusing its near monopoly on search and browse to deny site owners needed revenue.
Of course, having a blocker installed on my browser of choice, I certainly have my own opinion. At least a decade ago, I initially installed the ad blocker to protect myself from intrusive advertising that was more like malware, and would do any number of things that not only slowed down my browser, but would invade my privacy, like scan my download and browsing history. At the time, there were also numerous reports that some of the major ad providers had problems with being hacked and had occasionally downloaded hijackers instead of ads.
My opinion of the state of web advertising was confirmed about 18 months ago when I upgraded my desktop PC to Windows 10. That version of Windows comes with the Edge browser that didn’t have an ad blocker available for it immediately. When I tried it, I went to the Reuters’ website, and the ads presented on the page were so numerous and “busy” it brought my computer, which is not under powered by any means, to a near stand-still. I could only imagine what it would have done to the typically equipped computer. I simply refused to use Edge afterward due to the related ad abuse.
I don’t mind loading ads as long as they’re secure and non-abusive. But very few sites have simple pictorials and animated gif’s as ads. They’re mostly video and audio enabled, and come booming right at me, still with no guarantee of security or respect for my privacy. I’ve generally used the mode on my blocker that allows nonintrusive ads because I am aware that the site owner is paid for my visits. They should have as much money from the ads as they can get, however, even that became a nuisance and I had to go hardcore by switching to the more stringent block-everything mode.
The other side of the argument, as I understand it, is that my choice to not be abused and harassed constitutes freeloading. Perhaps so. But it isn’t so cut and dried in a world where mobile device usage and metered data plans outpace any other type. Think about the user viewing the site with a device that is connected to a metered data account, and considering the abusive nature of the ads in that situation, the question of freeloading isn’t nearly so straightforward at all. The site is using bytes that the users pay for to deliver the abuse and the bandwidth-consuming content of the ads certainly constitutes abuse and freeloading on the part of the site owner that is paid for consuming the users’ data. If the device were a fax machine, downloading ads would constitute violation of electronic solicitation law, because under that circumstance, the solicitor cannot use metered and consumable resources paid for by someone else to provide them with ads.
Lately, I’ve noticed that some sites are insisting that I disable my blocker in order to view content, with which I capitulated at first, until I saw absolutely zero change in the content and impact of the ads on my browsing device. So my answer to this was to block the blocking widgets and the sites now cannot tell whether I have a blocker, and I get to not be harassed and abused.
The summary message of this post is that if the site owners want to increase ad revenue, they need to get the message that the abusive ads are the problem and revisit their choice of ad providers they contract with as to make the site, complete with ads, enjoyable to visit.