Saturday

The Ad Blocking Escalation

Many websites use ads to generate revenue; they get a (usually small) amount of money each time an advertisement is either viewed, or actually clicked. If they have a lot of traffic - visitors to the site - then these small amounts can ad up. They also may go to inordinate lengths to try to "target" ads, meaning providing ads that they hope will be of interest to you in particular (which then opens up the online privacy question).

Personally, I don't mind ads like this
This has been going on for years of course, and allows companies and individuals to make money, and to pay for web hosting and so on. It allows for a "free web" so to speak - in that you don;t have to pay to use most sites on the World Wide Web.

However, many site seem to have just gone crazy with ads. It can actually become a chore to read or watch any actual content on the site because of full screen popups, autoplaying videos, flashing banners, etc. etc. 

Consequently, many of us have started using ad blockers, web browser addons that can eliminate or stifle the appearance of most ads. This is affecting web site revenues, of course, and some web sites are starting to "fight back", by either come up with ads that are not so easily blocked, or presenting ads as actual content (boo, hiss!), or to blocking you for seeing the content until you turn off your ad blocker for that site (again - boo, hiss!).

To further stir up this bubbling pot of quiet resentment, Apple's new iOS 9 mobile device operating system now allows ad blocking for its Safari web browser. Since arch rival Google makes 90-odd percent of it's revenue from contextual and search-releated ads, the more cynical among us might see that move as a bit of a middle finger from Apple.

In any event, I'm all sure this is making things very uncomfortable for advertisers, the other web companies and for individual sites. A major portion of web traffic these days is generate by mobile devices, after all.

Personally, I don't mind ads on web sites - up to a point. I use ads on my blogs, for heaven's sake - even though the small amount of traffic I get only brings pennies a month, and I am certainly not doing this for a living in any case. 

I think the general ad threshold for me personally was passed several years ago, and I do use an ad blocker when I browse - I find it almost impossible to casually browse otherwise; it becomes tiresome very quickly.

However, I also do "block the ad blocker" (allowing the  ads) for sites that I visit a lot, or that don't have crazy amounts of ads in the first place. If a site won't allow me to view content at all without disabling the ad blocker, I am disinclined to use that site again. If they show their content, but ask me nicely to allow ads I will generally comply.

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