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You can block online ads and malware Use Adblock To Block Online Ads and Malware Use Adblock To Block Online Ads and Malware Read More with various tools like Adblock Plus and uBlock. Internet-based content producers and publishers hate these tools – ads are their means of livelihood.

Some argue that ad-blocking tools kill their revenue stream Are Ad Blocking Browser Extensions Killing The Internet? Are Ad Blocking Browser Extensions Killing The Internet? One of the reasons for the Internet’s surge in popularity is the cost of most online content – or rather, the lack of cost. That’s not to say the content is free, however. Almost every... Read More , which means they eventually have to shut shop. They’re not wrong. As a writer, this is my revenue stream and it affects me when you block ads.

But as a consumer, I don’t care.

Ad-blocking seems like a natural option for any consumer because of a simple reason: it’s an easy way to get rid of an annoyance.

Why We Block Ads

It’s rare to find a useful ad. Usually, they’re pesky and bothersome. Ads take up bandwidth, which can be precious at times. They disrupt the consumer’s content consumption experience. They also covertly dress up as content to fool you. (Read: How to spot, and avoid, ads disguised as download buttons How To Spot, And Avoid, Ads Disguised As Download Buttons How To Spot, And Avoid, Ads Disguised As Download Buttons Read More ).

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And on the Internet, ad-blocking is as easy as saying “There’s an app for that.” You install an extension, and you’re done. Heck, it’s pretty easy to put a stop to pop-up browser ads once and for all Let's Put A Stop To Pop-Up Browser Ads Once And For All! Let's Put A Stop To Pop-Up Browser Ads Once And For All! Pop-ups can catch you off guard, and if you're not careful they can create problems. Learn how to avoid them and how to handle them if they do come up. Read More too.

If you hate something and there was an easy way to remove it from your life, chances are that you’ll do it. And that’s what online ad-blocking is.

The Problem With Ad Blocking

in-defense-of-Ad-blocking-online-ads-publishers-innovation

Blocking statistics firm PageFair estimates that usage grew by 70% between June 2013-June 2014, with 41% of 18-29 year olds using it. In total, there are 144 million active adblock users on the web. That’s roughly 5% of the total Internet population. It’s not a huge problem yet, but some sites are more affected (like gaming or tech publications) and the trend of ad-blocking is upwards.

Publishers have cried themselves hoarse appealing to the idealism of consumers, or reprimanded them by installing scripts that stop ad-blockers. It’s often posed as a choice for the consumer: “If you want good content, put up with our ads.” My friend Eric Ravenscraft, a writer at Lifehacker, puts it like this:

I think publishers aren’t listening to the consumer. If the consumer is annoyed by banner ads, then the consumer has already made a choice. He doesn’t want annoying ads, and he wants good content. The onus is on the publisher to figure out how to make that happen.

Which brings us to another industry.

Ad Blocking Is Reminiscent Of Music Piracy

in-defense-of-Ad-blocking-online-ads-music-downloads-money

For the longest time, studio executives kept harping on about how piracy is killing them, while sticking to distribution methods that consumers didn’t want. Eventually, iTunes came along and then Spotify made it easier for musicians to make money Why Taylor Swift Is Wrong About Spotify Why Taylor Swift Is Wrong About Spotify In the past week Taylor Swift has pulled her music from Spotify, inspired countless song-pun laden headlines and reignited the debate about streaming music services. Read More .

The consumer was always clear: he wanted music to be accessible easily. Once companies started innovating to come up with downloads and streaming services, the user was happy to go with their proposed solutions.

Music distribution hasn’t been solved yet. It’s still a work in progress, but there have been great strides taken in addressing the problem by keeping the consumer’s interests first — and in this largely capitalist world, that’s the way forward for publishers too.

Innovation is what helped the music industry make profits, and that’s what content needs now.

It’s Time For Publishers To Innovate

in-defense-of-Ad-blocking-online-ads-publishers-no-ads

The consumer is sick of things like ads in the notification area of his phone How to Block Notification Area Ads on Android Phones How to Block Notification Area Ads on Android Phones Have you ever seen an advertisement in Android’s notification area? Some apps abuse their notification permissions to display advertisements when you aren’t even using them. The good news is that you can determine which apps... Read More , and he wants a better experience. At the same time, he does not want to compromise on quality. Pleading with him to whitelist your site Please Whitelist MakeUseOf In Adblock: A Plea From a Former Adblock Filter Developer Please Whitelist MakeUseOf In Adblock: A Plea From a Former Adblock Filter Developer It’s no secret that we’re not huge fans of Adblock here at MakeUseOf. But we know that some of you won’t let go of Adblock until it’s pried out of your cold, dead hands. If... Read More in ad-blocking filters will only work in a small number of cases. Paying adblock-makers (like Microsoft, Google and Amazon are doing) is a short-term solution, until a new ad blocker comes along.

So publishers have a choice. You can be a publisher who moans about how ad-block is killing your business and goad/cajole/buy/threaten/beg your audience to put up with your annoying ads. Or you can be a publisher who realises your audience doesn’t want the product you are peddling right now, and start looking at how you can make money without a dependency on the traditional method of online ads.

We live in a largely capitalist world and that’s what it comes down to. If you make a product that serves the needs of the consumer, then you make profits. Ad-block isn’t the culprit here, your business model is.

What Do You Think The Best Business Model Is?

As a reader, we know you want good quality content and without ads. So how would you like a website to support itself? Are sponsored posts (clearly marked as sponsored) something you’d prefer? Blending e-commerce with content like what The Wirecutter does? Or maybe you have a totally new idea! Let’s talk.

  1. Phoebe
    October 6, 2016 at 5:24 pm

    what;s the "business model" of a Journalist? What product are they promoting?
    When I was a kid and we got that newspaper slapped on the house, I saw news and ads for sales for local stores. I assume the ads paid for those articles. I don't think it has changed just because the news is now read online.
    Nobody should complain when any publisher big or small ask for a monthly fee.
    After we have paid for slow over prices ISP service we now pay to look online... FFS

  2. Bob
    September 30, 2016 at 5:09 am

    I block because of malware and performance period. The malware problem is crazy. I see issues come up atleast 20 times a year. Performance is also aweful. I've seen ads take 5 minutes to load and lock up the entire browser with poorly written javascript.

    I actually work in marketing as a marketing oriented web developer as well. So I implement this same stuff. I created an awesome website 36 files to load the page. Add in doubleclick page can be at 100 requests. It's gross, but I don't care when I get paid for it and management wants to gunk it up. However, ad networks like yahoo or others have aweful server performance. It's not hard to keep performance up, but thier being cheap with the servers.

    • Bob
      September 30, 2016 at 5:14 am

      I also wanted to add that. My personal safety in all areas of life (identity theft and so on from malware) is far more important than me putting someone else out of a job. If it was just performance I might allow ads and only block those that are grossly annoying selectively by ad domain. However, you can never have too much security, and ad networks are not to be trust at al.

      • Phoebe
        October 6, 2016 at 5:28 pm

        Your info can be stolen online without an Ad and simply because people assume thy are logging into a known website and it's a phishing website.
        Ads are not stealing banking info.
        going to find hacked programs are and looking for cracked programs will do this.
        Putting an ad for a sale for Halloween Candy and a Discount code link for Diapers is not making u POOR.
        I personally refuse to pump out info for free if I am paying for a server.
        Either they see ads ( no content is being blocked by an ad for a gaming website ) or they cannot view the content period. I refuse to ask for donations.

  3. Jon Fraer
    September 18, 2016 at 11:24 am

    "some sites say it's a problem"... ? well that is their problem. maybe the game is not worth paying for. It gets OLD quick. you are talking about children... please !

  4. Joke
    September 8, 2016 at 9:55 am

    Is this a joke? Look at how many ads are on your site. This is the reason why people want AdBlockers.

  5. Sim Architect
    September 7, 2016 at 11:05 am

    My view as a consumer:

    Ads that are well selected by the publisher (good deals, not crappy stuff that's more expensive than average and we'd never buy anyway) and related to the topic of the article, video etc are always welcome.

    I think that two major problems with current ads are:
    1. Irrelevance or Bad Content;
    2. Bad Design: Too much space taken, heavy content (video), click phishing (you go to a download site and you see those annoyingly HUGE fake download buttons and a very small text "real download" link).

    My experience as Advertiser: being paid by impression is always better than being paid by conversion, since most people won't click or, if they do, they won't buy (perhaps things are different when you have a huge volume of people, but my YouTube channel can't achieve that with 600k views). Using "ad walls" like Adfly seems a nice way to make extra revenue when someone wants to download something through a link I share, meaning that they can see my content, but they have to watch an ad if they want to download any linked file. It's not the friendliest, but it's effective.

  6. User
    August 22, 2016 at 9:05 am

    Internet ads are quite the annoyance for sure. I will never stop using Adblock Plus because year after year the ads just get worse and worse. That tells me there is a serious problem, but it's not the ads that are the problem. It's the people that are alive today that are the problem.

    Everyone's out for that easy buck, that they can collect for doing pretty much nothing. So what if you took an hour or two to write one article a week/month. Yet expect to be paid for that article over and over and over again. Blow me.

    Manufactured products are real, and so are real world services (maid, yard work, you know that thing called work). People who do that to earn money deserve it because they produce something of real value or the consumer sees real world results (from the workers efforts) and the action of working also consumes the workers time.

    Nothing a online desktop publisher does produces anything of significant value other than made up words on a screen. To me that's not worth the headache of online advertisements, and just show that the "webmaster" is probably a worthless slob who can't hold down a job anywhere else, or just lazy as hell.

    The internet being an all digital medium is "not real" in that sense, you're not really producing anything of real value here. It's just words on a screen that you took up the time to write, from your mind Many sites don't even bother to source their materials anymore, thereby making the site even more worthless. Now if you take the time to write a book or short story and have it published, for real, then that deserves to be paid for. But to just type up or copy and paste content and say "you owe me" is not only lame, its lazy and childish. Grow up.

    Online writers are not really at "work", the only thing hard about what they do is to think up words. If you must be paid for that to do it, find a new line of work or go work for a real news agency that has other means of revenue.

    As for the ads themselves, they are usually for products I don't even want to know about, let alone buy them. Like many other users have pointed out already, if you have to resort to in line malware ridden ads to make 5 cent per click, then you site wasn't worth the time it took to load it in the first place. Even if the content is "fresh and original"

    That's just my opinion on it, you keep on living that way. People like that have to find out the hard way just how difficult life really is.

  7. You suck
    June 25, 2016 at 8:47 am

    "Being annoyed by banner ads is sort of like getting pissed off because your friend got a new job. Doesn't affect you, but pays their bills."

    Are you a f****** idiot? seriously? Of course it affects us! Why the hell do you think we block them?? BECAUSE THEY ARE ANNOYING. I don't care if they pay your sh**ty homeless man unshaven wages. I will always block ads now just out of spite. I hate brain dead people like this chump.

    • Jeff
      June 28, 2016 at 4:07 am

      preach.

    • Red
      August 6, 2016 at 12:38 pm

      Ay it is like your friend got a job...
      As a televangelist, and he immediately added you to the call list.

    • Phoebe
      October 6, 2016 at 5:32 pm

      You sound like u are around 13, so ads targeted to the age group is not benefiting the publisher. ( they only use their parent's money or steal credit cards for money online )

      100% of ads on my websites are not targeting anything but the content served. If I make an article to review developer tools for game creators, the ads they will see is for books for programming or the tool itself and if this affects the reader then they have no idea how to use the internet.

      Every website is not trying to steal their crazy checks and grab their info for Obama phones.

  8. derek
    May 7, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    Forbes was asking users to turn off adblockers and after doing so it was serving malwares through ads! See-http://www.extremetech.com/internet/220696-forbes-forces-readers-to-turn-off-ad-blockers-promptly-serves-malware
    Publishers are asking to turn off adblockers so that there revenue doesn't get hurt. what about we users? For many of us, computer is a very important and crucial part for our daily life, and publishers are asking to wreck havoc on our machines so that they can make money??? Sounds brilliant! If you do need ads to survive, then make it harmless and non intrusive such as banner ads, normal text ads etc. Other than that forget about it. If the publishers are selfish enough to destroy our PCs to make money, then we also have right to throttle your revenue to save our machines.

  9. Salafrance
    April 8, 2016 at 10:50 am

    A lot of the reason I use ad-blockers is to protect myself and the rest of my family from malvertising. I'm *paranoid* about fly-by malware infections, but I'm also wary of scam advertising. My father is elderly, gullible, and not very bright; he's fallen for more than one scheme wherein a third-party 'security firm' has essentially taken money from him to infect his system with crap and malware. He does his internet banking from that system.

    I've warned him about it on numerous occasions, and in the end I just rebuilt his system, installed draconian ad-blocking and refused to give him the admin password.

    Until the industry cleans up its act, quite frankly, it can collectively die in a fire.

    • You are an idiot
      August 25, 2016 at 4:33 pm

      You can protect yourself from malare without blocking all the other ads...

  10. John
    April 6, 2016 at 3:39 am

    Ad block is causing a big issue for publishers when they rely mostly on reveue from advertising, there's no denying.

    I recently came across a news article that could solve all of this, not sure if it's already used a lot but it'gives people the ability to donate money they get for free every day. Here you can find this post: http://cointelegraph.com/news/crypto-may-end-wars-of-online-advertisers-vs-users

    Couldn't this be a solution for pubishers? After all it's the closest thing tto the ad-supported web you'll find as it doesn't bring any cost for the website visitors.

  11. Gary Oscar Day
    February 24, 2016 at 2:28 am

    At 39 years old I’ve seen enough ads. Truck ads, alcohol ads, how to get your penis to work ads, cell phone ads, insurance ads, and more. I’m tired of them. So yeah, if I find a program that blocks ads for free, and eliminates a large percentage of them from my life, I’m happy as hell to load it onto my browser.

    15 seconds here, 20 seconds there, 1 minute, 2 minutes, 3 minutes 4. 6 minute long commercial breaks, 10 minute long commercial breaks, commercials before your show, commercials after. 30 minutes of commercials before a movie. Commercials in games, in comic books, or in magazines. Commercials on billboards, on park benches, and curtains in businesses.

    Commercials, commercials, commercials. How many minutes, hours, days, months, or years of our lives are spent watching, looking, or glancing at commercials?

    I'm so sick of commercials I could puke. Do I care if a business goes out of business if they can’t show me ads or commercials? Yes and no.

    I don’t care if a non-aggressive ad is on the side of a website as long as it doesn’t take up half of the screen, or expand outward when I mouse over it, or start making noise, or load up a website, or start playing a movie. It’s this kind of (avert your eyes sensitive people) shit that makes ads absolutely toxic.

    If companies don’t like ad blocking programs on your browser, they need to pull their overly blown heads out of their asses, and stop making malicious ads, or supporting ad companies that create this crap.

    I don’t care if your website has the answer to everything on it. If you post something demanding that I remove my ad blocker, I will stay away from your website like the plague.

  12. Daaave
    January 26, 2016 at 8:36 am

    Lots of sites are running defeat-ware that blocks the Ad blocker.

    These seem to rely on cookies, so to defeat the defeat you merely have save a copy of the cookie with the relevant line removed (find that by experimentation) and then reject cookies from that page automatically.

    You may need to hit F5 to refresh on a few pages but you can at least reach the content with minimal effort.

  13. DocMangler
    January 12, 2016 at 2:21 am

    While I do not have a problem with advertising in general, there were annoying popups that would be placed strategically to mouse over, such as below the menu but above the page, full length left/right vertical strips and ads with audio. I wrote to publishers via various contact us resources, but there was never a response. Publishers like Sciencedaily routinely used these tactics without caring much for the reader. So now, with adblock I don't get those ads, and I'm much happier for it. I actually disabled it some weeks ago for a website that politely asked me to, a website I value very much. But then two days later I get an annoying popup ad activated by a mouseover. I don't have to put up with that. I don't have to be made to view advertising I didn't click on, because I simply reactivated my adblock and my anger had vanished.

    The point is, if publishers are going to put annoying ads up without a care for their customers, then don't whine to the customers that their revenues are drying up. The latest tactics of parading advertising on news sites as "Promoted Stories" will really make me pop my top. I take great joy in hunting down those domains and blocking them when possible at my router.

    Finally, when you get advertising for FatBlaster Pills, and EnergyFree home.. scam after scam after scam..... you'd figure the publisher might ask... "hey do we really want to represent these scammers on our responsible mainstream website?" But they don't really care about us.

  14. May
    December 31, 2015 at 3:39 am

    If not for fear of getting malware I wouldn't use ad blockers at all. I'd rather not have to although I don't care for commercias.

    • May
      December 31, 2015 at 3:42 am

      I have an AV and Malwarebytes, but I still don't care to take any risks.

  15. Robert
    December 3, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    I haven't been annoyed much by ads so far, but lately Google came up with an idiotic idea which made me to look for adblock even to the extent of rooting my phone.
    I have couple of games that I play (in MUTE MODE) and one of them suddenly started to pop up ads WITH SOUND.
    Can you imagine now going to bed and playing your game which makes you fall asleep and all the sudden Max_Volume AD starts ??? Do you think your wife will still want you beside her after that? :D
    Please continue advertising, but KEEP IT REALISTIC. small banners in the corners of the screen is OK.
    BUT.... if you force me to watch your ad with sound for AT LEAST 5 seconds (before I can turn it off) in full-screen mode - this is invading of my privacy !!!

  16. ...
    November 29, 2015 at 9:43 am

    For me, adblock isn't just about not seeing ads, for awhile I was too lazy to even install adblock. The reason I got adblock is because publishing companies got unbelievably obnoxious with their ads, not only that but some of the ads were even dangerous malware. There are certain websites that I will not go to without adblock because there's too much malware in the ads.

    • Mihir Patkar
      November 30, 2015 at 1:34 pm

      Fair enough. What'll make you disable adblock, if there was one such solution?

      • ...
        November 30, 2015 at 5:49 pm

        Malware is definitely the biggest problem. There are others to though that add up, like ads that play audio without you clicking or hovering over them, excessive pop-ups where I'd sometimes get as many as three or four pop-ups in a row, ads that you can't get rid of without accidentally downloading something, ads that are hard to click out of because the exit sign is either not visible or its hidden extremely well so you have to really search in order to find the button, and finally, ads that drag you up to the top of the page when you scroll down making it very difficult to read the actual article, I've actually had to leave articles that I was very interested in because I couldn't read them with the advertisements dragging me up to the top of the page.

        Ads along the sides of pages don't bother me, short videos on Youtube that you can skip after five seconds if you're not interested don't bother me, and even full page ads with very visible exit marks don't bother me much. I don't understand though why publishing companies think getting in your face as much as possible will work, if I'm not interested in the product then I'm not interested, getting in my face about it isn't going to make me more likely to buy it.

  17. Missouri Chan
    September 10, 2015 at 12:39 am

    So here's where the confusion comes in. YouTube started out ad free. Then in 2012 suddenly began forcing ads on the users. Now they NEED the ads to run to continue generating revenue? How were they generating revenue before? They need to go back to whatever that method was instead of trying to "guilt trip" consumers into NOT using Ad blockers. Why would we NOT want to block ads? Excuse us for not wanting annoying ads popping up while watching videos and trying to protect our PC's from malware. YouTube needs to do something differently, not the consumers. Ad Block users are not the problem. Advertisers are. Look how manipulative they are once you partner with them. "Show our ads or don't get paid!" There's the culprit.

  18. Steven
    May 20, 2015 at 12:08 am

    There is nothing wrong with advertising in and of itself. The problem is how it is typically used (abused), trying every trick in the book to "shout" at the user and get his or her attention. Animations, sounds, ads covering the whole page, breaking up the pages or disguising as editorial content, the web advertisement industry is a crazy wild west right now that strongly needs some regulation or at least some industry-wide ethical guidelines.

    AdBlock and similars exists because the users has grown tired of the chaos that is web advertising today. The advertising industry needs to back off and start behaving responsibly.

  19. Stephanie
    May 19, 2015 at 8:18 am

    I'll give you several good reasons consumers have turned to adblocking, or at least my reasons:

    1. Autoplaying video ads that run loudly and practically blast me out of my chair while everybody in the neighborhood is trying to sleep while my windows are open!

    2. Almost porn. Might as well be. They are flashing breasts and rearends that are so annoying that I can't even focus on what I'm trying to read. And I'm sorry for you that you feel the need to run those kinds of filthy ads. I don't allow that stuff in my home via movie or ads. If I wanted to see that kind of stuff, there's the Orange Blossom Trail where all of the prostitutes hang out and all of the bars are. And I don't go to those places either in person or online.

    3. I have seizures. Flashing images can cause those.

    4. I'm dyslexic. Red flashing on a screen really messes me up.

    5. YOU BOG DOWN MY COMPUTER with trash! Some advertisements show photos that are so gross...it's a wonder I don't have barf on my keyboard.

    6. Pop-ups or Pop-unders...makes no difference. I've had too many attacks on my computer via those devils...no thanks!

    7. Half of the trash promoted on the web would never appear in a decent REAL print magazine, so why should I have to view them online? Is it the simple fact that online, all you are really worried about is the money? Because that's the way it seems to a lot of us. IF you were really concerned about your image as a mode of communication you would police your advertising a lot better.

    8. A lot of times, I'll go to a site that I like and just for the heck of it, I'll leave adblocker turned off hoping that they got rid of the garbage advertising....did they? NO! Adblocker goes back on.

  20. jrodman
    March 6, 2015 at 11:32 pm

    In mediums like print or TV, ads are somewhere between an acceptable compromise and an aggravating annoyance. They can detract from the content, and worsen the experience.

    On the web, however, ads are unsafe. They're an attack vector on the user which has been exploited many times.

    Let's break it down. If you're a content provider, and you attack your users, you'll lose business. So you're unlikely to do that, or if you do you're likely to go out of business. However, you aren't an advertising broker, so you get your ads to display from a third party. The interests of the advertising broker are more of a mixed bag. They have interests divided between those displaying the ads, themselves, and those who pay to have their ads displayed. Primarily they have to side with those paying for ad placement. But we also have another set of parties, even further removed from the interests of the users. Those who pay to put up the ads. And there are essentially an infinite possible number of these parties on any single web page that you actually visit. And if they happen to be a fly-by-night shop, they get NO meaningful repercussions for running ads that attack users.

    The net result is that the advertising content loaded int your browser on any particular site that runs advertisements is quite possibly laden with attacks on your digital security.

    There is NO reason for users to take this risk, and there is fundamentally NO way to keep the current model of internet advertising while removing this risk.

    Everyone should block ads always for their own safety.

  21. Francisco Torres
    March 4, 2015 at 1:42 am

    The more radical experience I've ever had of no-ads and no advertising at all was when I traveled to Cuba. Really an anthropological or even "spiritual" experience! Silence, absolute freedom to enjoy the landscape and the people, nothing bombarding, distracting and annoying you.
    I'm not a communist (far from this) but we've gone too far in this daily intoxication of advertising in our life.
    And yes, I use adblock plus (and noscript) for the same reasons others have exposed here, I will not repeat their arguments (mostly I won't my web surfing experience being ruined bay invasive and stupid ads). Moreover, I use Linux instead of MS or Apple.
    Good article, interesting discussion, and sorry for my English (I'm from Mexico).

  22. kg
    February 24, 2015 at 8:10 am

    I drove up to the local Chevron station the other day only to find they had installed new gas pumps. The new pumps had a gadget on the front that, when I swiped my card, started shrieking and cackling at me. Terrified, I frantically searched for a mute button. Then I suddenly realized that this was a new and disgusting form of advertising. They put the Wicked Witch of the East in the gas pump to peddle snacks.
    Mihir, I am enjoying what appears to be a series on reality tips for whiners who think they should get lots of money even though what they do is of questionable value. I'm talking about Music Industry execs and companies who think their advertising don't stink. It's about time someone added a dose of reality to these diatribes on imaginary lost revenue.
    Personally, I hate advertising. It just sets my teeth on edge. Advertising is the main reason I never owned a TV set until VCRs came out. Advertising is nothing but pernicious lies; stupid, insulting, and irrelevant.
    If I am not planning to buy something, I don't want to be pestered. If I am planning to buy something, I am am not going to make my buying decision based on an advertisement. If I haven't heard about a product, because I haven't seen an ad for it, chances are I don't need it, so leave me alone. However, I will boycott you on principle if your ad annoys me. I very much doubt that I am in the minority. Otherwise, AdBlock and Netflix wouldn't be as popular as they are. The one and only redeeming quality I can think of for advertising is that it provides income for content creators.
    But seriously, has anyone ever seen any evidence that advertising actually improves sales? I would bet that 90 percent of people who click on ads do so for one of the following reasons.
    1. It was a mistake. (because the ad was in the way of what they were trying to click on)
    2. They were deceived into thinking it was legitimate content.
    3. They were briefly curious.
    Maybe advertisers would stop whining if they conducted a study on how many people boycott them because they hate their ads. Ads that are distracting, annoying, interfere with what users are trying to do, or steal bandwidth aren't making anyone any money.
    So, Publishers, if you want to use ads as a funding mechanism, go right ahead, but keep in mind that if the advertising that funds your site annoys people, chances are, they won't stay around long to read your content unless they can block the ads. So as Make Use Of pointed out in the earlier article about whining music industry execs, there is a rather large assumption being made about the loss of revenue. Advertisers, maybe you should look at it this way: People who block your ads won't see them and grow to hate you. Therefore, AdBlock must be making you money. I hope they get a cut. If they don't, that would be as unethical as not looking at annoying ads, wouldn't it?
    A recent local newspaper publisher, in the town where I work, didn't want to display advertising, and didn't want to put up a paywall either, because customers complained very loudly about not having access to their local news. His solution was to replace the pay wall with a VERY SHORT one question marketing survey on the Read More line. The thing asks customers one question per week, and they get access to the entire content. Not too distracting. Are the questions silly and irrelevant? Usually, yes, but strangely, not as teethgrindingly annoying as an advertisement.
    Keep up the good work, Mihil &c

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 25, 2015 at 11:16 am

      Thanks kg. You know what? A single-line survey question to gain access to content isn't a bad idea. It's not a bad idea at all. Hmmm...

  23. Michael Bates
    February 23, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    Very interesting discussion. Most people seem to be down on the paywall alternative. I don't like it much either.

    How about another alternative? Would it be possible to charge by the item and by time? So you see a lead-in for an article and click on it. Bingo, ten cents (any kind of cent, or ten pence for Brits) for a minute or two. If you really get into it, ten cents more (automatically) for another 1, 2, or 3 minutes, and then another 10 cents automatically. 100 cents (a dollar, a euro, a pound etc.) to download the article.

    Next article: ten cents up front, then the same scheme if you keep reading. Find out you didn't want to read it after all? Well, it only cost 10 cents.

    Other alternatives: pay a dollar (pound, euro, etc.) up front, read ten articles or read for 15 minutes.

    We can call the system NADTD (Nickeled and Dimed to Death, a purely North American expression but must have its equivalents elsewhere). I would not be surprised if the New York Times, for example, would make more money from me with NADTD than with the present subscription system. I also suspect that 10 or 20 cents per article is more than any service makes per article selling ads. Surely the system could also be applied to music, video, etc.

    Well?

    Best to all, Tiesenhausen

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 25, 2015 at 11:13 am

      Interesting. A staggered paywall could be a good approach, it's worthy of more thought. Thanks for the suggestion!

  24. Ellanora Williams
    February 23, 2015 at 10:16 am

    The irony.
    Can't even load this properly on my phone because on top of all the pictures my phone also has to load up 2 or 3 ads. So I take adblock off my computer and have a look at it. Zip, Zilch, Nada, Nothin. The words "Ads by Google" but no actual ads.
    You know... Because it's cheaper to get online using a mobile than a computer? Because mobiles have the processing power to run things so much better than computers?
    No...
    It's because it's easier to misclick on a phone. Because it's easier to silently download malicious viruses and apps that can make your phone dial premium numbers all night, gamble online on your phone or access your emails and texts (Highly likely revealing enough information to rob you blind, con you and your friends). Fact of the matter is with so many malicious Apps on the appstores alone mobile phones are quickly becoming the least safe way to access the internet.
    By just providing my name, birthday and Address to my bank I can access all the money in my account. Three things. Two of which are often found on Facebook and the other can be found easily on many peoples emails.
    Fact of the matter is that $2 an ad might earn can cost people hundreds or even thousands and that is not a risk anyone should take.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 25, 2015 at 11:12 am

      The point you make about misclicking on the phone is spot-on. I do that so often on so many websites. You're right, you're absolutely right.

  25. J. Anthony Carter
    February 20, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    Ads are there for the convenience of the businesses who WANT you to but their products, NOT for the consumer who wants to use the app or program they're using for the reasons they have it on their device! It's the ADS hat are intruding, interrupting and pissing us off. If we WANTED to read about you we'd GO to your site.
    Get a clue you azzhats! It doesn't matter if the site your ad is on is being paid by you! It doesn't matter that you increase their revenue! It's absolutely irrelevant that you're even there because NO ONE WANTS YOU THERE except you and the people who're making money from you! NO ONE!
    Go away! Go away! Go away!
    The completely wrong and absolutely terrifying bit about "Being annoyed by banner ads is sort of like getting pissed off because your friend got a new job." has NO application here. You USE the "concept" of friendship to soften us up and make the idea of blocking sound all bad because you associate it with blocking s friend! That just don't fly! It's like me saying your weiner is tiny and useless because you have to put you ads out here interrupting people's use of websites. One has no connection with the other.
    As consumers, we don't give a rat's azz whether or not you make millions of dollars on the side by sticking billboards where we don't care or want to see them. If your site depends on the income from wealthy businesses to survive then you're in the wrong place! Maybe make up an ad to play on TV with Sham-WOW or Oxy-clean!

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 21, 2015 at 4:25 pm

      "NO ONE WANTS YOU THERE except you and the people who’re making money from you! NO ONE!"

      I couldn't agree more. I know we talk about ads as "the cost of doing business" but well, the world would be smoother without them in most places, yeah?

  26. Overlord
    February 19, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    in reply to
    “Do the people that complain about Adblock also sit through entire commercial breaks on TV?” — Fair question.

    We as consumers are subject to roughly 30% of our program time is marketing. A 1 hour show is actually 42 minutes with 18 minutes of commercials. We do have some options to pay for premium channels like HBO, this premium removes marketing during a program and what marketing they do is only as fill in between program times.

    With Netflix and Hulu being a paid service the commercials are minimized also. The so called "cable killers" are gaining ground. The people are tired of being overly marketed. Big networks need to rethink the paradigm of marketing because in the end the ratings of great programming will fail to prove the viewers census due to internet streaming.

    Now yes, they track torrent for data and even the streaming servers show a view count. I'm not aware if the networks are taking advantage of that data, but the world is changing and the people will leave them behind if they don't change.

    Want to watch movies and TV without ads ? XBMC / Kodi !!

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 20, 2015 at 4:24 am

      "the world is changing and the people will leave them behind if they don’t change" -- agreed

  27. Tarik
    February 19, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    If this was already mentioned, forgive the repeating.

    This problem, as one person pointed out, is beyond online ads. It's advertising in general. When I have to watch 10 minutes of commercials on TV for less than 10 minutes of show content, I start to DVR and skip those commercials.

    When I have just been aggravated by the TV and get on the internet to check out news stories, I click on what I think will be an article and I get a commercial because it's a short video of the story.

    We are bombarded with ads on television, now on the internet and probably soon just walking into stores and airports.

    The future of advertising is not bending to the future of the world. Instead, advertisers think MORE ads are the answer. I'll tune them out whatever way I can. One thing I am more than willing to do, in the APPs situation, is pay the couple dollars to remove the ads. If I like the APP, I'll pay to continue to use it without ads.

    I know I've just touched slightly on a few things but to generalize, ALL advertising needs to change if they want to reach people. One inflames the other until I'm trying to avoid all advertising.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 20, 2015 at 8:44 am

      On principle, I'm with you. And I think we are seeing changes in advertisement. Studios growing more reliant on product placement than straight ads is a good example of that. And sometimes, that can be driven by consumers too. For example, fans of the show Chuck petitioned sandwich-maker Subway after the show was cancelled. Subway cut a deal where they got a lot of product placement in the show to keep it running for another season.

      There are ways beyond the current models of advertising, like you said. It's a matter of someone coming up with one. I'm hoping this article gets people thinking on those lines, than what most people are doing right now, which is to demonize Adblock and its users.

  28. suzybel58
    February 19, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    I realize advertising is necessary and a part of life but...I really don't mind image ads on a page that take up blank space, but the flashing, auto play ads drive me insane. Too bad advertisers don't realize that they are not advertising their product, but driving customers away. The more you stick it in my face, the more I will NOT buy your product.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 19, 2015 at 5:26 pm

      Completely agree.

  29. ConcernedFuture
    February 19, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    Thank God for Adblock Pro. Best invention made for stopping garbage on the screens. I wish we could get one for AARP and Capitol One that would stop them from mailing so much trash to our homes.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 19, 2015 at 5:26 pm

      REAL-LIFE ADBLOCK IS THE FUTURE!

  30. TheJetFighter
    February 19, 2015 at 10:57 am

    The problem here is that the current business model leaves you no choice. If you allow websites to track you and install cookies on your PC, you get relevant ads that match your interests. First, while an ad might inspire me to buy something, I do not click on the ad and buy it on the spot. Second, I do not want to be tracked. I don't want websites spying on me. But if I install tools that stop them from tracking me, I will automatically get ads for dating websites, "singles near you", and other, much more sexually inappropriate advertisements. It's an impossible conundrum which presents no other option other than adblock for a reasonable, sane, and privacy conscious individual. I am incredibly glad that MakeUseOf has written an unbiased article that is not just an old plea for whitelisting. Finally, an e-journalism website capture the viewpoint of the individual.
    I think one partial solution is a tool which lets you select the ads you want. Rather than spying on the user, there should be a browser function which "feeds" websites with the ads you like. Also, all websites must make ads relatively unobtrusive.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 19, 2015 at 10:58 am

      "The problem here is that the current business model leaves you no choice" << Couldn't agree more. While the current model is going to work fine for a few years, it isn't a long-term solution, imo.

  31. NameoftheGame
    February 19, 2015 at 10:17 am

    Do the people that complain about Adblock also sit through entire commercial breaks on TV?

    I didn't think so.

    So stop whining and adapt your business model. The whiners look like typewriter manufacturers crying because people aren't "nice enough to buy their products". Bah.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 19, 2015 at 10:49 am

      "Do the people that complain about Adblock also sit through entire commercial breaks on TV?" -- Fair question.

  32. Chris T.
    February 19, 2015 at 8:56 am

    I have a suggestion and I don't know where it would be applicaple. Someone must enforce that the ads' perimeter should read "Advertisment" in every side, so in download sites we do not get fooled by scam download buttons!

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 19, 2015 at 10:42 am

      Amen!

  33. Garry
    February 19, 2015 at 8:39 am

    I actually find ads useful quite often, particularly the Google contextual ones (or at least I did before they mostly shifted to remarketing ads, forcing me to view the same product all week that I looked at once and am not interested in).

    I finally and reluctantly installed AdBlock only because of the ridiculous bandwidth and CPU usage consumed by the neverending inflation in advert flashiness, and because I keep reading stories about users being hacked when visiting respectable sites due to rogue adverts that the networks seemingly do nothing to prevent.

    What we really need is an adblocker that by default (no 99% of users won't fiddle with settings or whitelists etc) blocks all the dangerous and expensive ads, while allowing plain text and image ads through. If that was a standard feature of Chrome, imagine how quickly the ad industry would be forced to change! Sadly that won't happen because the authors of Chrome make their money from ads.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 19, 2015 at 10:42 am

      Not a bad idea. Forcing a change for the ad industry by making it a default experience in the browser is food for thought.

  34. Mike_M
    February 19, 2015 at 4:47 am

    Two Reasons why I started blocking ads; quality and threat.
    Quality: I'd be OK with ads like I get on TV or in a good magazine. We're all used to that. But online ads are like what you find in the back of seedy magazines. Like they're born from an ad agency filled with thieves, con artists and crooks. Bigger Penis, Girls in my area dying to meet me, FREE iPADS!, This one trick will cure cancer and make women lick your boots, and then any site that allows you to download something always has an ad right next to their download button that looks just like the download button but will give you something completely different than what you wanted; often scareware/malware.

    Which brings me to security. Hackers have been exploiting security holes in the online-advertising chain to slip viruses into ads since 2005. Just going to a site that shows such an ad can infect a user's computer. I personally spent 8.5 yrs getting paid to deal with that kind of crap dozens of times a day. Cleaning all the crap, malicious and benign, from the computers of people that don't know better.

    Content providers need to get serious about their advertising. Some of the ad streams they allow on their sites are nearly criminal. All that most of them concern themselves with is filling their pages with as many ads as they can and drawing you in with clickbait titles and teasers.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 19, 2015 at 10:51 am

      Here's what I'm hearing from you: content providers need to be more hands-on in what ads go up on their site, ensuring quality and safety. The current model of "throw in a Google banner" doesn't work for you. Yes?

  35. Marshall Brown
    February 19, 2015 at 2:19 am

    Years ago, in another life, I worked for the number 1 rock radio station in Tucson. At that time the basic philosophy was an ad should not disrupt the flow of music. The idea was the station should have a consistent sound during music or commercials and we were running up to 18 minutes an hour of commercials in those days. If Internet ads followed the same philosophy there would be little or no break in what the user is trying to do. It should be a part of the flow, there but unobtrusive.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 19, 2015 at 5:48 am

      I love this idea, the fact that the ads were meant to have a consistent sound with the rest of the programming,

  36. Nozmo
    February 19, 2015 at 1:40 am

    Content providers just don't get it. If you throw an ad in my face at the wrong time it will cause resentment and nobody patronizes advertisers that annoy them. The trick is to create exposure to ads at the right time and in such a way that fosters acceptance by the viewer. An example of this is timing ads at logical breaks in movies or other content instead of willy-nilly insertion at prescribed intervals that frustrate the viewer. Another thing that can be done - stop refreshing pages or loading invasive advertising when the viewer is typing or loading a search result. If you interrupt what the viewer is doing they will simply hate your advertising and your methods.

    We have the technology to minimize the "invasiveness" and rude behavior in inline advertising and the key to better ad value is to consider the needs and temperament of the viewer. There is so much more to the science of advertisement than simply "getting it in your face".

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 19, 2015 at 5:48 am

      "The trick is to create exposure to ads at the right time and in such a way that fosters acceptance by the viewer. An example of this is timing ads at logical breaks in movies or other content instead of willy-nilly insertion at prescribed intervals that frustrate the viewer."
      This. So much this.

  37. Jeff
    February 19, 2015 at 1:26 am

    Ads:
    Slow website loading to a crawl, who is willing to pay for me to have faster internet just so I can load their stuff that I do not want?

    Suck bandwidth, meanwhile ISP's are talking of restricting how much bandwidth a consumer may use before they charge an exorbitant overage fee.

    Distract me from the content that I'm there for, to the point where it is unusable.

    Load malware.

    Cause my browser to crash.

    Stop using an ad-blocker and script blocker?
    Yeah, I'll get right on that.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 19, 2015 at 5:47 am

      Valid concerns, all of those. I didn't know ISPs were talking about extra fees for more bandwidth, could you link me to this please?

    • n
      February 19, 2015 at 9:32 pm

      "Ask yourself, if safety wasn’t an issue, would you still use Adblock?"

      I have used adblock for a very long time now, but I do remember when I started using it. I had a hard time getting used to it. The sites looked kind of empty and it was like there was something missing - like I was being deprived of the full internet experience.

      I only started using it because of those drive by virusses on my favourite newspaper site as a precaution. Honestly I doubt that I would be using adblock, if I did not need it for the security issue of it. Adblock-like addons had been around for quite some time before I installed it.

      As for your question about sitting through commercial breaks on tv I dont have a TV. I grew up in a time before commercials on TV but I have had commercial TV channels as well.

      I wouldn't even consider sitting through the programs between the commercials because most of those programs were of exceptionally poor quality because they had to cater to the lowest common denominator, to get a high Nielsen rating. This meant there were basically 4 types of shows:

      The classic shows and movies that had been broadcast on the commercial free channels and had proven to be successes previously that were now cut into pieces by commercial breaks and thereby ruined.

      The format shows that were people put in artificial situations/dilemmas removed from anything resembling real life which had a certain voyeur like quality to them.

      Toothless shows that tried to entertain people without provoking anybody. The "silent majority"-type thing filled with card board characters that were dumb and boring and filled to the brim with canned laughter. The dad who always did the right thing by hos family, the well behaved, well mannered Dudley Do-Right children in starched clothes who went through high school and did not get teased or bullied by the other kids or if they did the mom and dad took care of it in a 20 minute episode by convincing the bully about the error of his/her ways by talking to him/her.

      Finally the documentaries which consisted of a summary, two pieces of info and a trailer for the part coming up after the break.

      I threw out my TV because I did not want to pay for that kind of junk TV.

      I know this may make me come off like an elitist snob or something like that but honestly, I'm not. I am a North European, middle aged (Armstrong hadn't leaped yet when I was born), unskilled factory worker with an IQ of about 100.

      Whew, sorry about this. The long, lonely nightshifts tend to make me ramble after hours.

      • Mihir Patkar
        February 20, 2015 at 8:38 am

        1) Don't ever apologize for long, rambling comments here. I love these, I love readers who are passionate enough to make their point. I want more of this, not less of this :)

        2) I don't think it makes you come across as an elitist snob at all. I think you're a consumer who knows what he wants and, if there's an option to get that, you will. If there was an option that's as good or better to get what you want, while being fair to both sides, I think you'd go for that. Is that a fair statement?

  38. n
    February 19, 2015 at 12:38 am

    I use adblock (not on this site - yet. This site is my only "unblock") as a safety measure.

    The biggest site in my country is a newspaper site. I read that paper almost daily.

    Twice it has had virus infected ads - so called "drive by" ads that meant a lot of readers had to format their computers. IMHO unblocking a site is pretty much the same as disabling my firewall and anti virus.

    I sometimes run into the odd site that wont display content without my unblocking it. I usually just skip that content. Why should I risk my computer to get that content.

    I use my computer to do my banking stuff and I use my credit card to buy stuff from online stores.

    My government recently passed a law and implemented an online public service, which means government, state offices and municipal offices now only send out electronic mail, to save paper and employees.

    As a user I have to do my best to safeguard all of that content from "the bandits".

    I dont just use it to get rid of ads. It is just a nice side benefit. I use it to safeguard my computer. The only other option is to have one computer for ads and one for safety use. Actually I' d more than likely need to have 3 or 4 computers for different tasks and I'm really not that rich.

    Firewall, antivirus and adblock is more in my price range.

    As for payment for content and/or goods- Google just had to cancel their glasses because nobody wanted them.

    It is not a law of nature that content or goods is worth any money just because some one used a lot of time and effort to produce it. It is supply and notably DEMAND that determines which content and goods have a monetary value.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 19, 2015 at 10:54 am

      "I dont just use it to get rid of ads. It is just a nice side benefit. I use it to safeguard my computer."

      Ask yourself, if safety wasn't an issue, would you still use Adblock?

  39. Neil
    February 19, 2015 at 12:20 am

    My Ad-Blocking software blocked 25 Ads on this page. Why would I consider ~not~ blocking 25 ads on one page? Do you realize how annoying it is to have flashing banners barking for attention while reading something? Do you even care?

    If I can't see your content due to my blocking ads, I'm off to another site anyways.

    Don't take this as being personal,..it's not.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 19, 2015 at 5:46 am

      No, I completely get it. While I don't block ads on this site because that directly impacts my earnings, I do block ads on several other sites. So I'm totally with you on this.

    • Neil
      February 19, 2015 at 3:00 pm

      Mihir,

      Back when ~Al Gore's internet~ was a young thing, we had very little commercialization on the web. You went to it for information, and communication with others.
      Ads began to appear early on, but they hadn't learned to track us, and to make them into the screaming, pulsing demons that we have today.
      For years, I've been adjusting to ever increasing levels of ad intrusion and malware injection. I abandoned IE as a browser because using it was like being slowly pecked to death by chickens. Firefox was a refuge for a short time, due to it's add-ons and extensions. But commercialization of the web is big business with deep pockets. They hire the best hackers to defeat the measures that users have adopted to tone down their messages.
      Our protections have gotten more advanced too, so enter ~Super Cookies~ that are out of our control entirely. (ISP Level junk mail that is not mail) This is prompting us to ask our elected representatives for relief with new laws that will punish those that enable ads to still screw up the internet.

      Make no mistake, ads ~are~ screwing up the internet.
      We don't like it.
      Any site that can defeat my protections goes onto my blacklist for good.

      Nobody has the right to screw up our internet..

  40. Ed Matthews
    February 18, 2015 at 11:54 pm

    I agree with most of the comments above. I started using ABP when some web sites were loading in excess of 100 ads (as counted by ABP) and this was dramatically affecting my page load time. That plus the occasional "IN YOUR FACE" ad, and the ones that autoplay audio. I'm not against ads in moderation but it all got out of control.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 19, 2015 at 5:45 am

      Let's chalk up one more vote for "make ads relevant, non-intrusive and moderate"?

  41. Robert
    February 18, 2015 at 11:42 pm

    I disagree with Eric Ravenscraft. The difference is, while you may be pissed a friend got a job you would love, ads on the internet DO COST the user in bandwidth usage. Not everyone has unlimited, high-speed internet access, so it does cost and interfer with their internet experience.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 19, 2015 at 5:44 am

      I agree. Eric's the worst!

  42. John Lee
    February 18, 2015 at 11:37 pm

    I run Adblock. Never used to but sites started to get unbearable without it. I would say that I have never clicked on ads which is not completely true. If I encountered a pay per click ad that particularly annoyed me then I would click on it constantly, refreshing the browser, clearing the cache as many times as I could. Eventually they would disappear. Maybe they ran out of money, maybe they got banned for click fraud. I know others who did the same. Basically if you mislead people then we would make you pay....literally! Other than that I have NEVER seen an ad worth clicking so I block them. They will never get a dime from me as I have NEVER seen anything I would want from an ad so why look at the crap they put up?

    If adverts were relevant to the content I am viewing then I would allow them as they would be of interest but they are not. Not even close. They are irrelevant, over powering and detract from the site you are visiting. As a publisher I would have to ask you the question as to why you would want crap on your site that actually puts people off from visiting it? You are not going to earn money from people who will never come back.

    As Jon Green so accurately put it:
    "AdBlock is not the disease, it’s the symptomatic treatment for one. Cure the disease, and patients won’t need the medicine."

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 19, 2015 at 5:44 am

      Another vote for "make ads relevant and less distracting" then?

  43. Bud
    February 18, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    find a *** steadier kind of work..............

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 19, 2015 at 5:43 am

      Unfortunately, I'm pretty much unemployable in any other skill set that pays this well.

  44. Bud
    February 18, 2015 at 10:50 pm

    Several comments to make here! Screw the advertisers and their whining and bitching? Who in the end really pays the freight? It’s Joe Consumer, folks! 2) Their constant “in your face ads” have become so repetitive and in some cases offensive, no wonder AdBlock IS becoming more popular. 3) I’ll click on say, Fox News to see a video and an ad for Nissan cars appears, says ad will finish in 30 seconds, but oooooh no. the stream ad video slooooows down and lasts for a minimum of 2-3 minutes !!! I then copy and paste the video headline and quickly search online for another site to view. Otherwise just delete and move on. If writers rely on ads to make a living, sorry better find and steadier kind of income. And “Pay as you go?” LMAO, watch those sites sink faster than the Titanic!

  45. Overlord
    February 18, 2015 at 10:19 pm

    You marketing Asshats made someone develop Adblock. How the hell you talked some moron into paying you to display an ad is pure genius, but that doesn't mean the rest of the world has to play along with your scam. The days of ad space in web pages are coming to an end, you may need to get a real job... Bill Hicks defined marketing in the nicest possible light there is
    " kill yourself "

    PS the bottom asks please comment constructively... i really really tried. Marketing ad space on web pages is worse than being a used car salesman. " the Special Hell " -Book

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 19, 2015 at 5:42 am

      Haha your attempt at being constructive and nice is noted! :D

  46. Josh
    February 18, 2015 at 4:41 am

    I completely agree. It's time for the publisher's to realize that ads aren't a good way of making money. If a wagon wheel maker was rich but then no one bought his product anymore, if he was a good business man he would pick himself up and move on with the industry, with the world. I mean, all of my friends use adblocker... it's the first addon I use! In my humble opinion ads are old news. It's time for the publisher to pick himself up and move on, with a new way of generating money.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 19, 2015 at 5:42 am

      I still think ads are how publishers need to make money, just not in their current super-distracting form.

  47. YouKnowImRight
    February 17, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    "The onus is on the publisher to figure out how to make that happen." Really? That's your solution? If you're a consumer and you want the content I have, you don't get to make that call. HBO doesn't have ads. And if you want their content (legally), you pay the price. You say the pay wall won't work. So?? Where's your great solutions? Oh right, it's on the people who actually create the content. Gotcha.

    Ads and pay walls are the current models for web content. There is this sense of entitlement over all things digital (and come on...it's not debatable), be it music, movies or publishing. People seem to expect that it's going to be free to consume, and hassle-free, at that. But newsflash: you don't work for free, right? You expect to get paid for whatever goods and services you provide, correct? Gotta pay for that slick smartphone, no?

    The real whiners are people who complain about ads. Yes, there are ads I don't appreciate, such as autoplay video ads with sound. But that doesn't mean everything has to be a static ad, either. You can certainly have banner ads with moving elements that don't offend. But until we - as consumers - come up with a better way to "pay" for consumption, then we have to deal with what's the norm right now, OR don't avail ourselves of content. None of this lame "they have to figure out how to please ME" crap. And honestly - if the web became only monetized by static ads, you'd have the same whiners here complaining about how static ads are so intrusive and painful.

    That's where this article goes wrong. It's not about "me, Me, ME!". It's about living in a world where we all work by offering goods or services for others, and receive compensation for that work. Unless you're willing to say that you don't want to get paid for the work you do, STFU. So go ahead, use your ad-blockers. You're the ones who probably torrent copyrighted movies, do the "warez" thing for software - because hey - all movies and software should be free, right?, etc. You can lay all of the b.s. "but ads are so annoying" crap you want. But face it - you just don't think you should "pay" for anything digital. That's what it really comes down to. Own it. If ad-blockers become ubiquitous, guess what - your content will go away. OR you'll be up against a pay wall. Pick your poison. No free lunch, pal. B*tching about ads or trying to justify your actions with blockers is really just your play for free content, plain and simple.

    • magnus
      February 18, 2015 at 2:05 am

      ...If you’re a consumer and you want the content I have, you don’t get to make that call...

      Do what?

      Please tell me what you promote so I can black list everything associated with you and your products!

      I'm the consumer here. You as the producer will produce and supply what I want or me and my money will go somewhere else and you can STARVE!

      The arrogance of someone like you is the EXACT reason I use every means available to keep myself insulated from advertising......a more honest term would be propaganda.

      Now I do mean to be insulting here because you brought it on yourself so feel free to feel outraged.....no one cares.........just sayin!

      I don't do warez although i did in the past, I don't do torrents because products like netflix, amazon, redbox, and other honest legitimate business models exist nor did I discover any of these through advertising....they were discovered by search engine or word of mouth.

      My final word is this. producers....you don't have the power you think you do. Do you think Burger King would have used the slogan "Have it Your Way" if there was any better way of convincing a customer to give them money? No they would have not. making it like the customer wants takes more time, money, and resources than just throwing a drone a slab of bread and meat and taking their money . And yet they do...

      I'll use adblocks for a variety of reasons....but the biggest one is that advertising is propaganda, nothing more, nothing less. I'm not going to feed at the propaganda troth like a cow or zombie. I have a brain with keen critical thinking skills and I know what I need and where to find it. I don't need 1000 ads a day telling me what I need and who wants to sell it to me.

      So youknowimright......take that and smoke on it. The buzz will be a lot better than the crap your smokin!

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 18, 2015 at 3:25 am

      --It’s not about “me, Me, ME!”.--

      Well, I fundamentally disagree there, I think the consumer does think it's about "me, Me, ME!" And just because I don't have a solution doesn't mean the problem doesn't exist, nor does it mean the current way of addressing it is the best way.

  48. Victor
    February 17, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    Yes, I do agree that ads are annoying, terrible, intrusive, etc. However, I would rather deal with these ads instead of paying a fee for viewing the information. While your ideas are good, it leaves people who are not willing to pay (possibly due to financial situations) out in the cold. I believe that ads, in some shape or form (like sponsorship ads possibly?), will always be around. No, none of us like them, but it's a way for people to contribute to the publisher, even if they don't have the liquid funds to do so.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 18, 2015 at 3:22 am

      I agree with your core point: that ads will be around in some form. I'm saying the type of ad currently served up is unacceptable to several users. I hope we shift to a better model soon :)

  49. Matthew
    February 17, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    Those who overdo it with pushy, excessive ads ruined it for everyone else.

    I don't run a specific adblocker, but I have an anti-tracking filter list (which seems to block some) and restrict Flash to only sites where I choose to run it.

    If your ads fall foul of basic protection measures - TOUGH!

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 17, 2015 at 5:36 pm

      Hmmm that's an interesting approach. Would it be right to say that it's not the ads you object to, but the intrusive nature and the tracking in particular?

    • Matthew
      February 20, 2015 at 4:42 pm

      Actually began using am anti-tracking list (Win7) or Abine Donottrackme (XP) when a particular tracking like was causing problems.

      As for Flash, in part, for resource abuse and performance, and 2 - I HATE FLASH ADS - they are usually the worst junk and blink crazily or make sounds... don't mind un-abusive ads.

  50. 4tires
    February 17, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    I just want to say that I do not run adblock on this site anymore, because they have respectfull ads :)

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 17, 2015 at 3:03 pm

      Thanks 4tires, appreciate that!

  51. Bob
    February 17, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    I'm good with using the ad blockers. Why? Partly because they disrupt the reading flow. But mostly, because I don't click on ads. Never, ever, ever. Never. I just don't do it. So whether or not I block or not, the ads don't get clicked by me.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 17, 2015 at 3:01 pm

      Fair enough. What about ads that are paying by impression, not by click?

    • Bob
      February 17, 2015 at 3:41 pm

      I don't think I understand what "paying by impression" means. I'm not trying to be a jerk, I just haven't heard the phrase before.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 17, 2015 at 3:47 pm

      Wouldn't have assumed you were being a jerk :)

      Pay per impression = paying based on how many readers are simply looking at an ad without interacting with it.

      Pay per click = paying based on how many readers click the ad.

    • Bob
      February 17, 2015 at 4:15 pm

      Just for the sake of argument, there's no way the advertiser can tell if my eyes see their ad or not. They can't tell that I've learned to ignore anything but the text or dismiss any image that is not relevant to the article. So is it really a bad thing to use a tool that makes my reading a web page less stressful for me? Does the advertiser know when an ad-blocker is being used? For me, if the page becomes too annoying, I quit going to that website which is a Lose-Lose-Lose situation for everyone. At least with an ad-blocker, the writer is getting the page hits from my reading.

    • Zizi
      February 19, 2015 at 1:04 am

      Bob, your exact comment describes why advertisers have moved from click to impression to "viewable impressions". The technology has gotten good enough that a third party can help advertisers detect whether the ad has been shown on the individual's screen.

      At the very least advertisers are realizing (in a roundabout way) that there are populations that are avoiding ads completely, and stopped spending in that area. However, that really doesn't solve the initial issue of annoying ads...

  52. Guy Snape
    February 17, 2015 at 9:55 am

    And what do we see at the bottom of the page? An ad disguised as a next page button.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 17, 2015 at 1:40 pm

      "Those who can't do, teach."

  53. A41202813GMAIL
    February 17, 2015 at 8:57 am

    If You Use CHROME, Or OPERA15+, You Do Not Need Any Extension To Block Most Ads - Those With Sound That Start Automatically Have The Most Enemies.

    Just Change The Browser Settings To Force Plugins To Only Play When Clicked - Most Ads Problems Will Be Solved This Way.

    Cheers.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 17, 2015 at 1:41 pm

      I don't see that taking care of all ads though. There are plenty of ads which aren't plugins, but still disrupt the consumer experience in an annoying way.

    • A41202813GMAIL
      February 18, 2015 at 3:25 am

      @Mihir Patkar

      Yes, But The Most Annoying Ones Are Taken Care Of.

      Thank You For Responding.

  54. vraeleragon
    February 17, 2015 at 5:54 am

    If I actually like the website or if it's actually useful, I would unblock the Adblock for that site out of respect. If not, screw it.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 17, 2015 at 11:32 am

      Even if the site was full of annoying ads?

  55. averyvh
    February 17, 2015 at 3:54 am

    I use adblock because of those sites with extra obnoxious ads. For example: sometimes I might listen to a podcast on youtube while I play video games and it is awful when a 5 minute ad comes on with obnoxious and loud music. I don't want to alt-tab just to skip an ad while I am playing a game, so I unfortunately have to block all ads from youtube.

    Some websites also have ads that load just a bit slower than the page, but when you click on the page it won't register the click until after the ads load, which bump every button on the page down and suddenly your browser is acting like you clicked right on the ad. I am fine seeing banner ads and all that, but it is just easier to block everything.

    I realize how much adblock sucks for decent sites with ads that aren't so obnoxious, so I have disabled it on the decent sites that I view regularly. Adblock sucks for everyone, but obnoxious ads suck even more.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 17, 2015 at 11:33 am

      I'm totally with you on that thing about ads which change the layout of the page, messing with where you click. That's one of my pet peeves and a major reason I use Adblock.

  56. Evan
    February 17, 2015 at 3:24 am

    The main problem is when I am on my 7 year old laptop, and some web pages cause 90% cpu usage, lagging, and eat up the battery.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 17, 2015 at 1:39 pm

      While some part of that is the ad, I don't think all of it will be due to ads. But I do get your point, it's unnecessarily hogging resources. It's basically costing you more than just your attention.

  57. bam
    February 17, 2015 at 1:19 am

    It's not just the ads, but also the analytics, widgets, and other crap. Some websites are just so slow now because of all the crap loading in the background. When Ghostery reports it's blocked 30+ items, well, who's to blame for people wanting to block stuff.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 17, 2015 at 1:38 pm

      Yeah, I have no argument there, total agreement.

  58. Doc
    February 17, 2015 at 12:14 am

    " Paying adblock-makers (like Microsoft, Google and Amazon are doing) is a short-term solution, until a new ad blocker comes along." It already has...twice. Adblock Edge and uBlock don't have the "mandatory whitelist" that Adblock Plus does.
    For the most part, 90% or more of users don't have the technical savvy to install an addon, much less install an adblocker, so advertisers are just like the MPAA: whining about the small minority of people who get around them. If they didn't want people to block their ads, they never should have invented Flash video ads with blaring sounds, animated GIF ads with flashing colors, etc. -keep it small and unobtrusive, and do massive diligence to make sure ads didn't hijack browsers or install malware (I'm talking to you, Google!)

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 17, 2015 at 11:36 am

      I love uBlock. So glad to get rid of Adblock for it. I agree with your broader point, the majority is tech-savvy users. But it's a matter of time, isn't it? If tomorrow an ad-blocking app goes super-popular on mobiles, where all you need to do to block ads is install that one app, imagine how much louder the advertisers would start crying.

    • dragonmouth
      February 17, 2015 at 2:20 pm

      "imagine how much louder the advertisers would start crying."
      That is analogous to buggy whip makers crying that cars made their product obsolete. Basic law of nature is adapt or die. So die already, cyber scum!

  59. bben
    February 16, 2015 at 11:56 pm

    The ad companies have no one to blame but themselves for users installing ad blocking software - the ad companies have consistently failed miserably in keeping out obnoxious ads noisy blaring ads, inappropriate ads. flashing distracting ads and those that pop up in the middle of what you are trying to read. Several times I have disabled the ad blocker for specific sites because I did want to help. Then the jerks that run the ads proceeded to do it yet again. Within a very short time I had to re activate the ad blocker because of some completely inappropriate ad. The ad companies are whining because they are failing in their job to make the ads appropriate to the site and also not LOUD or flashing.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 17, 2015 at 1:37 pm

      So it's a failure in the TYPE of ad for you, not ads itself?

    • bben
      February 17, 2015 at 4:31 pm

      The failure is in the ad companies not policing their advertisers to prevent the type of ads that are objectionable. Most users will expect and tolerate a certain amount of advertising as long as it is not being flagrantly obnoxious. I have paid for some sites that do offer no ads for supporters, but not those that want a subscription at a few dollars a month to continue no ads. The ads pay a very small amount, typically in the tenths of a cent to the site, then the site wants an ongoing 500% more a month than they will ever get from the advertising company to remove the ads. So, instead of paying that blatant attempt at extortion, I use an ad blocker. A site that gives No ads from now on for under $5 I consider reasonable.

  60. eric jay
    February 16, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    It'll "Always"be the consumers choice, I prefer a clean page without annoying ads like those ones that plays sounds and sometimes consume more data than the one you are intended to view. It's much pretty the same on the printed materials you can skip or ignore it or torn the page to the trash.lol

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 17, 2015 at 1:36 pm

      I dunno if print is the right analogy here. While I'd love to see static ads on the web, I don't know if that's the future.

  61. Tolerant Leftist
    February 16, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    I'll stop blocking ads when ads stop being annoying. I don't want ads that begin playing as soon as the page loads, and I don't want bouncing and flashing. Static ads are fine, and I agree with the comments about them being relative to the page. I also frown upon click bait and ads disquised as something else, like a download button. Does anyone really think tricking someone into clicking an ad is going to promote positive feelings or encourage a purchase? Quite the oposite.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 17, 2015 at 1:34 pm

      "Does anyone really think tricking someone into clicking an ad is going to promote positive feelings or encourage a purchase? Quite the opposite."

      So much truth. I believe that's a major failure right now in online advertising. Ad payouts depend on click-through rates, so the placement is made in a way to increase those clicks, often at the cost of duping the consumer.

  62. Christopher
    February 16, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    In my opinion, any advertisement that is not relative to the content is bad form. If one wishes to promote a product or service on the page that contains the article, that article should be the advertisement. If an article has nothing to promote, that page should not advertise anything.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 17, 2015 at 1:33 pm

      Hmmm, a couple of other commenters also said that. So you think relevant advertising is the solution then? "Give me ads that speak to the content I am consuming, not to the type of person I am in general"?

  63. Jason
    February 16, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    I've been using adblockers so long, I have no idea what the internet is like without them.

    Oh, wait, one site did convince me to turn it off for one second...

    The creator put up a well reasoned video. I felt somewhat ashamed. So, I turned off the adblocker and reloaded the page. They had f---ing margarine commercials, flash, with sound... On a page that had a video. Their Ad literally drowned out the content I wanted to watch.

    And THAT is the problem with the current web advertising model. People complain enough when TV talks over the credits, and those "banners" that come in over your program are being used sparingly because they p*ss people off.

    But I'm not going to even sit there and try to watch Broadchurch with a flashing monkey in the corner trying to sell me on-line gambling.

    And very few sites have content that is worth paying HBO money for. $10 a month? So, you want me to pay what I pay for Netflix to watch your 3-4 minute YouTube video once a week?

    There HAS to be a better way... I think Ars Technica has the right idea. But when you play ads with sound over your content, when you litter your page with click-bait ads that insult my intellect, when your ads slow my computer to a crawl and suck up my bandwidth... Those sites can go F themselves.

    99% of them have content that is simply copy/pasted. Go to Kotaku, Joystik, etc... And it's the same handful of stories rephrased from Google News.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 17, 2015 at 11:39 am

      I completely agree. The problem, as you put it, isn't the philosophy of putting up with ads for content. It's the way ads are served right now. Anything that disrupts the consumer's experience is never going to be a successful long-term solution, imo.

  64. Der Thor
    February 16, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    A good reason to block ads is when publishers have no respect for their customers. One good example is the Icelandic newspaper MBL ( http://mbl.is ) - which totally spams the reader with so many ads that their browser slows to a crawl. It's bad today - it used to be worse.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 17, 2015 at 1:31 pm

      Exactly, Der Thor. It's about recognizing your customer's needs and respecting those. If ads were made with the customer experience in mind, we'd see a different format, I think.

  65. Edward Goldblatt
    February 16, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    When you talk about paywalls, and ads as revenue streams for websites, I immediately turn off. 99% of the time, I've visited a site because it provides either entertainment, education, or both. If I can get that same information from Wikipedia or another site reliably, I will do so. I recently bothered to install Adblock+, but only because I had three sites which played loud, annoying, unpauseable, unmuteable Flash video ads where my only recourse was to close the tab or disable the plugin. Now, I have also turned off the "allow non-intrusive" option, and in fact added that list as a custom blacklist in ABP. I've also recorded the full list in a text file, so that if there's a compromise on their end that I can't control, that group of sites will go into my Hosts file and be redirected to 127.0.0.1 . I'm not on the Web to give you money. If you think I am, then I don't need to browse your site, I don't need to give you the Alexa ranking, I don't need to give you the thumb-up in StumbleUpon, the Facebook Likes & Shares, the comments, etc. If you demand that I support you monetarily, I'll refuse to do that and stop giving you all the non-monetary support as well.

    Then again, about 90% of the software I have, that didn't come installed on this machine, is either freeware or FOSS. That ought to tell you where I believe the Web should stand.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 17, 2015 at 11:42 am

      This is the consumer-oriented perspective I was looking for. Thanks for sharing, Edward. While I don't entirely agree with you, I like your honesty as a consumer: that you don't think you owe the publisher anything. I believe you'll find a lot of people who agree with you on this stance, and I think it's important for us publishers to recognize that and figure out how to cater to people like you without demonizing you.

  66. Rob
    February 16, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    I personally like (prefer) the idea of sponsored posts (NOT long-form ads) rather than advertisements, but as with the above comments, the issue doesn't necessarily seem to be the ads themselves, but rather the context and quality of those ads...

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 17, 2015 at 1:31 pm

      Yeah, I'm quite all right with sponsored content too. But I suspect we're in the minority there, Rob.

  67. Sam
    February 16, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    When Google and the other ad delivery networks stop serving malvertising, I'll disable AdBlock. Is it really that difficult to refuse to publish ads containing Javascript? And what purpose does JS serve anyway other than to initiate malware downloads? If you really need to animate the ad, couldn't CSS do the job?

    I could disable Javascript entirely but then site functionality would be screwed up and selectively disabling and enabling Javascript would be a lot of hassle. Make the ads static only and I'll be happy to re-enable them.

    Sites like MUO, it's up to you to put pressure on Google etc to make those changes. Clearly they're not going to do it without being pushed.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 17, 2015 at 1:30 pm

      That's the thing though, isn't it? The "without being pushed" part. I believe adblocking is the proverbial necessity that serves as the mother of invention. Once it starts hitting us hard enough, we'll figure out better ways.

  68. Harry
    February 16, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    Yeah ads suck. Dammit, but Mihir is right. The model of "EVERYONE LOOK AT MY ADS" is broken. I'm not inherently against ads, just bad ones. Good, relevant ads can be great. Podcast sponserships are a good example of where this happens. Generally the ads are fairly tailored to the market. A good sponsored most/giveaway on MakeUseOf is so much better than any number of flashy sidebar ads.

    Adblock is the equivalent of fast forwarding through TV commercials. In fact it's even less criminal because the people paying for ads don't pay when they're blocked. Publishers whinging about it isn't going to change things. Innovating will.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 17, 2015 at 1:29 pm

      "Dammit, but Mihir is right."

      I'm buying you a t-shirt with this.

  69. Robin Stacey
    February 16, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    I'm with the majority of other commenters in that I use adblocking, primarily because ads are all too often intrusive and annoying.

    I wouldn't watch a movie where an ad popped up in the centre or bottom of the screen or continually animated at the side, and I don't want to do that on a site I visit either. That does unfortunately mean that all ads and sites get tarred with the same brush. It's not adblocking that's killing the monetization, it's the ad providers themselves for misusing and abusing the web in this manner. Great layout and content has to come first. Get that right, and ads that don't melt my eyeballs and try to detract from the content are fine by me. I count sites that popup banners when you visit a page in that list too. They should all die a well deserved death and I'll never, ever click one of them.

    What I would like is an adblocker that is off by default when I visit a new site; if the site is good, clean and the ads are unobtrusive then they stay. If not, I press the button and away they go for good.

    The future of the monetized web is down to the ad providers having and adhering to a code of conduct that earns the consumer's respect. They're a long way from that now, so adblocking is here to stay.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 17, 2015 at 1:28 pm

      Ad providers and Code of conduct in one sentence? You may say that I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one...

  70. Scutterman
    February 16, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    I willingly accept that adverts pay for the content I view. On websites, the only exceptions I make are the ones which are constantly moving or autoplaying. This kind of advert actively stops me from reading the content, because it is always pulling my focus somewher else, so I will either resize the page to hide them, or use Firebug to remove them from the page.

    On Youtube, there are a few other reasons why I will skip an advert:
    * It's overly annoying
    * I've seen it repeatedly every time I watch a video
    * It's too long (sometimes the advert is as long or longer than the video itself)

    So, basically, if an advert detracts from the experience, I'll actively remove it, otherwise I'm happy to view them in order to keep my favourite sites running.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 17, 2015 at 1:28 pm

      "If an advert detracts from the experience, I’ll actively remove it, otherwise I’m happy to view them in order to keep my favourite sites running." I think that's the key here. The way forward is for publishers to figure out how to make money without hampering the customer experience, way where certain types of advertising are seen as part of a fair trade.

  71. dragonmouth
    February 16, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    Maybe I would not block ads if they were even remotely related to the content. What is the point of a tech site having trashy, Tits & Ass ads advertising National Enquirer-type articles? I just switched O/Ss and haven't fine-tuned the Ad-blocker on my current one so I get to see a lot of unwanted ads. I can't believe the crap ads I've been missing! If I want T&A, I'll go to a porno site. I don't need to get it from tech or news sites.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 17, 2015 at 1:18 pm

      So you'd be okay with targetted advertising relevant to the site you're visiting?

    • dragonmouth
      February 17, 2015 at 2:08 pm

      "So you’d be okay with targetted advertising relevant to the site you’re visiting?"
      Let's start with that, but not if it is trashy, flashy intrusive.

      Ideally, a world without ads would be great but, as long as advertising increases sales, we're stuck with it. However, I wonder if advertising really DOES increase sales or is just a self-delusion on the part of manufacturers and advertisers. I wonder if all the surveys intended to check whether advertising works do not have their questions formulated in a way that proves that it does work.

  72. anotherpublisher
    February 16, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    I hated adblock as a publisher, now I am onboard, because if you remove all the ads, eventually everything will have to be paid for. Its more money for publishers. Sucks for consumers.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 17, 2015 at 1:18 pm

      I don't think paywalls are the answer, fwiw.

  73. Richard Allen
    February 16, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    I could live with some sponsored posts as long as it was clearly described as such. And I don't see paywalls working except for a handful of websites and even that could very well just be wishful thinking. Personally, I would rather just see Static ads along one side but I don't know of any ad network that hasn't at some point in the past distributed malware infected ads and I'm not sure if I'm ready to trust any ad network just yet. Over the last couple of years or so I've cleaned up around 8 seriously malware infected computers for friends and relatives (using Teamviewer) and they all had ONE thing in common, actually two things. They didn't use an adblock and they all have Facebook accounts. I've literally seen multiple hundreds of malware objects on these computers and a couple times over 1,000 malware objects and some of these computers had browsers that were barely even functional. Most of these computers are owned by adult women so I'm going to guess and say they weren't cruising porn sites but I didn't spend anytime snooping through their browser history so who knows. If they didn't use an adblocker it wouldn't be long before they were right back to the mess they had before. Anyway... How to monetize a website is going to be a tough question to solve!

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 17, 2015 at 1:17 pm

      Yeah, I see malware all the time on PCs owned by friends/family and the core reason is almost always that they click ads they shouldn't. In a way, it's a trust thing, isn't it? The lesser the user starts trusting the ads that are asking to be clicked, the lesser he/she values them, the more inclined they are to blocking the ad entirely.

  74. Prosthetic Lips
    February 16, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    Another ad-blocker here. I do have some sites that I allow ads on, but because I frequent them and they have proven themselves to not show huge-bandwidth consuming ads, auto-playing videos, or pop-ups covering actual content that you have to dismiss before you can read.

    One site I frequently see on news searches shows you the first paragraph, then asks you to fill out a survey. I'm thinking of completely blocking them, as they are less than helpful -- they are a tease, and makes me think their whole business model is based on fooling people to get page views.

    I agree with the thoughts above: self-hosted, non-intrusive, non-audio (or click to play) ads are completely acceptable. Or, put up an ABP-aware div that tells me you only have "nice" ads, and I'll probably give you the benefit of the doubt. But fool me, and I'll block you again.

    • Jon Green
      February 16, 2015 at 3:24 pm

      '[P]ut up an ABP-aware div that tells me you only have “nice” ads, and I’ll probably give you the benefit of the doubt. But fool me, and I’ll block you again.'

      That, PL, is the best idea yet. Bravo.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 17, 2015 at 1:02 pm

      As Jon said, that might be worth trying out, PL. Thanks for the suggestion!

  75. Michael
    February 16, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    Personally, I'd be fine with 100% static ads served from the site itself. You know, like in the 90's. Or a newspaper. Because, no matter what anyone says, when you're in "reading mode", like on a tech news site, moving stuff is annoying, unless it's an embedded video you actively need to press "play" to run (at which time you switch to "watching mode").

    However, that's rarely the case. Best-case scenario, you get hit with self-hosted flashy .gif ads that are all over the place, disrupting the whole site. IF they were inconspicuous, it would be fine. I still wouldn't click on them (I never click on ads anyway), but at least I wouldn't be bothered by them.

    Of course, self-hosted flashy .gif ads are also a very rare minority. Most often than not, you're bombarded with several flashy .gif ads, peppered everywhere on the page and hindering reading. Or following you everywhere on one (or both!) sides of the page. Or popping up before you even have the chance to see what the site is about (seriously, in-page popups are horrible). Or playing some sort of ridiculous sound along with the flashy moving images (as if moving ads weren't bad enough).

    And then, of course, the most normal occurrence these days is not self-hosting, but having the ads be served by some third-party service provider, collecting all kinds of data in the meanwhile, and hogging down the connection, not only by eating down bandwidth, but also by opening up tens of different TCP connections.

    So, yeah. I'd be fine with sensible, clearly-labeled, ads. I'd even be OK if the text had to be slightly shifted along the page, nothing wrong with that, it would be like a picture reference. You'd get your revenue, and I wouldn't be bothered or affected (assuming, that is, it's not something that Ghostery would block as a tracking entity).

    Not sensible ones, like they all are these days, ARE an annoyance and directly affect me (something I'll have to strongly disagree with Eric), which is why I choose to have removed from my sight, and something I'll keep doing.

    Put up a paywall? Fine, if I **really** need the information, I'll pay for it (not something I'd do that often, mind you). Put up an ad-block script? Nope, I'm gone. Make watching a non-skippable commercial/ad a requirement for me to start/continue watching something else I want to watch? Nope, I'm also gone (or I'll activate my ad-block).

    Options for change? I have a couple:

    - Start using self-hosted, sensible, non-tracking, static ads. It doesn't rake in as much as you'd make otherwise, sure, but I'm almost positive people that currently use things like Ghostery or ABP would gladly whitelist the site. I know I would.

    - Get sponsors. Not particular for one article (that would bring up a plethora of other issues), but for the whole site, or a subsection of it. And, on every sponsored article, put up the appropriate (again, static, non-tracking) banners/logos/links, and specifically mention the sponsorship ("This site/section is sponsored by"). Might be a pain if you have 50 sponsors, and odd if somehow NVIDIA ends up sponsoring an AMD article (or vice-versa, same with Intel/AMD), but still...

    Let me just finish my long rant by thanking you for this article. It has been one of the rare times I saw someone who depends on ads for a living (even if only partially) to address the issue from the consumer perspective. And in what, for me, sounded like a non-biased way.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 17, 2015 at 12:53 pm

      Ha, thanks for the compliments! I'm a fan of static ads too, but I don't think advertisers are. Rather, advertisers don't yet see the value of static ads on websites for top-of-the-mind recall like they do with billboards or print. Till that shift happens, it's going to be tough.

  76. Slashee the Cow
    February 16, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    In sururprising news, I, too, use Adblock. But ads just go s f**king annoying, I really didn't have a choice. Plus, internet in Australia (especially when you're out in what is considered the sticks) is expensive... per gigabyte.

    That being said, I do have the option in Adblock to allow unobtrusive ads (like Google text ads). And for any website I visit regularly, I'll allow them one chance. I unblock the website. But as soon as I see anything annoying - any by that I mean (includes, but not limited to): flashing, ads that autoexpand over content, any of that deceptive shit (you're our 1,000,000,000th sucker!), autoplaying videos, sound, or a bunch of other stuff I've thankfully forgotten about by now - if I see any of them, they're blocked... probably until the end of time.

    I realise that most websites don't actually have a lot of say about what ads run on their site. They just make a hole the right size, and point it at an ad network. And sure, they might suffer by me not seeing their ads... but I'd rather them suffer than me (gotta look out for #1).

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 17, 2015 at 12:29 pm

      "Gotta look out for #1" is exactly right. I don't think publishers have any need to put a gun to your head and say "STOP BLOCKING OUR ADS!" You're going to do what's right for you. It's our job to recognize that and make sure we're providing what's right for you, and making money in the process.

  77. Jon Green
    February 16, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    The reason I block ads is because of the really spammy ones. The ones that whir, flash, jigger around in my peripheral vision, shouting "Look at me! Look at ME! LOOK AT MEEEEEEE!"

    Advertisers really think that the way to get my willing compliance is to annoy the living crud out of me - or give me a migraine? (Seriously: that's a thing. I don't need more migraine than I already have. It's very effective aversion therapy for adverts.)

    So they spoil it for everyone else. I don't mind sidebar ads, provided they don't compress the actual content into a Brazilian-waxed mini-strip down the middle. I don't mind ads that don't jump up and down like a clingy, demanding three-year-old, having tantrums when I don't pay attention. Sometimes, targeted ads that play nicely will even get my clicks. But the others, the irritating ones, have poisoned the well for the rest, because you can't filter for "spammy", so I block the lot. And I'm very, very far from being alone in this, as the stats in this article illustrate so well.

    I appreciate that this breaks the unwritten compact between content consumer and producer: that the presences of ads - even if not the deliberate click-through - are what pay for the content we consume.

    This is my message to the advertising industry, and to the content makers: get your act together. Advertisers: stop equating causing irritation with getting attention. Would you reward someone stamping on your toes? Producers: apply controls on who advertises through you, and how they do it. Play nicely, and come down hard on those who won't.

    Do these things, and consumers might stop routinely using AdBlock Plus and its rivals.

    AdBlock is not the disease, it's the symptomatic treatment for one. Cure the disease, and patients won't need the medicine.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 17, 2015 at 12:28 pm

      "AdBlock is not the disease, it’s the symptomatic treatment for one. Cure the disease, and patients won’t need the medicine." Amen.

    • CityguyUSA
      February 19, 2015 at 1:26 am

      I can't see people all of a sudden wanting ads. I've got a DVR and guess what - the first thing I do is record the shows I watch and then when I'm watching I FF over the ads. In all honesty I think the Ad Industry is the problem. We don't really want most of the stuff they try to push on us (although children are more susceptible).

      I've heard that one of the major TV companies (Samsung I think) is now inserting Ads into your own recorded videos, not even a show you recorded but your own personal stuff.

      Sure we want people to get paid for their hard work but I'm not sure we know what's fair anymore. Expenses have been cut to the bone using the online model but we really don't know what a particular persons' time is worth or how long they took to produce a piece of something nor do we know for sure the quality until we've bee able to vet the information. If we were paying a subcontractor this would all be part of the equation.

      I don't mind rewarding good products but at the same time how much are the wealthy contributing to Wikipedia vs how much am I contributing. Usually people with the most will offer the least on a contributory basis.

      What if I've written or corrected several articles on their site? Should I get a credit?

      If I use Wikipedia everyday should I pay more than someone that uses it monthly? With the subscription model you don't get fair use.

      I don't want to be bogged down with pay as I go unless it's fast and I don't have to sit and input a credit card but I don't necessarily want to leave a credit card and my personal info on their server either.

      I'd like to not have to worry about the cost of my use which may be excessive on some sites but I don't want the problems that came with the cellular industry either where people would get bills for thousands of dollars for going over their minutes and at the same time I don't want to be prevented from doing what I need because I've exceeded some artificial limit nor do I want to overly reward any particular site just because I might use it a lot but it doesn't offer a whole lot of value in comparison to say a site that's teaching me about thermonuclear reactions where it takes a lot of highly skilled people sharing information unlike a dictionary where most of the information is widely held and easily maintained.

      Until there's someway to inure security it's hard to allow anyone to dip into some form of what might be a prepaid account that would be reduced by a particular amount for each time unit spent on a site which depending on the site would increase or decrease.

      But let me go back to advertising for a moment. I realize that advertisers want you to buy what is mostly crap but at the same time I can't decry all advertisements some merchandise is just great quality stuff that makes life easier and I wouldn't want to do without but one man's trash is another person's treasure. But wouldn't it be great to get targeted advertising that actually is suited to your needs and desires rather than "As Seen On TV" if that's not your bag?

      But then what of big brother and these advertisers sharing information with your medical insurer? Do you want your health insurance to go up because you've downloaded a cook book on comfort foods? I think that most of us would say absolutely not.

      Where does that leave us? We really want or need directed advertising but we don't want those advertisers selling our information to insurance companies just like we don't want our cars telling the police that we've exceeded the speed limit or ran a red light. Because we find that freedom so important we force our government to spend inordinate amounts of money on red light cameras, radar, etc to keep us in line but if our vehicles would keep us inline we wouldn't need to spend all those tax dollars.

      Maybe the trick is that the advertisers have to insure us that they won't sell our information to any industry that could affect our ability to buy their products other than in aggregate and in exchange, as long as they didn't go overboard in providing us limited advertising, we would accept as part of our social contract with various websites to allow them to prevent access if we have an ad blocker in place. This explicitly means no sharing of personally identifiable data to any insurer or banker or any other person that could inflict pain upon us for our choices.

      • Mihir Patkar
        February 19, 2015 at 10:52 am

        Some solid points here, Cityguy. Thanks for participating in the discussion! What say you, Jon?

    • Steve Kidd
      February 19, 2015 at 5:20 am

      This pretty much sums it up For me too. Don't misrepresent yourself, don't annoy me, and don't build huge ads that slow down site loading. Then I will be happy to look at ads.

    • Perry Bruns
      March 5, 2015 at 4:07 am

      As much as I try to avoid "me-too" syndrome, I agree wholeheartedly with your statements and analysis. If publishers want people to allow ads, the ads cannot be:

      1) Annoying
      a) This means no popups, even (perhaps especially modal ones).
      b) This means no massive rich-media animations or videos.
      c) This means nothing that will crash browsers, especially browsers the end user cannot upgrade due to lack of admin privileges.
      d) This means no blocking content.
      e) I'll say it again: THIS MEANS NO BLOCKING CONTENT.
      2) Resource-intensive
      3) Bandwidth-intensive

  78. Paul R
    February 16, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    Simple: Put up a paywall. No ads for subscribers.

    If you have something we consumers want to pay for, we'll pay you for it.

    If not, don't complain about adblockers--the problem is your content.

    I do pay for a few things (donations to Wikipedia; software that I use all the time such as MS Office, Encyclopedia Britannica, lifetime subscription to a computer forum; Screencastomatic; digital subscription to NYTimes, although that will probably expire when the payment period lapses). If your content is so valuable, then charge for access. You'll find out what your content is worth.

    Be happy for the unenlightened folks who haven't discovered AdBlockPlus, and start providing content worth paying for.

    • Mihir Patkar
      February 17, 2015 at 12:26 pm

      I don't think paywalls work for journalism, honestly. In the era of linkback journalism, it's a recipe for disaster. You do a great story and put it behind a paywall, someone else is going to summarize it and link back to it for free.

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