Are Ad Blocking Browser Extensions Killing The Internet?

Matt Smith 06-09-2011

web page ad blockingOne 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 site is supported by advertisements (including MakeUseOf), and sites are paid for displaying them either per-click or, in some cases, via a flat monthly fee.


Yet some try to side-step advertisements by using browser extensions or features that block them. There’s no doubt that ads can be annoying, but without ad revenues, there’d be nothing to read. What does this mean for the Internet? Could a downward spiral result?

Looking For The Free Lunch

web page ad blocking

Personally, I am not a fan of using the world “entitlement” as an insult. Yet it does seem to apply to many who choose to use an ad blocking extension to remove ads from their favorite sites. Ars Technica’s experiment, in which the site prevented visitors using ad blockers from viewing the site’s content, was an excellent example. While some fans were supportive, others acted as if Ars was withholding what was rightfully theirs.

why ad blocking is devastating

This is the definition of obtaining something for nothing. Anyone who is choosing not to view the ads on a site is making a deliberate choice not to support the site in question, with a few exceptions aside (a handful of sites offer premium subscriptions which remove some or all advertisements).


Yes, advertisements can be an annoyance, but they’re the only way sites can provide content without charging for it. Some argue that advertising is an outdated business model, but so far, the replacement for it remains a unicorn – a creature that’s kinda cool to think about, but ultimately mythical.

Suffer The Consequences

Suggestions that ad blockers are ethically sound remain dubious. It’s obvious that without revenue to support quality content, that content will disappear, and the world will be worse off because of it.

Modern American media serves as an excellent example of what happens when revenues dry up. Consolidation has put most American print and television media in the hands of just a few companies, which wield considerable cultural power and have little incentive to care about factual reporting.

why ad blocking is devastating


The race for the bottom’s most putrid result yet is the creation of citizen journalism programs 7 Citizen Journalism Websites For Crowdsourced News Read More such as CNN’s “iReport” in which unqualified amateurs upload their own videos, photos and commentary.  As one would expect, the quality of iReport is abysmal. CNN is quick to highlight any decent clip, but dig deeper into iReport and you’ll find a hoard of terrible photos and barely explained videos, many of which are lined with descriptions that contain misspelled words and unfinished sentences.

If advertisements How To View Adsense Performance In Google Analytics & Why You'd Want To Read More disappeared from all sites today, this is what would become of the web. Most sites would have to rely on subscriptions, a revenue model that would only encourage consolidation. The rest of the web would devolve into iReports – an incoherent, amateur, and uninspired sprawl.

Unlikely Champions

All of this seems very doom-and-gloom. Ad blocker extensions aren’t hard to use, and some web browsers (Opera, I’m looking at you) are starting to include the functionality by default.  While I’ve already argued why blocking advertisements is a bad idea, there are plenty of people who simply don’t care, and are happy to devour content without ever supporting it. So what’s going to keep us slip-sliding down this slope?

Microsoft and Google.


web page ad blocking

Yes, these two corporate giants hardly seem like the best choice for stewards of online quality. Microsoft has been involved in numerous past anti-trust disputes, and Google is the new target for them. Yet for now, the interests of these two companies are in line with the interests of people who want to see quality content on the web at no charge.

The connection is obvious. Google derives much of its revenue from advertisements. Microsoft would quite like to have a piece of that action as well. In addition, both companies distribute web browsers. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Google’s Chrome together represent about 65% of all web users. Google also owns the most popular mobile operating system.

So long as Google and Microsoft remain powerful companies with great influence over how people view the Internet, advertising will remain the primary means of generating revenue. Some portion of users may block ads, but these companies would never let them threaten their business models, which by extension protects the sites that rely on advertising to generate revenue.



If you care about the sites you visit, and you want them to be successful, you should not be using an ad blocker. It’s that simple. Just say no to blocking ads!

With that said, ad blocking extensions are not killing the Internet, and have no hope of doing so in the near future. Despite what some supporters of ad blocking believe, the use of advertisements to generate revenue is the dominant paradigm and will likely remain dominant for decades. If it is interrupted, it won’t be because some geeks were blocking ads, but rather because of the elimination of net neutrality.

Let us know what you think in the comments.  Do you block ads or not?

Related topics: Ad-Blockers, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Online Advertising.

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  1. Joshua
    July 5, 2020 at 9:57 pm

    I will stop using ad blockers when a model is designed to prevent repeats of ads by detecting if that ad has been displayed within past hour or not if it has it is replaced with a different ad.

  2. Sonya
    June 5, 2019 at 9:48 pm

    I'll turn off my ad-blocker when I get a guarantee from the site/Google that the site's ads are not going to download unwanted items to my computer, track me all over the Internet, flash annoyingly, or hover over content. I want the site to ask me to whitelist them because they guarantee no harassment. And if I whitelist them and I still get harassed, I should be able to report the ad, and have whoever's behind it get fined. This will create a much better Internet.

    Instead of whining, websites need to band together and demand better-quality ads that don't harass their visitors. There needs to be a new Verification for ads and websites that guarantees the ads displayed do not harass. Then, instead of telling people to choose between ad-blocking and leaving, the site can popup saying they guarantee no harrassing ads, so please whitelist us. If a harassing ad gets through the no-harassment verification, everyone will report it and it'll get a ton of fines.

    Money talks - if no site will accept ads without the verification, that'll put the pressure where it belongs: the ad creators. They will have financial pressure to create non-harassing ads so they can keep their verification and avoid fines. This will create a better Internet, where only sites with harassing ads are blocked, and non-intrusive ads generate money for websites.

  3. B Whetstone
    May 24, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    I'll turn off my adblockers when any of three things happen:

    1. Sites stop pushing ads.

    2. Sites that carry ads accept full responsibility for malware served up by ads and cover any cleanup costs associated with my computer.

    3. Sites stop providing active code from advertisers. Why do I need to see a video clip in an add? How about just a plain old static tag?

    On this page alone my adblockers blocked over 20 instances of unwanted external data. For all I know this could be over 20 instances of malware advertisers are trying to install on my machine. They do not get the chance. The advertising well is poisoned, long ago.

    But what about covering costs of the sites? Well, I've been using the Internet since before it was commercialized. It was fine back then, and I'll be fine with whatever is left over if advertising-dependent sites all disappear from the Web. I know how to read newspapers, watch tv, subscribe to groups on usenet and other services. I pay for subscriptions to Netflix, Amazon Prime, and others. Sure it's nice to be able to browse random content, but I'd also be fine without it - in fact I suspect the Internet would be a better place for everyone.

  4. N. Ashihei
    April 10, 2019 at 7:34 pm

    I Use anti adblock filters from with Ublock origin along with Nano defender And I use Firefox developer edition

  5. NuNyNuNYaBuZiNeSS
    February 24, 2019 at 11:26 pm

    Trackers are needed in order for the advertisers to serve relevant ads. But there are so many trackers out there, we have no idea which we can trust so even if we whitelist sites where we visit, for example, this site, we read the article, we post a comment about it, and if our responses draw attention to this site, what do "WE" get for it? And how about the bandwidth that "WE" pay for in our internet plans? That's getting absorbed by the trackers and ads causing our web pages to load so slow. And that uses data. OUR data! And you think I feel sorry for those sites counting on revenue?
    If you aren't giving me a cut, why should I let you push ads in my face. Plus, I am not here to go shopping for anything. I am not here to see the latest news reports. I am not here to find out about some new car that turns into a helicopter. For whatever reason a site wants to serve me ads, I will make sure you can't because if I want to go shopping, I go to a site where I might want to buy something. If I want to catch up on financial news, I'll go to the site I visit for that. If I want to get parts for my car, I'll wait until I need them. Who the frig are you people acting like you can stick your nose in my business when I am in the privacy of my own home doing my own thing. It's like jerk offs trying to push a drug on someone because they want to get 'em hooked so they keep pushing and pushing until they just say fu**-it, take my money and leave me alone. Ads are meant to solicit. And they want to push and push until you give in. The chain reaction sometimes ends up bringing less savy users to sites unseen and sure enough, they get hacked and next thing you know, their new credit card is maxed out. Annd maybe by someone else!/
    Sites are crying about how ads provide their revenue and they tell us it's our duty to make sure they make money. You people have balls. No way should anyone feel as if they owe a website a DAMN thing. We pay alot of money for our online access and if websites cannot tolerate people like me who exercise their legal right to privacy, maybe you should do what the music industry did to protect their interest. Alot of people pay for internet service just to come to a site like this to view your content. If you feel someone should be paying you for that, ask for a cut from internet providers. THEY are the ones who are making money off of us already and you expect us to give you the bandwidth we pay for to monpolize my computer with ads and even risk the potential attack fropm would be hackers? You are asking us to cut you in out of OUR bandwidth. and since we pay for that, you essentially are saying your existence is MY responsibility? Sorry, but that is a bunch of Bull Sh.T

  6. Concerned Citizen.
    December 30, 2018 at 12:22 am

    Some websites have popup ads that try to install malware on my computer.
    I will NEVER browse the internet again without several adblocking addons!

  7. Arno Smith
    October 13, 2018 at 5:51 pm

    Data for poorer South Africans is of the most expensive in the world. Therefore by using adblockers we save money, enabling us to use the internet more. Without adblockers we'd be able to surf far less. So what should we do?

  8. Brian
    September 1, 2018 at 11:00 am

    Sorry to say this but I've been burned too many times by letting ads pass through. My accounts get stolen, obtrusive ad-malwares from other websites f-up my sessions, etc etc. You want ad? You may put up 'good ad' but not everyone does that and I certainly don't want to expose myself by blindly trusting others. Stop whining and try to understand why majority of people choose to install these plugins. I've seen websites that politely ask for support by allowing their ads to pass through and I find that practice quite acceptable.

  9. r
    November 27, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    You can thank the trackers for that! A lot of us don't care if ads are showing on a web page! What we care about is these so called trackers who thinks they have a right to know are every move on line! This has nothing to do with showing ads! This has to do with invasion of ones privacy! An we will do what we have to too stop the invasion! So if people wants the ad blockers gone, get rid of the trackers! What people need to do is stop the on line shopping! Places that track You like Amazon! Stop shopping from them! Facebook is one of those trackers, and not just while you are browsing Facebook either! Google! They are the biggest hackers there is! They invade everyones privacy! So like I said, if You want to thank someone, thank the ones, the betrayers, the ones that we pay to protect us! The Government!
    The ones that gets kickbacks from places like Amazon! Facebook! You name it! So do we care? No! Because chances are! All that shows ads, is in the Governments pockets anyway!
    So as the saying goes, Do unto others, that which You would have done unto You!

  10. Sally Yunk
    October 23, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    Any website asking to turn-off adblocker is not a website I want to be in! I will boycott, and aggressively promote to boycott them. Adblocker is part of the downsides of the industry and advertising agency and they have to learn how to live with it.

  11. DerpyBaby
    September 6, 2017 at 2:00 am

    I wrote my comment before reading the other comments, so I have to post another one.
    What is the problem with non-obtrusive, simple ads on the middle of the page? Of course they want your attention, otherwise they wouldn't be there in the first place! The problem that leads people to use AdBlocker is ads that block the content, or flashing ads that probably cause seizures. Ads CAN be unobtrusive in the middle of the page, like in THIS particular website. You don't want to see ads? Don't look at them.
    For example, GSMArena (a phone reviewing site), has ads in the top, side, bottom, and sometimes middle of the page. However, they are easy to ignore and don't interfere with the actual content. THAT is how advertising should be done. The Google Ads system has those options to 'report' the ad for covering content, not being interesting for you (and a couple I can't remember), and that is a good step towards improving ads. Also something that should be done, is add a simple line (or box) around the ad, specifying that it is an ad. This would be helpful in websites that focus on downloading. The AdBlocker Whitelist is also a great addition, allowing good ads to be shown, while bad ads are blocked. THAT is probably the best way I have seen to improve ads.

  12. DerpyBaby
    September 6, 2017 at 1:19 am

    I NEVER block ads. I know how websites make money, and I support it. Having to see some ads every now and again is much better than paying for the content.
    If that happened, my internet usage would drop like a rock.

    • Sindento
      January 19, 2019 at 5:06 pm

      Some ads! Many pages are virtually unusable due to ads popping up and moving about covering what you want to read.If the internet was free,ie no subscription,I can understand the need for ads,but as far as most people are concerned they pay a subscription,and mobile is much more,and they think they're paying enough without their surfing being disrupted by intrusive ads.

  13. Dave C.
    August 17, 2017 at 6:39 am

    ANOTHER article on ad-blocking that totally misses the point! Adblock software/extension users make a deliberate decision to never buy anything that they see advertised in any format. So the net cost to the web site of a user using adblock software is ....ZERO. That is, your web site's revenue is not impacted at all (positively or negatively) by the use of adblock software. Having trouble grasping that concept? OK, imagine...
    If you could snap your fingers and make all adblock software and extensions suddenly get permanently deleted...
    There would not be a measurable increase in ad-related revenue for the sponsors of your web site. The users would be "seeing" ads they do not want to see, but they would be taking no action in response to seeing the ads.
    If you use adblock, you are not going to spend money browsing a web site. So it does not matter if there are no "suggestions" on the web site as to how to spend your money.
    NOW do you get it?
    If your web site is suffering due to little ad revenue, you need to find an alternate income source. Don't punish the readers of your web site by begging and pleading with them to do something that they will never do anyway...

  14. Peg
    March 7, 2017 at 6:20 am

    Yes I do block those obnoxious ads, and I will continue to block them because they are--well obnoxious. (And some are soft core porn. I don't want to see that either.) When they weren't so obnoxious, I didn't bother blocking them. And so they are fighting back? Yes, they block out the site and say I am using an adblocker, to turn it off? No problem. I immediately leave their site. Someone else will have the same information without the hassle. So I am fighting back too. I block your site if you do that.
    It would actually be wonderful if the people could get a word in edgewise again, instead of the internet largely being taken over by professionals. Those who blog for free would get more of a hearing, and I wouldn't mind that at all. Power to the people!

  15. DrH
    January 26, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    What baloney.
    The town I live in doesn't allow advertising billboards. People have been fast-forwarding through TV commercials since the days of VCRs (and before that, turning the volume down). Radio listeners have NPR and other non-commercial networks. How may magazine readers actually READ all those ads, or look at those inserts on their way to the trash?

    Why should the Web be any different?

    If sites selling merchandise want people so support the cost of their sites, then include that in the cost if the items being sold, as any other retailer would include his overhead costs in the price of goods sold. If a site is providing information content, then let them solicit contributions from users as part of their content. National Public Radio has been doing this for decades, and has managed to remain both on the air, and advertisement-free.

  16. Robert
    December 9, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    BS article... 1) You're fear-mongering. Stop it. You know damn good and well (and if you don't, you should not be running commentary on such matters) that the vast majority of the billions of Internet consumers world wide do not use these services. The amount of people that Adblock is miniscule, as is the amount of revenue lost to such services, which I would imagine is close to zero. In contrast, profits from ad revenue are astronomical. 2) As others have mentioned, the ads are obnoxious, take over a page, shut down the page or freeze up the browser and can be sexually explicit or completely irrelevant. On the other end of the spectrum, if the ads don't shut down browsing or are tailor made to you, you realize that the data mining required for them to be so is incredibly intrusive and constitutes a total invasion of privacy. Out of one corner of your mouth, you tech commentators preach privacy protection given the day and age we live in and out of the other corner, you insist we relinquish all privacy and information to companies that want to sell ad space. FO.

  17. Cathy Olds
    November 5, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    Article makes good sense, thank you for sharing the info... And no I do not adblock:)

  18. Cindy
    September 13, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    I understand that sites want to make money, although I find it a little ridiculous that everyone thinks their web page should make money.

    But, ads are obnoxious. I've had ads run around the page and cover up every word I wanted to read, and wouldn't stop until I watched the 30+ second commercial. I've had ads that crank the volume so loud that if I'm wearing headphones (as I do a lot of the times, especially if I'm at the library) it's an instant headache.

    I've been to pages that I could not read anything until an obnoxious video loaded. And if the video has a problem? Tough luck, you can't see the page. Because the ad is far more important than the content, apparently. Nobody cares if you read the page itself, as long as you watch that ad, and if you don't? Even if it's not your fault, the ad itself is having problems, well, tough luck. No ad, no site.

    I've been to sites where they ask nicely to whitelist them, promising their ads are not obnoxious, and the moment I whitelist them, the obnoxious ads start. And if you complain? The stock answer is, "We have no control over the ads, so it's not OUR fault." Yes it is.

    The long and the short of it? I would be happy to get rid of adblock, if sites would do something about obnoxious adverts. If they actually did have unobtrusive ads. Trust me, if I'm in the market for something and I see an ad to the side that shows what I want? I will check it out. My latest car comes from seeing an ad on a website.

    Don't keep throwing it on our shoulders. If you own a website and you allow the ad companies you work with to flood your page with obnoxious, obtrusive ads, while taking the attitude of, "Golly, not our fault! Blame the ad company!" then you really have to put some of the blame on yourself that people are using adblock on your site.

  19. J.
    September 2, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    I compare this whole ad-blocking problem with the controversies surrounding Uber. Of course, Uber is gonna hurt taxicab drivers, but Uber is not to be blamed. In most countries where this dispute is or has happened (including Costa Rica, where I'm from), the quality of the service we were used to was so lousy that as soon as Uber came, people where extremely satisfied. Great customer service, much lower fares and an overall improved experience. Now regular taxi drivers have been pushed to deliver the quality The point is, websites can't blame us for blocking ads. They've always stuffed ads down our throats like the was no tomorrow and we as users didn't have any other option, but to accept it. I urge websites to step it up a notch, leave their comfort zones (because by simply urging us not to block ads, you're just joining this lazy, very self-centered group of people that only care about their own interests) and embrace that, inevitably, ad-blockers are not going anywhere soon.

  20. mgladys
    July 11, 2016 at 10:47 pm



    You want I stop using Adblock? Then you:

    (1) Undertake NEVER to use tracking in any way, no exception.

    (2) Absolutely NEVER use autoplay videos of any kind except when I press play on a video or when I click on a link for a video (and not a link for a story).

    (3) Absolutely NEVER use any ads that cover part or all of a website.

    (4) Absolutely NEVER use any ads that try to use my location. No "Shocking secret [city name] man discovers!"

    (5) Absolutely NEVER use Flash, Java, or Javascript. No exception.

    (6) Confirm, IN WRITING, signed by a duly authorised signatory of your company that you accept sole responsibility for vetting any and all ads on your site. If an ad injects or attempts to inject malware you, the entity placing the ad and any ad company jointly and severally indemnify me from all costs in diagnosing and repairing, including but not limited to the restoration of any data that is lost.

    (7) Never, EVER, distribute either directly or indirectly (e.g., as an "Optional extra" any kind of Browser helper or toolbar. These are defined by many as malware.

    (8) Never, EVER, show me ads for things I never buy nor companies I don't want to do business with.

    (9) Never, EVER, show me ads for things I already own. (Amazon!! WTF?)

    (10) Never, EVER, show me ads for things I will *never* own (take a guess, it will be 99.9999% of what you peddle).

    (11) Confirm IN WRITING that you will pay for any and all metered data charges which I incur in downloading the advertising content YOU have decided to push at me. You wouldn't accept a reverse charge call frm a marketing survey, wold you? You wouldn't pay your mailman to deliver wodges of advertising flyers, would you? OK YOU pay for any metered data caused by the crap you want to impose on me.

    There. I think that just about covers it.

  21. Itsa Me Mario
    April 24, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    People list things like streaming media as an example of why the internet is different now than it was back in my day or nothing more than the occasional spam post on a message board.

    You mean you aren't paying for your content?

    I have several subscription services, and quite a few sites that I read that support themselves through affiliate programs and sales of their own content like books and nutritional supplements.

    With the exception of Hulu and the few "streaming rights" videos that have a single ad I don't see any of them even with blocking turned off, and those Hulu ads make their way to a list of things not to buy because they annoy me after I've paid to not be annoyed, but it's that or start torrenting Grimm because NBC thinks a single ad (does anybody sit through the credits and get stuck watching that second ad?) is a small enough annoyance that we won't be bothered much by it. Heck, before I was able to buy (and I signed up for the no commercials plan as soon as it was available after not using Hulu between the time they launched and the time they stopped charging me AND annoying me) ad-free streaming I just pirated stuff, even though I prefer to pay for my content, because I hate ads that much.

    No site should NEED ad revenue. Sell something worth buying, affiliate yourself with someone who does, and keep the endorsements both relevant and reliable.

    The sites I visit for DIY stuff can affiliate with a site that sells electronics components or soldering irons, clicking those links make them money, and give me something that I actually am interested in. Other sites have books and classes available that you can purchase directly from them. Some have an Etsy shop that sells crafted items.

    One thing to really watch out for:

    When your ads are selling something that is the exact opposite of what your article is saying it lowers your credibility.

  22. jimmie
    December 9, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    fail post.

    I was around in the '90's when the internet was coming into being, before the 'advertisers' came along. the 'fear' tactic you used "There’s no doubt that ads can be annoying, but without ad revenues, there’d be nothing to read." is nothing but a lie. The internet was growing strong before advertisers came along. The internet will be here long after they're gone too.

    • anon
      December 29, 2015 at 3:04 am

      You forgot one thing, there were no advertisers, but also there were no online videos, and for internet in my country I was paying for every mb of traffic. We couldn't play online games, there were no music streaming, I also was surfing with images disabled and so on...
      So if you want to get back those times, continue using adblocks

      • Another Anon
        March 28, 2017 at 6:31 pm

        Is a good thing the user be forced to actually pay to receive AD, send their personal information without consent just for the site sells such data to Big Data companies to do what nobody really knows with that just to see a text that is as small as 50 KB, while ADs and spying is eating hundreds of of MBs?

        If the ADs were at least relevant to the content that's being shown or to the user... But nooooooooooo. It eats almost all your internet plan to show a product you already bough or showing a flash game - with sound, of course - to trick you to buy a product that will grant you a ticket to win a contractless iPhone (that you'll never actually win).

        The business model IS wrong. You WILL lose money if insist on blaming the victims on what is your fault. But is your CEO's job figure out a way to earn money respecting the consumers wish. Call him or fire him if he fails to do it.

      • bhrigu
        July 3, 2017 at 9:01 am

        dude.. stop fear-mongering, AD companies are not improving the internet speed but the advancement in the telecom technologies are , AD compnies are the one who are destroying the beautiful internet with their obnoxious ads.
        I use Adblock and whitelists the site whom I trust for their acceptable ad policies. Internet is not going down due to no ads.. stop this bullshit or just think why wikipedia is so popular and thriving

  23. Anonymous
    September 17, 2015 at 11:37 pm

    Since this article was published, the prediction has proven false. This is like watching movies in 2015 about the 2012 destruction of Earth: they've become comical. Web sites are using MORE scripting, not less. They have begun to replace Adobe Flash and Silverlight methods for streamed media with HTML5+Javascript viewers. They are using more scripting to create dynamically generated web pages. And they have become more advertizement laden. Rare is the web site that manages the portaled ads: not their content so they disclaim responsibility for content and behavior.

    As for Adblock Plus, apparently the author has not bothered to update his article to note that add-on has a whitelist, enabled by default, what are good advertizers and thereby make aware to bad advertizers what they should do to become good boys. None of the criteria to be a good advertizer is onerous: see By rewarding good advertizers and punishing the bad ones, the bad ones are provided with an impetus to be good boys. Letting advertizers continue doing whatever they want is guaranteed not to motivate them to behave. Loss of visibility is a very good means to prod bad guys to be good guys.

    The only reason why users have decided they must block ads is because advertizers have been excessively rude and invasive to the content of a web page. It is THEIR fault that users had to react. THEY caused the problem and now they bitch about the reaction? Ah, too bad, they got what they earned by their misbehavior. And that includes the web sites that do not manage, throttle, or restrict the behaviors of ad content (sometimes even their own).

    If you keep running your car into other cars, why be so suprised then your driver's license gets taken away? You caused the problem so YOU are the one that caused the lost your privileges. Yes, not all advertizers are bad hence the whitelist in Adblock Plus. As for tracking blocks, since when did users ever get a prompt asking for their permission to be tracked and what information can be collected from them? The site's privacy policy does not apply to the advertizing content they simply pipe through their site without that site regulating the content in any way to comply with the site's own privacy policies. So again, the sites screwed themselves by not enforcing their privacy policy on the ad content they show. Oh, and most sites make it very difficult to find their privacy policy and, when found, usually states they are not responsible for ad content. They disclaim responsibility for content in their web pages so why whine when users decide to enforce their own policies?

    Advertizers are irresponsible and exhibit bad behaviors. Sites disclaim responsibility over ad content. So whose to fix the problem? Yeah, users have to do that. What a big surprise ... not!

  24. Anonymous
    August 30, 2015 at 5:13 am

    Ad block is defiantly killing affiliate businesses, but this website has nerve to moan about it! You have adverts everywhere! Including amongst content which is a big no no! Websites like this is the reason people to turn to ad block plus in the first place.

  25. Anonymous
    August 16, 2015 at 5:28 am

    Advertiser may complain : the old deal : it's free, but you're the product, is over !

    Most of advertising is going to aim to mobile, because there are already more mobile with Internet access than computers.The best way to block ads now on mobiles is not Adblock Plus, because this company is now sold to big one like Google, Facebook and Microsoft.

    The best way to block adds is to use a VPN. Like Freedome, or Adblock Mobile. Not only we get no more adds but we regain more privacy. Except, of course, from the company who make oour smartphone and our Internet provider. No more adds, no more geographical limitations, no more way for advertisers to track you any time and any where.

    Before, it was complicate to set-up a VPN : now, with the 2 I've just mentioned, you just need one click !

    When most of people will be aware of that, the Internet add jackpot will dye.

    So, instead of crying about their lost (big) money advertisers and websites owners have to make their brain working to find another way to win money with Internet. There are sure solutions to invent but there is one which exists for long time : to (really) add value to Internet, I mean, no more copying and pasting, but creating valuables contents. And to make people paying (reasonable amount) to use it !

    Look at New York Times ! And other valuable paying websites in information, music, or miscellaneous domains. If you provide an interesting content, people may pay for it. Of course you'll loose thousands of people who do net yet understand that they are the products. Of course, for a lot of websites, it will be much more difficult than copying and pasting, and getting money for that. They will disappear, and what ? They didn't deserve to live such a long time.

    Perhaps is it useful to remember that, at the beginning, Internet was not created to win money. It was created to share freely anything valuable. Sounds strange today, no ? But that was true, that was awesome, and that's why WWW worked so fast all over the planet.

    Ad blockers, and especially VPN, will throw away the temple's merchants and incite good web publishers to increase their value ? I won't cry on that.

  26. Anonymous
    August 10, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    I will keep on blocking ads. Many ads are offensive:

    Flashing ads. These are fit to give you a seizure.
    Video ads. I don't want unsolicited video, ever.
    Adds that are in the middle of content. BORING.
    Javascript ads that darken the screen, require you to hit an X to get rid of them and then keep coming back. These have been a particular annoyance over the past months. Thanks to James Bruce's excellent article I now have NoScript and these ads are nullified.


    Perhaps if you made ads small, unobtrusive and off to the side of content rather than in the middle of it more people would not bother to block them. As long as ads FORCE you to pay attention to them they WILL BE BLOCKED.

  27. Anonymous
    June 26, 2015 at 8:30 am

    This is pure nonsense : basic web hosting goes for under 25 bucks per year, so if really, a site owner cannot pay as little as 25 $/year, then the chances are that he has nothing of interest to offer (probably can't pay the electricity bill either so he can't update his pages :).

    The real truth is that too much advertising is killing business, mainly small business, by differing the buying act due to huge number of ads for huge number of basically indentical brands offering identical products, and an overdose of commercial information available.

    In fact, there are so many different laptop computers, just about the same price, that i've still havn'tt chosen which one i want and contiue to use my old laptop because i cannot make a choice because there are too many different products and ads and special offers and all that...

    And the same thing is happening on the web, too many ads slowing down the content or too many middle pages coverde with ads, then i just give up the site. Also I'm a linux user so all the windows crap cannot affect me, but i know a lot of MS users whose computers are completely useless due to advertising : windows popping up every 10 minutes, programs that the user can't kill or browsers going on their own to some useless sites..), this is common in the MS world.

    So remember, anyone who is defending adverising on the web or ad paid content is just someone who's earning money serving stupid ads !!! just like this site !

    • James Bruce
      June 26, 2015 at 8:50 am

      You're delusional if you think that's how much it costs to host a website: this particular website has hosting costs in the tens of thousands of dollars per month. And obviously we're defending earning money through ads: it's our livelihoods. Do you work in exchange for money? I assume you're familiar with the concept.

  28. Bryan Lunt
    May 29, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    I use ad blockers to keep bloated giant Javascript sites from hard-crashing my PC. Users would not go out of their way to block ads if they were just unobtrusive at the top / sides of the screen. But they are loud and animated overlays with flash videos etc. My crash-per-day count dropped drastically when I started using ad blockers.

  29. John
    May 1, 2015 at 6:32 am

    Lots of people benefit from free software. Why are you not complaining about developers who get little or no pay for making it. Is that stealing? I could argue that these comments are content for your web site but did you pay anyone for their comments? Everything gets paid for by someone. There is no free, there is only the shifting of the cost between providers and consumers. There are lots of really bad sites that have extremely poor information on them. How do I know this before I visit the site? Should I support a really bad site by allowing it to claim ad revenue for bad content?

    Your argument is one-sided and lacks any consideration to the abusive, destructive and immoral behavior of some web sites. If you want to make a complaint, try to have balance. I have a right to protect myself, my family and my friends from spying, viruses, tracking and profiling. If you don't like me trying to protect myself, try getting the businesses that engage in these immoral and illegal activities to stop. Do you have ads that engage in these activities? Do you think you are immoral for supporting this behavior?

    When you surf the web leave your browser open to every possible exploit, you will soon understand why some of us feel the need to protect ourselves and others. Not all of us believe that the cost of the content we create or share must be recovered with an advertisement. Perhaps you could have two sites, one with the content you feel you should pay for and one you feel others should purchase from you?

  30. Gargamel
    March 10, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    I have used adblock for years. Now that I'm mostly browsing on mobile, I can't stand frequently clicking surprise popups by accident.

    The user experience has gine to hell for me. Content? Most content is clickbait anyway. Garbage like "23 most..." and just junk content. Give me something worth supporting and i will support it. But if I see something interesting and I get bombarded with ads that barely allow me to get to the content, i'm just not going to delve deeper. So they get my "click" but I didn't even get to the content because it feels like im back in the days of waiting 3 minutes for a website to load.

  31. Haseeb
    December 18, 2014 at 7:46 am

    I do and will keep on blocking ads , I know this article is beneficial for those poors who earn money by little ads but adblocker is also beneficial to p0rn ads.
    Thanks and greetings from ocean!

  32. Steve
    December 14, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    Me and my friends provide just a ton of content for each other on facebook every day, and we do it for free. It's true that money is involved, and facebook needs to pay for it's servers and such, but we, the content providers, don't see a bean. It happens on forums too, message boards, all over the place. We provide content for each other and don't get paid.

  33. BobMarley
    November 20, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    Please share your revisionist definition of "free"

  34. BobMarley
    November 20, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    Perhaps you ALSO misunderstand the design intent of the interweb?

  35. Jim
    October 22, 2011 at 11:43 am

    A better question to ask would be:

    "Are ads ruining the Internet?"
    Plenty of content got along just fine without over half the viewing space being advertising for a very long time. Only in the last decade has the 'net become overloaded with too many ads. Any ads with video, animation, sound, or flash in them are the worst. Have a little respect for your user base and don't put that garbage on your site. 

    Pages with content-relevant ads used sparingly that are small, not annoying, and don't come from 20 different domains are fine with me. I never saw any need to use an ad blocker until the trend of seeing literally 5+ ads in ONE SCREEN SPACE became the norm.

    • BobMarley
      November 20, 2011 at 10:06 pm

      I was in agreement until your third paragraph

  36. Guest
    October 21, 2011 at 9:18 am

    Apologies, but you're wrong. Viewer statistics for PVRed shows do not decrease (technically, your recording still shows the ad), so the cable companies get the same money whether or not YOU choose to skip through the ads AFTER recording them.

    In contrast, by blocking ads on websites, the hit is not counted, we don't get paid for any impression based advertising, and yet our bandwidth is still paid for. It costs us money for every visitor - a minute amount, sure - but we still pay per visitor for CDN resources.

    However, thats a trade-off we choose because the majority of users are willing to accept ads in return for free content. If everyone did as you do, the internet would degrade to a meaningless pile of badly-written blogs and untrustworthy sponsored posts.

    • BobMarley
      November 20, 2011 at 10:05 pm

      Sick Beard


      The programming I purchase from my satellite/cable provider sans commercials. I will not pay to see ads.

  37. muotechguy
    October 21, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Apologies, but you're wrong. Viewer statistics for PVRed shows do not decrease (technically, your recording still shows the ad), so the cable companies get the same money whether or not YOU choose to skip through the ads AFTER recording them.

    In contrast, by blocking ads on websites, the hit is not counted, we don't get paid for any impression based advertising, and yet our bandwidth is still paid for. It costs us money for every visitor - a minute amount, sure - but we still pay per visitor for CDN resources.

    However, thats a trade-off we choose because the majority of users are willing to accept ads in return for free content. If everyone did as you do, the internet would degrade to a meaningless pile of badly-written blogs and untrustworthy sponsored posts.

    • muotechguy
      October 21, 2011 at 9:21 am

      That was at @83a138b3ddf0a6dab3e47f763bf4b320:disqus , btw

    • BobMarley
      November 20, 2011 at 10:00 pm

      Usenet CF


      I pay my cable/satellite provider but use Sick Beard to fetch all the media I have purchased. When DVRs are redesigned consumer-centric I will reconsider that model.

    • BobMarley
      November 20, 2011 at 10:01 pm

      Your use of the word "free" is defective

  38. atp
    October 21, 2011 at 6:04 am

    It's not adblocking that's killing the net, it's advertisements themselves.  We already have to deal with ads at our sporting events, ads in tv shows, ads alongside the road as we drive to work.

    It just doesn't fly anymore.  Consumers aren't falling for that shit nowadays, they're smarter than they have been at any point in the past.  If I'm going to buy a product, it's going to be because I've done the research and have determined that it'll serve my needs well.  It's not going to be because you shoved an ad in my face that involved a bratty precocious child and an obnoxious jingle.  So get that shit out of my face.

    There are some DVDs and DVD players that have tried to make it so that you can't skip the advertisements and trailers on the disc.  You have to sit there and let them play all the way through before you can get to the main menu or start the movie.  Do you think it makes me want to buy the products being advertised?  Hell no.  All it makes me want to do is pirate the movie, so I don't have ads being forced down my throat.  I paid for a film, so get on with showing me the damn thing already.

    Advertising is a relic, and businesses are just going to have to catch up to that fact and find a way to adapt.  The future is in technology, and inherent in technology is the freedom to control your computer, to alter or add to its programming as you see fit.  The ability to control what data you receive, view, keep, or discard is absolutely fundamental to the way that the internet and computers work, and any attempt to limit that (such as the efforts made by DRM) are guaranteed to fail, sooner or later.  Information wants to be free.

    • BobMarley
      November 20, 2011 at 9:56 pm

      You are a bit off the mark with respect to source of freedom- and rights. They existed prior to technology.

      Our constitution rightly credits God. Others are not free to injure me: ads injure -- "privacy rape", poignantly crafted by previous poster.

      The "injury" to revenue is being grossly CONFLATED with that of persons. Only individual person has rights. (groups have zero rights)

  39. hail Peoples Cube
    October 13, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    advertisers never win

    before your b*tchfest on adblockplus there were entertaining threads on proxomitron.  Interweb search those.  In a competition between a very very large group of geniuses (privacy conscious adblocking enthusiasts) and a small group of geniuses (ad server hired guns) who do you suppose has the advantage?

    If you deem your content so valuable why not charge for it in advance?

    Perhaps because you would be confronted with your delusions of valuation?

    • BobMarley
      November 20, 2011 at 10:14 pm


  40. hail Peoples Cube
    October 13, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    ads are served by a TINY population of ad servers

    that is cross domain behavior tracking

    ads GANG RAPE surfer privacy

  41. hail Peoples Cube
    October 13, 2011 at 12:08 pm


    a$$hats are choking the interweb

    Is it free?   then expecting [financial] compensation is IRRATIONAL.

    free != not-free


  42. Brent Martin
    October 7, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    Great post! Has a lot of great ideas in it. It will surely help a lot of internet users out there.

  43. King Indronil
    October 4, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    Ok i am stopping ad-blocker i have no problems with the ads but what about the pop ups?????????????They are ridiculous and meaningless

  44. Saslists
    September 30, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Easy solution...just don't visit the website. But you say...oh, the site has good info. Well if so, pay them to read their content.

    • hail Peoples Cube
      October 13, 2011 at 12:16 pm

      delusional valuation


      irrational expectations


      use a unique per-user authentication system with prepayment


      if actually-free stop expecting payment. 


      CEASE abusing English.

      ("free" is NOT synonymous with "not-free")

      • BobMarley
        November 20, 2011 at 10:10 pm

        Excellent points

        Similarly entertaining: dearth of refutations

        The interweb of 1993 was grand

  45. AverageUser
    September 29, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Adblockng is here to stay - I suggest web developers learn to deal with it and try another business model. It is the most installed (and usually FIRST) extension to any browser. Those that say the internet would die without the money from ads seem to forget that we were happily browsing and accessing free sites for years before the money-making ads appeared - if anything ads simply allow more dross sites. If losing ads means we lose some sites - then that is aprice worth paying.
    For those that think blocking ads is in some way 'immoral' I ask you whether you sit through ads on TV? Do you edit or fast forward through them on TV recordings? If the answer is yes, then you are a hypocrite ('you must see my ads but I have the right to remove TV ads from other parties'). And I pay for my bandwidth so web ads are even more of a outrage as I'm paying to download them!

    If you have a site that requires ads (i.e. is not 'free') then stop letting it be scraped by Google bots - or show that it is not 'free' when in the search results (then see how many people click the link). If it's not free content then stop pretending it is. If information appears in a google search then users expect to be able to see if for free - and I mean really free, free from adverts too.

  46. Grasshopper
    September 28, 2011 at 9:52 am

    Well, if the author of this article believes that advertising business model may not be the best, what do you think is going to force it to change? Yes, adblocking is a sort of stealing just as piracy and p2p networks are stealing. But it is the only means billions of online consumers have to motivate change in the practices of media companies and to change their behavior and pricing policies. I am quite convinced that there would have been no iTunes, Spotify or Hulu without Napster and eMule. The latter were a reaction to the situation in the 90s when we were forced to buy CDs and DVDs for over 30 or 40 EUR sometimes. The media companies were forced to adapt to the new situation by giving the people incomparably lower prices but thereby motivating them to buy more (people are downloading much more, legally, now than they had ever bought CDs). So I guess it's a similar thing with ads (well, not entirely, I admit), the more people are going to use it, the sooner we will get some sort of new business model for the "free" content on the web. If we stop using adblocking software, we would just support the system, that will get more and more annoying and less and less usable longterm.
    Just my 2 cents....

    • M.S. Smith
      September 30, 2011 at 3:43 pm

      A comparison between modern website advertising and the record industry has holes in it that you could drive a truck through. Not least of which is the fact that websites aren't over-charging fact, they're not charging you at all.

      • grasshopper
        October 2, 2011 at 10:41 am

        I agree, but you're missing the point. The comparison is not between the record industry and free websites as such, but rather between two business models equally hated by people. The way in which people react against those business models (p2p networks in one case, adblockers in the other) is indeed something that can be compared. It is some sort of resistance which has a comon donominator in the fact that people find alternative methods of displaying content which will eventually force content providers to finance themselves in a less annoyng way (just as record companies were forced to find new sales channels for less annoying prices) . This is where the analogy runs, and of course it is not perfect, no analogy is.

        • Asa
          October 2, 2011 at 7:03 pm

          A few comments...

          I commented a few weeks ago here and mentioned I use an ad blocker.  I've
          since disabled it on out of respect for the article
          author's concerns/claims of theft.

          Ads aren't impartial of course and it's hard to fully maintain editorial objectivity when you run ads on a site like this at all (the author expressed concern about objectivity in his comment "perverted... to accept payment for reviews in order for a site to run... I may as well just ask [for] press releases..."). could add warnings next to all the ads that they don't actually recommend the advertised companies, products, or services, but that would be a lie -- they are recommending them.  Publishing ads is promotion which is a recommendation.  All the more so considering the text of this article about ad blockers.

          As to Grasshopper's comment about "a less annoying way" -- well, I don't find all advertising annoying.  And maybe there is a viable and acceptable advertising model.  Think of women's magazines.  Most women by them FOR the advertisements.  They have artistic value.

          Here's a possible advertising reform:
          What if a standard protocol was developed where browsers were configured with a user's tastes (there is no need for ad companies to profile web users, users can maintain their own profile in a way that does not really help track their movements), users can configure their browsers to block ads by default (which maybe should be the browser default), and for sites that want to run ads, the user's browser will pop up a prompt asking for authorization to display the ads, which will be something in the realm of the user's configured tastes.  If the user does not authorize the ads, websites are welcome to block the users access (or require direct payment or whatever).  If the user does not like the ads after authorization, there could be a simple and standard feedback mechanism as part of the protocol the website owners or ad companies could optionally accept feedback from (keep it simple - a "don't like" button/signal in/from the browser). The user can cancel authorization at any time at which point they could be blocked from the site.

          The user maintains their choice, and the content publishers maintain their choice too.

        • muotechguy
          October 21, 2011 at 9:04 am

          If advertisers were to make that network and it performed as well as regular ads do, I'm sure we would be the first to implement it.

        • BobMarley
          November 20, 2011 at 9:49 pm

          Please comment on the privacy violation of ads

  47. Gu
    September 26, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    I may be a little late here, but anyway:

    I do use an adblocker. But it is disabled by default. However if somebody uses a dumb banner that flies around, or ads that make a load of noise, I will simply block all ads on that site, and leave it at that. If some rules were introduced as to what kinds of ads were allowed, there would be no need for adblockers - I don't mind simple text or text and image ads.

    But flash ads, flashing lights, sounds, floating, etc. - this simply means I do not care about the sites means of income any more. Just get rid of this stuff, and it is fine.

    • Meena Bassem
      September 26, 2011 at 9:30 pm

      i do agreee, text ads are ok. but flash ads or those with sounds.then , i'm glad to use the ad blocker to block all that crap.

  48. Jon
    September 26, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    >supporting websitesI seriously hope you guys don't do this.

  49. Tanel
    September 22, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    I do use built in content blocker in opera, where you can disable ads (which you select) with ease permanently or use  "fanboys blacklist". Ads are annoying and because of that
    i wont tolerate them (not to mention they eat up usually more than twice the bandwith the page usually takes.)

  50. Lanista
    September 22, 2011 at 6:13 am

    Last word:
    Any advertisement that insults me or annoys me or is distracting deserves to be killed. Thus all flash, graphic-intensive, repetitive motion ads must die! 

    Any serious website owner that can't find something legitimate to flog that doesn't do the above WILL suffer:
    1. Annoyed visitors.
    2. Distracted visitors.
    3. Loss of attention by visitors
    4. Loss of visitors.

    A nicely written relevant information piece containing a clickable link is the perfect solution. All round.
    I will teach anyone seriously interested in the subject of direct selling, simple facts like the above, personally gathered in the last half century of marketing over most of the planet. lanista@ 

  51. Himagain
    September 22, 2011 at 5:56 am

    Now that I'm retired - here is some free advice for marketers:
    1. Effective ads never intrude.
    2. They never lie.
    3. They are targeted precisely.
    4. They are textual.

    THe only alternative to the above is to ignore this advice and use money like water in profit-eating amounts. Suitable only for mega corporations.
    There is a catch:
    The product needs to offer some actual needed/wanted value to the target. 

    Okay, back to the real world:  Best headline?   FREE SEX 
    Qualifier? He's innocent!

  52. Frankie
    September 12, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    Advertisement has its place, to increase my knowledge of product or services. But a lot of advertisement advertised seem to see it as being a requirement to end-user's and web-agents blocking them should be a criminal offence.

     Simple as this if you are hosting an advertisement then you want sales, people who block your ad will not look twice even if it was not blocked. What does this mean? well unless you are paying for PPC you are entering channels blindly, tracking cookies can only allow for so much but data. Tracking cookies often fail at simple problems such as multiple users, dynamic ip and cache clearing ect and rely on (Extremely powerful) normalisation and trend propagation to name a few document techniques.

     The TRUE solution is not to beg, barter or demand that ad block stop, but invest in better ethical (yes not silent or hidden methods) to delivering the content to the end-user. Everyone needs something so advertisement is not evil or bad, simply the methods employed to target the customers can get close though, "don't sell the sausage sell the sizzle" and sales drivers ect.

     I run several websites with advertisements (ccp) and what increases client through rates is delivering what the user wants not what the advertisement company thinks they want. So go that extra mile and analysis your users and deliver something that is value add to them.

  53. Anonymous
    September 10, 2011 at 2:21 am

    I personally have no problem with advertisements. But some advertisements just irritate the hell out of you. 5 seconds into loading they take up the whole screen. Or they force feed a video down your throats. Half the time Ill be heading a voice and music and have no idea where its coming from, all of a sudden i see a video advertisement streaming by it self. 

    There should be some sort of 10 commandments to advertisements
    1. Thou shall not be Bandwidth Intensive
    2. Thou shall not be obtrusive and annoying to consumers
    3. Thou shall not track users movements who do not wish to be tracked
    4. Thou shall not think autoplay without the consumers interest
    5. Thou shall pay the website a  reasonable fee to advertise
    6. Thou shall never consider using hidden pop-up advertisements
    7. Thou shall never do redirect advertisements
    8. Thou shall not put up a paywall and still irritate consumers with advertisements
    9. Consumer shall understand ad's are needed to help keep websites free
    10. Consumer "tailored ads" are only appropriate if consumer wishes them to be.

    • Capt. Meat
      September 10, 2011 at 6:52 am

      Ensure the site hosting the advertisement are legally responsible for the content being delivered, such that if an advertising service delivers malware through your site, I can sue you. Also, advertisers need popular websites to host them, not so much the other way around. I wouldn't be too worried about the internet due to adblocking, in fact with the fierce level of SEO that goes on to generate adclick revenue, if ads were universally banned, you'd be able to find far more interesting and diverse content a lot easier than with the net you see before you today.

      • Anonymous
        September 11, 2011 at 4:34 pm

        Ya, but with out ad revenue the larger websites might be more inclined to follow a policy ISP's wanted before.
        A "channel" system for the internet. Where certain ISP's control certain websites. So if you go with Verizzon you may get CNN but if you get Comcast you only get BBC.
        I rather such a scenario never happen, and let small advertisements go, as long as they don't annoy anyone or do harm.

  54. Rudi Pittman
    September 9, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    If it's a site I value it's relatively easy to find a greasemonkey script which will load the ads without displaying them....therefore I continue to enjoy my ad free experience on my non hi-speed connection while the site still earns it's "view"....other scripts even randomly click on the ads.  Instead of hassling the users who prefer to surf without having more ads than content tie up their metered internet (mobile users have to pay fee's over a certain bandwidth usage) convince the ad-block authors to include the "load but hide" or auto click functionality into their products.

  55. Asa
    September 9, 2011 at 5:47 am

    I agree with your conclusion that ad blockers are not killing the internet.  They probably have a concentrated impact on techier sites, since I don't think the average web user uses them (for technical reasons :) ).  However, I do use an ad blocker.  I believe there are real problems with a "consumer" paradigm, and that people ought to have the right to opt out of marketing.  People are also used to the option to skip advertisements on TV going back to the advent of the VCR.  Advertising certainly appears to be a more successful economic model online than subscription services, and I don't know how well donation funded operations are fairing.  Online business overhead is minimal, as bandwidth and hosting costs are very low, and online small to medium businesses often don't even have a need for a physical office location, inventory, many employees, etc.   I agree that everyone that wants to be compensated for their work, financially or otherwise, has the right to set their price.  I 100% support businesses shutting out users who don't display their advertising if they so choose.  I would recommend that they have a respect for those users needs and preferences, though, and offer them an alternative way to purchase their information/goods/services.  The "open source" movement and the general democratization of information online is creating tough competition in many ways though, and it is a challenge for for-profit businesses to find ways to differentiate themselves.  I read your blog via an RSS feed... and no ads are served via that avenue already.  Considering how rarely I pull up your website, even though I'm an avid reader, the amount that my ad blocker effects your bottom line must be pennies per year.  How could I refuse paying such a small amount in cash?

  56. Capt. Meat
    September 8, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    I don't watch commercial TV because it has ads, recently they gave me a TV diary I recorded 30mins of television viewing for the week. If there wasn't such a thing as adblockers many sites would have serious inaccessibility issues (clutching at straws now but perhaps adblockers are even saving them from class actions). I've also contracted a serious computer virus that stuck a root kit on my machine just from browsing an innocent site that used 3rd party advert service, I had to reimage my machine to get rid of it. Do you expect them to take any responsibility for that?

    Also, your assertion that adverts make the net cheap is wrong. The fact is it's cheap because it's actually really cheap. There are plenty of sites out there that don't need ad revenue to keep running. Hell, my blog only advertises my VPS provider because I wanted to, as they are so nice to me, it costs me a mere $200/yr for a whole entire server, that's already chicken feed but basic web hosting is a damn sight cheaper than that. If you need advert revenue to cover the costs of your site you're doing it wrong!

    • Asa
      September 9, 2011 at 6:19 am

      As to the cost issue, I agree that online overhead is very low and getting lower every day, and that the reason "the net is cheap", however, I suspect makeuseof is a business that pays it's writers, and that that is their major operations cost.  Much lower cost than a traditional magazine, but any _business_ model needs to actually make money somewhere.  Perhaps traditional commerce will have a better replacement down the line, but we're a long shot off from eliminating money from people's lives.

  57. Thomas Alan
    September 8, 2011 at 2:31 am

    I think for me it came down to this, the ads on sites never bothered me, but when you come to a site and you could hear a ad say congrats you won a ipod nano over and over, and then popups when you click a next page link, for me that was the time i started using a adblocker not to block ads but to block popups and the annoying ads that make sound. I don't mind the other non intrusive ads i see. popups ruined websites from trying to make ends meet with ads because it's at that point in the website visiters experience when he decides it's time i try out a adblocker. However on my site i have ads that adblockers don't block it's just a matter of using a https: image instead of http:

  58. Rcharl
    September 7, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    Websites/Content Creators/Content Owners could easily choose not to show content to those using ad-blocking software.

  59. Eric Gregg
    September 7, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    "The race for the bottom’s most putrid result yet is the creation of citizen journalism programs such as CNN’s “iReport” in which unqualified amateurs upload their own videos, photos and commentary."
    This is just offensive. One wonders how highly makeuseof thinks of the amateurs who read their articles and engage in lively debate in the comments sections of this site. Actually, those amateurs are the only reason I've ever seen an ad on this site, since the articles show up in my RSS reader devoid of advertisements. I come to the full site to see the putrid results of my fellow unqualified amateurs' discussions. 

    I can understand the frustration of seeing people not loading advertisements, but it's not accurate to say that they are taking something for nothing. Everyone who participates in the community makes it more valuable. To me, that's worth something, at least.

    As an aside, I did turn off my adblocker for Ars Technica since they asked me to and didn't call anyone names. Maybe that approach would be work better.

  60. Jeff
    September 7, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Your argument is completely baseless. Per your logic, the mute button on TV remotes would fall into this category as well, simply because a lot of people don't want to hear ads in between the program they are watching.

    Other sources of revenue exist, and are most certainly not "unicorn-like". Product reviews (complete with affiliate link embedded), product placement, subscription, donation (yes this can work) and sponsorship are some viable alternatives.

    • Matt Smith
      September 7, 2011 at 10:19 pm

      Again, suggesting product reviews is perverted. If a writer or site owner has to accept payment for reviews in order for a site to run, what is the point of that site existing? I may as well just ask the companies to provide me with their press releases so I can re-post them.

      As for the other suggestions, if you know of where these alternatives are working, I'd like to see them. As far as I can tell, donation and subscription based approaches have been of limited success. There's certainly a few that have managed it (Wikipedia), but it's wrong to say that everyone can or should implement an alternative revenue model just because site X has done so.

  61. Fik_of_Borg
    September 7, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    VCR and DVR didn't kill broadcast TV, nor audio cassettes and CDs killed radio. I think the potential worldwide audience is so big that it doesn't matter if 90% of surfers block ads.

  62. Dan
    September 7, 2011 at 11:47 am

    It seems hardly worth it to complain about the 1% of website visitors who use adblocking extensions. I use it in all my browsers without a tinge of remorse. Even among tech website visitors, who are presumably savvy enough to use extensions to begin with, I rather doubt it is a significant minority of all readers. If you are even fretting about not being able to monetize the ~1-5% or so of visitors who use adblocks, then there may be more problems with your SEO strategy in general.

  63. Anonona
    September 7, 2011 at 11:32 am

    When I visit the web on a non-adblocked computer,  It's like walking into the wrong house.
    I've never bought anything based on a popup or banner anyway, so maybe I'm saving the advertiser money.  Dammit!

  64. Anonymous
    September 7, 2011 at 5:56 am

    I use a small hosts file with Adblock Plus and I don't want you to feel like I'm stealing from you. I will remove MakeUseOf from my feed list. Thank you for the free lunch Matt!!!

    • muotechguy
      October 21, 2011 at 8:59 am

      Very kind of you. Thank you.

  65. Suhel
    September 7, 2011 at 3:33 am

    for me Ads are good enough till they

    1, dont hover all over my screen
    2. dont open another window
    3. dont cross over my reading content
    4. dont fill my whole screen
    5. dont have sexual offers
    6. dont play sounds and videos (I dont have unlimited internet)
    7. dont have excessive animations.

  66. Peter
    September 7, 2011 at 12:24 am

    "If you care about the sites you visit, and you want them to be successful, you should not be using an ad blocker. It’s that simple." - I completely disagee with this.

    I use an ad blocker because I hate advertsing in general. Ad-supported is only one way to deliver content to customers. There are many sites where I would gladly pay to get ad-free content but they won't offer it that way.

    Besides, not blocking the ads doesn't do the site owner any good, you need to actually click on them to generate any revenue for the site.  I refuse to do that because it just encourages site owners to continue to rely on advertsing for revenue, without considering other sources of revenue.

  67. Luke
    September 7, 2011 at 12:14 am

    Are ads a way alot of sites make money to offset the costs they incur in running? Yes.
    Is it the only way? No.
    There are, as you mentioned, subscriptions, but there are also reviews, where the content of a page is a proper, detailed, write-up for a product, sometimes written in return for payment or product, and often including a link which earns the author affiliant dollars for any sales they refer.

    Are alot of ads intrusive, distracting or misleading (I say "misleading" as, to an inexperienced user, sometimes adverts look like internal links within a site as opposed to sponsored content). As some other commenters noted, the amount of material downloaded which are adverts (as opposed to content), means that Adblocking not only provides a cleaner, less distracting experience, but a faster one as well!

    Something that should also be noted is that adverts tend to be run under one of two models, with payments being made either for "impressions" (view) or "clickthroughs". And, for the majority of users who run Adblocking software, they are less likely to clickthrough ads (we tend to look for something when we want it, rather than expect it to be presented to us). So whilst the number of impressions may decline with Adblockers, of the remaining views, the percentage of clickthroughs should increase.

    So maybe it is just a case of changing the way advert payments are made. Focusing more on successful conversions, rather than potential customers who view the ads.

    • M.S. Smith
      September 7, 2011 at 6:58 am

      I don't think that paid reviews is a very good suggestion. Talk about a breach of ethics.

      • hail Peoples Cube
        October 13, 2011 at 12:44 pm

        consumer reports does not run any ads.  contrast their ideology with your site running [content related] ads

        Are you the pot or the kettle in that scenario?

  68. Debashisa Jena
    September 6, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    I use host to block ads

    • hail Peoples Cube
      October 13, 2011 at 12:42 pm

      consider instead/additionally


  69. R Ze
    September 6, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    I always knew ads help keep the site up, but isn't one reason people use adblock like adblockplus is cause no one wants malware on their computers?

  70. Guest
    September 6, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    "If you care about the sites you visit, and you want them to be successful, you should not be using an ad blocker."

    I'm sorry, but this argument is simply not true. No website is ever going to be successful or unsuccessful because I did or didn't block its ads. I am only one person, and believe it or not, there are not millions or even dozens of people who are influenced by my actions.

    Maybe Mat Smith really wanted to make a moral argument, that blocking ads is morally wrong because, if everyone blocked ads, there would be problems. I still wouldn't agree, but it wouldn't be as easy to refute.

  71. Ian
    September 6, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    My 2 cents... I don't mind text ads but when you have ads that take up half the screen and slow the content that you are trying to receive, the ads must to go.  Back in dialup days, ads ttake a ton of bandwidth.   And it didn't help having your parents walk in the room and see a seductive ad and think you are looking at porn; damn you, starkingdoms! 

  72. Olaf
    September 6, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    I like to see just what I'm looking for, not some garbage, especially sliding, blinking, playing obnoxious music, etc. If at any point it will come down to paying for content or
    not having any at all, I decide whether it's worth it.
    It's a jungle out there and only the strong will survive. Besides, as hard as it may be for
    some to believe, there was a life without internet and there were these things called books and people actually did meet instead of plastering the info about them on message
    boards for all to see.

  73. John Penland
    September 6, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    If I visit a site frequently, I normally white list it, but as other commenters  have mentioned, there is absolutely no regulation when it comes to ads. Their volume is louder than other content, they go to extreme measures to get around popup blockers, they use one of the most vulnerable products still in use today, flash, which due to a combination of bad coding and its wide spread usage is a favorite target for people with bad intentions. I have seen viruses come from flash ads, while this was years ago, I still block ads for that very reason, and short of banning flash all together, I will probably always block ads, except for sites that I frequently visit.
    The use of flash cookies is also a major problem. This sort of tracking is ethically questionable, considering that if somebody wanted to attach an anklet to each person in the world to see where they went on a daily basis, they wouldn't get very many people to sign up, even if they used some sort of gimmick like 4square/other social networking checkins.
    In short, there are major privacy/security concerns with ads, besides the annoyance factor. Unless/until this is resolved, then don't whine about ad blockers.

  74. Meena Bassem
    September 6, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    i understand that now, i make some posts to some blog and i'm supposed to earn money from the ads people click in the page of my posts. and i get very few ads.
    that's really annoying, but i actually use adblock plus extension to block ads too
    my download speed is about 50-55 kb/sec . and it takes double the time to load page with ads.

  75. Paul G
    September 6, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    I NEVER buy by clicking on ads. If I want something I search, check reviews etc. before buying. For that reason I wouldn't be without Ad (and element) blockers.

  76. Anonymous
    September 6, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    I block ads. They are just getting too out of hand. I loaded up this article without an adblocker and the amount of ads is ridiculous. 

  77. Steve
    September 6, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    I teach basic web building at a College and that includes do's and don'ts that I think are fair.

    If people can't get the information they want or its too much effort they will not come back to a site. Auto start sound is guaranteed that I will never return to a site. Who the hell do site owners/advertisers think they are that they can decide what plays on my PC?! I try and teach my students to think about balance, both in composition, content, colour etc and to think about what annoys THEM when they surf. Its a shame that the creitns who devise flash adverts haven't learned something similar.

    Do adverts influence me? Sure do, annoy me and I guarantee it wont be them that gets my custom.

    So yes I do use adblockers and also have NoScript running that allows me to filter sites. (Make Use Of has 23 scripts running on this page alone!) but my favourite pages etc I allow most of their content including adverts to show, because they do balance advertising vs content.

    • hail Peoples Cube
      October 13, 2011 at 12:40 pm

      my various adblockplus subscriptions or personally crafted lists are

      blocking 35 items on this page
      hiding 2 items

      of 687 items

      I spoof referers.

      I block cross domain content [usually] with RequestPolicy

      on entirely untrustworthy sites I employ NoScript and ABE

      I control my resources.

      • hail Peoples Cube
        October 13, 2011 at 1:16 pm

        allowing only the CDN and disqus via RequestPolicy adblockplus is only blocking 4, and hiding 2, out of 253[href="//"]




  78. Anomaly
    September 6, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    This is a sore spot with me. I block ads with all the browsers I use and if the browsers didn't support it I wouldn't use them. Sites have the right to support themselves with ads but they don't have the right to:

    1) Make my browsing experience so annoying I want to put my fist through the screen.

    2) Slow down my  browsing experience to the point it's not worth doing.

    3) Pound my CPU so hard with their crap ads that I can fry an egg on the computer.

    4) Wear out my machine faster than normal due to the load placed on it.

    5) Annoy me and others around me by causing the fans to work overtime on my machines due to the load on the CPU from the crap ads.

    6) Suck band width that I have to pay for.

    7) Provide a vehicle for malware to enter your machine.

    These are some of my top annoyances with ads and I don't see how site owners think they have the right to do these things with ads. Since using ad blockers my machines run faster, cooler, quieter, no malware, and it's much more enjoyable to browse the web. Instead of complaining about ad blockers why don't you fix the problem with the ads.


    • hail Peoples Cube
      October 13, 2011 at 12:37 pm

      They can put whatever they want on their PUBLICLY VIEWABLE site.  however I have the right to look at and not-look at whatever I please in the public sphere.

      If they don't want me to look then they can remove it from the public sphere.

      You have touched on a concern many [refuse to] grasp:

      + security

      active content + foolish surfing with admin context = huge problem potential

      a tandem issue is

      + privacy

      privacy is NOT a commodity
      privacy is NOT a commodity
      privacy is NOT a commodity
      privacy is NOT a commodity

      + contracts

      There is NO contract between the one who puts objects in the public sphere and the observer.  They might want me to agree to their inanity but they are in no position to coerce me.

      + sharing

      the interweb is designed to facilitate sharing (think: charitably).  get on board with the design intent or go away.  adblocking is a feature of shunning

  79. Mike
    September 6, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    I am honestly troubled on this topic...

    I used to have Adblock installed for the same reason everyone else does ~ intrusive ads, long loading times, etc. Nowadays I don't use adblock itself but added the most annoying servers to my host file and use "click-to-flash".

    My biggest trouble comes with streaming sites and streaming content. 
    I understand that CDN streaming servers are expensive to finance even for services like JustinTV, YouTube but both streaming and flash ads are just plain annoying - their sound is often way louder than the original content and for streams they randomly annoy you at the most inconvenient times.

    For one streaming site (I regularly use) it sometimes went as far as to having more ads than actual streaming content...

    My personal opinion is to have adblock installed and running for general use and ad the sites you regularly visit to the exclusion list.

    • hail Peoples Cube
      October 13, 2011 at 12:30 pm

      consider performing your filtering upstream of the rendering canvas:


  80. John
    September 6, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Well. after long thought I came to the conclusion that the best approach for the Web is to adopt an ad-model similar to that of television. Because I think that the issue is not advertisements in general but that ads are obstruct users by being displayed all the time.

    Do you want to display some ads? Fair enough. But after the ads were displayed make them disappear and let users enjoy the content without other nuisance. And for those users who read a lot of articles/ consume more content display another ad after a few minutes (i.e. 15 minutes) and again let him alone again for a few more minutes.

    I apologize for all mistakes. Not a native English speaker.

  81. Anonymous
    September 6, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    If ads were free and my internet connection was 4G, I'd be much less inclined to block them. But the ads are often the bulk of the bytes in a page and the bulk of the time it takes for a page to load. With carriers going to a metered use model, I can't afford, literally, to waste my allowance of bytes on graphically intensive ads for products that, for the most part, I have no interest in.

  82. Anonymous
    September 6, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    I am in agreement with most of this article and the comments. However, there are some sites where the ads are so obtrusive, that I cannot stand it. Of course, when that is the case, my answer is to simply find the information elsewhere.

    I also severely question people who say they are not influenced by ads. I can maybe buy that you don't click on them, but seeing the ads put the image and thought into your conscious (assuming it is a well designed ad). I guess that is why you also pay per click.

  83. Kevin
    September 6, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Aggressive multimedia advertisements and animations are the reason I use my ad-blocker.  Advertisers are partially to blame for the development of this particular ingenuity.   But no one ever asks the question, just because I can make an obnoxiously conspicuous advertisement, should I? 

    • Gus
      September 30, 2011 at 2:18 pm

      True, advertisers should take more care in what they develop. However, a great majority of websites earn revenue from advertising. If you like the content, maybe you should tell the webmaster you'll pay for what you read. So what about those webmasters that still try to serve ads, even if the visitor won't click them. My response...I agree, but then again, why should the webmaster pay for bandwidth to allow you to read ad-free articles if there's zero chance of earning revenue?

      • M.S. Smith
        October 4, 2011 at 11:13 pm

        The problem with the idea of doing subscription online is that the advertising model is so deeply entrenched. It's near impossible to go subscription when everyone else offers content for "free" - i.e. no charge, with advertising.

        • hail Peoples Cube
          October 13, 2011 at 12:27 pm

          That sounds nice except for pesky reality.

          Consider the premium SHOtime network.  There are no interstitial third party ads. 

      • hail Peoples Cube
        October 13, 2011 at 12:28 pm

        maybe he should start using the interweb for what it was intended: communication and education. 

  84. Peter
    September 6, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Everything I know about bittorrent and adblockers, I learnt from this site. It could be argued that your site has profited by making people aware of these things (assuming not everyone was using an adblocker!?!).

    • M.S. Smith
      September 6, 2011 at 4:11 pm

      Oh, certainly. This is not an editorial position, just my opinion, and not everyone shares it. Even I have done ad-blocking content in the past, but I started to re-think my position after Ars Technica did its ad-blocking experiment. 

      • Peter
        September 6, 2011 at 4:26 pm

        I feel ads need to be more targeted to be effective. Take this page for example. I count about 14 or so ads. They smoother they page and I consciously filter them out, similar to muting the T.V. during ad breaks. Someone will come up with a new revenue model soon that is as innovative as adwords was at the time. That's the beauty of the internet.

        • M.S. Smith
          September 6, 2011 at 5:04 pm

          Ads could use a way to be more targeted. But a new revenue model? As I said, I doubt it. Adwords itself was never revolutionary, but rather an adaptation of what already exists in other forms of media. 

        • hail Peoples Cube
          October 13, 2011 at 12:14 pm

          "way more targeted" == much more privacy RAPE

          no thanks

        • muotechguy
          October 21, 2011 at 9:14 am

          That would require far more highly targetted ads - and I completely agree, that is a viable option - however, you then have hundreds of users who would complain becuase the ads were *too* well targetted. You just cant win!

  85. Mark
    September 6, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    I have no problem with adverts on site PROVIDED they do not distract from the purpose of that site.  Text adds are fine, but flashing moving graphics that are just designed to catch your eye, and have no relevance to the site are of no use to the visitor or the site owner.  I just vote with my feet and stay away.  Is that what the site owner wants?

  86. BrutalMaster
    September 6, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Advertising with consumers is a slippery slope and quickly becomes a war because once you get your viewers/consumers to accept your advertisements as "ok" there is nothing to stop you from adding more and more that become more and more intrusive (eating more bandwith and my time).  I want this site to succeed and I enjoy your content, but i will continue to use my ad blocking software as I see your advertisers as predatory (since it's never as simple as seeing a few text ads on the corner of my screen).  For instance, when did i give your website permission to install cookies on my PC that allow your advertisers to track me from site to site building a custom "profile" on me which they then sell to other companies for a profit? Am i supposed to make a distinction between "good" advertisers and "bad" ?

    • hail Peoples Cube
      October 13, 2011 at 1:23 pm

      to see a very slippery mountain peruse the android app market

      there developers hock malware: horrific adware raping privacy of the naive while labeling it freeware

      the moral impairment is rampant

      fortunately the privacy restoring tool on that platform is modeled on the proxomitron ideology using hosts but will soon weild more powerful magic

      (requires root. the idiot-mode of shipping android devices makes the naive victims)

      • BobMarley
        November 20, 2011 at 10:13 pm

        Found in google code Android bug 6626 .. Lively discussions about rights (vs malware)

  87. Parkylondon
    September 6, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    I use an Ad Blocker for the reason that Wayne mentions. I prefer an ad-free experience.
    I also know that I would not buy a product or service from an intrusive web based advert.

    Internet users fall into two categories. The first is people who would buy from a web based advert and the second is people who would not. People who use ad blockers fall into this latter category - they have no need of adverts so don't watch them.

    It's no different to fast forwarding through the ad breaks on your PVR/Tivo/Sky+ box...

  88. Wayne
    September 6, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    I installed an Ad blocker simply because one site I use a lot had adverts that made the site painfully slow. It was taking up to 30 seconds to load the page compared to the usual 1 or 2 with the ads blocked. Some of these ads were videos that started without prompting which is also annoying.

    I do actually agree with you but without the ad blocking software I wouldn't still use the aforementioned site anyway so site builders need to make sure the ads aren't that intrusive.

  89. Joe
    September 6, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    I have no problem with 'normal' unobtrusive adverts, and do not use an adblocker.  The only thing I do is disable flash as it makes my mac go mental.  Sites with annoying pop ups or flashing moving ads are so annoying so I usually leave first...

    • AppleFUD
      September 6, 2011 at 4:32 pm

      I agree. The problem isn't with the ad blocking extension as it is with sites being abusive to their visitors. 
      Take a look at engadget and techcrunch--how many server calls do each have? The sites are slow loading, heavy on the user's computer resources and mostly so they can shove more adds in your face via JavaScript. Just like html, and flash before it, html5 is now being abused by sites to shove as much advertising in your face as possible.

      Furthermore, much of what is posted on most sites isn't even worth the visitors time to view the content let alone the ads--these are wannabe journalists, not real journalists, and often they are just shills for companies.

      We wouldn't need ad blocking extensions if sites that wanted to make money did it properly. Google is a good example of this, they have ads all over the web and makes tons of cash off them but they are not obtrusive about it, nor are they trying to kill my cpu by loading tons of stuff on a site that just doesn't need to be there.

      You want me to look at your ads? Then develop a proper site that loads quickly and isn't demanding that I have ads shoved in every other paragraph with popups, etc.

      • hail Peoples Cube
        October 13, 2011 at 12:17 pm

        raping naive users for profit

        is NOT acceptable

        those who claim not to mind FAIL to understand: 

        privacy is NOT a commodity
        privacy is NOT a commodity
        privacy is NOT a commodity
        privacy is NOT a commodity
        privacy is NOT a commodity
        privacy is NOT a commodity
        privacy is NOT a commodity
        privacy is NOT a commodity

    • hail Peoples Cube
      October 13, 2011 at 12:22 pm

      you might enjoy Proxomitron, proximodo, or privoxy

      All hail Scott R. Lemmon!!!!!!

      for upstream filtering try: squid, untangle, smoothwall

      mix in one of: FoolDNS, OpenDNS, NortonDNS, etc