A few years ago, I installed ad blockers on every computer I worked on. Google Chrome is my preferred Internet browser and it offers up several good addons to block ads. But times change.
Today, I don’t even bother with ad blockers. And it’s not out of laziness. The reality is that the Internet relies on advertising revenue above all else to provide us with all that Google goodness of information.
Changing Ad Landscape
One of the big reasons ad blockers gained popularity was because of the intrusive nature of advertising. Nowadays, you’re rarely going to see a full-fledged pop-up ad unless you’re surfing a porn or gambling website.
In addition, advertising networks have become much more sophisticated. While people complain about Google tracking their every search, that very tracking data has allowed websites to serve up ads that actually matter to each visitor. Ads aren’t as intrusive as they used to be. They make sense.
Advertising Revenue Keeps Sites in Business
What’s your favorite non-shopping website? Chances are, they rely mostly on ad revenue to operate. Running a website comes with expenses like hosting fees, web designers, site maintenance, and writers to come up with all the content we love to read.
Do you do Google searches? How often do those searches lead you to a blogger who’s taken the time to write an article that gives you the information you’re looking for? You’re not being directly charged to access the information, but that blogger spends money and time to make it available. Nothing on the Internet is free. Regardless of what you might think, someone has paid for it.
Without ad revenue, many of the sites we take for granted would simply disappear. TechCrunch is one of my favorite sites for tech news. Without ad revenue, they’d probably not exist. So as a favorite website why would I not want them to earn a few pennies with I visit? At least it ensures that next time I visit, the site will still be there for my enjoyment. As a reader, it costs me nothing.
Safety & Security
Unlike the ads of the 90’s and 2000’s, today’s reputable ad networks are very safe. I should probably stress the word reputable – if you’re surfing sketchy sites, expect sketchy ads. Major ad networks today such as Google Adsense, Taboola, & Outbrain work with only high-quality clients and advertising code vetted for security and privacy. For the record, this site uses Google Adsense and Amazon Affiliate advertising blocks.
Ad blockers, on the other hand, all have their own ways of determining what’s an ad and what isn’t. Sometimes, they block legitimate parts of a website. You might never actually see the thing you were looking for because your ad blocker thought it was an advertising block.
Keep Information on the Internet Free
Ever do a Google search on how to do something only to find the answer on a site that requires a paid membership? That’s what happens when sites lose their advertising revenue. Suddenly they’re no longer available as a free resource.
Many news sites have already begun instituting paywalls to make up for falling advertising revenue caused by ad blockers. Even if you don’t interact with the ads, publishers can get paid a tiny bit just for having them show up on your screen. It’s small, but every little bit adds up.
Final Thoughts on Ad Blockers
Everyone should consider ditching their ad blocker software and embracing the monetization attempts of the sites they visit. It just might be the difference between that site being there tomorrow or finding out that your favorite news site just folded because they ran out of money to operate.