It is becoming more and more common for internet users to block ads as they browse the web.
Yes, it hurts the pockets of websites that rely upon advertising to fund their content creators and infrastructure costs, but the truth is that the average man in the street is sick to the back teeth of malicious ads infecting their computers, their browsing being slowed down, and having their online activity tracked.
As The Guardian reports, a study by the Internet Advertising Bureau has found that 22% of British web users over 18 years old are using ad blocking software.
That’s up from 18% in October 2015.
Of course, some websites are worried about the loss of revenue that ad blocking is causing. More sites are beginning to put up walls, asking readers to allow-list their sites so adverts can still be shown or encouraging readers to sign-up for a low-cost ad-free subscription.
It remains to be seen if these tactics are successful or not.
One thing that I think would help make readers less nervous of allow-listing a site’s ads is if they felt a greater confidence that the ads had been properly vetted, rather than simply spat into the site’s sidebar by a third-party ad network. Maybe we need more sites take on the responsibility of hosting the ads on their own servers, and have a direct relationship with their advertisers.
I don’t know what the solution is, but I’m glad I don’t have to rely upon web advertising to pay my grocery bills.
It does feel, however, that some sites are going out of their way to make users feel bad about running an ad blocker – as though it’s not a sensible thing to do when you surf the internet.
Maybe the boot should be on the other foot, and those of us who quite like ad blockers should take a stand too.
I wonder if I started blocking access to content on my site to anyone not running an ad blocker? What do you think?