I have been doing some development work in the online advertising space lately and as a result of it, I have become more mindful of which sites I block advertisements on and which sites I do not block advertisements on.
Nobody likes advertisements and while I still use Adblock Plus to block ads for a lot of sites, I do it in a more polite manner than most. If a site offers value to me, I find the content great and it is free, I disable Adblock on the site. It is a small gesture that goes a long way.
Whether you realise it or not, blocking ads can have flow-on effects for people who rely on advertisements. This isn’t some bullshit Hollywood corporate speak about how you are stealing from copyright holders and sending the entertainment industry broke. Blocking ads can have some financial implications for many though.
When you block advertisements you’re not just sticking it to “the man” you are hurting the websites that rely on the advertisements to help pay server expenses and you are also hurting the people who work for these companies who are paying for advertising. And believe it or not, there are ad networks out there who aren’t Google who employe people to maintain their ad serving technology.
I am not saying you should turn off Adblock completely because lets face it, some sites out there don’t deserve ad revenue because they distastefully display advertisements and/or have shit content – I am looking at you news.com.au.
It is easy to forget that ads on the Internet even exist if you have an ad blocker installed. But we have to realise if a site is offering us value, is it really that much of an inconvenience or annoyance seeing a couple of ads? (especially if they’re tasteful ones).
So next time you visit your favourite website that you didn’t have to pay for, consider NOT being an asshole and disabling Adblock (or whatever ad blocker you use) on the website to say thanks to the site owners for offering great free content or services. It costs you nothing to a decent person.
I think we all owe it to ourselves to be polite ad blockers.