Adblocking; Don’t Blame The Consumer
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Apr 27, 2015
I used to love commercials as a kid. I loved all types of advertising. However, it wasn’t until I ordered the sea monkeys from a comic book and got something that wasn’t quite up to snuff (what the heck was that anyway?) that I started to distrust certain kinds of ads.
Anyway, that’s kind of what’s led me to talk about this subject. In deference to my buddy Craighead Pro (that’s his professional name lol), I decided it was time to take on this particular subject about “adblocking”.
For those who aren’t familiar with it, many browsers offer a plugin called Adblock Pro which allows us to block ads from certain websites; okay, almost every website out there. Some sites have figured out how to get certain types of ads to you in different ways (for instance, it doesn’t block all those newsletter subscribe popups) while others have created other plugins or apps to help block more of it if you want to deal with it.
Craighead’s view is an intriguing one, and I’m not totally against his thinking on this one. He’s a big YouTube creator and many YouTubers put a lot of time into creating this content because they can set up ads on them to make money online. With Adblock on, you never see any of those ads, whether they’re in the video or along the side, thus you’re never compelled to potentially click on them or watch them and the creators don’t make money.
Obviously it’s the same with websites. When we block the ads those sites lose a lot of potential revenue because who wants to advertise on a site where most ads are getting blocked? I certainly wouldn’t because it would be a waste of my advertising dollars.
So I get it; I really do. To this end, I’ve stopped blocking ads on YouTube because I recognize the time those folks put into creating this stuff that I like to watch. Just like with other types of ads I tend to have “ad blindness” for the stuff that shows up on the side so that doesn’t bother me. Anything that shows up on a video I can just click away from it by hitting the X if I’m not interested, and some other ads run for 5 seconds and gives you the ability to click away if you so choose.
However, I have no shame when it comes to blocking a lot of other stuff, including CNN and Facebook and on most websites I visit. Even though I run a couple of affiliate ads here and there I still block those other sites.
I’m going to blame the advertisers for this as much as the websites, but the advertisers first.
What makes us watch advertising in the first place? When we watch ads it’s because it’s offering us something compelling. For instance, the ads I’ll actually watch on YouTube have captured my imagination in some way. I like the funny ads. I like the movie trailers. Even though I’m not a gamer I love seeing those ads; those folks are creative as anything.
I’m not watching an ads that’s 2 minutes long talking about a medical malady I don’t have. I’m almost never clicking on one of those banner ads that comes up because there’s almost never any interest in that product for me. And sometimes those ads look like what we all used to call “generic trick spam”, where they’ll say something like “your computer’s out of date” or stupid mess like that.
A popup telling me I have a virus that I know I don’t have because I have an antivirus program is both disturbing and irksome. That’s one of my biggest gripes with ads that Facebook allows. Those misleading ads aren’t going to fool me after so many years, but I’m betting there are a lot of people who aren’t quite as savvy clicking on that stuff. Those and the ads that are videos that automatically start playing; man, I hate that stuff. That’s why I have a couple of extra layers of protection against ads on that site.
CNN is a different animal entirely. I removed Flash from my computers about 2 months ago as both Firefox, my browser of course, and Chrome switched to a HTML5 mode so I could watch YouTube videos. They’re still blocked on some sites for Firefox, though I can watch them on Chrome. However, CNN has figured out how to not only override that issue but the issue of keeping their videos from automatically starting. And now, if you try to pause those videos it immediately takes you to a different page than the article you want to read & starts playing a different ad; what’s that about?
So, I run different types of blockers on sites like this, and I’m betting I’m not the only one. Whether it’s the types of ads or the intrusiveness of these things, frankly I’m not in the mood to deal with it. YouTube is kind of a different animal but even there, if the ad isn’t compelling I’m not going to stay around to consume it. But I at least give them a chance.
What’s your thought on all of this? Can you see both sides of it? Is it the fault of the advertisers for what they create, the fault of the sites for what they accept, or not your problem whatsoever?