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.

Here's your chance to be popular! 1953
Tom Simpson via Compfight

That’s what led me to talk about this particular subject. In deference to those who feel people like me are causing them to lose a lot of money, I decided it was time to take on the subject of “adblocking”.

For those who aren’t familiar with it (where ya been?), 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; you need to block javascript for that) while others have created plugins or apps to help block some of those ads in other ways.

The view of someone I know who does video 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 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. They can still paste a link in the description, but it doesn’t work as well.

It’s the same with websites. When we block 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.

I get it; I really do.For a while, I stopped blocking ads on YouTube because I recognized the time those folks put into creating this stuff that I like to watch. After all, I also create videos on two channels, and I was making “change” from some of my videos… was. Once YouTube decided folks like me didn’t deserve to monetize any longer, I didn’t care as much so I started blocking them again. I’m not one of the “cool kids”, but since I’ve never aimed to be part of a clique, so be it.

When it comes to the web in general, I have no shame when it comes to blocking a lot of stuff on most websites I visit. Adsense, affiliate ads… unless I’m an online friend of someone or a site has proven to not be obtrusive, I block (including cookies) and move on.


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 some of 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. 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 years ago as both Firefox, my browser of course, and Chrome switched to a HTML5 mode so I could watch YouTube videos. CNN 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?

That’s why I block javascript; no site can get around that. If I really want to watch a video, I go to Chrome; for some reason I haven’t figure out how to block javascript there. Since I rarely use it (because I hate being tracked, but that’s for another time) I find it’s a great place to check things out.

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 something else? Are you bothered by the ads or just ignore them? Let me know.

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