The war against ad blockers
Cartoon of 19/06/2016 in CTXT
More than two years ago I decided to remove all external advertising from this blog. Before that, I had been doing without it for a while. Not even in the best days of blogs, if they existed at all, did it bring in enough money to bother the reader.
And I did it as a gesture, I never had enough money. I stopped showing what I didn’t want to find, as a declaration of principle.
Then I gave the door to the string of sharing stickers that made the pages look more like a formula 1 car than a personal blog. Now I can’t wait to remove the fucking cookie warning, which is the only thing left that slaps the visitor in the face without their permission, all in an attempt to make navigation more comfortable, a site with cleaner content and faster loading, which is what it’s all about. And that is something that many seem to have forgotten.
Gone are the days of placing a couple of ads to pay for hosting. Now, wherever you step, an advertising trap jumps out. Or two, or a hundred.
That’s why I’ve also stopped browsing with my mobile phone, except to visit sites that display advertising in a more rational and less invasive way. Browsing media sites, and other entertainment sites, without an ad blocker is torture.
For a few years now, there has been talk of “the war on ad blockers“. And although publishers admit that formats have been misused, the underlying discourse to justify this “war” continues to be insulting. They continue to insist that readers are to blame for their losses because they do not want to embrace a sea of windows and banners that eat up the screen, impossible to close, that splash the content and interrupt it, or that spout a pasodoble while consuming data and crashing the browser.
And while they point the finger of blame at the creators of ad-blocking tools, they still believe it’s a war they can win. But I think they lost it before it even started.
And no, as a reader I don’t owe anything to their advertisers. Nor to the ads on the billboards in the street, nor to the leaflets in the letterbox.
The Internet has changed the profession for everyone, not so long ago I used to make a living painting on physical supports. Now I essentially do the same thing in digital format. Many things I sold then, I’ve never done again. It would be absurd to fight against that by blaming technological changes for my problems. The barrage of ads as an inevitable slap in the face is history.
I also don’t think the solution is to put up more signs suggesting that I don’t use a blocker and see advertising screwing around in the middle of every paragraph or jumping around the screen interrupting my reading.
It would be better to use those warning signs in an honest way, informing you of a less annoying distribution of the ads.
Enemies pile up
As long as the ad blocker counters keep showing a warning that there are 40 or 50 or even more scripts and ad poo poos littering the page waiting to jump down their throats, no one will consider stopping using them. And for every invention to block one blocker, another blocker will be born to block it.
The latest version of Opera is now incorporates a native ad blockerhas been released, making it the first browser to do so. It works quite well and it is noticeable in the speed of loading pages. The warring parties are not going to be able to cope with so many enemies.