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Online Advertising, I'm Done With You (For Now)
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You would think I'd have done it eons ago but alas I have only now, and with great admiration of the results, installed Adblock (for Chrome, in my case) to eradicate most online advertising without impacting the appearance or structure of web pages one iota. The latter point was a complete shock to me.

For years I've been pragmatic in understanding that the commercial component of the web kept much of the content out there "free". While not ideologically driven to do so, for a time, I even worked for a large company specifically driving the industry.

But things have finally gotten out of control. The pop-ups and slide-overs and the dancing visuals that leave you chasing the X have gotten so dense now that, effectively, there is no functional web except that which you pay for outright. Those decrying the use of ad-dodging software are quick to remind that advertisement is what keeps the web "free" yet have no answer to what the point of that is if the web is equally unuseable.

I suspect that the science of building a website that dispenses just the right amount of advertising such that it is not rendered useless or a chore to navigate, while at the same time providing value merchant messaging, does exist, but if so its findings are not universally applied. For now it is too easy to demand that a website generate clicks and pay for itself in the name of defending developer paychecks and company "growth".

As that approach has become the unreasonable state of the web today, I am now conscious-free to thwart it. Particularly since Adblock does not live up to any of the bad ideas I had about how it might impact regular web surfing. Pages are not distorted when ads are stripped from them, as I rather imagined they might be, for instance. Then there are the pleasant surprises like the ability to continue to allow "unobtrusive" ads which seem to be about what you'd expect - flat rectangular or square-box ads that sit nicely on the side or in corners of a page causing no fuss. This feature I like because it gives me the ability to reward fair-players by not excluding their ads.

Otherwise, I hope that by blocking ads I will serve as part of the notice team to would-be online advertisers and site developers that no good will come from turning their online presences into stationary spam boxes waiting for people to fall into. If the only way they can exist is to harrass the user experience then they should simply drop or get pushed out of business - Adblock and tools like it can certainly help with the latter. Faced with this "loud enough threat" I'm guessing that in fact developers and advertisers can find that happy balance.


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Online Advertising, I'm Done With You (For Now)
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