Q Thoughts

A Time Before Ad Blocking


Humans – what a complicated species. As history has shown, we’re often perpetually indecisive and we flip flop, admit it. What’s in one day, is out the next, and all by the makings of our own short-lived declarations. Yesterday’s news, for instance, declared ad blockers the next necessary step to an annoyance-free web experience, and supporters across the Twittersphere marched in unison to block those ads! The news of tomorrow, however, plastered expectedly different headlines, touting our switch to ad blocking as premature and even dangerous.

Case in point: We change our minds, and we do it often. We reevaluate and reevaluate again. This is human nature and ironically it won’t change. At the same time, the decisions we make – whether temporary or permanent – weave themselves into the course of history, affecting future decisions and ultimately changing our world.

So, let’s quickly step back to only a short time ago, a time when ads were kings with a stronghold on your web experience. Back in the day, ads were inescapable and quite frankly rude; the customer experience was often downright vexing. Pop-ups based on spyware, pop-unders, redirects, enormous peel back banners, and interstitial after interstitial plagued the Internet, and transitioning from one page to another involved a good deal lengthy grunts and sighs.

In fact, if judging by today’s standards, navigating online was hilariously bad. Remember the Zippo lighter that so very annoyingly “lit up” the website you were visiting? What about that virtual person who appeared out of no nowhere to take a leisurely walk across your screen as you sat there waiting? If these tactics don’t a ring bell, be grateful.

This intrusion, however, was the norm, and we were used to it. Our beloved Internet was free after all, and beggars can’t be choosers.

Nonetheless, enormous progress has been done since then to clean up the Internet, perfecting and customizing the user experience little by little, resulting in what we have today: an undeniably BIG improvement at the cost of significantly fewer interferences. The Internet remains free (to us users and readers anyway).

But we’re only human, right? And so we’re reexamining our progress by deciding it’s best to regress – in a way – to a different version of the Internet, one that will no longer be so free.

In reality, of course, the content we’re consuming and the utility of the Internet comes at a price. Publisher websites feed us content – but they can’t continue to feed us if they can’t feed themselves. So while we all crave a speedier and more seamless experience online, the creation of ad blockers also works to block the flow of revenue to our favorite site(s), effectively impacting a website’s ability to stay viable.

There are two sides to every coin, so where do we go from here?

We want our content served free, and we want it without unnecessary intrusions. So something’s gotta give. But what?

Thing is, our problems usually have a way of working themselves out – it just takes some patience. The answer is not enacting ad blockers ubiquitously. Just like the answer is not a surge in more random ads. It’s really a balance that’s being created and worked out for you, that’s also being tailored to address your very problems. As with most things in life, the answer’s not black or white either – it lies somewhere in between. And is almost always personal.

Categories:Posts from 2016


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *