Ad Blocking Rationale

August 11, 2017    

Seeing a bunch more discussion about the use of ad-blockers for news/content web sites. Here’s a good link with interesting data about why people use ad-blockers

You’ll see that the main criticisms from people is that a lot of ads now are “annoying”. News sites (as I’ll call them for simplicity) are now responding with different kinds of pop-up notices whining about the use of ad-blockers, how it takes away their revenue stream, hence they won’t be able to provide their content, etc.

My reason for using an ad-blocker is simple – without an ad-blocker I can’t read a news sites content, period. There are plenty of sites I would love to read, but when I see a link to an article hosted at that site, I usually don’t click on it, because the user experience is horrific. I happen to have a pretty modern, multi-core CPU, 16GB DRAM, and SSD local disk – yet when I click in to many sites, my machine grinds to a halt, I can see literally hundreds of TCP connections flying in and out, and the CPU cooling fans squeals in to high-gear.

Meanwhile, as you all know, the ads and banners start popping up and I start to play the modern version of a first-person-shooter trying to hit hidden “x”s , stare at blank content spaces while some slow ad content provider is failing to load, and by now have totally forgotten what it is that I was trying to read. This is akin to reading a good book and having someone yank it out of your hands every time you turn the page.

The problem is not with ads but with ads that are so deliberately intrusive that it makes reading the content unbearable. Leaving aside privacy concerns about ad tracking, to some degree I would want some ads to be targeted to my (or at least my demographic). The primary concern (see the data linked above) is just that – to repeat myself – I can’t read the content.

News sites should recognize that their primary function is being destroyed by the wanton use of these new unbearable ad techniques. Similar issues have cropped up in other media, but with much simpler solutions – it’s very easy to mute the “extra-loud” commercials for the minute or so they are on, and when reading a magazine we all have learned to shake out the embedded insert cards before reading. Modern advertising web tech has gone ridiculously over the top at inventing new ways to stand between the purpose of the new site and the user.

Solutions? Not sure, sorry. Probably something like a micro-payment system, so that it’s easy (and seemingly inexpensive) to pay for content piece by piece. Otherwise we may need some browser tab container policies such that any new view only get so much RAM/CPU/Network, and after that they have to pay me for the right to use my computer to show their ad pop-ups, -unders, slide ins, autoexpanders etc.

FWIW, like most, I use which does have a policy for allowing acceptable ads to be shown.