Do you like the idea of an internet without advertising? You can join the soaring ranks of people who install ad blocking software to scrub out banners, pop-ups, and more. But not everyone will be happy about that.
A report this week by media analyst Frederic Filloux warned that web publishers face a crisis as ad block rates shoot up, and consequently block an important means of revenue for online publishers. Between 15 to 17% of the U.S. population reportedly use ad blockers, and the number is double that for millennials. The numbers are even higher in Europe, and up to 80-90% in the case of specialty tech and gaming sites.
The popularity of ad blockers is understandable: For consumers they make web pages look nicer, and they can improve browser speed and screen for malware too.
Of course they should be legal. What should be illegal is poorly coded sites and ads that encourage so many people to use ad blockers.
Don’t get me wrong – as a content producer myself, I hate ad blockers. But I’ve been to countless web sites that have various forms of ads pushed at us, blocking content I came for, autoplaying ads, using Flash and other cruft that slow down and, in some cases, cause havoc with my computer, that I completely understand the people who use this software to prevent those things.
What publishers should be looking at is not trying to make ad blocking software illegal but their own practices that make such software so popular.