Lately I have been playing around with extensions on Firefox (on Linux) and Chrome (on Windows). Chrome has a few really interesting plug-ins that I have played around with. One is an “IE Render” button, that will open a new Chrome tab and render it as if it were IE8. This may sound ridiculous, but some sites (like USAA until a few months ago) do not render correctly in Chrome, but do in IE. It totally works, so I convinced my wife to stop using IE8 completely. I consider that a big win.
That was my first experience with a Chrome plug-in so I started browsing through all those available and found Ad-Block+. I had it on Firefox already, but due to my wife being strongly against my Linux aspirations for our laptop (a battle still being fought), I do not really use Firefox as much as Chrome. I installed it and it worked fairly well. Now sites I visit load faster, and some (ABC) do not disrupt online video watching with super loud commercials. Fantastic, right?
Ad Blocking is Killing the Internet
Well, today I was reading arstechnica.com and found this article. I guess I had never thought of it that way. Really I had never thought that the Ad-Block was noticeable to the site. According to the article, every blocked ad means lost revenue for a site. The author goes to great lengths to dispel any notion that he is calling ad blocking unethical or stealing, and presents viewing (or at least not blocking) ads as a responsibility of users who enjoy the content on sites they frequently visit. He also argues that users who simply do not want ads at all can subscribe to the site for a small fee and experience it ad free while still supporting the content.
Ad Blocking (and Similar Functions) are Fundamental to the Internet
Well, not five minutes after reading that article, I found a competing viewpoint in this article. But basically, the author says that some sites are now blocking users that try to access their sites with Firefox just because the Ad-Block+ plug-in is available. Then he goes on to argue that Ad Blocking is just a realization of a basic aspect of the web, the lack of control of its users.
He also frames his opponents’ arguments as saying that Ad Blocking is Communism, which doesn’t make any sense, but I think he means Authoritarianism. Of course, that would not have as catchy of a sound to it.
Now, I am not sure either author knows what they are talking about. I would assume they do. I do not run a website or deal with ad revenue. What do the nerds think? Admins? Users? Is ad blocking shirking a basic responsibility of a habitual user of a site?
P.S. Apple has Awesome Ad Blocking Software
This has very little to do with the rest of the post, but Apple has a little program called GlimmerBlocker that will eliminate commercials entirely when watching on-line video. It apparently reroutes everything through a proxy server and only delivers the desired video content to you. I have not used it personally, but a coworker has talked about it in detail to me. He says he does even have to wait for the commercial to finish… the video plays with just a one or two second pause. It also is implemented independent of Safari.
Similarly tagged OmniNerd content:
- Firefox Attempts to Set Single Day Download Record, by VnutZ almost 5 years ago