Stop using Adblock

Adblock is a Chrome and Firefox extension that blocks popups and advertisements. I know a lot of people who use it, and even I used to use it. I thought it was a necessary part of the browsing experience.

There are two main reasons why I stopped using it:
I started to use Google Chrome. This was quite a while back and Adblock didn’t work on chrome then. So I decided to go without it.

The second reason was when I worked at Yelp and an employee noticed that AdBlock started blocking Yelp ads. It felt hypocritical that I blocked ads but worked at a company that relied on advertising.

At first I thought I could just whitelist sites, but then what about one time blogs that have good articles? Why deny them advertising revenue. Think about how many sites rely on advertising that you use. Reddit, Facebook, Google, news, Imgur, almost all profesional bloggers, webcomics (Questionable Content I’ve always noted specifically).

So I stopped using AdBlock and honestly the experience hasn’t been that bad. There are a few sites that pop up obnoxious popups that get through Chrome’s built in pop up blocker. But for the most part, ads aren’t that bad. The age of the really really obnoxious ones have been stopped or perhaps I browse a different set of sites than I used to? Either way, I haven’t had too much trouble or annoyance.

I’m going to cover a few things I’ve heard in support of using AdBlock or things I’ve heard when I mention I feel that it’s wrong to use AdBlock.

I don’t click on the ads anyway.
Doesn’t matter, the fact is that most advertising is actually impression based. Newspaper ads, Television ads, none of which you interact with, the point is to get the message and positive association out there. Think of the Old Spice Commercial, you didn’t click it, you didn’t interact with it, but you still watched it right? That’s impression advertising. It’s brand awareness, you trust what you’ve heard before than what you haven’t.

I don’t want to support certain sites that have ads
Then stop using them.

Flash ads blast my CPU and cause it suffer and weep uncontrollably.
I use FlashBlock to prevent flash ads, a lot of sites are sensible enough to fallback to a HTML ad if the flash is blocked. Also Flash is dying with the web in general, people are relying less and less on flash and advertising will be no different. It’s somewhat of an excuse but the fact is that Flash is really just terrible on a mac. (this also prevents audio ads automatically playing)

Some ads are just annoying (playing music, video, popups etc)
So here’s the thing, if somebody really does have annoying ads, and you believe the website is a good service, then tell them that their ads fucking suck and not to allow those ads.

They do have some say in what ads appear on their site if they complain.

If they aren’t going to change it, then maybe you can use your consumer powers and not visit that site anymore?

What if I just whitelist the sites I use the most?
What about one time visits to blogs? Would you remember to whitelist them? Do they deserve no revenue just because you aren’t a regular visitor?

My connection speed is slow, every kilobyte counts! / I have a monthly cap! 
This is a reasonable excuse in my opinion.

I’m only one person, why does it matter, its only one impression?
You already know the answer to this, it matters from an individual perspective. Group think and excusing things because you don’t think your contribution matters is a pretty weak argument. It’s not about what others do, but about your own actions.

I will be first to admit, this is somewhat biased. I’m a software engineer at a web development company, I have lots of friends who work in the field, thus many of friend’s companies rely on advertising revenue in one way or another. (VerticalBrands: the company I’m working at right now does not make it’s money on advertising but it does use advertising to get customers!)

If you are a software engineer, stop fucking using AdBlock now. We ALL have at least one friend who works at Google, or Yelp, or Facebook, or somebody. Even if the company doesn’t rely on advertising as a revenue source, I’m sure they use it as a source of getting new customers.

I got this last reason for AdBlock from reddit and it’s also excusable.

Some ads have nudity. I go to gay porn sites that have naked women all over their popups. There’s no greater boner killer than seeing the wrong kind of porn pop up when you’re coming close.

Small Update:
Advertisers are constantly trying to determine wether ads are annoying or just bad. Hulu A/B tested forever to determine how long people are willing to watch ads on an television format. Use your consumer choice or complain! Please, it’s the only way legitimate companies will learn. Of course shitty sites that are gaming the system won’t learn, but you should do your best to avoid those sites.