Among the many means of promoting products and services online, online advertising has been omnipresent throughout the internet’s history. Nearly every popular site uses advertising as its main business model and revenue stream, and is becoming a popular way to monetise free apps. Nevertheless, ads are infamous on the internet for their wildly varying quality.
While many ads are designed not to intrude on the user’s browsing experience, there are many unscrupulous advert designers who design ads to get in the way as much as possible, or even offer a conduit for malware. Ads that automatically play audio and video, ads that take over the page if they’re scrolled over, and on mobile devices, ads that pretend to have finger smudges or hair on them to get the user to swipe over them are all too common and represent the worst of cynical online advertising.
Ads like these, as well as concerns over advertising’s role in gathering user data has led to the rise of adblockers, which reduce or eliminate adverts on websites. On some sites, adblock is all but required as many site owners cover their website with malicious or intrusive adverts that slow the browser down. In response, many websites (particularly news websites, as advertising is a major source of revenue) ask the user to disable adblock, sometimes even preventing access until the user disables it.
For those who are upset at ad blocking services for cutting off revenue streams, they need to understand why the user installed them/activated them on your website. As described above, advertising usually causes more harm than good for the user, and certain sites have no compunction over plastering their site with ads that try to infect the user’s computer, slow their browser down or spy on their browsing habits. There’s a continual arms race between dodgy ad makers and adblockers, not unlike virus designers and antivirus programmers.
The only real solution for the site owner is assessing how your site handles ads. Is your site hosting dangerous ads? Are site users leaving after seeing a particular ad, or complaining about it? Is the site’s screen space dominated by flashy ads? Will users find the content objectionable? It’s up to you to ensure that the ads running on your site are tolerable, since nobody is going to turn their adblocker off unless the site’s ads are, at the very least, safe and unintrusive.
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