Marketing, Design, Writing & More

Adblock Plus Sucks And I Love It!

Adblock PlusFirst, I would like to thank Adblock Plus for starting a movement, but even more to uBlock for being open source and no white list for paying websites. Secondly, I would like to state that I go out of my way to install uBlock, Disconnect, and Ghostery on every single computer I come in contact with. For those I can not physically do it for, I instead, walk people through the process over the interwebs or the phone. This post is about pushing back the internet marketers and cleaning up our internet. We were taken over and I want my internet back from marketing and data collection companies!

Website Owners Hate This One Weird Trick

Now, I would like to address why adblocking sucks and for whom. So many website owners hate adblocking because it drops their revenue, puts a kink in their plan to become rich from Adsense (/s), and just plain pisses them off that someone would use these plugins on their website. Good. I hope those sites close up shop and go away. The inception of the internet was not about every website making money. If your sole purpose is to build a site to sell advertising on, then I am not in support of you being a part of the internet. I know it’s a bold statement, but ultimately I feel this way about the majority of websites. There are plenty of great websites that don’t use advertising.

I never understood when starting a blog or a forum became synonymous with people owing you money because they visited your property. Last I checked, the purchase from Godaddy didn’t come with a guarantee that anyone was going to pay you for a hobby. The plea I see that always reads “Hey fellow, I see you hate ads, so why not consider a donation?”. Well let me tell you why. I don’t know you, it’s the first time I have been to your website and the first thing I experience is you begging me for money because you decided you wanted a website, and clearly money was the driving force between you setting up shop and me finding it.

I want to make a couple things clear before I just look like a complete hater.

  • A person has every right in the world to build a website and put 500 ads per page on it if they choose.
  • I am not forced to look at ads, buy from them, or stay on a website that I don’t like.
  • Some websites need to earn money due to the value they bring to the audience and servers are expensive.
  • If you do something great and your visitors want to donate, view ads, or pay a membership fee then no one should prevent that from happening.

I believe websites are not automatically entitled to:

  1. Give me no choice but to view ads and hand over my tracking information to be sold to an advertising company.
  2. Ask for a donation on the first visit I make to the website before knowing if it’s a website that I want to support.
  3. Assume everyone owes them something because they opened a blog.

So Adblock Plus & uBlock sucks for those that are purely driven by the $1 per day they hope to earn from Adsense. Now let’s get to why I love it.

Note: I will whitelist any website that brings value to me to say thank you for what it brings to the table. Also, I only recommend using uBlock as it is open source and doesn’t take a bribe to whitelist certain websites. Originally this article was written before uBlock’s existence and I am updating it for 2016.

Why I Love Adblocking Plugins

I love it because I don’t have to see all those ads. If I wanted all of those ads I wouldn’t have cut the cord from traditional TV. Sure, I never click them, I don’t buy the products or services, and frankly I am not the type of person advertisers want to target. I block ads because I don’t owe it to any website I happen to visit to make them money for simply existing. Every ad I see or is shown on my computer is a small vote of validation that those websites are awesome and should continue to exist. Let’s be clear, 95% of all websites could shut down tomorrow and I wouldn’t even notice.

I haven’t run ads (excluding the 1 time I tried in 2010 because a business partner really wanted me to give it a shot) since I started building sites in 2001. I haven’t made a cent from ads and I have had 880 websites in 14 years. I currently have about 5 after letting almost all of them go. That’s because 875 weren’t good enough to survive. So I don’t plan on writing this while running ads all over my own blog. I don’t believe in ads, I personally hate them, and if the site brings content that people care about then they will donate or support when they can. Until then, I pay for this from my own pocket because that is how the web should work. Eventually, I might add a store or something that will help with the costs…but I didn’t build this in the assumption that I will become rich from it.

I love adblocking because it’s a game changer. The average person now can block the ads on all sites from some random blog to the 40-minute long Youtube ads (rare, but they exist). I want the entire internet to be ad-free. Not just a segment of ads that are somehow acceptable. No ads are acceptable. I take a firm stance on this.

If micro-payments were somehow possible it would make the web better. Paypal sucks for this and I haven’t met a service yet that would allow me to click a button and drop off $.07 to a website or something. There just has to be a better way than Adsense or Adbrite.

I use about 5 websites over the course of the day. Those would be Gmail, and they sell all my data so we are even. Facebook, because I run groups and pages, and I plainly dislike them but I haven’t completely cut the cord yet. Reddit, and that is a website I support. Buy Reddit Gold. Youtube, I block their ridiculously long ads but I will let the short ones play. Lastly, Amazon and I buy LOTS of stuff from them so we are good there.

Overall, I support the sites that give me what I am looking for. I know it’s all very negative sounding, but in the early 2000’s marketers learned how to ruin the internet then train all of us that ads on the web should be the norm. It’s not, and we need to find better ways.

The Future of It All

The big companies will probably just continue paying Adblock Plus to whitelist them in default and that’s fine. More people will uninstall Adblock Plus and use uBlock. I personally only use uBlock and I whitelist on a case by case basis and I think it’s fair to build that relationship. I will also install other add-ons if needed. I see 3 possible endings here:

  1. Everyone eventually gives up and allows ads to penetrate their souls.
  2. We block everything, and use TOR, anonymize our traffic and make targeting ads useless.
  3. We all use uBlock and watch all whitelisted ads.
  4. Subscriptions, memberships, donations, stores, and other monetizing are implemented.

Number 4 gets my vote. in 2014 I installed a full VPN for my network, installed the TOR bundle for all computers and still looking at using Chromium as a browser solution. I can easily see dumping the majority of my social media accounts that are not anonymous as well. I know this paragraph might come off as I am wear a tin foil hat inside an underground bunker, but I value my own privacy as well as my family’s. I think this is the future for many, but there will still be more than enough lemmings for commercial exploitation.

Support the sites that deserve it. Ignore the ones that don’t. I am 100% fine with sites not making the cut and that includes any of mine. 9 out of 10 small businesses fail in the U.S. so that should apply to websites as well. I think adblocking continues to open a discussion and hopefully corrects something that has gotten entirely out of control.

Let me know how wrong, idiotic, or awesome this is in the comments. I have an open mind and I am certainly looking forward a discussion. I also want to say that I understand that in some cases it is what it is. We just need to be more innovative and bringing value to our readers. We shouldn’t expect something for nothing.

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