I’ve long despised having to block ads because I know that many of the sites I visit depend on advertising revenue to survive. And with the recent Huffington Post article that states that 77% of people feel guilty about blocking ads, I know I’m not alone. I feel guilty for blocking ads. As a content creator myself I realize that doing so is partially shooting myself in the foot, but the risks outweigh the benefits in an unfortunately high number of cases.
If I feel guilty, why do I continue to do it anyway? There are several reasons:
- Many sites have so many ads that either makes the site nearly unusable. The site jumps up and down on a mobile browser, refreshes or flickers incessantly on a desktop browser, or is so cluttered that it’s hard to tell what is content and what is advertising.
- Some ads try to deliver malware or crapware. Some even try to force the window to stay open either in an annoying or downright abusive manner.
- Some ads display offensive images. I’m not talking about nudity – I’m talking about massive abscesses, medical abnormalities, and so on. If I’m trying to read the news, I don’t want to see massive butt-crack.
I do unblock ads on sites that I really care about, and I subscribe to YouTube Red through my Google Music service to support the content creators that I enjoy. I don’t expect anything for free. But I do want to view a usable site and I don’t want an ad to try to infect me with a virus just for reading an article.
If 77% of people feel guilty about blocking ads but do anyway, its time for content creators (and advertisers) to wake up and understand why their revenue streams are dwindling. They clearly have a large majority of visitors who are willing to support their work but unable to justify the security risk to their devices and serious usability issues that can completely disrupt the experience. I hope that this will motivate websites to reduce and optimize their advertising displays. I strongly suspect that they will receive higher click-through rates if they showed more meaningful, less obtrusive ads.