Ad-Blockers: The Good, the Bad, the Ethics

I think everyone will agree that there are too many ads on the Internet. And since most people ignore ads, online advertising tactics have become increasingly aggressive. They flash, they blink, they auto-play, they pop up, and sometimes ads will block web pages until you dismiss them.

This is, of course, a reaction to the original sin of the Internet: a misguided belief that information wants to be free, and that people wouldn’t pay for online services. Back in the early days, the Internet was new, so free was a way to entice people to use these services. But things are different now, and we’re bombarded with ads.

Like many people, I use ad blockers to ensure that I can surf the web without being overwhelmed. In this article, I’m going to explain how ad blockers work, why you might want to use them — for more than just making it easier to read web pages — how to install them, and I’ll discuss the ethics of using ad blockers.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

6 thoughts on “Ad-Blockers: The Good, the Bad, the Ethics

  1. Content providers made what we can now see is a very bad deal with advertisers. Previously, advertisers paid for the right to present an option of reading an ad to the viewers. The content provider was under no obligation to force attention to the ads. Newspapers got paid for ads, even if I only read the front page. TV broadcasters got paid, even if I went into the kitchen for a sandwich during the commercials. Nobody ever read all the ads in traditional media.

    I wish it were the same on the web. If every website got paid, whether or not I used an ad blocker, this would put the onus to attract my attention back on the advertisers, where it belongs. Obnoxious ads would usually be blocked, pushing advertisers to make less obtrusive and more interesting ads. People would be willing to view more ads, if the ads didn’t feel like assault. I don’t know if we can ever get back to funding arrangements for the web that are more like what existed, and still exist, with older media types.

  2. Content providers made what we can now see is a very bad deal with advertisers. Previously, advertisers paid for the right to present an option of reading an ad to the viewers. The content provider was under no obligation to force attention to the ads. Newspapers got paid for ads, even if I only read the front page. TV broadcasters got paid, even if I went into the kitchen for a sandwich during the commercials. Nobody ever read all the ads in traditional media.

    I wish it were the same on the web. If every website got paid, whether or not I used an ad blocker, this would put the onus to attract my attention back on the advertisers, where it belongs. Obnoxious ads would usually be blocked, pushing advertisers to make less obtrusive and more interesting ads. People would be willing to view more ads, if the ads didn’t feel like assault. I don’t know if we can ever get back to funding arrangements for the web that are more like what existed, and still exist, with older media types.

  3. I tried to save your article as a pdf from Safari Version 11.0.3 (13604.5.6) in 10.13.3 macOS. All I get is Black pages with green or gray Helevetica text formatted as a Reader like page. There are no pictures, only text. This has only started today.

    Have no idea if reinstalling 10.13.3 yesterday, or calibrating my 17,1 iMac screen, then restoring the setting to the standard “iMac” did something, as I have never had any trouble in years exporting to great looking pdfs?

    Normally, I have had no issues exporting your articles.

  4. I tried to save your article as a pdf from Safari Version 11.0.3 (13604.5.6) in 10.13.3 macOS. All I get is Black pages with green or gray Helevetica text formatted as a Reader like page. There are no pictures, only text. This has only started today.

    Have no idea if reinstalling 10.13.3 yesterday, or calibrating my 17,1 iMac screen, then restoring the setting to the standard “iMac” did something, as I have never had any trouble in years exporting to great looking pdfs?

    Normally, I have had no issues exporting your articles.

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