To block or not to block?

Here’s an interesting article about the consequences of adblocking software (check the comments for further discussion).

I wrote a post at the start of the year that explored some of this topic, and if you check out the comments beneath the Guardian article you’ll note many complaints about the quality and tone of the ads that fill up the sites you really want to see, while also sucking up their bandwidth:

kooljeff says:

Indeed. If they were discreet, tasteful and unobtrusive letting the content take precedence that would be fine.

But we are bombarded by garish, tasteless overwhelming greed. Continually punched and kicked with corporate grasping, money grubbing. No wonder the Tories like it so much.

This has led to last year’s Cannes Grand Prix-winning ‘Unskippable ads’ from Geico:

Which has since been followed up by this:

Funny, isn’t it? There’s this huge smelly problem in the world of advertising and, aside from the odd pisstake, the entire industry seems happy to ignore it. As far as I can tell, websites seem to think it’s better to annoy you by following you around the net with a picture of that lampshade you decided not to buy (or, even stranger, more lampshades when you’ve just bought one: ‘He seems to be a great lover of lampshades. He must want more and more of them. Let’s shove them all under his nose!’) than simply acknowledge that you’ve spent time on their site already, and perhaps that’s enough for now. The analogy of being chased out of the shop and followed all over the place by the shop keeper makes total sense, but why does no one acknowledge that? Is this method of salesmanship so damn effective that it’s worth all the bad blood?

That brings us on to adblockers. Another comment from the Guardian article:

7heManFromDelMonte (ironic name?) says:

He needs to ask WHY people are using ad- blockers. And the simple answer is that we are sick of being fed ads 24/7. 

Tv, radio, social media, busses, taxis, billboards, newsletters. Even on petrol pump handles!

We use ad blockers because we are sick of being force fed ads. Otherwise we wouldn’t use them.

Precisely.

Ad blockers are used because people don’t like some aspect of the ads, be that persistence, ugliness, use of bandwidth, indication of a further corporate greed that they’d rather not enable etc. But instead of addressing those faults, the websites and advertisers have got together and attempted some sort of guilt trip, suggesting that we should bloody well take our medicine because it’s paying for the next Muse album.

I think the angle here should be positive reinforcement; the carrot instead of the stick. To avoid the King Canute-esque whining of Mr. Whittingdale and the media moguls an effort must be made to create things people want. Is that easy? No. Is there currently a better alternative? No. Is any of this really going to change? Hahahhahahahhahahahahhahahhahahahhahahhahahahhahha…