Web Publishers Must Address Reasons Why Readers Install Ad Blockers
It happened a few days ago, just as it happens nearly every day when I read the news: I clicked on a story about drone regulations and, instead of a story, I was greeted by a loud, unrelated video that I couldn't stop. Eventually it ran its course, and I was able to read the story, but I also resolved not to visit that site again.
Unfortunately, intrusive ads are far too common, as are ads that serve malware, slow down peoples' Internet connections or soak up expensive mobile bandwidth. Because of this, users are installing ad blockers on their computers and mobile devices that keep out all advertising, not just intrusive or annoying ads. Understanding why they do this is pretty easy.
It's also common when I go to a Web site that I wait. And wait. And wait. The reason for the wait isn't because of the Web site content, but rather because ads load too slowly. Sometimes the sites use Flash content, which I've disabled. And, in many cases, the Web pages I'm trying to read are coded so they won't load until the ads load, which may be forever—which, again, is a strong incentive to block ads.
Despite the fact that there are some very good reasons to reject online advertising, it exists for some very good reasons as well. The most important is that it's about the only way to pay for content that appears on the Web site. Without ads, you'd have no content. And yes, if you look next to this column on eWEEK, you'll see ads. Those ads are how I get paid.
NEWS ANALYSIS: Newspapers and Web sites of all kinds are fighting the use of ad blockers as a threat to their revenue, but maybe they're fighting the wrong foe.
So it's understandable that the Newspaper Association of America has gone on a campaign to prevent the use of ad blockers. After all, the association estimates that more than 10 percent of all ads on the Internet are blocked. In addition, the NAA has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission challenging the use of some ad blockers.