by Greg Krehbiel on 15 March 2017
A man I respect a great deal recently suggested that I tell my friends that when they use an ad blocker they are stealing food out of my childrens’ mouths. (My kids buy their own food most of the time these days, but you get the point.)
There are a lot of expenses involved in running a professional website, and there are a lot of different strategies companies use to deal with those costs. Some companies view their website as a cost of doing business and don’t try to make money from it, but most see it as a revenue source of one kind or another. One of the more common means of getting revenue from a website is to run ads on it.
The implied bargain — from the website owner’s perspective — is that the website provides useful content and the visitors put up with the ads, which are the owner’s means of compensation.
But is that really the implied bargain?
When I watch TV, I often mute the commercials. That’s somewhat analogous to an ad blocker, right?
The company that produces the TV show knows I can do this. Remotes have a mute button, after all. And I can change the channel easily enough.
There’s nothing forcing me to watch the commercials on TV (or listen to them on the radio). The producers are betting on the fact that enough people will watch the commercials to make the advertisers happy and keep the ad revenue rolling in. If that changes — if lots of people start ignoring commercials — the company will have to come up with another way to make money on their TV show.
That’s the way I see ad blockers. They’re like the mute button or the “change channel” button. They’re just a fact of web technology.
If enough people use ad blockers, websites will have to come up with other ways to monetize traffic. Fortunately, there are lots of other options that don’t rely on advertisements.
2017-03-15 » Greg Krehbiel