Why Web Designers Should Not Use Ad Blockers

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Editor’s Note Link

This post is an article from our new series of “opinion columns,” in which we give people in the Web design community a platform to raise their voice and present their opinion on something they feel strongly about to the community. Please note that the content in this series is not in any way influenced by the Smashing Magazine Editorial team. If you want to publish your article in this series, please send us your thoughts1 and we will get back to you.

— Vitaly Friedman, Editor in Chief of Smashing Magazine

I’ll start this article with a positive statement: Most people frequenting the web design community (whether they are casual readers or regular design bloggers doing research) understand that nothing is truly free (not even content2), and appreciate the fact that many blogs, design resources, and tech news sites rely on advertising to keep them afloat.

Ad Blockers: Evil?

But unfortunately, not everyone gets this, and not everyone understands that with some viral pushing of certain trends and ideas, we as a community could be inadvertently shooting ourselves in the foot while we try to make our own browsing experience less ad-intrusive, and more comfortable.

Because of the advent of social media and the apparent ease with which trends, habits, and ideas can be spread, and because of the incredible speed with which such ideas can be spread, the mere discussion of ads being too intrusive on web design blogs could cause a serious problem in a presently-thriving community.

Ad Blockers Hinder the Community Link

The design blogging community would not be what it is today without ads. It’s true that you could make the argument that much of the trash and superficial design writing online wouldn’t exist without the support of advertisements, but that is just a natural byproduct of mass media. Infomercials would not exist if ABC3 and the Discovery Channel4 didn’t exist. But that doesn’t mean ABC and the Discovery Channel never produce quality content. The bad content will always exist if money is involved — but that doesn’t make the financial benefits necessarily evil.

We should be proud that we are part of a community whose advertisements are often from high-quality software and app development companies. Many of these companies have worked hard to produce useful and beautiful products that assist us immensely in our workflow. Many of such products are offered free of charge, with pay options for enhanced versions. You don’t find that kind of thing very often in other media, so we should be willing to support our advertisers fully, and should from time to time take a look at the products they offer and, if we genuinely find them useful, share them with our contacts.

Ad Blockers Promote a Me-First Attitude Link

Nothing succeeds when individuals are selfish. Ultimately, selfishness will lead to demise because a community cannot truly thrive if the individuals that comprise it are only in it for themselves. When you choose to block ads while you surf the web, you’re basically saying “I only care about my own comfort, and I don’t want anyone else to benefit from my web surfing.” It’s a shame that any web designer would have that attitude.

What would happen if ad blocker plugins started spreading like wildfire throughout the design community, rendering virtually all ads useless? That would be a terrible thing, and would effectively destroy many of our favorite blogs, and would negatively impact many of the very people in the community we claim to be “friends” with.

Ad Blockers Could Cause a Mini “dot com bust” Link

I’m in no position to intelligently analyze the dot com bubble burst5 or “dot com bust” of the late 90s, but if we promote an “everything should be free” industry, then we’re just setting ourselves up for something similar.

To get an idea of the type of revenue streams that we’re hindering when we use an ad blocker, go to the BuySellAds “buy ads” page6 and do a search for any of the top design blogs, then click on the “more details” link to view the amount of money that advertisers are willing to pay for a simple square or rectangular ad on many of these websites.

Sure, you can have a negative, selfish view of this, thinking that these sites are getting rich because of your web browsing, but that would be a terrible attitude to have. No, these advertisers are not making these website owners rich, they’re putting thousands of dollars into the design community, which is positively affecting all of us.

If we ignore the contribution these advertisers are making, we could inadvertently cause our own little bubble to burst. That’s why it really upsets me when I see design blogs promoting the use of ad blockers, and even worse when I see design bloggers writing about blogs being too ugly because of ads.

Ad Blockers Make the Web Less Real Link

When I worked for a big design agency here in Toronto, I almost always used Internet Explorer for my browsing. My co-workers didn’t understand why I used IE so much. Mainly I did so because I was used to it from years of using IE6. But it was also great because it gave me a realistic view of the web, because I saw things the way our clients did. What does this have to do with ad blockers?

An ad blocker reduces your ability (if only slightly) to design with your clients’ needs in mind. With ads showing through in full force, you’ll always see things the way they’re intended, and, as mentioned, you’ll be supporting the quality ads that have helped build our community.

Ad Blockers Shouldn’t Be Used (for Quality Blogs) Link

As a community, we should take a stand against any person or blog that promotes the use of plugins or other methods that effectively take money out of the pockets of the very people who are willing to put money into our community. I wrote this article because I saw a tweet promoting a roundup of Google Chrome extensions, one of which was an ad blocker. I found a few of the extensions useful, but I wouldn’t bother promoting the roundup myself because I don’t want to promote the use of such a plugin.

If you run a web design blog, don’t promote the use of these browser plugins, and don’t complain about the amount of ads that appear on your favorite blogs — because you probably wouldn’t even know about those blogs if they didn’t have ads on them. Instead, have a balanced view7 of ads on design blogs, and help support the community by using the products and services that our advertisers are selling (or in some cases, generously giving away).

Poll: Do You Use an Ad Blocker? Link


Footnotes Link

  1. 1 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/contact/index.php/form
  2. 2 http://incisive.nu/2010/content-is-not-free/
  3. 3 http://abc.go.com/
  4. 4 http://dsc.discovery.com/
  5. 5 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dot-com_bubble#The_bubble_bursts
  6. 6 http://buysellads.com/buy
  7. 7 http://www.drawar.com/articles/dont-let-ads-kill-your-site/
  8. 8 http://css-tricks.com/video-screencasts/78-on-web-advertising/
  9. 9 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/06/19/ad-management-plugins-and-tutorials-for-managing-ads-on-your-website/
  10. 10 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/12/03/online-advertising-and-its-impact-on-web-design/
  11. 11 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/02/12/successful-strategies-for-selling-ad-space-on-low-traffic-websites/
  12. 12 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/04/12/the-path-to-advertising-nirvana/
  13. 13 http://polldaddy.com/poll/3343287/
  14. 14 http://polldaddy.com/features-surveys/

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Louis Lazaris is a freelance web developer and author based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs about front-end code on Impressive Webs and curates Web Tools Weekly, a weekly newsletter for front-end developers.

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  1. 1

    as designers we should find the way to design ads in such a way that they work for the client and are not so visually invasive to the content of the web.. if we don’t then who!?

    0
    • 2

      That’s right. The design idea is form follows function and not everybody follows the Ad Block…!-)

      -1
    • 3

      Now, honestly, bloggers and designers have ads only because they earn money with their blogs. If they can’t keep a site without ads, then they disappear, that’s just the evolution. So if your blog can’t survive with users who use ad-blocker, then just shut it down and move on. Life is not easy.

      I am using ad blockers for 2 years now and I haven’t seen any site being harmed by my behavior. Stupid article, stupid argument.

      -3
      • 4

        agree :) Stupid article…

        -4
        • 5

          just saying something is stupid may make people agree with you but it’s an equally weak argument. I would agree I think some points in the article are a little blah. But as a whole what would happen to if all the blogs that are alive because of ad funds died… I am guessing smashing magazine would not be around.

          However if ad blockers get big then I am sure designers and coders will figure out anti, ad blockers and things will just get crazy going back and forth which will in the end waste a crap ton of my time learning how to bypass ad blockers…. ramble….

          0
        • 6

          totally stupid article. Use AdBlock Plus if you are using firefox :-)

          -4
        • 7

          agree. super stupid article!

          -4
      • 9

        Agreed. Horrible post. Nothing insults designers more than to see a post telling them they should see ads because its ‘good for community’.

        This is 2010. We know how sites are monetized. Instead of blanketing a plea for support as “professional advice”, why don’t you go out and ask your readers to support the sponsors of the site? Take a lesson from readwriteweb.com, and prove that you trust your readers to support good content. Don’t treat your readers like idiots.

        -2
        • 10

          Matt,

          This is a quote from the article:

          …we should be willing to support our advertisers fully, and should from time to time take a look at the products they offer and, if we genuinely find them useful, share them with our contacts.

          So your assumption that the article doesn’t encourage sponsor support is just plain wrong. Nobody is treating anyone like an idiot. Using an ad blocker is fine if you want to improve your own personal experience. I understand that. But I don’t think it’s worth it for the trade-off it requires: That advertisers who are willing to support these blogs end up wasting their money and eventually folding because the business model fails. And why does it fail? Because we couldn’t leave a few non-intrusive ads in a sidebar.

          -1
      • 11

        So you are saying you would rather see the web as a pay model since if ad blockers took over a fair share of the market, most sites would go this way which would also drive the quality of content down for the free ones. The only ones that will lose are you the users :)

        0
      • 12

        I would assume these sites aren’t being hurt because there are enough people who DON’T use an ad blocker that do view them, and do click on the ads. :)

        Seriously, how are these people supposed to pay for their space and bandwidth without ads?

        Stupid comment.

        0
    • 13

      Totally agree. I keep adds enabled in Tweetie because they are attractive and informative. Unfortunately so many of the adds which my nice shiny addblocker blocks are not attractive or informative and often promote products containing spyware and scams.

      Its simple, addblockers will exist until the add industry cleans up their act and stops trying to trick users, infect them with spyware and plaster porn across their screens. I agree blogs with decent adds loose out but then again you are not all blameless… 10 adds for PSD 2 HTML services… come on thats not informative thats just repetitive.

      @Prydie

      1
    • 14

      The idea for ads is that they need to be visible when a visitor comes to your site…

      0
    • 15

      Ad blockers are for people so self-entitled that they refuse to even passively support sites that give something to them for free.

      0
      • 16

        Completely agree. To those who are calling this a “stupid” article clearly fit in the “Me-First Attitude” group.

        0
      • 17

        You cannot be more wrong

        0
      • 18

        I’m almost ashamed to have you as a namesake. Just so you know, you don’t make money unless I click or buy something from an ad. Some people (like myself) aren’t too interested in buying from these ads as not even the site owner can guarantee the quality of the product.

        Actually, since you’re so concerned, everytime your TV goes for an ad break, I urge you to sit and watch every single one of them. Sure it doesn’t make them money, but if you don’t watch, you’re KILLING THE INDUSTRY!

        0
        • 19

          You couldn’t be more wrong here. Ads can be paid on clicks or impressions (views). Television ads are absolutely priced based on viewership. For the site or tv show that carries the ad, the way they are able to pay for the content and entertainment they provide is based on their viewership. To believe otherwise absolutely falls into the “Me first” attitude category. You are so worried about only getting what you want, and nothing you don’t. You clearly read SM, maybe you enjoy it, maybe you don’t. Would you prefer to pay a subscription in order to read it? Would you prefer to pay a monthly cost to watch Hulu or YouTube?

          1
        • 20

          The TV station still makes money if you leave the room with the TV on during commercial breaks. They don’t know that you ran to the toilet and aren’t in there watching it. All they know is that there is a TV on in your house while the ads are running. Point not made.

          0
      • 21

        Nice assumption, but I use adblocker because I absolutely despise ads, especially those that are thrown in your face. There is no way I will ever click on one, so why should I have to put with them distracting me from reading the actual content?

        I believe having a website is an investment, it should cost some money because it just isn’t free. Only if the costs get out of hand or maintaining the website is your actual job, measures should be taken. Unfortunately, pretty much every idiot who just opened a website thinks he should put a lot of ads on it so he can make revenue with it instead of using it to pay the hosting bills. If like a website’s content, I’d much rather donate some cash (or buy the Smashing Book ;)) than having to see ads floating around everywhere.

        1
      • 22

        Why do we need to see ads if we don’t click on them? No thanks, viruses, adware and cookies.

        1
  2. 23

    I agree until the site I’m surfing it’s not composed by more Ad than content.

    0
  3. 24

    Unfortunately, we don’t only browse website with ads where: “companies have worked hard to produce useful and beautiful products that assist us immensely in our workflow”. We also browse sites were adverts disrupt the browsing experience, pretend to be system messages and often push unsolicited content, images and even audio.

    0
    • 25

      Yes, certainly, but most ad-blockers allow you to add exceptions for certain sites. That’s what I do.

      0
      • 26

        me too. i add some sites (my favorite sites) to white list, so i’m supporting people. but when i want to read news, i enable adblock, because half site contains banners. it raises my cpu usage to almost 90%, pc begins to lag and my browsing experience becomes crappy. so if website respects its visitor, visitor will respect website.

        0
        • 27

          yep, antanas, you speak for me, too

          0
          • 28

            Michael SteelWolf

            June 14, 2010 8:45 am

            Do you actually click on any of those ads? Do you purchase products or services from the companies they represent? If not, you’re just helping your favorite site be dishonest and take money to show ads to disinterested people.

            Ad blocking is excellent; it eliminates a whole class of ad-blind people who hate ads so much they install extensions to get rid of them. You’re better off finding ways to advertise that your visitors will actually be interested in, with or without blockers. Attempting to guilt people into loading ads they’re not going to look at or interact with is a waste of everybody’s time and money.

            0
          • 29

            @Michael SteelWolf, so all television and radio stations are dishonest then?

            0
          • 30

            Michael SteelWolf

            June 15, 2010 10:59 am

            If they were writing opinion columns chastising their viewers for using DVRs to skip commercials or turning the volume down during ads, then yes.

            0
      • 31

        Unfortunately, a basic principle of web design is “don’t make me think”. If I have to think about which sites to add to an ad blocker then I’m going to take the “no think” option and block all ads.

        0
    • 33

      Nollind Whachell

      June 16, 2010 7:32 am

      “Ad blockers promote a me-first attitude. Nothing succeeds when individuals are selfish.”

      You’re forgetting the obvious. The companies responsible for the ads are the ones initiating this “me-first” attitude in the first place which is why most people only naturally respond in kind. I mean if the ads were actually useful, engaging, and truly targeted the interests of the viewers, people wouldn’t be blocking them in the first place.

      This is why I pretty much agree with Martin’s reply here and those under his thread. If you truly value the content of a site, most definitely add them as an exception to being blocked so you can see what their ads are like. If they are engaging and useful, keep them up. If they are annoying like others, then block them again.

      All said and done though, ads should be your secondary means of support rather than your first (especially if you have a smaller community). Tip jars, affiliate links, not too mention creating and selling things are much betters means of direct support. For example, many successful bloggers often relay most of their content freely on their websites initially but then organize it into a purchasable book format later for easy reading offline (i.e. Gapingvoid, David Weinberger, 37 Signals, Smashing Magazine, etc). Other designers prefer to just create and sell templates (i.e. WP premium templates).

      0
      • 34

        I agree. I use ad-blockers to shield myself not because I think websites should be free, but because the ads are intrusive and frankly an insult.

        We have so many means at our disposal to make ads engaging and targeted, and yet what happens most of the time is still the banner-bombing, whereby everybody gets exposed to ads that only actually interest less than 1% of all visitors. This, not the mere existence of banners is what we’re decrying. What’s most baffling is that such a low conversion rate is still bought by the majority of companies, when they should insist that they actually get something worthwhile for their money – aside from the tarnished reputation that particularly intrusive ads bring with them.

        I am never going to play any of the bazillion free browser games, nor order any dietary supplements or additional mobile contracts. These ads make up a great percentage of what is pointed my way, and it shows an utter disregard for what I actually want or care about. You will not engage me personally until you engage me *personally*.

        On the other hand, if ever I were interested in ordering a custom cake, I know which blog to turn to and I think there is an important lesson here. One that smashing magazine has learned, since most ads are not only in a predictable place but also specifically targeted at their audience and thus have probably one of the highest click-through-rates on the web.

        1
  4. 35

    Sorry, but, your guilt trip will not effect my surfing habits. AdBlock on my Firefox is possibly the best invention that has hit the net for many years. I will never stop using it.

    Why not try an article on a marketing blog, and harp onto them about how ridiculous and invasive their current methods are for delivering their (mainly nonsense) advertising content. Give THEM the guilt trip. THEY are the ones who might kill your site and some of the best blogs. NOT US!

    We use blockers to make the web more usable and pleasant. Go and change THEIR methods of delivery and not our methods of protecting the sanity and quality of our online time.

    0
    • 36

      Certainly, I also hate these marketing people, but the author is talking about removing ad blockers for design blogs and I think he is absolutely correct. Make exceptions for the design blogs and support the community, but use it for those nasty sites that want to trick us and use invasive marketing methods!

      0
      • 37

        then u need a regulatory to decide which sites to be exempted and which to be blocked!!

        0
        • 38

          Yeah I would rather just have my eye flip away instead of selecting sites to block… I am very rarely tricked by ads mostly because tricky ad designers seem to use windows 98 style errors messages and I am on a 2010 mac… so i just think to myself wait a second i’m not on a PC I don’t need to download spyware protector…

          i would if there is a difference in ad blocker useage between, mac and pc users

          0
    • 39

      How very very true.

      0
  5. 40

    Ad block sucks, you should remove them from this website

    0
    • 41

      Using the same logic: you suck, therefore you have to be removed from the internets…

      0
  6. 42

    Designers and developers should just grow a pair and get over the fact that advertising is a part of the web. I don’t and will never use any form of adblocking system on any of the computers that I use to browse the internet. Do they turn off the TV or radio when an advert comes on? I doubt it!!

    0
    • 43

      No, we just record everything with sky plus & watch it back later fast forwarding through the ads ;)

      But seriously – ad as annoying as they are – are just part of the web. It’s just life

      0
    • 44

      Actually, yes… yes I do. I switch the station in my car almost instantly, or even turn off the radio.

      I don’t like watching TV for this exact reason. In an age where I can rent DVDs or watch plenty of unlimited ad-free content online (even with, say, a Netflix subscription) I feel no need to be subjected to horrible, horrible ads which 99% of them seem to be.

      I don’t mind paying a small subscription price… but my time is more valuable than ads and I don’t want my experience interrupted by unsolicited content.

      0
      • 45

        Same here. I don’t listen to radio but only to my iTunes library, most of the music in it I have bought, I never watch TV because every time I’m in someone else’s place and they have it on I just get angry because of how braindead dumb the ads (and most of the content) in there are.
        And yes, I do use an adblocker because these supercool ads that you’re happy to look at don’t exist beyond some webdesign websites, most of them are just animations that keep on bouncing over your screen, playing audio and video while I’m listening to music while browsing, and that just makes me angry and leave the site.

        To those who say to ads being annoying “this is life” and that people using adblockers are selfish… this is really a stupid argument since you could be answered (as marc coley at the top put it, even though I don’t agree with him) that adblockers “are life” also, and that life is hard.

        I’m ok with micropayments for high-quality content that would remove ads, and I’d be willing to pay to support a service even if I use an adblocker, just like I use sponsored Apple Store links on my favourite Mac-news website, just like I pay indie software that could easily be cracked (after I have used the trial to make sure it fulfills my needs), just like I pay for my music instead of downloading it (after I have downloaded some albums to make sure I like it first), but I simply wouldn’t be able to stand an ad-crippled website long enough to decide whether I want to support it or not.

        0
        • 46

          I totally agree with Patrick and Matti. I too won’t watch TV because of the annoying ads. I like to be able to choose the content I want to look at and listen to. Non-intrusive ads are extremely rare. And between you and me, why would I want to see ads at all if I have ways to block them? For you to make more money?

          I understand your problem and respect your position but I disagree with it. As a surfer I despise ads. As a designer I choose not to implement any on the websites I create for this exact same reason. They are annoying, useless to the surfers and, even though they might mean profit for me, they go against what I believe to be ethical design.

          This article to me seems like a desperate attempt to make profit. Instead of spitting on adblocker users, you could simply be honest and ask them nicely to consider the option of turning it off. Treating them badly won’t make them support you more. If something it will make them turn away from your site.

          0
    • 47

      I do turn my TV off (which I watch rarely) and will certainly turn off the radio when an advertisement comes on. I have DVRs so I can skip the commercials and Netflix so I can watch my favorite shows uninterrupted. The comparison really doesn’t work well either. TV and radio commercials are an annoyance. Web ads rely on interaction and some attempt to trick less experienced users into performing actions that will harm their computer and spread to other computers.

      Now to comment the article itself. I will always use an ad blocker. It boils down to the fact that for every 1 relevant and on the level ad, there are 10 that have nothing to do with the content and/or try to do something illicit to my computer. I used to keep an exception in my blocker for Smashing Mag but blocked it again after they posted the full page block advertising the book. I understand their desperation at the time, but there was no need to force it down our throats.

      0
    • 48

      I can’t remember the last time I listened to the radio. In terms of TV, I buy a lot of episodes over iTunes by preference (unfortunately it’s not practical to get all my TV that way, due to some programmes not being released on iTunes here), pre-record almost everything else, and mute adverts in anything left.

      I’ll whitelist any site I like and know will monitor the adverts, but much of the web is far too much of a hostile mess without AdBlock.

      Anyone thought of making a Firefox extension that blocks the whole site from loading if it contains adverts? That way we could avoid adverts and not be considered to be taking content without giving anything back.

      0
    • 49

      So when you’re watching a recorded episode of your favorite show, you just suffer through the commercials? Same logic there, pal.

      0
  7. 50

    I agree with sites that impose a color palette on their ads. If my color palette is green and blue, then the ads should be green and blue..

    0
  8. 51

    I agree up to a point, which is this: some sites are so agressive with their ads it ruins the website. Keep things in proportion is my way of looking at it. Some ads are just too intrusive and irritating, surely this has the reverse effect from that which is inteded?

    0
  9. 52

    Smashing Magazine is a good example of ads integration, I’ve never thought about blocking them. But I’ve blocked some ads at other websites because it was a pain for my eyes – something animated, blinking all the time, yellow or red… And this article doesn’t make me regret about blocking those headache-ads!

    0
    • 53

      I disgree, Smashing is an example of terrible ad placement. On my 13inch screen, I have nothing but a title without scrolling. The area is full of ad. I like the content here, but put a paragraph of content before a ad.

      0
  10. 54

    Mathias M. Stav

    June 14, 2010 4:51 am

    I use a flashblocker, so some ads will be blocked. But not the ones on smashing ;)

    0
    • 55

      I am using a flash blocker, too. But on the other hand I want to see all web sites as the publisher designed them, even with all the ads. Its just that flash is such a **** ** *** *** on a mac.

      0
      • 56

        The current version – 10.1 – runs fine on a Mac, faster than Windows for many things and much less resource-intensive than 10.0.

        0
  11. 57

    The web is open. When your server delivers HTML back to my browser, I am free to do what I want. I use adBlock to have greater usability, this helps to not distract my focus while finding the right content.

    why i started using it? most of the websites are full of ads and I am required to search for actual content residing somewhere in between those ads.

    Secondly, why r u pushing your strategy to website *visitors*? Why not educate developer for better websites that give priority to content and put ads in appropriate manner !!!

    Even thought i put ads on my website, but they do not mix with content.

    0
    • 58

      I totally agree with this.

      0
    • 59

      Wrong, You are not free to do with it as you want as you do not own the content just because you downloaded it. The orignal author has the copyright to the content. Think before you say something really stupid.

      0
      • 60

        Mike, I really admire content owners. Adblock does not regenerate content digitally – that any (c)opy right issue will raise. The discussion here is for blocking of ads, your content owner might own the ads, but not the markup or frankly saying the the adBlock removes the markup and blocks URI before before it gets downloaded.

        If you are really such concerned and a smart web-developer, u can definitely detect presence of adBlock and instruct your visitors to disable then only continue!

        0
  12. 61

    I have two follow up questions for people who use ad blockers:

    1) Do you pay for a subscription that fully funds the maintenance, authors and growth of a website?

    2) Do you turn ad blocking off on sites that are not serving annoying ads? For example, I cannot remember one time in the many hours I have spent on Smashing Magazine where I have seen an annoying ad.

    0
    • 62

      1) Yes, I pay for plenty of websites that provide a valuable service, though not always in the form of a subscription. Ebay, Zopa, Bullion Vault, Betfair, and Kiva all make plenty of money from me.
      2) No, my blocker is permanently switched on. I can’t remember seeing an annoying ad on Smashing Magazine either – in fact I can’t remember seeing any ads at all.

      0
    • 63

      Some of us have even donated to Wikipedia, Sourceforge, also IrfanView, UBCD, and hell, even Wikileaks!

      Because of ad networks and their greed, they cross the line over to malicious and / or annoying content.

      Making money from an online community can be done in many ways – see Sitepoint – they make books, videos, tutorials, and IIRC mugs, T-shirts and more.

      The design community can surely be expected to unite to make the web more usable. So can we have a detailed discussion on how to make badly coded websites look worse – so that the guys with the extra cash to blow on strip clubs are forced to make better websites?

      How about all designers / webmsaters make a representative / lobby group or something and ask that all websites be mandated to be standards compliant.

      The point is essentially this:
      If you want to make money, put your hands into pockets that are full / overflowing. Asking us to shell out pennies is not going to be effective and ends up looking manipulative or stupid, which I know it is not.

      There are any number of innovations that can be made or exist and direct banner ads are much better than through ad networks. Like in real life. The OOH ad company pays the shopkeeper or the car owner directly. No middlemen.

      And you can track to your heart’s content from your own server logs.

      The only type of company that has a moral justification for charging via ad networks is a search engine – Google, Yahoo, Bing, because the give you *priceless* value – the search result from around the whole damn web!

      There’s another common trick to make your ads compulsory which no one should object to – if ads are not blocked, only then content is served, else it is simply not served.

      This already works with most news sites which are not pay-per-view. So that model exists and can be used right away. The better thing would be to either use Google / Yahoo / MS ad networks only and direct banner ads.

      You have to send a few emails around for that. You could make a Facebook app to bring ad-space owners and businesses together.

      This would probably even have the very desirable PHBs to feel all hip and cool while shelling out ca$h for ads directly to you :-)

      Many intelligent solutions can be thought out once you decide that you want to take money from overflowing pockets rather than pennies from visitors.

      That, of course, is just my opinion.

      0
  13. 64

    The industry’s revenue model has to change. It’s selfishness that got us here. We want free content so ads came out. Now we can block ads so the web industry is going to have to learn what the print industry ha known for a while. Free is not a good business model. I have a feeling we will see a lot of changes very soon on how revenue works on the Internet. I say: block away while you can.

    0
  14. 65

    “because you probably wouldn’t even know about those blogs if they didn’t have ads on them”

    Exactly, I would agree to block pop-up ads but not every single ad.

    0
  15. 66

    Matt Orley of Akron, OH

    June 14, 2010 4:58 am

    With the ‘new’ medium of the web, we have new territory- and guess what: ads won’t work for what, 20% of the people… boo hoo. It’s not something to cry about, its just HOW IT IS. Want to advertise? Do better product placements in copy- or find a NEW way to make $ online for the ad blocker crowd. This is JUST how the world is. Don’t act like RIAA and whine about it. Matthew J. Orley

    0
    • 67

      What you’re stating here is exactly why my article is good advice: You want ads inside of page copy? Your essentially giving free reign to spam and unsolicited junk inside of where we expect to see quality content. That’s not a workable solution in the long run.

      Right now, on design blogs, for the most part we have a clear distinction between what is an ad, and what is not. You’re encouraging behavior that will force us to blur the line between ad and non-ad, so we get spammed and we don’t even know it. Sorry, but that’s not going to work. It will cause more problems than it solves.

      -1
  16. 68

    “Ad Blockers Should Be Banned”? By that logic, any method of bypassing any method of advertising in any medium should be banned.

    You’re saying we shouldn’t be able to skip commercials in pre-recorded television shows, shouldn’t be able to switch to another radio station when they go to commercial, shouldn’t be able to turn the pages of a magazine to skip the ad pages, shouldn’t be allowed to get up and go to the bathroom during commercial breaks while watching live TV. This is a ludicrous line of reasoning.

    One of the blogs I frequent includes weekly blog posts about the sponsor of the week. I pay far more attention to those ads than the other blinky, flashy, annoying, spying ads on other sites. I’ve actually clicked on the links in those sponsored posts when the advertised product sounds intriguing, whereas the only time I ever click on a banner ad is by accident.

    Advertisers pay for the *chance* to be seen – not for the guarantee that anyone will do anything with what they see. Forcing ads down peoples’ throats, instead of inviting them to take a look, is the best way of increasing resentment and turning people off to your products. We need to get out of the TV-oriented mindset of *forcing* ads onto people, and start thinking more Web 2.0 about this. Kind of like Apple’s iAds, where they invite you to explore instead of ramming it down your throat.

    Offsite web ads slow down the browsing experience, usually add clutter and distraction, and the ad companies involved are spying on my every online move without my consent. I’m darn well going to do everything I can to protect myself against that kind of crap. Instead of trying to legislate a bad business model, build a better business model! Like the blogger I mentioned earlier. A personal recommendation means a lot more than just plastering impersonal, intrusive and privacy-stealing ads on a site.

    0
    • 69

      You can bypass the medium by not clicking on the ad, or by not supporting that particular advertiser. But your circumstances might change one day, and you might find a use for one of the advertised services. By using an ad blocker, you’re taking money out of the community to which you belong, because you’re giving yourself zero opportunity to ever use one of those services.

      Content isn’t free, and all web designers should start warming up to that notion and start learning ways that they can try to support the community, not hold it back.

      -1
      • 70

        In the blog economic content is free. Whether or not the creator makes money it’s free. Whether I watch/see/read the ad or not the content is still freely available; on the internet, on the radio, or where ever you placed your content for people to find it.

        Realize that blogs are not communities they are companies. Your blog taps into the web design community not the other way around. If your blog fails the community of people who found value in your blog will move on. Another blog will be erected in its stead.

        0
      • 71

        I don’t have a problem with advertisements per se, however as soon as they are flash or they use tracking cookies to spy on my web browsing – yes, I object to that and yes I will block them.

        I choose what runs on my system. My browsers parses the HTML and CSS at my command. People need to stop thinking of websites as anything more than just a piece of code.

        0
        • 72

          I know from first hand experience that ads can be dangerous for your hard earned computer.

          0
      • 73

        I used to work for a marketing agency and I am even more aware now that most ads are scams, feeder sites and click through revenue. I never click on those things, and never will. I will continue to use ad blockers because what’s the point in seeing them if they will never be clicked?

        0
      • 74

        Louis: “But your circumstances might change one day, and you might find a use for one of the advertised services. By using an ad blocker, you’re taking money out of the community to which you belong, because you’re giving yourself zero opportunity to ever use one of those services.”

        Have you heard of Yellow Pages and search engines? Your arguments really are not very logical.

        0
  17. 75

    Yes and no.

    If you visit a website once, having an ad-blocker is not going to damage the site too much. If you keep revisiting the website, over and over again (A blog is a prime example) you probably like the website, you support the content, this is when you should hit “Disable on…” for example, on here, I’ve disabled ads, I’m always coming back, and by disabling my ad-blocker, I can support the website without spending my own money.

    Saying that, if I disable on one website, and then I’m suddenly hit by awful adverts everywhere, then they’ll probably just end up being blocked again.

    0
  18. 76

    If adblockers were illegal, I wouldn’t surf the Web, for the same reasons I don’t watch network TV, or listen to commercial radio. It is just too unbearable.

    Furthermore, the products or services being advertised make me despair of humanity, and I refuse to let this crap pollute my brain.

    I’m perfectly willing to live with the consequences.

    0
  19. 77

    I have nothing against ads, but when you enter, let’s say, a news website, and you find it full of ads that slow down your browser and useless scripts and a big pop-up ad, well that’s too much!

    I know some websites rely on ads to make money and this keeps them alive, and yes, plugins that block all banners should probably be banned, but we need something to keep us away from full-of-ads websites. Maybe something like WOT (web of trust) is the future.

    0
    • 78

      That’s why there should be a balance. I like the idea of “Fusion ads” and “Ads via the Deck” because they’re elegant, non-intrusive, and often more targetted, but I’m not really sure if that model would work for all websites.

      0
  20. 79

    Do you really think just be looking at those distracting ads I’d click on it? No… I don’t, I did not for years. So, why shouldn’t I block it? In front of TV I will walk away, get me a coffee, go to the toilet or I even zap away… I have the choice.
    However. You’re probably right, you are providing a service and when you feel like getting something back you have to invent a way to get paid. Ads don’t work? So, you’ll need another way… Easy as that.

    “because you probably wouldn’t even know about those blogs if they didn’t have ads on them”

    So, blogging is all about earning money? Right?

    0
    • 80

      You’re right: sites need to find another non-intrusive way to monetize… and it can be done. I’ll give you two examples:

      1.) One blogger I follow writes books and does contract work. His blog is his way of advertising HIS work. He posts snippets from what he’s researching, discusses interesting things he discovers, etc. It informs people and as a result people might either buy on of his books (I have) or hire him.

      2.) Another blogger I follow puts a single textual ad that he himself writes, from one single advertiser per week into his blog and RSS feed. One ad. All day. One. Now… he writes good stuff so he charges $4000 per week for one exclusive advertiser per week and it’s always of a product he himself likes. I consider his ad almost a tip about a good product to check out, so I do.

      That is how to monetize without annoying users.

      Unsolicited content is annoying, period. Especially when that content is shallow, deceptive and ugly.

      0
    • 81

      It’s not that blogging should be about money. If someone wants to blog for free, then let them do it. I have no problem with that.

      But if an advertiser wants to pay $1000 (or more) per month to support a web design blog, how can that be a bad thing? For the sacrifice of a sidebar full of ads, I think that’s a great trade off, and is great because it puts money into the community.

      0
  21. 82

    I usually disable adblock on websites and blogs that have useful and related ads (except adsense) and not annoying. However, thanks for reminding me to disable the adblock for this site.

    Oh yeh, no mercy for websites that have popups and the in your way types of ads.

    You should get each post sponsored and show an informative and related types of ads, they won’t get blocked because it will be part of the content.

    0
  22. 83

    If the current types of advertisements are blocked, ad companies will start looking for ads that can’t be blocked, such as in-video ads (which are a lot more annoying!).

    So basically, you’re only hurting yourself in the long run.

    0
  23. 84

    Tim Burners-Lee

    June 14, 2010 5:11 am

    CTRL-F, freedom. Nothing said? Really?

    It seems Louis Lazaris supports technological fascism.
    And for what? $3 CPM?

    Seriously, Louis? “Ad Blockers Promote a Me-First Attitude“? That’s some serious f%$#ing dissonant spin right there. You should’ve been a propagandist, not a web designer. Or is that what you’re going for here?

    Worth repeating for all the ‘new rich’ media mavens without a clue:

    Advertisers pay for the *chance* to be seen – not for the guarantee that anyone will do anything with what they see. Forcing ads down peoples’ throats, instead of inviting them to take a look, is the best way of increasing resentment and turning people off to your products. We need to get out of the TV-oriented mindset of *forcing* ads onto people.

    0
    • 85

      I couldn’t help but laugh at this comment — if not just for the misspelling of “Burners-Lee”.

      I agree with you 100% when you say that the TV-oriented mindset “forces” ads onto people. And the sad reality is we would not have TV today if they had not done that.

      In the same way, the web (as we know it) would essentially bust if there were no ads.

      0
    • 86

      Technological fascism? Oh per-lease.

      Louis is absolutely correct regarding the me-first attitude of a lot of ad-block users. Is it *such* a chore to flick your eyeball to an ad for half a second while you enjoy the content that is being supplied to you for absolutely no expense. And I’m not buying into the “intrusion” argument either. I’ve never used an adblocker and the proportion of ads I encounter that are in-your-face are minimal. The ones that do use Attention Whore tactics will die out when the creators realise that pissing off users is not a great for conversion rates.

      0
  24. 88

    I could do without opinion columns on smashing…

    0
    • 89

      Well, at least they should rename it “trolling column”… This debate might be interesting to have, but this article was really written in the perfect way to start flamewars… :-/

      0
      • 90

        Matti, there’s no way to write a strong opinion without it sounding the way you assume it sounds.

        The only people that think my post is starting a flame war are the ones that are flaming me. Every strong opinion starts a flame war. But it doesn’t have to. Just explain your side nicely and be done with it.

        Yes, it’s true — I clearly said that I thought people who use ad blockers are selfish, and that isn’t going to sit well with people. But there is no reason to use an ad blocker on design blogs. The ads are usually attractive, and non obtrusive, and the few that aren’t can be dealt with. Remember that this topic was “why web designers” shouldn’t use them, not “why internet surfers” shouldn’t use them. I have no problem with people using them on shady sites, but we don’t have to use them on design blogs.

        0
  25. 91

    Benjamin "balupton" Lupton

    June 14, 2010 5:14 am

    “Ad Blockers Should Be Banned (for Quality Blogs)

    As a community, we should take a stand against any person or blog that promotes the use of plugins or other methods that effectively take money out of the pockets of the very people who are willing to put money into our community.”

    This entire article sounds just like the argument “Digital music hinders music sales”. Don’t complain that people don’t like ads, work around it, figure out better ways. Such as subscriptions, premium content, writing a book, whatever. But you have no right to tell me what I can and can’t do. And I seriously can’t believe you think you’re loosing money from ad blockers, I hate ads, it’s that simple, but I still bought your book, or perhaps I should ban that… There’s some food for thought.

    Accept change, grow with it, or be left behind.

    0
    • 92

      Vitaly Friedman (Smashing Editorial)

      June 14, 2010 5:39 am

      Benjami, I do not agree. The article isn’t written by Smashing Editorial team, but by Louis Lazaris and reflects his personal opinion. It is nowhere mentioned that we think we are losing money from ad blockers.

      And thanks for supporting us by buying our book, I hope it contains some useful information for you!

      0
      • 93

        This is your website. Don’t post an article you don’t fully support, agree with and stand behind. This wasn’t some little personal opinion buried within a larger article. You need to take responsibility for your content.

        This whole article is nonconstructive, whiney vitriol and if it had passed over my desk (yes, I have been an editor) it would have been cut immediately. Your readers need forward-thinking, constructive solutions.

        0
        • 94

          Vitaly Friedman (Smashing Editorial)

          June 14, 2010 5:53 am

          Patrick, I don’t agree with you. Why shouldn’t we post an article that we don’t fully support or agree with? Our opinions can be wrong just as anybody else’s. We don’t have a political agenda that we need to follow through and I think it would be wrong to dismiss a well-constructed, thought-provoking, argumentative article only if it doesn’t fit my personal opinion. Don’t you think?

          Also, please notice that this post is an article from our series of “opinion columns,” in which we give people in the Web design community a platform to raise their voice and present their opinion on something they feel strongly about to the community. The content in this series is not in any way influenced by the Smashing Magazine team. If you want to publish your article in this series, please send us your thoughts and we will get back to you.

          0
          • 95

            Maybe you are posting stuff like this to get people to see more ads? Look, I don’t use an ad blocker, but I also don’t think as a designer/developer I’m required not to use one. That is like saying someone who works in Radio is required to listen to all the commercials. The fact of the matter is blogs don’t take any time to make sure their ads are worth reading or clicking. They just find whatever everyone else is using or what ever service will offer the highest click-thru rate. The reason most people use Ad blockers is because most blogs frivolously post them for the sole sake of making money. Yes, a blog should be able to generate revenue and nothing is free, but you also should understand your audience.

            As a designer/developer I am even more critical of an ad online. Just like someone who makes movies is critical over how a movie was produced. If it’s the same “Free Web Hosting for 12 months” or “PSD to XHTML” or “EASY Flash Sites” then you aren’t serving me as a user with those ads. I don’t need any of those services and those are the only ads I am ever served. In fact…I just installed Ad Block after looking at your ads and reminding myself of how much I really don’t need any of these services.

            0
          • 96

            Vitaly Friedman (Smashing Editorial)

            June 14, 2010 6:56 am

            I think it’s more complicated than that. It’s not reasonable to compare an average small blog with a huge TV channel or radio station. Even if thousands of TV viewers turn off the TV during the advertisements, a large portion will still see them. If a large portion of a small blog visitors have ad blockers, it may have a crucial effect for the blogger who will not be able to support the site.

            We are talking about different dimensions here.

            0
          • 97

            As you mentioned radio ads it struck me: TV ads IN BETWEEN MOVIES! It’s the most hateable thing ever invented in entertainment media. It totally destroys the atmosphere a director wants to deliver to the audience. Totally. On websites it’s more or less the same. I once read an article on a favorite news page of mine, using FF without AdBlock on a friends computer, which had a magenta colored ad FLASHING in my very eye with a fixed; top; css behind it. You just cannot concentrate on content. The content gets outright worthless. Or do you know those “5 seconds to score a goal by clicking the ball” – ads?
            I mean how can anyone reasonable, especially designers, advise against adblockers?

            0
          • 98

            @Alex:

            Movies make money from admission fees and rentals. Websites do not (for the most part). Comparing movies to websites is ludicrous. How is a website going to make money if not for ads?

            And yes, I agree there shouldn’t be stupid pointless ads on any website, but this article is specifically dealing with ads within the design community. If you want to support the community, don’t use ad blockers, it’s that simple.

            0
          • 99

            @ Louis
            I am by no means comparing economic models of websites and TV shows or movies. That would be – just as you said – ludicrous. But you CAN very well compare the annoyance the Ads on those media bring. I mean, did you ever try to read a blogpost with an animated ad floating somewhere? Even no matter what color scheme is used (doesn’t have to be super annoying magenta), it will diminish your reading expierience significantly.

            Please try to read some of the other contrary postings again, because you are obviously forgetting a lot of pros and cons when you say “If you want to support the community, don’t use adblocks”, because it’s not that simple. If it were that simple, there wouldn’t be a bunch of guys discussing this whole matter in endless postings ;)

            0
        • 100
        • 101

          Are you kidding Patrick? They _should_ post articles of all types of opinions, not just opinions that they agree with.

          0
          • 102

            Yes, that’s true, but they should still take quality content. This seems to have been written only for the sake of starting a flamewar (which it has quite succeeded to, seeing the number of comments), and therefore we might actually wonder whether the goal was to increase pageviews or not… :-/

            I mean, come on, take a look at the headers: “Ad Blockers Promote a Me-First Attitude”, “Ad Blockers Make the Web Less Real”, “Ad Blockers Hinder the Community”… I call this trolling. It’s the first article published by SM I didn’t read in whole for it was so poorly written and unbalanced.

            0
          • 103

            @Matti:

            So you admit that you’ve posted *repeated* and borderline-abusive comments on this article, even though you didn’t actually read it all?

            And you’re calling *me* a troll? Is this a practical joke? Mom, is that you? :)

            0
        • 104

          Patrick, congratulations, you’ll make a good dictator. A magazine that is open, transparent and neutral is the one I’d read. It’s no wonder you’re no longer an editor.

          Adblockers are there for a reason, and as long as the reason is there (or when Patrick comes into power and rule otherwise) it will always exist. The people who don’t find ads obtrusive will not use adblockers even if this article is not published and the people who hate ads passionately will not change their minds.

          I’m a marketer and I love a good ad. Sure everyone complains about it but the truth is simple – ads are profitable to companies. If they are not, they would have stopped advertising long ago. Don’t use adblockers if you don’t want ads – try stop buying the products of ads you come across.

          Ask 100 people if they like ads or not and 99 will say no. Yet most of them buy something because of an ad they saw. Accept it or not, ads work in your subconscious mind, not your conscious one. So what if you don’t like it? Clever marketers will still make money off the ads.

          This debate has long been discussed in the marketing community and conclusion is this – create ads in the guise of content if you don’t want to piss off your viewers. Continue the traditional direct marketing if you want to make money and don’t mind pissing some of your viewers off.

          Because guess what? At the end of the day, people who are looking for TVs find ads for TVs interesting while people who don’t, find them annoying.

          0
          • 105

            Well, beyond your half-Godwin point (you compared Patrick only to a generic dictator, not a particular one…), I think you should read what the author has himself written: ” because of the incredible speed with which such ideas can be spread, the mere discussion of ads being too intrusive on web design blogs could cause a serious problem in a presently-thriving community”. In my book, repressing thoughts is much closer to dictatorship than saying that responsibility should be taken by an editor… “The mere discussion”, really?!

            0
          • 106

            Matti, the point of my comment is not to compare Patrick to a dictator – so why would I take the time to delve deeper.

            And please, read my comment before replying – I never said I agree with the author. The opinion expressed here is the author’s, not Smashing Magazine’s (at least that’s what they say) and I only said a magazine that is open is far better than one that is closed. I support Smashing Magazine for publishing it.

            I agree the author shouldn’t have said what he said – it makes him look like the Catholic church when they were in power – but that doesn’t make Patrick right either.

            The point of my comment is this: Use adblockers all you want, ads will always make money. You’re hurting the publishers, the guys who gave you the content you want, for free. You’re in no way hurting the advertisers, the guys whose ads you hate so passionately.

            0
    • 107

      I’m sorry but sites do have a right to tell you what you can and can’t do, its usually contained in a ‘terms of use’ documents, if a site decides that not blocking their ads is a condition of use and you breach the contract they could very easily ban you/block your IP. Who are you gonna cry to then?

      Also explain how a site is to sell books without advertising them.

      Any designer that thinks blocking ads is acceptable doesn’t understand the industry enough to be a decent designer.

      0
      • 108

        Well, if a site forces me to view ads than I will be more than happy to let them block my IP – I will not contribute to their traffic in any case..

        0
    • 109

      Benjamin, go look at some statistics. It is a known fact that since the advent of “digital music sales”, revenue in the music industry has been on a steady decline. That’s not a good thing for the music industry. Music is not free to produce, but people want to just get it for free without any regard for the musicians that worked hard to produce it.

      The same applies to web design blogs. If we disable ads, then we’re basically saying that we want all content for free, without giving anything back to the people who worked hard and spent their time and money to produce it.

      0
      • 110

        Louis, your statistics for the music industry don’t tell the whole story. Record labels refusal to adapt to the times and develop a business model that embraced digital music led to their decline more than anything. Meanwhile, individual musicians have always (with a few super-famous band exceptions) made the majority of their money from concert ticket sales. Digital music and the internet have only increased their exposure and helped them sell tickets.

        Maybe design blogs should learn from that example. If users are rejecting ads and they are no longer a viable means of revenue then maybe it is time to develop a new business model that doesn’t rely on ads.

        Also, not everyone who blocks ads are demanding free content. Several people have listed valid concerns with ads in these comments. That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t support the blog by other means if possible.

        0
        • 111

          Agreed, but I don’t see any reason to change the current model. People should just accept ads, and allow the design blogs to work on more important things related to content. Instead, we’re causing them to rethink their entire revenue model. And for what? For individual selfishness and an “everything should be free” attitude that does not belong in the current digital world.

          0
          • 112

            Louis: that’s the way the world works.

            The environment constantly changes, you have two choices; evolve or die.

            Sounds like you want to sit in denial whilst everyone else worth a damn evolves away from you.

            Rock on, along with your “develop first for the broken browsers” concept.

            Smashing Editors; while you should post articles that you don’t completely agree with, I’d suggest finding writers to write on tech issues who aren’t QUITE such transparently ignorant Luddites.

            0
          • 113

            > “People should just accept ads”

            You’re kidding, right? Tell me, why exactly should people just accept ads? Because you claim there’s no other way to make revenue? Because it would be what, easier? So that no one needs to actually use their heads and think about new business models to adapt to the ever-changing world? What a lazy attitude is this?

            > “For individual selfishness and an “everything should be free” attitude that does not belong in the current digital world.”

            Says who? Are you to decide what belongs in the current (digital) world and what doesn’t? I’m sorry, but this is one big presumptuous statement – and another short-sighted one as well.
            The users decide what attitude dominates the web, that’s the great thing about the internet: It’s one of the biggest democracies. It has it’s flaws, sure. But the people still decide for themselves what they’re willing to do and what they’re not willing to do.

            Selfishness is indeed the key but it’s as much a bad as it’s a good thing: Everyone is selfish, that’s a principle of nature and to some degree even vital (apart from the fact that it’s one of the basic aspects of capitalism) so neglecting that is ignorant. Wishful thinking doesn’t help here and as much as I’d wish that the world would be a lot less selfish in general, appealing to webdesigners to switch off their ad-blockers is not the point where you will change the world, not even the relatively small design world.

            For them to not act selfish, you need to give people an alternative, they need reason to take a step back and act altruistic. Just claiming that otherwise design blogs will die, money is “taken out of the system” and other unforeseeable consequences is definitely not the way and doesn’t offer reason to the people.

            0
          • 114

            > I don’t see any reason to change the current model.
            > People should just accept ads
            XD
            Well, really, I’m sorry I’m getting to nonconstructive comments, but you should go work to the RIAA… What are you going to do next, track people using adblockers and fine them?!?

            > allow the design blogs to work on more important things related to content.
            Well, I really think you’re the one being selfish, from your designer point-of-view!! You just want to not have to bother with marketing issues, and *you* are being the lazy one that is frustrated by the fact that you don’t get what you consider to be enough money from your ads.

            > For individual selfishness and an “everything should be free” attitude that does not belong in the current digital world.
            Well, it actually does totally belong. You have to face it: people expect most of the content to be free on the internet. Because most actually is! And “the end of content” has yet to come… Some industries try to adapt (think press with the iPad and the other coming readers, think high-quality content with subscriptions, think the iTunes Store), and some just complain (think big music labels) and try more and more repressive strategies that always get defeated (think big software, especially game, companies). And you seem to belong to the second category, even though you claim to defend “the design community”. Come on, what you’re talking about is not “money that is in the community”, it’s just money for the editor!

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  26. 115

    Hadn’t actually thought about disabling adblock plus on certain websites, so might just limit it to flashblock in some cases now

    That said, no way I’m getting rid of adblocking completely. There are too many websites with layout breaking adds which disrupt the browsing experience for that to make any sense

    0
  27. 116

    Hi,

    Ads on web pages (and elsewhere) are a necessary evil but the way they are used on many websites goes beyond what should be acceptable.

    I use Adblock Plus and for those site I access regularly I add an exception so I can see the ads. Not that this helps the site any because I don’t click on ads, any more than TV ads affect my purchasing decisions.

    Rather than blame site visitors for using Ad-blockers why not design your site so that the ads are not so inconvienient and annoying as to require blocking?

    Ask your users who register for the site to whitelist the site; explain why and what the benifits to the site and user (if any) are.

    Regards

    Simon

    0
  28. 117

    I have no problem seeing ads, but when a site is loaded with 10+ flash banners, 3+ of which are rather large or have play-after-load-sound. I draw the line.
    JavaScript – Modial ads are a show-stopper for me as well.

    I use flashblock, but no adblocking other than that.
    If the ads were images/simple non-high-resource-demanding JavaScript animations the reason for using an adblocker would be gone for most people.

    0
  29. 118

    People who use ad blockers are selfish and are killing the web. Simple.

    Detect Ad Block, redirect them to something nasty.

    Or, just obscure your article and show it using the same script as your ads. That way, no ads = no article.

    0
    • 119

      Interesting, if you can “detect Ad-block,” couldn’t you just redirect to a subscription page with a link saying something like:

      “Content is generally ad-supported, since you have Ad-block on, you can access this content for $X for (the article, one day, one week, one month, etc), or you can click here to return to the content page with ads turned on. Thank you!”

      Seems like that would then *remind* people that nothing is free, you either pay to see the content, or the advertiser pays for you to see the content (along with their ad). Either way the content provider is getting paid, and the content viewer can get access to the content, and the advertiser gets what they want.

      It’s pay-per-view right? Someone is paying for you to view content, you can pay for it if you like, or an advertiser can pay for you to view it as long as you are able to view their ad. Seems fair to me. I’m not a huge fan of ads, but I am also not a huge fan of paying for content, because of this reason…if I were to pay for content I would probably not pay for as many sites as I visit now. If I were paying $20/month for each site I visit, how many sites do you think I would subscribe to? Their content better be the highest quality, and if there was a site that had that great content, I would consider paying for it. But when times are tight (kind of like now), I am happy that I have access to content, in exchange for a few ads that allow me to see much more content than if I had to pay $X/month.

      Also, there is a lot of content on websites that I read, that I definitely would not want to pay for, or would read if it wasn’t free. If I had to pay for everything I wouldn’t read as much, which would hurt the numbers of a website too, as well as my knowledge.

      Think about the last time you bought a book, did you pick it up and read the description before you bought it? Did a friend recommend it? Did you read part of it to see if it piqued your interest? And how many books did you look at and put back on the shelf? Imagine if books were ad supported and you could read whatever book you wanted with a few ads in it (granted you could use the library, but omitting that)? Would you read more or less books? Would you be more likely to take more books home or less?

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      • 120

        Andy, I really like the solution you mentioned at the beginning of your comment. Sounds reasonable and realistic to me.

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        • 121

          Realistic?

          You might want to take a step back and take a look at the greater picture: The internet currently works in a specific manner and most certainly will continue to do so: A server gives a package of information to the client and what that client does with the information is in no way controllable by the server. I don’t know if it’s technically possible at the moment to recognize if a client uses an ad-blocker but even if: Once site administrators start to try to detect ad-blockers and redirect the visitors requests, ad-blockers will evolve and act completely transparent (if they’re not already doing that), so to the server it will look like the information / ad will be downloaded but it still might not be displayed.

          The absolutely only way to be sure that ads will be displayed is by controlling every browser out there. Comparable to what TV stations try with all the HD encryption and guidelines for receivers to not allow skipping of ads. Since this is the internet though and we’re not talking about physical objects, all attempts to control information flow will ultimately fail.

          Concerning the appeal to turn off ad-blockers (on (web-) design related sites or in general): You’re looking at the visitors in their isolated role as webdesigners or the like and forget that they’re also and in every aspect simple users. Humans, to put it more general. Even in their “job-role” they still have certain needs and one of these needs is simplicity. I don’t want to start on quoting all the usability aspects also involved in disrupting advertising, attention grabbing banners, etc. but ignoring these issues in your appeal is short-sighted and doesn’t address the underlying problem: Ads in the current form and amount are the problem, not the blocking or the attitude of the visitors.

          You can appeal as much as you want to: The users are free and they will act as they prefer and how it fits them best. You cannot change that fact and bitching about it won’t change anything. It would’ve been alot more constructive if you had spent your time and thoughts on how to improve advertising in the digital age and medium so that people *want* to see the advertising or at least not become irritated by them.

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          • 122

            Tv ads are problematic, radio ads are problematic, paid reviews are problematic, infomercials are problematic, movie stars driving cars that they’re paid to drive is problematic, Michael Jordan advertising McDonalds to children is problematic (like he needed another million??)… But that doesn’t mean those things aren’t good revenue models.

            We dislike all advertising, because we don’t want to “pay” for anything. But if we’re realistic and want to support our community, we will not encourage things that take money out of the pockets of web designers.

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          • 123

            Since there seems to be a maximum comment depth, I can’t directly reply so here’s my workaround / reply to you.

            Unfortunately you seem to miss my point alltogether or choose to ignore it. I never said advertising itself is the problem, it’s not. But advertising on the web in the current form is. It’s visual spam at it’s best and people avoid it for good reasons. Expecting them to disregard these reasons and (again) getting exposed to ads which interfere with their browsing experience is utterly ignorant and frankly – unbelievably shortsighted.

            I’ve not yet once read a response where you touch the usability issue, which in combination with the “article” makes a very unreflected impression.

            Besides, you might want to refrain from saying things like “we will not encourage things that take money out of the pockets of web designers” – no one using an ad-blocker actually takes anyones money away so these remarks are just plain FUD and don’t suit your argumentation well. Also in this case, the abstract group of “we” doesn’t really exist in this context and leaves the false impression that you speak for a significant / predominant amount of people.
            Which you don’t, seeing all the negative and often alot more substantiated reactions to your article. So please, get back to the facts and try to actually cope with the criticism instead of picking only points that help your view.

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          • 124

            Peter, the problem is, you expect things to “evolve”, but you don’t realize that sometimes that’s not necessary. All that’s necessary is that we have a cooperative attitude with our industry, and our business models will work. We won’t have to force new models that cause financial issues and require rethinking that would essentially blur the line between what’s an ad and what’s not.

            Of course I’m concerned about usability. This article did not purport to consider every possible factor in the stated opinion. As I’ve said in so many other comments on this and other articles: There’s no way I could possibly write an opinion that takes into account every possible angle related.

            Web design adverts are, for the most part, very elegant and non-intrusive. Some sites overdo it. That’s going to happen. But the trade off is worth it *in my opinion*.

            I’m sorry that you don’t agree, so let’s just agree to disagree. This is an important topic that I feel needs to be discussed. That’s why I wrote it.

            And if you want to know why there’s so much “negative” reaction to the article, just take a look at the poll results at the top of the comments: Almost half the people that took the poll use ad blocker software. Not to mention that most comments on controversial topics will usually be those with opposing views.

            Now, I have a question: Since you think that ads in the current form on the web are the problem, then what’s the solution? I see lots of people saying the same thing as you.. but not one of them has proposed a viable solution. All they’ve said is “evolve” (and similar). That’s not a solution. That’s just theory. As far as I’m concerned, my solution stands as the best one. But I’m sure you’ll disagree. :)

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          • 125

            > Peter, the problem is, you expect things to “evolve”

            Of course I do. And that is not “the problem”, that is how the world works. Plain and simple.
            And your statement about that it would sometimes be unnecessary to evolve things is a very shallow attempt to justify your reactionary attitude.
            Some things, processes or principles might have used their full potential after some iterations during human evolution. A knife maybe. Or the concept of drinking water to survive. Breathing in general. But complex things like the economical principles of rewarding “free” content via advertising on the most elaborate and complex machine human kind has ever built by appealing to a very tiny subcommunity of the users of this machine is NOT something set in stone and is certainly NOT something that is just perfect and doesn’t need evolution. It’s like saying “Hey, our cars drive, why change the way they drive and how they function?”. Whoops, air pollution, global warming, limited resources. Now what?

            >There’s no way I could possibly write an opinion that takes into account every possible angle related.

            Oh, you can. At least you can try. But you didn’t, and that’s why hiding behind the “I’m sorry mum, I couldn’t possibly think of any other ways to kill the fly other than setting the whole house on fire”-argument just won’t work. No one will buy it and that certainly includes me.

            You really think your article holds the best solution? All it needs to prevent the ominous fear-driven apocalyptic future you try to paint? While leaving out some of the main aspects which caused todays situation, which you even admit?

            If you cannot answer all of these questions with only a clear and definitive NO, then we don’t need to “agree to disagree” (which – in my humble opinion – is one of the stupidest things to say in a discussion, you either agree or disagree. If you fail to even recognize simple things like that and explicitly need to mention to agree on that, you have a serious problem), we can just stop talking.

            Besides, I never asked why there were so many negative comments on your article, so you don’t need to explain it to me. You should probably rather spend your time on thinking WHY so many people use ad-blockers and WHY your article maybe, only maybe, does not hold the “solution”.

            Concerning your question about my “theory”: Yes, that is not a solution. In contrast to you, I don’t claim to have one if – in fact – I don’t. And I won’t come up with one or even bother thinking about one, at least not in detail. Why? Because it’s not my problem. I don’t run a project that relies on a broken business plan, I just can’t take the whining and bitching about how said plan doesn’t work.
            It’s not my responsibility as a user / visitor / webdesigner / whatever to come up with a solution for *your* problem and it neither is the responsibility of the other commenters and critics. What do you expect? A shiny, pre-chewed answer on a silver tablet just because you’re too lazy to think about one?
            Should we, the “customers” tell the advertisers how to best squeeze money out of us? That is their and / or your responsibility because it’s *you* and *them* who want’s to survive. That’s business and – as cruel as it is – the best survive. After all your reactions I’m sure, you’re not one of them.

            >But I’m sure you’ll disagree.

            You must be a genius.

            I won’t react to the rest of your comment because otherwise I’d just unnecessarily repeat myself.

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  30. 126

    I find it funny that this is posted on Smashing.

    How about, allow comment links since they really helped (if not completely enabled) this and other blogs to gain in popularity. Now you’re too good to allow them, that’s not hypocritical or anything…

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    • 127

      Vitaly Friedman (Smashing Editorial)

      June 14, 2010 5:41 am

      Jestep, removing URL field was a necessary move for us, because the amount of spam was unberable. Over 75% of comments were published only for the sake of promoting own services.

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  31. 128

    What a ********. If blog cannot afford to survive without annoying ads: let it die. Smashing magazine including.
    Author even goes as far as to accuse users with ad blockers having “me first” attitude.
    You know what? Users must come first. If you are annoying them with the ads they are not going to click anyway, it’s their right to block whatever they want.
    Disgusting article.

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    • 129

      You are a selfish *****.

      How many blogs/magazine sites do you think could honestly survive without any revenue source?

      Like I say, if every blog just redirected people like running ad blocker back to google then you then you’d soon find out how much you currently get for free because it’s ad funded.

      Disgusting comment.

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    • 130

      The web is such an annoying place. The facts bespoken by the author are true: You are selfish. You don’t give back anything to anyone, but you want everbody else to give you everything for free – even less than free. Has anybody in this whole crowd any idea how to make real money, besides the 399$ you get for a whole website package? Grow up, people need to eat. And by that I don’t mean feeds.

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    • 131

      your saying make money other ways??? its still going to take the users time, if not more then just seeing an ad, we may have to start paying for content, or always signing up… blah

      I think cross promoting blogs and products is great, i would not force people to stop using ad blockers but i think it a good think to think about the impact on blogs, and anyone who enjoys the mountains of content here should remember that if people don’t make money some how then we are going to lose content.

      Or small sites will died and big sites will live.

      If movies didn’t make any more we would not have blockbuster. IMHO

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  32. 132

    So I read half of the replies before scrolling down to give my two cents…

    I rarely use an ad blocker, which by definition means I have used it at least once or twice… but to be fair that was only for research purposes.

    I cannot stand obtrusive advertisements, on some popular websites like YouTube I’ll surf on, close that annoying ad that covers 1/4 of the video and rant about it on Twitter. For less important websites I’ll just stop using them, great example is phpclasses.org, try and tell me why you wouldn’t expect a user to block the adverts on this page?

    http://twitpic.com/1dt1m4

    I’d hate to think what their bounce rate bust be, at a glance I cannot determine what is content and what is an advert!

    I am a regular on Stack Overflow, and love how they do their advertising, not obtrusive, relevant to the content… and gun to my head I frequently visit the various stuff they advertise.

    But, if a web designer / developer were to create a website where the user felt the adverts were excessively obtrusive then they deserve to have their adverts blocked. It’s got to be our job to make sure that any adverts are consistent with the design and they don’t subtract from the user experience.

    In my mind it all boils down to this, if your users use an ad blocker because your website is such a bastard to use, you’ve only got yourself to blame. If you users are using ad blocker even though your website is super fantastic then that’s life.

    I’ll be blogging about this baby soon :-)

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  33. 133

    I think ad blocking is wrong, nothing is free and if your are visiting a website the least you can do is not get in the way of them making money.
    However I think Publishers need to be more responsible about the ads they place and how many they place. One thing I love about the Deck is that they only allow advertisers that advertise products they have actually used. When I see a Deck ad I know the product is quality because it wouldn’t be there if it weren’t. Deck ads are curated and well targeted because of that I think Deck ads are the only ads I ever click on. More publishers should follow that model.
    Do you really need to have 13 ads on your page? I can’t imagine who that is useful for. I’m sure readers ignore them because there are so many so they must be as useless to advertisers as they are to readers.
    Why not pick one or two advertisers, let them have bigger ads and charge them more. If the advertisers are too silly to recognize the value of being one of the few then one of the many then its probably better you don’t deal with them anyway.

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  34. 134

    From many years of browsingI learned to totaly ignore any kind of banners on page. I simply don’t see them and look only for content. Only popups are annoying.

    About adds on a designer blog – I find that totaly out of style. A good web designer is already paid enough from his clients – putting adds on my blog would be a thing I would do only in case I would stop being a web designer or if I would be money greedy. It is like saying you are free to spray over my new grafitti artwork with your “F*ck clean wall” spam.

    You say designers are loosing money since people block the adds? A designer is supposed to make money by designing – not by advertising. You should rather say that add blockers are hurting your home business…

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  35. 135

    I don’t use an ad blocker because I believe in most cases that seeing the ads is like a form of payment for viewing whatever content you happen to view.

    However I am not a fan of adverts than try to trick you (by pretending to be Facebook or some other service) or outright lie to you (You have won a million dollars for being the 342 982 123 person on the site), nor of ads that irritate you to get your attention (I didn’t ask for that music). It’s a pity there’s no annoying-ads blocker. Or maybe there is?

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  36. 136

    Is this post real? Honestly, it’s like cigarette companies saying we should stop whining about our health and accept all that 3rd party smoke blowing in our faces because we should think of all those poor people in the factories who make the cigarettes.

    “But unfortunately, not everyone gets this”. Thanks for insulting your audience. I do get this whole ad thing but I don’t think you have a clue that when people are paying for their connection, whether through broadband or a 3G connection they have a right to choose what to download and what not to download. You might not like it but if they choose to block your cheesy ads that all look the same anyway then you should just accept that and adapt.

    Seems like this post is about smashing magazine growing too big, not being able to support itself. You’re getting desperate so you thought you’d insult your audience a bit to make them do something for you. Sad thing is I actually bought your book. No, it wasn’t from your ad, it was because you mentioned it in a post.

    I really feel like installing an ad-blocker just so I don’t get all these cheesy ads from your site in my face all the time.

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    • 137

      Vitaly Friedman (Smashing Editorial)

      June 14, 2010 5:45 am

      Richard, thank you for your comment. I agree with you. Using ad-Blockers certainly makes sense if you are on 3G connection, and I completely support you. However, I am not sure why it is necessary on broadband connection, too. Many blogs wouldn’t even exist without ads, so seeing their ads makes them keep the site alive. And I think that deserve the suppport of the design community, don’t you think?

      And, by the way, the article isn’t written by Smashing Editorial team, but by Louis Lazaris and reflects his personal opinion. It is nowhere mentioned that we think we are losing money or we are not able to support the site. However, thanks for supporting us by buying our book, I hope it contains some useful information for you!

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      • 138

        Hi Vitaly, I believe these opinion columns are a bit confusing because I saw the article in my RSS reader and I thought these were the opinions of Smashing magazine which seemed a bit strong and extreme. I’m sure I wasn’t alone in thinking this.

        Definitely want to support a good site. I bought the book because I wanted your great content in an easy to read format. Have you considered charging a small monthly fee to download pdf copies of articles? I’d love to be able to archive them like that.

        The flip side of the ad argument is that people who use ad-blockers tend to be immune to ads and don’t click them/ignore them so technically a site owner saying users should disable ad-blockers mean they are just taking money from an ad-provider without any benefit for the ad provider.

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      • 139

        Anthony DiSanti

        June 14, 2010 2:08 pm

        You keep mentioning in all your comments that this article doesn’t reflect your opinion, but then you’re actively replying in the comments reinforcing the opinion presented in the post.

        “Many blogs wouldn’t even exist without ads, so seeing their ads makes them keep the site alive. And I think that deserve the suppport of the design community, don’t you think?”

        That is a clear statement of opinion. If you agree with the post, why do you keep denying the fact. You chose to publish an editorial that you agree with, embrace the fact. Using an editorial to present a controversial argument and then passively defending it amongst your readers is clearly not being appreciated by the community.

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        • 140

          Vitaly (and Smashing Magazine) never said that he (or they) disagrees with the article. The disclaimer at the top simply states that Smashing Magazine was not responsible for instigating this topic idea.

          I wrote this article for my own website about 3 or 4 weeks ago. I was going to publish it at that time, but I thought I’d mention it to Vitaly and see if he would be interested in publishing it. He agreed to publish it, so I did not publish it on my website.

          The entire article is unedited and uninfluenced by Smashing Magazine (except for the words “for quality blogs” that appear in parentheses in the final heading — which I don’t have a problem with). Their only influence was publishing it.

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          • 141

            It’s incredible, the more you write, the less you seem to be able to write something that’s not irritating… Sorry, but your article was already really bad, and your answers to comments are never answering actual points made by commenters.

            > Their only influence was publishing it.
            Yes, well, that’s the problem! They can put a disclaimer saying they did not write it, but they are still *publishing* it, aren’t they? If I write an article saying that all designers are lazy dickheads and that they should be sent to working camps for education, would this get published with a small disclaimer at the top? No, because SM still endorses content when it publishes it.

            Well, you’re saying in your article that people using adblockers are selfish and don’t understand anything about the web. That’s being published, so SM still somehow endorses it. And now, every time a commenter is irritated and say (s)he bought their book and now regrets it, they come in and insist on the fact they didn’t write the article, but still don’t deny its content. To me, that’s exactly what Anthony DiSanti has described (“Using an editorial to present a controversial argument and then passively defending it amongst your readers”).

            “Their only influence was publishing it”, come on… -_-

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          • 142

            The standards you’re setting for SM are not realistic. Lots of newspapers and magazines publish opinion pieces that deal with sensitive topics that readers disagree with. It’s common. I really don’ t see what you’re getting upset about.

            You disagree with my view: Fine. Let’s discuss it rationally and move on if we can’t agree.

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    • 143

      “I don’t think you have a clue that when people are paying for their connection”
      What about the cost that Publishers pay for hosting the content you are downloading, the cost of bandwidth, and the cost of producing that content.
      Is it right for a person to download that stuff while depriving the publisher of the revenue that helps pay for these things.
      If someone wants to “choose” to avoid sites that display ads then thats fair, however it is not fair to visit these sites and block them from profiting.

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      • 144

        Oh… so you give every street artist a dollar just because he’s there? Either you have a reason to host your stuff or not, it’s not the visitors “responsibility” to keep everything alive.
        If you want something to live, you will support it. I will not even then switch off Adblock, but search for other ways to support. For example: Micropayments are getting more and more popular. I for once do buy developers a certain “beer”, or pay for themes I want to use when developing new sites.

        Another thing worth mentioning: Sometimes we forget how few we are, compared to the masses out there who barely know how to switch on their computer. Adblockers will have no effect on our share of the market, money from ads this is, unless they would eg. be preinstalled on IE10 or Safari.

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        • 145

          I don’t give every street performer I see a dollar but I also don’t kick their donation signs over. If I see a street performer everyday and I like his stuff I will give him a dollar or two.

          I’m not a big fan of sites having to solicit donations to stay afloat unless they choose not to show ads and go that route. If they choose ads as their business model and I choose to go to their website an use their business then I do not think its fair or me to block it when I can simply ignore the ads. If I ignore the ads they still get the impressions, if I block them they don’t.

          Its not so much responsibility as it is fairness to publishers and an understanding that ads make the world’s economy go round.
          If there were no ads less people would buy things they didn’t need which would put most of us out of jobs because more jobs are supported by people buying things they don’t need then things that they do.

          If a publisher goes overboard with ads I simply stop using their site. That way I am not costing them any money. I think that approach is fairer then visiting a site, using their resources without providing anything in return.

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          • 146

            Sometimes you have to use a site, but you still hate the ads. Well… your approach is more than fair. It’s actually like giving every streetperformer a dollar. The case is, that even with adblocker active, i still provide the site-host with valuable data. He has my visit logged in google analytics, and sites like it, to show to his advertiser. This way he gets more money out of people who don’t activate adblock, either because they can’t or maybe don’t know how, or because they are benefactors like you.

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    • 147

      Marc-André Boivin

      June 14, 2010 12:28 pm

      Richard, i totally agree with you, this article is really an insult . You can’t just ask to people to take pity of annoucers because they can’t find new ways to reach their public than imposing things. Microsoft had the same way of doing things (not listening their users ) and we see the result. And that’s why TV is dying too. You can’t just blame users. I pay enough for licence and upgrade, for type, for pictures, for my connection, for my computer (for everything) so i think i do right. And more, theses ads don’t help usability, navigation and design of any websites… and that’s why we’re paid.

      «When you choose to block ads while you surf the web, you’re basically saying “I only care about my own comfort, and I don’t want anyone else to benefit from my web surfing.” It’s a shame that any web designer would have that attitude.»

      I think it’s a shame that a web designer said this.

      Ridiculous article…..

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      • 148

        Marc-Andre,

        The next time you walk into a sandwich shop, tell them it’s insulting that they expect you to pay for that sandwich.

        It’s the same with design blogs. Nothing is free, and we shouldn’t expect it to be, otherwise we will negatively impact our community.

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        • 149

          Stop comparing physical objects to information / data. There is no “real world” equivalent to pure information and the process of being able to copy information without quality loss.

          It’s the same reason why you cannot “steal” or even “consume” digital content, be it music, movies or design blogs.

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        • 150

          Same thing as Peter: you’re having the same ridiculous arguments as the music industry counting every illegal download as a loss… People reading your content aren’t stealing from you!! Come on, how much disrespect do you give your users, thinking they are taking money away from you when they’re reading what you’ve written?! If you don’t want people to be able to freely access your content, just make it accessible only through subscription, and stop whining around.

          And also, PLEASE, stop pretending you’re defending the “community” when you see how many people here disagree with you…

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        • 151

          Users don’t owe the content providers anything. I block ads because they’re annoying, and if this or any other site doesn’t want me viewing their content for free with no strings attached, they’ll go ahead and block adblock users or require that I download advertisement software that bypasses adblocking, etc. at which point I’d have absolutely no interest. They made the business decision to pay for server/bandwidth, domain, and with their own time to create content they have offered to everyone for free. They’re hoping that it will pay off and people who are attracted to the free content end up clicking some ads and buying things, but that’s a financial risk they’ve taken. If it does not pay off for them, they either need to rethink their business or stop spending so much time and money on something that’s bleeding them financially apparently.

          They’ve already offered this content for free in the hopes that a percentage of users will end up purchasing something from advertisers. That’s their decision. It’s not the user’s responsibility even in the slightest to make sure this business decision is successful.

          Eagerly awaiting a follow-up article demanding that if you click on an ad you make sure to actually buy something from the advertiser, because the advertiser spent the time and money to make that advertisement and pay for ad space somewhere! After all, if someone spent time or money in advance for something that’s considered a business risk and they fail, it’s your fault! There are no risks in business, only moral failings at the hands of evil targeted audiences, AM I RITE GUYZ?

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  37. 152

    Advertising is evil.

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  38. 153

    Outside of Adwords on a Google search results page, I have not clicked on an ad on a website in at least a decade. I’ve found I actually have a problem seeing any image that is the typical banner size (468×60, etc), sort of an internal AdBlock.

    Knowing that I will never click the ad, isn’t it selfish of the website to charge the advertiser to display the ad, since I won’t respond? Why is that any more fair?

    Also, while it’s true that nothing on the web is truly free, nothing is truly unique either. If a website cannot support itself due to a revenue model based on ads, another website will take its place. It’s the nature of the web.

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    • 154

      Banner advertisement isn’t just clickthrough, it’s also for brand recognition.

      Imagine a large billboard for Budweiser, Miller Lite or McDonald’s while you’re driving down the highway: You may not immediately stop by a liquor store to pick up a case of Budweiser (i.e. “clickthrough on the ad”) and buy the product right away, but it might leave you a lasting impression/image and a sense of ubiquity for these products.

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  39. 155

    I don’t use an “adblocker” (although I use a custom CSS file for safari which blocks Google Ads). At the end of the day, regardless of what an ad is for or the context in which it’s displayed (image / animated image / video / audio) I won’t be clicking on it.

    I found the site I’m looking at for a reason and it wasn’t to click on ads. Most ads I see tend to be affiliate links which means the site displaying it gets a cut of any referred sales. Surely this can only mean the product was overpriced in the first place?

    Maybe instead of pushing unwanted ads and wasting my bandwidth they should do themselves a favour and reduce their overpriced products. If an advertised product is good and I genuinely need it I’ll buy a licence, if not the ad does nothing but waste my time.

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  40. 156

    Wait, there’s ads on Smashing Magazine? Har har.

    I think other websites should take note of Coudal’s The DECK ad network. Simple and effective.

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    • 157

      I love Deck ads. They are the only ads I ever click on. I’m sure Smashing Magazine would have no problem getting into that network.

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  41. 158

    I cant believe 49% of the smashing mag audience is using ad blockers (looking at the poll), how sad. If it wasn’t for ads smashingmag would not exist. But hey, not your problem right?

    How sad!

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  42. 159

    As a show of support, add your favorite and trusted sites to the “white list” of your ad-blocking software so that you allow those sites to display ads. I’m not saying not to use ad-blocking software, just allow your favorite sites to display ads so that you can support their continual growth.

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    • 160

      I agree with this, it’s a good solution with an acceptable compromise, but we do have to keep in mind that many sites on the internet (not just our favorites) rely on ad impressions to stay afloat.

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      • 161

        Let the people decide if those sites should stay afloat or not. If you put out good content, more people will white list you to support you. If your site is doing good, keep going. If not, you’re probably not working hard enough to get people what they want, you need to keep grinding.

        IMHO, If you had approached it in another way, where you say: “it’s OK to use ad-blocking software, but if you love and support a site, white list them,” I think the responses would’ve been more positive and more people who’ve probably whitelisted SM. People who used to block the sites they love might consider whitelisting those sites if approached this way. This post, more than anything, will result in more people blocking ads because of the simple fact that people on the Internet – whose culture is based on freedom of choice – don’t like to be told what they should do.

        The solution is not to ask people to stop doing what they’re doing. It’s to evolve your business model and find creative ways of serving advertising. There’s a reason why ad-blocking is popular, and it’s not because people are intrinsically selfish or don’t care about the sites they visit. Many just forget that there’s a whitelist feature on their software.

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        • 162

          Well, unfortunately, I don’t agree with ever using ad blocking software for any reason.

          People have to realize that websites use ads for good reason. Yes, it’s true that a lot of ads are intrusive, but the alternative in many cases is no ads, thus no content.

          Someone else mentioned the music industry, and how my argument is similar to people saying that digital music is bad. But the fact is, many musicians cannot make a living anymore (or have decreased their revenue) because of digital music. By using ad blockers, we encourage selfishness and a disregard for the value of online content.

          When you mention “creative ways of serving advertising”, what are you referring to? Should we have paid content? Should we have paid reviews? Should a popular blogger mention software in his articles without indicating that those “mentions” are paid? Many people are against that type of “creative” advertising, which boils down to my point in being so forward and “telling people what to do”:

          The current advertising model on web design blogs is great — advertisers are willing to pay thousands of dollars to have an ad in a sidebar (or sometimes in other more intrusive spots). That’s great! There’s no reason we should change that model by blocking ads and getting more “creative”. There should be a clear line drawn between what is advertising and what is not — otherwise the “creative” solutions will end up blurring the line between quality content and “pushed” products.

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          • 163

            When you mention “creative ways of serving advertising”, what are you referring to?

            > If you really care about ad-blocking software that much, implement code that blocks people from accessing your site if they use it.

            > Or how about directly embedding ads in your template in a custom way, which is more difficult to block (you need to set custom rules for these in your ad-blocking software, which can reduce the amount of people who automatically block your ads).

            > Sell an eBook, like Smashing Magazine.

            Change your model. It’s a hard fact of competition: Those that put in more effort, get more rewards than those who do this stuff as side project.

            Evolution of the fittest: If you can’t put in the time, energy, and passion to work on this stuff, find something else that fits your schedule. You do that long and hard enough, people will love you and support you, through willingly whitelisting your site.

            The solution is not to change people’s preferred behaviors, but to evolve with them.

            The solution is not to *demand* that people stop doing what they have a free right to do, but rather, to ask them nicely if they would consider whitelisting your site.

            The solution is not to ask people to stop what they’re doing, but to to find ways around it (read my suggestions above).

            The internet is built on top of a culture of freedom and of choice, and you have to accept that as a site owner.

            Digg, for example, accepts the fact that people on their site use ad-blocking software. They even test their ad units to make sure they are effectively blocked by AdBlock Plus! http://is.gd/cQiVh

            Advertisers are well aware that people use ad-blocking software. They’re also smart enough to analyze whether $X amount of dollars are worth it for Y amount of clickthrough and impressions.

            You’ve made a lot of assumptions about people’s evil/selfish nature and ignorance that are completely unfounded.

            And let’s be clear: I am not in support of using ad-blocking software on sites that you love and support, I am supporting, essentially, freedom of choice to do what you have the right to do.

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          • 164

            Come on, Jacob. Look at the amount of spam that exists on the internet. It’s garbage. Why does it exist? Because those people are selfish and don’t care about the community they’re part of.

            Of course, I don’t think people who block ads are the same as spammers, but it’s similar, because it’s done for a self-serving purpose, without consideration for longterm repurcussions.

            (And I hope no one thinks that Jacob and I are fighting here. We like each other — we just like to butt heads once in a while! No hard feelings…)

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  43. 165

    My personal Opinion on websites displaying ads is as follows:

    Adverts do make the world go round, that’s how we see new products, that is how we showcase products & other services we would otherwise not know about and that is how companies make money. Adverts are a common slot within our everyday television viewing however ad’s should NOT be left to automatic ad sites, why?

    Well because they only TRY to find the best relating adverts to your product opposed to specifically re-shaping the adverts to match and blend with your current site contents.

    Ads are meant to be seen so why not make it part of your content?

    Regards

    Craig Reville

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  44. 166

    I think the web has come on enough that I don’t need to use ad blockers. I frequently visit the same sites and I know that their advertising is there for a good reason. I have also found that, recently, I’ve not visited a single website that has overly obtrusive or invasive advertising. I think people have finally figured out that because we can block annoying adverts, we will. And people aren’t going to make money these days by creating those kinds of adverts.

    Just think how popups used to rule the web. Before everyone could simply use their browser to block popups they were everywhere! Whether it’s because my browser blocks them or not, I have noticed that there aren’t many, if any, popup advertising on any of the sites I have visited recently. The ease of disabling them has forced people to find a less obtrusive way to advertise.

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    • 167

      I completely agree, and in fact you raise a good point.

      When pop-up ads were ruling the internet should we have disabled our browsers pop-up pop-up blocker, or better yet choose one that doesn’t have a blocked at all?!

      I think the crux of the matter is we have to think why people are using ad blockers, if it’s because the users a knob, so be it… but I like to think that if the website insists on obtrusive advertisement the user will either turn around and go to a competitor and block the adverts, simple.

      This is a usability / design issue, not a user issue.

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  45. 168

    Blimey, I’m glad you don’t run the internet. People should always have a choice and with ad blockers they do. They’re just as entitled to be part of the web as ads are.

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    • 169

      You do have a choice.
      If you don’t like ads then don’t visit websites that show them.

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      • 170

        I don’t go to websites for the ads, so why would I choose not to go them if they do?

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        • 171

          The websites that show ads depend on them for revenue.
          That revenue pays for the content, storage and bandwidth.
          If you choose to visit them while blocking their ads you cost them money and give nothing in return and that isn’t fair. However it is fair if you don’t visit them that way they don’t lose money on you.

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  46. 172

    anonymous coward

    June 14, 2010 5:57 am

    Its a ridiculous argument to say “don’t use ad blockers”. Its like trying to empty the ocean with a teacup. Its pointless. That genie is already out and the free web is going away. As a publisher I say good riddance I look forward to the day all users are paying pennies per page. Good bye free web.

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    • 173

      What you’re saying won’t work. As soon as someone starts charging for “content A”, then someone else will come along and give “content A” away for free. That’s the nature of the web.

      My article is not talking about ads on the internet in general, it’s about Web Designers who use ad blockers. We need ads to keep the design community alive and thriving as it is now. If we all use ad blockers, the design community will die.

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  47. 174

    most ads are intrusive, abusive and downright nasty, some go to the point of injecting code and exploit your browsers (besides the looping flash banners, the psychedelic colors, the rollovers, the pre-video, ….), this is not to say that we should all stop using ads and or start all using adblockers, but you cant make an article that pretty much says everyone that uses adblockers is wrong, thats why most adblocks have a whitelist (even though i do agree if it was more straightforward to put sites on the whitelist i would probably do it more often), even quality sites, even putting good ads, can make it downright bad, by putting too many or inside the content or all over the theme of the site, by using an adblock you can actually enjoy the site, i would avoid lots of sites if i didnt have some kind of adblocking.

    also as a sidenote:

    Ad Blockers Hinder the Community, NO! most of the times ADS hinder the community, check gametrailers and how everytime they go out of their way with intrusive ads, their community goes up in flames.

    Ad Blockers Promote a Me-First Attitude, NO! ad blockers promote freedom of choice, or you forget that users of the site are most of the times paying for internet access, they should choose what they want to use their bandwidth with.

    Ad Blockers Could Cause a Mini “dot com bust”, NO! there are more avenues of making money besides ads.

    Ad Blockers Make the Web Less Real, NO! the web is already not real, if you use firefox its not the same rendering as ie or chrome or opera, just cause we take away the ads doesn’t mean its less real, means its a faster and less obnoxious web.

    Ad Blockers Should Be Banned (for Quality Blogs), NO! quality blogs should find different revenue streams, besides annoying their users.

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    • 175

      Benito Aramando

      June 14, 2010 7:07 am

      Wow, which sites do you visit? I occasionally see an ad that could be considered intrusive. As for abusive or nasty, almost never.

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    • 176

      Hugo,

      When you say that “ads hinder the community”, it’s like saying “the $15.00 my barber charges me for my haircut hinders my ability to enjoy my hair.”

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  48. 177

    I’m sympathetic to your position, but you don’t do yourself any favours by making your case with FUD. “Dot Com busts and a ravaged design community” my hairy rear. If your advertising revenues are falling and endangering the business, you’ll have to look at your business model. You may daydream about it, but visitors won’t be bullied out of their surfing habits into compliance with a flawed business model. As sad as it would be if a good ezine like smashingmagazine disappeared (and it would be), its place would be quickly filled by a competitor with a robuster business model. But even if you were right and the whole reef disintegrated, high quality articles would still abound on individual blogs – and I don’t remember reading a single demand from Jonathan Snook, Eric Meyer, Sam Brown, Jeffrey Zeldman, Jon Hicks, Elliot Stocks or any of the countless other wise heads in the community insisting that I change my behaviour in order to read their opinion.

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    • 178

      Advertisers willing to pay thousands every month for ad impressions is not a flawed business model. Also, we have a clear distinction between paid content and non-paid. If we block ads, then these types of sites will have no choice but to resort to paid content, paid reviews, and so forth, which a lot of people don’t like.

      And no, you’re right, those “standardistas” you mentioned don’t always charge for their content, they don’t demand we change our habits. But they also don’t rely on ads for their income, and they sometimes write articles about their pet dogs, and what they had for dinner last night.

      If Vitaly Friedman posted articles like that on SM, people would be crying murder — but Zeldman posts and tweets about nonsense all the time, because he doesn’t rely on ad impressions to keep him afloat. His blog is an outlet for a lot of different things, so nobody expects that from him or many of those others.

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  49. 179

    I do use ad blocker, with exceptions: I keep Deck and Fusion ads unblocked. Those ads interest me, others just steal my attention. Selfishness, but most of the time, I don’t feel guilt for hiding ads.

    Most good blogs I read manage to survive without ads — probably the best example is Daring Fireball. Ads are in the content, written by author, always interesting. There are many ways to monetize your blog, ads are not the best one.

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  50. 180

    I went to the author’s page and clicked an ad to thank him for his wise words.

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