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Why Web Designers Should Not Use Ad Blockers

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 view 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 https://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://css-tricks.com/video-screencasts/78-on-web-advertising/
  8. 8 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/06/19/ad-management-plugins-and-tutorials-for-managing-ads-on-your-website/
  9. 9 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/12/03/online-advertising-and-its-impact-on-web-design/
  10. 10 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/02/12/successful-strategies-for-selling-ad-space-on-low-traffic-websites/
  11. 11 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/04/12/the-path-to-advertising-nirvana/
  12. 12 http://polldaddy.com/poll/3343287/
  13. 13 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.

  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

      Andrew Pryde

      June 14, 2010 6:25 am

      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

      Cosmin Negoita

      June 14, 2010 7:36 am

      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.

        2
  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

      Gerd Wippich

      June 14, 2010 11:53 am

      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.

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  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.

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  14. 65

    Muhammad Habib

    June 14, 2010 4:57 am

    “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.

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  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

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    • 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.

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    • 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.

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      • 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.

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        • 72

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

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      • 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?

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      • 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.

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  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.

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  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.

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  19. 77

    moonfiremusic

    June 14, 2010 5:03 am

    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.

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    • 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.

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  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?

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    • 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.

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    • 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.

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