I don’t click on ads. Even when on the rare occasion they interest me I never click them. If I am interested I’ll open a new session and type the vendor’s address myself and navigate there “manually”. It’s a force of habit I’m happy to have, especially in 2016.

So when a website serves me a guilt-popup saying their writers won’t get paid because I’m using an ad blocker, it’s simply not true.

The purpose of an advertisement is to entice a consumer to consider exchanging money for goods or services. And that’s all the transaction is supposed to be. These days though, as many of you are aware, clicking on these things submits a huge amount of information back to the advertising company. That isn’t advertising, it’s a surreptitious way of getting private information about people for free.

Of course just having that visual cue presented to you regularly re-enforces interest in whatever brand or product is being advertised and ad-blockers prevent this. But impressions are far weaker than clickthroughs in terms of effectiveness and the efficacy is much more difficult to measure, otherwise they’d cost the same amount. So it’s like throwing out the pages of a newspaper that are full of advertisements, or not buying The Daily Telegraph because of its pages saturated with “commercial features” that have roughly the same literary quality as the “journalism” they crowd out.

Now, it’s important to note that some ad blocking software can and does do exactly the same kind of data-recording / stealing. So do most of the HTML emails you receive and open. So there are two issues here. But one thing at a time!

This comes back to companies dictating how you’ll consume their content. Their position is that it’s their right to control it. RSS is a good example. A widely used web standard that let users get text only digests of content from sites they’ve subscribed to. The companies that rely on advertising for income are doing their best to kill it off because they can’t make money from it.

We will decide who reads this content and the circumstances in which they consume it!