Why Ad-Blocking Hurts the Sites You Love

Discussion in 'General Software' started by Rob Williams, Mar 8, 2010.

  1. Rob Williams

    Rob Williams Editor-in-Chief Staff Member Moderator

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    Jan 12, 2005
    Atlantic Canada
    The topic of blocking ads on websites has popped into some of my conversations over the past couple of weeks, and it wasn't until just recently that I realized just how prevalent the activity is. I also realized that my opinions seem to vary wildly from most, and if I had to guess, it's likely because I'm a website owner. It doesn't mean that I'm right, but it does mean that I'm likely to have a slightly different perspective on things.

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    You can read the rest of our post here.
     
  2. crowTrobot

    crowTrobot E.M.I.

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    Feb 8, 2010
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    Yep, I just read the ars article as well. It's even worse for tech sites because the viewership are more technically proficient than other sites and are more likely to have adblocks in place.
     
  3. killem2

    killem2 Coastermaker

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    Jan 5, 2010
    I don't mind ads. I just hate the ones that have adds linked to works when you happen to mouse over, or the window one.
     
  4. b1lk1

    b1lk1 Tech Monkey

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    Mar 1, 2006
    Ontario
    I'm not sure the analogy of eating at a restaurant has been properly applied. I do agree that if 40% of the people did not pay their bills it would bankrupt the restaurant. But, how many people actually know what it takes to run a restaurant and what goes on behind the scenes. The same is true for ad blocking. Most people, including myself, have no idea of what goes on behind the scenes of web sites and most do not want to know. This subject is popping up all over the place right now. I do fully understand why web owners are against it, but the onus is on the web owner to educate its readers so that they understand WHY this needs to be done this way.

    For most of us, the WWW is considered a free zone. We pay for internet access so we don't want to pay for any other types of access. This was the downfall of the porn industry online once sites started hosting it for free. So many people are defending their rights to block ads while stating they will just find a new place to hang out when their favorite site folds due to this issue. That is a disgusting attitude in my eyes.

    The other option web owners have and only few use is a donation system. XtremeSystems has a donation system although it does not automatically block ads once you sign up. The way of the future may just be that website owners will need to set something up where faithful users can sponsor them for X amount a month and get ad free access. I'm sure I am over simplifying this, but you get the point.

    Anyhow, education is definitely the key. Until this was brought to my attention in the past week, I never even knew this WAS a problem. Good read and it should be something that new users are told to read when they check the TOS box.
     
  5. Jen McPherson

    Jen McPherson Resident Artist Nerd

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    Jan 12, 2005
    MI, USA
    Yes, I know we had a talk about this not too long ago. ;)

    To be honest, though, the reason I have the ad blocker was because I was so sick of seeing all those Evony ads everywhere. That advertiser seriously needs to stop it, for their ads were just horrible. Completely distasteful, and they had absolutely nothing to do with their game at all. But because of that, and a few sets of annoying ads, I just installed the ad blocker and thought nothing else of it.

    I don't think people realize this can hurt the sites they visit, though, so talking about it as you are may help. In my case, I visit Techgage all the time, but forgot my ad blocker was even on- that's how well it works. And as I mentioned to you, I saw no ads on the site, which does make it look a bit barren. At first I wondered why, then realized oh, duh, ad blocker. I did turn them back on, because I do wish to support Techgage. I'd like like to support the many websites I visit, just because I know how hard it is to run and manage things. It all costs money and time, so having ads is completely understandable.

    However, I also believe that the user shouldn't have to put up with those annoying ads either. I know you said you'd never use such ads, but other sites change them often, many getting to the point of being inappropriate or intrusive.

    So I can honestly say I see both sides of the issue.
     
  6. Misha

    Misha Obliviot

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    Jul 12, 2009
    Using ad blocker for web sites like Techgage is like using a metro (Train or other public transport) without a ticket :)
     
  7. Rob Williams

    Rob Williams Editor-in-Chief Staff Member Moderator

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    Jan 12, 2005
    Atlantic Canada
    Thanks for all of the input guys, I appreciate it :)

    I really don't have much more to say on the subject, given the Ars article summed it up so well. But what I will say is that we make sure we don't have annoying ads on our sites, or any that are intrusive. You'll notice that we have no ads whatsoever that break up our content, which many other sites do.

    One thing that I don't think many people appreciate either is the fact that our pages take longer than 10 seconds to read through. Compare this to the vast majority of other sites out there where your hand never leaves your mouse because you're always ready to click the "Next Page" button. Many other sites bloat their content with huge specs tables, or write a couple hundred words per page, while it's not uncommon for us to have pages with 1,000+ words on them.

    To be honest, though, although I like how we've done things up to this point, I believe it's been hurting us more than helping. Advertisers like to see huge numbers, and that's hard to pull off when we deliver these monolithic pages. This was the reason for our "How do you value lengthy pages in content vs. short ones?" survey question. As it stands so far, almost 70% of people stated, "It doesn't matter to me, as long as the contest is good". So that pretty much tells me that we do need to change things in that regard. Even with smaller pages, our content quality won't suffer, you can be sure of that.
     
  8. Yangster

    Yangster Obliviot

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    Aug 17, 2008
    California.
    I feel pretty strongly about this issue since I really dislike annoying ads. When Chrome came out I wouldn't use it just because it didn't have a ad blocker (woot extensions!).

    I've never once clicked an ad, mostly for fear of malware or something, but must advertisements are of no interest to me so I don't feel that I need to be distracted reading them.

    But, I wouldn't mind having ads that are just pictures or something. No flash or w.e those annoying ones are made out of. If it was just a picture with some text, I might glance it at and read it in 1 sec and just ignore it. But if it's flashy and annoying, when I'm reading an article it'll constantly distract me out of the corner of my eye, which is why I block ads on default.

    I don't get why ad makers don't understand this. Why are they making ads more annoying and flashy if that's what is causing people to block them in the first place? I play CS 1.6 and a while ago they introduced some ad system to the game. You see some tiny ad of a steam game in the corner when you hold down the score board. And there might be a bigger ad on the spawn's wall. I can stand that cause it's not intrusive and won't distract you. They don't move, they don't flash, they're just little images of something.

    Irl, people put ads on bus benches, walls, windows, and billboards. Do those ads explode out in your face and flash in front of you when you're driving? I don't know why they don't just make ads like billboards. They just chill in the background, and when there's a stoplight or traffic, you'll stop and look around and you'll see the sign and you might even buy the product cause they're usually interesting or funny.
     
  9. crowTrobot

    crowTrobot E.M.I.

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    Feb 8, 2010
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    I don't really come across annoying ads often except for ones with audio and that naked skinny blonde guy which makes every site you go to look like you're checking out gay porn (Maximum PC has this ad all over their site) as well as sites with ridiculously heavy flash content like CNET for some reason absolutely cripples my computer at work.

    Looks like people are being a little too honest in the survey Rob :p
     
  10. Rob Williams

    Rob Williams Editor-in-Chief Staff Member Moderator

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    Jan 12, 2005
    Atlantic Canada
    Yangster, you make some pretty great points, and I agree with all of them. I like your comparison to billboards, too, that's a good one. I've tried to tell advertisers almost the same thing for a while, but none will listen. Even so, I am confident that none of our advertisements have ever been annoying or distracting.

    I'd love it in the future if we could give an option to our registered users to switch between Flash and graphic ads. That would solve a lot of the issues and make everyone happy.

    Whenever we have a contest going on, I always seem to flip-flop those words given I type each one so often :-/
     
  11. Yangster

    Yangster Obliviot

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    Aug 17, 2008
    California.
    Mmm I whitelisted techgage yesterday but this is also an interesting read. It's basically a response to Ars Technica's article.
     

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