Probably one of the biggest threats to the reality of the internet and its integrity and stability is the fact that people expect what they find there to be free. If you have not enjoyed the onslaught of annoying and obtrusive ads then, like myself, you probably have an ad-blocker installed into your browser, and if you don’t, well you’re a stronger person than I.
First let me clarify what I said about the internet having integrity and stability. I realise this statement may in itself be slightly laughable. However, producing content takes time and money, and if the information is being given away for nothing then there is little time for fact checking, or writing properly or anything.
Imagine for a second a paper with all that ads removed. In fact, go and get a paper, a pair of scissors and remove all of the ads, and then go find a wedding with the hand full of confetti you’re left with. Writers and editors may drive the information bus, but without the advertising wallet filling up the tank it wont get very far. While we may not like it, advertisers pay for the majority of the content we’re reading.
Most ad-blockers operate just to remind the visitor that the ads you may be seeing are there for a purpose. Sometimes you can choose to ignore them, and other times they block access until you ‘white list’ the site. This one, encountered at Inside Retail, blocked access.
All of the requests I have seen have been professional and polite. Usually when confronted with a message, I take a mental exam of the site in question:
- Am I here for a purpose?
- Is this content I really want?
- Is the content laid out in a functional way?
- Do I trust the information from this site?
If the answer to these are yes, then the ad-blocker is turned off. However, once it is off, it depends on how the ads are displayed if it gets turned back on and the site closed; the main culprit for this are the scroll following ads.
I find the request to be highly effective and if your site needs the revenue from advertising streams to keep plugging out valuable content, then I suggest you keep using them. It is a simple and clever way to keep readers aware that online content is valuable and needs to be paid for by someone. I doubt there are too many people that would be shunned by a simple request to do something that costs them nothing.