Piracy and ad-blockers are both theft
Posted on Thursday, February 23rd, 2012 at 2:43 pm. #
I do find it difficult to understand why running AdBlock or the like is not frowned upon by otherwise honest people. It’s somehow acceptable to write and use Web2.0 services, yet block the very ads that pay for them. If you run an ad-blocker (on your standard, unmetered, broadband connection) it would seem to me that you’re no different to a petty thief.
Howls of protest followed from normally intelligent people; yet the point can’t be argued against.
Today, in an illuminating blog post, Jeff Jarvis says:
There is a furor over piracy as theft but, quite to the contrary, there is a rush to enable the blocking of ad tracking as a virtue.
Jeff’s not even talking about ad-blocking: merely the “do not track” cookie. As he says, an ad-supported service says: You will get my content for free because I will serve you ads and I will increase their efficiency, performance, and value by targeting them to your interests and behavior; if you block the cookies that make that possible, you are robbing me of value.
The EFF is even neatly conflating the two, by recommending that “users who wish to defend themselves against online tracking should use AdBlock Plus” – which neatly illustrates the seemingly acceptable face of ad-blockers. It’s one reason that I can’t now support the EFF: irresponsible advice like this is hardly ensuring ‘freedom’; and will damage the very economy it’s there to apparently protect.
The facts: online companies wants to make content (yes, including ads) more targeted and more relevant to what you want to see. If you inhibit this, ads on sites will be less relevant to you. Less relevant ads are simply irrelevant interruptions, and you will find the ads more annoying and more intrusive. Is that what you want?
The online ad business should be educating consumers about the benefits of relevancy; while also educating consumers that running an ad-blocker is theft. I don’t understand why it isn’t doing so.