Ad blockers are all the rage. As is complaining about those “pesky” adverts that follow you around once you’ve searched for something and Google thinks it knows “just what you need.”
But consider this: What if the alternative to seeing adverts on websites was having to pay to subscribe to read the contents? Are you prepared to pay rather than give up the free internet, a source of so much interesting, useful and funny information?
I didn’t think so!
Consider this: A decent information website takes money to run. Our largest website costs around €800 a month to run. I’m not talking about salaries here, these are fixed monthly costs for things like web hosting, email account hosting and the various pieces of software that are needed to make things run smoothly when viewed on desktop, tablet or mobile. When you have big traffic, the running costs go up dramatically.
So although we all like to think the web is free, it isn’t. All those useful websites that answer your questions, entertain you or make you laugh are costing their owners money every single day. Most websites choose to cover those costs, and in some cases actually make a profit by selling advertising. Most of that advertising is “contextual” which means the ads you see are broadly based on your recent search patterns. When you click on an advert, the website owner gets a few cents.
Here’s what will happen if too many people start using Ad blockers:
- Initially, the website owners income will drop as fewer ads are clicked
- Next up, advertisers will notice that both the clicks and number of “views” on their adverts will go down
- They will therefore “bid” less money to advertise in the future (complicated, but that’s how it all works)
- The website owner is now getting fewer clicks at a lower rate per click than before
You can see which way this spiral goes, can’t you? Eventually the website owner has to make a choice — he can shut the website down, he can ask for “donations” to help him run it or he can move to a subscription system where he charges everyone a small amount to view the content.
And that affects us all — over time the web will become much less useful, interesting or funny, because all the free stuff will be gone or will be behind a paywall.
That’s why we should allow adverts to display on websites we visit!
And let me finish with a true story that brought all this to mind. I was looking desperately for some information about how to fix an issue with one of my cars. After a long search, I found an enthusiast’s website that explained in great detail, with pictures, how to solve my problem. I was so grateful when I’d completed the task, I looked around the website to see how to contact the owner to thank him. It dawned on me that there were adverts on the site, so I clicked one, knowing he would get a small payment.
And here’s the funniest thing of all, the ad I clicked was for something relevant that I had been thinking about buying, so I did!