From an internet user’s POV:
There was a time several years ago that I religiously installed adblockers and flash blockers at every machine I used. Ads themselves had gotten way out of control, and were very annoying to deal with. So I killed them all.
Then, maybe the last 2-4 years, ads normalized a bit, and seemed to “get” that they were getting too crazy, and pulled way back. Fewer annoying popups/popovers/popunders by legit advertisers. Perhaps native browser support for blocking being more widespread led to a sort of truce between browsers and advertisers? I got lazy with blocking, and just let things lie. I even, now and then, found ads I actually clicked on, as targeting has improved.
Anyway, within the last two years, full page skippable ads, float-in and mouseover ads are getting a lot more common again. They’re more relevant, they don’t slow my machine down as much as before, but they’re still interfering with my experience of some of the major websites out there… As a result, I tend to visit those sites a bit less, to filter them via rss feeds, or even just rely on friends and followers to surface interesting content via FB/Twitter.
If things progress any further the way they’re going, I’ll be back to blocking ads. Certainly, I’d at least like more random ads – retargeting tends to show me the same 4-5 ads on a given site over and over again. I may not look like much of a quilted lingerie wearer, but maybe I need a gift for grandma? Anything but more survival knives and weight loss advice. Please.
As a sometimes-advertiser, I honestly don’t see anything unethical about adblocking – it’s just another consumer signal, that basically says “I hate your ad!” It makes me get more creative, both to enthrall those who don’t block ads, and to come up with alternate, less-spammy means to reach the adblocked parts of my target market. How I do that is a story for another day, but suffice to say that by and large people are willing to give you time and attention, even when you’re selling things on the Internet, so long as you respect that time given, and in general the intelligence of such consumers. Those who do neither, deserve to get every last one of their annoying flash monstrosities blocked.
This answer originally appeared on Quora: Is using an ad blocker in your browser unethical?
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