Thanks! This page was ad supported. /snark
The Ethical Ad Blocker Chrome extension, developed by internet artist Darius Kazemi, will block any webpage that contains ads, replacing it with a crude text page telling users to check out a list of auto-generating websites and non-profit organizations that give stuff away for free. There’s nothing like a little blunt commentary hitting you over the head to make heads or tails of the contentious climate around ad-blocking.
“The conundrum at hand: users don’t want to see ads, but content providers can’t give away content for free,” writes Kazemi on the extension description. “The solution is simple: if a website has ads, the user simply should not be able to see it. This way, the user doesn’t experience ads, but they also don’t leech free content. Everybody wins!”
+Commentary: This isn’t even funny, not in an ironic way. The brief bit (above) goes on to say the reporter didn’t even really try it, because it seems to block everything. While it is a statement, to be certain it is one that has already been addressed by major publications. Save that plug-in as performance art piece for someone who doesn’t surf the web all day. Others in actually funnier or cheekier ways for months and in some cases over a year have been leading the charge. Without the moralizing and attention policing, there are other options.
Handling it with humor, is the best way to reach someone who has said explicitly they like you, but they don’t like your advertisers. Upselling, alternate freemium options based on permission are key elements here, and may actually get you more revenue in the long run:
Below is a sample of a few:
The Washington Post confirms it’s test blocking ad blockers to find out what moves readers to unblock, pay for a subscription or sign up for a newsletter.
2013: Visual Pre-Roll ad script that uses snark:
The scripts have been in use since at least 2011 (conincidentally the year we started using AdBlocker)
2011: Today we will give website owners a chance and write a plugin with which they can detect whether a visitor is using an ad blocker:
So why do we use AdBlockers? Well I’d forgotten until this happened the one time I paused it in three years, and went to Forbes.com of all places:
The perception above, that you can’t unblock sites or even whitelist an entire domain, free to see any ad they put there isn’t even addressed. Reducing it down to “ethical’ surfing & support without being bombarded by a race to the bottom by even well-known established sites like Forbes, et al… has always been an option. That is the difference between UX/UI Designers, and Engineers/Web Developers. To not make it about the user, but about the petulance of the owner/site. That is not a good look.
To use a fallacious analogy that I’m somehow ‘unethical’ without considering the moral ramifications of the ad industry in general, is a bankrupt mentality built upon a glaring hypocrisy. As Seth Godin reminds us, they’ve had plenty of time to adjust to this, and fair warning — but they’d rather believe their ‘thought leaders’ and other morally bankrupt charlatans than face the truth. The one staring them in the face the minute AdBlocker shot to the top of the Download charts.
Now for key players like Apple to adopt what is clearly a great product & meets the public needs, they are quivering in their collective boots. After all, ad-blockers are the hottest new demo to reach, and we know how much they love their targeting & re-targeting!
Also how Darius Kazemi earned the title “internet artist” is beyond our comprehension, totally. We’ve made a history since 1997 of following artists on the internet, and this is the first time we’ve run across his name. Let’s hope it is the last.