Earlier this week Ars Technica caused a stir with an article titled "Why ad blocking is devastating to the sites you love". So, now, we throw it over to you our dear readers and ask, do you use an ad-blocker when surfing the web?
In a nutshell, the management at Ars Technica had grown sick of the fact that many of its readers were using ad-blocking software on their browsers, so it ran a little experiment and temporarily made content invisible to readers using ad-blocking software. This being the internet, this exercise caused, what could euphemistically be called, a storm in a teacup.
Ars decided to run this 12-hour experiment because it, like many popular sites, sells most of its ads on a per-view basis, rather than a per-click basis that many ad-blocking readers assume is the case.
There are many arguments for and against ad-blocking. Chief reasons cited by pro-blockers are that ads are annoying and distracting. This argument is certainly not without some justification, especially in the case of animated Flash ads, some of which spill over into the content that you're trying to peruse.
Another potential reason for using ad-blocking software is that Flash ads can slow down older or low-power computers, such as netbooks. As a side note, this author had to install ad-blocking software on his parents' old PC to stop it from grinding to a halt every time they surf the web, although that machine was considered new in 1997.
No amount of ad-blocking, however, will prevent us from being annoyed by interstitial ads — these are the full page ads that are served up to browsers on some sites before readers are allowed to see content.
On the flip side, many popular sites have an advertising model based primarily on ad views. And with a successful subscription model yet to be found, advertising is the primary revenue source for most internet publications. The logic then follows that the lower the ad revenues for a site, the fewer people it can afford to have on its books, which then has implications for the quality and quantity of the content served up on that site.
What do you think about ad-blocking? Are you for or against it? Do you use it? Vote in the poll above and share your thoughts below.