March 6, 2016

The Scourge of Adblocking software

Back in the day, visiting a website often involved being exposed to some random advertising in a banner across the top of the page.
Something like this.

Over time, online ads began to creep down pages, filling first the left margin and then the right.

I know that article I'm looking for is in here SOMEWHERE

Of course, we had been able to ignore the banner ads after a time, and eventually were able to ignore all the kibble surrounding the content we sought. So the advertisers escalated their pitches. Ads flashed, jiggled, popped up in middle of your screen, marched around over the page. Much harder to ignore, and should you break down and click on one of them it did not make them stop on your future visits. If you bought every single item being advertised there, you would still be facing that mess on every visit.

Then came the video ads. These are sneaky because they may not be there when you open the page. But the advertising feed on that page will serve them up randomly, and they play immediately. Some arsehole just woke the baby, scared the shit out of you, and froze your computer squawking about paper towels.

If that wasn't enough to drive you into the arms of your nearest adblocker, this did. Doing research, surfing, shopping, looking at newsfeeds or working on the web only to suddenly have every page you visit covered with ads related to what you have been looking at. Now conventional wisdom says that targeted advertising is much  better than just random products, and we are all pretty much aware that our web usage is tracked and reported. But having your nose rubbed in it is creepy as hell.

And do NOT get me started on commercial shopping sites that have obnoxious ads flashing and popping up all over the place WHILE I AM TRYING TO BUY YOUR DAMN STUFF.

So - THAT is why my lazy butt took the time and trouble to find and install an adblocker. Because the escalating war for my attention was actually becoming nauseating. And since webpages I have contacted about it disavow any control over their ads, I am going to have to just skip them.
Can we go back to this? This was nice.

1 comment:

Rhianon Jameson said...

At first, I misinterpreted the title: it appeared to me that ad blocking software itself was the scourge. But upon further inspection, I agree completely. It was one thing to have the occasional tasteful ad on a web page - well, perhaps my memory plays tricks on me and ads were never tasteful - but an entirely different matter to have garish pop-up ads, auto-playing music, and other assaults on the senses.

I'll relate a little anecdote: my daily commute involves a half-hour or so on the subway, and much of that is underground. Occasionally the train will pop above ground, where I can grab a cellular signal, and occasionally underground stations will have a decent signal. If I want to read a web page, it has to load quickly, before the train moves to a spot where the signal disappears. Some web pages - yes, Washington Post, looking at you - want to load multiple megabytes of ads on the mobile version of the site. Without ad blocking software, I don't get the site and everyone loses, because the Post's advertisers don't get the dubious benefit of my viewing the ads. So at least two-and-a-half cheers for ad blocking software!