ad issue

So I was at the local gym today, treadmilling earnestly along, and listened to a podcast about advertising on the Internet. Seems a lot of people these days are using software that blocks the advertisements on Web sites from appearing. This is a concern to people who operate the Web sites.

I’ve tried such programs – which are add-ons to Web browsers such as Firefox – and generally they didn’t work as well as I wanted them to. I installed one recently in hopes of blocking the gynormous and vulgar ads on Yahoo Mail, but it didn’t work. I have a program running now, which is just for Gmail. It does a lot of things to make Gmail less cluttered, more minimalistic. One of the options is to remove all the Google ads that appear on the side of an email. It works perfectly.

The Web site person being interviewed, who is from a site called Ars Technica, explained something that I didn’t know before. They get paid when we look at their ads, not when we click on them. I always thought that since I wasn’t going to click on any ads, it didn’t matter if I blocked them. The Web site was getting the same money from my visit – or not – either way.

When people use ad-blocking programs, his Web site gets no revenue, the man explained. They are spending money to produce the content of the Web site, and paying for the bandwidth to show it to people for free, and losing money from ad-blocking people in the process. That’s not cool.

Which brings me back to Yahoo Mail. I don’t use it, I use Gmail. I might use Yahoo for some types of email, but don’t because of the massive, hideous, stupid advertising there.  Yes, I could pay Yahoo $20 a year for ad-free e-mail. But no. I’m already paying them almost that much a month for hosting my Web site. That fee includes premium business email. I don’t use that, because I can’t effectively merge it with my old free Yahoo mail account.

The Ars Technica guy said this is the best way to deal with ugly advertising: don’t use the Web site, and tell the Webmaster there why you won’t. They will pay attention to complaints, he says. Well, Yahoo won’t. Totally oblivious.
ArsTechnica, by the way, is a tasteful and useful site, with tasteful, unobtrusive advertising. I wouldn’t block them.
Gmail’s ads are on the side, in text and links with no gaudy images. They’re fine. And Gmail is probably the most useful thing online for me. I’m using it now to type this blog post. So I’ll probably turn off the ad-blocking feature I’m employing there.

It seems only fair, really. If we’re getting the free gratis benefits of professionally-generated Web content, which is paid for by advertising, we should be willing to keep ads visible. But I think fair is a street that runs both ways. Keep it tasteful, no pop-ups, and none of those flying, gliding annoying things that drift across what I’m trying to read. Or I’ll block yer a–, see if I don’t.