With 200 million people using ad-blockers across the globe, the online retail and advertisers are already in a tizzy. With Apple’s ad-blocking support for iOS9, they are perturbed even more. Oh! And, did I forget to mention that even Samsung has joined the bandwagon off-late and extended its support for the ad-blockers on its native mobile phone browser? While the making of ad-blocking software has added another task in the developer’s portfolios, it isn’t really a happy scenario for the advertisers.
Why Is Ad Blocking So Controversial?
Ad blockers have been around for years, but online advertisers all over the world have been freaking out about these software programs lately. Some news websites have even gone as far to say that ad blockers will herald the end of the Internet.
What Are Ad Blockers?
Ad blockers – sometimes known as content blockers – are simple software programs that prevent ads from being shown on websites. Ad blockers are typically browser add-ons, and are available for the Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari, and Internet Explorer web browsers. AdBlock Plus is the most popular ad blocker on the web. This browser plugin has been downloaded and installed millions of times, and is available for a range of different browsers.
Why Are Ad Blockers in the News?
A vast majority of websites on the Internet exist thanks to online advertising. Millions of websites, from tiny blogs to huge corporate-owned magazines, depend on online advertising revenues in order to operate. As I mentioned, ad blockers have been available for years, but for Apple – one of the largest, wealthiest technology companies in the world – to openly support them is big news.
Apple made headlines when it announced that iOS 9, their iteration of the mobile operating system that powers iPhones and iPads supporting ad blocking technology. From Apple’s point of view, their decision to allow ad-blocking apps is solely to protect user privacy and to create an enhanced user experience by eliminating any possible interference of data among the user and the apps that they use, especially on the mobile phone platform.
Dean Murphy, a British software developer, created an ad blocking app for iOS called Crystal. The app, which was available on the Apple App Store for 99 cents, functioned similarly to AdBlock Plus and the other ad blockers on the market. Murphy told the media he did not create Crystal with the intent of making a fortune, but rather to develop his iOS programming skills.
In the week after Crystal was launched on September 16, Murphy earned $75,000 from sales of his app.
Marco Arment, creator of Instapaper and cofounder of Tumblr, also created an ad blocker for iOS, an app called Peace. The wildly successful app, which was downloaded tens of thousands of times, was pulled by Arment just 36 hours after it was launched when Arment experienced a “crisis of conscience” about Peace’s potential impact on sites that rely on advertising revenue to survive.
Seeing a threat to their ecosystem, French publishers follow their German colleagues and filled a lawsuit against Eyeo GmbH, the creator of AdBlock Plus. But they cannot ignore that, by using ABP, millions of users actively protest against the worst forms of advertising.Therefore, they lose the challenge against the adblock plus.
Why using ad-blockers?
Although the most obvious reason that people use ad blockers is to eliminate ads from their web browsing experience, there are actually several other benefits of using them. By removing ads from the web pages users are served, page load times are often decreased considerably, and can also reduce data usage – good news for people with limited data plans.
Additionally, ad-blockers also prevent scripts used by advertisements to gain access to your confidential data offering enhanced privacy, and also protect your browsing behaviour from getting tracked.
I use AdBlock Plus on a daily basis. I’m not especially proud of this, nor do I support anti-advertising activism, I use the ad-blocker for practical, not ideological, reasons. On too many sites, the invasion of pop-up windows and heavily animated ad “creations” has became an annoyance. A visual and a technical one.I asked around and I couldn’t find a friend or a colleague not using the magic plug-in. Everyone seems to enjoy ad-free surfing. If this spreads, it could threaten the very existence of a vast majority of websites that rely on advertising.
THE FUTURE OF ADS
90% of Google’s and 96% of Facebook’s Annual Revenue comes from the Ad Industry. It, therefore, comes as no surprise that these companies are trying their best to resolve the Native Ads situation. With the introduction of Google AMP, Apple News, and Facebook Instant Articles, we find that these Internet behemoths have now jumped into the fray and taken matters into their own hands. Through their own curated platforms, they can regulate the number of ads that the audience is viewing thus always making sure the experience is optimal.
We want to hear from you. What are your thoughts on Adblock’s practices? Are Acceptable Ads a way to ensure that everyone plays fair? Or is it wrong of a company to block ads on one hand, and get paid to remove them with the other? How do you think these practices are affecting your social reach and conversion rate? Share your thoughts below with us in the comments!