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You have no right to a business model, and if some technology comes along that undermines your business model, that shouldn't be illegal. It just means the market has changed, and it's time you change along with it.
Somebody there obviously missed the whole "free as in speech, not free as in beer" line of thought.
[edited by: leadegroot at 9:53 am (utc) on Oct. 11, 2009]
An article in TechDirt
I'm not seeing a big shift where we are forced to change our business models because of this plugin... yet. If IE were to have something similar by default, then I'd be worried.
Are we entitled to it? Are people entitled to content without ads? I guess that's the question.
But webmasters are just as free to block people with ad blockers as people with ad blockers as free to browse without ads.
PS: I block flash by default because it's just damn annoying.
If by saying "you have no right to a business model" the author means:
"You have no right to present the articles you publish and the ads that run alongside them as an inclusive package where the reader gets both together or nothing at all."
that's obviously nonsense.
As a publisher you are, if you wish, perfectly entitled to take such a standpoint. (Indeed try and find a single magazine on a newsagent's shelf, in which there are two versions - one where the articles and ads come as an inclusive package and one where the articles are available without the ads).
Now, whether your web publication will still garner the same readership when they can only read your articles if the ads are presented alongside is another question.
But you do have a right to take such a stand.
Folks have the right to block ads if they wish (who watches ads on tv any more? Fast forward. :-)
Webmasters have the right to run ads.
End of story. Or shall we say there is no story here.
but adblockers actually remove the ads, wipe them out. that is a whole different ball game.
they are like newsagents snipping all the ads out of the magazines before they sell them.
they are like bill posters pasting over billboards in the street, and boarding up shop windows so people strolling down the road don't have to look at their goods. there's no real difference.
companies pay for that advertising space. it's not right that another company can come along and rip the ad down.
is it adblockers which remove the ads? Its the user who removes them. Their tool of choice doesnt matter. No different from someone who tells his kid to snip out all ads before he sees a newspaper! How people do it is irrelevant - they are making a conscious decision, adblockers are not forcing them into anything.
I agree with Play_Bach - those people who are so bothered dont matter. I believe that someone who bothers to use adblock is definitely not my customer anyway! I have names to call those who want to see my content which cost quite a bit to create, but believes he deserves to see the content.
I agree with londrum morally - If I use a site, I defintely would not block their ads. But that's about idividual morality I think. I 'can' do it if I choose to.
Today I find the second outright offensive and I'd be quite ready to act against it.
If tomorrow some browser would add ad blocking functionality by default, I might change my viewpoint on the first and start acting on that too.
The alternative to the business model of making content free but advertising supported is subscription based content.
There is -unfortunately- a third option: supported by "tax-avoiding" donations. As a matter of fact one can probably -depending on where you live I guess- make a decent living out of having your non-profit pay you a consulting fee, and basically make society at large pay indirectly a large part of it all.
The unfortunate part is mostly the leaching way to have all tax payers partly sponsoring websites and the fact that to be successful at this, one needs to be huge. Competition: nice, but under the same rules please.
As a user, I hate to have a dancing/flashing ad next to an article I'm trying to read. Maybe I'm easily-distractable, but I can't read with all that going on. So, either I'll shrink the window and scroll the add off-screen, or I'll click the flash-killer button in my toolbar to get some peace.
As a publisher, I don't want my carefully-crafted and 'respectable' sites plastered with dancing bologna.
So it it self-defeating to present distracting or annoying ads to me either as a Web user or as a publisher. Make 'em pretty, make 'em attractive, make 'em effective, but not annoying...
Banner ads and popups are now both mostly dinosaurs, because the industry didn't self-regulate. And with pop-ups, we did see the browser makers reject them forcefully with pop-ups blockers now standard equipment in most browsers and available in many toolbars if not native to the browsers.
I do block flash. I block iframes. But I do allow some advertising. And if it is entertaining and not EVERYWHERESAME (tm) I go, I don't get annoyed. Sadly, I'm not the average surfer being both webmaster and broke :) so my comments on personal browsing may not apply.
a) what ads ..there are no ads
b) these things are all part of the site
c) these things are are all part of the site ..which belongs to google
d) these things are all part of the site which belongs to google which is part of microsoft or aol .
e) i have norton ..my machine is slow ..and there are sites with what may be bits missing ..i will ask microsoft or aol or norton or my ISP ..because the innertubes belong to them
the latter wont ask ..because they know ..the phone call will be charged at premium rate per minute
That's true - the vast majority of computer users don't differentiate to anywhere near the degree to those that actually make sites do. About a year ago, I watched a friend of mine 'borrow' my computer to do a search on Google only to watch in horror as she immediately clicked the top banner ad in the 'Sponsored Links' section!
I don't block ads these days, but then I avoid sites where the ads push the content to below the fold. If I decided to visit that sort of site on a regular basis I would probably start running an ad blocker again.
I'm sure I was building up to something useful there. Don't you hate it when that happens? Probably something to the effect of people wouldn't block ads if they weren't annoying. Mine are above the footer and I had my second best week ever last week.
So ad publishers need to pay attention to making non-annoying ads and ad distributors need to use "annoyance" as a ranking factor, to avoid repeating the whole scenario that resulted in pop-ups being almost universally blocked with today's browser and toolbar filters.
I've got no problems with text-based ads a la AdWords/AdSense, it's mostly banners and Flash that bug me.
I also run a few advertising campaigns, and take great pains to make my ads walk the line between annoyance and effectiveness -- staying safely on the 'effective' side. They are -hopefully- quite professionally-done.
I'm personally looking at it from all sides here, and with a good bit of pragmatism; I think that the number of visitors currently running ad-blockers is negligible myself, and I flat don't worry about it. However, Phorm is an entirely-different matter, since it's at the ISP level...
[added] As maximillianos posted, I think the "You have no right" phrase was hyperbolic posturing intended as link bait. [/added]
as soon as it becomes a problem ad companies will just update the way they serve the ads.
there must be a way to serve them as plain html
I've always thought that some day you'd be able to display AdSense by including some server-side code (i.e. PHP) that will render the ad in plain HTML. That would be a useful option.
What I worry about is not the "geeks" who install ad-blocking plugins. It's the geeks who tell their non-techie friends about it, or install such plugins on their relatives' computers. Or the very AdSense publishers themselves who tell all their family and friends not to click ads (out of irrational fear they'll click the publisher's ads and trigger a ban). I'm frankly surprised that it's 2009 and not everyone on earth knows either a) someone who has instructed them on how to block ads, or b) instructed them on what constitutes ads and not to click on them.
Does anybody know what proportion of internet users block ads?
Here's an idea of the scale. The stats for the Firefox add-on, AdBlock [addons.mozilla.org], shows over half a million downloads for the past seven days. IE7 Pro is an IE add-on tha has been downloaded three million times from download.com alone.
On the bright side, it looks like Symantec has backed away from including ad blockers in its security product.