Ad-blockers – they’re so controversial. At first, I would argue that they were a bad idea to use, but I’m here to change my opinion.
Ad-blockers Used to Not Make Sense
Any site with ads, including this one, makes money from the ads. And no, we don’t make a profit, it helps pay the bills. There once was a time where ads were wonderful. They were a non-intrusive way to earn income for your blog or other website. Then, ad-blockers were born. Users began to drool over an ad-free experience, but this was hurting blogs.
So What Did They Do?
Blogs such as Forbes started implementing scripts which would not allow you to visit their website until you disable your ad-blocker. This has become a popular practice recently.
Seems Like A Fix, So What’s the Problem?
The problem is, recently, ads have become a threat to our security. Not only have they gotten more intrusive (pop ups, full-page ads, background ads), some ads have also become malicious. Forbes has had a problem with this in the past – users were forced to disable their ad-blocker, then bit by malware.
Thanks to Idiots, Ad-blockers Make Sense Now
Honestly, in today’s day and age, ad-blockers make sense for everyone. It’s less of a security risk, it saves you battery, and you have a non-intrusive experience. Companies have got to find a better, less-intrusive way of advertising if they ever want ad-blockers to become a thing of the past. If they want the ad-blocker to die, start making ads smaller, less-intrusive, and ensure they are not malicious before making them live. Until this happens, I don’t see ad-blockers going anywhere any time soon. For me, that’s really what it’s become. I’m open to having advertisements in exchange for supporting the blogs I love, but it’s not worth it for my screen to be taken over with obnoxious sales pitches, especially if some of them are a security threat.
The Fine Line
There are some seemingly “win/win” solutions. First, Adblock Plus offers an option where users can enable non-intrusive advertising. While this sounds decent on the surface, in my experience, it ends up breaking sites and making them look “funny.” By allowing some ads and blocking others, you end up with a strange appearance in some cases.
The second solution, which I find works for me, is disabling your ad-blocker only on trusted sites. I used to do this on YouTube, but I now have YouTube Red. For me, I want to support the YouTubers I watch, since I know how useful ad-revenue is myself. I also disable my ad-blocker on sites which I trust, and which don’t have obnoxious ads. This isn’t a guaranteed solution for security, as you still run the risk of zero-day exploits, but it’s a pretty safe solution.
While I recommend disabling your ad-blocker on trusted sites that you want to support, it’s generally a good practice to keep it enabled on unknown sites.