Friday 17 December 2004

Software Journal >> Is blocking online ads good for the internet? :: news and previews!

Software Journal � Is blocking online ads good for the internet? :: news and previews!

The debate has continued since the evolution of the internet. And we have seen advertisement in every possible form on the web. Popups, static and animated graphical ads, flash animations and now text sensitive ads. Times have changed and with the popularity of search toolbars (with popup blocking) and the introduction of Windows XP SP2 which comes with Internet Explorer having an internet popup blocker, popup based advertisements have taken a backseat. People do not like flash, so they are going down the pipeline too. So, what kinds of advertisements are practically ruling the web now? Inline advertisements which are non intrusive and even helpful at times as is the case with Google’s Adsense.

So, how do we tackle the problems of these ads? Well, we can just make a huge list of servers which serve ads to the most popular of sites… and block access to these servers! This solves the problems in 2 different ways. We do not get to not see the ads and we save bandwidth as well. And how about text sensitive ads? They are as easy as blocking servers as well. And what you get as a result is mostly ad-free surfing. There are separate softwares (Ad Blockers) available online which handle this kind of functionality and some browsers come with this facility inbuilt (myIE2). And then there is the age old method of blocking access to the servers using windows host files. So, is it effective? Yeah, very much. Firefox with its adblocker extension makes blocking ad servers as simple as right clicking on an ad and select block option.

Now the question arises… Is it good for the consumers to block advertisements online?

Well, as I look at it… much of the World Wide Web is practically running on advertisements. Talking about big corporate sites, even MSN (owned by the biggie Microsoft) runs on advertisements. Hotmail, GMail, Google and most search engines and webmails uses ads to finance the free services that they provide us the consumer. Then big time computer users like me have forums and tech sites to feed tech junk to our brains… In my case the sites are predominantly Neowin, SitePoint and WordPress forums. These sites keeps me updated with news, help me find solutions to my problems and even provide some 1337 moments online. And all of these sites are funded by the money generated with online advertisements.

So, if I for the sake of saving some bandwidth and ignore some non-intrusive advertisements block ads and still use these sites… I am practically being selfish to the forums I use for personal gain. They do not charge me money to find me free solutions… And if I cannot tolerate some ads in return… I am denying the sites to earn some money for the help they are providing me.

And then think of a situation when services like messengers and chat clients won’t be free anymore. Because due to lack of online revenues… the companies might decide someday to charge money for the services (it happened to certain extent with MSN Chat rooms). Would we like that? Are free services with some ads worse than paid for services if the end result of both the application is same…? I do not think so.

There was a time when I blocked around 300 servers through my host files. I had fun browsing those days. I hardly saw any ads online. But then I started this network of Blogs. It was not a problem then as I had a job which paid for this. Now I am a freelancer with little revenues left to run these sites. And Google and some other ad networks came handy… they can easily cover up the expenses of running these sites and more. But only if they are visible to the end user.

I do not certainly expect you to click ads. But some people do find some ads useful. And that helps me run these websites. Same situation is with the big forums and tech sites which depend largely on revenues earned from online advertisements. That day, I cleaned off most of my host file with just few evil and harmful servers remaining. Good and unobtrusive ads no longer offend me. I check out ads that interest me or simply ignore them on the sites I visit frequently. It helps running the good websites we have and in the end it helps sustaining the World Wide Web as a whole.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Kahe rännumehe tee

Kahe rännumehe tee viis mööda jõest Kaldal kaunis neiu valas pisaraid Neiu ütles: ei saa üle Emajõest Aga mehed sellest niig...