Over the last 10 years, I’ve noticed the growing popularity of ad blockers. The latest news I’ve seen said that around 30% of all internet users now use ad blockers. That use to be only on desktops and laptops but we are now getting ad blockers on mobile devices as well.
To top that off a lot of web browsers are starting to include some form of content blocking by default. So, I am guessing if you count all that then we are well above 30% now.
But is this ad-pocalypse a good thing or bad thing for the internet as a whole?
The benefits of ad blockers
There’s no doubt that ad blockers are good for users. They make web pages load faster, they can make the web safer by blocking Malvertising. They can also save bandwidth. The internet is more enjoyable when you are not being interrupted by annoying ads. So what could be so bad about using them?
The downside to ad blockers
Like it or not the internet economy is based on advertising in one form or another. Because of that, I believe the internet as it is will not be able to handle the ever-growing use of ad blockers. The truth is running a website is not free. If content creators can’t make a living then they will be forced to do other things for money. That could mean cutting away on the time spent making new content or stopping altogether.
The battle between content creators and ad blockers
Some website owners are reacting to ad blockers by using even more ads on the people that do not block them. This in return causes more people to start blocking ads and the problem gets even worse.
Some websites have started blocking people if they detect ad blockers.
I’ve even heard talk about how ad blockers violate the copyright of a website. But this has not held up in court so far.
Google, who gets most of there income from ads, disabled ad blockers in Chrome for a time.
But so far it seems like the ad blockers are always one step ahead in this battle. I do not see that changing anytime soon.
How will the internet change?
Ad networks in their current form will stop being profitable at some point. So how will the internet change when ad networks can no longer pay the bills?
We may go back to the old ways. Website owners could go back to spending a lot of time finding sponsors. Then host the ad’s themselves. Ad blockers do not block first-party content coming directly from the site. They only block connections to ad networks. So this may work for a while but it is a lot more work for the content creators.
But I feel like it would only be a matter of time before these kinds of ads also get blocked. If nothing else someone will develop an AI to do it.
But my bets are on affiliate links and website subscriptions taking over.
I recently gave up on web ads myself. I always made sure they were out of the way and not annoying. But the money I was making off them was not worth the space I let them have.
Instead, I have decided to focus on affiliate links. I think this may be the future. They’re not intrusive or flashing in your face, but they have the potential to fund content creators.
I am currently experimenting with VigLink. Ad blockers will block the Viglink script from running. But if creators make the links themselves and do not rely on the auto script then it seems to work fine.
Another thing that might happen is paid website memberships. I’ve already seen a hand full of sites go this way. I am not sure how well this will work. I for one would not want to pay a membership fee to every site I visit. But maybe some of the bigger sites can get away with this?
To tell the truth I hope we do not go down this road. I’d rather see a few ads then have to pay for memberships.
What do you think?
The structure of the internet may change a lot and we may lose some content in the process. But I believe the internet as a whole will survive. I am just not sure what it will look like in the end.
What are your thoughts? Will the internet survive? Leave a comment below and let me know.