Don't Blame Rick752 For Blocking Ads; Blame Those Who Made Ads Annoying
from the get-over-it dept
The Washington Post is profiling the semi-anonymous Rick752, a mid-50s guy in upstate NY who puts together and maintains EasyList, an extremely popular list that powers the popular AdBlock Firefox extension. Basically, (for the 12 of you who don’t know) it lets people surf without seeing advertisements. And, of course, this pisses people off, unreasonably. The article is full of examples of sites either trying to block AdBlock or begging people not to use it, along with quotes from people whining about how if ads are blocked there will be less content online.
If the banner ads are bad content, then something like AdBlock and EasyList are simply a way of letting sites and advertisers know that the ads are not effective at all, but are annoying. That should be exactly what the advertisers and the sites want to hear, because that’s the only way that they’ll learn to make their advertising better. And the way you do that is by no longer thinking of them as ads, but recognizing that ads need to be good content.
I’m always fascinated by people who seem to think that interference with a business model is either a crime or unethical. In reality, it’s simply a market changing, usually for the better. In fact, it’s usually a sign of what customers really want and how to offer it to them most efficiently. That’s all that AdBlock and EasyList are doing. They’re letting advertisers and sites know that current ads just aren’t effective. Rather than whining about it, it’s the responsibility of publishers and companies to come up with business models that don’t annoy users, but give them something of value. AdBlock and EasyList are just communicating that message back to them. Those that complain about it are basically just saying that they’re too lazy to come up with a better business model.