Yes, many of us are old enough to remember VCRs… devices that were once ubiquitous, now sitting on dusty shelves in your local Goodwill store. Among other things, you could ‘zip’ right by the promos at the beginning of a movie and get right to the content you wanted. Now, hit the fast forward button and travel about 30 years into the future. VCRs are gone, and most of us are surfing the web to get the content we need. And most of us understand that ads, just like in the golden days of yore, are how we get the news and entertainment we want— for free.
But wait, the challenge is that unlike print ads, and even ads on TV, digital ads can be rather intrusive. They blink, they move, they cover up, they appear in the middle of content, and many of them are just plain inappropriate (or so I’m told!). Unleashed without oversight, digital ads can be downright irritating. I get it. That’s why ad-blocker software is gaining such traction. It’s estimated that there are about 45 million online users of blocking software in the U.S., and that number is growing rapidly. Ad-blocking software is typically free, easy to download, and best (or worst) of all, it can make load times quicken, downloads download more rapidly, and your computer run better.
The challenge with ad blocking is, of course, that it blocks the mechanism by which we get much of our favorite information and entertainment on the web for free— advertising. The business model developed for web content is very much an old-school model. Providers deliver content in exchange for viewers ‘lending’ their eyes and ears to their advertisers for a short period of time. Without ads, we’re going to put a huge burden on many of our favorite websites and blogs to find revenue another way, or go out of business. One of those ways to gain revenue is to charge a fee.