Ad-blocking Addendum

I wrote a post two weeks ago about the annoying habit of websites pleading nicely for you to stop using an ad-blocker, so it was rather amusing today to find an article on the BBC about “ad-blocking heralding the end of the free internet.”

Basically, Brian O’Kelley of AppNexus said that if someone uses an ad-blocker, they shouldn’t be able to access the information on the internet for free. Seriously? What is he smoking, ad where can I buy some?

I allow my website to be freely available. At present, I have no ads. I have a few affiliate links and nothing more. That is the sum total of my monetization of this site. Why? I’m not publishing a magazine, I’m running a website – to share information and to try and sell a few copies of my books. I don’t want to annoy visitors to my site by forcing ads on them, so why does Mr O’Kelley think I should?

This whole thing goes back to what I said in my previous post. I DON’T CLICK ADS! If you have ads on your page, they won’t make you money if people don’t click on them*. If a person was never going to click on ads on a page, why does it matter if that person uses an ad-blocker? Honsetly, I don’t give a crap if visitors to this page use an ad-blocker. Mostly because I don’t have ads, so it wouldn’t make a difference. But even if I did have ads, I wouldn’t mind people using an ad-blocker. It’s a person’s own right not to see ads on my site if they don’t want to. I don’t care that I put time and effort into giving away information for free to anyone who wants to read it. Would I like it if those people bought a book or two from me? Of course I would, but I can’t make them, any more than any other website can force someone to click their ads. It’s actually a violation of the AdSense TOS to make people click their ads:

Adsense: Encouraging clicks

Publishers may not ask others to click their ads or use deceptive implementation methods to obtain clicks. This includes, but is not limited to, offering compensation to users for viewing ads or performing searches, promising to raise money for third parties for such behavior or placing images next to individual ads.

I should probably mention that I don’t always use an ad-blocker. I’m not always using Chrome, and when I’m using it on my mobile, I don’t ad-block. Sometimes I’m using Microsoft’s Edge, which doesn’t have plugins yet, and I don’t ad-block on my iPad. I AM NOT using an ad-blocker to try to get free information from the internet. I AM NOT using it to try to stop websites’ income streams. I AM trying to visit a few websites each day without having to be bombarded with ads.

I also know that it is actually possible to make money from RPM ads, but it is negligible. At only pennies per 1,000 impressions, one visit using an ad-blocker isn’t going to make the slightest difference: Chances are, if I’m using an ad-blocker on your site, it’s because I’m visiting for the first time. I DO allow ads on sites I trust to have relevant ads, just in case they have an ad that might catch my interest (even if I don’t click on it). If you’ve covered half your page with ads, which results in huge amounts of blank space if I’m blocking the ads, I’m probably not going to visit your site in the future, because there’s a high probability that your ads irrelevant, or you’re just not that interested in how your visitors see your site.

Back to the matter of Brian O’Kelley and his insistence on everybody monetizing their websites. What would he have to gain from it? As I stated previously, he’s the head of AppNexus. They are an ad distribution network. If people don’t see or click on ads, he loses out. He doesn’t care about everybody else – he only cares about his own bank balance.

This site is free, will remain free, and there’s nothing Brian O’Kelley can say to convince me to run it any other way.

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