The Free Internet May Be Threatened With The Increased Use Of Ad Blocking Software

Ad blocking software has become one of the major problems in the online publishing and advertising industries.

The use of software tools that detect ads on the website and then block them from users’ view are becoming popular as users don’t like their data being collected. Also, if there are lots of ads on a webpage, it will take more time to load and thus user experience is hindered.

According to a recent report by Adobe and PageFair, an Ireland based start-up, it is estimated that in 2015, approximately $22 billion will be lost as advertising revenue because one out of three Internet users use some sort of ad blocking software.

Two years back, most of the major publishers were not concerned with ad blocking plug-ins and software. But, now with the increased use of these softwares the free Internet may be threatened, as most of the websites providing free content depends on ads for their revenue.

ad blocking software

Mathew Ingram, a tech reporter at Fortune wrote:

“For at least some players in the media industry this looks like a cross between a Class 5 hurricane and a neutron bomb headed straight for their balance sheets.”

AdBlock Plus has also released an Android extension and the company is now working to develop the software for iOS also. This is even more worrying for online publishers because till now mobile users didn’t use ad blocking software in large numbers.

There is one more bad news for publishers; the ad blocking software will now be part of the forthcoming iOS 9 release and will be native to the Safari browser.

Ben Williams, a spokesman for Eyeo, the company that makes Adblock Plus said:

“It’s clear to us that the ads ecosystem is broken. What we need is a sea change in the industry to get to a place where we have a good amount of better ads out there, ads that users accept.”

In the end, we have a question for you; Will the free Internet be threatened with our increased use of ad blocking software? Feel free to comment your views on this topic.


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  1. anomus waun
    August 20, 2015 at 5:10 am — Reply

    funny how none of these stories about ad blockers deal with the real issue.. you adds are serving malware!!! your video adds are louder than the program that they are in and in 2 hour span u show the same commercial 20 times!!! So cry me a river indeed! respect is a two way street. And for the record, i have heard over an over on numerous stories about this how sites can’t exist without add revenue.. LOL its like they don’t understand we all know how much it costs to buy a domain and address 9$ a month!! and one in a hundred actually do real reporting n not just regurgitating the same story on 100s of sites. VICE news is the only website I don’t block.

  2. August 20, 2015 at 6:24 am — Reply

    Ads have become so obnoxious, they are bringing about their own doom. EG videos that won’t shut up.

  3. Stan Z
    August 20, 2015 at 6:31 am — Reply

    The advertising industry created and drove the demand for ad blocking software with with their high proliferation, saturation and volume of annoying ads. Now they are complaining about it… Sometimes the smartest people in the room make the dumbest decisions.

  4. Joe
    August 20, 2015 at 6:31 am — Reply

    If the ads weren’t intrucive, popping up, covering the page, automatically playing a video, or blinking like crazy so to terribly distract you, then maybe ad block software wouldn’t be used. The way in which sites go about advertising is annoying, ruins the experience when all you want to do is read the page or website. Of course ad blocking software is being used. You can’t enjoy the Internet without it.

  5. Not for sale
    August 20, 2015 at 6:43 am — Reply

    “most of the websites providing free content depends on ads for their revenue” – An absurd statement. Most websites provide free content as part of their effort to sell a product.

  6. Juan J
    August 20, 2015 at 6:54 am — Reply

    What BS. The internet has been evolving since it was first started. People have been trying to commercialize it in idiotic ways for a very long time, and when they get smacked down they find other ways. If ads become so obnoxious that they are blocked wholesale, it will be the ad suppliers who will need to evolve or die.

  7. John Smith
    August 20, 2015 at 6:59 am — Reply

    I have no problem with the free Internet disappearing. I hate ads, and there is no level I’d accept. The Internet is filled with a lot of useless junk and misinformation–let the market and people decide what is useful and what isn’t by deciding what they’re willing to pay for and what they’re not. I think that would improve the Internet.

  8. SomeGuy
    August 20, 2015 at 7:02 am — Reply

    The problem is that ads increased allot! a few years ago i wasn’t concern about ads, they were at some corner of the website, it didn’t bother me. but now it’s everywhere, with popups and everything. look at YouTube, it’s ridiculous the amount of ads in the webpage plus the ones before the videos. it’s insane! when those ads started i installed adBlock Plus. that was the turning point for me.

    bottom line: reduce the ads so it doesn’t bother the user. in Portugal there is a saying which translates into something like “he who wan’t it all get’s nothing”.

  9. John
    August 20, 2015 at 7:06 am — Reply

    Two things ad companies can do to get me to lower the AdBlock’er:

    1. Do not track me. I don’t care if you want to or not, I do not wish to be tracked. The ad industry did just fine before tracking came along.

    2. Make ads unobtrusive and do not slow down load times. No auto-play videos unless the sound is muted. No ads that cover a portion of the content I want to see. No pop-ups or pop-unders, etc.

  10. robert
    August 20, 2015 at 7:07 am — Reply

    you mean advertisers are actually surprised that users don’t want ANOTHER pop-up that simply repeats the functions available anyway like the ‘menu’ that pops up at the bottom of the screen with options that are embedded at the top of the screen already …

  11. Tired
    August 20, 2015 at 7:09 am — Reply

    Well. The Advertising/PR industry is over saturated by a growing generation of foolish, short attention span girls and sadly, a growing influx of sissy boys. Because apparently older men and women cannot be creative or have the ability to communicate anymore. Ad revenues are down because target audiences no longer have buying power (girls targeting girls), as their daddy’s bank accounts – which paid for their credit cards – are damn near dry. Besides being the same audiences who use the blocking software in the first place.
    Current long running ads like Allstate’s Meyham, the Geico ads of late or the Dos Equis Most Interesting Man in the World spots make you want to watch and listen. But you must have an attention span first to do so. This doesn’t mean the industry should return to Mad Men era levels of mysogyny. Just employ more of the audience who has the money. Adult men and women.

  12. Mike "ex-genius" Kelley
    August 20, 2015 at 7:09 am — Reply

    As usual, this is the “damned lies” part of statistics — there isn’t any “22 billion” lost any more than there are billions lost due to DVR skipping commercials. Folks who use ad blocking software wouldn’t buy the products advertised in the first place, plain and simple.

    It’s actually been yet to prove by ANY study that advertising is even effective — this has been going on since the 60’s and the original “Mad Men” went hard at the public to convince them to buy. There is almost no question even among the most learned advertisers that the best advertising is something money can’t buy — word of mouth — and social media will end up being the only place most companies will generate interest for their wares.

    In any case, none of this will even slightly threaten the “free internet” — content providers will always provide content in some manner, and those that can’t afford to do so with the loss of ad revenue will go the way of the newspaper (which is gradually disappearing). Others will step in to fill the void, and hopefully do it better (they can’t do it any worse).

  13. Chris
    August 20, 2015 at 7:16 am — Reply

    The escalation of ad tactics is what drives consumers to use ad-block options. In the 90’s, no one like pop ups or ads that wouldn’t go away! AntiVirus software blocked a lot of that and no one complained. Well, ‘pop up ads’ are back: the ads that wont let you continue to read or watch something until the counter says its time, the MULTIPLE back-to-back ads that do the same thing, or the sneaky ones that expand suddenly when you’re about to click and direct you to another page. Its all very intrusive and rude. It’s socially unacceptable to be interrupted and waved at, so why is it acceptable for ad businesses to do it to us online?

  14. Robert
    August 20, 2015 at 7:19 am — Reply

    Too bad. Companies did it to themselves, with abusive ads that annoy users relentlessly. Its one thing to display an ad; its quite another to hijack a user’s experience with pop-ups, pop-unders, splash screens, flashing text, screaming videos and their ilk.

    RESPONSIBLE and textual ads hosted on a company’s own server are fine. What is NOT fine are third party ads that behave irresponsibly. If a company cannot survive on the internet without ads, then their product or service sucks and they have no business being on the web to begin with. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, chumps.

    ‘If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen’

  15. M
    August 20, 2015 at 7:31 am — Reply

    The internet was co-opted by advertising.
    Originally users paid for access from our point of access to sites that provided and paid for websites for their own interest, be it public or private, over existing infrastructure.
    Then came the marketers and middlemen and the rest is history.

    If there is something losing money, it is that basic co-opting business strategy that pervades every form of business today, that is failing. Go sell make-up to Tibetan herdsman.

  16. PhiloSage
    August 20, 2015 at 7:39 am — Reply

    Free internet? Since when has the internet been free? The internet is very costly, from devices to an ISP just initial access is expensive.

  17. phil g
    August 20, 2015 at 7:39 am — Reply

    Not mentioned is the fact that some like myself see ad blocking at this point as utterly essential because the maintainers of ad networks have been so incompetent as to allow cybercrooks ways to infect their networks with nasty stuff like CryptoLocker and so on. The user then gets infected merely by JUST VISITING an infected site, typically via Flash or Java. Yahoo Finance is one example of where this has happened. Totally unacceptable. I’ve taken the extra precaution of uninstalling the latter two components, and you can’t say I’m paranoid since I was hit with ransomware via both. Lucky for me, this happened before ransomware tactics had gone as far as encrypting all user documents and demanding BitCoin for any recovery. So ad people, take blame and find a solution. It may be too late though. HTML5 is the next target, and you can be sure the syndicate (not just teens with no life) is working hard on new attack methods. Are you going to lose battle too?

  18. DanT
    August 20, 2015 at 1:08 pm — Reply

    what do Ad companies and Dick Cheney have in common? They shoot people in the face with their ridiculous aim with web based product marketing. I have NEVER bought a product as a matter of principle when an Ad pops ups on a web site and I have a feeling I’m not alone! I take great pride in flipping the middle finger at pop ads and videos! Let the free internet go away I am anxiously awaiting!

  19. August 20, 2015 at 1:26 pm — Reply

    I think the problem is not that people necessarily hate all ads. There are just too many ads, they are too intrusive, and to support them many un-named companies track us wherever we go online and violate our privacy. And the media industry just won’t listen – instead of working with users, it tries to block the blockers. Not a good idea… Even if users understand they are hurting the sites they love, it will be hard for them to agree to such a deal.

    Instead, a good solution should allow users control their experience, say, not more than 1/2/3 ads on a page, and only under the conditions it’s relatively polite, and doesn’t use tracking. 

    Disclaimer: Since no such tools existed, and I do believe *someone* needs to pay for content and under some conditions ads are ok in that aspect, I created STANDS with my partners. It’s an alternative, more fair, ad blocker. It does what I described above, but with a big twist: it actually lets users decide how the ad money is to be used. We take every dollar advertisers pay, and after paying the website, we pay at least 50% to a charity the users chooses. The idea is to give users back the power, without hurting publishers, and to use this power to drive positive social impact.

    WDYT? Check it out here:

  20. Dan
    August 21, 2015 at 1:24 pm — Reply

    You mean that people don’t want their limited 4G allotment completely sucked away by an oversized monstrosity of a video ad? Looks like their beef is with ISPs, not the ad-blockers…

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