Saturday, January 12, 2019

The Danger of using Ad Blockers. Let us Stop using Ad Blockers to keep Free Internet.

The Internet is filled with a lot of useful information in various formats including Text, Audio, Video, Slideshows, eBooks and Mobile Apps. Most of these Contents are available Free for anyone to access them at any time from anywhere.

Apart from this Free Content, a lot of useful Tools are also available for Free on the Internet.

We refer Internet for learning any Technology or to know about any places or to communicate with others, even many people are getting their Jobs with the help of the Internet.

Online News Providers are giving news with deep analysis and quickly than traditional News Providers. All these things are possible because of the Hard work of a lot of Developers and Bloggers who are getting compensated from online Advertisements for their Work. This Ad-based Free Internet Model is giving benefits to everyone.

For Example, this blog is showing Google Adsense ads which will automatically show advertisements based on the content you read. So, obviously the ads will be relevant to you, and Google will mark the Advertisements with labels like "Ads by Google" so that you can easily separate it from the actual content. In summary, you as a Reader will be getting free content without any major inconvenience. And, I will be paid by Google for showing the Ads. And, the Advertisers will be getting relevant potential customers to their website by spending the Money effectively, and Google will get the commission for developing and running the ad delivery system.

In summary, this model enables a Free Internet by helping everyone to grow. But recently this sustainable Free Internet Model is getting affected by Tools that enable the users to block these Ads. There are a lot of Ad Blocking Tools available now. Millions of People are using them.  The People who use Ad Blockers are thinking that they are Smart by blocking the Ads, but in fact their actions are breaking this Free Internet Model and   they will be facing unprecedented issues from the Ad Blockers.

Are you using any Ad Blocker? Have you ever thought about how Ad Blockers are making Money out of it? Their business Model is unethical. I came to know that they are earning a lot of Money by charging Money for allowing the Advertisement of a few Advertisers to by-pass their Ad Blocking system. They do it in the name of whitelisting the Ads or Accepted Ads program or something similar.

Have you ever thought about the Risks and Consequences of encouraging this unethical practice?   If you think about it for a few minutes, you will realize the fact that you are just losing your Freedom of choosing preferred websites. In other words, you are becoming the Slave of these Ad blocking companies which earn in Millions from this slavery.

And, I came to know that few Ad blocking companies are earning a lot of Money by selling the tracking data of how the users use their Ad blocking software. The companies who buy this Data will use it against you to show Ads that can trick you to buy Low Quality products at High price as your options for choosing alternate Good products are already blocked by yourself in the name of Ad Blocking.

And, a few other Ad Blocking Companies are earning significant amount of Money by charging the Users after some time even though they start their service as Free initially to attract the users. It is something similar to how Small Businesses are made to pay a lot of Money every month and for every user to the Cloud-based Timesheet Software Services even though there are a lot of  other Good options are available as I had explained in my LinkedIn post here.

I understand and agree that Ad blocking will be very useful to browse the websites easily without wasting the resources like Mobile Device Battery, Memory and CPU performance. Even it can help to solve some privacy issues.

But Ad blocking is not a sustainable model. In the long run, Ad Blocking Software are not going to help you to actually block the Ads. Because they themselves allow whitelisted Ads, and a lot of publishers have started blocking the content itself when they detect any ad blocking plugins or Software and therefore the users will be forced to disable the Ad blocking to read the Content. So, obviously the concept of ad blocking will be vanishing soon.  In the mean time, you will be indirectly paying money to greedy and unethical ad blocking companies instead of paying the Developers and Publishers who actually worked hard to bring you the free Content that you needed. This will obviously discourage the creators of Free content, and therefore you won't get any Free Content in future and hence you won't require any Ad Blockers too.

The Publishers will be creating paywalls to their contents so that you can read them only if you become the paid subscriber. A few publishers have already started implementing this paywall, but right now, it is not working for them as a lot of free content is available now. But in future, it may change due to the rapid increase of the Ad Blocker usage.

All these things are visible to everyone, and anyone can easily understand them. But the biggest Danger of Ad Blocking is something different. It is the inability of finding difference between Content and Advertisement. In other words, the seamless mixing of Ads inside the Content. Let me explain it in details with my personal experience.

A few months back, YouTube disabled Ads on my YouTube Channel by saying "Duplication / Reused Content" as the reason. This incident made me to think about implementing additional revenue options apart from AdSense Monetization for my websites. So,  I decided to earn Money by publishing Sponsored Posts in my Blogs. Once after making this decision, I framed the Guidelines. E.g Adding disclaimer about Sponsored post and making the links as "nofollow".

And, then I informed my Social Media contacts about my decision of allowing Sponsored Posts. Many People are showing interest to publish their articles as Sponsored posts, but after reading my Sponsored Posts Guidelines, most of them are saying that they will be interested to give Sponsored Post only if I give them "do follow" link instead of "nofollow". But I refused to accept their demand, and therefore I couldn't earn from it. We can not expect this behaviour from all other publishers. From the expectation of advertisers I could understand that it is becoming very common practice among the Publishers to post the Sponsored Posts with "dofollow" links, in other words, mixing of Ad and Content is happening in a large scale.  As it is becoming a common trend, even I don't know whether I will be continuing my current stand in the long run. I may change my attitude in the future if don't find any good business model to replace the current Advertisment system.

In summary, because of Ad blockers, Advertisers and Publishers have started merging the Ads with the Content seamlessly so that People can not differentiate between Content and Ad. Even the search Results of Search Engines like Google will be also be heavily influenced by this behaviour. So, we can not expect best results at top of the search results.  It is the worst effect of the usage of Ad Blockers.

I am not sure whether every one understands the danger of mixing  Ads and Content. Let me tell my personal experience to explain this danger. A few days back, one person reached me with his article to publish it on one of my websites.  I rejected his article as it was supporting a unhealthy thing. Within a few Hours, he had sent me the updated article which was completely opposite of the previous one. It was criticizing that unhealthy thing heavily for promoting the same product. i-e The advertiser is trying to include his product link within the content seamlessly without worrying about the actual content. It is the worst thing for the readers. I agree that current Ads also appearing without caring about the actual content. But it is not an issue as the users are already aware of this and they can easily ignore the Ads as they can easily identify them as Ads.

So, obviously usage of Ad Blocking is affecting not only the Free Internet but the entire Internet System which was helping the mankind in great ways for past few decades.

Sam Pitroda used to say "Technology is a great leveler, second only to death."

In other words, Free Internet is the only thing that is trying to treat all the People Equal when they are living. Ad blocking is trying to break that Leveler.

And, Sam Pitroda also says "It is important to make money in business, but not at the cost of ethics and values".

Obviously, nothing wrong in earning money from Ads, but it is important to stop the Ad Blocking Businesses which earn money at the cost of ethics and values.

So, if you care about stable and free Internet, stop using Ad Blockers and create awareness about it to your friends and family members.

Moreover Ads are not dangerous comparing to the Ad Blockers. Sometimes Ads are useful too. For example, recently I have decided to start my freelance coding (php/mysql) work again as my earnings from my YouTube Channel was stopped as Monetization got disabled. Instead of spending my time for doing bidding on freelance websites, I thought of earning money from doing custom changes for our timesheet software. For doing that I need to first sell our Timesheet. So, I decided to give Huge discount for limited time till I get enough leads. You will be coming to know about these kinds of genuine Discounts only if you have opted to see the Ads.

By telling all these things, I am not trying to support the Ads fully. I agree that  Ads are having a lot of negative things. But what I am saying is, instead of completely blocking the Ads (and thereby killing the free internet), let us put our efforts to fix the negatives of Ads. For example, I am putting significant efforts to avoid irrelevant ads on my websites by blocking such ads and Ad Categories from my AdSense Account. As a user, you may encourage the publishers who care about such things. The Advertisers e.g Google Adsense are giving option to report or flag the irrelevant ads for the users also. We may use them effectively.

Personally I got a lot of benefits from the Free Internet. I am grateful to all the Publishers and Developers whose free content/tools helped me a lot to improve my Life from various perspectives. I would like to continue this trend so that future Generations can also get benefited from this.

What do you think about Ad blocking? Share you thoughts through the comments.

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