I’m fond of pointing out that jerks and a-holes will ruin the best of plans. No matter how carefully you work out the details, some jerk will come a long and throw a wrench in your plans. It’s just the nature of things in the modern world. Everyone is walking around with a sense of entitlement and no one wants to be the heavy so the jerks run wild.
It’s a variation of the tragedy of the commons. In the standard model, individuals will figure out that it is to their individual advantage to take more than they contribute. This sets off a cascading effect leading to everyone taking and no one contributing.The most common examples are grazing lands or fisheries. Without regulation and policing, you get over grazing and over fishing.
The jerk variation is when jerks decide they have a right to do some activity simply because there is no explicit prohibition against it. Everyone will understand, for example, you should not let your dog poop on the bike path, at least without policing it. The jerk walks their dog on the bike path and let’s the chips fall where they may, as it were. When confronted, they respond by saying there’s no rule against it.
Another example of jerks make life hard for the rest of is right here on this site. Blogs and news stories invite comments. Jerks come along and fill the comments with work at home scams and penis pill ads. That means we have to have spam filters and police the comments sections. A good chunk of the code in a WordPress site is to fend off jerks trying to mess up a blog for no other reason than they are an asshole.
Anyway, the jerks are ruining the interwebs in a different way and that’s with ads. There are some sites I don’t bother to visit because they are so bogged down with popups, scripts and the worst thing of all, auto-playing videos. The guy who came up with that idea should be burned at the stake. There’s nothing worse than having some nonsense come blaring through your PC speakers as you feverishly look for the source.
Like most everyone, I have ad-blockers, script blockers, flash blockers, pop-up blockers, you name it, on my daily browser. I use Chrome as my video browser so if I wished to see something on youtube I open it in Chrome. My Mozilla-based browser has a flash blocker. It’s a bit ridiculous, but it is necessary to have a decent internet experience.
In coming weeks, a large analytic firm will release disturbing figures on the state of the ad blocking scene. According to someone who has advanced knowledge of the data, on desktop computers and on critical segments of the digital audience, the use of ad blocking keeps rising exponentially.
Along with The Netherlands, the German market is by far the most affected one by the ad blocking phenomenon. There, ad block use approaches 40% of the internet population. The reasons for the epidemic are unclear, but two elements are likely to play a role. First, AdBlock Plus (ABP), the most popular ad blocking software, has its roots in Cologne. Second, a cultural factor: German opposition to online advertising that manifests itself in the government’s obsessive anti-Google stance pushed by large media conglomerates such as Axel Springer SE.
In France too, ad blocking use is on the rise: about 30% of Gallic internet users are said to have installed extensions that remove banners and other modules; and the Millennials segment (born in 1980-2000) is twice more likely to use an ad blocker. The worst hit are Gaming sites with 80% to 90% of their views deprived of ads. More broadly, the more technophile an audience is, the more likely it is to resort to an ad blocking product.
The US market seems the less affected with 15%-17% of the internet population, again on average, using an ad blocking extension. Among the Millennials, the share is said to be twice the average. The UK is said to experience the same pattern.
Altogether, 300m people in the world have downloaded an ad blocking extension and about half have actually installed it.
This may not seem like a big deal, but ads are based on site views and site views assume the embedded ads are being seen.
For publishers, ad blockers are the elephant in the room: Everybody sees them, no one talks about it. The common understanding is that the first to speak up will be dead as it will acknowledge that the volume of ads actually delivered can in fact be 30% to 50% smaller than claimed — and invoiced. Publishers fear retaliation from media buying agencies — even though the ad community is quick to forget that it dug its own grave by flooding the web with intolerable amounts of promotional formats.
One of the comments gets it right:
There are sites that I don’t block ads at. They usually ask me not to block ads. They also treat me with respect. No pop-ups. Not autoplaying video or sound. Good privacy policies.
Sites that respect me, earn my respect in return. All other sites earn blocks instead.
If this drives them out of business, I’m good with that. What would be better is if they learned to treat their readers with respect.
And that would be a win win too. Not only would they not be blocked, but since blockers like adblock often slow the browser down, I would see ads and have a faster browsing experience.
I don’t solicit Breitbart because it is infested with ads created by the nation’s dickhead community. Loads of viruses are spread through embedded ads as well. If a site has no choice but to go the jerk route with their ads, then they should go out of business. The world has plenty of jerks. We’re full.