There Appears to Be an Obstruction on the Way to the Bank

As promised, this post is going to cover the subject of ads and the ad-block application. I’m certain that every person who roams around the internet is fully aware of what online ads are; pop-up ads, display ads, video ads… etc. Users get bombarded by these ads all the time. They cause immense slowdown, unnecessary distractions, or even secretly contain malware that could harm your computer. Some people, though, may not be too familiar with the ad-block application. What is it? Well, it’s an application that blocks ads… Is that answer sophisticated enough? Unfortunately, it only blocks ads on the internet, not in real world —which I wish were not the case. You basically download it as an add-on for your internet browser and… voilà! No more ads. Well, the large majority of them at least; certain ads still manage to get through. This lets you surf the internet with ease and higher speed, and you do not need to worry about any unwanted software. Of course, in terms of ads containing those malicious software, I’m not speaking of shady websites riddled with them. That… would be your fault in that situation. You can’t simply walk into a bear cave and then complain about being unjustly attacked by its dweller. Yet, dark caves are not the only locations where you’d run into a bear. They could be seen around public places as well. Do not panic, but one could be roaming around in your backyard right now, maybe checking out your garbage container (if you’ve got one). Regardless, online ads do steal your (precious?) time and that ad-block program really improves the experience of surfing online. And, yes… I totally talked about online ads and bears digging trash within the same paragraph —I love analogies!

Using ad-block also happens to be a topic of controversy among online publishers. I have come across this interesting piece online: “https://marketingland.com/ad-mageddon-perspectives-ad-blocking-impacts-comes-next-227090”. It covers this specific subject of ads thoroughly well. Its author talks about the damage this particular application potentially causes, and even mentions the counter-measurement that certain websites attempt to utilize, which is asking the visitors to turnoff their ad-block application if they wish to read/watch anything on there (the premise of the meme-narrative from previous post). Simply put, the damage is the drop in revenue. So, they try to balance it out by… force? Not so surprisingly, the author of that article describes this attempt by the publisher as “an indicator of desperation”. I’d have to agree. Forcing people to be exposed to advertisement in order to get money from them is indeed desperate (to put it mildly). Also, keeping your own content hostage is… not very bright. Most of the time, the content isn’t even exclusive, especially in terms of news. If it is exclusive, then as a content creator (written article or an online video) you’d want and need exposure to be recognized. I get it, though. Some people need revenue in order to create that content because they are not part of a corporation. All the expenses are coming out of their own pocket. Although I may be sympathetic, I can’t help but wonder if forceful exposure is the only way to “stay alive”. The author suggests in the article that “a ‘frictionless payment system’ for publishers might work out well for those who understand they need to support content that they consume”. Now, what kind of payment system would be “frictionless”? At the moment, the only thing I could think of is Patreon, an online platform where consumers can directly pay for the very content that they consume. A temporary solution perhaps, for the time being, but it’s still better in comparison to the alternative.

I do not believe the giant corporations like Facebook would be fazed by the ad-block application, in the least, despite a drop in revenue. The indie publishers, however, certainly would feel the pain. As I’ve already said, it’s difficult to dismiss their “plight” out of hand. A slightly exaggerated struggle, in my opinion, but it’s a struggle nonetheless. The funny thing is, though, that a lot of people seem to be concerned only about one aspect of the situation. It’s always about what these independent publishers need to do or “must do”. Instead, let’s look at the bigger picture. Why do the advertisement companies hold the fate of these publishers in their hands? Think about it— Is free media solely dependent on a commercial for Pepsi or Burger King? (TM, btw) Whatever happened to that “free” part? Something is seriously wrong here. I really hope that Patreon, or at least the concept of that platform, eventually becomes a norm; a key that unlocks the door to a better environment where both the consumer and the publisher gets to enjoy a “lived happily ever after”.

I’ll end the post right here, even though I have so much more to say about the topic. Sadly, it turned out to be slightly more negative than I’d considered —also a lot longer… I mean, a lot. In my last post, I talked about “the light that was seeping in”. So, you can merely pretend that this was a piece of cloth falling down in front of the window and momentarily blocking that beam of light. Though, I can’t really promise it’ll be the last one.

The usefulness of the website provided above: 8/10

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