Relax, Using Ad Blocker Is Okay—The Ethical Dilemma of Blocking Online Ads

The major argument posited by content providers and publishers on ad blockers boils down to “blocking ads steals our revenue.” The editorial director of Tom’s Guide went as far as saying:

“Every time you block an ad, what you’re really blocking is food from entering a child’s mouth.”

Many might consider it morally unethical to block ads. Before you believe that, listen to the facts.

It all began with the surge of pop-up ads in the mid-90s. Advertisers saw the dire need of attracting customers because banner ads were not working, and thus pop-up ads were born.

And people hated it. Unreservedly.

These ads were annoying, disruptive, frustrating, and destroyed any semblance of quality user experience. When people turned to website publishers, they claimed innocence and said they needed money to stay afloat. Pop-up ads were the only way out.

So the people took charge, and ad blockers were created. It was a defense tactic against the most intrusive, in-your-face advertisement method. Using ad blockers simply protects users from what they don’t want in their browsing experience.

As for the theory that browsing websites is a contract between a user and a publisher—that the user browses for free, and in turn, they view the ads on the web pages— it’s hogwash. No one reads a privacy policy or really consents to these practices. This is why:

Ever Wonder What Advertisements Actually Do?

Online advertisements are lines of code, which can incorporate more than just what you see on the page. It is not simply a small box to ads in print media. It includes trackers that follow every click you make, make notes of what you watch and browse and then either sell that data to the highest bidder or use that data to create a profile about your behavior. Now here’s the big question: When was the last time a company website asked for your personal details? Unless you have signed up for a user account, probably never.

All of this monitoring and data collection is done without user’s consent. And this is why the anti-ad blocker theory is invalid. By using an ad blocker, you are only making the choice of keeping your data private. You only want to enjoy a seamless browsing experience without the distraction of ads.

So the next time someone tries to make you feel bad about using ad blockers, you will have enough counter-arguments. Just ask them about your right to privacy, and they’ll shut right up.

If you are looking for a kickass ad blocker for iOS, check out SEVEN AdClear for iOS. It’s completely free! If you have any questions, simply message me at:

Christian Sandlin
csandlin@seven.com

About SEVEN Networks

SEVEN Networks software solutions deliver device-centric mobile traffic management and analytics for wireless carriers. Extending control from the network to the mobile client gives operators the power to manage and optimize data traffic before it impacts the network. Device-based analytics offer deeper and timelier insight than solutions that are solely network based. SEVEN’s Open Channel products reduce operator costs, increase efficiency in the use of wireless infrastructure, and enhance end-user experience. They bring immediate capacity relief to overloaded networks, simplify the creation of innovative new service plans, and provide actionable intelligence for mobile carriers.
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