Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 19th Sep 2015 14:37 UTC
Internet & Networking

Let's talk ad-blocking.

With the arrival of iOS 9, ad-blocking is coming to mobile in a big way, and it's causing a lot of talk all over the web. It is highlighting the internal struggle some feel about the practice, but also the hypocrisy of some of its staunchest proponents. So far, it seems like the real 'bloodbath' isn't taking place where people thought it would be - namely, publishers - but among personalities.

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RE[5]: The elephant in the room
by chair on Sun 20th Sep 2015 23:28 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: The elephant in the room"
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Anyway, back to your original postulate that my web experience won't exist if I don't accept ads, that is just not true. I argue that my web experience will improve:
a) No more commercial interference with my brain (how anyone can allow oneself to be brainwashed knowingly and accept it, is beyond me).
b) Less commercial me-too sites in the long run thinking about the fellow user rather than the sponsor.

From my knowledge of business and journalism I would say the exact opposite is going to happen: more low quality sites posting press releases, more commercial interference.

With reduced ad revenue sites are going to have to reduce costs. That means less original, well researched content, and more regurgitating press releases, more relying on user generated content. You seem to like user generated content but in reality it's generally low quality. I realise the irony of an internet comment calling other internet comments low quality, but it's true. This is the modern day version of talk back radio. Comments (and comment rating) tends to follow what's popular. People naturally want to hear things that reinforce their beliefs. Commentators can say anything they want, there's no penalty for inaccuracy, and little moderation of extremist views. In fact, there's more of an incentive to post as fast as possible. Yes, there are positives to user comments. It's decentralised and democratic. But, compared to traditional editorial content, we get comments that are less likely to inform or challenge us.

To address your first point: ad blocking is going to lead to less obvious, and therefore more intrusive, ads. Traditional ads are clearly delineated, that's exactly what makes them blockable. With increased ad blocking web sites and companies are going to turn to "native advertising" (AKA paid content or advertorials). Some sites are doing this already. Some are obvious because they will clearly mark such content. Some sites may not mark paid content at all. Having obvious ads next to content isn't brain washing, posting paid content disguised as news on the other hand...

And then, of course, there is the marriage of the two: paid comments. Some companies are already doing this, and have been doing it for a long time. It can be cheaper and more effective than tradition ("honest") marketing. Talk up your product or just amplify negativity about your competitor. With ad blocking, and the rise in popularity of user comments, this is only going to become more enticing.

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