Adverts, they are everywhere. On any website or any Youtube video that you watch you will find an advert. It might be down the left/right-hand side. However, this in turn has given rise to a new type of software called advert blockers(or Ad Blockers for short). With recent developments there has been a renewed discussion on ad blockers.
Let’s start off with a quick question: Just what is an ad blocker? Well in short, it’s a bit of software that sits inside of a web browser that basically removes an advert from a page. If it’s a video on YouTube then the advert that you see before the video plays is removed and the video itself will start playing.
So let’s take a look at this from the readers/viewers stand point.
There are people who do not like having to watch or an advert in order to get to the content that they want. In the case of websites, some adverts were so bad that they took over your web browser the moment you landed on their website. Adverts on websites have become a lot better though.
One of the reasons that people block adverts is because they found them to be unacceptable. Clearly this was the case, because when iOS 9 came out in September 2015, ad blockers were amongst the top downloaded apps for both iPhone and iPad combined. Clearly there were enough people who cared about unacceptable adverts. Shortly after the release ad blockers dropped right off the top 10 charts of the iOS app store. With that said we don’t know how many people are still actively using ad blockers on iOS 9.
Another reason that people might block adverts is to do with data usage on smartphones. When you buy a smartphone on a contract you are told that you get a mobile internet/data allowance. This allowance gives you the ability to access the internet away from a Wi-Fi zone. Loading up those ads uses up part of your mobile internet/data allowance.
When watching a TV show using a catchup TV service or watching a movie online from your computer, some websites won’t let you watch anything unless if you turn off your ad blocker. For some people this might cause a some anger. They just want to watch their TV or movies without interruption. If you’re at a cinema or watching a movie on DVD/Blu-ray disks then you would not have a movie interrupted half-way by an advert. Because of this anger it’s clear to see why people would use an ad blocker on a website that serves up TV shows and movies.
OK, so what about the content creators? Well, the ads on those sites actually earn revenue. Sometimes some websites leverage this fact and write their articles in such a way that you click on a link you see in a Google search result so that they can earn money off adverts. This is known as click bait. In some cases, websites are a lot better and put adverts there which are less disruptive to the reading experience.
You also have to consider the costs you have to pay for running a news website. You have to pay for web space/website hosting. This is where you are hosting your website on a company’s servers. You also have to pay for the domain name. This is basically the address for the website. So it’s safe to say that writing content for the web does not come for free.
Sure, there are websites where they let you set up a blog for free but the company in question is paying for the servers in order to let you to do so. At any point should the company feel like it’s no longer viable to continue operating then you will have to find somewhere else to take your content.
In any case, someone has to pay for these costs. This is where the adverts come in. The revenue that content creators and publishers earn from these ads can help to offset the costs of running a website. For some publications this is also how they pay their employees. If everyone reading those publications were to use an ad blocker then that would be a huge chunk of their revenue gone. Some of these employees would have to be redundant. Worse still, they would have to shut the publication down.
With all of this talk on ad-blockers you might be wondering what options you might have as a content creator. Well, Google has launched a service called Contributor. The idea is that you pay between $2(approximately £1.90) and $10(6.57)every month. Google takes a cut of this monthly contribution and a small cut of this monthly contribution will go to the websites the user chooses to visit. In return for this, you will see fewer adverts on the sites that put Google Contributor .
At the time of publishing this article Google Contributor is not available to websites based in the UK. With that being said I am sure this will change soon.
The other option that you have is to keep it free and still support your website with adverts. Alongside that, anyone who wants to pay a monthly subscription fee will see no adverts.
The third option is allowing people to donate to support you. I have a donate button on the right-hand side of this website. I don’t want people to feel obliged to donate. It just means the world to me that people even come here to read my articles. With that being said if you donate then I will personally thank you for your donation.
Last but not least there is the option of signing up to various affiliate programs. Here’s how this works: For instance, suppose you sign up to Amazon’s affiliate scheme. When someone buys a product on amazon through a link that you generate, you get a small percentage of that purchase.
There are other affiliate programs where if someone uses a discount/coupon/offer code that you give them then they will get a discount and you get some money in return. For example, if you buy some website hosting from Vidahost with my promotional code ADI10 then you will get a 10% discount on your shared web hosting, and I will get a percentage of that purchase.
On a more personal note I would like to be very honest with all of you reading this. I am doing this as a hobby and paying for the costs to run this website out of my pocket. I have one advert on the right-hand side of the page. I even disclose the fact that it’s an advert. The money that comes from these adverts does not go into my pocket. Whatever money I earn from adverts goes towards keeping this site up so that you can continue to read my articles.
I also use affiliate links for products that I mention in my reviews or other articles. If people go to buy those products through those affiliate links then I get a small percentage of that purchase. Again any money that I earn from these affiliate links is then used to cover the cost of running the website.
On one hand I want to help out people who don’t like seeing adverts on websites or find them a nuisance. At the same time I want to ensure that people like me who are trying to cover their costs with their websites are able to do so. This is why things like affiliate programs or Google Contributor may be the best way forward.
What are your thoughts on this whole debate on advert blockers? Let me know!