Is It Ethical to Ad Block?

If you’re using Firefox as a browser, you can setup an ad blocker in under five minutes. The tool of choice is Adblock Plus; it’s free, effective, and time tested. You’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to concentrate on pages when you don’t have silly images flashing at the top of your screen and bright red links popping up everywhere.

But is it ethical?

I see a couple of issues here –

1. the advertiser only gets charged when you click on an ad. If you don’t see it, it’s not an issue. This is different from traditional media where the advertiser pays up front.

2. the page owner (or blogger) might rely quite heavily on ads to support their income. If you don’t play the game, they might not either.

Ultimately, the web is a form of media like all those before it, and media almost always evolves to an advertising supported model. It’s being able to get someone’s attention, and then giving it away to a third party (to sell something).

I guess if you’re running ads to support yourself, you shouldn’t be using an ad blocker.

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3 Responses to “Is It Ethical to Ad Block?”

  1. paleo Says:

    I would never consider ad blocking. But the advertisers need to know that the technology exists, because some of the ads that roll across the screen, directly in front of whatever you’re reading, make me think, “I’ll never buy that product.”

  2. Wladimir Palant Says:

    I discussed this question in detail here: http://adblockplus.org/blog/ethics-of-blocking-ads-part-3

  3. ggwfung Says:

    Thanks for the link, Wladimir. Excellent reading, and from the source himself.

    ggw

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