Why you will always have a choice to switch off Acceptable Ads, and why you shouldn’t - an opinion piece · 2016-12-14 14:46 by Peter van Dijk
Let me start by saying I strongly believe the advertising business in general has gone down the wrong rabbit hole. It’s all about getting the end user to view or click a banner, to sign up, to interact with an ad just to make it go away because it keeps popping up and interrupting your reading, gaming, video-watching or whatever else you are trying to do on the website you are visiting. In short, it’s there to interrupt what you’re doing, not complement it.
To get you to click on the ad, flashy promises are made. The most fun games, the best graphics, the coolest invention ever, the hottest girls – all there for you once you make one of two really simple commits – a single click or, simpler still, a “view.”
And when it turns out that the game isn’t the best you have ever played, that the graphics shown have been ripped from another product entirely, that the item you were promised to buy doesn’t actually exist – but, instead, hey, here’s a t-shirt with a funny message for only $30 plus shipping … well, you have made the click at this point. You have engaged with the ad, the advertiser got paid and the website you visited just earned a lot less than a cent from you.
When the only goal for an ad is to make you click it or get your attention, quality suffers and obnoxiousness wins. We probably all remember attempting to download something from a large download portal … and then failing to figure out which of the hundreds of download links is actually the correct one, and not leading somewhere else, or fools us into downloading a malicious program instead.
There is no benefit for the product they are promoting (unless it is a malicious download, obviously), because users’ expectations are not matched at all. Flashy ads are the equivalent of that email you’re not reading because you know it’s spam. Unlike email spam, which most email providers will filter for you, obnoxious ads are still running free and wild, which was the primary reason I first installed Adblock Plus in 2007.
However, the websites you visit are owned by someone who either takes some time each week to provide fresh content for you, or even attempts to make a living. To do this, the author likely needs to earn money from somewhere, and while many independent content producers will accept donations or fan subscriptions, ads are still the primary way of earning money (unless you are actually selling things on your website). And this is where Acceptable Ads come into play.
Acceptable Ads will never pretend to be a fake download link. They will not mislead you about being anything other than an advertisement. And most importantly, they will never pop up over the article you’re reading, they will not interrupt the video you’re playing and they will not cause your bandwidth to explode. Finally, they are the best way to feed content creators, while we still investigate ways of making monetization even fairer.
If you want to learn more about the Acceptable Ads initiative and about their specific requirements, simply go to the Acceptable Ads website.
Acceptable Ads is, for now, the right way to go, the middle ground between compensating content creators for their work and being protected from obnoxious, malicious or just plainly disturbing ads.
They just make sense for everyone involved. Including you, because it’s quite likely the main reason you installed an ad blocker was to not be bothered by those flashy, glowing and disruptive ads in the first place.
With Acceptable Ads being such a good idea, why not make them mandatory? Because we believe in empowering users. That sounds like a load of buzzwords, but it’s actually what we believe in. We give you the tools to protect yourself from the malicious, the obnoxious and the disruptive – if this is what you want.
Because empowering means giving you the possibilities to do so, not forcing you to. Using Acceptable Ads, not using Acceptable ads, or even unblocking all ads on a website you want to support is your choice, not ours. All we can do is to give a strong recommendation, and leave the final decision in your hands – because we trust you to make the sensible one.
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