Will AdBlock kill websites?

The way we advertisers promote products on websites might be considered a little outdated. Web savvy consumers are finding ways to block ads by using AdBlock.  If you are not familiar with AdBlock, it blocks major advertisers on all websites. Most of the websites that you visit everyday are fully funded by traditional ads including Baltimore Post-Examiner.  This should come as no surprise, but the startling thing is that this may not always be the case.  Advertisers and tons of websites are going to need to start getting creative with the ways that they advertise or find a way to combat AdBlock.

Some websites block users from accessing their website until AdBlock is turned off on their browser.  This is one way to stop users from using AdBlock, but this could just anger readers.

In the United States  3.5 percent of all Internet users have AdBlock  In Germany, where use of the Firefox browser is higher, it is 12 percent.

To understand how AdBlock might impact websites from generating revenue, let’s look at how websites earn revenue. This does not include non profit websites that often are funded by grants.

Websites are paid by advertisers three different ways:

  • The first and most popular way is pay-per-click, which means  websites are paid by advertisers every time a reader clicks on an ad. If your browser is blocking the ads, you can’t see them and in turn you will not click on them.
  • The second way is pay-per-view.  This means that when a reader visits a website displaying ads, the advertiser will pay the website owner.  Every time an ad is displayed it is called an impression.  Just like in the first case, if a reader can not see the ad because the browser blocked it then the website will not earn any money for those visits.
  • The third way is with advertisers sponsoring a websites’ content.  This usually means that they will pay the site a monthly flat rate to show their add on the site for the month.  The advertiser will use this method to advertise because they have seen the sites monthly number of visitors and they know that their ad will be seen by those people, this will not be the case if users use AdBlock.

Quickly you can see how this could turn into quite a problem if everybody (or a good portion of us) used AdBlock.

I have heard two main arguments about AdBlock:

  • The first argument is using AdBlock is the same as stealing content.
  • The second is that such a small group of users are using AdBlock and we should be able to browse the Internet any way we chose to.

In many ways I agree with both sides, but I do feel that the traditional way to advertise is in many ways making the Internet ugly and in some ways obtrusive.  I have chose to use AdBlock on a select number of websites that take advantage of ads and put way too many on each page and in some cases have a lot of pop-ups.  For all other sites though, I turn off my AdBlock and and make sure to support the websites that I love.

New ways of advertising

Here are two of my favorites ways to advertise online:

Internal links: Many websites have included internal links into their stories to advertisers sites or sponsored articles.

Personal reviews from writers: Some readers are more willing to buy something when the person whose blog they are reading recommend it.  This has happened on a bunch of really cool sites.  The one that I love is Uncrate.

And, of course, we hope that our readers at Baltimore Post-Examiner don’t use AdBlock and support our advertisers that help us run this website.

8 thoughts on “Will AdBlock kill websites?

  • October 21, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    This is ironic. You use adblock, yet employ a really annoying pop-up on your own site. Anyway, here’s my question:

    You turn off Adblock for the sites you “love.” Why are you penalizing the site owners of those sites you don’t “love”? Why not just not visit those sites in the first place?

    • Baltimore Post-Examiner Staff
      October 27, 2013 at 5:00 PM

      BPE does not use adblock.

  • May 15, 2013 at 9:29 PM

    How did website owners support themselves BEFORE so many pop ups, banner ads, and margin ads were so obnoxiously prevalent? Also, there are many websites that have few of these elements. How do they manage? The evolution of advertising and the increased dependence and the quid-pro-quo arrangement therein of that form of revenue is, IMHO, what has given rise to this barrage of ad forms. Perhaps website developers need to think in terms of non-advertising budgets and other forms of revenue to support their sites BEFORE they go public. When I visit a site, I’m interested in the content, NOT a showcase of how that content is paid for.

  • October 11, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    Great article… also, did you know that there’s a second adblocker out there (www.adblockplus.org) which works equally well on both Chrome & Firefox, but they also have a more balanced approach allowing so called “acceptable ads”, namely ads which are text-only, non-intrusive and non-annoying. I think that’s the way to go!

    • Erik Hoffman & Thomas Conner
      October 11, 2012 at 9:20 PM

      Thank you Tom for the suggestion. I did check the website and it looks like a very good plugin. I do like the feature that enables AdBlock on certain websites and not others. This will allow me to still see ads and support the websites I love. Thanks for the suggestion.

  • October 7, 2012 at 12:56 AM

    After reviewing Ms. Morita’s comments, I couldn’t help but agree with her 100%. I fully understand (or understand enough) that the subject of internet and computers is terrifically complex, and complicated. I didn’t build it, and if I had, I’d want to hide my identify. But like everyone else, my life too is trapped by my dependence upon this amazing piece of technology. But “come on guys”, if computer and software manufacturers, or internet construction technicians were responsible for the manufacturing and maintenance of our automobiles; I’d be afraid to go around the block. Transportation is just as prolific as computers! Its not a perfect system, but the entire transportation universe is regulated and enforced to such and extent that it is a marvel, and should make the computer/cyber-space/regulatory leaders feel embarrassed. The entire computer and internet universe is polluted and that is so terribly sad for our human society. I DID NOT say “unusable, or without value”. But to repair such a toppled structure and extract safely those usable and valuable things is too dangerous for rescuers to enter. Too many still left inside just want it all to remain vulnerable and unsafe in order to victimize more innocent and hold back a technology that by this time should be years ahead of where it is now. Held back from progress because the computer and internet industries spend too much time and money working on a toppled structure. We ought to start over, and I really don’t know what that means, even when it comes out my own mouth as I complain in disgust to the technician who is trying to save my computer junk after experiencing some cyber attack or one of the other myriad of problems we suffer. H**l, even the McAffee’s and Norton’s…. and sovereign governments can’t protect the system anymore. H**l Erik, who wants to spend 50% of their computer time “clicking” and investigating whether one site is safe or not, or whether one advertiser has safe content or not, or whether “this or that one” will somehow get into my private life, or is a scam….

  • October 7, 2012 at 12:17 AM

    Most of us do not understand fully how advertisers use technology to intrude into our lives. I am not so computer savvy myself, but I am fairly competent in computer use and internet usages. However: Due to so many internet scams, privacy compromises, sophisticated computer attacks, advertiser abuses, etc.; I have become paranoid. It is not my fault that I have come to feel that I must now act aggressively if I want to enjoy my computer investments and accesses, and to protect my family and I from “the unknown & unseen”. SHAME ON YOU; computer hackers, criminals, spurious advertisers, sleazy dark shadowy characters that lurk somewhere in cyber space! And SHAME ON YOU; computer and software companies, governments, law enforcement, etc., for not rising to the occasion to protect one of the most valuable resources in human history!

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