By now everyone has heard of AdBlock Plus, a small tool that effectively disables advertisements from loading within a web browser. Slowly but surely this FireFox addon has managed to garner over 5% of the FireFox user base and growing. While this may seem like a small percentage, it’s important to know who is being affected most.
In the past few months I have tracked a loss in total affiliate and Adsense revenue. There are a number of reasons for this and obviously Adblock Plus is not the primary reason, but it still hurts. I work very hard to create every website I own and therefore should be compensated for people using them. When I’m fighting spammers, cookie thieves, bots, etc, why should I have to worry about legit visitors cheating me?
Apparently I’m not the only one that feels this way and Wladimir Palant has addressed the issue on the Adblock Plus blog. Essentially, for the first time that I’ve noticed, Adblock Plus is suggesting an easy method for plugin users to opt-in to displaying ads on a website. However, what he is proposing takes into consideration only a small portion of websites with repeat traffic, which relatively speaking is a small portion of the internet and affiliate websphere.
Adblock Plus will then check the browsing history to see whether the user frequents this site (this could be specified for example as “visited the site on three days of the last week”) and then display a notification like the following (unless a notification for this site was already shown recently):
The majority of visitors to my websites are one time visitors, probably less than 5% return. This is in regards to my affiliate sites and not my personal blog. 😉 It’s not because I have a bad website, a spammy website, it’s because the user finds what they want and complete a sale. Or, the visitor searches on a specific question and then finds their answer. So, what Adblock Plus is proposing will not benefit me in the slightest and only caters to the largest of affiliate and news sites.
This post is just a child of a frustration with the direction the internet is taking. It’s an entitlement complex by users and a handful of programmers that think they should control whats being shown and published on the web. The issue is growing, becoming it’s own beast, and slowly starting to resemble Net Neutrality issues. After all, if Adblock Plus can effectively and accurately block ads, sure it’s on the radar of those that want to block other content. Filter or not, Adblock Plus has no place on the internet in it’s current form.