This week many folks who normally use Ad Block extensions their browsers were met a surprise when they tried to watch their YouTube videos. They ran into ads that were anywhere from a minute to 3 minutes. This can be normal on YouTube, you can just skip these ads after the five second mark but not today. To get your video to play you have to sit through the full ad or turn off your adblocker software. This may only prove to be a temporary disturbance for those who do not want to deal with ads.
I’m sure those write the code for the adblock software are working on a fix as I write this piece but that’s not the point I’m trying to make today. There will always be ways to remove ads from sites, but should we remove them?
A year or two ago, I started using the AdBlock Plus Chrome extension. I don’t want to say I was forced to do this but then it sort seemed like I was. At the time internet advertising was overbearing, ugly, and just plain annoying. The ad versus the user experience was becoming a war and I wanted to make the first strike before I was completely overwhelmed.
During this time bills like SOPA and PIPA were in the works and it seemed like the very foundations of the internet were changing. We felt threatened by large corporations who were hell bent on throttling our access to communication and information. Natural discovery and content marketing seemed to be on the way out. Instead advertisers thought if they could just overwhelm the users with advertising maybe something would stick with them.
As users, experiences on the internet were change solely because of the obnoxiousness of the ads in place people began to fight back. Ad blocks have been around for almost as long as the internet has been around but their popularity and accessibility has been more prominent with the everyday user more in recent years. With how easy it is to install extensions on Chrome ad blocking software’s popularity is at an all time high.
So with all this does that mean we are winning the battle? We have ad free experiences, the corporate giants are bowing to our browser plug ins, it’s all good right? Not so fast, ads can be annoying and can be overbearing don’t get me wrong, but many people make their living off this revenue. This isn’t just big businesses, on YouTube if you didn’t know content creators make money off the Google ads that run pre-roll before the videos as well as the ads on the side of the page. When these are removed with software it causes the creator to not have the opportunity to be compensated for the otherwise thankless content they are creating for your free consumption.
Having the ability to make money based on have high quality, consistent, and entertaining content is the dream of many and this becomes possible through the YouTube platform. Some would argue that it isn’t a ton of money so it doesn’t matter but every little bit helps creators who are trying to make their way and follow their dreams.
So, I urge you consumer of online content to not use your ad blocker on YouTube and other sites that support independent creators. If you’re annoyed to have to sit through a five second ad to watch your favorite YouTube content remember that hours and hours of hard work went into creating the video you are now enjoying. I understand that on other sketchier sites it may be prudent to have your adblock on to protect you from getting a virus by accidentally clicking an annoying pop up, but if you’re on you’re on a site you care about I would highly recommend turning your adblock off.
Until next time, stay in the know!