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Nice knowing you, AdBlock, but it's time to move on

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Incandescent bulb production left in the dark

Today’s a very important day in the history of me using the Internet, a history that began in late 1996. Ladies and gentleman, I have completely uninstalled AdBlock. I do believe that makes me a man in the Jewish faith, so I’ll be expecting presents from all of you.

Like many of you, I first installed AdBlock several years ago, back when the Internet was still reasonably untamed. Pop-ups were the main concern—before I switched to Firefox (well, its progenitor, Phoenix), I’d launch Internet Explorer and find myself besieged with all sorts of absolute nonsense—but then other types of ads started becoming intrusive. Like, they were ruining the entire Internet experience. In steps AdBlock, and bam! The Internet is clean again—I can actually read my favorite Web sites!

That was the status quo for a while there, and I’m pretty sure it mirrors many of your experiences. But then sites started to integrate ads into their layout—clever move, gentlemen! Blocking said ads would, instead of making the Internet shiny and pretty, render them completely unreadable.

Then there’s the moral issue. Many, if not all, of the sites you read and love (?) are totally free because the sites can turn to Big Company and say, “See? We have X-Amount of readers, and if you’d like to advertise to these people we’ll happily hand over a couple pixels of space for a banner ad or two.” Web sites are cheap-ish to run, but they’re not free, as Ars Technica far more eloquently put it the other day. When you use AdBlock and the like, you’re taking away from the site’s ability to sell adspace to advertisers. Considering nobodywants to pay for things anymore, much less online news…

I’m not going to say something terribly dramatic like, “OMG you’re taking food off their table~!” but it does make their lives a little bit harder. And that’s energy that could be put toward making a better site rather than worrying about why all the ad revenue has dried up.

I suppose I could have merely chosen to disable it on a per site basis, but I feel more adult this way.

See you later, AdBlock. You served me well, but it’s time we go our separate ways.

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