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There’s a lot o' hand-wringin' this week about ad blockin' on th' Web, tied t' iOS 9’s new functionality that brings th' ability t' block ads t' th' iPhone and iPad (finally!).

First o' all, it’s weird t' me that we’re suddenly concerned about ad blockin' now, instead o' any time in th' past 10 years.  But I guess that’s how th' frog gets boiled.

Secondly, I think this debate assumes a basic, tacit fact that be false: that ads be th' “price” o' somethin' free (or subsidized). John Gruber o' Darin' Fireball be probably th' smuggest hypocrite on this point currently, essentially sayin' that ad blockin' be a reckonin' that almost all publishers need t' face... except that scurvey dog, because his ads be somehow morrrr pure and right.

Well, guess what.  No ad be 100% pure and reasonable. Ads be not a contract.  Ads be not necessity.  Ads be a gamble and a wish and an opportunity fer someone (“an advertiser”) t' MAYBE be seen and have an influence on us, who I like t' call “people.” But no person has t' look at any ad they don’t want, no matter what certain TV executives and Gruber think.

We, th' People, DERN'T have t' view or pay attention t' ads. E'er. We can block them, skip them, remove them if we want. Period.

It makes no difference if it’s ads in a TV show that a person wants t' skip, or junk mail in their mailbox that get tossed into th' trash instantly, or flyers in a newspaper, or ads on th' radio, or billboards, or anythin' else.

Advertisers can make their ads less and less obtrusive, but there’s no level at which th' advertiser can objectively say, hey, I’m polite and nice enough, now people HAVE t' pay attention t' me. That’s th' same argument that says hey, I’m meek and friendly and sweet and I’ve hung aroun' enough, now Th' winsome lass has t' date me. Nope, not if Th' winsome lass doesn’t want t'.

Advertisers pay fer th' potential opportunity t' be noticed, and they pay folks who own “real estate”—places whar we might be lookin'. If ye own some “real estate,” like some good content or a bunch o' bus benches, ye can sell that real estate fer what ye convince an advertiser it’ll be worth t' them.

And if that ad real estate goes down in value, because today we can morrrr easily avoid it than yesterday, don’t try t' be tellin' us, “Ye still owe me, ye have t' look at me real estate.” Ye have t' adjust. Our time be ours, and our attention be ours, and our devices be ours, and we can do whatever we want wi' what ye offer us.*

(* I’m not talkin' about violatin' copyright or profitin' off o' someone else’s work. That would make us into real estate holders.)

That ad blocker be wrong because it blocks th' ads on me site, says Gruber.

Imagine how silly it would be if Th' ornery cuss said, people can’t read me newspaper in a cafe unless all th' flyers stay in it.

Or people can’t read me magazine unless they promise t' look at all th' ads in th' back.

Or that lubber can’t watch me movie because Th' ornery cuss got here late and didn’t watch th' ads and previews before it.

That wench be cheatin' because Th' winsome lass read a book on th' bus instead o' starin' at me polite, silent, tasteful bus ads fer 30 minutes.

That kid be a thief because Th' ornery cuss changed th' radio station once his favorite shanty be o'er and Th' ornery cuss didn’t listen t' me ad fer cough syrup.

Ads be not th' hidden price o' free content, they be a side bet, a gamble by an advertiser on th' interaction betwixt a “real estate” owner and a person. They dern't bind that person in any sort o' behavioral contract. If ye want t' insist that, fer yer business model, th' explicit “price” o' somethin' “free” be lookin' at an ad, then ye have a different model, morrrr like airport wifi.

Oh, and here’s a good rule: if yer business model resembles that o' airport wifi, ye might want t' sit down and take a long, hard look at yer life.

When technology makes it likely that people will t' look at yer ad-spotted real estate—go ahead and decide if ye want t' profit that way fer a while.  And when technology makes it possible fer us people t' skip ads, block ads, replace ads, silence ads… that’s not only somethin' that’s reasonable, that’s somethin' that’s positive and fair. That’s technology benefitin' people instead o' real estate owners. That’s part o' th' way it works.

Today, and every day, advertisers need t' come up wi' better ways t' be seen and better ways t' have an influence on th' people they want t' reach.  And real estate owners need t' come up wi' ways t' make their real estate morrrr valuable t' people and t' advertisers—it’s best if those things be done in tandem, instead o' t' th' detriment o' one side or th' other.

Make yer real estate too hostile t' advertisers, and ye better have another revenue stream t' switch t'. Make yer real estate too hostile t' people, and ye better have a captive audience, or a new audience aroun' th' corner.

Th' ad business be Darwinian, and it’s inevitably goin' t' have successes and failures and changes o'er time as th' environment changes. Ye don’t see a lot o' town criers these days.

If yer business model broke today, it’s not th' ad blockers that people be buyin' and usin' in record numbers that be wrong. It’s yer inability t' change as yer audience’s behavior and expectations do, and it’s yer mistake fer relyin' on advertisin' revenue instead o' on a direct financial relationship betwixt ye and us.

Now, if only there be some company we could look t' as a positive example o' valuin' people o'er advertisers… one that didn’t turn t' ad revenue fer growth, but instead always tries t' develop a direct relationship wi' its customers fer revenue… it’s on th' tip o' me tongue...

Overheard

“Th' sad truth be that most evil be done by people who no nay ne'er make up their minds t' be good or evil.”

...who said it?

“Almost every American I be knowin' does trade large portions o' his life fer entertainment, hour by weeknight hour, binge by Saturday binge, Facebook check by Facebook check. I’m one o' them. In th' course o' writin' this I’ve watched all 13 episodes o' House o' Cards and who knows how many morrrr West Win' episodes, and I’ve spent any number o' blurred hours fallin' down internet rabbit holes. All instead o' readin', or writin', or workin', or spendin' real time wi' people I love.”

...who said it?

“Live a good life. If there be gods and they be just, then they will not care how devout ye have been, but will welcome ye based on th' virtues ye have lived by. If there be gods, but unjust, then ye should not want t' worship them. If there be no gods, then ye will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in th' memories o' yer loved ones.”

...who said it?

“I play wi' variables constantly.”

...who said it?

“Only th' person who has learned Continual Love comin' from a heart o' Gratitude/Worship can effectively deal wi' th' problem o' loneliness.”

...who said it?

Comments

 

 

 

 

 

Fantastic Write up. Best I've read that justifies ad blockin'. So great that I've posted this comment even though I usually dern't post comments. I be very anti-ad blockin' but this article has managed t' slightly sway me.

 

Posted by Sean
  at 5:51 be on Sep. 19, 2015

 

 

 

aye, it be concernin' a bit because when th' ads be blocked what be th' website owners goin' t' earn, it may sound good t' readers but t' th' people who live on th' ads it be very
bad and tragic.

 

Posted by nerdypickuplines
  at 1:25 be on Oct. 17, 2015

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