The Confusing World of Ad-Blocking

Ad-blocking is a software to block ads from appearing online. Yet legitimate companies who rely on advertising are fighting back. Where do you stand?

It is understandable that some people can get frustrated with ads appearing online. Just like with pop-ups and pop-up blockers, an abundance of online ads can be seen to hinder the user experience when browsing online. There is also an argument that the way online advertising is delivered to users with many targeted ads collecting details of users before tailoring ads to them (such as remarketing) can border on privacy invasion. Yet money makes the world go round and as such there are two sides to this ad-blocking merry-go-round story.

Ad-Blocking Software
Like the name suggests, ad blocking software blocks advertisements from appearing online. So when a website goes to load an advertisement, the software identifies and targets this to thus prevent the advertisement from loading at all. When used repeatedly, the software builds up a blacklist of websites and servers that showcase advertisements and continue to block them. This has received the backing of major companies such as Three. This then means that in a mobile sense, brands can block branded and bulk SMS (which they view as spam) from reaching their customers.

Blocking Ad-Blocking Software
Now for the twist. For businesses that rely on online advertising and are therefore obviously against ad-blocking software; they have come to block this software from affecting their advertisements. Some have taken to address the friction directly by putting notices and disclaimers about the use of ad-blocking on their websites and asking for visitors to add their website to the whitelist of their chosen ad-blocking software so that their website can still be accessed. This is reminiscent of websites displaying their privacy policy and cookie notice to visitors. But others have gone a step further and have implemented code into their websites to identify and block ad-blocking software before it can take effect.

Blocking Websites that Block Ad-Blocking Software
So the retaliation of the ad-blocking software that finds itself being prevented from working on websites such as above; block these websites in their entirety. This is now a merry-go-round of back and forward blocking and counter blocking with the two sides (advertisers and ad-blockers) fighting a constant battle. Some will argue that the ad-blocking service is wanted and warranted as many people actively choose to use it. Others argue that it hinders the user experience as if companies cannot generate revenue from advertising, they may be forced to make their free content into paid content.

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