On Ad Blocking

I use an ad blocker when I can. I’ll often come across sites that notice this and put up little pleas for me to turn it off. I’m sympathetic to their request, of course. In fact, the blocker I use incorporates a whitelist that allows certain ads to show up — ads that don’t go out of their way to piss you off. I’m happy with that, but I’m not going to be turning the whole blocker off off any time soon. Why?

Well, I use an RSS reader app that incorporates a web browser (one that doesn’t have an ad blocker), so I occasionally get to see what the full ‘experience’ is like.

Today, the first thing that happened was, whilst I was reading the article, an advert slid in from the left of the screen, pushing the article I was reading off to the right. This is irritating enough, but it’s fairly common, so I kind of wait for it, note who the advert is for so that I can avoid them in the future, dismiss it and carry on reading.

Except that this time, they’ve come up with a new trick. An advert starts to load in the page header area and, a second later, the same advert starts to load in the footer area. This advert turns out to be one of those auto play ads that start talking at you, except that it’s playing twice, a second out of synch, and there is no way to stop it playing — no visible playback controls. Add to that, when each copy had finished loading, it scrolled the page to its location. So there I am trying to read an article, and suddenly the page skips to the top and, a second later, scrolls all the way to the bottom.

AND THEN IT TURNS OUT IT’S ON AUTO-REPEAT. By this time, I’ve hit mute so the sound isn’t annoying me, but then it does that scrolling thing again. And again.

Fortunately, my RSS reader has an option to open the page in my browser, so I can do that and enjoy an uninterrupted read, but it’s less convenient than using the built-in browser.

So, please, unless you can guarantee that I can read your site without adverts trying to barge in and demand my attention, do NOT ask me turn my ad blocker off.