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Tim 17 Jun 2010

Could Ad-blockers cripple the dot.com industry

Here at Webfusion Towers we like to stay on top of what other internet users think and are saying, which means we read a lot of blogs, surf a lot of sites and invite our own customers to give feedback.

Everything, including the odd negative, is helpful but every now and then we come across a little gem that we think we should share with you. This time it is an online article with a particular point to make to webdesigners.

Canadian freelance web developer Louis Lazaris is a freelance web developer who has written a thought-provoking opinion piece in Smashing Magazine urging web-designers not to kill off the humble pop-up.

It doesn’t appear to be just because Louis is some weird kind of fan of the pop-up per se but, as he starts his article by explaining, “most people frequenting the web design community (whether they are casual readers or regular design bloggers doing research) understand that nothingsmashingmagazine140610 is truly free”. Louis has a point. In the current economic climate, across the globe, getting online advertising streams that make you money are becoming harder to find. Pop-up ads have been around almost as long as the consumer internet has, and if the design community sees fit to install ad-blockers and create a more sterile online world, we could just be shooting ourselves in the foot for the future.

If there are less chances to advertise, then of course, there will be less advertisers, less competition, so lower revenue for even those advertising spaces that do exist. By ending the life of the admittedly much irritating pop-up the web could also be shortening it’s own very existence as a financially viable option. So it is probably better the devil you know.

What are your thoughts about pop-ups? Do you agree with Louis?

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2 Responses to “Could Ad-blockers cripple the dot.com industry”

  1. Ben Everard says:

    I’m getting fed up of this topic, because no one is really seeing the point.

    First pop-up ads have been blocked by browsers for years now, this has nothing to do with ad-blockers as such and anyone who thinks using pop-ups is a viable advertising method needs shooting.

    The point he’s making is blocking normal adverts on a web page, I have read hundreds of the comments on the Smashing Magazine post, some who say they religiously use an ad-blocker because they straight up hate adverts, others ethically sticking away from them… the thing is how can we criticise people for using ad-blocking software when adverts are becoming more and more obtrusive?

    If users are using ad-blockers for reasons other than they straight up despise adverts then we as designers / developers are doing something wrong. To demonstrate my point take a look at this image:

    http://twitpic.com/1dt1m4 (Don’t know if I can embed an image :S)

    I’m so shocked by the design of these adverts I’d expect a user (especially a technically knowledgeable one) to either block those adverts or find a competitor, the latter being extremely easy. My point being is that the adverts are so obtrusive you can’t easily tell where the adverts stop and the content starts, it’s a usability cock-up.

    However if you look at a site like stackoverflow.com, aimed at the same target audience as phpclasses.org, however the adverts are all completely relevant, certainly not obtrusive and more importantly are distanced from the main content.

    Ultimately website owners need to stop winging, build your website so your adverts are not obtrusive and stop complaining.

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  2. Alex Jake says:

    I use Mozilla Firefox with the plug-in’s called “Adblock Plus” and “NoScript”, the reason I have them installed is because the website’s I visit most often have flash advertisements on, some include sound and video which were getting annoying before I had the 2 mentioned plug-in’s installed, in some cases, the flash advertisement would take over the whole of the screen with a high quality flash video, I would be able to hear my CPU fan getting louder trying to cool the CPU because of how high quality the video would be, enough was enough and I was forced to install the 2 mentioned plug-in’s just so my internet surfing experience could be better.

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