With the news that Apple will be releasing an update to iOS Safari that would allow developers to create ad blockers, the debate of ad blockers and ethics has come up again. I’ve struggled to pick a side in this debate, however I have found a solution. That solution is simple. Blacklist sites that have bad ads (porn ads, laggy ads, popups, etc..) and keep all other sites from being ad blocked.
Case in point is Newb Wired. Newb Wired doesn’t make a ton of money off of ads, but enough to pay for the hosting bills. I’m currently a broke college student who couldn’t afford to pay the hosting bill without ad money (when it comes to hosting vs food/gas, you guess which one wins). Blocking ads on Newb Wired kills any chance of me paying the hosting bills (I would also like to note that Newb Wired’s ads flow with the layout and do not harm the user experience).
Some may say they would have never clicked on an ad, and well that may be true. But to mainstream it to such a popular browser (and with the convenience of the app store) gives people who would click on ads the ability to not see them (such as grandma or dad). That leaves small sites such as Newb Wired with few options to generate revenue.
One of those options is hiding content with a paywall, but recent attempts have shown that paywalls for the most part do not work. Another option includes setting up a donation like system, however how many casual readers will donate for my content (not many). In fact, people blocking ads on Newb Wired makes me a bit peeved, almost enough to hide content for ad blockers. I haven’t reached that point yet, but who knows…
Edit: The main point I’m making is that now an Ad Blocker will appear in the Top 25 free apps on the app store, which people who normally don’t install ad blockers will see. While you may not click on ads, these people do and now small sites will be hurt by the loss of eyes.