Admen Whine About AdBlock

Slashdot put up a story on Friday about AdBlock.  They posed a question – does blocking an advertisement violate a Social Contract between the visitor and the site.

My first reaction when seeing this question was “rubbish” (I think in British sometimes).  Advertising is based entirely on the market.  If advertisers see a good ROI on a website (or any other medium), they will continue advertising, and rates will reflect that.  If they don't, they'll simply stop advertising there, and the website will lose revenue, at which point they will have to change business models in order to survive.  If the website is truly providing value to its visitors, I believe it will survive.

Let's look at television as an analogy (which Slashdot does as well).  If someone gets up to go to the bathroom during a commercial, is that violating some sort of social contract?  Of course not.  The advertiser and television station assume that a certain percentage of viewers will miss the ad altogether, which is how they negotiate rates.  In the case of television, there are alternative models such as subscription television (HBO) and public television (PBS), which is probably how the Internet will play out if advertising stops being effective.

The point is, it's pure market.  No contracts.  If something makes money, people will do it, and if not, not.  Period.  If it stops working, people will find something else to do.  Whining about it won't make a difference, and neither will throwing around fancy terms to try to go back to the “good old days”.



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