Ad Blocking is the New Pop Up Blocking

Andy Ihnatko on the impact of ad blockers:

[T]hank God that the ad industry is finally seeing large-scale pushback. That’s often what’s necessary. An industry (or a business, or even just a person) assumes that you’re OK with certain behavior and policies unless you somehow communicate that you aren’t. Let’s see if all of this leads to some new self-restraint.

There was a time when pop up advertising was the norm. You had to either deal with it or download a pop up blocker. Over time, pop ups became unacceptable to most people and it eventually became a standard feature of all mainstream web browsers. Nowadays, you have to go out of your way to let your browser accept pop ups.

Because of this change in user behavior and browser features, pop ups are a thing of the past. You may randomly get one these days, but this article is likely the first time you have even though about pop ups in months, even years.

And yet the web survived.

Web advertising had to scale back and become quite a bit more restrained than before. But that couldn’t last forever, as advertisers got more and more aggressive, and ads have gotten worse and worse. They’re getting bad enough that people like me who have been strongly against using an ad blocker for years have started using them.

This all came to a head when Apple released iOS 9, which supported ad content blockers at the system level. People can now block ads on the most popular mobile device in the world and based on the last couple months of sales numbers, people are buying them in mass.

The future may be challenging for some publishers and advertisers, but these are the growing pains we need to go through every once in a while to make the web a better place.