There’s a horrible trend I’ve noticed the last few months to a year or so; I can’t remember exactly when I started seeing it become more prevalent. If you use an ad blocker, sites are starting to refuse to serve up their content unless you whitelist them. Forbes is probably one of the first I noticed it on; others have started doing it too.
Now, in and of itself, it’s not really a problem. I understand the ads I’m blocking pay for the content I wish to see; that’s fair. It really is. I’ve whitelisted a few sites where I use their services or content; the ads on those sites aren’t in the way and don’t detract from the user experience. But that’s really the heart of the matter: the sites I’ve whitelisted in my ad block utility do not let the ads ruin the user experience.
Prior to the ad block extension’s becoming available for my browser, I typically ignored the ads — or tried. Ads have become more and more obnoxious and annoying, which explains the popularity of ad blockers in the first place.
I really hate the video ads that just start playing, usually before the content even loads. My usual response is closing the offending tab: No content is worth putting up with that sort of obnoxious behavior. As a rule, I dislike auto-playing videos in general; I really hate ads that play videos. This is why I use an ad block in the first place; to keep the user experience as pleasant as possible.
Recently, a site I’d been using for years started complaining about the ad blocker. Since I have used the site for a long time, I figured I’d white list it. The first thing they served up? Pre-content video ads.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with ads on websites; I understand their presence pays for the content on the site. But ads aren’t why I’m there. The ads should not load before the content; they shouldn’t distract or detract from the content; they shouldn’t shout at users; they shouldn’t block the content. Until advertisers quit waging war on the user, the user will respond with ad blockers.