Ad-Blocker Is Not The Issue

“Oops, we’ve detected you’re using Ad-Blocker. Please disable your ad-blocker or white-list our site for further access.”

It appears messages like this are becoming more and more common. As the internet has steadily increased in use, popularity, and resources, the use of advertisements on websites has not only become the norm but the primary source of revenue for many sites. Since many sites rely heavily on ads and have never had to innovate or look elsewhere, the use of ad-blockers scares them—hence the messages like the example above.

Here’s the truth though: Ad-blocker is not the problem. The problem lies in companies’ archaic financial strategies and their stubbornness to adapt. The problem lies in companies’ inability to provide value in such a way that can be monetized while providing a relevant experience.

Your viewers, readers, subscribers, etc. are not your product. The use of advertisements as a life source or even as a crutch is to focus on the monetization of your reader’s eyeballs. No matter what you want to tell yourself, ads are not a means of actually creating something of value worth paying for.

Sites like Forbes are scared. They don’t know what they’ll do without ads. They don’t know what to do when their readers are no longer products to be sold as corporate commodities.

This is important to note, the use of ads isn’t to present a relevant experience, it’s to make money. There’s nothing wrong with making money, that’s how the world operates, these are businesses, and it costs money to run and maintain a website, but it’s equally as important to recognize that they are using you as a product to be sold.

If you can’t provide a valuable experience that’s profitable without ads then it may be time to reconsider what it is that you’re producing. It’s understandable that many places intend to keep their content free for users, however, it’s becoming more and more evident that users aren’t interested in advertisements (as seen in the increased use of Ad-Blocker software). Rather than being driven by fear, and forcing users and readers to conform to the world of advertising, use this as an opportunity to better understand what it is that they want, what they value, and then find innovative ways to engage with them, provide more value, and develop a means of profit.

It may seem that I have it out against ads, but I will admit that I don’t believe they’re inherently bad. However, I do believe most people start ass-backwards by hoping to monetize the eyeballs of their viewers and then figuring out a way to providing value. That should never be the case. Providing value always comes first.

Many people think using Ad-blocker makes you self-entitled or suggest it’s “like walking into a cafe, ordering a cup of coffee and then walking out without paying” because “you are using up physical resources that you are unwilling to pay for.” But I must say, every time I go to a cafe and order something I always pay before leaving because I’m not being sold as the product—I’m buying one. In the case with ads, it’d be like going into the cafe, ordering a coffee and them saying it’s on the house, however, in exchange you have to involuntarily listen to some stranger pitch ideas to you and sell you stuff. All I know is, that’d be a terrible cafe.