If you spend a lot of time online, then you are conversant with online ads. Those sometimes, rather intrusive ads that appear on your current Web page; forcing you to click on them before they disappear. I detest them. And I have never met anyone who loves these sort of online ads.
And if like me you know your way around the net, you probably have an ad-blocker plugin or add-on enabled to block those ads from appearing on your page. For some people, discovering how to enable an ad-blocker is almost like discovering how to celebrate Christmas twice a year.
I remember cheering for Samsung when they decided to to include ad-blocker plugins in the native browsers found in Samsung Galaxy devices. I happily joined in booing Google they came down hard on Samsung by banning the ad-blocker from Google Play store. And a few days later, after Google rescinded that decision and restored the ad-blocker to Google Play, I felt like a saint for being able to forgive Google for the earlier infraction.
However, with the passage of time, and hopefully a little more wiser in online issues, I have had a change of heart concerning online ads. Now, I belief online ads should not be barred from our browsers. To be clear, ads blocker like AdBlock Fast should not be allowed anywhere near our browsers. What I am saying is, if you already have an ads-blocking software, uninstall it. Or if you are thinking of installing one, discard the thought.
Here is why. Most of the stuff we access online are free. But somebody has to pay for the tons of information and videos that are being made available to us for free. That is where online ads come in. They pay the bill for us to get free access to the Internet. We are so used to getting free access I am sure nobody would like it if a paywall becomes imperative to access any information on the Internet. Seriously, imagine having to subscribe monthly or daily before you can access Tech Products? Not a pleasant scenario I guess.
There is an argument that some of the ads are too unethical and so have no place online. That is true in many respects. That is why the model adopted by softwares like AdBlock Fast should be used by all ad-blocker software. AdBlock Fast have a whitelisting program, which allows users to see ads that have been certified to be OK. Which means ads on the whitelist are allowed to appear on our browsers since they have passed certain criteria. The bottmline been that these ads are not annoying or unethical. A feature like this would force all Internet advertisers to start making better ads to show us. This would make the Internet a better and safer place.
‘Safer place’ is a red flag for the anti online ads camp. Because, the truth is, some online ads are malwares or viruses masquerading as ads. And we know the damage they can cause if they get into our PCs or smartphones. The challenge therefore is to find a balance between safe and what is considered unsafe.
However, the most important thing here is this: if we care about free Internet, we must do our bit to make sure it survives. And that means simply ensuring that advertisers can show us ads on our browsers. That money is what content providers depend on to keep maintaining their websites. The alternative is an Internet where only those with enough money can have access to all the important contents. That is only a short step from powerful individuals and Governments censoring what we see online.
photo credits: idgknowledgehub.com; google.com; motherboard.vice.com