Is AdBlock Immoral?

November 10, 2005

I’m switching browsers, from Camino to Safari, which basically completes my transformation into a total Apple Whore. The only thing keeping me from switching earlier was the lack of an adblocker, and a friend recently clued me into PithHelmet, an adblocker for Safari that uses the same rules as the original firefox AdBlock plug-in. However, when explaining this change of heart to The Pos, he pointed out that ad revenue is important to the functioning of a small business; by blocking ads I was cutting off funding to sites that I frequented the most.

Pos has a sympathy for the small businesses that I do not share; his tenure at The Spec has left him uselessly biased in this case. However, I find that his and other people’s arguments against the individual use of AdBlock falls into these categories:

  1. AdBlocking devalues the model of web advertising; if the practice becomes mainstream and the ad market dries up, companies will turn to more intrusive forms of revenue generation, such as paid registration.

  2. AdBlock prevents the content provider from receiving click-through or pay-per-view revenue.

The first point is one that has plagued the TiVo thirty-second skip from the very beginning.


Written by Will who lives and works in New York. You should follow him on Twitter.