It's more ethical to use adblockers than not

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Herb Caplan
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It's more ethical to use adblockers than not

Post by Herb Caplan »

There has been a lot of debate on the ethics of using adblocking software. Almost all websites and mobile apps primarily make their money through advertisements. The conventional argument is that by blocking the ads, you are stealing potential profit from the business and that this is tantamount to stealing a person's bread. But for most people who use adblockers, I say it's more ethical to block the ads.

If you're someone who doesn't buy useless junk because an ad told you so, then blocking ads is the ethical choice. Had you enabled the ads, you could have clicked one of the ads. What happens when you click the ad is, the business you clicked has to give money to the site hosting the ad. As a person who never makes impulse purchases based on ads, by clicking that ad, you just robbed money from the business. Terrible!

Now what if the target of the ad link was not selling a product but rather just hosting more ads themselves (trying to arbitrage ad click rates) or trying to make money through your personal usage behavior (e.g., Facebook)? In both of these cases, the businesses in question are parasitic and borderline wrong livelihood. You are entirely justified in blocking their ads.

So the only ad sources to consider here are those selling products. "What if the product being sold is not useless, and I may want to buy it even though I don't usually buy from ads?" This is guaranteed to never be the case with digital advertisements. If it were useful enough, you could find it by searching normally if/when there's a need for the product, and therefore the purpose of viewing the advertisement would be moot. Or the vendor doesn't have the funds for physical advertisements, implying it's not very successful and a useless product.

Finally, there's this mentality that clicking ads is like a donation to the site you're viewing. But by clicking with no intention of becoming a customer, you're also stealing from that business you're clicking! This mentality is just as flawed as Robin Hood or Marx: Steal from your neighbor to feed your friend. The basis of the anti-adblocking argument is based on "potential profits," which doesn't really mean anything. Anything could be a loss of a potential profit. You don't have to put an ad on your site; I also don't have to sell balloons at my taco stand for $100 each and call you a jerk for not buying them with your taco. No, this is just a bad business practice, and no one is to blame for the poor business practice but the one carrying it out. Personally, I'll steer clear of this dilemma and just block the ads.

Here's the best adblocker for web browsers:
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Re: It's more ethical to use adblockers than not

Post by DNS »

I agree. And good link, it worked and I can finally see a youtube video without those annoying commercials before the start.

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Re: It's more ethical to use adblockers than not

Post by AlexMcLeod »

It's not a very effective form of advertising to begin with. Personal endorsements are far more likely to cause the intended action.
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