Do we need an Ethical Ad Blocker telling us like it is? With the built-in content blocking features of iOS 9, we’ve seen a spate of developers take advantage of this feature and release ad blockers. The first notable app was Peace, which quickly rose to the top of the App Store. However, soon after the app gained popularity, developer Marco Arment pulled the app off the App Store, saying “it just doesn’t feel good.”
Soon after, another ad blocker called Crystal took the place vacated by Peace with a similar premise in the beginning. Later, the developer Dean Murphy announced that Crystal would let non-intrusive ads by some from companies that pass its filters, similar to the model of Adblock Plus on desktops. In fact, Murphy announced a tie up with Eyeo, the makers of Adblock Plus. Murphy also said that he wants to support publishers, the same reason Peace was pulled.
This highlights a significant problem. The internet is largely funded by advertisements. Do we, as consumers, have the right to expect quality content from creators and publishers, without enabling them to earn? That’s a problem Darius Kazemi is highlighting with the Ethical Ad Blocker, a new extension for Google Chrome. You don’t want to see advertisements? Well, you can’t see the site either. If nothing else, it makes it clear to the user that by blocking advertisements, they’re actually harming the content creator.
The problem lies within, in that many sites go too far with advertising. Some sites have advertisements crammed in every nook and cranny (don’t get me started on those oh-so-annoying pop-ups). We’ve been exposed to some truly horrible (read intrusive) ads making us turn to ad blockers. Heck, I use Adblock Plus myself sometimes. But the ads of today are better. Most reputable sites use Google AdSense or an equivalent and Google has some pretty strict rules in place on how the ads can be placed. It’s safe enough to turn off the ad blocker for a lot of sites these days.
I don’t know how long the Ethical Ad Blocker will be available and how serious the developer is about it. In my brief testing, it made the internet pretty much unusable. But it’s getting the point across. The Ethical Ad Blocker is the only one telling it like it is.