I have always hated advertisements. Any user from the early noughties remembers having to deal with annoying-ass pop-ups in many of the sites that they frequented. They were so irritating that people modified their browsers to have a feature that prevents them. They were usually hideous, featuring distracting animations or sounds and sometimes even blinked fucking sickeningly, which rightfully drew the concerns of some organizations, but this was more out of concern for others’ health rather than mere inconveniences. Not only were they annoying, but they were also deeply dishonest: telling you bullshit like how you’re the 100,000,000 visitor or that your computer is in serious danger. I feel sorry for whoever fell for these, but I myself doubt that there were many.
Of course these features weren’t just limited to pop-ups; sidebars as well, but these adverts all have one feature in common: they are not made for you. They may have been approved by whoever owns the website, but they were definitely never approved by you. If you wanted yellow faces or pasta or whatever the fuck, it’s far more probable that you would make a beeline for them rather than realising that you want them right after seeing a crappy advert. It’s comparable to throwing crap at a wall until something sticks. Ask yourself: how frequently has an advert piqued your interest? When’s the last time you intentionally clicked on one? Some designers, in recent years, have attempted to fix this mistake by tracking your history to find out what you like (that is, if they can track it), but it’s only a minor improvement; somebody who likes using multilingual dictionaries, for example, probably won’t be in a hurry to purchase any language software even though both of those subjects are related on a superficial level. Ultimately, you still never had any say in these adverts. They’re like schools and dick pics: almost nobody ever asks for them, but they’re still forced on us.
We all know that almost all adverts are ugly, distracting, annoying, and sometimes deceitful (the only exceptions being the text-based ones, which are probably the rarest of all). It raised the question: if they are so awful, why are they being forced on everybody? The most commonly stated reason is that they help keep the website afloat, but a few users blocking them is definitely not going to make a dent in anybody’s pockets. Can you think of some websites that had to be taken down mainly because too many users were rejecting their adverts? There may be a few examples out there, but in my case, nothing at all comes to mind, and I strongly doubt that there’s an abundance of them anyway. If there is a superabundance, wouldn’t it be in the mainstream news? Imagine if there were some crisis because everybody was completely ignoring their adverts. What would designers do then? Would they take feedback very seriously and tailor adverts for individual desires? Would more companies be obliged to file for bankruptcy? Neither of those sounds tragic to me, but I wouldn’t say that either of them is probable in the near future.
And what about the websites that run these? In many cases, they’re popular but poorly controlled places, flooded with dirtballs who couldn’t give less a damn about you or any of your sensibilities. They may secretly wish that nobody ever got upset over their shit, or maybe they like it when users are, I don’t know. In any case, on the off-chance that a moderator sincerely cares about this, it’s improbable that they’ll instate any long-term solutions or really clean up the place. In my view, that makes them accomplices. We all remember how Twitter handled Leslie Jones’s harassment: they kicked out that pathetic crybaby Milo Yiannopoulos, but they didn’t improve their policies nor did they bring down the hammer on their poisonous community. In other words, they half-assed the job and Twitter is still unsafe. If a loss of revenue due to so many rejected adverts is a way to make crappy webmasters listen to people, then blocking ads becomes more than a preference: it becomes an imperative.
So, here’s a review:
- Adverts are never truly individualized. Your approval of one is based on a gamble.
- In many cases, the places that run these may have some good content, but are poorly maintained.
- In the unlikelihood that your rejection of these adverts seriously affects something, it can inspire somebody to take action.
If I have not only a desire but an utmost respect for a website, then I would consider tolerating the advertisements. But in the vast majority of cases it will be a website that has only some or a little good content, and I would feel no guilt whatsoever in rejecting the ads there. Finally, if we’re going to have adverts on the Internet then they should be as good as possible, rather than ugly (and dishonest) boxes trying to market shit that we don’t want or need. If these dicks want people to click on their adverts, then they need to give them all a good and valid reason to.