iOS 9 has been released and with it the ability for iOS users to install ad blockers. Online publications are already crying foul and declaring an end to the “free” web:
When Apple launches its new software update for the iPhone on Wednesday, users will be offered the chance to surf the mobile Web without annoying ads cluttering up their screen.
But Apple’s support for ad-blocking technology is ringing alarm bells on Madison Avenue, where critics warn it threatens not only the lifeblood of their business — but also the economic underpinnings of the free Internet.
“We don’t think ad blocking is right,” Scott Cunningham, senior vice president of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, told The Post.
“Advertising is the economic engine that drives the free Internet,” Cunningham said. “The reality is the last 20 years have seen people developing content online for distribution, and consumers have opted in for that free content.”
As a general rule when a business has to guilt trip you into abiding by its business model it’s time to let it die. Then there is the ironclad fact that past performance does not predict future results. Just because the last 20 years of Internet content may have been fueled primarily by advertisements doesn’t mean it will always be that way. Advertisements have worked because consumers have felt the benefits outweighed the costs. But the costs of advertising are increasing.
Most cellular providers are charging customers based on data usage, which means the additional bandwidth used by advertisements is beginning to have a very real cost. Mobile devices are also becoming the predominant means for web access. Since advertisements require additional hardware resources to render they negatively impact battery life and that is a major problem for users of mobile devices. Ad networks are also increasingly being used to spread malware.
The reason advertising has been a successful model is because most of the costs have been hidden from the consumer. Now the costs are becoming very visible to consumers. Because of that consumers will likely change their behavior. One of those changes will likely be an increased use of ad blockers. As more consumers block ads more content producers will have to change their business models to survive.
There has never been a free web. Don’t let advertisers bullshit you into believing that. And don’t let them guilt trip you into making yourself vulnerable by not using an ad blocker. I promise you that the web won’t die. You may have to pay content producers directly but that isn’t so bad when you consider how much money you’ll save on bandwidth, extra batteries, and not having to deal with malware.