Since the internet became a thing back in the ‘90s, advertisements have found their place among many pages filled with information, services, and all kinds of content. If you’ve ever visited virtually any website (and you obviously have, otherwise you wouldn’t have been here), you’ve noticed that ads are becoming more and more aggressive and seeming all-knowing, especially once you consider how similar the content of ads is to the things you looked for via your search engine.
And although advertising companies can only profit because of the internet user, it seems like the industry is becoming more ruthless by the day when it comes to how it treats users – ads are now literally everywhere and they don’t care if you don’t want to see them.
This brings us to ad blockers. A web browser extension that has been looked down on, yet is now praised by more than 50% of internet users in USA. That percentage alone should be a good enough sign not only that advertisements aren’t tolerable anymore, but also that there is a solution to their overwhelming aggression. With that in mind, here are five good reasons to use an ad blocker.
1. Advertising = Malvertising
If anyone has ever told you that ads are harmless and cannot do any damage whatsoever, you’ve been lied to. Fact is nobody really understands advertising technology to its full extent, which in turn means that there are a lot of ways internet ads can be used for spread computed viruses.
Using ad platforms in the goal of spreading spyware, malware, and other malicious codes is much easier than you may think. Just consider this: if you were to deliver a payload of any kind to one major ad platform, you would be automatically given coverage of about 50% of everything that platform owns.
It doesn’t matter if you choose to target one user at a time or you opt for massive scale targeting – either way, you can spread malicious codes by aiming at IP addresses, locations, cookie ID, version of OS or browser, and many more parameters.
2. You Might Be Spied On
Don’t bring out your tinfoil hat yet, as there’s actually some pretty solid reasoning behind this statement. Former CIA agent and NSA employee Edward Snowden – famous for revealing thousands of classified NSA documents to the press – said the following while giving a testimony to the Council of Europe’s Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights back in 2014:
“You must first understand any kind of internet traffic that passes before these mass surveillance sensors can be analyzed in a protocol agnostic manner, metadata and content both. And it can be today, right now, searched not only with very little effort via a complex regular expression which is a type of shorthand programming but also via any algorithm an analyst can implement in popular high level programming languages. This is very common for technicians, it’s not a serious workload – it’s quite easy.
This provides a capability for analysts to do things that associate unique identifiers assigned to untargeted individuals via unencrypted commercial advertising networks, their cookies or common tracking measures used by businesses every day across the internet with personal details such as an individual’s precise identity, their geographic location, their political affiliations, their place of work, their computer operating system and other technical details, their sexual orientation, their personal interests and so on and so forth.”
Still not convinced? Let’s move on to the next reason why you should have an ad blocker on your PC.
3. You Can’t Be Sure Who Is The Bad Guy
There is one simple reason why ad blocking has been invented in the first place – abusive advertising on the internet. And since the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) keeps smashing away at ad block providers with righteous conviction, you’ve got nothing left to do but to install and ad blocker as soon as possible.
There’s a silent agreement in regards of about 10% of advertisements on the internet being ad fraud. And seeing as Google is the biggest ad provider on the web, does that mean that one tenth of their revenue comes from ad fraud? Or should we just ignore that and listen to what IAB tells us? Furthermore, this also gives unprecedented reasons to sue advertising technology companies, but just blocking those ads is much easier.
4. A Better Experience
We can’t really argue against advertisements in general, as they are responsible for promoting many (if not all) companies, which later on impacts their success in their respective fields. However, since internet ads have become so aggressive and omnipresent, removing them from your sight will almost certainly improve your experience as an internet user.
Let’s take Facebook for example: this massive social network is used by almost everyone who owns a PC. Your friends and family are on there, as well as your acquaintances, people you’ve met online, and those who live abroad. Without an ad blocking extension, your news feed will be a mixture of updates from your Facebook friends and a large variety of ads that are constantly trying to sell you something. Combine this nasty picture with the probability of someone spying on you or attempting to transfer malware onto your computer, and you’ve got a pretty good reason to block those advertisements for good.
5. It Might Lead To A Better Future
Ad blocking has only become a thing in recent years, but despite that, it’s gaining a lot of momentum as each day passes. More and more people are eager to rid themselves of ads to the best of their abilities, which led to many ad blocker providers being praised and becoming very successful in a very short time.
Seeing as the current ad industry scene isn’t the cleanest one, it’s fairly easy to speculate what could happen in the near future. Although there are many scenarios, only two stand out: either the IAB and ad providers will start respecting internet users in terms of privacy and safety and there won’t be any need for ad blockers, or they’ll keep throwing as many ads at us and in any way possible until we’ve all installed an ad blocker. Either way, only good can come from using ad blocker software.