Today has thrust me into a world for which I was thoroughly unprepared.
At every turn, gaudy intrusions have barked bleak promotional blather into my eyes, as I shudder in the knowledge that my value lies as a point on an Alexa graph.
Following a Firefox 3 beta update, I’ve stumbled – unprepared and blinking – into a world without Adblock Plus. From my employer‘s head office I can see Piccadilly Circus, all flashes and scrambled images. Today, the web has taken on a similar uncomfortable urgency, compelling me to consider breast augmentation, a new mobile phone, life insurance to help my family after the visual onslaught finally destroys my neural paths.
Even that most faux-anti-corporate of organs, The Register, is so determined to force my eyes from their latest rant that I found myself in a new tab watching a flash animation about the latest Ford Mondeo.
And yet I support commercial media. I believe in advertising as a way to fund things I want to enjoy. So, why do I take the apparently hypocritical route of running Google Ads on my own websites and yet blocking adverts on the sites I visit?
Here’s a list:
- Pop-ups: even though true pop-ups have largely gone away, at least from the sites I use, equally intrusive ads are still around.
- Web ads are mostly crap: TV ads in the UK are often both entertaining and creative. Web ads replace creativity with intrusion.
- The ads I run are, for the most part, subtle Google text ads.
I disable AdBlock Plus on sites that I particularly care about and whose advertising respects me. Today, though, has felt as disorienting as putting my head out of the window of an aeroplane. I’m going to leave AdBlock Plus off for a while to experience more of the noise that most people I know now block without a second thought.