fatal exception

a blog about sundry things

On ad-blocking.

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Recently, Ken Fisher of Ars Technica wrote an interesting article about the effects of ad blocking on online publishing. While I understand his concerns, I feel that there are certain issues that aren’t taken into account when people block advertisements. Yes, some people simply block ads because they dislike seeing advertising all over their screen, but others have additional reasons for wanting to block them. Others have mentioned the security, privacy and performance issues that stem from excessive online advertising, but I’d like to approach this from a different perspective.

I have visual processing issues that make it extremely difficult for me to focus on a site’s content without a million obnoxious animated ads coming up. Most ads are just another confusing visual stimulus for me, and I can’t deal with it. I’ll find myself being distracted by the ads, instead of being able to pay attention to what I want to read. My reading process will probably be like ‘article AD AD AD AD AD ***LOOK AT ME I’M AN AD**** article ****DON’T IGNORE ME I’M A BIG FLASHY ANIMATED AD!!!!!!*****’.

I’m not as bothered by still, inline, relevant advertising, but the norm seems to be animated Flash ads that are extremely distracting. I think that I would be less likely to block internet ads if they weren’t so difficult for me to piece through. Text Google ads aren’t that bad, and I don’t make any particular effort to block Google “sponsored links” in my Gmail account. I’d wager that some of those flashy ads (for example, those obnoxious cursor ones and the blinking fake error messages) might trigger a seizure in some epileptic people.

Sometimes I feel bad that I block advertisements on some of my favourite websites, but it’s not enough to compel me to whitelist everything, especially when it will be next to impossible for me to even concentrate on these sites’ contents with all those ads in my face.

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Written by Finn

March 19, 2010 at 12:08 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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