DISCLAIMER: I do not have any apps on the Android market, nor do I depend on revenue from this hobby blog. I wrote this in defense of all the indie developers and publishers out there who are used by ad-blockers.
Ad-blocking is seen as perfectly harmless by most people. Some even justify it as the noble act of sticking it to the overbearing ad-man. It’s obvious that the world has no love for ads, but nobody hesitates to enjoy all the “free” content the new web age has afforded us. But the reality is, as you’ve always heard, nothing in life is free. Ads are how we pay for much of our online content and most of our Android apps. Taking content without using the accepted form of payment is theft, plain and simple. And that would make blocking ads, theft.
No, you’re not really hurting big companies like Facebook when you install that ad-blocker on your computer or phone. Facebook is too big to be taken down by such a small number of users. But you are hurting the people who need your ad revenue the most. Indie developers on Android are the reason there are so many useful and free apps. And Indie developers on the web are the responsible for many of the services people use and enjoy every day. Nobody starts out as the big dog, and nobody gets there without a source of revenue. I know you’re thinking about Facebook how they got so far without any ad revenue, but look what kind of monster their investment model made them into. Do we want an entire internet of Facebooks? Do we want the Paramount Pictures and Sony Musics to dominate every industry?
AdBlock users come up with a bevy of justifications to make themselves feel better. Ads can be obtrusive and obnoxious. There are animated ads, flashing ads, ads with fake download buttons, flash ads, loud ads, and scam ads. But those are empty excuses, you can choose not to support companies that use those types of ads. If you can’t stomach the ads, you shouldn’t be taking the content. Don’t like the ads in that Android app? Many of them have donate versions that are ad free. If you can’t remove the ads you can always buy an app that doesn’t have ads. If you can’t stand the ads on that news site or that file host, use another one. Nobody is forcing you to be an unwilling audience for ads, they may not be your favorite way of paying for things, but unless you’re willing to pay for every little thing you use, it’s your obligation to stomach them.
I know a lot of people won’t appreciate my stance on ad-blocking. But maybe next time you’ll think about the people you might be taking from when you use a blanket ad-blocker.