WHY BLOCK ADS | NEGATIVE EFFECT OF INTERNET ADS
To understand why ad blocking is important, we have to first understand the problems such technology is helping to address. There are for sets of problems that ad blocking is an effective solution for:
(1) security factors
(2) economic factors
(3) energy consumption factors
(4) user experience factors
User experience factors are listed last not because of importance, but because that aspect is best known and most widely commented elsewhere.
WHY BLOCK ADS | security factors
at the moment, a malvertising attack is by far the most efficient way to carry out both targeted and mass-scale malware attacks. A recent report estimated that Malvertising attacks increased 300% year-on-year last year . Given that Stuxnet attack leveraged a strategy where a large number of devices were infected based on geographical area (Iran) to target one facility, it seems safe to assume that malvertising is a growing national security risk as well.
violations of users’ right to privacy
are two kinds, one is where the site itself does something to violate the user’s rights, and the other where 3rd-parties are allowed to put their tags on the page and violate user’s rights. Both come in many forms, and will require an article (or two!) to explain. Both are taking place at massive scale, the second is especially problematic.
state-level and rogue espionage
not only it is known that state level actors such as the NSA regularly tap in to ad networks for spying purpose, but due to ease at which this can be done by virtually anyone, there seems to be no reason to doubt that rogue actors too are using this techique for spying on their targets as well.
WHY BLOCK ADS | economic factors
We don't have to like advertising to understand its connection with consumer spending, national economy and GDP. Some argue that internet advertising, once all the various wastage factors are included, may not deliver any result at all. Actually, its popularity has mostly to do with the pressure coming from the Internet Advertising Bureau, its members and media agencies who have higher margins from digital investment. Using ad blockers to block internet ads is an effective way to force advertisers take money away from wasteful digital channels, and put it back to TV and other traditional ways of advertising. This way the national economy benefits substantially.
increased bandwidth usage
because there can be up to 100x (yes that is 10,000%) excess overhead in terms of site payloads due to the 3rd-party tracking tags, the user pays more for bandwidth. If you are running on a 2gb per month package for example, you can do 2,000 pageviews with 1mb payload each. It is not uncommon to have far more payload delivered in a single pageview.
WHY BLOCK ADS | energy consumption factors
increase in global energy consumption and carbon emission
Due to the extra load that "tags" add to normal web usage, there is a negative effect to global energy consumption and carbon footprint. Because ICT use consumes over 10% of all energy, we can expect the internet wide use of tags to be a substantial factor in global energy consumption. Not loading the tags saves energy, and helps make the better, greener planet.
shorter battery life
because substantial load is put on user devices, device batteries drain faster, adding cost and inconvenience to the user, and further global energy cost and carbon emission. The fact that there is a minor effect to battery replacement cycle, makes the problem slightly greater.
WHY BLOCK ADS | user experience factors
slow page loading times
are caused primarily by the presence of 3rd-party tracking tags, many of which are also violating the user’s right to privacy and their data. Some are outright illegal.
higher cognitive load
when you want to read content from a site that is more focused on making money from ads than it is with content, the user experience will only suffer. This means unnecessary load on users that are already struggling to focus.
negative effect of poor quality and deceptive advertising
because many of the ads are intentionally deceiving, especially in native advertising, internet users are negatively influenced by these ads. Often the most deceptive ads are also the ones crafted with most deliberation in regards to being compelling and influential.
poorer quality of content
when the success of the site is not coming from content, but from sales and yield optimization, the user again suffers. This is why ad free sites often have very high quality content, while very poor quality content sites almost without fail run ads.